Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Science, females, and Guns

I just felt some urges in my areas, watching the woman on Mythbusters shoot a .50 sniper rifle. So hot.

Then she said, "Science gets more fun when I gets a bigger gun."

I nearly passed out.

Blue Skies, Wet Pavement

The weather cleared. I'm going riding in the hills behind my house with my buddy Michael in about an hour. We have talked about taking a ride together for literally years, but with the vagaries of life, this is our first opportunity.

Until then: the writing, she beckons.

After that: more writing. The bitch won't leave me alone.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Recent News, Time Out, Tomorrow Off

Recent Events:

I have been away from the keyboard for a while, but still managed to get some writing done. I have been cranking a little bit at a time on the third scenario for Everytown, which is fairly short relative to the last one. I even got a whole paragraph written for the novel yesterday.

My daughter has started her second season of soccer, and I am her team's coach. We had our first game on Saturday, and she has some great girls on her team. My girl played well, the team performed exceptionally, and everyone seemed have fun. There is but one parent that puts my teeth on edge. Hopefully it was just a one-time thing, and a product of the stress I was feeling rather than something more.

Last night I spoke with an officer I hadn't had opportunity to speak with in some time. I told him what has happened with my writing. He congratulated me and in the subsequent conversation, revealed that he had given up being a struggling artist for the job. We talked some more, and I felt a sadness and an anger in him. I asked about it and he told me that he'd been burned as a younger man by an unscrupulous partner on a comic.

I told him that I am happier now than ever before because I am doing what I want, and what I am driven, to do. Further, I told him that I can work out some portion of my demons by writing them out and making the situations happen to my poor characters.

We talked about other things for a bit, mostly my fiction, and then we were leaving. As we did so, I couldn't help but meddle, and said, "I would think that someone as visual as an artist or illustrator would have clear recall of the shit we see, and relive it at odd times. Maybe getting that pen out will let you work some of that shit out. And if, as I suspect, you are driven to do it, you will just be happier drawing than not."

He gave a thoughtful nod, but didn't say anything. I hope he does pick it up again.

Future Plans:

I have tomorrow off, thanks to that venerable hero of California, Cesar Chavez.

I hope to get much writing done tomorrow and even a bit today. The weather is foul outside and if I can keep the damn TV off tomorrow I should hammer quite a bit out, and excercise those of my own demons.

Friday, March 26, 2010

A sad day, but a good day

One of the traffic court clerks I work with, Fred, came in today to have lunch with us.

Fred was recently forced into early retirement by a medical condition that required he re-test for his license. They did not give it to him. As he has a long commute to work, he had to retire. His neighbors and aquaintances told him to just keep going, that 'no one would know.'

"I'll know," he said, "I am not a hypocrite."

Born in upstate New York, Fred's a Marine Corps veteran of Vietnam.

When he got back from Vietnam, Fred moved to Hollywood, where he was on the set of a new science fiction show with a buddy who was an aspiring actor. The buddy didn't make the grade, but the young stern-faced man with him was asked to don a red shirt and stand in the background. That's right, Fred served as a red-shirt on Star Trek, dying several times in service to The Federation.

Fred came north, got married, and started working as a clerk of the courts, first for the Public Defender, then in infractions. I met him in traffic court, and grew to respect his wit and wisdom.

Fred's a gentleman and fun sort, I wish him a happy and lengthy retirement.

Take 'em for at least as long as they took you, Fred. And have fun doing it!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Talking shit about writing

I recently posted some stuff about how not to write. Being new to the published author realm, I would like to add one more thing:

Writing the stuff you are getting paid to do is another good way not write the stuff you may want to write. I find myself wishing I could go back to the novel and get some things down, but find I have to work on the scenarios I am writing for 93 Games Studio. Not because they've set a short deadline, but because I'm getting paid to do it.

It's nice to have little things like 'what should I work on' to whine about rather than, "I can't think myself outta this hole, dammit!"

Why yes, I do believe I'll have some cheese with my whine, thankyou.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

And My First Review from someone who doesn't know me...

