Dec 22, 2011

I Want an Alien For Christmas

Best of the holiday season to you all!



See you in 2012!

Dec 19, 2011

Reframing and Repackaging

My perspective on my writing career received some reframing this year. All the changes in the industry made me pause and mull a number of things over. Meeting Lindsay Buroker was another shove in reframing my ideas about becoming a published author: I could do what I love and what I wanted to do. I could do it now. Thank you, Lindsay. If I can follow in her footsteps of success, I'd be thrilled. In one year she's sold over 10,000 ebooks. Woot, Lindsay!

The growth of the ebook industry, some positive rejection I'd been receiving from some of the big science fiction rags [SFWA worthy], and the uncertainty of the traditional publishing model led me toward taking my career into my own hands.

It began with releasing Plantgirl, Small Graces and Translations in late June. Free reads I initially released on Smashwords. They're now also up on Scribd and Feedbook. The point of releasing free reads is to get the work into as many hands as possible. I recently discovered reads can be uploaded to Goodreads, too. So, I'll get that together in the next couple weeks and get them there, too.

Putting out the Free Reads was a very positive and rewarding experience. I received a lot of feedback, and after adding the newsletter signup to the end of my stories, I've gotten people I don't know who want to be kept in the loop as to my future releases.

Downloads stagnated for a bit. I had never really liked the cover for Translations, but it was the best I could do at the time. I kept playing around with Paint.net though and began formulating a better idea. Then I stumbled across the perfect piece of art for it and it all came together beautifully. Everything else got repackaged after that so they didn't look like cheap cousins beside Translations.



I liked the original Semper cover a lot, but in thumbnail [which is what most people see] it just looked like a brown square. My skills at Paint.net were improving, so I tried something new. It turned out beautifully. Yea.


Repackaging can work to improve downloads and sales. Although, I'm no bestseller yet, I've made inroads into a start. I think sometimes my problem is I'm not as confident after a release as I need to be, and probably should be. I think, 'Oh, it's just a short story.' If I short change it, well, I have to quit doing that. I love Semper Audacia. It's a good story. It deserves a better attitude from me than it's gotten. I'll do better. Perhaps a topic I'll address in more depth for IWSG in January.

I'm not stopping. The polished draft for Stopover at the Backworlds' Edge should be done by the end of the year. Then it goes through a second coat of polish. Refining, adding some new detail, and making a few changes per my local crit group. I redid its cover, too. Mostly because I noticed video gal and I had a typo in the title -- which I didn't notice for several months. The apostrophe goes after the s in Backworlds, not before. But now I think I might release Stopover in paperback, too, which means redoing the cover again. That's OK. I'll manage.


The Backworlds is a prequel, which I intend to release before Stopover as another Free Read. It will come in somewhere between 20-30,000 words. Thanks to my crit partners Misha Gericke and Tony Benson here in bloggyland for their feedback.



The Backworlds Series will be a space opera series set on planets in our galaxy. My premise is that humans on Earth 'improved' ourselves to be able to live on a variety of worlds. Then humans decided they didn't like what they had created and try to take it back. This resulted in a war. The series begins during a truce between the Foreworlds and the Backworlds. Thank you to the Husband Unit for the last bits of inspiration both of these stories needed.

Also coming in 2012: The Augmentation of Hetty Locklear. Redid her cover, too. She's still in 1st draft stage. This will also be a series. A mix of contemporary sci-fi and urban fantasy. It will eventually morph into sci-fi. Right now it's envisioned as a trilogy. Folks' love for Plantgirl was its inspiration.



Wandering Weeds Anthology should be coming out this year, too, in which is my novelette, The Tumbas. I wrote it so long ago now, I'm not sure what I think about that.



Anyway, all of you are the ribbons on my year. Thank you for the inspiration, the support, the encouragement, the new directions and the success I've found. It's not measured in dollar signs at this point, but in winning over some grains of sand to my beach. Thank you for joining me on this adventure. I can't wait to see what 2012 brings for all of you. There's an amazing amount of talent out there and I'm fortunate to rub elbows with a lot of that great talent.

Happy Holidays and a Joyous 2012. You're all my stars. [This is my last post for the year -- there will be a holiday themed post going up on Thursday -- regular posting will resume January 2 -- Will be talking about Super 8 on the website tomorrow, then it goes on hiatus until January, too].

Dec 15, 2011

Deja Vu - Never Surrender



The Deja Vu blogfest, hosted by DL Hammons.

Here's one of my first ten posts ever, from 4/6/10.



That's today's motto: Never surrender, never give up.

Some of you may recognize it from Galaxy Quest. I have to say, it remains a favorite - the movie and the quote.

Sometimes we look at other people and think they have it easier than us. That perception is probably not true. In most cases there's probably a lot of work and effort that went into achieving whatever it is of that person's being coveted.

This much is certainly true. If you give up, you will never achieve it yourself.

Frustration is part of the game no matter the goal. Obstacles and challenges are part of any road. They're just bumps and potholes. Nothing to let yourself get intimidated over. Not good enough reasons to stop. Not if you have passion and drive.

If you look past the potholes and ignore them, there's still a lot of road and asphalt. There's grass and trees and an endless sky. At some point the road crew will come by and fix the road. It will smooth out and you'll forget about the potholes for awhile. When they show up again, as they always do, just steer around them or pick an alternative route. But don't quit. There's people honking behind you.

Yeah, it's a metaphor. Take it how you wish. Keep your eyes on the road, the sky and the future road crew. Most importantly: Never surrender, never give up. As Jason Nesmith says.



