Monday, October 12, 2015

For the Love of Fall




It is nearly universal, this love for the halcyon days of pumpkins, glowing leaves, and changing weather. 







The angle of the sun gives the fields a depth of color that wasn't there in the summer.







And the decorations make it extra super, doesn't it?





If only the Asian beetle didn’t crash the part. So annoying. They look like the esteemed Ladybug but they aren’t. See the difference? 



They bite, invade the house, and fly around on warm fall days waiting to land on me. If bothered, they eject a stink like no other. Yuk.

Go here to see how they ended up in my living room.



On the Farm. Harvest is in full swing with days of greasing the combine, moving equipment, and bringing the lovely grain to bins. Beautiful, beautiful weather has made a wet spring a distant memory. Thank Heavens.



Halloween is coming soon and in the spirit of the season, here is a video that made me actually scream.


Have a happy. If you can. *evilgrin*

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

IWSG - In a Fog of Recovery


These are the continuing voyages of the Ninja Captain, AJC. His mission, to explore all new writing venues, to seek out new authors and new blogs. 
To boldly go where no blogateer has gone before.
Coming together on the first Wednesday of every month for a virtual pat on the back. 

If you check the date of my last post, you’ll see it’s been nearly two months. 
I’ve had longer periods of inactivity but
this time I had a purposeful dry spell. You see, I quit writing.

It was a time out session intending to get the juices flowing again. After motivation goads that only served to foment guilt, I took a break from it all.

This week, a tiny spark became a guttering candle-flame, easily blown out but determined, and I began to write again. 

Thank Heavens.

Windows 10 update. In the name of all that’s Holy, be careful upgrading this pile of buggy poop. Especially if you have Win 7 with older programs. My computer is only seven months old, so it was well able to handle the upgrade. But some of the programs did not play well with Win 10. For about a week all went well and I was doing a happy dance. Loved it.

Then came a Microsoft “fix” and all went south. 

  • Windows Live mail went into recovery mode
  • Windows Media Player (not Center) deleted all music playlists
  • Internet connection failed or was cut
  • Cortana left me
  • Store button quit working as well as the Start button
  • Desktop kept freezing
  • Control Center went into hiding
Things went downhill from there.

Microsoft had no answer. The forums were filled with comments but no solutions. I re-installed Win 7 and got most of my functionality back but some programs needed a personal adjustment.

I replaced Windows Live Mail with Outlook and I am in the process of retrieving all my music files and inserting them into WMP. My desktop is back. No more blue screens.

A clean install might be a better choice for someone deciding to go this route. Just be careful and watch for all the above after a few days. 


On the Farm. It’s Hammer and Tongs time. Harvest, in other words. The weather is cooperating but equipment breakdowns are delaying some aspects.

My heart goes out to the folks on the East coast with over two feet of rain in a very short period.


Got Win 10? Liked it? Hated it? Or are you running like a scared rabbit from the upgrade?


Monday, August 10, 2015

Hokey Smokes, If Technology Wasn't So Great...

...I'd take a baseball bat to it.


Everything hit at once it seems.

Norton 360 sent me an update in June that turned out extremely buggy. I uninstalled and reinstalled it after trying to find a fix on their site. So disappointed in them.


Windows 10 was rumored to be scary with bugs and the eyesight of Sauron. But I haven't had a problem. Very happy with it. Edge doesn't do much for me but learning the *very* slightly different format was a snap.

The tech problem du jour is with forwarding comments to my other email account. 


My server switched from Gmail to Zimbra. Coincidentally, all comments forwarded to my personal email (Not Gmail) have been rejected. 

At this point I can't tell if Gmail is at fault or my new webmail account. I do suspect my new server is the worm in the apple but haven't been able to fix it yet.

Add all that to the above problems and I've found that the solutions are taking hours of my writing time.


Color me very Put Out.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

IWSG - Vacations


These are the continuing voyages of the Ninja Captain, AJC. His mission, to explore all new writing venues, to seek out new authors and new blogs. 
To boldly go where no blogateer has gone before.
Coming together on the first Wednesday of every month for a virtual pat on the back. 

Vacations and How to Recover From Them.

I wrote not one word on any wip for three weeks. Talk about Writer, Interrupted.

The assailant that muted me? Call it Family Vacation.
No composing during:
  • The Planning (where, when, the attractions, itinerary, Google maps) 
  • The Get-Ready (clean house, mow yard, gas vehicle, pack, bake cookies) 
  • The Travel 
  • The Actual Vacation 
  • Recovery (mountains of laundry, mow the yard...again)

With all that, how does an author find the chance/time to write?

So now, back to the schedule. And where did I leave my ambition? *patting pockets*

On the farm. Holy Talking Cats. When will it stop raining? There are parts of the yard that haven’t dried out since April. The fields and hay ground are the same. Corn and soybeans love hot, humid weather with a judicious amount of rain at appropriate times. It should be dark, dark green. Instead, with the rain coming every two to three days, the crops are a sick yellow.

