Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Answered and Asked

As most of you know I went to DragonCon this past weekend.  It's what's caused another delay in Bastion, has kept me from writing any more of Mind the Thorns and has been eating up what little spare time I can squeeze out of life now that school has resumed.

But I did have an amazing time there, much of it good, some of it bad, and a little of it frustrating.  I'm going to start with one of the more frustrating moments.

The name of the panel was "Vampires and the Women who Write Them".  It featured an array of women authors of Urban Fantasy ranging from those who had just started writing to those who had been writing about vampires since the 1960's.  It was quite the collection and what I saw as an opportunity to get to the ins and outs of writing good, solid urban fantasy.

It was also a chance to be talked down to by none other than the wonderful Laurell K Hamilton.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Facts, Figures, Fat-shaming and Cosplay

So the TV Show Heroes of Cosplay is taking the Cosplay/ Costuming Community by storm and often not in a good way.  Among it's many missteps have been copyright violations committed by using photographs without permission.  Then two of the stars opted to do a full head cast when they only needed the forehead, taking on massive risk and danger, apparently, just to do it.

But what really seemed to steal the spot light was an exchange in Episode 2 regarding who could and could not cosplay.  This seemed to take the show into a dark direction of what was "Permitted" and what was not.

Now this was further complicated by Becky's obsession with her figure in Episode 1.  A great deal was made about her quick return to the gym to try to slip down to play the part of Merida from Brave as well as snippets of her trying to squeeze into a corset to get the fit right and really look the part.  Since we watched the episodes back to back we saw a solid two hours of weight issues and "looking the part" being front and center.

Really, much of this is quite likely the result of the show's editing staff trying to create an engaging and provocative narrative.  This is not hard to do when you use some creative cuts, slip a few comments around out of context and then remove the chance for someone to respond to something to try to better establish context.

Since Episode 2 has aired, many efforts have been made to defend Yaya Han, the "Ambassador of Cosplay" as being very open to "cosplay for all" despite the fact that her words on the show implied quite the opposite.

So this brings us to now, today, and my own collected thoughts and observations.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekly Omens - 8-24-13

This week I discovered Heroes of Cosplay and the train wreck of drama and cattiness that it is.  I'm not going to pull punches.  The editors of that show make the Cosplayers look like mean spirited wicked elitists.  The repeated commentary on, for example, Yaya Han's history in the hobby only seems further drive home that idea that Cosplay is for the select few.

It hit a fever pitch in Episode 2 when it was explained to newcomer Chloe (@skydart) that there are certain things you don't do, such as be 300 pounds and try to cosplay Superman.  I believe, possibly, that the other veteran Cosplayers were trying to say that the internet is a mean spirited place where people who are not within "the ideal" are mercilessly mocked and that being of a fuller figure means also being prepared for the fat-shaming and abuse that will follow.  I want to give them a break but I can't.

I won't.

And I'm going to leave it there for now because really my fuller thoughts on this should be in their own blog post and that's going to come next week, possibly after I see Episode 3.  Maybe.

So here's the rest of your weekly wrap up:

In Bastion:  The Last Stand

Hiatus week.  Time for me to prepare for Dragon Con.  Also it may not be until after Labor Day that my life find the normalcy necessary to return to a regular schedule of updates.  I'm hoping to be able to keep to a piece of prose every 3 weeks but I might be too optimistic with that.

On Fictional Omens

A woman posed for a picture with the sign, "This is what a Feminist Looks like".  Internet Trolls were as trolls are.  Facebook failed to do the right thing.  I'm still not sure about how they managed to blow this.

At Home

I'm prepping for Dragon Con!

For those going here's a short list of what I have planned:

  • Friday night:
    • Walking Dead Costume Group
  • Saturday
    • Dragon Con Parade as Dum Dum Dugan
    • Panel at 1pm on "Do We Need Teachers?" as part of the Science Track
    • Panel at 5pm on "Hollywoodpocalypse" as part of the Apocalypse Rising Track
  • Sunday
    • BSG Duty Blues costume for fun
    • Star Trek Costume Group
    • Panel at 7pm on Defiance: A Town without Mercy as part of the Apocalypse Rising Track
  • Monday
    • A long... long... drive home.
If you need any help finding me at the con, shoot a tweet to me @FictionalOmen, drop me an email or leave a comment here and I'll do my best to find you.

Your Weekly Video

I'm seriously considering making a lipsync video of "What Makes you Beautiful" by, yes I know, 1 Direction because of all the shaming and hate around Cosplay.  I'm not sure if I will or not but here's one of the best I've seen to some awesome Bon Jovi:



Rob Osterman is the author of the popular web novel Bastion: The Last Hope.  Its story follows those few who struggle to survive through the end of days and perserve what remains of humanity.  He also writes Mind the Thorns, a reader directed web novel chronicling the death and life of Regan Fairchild:  Accountant, Bachelorette and Vampire.


His first novel, Fantasti*Con follows Allison Cavanaugh on a weekend of geekery gone awry as she is stalked, followed, harassed and worse.  It is available on Amazon in print and eBook editions.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Feminism and I: It's Complicated

Recently I was advised to submit a short story to a group working on a collection of stories by female authors.  As I'm not a female this would seem out of place but the suggestion was made that I might be added as a "bonus story" because I have pretty good track record of writing strong female characters, and that a story in that vein might go well in the collection.

I wasn't called a Feminist but I like to think that I let my process of character creation run along similar lines as Jos Whedon and he has been given, if not taken, that title himself.  I've also been known to horribly misquote him but I like to think that my error is more along the lines of "correct in spirit if off in fact."

Oddly, though, I have to confess to a rather on-again-off-again relationship with the term Feminist.  Most "-ists" tend to be used as a form of pejorative.  Racist.  Sexist.  Misogynist.  Elitist.  These aren't nice words.  I even have a weird reaction when someone uses the term "Deist" even though I don't think it's intended harshly in most conversation.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Weekly Omens 8/18/13

Why is this so late?  Well here's a bit about my weekend.  I'm trying to get the wife to try out Rift, we're just now catching up on Newsroom and True Blood, this was my last week of "Summer Vacation", and today Disney Infinity was released and already it's a hit with the house (but not the pocketbook).

So let's do this round up so I can get back to building a race track in my son's Infinity Toybox.


This week was a multimedia update week and we got some insight into how it was that Felice now goes by the name Jo.  I feel, personally, like it was a little more tell than show (I know it's supposed to be the other way around, but this is a picture based storyline) but I think it worked.

Fans should note that the schedule for BLH is changing over to the following:  Prose / Media / Break.  This past week was a media week, so the coming week will be a break.  Expect the next prose, a week from Monday and expect it to be prose.  This should give me a little more time to work on things and hopefully get Mind the Thorns back into my writing rotation.


I waxed a little angry about the fact that our language is "evolving" to allow the wrong definition of a word to, literally, be considered "a definition" of that word.  I'm, figuratively, steaming at the collar about it and, literally, ready to scream.

