42I was thumbing through the calendar, hoping to create some “countdown” dates for my upcoming novel, Unexpected Rain, and I discovered that today it’s 42 days from release.

Of course, countdown numbers are all arbitrary anyway, aren’t they? What was I hoping for? 50 days from release, 30 days from release – you know, nice round numbers. But here it is before me: a number that means something. A number that means … well, it’s the answer to life, the universe, and everything!

I have a lot of sci-fi heroes, but I’m afraid they all have to move over when it comes down to it, because Douglas Adams is The Author. You know. The. Author. The one that made me want to be a writer. I didn’t have the fortune of meeting him in person and being inspired, as Neil Gaiman did at the age of 22, but when I was a teenager, I consumed his work voraciously. Over and over again. And later as an adult. Over and over again.

And since I missed Douglas Adams’s birthday a couple weeks ago, this seems like an opportune time to celebrate the influence DNA had on my path to becoming a writer. I shall do so in two ways:

First, I’m donating 42 GBP to DNA’s favorite non-profit, Save the Rhino. I was going to do it in USD but the form only accepts GBP and I’m not going to sit here and do a bunch of currency math like some accountant.

Second, I will celebrate with the grand Vogon tradition of poetry. (Vogon poetry is of course the third worst in the Universe.) Strap yourselves into the Poetry Appreciation chairs and we’ll begin with a miserable little piece I concocted to celebrate the last 42 days before I mutate into a Published Novelist.

stink_faceMy darlsenpoof, you strope me
With unrellefant peietry
That sprudles from the plast of your woosuff,
With your hangelious thrush of kilf
And shuftles hooptiously
Down to the gobberwarts,
On through until reaching the bits that were disintegrated.

 

That’s the worst I can do, I’m afraid. I’ll defer to Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz for an example of truly horrific poetry, in case you’re not yet jibbering:

“Oh freddled gruntbuggly,
Thy micturations are to me
As plurdled gabbleblotchits on a lurgid bee.
Groop, I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes,
And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,
Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts
With my blurglecruncheon, see if I don’t!”

- exsqueezed from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

 

If you’re still conscious, then I weep for you, because you’re no doubt in agonizing pain. If I had an airlock, I’d throw you out of it and release you from your dolor.

But I don’t have an airlock. All I have is this not-very-funny-but-still-adventurous sci-fi murder mystery coming out in 42 days. And if you don’t pre-order it, I’m going to recite more Vogon poetry at you.

full_damageTor.com has been killing it with good content for the past couple of years, both in blogging and in short fiction. Damage, a short story by David Levine is no exception. Written from the perspective of a fighter-bomber spaceship that grapples with a programmed-in sense of duty, a highly-developed ability to feel pain, and a budding morality, this story grabbed me from the start. It carries strong through the middle and right to the end. Well done, David.

BC_Logo_On the nonfiction front, I’ve been keeping my opinions on cryptocurrency intentionally tentative. As interesting a concept that it is, I have never been able to get fully behind it, though I know many who have. Which is why I found this article interesting: Winklevoss Twins Aim to Take Bitcoin Mainstream. It’s still an unknown, whether or not cryptocurrency will be around in the future. I rarely see it in sci-fi, with the short-lived-but-awesome TV show Almost Human being the most notable in my mind: bitcoins in the show were often transported via physical memory sticks and in that way were an untraceable form of cash. I can think of no other examples. Not even William Gibson, who packed so much futurist thinking into his most recent, The Peripheral, mentions cryptocurrency of any kind (though there is a whole lot of money flying around). Right now there seems to be a big question as to whether regulation will save Bitcoin or whether it would somehow corrupt it, turn it into just another currency. Either way, near-future sci-fi fodder, I should think

nano_logoTooting my own horn, I was recently featured on the NaNoWriMo blog with my post, Discovering Character and Theme through Revision. NaNo taught me I could be a novelist, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my experiences with the community.

cutaway_bsg_hanger_deckUnder the “I love the Internet” category, I know this is just a search link, but man, I could get lost all day while researching the layouts of interstellar ships.

Finally: someone has put together a compilation that exposes just how much the crew in Star Trek: The Next Generation had to deal with poorly fitting clothes. What a joy it is to watch a future where despite being able to fling ourselves across the galaxy at warp speed, we can’t make a uniform that doesn’t ride up and down constantly.

(H/T: There’s Something Horribly, Unspeakably Wrong With Picard’s Uniform on io9.com)

It’s been a pretty interesting year for me as a writer, so I thought I’d take a look back over it and take a moment to remember everything that’s happened.

After the end of 2013 I had looked back on my writing goals, accomplishments, and shortcomings. I gave myself a self-appraisal, taking a look at what I had done in three categories: Content Creation, Learning, and Networking/Marketing. It was an extremely thorough analysis (probably to a fault), and it left me in a state of wondering what I really wanted to do next. What was I going to take aim at in 2014? I had many options before me and grappled with which route to focus on.

Creating realistic and fully fleshed-out characters is essential to quality storytelling. There are plenty of ways to fill characters out, particularly in revision. I’m going to share with you some tips for getting the jump start on those characters, and with some short exercises, you may find your characters coming to life before you’ve even started page one of your novel.

This is a great way to get a head start on NaNoWriMo!