Oct 312013
 

Now that I’ve had a chance to read through and digest all of the feedback on the New Book, I feel much better about it than I did. The deep flaws are still present and the text is going to require a substantial redraft, but I think I have a good handle on how to approach that. It’s going to require a complete overhaul of one character, a refocusing of another, some delayed reveals, some increased stakes, and a bit more attention to event planning, but I think the core of the story is strong enough that it’s worth doing it right.

In the interim, I’m just shy of 10,000 words into Ashes’ sequel—henceforth referred to as Alour-Tan II until I reveal the book’s real title. My writing time of late has been divided between that, organizing the New Book feedback, and getting my writing folders into a more coherent and backed up format, so I haven’t made as much new writing progress as I’d like.1 Still, the time hasn’t been spent idle and I think it’ll pay dividends in the long run.

My current goal is to hammer the New Book into shape during November2 and send back out to my Betas for a new read-through in December. That will, I hope, free me up to continue working on Alour-Tan II throughout December and complete a draft of that by early January ’14. The New Book and Alour-Tan II would both, then, be 2014 releases, with Alour-Tan III hot on their heels.3 I don’t quite want to commit to Alour-Tan III coming out in 2014 at this point, but I wouldn’t call it a completely outlandish notion, either.

I’ve also received the New Book’s cover art that I commissioned from friend and former 38 Studios coworker James Ball and it is freaking awesome. I can’t wait to show it off. Thanks, James!

  1. Assuming a target of 1,000 words per weekday, I should be at 23,000 words on Alour-Tan II by this point. []
  2. I won’t technically be doing NaNoWriMo, but it seems a good timetable to use for the rewrite. []
  3. Assuming Alour-Tan II doesn’t need the same giant rewrite that Ashes and the New Book both have. I have high hopes for it, though, since I’ve known for a long while where this story was/is/will be going. []
Jul 272012
 

Four months!

A great deal has happened. 38 Studios closed, meaning the beautiful and amazing game I spent the last two years working on will never see the light of day. The studio’s closure hit some employees very severely, since it happened with essentially no notice and every expectation that the situation we were in was something we could emerge from. We couldn’t, we didn’t, game over. Cody and I don’t tend to be extravagant spenders, and her benefits are equivalent to mine, so we simply rolled onto her plan with no interruption.

We finally got a dog! We adopted Crichton (named for John Crichton, FarScape’s astronaut protagonist) from a rescue shelter that operates out of New York. He’s a German Shepherd mix of some kind (strongly resembles a Rhodesian Ridgeback, too), born tailless. He chose Cody immediately, and that was basically that. He’s been an amazing addition to our lives and it’s actually hard to imagine what life was like before him. He’ll be six months old on Cody’s and my second wedding anniversary.

I had the excellent fortune to work with many amazing people at 38 Studios. One of them, with whom I worked very closely, made mention to me that his wife’s company was looking for a PHP developer. “Why, I’m a PHP developer!” I thought. I’ve been paid for PHP work in the past (when I worked for Northeastern while attending school there, and when I worked for Blue Fang), I use PHP on a regular basis in my own web projects, and I have a technical mind as a result of working on software for the last six years. A month after 38 Studios laid us off, I started work at Surf Merchants in Boston. So far, it has been amazing. The people are awesome, the company is fantastic, and I get to work in PHP every day–and get paid for it! I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, probably as a result of spending six years in a very volatile industry.

Ashes is making steady progress, thanks in part to my new commute that has Cody drop me off at the commuter rail in the morning for a 30 minute train ride into Boston. I use that time to continue working on the third draft, and have hit the troublesome middle section I mentioned several posts ago. And it is, indeed, troublesome. I thought I was nearing the end of chapter eighteen, only to realize that I was going to have to re-re-tool chapters fifteen through eighteen to make everything flow correctly. This is what happens when you think you remember your story treatment, but don’t actually double-check.

Joined Pax Gaming, to which Cody already belonged, and have started playing both The Secret World (due to Cody’s exhuberance and a desire to play an MMO together again) and Star Trek Online. I was very pleasantly surprised by STO. Cryptic did a great job capturing the feel of the Star Trek universe. Kudos to them. TSW is a blast, too, and I really dig the flexibility of their system, and the general ambiance of the world–except for all the damn zombies.

Why is everyone so into zombies? I mean, I guess Ashes sort of has zombie-like creatures in it, but not really. It seems like zombies are part of the modern zeitgeist, and I do not understand the appeal at all. I suppose the same argument could be made about vampires, but vampires don’t bother me nearly as much (or, at all, really; I enjoy vampires). I wonder if there’s an element of appeal to the monster. With a vampire, it’s a creature that has power, that has traits that are desirable despite the drawbacks. Same with a werewolf in some ways. But a zombie? Where’s the draw there? Why would you want to be a zombie? Why would you want to live in a world populated by zombies? I don’t get it.

