Hmm

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Note to self: I do not appear to be very good at blogging on mondays.


Meh

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Dear Internet, it has been two days since I blogged and it was not a weekend. The donwannas came over me and I was not strong enough to overcome them.

I’ve finished line edits and now I’m working on writing needed additions to this project. This means writing scenes from the POV of the most creeptastic villain I’ve ever created, which is uncomfortable. It’s very much a Frollo thing for me. Ah. I probably should explain that.

Many years ago I was in a stage production of Quasimodo and a friend of mine, Tim, was playing the part of the lecherous priest, Frollo. The lady playing his obsession Esmerelda was also the director and she was very frustrated with how empty his words seemed. I don’t remember exactly how she put it, but she explained that Frollo needed to see Esmerelda as something he wanted more than anything in the world and she was forbidden and that it didn’t matter if Tim had to imagine her as a damn candy bar his mother had strictly forbade him, Frollo needed to see Esmerelda as the subject of his deepest desires.

They reset the scene, started again… and dude became Frollo. As the scene ended we all sat there in silence until someone went… “HOLY SHIT”. And the director said “YES THAT. DO THAT EVERY TIME.” And we (an otherwise mostly female cast) all agreed he’d just managed to creep the fuck out of all of us.

And the fact that Tim had just managed to creep us all out made him amazingly uncomfortable to the point where he never did what he had managed to do again. He always held back, even knowing it would create a better performance because it wasn’t one he wanted to do well.

So yeah, writing this character is deeply uncomfortable.

TOO MANY LINKS:

Jewish Cemetery inside GM plant 

Using rat poison creates botfly flymagedden for reporter – Gross story illustrating why rat poison blocks are a bad idea on multiple levels

Concrete Building heals its own cracks with limestone “scabs” 

Jewish origins of Kentucky Bourbon 

Triggers for Creating Internal Change – I’m trying to make some positive changes for myself and this is one of the lists that rang true for me this week. I keep having to remind myself how just stopping and taking 10 deep breaths can make all the difference. I’d like to be meditating 15 min a day but I’m sure as hell not there yet. Soon though. :)

New technique for making nanofibers – Wow, it’s like a spinning wheel on a very small scale

It looks like we’ve lost 40% of bee colonies last year – I feel like I should take up bee keeping just to do my part to help.

Forgotten Cocktails of Maryland

Sweden’s Gay Defense System – Best name– but I wish it was more Special Forces and less trolltastic gizmo. Then I thought that the picture in the article was a little over the top… until I realized that’s an actual picture of the device.  

Self-perpetuating botnets in unsecured routers

Ford’s staff Cultural Anthropologist – This is pretty much the kind of thing I always assumed I’d end up doing. I wish this article was much much longer cause that seems like a lot of really interesting data being collected.

Angel Hair Phenomenon – baby spiders ballooning make an incredible sight.

Warm blooded Fish Found 

Article about Commemorative DEA patches – Damn a lot of these look like you’d find them at a Deadhead event…


Where am I? What state is this? Why am I wearing these coveralls? Is this my blood?

This is a marmot. That is all.

This is a marmot. That is all.

Oh heeeeeey I remember now. I really don’t like this time of year. Everything is all shifty, not quite summer, not quite spring. The allergies are plentiful and my brain gets all weird. I’ve fallen off the wagon on a lot of my chores and things so I’m having to stop. take a breath, and then go back and pick up the slack. I am doing REALLY good at cooking and making lots of yummy healthy food, so I’ve got to keep that up while I go back and figure out why I’ve let other stuff slack. I suspect it’s just a temporary case of the donwannas. I just need to shuttupitbuildscharacter myself a few times and keep it going without beating myself up too bad.

TOO MANY LINKS:

Man sneezes out toy rubber dart after 44 years 

Space coffee cup

SFWA Cookbook available for pre-order

22 rules for Storytelling According to Pixar – I’m sure I’ve posted some version of this before but this one is pretty. I will admit #4 is pretty much how I outline everything initially. 20 is a big one for me too.

