27.12.09

Oh Brave New World...

...that has such people in it.

Remember this post? Well, I can top it.

My wife is a member of a website called Neopets, has been for a long, long time. Nine years, in fact, and in that time she has built up her collection of pets, pet-related items and general cool stuff to a level that was pretty impressive. She had several collections that were complete, lots of rare and retired items. She had four pets, all of which were named in a way that was somehow special to our relationship.

Why the past tense?

Because someone has stolen her account and is busily selling everything off. Whoever did this obviously has experience in doing it. They stole her account just before Christmas, ensuring that nobody at Neopets would be there for at least four days, giving them plenty of time to get done what they wanted before the account gets returned to my wife, if, indeed, that ever happens. They changed her password, changed the email address associated with the account, so my wife couldn't request a new one, and changed the birth date so that she couldn't access the account without the email. They knew what they were doing. They knew how to steal her account and get away with it.

And for what? Money to feed their starving kids or to make a mortgage payment so they could keep a roof over their family's heads? Nope. For an online game. An online game mostly played by kids. It's bad enough that it's my wife. She's understandably upset that something she put work and time into, something that had real, personal meaning to us, is being violated by a slimeball. Imagine some little kid, waking up one day, trying to log onto their account and finding that some amoral bastard has stolen it.

Once again, this scumbag is stealing for no actual real-world gain. This pathetic wastrel is ruining the enjoyment of the game for no reason. This person is cheating and stealing for no material gain. And it's only a game. So, once again, why are you acting like a jerk? What has happened to a society--to a species--where people will just do this?

It makes me livid because this piece of excrement is causing pain and distress to my wife. I'd love to find out who it is.

19.12.09

Update

I have finished writing CRUSADER, book two of the MPRD novels. With a some editing and a little luck it should be available around March/April.

So now it's on to book three: RENEGADE.

For everyone yelling for Marie to get her own book, I've decided that the fourth, after RENEGADE, will be a Marie novel. It'll probably be called SCRAPPER and will deal with Marie having to go hunting without Jack, in a team run by another hunter, someone who has good reason not to like werewolves. I'm not saying why Jack can't go hunting, that would spoil RENEGADE.

RENEGADE will also feature a 'flip-back-and-forth' between Jack's POV and Marie's, seeing as they spend much of the novel apart.

More updates wll be forthcoming as they become available.

Have a safe and fun holiday season.

Andy.

2.12.09

Umm... what?


Can someone please explain to me why there's a used copy of PAGAN, my novel, being sold on Amazon.com for $39.38 when anyone can get a new copy for $15.99?

1.12.09

NaNoWriMo and why I fell short.

Well, NaNoWriMo has come and gone and I failed. All told I ended up about ten thousand words shy of the total.

My heartiest and sincerest congratulations to everyone who signed up and managed to hit the total. You guys rock. However you managed to do it, you did manage it and my hat is off to you.

For the uninitiated, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, an annual event which seeks to encourage writers, both amateur and professional, to commit the month of November to ... look, the name is National Novel Writing Month. Do I really need to explain further?

Anyway, the target is fifty thousand words words or roughly sixteen hundred and sixty-seven words a day. A not-impossible target. So why did I fall short?

Well, I could talk about how I was sick for a large slice of the month, and that would be true. I could talk about setting aside last Friday as the day when I was going to catch up, only to find myself hit by the worst migraine I've had in nearly a decade, and that, too, would be true. I could mention the Bengals unexpectedly being quite good this year and how I had to--no choice, you understand--watch them every Sunday. I could add Thanksgiving into the mix and lament about how, between the cooking and the going to relatives houses, I had to take valuable hours away from the keyboard. I could mention that I do my best writing at work during my split shifts, and how, for reasons unknown, I didn't get split shifts for at least a week. I could mention the sick wife that I nursed. I could talk about all of these things and more.

But let's face it, those are just excuses.

They're not reasons.

The reason I fell short was because I just didn't write enough words. And that's didn't, not couldn't. I can write seventeen hundreds words a day. I can do that easily. On three separate occasions during November I sat down and wrote five thousand words, often in four hours or less. On Monday, the last day of the month, I spent a total of four and a half hours bashing out over seven thousand words.

I can do it. I had the time. It was not a failure of time, or ability, it was a failure of motivation.

I messed around on facebook when I should have been writing. I tormented the cat when I should have been writing. I watched a half-dozen movies, three seasons of Blackadder, three episodes of Stargate Universe, the same number of Sanctuary, and went through most of the Military Channel and the Science Channel on Insight's Free Spot. I watched Stargate: Ark of Truth and Stargate: Continuum. I watched American football. I watched a spot of real football. And I could have written whilst I was doing all that. I have my AlphaSmart. It's portable and cord free.

I read, too. Boy did I read. I went on a Terry Pratchett binge, reading most of my collection. I read Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris. I proof-read Pagan again before authorising it for sale on Kindle. All told, during November, I read close to twenty novels. Twenty! When I could have been writing!

There was also the whole issue of getting started. I didn't set finger to keyboard until the fourth of the month. The fourth! I was already over five thousand words behind by the time I got started.

Maybe if I had got started early and worked a little every day, I could have...

Excuse me, I just have to go and have a flashback to every rushed homework assignment from my school days.

