Friday, November 22, 2013

Catching Fire

Okay, so I got a free movie ticket for Catching Fire, a.k.a. that other Hunger Games book that's exactly like the first one, but everyone seems to love regardless... for some reason... but whatever.  I got this lovely free movie ticket in return for the movie review I wrote on it, which is posted below.

The Hunger Games is a book series that I do not particularly enjoy.  There are so many better stories, so many better worlds, characters, and most importantly, so many better WRITERS!!!  I felt that Catching Fire was simply a retelling of the first book, just with different characters. There was really nothing in it to distinguish it from its predecessor.  They are, basically, the exact same book.  When it comes to the movies, however, Catching Fire is a far better made movie than the first one.

After their historic double win of last year's Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta must keep up the charade that they are madly in love with each other, lest they become symbols of a rebellion that has been brewing for seventy-five years, and be killed along with everyone they know and love to stop it.  Every twenty-five years a special games are held, and this year, the tributes will be chosen from past winners of the games, placing the not so lovestruck couple back in the games for the second time in two years, but this time, they have allies.

The problems of the first movie were far too many to go into, so I'll bring up the most terrible of them.  First and foremost, the actors playing the leads clearly hate each other.  They don't have a single shred of chemistry, and often look either angry or disgusted that they even have to share scenes with one another, much less act like they're in love.  This, unfortunately, has not changed.  These two actors clearly do not want to even be in the same room with one another, seem to be reading their lines off of cue cards half the time, mumbling, and basically showing exactly zero emotion or interest in their roles throughout the entire movie.

Other problems included the lack of any sort of musical soundtrack, or even adequate ambient sound effects to make it feel as though we were actually in a forest with the characters.  The ridiculous and highly annoying overuse of shakeycam.  Horrible CG special effects.  And an overall cheap, low budget feel.  And not the good kind.

The second movie, thankfully, actually had background music and sound effects where appropriate.  it actually looks and feels like they are in a real jungle, rather than on a set in a sound stage.  The use of shakeycam was very limited, though it did rear its ugly head.  And the CG effects, for the most part, were both sparing in their use, and passably good when they were used.  The script, by no means a masterpiece, was far less confusing, tighter, and it actually used its visual medium to show, rather than tell.  And that was the biggest problem that the first movie had.  I have often said that it should either have been called Awkward Silence: The Movie, or Tell, Don't Show: The Movie.

All in all, it is a far better made movie than The Hunger Games.  I actually found this one tolerably enjoyable, though the story does drag terribly in the second act before the games begin.  I attribute this to the fact that neither Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) nor Josh Hutcherson (Peeta) could carry a show to save their lives.  The dynamic duo they are NOT.  They give such wooden and emotionless performances that they drag the entire film down to their boring and bland level.  The supporting cast is still excellent, with Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) still completely stealing every scene that he's in, and the new addition to the cast Sam Claflin (Finnick) is not far behind in likeability and charisma.  He, almost single-handedly, saves a third act that would, otherwise, have been more of the same bland, emotionless mumbling between Lawrence and Hutchensen.

Fans of the series will likely find this movie to be even better than the first, and even those who are not fans may find some enjoyment as well.  It was a well made movie, but falls short in the lead actors, and in the source material, which, for me, was always a little bland to begin with.  Three Stars.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I'M ALIVE!!! ...I think...

So, due to a hiring freeze at work, I've been working about 80 hours a week for the last six months or so.  I finally told my supervisor that I can't do this anymore, and that I would be doing my route and my route only from here on out, which is my right as the assigned carrier for an auxiliary route.  And so, she went to the post master saying we need more workers, he went to the district manager, he went to the regional manager, and the regional manager was all like, wtf, you've got 16 routes with only 4 subs to cover them, yeah, hire more.  And so they did... finally...

So, now, I've been working all day every day for so long that I have no idea what to do with my time anymore haha.

Anyway, here's some awesome recipes I've come up with lately.

Shredded Teriyaki Chicken (Crock pot required)


2 lbs boneless chicken breast
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup teriyaki marinade
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth/stock/whatever
1/2 cup water
1 pack hamburger buns
A dash of your favorite hot sauce (optional)


Put your chicken breast in the bottom of your crock pot.
Dice your garlic as fine as you are able and add in on top.
Combine all liquid ingredients in a mixing bowl, add ginger and whisk until it mixes in.
Pour that on top of the chicken and set the crock pot to low heat.
Try to ignore the awesome smell coming off of it for the next 5-6 hours.
Use a wooden spoon to mash up the chicken so that it shreds apart.
Serve on hamburger buns.

And yes, two pounds of shredded chicken awesomeness may be a tad bit much.  You'll probably have leftovers.  Sure, you could nuke it in the microwave for lunch the next day on an extra bun or two.  OR, you could make something else using that leftover chicken.

Teriyaki Chicken Noodle Soup


2 packages of chicken flavor instant ramen noodles
half an onion
1/2 cup corn
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
1 large potato
1 cup shredded teriyaki chicken
6 cups water


First, take your two packages of ramen and smash the everliving crap out of them.  (to avoid a mess, don't open them first) You want the noodles to be completely broken up into bits.
Put 5 cups of water on to boil and add the flavoring mixes from the ramen to it.
While waiting for the water to boil, chop up your carrots, onion, celery and potato.
Once the water boils, add all of of the vegetables to it, and boil on high until they are cooked through. Remember, the smaller the pieces you cut them up into, the faster they will cook.
Add in the chicken and your last cup of water and wait for it to boil again.
Add in your smashed up ramen noodles.
Boil until the noodles are soft.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Reviews yada yada... yada... *snore* ...I'm awake!!! I'm awake!!!

