Monday, December 4, 2017

I'm late to the party on this one, at least in "blog time". Or, social media time, however you want to think of it.

But then, another aspect of all this business is that there's the instantaneous internet, and the demand for the most immediate Pavlovian response.

And then there's the chance for those of us who move at a slightly different tempo to go back and find things to think and write about, sometimes well after the rest of the world has moved on to other things.

The endless now of scholarship, cheek by jowl with the endless now of the insatiable maw of the social digital world.

But I'm also probably way overthinking this, considering that the post in question was only put up November 20, 2017. It's not exactly like I'm digging up something from eons ago.

Any rate, Ozy at thing of things had one of those questions that twigged my funny bone. Mostly because, back in the neverwhen before the Potter fandom was satiated by the entire series being available to read, I spent quite a bit of time in the online fandom.

Mostly lurking, seldom commenting, but always enjoying the fandom's every expanding theorization about the series and where it was going. And of course, one of the essential elements of the Harry Potter fandom is the Sorting Hat.

Ozy's taken the path of assuming that the audience for this piece are pretty well going to, well, sort themselves to fit the premise automatically.

In fact, I'd wager a good portion of the audience sorted themselves without conscious thought. There was no need for it, we've already all done it before.

So, as a fellow scribbler, Ozy I salute you. The idea for the post construction is wonderful, and well done indeed.

You ask about a burned Ravenclaw's perspective. At this time, from what I can tell of the comments on your piece, there haven't been any responses from readers with a take on Ravenclaw that fits with my perspective.

For me at least, there are two sides of the coin. First, there's the more dangerous reaction: Why on earth am I putting any effort into revealing my logic for something, no one's paying attention to it anyway?

The other side of the coin, the redeeming part that, for me, took longer to see (I am not yet a Buddha) is that the people I engage with, my family and friends that I've chosen, and that I try and reach out to wherever they are, are autonomous.

They're going to do what they're going to do, of their own choices and for their own reasons. I need to trust that, even if they accidentally do something that hurts me, or that I have to clean up, or whatever, it's not on purpose, and they're always trying to do what they see as the right thing.

I can help, where I see it, but I have to accept that there's no reason for another adult, especially, to seek out my advice. They're adults, they don't need it. And for the kids, my daughter and nieces and nephews and the other kids that always turning up around here, well, I can make sure they don't get really hurt, as best I can, and I can pick my battles.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

 Here's an interesting thing, when and how it'll show up in a story, I dunno.

It will. It's just that when these sorts of things occur to me, in many cases
they're divorced from context.

Any rate, consider an experienced ruler, boss, whatever. Think 'head honcho',
in a context to be determined.

Now, an experienced hand, I think, will start to build up some self defenses
over time. Rules of thumb, maybe thought out and analyzed to a fare thee well,
maybe just hints and instincts and 'common sense'.

Suppose you're an experienced hand. Been around the block, maybe just a couple
times, maybe as many orbits as there are stars in the sky. You might hope
someday to be wise. But most mornings, sitting there miserable over your
cuppa joe and the newspaper, wondering what the nitwits who work for you are
gonna find to screw up your day this time...

Here's a rule of thumb that el jefe might keep in the toolbox. As you work
with someone, read their reports, hear what they have to say in meetings, one
on one or everybody crammed in eating rubber chicken, read their scrambled egg
emails at 1am...

You start to keep track of their bugaboos. Their predictions, and their
complaints. And maybe you recognize their predictable responses. Maybe you
start to know what they're gonna say before they say it.

And then one day, you stumble onto something. You realize that some of the
long term reports you've been reading are mutually contradictory, in terms of
the way some particular underling thinks.

No single report could be wrong, or right, standing on its own. It's only
when you put all of them in a pile, all the reports that this particular
person has written over years of report writing, that you realize something.

Take the last report, where so-and-so is being oh so careful to tread the
fine line, giving all caveats and quid pro quos, dotting the eyes and crossing
the tees...

But then there's the report a couple years ago, where so-and-so was fired up,
gangbusters to go after something, ready as hell to fire up the barbecue and
get ready to rumble.

Then you realize, all you had to do was go back to your instructions, change
a single thing (a name, a particular place, maybe a particular brand), do the
equivalent of replace 'coke' with 'pepsi' in your instructions...

And so-and-so would have handed the reports in exactly switched. The careful,
oh so careful, fine tuned and precise report would have been handed in a
couple years ago, and the fire-breathing, hell on wheels report would have
been handed in yesterday.

And then you go back through all of so-and-so's reports, and realize that
you could pull that string, and get the same pattern, any time you want.

'dr. pepper' for 'mountain dew'. 'root beer' for 'ginger ale'. 'beatles' for
'stones'. Any way you cut it...

so-and-so isn't providing any information. The content, the *new* information
content of any one report, is precisely zero.

Because you can see it coming. The only thing you're getting from so-and-so
is a carrier signal, background noise that can be precisely filtered away
leaving... zero signal. Zero noise, nothing but static otherwise.

Oh, the writing occasionally makes up for it. But after a few years, even that's
tiresome. You know so-and-so's tricks. So even style-wise, that's a bust.

Now, what does the experienced hand do at this point?

Depends on context. The benevolent queen maybe shuffles her minister off to
a corner where he can fill out reports 'til kingdom come. She can always
recall him if she needs him.

A sergeant, maybe shuffles the corporal in the same way. Parks her somewhere
where she won't get into too much trouble.

A not-so benevolent leader, on the other hand... Well, in that case, so-and-so
might better hope there's the equivalent of Siberia, or Perdition, to be sent

The alternatives are usually worse.

Monday, November 13, 2017

The beginnings(?) of a character. If you've read along in the Open
Wounds series, there's a good chance you might know who I'm talking about.

Or not.

She cloaks herself in duty. Her armor is righteousness.

No. Self-righteousness. A Righteous One she is not. She is as far above those
wanna-be's as a no-talent human child is above an ant.

She doesn't need to stoop to begging charms and tricks from others with more
ability and better connections.

That's really all I have at the moment. But I had to get it out of my head
while I was thinking about it.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Another month gone, without updates? Not really.

We've had a stretch where there was basically no such thing as free time. Marching season for our daughter, rehearsals, game nights, and competitions on Saturdays.

It ended last week with an epic. The band marched a Friday night game, went home, got a couple hours of sleep, then we packed them on the buses and they drove off to San Antonio at 1am. for BOA super-regionals.

Then drove back home again after the competition was finished.

Now, the extra part of this, from my end, is that we didn't just put her on a bus and pick her up at the end. I'm part of the pit crew for the band, we load and unload the trucks and equipment for the kids. And my wife's a chaperon and "fill in the blank" volunteer as well, dog-jobber helping wherever she needs to.