Is here

I am still grinning. The reviewer picked up on exactly what I was putting down: The character and motivations of people make for good story, not just listing a series of locations, names, and descriptions.

The First Contact scenario should also be released this weekend, at a similar price. I hope it is well recieved. To work now, and later, more work.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

You can't ruin my day today, you really can't

The first little game book is up and for sale. My pride is all out of scale with my achievement, but I cannot help but smile, even with the gang of stressed out folks trying to make the court bend to their will today.

Here it is: Everytown

I did it!

I did it with help:

Max: I cannot thank you enough for looking to make our games better. If not for you, I would not have met Moose, not have been constantly challenged to make my games, and therefore my stories, better.

Moose: I cannot thank you enough for making those calls and writing those emails on my behalf, and steadfastly backing my ability with the company. Your maps make it work!

To my other players: thanks so much for your participation in my weekend wildness. I hope you've had fun.

To my family: thanks for putting up with me and my friends bashing about the house and making things a mess far too frequently. Thanks for not grumbling when I replied to requests for more time with, "I have to write."

Thanks to you all for being who you are, and helping me be me.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Goodness Continues

The morons at work haven't been too moronic, the weather has been fine, the rides in nice, and my buddy is coming up from Arizona this weekend. To top these goodnesses off, the family is well and I am still bashing out final corrections on the stuff for a possible release date of 'soon'.

The good times, they roll...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Today Was A Good Day

I had begun to despair that the things I had written under contract would not be seen this year, if at all. I have been paid, the checks deposited. There was just no word at all on what was happening, so I just went on to work on the novel. When I did get word, it wasn't what I wanted to hear.

Yesterday the first piece was put up for final checks of the format and editing. I experienced a thrill that I am still riding seeing my name on it.

The second piece went up today for the final check-through. The artwork selected for it is slick, and portraits of the characters very nice. I'm thrilled.

It's small print and electronic at that, it ain't a novel, and it doesn't even qualify for SFWA.

But it is: paid for, done, nearly out, and mine...

A quiet contentment spreads wings 'neath my breastbone...

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Action is easy. Emotion Ain't

A great part of my day job is describing the action. I need to be able to communicate what heppened in the moment that I or someone took action. When it comes to my fiction, I find these sections easy to write.

Emotion and dialogue aren't so easy. Not when you love the spoken word as I do. It is a challenge. One I enjoy, sometimes. Most of the time it pisses me off and irritates me no end, especially when I lose the voice of the character in the action...

The opening of Haldred The Hack, which handles some of those things pretty well, I think:

“Keep that cretin from bleeding all over mon floor,” Loud Luis ordered, his outrageous accent making the words difficult to understand.

“Last I checked, he wasn’t bleeding,” Krebs said, cracking thick knuckles of his fingers with his thumbs.

The subject of the Watchman and the innkeep’s conversation was standing atop one of the trestles of the Rake’s Rest. The drunkard, Ernst Korrmann, had been arguing with the innkeeper as civilly as any drunk could be expected to when Krebs and his partner, Pfenning arrived. When he recognized the orange uniforms and green sashes of the Watch, Korrmann decided with the drunk’s logic that he must have been the reason the Watch was called, and further, he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. He’d leapt to the table and loudly declared the Watch to be, “Full of bitches and witches.”

Pfenning made his way through the taproom, stopping in front of the door that led to the alley out back. He looked to make sure there was no other route out, turned back to face Korrmann while Krebs continued his conversation with Louie.

Krebs asked Loud Luis, who wasn’t among his favorite people, “So Korrmann did what, exactly?”

“He owes me half mark et three penny. He said he weren’t paying fer his boissons, his drinks.”

Krebs understood the man, despite the foreigner’s dropping into Gualainese every few words, “And yet you served him, knowing he was this type of drunk. Why?”

“’Cause he has the coin. It’s his- how you say? Name day. Everyone knows ‘e gets un peu d’coin from ‘is kin on ‘is name day.”