At Home

I continue to prepare for Dragon Con.  It's exciting and fun and I'm probably going to be taking at least 5 different costumes to change into and out for over the weekend, coupled with appropriate clothes for my panels (assuming I'm still on said panels as the schedule isn't released yet and my name does not appear in the DC app yet as a presenter).

And, for your weekly video:

If you're a fan of Lindsey Stirling you've seen this already but it's news to me and thus I am sharing it here.  Also I think someone at Dragon Con should totally Cosplay her.





Rob Osterman is the author of the popular web novel Bastion: The Last Hope.  Its story follows those few who struggle to survive through the end of days and perserve what remains of humanity.  He also writes Mind the Thorns, a reader directed web novel chronicling the death and life of Regan Fairchild:  Accountant, Bachelorette and Vampire.

His first novel, Fantasti*Con follows Allison Cavanaugh on a weekend of geekery gone awry as she is stalked, followed, harassed and worse.  It is available on Amazon in print and eBook editions.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

New Definitions that, Literally, Need to Die

Thanks to John Scalzi, I learned last night that dictionaries are starting to add "Figuratively" to the definition of the word "Literally." Or to put it another way, because so many people are, literally, using the word in a way that is exactly opposite of what it means the dictionaries are giving up and changing the definitions.

 This has spurred me to go after a short list of "definitions" that I would happily shoot with a phasor set to "Shake and Bake."

 Gay vs Stupid, Silly or Lame

Friday, August 9, 2013

Weekly Omens 8/9/13

And we're back to weekly updates!

So here's what's happening around the various writings and whatnots:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Welcome to Dragon Con, Newbie

As the days to Dragon Con tick down, more and more first timers have been flooding the various Facebook Groups with questions, seeking advice, tips, and tricks for surviving the weekend with just slightly less sanity than they started with but without going completely nutzoid over the four days.

The call went out for the best "First Timer Guides" and so I am taking up the challenge with a set of ideas, suggestions, and observations I wish I had had for my first couple of Dragon Cons.

So in no particular order here are my thoughts:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It's been a good week for Link-age

As I wrap up my post-surgical convalescence, I've been fortunate to find my name out there in a few places recently.

First my dear friend and fellow author Janine Spendlove posted my guest post on the levels of accuracy over at her blog.  Hop over there to give it a read, then come back here and leave a comment.  Or leave one both places.

By the way, she's also part of Silence in the Library Publishing and it's not too late to get in on their Kickstarter for a lovely collection of time travel based short stories.

Second, the wonderful blog The Kill Zone has a critique of the first page of Bastion: The Last Hope posted.  It's a great read with many excellent points raised.  I'm happy with the response and plan to take it all into consideration moving forward.  Of course if you'd like to read the entire first chapter, just hop over to Bastion itself and have a look.

And lastly, I had my interview for the Local Author's program for our area cable channel.  It will be airing in July so stay tuned for more!

Oh, by the by, I came through surgery quite well, and have all four of my wisdom teeth safely removed.  Of course I scheduled an appointment only to remove two so there is still some story to be had here.  I get the stitches out tomorrow and I'll be probably telling the full tale sometime next week.

Monday, June 10, 2013

A little poll....

Things have quieted down a bit so hop over to Mind the Thorns for a little poll about vampires:

http://www.mindthethorns.com/2013/06/poll-vampires-are-real.html

If vampires ~are~ real, what kind would they be?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Hiatus

The following is Cross Posted across all of my blogs:  Fictional Omens, Mind the Thorns, and Bastion: The Last Hope.

So much to talk about and so much to write and to do and honestly no time for it all.

This is the end I want to make a public explanation of what's going on.  As many of you know, my day job is teaching.  This time of year is always incredibly challenging as the school year comes to a close, students seek extra last minute help, papers need to be graded, and life just has to wrap up.  To this end I've just been unable to keep up with much of my writing.

Mind the Thorns has suffered a great deal from neglect of late, partly from timing, partly because of the nature of writing something reader-directed.  Bastion has completely eaten up its buffer and while I love my blog, and I have plenty to comment on, there isn't time.

Officially, all web novels will return to regular posting on or around July 1.

Now, why the wait?

For Mind the Thorns, posting will resume much sooner than later.  I just need time to sit down and write.  Thankfully there's a plan in place I just need to keep pushing on.

For Bastion, I really need time to rebuild that buffer, collect videos from my cast, plan the next dozen chapters, and then be ready to write so that if I am forced to fall a little behind your regular updates aren't disrupted.

I appreciate the patience of all my readers as I push through this period and hope you all return at the beginning of July to engage in these projects.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Weekly Update 6/1/13

You all know how this goes.

You're sitting in the cafeteria when you see that one of the popular girls of the school is looking at you.  She gets up and starts to walk towards you.  She knows you exist.  She is coming to say something to you.  You are someone she has something to say to.  Finally, the moment has come and you have a chance to tell her how beautiful she is, how much you love her laugh, and her smile and her hair and how she smells, and how she writes her sevens on the board in Algebra and how she crosses her T's in her poetry in English.  Finally, you get to tell her everything because she's coming.

To.  Talk.  To.  YOU.

Then she's there and she leans in close.  She's going to whisper to you.  OhGodsofKobal.  She has a secret. You tense.  You close your eyes.

"Your fly is open."

Yep.  That was how my Saturday started when I got a lovely comment from the ever amazing Mary Janice Davidson pointing out that I'd mistyped the title of her novel Undead and Unwed.  I saw that I had gotten a comment on the blog post a few weeks back about Charlaine Harris and Vampires and I had referenced a lovely blog entry that Davidson had posted on that topic.

And blown the title.

Which still upsets me because the Queen Betsy stories are such inspirations for my own writing, that bend of quirky characters, fish out of water themes, vampires, etc.  Of course Regan didn't become obsessed with shoes until after she was a vampire but let's not quibble, shall we?

So... what's been up the last two weeks?

On Mind the Thorns

As I slide into my Summer hiatus, there has not been an update.  See below for comments.

On Bastion:  The Last Hope

Owing to the Memorial Day holiday there was no update but we did all contribute to a special thank you to our veterans, those lost in military service and their families.

On Fictional Omens

I weigh in on the new project Kindle Worlds, an licensed fanfic program by Amazon.  I really do think that it could be the end of Fan Fic as we know it.

At Home:

Well, it's that time of year.  As I mentioned above, all of my writing properties are going on a short Summer Hiatus.  Why is this, you ask, dear reader?  Because final exams are the toughest time of the year for me.  I'm absolutely swamped with papers, grading, finals, students asking for late work, extra credit, and a million other things.  I just don't have the time to sit and write in the way I write best.  So rather than kick out something half assed, I'm officially declaring all properties on hiatus until the first week of July.  Then they'll return with their usual weekly or bi-weekly updates.

Also at home, Xander has completed his first year of Kindergarten (or nearly has).  And that brings us to ...