We got about two hours of sleep in 36 hours, plus all the exercise. If you've got a step monitor, you'll know what I mean when I say I wasn't the only one whose monitor told me I'd met my goal at 7am last Saturday morning, and by 10pm that night I'd set my fifth(!) daily step record (23000+) just in the past couple months.

We've been a little busy is what I'm trying to say.

Not that I haven't been wondering about the things I was missing by not writing for the blog. Or, for that matter, for not writing as much as I wanted to fictionwise.

Not that I haven't been writing fiction. I did meet one goal, after I finished my last novel, I told myself I'd write eight short stories before I started in on another novel. I did it for a few reasons. One, to set a professional, here's a thing goal, sit down write finish, rinse repeat.

That's nuts and bolts stuff, just like working up to a marathon, or putting together a new concerto as part of your repertoire. You set little tasks, bit by bit, until the day you need to pull out the horn and go sit in front of somebody and play the silly thing.

The art goal, though, was to basically have a set time for a story, a short time since it's a short story, but no other barriers. I didn't know when I sat down what I was getting myself into.

It helps clear the pipes. Writing a novel, I'm discovering, is bathing inside a pool, over and over and over again. Shorter works are a skimming the waves.

Or riding the rapids. Same muscles, different context.

But, if you, dear reader, look back a few posts, you'll remember that I lost my mother in September, to metastatic breast cancer. I've found that keeping a consistent schedule since that time, in terms of daily extended focus across time, has been a rebuilding process.

No worries, I've been there before, I understand myself, I think, enough to know that my mind needed a break, and that getting myself back to that extended balance beam workout needed for my next long-term project takes a certain process.

What's up now? Well, no more marching contests for my daughter, she's got some holiday performances coming up but that's nowhere near as much work (for me at least, she's obviously got some practicing to do!).

I've a few goals for the rest of the year. Mostly, I started with a basic daily word count I wanted to work up to, like building up to be a 1.5 miler per day, or a number of practice hours per day if you're a musician. Same thing for words per day for a writer.

For me, it's a little more complicated than for others because I have a day job where I spend all day on the computer anyway, so I've got to be careful with my wrists, but otherwise it's the exact same process. Just a little more stretched out.

I also have some publishing goals, get books and stories out, get this web site a little farther along. I guess maybe I need to list all of them out somewhere, just to be able to look at.

But for now, I'm gonna sign off and find a good book to fall into. See, it's the first Saturday morning in a while where we're collectively not booked for anything. So, cartoons and quiet and no worries.

I'm gonna go enjoy it. You enjoy it too, dear reader!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

As you might expect if you read back a few posts, the past couple weeks
have been a little busy for me and my family. Basically just dealing with
the aftermath of my mother's passing. For those who know, you'll well

For those who aren't directly familiar with it... Well, it's a combination
of the obvious, grief, combined in our case with at least some small
sense of relief that at least her time of struggle is finished.
That's due to the particulars of how my mother came to the end, her cancer,
basically, and the fact that we spent those last months with her.

Plus, the rest of the family got the grief in full force, and the low-grade
collective temporary insanity that goes along with it. The extended family
doesn't really get the same type of extended grief process that comes along
with her living in our house and dying there. So they get to go through a
process that's a bit more abrupt. Naturally, that has a few consequences.

Nothing major, and nothing that matters in the long run, just frictions as
everyone comes to terms with the new reality.

Another little side effect is that our daughter is in the middle of a fight
with a bug she picked up in school, and the subsequent ear infection her body
decided to enliven the events with. Add in the first good cold front of this
stage of fall, marching season, school tests, missing time for her
grandmother's funeral, and we're having a rough patch.

I'm fortunate indeed, though. She's handling it with some dignity and grace,
a bit more than I probably would have managed at that age. I know what
happened to me, when I was just a bit older than she is now, when I went
through it with my grandfathers. And I know how crazy I went for a few years.

So, daughter, I know you won't necessarily read this any time soon, but know
that your mother and I are very proud of you, and love you very much.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Friday, September 29, 2017

Tossing pennies into the void.

As in, penny for my thoughts. So, my mother passed this morning, peaceful and easy.

I get to try and deal with this as a son, as well as a father. Our daughter's a little younger than I was, the first time a close relative passed.

She's a teenager, so there's going to be resentment.

She's a teenager, so there's also time for us to be here for her to work through that resentment.

My mother suffered, as patients with a terminal illness suffer at the end. She was fortunate, though. Compared to others with her particular illness, the pain was low.

There are sometimes small blessings to a brain tumor. And in this case, the brain tumor appeared to cut off some of the pain centers. So the rest of the tumors, in breast and stomach and throughout her lymphatic system, weren't the torture they might have otherwise been.

We were there, and many thanks, because the hospice team were there to back us up. Hospice nurses, counselors. Whatever we needed, Houston Hospice was there for us. Angels in disguise, as all who work in that part of the medical field must be.

They made it a great deal less tedious, for us, but for my mother most of all. It's a long slow business, passing through the twilight region via cancer. Time passes in funny ways.

The long nights, for us listening to her breathe.

For her, the long days, thinking and coming to terms with the toll that the twilight passage requires. I don't think it's easy, or cheap, that passage.

And I know it's lonely. That's the one traverse we must all walk alone. No one else can walk that path, with us or for us.

And it's the one that seems to leave everyone behind. From our perspective sitting on the shore, at least. Where do they go?

Soon enough, we'll know. Whatever creed we follow, the answer awaits.

Just let it be enough, that when we get to that path, that there be love and support while we make the steps down the twilight passage.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I know that was a wall of text. And no, I'm not apologizing for it. Yet.

I'm still learning what this whole thing's about, that's all. There's a few
moving parts to it. There's the part where you, dear reader, need to be able
to understand and find links to my books, so that you can get the good reads
you're after.

And there's the part where I need a good way to organize myself. So that I
can find the links when I need them in order to put them in front of you!

Yeah, ok, so there's also the part of this where I'm crap at figuring all this
stuff out. I promise, that'll ease off. Work work work, right?

You're just getting here when I'm still learning how to make it work, that's

Psst. Maybe someday, you'll be able to say 'I knew him when...'

A guy can hope, anyway.

Herein my Open Wounds series

Old homes, old castles. Old ghosts.

Ghosts don't just appear. They don't just wander in from the ether and take up a place at the table.

They come from open wounds. The parts of life that never quite heal.

Shame. Terror. Murder.


In a forgotten place, far away from the center of life, the centers of power, in a land of ice over fire, a castle was built.

Not as a home. Not to project power, or to defend territory.

It was built as a prison.

And this prisoner is not content to remain there.

What will his jailers do? What will they sacrifice to insure that this prisoner is never again allowed to inflict himself upon the innocents he feasts upon?

