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    Surrey Internation Writers’ Conference

    2012 - 10.18

    I don’t know what you’re doing this weekend, but Karin’s going to be at SiWC.  This will be her second time there, and she’s really looking forward to it.  You can expect to see a lot more action from her on Twitter this weekend if you’re interested in knowing what’s going on.

    If your favourite author is there, she might be able to get a signed copy of one of their books for you: list of speakers.

    Disposable Clothing on the way?

    2012 - 05.24

    I was reading this article today about the fees that some airlines are charging for checked bags, or in some cases carry-ons.

    It’s not like I’m a frequent flyer or anything, but as these fees continue to rise it does open up some other possibilities.  It’s not uncommon in some science fiction stories to feature disposable clothing, or paper clothing.

    As far as I know no one is currently serving this market, or otherwise renting clothing or anything like that.  Now the baggage fees aren’t probably quite to the point that people would seriously consider it, but still it looks as though we might get there sooner rather than later.

    Might serve as writing prompt for someone who’s writing something in a near future era…

    Word of the Day

    2012 - 02.21

    One of the items that we received for Christmas this year was a Word of the Day 2012 Desk Calendar (this year featuring 366 words).  Since I just opened it today, we’re a little behind.  So I’m going to highlight some of the words which have already appeared on noteworthy dates:

    Jan 1: autodidact

    Jan 2: inchoate

    Jan 3: fop (totally inappropriate choice for this day)

    Jan 7: evanescent

    Jan 26: lapideous

    Feb 1: balustrade

    Feb 14: bevy

    Feb 18: carnivorous

    Feb 21: felicity

    All links above are to dictionary.com.  Since it’s open now, you may see further references to the calendar…

    Anyone want to buy a T-Shirt?

    2012 - 02.17

    Ah, memories of high school, brainstorming sayings and slogans for T-Shirts.  Who knows, maybe someone will actually buy these ones.  Of course, these one’s do have the advantage that they’ll probably actually be offered for sale, which won’t hurt their chances.

    What do you look for in a T-Shirt?

    Dave’s: Abandoned Towers (belated launch announcement)

    2012 - 02.05

    By now it’s hopefully the case that Karin has announced the launch of AbandonedTowers.com, the website that we’ve been talking about off and on since October when she took it over as managing editor.  In the last 6 weeks (especially) I’ve been working really hard behind the scenes to fix up the site and make it launch ready.  Karin seems to be really happy with the results (which is good considering the effort involved).

    So if you haven’t been yet, you should head over to Abandoned Towers Magazine (www.abandonedtowers.com) and check it out.  If you’re not interested in actually reading any of the content, you should try clicking around a bit and seeing what there is to see.

    As of the moment of writing this (2pm Feb 1st) the official launch announcement has not gone out over the internet, so we’ll see what kind of spike in site visitors we get.  If things go well, we can hopefully significantly increase the $4.89 in ad revenue the site generated in January (which is slightly higher than the $4.57 from December).  We’re optimistic given that during those periods the site hadn’t significantly changed and new content was not being posted.  With the launch, the site is dramatically changed and new content is being posted frequently.  So we’ll see, it’s not going to make enough money that it’ll pay a morgage or anything, but it could get to the point where the amount it brings in is actually meaningful.

    Feel free to promote the site to all your friends, or really just everyone ;-)

    Specialized Skills

    2012 - 01.10

    Ever look back on your life and realize that you have highly specialized skills which you aren’t really sure how you developed?

    Well, I know how I developed these particular skills, but still they are strange, or I find them to be.  It’s probably pretty obvious with the upcoming relaunch of Abandoned Towers that I’ve kind of got that on the brain.  At the moment I’m migrating all of the existing poetry catalogue into the new poetry format, and creating author pages for the poets.  Essentially it’s a copy and paste operation, with a few bells and whistles.  In my experience however most people are really bad at migrating content.

    The problem: they want to ‘touch’ it while they do the migration.  Sometimes that’s appropriate, but most of the time you want to avoid touching the content, as it just slows you down.

    In this particular case, by the end I will have actually touched every single piece of content that goes on Abandoned Towers, and yet I will have read next to none of it.  I’m interested in speed and bulk, not in actually reading the content.  So sounds simple, right?