Krebs snorted, “So you feed the man’s demon and then call the Watch when it comes forth?”

Luis shrugged with the typical obstinate eloquence of his people.

‘Damn foreigners,’ Krebs thought as he turned to face Korrmann. He shook his head, a slight twinge of guilt at the thought. The man was within the law and his rights as the proprietor of a public house, whatever his origins and character.

Korrmann might be a royal pain in the ass, but he wasn’t normally violent unless someone challenged him or the Watch was called. One of the things Krebs had found surprising in his first years as a man of the Watch was how often things worked themselves out without the presence of the Watch. Those that didn’t were worthy of the Watch’s attention.

All Louie should have done was wait for Korrmann to pass out and take the coin he was owed, plus a tip for his trouble. The innkeeper liked to complain about the Watch, but he called on them more often than just about any other tavern in Southgate.

Pushing such thoughts aside, he said reasonably, “Korrmann, you know better than this. Come down from there and we’ll sort it out.”
Korrmann leered at Krebs, “Bite my ass, pumpkin!”

The crowd that had gathered to watch a beating tittered and guffawed. The Watchman could hear bets being placed.

Krebs hated them in that moment. Unwilling to do their part to maintain the Duke’s peace, they got in the way and incited those who might otherwise come quietly to act like idiots.

Pfenning’s reaction was more practical than his partner’s poisonous thoughts. Krebs saw his hand go to his side, silently sliding the cudgel he called ‘Love’ from his belt. Pfenning held the cubit of worn and nicked hickory down behind and parallel to his leg, concealing it.

Krebs gave a tiny shake of his head. “You need to pay your bill, Korrmann,” he insisted.

“Come and make me, pumpkin!” Korrmann shouted.

Krebs snorted, “Korrmann, I know you are quite the bare-knuckle fighter. You don’t have to prove it tonight.”

“Come ON!” Korrmann howled, spittle flying from his mouth and snot dripping from his oft-broken nose.

Krebs shook his head, keeping his voice level, “Twice you won the Boar’s Mantle.” Krebs tactfully refrained from adding, “then drank yourself into a stupor.” Instead he said, “There is no need to prove yourself tonight. Come. Pay your bill and we’ll all go home.”

Korrmann came from a good family that had invested his winnings well, which is why the man had a stipend paid him every year on his birthday and had a home to return to.

“You’ll have to make me, pumpkin! I ain’t goin’ anywhere wi’ you!” he yelled, kicking a tankard in Krebs’ direction. The crowd cheered Korrmann, egging the drunk on.

Krebs realized Korrmann wasn’t going to listen to reason. The big Watchman grunted and strode closer to the prize-fighter, raising his fists and bellowing, “Korrmann, you’ve broken the Duke’s peace, and will be brought before a magistrate!”

The distraction worked perfectly. Korrmann put his hands up in the classic guard, attention focused on Krebs. While Krebs made his display, Pfenning glided forward with his cudgel held at shoulder height.

Pfenning’s strike slammed across the backs of Korrmann’s legs, just above the knees, dropping the drunkard’s ten stone of weight to the table with a
pained grunt.

Krebs and Pfenning were on him in an instant, the experienced partners dragging the man from the table to the ground before the ex-prize fighter could recover. Krebs pulled a short length of rope from his belt-line. It was a complicated series of knots and loops, but the big Watchman had it on the man’s wrists in a flash.

Korrmann started crying, “I lost again. I lost again...Momma, I lost again.”

The taproom’s patrons booed and hissed, displeased with the quick and bloodless end to the fight. ‘To the Pathless Dark with them! I’m not paid enough to go toe to toe with the likes of Korrmann,’ Krebs thought. The most likely the cause for the grumbling was the great deal of coin changing hands, though a bit more blood would have probably pleased the rest.

Pfenning grinned at his partner over Korrmann’s back, “Damn, but that was fun.”

Krebs snorted and climbed to his feet, “You always like giving them some Love.”