What won't they sacrifice?

Open Wounds (Open Wounds Book 1)

Long before jailer and jailed, they were friends. Monsters don't always begin that way.

A time of beginnings...

Names of power, legends of glory. Stories don't always start at the point where the heroes enter and vanquish the monster.

In this case, two friends will end up facing each other as prisoner and jailer, queen and ultimate subject. Their decisions in that place and time will shatter a distant corner of the world, leaving the fate of many to random chance and the viciousness of winter.

But first, long before they face off as bitter enemies, two children, on that verge between leaving childhood behind for the pathways of adulthood, must answer the most delightful question imaginable.

What's in the box?

Open Wounds is the first book in the Open Wounds series. It is available at Amazon as ebook and paperback, from Nook as ebook, from Kobo as ebook, from Smashwords as ebook

Passing Fancies (Open Wounds Book 2)

Far and away. Forgotten.

Almost. No single generation is long enough to erase certain memories from the world.

A time for testing. A time for betrayal.

Far to the north, where the ice grabs, and the volcanoes rumble, a queen has carved out a tiny kingdom. A borderland at the edge of an Empire, mostly forgotten by those who stand at the center and grasp for power.

Mostly. There are those who remember that the queen placed her kingdom at the edge of nowhere for a reason. Those that know that Megan built her kingdom to constrain the power of the leading magician of the age. The most powerful, the most insane magician of the age.

One of that mage's former cult remembers, and vows to free her master. She will do anything, and everything, to free her master and avenge the insult that has held him prisoner, encased in stone for a generation.

Will Megan, and the friends and family she's gathered around her, stop the cultist before she succeeds? Assuming first that they'll find out who she is...

Passing Fancies is the second book in the Open Wounds series. It is available at Amazon as ebook and paperback, from Nook as ebook, from Kobo as ebook, from Smashwords as ebook

Train In Tow (Open Wounds Book 3)

What routes open to you, when your faithful return to your bidding. No prison can hold you when the true believers will tear apart the world over the barest hint of your word.

A time when webs spin and grow.

Freedom, so close he can taste it. The prisoner knows, expands his reach, his grasp. To those who welcome his call. And to those who will risk everything to stop it.

Jane has listened to that call since birth. She's given everything to follow the trail that led her to this place of ice and snow. All that she was, that she might have been, has been sacrificed to free Chad from his imprisonment.

Jane has killed. She will kill again. Whatever it takes.

But her master has other plans now. Other means of getting what he wants. And Megan, the queen, is close, ever so close, to knowing Jane's secret. The queen, her daughter, her daughter's tutor and best friend. Each and every one of them has a piece of the puzzle.

They know. Justice chases her heels, and the path Jane travels shifts beneath her feet. Will she fall?

Or will her master throw her to the wolves first?

Train In Tow is the third book in the Open Wounds series. It is available at Amazon as ebook and paperback, from Kobo as ebook, from Smashwords as ebook, from Nook as ebook

Monday, September 25, 2017

I've danced around this a bit, but the big thing going on in our lives at the moment is that my mother is dying.

We have her at home, with hospice minding things. They're a godsend, of course. What the ladies and gentlemen of hospice care do for us every day is truly the work of saints.

The heavy lifting, though. They can't do that for us.

It's part of life, this time at the end. One way or another, we all come to the clearing at the end of the path. I'm just glad that my wife and daughter and I are in a position to be here for my mother and her husband.

It's a rough thing. But at the same time, I can't help thinking of the stories, especially from the late 19th century. Every family seemed to have a grandfather, or more often grandmother, who had 'taken to their bed'.

If you've seen Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the Gene Wilder version of the movie, then you'll remember the scene where Charlie goes home to what seems like half the family on pallets under blankets. Waiting for the end.

Roald Dahl in the story, and the creators of the movie, do a wonderful job of showing what a good thing hope is for the family. The impact it has.

I've been through something like this a time or two before. Great-grandparents, grandparents. That particular sort of magic doesn't much apply.

But that doesn't mean the hope isn't there. Magic just occasionally takes a little different form. Not the one we imagine, or wish for.

Just the one we need.

I'm gonna make sure I give my daughter a kiss, more often than I might otherwise have. And my wife, and most of all my mother. I think they'll need it, over these next few days as we approach the end of this particular path.

And I know I'll need it more than they do. It's amazing where you can find magic, when you're not looking for it.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

So close, so close.

So close I can taste it. One of the little hazards, I'm finding as I go along with this whole writing and publishing thing, is that 'almost-finished' point is momentous.

It has its own gravity.

When you're to the point where the copyedits look good, the formatting looks right... Backcopy yet to come, though. Little checks, here and there. Self awareness by accident, or by purpose.

The ultimate point is to try and catch the silly mistakes, as best I can. No process is perfect, but I can do my best. And make myself write notes down whenever I do something, so that I don't have to relearn it all over again next time.

That's a longwinded way of saying that I've ok'd all the formatting and copyedits on the next book, Book 3 in the Open Wounds series. I've a few more steps, short ones, but it'll be available soon enough.

Which will hopefully make me get going on adding a few more link pages...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

oh, pretentiousness. I almost committed thee..

It's hell when you get a couple three hundred words into something and realize
you've gone off the rails.

I blame it on being half asleep. Yesterday was my daughter's first true
marching band performance, the first football game of the year, and we were
up way late packing and unpacking the band gear to get them back and forth
to the game.

And then she had to get up to go to a rehearsal this afternoon. So I figured,
hey, why not sit down and write a blog in response to someone else's essay...

Bad idea. Not because the question the writer was interested in
doesn't deserve a thoughtful read. But because I didn't have any business
carrying through with my response the way it was shaping up.

Thomas Mann, I am not. No pontification, dude, it's bad for the headspace.

Most importantly, a magician never reveals her tricks, so neither should I
tell you where and how I get a character's motivation.

See, that's the real value of the internet for a writer. I get to observe
the way other people think. Which of course means that I get to put together
characters based on how I respond to the way others are thinking. If someone
thinks this way, what would they do if... say, the monster comes along that
digs into those fears?

But that's my part of the writer-reader relationship. It's one thing to say
"hey, here's a cool thing, or a cool idea." It's another thing entirely for
me to dig into mindset and such in public.

Besides being pretentious, I'd really hate for you to find yourself reading
along in some story down the road, and then hear my thoughts again. Not the
recognition of it, but I don't ever want to cause you to break out of a story
because you can hear the gears spinning.

Professional courtesy, as much as I can make it. So let me stuff that crap
back into my head, where it belongs.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ah, the stars, the stars.

Among the little things that will mean something far after we're all gone away from this time and place. Cassini is about to crash into Saturn, tomorrow around 8am eastern time.