I've posted a couple book reviews on Goodreads if you feel the great urge to read them.  The first is on Star Wars: Heir to the Empre by Timothy Zahn which is the next installment of my retrospective series.  This book is great.  It's the first book written in the Star Wars Expanded Universe (novels that come before/after the original trilogy).  It's written by Hugo Award winning author Timothy Zahn, and if you're like me, you know that a Hugo Award is an indication of the absolute best that the science fiction and fantasy genres have to offer.  If you'd like to dive into the Star Wars Expanded Universe, but are intimidated by how many books there are, and don't really know where to begin.  This is where to begin.  It was the first, and it's one of the best. 

The other is The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.  This book is a collaboration piece between a guy who writes hardcore sci-fi, and a guy who writes satirical fantasy.  What a combination, eh?  It's about the exploration of infinite alternate versions of Earth, and what impact a mass exodus of the lower class has upon the world.  Yeah, I know it sounds kind of boring, but it's really a very good book, and told in a very unique and refreshing sort of way.  It is far from either writer's normal fare, and they work very well together.  Check it out if you're looking for a very interesting a thought provoking book to read.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What have I been doing lately?

Woooooooooooooooorking, that's what I've been doing lately.  Aren't hiring freezes awesome?  The post office I work at has 17 rural routes, including my own not quite route.  Normally every route will have a substitute carrier that knows it and can carry it on Saturdays, other days off, vacation and sick leave for the regular carrier.  And normally, a lot of people quit, because it can be a pretty craptastic job if you don't know what you're doing, or don't have the seniority to get work regularly beyond that one day off you cover every week, or when, like now, a lot of people have quit and have not been replaced due to the hiring freeze.  There are now 7 substitute carriers covering 17 routes.  13 of which take the same day off every week.  To make matters worse, one of our regular carriers doubles as a fill in supervisor, and has been filling in for supervisors all over utah the entire summer so they can get their summer vacations in. Worse still, I have my own not quite route that I deliver every day, so I am effectively off the list for being able to come in and just do another route.  And even worse, another carrier has been out all summer due to shoulder surgery and will not be returning until the end of September.  So our 7 becomes 4 pretty quickly.  And there's only so much that 4 people can do.  On top of that, the regular carriers also get their vacation time and have been taking it throughout the summer.  Which means, on top of my own route, which takes about 4-5 hours per day to sort and deliver, I also have to sort and deliver another route on top of it.  Adding another 6-7 hours per day.  I've been putting in 10-12 hour days 5-6 days a week all summer long and it is not fun. 

On the bright side, I have money.  When your wages are upwards of $25 p/hr, overtime looks pretty sweet.  On the not so bright side, I'm so exhausted from work I can't even begin to think on how to spend any of it.  I get up a 4:30 in the morning to get an early start and come home most days after 6 and crash, unable to do much but take a shower and stumble to bed.  I'm so worked to death that even if I wanted to go postal, I'm too tired to bother.

And on top of all of that, I've been slowly, but surely, doing another major draft of I Am Nobody when I can stay awake long enough to put any real effort into it.  I have the first five chapters of this new draft done, and am liking the changes I've made.  I'm trying to flesh out the world and the character both to make them more interesting and likable, and give them both a bit more personality, which was the biggest criticism I have received thus far on it.

I've also found the time to write enough book reviews to narrowly hold onto my job as a book critic, but not the time to bother posting them as of yet.  I'll get to it... sometime... maybe... I guess...

And that has been my summer, and why no one has heard much from me during it.  Joy.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Review: Sandworms of Dune by Brian Herbery and Kevin J. Anderson

I've posted my Review of Sandworms of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson on goodreads if you feel teh great urge to check it out.

And with that I'm done with my Dune retrospective.  I thought it was a pretty good ending to the series, because I was able to see past the fact that it wasn't written in the style of the original author as so many people don't seem to be able to do.  It brings a satisfying conclusion to a series that has its high points and its low points, but gave huge contributions to the science fiction genre along the way.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Book Review: Crown of Shadows by C.S. Friedman

I've posted a review of Crown of Shadows by C.S. Friedman on Goodreads if you feel the great urge to check it out.

Good ending to a great fantasy trilogy.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Review: Hunters of Dune

Aaaaand the next installment of my Dune Retrospective, Hunters of Dune, is up on Goodreads.  If you feel the great urge to read it, you can find it here.