Movies and TV. With the most excellent luck I’ve had finding great new TV to watch (Mr. Robot, Dominion, Humans), I had high hopes for Dark Matter and Killjoys.

*crash burn*

Those shows are turning out to be what I call the domino format. Set a line of dominoes up then knock the first one over. It is the hook and both shows pulled me in...at first. 

But the next set of dominoes were like a an executive's formula: “In order to have a successful show, we must have a belligerent outcast who is lovable or broken, a wishy-washy individual, a strong female with a soft side.”

Plink, plink, plink.

At that point, I yawned and quit watching. The only thing worse is the obligatory teenage angst rebelling against authority or the precocious youngster who stuns everyone with their insight.

Some TV shows start out with the formula but branch out. The Walking Dead royally ticked me off with its stereotypical portrayal of a redneck. But it moved. It shifted and jumped off the Been-There, Done-That train.

Book World. I read Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. Review is coming with a helping of Controversy.


How you do cope during vacation season? Is it raining pitchforks and hammer handles where you are?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Windows 10, Blogger, and Norton...

...Not the Best of Friends.

I took the chance and installed Win 10. I had Win 7.

The initial verdict is decidedly undecided.

It does seem faster. The screen is familiar but Control Panel is hiding. Ah HA!, there it is. Right click on Windows icon and everything pops up. That's how I found the Paint program.

Unlike 8.1, the Start button is present. It seems to incorporate more of the total screen area, a nice bonus since I have a bigger monitor now. But it isn't all sweet sugar and ice cream.

The new browser, Microsoft Edge, is a re-done of IE. It is adequate but limited. It sniffs like a dowager at extensions such as Norton 360 Internet Security. Microsoft never played nice with Symantec anyway but it would have been a pleasant surprise if they'd kissed and made up.

Norton isn't performing as it once did anyway. Want to search your online storage? Ha. Forget it. No "purge files" there anymore. Only a button for Buy More Storage. 
Their website is stumbling like a drunk down a crowded street. If they can't keep their site up to snuff, why would I trust them to catch viruses?

And so I am looking for a new Internet Security download that offers online storage. Or not, as the case may be. Any suggestions?

Blogger was the biggest disappointment in Edge. It stays in HTML mode and if there is a button to change it I haven't found it's hiding place yet. Do I need to say how hard it is to edit in HTML? Especially if you're used to Compose?

Cortana is snarky and mostly unhelpful. Siri on my IPhone is hilarious and provides much unintended complications, but she (it?) is useful. I had hoped Cortana would be the same but so far not really.

UPDATE: Windows 10 is definitely faster. For that alone, I recommend it. I hope it will allow extensions soon but Norton is becoming a nightmare. Don't know what happened to them but I am crossing them off my Christmas list.


Have you tried Windows 10? Gonna? Got a favorite Internet Security/Virus Scan program?


Friday, July 10, 2015

Marcy, Humans, and Isaac Asimov





The talented and prolific writer, Marcy of Mainewords blog honored me with an award that I'm not sure I deserve.

But try to take it away. Go on. Just try.

The rules:


1. Thank and post the link of the person who nominated you.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself to your readers.
3. Nominate 5-10 blogs and notify them.
4. Pass on the rules.

Five Facts:

1. In high school I always made a straight A in English class...at least until the grammar course came along. My grades always dropped to a B after that. It took professional writing forty years after formal education for me to learn what an adverb was.

2. I have cats. Two inside critters and multiple barn cats outside.

3. German Shepherd dogs are my one special love.

4. SuperMassive Blackhole by Muse is one of my favorite songs

5. Have Spacesuit - Will Travel by Robert Heinlein changed my adolescence love of animal books—Bambi, The Black Stallion—to Sci-Fi.


My nominations - and for those listed, please feel free to accept or decline as time and/or interest permits!


1. Michael Offutt, who apparently shares my taste in TV shows.
2. Angela Brown. I want to be her when I grow up.
3. Julie Flanders, author of the most excellent Polar Day. Love the cover, btw.
4. A Daft Lass. I hope to visit her native Scotland next year.
5. Ian S. Bott, author of the soon-to-be released, Tiamat's Nest.

Movies, TV, and Books. Finding one TV show that justifies paying my Directv bill each month is rare. To find four such programs is jaw dropping. I've posted about Dominion (an intriguing concept with meh writing), Mr. Robot (great first episode, disturbing second), and the premiere of Fear The Walking Dead in August. Now I have a new AMC show, Humans.

Synths—robotic humans—are in every facet of life. Medical,
construction, and households. Some people see them as inevitable. Others hate and distrust everything about them. A third type see them as brothers. 

