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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Newbery Medal

Literary History tidbit.
On this day in history in 1922, the American Library Association awarded the first Newbery Medal to Hendrik Willem van Loon for his children’s book “The Story of Mankind.”

Frederic G. Melcher, a former bookseller who became an editor of Publishers Weekly came up with the idea for an award honoring outstanding literature for children.  He proposed the medal should be named for John Newbery, the eighteenth-century English bookseller and author who was considered the father of children’s literature.  The purpose of the medal was to encourage originality and excellence in the field of children’s literature.
This year’s winner was Jack Gantos, for “Dead End in Norvelt” published by Farrar Straus Giroux.
The importance of history and reading (so you don’t do the same “stupid stuff” again) is at the heart of this achingly funny romp through a dying New Deal town. While mopping up epic nose bleeds, Jack narrates this screw-ball mystery in an endearing and believable voice.
“Who knew obituaries and old lady death could be this funny and this tender?”  Newbery Medal Committee Chair, Viki Ash, stated.
The Newbery Medal was designed by Rene Paul Chambellan, it depicts on the obverse an author giving his work (a book) to a boy and a girl to read.  The Newbery Medal is considered the one of the most prestigious awards for children's literature in the United States.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Battle of Little Bighorn


History Tidbit
On this Day in history June 25, 1876.
A collection of Indian tribes led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeated the U.S. Army troops of Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer near Montana’s Little Bighorn River in what is more rightly called a bloody massacre.
Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull and the leaders of the Sioux Tribes had been resisting the U.S. Governments efforts to confine their people to reservations.  By June of 1876, more than ten thousand Indians had gathered along the banks of the Little Bighorn River in defiance of the U.S. War Department order to return to the reservations.
But let’s back up a bit and put things in better perspective.  In 1875, after Gold was discovered in the Black Hills region of South Dakota the U.S. Army ignored any previous treaty agreements and invaded the region.  This betrayal led many Sioux and Cheyenne tribes to join Chief Crazy and Chief Sitting Bull in their defiance of the U.S. orders to return to their reservations.

In 1861, Doctor Richard Gatling invented and patented what became known as the Gatling Gun.  It was the first true machine gun capable of a sustained firing rate of bullets.  When it came out in 1861 it used caps and paper powder packages and could fire a whopping 200 rounds per minute.  By 1867 it had been modified to use metallic cartridges and increased its effectiveness and rate of fire to 1,200 rounds per minute.  This version was purchased by the United States Army.  The gun was designed and built by Mr. Gatling with the idea in mind that such awesome firepower would end the U.S. Civil War which ended by itself in 1865 before the gun was modified to the point the Army actually purchased it.
Gatling did manage to sell quite of few of these weapons to other industrializing counties who used them against countries with under developed militaries with devastating effects.
At the point that part of the 7th Cavalry attacked the Indian encampment without waiting for reinforcements, and not the entire force present at once, only 210 men including Custer they were severely outnumbered.  The irony of the situation was that with more prudence for waiting for the rest of the entire group to show up, using better intelligence, heeding the warning signs that they may have been up against a highly superior number of combatants, and the fact that this particular group had at its disposal four Gatling Guns!
Custer was reportedly ordered to take the new weapons with them on this mission but he refused because he felt if would slow his troop down.  The guns had to be pulled by horse and the weapons ammo had to be loaded into special loading apparatus to load the weapon while the other was being replaced or reloaded in order to provide sustained firing.  With enough rounds loaded in the proper “clips” the gun had proved to have a sustained firing rate of over 700 rounds per minute by this date.
Even though Custer may have still been defeated on this date opposing such a large force of determined combatants, if all four guns could have been effectively set-up on suitable firing positions and the enemy drawn into their effective field of fire the shock effect of such a devastating weapon may have caused the Indians to retreat.  Once the rest of the troops had arrived and word of the new gun spread the results could have been drastically different.
As a student of warfare from the dawn of time to modern military state of the art weapons I have read about many instances where a new tactic, weapon or both have made victory possible for a very small group over a vastly superior number of troops.  As a writer of military science fiction I like to play what if this happened in history and how might that have changed the outcome.  Examining the butterfly effect of small changes in history and how those might manifest themselves later down the road.  That is partly why I didn’t want to just say today in history Custer got his butt kicked by a hell of a lot of Indians.  Had a few changes occurred or he had done what he was ordered to do, the outcome may have been completely different.

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Time Between Books

New Beginnings!
As a writer when I am working on one of my novels I have to write down ideas as I get them and work to maintain a tunnel vision in regards to my story at hand or else I would never finish it.  The ideas range to changes or additions to the story I am working on, or completely new ideas of stories.  When I think I may have a completely new story idea, I treat it like a blog post where I start with the dreaded blank sheet and put down my ideas, thoughts, and possible scenes – whatever I have at that moment.  Then I save it and forget about it.  If other ideas come along related to one of my story ideas I haven’t got to yet, I add to the sheet I started and save and forget it in order to continue with my task at or story at hand.
Later on between stories I look over the works I want to eventually write.  Certain ones beg to be written.  The ones that I repeatedly go back to on a regular basis adding stuff to that document and that ends up being several hundred pages of ideas, notes, or research material is a good place to start.  I can organize my notes at that point into an outline, supplemental information, narrow down how many characters are to be involved and possibly start a character sheet for the book.