After one terrible, terrible book, and two mediocre ones, Brian Herbert, son of the original author of the Dune Series teams up with Kevin J Anderson to complete his father's epic series, and this ending is sooooo much better than the previous three books in hte series.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Back to Nobody

Soooo, after about 40 rejections, most of which say the same thing, I'm doing some more editing on I Am Nobody.  The biggest problem that agents have had with it is that Mia, the protagonist, doesn't have enough personality.  So, I'm seeing what I can do about that before trying to pimp it out some more.  I know I can sell this one, it just needs some more work.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Book Review: Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card

I've posted my review of Earth Afire by Orson Scott Card, second in his prequel trilogy to Ender's Game

This book is awesome, but it is overshadowed by Card's very vocal intolerance of the homosexual community over the last year or so.  He has written several dozen books with themes of tolerance, acceptance, and learning to live with those who may have incompatible lifestyles from our own.  I grew up reading his books.  He taught me many lessons about tolerating those who are different from myself that I live by today.  That he would then turn around and show how completely intolerant and hypocritical he is is a very deep and painful betrayal to me, and a whole lot of others out there.  I am not gay, nor do I condone that lifestyle, but I also believe in allowing people to live their lives as they see fit.  I mean, Christ never said love thy neighbor unless he happens to love dudes.  He left it at love thy neighbor period, meaning everyone, whether or not they may lead lifestyles that you find abhorrent.  It is not my place to judge, and it makes me angry to see others doing so so harshly, especially when they have written many books about tolerating the intolerable.  It just doesn't make sense.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Awesome Corn

Want to make your boring old corn into an epic side dish?  Try this recipe o' mine ~_^


2 Ears of Corn
1/4 Cup Diced Onion
1/4 Cup Diced Red Bell Pepper
1 Tablespoon Butter
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Salt
Water (amount varies)

Prep Work:

Melt butter in a skillet at medium-high heat and add salt and a dash of pepper or hot sauce if you're so inclined.
Dice your onion and pepper.
Using a butcher knife, remove the corn from the cob, make sure you get all of the stringy hair crap off of it before you do.

Cooking Directions:

Dump your corn, onions, and peppers into the melted butter/salt mixture and sautee until the onions have cooked through.  Add in 1/2 cup of water and bring heat up to high.  Allow the water to boil off.  If the corn is not cooked through yet, add in another 1/2 cup of water, and so on until the corn is cooked to your liking.  When the water boils down the final time your corn will be coated with a light buttery sauce.

 Makes an awesome side dish, I also use it as part of the filling for my epic, pan-fried burritos.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Starfire: Attrition - Prologue - Draft 2

And after finishing up the first draft I've gone immediately into the second draft.  It's been about a year since I started work on this book, so I feel I'm sufficiently distanced in time to look at it with fresh eyes.  If you feel the great urge to check it out, you can find the latest version of this chapter at the bottom of this page

Starfire Chapters 20-23 + Epilogue Draft 1

Soooooo, I've finished up posting the first draft of Starfire: Attrition on my Lovely Starfire: Attrition Homepage if you are so inclined to check it out.  I've got individual chapters posted as well as the full first draft, whichever floats your boat.

The first draft ended at 91,599 words, which is right about where it needs to be.  A typical mainstream sci-fi book is around 90k words in length.

Also, be advised that a.) this is a first draft, and therefore is faaaaaar from perfect, and b.) I took 7 months off to write I Am Nobody for NaNo before returning to and finishing this draft of this book.  There are bound to be a ridiculous number of continuity errors.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Remember Starfire...?

Remember Starfire? Yeah, that was that book I was writing before I started I Am Nobody for NaNo last November.  And in the several weeks since I last posted on my blog here I’ve been working hard on it.  I’ve come to an annoying realization with Starfire.  The story is too long for a mainstream science fiction book.  I mean, it’s going to end up at about three times the length of a normal sci-fi book.  I don’t like to do this, as I’ve yet to get any of my works published and basically get my foot in the door, but I’m going to have to split the story into multiple volumes in order to keep with current word count expectations for the genre.  And so, as I was very near an excellent breaking point, I have written up to that point, and *drum roll* TADAAAAAAAH!!!  I have now completed the first draft of Starfire: Attrition.  Yay me. 

I’ve yet to post any of the recent material on my Starfire website as of yet, due to my internet being a little dead at the moment (I’m posting this from my phone) But, I’ll get the ending of the first draft posted ASAP if anyone cares to read it.  This draft ended at just over 90k words, and through editing and revisions will probably end up around 105k words which is a little long for a sci-fi book, but not long enough for publishers and agents to dismiss it out of hand… hopefully.  I’d like to start right in on the second part, which will be titled Starfire: Retreat, once I’ve finished the final draft of Attrition, but I also have the incomplete first draft of The Eternal Chain that needs finishing as well.  We’ll see which one I feel like working on next.

Anyway, I’m currently shopping around for agents for I Am Nobody, seeing as how my agent seems to have dropped off of the face of the earth, and working on Starfire: Attrition revisions for the time being.

And that’s what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks.  Well, that and I’ve been rereading the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.  GREAT series for anyone who likes a good mystery, urban fantasy (wizards in modern day), or just really entertaining, sarcastic characters.  I’ve read most of the books three or four times over the last decade or so, but man, even still, I can’t put them down.  They’re just too entertaining.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Book REview: The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson

I've posted my Review of The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson on Goodreads if you feel the great urge to read it. 