The Weekly Video

This is a compilation of images and videos for my son over the last year as he finishes up his first year of school.  It's amazing how fast the time goes.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Who Owns the World? A reaction to Kindle Worlds

As you probably know by now, Amazon has announced that they will be launching a new Kindle Direct program called Kindle Worlds.  Fan-fic authors can submit their work in one of the official licensed worlds and if accepted will find their work for sale on Amazon.com.  Along the way, Amazon gets all kinds of benefits and perks and young fledgling authors who have been writing fan-fic for fun or for practice can now add "for profit" to their reasons for doing so.

John Scalzi, who himself is brilliant in all things writer-advocacy, has a great post up where he dissects the actual agreement.  I'm going to spring board off of that myself here.

Spring boarding off of this there is one fundamental underlying question:  Who owns a world?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Where have all the game stores gone?

So here I was all ready to blog about the latest in snarky reviews on Good Reads followed by a possibly unprofessional response on an author's blog leading to the latest internet Tea Pot Tempest when I got news of a store closing.

Let me put some context here.

When I started teaching, my room was a common place for nerds, geeks and dorks to hang out after school and have a shared space where it was okay to talk about DND characters, video games, and RPG's. 

A few years ago I got a note from one of the guys who would hang out saying he had purchased a game shop and was selling the games we had talked about after school.  

Sadly, the game shop is closing.  Amazon, Walmart, and all the other "get more for less" stores took their toll, and the profit margin wasn't enough to keep it going.

So in lieu of a post tonight, we're heading up to East Lansing for a guy's night of comics, and games and good memories.  I want my son to see a game shop, what gaming used to be, before the age of Overnight Delivery and On Demand Comics.

It's a bittersweet journey.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Weekly Update 5/11/13



The week opened with two days of inservices, followed by a day off due to a sick out by our bus drivers (long story and I'm not even sure what happened really), and then two days of work.  It was a very short week for me at the day job yet oddly tiring all the same.

On Mind the Thorns:

Sadly, no update this time out, but I can assure everyone that the next chapter is in the works.  However, as you will see below, it might be delayed just a pinch.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Bastion came back with an update following the KC130 crew, this time from the point of view of one of the copilots.  We get a chance to see the group from a different angle, meet a different character, and find out a little bit about what exactly is happening.

On Fictional Omens

Owing to a wacky week I went back to the archives and found a great post about writing in 1st person and why its so hard.  Which is ironic because this week saw another dust up of "Authors Behaving Badly" as one tried to defend his rather casual writing style and his informal treatment of the audience.  I may write more on it, if I feel I want to take the risk, as his response to the review got him pretty slammed.

At home:

As a heads up, the next few weeks are going to be crazy at work as we end out the school year.  Final grades are due, and for the first time in a long time it looks like I'll need to clean out my classroom in case I teach somewhere else in the fall.  Finding time (and energy) to compose is going to be tough.  So everyone knows Mind the Thorns will get another chapter before Memorial Day weekend, and Bastion has three more posts before the buffer is exhausted.  After that it may go on hiatus for a few weeks to rebuild the buffer as we move into summer.  The one perk of teaching is that I will have time this summer to muse and write in and around spending time with the kids and the family.

Plus my parent's cottage now has high speed internet and Wifi so I can go work up there as well.


And.... your weekly video:

A few weeks ago Wil Weaton was asked what he might say to a woman's newborn daughter about why it was awesome to be a nerd.

Here goes:


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Repost: Narrators- The Challenge of 1st Person

This is from the archives given that this week has been kinda bat-crap crazy for me.  It also reminds me that I need to get some serious work done on my next few chapters too....




The 2011 Smurf movie introduced us to a variety of unique smurfs, among them Gutsy (a kilted smurf) and Narrator (shown above).  At one point in the movie, while Narrator is describing the ongoing battle scene another smurf looks at him and shouts "Really?  Now?"  At this Narrator shrugs and says "It's what I do."

When it comes to 1st Person Past Tense writing I find that the idea of the narrator is profoundly problematic and one of the least understood or acknowledged challenges in writing, especially among young or new writers.  There is a distinctive appeal to having someone relate their accounts of events in their own words.  We, as readers, are treated to their thoughts, their statements of their feelings, and their interpretations of the story.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Weekly Update 4/4/13


Up and down and up down went the emotions of the week.  One drama led to another and then another.  Most of them were work related (not writing work the kind that pays the bills)  but all in all it was not a bad week.  Just one that kept the hits coming.

Like a jack hammer.

On Mind the Thorns:

It does seem that polls are borked so I'm going to be looking for something other than the Blogger resident poll system to keep tally week by week.  The winning vote ~appeared~ to be to rescue Emma so that's what Regan's going to do.  Of course, technically the vote was to ~try~ to save her.  I never said if she was already too far gone or not.

We'll just have to wait a week and see.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

This week was a hiatus week with no update.  I should be hearing back from my friend in the Marine Corps tonight or tomorrow so that will give me a little bit to get the chapter edited and posted and from there it looks like we're on track for a good 4 week run without break.

On Fictional Omens

Last weekend a major dust up took place for author Charlaine Harris, the woman behind the wildly popular True Blood novels also known as the Southern Vampire stories.  Long story short, spoilers to her final book in the series leaked and many "fans" were none too happy.  I took on the issue of Reader Entitlement in this week's Fictional Omen.

At home:

Okay so Amazon Prime has this thing going where you can watch pilots for original shows that they will put on the "air" next season.  We watched a few and here are our votes:

  • Zombieland The Series - Green Light
  • Alpha House - Yellow
  • The Onion News Network - Red
We'll watch more and get back to you.


And.... your weekly video:

How am I just now finding out about this amazingly talented young woman?


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Charlaine Harris, Southern Vampires, and Entitlement

This is the second take of my title.  The first was "Charlaine Harris is not your B***H".  It seems very posh to quote Mr. Gaiman these days and well, it seems to fit.  Specifically it comes, so the legend goes, from a time that Neil Gaiman was asked how a fan could ask GRR Martin to write faster because they were so anxious to see where the Game of Thrones story line went.  His answer?

You don't.

And that quote started to make the rounds again as authors weighed in on the recent debacle related to the much anticipated end to the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampires True Blood series.

But, given that ChibiNeko did that for her blog, I thought I'd write up my take on the whole thing under my own title.

The best write up of the event is here at the Blog of one Mary Janice Davidson, author of UNDead and Unwed and other stories of Vampire Queen Betsy. Edited:  I originally mistyped the title of Ms. Davidon's Queen Betsy series as "Dead and Unwed" rather than "Undead and Unwed".  For clarity here's the actual book.  In fact, I need to really apologize because so much of Mind the Thorns and my own efforts to write to a similar audience was influenced by having read the first two books in that series.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Weekly Omens 4/27/13

It's amazing how fast a week can shoot past you when you're worried about getting everything done by Friday.  You keep thinking "I'll have time tomorrow to get it done" and then all of a sudden you're at the end of the week going "How did I not get time to get that done?"

On Mind the Thorns:

Speaking of getting it done:  A new chapter is posted.