I mentioned it briefly above, but Cody and my second wedding anniversary is coming up in a bit under two weeks. Last year, we went on a cruise. That’s not so feasible this year, what with Crichton and all, and it’s left us somewhat stymied as to what to do instead. Every time we think of things to do and look at the cost, it seems so inefficient compared to the cost/benefit ratio of a cruise. Instead, we’ve talked about doing something smaller for our anniversary (a nice dinner, for instance) and something larger later on.

I came across a fun little program called Manic Time, which tracks your application usage and document/website usage by time. I want to use it as a motivational tool to show myself how much time I waste that I could be writing. With actual metrics staring me in the face, I think that’ll be a decent motivator to not spend so much time idling.

That’s about it for now!

Little Steps

 Posted by at 00:04  No Responses »
Oct 062010
 

Cody got Dehydration tonight! On top of that, we’ll both be done with Netherwing rep grinding come tomorrow, so that’s one less annoying time sink to worry about. The plan is to hit Ignis the Furnace Master in Ulduar for tomorrow’s weekly raid quest, and then start in on ICC if people are up for it. If not, we may also be able to rope some guildies into helping us finish out our Glory of the Hero achievements. In another piece of good news, this post seems to suggest that the Red Proto-Drake reward may not go away when 4.0.1 drops after all. Still, I’d rather not risk it.

I started listening to The Instance podcast yesterday and continued today. It’s the first “talk show” I’ve actually deliberately listened to, and it’s quite enjoyable thus far. I mentioned it to Curt1 today and it turns out that he has a fairly significant history with the guys that host the show. Ah, connections. They’ve namedropped 38, Curt, and Copernicus a few times already in the two episodes I’ve listened to. This industry really is small.

Though I’m enjoying listening to The Instance, I already miss Dresden, Murphy, and the gang. James Marsters did a brilliant job bringing all of those characters to life, and I think a large chunk of my enjoyment came from listening not just to the story, but to his presentation of the story. The next book is due out in March and it feels so far away, even though it’ll probably be here in no time.

On a completely unrelated topic, the water department was supposed to come today to install a water meter that they could query remotely, since we don’t have a landline. I have no idea if they actually did it, though. The meter attached to the water line might look different from the last time I checked on it…or I might just not be remembering clearly. Ultimately, I’ll have to call them tomorrow to confirm.

  1. Yes, Curt Schilling. []

Constricted Posting

 Posted by at 16:16  No Responses »
Jun 242010
 

Hey, a new look for the blog! This change in decor precipitated by upgrading to the latest version of WordPress.

Our wedding invitation

Invitations have been cast to the four winds at this point. Cody and I plunked down and cooked up a design we were both happy with, had ’em printed, and mailed ’em off as we accrued the needed addresses over a period of a few days. We re-tooled the website slightly so that all of our invitees could RSVP online, via a fun little form that also invites them to supply song requests. Additionally, Cody and I can now see at-a-glance who has RSVP’ed in the affirmative, in the negative, and who hasn’t RSVP’ed, as well as our total guest count, and other fun data like that.

To  me, every one of these vests is the same.

You all are wearing the exact same thing, in different colors!

The new daunting task is finding something to wear. You’d think finding a slightly atypical waistcoat wouldn’t be that hard, but apparently everyone and their mother only makes the one sort of waistcoat. Yes, I realize that “buttons down the center” isn’t technically a single type of waistcoat, but it may as well be. I want something that doesn’t look like every other thing out there, which is much the same way I felt about finding a suit when I was still looking for one.

I recently bought a three-piece suit for a friend’s wedding. One piece among the triad is a waistcoat. It’s an interesting design — it buttons diagonally rather than straight down. I returned yesterday to the place from which I had purchased said waistcoat, only to have them show me three essentially identical waistcoats and then inform me that they couldn’t help me. Bull. At this point, I’m tempted to try and find something unique at a costume shop and then have it replicated by someone. Costumers, I suspect, will make more interesting clothing than tailors.


Blogging is a weird thing. I want to get to a point where I’m posting something of vague value every day. However, doing so is complicated by several unrelated factors. The bulk of my time is devoted to work, which I can’t talk about. I also spend a good chunk of time playing WoW. Self-indulgent flights of fancy aside, most people won’t care about my latest WoW exploits. I also want to talk about my story ideas and other things of that nature, but keeping those sort of under wraps is the prudent choice, so that nixes that subject. That leaves wedding stuff and other life events to talk about, which are more sporadic topics with bursts of information. I could wax poetic about mowing the lawn or taking out the garbage, but…do you really want to hear about that?

I didn’t think so.

Apr 222010
 

It seems that the heavy breathing that accompanied playing frisbee1 on Tuesday over-exposed me to allergens to a sufficient degree that I had a sinusitis flare-up. Normally, once my allergies have come and gone, they stay gone. With all of the wonky weather, and the resultant effects on pollen distribution, I guess it’s not all that surprising. Fortunately, Claritin and Sudafed2 appear to be working their biochemical wonders adequately enough to keep me largely human.