Though this book is geared toward young adults, it's a lot of fun for people of all ages.  If you like a good mystery, or good Fantasy fiction, check it out.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Star Trek: Into Darkness

So, I saw the new Star Trek movie the other night.  Wow.  It was awesome.  I really, really enjoyed the first one with this cast, and this one was even better.  It had a lot of great action, really awesome special effects, some pretty intense scenes, and some pretty good laughs.  There was a lot of fan bait for people who are older Star Trek fans, and a lot of stuff that newer fans or casual moviegoers can have a lot of fun with.  I'd say you probably don't even need to see the first movie to know what's going on and enjoy this one.  I won't give away the big reveal on who the villain is, because the filmmakers went to extraordinary effort to hide his identity, even to the point that he isn't even credited as his character's name so IMDB couldn't ruin the surprise beforehand.  But I will say that he is one of the more infamous Star Trek villains from the old series, and the new actor, like pretty much the entire new cast, plays him perfectly.  Writer/Director/Producer JJ Abrams really knows what he's doing, and has put together a great, fast-paced, and entertaining movie.  If you want to see a really fun movie, whether you're a Star Trek fan or not, check this one out.  It's one of the better movies I've seen this year.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Book Review: VIctorious by Jack Campbell

I've posted my Review of Jack Campbell's Victorious: The Lost Fleet book 6 on Goodreads if you feel the great urge to check it out.

The books of this series have their good points and their bad points, but I think the good outweighs the bad enough to make them worth the time to read.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Book Review: Chapterhouse Dune by Frank Herbert

I've posted my Review of Frank Herbert's Chapterhouse: Dune on Goodreads if you feel the great urge to read it.  This is the next installment of my Dune Retrospective which is nearing it's end.  Just two more books to go.

Though considerably better than the previous two books, this one is still no gem.  It will probably only interest the hardest of hardcore Dune fans.


After 6 months of hard work, I've finally finished I Am Nobody.  You can find it on my I Am Nobody Homepage.  I've got it split into chapters or all in one file.  I also have all of the previous drafts up for download if you feel the great urge to see what changed from draft to draft.

I was done with this Sunday... but then I had to spell check it, and let me tell you, spell checking 94,754 words that have never seen a spell checker before is about as mind-numbing and time-consuming a thing as there is in this world.  I have seen into hell, my friends, and it is a horrible, terrible, place full of torture and tedium the likes of which you have never experienced.  Hence the reason it took me three days to finish it.  Mostly it was me telling Microsoft Word that I know grammar better than it does, but it did catch a few oopsies that I missed, and then there was all the words that I made up that had to be added to the dictionary, etc etc etc.

The First Draft was 84,972 words long
The Second Draft was 103,423 words long
The Third Draft was 104,332 words long
The Fourth Draft was 94,486 words long
The Final Draft is 94,754 words long

Biggest changes in this draft are that I removed the half-assed love story sub plot, because it was terribly done and out of place.  The story doesn't need it and is far better off without it.  Removing it also sets up better for the next book of this storyline if ever I get around to writing it.  I'd like to, it was fun, but for the time being, I've got two half completed books I'm working on, and if I can't sell a first book to a series there's no point in writing a second.

Now I need to find a few people to read it and be brutally honest about it ~_^

It's good to be done, now back to finishing up Starfire ^^V

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Aaaaaaand done.

Welp, I've finally finished up my fourth draft of I Am Nobody.  This one was a hard one to get through, I got pretty burnt out in the middle, but I finally made it to the end.  As stated before this is the final major revision that needed to be done on this book.  I've got one last draft to do that will have some minor tweaks to it, but nothing really overt.  This draft was about removing repetative dialog, repeated descriptions, and streamlining the text.  Think of it as cutting away the dead weight in the story.  Nothing really changed, and nothing was really cut out, I just found ways to say the same things in fewer words, and removed any superfluous text that didn't serve much purpose to the story overall.  I'm pretty happy with the changes made in this draft, and I was able to drop just under 10,000 words from it by snipping a bit here, cutting a bit there, and rewording a bit over there.  This is pretty much perfect, as my goal was to finish somewhere between 90,000 words and 95,000 words

I've got all the chapters of the 4th draft posted individually on my I Am Nobody Homepage.  I also have the complete fourth draft available in one file at the very bottom along with complete versions of all previous drafts of the book if you feel the great urge to compare them.

First Draft Word Count - 86,696
Second Draft Word Count - 103,423
Third Draft Word Count - 104,332
Fourth Draft Word Count - 94,486

I'll get to work on the final draft next week sometime, after I've had a bit of a break.  I should probably be done with it by a week from Sunday at the latest.

I Am Nobody Chapter 32 Draft 4

And then...

-165 words

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 31 Draft 4

I've finished up chapter 31 of the fourth draft of I Am Nobody, and it can be found at the bottom of this page.

-300 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 30 Draft 4

Done with the fourth draft of I Am Nobody Chapter 30 and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

-140 words

And I've now dropped below 95,000 words, which was my goal.

Friday, April 5, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 26 Draft 4

I've finished up chapter 26 of the fourth draft of I Am Nobody and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

-150 words

Something about this chapter to note.  I had someone, I forget who, who read one of my earlier drafts of this book ask the question of why I went into so much detail describing Mia's morning routine.  Well, as I learned in Screenwriting 101 back in my college days, there's a thing that moviemakers often do when they really want to make something feel unsettling to the audience.  You show someone's daily routine several times, and make sure it's good and set in the viewer's mind, so when that routine is interrupted by something dark and unexpected, it makes a deeper and more serious impact.   Not only do you have something crazy going on, it's also disrupting something that you, the audience, were expecting to happen like clockwork as it always did, and this break in normal routine puts you on edge.  It's a bit of a cheap trick to ratchet up suspense, I will admit, but it works.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 25 Draft 4

I've finished chapter 25 of the latest draft of I Am Nobody, and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

-296 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 24 Draft 4

And then...