    “Yeah, I know right!?”

    Well the problem is since you’re not actually reading the content, and doing a repetitive operation, it can become quite mind-numbing, so the skill comes in actually keeping the speed up, while maintaining focus and accuracy.  So far I’m averaging about 20 poems an hour, which is quite respectable, not super awesome, but with the amount of meta data which needs to be extracted from the content (without reading it) makes it respectable.

    Beta Testers Wanted

    2012 - 01.09

    Everyone probably knows all about this already, that in October Karin took over the ownership of Abandoned Towers, since then we’ve been doing all sorts of work on it (most of it behind the scenes).  Well we’re pretty close to being ready, so we’re now looking for some people to beta test the new site for us and provide some feedback.  If you’re interested in doing some testing or even just taking a sneak peak let us know.

    Karin’s Resolutions

    2012 - 01.04

    This year, I’ve actually made some resolutions that aren’t “quit smoking” (I don’t smoke, so haha, I did it…go me…etc.)

    • Eat breakfast.  I’ve been having this nasty crash in the morning when my blood sugar drops. Dizziness and nausea are not fun in the morning.
    • Exercise. I started doing almost daily yoga/Pilates on Boxing Day.  I need to remember how good I feel when I’ve done yoga. I am very bad at remembering things that are difficult but enjoyable.
    • Write. I kind of stalled on the novel again.  I’M SO CLOSE TO FINISHING!!!!  I need to get it down, then start editing.  Also, I have several websites that are collecting dust.  I need to get myself moving on those.
    • Focus. I have things I need to do, things I want to do and things that would be nice to do.  Time to focus and do them…in that order.
    • Not be so hard on myself. I have a LOT of negative self talk, and I tend to spiral myself into fits of anxiety over what someone might be thinking of me.  Time to let some of that go.  Also, just because I make a mistake or mess up on a resolution…doesn’t mean it’s all over.  If I discover in March that I totally forgot to exercise for three months, then it’s just time to start again.

    Happy New Year everyone!

    Review: El Mirador by Alex J. Kane

    2011 - 12.12

    I’ve finally managed to get around to reading Mirror Shards, that would be the Anthology in which Karin is published.  Because of that I wanted to do a careful reading of all the works in the anthology, and write reviews of them.  Because of the desire to write reviews it’s been on my “to read” list much longer than I’d like.  Partly because other books were out of the library which puts you on an actual deadline, and partly because I mostly read before bed.  When I read before bed it’s pleasure reading, which isn’t appropriate for something that I want to review.  Not having anything out from the library at the moment (or at least not that I haven’t already finished reading), it made it possible for me to get started.

    So the first story in Mirror Shards: Extending the Edges of Augmented Reality, Edited by Thomas K. Carpenter is El Mirador by Alex J. Kane.

    I was very much caught off guard by the story.  I really didn’t have any idea what to expect based on the title, but I definitely had not expected a second person story, but that’s what I got.  Interesting choice that.  The ideas are good, the pacing is good, the story overall is good, although it left me wanting more.  More depth, more detail, more Tzitzi.  I guess realistically being left wanting more is definitely a better thing than wanting less.  I also expect that it’s something that’s totally common among people who are primarily book readers, and even more so in my case as I primarily read series.  So going from stories which typically are told in hundreds of thousands to millions of words, and instead down to something that’s more appropriately counted in hundreds of words.  Odds are that it’s going to leave you wanting more.  Even stories that very clearly have a completed arc are likely to leave you with questions like: but what happens next?

    Bottom line, I enjoyed the story and would consider reading more work by Alex J. Kane, but at this point I’m not going to go to any particular effort to seek it out.

    “She wants you, she wants you bad!”

    2011 - 12.01

    This has become a bit of a catch phrase of a friend of mine, feel free to change the genders or what have you, but I think you’ll find that it is pretty versatile, perhaps not on the same level as the following suffixes:

    “…said the actress to the bishop”

    “…in bed”*

    There are more of these, and feel free to suggest your favourites.  I wonder how it would work as a writing prompt to have to write a section of dialogue where one of your characters is (or is feeling) immature and elects to use (or overuse) one such suffix.  Could make for some funny reading… or not.

    * this being primarily used for fortune cookies…

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