Just about the time I'm headed to work, so I won't be able to catch the video in live feed. But, if these pictures from the history of the program are a good guide, they will be spectacular.

And the measurements they get on the way down invaluable. The team's going to be wrapping up, but they're going out with one hell of a bang, pardon the pun.

On another note, the New Horizons probe is in the middle of a calibration check, insuring that its hibernation mode is going correctly as it makes its way out to the Kuiper Belt and MU69. For the life of me, I can't find the link that I read this morning, but this one should give you at least an idea of what they're up to in that group. And what little surprises they've accumulated along the way.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Come on and join the light...

Which comes from the Who, playing as I start this.

The first time I've seen an official death toll from Hurricane Irma, all in so far she's done for 77 people since her path through islands up through Florida and beyond began. My sympathies go out to all the families, and all the cleanup ahead of them, mental and physical. All of this part of the world is still digging out from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey's, so we're definitely in a position to sympathize.

I'm caught up in copyedits at the moment, going over the e-book files for Book 3 in my Open Wounds series, going through to make sure that nobody's missed anything, or that changes are consistent with what I'm after.

Drip drip drip, the life of the writer. The rest of it's muddling along, work and family, dogs and cats.

And, I'm out of gas, wit has left me bereft in interest of finding something else to do. Until later, dear reader.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

One of those days where if I don't grab the time now, I won't end up
writing for the blog...

Not because of anything but life. There are always things going on, but
rehearsal, meet-the-teacher, and the various assortment of other things
going on are going to make it unlikely I'll write any later.

So, now. And naturally enough, somewhat brain-dead, which is why I don't
normally try this in the few minutes of down time before I head for the
car and the commute.

Having said that. I wonder about a part of the autonomous vehicles that
are clearly coming in from the future to the now. I'm not entirely sure
how or when, but certainly for my present commute, being able to 'step'
away from the wheel and work on something for that period would not be a
bad thing.

It's time I otherwise wouldn't get to just noodle away at problems.

But there's an intermediate step before 'completely drives itself' and
the deadstick setup we're in now. That's the point where I can reasonably
well discuss a problem with the car/cpu. In the manner of 'hey, what's the
mean flight speed of a fully laden swallow?' 'What, African or European?'

Let's face it, there are plenty of days where running a Monte Python skit
just by asking is the best possible thing a car could do for you on your
way home.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another random characterization noodle...

How are these equivalent, or not? Where's the overlap for the people who
would say it?

"Tell it to the preacher, and he's gone over the top..."

"Complaints don't do any good, and no one cares anyway..."

"Others can help you map out your anxieties, but you're the one who holds
the key for unlocking them..."

Semantically, no matter how well or poorly meant, there's pretty much nothing
to distinguish between them.

And the people holding those thoughts might disagree mightily about what each
was trying to say. Certainly, if many internet discussion are to be believed.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Jerry Pournelle passed away this weekend. He was a large figure in the world of sci-fi. For the writing, first last and always. Like John Scalzi (here), for me, Jerry's story with Larry Niven, Footfall, was the first big story by Niven and Pournelle that I fell into.

I came to know Jerry more directly through his website, Chaos Manor, one of the first working writer's websites on the web. Jerry was a computer writer from the beginning, before anyone knew what that particular career was to come to mean.

I didn't agree with him politically on very many things. I don't share many of those views. But, I still read and paid attention to what he had to say. Before he had his stroke, which slowed him down some, Jerry wrote and corresponded with many different people, from a wide variety of backgrounds and political outlooks, and even when you disagreed with his view, he was always happy to engage with you about it.

There were, ultimately, two big things that I took from Chaos Manor itself. The first one was his and his wife's computer program for teaching reading. When my daughter reached the age where she could benefit from it, I downloaded the Pournelle's reading program and showed my daughter how to use it. So, in effect, Jerry taught my daughter the nuts and bolts of reading. I am forever in his, and Roberta's, debt.

The second thing I took was from the essay "How to get my job". That's the other part of what he did, and the Chaos Manor writings only brush up against it. Jerry was always an advocate for the writer, first and foremost, and he worked hard behind the scenes to make sure that SFWA worked as a writer's organization, regardless of where you were in your career. I'm just beginning at the 'pro' part of being a writer, but I know that as I step along that path, Jerry Pournelle's work for the generations that came before me is going to matter to what opportunities I and my peers have to make a living at this gig. Here too, I will always be in Dr. Jerry Pournelle's debt.

Go forth, good man, and follow the path we must all travel. I hope to meet with you someday, and hear some good stories you've discovered in the meantime.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Information theory bogosity. Or, fun with numbers.
A modern computer uses a 64-bit word for
computations. Each bit in the word has 2 possible states, so at any given
time a word comes from a space of 2^64 possible combinations.

Further, let's be generous, and give the computer a main memory of 2^36
words. Thus, at any one time the total state space for a computer is a
state with (2^36)*(2^64) = 2^100 possible combinations. The memory here is 2^6
gigawords, or 2^9 gigabytes = 512 gigabytes of main memory (I said we were
being generous, we'll see why in a minute).

Now, DNA is a chemical word of length order 3 billion bits for humans.
That is, a human chemical word is in a state of 2^(3,000,000) possible
combinations. Further, there are on the order 40 trillion (40*10^12) cells
in a human body. This is approximately 2^40 possible words, so that there are
of order (2^40)*(2^100)^(10,000,000) possible combinations.

That is, to fully (with arbitrary fidelity) know every DNA state in a human
body would take 16*10,000,000 = 160,000,000 64-bit computers each with 512
gigabytes of main memory. To the orders considered here, the human brain and
the human body have no meaningful difference in the number of cells.

So, in one tortured pass at the numbers, specifying the DNA state  of a given
human body at any instance of time
would require over 160,000,000 computer cores each with 512 gigabytes of main

A computer that can address, and compute in a meaningful manner,
simultaneously, 1000 terabytes of main memory? For a current standard, it
takes most of a day to transfer 1 terabyte between two hard drives, even with
fast local access. And Moore's law stopped some ten years ago.

This is just to specify the DNA state. There are approximately 10 billion
proteins in each cell in the human body. So, to specify both the DNA state
and the *proteins that read the DNA and make the cell work* requires on the
order (10^10)*(10^8) = 10^18 = 1 billion billion 64-bit computers each with
512 gigabytes of main memory.

There are 7 billion humans on the planet now. So, in order to compute at
the equivalent to a single human body chemical calculation would require
on the order of 100,000,000 times as many computers as have ever been
constructed at the time of this writing.

General AI in the sci-fi sense doesn't seem very possible, given this. But
I wonder.