The synths are programmed with the Asmovian Law, the three tenets of robotics:

  • A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  • A robot must obey the orders given it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  • A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.
But some of the synths are more human than they first appear. They feel anger, betrayal, and love. They have family ties and go to any lengths to protect each other.

One might note a pattern in shows I favor. All deal with a dystopia world. Reality shows or sitcoms? Uh...no. Just no.

Go to Why Asimov's Three Laws Can't Protect Us for an analysis of the modern robot and artificial intelligence.




Charity's Birth of a Novel. Every Friday you post a quick update on how you're doing on your writing projects. It can be combined with Camp Nano or whatever personal goals you've set.

All you need is a line or two added to the beginning or end of whatever post you already had planned for the day.Then visit the others in the list to encourage them to keep moving forward.


Added to my wordcount on Chimera and had major progress on first edits of The Adamant. 

Chimera Mage-28,667
The Adamant-First Edits, first chapter
Of Oak and Dragons-102,000, re-write
Diamond Black-8834 

I'm looking forward to Dark Matter next and hope I can add it to my list of good ones. Any more suggestions?






Friday, July 3, 2015

Writing Diversity. Not a Black and White Situation

I am struggling with a quandary: Can a straight white person successfully write characters of different ethnicity and orientation?


I haven’t included LGBT characters in my books. It’s not from a judgmental ’tude or even a religious bent. I told myself that I couldn’t write from their standpoint since I am not of a gay person’s mindset.

But somehow, I manage to create characters that do magic, have powers. 





Now, maybe I can do a little magic, making a perfect strawberry rhubarb pie.






But performing real magic—as Justus did in Wilder Mage, releasing the elements he gathered and "...fire shot into the sky from around him, splashing the undersides of the cloud with ebony..."—is beyond my abilities.

So what is the difference between writing about magic that I don’t do and a person of the gay persuasion when I’m not?

The answer might lie with people's taste in literature. At a recent book fair, a person asked me about Wilder. I said Justus is a modern wizard who is hiding his powers from those who would bond him to their cause. As soon as I said the word wizard, she snorted, turned away, and said, “I don’t read that crap.”

Ah. Okay. Well have a nice day.

Maybe there is a kernel of truth to that sentiment, but way less harsh. If it is well written, I read all genres, including non-fiction and LGBT, but my meat-and-potatoes love is Sci-Fi and Fantasy. If it doesn’t interest me—like a tech manual or sports—then trying to create something out of my disinterest seems like hauling a ton of rocks up a steep hill...all work and no joy.

One last word on this subject. As I said, all genres are welcome in my brain. But I would hope the writer doesn’t create diverse characters as a token gesture. Write from the heart. Not the trend. Make them your own and don’t let others judge or decide for you. 


Charity's Birth of a Novel. Every Friday you post a quick update on how you're doing on your writing projects. It can be combined with Camp Nano or whatever personal goals you've set.

All you need is a line or two added to the beginning or end of whatever post you already had planned for the day.Then visit the others in the list to encourage them to keep moving forward.


This week was of time, goals, and structure. I didn't make my thousand words a day goal on my WIPs due to Life and other nuisances. But I did create a better work ethic and participated in blogging and commenting. So Yay for me!



Chimera Mage-27,382
The Adamant-First Edits, first chapter
Of Oak and Dragons-102,000, re-write
Diamond Black-8834 


How did your week go? Do you write what you know and love? Do you try to include all persuasions?



Wednesday, July 1, 2015

IWSG - Challenges

These are the continuing voyages of the Ninja Captain, AJC. His mission, to explore all new writing venues, to seek out new authors and new blogs. 
To boldly go where no blogateer has gone before.
Coming together on the first Wednesday of every month for a virtual pat on the back. 

IWSG. Motivation goes with inspiration. You can’t write without either. Both seem in short supply lately. I blame it on the weather. Mostly because I use Mother Nature as an excuse for everything else.



Anticipation. Books coming soon include Jim Butcher’s new series and another Robin Hobb novel.




On the farm. What a year this is. Our crops are in but it was a challenge. Too much rain kept us out of the field and I’m sure the yields will suffer.

If you own a pet, I’m sure you noticed the major price increase in dog and cat food. That was due in part to the cost of grain. Corn and soybeans are now half of what we received two years ago. Did anyone notice the price of pet food falling also? Yeah. Me either.

Movies and TV. Mr. Robot. This is the bare time between the series end of Justified and the season premiere of
Walking Dead in October. Sure, WD has a spinoff coming in August and I have great hopes for it. But for now, I’m left twiddling my thumbs. Nuthin’ worth watching.

Last week, I saw the Wednesday premiere of Mr. Robot on the USA channel, and Holy Talking Cats, what a show.  Elliot Alderson is a cyber genius working for a security company. He is anti-social, prefers to stay in the background and keeps quiet his side job of hacking and exposing the dregs of society.