Pfenning grinned and nodded emphatically, practiced hands patting the man down for weapons. He pulled a knife from the crying drunkard’s belt as well as his coin purse, which he passed to Krebs.

“Five penny fine for disturbing the Duke’s Peace and a five penny fine for challenging a member of the Watch to fight. Half-mark in total spot fines,” Krebs pronounced in a loud voice. He then took a mark from the purse and carefully split the silver in half along the line minted into the tiny silver bar for that purpose. He pocketed the half-mark and helped Pfenning stand the drunkard up. The Watchman found it always good policy to let witnesses know what he was doing when running his hands through the property of another of the Duke’s subjects.

Steadying the man absently, Krebs counted out three pennies. He slapped the half mark and copper coins on the bar as he and Pfenning escorted a still-tearful Korrmann from the premises.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

How Not to Get Writing Done

I have been reading all these pithy statements about how to get writing done so I thought, like our most excellent politicians, I would go negative and list a few ways not to write:



Surf (Internet or waves)

Ride (Horses, bikes, partners)

Read blogs about writing



Text people (It may be text, but it ain't writing)

Facebook or Twitter or whatever

Go to funerals

Talk to your agent (or try to get one)

Obsess over reviews

Drink alot (because you were obsessing over reviews)

Masturbate (either mental or physical, this ties in closely with surfing the web and obsessing over reviews, not necessarily in that order)

Talk about what you are writing


Do research (I just gotta know X)

Create problems with your computer and then have to deal with them

Answer the phone

Watch TV

Go fishing

Play silly games

Go hunting

Clean something (House, pet, partner, car, computer)

Shop for word processing progam or books on writing

Attend sporting events of offspring

I am sure there are more. Please add any you have...

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Ick, and Other News

I am feeling much better, and woke this morning without any additional rocks in my head than my brain. I had the heat off, which seemed to help. Hot dry air = bad Griffin sinuses.

My mother-in-law is in hospital with some kind of scare we are trying to figure out, and has spent the night in hospital under observation.

In related news: (pun intended) one of my wife's great-uncles died recently and a significant portion of the family can't be bothered to put their bullshit aside to pay their proper respects, so I will be a pall-bearer on Wednesday when he is laid to rest. As I am the only tall guy among my wife's short maternal relatives, it shall be an uneven ride that he is sure to smile at from wherever he will be observing (He was a six footer too).

I liked him a lot, though I only met him once. A veteran and good man. I shall miss the opportunity to get to know him better.

My mom is fine, as is my dad, brother and his family. My mom is now officially bionic, having had total knee replacement. Apprently she's chasing the cat and trying to trip the dog in a revenge trip.

The dog must have eaten something bad, because he keeps trying to hurl and hasn't bothered me to go out.

The cat is still a murderous bastard.

I am still tired of all the stupid people, who appear to be breeding a race of even more stupid people.

Oh, and I had an exceptional laugh this weekend, thanks to my buddy Rob:

He ripped one, a rather virulent one at that. Everyone noticed the foulness and let him know their disgust.

Once we were all wearing our smelled something bad faces, he asked, "What? Don't you like my ass molecules?"

I joined a chorus of, "What?"

He wiggled the fingers of his right hand in front of his nose, "Don't you like knowing those molecules came from inside my ass?"

Then there were two reasons to have tears flowing from our eyes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Woke up this morning...

Not sure what woke me at 0145, but I tossed and turned for an hour, then gave it up for a bad cause. I decided to get up and see what I could crank out.

It's been about a month since I consistently sat and banged out words on The Last Captain. I had been doing some work on refining a section or two, but hadn't really thumped down new stuff or drawn closer to being finished with the thing. In an hour I put down nearly a thousand new words. They feel right, but may need some expansion.

It is interesting to me that I very rarely recall dreams I have. When I go to bed I tend to lay there and think over the last few days, paying particular attention to any behavior I would like to beat myself up over. I think that's what happened tonight. I hadn't self flagellated enough before falling asleep, but my subconcious continued to hoe that row. Once the guilt had been turned to perfection, I woke, and was spurred to write.