-381 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 23 Draft 4

I got a new video game that devoured the last week of my life, hence the reason I haven't done any work on I Am Nobody for the last week or so.  I finished it, so now it's back to work BWAAHAAHAA.  I've finished chapter 23 of the fourth draft and you can find it a the bottom of this page.

-213 words

Monday, March 25, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 22 Draft 4

And then...

-353 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 21 Draft 4

I've finished the fourth draft of chapter 21 of I Am Nobody and you can find it here.

-375 words

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 20 Draft 4

And after a nice long break of doing nothing productive with my life, I've gotten back to work on the fourth draft of I Am Nobody and you can find the latest version of chapter 20 here.

-477 words

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review: Heretics of Dune by Frank Herbert

The next installment of my Dune Retrospective has been posted on goodreads.  If you feel the great urge to read it, you can find it here.

I used to like this book.  But that was when I was comparing it to God Emperor of Dune.  Unfortunately, I read Fragments by Dan Wells just before picking this one up and HOLY CRAP, the contrast between such a well written and entertaining book to the mediocre crap in Heretics was so blinding that I had to completely change my opinion of the book entirely.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Taking a break...

There comes a time, after spending three months editing the same story, at which a man would rather insert his own junk into an electrical outlet rather than edit one more page...  I believe I have hit that point, so I'm taking a week off.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 19 Draft 4

And then...

-363 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 18 Draft 4

I've finished up the fourth draft of I Am Nobody Chapter 18 and you can find it here.

-109 words

Monday, March 4, 2013

Book Review: Isolation by Dan Wells

I've posted a new book review on Isolation by Dan Wells on Goodreads if you feel teh great urge to feel about it.

This book feels like a deleted sequence of backstory for one of the characters in his most recent book Fragments.  I thought it was awesome, but people who aren't really getting into the Partials series will probably think it's crap.

I Am Nobody Chapter 17 Draft 4

I've posted the fourth draft of I Am Nobody Chapter 17 here.

-358 words

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: Fragments by Dan Wells

Now that the book has come out and my NDA regarding it is no longer in effect, I've posted my review of Fragments by Dan Wells on Goodreads if you feel the great urge to read it.

If you enjoyed the first in the series, this book is bigger and better in every way.  It's one of the better books I've read in a very long time, and I totally recomend you pick it up.  If you haven't read Partials, the first in the series, grab that one first, obviously.

I Am Nobody Chapter 16 Draft 4

And then...

-103 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 15 Draft 4

And another one bites the dust...

-133 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 14 - Draft 4

I've finished chapter 14 of the fourth draft of I Am Nobody and it can be found here.

-470 words

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 13 Draft 4

I've finished the fourth draft of I Am Nobody Chapter 13 and you can find it here.

-384 words

I'm now back under 100k words.  At this rate I'll finish up pretty much exactly where I want to be in the end I think, that being around 95k.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 12 Draft 4

I've finished the fourth draft of chapter 12 of I Am Nobody and you can find it here.

-170 words

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 11 Draft 4

I've finished up chapter 11 of my fourth draft of I Am Nobody and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

-600 words

Most of the text that's getting chopped is repetition in dialog, and this is a very dialog heavy chapter, hence how much was chopped from this one.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 7 Draft 4

And here we go again...

-411 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 6 Draft 4

And then...

-154 words

Short chapter, etc etc etc

I Am Nobody Chapter 5 Draft 4

Chapter 5 of the fourth Draft of I Am Nobody is done, and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

-107 words

Not so many out of this one than previous ones because I found something I needed to add here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 4 Draft 4

And there's another one.

-210 words

I Am Nobody Chapter 3 Draft 4

I've finished up another chapter of my fourth draft of I Am Nobody and it can be found at the bottom of this page.

-363 words

Book Review: Dauntless by Jack Campbell

I've posted my review of Dauntless by Jack Campbell on goodreads if you feel the great urge to read it.

Great story with a likeable protagonist and spectacularly well thought out space battles, but falls a little flat in the pacing and supporting character departments.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 2 Draft 4

I'm done with another chapter of the fourth draft of I Am Nobody and it can be found at the bottom of this page.

-425 words

Monday, February 18, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 1 Draft 4

I'm done with Chapter 1 of the fourth draft of I Am Nobody and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

-302 words here.

Book Review: God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert

I've posted a Review of God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert on Goodreads if you feel the great urge to read it. 

This book is terrible, amongst the worst that I've ever had the displeasure of reading.

I Am Nobody Prologue Draft 4

I've started on the fourth draft of I Am Nobody and the prologue of it can be found at the bottom of this page.

I think this draft will be the last major revision to this book.  In this draft, mostly what I'm doing is streamlining the text.  What this means is that I remove things that are repetitious, reword things so that it says the same thing in fewer words, and generally remove as much as I can while still saying the same thing.

Here's an example.  This is the first paragraph of the book from Draft Three:

"The moonless night was cold, dark and empty, awaiting the blood of the innocent.  The crisp, early September air was still, untouched by the slightest breeze.  Away from the lights of the town, the stars filled the sky in spectacular display.  It seemed almost as though the night was holding its breath in anticipation of horrors yet to come."

And here's the same paragraph from Draft Four:

"The moonless night was cold, dark and empty, seemingly holding its breath as if in anticipation of horrors yet to come, and the spilling of innocent blood.  The crisp September air was still, untouched by the slightest breeze, and the stars filled the sky in spectacular display."

As you can see, they both say pretty much the same thing, but the paragraph from the fourth draft is 12 words shorter than the one from the third draft.