My character sheets are like a rap sheet slash roll call of the characters in the book.  Sometimes I add bits of what they each do at what point throughout the book or series in order to keep stuff straight.  As I develop or reveal details about the characters I log it on the rap sheet.  It’s a handy reference material for writing the book especially if the book turns into a series of books.
I write the outline as the loose order which will be the main thrust of the stories plot.  This is where I identify what has to happen in what order to properly reveal or introduce the right information or characters in order to reach the predetermined end point of that book.  I say loose order because I don’t nail down each and every scene or use all the information I have gathered and brought together for a story.  I would always rather have too much information to work with and provide too much stuff because my limited exposure with editors has taught me that a lot of stuff will be gleaned and marked out with that affectionate red pen.
As I have stated before in previous posts concerning writers block – I enjoy and relish the areas through the story where I inadvertently write myself into a corner or dead end.  There is generally a reason it just stops.  Through my lack of planning, a technical hang-up in the story itself, a mental block on my part, but something causes this phenomenon.  When I would first encounter this situation I was tempted to back up to where the story was flowing and just take it down another path, one that doesn’t lead to a dead end.  Later as my experience has grown as a writer I realized that it is the creative part of writing a book that I enjoy so much.  Just as readers love a good plot twist or unexpected turn that by side stepping this stoppage I am missing an opportunity to be creative and surprise my readers.
So from then on as I would get stuck it would be time to brain storm, get crazy, have fun with the story.  I play What If?  One writer friend of mine says when this happens it means it is time to blow something up in the story!  I find that humorous but I don’t take that approach.  I do look for a creative way to get out of the situation and see where it takes me.  Some of the best parts of my books, the mini climaxes throughout the story are the result of such creatively playing around.  If I had a hard outline and wasn’t open to explore multiple different paths to get to the desired ending I perceive I wouldn’t be able to effectively write a book in this manner.  The result is a creative, fresh, exciting experience for me as a writer as well as my readers.
I feel in some books I read that the authors are so hell bent on getting to their goal that everything is streamlined and focused down to that point and there is nothing else there.  Very linear direct stories with no surprises, major plot twists, little eddies of creativity along the way.  I have discovered when I get goose bumps and excited writing the story and piecing it all together that all that will manifest and carry over for the reader.  That’s how I know when I am doing it right.  When it is dull and boring or I have to work and push to get it out, I am moving in the wrong direction, this story isn’t ready.  It’s time to work on something else.
I enjoy the world wind of possibilities as I have to decide which story to dive into next.  Once I commit to a project then I have to get tunnel vision and focus on that story.  A little bit every day!  I don’t punish or limit myself to a certain word count I must attain each day, because I feel that could hamper my creativity or over time train myself to limit my productivity.  I don’t want to feel if I hit a predetermined word count I am done, EVER!  Some days I might only write a page or two, other days I might crank out five chapters.  One weekend my wife took the boys and went to the lake and left me at home and I wrote this insane amount without regards to time.  I slept when I was tired and ate when I was hungry and wrote my happy ass off.
I keep all my notes and reference material in a file folder and work off my laptop which sits on my lap in my living room almost every evening.  I have realized that someday when I am blessed enough to have an office at home and I can write full time what stuff I want in that office.  I will want a comfortable chair, a nice desk, a desk top computer for writing at the desk but still have a laptop for writing when I am out of the office.  I want one wall of book cases, windows along another, a large detailed map of the world on another wall along with a movable bulletin board to hang pictures, and my research material all over like the police use on those cop shows when they are figuring out the connections on an intricate crime scenario.  I also like to have different selections of instrumental music (no words or lyrics) playing while I write because it helps me write faster and I seem to be more creative when listening to subtle creative pieces of music which stir my emotions continually while I write.
I hope some of this helps aspiring writers, newly published writers, or provides a basis to examine how and what works for you as you write.  Understanding what works and what doesn’t is part of the style and craft we must learn to continue in this endeavor called writing.
I am done with selfless self-promotion for a while.  I do want to thank everybody who took advantage of my give away on Amazon of my first novel “Whisper.”  It wasn’t as successful as I dreamed it would be but it was the most successful promotional thing I have done since being a published author.  Almost 650 people took part and picked up a Free copy of my first book.  If just a small percentage of those people come back later this year to check out the sequel when it is published it is a great start to developing a following of readers.
May God Bless you all.  Writers – Get back to work!  See you all next Monday!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Unsung Heroes of the Literary World