Lost fantasy movie “Black Angel” now available on YouTube – I’m very interested to see this, no idea what I’ll think.

Interesting astrology article on Library of Congress blog

Daily Wordcounts of Famous Authors – I try to average 500 a day during a project for what it’s worth.

Science of Scarcity 

Revision First Week Sales Numbers – Andrea has posted up her week 1 sales for Revision so there’s more transparency and that others (like me) can use this information in the future. Thank you Andrea, this is truly a service for other authors.

Dark bands on Europa might be salt colored by radioactive exposure

New York Times drops its paywall 

Why it’s so hard to talk to white people about racism – TLDR: Basically people don’t see racism unless they also see ill intent. (Not sure if I posted this before, but I tend to look here for articles I want to find later so I’m posting it again if I did.)

What drives subconscious racial bias

SCIENCE FICTION SPACE TECHNOLOGY TERMS – Hey, that’s kind of neat. Lots of stuff to poke around on there… even if the homepage is straight out of 1999

Someone donated a grenade to Goodwill again – Look, if the post office won’t let you mail it you shouldn’t donate it anywhere either.

Green algae virus can impact human cognition – O_O

Good news: Flying car exists. Bad news: it had its first crash. 

Cuban lung cancer vaccine therapy – Huh. This is interesting in a lot of ways.

15 Neato space technology concepts


Edits and Allergies Melting My Brain

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This is your brain on edits. It’s delicious with graham crackers and toasted marshmallows.

Well, I’d already decided I wasn’t going to blog on the weekends, but then our internet had an outage so I couldn’t have anyway. *cuts out long rambling bit* So… anyway, long story short, I spent all weekend editing and combined with allergy related asthma, I can’t even keep track of what day it is in the real world.

TOO MANY LINKS (mostly Space edition):

NASA sez No REALLY there is no warp drive – Sure, that’s what you WANT us to believe. (Clarifying Update to update to the update on this)

Martian sunsets are blue – SO COOL!

Mysterious reflections on Ceres continue to get weirder. 

Getting laser internet on Mars and making sure astronauts get good meals – Lots of really great details about the human side of technology needed for a manned Mars mission. I want Mars furniture already.

Hey did you know there’s an area of Brazil populated by 5 generations of Confederate refugees from the American Civil War?


Conversations Between Writers

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Jeffrey Petersen

Jeff is a writer of many things who just recently got back from the Paradise Lost Workshop. I also once ended up owing him (and delivering) a severed toe but neither of us remember why. You can follow him on Twitter and he can be lured with cheesecake.

Minerva Zimmerman: So you’re back (From Paradise Lost)! Tell me ALL THE THINGS!

Jeff Petersen: I am. Paradise Lost 5 was a blast. I haven’t been to San Antonio since I was a kid, so it was fun to see the Riverwalk as an adult. I tell you what, that place is NOT OSHA compliant. I almost got pushed in the river a couple times.

MZ: Is it bad that I imagine you were playing a ukulele while almost falling in the river?

JP: I would never put my ukulele in danger like that! Heaven forbid. It was safe in the room, and only came out at night, in the relative safety of the Con Suite

MZ: Awww, but this ruins my images of you doing a Texas Troubadour impression. MY DREAMS ARE CRUSHED.

JP: I forgot to buy boots and a cowboy hat too. I have crushed all the dreams.

MZ: *gasp*

JP: Apart from all the new friends and great critiques of my opening chapters, it’s like I didn’t get anything out of it.

MZ: Hehe. So tell me a little bit about the workshop. I’ll admit I’m not really familiar with it or who teaches it.

JP: Sean Kelly and his wife put it on every year, and they bring in a few professionals in the writing business to give lectures and do story critiques. This year we had Delilah S. Dawson, Chuck Wendig, and Robert Jackson Bennet, who were all fantastic.

MZ: oh damn! You were at THAT! I saw some of the stuff on social media.

That sounded like a blast.

JP: There may have been some debauchery and revels.

There were definitely churros, ukulele and Cards Against Humanity.

MZ: Were they non-disappointing churros? I worried about the churro you wore as a hat. There’s nothing more dangerous than a disappointing churro.