This may give you nightmares, or it might be your fondest dream. But, if you
look at computer-enhanced/expanded intelligence, then AI is pretty close to
reality, at least the first halting steps out of the laboratory, with
lightning and bolts in the neck and the Elsa Lancaster wig and everything.

It's called the Internet.

SlateStarCodex is one of my oft visited sites. Scott tends to put time and thought into interesting questions. Even when/if I disagree with any particular thing, there's always a good conversation involved.

Sometimes, though, there are bits and pieces missing from both the arguments Scott presents, and the commenters who noodle his arguments in the conversation that follows. This post on how, or whether, breasts and human sexual response generally, reconciles with what we know or don't know about evolutionary psychology, is one example that I stumbled on.

It's nothing major, and it took me a while to realize what I was missing. At least one commenter mentioned the fact that humans don't generally know by looking (or smelling, or whatever) when females are ovulating. Unlike the rest of the mammalian family. I thought at first, cool, that's something like it.

But then I realized that can't be the whole answer. And I searched the post and comments for the phrase "sexual maturity", and came up empty.

That is, in a species where noone can tell when a female is in estrus, the standard mammalian (lack of) visible breasts won't do. There's not much physical distinction between human females before and after puberty, structurally speaking. Breast size and hip size are the most immediately visible means of distinguishing.

Note, I don't say this is the only explanation. It just occurs to me that it should likely be an important part of the mechanism as a whole.

Don Williams and Walter Becker passed away this week.

I don't know if I'm odd for a writer, but I have a hard time listening to lyrics in music. That's probably something to do with being an instrumentalist. I started out playing various instruments as a kid, and the music, the sound, has always been more immediate for me than the words in the song. I have to work for the lyrics.

Except for musicians like Don Williams and Walter Becker/Steely Dan. Not that I've got Steely Dan lyrics memorized. But when Don delivered a song, between that voice and his persona, he delivered the lyric as beautifully as can be imagined. Lyle Lovett in this article points this out, as well.

The writer of that article points out that Don wasn't exactly loved in Nashville at the time for it. Simple, clean, let the song shine. Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings had similar experiences at the time. Don was just quieter about it. It's interesting to think about people like Lyle and Guy Clark and the other Texas singer/songwriters that came after Don. As always, there's a link and a story there, a continuity that's not always obvious, but would definitely make a good listening project for diving into everyone's albums and following along.

Walter Becker and Steely Dan. Ah, there's a love/hate relationship. The hate was because *every* song was overplayed. FM radio loved Steely Dan, at least things like Deacon Blues. They were inevitable and ubiquitous.

But I came back to the albums. I'm a jazz player, first last and always. So Steely Dan went into my Pandora rotation, and the album cuts stick with me more and more as I listen to them. The real joy is that I can listen to the songs in that intuitive way I need for background, working music. And then I can turn around and focus on the words, and get a chuckle when I need to. There's always that wry smile waiting in the wings.

Ok, I posted Deacon Blues from Steely Dan, here's one from Don Williams, Lord, I hope this day is good.

Oh, I almost forgot. I was thinking about something else, similar to what I posted the other day about being able to listen to Layla and Pearl Jam's Black as songs in conversation with one another. Don Williams and John Lennon also have songs that are in conversation with each other.

John Lennon recorded God for the Plastic Ono Band album. It's famous for lines like "I don't believe in Jesus", among others. But notice the structure.

And then realize that Don Williams sings I believe in love is, pretty much, the same setup, the same call and response. He just doesn't belabor the point, and he's more direct about pointing out the difference between 'congregating' and God, for example.

Or, think about it another way.

A general computer is built from (in a simplified picture) a set of 2-state
transistors, on or off, the celebrated 0 or 1 bits. The integrated circuits
of cpu's are now consistently on the order of greater than 1 billion
(1*10^9) transistors.

Human DNA is consistently of order 3 billion base pairs, and base pairs are
also a 2-bit system, coming in two types (A-T or C-G), so 0 or 1.

Here's one key difference. We know how the circuits of a computer are
integrated, because we built and designed them.

We're only just learning how the circuits, or transistors, of DNA are

And here's one very simple picture of how this learning is going to complicate
the idea of DNA as computer. A transistor doesn't have to be just a 0 or 1,
a switch. A transistor can also be an amplifier.

Genes aren't read-once, copy forever. How they are read differs depending on
the thermodynamic state in which they are read. Salt concentration, cell
crowding, cell aging, each of these and unknown variables change the result
of reading a gene over time. Thus, at the most extreme, cancer. But also
mutations, different cell types from the same genes, etc.

In other words, take all the wonderful incredible things that a computer can
do, and realize that DNA is significantly more complicated. We have a long
way to go to reverse engineer the circuitry of DNA, and even when we do, it
will only be the beginning, because it's a dynamically modifiable system.

Or to put it another away, whenever someone talks about the information content
of DNA, that's only the most basic, digital approximation. Chemistry is both
digital, and analogue.

Emergent behavior.

Now there's a phrase to conjure with. And boy howdy is there a lot of nonsense
around it. It's quite a bit like quantum mechanics and relativity, in that
pop notions built on the magic of the phrase run out way ahead of the way
it's used by the specialists.

So. Here's a thing. It can only go one step forward, or backward, and it
can only turn right or left. So, four possibilities, right? Four, and four
alone, simplest possible thing imaginable.

I can describe every pixel on your screen with such a scheme. It might be
clumsy, but that is, in effect, all that raytracing does. The pixels on the
screen know only on or off, and red/green/blue. That's it. Five little

And how I trace them is my business, especially if the processor does it
quickly enough for your brain to not notice. In the old days, you could
watch the line of resolution update migrate from top to bottom of the screen
as the little automaton did its business for each refresh cycle.

The things that can all be done with computer animation these days should then
tell you what possibilities there are for simple state machines. The phrase
'you can't explain this' is, in this context, more properly stated as 'I can't
explain this' or, 'I don't understand this'.

'I don't want to understand this' is often implied, of course.

(As ever, these sorts of noodling thoughts are, in the most important sense,
me noodling character in public. I'm a fiction writer, if you see me pushing
these sorts of thoughts around in public, then know that there's a character
who's going to exhibit some, all, or none of these traits in your future.

That, or there's an interesting reason *why* someone may or may not think
this way...)

Thursday, September 7, 2017

A better day than yesterday, on multiple levels.

Well, at least tearing drywall is progress. I was pretty sure, before I
started ripping the drywall, how the water had invaded. Combine wicking and
exposure. I ripped enough drywall and insulation to confirm that's actually
what happened.

Then, I ripped some more. I know myself. Confirmation bias is a hole I'd
prefer to avoid under the circumstances.

Our daughter had a better day as well, she didn't come home from school and
rehearsal with a blinding headache, and she was in the marching rehearsal for
the whole session.