So, lessons learned?

Let's find out, and I don't have to wait 'till next year. December is my private NoWriMo. I'm going to write fifty thousand words in the month of December, if only to prove to myself that I can do it.

Just as soon as I've finished watching this really cool special on the History Channel. And I still have four episodes of V on the DVR. And the cat's looking bored. And I never did get around to reading Sourcery. And I have food to serve on Cafe World.

Oh, this month's not looking good, either.

24.11.09

Sick Con or Sad Delusion?

The James Randi Educational Foundation has a disturbing piece on a man Belgium who has--according to reports--come out of a persistent vegetative state and is now merrily communicating with the world.

Except, as they point out he's not. It's complete balderdash that gives people false hope and adds fuel to the notion that we absolutely must keep bodies alive, no matter the cost, no matter the condition.

Hat tip to Penn Jillette via twitter.

10.11.09

30.10.09

PAGAN, Now Available.

My first novel, PAGAN, is now available through my CreateSpace store at https://www.createspace.com/3402911.

I'm so excited I can barely stand to be in the same room as myself.

15.10.09

V: Again

I just saw a commercial. Ladies and gennlemen, please stand and raise your glasses.

They're remaking "V".

That quintessential eighties TV show about the rodent-eating, fake skin-wearing, we-come-in-peacing lizards that went from TV movie to miniseries to slightly odd TV series.

Awesome.

Stargate Universe

I've been casting a jaundiced eye over the newest installment of the Stargate legacy: Stargate Universe.

Well, it's not bad. The principle of the series is this:

An off-world base has a uniquely situated star gate. The core of the planet is radioactive (aren't they all?) and this might allow them to dial a new nine-symbol address.

Nine symbols?

Yeah, try to keep up.

So, the place gets attacked by the Lucian Alliance, the ├╝ber-upgraded human ships (remember the end of Stargate SG-1?) are suddenly weak and pathetic again and the planet blows up. Our new heroes make their escape through the star gate, using the nine-symbol address.

And there's another flaw. Sure, we have the reasoning that the explosion of the planet could have propogated through the open wormhole and, as such, Earth was out. But are there no other stargates? One on an uninhabited planet, mayhap?

Anyway, through they go and find themselves on a ship. An Ancient ship. An Ancient ship many, many, many, many, many (done yet?), many lightyears from home.

Oh, and the ship's buggered. Not a whole heck of a lot is working. But the Ancients were smart.

Apparently, the point was to send the ship out, unmanned. Flying away before it are a number of other unmanned ships programmed to seek out certain planets and drop star gates on them. Thus, when the time was right the Ancients would use the nine-symbols to transport themselves into a new area of the universe with an already completed network of star gates. If anything went wrong, the ship would seek out the nearest star gate on a world that had what was needed and go there. Of course, the Ancients ascended before they got around to using it.

And that, more or less, is the premise of the show. The ship's on automatic, on its last legs, and it's going to be stopping off close to important places where our heroes can go get stuff.

Because, like, the Ancients had never heard of the concepts of 'spares' or 'backups'.

There are flaws in the premise, it's true, but I'm willing to suspend my disbelief there. What I'm not willing to suspend is my hatred for shakycam. I'm convinced that they hired the same guy to make this new series as they did the remake of Battlestar Galactica. Either that or they just stole his ideas, that whole shaky camera work, stupid zooms and everything else that goes with that 'mockumentary' style of cinematography.

Still, I'm going to watch it. I just won't like it as much as if they had kept the style of the previous two series.

11.10.09

Pagan

It's been a while since I posted anything here. At least I have a good excuse.

For the last few months I've been writing a novel and now it's complete. A lifelong dream has been fulfilled.

The novel is called Pagan and tells the story of a vampire hunter who finds himself having to take on both the vampires and an unwilling public. The vampires are waging a propaganda war--very successfully--and the tide of popular opinion is turning.

The novel is at the printers and should be available in a few weeks. Keep it here for updates or join me on facebook or MySpace for details.

14.4.09

Published!

Associated Content published my article:

Digital Cameras and Cameras in Cellphones: Photography in the 21st Century

In the 21st century so much is changing so fast, and the humble camera has come further and faster than many other things we take for granted. This is not your grandmother's photography.
http://www.associatedcontent.comarticle/1623260/digital_cameras_and_cameras_in_cellphones.html

9.3.09

Rejected

I sent my story "Outside The Box" to Asimov's Science Fiction magazine and, today, received their answer:

Rejection.

Oh well, onwards and upwards.

4.1.09

Arise, Sir Terry

We at Legal Alien were absolutely overjoyed to hear that This World's Greatest Author, Terry Pratchett, has been honoured by Her Majesty in the New Year's Honours list with a knighthood.

I can think of nobody more deserving, and no honour longer overdue. In the words of the man (knight) himself:

"Marry, nuncle, if'n I had a Knighthood (Night Hood), why, it would keep my ears Warm in Bedde; i'faith, if many a Knight is a Fool, why, should a-"
Congratulations, Sir Terry, and long may you continue bringing light into our lives. And now I have to find a way to send him an empty envelope with "Sir Terry Pratchett, Knight" written on the front.

In joke. If you don't get it, you need to read a better class of books.