Sadly, the poll seems to be broken and votes appear to be vanishing out of it.  As of Wednesday there were two votes, now there are none.  It's making me wonder what's up there, and if I should be using an external polling plug-in, or requiring votes to be in the comments section.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

To set up the next chapter we get a flash forward and see what Gunny has to say about what it was like to get the first real instructions after the beginning of the end of days.  It was a lot of fun to write and as always my actresses deliver a top performance.

If you're a regular follower (and why wouldn't you be?) please note that we are going on a one week hiatus so my fact checkers have some time to review the chapter for military procedural errors.

On Fictional Omens

I took some time to muse on my role as an author in communicating politics and the like.  I found myself writing my own views on gun control into my characters and I took a few minutes this week to reflect on whether or not that's really fair.

At home:

We wrapped up the Walking Dead and moved on to Mad Men.  It's starting off very dour but maybe that's how the show just is and I let myself forget.  I also put in an order for white hair dye so I can cosplay Hershel at an upcoming Comic-Con.  That should be fun.

And.... your weekly video:

We went bowling.  I took videos.  Wackiness ensues.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Guns, Politics, and Writing

Image Courtesy Raw Data
As much as I have political opinions, I've always been leery of sharing them here because:  A)  I don't want to risk alienating possible fans (customers), B) I've got other venues to share them, and C) I really want to focus on my writing, methods, inside scoops and the like.

Once in a while these paths converge and they do so in an odd way allowing me the excuse to talk a little politics as well as talking about the writing process.

I'd been meaning to post this for a few weeks now, pretty much since I posted Chapter 11 over on Bastion, the one that focuses on the teen-aged daughter of a rugged suburban survivalist.  I did not entirely mean to get preachy in there but I realized that the more I re-read the chapter the more I had essentially worked in my own political views into the character's mind set.

Then this week, I learned of a related tragedy.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Weekly Omens 4/21/13


At work I've started Flipping my classroom.  That means that I send the students home with a list of videos to watch, and then when they walk in the next day we start right in on the "You Try" variety of problems.  It gets rid of the 30 minutes of silent note taking and moves that part of the class home.  That means that I need to plan my work days ahead of time and it's incredibly labor intensive on my end.  I've barely had time to breathe, let alone write and I'm seriously considering some hiatus time until I figure out my personal schedule.


On Mind the Thorns:

When this post is up I'm off to write the next update which will go live tonight.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

A new plot thread is started as we meet members of Action Team Easy, specifically Spice, the demolitions expert, Colt, the hothead, Probie, the rookie, and Sid, the new XO.

On Fictional Omens

I took some time to reflect on the fact that it's a little easier to write for Bastion than it is Mind the Thorns and I was promptly schooled by my fans for not updating Thorns more often.

At home:

Strep Throat for Kaylee and a case of being 5 for Xander.  Yep.  Tons o' fun.

And.... your weekly video:

There is nothing this man can't do.  And what he does do, he does with all his soul:


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Bastion vs Thorns: Why Bastion is Winning

Well it finally happened, and I feel like I've somewhat arrived:

I got a complaint that I haven't updated Mind the Thorns.

That tells me a lot of things.  First it says that someone is actually reading it.  That rocks.  Second it says that someone reads it and cares enough to want to know what happens next.  That also rocks.  Lastly it means that not only do they want to know what happens, they also are willing to go out there and ~ask~ for more of it.

I really need to work on it.

However, since the launch of Bastion, it has only missed one update for Spring Break and is currently on pace to keep going without interruption.  The real issue is:  Why?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Weekly Omens 4/12/13

This week has been a curious one, with some odd bits of closure on certain fronts.  I'll do a dedicated post on it in the near future, but in the short term I'm more or less letting FantastiCon go where it will without a lot more dedicated promotion.  I have a lot of other awesome (and I think better) projects running and the fatigue of putting FantasiCon out there just isn't worth the returns.  Speaking of those other projects....


On Mind the Thorns:

Yes yes... over due.  Yes yes... we want to see that dress.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Bastion returns from Spring Break with this video clip showing the mission briefing for Action Team Easy.  We haven't met the team yet, but we do know that they are shipping out to some point we've seen before.

On Fictional Omens

Things have been nutty crazy at work so I went to the archives again to pull out a post on what the world might be like once we get rid of the Terms "gay" and "lesbian" and we simply treat all relationships as just "relationships".

At home:

Redwings game.  Overtime.  Shoot out!  ANNNNNNNDDDDD...... we lost.

Then, because we didn't get into the stadium garage and I didn't know where else to park, we walked about a mile along the Detroit River, in the rain, back to the car.  Cold.  It was a rough way to end the night.  Sure I felt invigorated by the time we reached the car, but after the hour drive home, we were all ready to crash, and crash hard.

And.... your weekly video:

This is just a haunting rendition, and personally I like the lady's voices.


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Repost: These are Terms that Do Not Exist

This is a repost from last year.  After watching the dust up over Gay Marriage in the Supreme Court and having read more than a few blogs discussing it, I thought it was worth sharing again:


Lately I've been playing a lot of Star Wars: The Old Republic.  It's scratching a lot of itches for me.  It's a solid WoW-Clone MMO with all the features you'd expect and a solid, reliable, and recognizable interface.  The story is top notch and if you play a Sith you get to have a rocking British Accent.  Unless you're undercover in which case you're supposed to sound like you're from the American Midwest.  Personally, I'd like to find that planet where you sound like you're from Boston*.

At any rate, I was looking up stuff on line related to a recent twist with my newbie operative when I came across a fascinating quote:
After a user expressed concern that Bioware had "disallowed" the use of the terms "gay" and "lesbian" on the boards in a thread titled "GLBT discrimination in forums?" a Bioware forum moderator dropped in and posted this: 
As I have stated before, these are terms that do not exist in Star Wars. 
Thread closed.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly Omens 4/5/13


I really should get used to rejection by now.  Only I haven't.  And it still stinks.  A lot.  But I'm managing, I guess, to shoulder on.  As such this week has been a horribly boring week with it being spring break and things being quiet and non-action-y and I've been totally taking a break from everything.  So....


On Mind the Thorns:

Spring Break!

On Bastion: The Last Hope

More Spring Break!

On Fictional Omens

I did actually comment on the whole Adria Richards "thing" aka Dongle-gate.  Can I say that attaching the word "Gate" to things to make them controversies is one of the lamest yet most convenient things I've seen in a while?

The hard part about blogging about Dongle Gate is that so many people have already done it.  Like a lot.  It was kind of a trick to bring something new to the table.

At home:

Hmm.... yes.  Did I mention Spring break?

And.... your weekly video:

I forgot how much I miss going to Dragon Con and how much I wish I could actually make my own costumes for CosPlay....


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Doing Something - The Twitter Option

I've found that the moment you realize that you "just have to do something" that rational thought seems to take a back seat equally as fast. When you see someone in the path of a car, you don't think "can I get to them in time?" That would be a rational thought. And it would involve doing a risk assessment, taking time, and possibly even finding yourself unable to act because of the delay.

No, we cast caution to the wind and we do something.

