Writing: Cost of Writing

Originally posted on Dream by Day:
It’s difficult for writers to make money. I went out into the cold corporate world after college because I don’t like going hungry. Some days I hate it. I hate going to work. My fingers itch and all I want to do it use post-it notes on a wall and figure out the plot hole burning against the back of my face. It’s all I can do to look human instead of speaking inhuman tongues which have been tumbling around my tongue. I took a part-time job in desperation when I was unemployed. Unemployment covered my car payments and gas, but that was about it. Thank God my parents had space and resources to support me during that time. But I loved the job. I like working customer service. I like balloons. I loved that my mind could roam across landscapes beyond the mundane while I stocked shelves. I loved the creativity of building displays. I…

Writing: Death of the Author (Part 2)

Wondering why there is a part 2? Because I think this actually goes beyond merely literary critique. Let’s take an example: The Bible. One of the big areas I see this is around homosexuality. And it makes me see a little cross-eyed because every verse that gets brought up is brought up either without the cultural context of the time it was written and/or the linguistic context. I’m not going to break down all the verses (there are 6 and you can Google it for yourself). But when people talk about Sodom and Gomorrah they always talk about man-on-man sex. It ignores the custom that when you feed someone in your house (as Lot did), in that culture – you have taken on a responsibility to protect them. This is huge. I would compare it to spitting in someone’s face in today’s world. It is such a taboo you’ve probably never seriously considered it except as an act of extremity –

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Short Story: Squirrels in the Attic

Originally posted on Dream by Day:
The family had three cats and a dog.  Two of the cats were hunters and came from the same litter – Taffy and Cinnamon. There was a long debate about which cat to put into the attic the first time the family heard squirrels.  Taffy was far and away the superior hunter.  He brought in everything from snakes to bats.  Alive. Apparently bringing them home and letting the humans play with them was the most affectionate thing he could think.  No matter how many times he got yelled at. No matter how often he was reminded “you bring it inside, you lose it!” Cinnamon might or might not be an amazing hunter; she was smart enough not to be seen bringing in her prizes. The only time anyone knew she had been hunting was when remains were discovered.  Her favorite spot to take these “toys” was the bathtub in the hall.  Somehow she learned that if you put…

Life Events: Water Heater Adventures

This weekend was a roller coaster. It rained a lot last week, and sometimes when it rains the water comes in under the garage door. So I don’t think too much about a little water on my side of the garage when it’s raining. But it was dry all day Friday. I went to go get pizza for dinner. I came home and parked in the garage. There was water. I followed the water path to the hot water heater and the wooden boards it was on (it was rested on 4 cinder blocks with a board on top) was soaked. Oooooooh. Shit. We’ve known since we bought the house that the water heater is old. Like 15 years or more (there isn’t a date on the thing). So we knew it was going to go at some point. Our plan was to finish the kitchen and bathroom renovation, see what our water consumption was for a few months and

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Writing: Reading or Listening?

NYT had an interesting piece on reading vs. audiobooks and I wanted to put in my 2 pence on the topic.  I try to be very clear in my reviews when I’m reading vs. listening.  I know a few times I’ve missed the mark on it, but I try.  Because I do see the difference between an audiobook and the visual-reading experience.  I struggled with Terry Pratchett until I checked out “Making Money” on audiobook.  The reader helped.  A LOT.  When I recommend that book, I always recommend the audiobook version – because it is a different way to approach the book. Now, some of it comes down to the reader(s).  I also listen to free readers on Librivox and some of them improve the experience, many are neutral, and a few have a negative impact.  It IS a skill to read well.  It is art to read and entertain someone else’s work. I listened to “Lock In” by John Scalzi.  I got the

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Writing: Thoughts on magic systems

Originally posted on Dream by Day:
As a fantasy and sci-fi writer and fan, I spend more time thinking about different magic systems than I probably should. In every system I design for my worlds, I like to answer several questions to myself: Are people equally equipped to access or utilize magic? (example: if the system is based on alchemy than the limiting factor would be the character’s ability to get raw materials) If there is inequality (mage A is stronger than mage B) what determines their relative strength? Genetics? Luck? Dieties? I get it, my protagonist might be the strongest mage, but why? Where does magic come from? Is it a limited resource, and how does it reproduce? Are all mages/magic users good at all types of magic or do they need to specialize in something? Does magic have rules for how it impacts the natural world? (ie: how does the presence of a dryad affect the forest) Sometimes I…

Review: Simon Sinek

A friend posted this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MC2X-LRbkE) and I ranted on his Facebook. I’ve written about Millennials before.  I AM a Millennial.  I struggle with the term because I hate fighting the negative stereotypes.  I HAVE known people who are entitled shits.  But you know who else is an entitled narcissictic shit? Donald. J. Trump.  And he is a baby boomer. You know who has a history of being selfish? Baby Boomers.  Look at how many bust-boom cycles the economy has been in from ~1980 (the “young” end of Boomers is 1964 which made them 16, so a large majority were at least voting).  Look at the boom-bust cycle since 2000.  Look at Enron.  Look at the recession of 2008.  And the economists say we’re probably about to have another one.  So AT LEAST one per decade! I know awesome Baby Boomers.  Unlike many of the critics of millennials who love to use sweeping statements about “most” and “all” – I

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Miss Manners: Holding Doors in the 21st century

Originally posted on Dream by Day:
Anyone who knows me, knows I have strong opinions about holding doors. A lot of my guy friends complain that the rules are “always changing” on them and I have to say, I don’t entirely agree. There IS a problem that there are people playing by different rules. But within those people – the rules are consistent.  I propose a simplification of “holding the door” and the first thing to be aware of: gender doesn’t matter. Let me say that again – stop looking at gender as the reason you should (or should not!) hold a door. I think part of the problem has long been that there are too many rules to decide who and when a door should be held. I live by a simple set of rules: Am I in the way if I hold the door for them? Am I improving their day by holding the door? If I can not answer…

Politics:Ga Amendment 3, Forest Land Conservation and Timberland Properties Amendment (2018)

I had no clue how to vote until I looked up what politicians were saying about this particular amendment.  It was so confusingly written (and honestly, that includes the original language they were editing.  UGH). Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to revise provisions related to the subclassification for tax purposes of and the prescribed methodology for establishing the value of forest land conservation use property and related assistance grants, to provide that assistance grants related to forest land conservation use property may be increased by general law for a five-year period and that up to 5 percent of assistance grants may be deducted and retained by the state revenue commissioner to provide for certain state administrative costs, and to provide for the subclassification of qualified timberland property for ad valorem taxation purposes? Who Do What??? Then I read what Governor Nathan Deal said, “Georgia’s working forests generate significant economic investment in our local communities due to the contributions of those

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Writing: Novel in Progress Part 4

Part 1: Writing: damnit! Part 2: Writing: Novel In Progress Part 2 Part 3: Writing: Novel in Progress Part 3 Captain Chou looked at the report.  Out of respect they had annonymized the transmissions in all the ambassadorial suites, but he did notice a significant spike of activity after Talia’s arrival.  It wasn’t surprising, certainly each ambassador was furiously scrambling to write home and ask for instructions.  Probably video and conference calls across the stars.  That would be expensive on the power grid if it continued too long.  He sighed, running a hand through his hair.  He put out a quick message to the crew to minimize unnecessary power usage.  He then followed with a quick ping to the three shift engineer leads to give them a code to let him know if they ever hit 70% usage.  It was still well within safety range and would give them a chance to ration the power more carefully. Rubbing his eyes, the captain set down the

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