Had a very smooth Sartharion run last night for the weekly raid. Five guildies and five pugs. No one died, and our resident tank and the pugged tank both rolled 100 on one of the items that dropped3. I’m getting close to happy with Deowyn’s UI, but I still feel like I have a long way to go before I have an adequate tanking UI for Jakosta. It doesn’t help that Jakosta doesn’t really do any tanking yet, and so I’m not just creating a UI that makes sense for leveling, but also one that makes sense for tanking in the future. This might be foolhardy, but the last thing I want to do is try to learn to tank while also learning my way around a retooled UI. So far, this is the best tank UI I’ve seen. It’s too cluttered for my taste, but it has a lot of elements that I do like. It’s also widescreen, which means even a direct adaptation would take some juggling.

I’ve spent more time fiddling with Jakosta’s UI lately than I have actually playing her. Maybe I’ll get a chance tonight.

  1. There’s a large contingent of 38 employees that utilize their lunch breaks for playing Ultimate Frisbee. I have been an infrequent participant thus far due to my damn allergies hitting more or less right when I joined the company and the weather got nice. []
  2. Real Sudafed, not that placebo Sudafed PE crap. If it doesn’t have Pseudoephedrine HCl in it, don’t buy it; it doesn’t work. []
  3. Our tank then won the roll-off by 2, so yay for her! []

Whoa, a post!

 Posted by at 01:11  2 Responses »
Apr 202010
 

So, yeah. My profuse apologies for being so lackadaisical about posting for the last, oh, four months. Quite a bit has happened that’s kept me otherwise preoccupied.

First, there was that whole winter holidays thing. Second, upon returning to work following the winter holidays, I was informed (along with many, many others) that I no longer had a job. Downsizing, division cutting, etc. Basically, the company retooled itself into something completely different. C’est la vie. First thing I did when I got home was start working on my website/resume/etc. By the end of that week, I’d already sent out several inquiries.

Fast-forward through two months of hand-wringing, and a lot of WoW-playing, and I find myself working at 38 Studios. I can’t say enough about how awesome a company 38 is. You’ll have to read about it for yourself. I will say this: it’s an incredible feeling to be working on something that excites you. I can’t provide any details, I’m afraid, but I can’t wait for our game to come out just so I can play it! The only downside is the hour-long commute1, but audiobooks are helping me get through that2. I’m so jazzed to get to work every day that the commute really doesn’t matter. I end up voluntarily working 9-10 hour days, without even realizing I’ve done so until I look at the clock and it dawns on me that I should probably think about going home at some point.3

Wedding planning has continued, though sluggishly. We’re starting to pick up steam now that I’m working again, though, so that’s good. We finally got rid of our rattling, rumbling, not-at-all-working dryer and purchased a new, awesome dryer4. I did the first lawn mow of the year today, with much success. Mower seems none the worse for wear having spent the winter in the shed.

Still haven’t finished5 editing the novel I wrote in November, but now that things are settling back into something resembling normalcy and I’ve had a chance to recharge my batteries, I’m ready to dive back into the little world I created. I’ve also speced out a new system that I plan to upgrade to in the near future6. In preparation for that, and because I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, I pre-designed the file structure that I plan to use for my new system. Hopefully, it will keep me somewhat organized.7

Since the weather is finally getting nicer, I’m also getting the itch to finish off the various house projects that remained incomplete once the cold weather set in. Chief among these are finishing the pantry and repainting the upstairs bathroom. Once those are done, I want to replace the screen doors on both entrances with ones that actually open in a logical direction. I may replace the back door altogether. It’s fine as a barrier to entry, but it’s pretty drafty.

As if all that weren’t sufficient, there are a ton of weddings and other events on the horizon: my friend Jen is getting married in May, our friends Keith and Lisa are getting married in June (and I’m in that wedding as a groomsman), my birthday and bachelor party are at the end of July, I’m getting married in August (and Keith is in that wedding as a groomsman), and our friends Christina and Alex are getting married in October.

To top things off, also spurred on by the improving climate, I’m considering actually tackling some of the costume-making ideas I’ve had kicking around for years.8 I have no idea how I’m going to fit all this together.

Somehow, I always manage.

I’ll also be making an effort to write more here. Ideally, I want to post once or more a day, just so that I’m writing something every day. Practically, of course, that’s not likely. Ah well.

Thanks for reading!

  1. And that’s one way! []
  2. So far, The Mote in God’s Eye (Niven, Pournelle), The Last Colony (Scalzi), American Gods (Gaiman), Zoe’s Tale (Scalzi), and about half of The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger. []
  3. Fortunately, Cody is so happy that I’m happy about my job that she doesn’t mind at all. []
  4. They even delivered it the next day, and hauled away our old one, all for free! []
  5. Okay, I admit it, I haven’t actually started the editing process in any concrete way. Lots of brainstorming, but no tangibles. []
  6. My current machine will become our house server, running Ubuntu of course []
  7. Knock on wood, and all that. When it comes to organization, I’m a contradiction: I’m always disorganized and I can’t stand disorganization. Mm, self-loathing. Tasty. []
  8. Yes, stormtrooper armor is on the top of that list, thank you very much. []