Speaking of which:

The Last Captain needs some more work...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Smoothing it out

I am still hovering about the same word count, but I needed to get the following section right... Which I think I did:

“I know you do not intend harm with what you do, but the very violence of your opposition to us will lead to many deaths, and that is an evil. An evil easily avoided by your immediate capitulation to the reasonable requests of your Home world.” -Hengist Hakka, Imperial Envoy to the Confederacy of Free Stars

Venkman didn’t like the cathedral. He wasn’t against religion, he just didn’t like the imposing weight of the building and the social weight of the rites performed there. It usually wasn’t an issue, he wasn’t a member of the congregation and his partner had issues with The Penitent, so it was generally easy to avoid.

Baptiste was inside enduring a service his brother was presided over.

‘Not that I don’t have things I need to get off my chest,’ he thought with a small smile, ‘But somehow I don’t think that the congregation would be disposed to forgiving one such as I. Better to reflect on my role in life, and the good I have done.’

By training and inclination, he was an agnostic, as he and his crèche mates were brought up to be. As far as he cared to think about an overarching power affecting his life, he believed the mere act of living one’s life an observance of God, or whatever that power was called.

Religion helped some, and he wasn’t about to denigrate someone else’s beliefs like some imperial propagandist, especially on something as sensitive to the locals as their ancient religion. The original colonists had brought more than their language with them on fleeing Sol system.

The cathedral was one of the first buildings to be built on Nouvelle Genève, and had served Starfall for generations before the Imperium came and relocated the city center and administrative offices. Despite the neighborhood, it was still the center of religious life for the descendants of the original colonists. Nouvelle Genevoise were known for their stubbornness.

Movement in front of the Cathedral caught Venkman’s eye. He grimaced as he recognized Morgan. The Broken was moving slowly but with purpose, clearly staggering toward the portion of the cathedral complex that served the indigent and chemically imbalanced.

Knowing Morgan always made a scene when Venkman was around, the officer briefly considered slumping in his seat and trying to avoid attracting the man’s attention.

Morgan eliminated that possibility, staggering to the passenger side window of the unmarked and belching loudly. Oblivious to the fetid gale he unleashed, the Broken wiped his dirty hands on the front of his jacket and said, “Afternoon, Officer Venkman.”

Venkman did a poor job of covering his surprise at the civil words, found himself automatically correcting the man’s time, “Good morning, Morgan.”

“I’m looking for your partner. Seen him lately?”

“He’s inside at services.”

Morgan swayed back to look at the cathedral doors, mumbled, and spun out. He nearly fell over, saved himself by planting his ass against the passenger window behind Venkman. He belched, muttered a bit more, and then leaned in on Venkman again.

Nigel breathed through his mouth, leaning back from the window.

“I found the man he was looking for.”

“Did you?”


“Want to go get Bap?”

“No, don’t want to go in there. Never liked religion, and it’s never liked me,” the Broken replied.

“Right. Can you tell me?”


A few uncomfortable moments passed. Venkman didn’t want to jar the man from his moment of lucidity, but found he couldn’t keep from asking, “Well?”

“You’ll tell him?”

“Of course,” Venkman said.

“Don’t look so surprised. If you tell him all, then why haven’t you told him what you are?”

“And what is that, Morgan?” Venkman asked, humoring the Broken.

“Perfected, of course.”

Venkman twitched, adrenaline dumping into his system. He managed to force a chuckle, “Now why would you think that?”

“I don’t think it. I know it. In my bones.”

Venkman resorted to mantra, carefully controlling his immediate gut response, which was to eliminate the threat, “So you know it?”

“Yes. I can feel you controlling yourself, you know. I do the same thing.”


“Yes. Don’t worry, I won’t tell,” Morgan said, reaching in and patting the officer on the shoulder. Venkman clamped down on his instinct to yank the man into the car by the man’s hand and end him, barely hearing Morgan continue, “You should tell before he finds out.”