A few weeks ago a woman at a convention found herself in the exact same position. She had to Do Something and she had to Do It Now. And what she did had the kind of ripple effect of consequence that a fair comparison would be that of a nuclear bomb going off. First one atom splits, then those fragments strike two more, and then four, and then eight until you've burned off all of your fissible material and leveled a city.

In fact I've taken to calling what happened the "Nuclear Option" for that very reason.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Weekly Omens 3/30/13

One of the best parts of writing, I swear, is researching.  I've always been a student at heart so having a chance to keep learning new and interesting things just makes my day.  This week that included making contact with an old high school buddy to consult on Bastion.  I also swear that learning two different Marines talk about the exact same situation and both report totally different statements as to what "a real Marine would do" also is fascinating.


On Mind the Thorns:

Sorry to say guys, no update.  One should be going live this weekend to bring things up to speed.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

A new character makes her way on to the stage:  Angelica Winters, a 17 year-old gamer girl with a survivalist dad who has survived the clouds of death in their basement bunker.  It was a fun chapter to write and is also a nice place to join the story.

On Fictional Omens

I've been playing a lot of The Secret World so this week I took a few minutes to comment on it and some of the neat things you can get away with when you write a modern day MMO.

At home:

It seems that the Aria Richards debacle is now working its way out of the tech blogs and into the mainstream blogosphere.  It's fascinating to see how people are responding and the level of disconnect between what could have happened,what did happen and what was deemed appropriate.  I will probably write up something on this for Tuesday's post.

Oh.. and SPRING BREAK!!!!!!! Now I just need to use these days to catch up on MtT and get some buffer built up for Bastion.

And.... your weekly video:

I was having some fun with iMovie and put this trailer together.


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How to Do a Modern MMO

Here's the funny thing about being wiped out with a stomach bug: you can play video games but you can't write. Or rather I can't write. Perhaps it's because I'm a fickle artist, but there are specific circumstances I need to really get the prose flowing. So, unable to write and unable to indulge myself in Tomb Raider because I had to share the space with the family, I decided to try out the MMO The Secret World.

And I am so very impressed.

I have I admit I'm a little nervous about the classless an level-less system it uses. I like the whole idea of just picking skills I want to use and not being forced to get stuff I don't really get into because its part of a given class. There is somehow nice about knowing that a given level should be ready for a given content but I'll get I to it.

What I really like is the way the rest if the game world works with our own.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Weekly Omens 3/23/13



I don't know how I do it but once again I got bit with a nice bit of writing bug and I'm really looking forward to posting my next chapter of Bastion: The Last Hope.  Sadly I also got a return trip from the stomach lower GI bug going around our house and had a wonderful time with two sick adults last night.  Seriously, this 4 people in one house is nuts.  By the time one of us gets over something we've passed it on to someone else and it literally is just moving around and around.  So.  Not.  Fun.

On Mind the Thorns:

The vote is in and Thomas is going to be "one of the guys".  I fear that I may miss the Monday deadline so please don't give up hope on me, Dear Reader.  It will come but this chapter has so much dramatic potential (shout out of thanks to the crew at Webfiction Guide for helping me brainstorm through this) that it will be worth the wait, I assure you.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Before I even talk about the update I have to give props to Fiona over on Webfiction Guide for the very kind 4.5/5 star review that Bastion received.

I'm also really proud of this week's update.  It's from the documentary "I Survived" which is produced five years after the events of the story so far.  It features two awesome coworkers as historians commenting on the "end of days".  It's fun.  Check it out.

On Fictional Omens

Okay, I phoned it in by reposting a previous entry about being a Cover Band or Fan Fiction writer.  It's a post I originally wrote last spring but I think the sentiments endure.

At home:

I'm a little taken aback by the events of PyCon this weekend.  If you're not familiar with it, the short short form is that a woman was offended by some off color jokes and so she tweeted a picture of them with her complaint.  This set off a storm of events that ended with one of the two men, as well as the woman, losing their jobs.  It's been eating at me for a few days now as I think about what passes for "conflict resolution" these days.  Rather than bringing us together, it seems that technology has driven us further apart.

And.... your weekly video:




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Repost: On Being a Cover Band



There's been a bit of a curfluffle as there often is over on Good Reads, this time about 50 Shades of Grey. For those of you who don't follow literary circles (using the term loosely), the 50 Shades series is a trilogy of novels that follow a dominant man as he seduces an innocent, loving, young woman. The works are getting a great deal of attention in part due to the history of the work (it began as Twilight fan fiction) and because it's become the new guilty pleasure: A saucy kinky steamy romance complete with handcuffs and blindfolds.

And while a great deal can be said about the transitory nature of the book and how they've brought a good number of people out of their shells, or rather lead them to think thoughts that they thought only "those people" would think, I'd like to focus on the first of those two, the origin story of the novels.

But first, let's talk about Cover Bands and Harry Potter.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Weekly Omens 3-15-13


St. Patrick's Day looms close, and again I find myself without any engagements for it.  I miss playing the pub scene and letting people here real Irish music rather than another re-tread of Danny Boy or The Unicorn song.

On Mind the Thorns:

This week's chapter ends with a tough spot for Regan.  Stacy has agreed to build an entourage of men for Regan to have around her at the grand Vampire Ball by rounding up Regan's lovers over the last few months.  At the same time Thomas has asked Regan to be his escort for the evening.  Currently leading the polls is for Regan to ask Thomas to join in with all the other men she's slept with and be part of the party.

Dear Reader, I've got to tell you, that is not something I'm confident Thomas will sign on for.  Just, ya know, sayin'.  But, it is Reader Directed so we know Regan will make the offer to him, provide the current trend continues.  If it does, I have to admit, I'm rather looking forward to writing that chapter as I already have some wicked fun twists planned.

Related, Mind the Thorns remains in the top 600 of all Vampire stories on Wattpad, and is consistently a front page story in the Romance subsection of Vampire on that site.  If you're a Wattpad reader, feel free to leave comments there as well as on the main page.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Continuing to cycle through the open story threads, we return to Dr. Spenser at Georgia State and we find out what has happened to his sister during the Biohazard Security event.  It's a fun challenge to keep all of these threads running seperately, while at the same time creating individual voices for each character.

I've also gotten some additional traffic through the Web Fiction Guide, so if you're a user there, feel free to drop a comment, review or rating.

On Fictional Omens

So this week I reposted a pair of blog posts I did about Merida, the heroine of Brave.  For the most part it was a discussion about the discussion of Merida's sexuality, specifically that I was shocked there ~was~ a discussion in the first place.  Then I was outraged.  It was brilliant blogging, folks, and you need to read it.

I also posted a link to another blogger who recounted an event she had with a caveman on the bus to work.  Seriously.  Caveman.  Also worth the read.

I started and stopped several blog posts about the contact that the new Randomhouse E-Book Only imprint Hydra was offering but it seems that most of that story has come and gone on its own.  If you're curious read up here.  I may weigh in on the larger picture next week.  Mostly I feel like it's odd that most of the conversation about what's right for small and budding authors is coming from established authors who don't seem to have as much skin in the proverbial game because they already have loyal followings of fans to support them and their craft.