I'm sure you, dear reader, have similar days, up and down, good and bad. It's
the way our little world goes round. Something occurs to me, though.

Hurricanes are making their way through the Caribbean again, targeting the
islands. Irma's passed over the leeward islands and looks headed for Florida
as of this writing.

I'm gonna try and make sure I'm prepared to help out however I can, even if
it's just a donation to the Red Cross, or similar. The islands especially tend
to be forgotten when they get hammered by a storm, so I want to make sure I
remember them. We're all part of the family together.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Oy. As the saying goes, when the wolf gnaws, smile.
Among other things, apparently we didn't quite escape the hurricane as well as we thought we did. Two sets of the weepers on the brick fa├žade for our house took on enough water that it soaked through to the drywall on the interior side.
Fifty plus inches of rain over a few days will do that. At least, that's my current assumption. I'll know for sure tomorrow morning when I start tearing apart the drywall to get to the real evidence underlying it.
So, gutter engineering is clearly in my future...
The good things today? The weather. The first front of the fall cleared us, so the next few days are going to be a pretty good break from the end of summer. Overall, the hurricane broke through the worst of the end of summer heat, so apart from the mess, there's been at least some immediate benefit from Harvey's visit.
There were a few other minor disasters, but nothing worth worrying over. Our daughter is fighting through a typical freshman ordeal, getting enough stamina going to get through full marching rehearsals with her high school band. My mother's health continues to ride downhill, though probably not at quite the pace her doctors anticipated.
A thousand little things, really, but in the grand scheme of things, I'm six feet on the good side of the dirt, I have a wonderful family, fine friends, no particular health issues other than middle-age spread, good stories to write and read ahead of me, and for every thousand little things, a million more to be grateful for. I'll take it, and twice on Sundays.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Random thoughts on things I've seen while scanning the internet... Ok, am I the only one who read this and immediately started singing "Let's Go Fly a Kite"? (i.e. a comment on Disney and P.L. Travers' talents and ubiquity, not on the suffragette banner itself, which I find fascinating. It takes a very real imagination to understand what you're looking at when you find something like this in a charity shop or Goodwill.)
Forget super models, red carpet premieres, the covers of magazines. Let's face it, if you're a dress designer, the most important model of all time is Vanna White. It's not even really close. Not to mention what she and Pat and the whole Wheel gang have done for basic literacy. The crossword in the New York Times still has a zing in the puzzle crowd, but the Wheel almost certainly has a greater reach simply via the power of tv.
This one will take some thinking. And when you get down to, I'm probably overthinking it. But still, something occurred to me about Pearl Jam's Black. Structurally, it sounds to me an awful lot like they're playing off of Layla.
Note, I do not mean copying. I mean that particular artist's goal of taking in a song, absorbing it, and then writing your response to it.
To hear what I mean, think about the piano break at the end of Layla. So, listen to Black fresh. Then listen to Layla. Now go back and listen to Black again, and listen for the piano, the lead guitar, and how they play against each other, thematically and dynamically. (I only have the youtube version of Layla easily available. If you have it, listen to the original album cut, and the echoes between the songs are more in relief to each other.)
The songs work very well as a conversation with each other, I think. Especially when you add in Eddie's lyrics. I'd be shocked if Eric Clapton hasn't listened to the song, he's famous for having a pretty wide ranging and eclectic ear. It'd be an interesting juxtaposition to hear them all talk about it, given the relatively subtle kinship the overall songs share thematically, if nothing else.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

herein a list of amazon links for my Open Wounds series

Open Wounds (Open Wounds, Book 1)

Passing Fancies (Open Wounds, Book 2)
yes, this is simple yet, I figure we'll start out simple and just go from there.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Headed into Labor Day weekend, and I don't have a whole heck of a lot
to say.

Other than that I finished a story today. I'm starting to understand the
real reason that Dean Wesley Smith focuses on the butt in chair part of the

As a writer, I'm going to spend a basic number of hours on a story. How many
depends on my process, where I am so far as learning to do it, the length
of the story, what have you.

But there's going to be a number of hours involved, one way or another. Just
the law of getting the words down on paper.

If you're putting your butt in chair hours in every day, whether at the point
where I'm only consistently at an hour or all the way up to some of the pulp
writers that managed eight full hours a day five days a week, you're putting
your focus in.

I got a story done this week that I was expecting to take a full five days.
Part of the reason it got done was I'm busy extending myself, working in more
time every day.

But the other part of it was that I realized, glimpsed the edges of some of
the things Dean says, about just recognizing what the story needs to be.

I can't do that if I'm not putting in the time every day. It's easy to say
to myself, 'hey, think about putting this in tomorrow, or focus on that'.

Easy to say, hard to actually accomplish. It's a lot easier to accomplish it
when you're sitting there, knowing you're going to be there as long as it takes
to get through each line that's going to come.

It builds, brick by brick. The confidence to know that I can do some things now
that I wouldn't have been able to do, just a few months ago.

Let's see what kind of stories I can tell now. What kind of stories are
waiting to be told, now.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Last day of August.

I'm not up to calling this a momentous month. It's one to mark, of course.
Any time we get a storm on the Gulf Coast, it's a remarkable month.

My daughter's been through a few of these now. Rita, Ike. Katrina was down
the road a bit, but she got to see the aftermath. A couple other storms
here and there. Now Harvey.

They mark the time.

We spent some time in the Northeast. The week we moved up that way, the area
we were in got the worst snow storm they'd had in a good long while. We'd been
there two days, and found ourselves in the middle of a two-foot blizzard.

Not that big a deal by the standards of some, but for a couple of goofballs
from Texas and southern California, you can be sure that we were impressed.

The part that made me pause was the wind. It was pretty much exactly the same
thing as being in a hurricane. Wind like hell, noisy, pushing on the house
and calling for entry.

But it was also the quietest storm I've ever been in.

Snow doesn't pelt the roof and sides of the house the way rain does, even in
the middle of a gale force wind.

But then, the biggest difference in the world came when the storm was finished.

I got to bring my three year old daughter out into the snow. Not quite the
first time she'd seen it, but definitely the first time she'd been in it up
to her chest.

Stone construction goes a long way to making hurricanes, or the blizzard
equivalent in snow country, less of an issue than we get down here. Down in
the islands, they build with concrete blocks, the moral equivalent for those
of us with few handy mountains to denude. At some point, I guess we'll figure
out that it makes sense to recognize what works, and mandate that.

Until then? Well, I guess we'll muddle along like we always do.

And I'm gonna work on figuring out how to spend a little more time in snow
country. I miss the mountains.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Ah, dogs.

We've got a triplet of dogs, a boxer, a lab mix, and a shih-tzu mix
that we recently brought in due to unforeseen family circumstances.