JP: Honestly, they were disappointing churros from the flavor and texture perspective, but they worked well as hats

MZ: That is the saddest thing.

JP: I also had disappointing flan. For a place so close to Mexico, the Mexican food is surprisingly hit and miss.

MZ: I found tex-mex had better sopapillas. I’m surprised about the churros though. Generally things involving frying were better.

JP: I did have an excellent pan dulce. It was moist and delicious.

MZ: You also recently became Oregon-adjacent geographically.

How are you settling in food-wise?

JP: I’m basically a Carebear Cousin to the Oregonians. I’d say I’m the friendly manatee with a piece of cheesecake on my tummy. And also in my tummy.

I’m actually quite happy with the food choices I’ve found. The Mexican is less expansive than San Francisco, but I’ve found great Indian and Chinese food

And they have about 200 kinds of apples in the produce store

MZ: and they all taste different

JP: I have only eaten 3-4 different kinds. I’m a little intimidated.

MZ: Yeah they really should give you an apple fact sheet when you move

It’s like when you move to the Oregon Coast they give you a copy of Goonies and issue you a Black Lab

“Not a dog person? DOES NOT MATTER. HAVE A LAB”

JP: Am I supposed to have picked up a dog? What kind do you get in Washington?

MZ: I think you’re OK where you are. It seems to be a coastal thing. I mean otherwise the neighbors don’t know how to refer to you around here because no one learns human names. Only dogs.

plus you have kids, so they can refer to you by children.

JP: Some of my neighbors don’t have kids or dogs, so I have to call them by their actual name.

MZ: ooo awkward.

JP: It feels funny

MZ: Oh, right, writing. We should probably get back to that before we talk about dogs and tacos for an hour. So what was something new you learned at PL?

JP: That’s tricky. I’m not sure if it was a much learning something new as being reminded about things I needed to focus on.

MZ: That’s important too

JP: I got a lot of good critiques, and when they all remind you to keep increasing the tension, it’s a pretty good time to torture your characters a little more

MZ: It does feel a bit like you’re a fictional sadist sometimes, writing.

I mean you have to basically start bad and get worse, and then make it almost better… and then pull the rug out.

JP: It’s an odd feeling. You like your characters, and ultimately you want them to succeed at their quest, but if you don’t make it a challenge, the story isn’t satisfying.

MZ: I want to say it was Jim Butcher who said that each book is basically the “Worst Day” for that character in a given time period.

so you have to show how it isn’t this bad all the time without actually showing it? Basically by having the characters react the way you would when shit goes terribly wrong.

JP: Nobody wants to see the character pick up their mail and watch TV all day because they have nothing going on. They have to fight a dragon.

MZ: Right, and I think it helps to take it one step further and start the scene where the protagonist has just tripped with a dragon over them.

JP: We want to see people trip and get up and still win, despite the difficulty.

MZ: Also making the reader ask questions is SUPER important

so the very first line of a story needs to give the reader a question they care about answering.

JP: My readers usually ask, “What is Jeff smoking, and where can I get some?”

MZ: Lol, I don’t know about that :)

JP: Spoiler alert: it’s whisky, and you don’t smoke it

MZ: lol

JP: Well, technically the distillery might smoke it

But I don’t.

MZ: Well, I like to think the first scene the reader needs to ask “Who is this? Where are they? What are they doing?” and CARE about answering them… and the author needs to sort of dribble clues without outright answering them until a new question has been asked.

and that’s how you drag the reader through at the pace you want them to go

JP: That’s one of the things we talked about at PL, every time your characters answer a question, that should bring up a new question, or complicate their life in some way. Delilah also gave a talk about how to write a sex scene, which I highly recommend, if you get the opportunity.

MZ: Did she talk about counting legs?

Legs are like the worst in sex scenes or fight scenes.

JP: She talked about counting hands, but the basic premise is the same.

MZ: I don’t recommend writing either kind of scene in public.

I’m always trying to block it out by moving my body to count limbs…and it has to look completely stupid.