At home:

The stomach bug that hit Kaylee moved on to Xander and now has done a full round robin of the house.  It made for a horrible Thursday but otherwise things are clipping along.

Speaking of.  Smash.  Watch it.  I'm serious.  Best show on TV.  It's like Glee for Grownups.  It also reminds me of the fact that we may be cutting the cord soon but we're both nervous about losing our favorite shows during that sweet spot that most people are watching them.  Of course we ALSO have all of this season's Once Upon a Time on the DVR waiting for us.

And.... your weekly video(s):

It's St. Patrick's Day Weekend.  You think you get away with just one?


Ireland Boys Hurrah

 

The Irish Rover



There were Roses




You and I in the One Bed Lie


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Cross Post: What not to say on the subway/ bus.

This little gem came from a blog I follow and I really just have to share it here.  "Stories about my Underpants" is a light comedy blog where a woman recounts all the kinds of wackiness she encounters day to day.  She's got a gift for story telling and I can very much relate to her style of Stream-of-Conscious speaking.  But today's post got my dander up, not because of what she said, but because of the guy she encountered:

Today’s guest appearance by said guy all started with his observations of various individuals boarding the train.
Upon noticing that someone was wearing rain boots and carrying an umbrealla :
“Woah, someone didn’t get the sunshine memo.” 
Upon noticing that there was an attractive woman on the train (shockingly, not me):
“He-l-oooo…..” and then creepily looking too long at the poor woman.
Upon reading the various news items that flashed across the tv screen on the train:
“They’re letting some woman run Facebook? Now I’ve seen everything.”
And that’s when I made the mistake of chiming in.

You need to read the rest of the story By Clicking Here.

 BTW:  Yeah, I did find the whole "Go all Detroit" a little tacky but I'm willing to forgive it in context.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Repost: Does Merida being Gay Matter?


This post is a repost of my thoughts after the release of Brave last summer.  They struck enough of a chord that I am reposting this, along with my follow up, to go with the release of the movie on DVD.  Which I cannot watch as my BRDVD needs a firmware upgrade. Grr.

Some disclaimers:  First I'm going to spoil the end of the movie, just a little bit, but no more than I've been spoiled myself in reading reviews and commentary on the sexual preferences of Disney/Pixar's latest heroine. I also have to confess I've not seen the movie first hand.  My wife and son have (they both loved it) and I've read a pretty good number of reviews, and honestly what I have to say about this issue has very little to do with the movie's over all plot.

Which gets us to the question at hand:  Is Merida, Heroine of Brave, a lesbian?  And if she is, does that matter?

Frankly I think that's one of the dumbest questions raised about this movie.  It ignores what actually does matter:

That people are asking the question in the first place.

Bastion Poll: Who would you like to see?

Over on Bastion I posted the poll below.  I'm reposting it here.

Which minor character from Bastion: The Last Hope would you like to featured in their own chapter?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Weekly Omens 3/8/13


So the blizzard that slammed Montana, Minnesota and Wisconsin decided to turn hard south and skip Michigan.  Thanks.  It's been a fun week of work, sorta writing (curse you ME3!) and the like.  Even so, I did manage to get a lot of stuff done, I think, and I only have a small pile of stuff to work through this weekend.

On Mind the Thorns:

The polls closed and Regan has opted to head out in her vampire finest to the party.  She's going to strut through the doors like a woman to be respected, rather than slipping in the back to quietly watch.  I'm also very happy that I slowed down my posting schedule because this week has been a very active week for musing and I feel like a lot of good things have fallen into place over that time.  Now will I manage to get the next chapter written for Sunday?

On Bastion: The Last Hope

This week's update to Bastion is the first real flashback to before the meteors fell.  I'm planning more of these to help flesh out the back stories of the main characters.  I really went back and forth on including the subtitles because I do think there's something fun about having a hidden story in the French, but I'm not sure I'm ready to hand over an entire video to that.

On Fictional Omens

Marketing.  It's all about the Marketing.  Over on Stop the Good Reads Bullies as well as countless other Meta-review sites there always seems to be some kind of drama brewing about who's out to get who and threatening who.  After reading ChibiNeko's comments on the never ending font of drama, and efforts from the StGRB to get more of "their side" out, I decided I would weigh in a bit on why reviews matter so much to people trying to make it happen.

At home:

In gaming I'm still plunking away at ME3 but I'm annoyed at my own lack of abilities as well as how far behind the equipment curve I am.  Because the more times you play the more chances you get to unlock cool weapons (all randomly), I'm very far behind on the equipment curve for Multiplayer.  Plus what you get is random so there's no "I'm working towards X".  You just roll the dice and see what you get.  If you don't usually use a shot gun, or a sniper rifle you can easily find yourself progress.

Kaylee's sleeping through the night again (yay!) and her lower GI stuff seems to be sorting itself out (you know you're a parent if you've ever thought "Yay, Poop!").  And Xander, the 5 year old, is now sleeping on the top bunk.  He likes it.

And.... your weekly video:

I've been playing around with iMovie as part of my work on Bastion.  It is functional for the layman but for any real Power-Editing it totally doesn't have the tools to do much beyond lining up clips for play back.  Either way here's a montage of last week sledding:



Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Goodreads, STGRB, and Marketing

How is that so much drama can revolve around a single website such as Goodreads and from it mature adults who should know far better than they appear to can think it appropriate to so such horrible things to each other?

Review bullying, arguing, websites like Stop the Goodreads Bullies, and with it personal attacks, threats to reveal personal information online, accusations of illegal behaviors and inappropriate relationships: the list goes on and on and on.

It has reached levels that go beyond just words and is well in the realm of harassment and endangerment if you take them all at complete face value.  These are things if done in person would lead, quite likely, to blows or worse, yet they seem to come hard and fast on the internet.

And the obvious reason is: Why?

One word:  Marketing.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Weekly Omens 3/1/13

You'd think I'd have done more work this week (I say that a lot) as I was home sick on Monday and we had a snow day on Wednesday.  Wednesday was pretty cool, spending the day playing with the kids, sending Xander off to go sledding with Mom (his preferred sledding parent), and continuing to recover from the flu that knocked me out Monday.

On Mind the Thorns:

The new chapter is up and Regan is trapped in a well.  The votes are still open about what she should do once she escapes and if you haven't voted you should hop over there and do so.  Also, no Collies were involved in the writing of this episode.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

Finally we are looping back to revisit characters we had introduced earlier in the story.  That's right, folks, no new characters this week!  That is unless you count the passengers on the 717 that our Marines have joined up with.  Curses.....

On Fictional Omens

I've been playing a lot of ME 3 and took a few minutes to muse on the nature of romance in story telling within video games.  I've often defended video games as a story telling medium, and so I thought I'd look closer at the way these stories unfold when not in the middle of playing them.

At home:

Last night I finished the Geth/ Quarian story arc.  I felt very guilty because at the end of the arc there is really only one choice:  Save one race and sacrifice the other.  There is no "make them live in peace" option.  It was glorious, emotional and a little "wow".