I managed to drop 615 words from this chapter without cutting really anything at all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I Am Nobody Draft 3

Ok, so I lied.  I went to work on the third draft of I Am Nobody over the weekend and finished it tonight.  You can find it at the bottom of this page.

Mostly there are very few changes in this draft.  The only real changes were fixes to awkward and repetative wording, with a few things added in the end to bring some firmer resolution between Mia and Death, and Mia and her mother.

The Second Draft was 103,423 words in length.
The Third Draft was 104,332 words in length.

So as you can see, there wasn't a huge amount of changes made, barely 900 words added.  Like I said, this draft was mostly about fixing awkward and repetative wording.  Looking at the two side by side, you won't notice much difference except that the third draft is a bit easier to read.  Also, near the end there are one or two paragraphs added here and there to bring resolution that was lacking, such as Mia telling her mom that she loves her, and Death being forced to admit that Mia is actually his daughter and he may, somewhat, be proud of her... maybe.  You may also notice that there are more chapters now than there were before.  I had a few chapters that were two scenes together in one chapter, and I decided I would just make each individual scene its own chapter, no matter how short it may be.  It makes things simpler that way, and simple is, most often, better.

All in all, I'm actually pretty proud of this one.  It's coming a long pretty well, and it probably has some of the best writing I've ever done in it.  I've got one more major revision draft planned, where I wil try to cut about 9000-ish words from the manuscript by condensing and streamlining hte text as much as possible without ruining hte integrity of the prose, and a final draft to, again, fix any awkward wording, etc, and make sure it all fits together right.  I'd say I've got about a month to six weeks until I'm done with the final draft, making this the quickest book I've ever written in my life.  Hopefully I'll actually be able to sell this one.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Aaaaaaand... Done.

I've finished the second draft of I Am Nobody and the last few chapters can be found at the bottom of this page.

I've got all of Second Draft chapters up individually, as well as the entire second draft as one file, and I also have the full first draft still up as well if you feel the overwhelming urge to compare them to each other.  Now I'm going to take a week or so off of writing and relax before starting in on the third draft.  I think I did pretty well with the second draft here, and I'm not sure how much work is left to polish things off, but I can usually always find something that I've missed while flipping back through a project. 

The First Draft was 86,696 words long, which was 149 single spaced pages in length.
The Second Draft was 103,423 words long, which was 175 single spaced pages in length.
That means I added 16,727 words and 26 single spaced pages to my second draft.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Review: Children of Dune by Frank Herbert

I've posted the next entry in my Dune Retrospective on Goodreads if you feel the great urge to check out my Review of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune.

In a nutshell, this book is not as good as the first two in the series. It suffers from two main protagonists who never show a hint of humanity, emotion, or motivation whatsoever, and a lot of vague plot details.  Parts of it are very, very good, but others are pretty terrible.

I Am Nobody Chapters 25-27 Draft 2

I've finished three more chapters of the second draft of I Am Nobody and you can find them at the bottom of this page.

These chapters were relatively well done to begin with and only required a few minor tweaks.  The beginning of the book needed a lot more than the end did because I had changed my mind on a few details, and gave others more solidity in the end, and had to go back and clarify everything leading up to them.  Everything in the climax here was pretty much as it should be, and only needed a bit of work to make things as clear as possible, and in keeping with the rest of the book.  Most of the changes I made here were to give Mia a final touch of character development before her big face off with Methusalam, and to remove all of the contractions.  In the first draft Mia just blindly plodded ahead with no doubts, and here I've added a paragraph or two here and there where she stops and thinks about what she's about to do, doubting herself, but then overcomes the doubts and goes on anyway.

Only three chapters left, but I've had about as much editing work as I can handle today.

The Post Office

Well, it's been no secret that the United States Postal Service has been having financial issues over the last few years.  The widespread use of e-mail, text messaging, and online bill paying has really cut down the need for people to send actual, phyiscal letters through the mail.  This is compounded by the fact that the Postal Service as a business cannot implement any policy changes without the approval of congress, making it near impossible for us to adapt to the changing landscape of the delivery scene.  As you may have noticed, getting congress to agree on generally ANYTHING is usually facilitated by an act of God.

As a result of this, and several YEARS of arguing our case before congress, congress has FINALLY decided that it would be best for the postal service to go down to five days of delivery a week.  Starting in August, the Post Office will no longer deliver or pick up mail on Saturdays.  Packages and express mail will, however, still be delivered on that day.  At this time it is unknown how this will affect business, but it is projected to cut a large chunk out of the losses that the Postal Service is currently experiencing. 

What does this means to you, as the everyday, average Joe out in the world?  Probably not much.  You will no longer be able to send off anything on Saturdays either by going to the post office or through your own mailbox.  This is not likely to be much of an inconvenienc to most people, as most people these days are using other, faster mediums to send things along.  If you're expecting a package, it will still be delivered.  And the Post Office has been closing at noon on saturdays for the last fifty years, so there's not much being missed going in to the office personally to send things off.