The boxer's a 90 pound female (none of it fat, she's just the large
economy size) named Henrietta. The lab mix is a chocolate mess named
Tassle-Tail Underfoot (yes, she's a kinder. First night she came to
the house when we fostered her, she stole a blanket and started building
her nest five minutes after she was in the house).

The wee puppy is working on her name, she's provisionally named at the
moment until we're sure she and her name go together.

All the dogs have been less than enthusiastic about the hurricane. But
most especially the lab.

Tassle does not appreciate the fact that she's been stuck in the house for
a week. This is no bueno, especially when most of the time she'd have
been perfectly fine being out in the rain and the mud and the wind, thank
you so very much.

Explaining to a lab why the rest of the family doesn't quite see things
the same way she does when it comes to rain storms can sometimes be a
bit of an adventure.

But, the sun came out today. And, after a full day of that, I took her
out for a chase the ball session in the backyard.

Hettie the boxer and Agnes the wee puppy both came out for their own
enjoyment of the sunshine and the dryness. They're all pleasantly tired
at the moment.

And I didn't even have to remind Tassle that she didn't much enjoy our
summer adventure at the great big lake. It seems that it's one thing for
lab puppies to splash water. It's another thing entirely for the water to
splash the lab puppy...

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Well, my lawn's certainly happy with the rain. The grass had just gone into
August dormancy. Harvey's mixed blessing let the grass know it was safe to
come back into green mode. The rest of the grass mowing season is gonna be
a lot of fun.

The pear trees and the gang of rowdy apples I've got are starting to
think there's a bit too much of a good thing, though. One of the pears is
store bought, the apples and the pear are up from cores I planted when we
first moved in as an experiment. A single pear tree has made it so far from
that core, the apple core is currently a cluster that I'm likely to cut back
to a pair or trio of stems this winter.

They've all got wet feet at the moment. It won't take long to dry out, though,
once the sun comes back out. It is still August in Texas.

The garden boxes were a mess anyhow. Weeds and open space, I haven't had
much time to keep them going past the first planting last spring. Then
again, I said at the time, if I got a few tomatoes and a good start with
the blackberry, I'd call it a win. And that's pretty much what we've got.

The roses are a little funky, but that's their right. The backyard roses
are in baskets that I'm planning on filling in around as my planter box
project this winter.

I'm terrified of one of them, though. She's our blushing pink rose, and she's
starting to take over the bed she's planted next to. I'm afraid of what she's
gonna be like when I give her room to spread her roots...

Monday, August 28, 2017

I see smart people showing off their intellect. Their superior logic as
backseat drivers with zero real information.

It's easy to make logical deductions based on your own preconceptions. There's
a reason that modern science prizes experiment above all else. I refute you
thus: Houston knows how many people die in evacuations. We know what would
have happened if we'd all decided to put close to seven million people on the
road in August.

And then dropped a hurricane on them. Look up the Rita evacuation before you
start telling me about how much smarter you are than the people who've actually
run the experiment. Learn a little humility, oh great internet commentators.

I see preconditioned responses. "Blue Teams can't handle this..." and "this
proves my ineffable ability to read the abstract of someone else's paper about
X (or Y or Z) and misapply their results to whatever I want..."

It's called cherry picking, and it doesn't make your conclusions follow. Shut
up about it for once. Learn that the first reason there is noise on the
airwaves is because you're contributing to it by running your yap. I refute
you thus: You've picked the data to support your conclusion while ignoring
that which contradicts your preconceptions.

I see people doing something remarkable. I've seen every named storm and
unnamed Gulf hiccup to hit the Gulf coast since the early 70's.

I can promise you, the response to Harvey has been extraordinary, especially
given that this is a cat 4 storm that's been stalled in place for four days
now, and is working on putting 50+ inches of rain into a 300 mile wide
stretch. That only two or three people have died so far is something so
remarkable as to approach the miraculous.

I refute you thus: Don't get in the way of the people who are doing the job,
and for damned sure don't be too busy running your mouth to know when to shut
up and learn something. It's possible that the people who do just might know
something the people who talk don't.

The internet has a tendency to magnify the voice of the talker at the expense
of the doer. If I have any goal as a writer, I guess it's to put my stake down
and do my best to write stories that matter for the daughters and sons of
Martha. I see Harvey. May I always remember what I've seen and learned.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

There's a story about Henry Fonda.

Late '40s, I think, Henry's working in New York, Broadway show. His wife
passes away, but he still keeps showing up for work every day.

When asked about it, he said that, at least for those few hours of the day,
he knew what it was that he was supposed to be doing.

I don't want to talk about the fact that people called him a narcissist for
it. Think about that for a second. You're interested in your work, dedicated
to it.

And people call you names for it. Usually, I'd wonder what it was that someone
wanted from me, that they'd call me names like that.

Set that aside though. The thing for our conversation here is that, even as
Hurricane Harvey is working on the second half of what looks to be more than
fifty inches of rain dropped in my little neck of the woods, I've got some
time on my hands.

Enough so that I've been able to kick myself into gear a little on this side
of my life. The story side.

Well, ok, not the story side. The story writing side's been going well,
actually. It's the publication side, and this whole blogging thing, that have
dropped to the back of the queue recently.

Well, at least for the past couple days, I've had a chance to catch up with
it. The result is that my second book in the Open Wounds series is now up
and available at all the standard places.

I keep going like this, and I might even figure out how to put up a link page
for the books...

Saturday, August 26, 2017

As we wait out the storm...

As I write, we're doing what half of Texas is doing today, battening
down the hatches and waiting for the hurricane known as Harvey to finish
his business with us and move on.

If you've never had the pleasure of a hurricane, this one's a little different
than the normal. Usually, in my experience at least, you've got a day or
two of the full brunt of the storm. The winds, the rain. Hoping everything
keeps together for just another hour. If it holds together just another hour,
that's all we need to make it through...

Harvey's going to be a little different. He's going to be around here causing
trouble for most of a week. Overnight, from Friday evening through now
Saturday morning, Victoria, as an example, has already had more than 16 inches
of rain. They're right in the bullseye for a projection to have more than
30 inches of rain by the time Harvey finally makes his exit sometime after

This is a living example of the two varieties of rain that Texas enjoys:
too much, and not enough. Victoria, Corpus Christi, and Rockport are on the
dry side of Texas. Everyone in South Texas actually hopes that they get a
storm or two, on occasion.

It's the only time the reservoirs fill up. After a storm passes, down in the
valley, anywhere south and west of San Antonio, you can breathe easy, at least
as far as knowing whether there'll be water next year.

But south Texans don't generally pray for this. Even San Antonio and Austin
are getting hit with the rain. And if you've never seen what happens when it
well and truly rains in San Antonio and Austin?