And.... your weekly video:

It's March so it's time to break out all the cool Irish music and we begin with the best one no one knows about:  A Biologists view of Beer:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Love in Space ME3 Style

So I know I'm late to the game, but I am finally playing Mass Effect 3. Finally.

Actually if I'm being honest I've had the game for a while (as in when it came out) and I played it once before but I didn't get very far. I also took a passing stab at ME1 and gave up on it fairly quickly because I wasn't quite sure what to make of a FPS RPG and so despite the reviews I gave it a pass to indulge in other Bioware titles. One of the notable ones I really enjoyed was Dragon Age: Origins, even though I was unable to see it through to the end.

But I'm playing it through and I'm enjoying the story. It also happens that recently the question was raised about the relevance of in game romance and story telling.

And this takes us back to the nature of stories, video games, and the stories we tell. I know for me, part of my writing muse has been to work on the tapestry of a good game and adding my own stories to the characters there.

So, ME3 and the nature of romance....

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekly Omens 2/23/13


Ahh, Midwinter Break... a week of "working" which really translated to playing with the 5-year old, playing through Mass Effect 3 (I'm still getting the hang of the combat system) and poking at my writing.

Not the most productive week I've ever had but a good week over all.

On Mind the Thorns:

I'm halfway through the next chapter.  This one is proving a bit harder to write than I'd like mostly because I also see that it's time to start to move towards some resolutions of the story.  No new updates this week but expect one soon.

On Bastion: The Last Hope

This week saw the first posting of a video diary for Bastion, specifically the personal log of Emma Morgan, Mr. Max Ryan's personal assistant.  It was one of the most exciting things to do with this project and I'm very excited by the way it turned out.  I'm looking forward to doing more of these to support the story.

On Fictional Omens

One of the challenges of writing is to keep the language evenly balanced for what you want to accomplish:  Being true to your source material as well as being readable to your audience.  Some people (Meyers) do little to no research at all and thus have wildly inaccurate facts in their writing while others go to such an extreme (Clancy, Crichten) that you almost learn more about the subjects than you do about the plot.  This week I take a look at that on a smaller scale.


At home:

This weekend is the birthday of my beloved so it's out for free birthday dinners, enjoying family time and maybe sneaking out to do some sledding.  I've been putting more time into Mass Effect 3 and the game is growing on me.  I love the story, I love characters, but I'm still getting the hang of the combat system.  It's just a little too soupy compared to a dedicated shooter to really be fun for me after all my hours on Call of Duty.

And.... your weekly video:

I am absolutely cheating and this week's video is the video diary of Emma Morgan, one of the characters in Bastion: The Last Hope.  Yes, I'm using my own blog to post chapters of my web novel.  Sue me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Clip vs Mag

Some time ago I had the chance to get some first hand experience with firing a hand gun, the point of which was to have the experience to more accurately write the scene in Mind the Thorns where Regan defends herself from a band of hunters. It was a good experience and I think that it enriched my story telling.

For Bastion I have been networking with a mix of "experts" to get things right in the particulars given that all of my characters have such wide ranging backgrounds. But this also creates its own dilemmas.

Specifically, what do you use to load a gun? A clip or a magazine?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Weekly Omens 2/16/13

Valentines week, a week to celebrate your loves or curse your loneliness  depending on where you sit on the spectrum of romance.  I'm fortunate in that I have love to celebrate but I do remember the dark times that came before and I offer sympathetic thoughts.

Here's what's been going on around these parts, for those not too busy staring longingly into their lover's eyes:

On Mind the Thorns:

The choice has been made that Regan will keep quiet and bide her time to strike back.  But who can she call to help her?  Emma?  Thomas?  Daryl?  It's been a long time since we've seen Daryl.  Is he still under contract with us?

On Bastion: The Last Hope

We are introduced to Max Ryan, an agent of the mysterious Project Bastion.  We see a glimpse of this organization as it monitors the end of days.  What is their role in all this?  What will they do as the meteors continue to fall?  Will they do anything?

On Fictional Omens

I responded to a critique that I was not passionate about the plight of Regan in Mind the Thorns.  Being fair, I have lost some of my oompht for writing it which has been a mix of work, family, time management, and other projects.  I take a few moments in this week's post to reflect on what kind of woman Regan has evolved into.  Is she as much like Bella as I fear?

At home:

Xander is up with his grandparents for the weekend leaving the wife and I alone with the baby.  So far we've done some cleaning, a little shopping and just enjoyed each other's company.  Our prayers go out to a friend who's going through a rough time herself and we wish her well if she should read this.

And.... your weekly video:

This week's video is an homage and a hug to my beloved wife who has, though simply being mindful of food intake and personal will power, dropped 4 dress sizes in the last 4 months.  Nothing like a little flash-mob cooking to remind us we could all eat a little healthier.




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Passion for the Passionless or Regan becomes Bella Swan

I got an interesting email last week while working on the latest update for Mind the Thorns.  To paraprhase my Beta reader who sent the email:

"Is this girl ever going to grow a Superbowling* back bone?  Seriously!"

And that's when I realized that when I set out to write a "Better Twilight" but also with the twist of it being a Reader-Directed novel, I ran the real risk of it turning into "just another Twilight".  Only rather than Meyer-pires, it is populated with Oster-pires, and rather than being about a teenage angst ridden girl, it's a middle-aged, still somewhat angst ridden woman.

Here's a little backstory on the creation:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Weekly Omens 2/9/13

Well, here we are another week down. You would think, dear reader, that with a snow day on Friday that this weekly wrap up would have gone up on time then. But no, I took the day off to relax with the kids, look out at the piles of snow in the yard and just enjoy the day away from the computer, mostly.

It is a little odd in that the last three weeks of school, we have yet to have a full week anywhere. The first was cut short by Martin Luther King day, the next by and ice day, and this past with a snow day. What next? Locusts day?

Over in Mind the Thorns:

There is a new chapter up! Finally some direction for Reagan as she learns a little more about the Earl, Jeremiah, Vampire politics and herself. Head over there and cast your vote for how she will get through her current predicament.

In Bastion: the Last Hope:

This week's update features a radio broadcast from a day into the mysterious meteor strikes and a little insight into their origin. As with any multimedia chapter your feedback is very appreciated.

At Fictional Omens:

I love commercials and their unrepentant need to convince us to consume. This week I featured some of my favorites from Super Bowl Sunday.

And lastly a video. Today was my son's first trip sledding. Remember kids- red makes it go faster.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

There was a game?

So Sunday I had planned to grade papers and watch the Superbowl.  As luck would have it, I was invited to my sister's for the evening and we watched most of the game there.  Of course, the Lions did not even make the playoffs, and the two teams that provided workhorses for my fantasy team were also out (the Patriots and the Redskins) so I was left really with no one too root for.

Except the commercials.