JP: Maybe that’s why I like adding squids to my books. The fighting scenes are much easier to block out when you have essentially unlimited legs.

MZ: I have not tried this.

JP: I wouldn’t recommend it. Let’s keep squids my thing. I can’t have everyone writing squid books

MZ: Heh

So you’re working on YA book right now?

JP: It started out YA, but it has since settled comfortably into Middle Grade

MZ: Ooo

that’s fun, but hard

JP: I’m also half way through a New Adult RomCom, which is an entirely different animal, and fun in its own way

MZ: Oo! I’m excited to read that

I mean, anyone I somehow ended up owing a severed toe to, is exactly the person whose RomCom I want to read.

JP: It’s tricky going from young and innocent to tawdry and adventurous. I don’t think I have a severed toe in either book, but I do have severed tentacles in both.

MZ: oh my.

please don’t send me a severed tentacle… the dogs will get into it and that would just be a mess.

JP: I have no intention of writing any romance for the squids, just to make that clear. They’re comic relief and possible face-eaters exclusively.

MZ: Also, I am SO looking forward to your kids getting old enough to wonder why their Dad has a severed toe.

This is how family stories get started.

JP: Never chop wood without shoes on.

I like to teach my kids valuable life lessons young.

MZ: Heh.

JP: I still have all 10 toes, just to clarify for the readers. All 11, actually

MZ: Right, this one is extra. I found a donor.

“found”

JP: “Donor”

MZ: Is there anything else you want to make sure we talk about?

JP: Word of mouth book recommendations. Write reviews for books you like, and tell people about them. I want to recommend Omega City, a great MG adventure I just read about a group kids who find a secret, underground city and explore it while being chased bad guys. It has a distinct Goonies feeling, which is awesome.

MZ: Ohh cool! Yes. I’d say I pretty much read 90% based on recommendations at this point. And reviews do matter. And it doesn’t matter when you do them. Share what you love.

JP: I love the genre fandom. It’s great to connect with people who love the same things, and it’s the best way to find more things you love.

MZ: Exactly! And the more people you meet the more likely you are to find new things like other things you love

JP: One of the presenters at PL was Marko Kloos, who writes Military SF. He self published a book, and the word of mouth went crazy and he sold about a billion copies in the first few months. So recommendations can make all the difference.

MZ: We all hope for that too :)

But honestly, it’s enough if one person finds it and loves it.

JP: I wanted to borrow his lightening jar, but he’s still using it, so I guess we’ll all have to make our own.

Especially if that one person is an agent ;)

P.S., I’m looking for a good agent.

MZ: I’m glad you had a great time at PL. It sounds like a great experience. And if you get an agent off of this you have to let me know, cause that would be awesome.

JP: I absolutely will. And I’ll buy you a whisky.

MZ: Agents: Seriously if you’re looking for good writers, let me know. I can hook you up.


Thursday Thursday Thursday

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Well, it’s the end of my work week. I guess that’s not really true, because I’m a writer and there’s really no end to the work week. In fact I have A LOT of work ahead of me starting very very soon. Woo Edits! I have edits to do. I’ll probably have a lot more to talk about writing when I’m trying to put off doing edits. :D

TOO MANY LINKS:

WE CAN REBUILD THEM – Spiiiiider Minions. GO MY BEAUTIFUL CHILDREN! TAKE THE WORLD ONE UNDUSTED CORNER AT A TIME.

Stephen Colbert funds every teacher grant request in South Carolina – Guys pay attention. He funded EVERY SINGLE ONE IN THE WHOLE STATE and it was only $800,000. Go and look at what teachers near you are asking for. You can make a difference.

Soldier refuses to give up. – “The march was the last event required to earn the Army’s Expert Field Medical Badge, a decoration awarded to those who pass a rigorous battery of tests for medical professionals in the Army. Less than 25 percent of those who attempt the required course typically pass.” Spoiler: She did.

Silver Bar found on what is believed to be wreck of the Adventure Galley – Hmm. There’s some weirdness between the lines here. It very well could be exactly what they say, but it is a little odd to be doing a big PR thing with the silver bar prior to having other test results and things… unless the government was going to shut down their ability to recover items.Curious to find out more about this team and such.