Elliot finds himself in the middle of a cyber war and is unsure what side he is on: the techno-warriors or the evil corporation that pays his wages.


This show is modern, a techno-geek’s nirvana. I can see this being a real disaster someday since everything is connected via the ‘net. Medical records, banking, credit card data. Sincerely scary stuff. I highly, highly recommend this well-written, on-the-edge-of-your-seat techno-thriller.



Today is Indie Author Pride Day. Make this hashtag trend on all social networks, #IndieBooksBeSeen.
Take a photo of your books and you and post with the above hashtag.

Details at Lyons Book Promotions

Where have you found motivation in writing? Have you seen Mr. Robot? Support all Indies!


Friday, June 26, 2015

On my Request List: A Kick in the Behind

Writing is hard. It takes resolve to sit at the computer and tap out inspiration.

It wasn't always that way especially at the beginning. 

My first 20 K word count was fan fic that took a couple of weeks. An original manuscript of 102 K followed. I had the first draft in three months, and the sequel of about 30 thousand in a month. I started and finished my second ms, Wilder Mage, in four months.

The Adamant was completed in six months.
Mage Revealed, sequel to Wilder, in eight months.

See the trend here?

My buckle-down-and-get-it-done flitted off into the aether, lost among the shiny objects and squirrels. The road I'm on leads to the junction of Used To Be and What If. I know I’d have lots of company—writers who gave up and quit—but dang, I really don’t want to end up there.

And so, I am taking the advice of Stephen King and CharityBradford and putting on a new shield of Gumption.

Number ten on Stephen King’s list of twenty writing tips:
“You have three months. The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.”
That’s about a thousand words a day and not out of the range of a professional writer. It is do-able.




Charity has a excellent writerly goad called Birth of a Novel.

Every Friday you post a quick update on how you're doing on your writing projects. It can be combined with Camp Nano or whatever personal goals you've set.
All you need is a line or two added to the beginning or end of whatever post you already had planned for the day.Then visit the others in the list to encourage them to keep moving forward.

I have several projects orphaned due to neglect. 

Chimera Mage-27,099
The Adamant-First Edits
Of Oak and Dragons-102,000, re-write
Diamond Black-8834 

Time waits on no one. Ambition doesn’t grow on trees. And I am running out of both. 

It is time to be what I once was, a writer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

IWSG - Sequels, Shimmer, and Syfy

IWSG—Insecure Writers Support Group: The Final Frontier.
These are the continuing voyages of the Ninja Captain, AJC. His mission, to explore all new writing venues, to seek out new authors and new blogs. 
To boldly go where no blogateer has gone before.
Coming together on the first Wednesday of every month for a virtual pat on the back. 



IWSG. To sequel or not to sequel? That is the question.
Of Adamant and Fire

With a manuscript of a new book series in first edits, I wonder now if I really want to make it into a multiple books. I could tie up the characters and empathize The End to make it hit a wall. Or leave it as it is despite not knowing where it is headed.

It is a quandary.

Shimmer. Matthew Keith has a new book out that dives into the mysteries of the lost colony of Roanoke. 

July, 1587
115 men, women, and children vanished from the Island Colony of Roanoke with no explanation. The only clue left was a single word carved into a post on the fence surrounding the village: “CROATOAN”.

This is their story, and the story of the family who was the cause of the colony's downfall.

Shimmer follows Alexander Croatoan, the modern-day descendant of a man whose brilliance undid an entire community, as well as his family for generations after.

Movies and TV. Dominion on SyFy channel starts its second season on July 9th. It has an interesting yet disturbing
premise. 

God vanishes and in his absence the archangel Gabriel and his army of lower angels wage war against mankind, believing them to be the cause of God's absence. 

Archangel Michael has chosen to side with humanity against Gabriel, living among humans in the fortified city of Vega (once Las Vegas) until the time a prophesied savior appears to save mankind - courtesy Wikipedia.

Gobs of plot holes in this rather cool series and too many clich├ęd tropes. But it is my guilty pleasure of the month.

Since the script could be improved, clearly the hunk-factor is part of the allure. Examples:



Tom Wisdom as Archangel Michael








Carl Beukes as Gabriel









And Christopher Egan—Eragon, Letters to Juliet—as the Chosen One.






Agents. New agents, Rebecca Stead, The Book Group and Lena Yarbrough at InkWell.

Ms. Stead is interested in young adult and childrens. Ms Yarbrough in commercial, literary, and nonfiction.


News in Book World. How can Harper Lee top To Kill a Mockingbird? And who hasn't pre-ordered her second book in fifty-five years, Go Set a Watchman?





Do you like reading series? How about writing multiple books of the same universe. How you seen Dominion and isn't Michael...well, hot?


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