Here are my picks for the best commercials that I was able to catch:


Hungry Howies - Best Commercial if its True




Toyota - Best Twist in a Commercial




Jeep/ USO Best Commercial to Make You Cry


Friday, February 1, 2013

Weekly Omens 2/1/13

Well, the week started off slow, picked up speed sickly fast, and then cruised into another weekend.  Not a bad time, though a bit tiring on its own.  I'm finding it harder and harder to listen to NPR without getting annoyed that they keep covering the same things over and over, and I don't agree with half the spin they put on the things they do cover.

I also had a chance to actually have a fairly real conversation with a family member about race and ethnicity and that was one of my week's highlights.  Of course this weekend I have 130 quizzes to grade, and three chapters to write (two for Bastion and one for Mind the Thorns) if I want to keep on my current schedules.

So... on to the wrap up:

On Bastion: The Final Hope

We get an insight into what kind of progress mankind is making at countering the "Cloud of Death" spread over the land by the meteor shower.  Look this coming week for a multimedia piece as the next installment.  I should probably figure out what that will be....

On Mind the Thorns

I continue to suck and owe everyone another chapter.  I need to do that this weekend if for no other reason than to stop having say every week that I suck.


On Fictional Omens:

I reposted something from last summer about the way in which self-publishing may have contributed to the demise of Foyt and her racist scifi novel Save the Pearls.  I dug it out of the archives because it appears there is a sequel to this travesty coming and she's looking for reviewers to pre-read it.  I can only imagine how much she's learned about sensitive topics since her last foray.

I should also note that my own frustration with lack of notice by the larger writing world is starting to build given that I've yet to really do anything too stupid and thus have been rewarded with heaping piles of obscurity as thanks.

And now a musical interlude:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Repost and Update: Forget the Pearls- Destroying Eden

So some time ago, by which I mean about a year or so, a self publishing author put out a book called Save the Pearls Part 1:  Revealing Eden.  It was... hm.... controversial

Actually it was a train wreck upon crash upon a disaster with a reactor going critical just as the iceberg sent it sinking.  But, like many good dramas, this appears to be the gift that keeps on giving.  It seems that Ms. Foyt hasn't learned a single thing except that everyone loves a sequel.  So how do you follow one of the most controversial books of 2012?  Why you publish the sequel the following year!

So, to help everyone keep some perspective on this new train wreck on paper, I'm reposting my thoughts on the first train wreck this week:

Friday, January 25, 2013

Weekly Omens 1/25/13

This has been a good and bad week for me.  Some great things happened, and some not so great.

Here's a wrap up of the week's posts and news:

At Fictional Omens -

This week I finally got up my post about writing what you know and if you don't know it you need to research it.  The post was heavily informed by fellow author and fan-nerd Janine Spendlove.  Check out her War of the Seasons if you haven't.

At Mind the Thorns -

There has been no update because I suck and I haven't made myself write it yet.  This is bad.  This is very bad.  I need to write it.

Think of this as an opportunity to play catch up for those of you who are a few chapters behind.  See the favors I do you?  Here's Chapter 1 for those that have never read it.

At Bastion: The Final Hope

This week's update is an image from the point of view of one of the survivors. I'm still not sure the "story" there is direct enough but the whole project is an experiment anyway so we'll see what happens.  Comments are, of course, welcome.

In life -

It's been a bit of a crazy week.  Monday was off because of the MLK holiday (I was supposed to be writing) and I was sent on an errand to get Hot Dog for the Skylanders game.  I love my wife dearly but she's more obsessed with getting all the Skylanders than the 5-year old.

The new semester is off to a great start and content for Bastion is rolling along at a great rate.  I have several actors involved to create the multimedia content.  I have to admit that I'm very excited for it and it's distracting me from what I should be working on.

And your video of the week.... hmm...  How about Glee?  What I want to know is why do I need the Glee cover to have a great version of this song without profanity?






Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Write what you know, Again

Some time ago I talked about the importance of knowing what you're writing about.  At the time it was to reference my trip to a gun range to fire a hand gun for the first time.  After all, if I'm going to write it, I should know what it's like so I can capture that for my character.

Which also reminds me that I probably should get back over there and squeeze off a few bursts out of AR-15 or so.

So, as I've mentioned my latest project is to write something that blends "Fighting back for our planet after the Alien devastation" and "We are all that is left of Humanity".  I want it to be para-military based but that means that in the backstory of my characters there will probably be some military experience.

And aside from having memorized FM22-5 (or what ever its new designation might be), I really don't know that much about the military.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Weekly Omens 1/18/13

So what a weird week it's been.  Finals week is always rough because there's so much to do and none of it is due until the middle of next week.  As someone who works best under pressure this is always a challenge because I'd so rather do anything besides work.

Speaking of anything else:  Double Prestige on the MK48 on Call of Duty.  Go me.

So here's what happened around my little patch of the web:

On Mind the Thorns

The vote was finalized and it appears that Regan is going to wait at home for Jeremiah's associate to come fetch her so together then fetch some item for Jeremiah.  More than likely she's going to spend the time scheming.  Watch Monday for the next chapter!

On Bastion:  The Final Hope

My second web-novel launched this week with a gripping (I've been told) first chapter.  Chapter one introduces Gunnery Sergeant Beaubein and the crew of a KC-130 as they escape yet another mysterious cloud of death.  It's not reader directed and it will update weekly.  Have a read if you haven't yet.

Here at Fictional Omens

I have been so lucky to have the help of fellow author Janine Spendlove in my work and she has further blessed me with a guest post on the top 5 things people screw up when writing about the military.  It's a must read.

At home

Kaylee has strep throat and Xander has a horrible case of being 5.  Fortunately there are antibiotics for the former and an early bedtime for the latter.  But aside from work and writing it's been a quiet week.

I also want to thank Spendlove and her "friend in the Herc community" for further entertaining my questions and confusions.  She has been patient and dilligent in making sure that not only do I get the details right but that everything makes sense for what a Marine would "do" in these circumstances.  As such my To Do list includes some minor revisions to BtFH Chapter 1, but thankfully nothing that overly shifts the tone or plot.

This week's Video:

At first I thought this was all me and then I saw that the Raging Vegetarian was right there with me so it was a combined effort to completely eliminate the other team.  That's me coming in from the distance, gun blazing.




Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Guest Post: Writing Military



By Janine Spendlove

Rob is an old friend of mine, and we’ve both kind of gotten into the whole “writing thing” on our own, around roughly the same time. It’s been really neat to go on this parallel journey with him. One of delights has been a recent project he’s working on where he’s been tapping my knowledge base for one of his characters/story scenarios.

You see, in addition to being a writer, I am first, and foremost a United States Marine. My Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is that of a KC-130J Aircraft Commander.

Given my background and the back forth Rob and I have been having about his story (basically, me correcting all the things he’s getting “wrong” about Marine aviation – things that only someone in the community, like me, would know), he asked if I would do a guest blog post about the top 5 things people get wrong about the military.

I sat down with my husband (also a US Marine) to brainstorm and we came up with the following “top 5” (trust me, there are a whole lot more than this). Please bear in mind, given that we are both Marines, our knowledge base tends to be deeply steep in that, so what we have to say does not necessarily count for the other branches of service. So what does that mean? If you plan to write about the military, you’d better do some research.