As I have posted several times before, Editors have the most thankless job in the Literary World.  They are the unsung about heroes of the Literary World.  They know English, Grammar, and about the Elements of Style.  They not only have to tell writers that their babies are ugly, they have to point out period and comma, every misuse of a word, every misspelling, and a myriad of other problems of style, redundancy, and prose which raises its ugly head throughout their work.
Most readers will read a book or two from the same author before bothering to actually see who wrote it or write down their name to purposefully search out more works from the same author.  Nobody ever picks up a book to look to see who edited it.  By the same token the author will catch the flack for a book that contains grammatical errors and wasn’t properly proofed prior to being published, not the editor.  As authors we will only be as good as our current editor as far as the mechanics of the story are concerned.
Indie Authors don’t generally have literary agents, publishing houses or professional editors and proof readers pouring over their books prior to publication.  We have to wear many different hats throughout the process of writing, editing, proofing, formatting, and art work just to bring a book to market which hopefully looks and reads at least half-way professional.
I love the fact that authors aren’t generally competition for each other!
One it takes a writer much longer to write a novel than it does for a reader to read a book.  When readers can consume literally hundreds of books over the course of a year they are obviously going to be reading stuff from a multitude of different authors.  That’s why Authors, especially Indie Authors, can work together and join resources, help promote each other’s works and it not be a conflict of interest!
So in light of this I want to pass on the website to my editor.  If you’re a new author, writing a book and planning to self-publish it in the near future, or have recently published and the book reviewers are crucifying your book because of the English and Grammar, you should look into professional editing!  Seriously!  What you write has the potential to be out there on the Web in some form or another for eons!  Make it count!  Make it professional!  Put your best foot forward from the start.  I didn’t when I started out.  I thought I did, but I also know I rushed getting it published to get it out there.
My Editor    Final-edits.com 
Three Edits later and “Whisper” my first book is good.  I have to still go back and make the corrections to my second novel when it gets back from the editor and re-release it.  Time I could be spending writing another blockbuster, spent re-editing.  Take my advice and do it right the first time.
Oh, Yeah, Today’s the last day my first Novel “Whisper” will be FREE on Amazon dot com.

The Unsung Heroes of the Literary World    
http://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Wiley-Randolph-Series-ebook/dp/B004NBZ962/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I DON’T OWN A KINDLE!


Obviously everyone doesn’t own a Kindle in spite of Amazon’s best efforts to monopolize the E-Book Market.
That doesn’t mean you still can’t take advantage of the multitude of FREE books offered everyday on Amazon!
The Kindle AP can be downloaded for FREE to your phone, computer, or favorite pad product and then you can read the FREE books offered at Amazon dot com.
Start your Kindle Library today with my first novel, “WHISPER
Whisper -- Kindle Bestseller

Praise for Whisper:

"The concept of presented within the book– a new technology being created that can in a sense make people and objects invisible for a given set time and also transport an object or person to another time period–is pretty darn awesome! The author did a wonderful job of explaining how such a technology could be created and work effectively. " -- A.C.

"Really interesting concept that kept me intrigued throughout." -- K.K.
Overview:

** WARNING: Not for children or young teens. Contains mature language and situations. **

The crew of the USS Whisper must get back to their rightful place in time after accidentally transporting 200 years into the past while testing a device to make the ship invisible. Captain Wiley Randolph and his crew fight against time, a 200 year old frigate, a Japanese Zero, and a German Wolf Pack of submarines to get home safely.

Great gift for dad. Guy gift for the holidays!
 
Which is FREE Today and Tomorrow, just in time to enjoy for the start of summer!



My First Novel FREE


One of my very first blog posts was “I Published My First Novel.”
Many of you have followed along since then and been with me through my discoveries and learning experiences with self-publishing.  I still cannot believe all that has happened and transpired since January of 2011.  It has been an amazing journey.

As last week I finished the sequel to “Whisper” it is kind of nice to be in a position to offer my first novel for free just before I am able to release the sequel.  I know that times are tough and even the little liberties and escapes we allow ourselves need to be budgeted carefully, so offering my book for free is in a way giving back to my favorite group of people, The Readers!
So just in time for the start of summer I have a great escape and high adventure novel which will take you aboard the USS Whisper.  Sent to test a Phase Shifter which should make the ship invisible and test firing a missile while the ship is Phased the crew is transported back in time to the year 1800.  Join Captain Wiley Randolph and his crew as they have to fight their back to their proper place in time and figure out how to protect the history of the world as we know it by keeping this monstrous time machine a secret.
Three edits later after its initial publishing, and bonus material added Whisper couldn’t be better than offered for FREE Today and Tomorrow.  Also included are the first chapter to the sequel which will be released this summer, “Leviathan Deterrent” and the first chapter of my second novel a completely different hard core Sci-Fi Space Opera of Military high action adventure.  I sincerely hope that all who take advantage of this limited opportunity will thoroughly enjoy the stories and add me to their list of authors to follow in the future.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

WHISPER FREE

Today through Thursday June 21st My First Novel WHISPER is FREE
at AMAZON DOT COM
GET YOUR COPY NOW FOR FREE - JUST IN TIME BEFORE THE SEQUEL IS RELEASED!


http://www.amazon.com/Whisper-Wiley-Randolph-Series-ebook/dp/B004NBZ962/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1

Praise for Whisper:

"The concept of presented within the book– a new technology being created that can in a sense make people and objects invisible for a given set time and also transport an object or person to another time period–is pretty darn awesome! The author did a wonderful job of explaining how such a technology could be created and work effectively. " -- A.C.

"Really interesting concept that kept me intrigued throughout." -- K.K.