Stunned, Venkman could only repeat himself, “Really?”

“Yes. The life you have built will be destroyed if you don’t.”
Venkman tried to find some vestige of the Mad Morgan he knew in this man who seemed to see straight to the heart of things, and failed.

A few moments passed, the bell tolling the end of services mournful in the wan afternoon light.

“Why won’t you tell?” Nigel asked.

“Not my place. Besides, who would believe us?” Morgan replied, voice rising through the last word.


“Yeah, copper.”

“Shit, Morgan.”

Beads of sweat sprang out on Morgan’s head, “I haven’t much time. The guy you were looking for, you’ll find him in a warehouse on Fortieth and L’Usine. Northeast corner building.”

“Thank you, Morgan.”

“Fuck you,” Morgan snapped over his shoulder, staggering away.

“Sure, Morgan.”

Morgan’s only reply was an obscene gesture before the Broken staggered around the corner and out of sight.

Venkman looked to the church again as the doors opened and the faithful started to file out. The sudden tension drained from his frame, leaving a residue of sadness he couldn’t quite shake. He knew Morgan was right, but being right didn’t make it possible.

He tried to distract himself by calling up the map on the data terminal in the car. He quickly found the location but failed to distract himself. He was still brooding when his partner stumped up to the car, popped the driver’s door and threw himself in.

“Le con,” Bap cursed with feeling.

“I take it your conversation went poorly?”

Baptiste snarled and started the car, “What conversation? His sermon was a rant against the evils of failing to turn the other cheek, of resisting God’s will in our daily lives. He was looking at me half the time, I swear. I should never have let you talk me into meeting him.”

Nigel looked across at his partner, decided to let the last statement pass, “I’m sorry it didn’t go well.”

“Fuck it,” Baptiste snarled, entering traffic.

“I saw Morgan.”

“Fuck him too!” Baptiste grunted.

Venkman ignored that response, “He found Marcus. Gave me a good location.”

“No shit?” Baptiste asked, looking at his partner.

“No shit, Bap. Want to watch the road?” Venkman replied, pointing at the car stopped for the light in front of them.

Baptiste slammed on the brakes, looked at his partner again, “I don’t know what to be more surprised at, that he managed to talk to you, or that he made enough sense that you could understand him.”

Venkman shrugged and rotated the terminal so Baptiste could see the screen. Some questions were better left unanswered.

“No shit? Where is he?”

“Took off when he started losing it.”

“No shit?”

Venkman stared at his partner, grinning, “Between the no shitting and fucking everyone, we are in for a busy day, partner,”

Baptiste smiled back and put the car back in motion, “Yes. Yes, we are.”

Monday, March 1, 2010

You there, yes you!

When you don't have an internal monologue, you can really annoy and disturb others. Tonight one such was in my workplace. It went like this:

Man starts talking to himself, commenting on the processes of the court.

Ever vigilant, I said, "Sir, please stop talking to yourself. The rest of us can hear you."

"Yes. Yes Sir."

A few minutes later, he continues, now adding throat clearing and blatant twitches to the repetoire.

"When you speak out loud, it's no longer an internal monologue. Please be silent or you will be asked to leave."

He then suprised me. This past St. Valentine's day was my 10th anniversary on the job. I had thought I was beyond being caught completely flat-footed by someone's behavior. But he did it. He suprised the shit out of me by pulling a face and pouting. If it were possible to whine with an expression, he did it. I have a six year old, and I would have said it wasn't possible. Totally.

"Sir, please try not to disturb the court further with your antics."

He gets up and goes to the door, twitches, whiney faces, and all, disrupting the court with his persistent babble. He left, which was good, but then he came back, which wasn't.

When his moment arrived, and he went before the court, he then claimed that the DA had paperwork he needed to get his multiple charges dismissed. She held her ground, telling him he had retained the paperwork. He repeated his claims. She told him to check his pockets. He did. Lo an behold! The paperwork was there.

He had his cases dismissed. He left, but not before babbling repeated nonsense.

Ah, the joy.