What does this mean to me as a "part time" postal employee?  At the moment, nobody knows for sure.  As I have the most seniority amongst the "part time" employees at my particular post office, I will likely keep my job.  However, there is talk of stripping my route down and dividing it up amongst other routes and puting me back on filling in for days off and delivering packages on saturday.  At the time being, there is a lot of union negotiating going on, and it will probably continue to go on well past the august deadline.  For the moment, I am not sure if I will have a job past August.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 24 Draft 2

I'm done with another chapter of my second draft of I Am Nobody, and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

This is probably my favorite chapter of the book.  The entire story focuses on Mia's search to find the Hunter, and here she finally puts all of the clues together to figure it out.  And Steve goes from light hearted and jovial straight into creepy, evil Michael Meyers territory the very second he knows that his cover is blown.  Probably my favorite line of the entire book is when he tells her to enjoy her day because it might be her last, and to have a blast.  He's been building bombs for two weeks ever since he heard about Mia's dance, and has been planning to blow it up since the very beginning.  I cracked myself up with the have a blast line.  Yeah, I'm geeking out over something I wrote myself, so what?

I Am Nobody Chapter 23 Draft 2

I've finished another chapter of the second Draft of I Am Nobody today,a nd you can find it at the bottom of this page.

In the first draft, this chapter had a large section in the middle that was played for comedy.  I thought that it was a really good character building moment, that showed the relationship that Mia has with Steve.  HOWEVER, at the same time, the chapter just before this one is very, very dark and disturbing, and ends on a really down note.  So I felt that going straight from that into what is basically a comedy setpiece really broke up the tone and flow of the story, so I removed it.  Even though it is a great character moment, it just didn't fit here.  Maybe I can find somewhere earlier in the story to fit it on the next draft, because I really liked the scene, but shooting for laughs immediately after a chapter involving suicide, betrayal, horrible revelation, and a child pornographer getting his just deserts just didn't work.  The tone shift was just too objectionable.  It's better not to have the character moment at all, than to have such a 180 on the tone and direction of the story.

Monday, February 4, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 22 Draft 2

I've finished up my second draft of I Am Nobody Chapter 22 and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

In addition to cleaning up the general wording of the chapter as I have with all of the previous ones, and some clarifying on a few points, I removed about half a page from the end during Mia's reactions to Doctor Farnsworth's confession.  I felt that she was acting too masculine at this part.  She was acting the way I would act, rather than the way a teenaged girl would act.  After consulting with a couple of women on the matter, I've changed this part to be more subdued and emotional, rather than physically violent, and I have to say, it does seem a lot more realistic for her to behave this way rather than the way that I had her behaving.  Again, I am not, nor have I ever been a teenaged girl, so I do have parts that I'm running by my girlfriend, sister, and some friends to get their input on how Mia SHOULD act in whatever given situation.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 21 Draft 2

I've finished the second draft of I Am Nobody Chapter 21 and you can find it near the bottom of this page.

And then...

Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 20 Draft 2

I've finished up the second draft of Chapter 20 of I am Nobody, and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

So close to done, yet so far away.  Between my day job as a mailman, my night job as a book critic, and working on this book, I've been putting in some 80-90 hour weeks lately.  It's kind of exhausting, actually, even if two of those three things are my hobbies.  If not for work, I would probably not have been outside in days.  I enjoy working on this proect, but it sure is wearing me down, and I can't wait for it to be over and done with.  It still needs a couple more drafts after this too.  Writing books takes FOREVER, who'da thunk?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Am Nobody Chater 19 Draft 2

And, after a sixteen hour day of sheer boredom, stiff limbs, and my freeloader brothers fetching hotpockets and drinks for me, I managed to finish two chapters today.  Both of which can be found at the bottom of this page.

And with this chapter I've broken 100,000 words.  My goal for the finished book is to keep it at or just under 100,000, so it definitely looks like I'll have some cutting to do in the next draft.  Mostly I just removed contractions from this chapter, and reworded things so that the lack doesn't sound awkward.  If you read pretty much any book (except ones by crap writers) you'll notice that they only use contractions in dialog.  That's because it looks more professional.  It does take some stretching sometimes to word things without them to make them sound natural though.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 18 Draft 2

I've finished up the second draft of the next I Am Nobody chapter and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

Lots of small tweaks here, along with some more develping of Mia's relationship with Mike.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I've got those identity theft blues...

So, I logged onto my credit card website thingy to pay my bill for the month today, and much to my surprise and horror, someone appears to have stolen my credit card number, and racked up $17,000 on it, which is awful in and of itself, but moreso when you consider that that is $9000 over my limit.  This is quite the feat, since every time a suspicious charge has been applied to my card in the last ten years or so, the account has immediately been locked, and me contacted to make sure that I was the one making the charge or not.

So, I called up the credit card company to report the card stolen and find out what I have to do to get this $17,000 charge off my card and the real fun began.  First, I got kicked around to about 73 different departments before someone finally sent me to the right one.  After an hour of sitting on hold and repeating my problem, I finally got a guy that seemed to understand English and knew what to do.  I asked them why my account wasn't put on hold when suspicious charges started showing up and they said that all of the charges were made within my zip code so they were not considered to be suspicious.  I pointed out the $9000 over the limit and asked why THAT wasn't considered suspicious, and the guy said, and I quote, "you can't see it right now, but I'm shrugging."

So, aparently there was a new law passed last year by congress regarding credi cards and identity theft.  Under this new law, a credit card company is within their rights to deny any claim of identity thefy and demand payment of any and all debts incurred on the card in question if they have any doubts of the validity of my claim that the card was stolen.  And since all of the charges were made within my zip code, there is some doubt, for some reason.