Overview:

** WARNING: Not for children or young teens. Contains mature language and situations. **

The crew of the USS Whisper must get back to their rightful place in time after accidentally transporting 200 years into the past while testing a device to make the ship invisible. Captain Wiley Randolph and his crew fight against time, a 200 year old frigate, a Japanese Zero, and a German Wolf Pack of submarines to get home safely.

Great gift for dad. Guy gift for the holidays!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Criticism, Scorn and Honesty


As a writer you grow over time as you increase your knowledge and skills concerning the craft of writing.  Once you’re published you put your work out there for the world to read and judge.
The judging comes in many forms and various areas.
I started writing with stories that I knew I would like to read that haven’t been written yet in spite of the continued advice from many to know your audience, or target market.  I have a problem with the concept of a target market because how can you qualify the myriad of people you may never meet who will read your work.  Plus the judging comes from those who read it and those who don’t.  I have had one instance already in my infinitesimal writing career where the book reviewer admittedly deleted the book on the second page yet went on to write a wonderfully horrible review of my work.  I have had others who claim to have read my work yet sited things that were not in the book that they hated, which lends one to wonder what they actually read.
My point of this post is that humans are as varied as the grains of sands on a beach and we all like and appreciate different things.  What one person finds beautiful and heart stirring another finds as an abomination to God, as if they were able to judge what a God might actually think or find offensive.  As this has dawned on me I realize the authors that really stuck a cord with me personally wrote about aspects of the human condition, good and bad.  They explored and danced around controversial issues of the past, current day or age old problems we may still be dealing with in a possible different future.
To grow as a writer I personally feel each of us will come to that place where we realize if we are to continue with the enterprise of writing that we have to quit worrying about offending other people.  Write the best we can write and put it out there and let the world decide what they are intelligent enough, open minded enough, honest enough to accept about the world we live in and the aspects (ALL OF THEM) that make up the human condition which we refer to as life.
I just personally stepped over that imaginary line in the sand.  Faced with a new series that I not only want to write, that begs to be written.  It screams to be explored, revealed, and brings the darkness out into the light.  It has the potential to be a multi-genre piece of work which could easily span several full length novels.  It will bring tons of criticism and scorn from many people.  It has the potential to put my up there with some of the greats whose books have been banned from entire countries.  Until I can be brave enough to write it and publish such stories regardless of what others may think it won’t be written and I won’t be able to grow as a writer.
I have played it safe since I started down this new path in 2010.  Before publishing my first two books I went to great lengths to censor myself and tone down my writing from the language I use to the scenes I portrayed in my books.  After an eye opening experience recently with a rather narrow minded person and thinking about the brave writers like Ray Bradbury who we so recently lost, I feel ashamed to have watered down my work and filter it in the name of making it more pleasing to the general public.  This blog was started to chronicle my discoveries as a writer, share tidbits of writing discoveries I have figured out as I progress down this path.  To not face this shift in spirit and honesty publically here in my blog would be remiss of me.
The gloves are off from here on out and I will write strictly from my heart and mind.  If the mass of the reading public doesn’t approve and my writing doesn’t become recognized as an accurate picture of the day in age through which we live and that I write during, then so be it.  If I don’t become considered a literary master in my lifetime and my books don’t gain the status of greatness until long after I am dead then so be it.  I will have joined a very distinguished group of authors at that point.  I don’t want to write watered down, lame ass crap to sell more books.  I truly want to write the books I would love to read that haven’t been written yet, and appeal to the more intelligent open minded people who read and will change the world over time.  If I never take a stand issues, don’t take risks with the situations and things my books deal with then I am not being true to myself as a person or a writer but most importantly I am short changing the reader.
People read an extremely wide range of books and what becomes popular in many cases ruffles a lot of feathers and pisses people off.  I am stepping up from an aspiring writer with great ideas to the field of an experienced author who doesn’t give a shit what might make you blush, offend your virgin ears, or challenge your beliefs.  As a true writer I should wallow in the depths of the human condition and all its muck and filth and show how the human spirit and will to survive will triumph over all.  I should inspire people to be more than they dream they are capable of.  I should make churches, governments and those who wish to control the masses terrified of us free thinkers who will steal and hide to read to let our minds be free.  To provide hope for the hearts of people who have never tasted freedom, who have lived through or are currently enduring persecution and those who will silently watch our freedoms be taken away and destroyed for the sake of change and progress.
Amen, Lecture over.  Writers get back to work; we have hearts and minds to perverse with radical ideas.
Starting Tomorrow - Tuesday - Wednesday - Thursday
My First Novel "WHISPER" will be free on AMAZON Dot Com.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Finished Rough Draft Book 3


Last night while my wife was having a party with her girlfriends I finished the rough draft of my third book.  It is officially off to the editors!
It is a very satisfied feeling finishing you rough draft.  I know now with this being my third book it is still a long ways from being finished, over, put to bed, and completed.  As I await the corrections of my second novel which will make editing round number three of it, I realize it takes a long time to actually complete a book.  With my deficiencies in English, I will only be as good as my editor.
It’s the sequel to “WHISPER.”