Keep an eye on the news over the next few days. Houston's likely to be the
big news, simply because we're the big town. But people in Victoria, Austin,
and San Antonio are going to be dealing with a type of rain and flooding that's
pretty much the definition of a biblical event. If you can, be ready to reach
out and help.

And especially for the people living in Rockport, Port Aransas, Port Lavaca,
the coastal towns just north of Corpus where Harvey made his entrance. As of
what I see now, they didn't get the kind of storm surge that wipes towns off
the map. But a lot of people have moved to Rockport over the past few years,
building their retirement homes in a part of the Texas Gulf Coast that is
almost indescribably beautiful.

Until the storms come.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Yet another placeholder. But this time, I seem to be headed for a
monthly update, rather than a daily one.

Well that stinks.

But not really. I've been tangled up with end-of-the-year stuff with
my daughter. So, as much fun as it is to do this (and it is), life
intervened, and I have to excuse myself for other business.

I have been working. And I've got news, as well as daily fiction words
piling up every day.

See, I'd much rather have gap times here, if that means I get to keep
writing stories every day. And I hope that you do, dear reader, as well.

Any rate, it'll take me a couple days to get all the links up, but the
short answer is that I'll have links for ebooks for my first story, available from
all your favorite e-tailers, over the next couple days.

Of course, then I get to start in on the next one. So it'll make sense to
spend some time talking a bit about where this first story fits into its
own little universe.

Until next time...

Monday, May 1, 2017

Random thoughts, while watching Antiques Roadshow and thinking
about making some popcorn.

Blogging on a regular schedule is going to take some habit forming patterns.

Not that I've been uninterested. But between holidays, our daughter's late
spring school/band/etc. schedule, and various little things going on with
the day job, I've been busy during the day. I also went through a bit of
wind down/wind up on writing.

That's just protecting myself from tendinitis. Too many years programming,
I'm afraid. And fiction has to come first. At least, if I want to be a
fiction writer, which is the whole point.

Mostly though, it's early for me as a blogger, so I'm still working on
forming the scar tissue that builds it up as a daily habit.

What's been going on, aside from keeping up with kid and work? Well, our
roses have been blooming, and the garden is generally starting to show its
late spring face. I'm thinking potatoes and squash are going to do well, and
perhaps a tomato or two. The new blackberry looks to be quite happy, and we
might even see a cucumber or two. The new blueberry looks, at the moment,
like it's going to be a delicate little beastie. We'll have to see how that
one works out.

I've also been working on getting a book out on assorted e-book retailers.
I'll put up a links post once I've got them all posted.

Friday, April 14, 2017

On the utility of algebra...

Who I am, and who I am tomorrow, are ever so slightly different. But the
me of tomorrow would not exist, were it not for the me of today. The path I
tread, today tomorrow and forever, is the only one that leads from the
path I took to get here.

Fed by the bits and pieces of the universe of paths that I might have taken.

The interesting part here is that I could, with a little effort, recall
every choice, between here and tomorrow, and retread that path. I could,
in effect, stand still. For a day, perhaps. But the focus needed to see
the choices starts to get a little heavy, and the number of choices I have
to recall from, large, the more steps I take.

Can I ever come back from where I will be, if I lose track of where I've

And what on earth does any of this have to do with algebra, you, dear reader,

Maybe the question really is, what sort of story this is leading to...

Ah. But that would be telling.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I guess there's a little bit of power in a streak, however short it be...

I came about this close (fingers held apart just a bit) to throwing this
over tonight. I've been wrestling with formatting, getting things ironed
out. That last little bit that seems like it takes forever, just before it's
finally time to hit 'submit'.

The details tend to reach out and grab me. So, when I got to the part where
I was 'brain full, tilt' and ready to close the computer... I tabbed over
to my browser and set about writing this.

Three days in a row, it ain't much. But it's a start. I know I won't be doing
anything this weekend, in terms of writing. So putting this out may be a bit
of subconscious refusal to go lightly into the realm of getting nothing done.

Down the road, I'm really not going to interested in these sorts of inside
baseball posts. That doesn't mean I'm not going to be doing them. I owe too
many other writers who went before me too much not to talk about my journey
when I think it's useful.

But I'm also not going to spend all my time on it. That's just where I'm
at, here at the beginning of this here thing.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

On the occasion of my second blog post ever!

Right, dialing it down. Inside voice.

As you might be able to tell, these posts are, at the moment, placeholders.
To give you the full picture, at the moment, I'm in the middle of formatting
my first book, a novella that's the introduction to a longer series.

However, I've got a day job, so that process is taking its own sweet time
getting going. Such is life, and anyone with family and job and dogs and cats
and a yard to keep up with...

Yeah, you can imagine how much free time I have on my hands.

Another thing I have to factor in here is that my day job is working as a
programmer/analyst/science writer. So I already spend a pretty significant
amount of time on the computer. Putting in extra time, however worthwhile,
is part of my learning experience as a fiction writer.

Gotta build up my chops, basically.

So, the blog is my way of doing a couple of things, at least right here at
the beginning. I need a good way of keeping mental track of what I'm doing,
and I need to carve out just a little bit of work-not work that's devoted
strictly to my fiction writing.

Over the next little while, then, I'll be explaining what I'm up to, so far
as getting my book out (current project), what other stories are in the
queue (for getting out as soon as this one's published), and whatever
floats my boat after that.

Oh, and I'll be up front. Mickie (or M.K.) Dreysen is my pen name. It's
nothing nefarious. Two particular reasons. One, it tickles me. Mark Twain,
O. Henry, George Sand, Richard Bachman, the list of writers who've plugged
away under a pen name is remarkable, ridiculous, and most importantly, it's
one of, I think, the little joys of a scribbler's life.

Second, remember, at this time I have a day job. I sort of owe it to my
colleagues, bosses, and the rest of the gang in that world to make sure that
someone with google-fu finds my daytime work where they need it, and my
fiction work where they need it, and never the twain shall meet.

And no, not because I'm writing my friends into the thing, either. I simply
want to make sure that the two different types of writing I do are easy to
distinguish. I don't want to trip people who didn't ask for it, that's all.
It's exactly the same thing as authors such as Nora Roberts, who also writes
as J.D. Robb (among other pen names) depending on which type of book she's
writing at any given time.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Testing, Testing, Testing....

No, wait. This is a computer, after all. Right, I know what I'm supposed to do for that.

*cough cough*

"Hello World!"


Ok, fine. First post, so I'm playing. It's in the handbook, this is supposed to be fun, otherwise I wouldn't be doing it. So, here we go, fun right off the bat, and let's see where this thing takes. Us. Takes us.

Right. Um, hang on tight, folks, this might get a little bumpy...