So, I now have to download and print out a 54 page appeal form, fill it out, have it notorized and send it back to them, and cross my fingers that whatever auditor reviews the case sides with me.  Otherwise I'm out $17,000.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 17 Draft 2

I've finished up teh second draft of the next chapter of I Am Nobody, and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

Uhg.  This one was a hard one.  12 hours, it took.  12 freaking hours to revise 7 pages of text.  Fight scenes are a bit different from other scenes, they take a lot more care.  There are a lot of elements that have to come together perfectly, or else it becomes boring rather than exciting.  There's the action itself, there's the emotional aspect, what the characters are feeling, there's the pacing.  It has to be paced perfectly so that you include everything that needs to be included and still remains suspensful and exciting.  You've got to describe the way things move and react to each other clearly and realistically, or else it becomes confusing and breaks the laws of physics.  It takes a lot of balancing to get a fight scene just right, and this one seems like it took even more than usual.


Today, at sometime around noon, on my day off... My xbox 360 died.  Let us have a moment of silence for this poor, wretched machine that has suked up so many hours of my life...

*Taps begins to play*

Wait, wait, hold on...  Actually... This is a good thing.  Good riddance!!! Now I have one less thing in my life devouring hours upon hours with nothing to show for it.  Hurray, I'm free... FREE!!!

What's that?  My girlfriend bought me a refurbished one at gamestop when she went out to grab lunch...?



Uh, back to playing Halo 4 with her I guess...

Monday, January 21, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 16 Draft 2

Done with the next chapter of the second draft of I Am Nobody and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

This one only took 4 hours to finish up.  Joy.  My brother asked me why does it take me so freaking long to edit something I've already written one day after I spend nine hours working on a single chapter.  Well, I read each paragraph over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again, making small tweaks here and there until it reads through perfectly.  It takes FOREVER.  And then I read the chapter through a few times as a whole to make sure nothing is repeated, and each paragraph fits with the ones near it, etc, etc, etc.  It takes a lot of time and patience.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 15 Draft 2

I've finished up the second draft of chapter 15 of I Am Nobody and you can find it near the bottom of this page.

A lot of small rewrites, and a few things added to flesh things out a bit more, especially with Mia's feelings.  I really want to get across how utterly horrified she is over the fact that people are dying in her place, and how useless she feels at not being able to do anything to stop it.

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapters 13&14 Draft 2

I've finished up the second drafts of chapters 13 and 14 of I Am Nobody and you can find them at the bottom of this page if you feel the pressing urge.

Lots of continuity errors fixed here, and more than a bit of sloppy writing rewritten.  I am now over halfway done with the second draft, and I've added just over 10,000 words so far.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

I Am Nobody chapter 12 Draft 2

I've finished another chapter of the second draft of I Am Nobody, chapter 12, and you can find it at the bottom of this page.

Okay... so... I'm starting to see why writing the entire first draft of a book in 11 days is not such a good idea.  Almost this entire chapter except the dialog had to be rewritten completely.  There are a ridiculous number of mistakes and instances of terrible writing in the first draft that I'm only finding now as I'm going back through it.  Note to self, save yourself spending twelve hours editing every single chapter next time and do it right the first time.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Reviews

I've posted a few more of my recent book reviews if you feel the great urge to read them.

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson the final book of The Wheel of Time, which I have been waiting to read for 22 years and was everything I ever could have hoped for and more.

When True Night Falls by C.S. Friedman Second book of the Coldfire trilogy, which I would recomend to anyone who enjoys Fantasy.  It really is an awesome fantasy series.

The First Confessor: The Legend of Magda Searus by Terry Goodkind While better than Goodkind's last two books, it is nowhere near as good as some of his previous works.

I Am Nobody Chapter 11 Draft 2

I've finished up my second draft of I Am Nobody Chapter 11 and you can find it at the bottom of this page if you feel so inclined.

Mostly what has changed here is just the wording.  I've added a few things to flesh out the story and the way that Mia views things a bit too.  People who went to Copper Hills High School will likely recognize the description of the school cafeteria in this chapter also.  I tossed that in as a bit of a nod to my past, as much as I absolutely hated my high school years.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapters 9&10 Draft 2

No thanks to a broken hand, received falling on the ice on the stairs up to my apartment, I have completed the next two chapters of the second draft of I Am Nobody, and you can find them at the bottom of this page.

Large swaths of Chapter 9 needed to be completely rewritten from scratch because they were too vague, Mia didn't have enough personality, continuity errors and other such things.  Most of the dialog remains unchanged, with a few things removed for repetition, and a few things added to make things more clear etc.  Chapter 10 remains mostly unchanged save for a what needed to be changed with the changes I've made to the chapters before it, mostly in the Hunter's abilities, Mia's horror at what's going on, and her resolve to do something to stop it.

Friday, January 4, 2013

I Am Nobody Chapter 8 Draft 2

The horrors of the Christmas Season have passed at last for another eleven months.  After ten years of working for the post office, I've really come to despise the holiday.  Now that I'm not working twenty extra hours a week, I've got time to get back to editing I Am Nobody, and have finished the second draft of chapter 8.  It can be found at the bottom of this page.

Pretty much the only things that have changed here are the wording, and I've made it a little less obvious who the killer is.  I don't want people figuring it out a third of the way through the book after all.  The entire first half of the chapter was rewritten completely to reflect changes in the previous chapter, and to make it easier to read and understand, and only minor tweaks were made to the second half.