“Leviathan Deterrent” is written.  Now it just needs cleaned up to make me look like I’m not a third grader at a keyboard with a very vivid imagination.  We still need to come up with cover art for the book, it needs the corrections made when it comes back from editing, formatting for creating an E-book, and for paperback versions through Create a Space.
There will be plenty of work left to do, but none of that can really ever be done until the book is written.  I have read that 80% of people would love to write a book.  The number of people who ever actually sit down and do it is very small.  This is my third one finished.  The really nice part is before I started focusing on finishing this book I was working on book three and four at the same time.  I am already up through Chapter 17 of my fourth book so when I get back to it this coming week there is maybe only a quarter of the book to finish on it.  My fourth book is the sequel to “No Rules Of Engagement.”
“Leviathan Deterrent” picks up just after where the first book left off.  It covers part of Wiley and Lisa Randolph’s honeymoon as they travel from London, Paris, Madrid, Venice and Rome.  As those who have read my first two books know nothing goes as planned and shit happens.  As the rest of the crew from “Whisper” try to finish cleaning up the mess from that mission, after Wiley and Lisa’s wedding, all hell breaks loose as they realize someone has stolen Russell’s equipment from the lab in the basement of the Pentagon.  The eight Marines who packed and carted it all out are found dead and all the leads point to a dead man.  Hopefully the book will be released very shortly as I stated above there is still plenty of work to be done to make it readable.
If you haven’t read “Whisper” yet and are interested in picking it up mark your calendars for next week when it will be for free on Amazon Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  Just in time for Daddy’s who got Kindles for Father’s Day looking to load it up with new exciting reads.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Tidbit on Writing


When I was writing my first book and dreaming of becoming a published author in 2010 I spent spare moments researching about agents, the elusive query letter, how to sell yourself and your story to an agent, and any and everything I could find about publishing.  I researched who published what, about how many books each publishing actually published in a year, how many clients did a particular agent carry, how many agents where employed at different literary agencies, what genres do they sell.
As I look back the most important advice I read was that from the authors.  Piers Anthony and his blog about his trials and tribulations with traditional publishing companies.  Ken Follett’s Master Class about writing.  James Rollins blog.  Steve Berry.  I read every bit of advice I could from the authors whose stuff I enjoy reading, the people I wanted to emulate and write like and become successful enough to stay home and write full time.



The advice from the authors was more beneficial than anything else I read.  Even at first when I didn’t like what they were telling me, I continued reading and researching what they had to say and took notes.  One of the major things that kept popping up from the writers was to keep writing, write down every idea you get, keep writing, and get to the that elusive 1,000,000 words published.  Not just written, not written and scratched by the editor, but published into a book.  One Million Words, really?  Was that even possible?  I went to my calculator and figured if you write ten books at one hundred thousand words per book you’ll be there.  My first book was barely over 50,000 words, barely a novel, and my second book came in around 120,000 words.
I hurriedly published my first book because I (in my mind) thought it was done and ready.  I didn’t really know I could do it.  I really pushed hard to get my second book finished and next week when my third book goes to the editor I will be re-editing my second novel for the third time.  I figure with each successive edit it should be getting closer to correct, and with each book I go through and make corrections to the more I learn on what to do and what not to do when I am writing.  If you’re writing a book take your time and get it edited and proofed to the best of your ability.  Bad reviews hurt, but when they (book reviewers) are tearing your book a new one and it’s because of the English and Grammar (which can be fixed).

As I am close to finishing my third book, getting ready to re-edit my second one, and well over half finished with my fourth book, I definitely see the wisdom in the author’s words concerning the one million word goal.  I am learning stuff everyday about writing.  As the techniques, the elements of style you adopt, the tempo your stories develop, the starts and stops, and the myriad of other facets which come together into this beautifully complex matrix which readers love to immerse themselves into, you gain wisdom, understanding, and enlightenment into the subtle art of writing.  From my blog which I use as a daily warm-up to get my brain in the right frame, test my creativity and spontaneity, before I get ready to get back to the work I love and have become some passionate about, each day I get better.  I can see such improvement in just the year and a half that I have actually been a published author.
Like with many other areas of my life I continue and will continue to learn and grow as I go along.  I like the fact that when I am too old to do anything else of any use, with this medium, computers getting more powerful and smaller, that I will be able to write until I lose the facility of my fingers or my brain which ever may come first.  I hope to write hundreds of books between now and then.  I realize the potential writers have to change the world with the stuff they write about, affecting the way people feel about certain topics, and bringing to light controversial issues.  In the mental hopper of books to write, most are science fiction and some will ruffle some feathers as I do explore elements of the human condition and expose them for what they are, how they are treated, and challenge the mainstay of public opinion.  Some of my books will bring to light controversial issues which may still exist hidden within the societies of the world when my books come out.  If you never upset anybody it is probably because you spent your life living the way they want you to.
For the writers to be, I advise to study and read the works of the authors you admire.  See how they do what you want to do.  Read and take heed to what they say about the subject of writing.  Don’t waste your time researching publishing, literary agents, query letters, and the do’s and don’ts of getting published.  Do not waste your time or money trying to get your book traditionally published.  Edit, edit, and edit again.  Write every day!  Then find a website like Smashwords and read their Style Guide to learn how to properly format your work for submission.  Submit it, fix any vets, errors, or problems and re-submit.
Ta Da!  You too can be a published author in the new age of literary marvel.  Get some people to read your work and review it online.  Then you will have to market your work to some degree, but I still say if you want to be a writer and sell more books.
1.  Write Better Books!      2.  Write and Publish more Books!
If your stuff is good and readers like it, it will sell.  Readers talk about what they are reading!
Good Books sell by word of mouth.
Now get back to work and quit goofing off reading blogs and playing on Pinterest!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Research for Books