Heads up! – The Russian Cargo ship is set to fall out of orbit on Friday.

United Arab Emirates sending probe to Mars – I am so excited about this! There are so many great things that can happen with more countries having space programs. I want to read SF about the UAE space program in 200 years! Especially if you extrapolate it having full-funding for that entire time.

It’s tree bukkake season – We’ve got pollen sign the likes of which GOD has never seen.

Measles vaccine may help the body fight off other infections too – Ooo I want to see more research in this drop of other infectious disease deaths after vaccine campaigns. Like, is it tied to parents getting other vaccinations as well, or does the vaccine itself work against other diseases? The article isn’t really clear.

Treating C. diff with it’s own non-toxic spores – Whoa. Why on earth would that work? Is it starving them by overgrowing super fast? And the not-reestablishing normal gut fauna makes it seem like not a great alternative to other methods.

Whiskeytown USA – May 8-9 in Portland Oregon. JUST SO YOU KNOW.

A Choose Someone Else’s Adventure Game Played by Text – There is an astronaut stranded on the moon and you’re the only person they can communicate with. What an amazing concept.

Ebola causes eye color change in man – Whoa weird. Especially that it went back!

Things regarding Revision (IT IS OUT HAVE YOU BOUGHT IT YET?! Also if you buy the paperback on Amazon you get the ebook free.): Over the Effing Rainbow,NPR, MRK: My Favorite Bit, terribleminds, Holy Taco Church, Alasdair Stuart, Tor.com,


Happy Wednesday

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Guess what everyone? WE ALL SURVIVED MONDAY AND TUESDAY!!! *Throws Confetti*

What? Sometimes you have to make your own celebrations. The world is often a scary, confusing place and it helps to remind ourselves about the wonder and triumphs along the way.

TOO MANY LINKS WEDNESDAY EDITION:

Science of Human Decomposition

Astronauts heading to Mars risk brain damage – Cosmic Radiation is No Joke. We need better ship shielding stat.

Empathy Cards for Cancer Patients (and others) – OMG These cards are SORELY needed. And here’s where you can buy them.

Need to Identify a historic glass bottle? – This site will help you when you find historic trash buried in your yard!

Sci-Fi writers make 10 year predictions 

Update on NASA propulsion drive thing – Awwww other people are even more skeptical about stuff than I was.

Solar Flare! (insert lensflare here)

Self-driving Semi hits road – Now, maybe it’s just me, but I think I’d rather we had human-driven trucks that self-driving cars would caravan behind using it as an additional guide to in-road sensors and just enforced current trucking regulations. I mean, I think professional drivers are a better fail safe human system than your average driver if we’re going to have lots of self-driving cars (which I am ALL for). It just seems weird to have the trucks go driverless first. It makes lots of sense to me for driverless cars to use all of the semi-trucks already on the road as an additional sensor resource though.

Long-shuttered Hospital seems to have told mothers in the 1950-70s their babies died then sold them – O_O Not fiction. Should be fiction. This is horrific.

Bank sends ATM to you – The future is lazy and still doesn’t have flying cars but we can now order an ATM. (or I imagine park an ATM in nightclub areas on busy nights). But I dig that it is basically the mobile bank goblins have in WoW. Now for my rocket boots!

Police divers searching for bodies find prank underwater tea party –  I would assume this was the best outcome the police divers could have possibly hoped for… and now they can only be disappointed in the future.

Cache of Mark Twain’s newspaper stories found – and I’m sure he didn’t really want us all to read his early work :D

If you saw the assisted suicide robot bear article…it’s now on Snopes. – Though really the button suggesting you sign up for the Richard Dawkin’s Swimsuit Calendar at the bottom of the page should have been a clue.

CA Attorney General Kamala Harris’ aide busted over ‘3,000-year-old’ Knights Templar police force – This is amazing.

DIY Self-sufficient floating island – Ooooooo neat

Littoral Spaces – New Warren Ellis article comparing shorelines and creative endeavors.


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