I thought it might be interesting for budding authors and readers to get an idea of some of the research tidbits I needed to research and look up for my third book “Leviathan Deterrent” and my fourth book which will be the sequel to “No Rules Of Engagement.”  You never know where the research is going to take you.  Sometimes it determines parts of the story and sometimes the story determines the path of the research.
For those who have read “No Rules Of Engagement” you would have read about the fuzzies cocooning themselves if they are not eaten by the Gators within a certain amount of time.  I researched all about the myriad of insects in which cocoons are part of their evolutionary process.  I researched the reasons why they cocoon, their defensive mechanisms while cocooned, and discovered the many extreme transformations which occur within these creatures.  In this case I already knew what I wanted to come out of the cocoons and the symbiotic relationship between what comes out and Gators.  I just wanted to get the terminology correct in case any of my readers happen to be experts in entomology.
For “Whisper” my first book, I researched ships, missiles used on them, torpedoes, how fast torpedoes travel, what range they have, and it took an awful of planning for the part where the wolf pack is bearing down on the Whisper.  I had to learn about German wolf packs, firing strategies with torpedoes, attacks plans they used in World War II.
For “Leviathan Deterrent” which will be my next book released and is the sequel to “Whisper” I had to learn about nuclear ballistic submarines, modern day aircraft carriers, more research on weapon systems that were in use by the United States Navy up to 1987, as that is when Wiley’s run in cruise with the Poseidon took place.  I researched sea planes and found out all about the Grumman Goose and its many variations.
Since Wiley and Lisa get married between "Whisper" and "Leviathan Deterrent" and are taking off on their honey moon I need to research about Hotels, Restaurants and things to see and do in London, Paris, Madrid, Venice, and Rome.  I am sure Google thinks I am planning a trip to Europe.  Also a television show about the history and development of the aircraft years ago was the seed that started me thinking about a submersible aircraft carrier.  Later I learned that the United States Navy has used submersible aircraft carriers as part of their war games scenarios for the past twenty years even though such a ship doesn’t exist.  Later while researching specific aspects of aircraft carriers I learned that many countries have built and used submersible aircraft carriers since World War I, predominantly the Japanese.
Usually I will see or read something that doesn’t quite add up right or that peaks my curiosity so I’ll jot down a note about it and when I get spare moments, I’ll check into it further and sometimes with enough research and enough interesting stuff it might lead to a good story.  I know that for each book I have tons of material that I have looked up, read about, checked into, and researched.  I try to make my books historically accurate, and detail accurate except for the stuff that is just make believe and was dreamed up entirely by me.  If I have done my job correctly it should difficult to pick out what stuff is real and accurate and what stuff is pure fantasy.
One of these days I am going to do a story of an entirely new world, with new people, different means of travel, and completely foreign ways of doing everything.  Entirely make believe and all 100 percent made up and described out of the pictures my muse congers up in my head.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Women with Guns


I did a post back in May about Guns In America and it was kind of popular according to how many people checked out the post.  So I thought I might follow up on that with what I found most surprising and that is how many woman own firearms.
Apparently there is over twenty million women in the United States own a firearm.  As of 2011 Twenty-three percent of registered firearms in the country belong to women.  The surprising part is which women owns them.  The demographic is unlike anything ever seen before.  Gun owner ship of women crosses all the lines and includes ALL women!

The photographer Lindsay McCrum has recently put out a book, “Chicks with Guns”, which is certainly going to make people rethink their assumptions about woman and gun ownership!
This photograph of Alexandra Knight with her son, Truett, appears in the book “Chicks with Guns.”  “I’m so eager to teach my boys everything I know,” the Houston mom writes in the book.  “Knowing that one day they will be teaching their boys or girls the same thing with the same gun makes me smile.”
Knight said she knows her portrait with her then-9-month-old son Truett has the potential to generate strong reactions from the people who see it — but she had strong reasons for wanting it to look just so.  The gun she’s carrying used to be her grandfather’s, and her father taught her how to use it.  She’s also wearing her father’s belt buckle in the photograph.
“It was all about family and tradition,” Knight said.  “Here it was the gun that was passed on to me, and I’m holding in my right hand what I’m going to pass on to my son.  It was kind of that circle of life and tradition and everything else.”

I remember where I grew up in Northern Idaho as a boy, there was always a loaded rifle leaning inside the door jamb of every home in the area.  We routinely had to deal with wolves, coyotes, bears, and the occasional mountain lion.  We had livestock to protect.  It was a regular occurrence to sit with the family in the front of the house and learn gun safety and have shooting competitions amongst the members of the family.  My mother was always the best shot.  She had a semi-automatic .22 that she was extremely accurate with at well over a hundred yards.
There was also a shooting range set up near the natural spring where everybody would meet with their water trucks to load up water and take it back to their property.  We moved away from that area in 1979 and the area we had lived in got running water from a well in 1978, so I don’t know if people still meet by the spring and practice shooting while waiting for the trucks to fill up.  I know that area in the late seventies had some awesome shots from people you would never expect it from.  Everybody owned a weapon of some sort.
There seems to be some discrepancies in the statistics about whether crime is going up or down with the increase of conceal and carry permits being issued across the country.  I was surprised to find out that 49 of the fifty states have conceal and carry programs.  Only Illinois and the District of Columbia are the only places that do not.  The rise of women packing weapons is on the rise, but something tells me that women and shooting go hand in hand probably back to the pioneering days of the country.  I’d wager more woman have weapons than what is actually reported, just more women are coming forward to get their conceal and carry and getting counted than ever before in history.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Dragons and Aliens


All last week I did posts about colonizing Mars, colonies, and aliens.  One thing I thought about was Dragons!  They are found in the ancient tales and glyphs of just about every culture from way back.  In the Central America’s, North American Indians, all throughout Northern Europe, and from many different parts of the Asia including China.
How is it that some many cultures with no known contact with each other all came up with the same mythical beast which we have yet to find archeological evidence of ever existing?  Is this just one really big Coincidence?
Or did they exist!  They came here from another world and messed with our ancient ancestors and then left.  Could they have been aliens?
They are usually all described with the same attributes only the artists depictions differ.  They had wings and could fly.  They were very large, at least much bigger than men.  They reportedly blew fire out of the mouths.  They were usually depicted as having claws on the fore and hind legs.  Generally they had very long tales which could be lashed about to cause damage.  It’s amazing that not one fossil record of such a beast has been found, or not one fossilized egg.

In the sequel to “No Rules Of Engagement” I introduce a new team of bad guy aliens.  Dragons!  They communicate telepathically amongst themselves.  Extremely intelligent and what one knows they all know!  They share their thoughts, feelings telepathically as their form of communicating with each other.  They can invade the minds of the humans and Gators if they are close enough.  They can literally rape your mind, reviewing your memories, feelings, and thoughts.  They can control motor functions to a point.  Moreover they can cause humans or Gators to do their bidding by making them think that’s what they want to do.  They know your desires and fears; they can manipulate your base emotions to their ends.  Needless to say they are a scary, ferocious, and daunting new enemy.
I occasionally read fantasy books and thought it was time in a Science Fiction Book to have Dragons that aren’t quite so user friendly and kind to humans!
If you rush to check out “No Rules Of Engagement” – keep in mind I know it is in some need of some further editing.  I will be getting to that and have the newer and improved version out by July.  So if some editing errors don’t give you a hemorrhage, you might try getting it now and read it before the Sequel with the Dragons comes out towards the end of the year.
Right now it is only .99 cents on Amazon for the Kindle and Smashwords for your other favorite E-readers.
For the Kindle on Amazon  http://amzn.to/TW_NoRules
For the Nook, Sony, Apple etc.   On Smashwords    https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/85282

Friday, June 8, 2012

Alien Contact

All week I have been doing posts about aspects of colonizing Mars, or other planets.  Anybody who is a fan of Science Fiction would know immediately the possible threats dreamed up by writers and then later modeled and brought to life by television or the movies.  As I have said many times, Fiction pales to real life experiences.  I would be terribly afraid of flying across the galaxy to explore or colonize new worlds for fear of what we may find there or along the way.
Through the years of Science Fiction aliens have taken many forms from Alf to Tribbles, or the more common not so friendly versions such as the creatures from the Alien or Predator movies.  I know I will never forget the scene from the first Alien movie where the creature comes out of the guy’s stomach during breakfast.

Even in the story War of the Worlds the aliens are undone by bacteria or a virus from us. What unseen microbes could be floating around in strange new atmospheres? I even considered the myriad of animals, insects, and plants on this planet that have deadly means of protecting themselves and it makes me shudder to think of what strange new things we haven’t imagined that could exist elsewhere. All the time real things happen that make the creative efforts of writers seem tame by comparison. I am afraid the true life stories to be lived out once we leave this planet may make our favorite Sci-Fi movies seem boring and dull.


It has amused me over the forty some years I have been around whenever I hear of efforts to find other forms of life in the universe.  We can’t get off this planet effectively without monumental effort at this point.  We can’t get through a day without hundreds to thousands of people killing each other somewhere around the globe.  In major cities of the United States alone nobody blinks an eye as a murder is reported on the news during any given day.  Hell, the majority of our society is too dumb to realize the inherent danger of attempting to text and drive at the same time.


With our limited understanding and intelligence I wouldn’t be in such a hell fire rush to find other forms of life.  Chances are they will be able to kick our asses easily if they wanted to.  If they have the means to get from where they live to here they are already much more advanced and intelligent than we are.  It would be moronic to assume they would naturally be peaceful and not armed to the gills.
How does the saying go?  “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch!”
Earth is a nice place.  Humans have been beating themselves up since the dawn of time to just call a piece of it their own.  Why wouldn’t aliens enjoy this nice planet also?  They might especially like that this planet is full of so many beings, well suited to work, which might be enslaved to do their bidding and work for them.  I would be afraid to discover aliens here or anywhere else until we know we are ready and prepared.  Part of that would be the realization that we are all part of the same species.  We really should find a way to take care of our own species (everybody), how govern ourselves, and increase the overall education, understanding and knowledge level of the species across the entire planet.  Part of the problem with this is the many subgroups which are closed minded and don’t want to learn or share in the information available.
So as far as colonization goes part of me is excited and can’t wait for humans to branch out into space.  Part of me thinks working towards the goal of a unified Earth where we take care of our across the globe might be a more intelligent first step.  Of course with that train of thought we may never get off the planet!
Education and communication are major keys to this goal.  Since the Tower of Babel this is the first time humans can all communicate with each without regards to language through the Internet!  Blogs, Forums, Social sites are all means of sharing, learning, and communicating with each other.  When the people of the world are tired of the status quo and wars it will stop if we all work together for the common good.  Until the governments shut of the NET!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Self-Sustaining Colony


At what point is a colony self-sustaining?
One of my fears about going to a remote colony on another planet would be what would happen if the climate (political or financial) changed so that they would not be able to continually supply the colony?
The colony type of mind set and existence is a hard life to begin with, before you throw in the added factors of no sources of oxygen, water, or readily available food sources.  The sooner you could create some sort of large green houses to grow crops and grass and that you could support animals like cows, goats and chickens to supplement the food stores the sooner you could free yourself of the need of supply in those areas.
Another concern I would have would be economic viability.  If the colony could find a natural resource they could harvest and package into old supply containers to send back to earth that would make the colony more than an experiment but make it economically advantageous for Earth to continue sending ships with supplies and bringing the raw materials back to Earth.  This would actually facilitate the creation of freighters that would make regularly scheduled runs to the planet to even provide new people and take injured or aged people back to Earth along with the resources that generate the required revenue to make it not only self-sustaining but profitable.

You would want to have medical facilities to be able to take care of injured people, deliver babies, and provide general health care to the colonies inhabitants.
You would need some sort of law enforcement and security personnel at some point to protect the colony from misbehaving individuals and protect it from being taken over from other groups on Earth.  The threat of some competing group taking the colony over once it has been set up and established and using it for their our means or profit without the initial input and expense for the research, materials, time, and trouble of getting it up and running would be too great.  The group that started the enterprise would have invested too much to just let somebody take it over because of their lack of foresight to arm and secure the facility with some form of defensive capabilities.
To begin with entertainment would be old school to say the least.  In the beginning there would be more than work to do every day to keep everybody extremely busy.  Provided the foresight was included to build or materials provided to build further extensions of their human habitat for furthering the capabilities of the colony.  But how far do you go?  Do you provide a foundry?  Do you provide the capabilities for drilling for gas, oil, or water?  Would you provide means of creating Textile production?  Would you provide the means to process materials and create synthetic rubber from synthetic materials?
It would be like any one of dozens of games people play on their computers where you start with base resources and simple dwellings and build a civilization.  The colony’s sustainability would increase as the means of recreating technology and manufacturing the basic needs of the colony increased.  If the farm cell has sheep you could spin thread from the wool and loom material out of the thread to eventually make clothes.  The cows that are used for meat production would also have the hides made into leather for shoes or boots.  Spiders, moths and butterflies could be used for the creation of silk.  Bees would be needed to pollenate the crops and provide wax and honey.  You would find a resurgence of old technology mixed with cutting edge space age technology in order to survive and provide the basest of needs.

Water and air cleaning and reuse would have to be taken to extremes until sources for each could be created.  An Agriculture cell could actually use air high in carbon dioxide and provide fresh clean oxygen.  If a source was found for hydrogen and that mixed with the oxygen could provide fresh and new source for water.  Hydrogen cell electric power plants could not only provide electricity but give off and clean water, but I believe they use oxygen in the process.
I get excited just thinking through the possibilities for the future of mankind as we explore our galaxy, colonize other worlds, and create regular commerce with each of these new entities.  We are at the threshold of a new age of exploration and discovery.  Gene Roddenberry would be proud when we assemble the first star ship with a mix of people from all over the planet and send them on a mission to explore strange new worlds and boldly go where no one has gone before.
In a later post I will discuss the darker side of Space Exploration.  Right now, it’s only inhabited and exists in Science Fiction (books, television and movies) and created by the writers of this genre.
There was a premise brought out in the Star Trek Next Generation Series with the character known as Q where he reappears to offer the second in command of the Enterprise a chance to join the Q, because they discovered for all of man kinds inherent short comings we have a tremendous capacity to overcome obstacles, our will to survive, our capacity to love, and our natural genetic disposition for fighting that we have awesome potential!  I like to believe that mankind for all of its eons of fighting amongst ourselves and developing as a species has the means to rise above our pettiness, greed, hatred, intolerance, and most importantly the ignorance of our species to eventually evolve into something greater than we can imagine.
Have a Great Day!  Thanks for reading and sharing my thoughts and meanderings.

 
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