Sir Alexander Dane: You're just going to have to figure out what it wants. What is its motivation?
Jason Nesmith: It's a rock monster. It doesn't have motivation.
Sir Alexander Dane: See, that's your problem, Jason. You were never serious about the craft.




If you're looking for my lunar eclipse photos, see: www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/  Tomorrow's post at the website is on a mysterious object found near Mercury.

Dec 12, 2011

More Weird Light Stories

I haven't seen any more strange lights, although I've wanted to. I'm constantly looking, especially on Route 20 where the observatory is.

I've not been so fortunate, but the husband unit was. He saw strange lights on that same road last week. He had to work in Burns, which is East of PMO, and saw two orbs in the sky. He said he never saw anything move like them. They came from different directions, moving at variable speeds, then one went straight up and the other shot to the East. There was no sound. He actually pulled over and got out of his truck to watch.

He had to go back to Burns the next day. Locals asked how his trip home was the other night. He said, "Interesting." They asked what he saw. Then one after another, stories tumbled out of other's experiences with light on Route 20.

One lady had the same UMO experience I did [unidentified moving object, the lights were not flying when I saw them]. I was excited to hear I'm not the only one who witnessed those weird lights, not the only one who had something strange chasing them. Whenever I turned around, the lights would disappear. She said, she saw them move off, that they moved incredibly fast.

Anyway, I thought it was some interesting information to relay. Husband unit tried to film his sighting, but his cell phone did a poor job of it. What is it with that road and strange events? Perhaps I need to open my own X-File.

I did get to see the lunar eclipse Saturday morning. It was awesome. I'll be reporting on it and will have photos up on the website's blog tomorrow: www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/

Dec 8, 2011

December 10th Lunar Eclipse


I took the above photo at last year's lunar eclipse, also in December.

For North America, the eclipse this weekend will happen as the Moon is setting and the Sun rising. The eclipse will begin around 4:45 in the morning, Pacific time, and will set while in full eclipse.

That part of the sky is tricky for me to see. There's a lava butte in my way. So, if the roads and weather permit, I'll have to get up and drive out to Pine Mountain and watch from Millican Valley ... if I want to use my telescope.

Will depend on the weather. Even if it's not snowing, it's going to be bitter. It's the last lunar eclipse until 2014, however, so I hope I do get to see it.

From NASA:

The Moon's orbital trajectory takes it through the southern half of Earth's umbral shadow. Although the eclipse is not central, the total phase still lasts 51 minutes. The Moon's path through Earth's shadows as well as a map illustrating worldwide visibility of the event are shown in Figure 6. The timings of the major eclipse phases are listed below.

Penumbral Eclipse Begins:   11:33:32 UT
   Partial Eclipse Begins:     12:45:42 UT
   Total Eclipse Begins:       14:06:16 UT
   Greatest Eclipse:           14:31:49 UT
   Total Eclipse Ends:         14:57:24 UT
   Partial Eclipse Ends:       16:17:58 UT
   Penumbral Eclipse Ends:     17:30:00 UT 
 
For more information see: NASA Eclipse Website 


In other stargazing news, I met up with a fellow star guide up at PMO last Friday night. You can read all about the account at www.mpaxauthor.com/blog/ There are photos I took. Moon images were takend with a new filter my wonderful video gal sent to me. And I finally got to see Orion. Woot!

Dec 5, 2011

The Pits of Frustration



Since I've changed posts on this blog to Mondays and Thursdays, I'm posting up my Insecure Writers Group article today. So, that it's here on Wednesday. Thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for spearheading this great brainchild.



I recently went through a bout of "I suck", "Everything I write sucks". These bouts of insecurity and doubt come in waves. Then I wonder if I'm delusional or certifiable ... maybe.

Most of the worry probably stems from the fact that I'm impatient for the most part. Impatience causes bouts of frustration. Frustration leads to the "I suck" insecurities. Pretty much every creative type goes through these bouts, fearing their work is terrible and unoriginal and all sorts of other despicable things.

Does it stop me? No.

To do what we do, we have to be somewhat original, folks who forge their own path. That's what drives us to do what we do. It's also what then makes us insecure when our 'genius' gets exposed to the public at large. Not everyone will get our vision, or what we do. Our output is subjective. Not everyone has our tastes.

Don't let it stop you. To sparkle, we must brave the sunlight and embrace what makes us different. And we must realize that we will continue to grow and improve.

On those days, I go over all the positives. One by one. I enumerate them and relive them, bolster myself back up. The truth is, even if I do suck, I'm not going to stop writing.

Do you have these bouts, too? What do you do?



On another note, I spruced up all my book covers. All of them got new wrappings over the weekend. All shiny and pretty for the holidays, for all the folks getting new Kindles and Nooks. My skills at Paint improve all the time. Sometimes I have no idea what I want when I start a cover. So, I keep playing. I found a great new image for Translations, which inspired its makeover. Then I felt the others should get a makeover. Then when I finished those, I thought Semper should get one, too.

Dec 1, 2011

Around Oregon -- Benham Falls

Sharing some photos from over the summer. This is a trail in the Deschutes National Forest on the other side of the river from the Lava Lands [where the astronauts trained for the Moon].




video

Here, we're looking at the lava flow on the other side of the river.


Despite the alien manipulated mosquitoes trying to devour us, the best thing about living where I do is beautiful places like this.





DL Hammons of Cruising Altitude is hosting the Deju Vu blogfest on December 16th. Easy as you post up an article you wrote BC - before comments.



Posted a photo of comet Garrad taken at the observatory this summer on the website's blog -- M. Pax. Will be talking about Odyssey 5 tomorrow (where I learned more about transhumans by a former transhuman -- Peter Weller (Robocop)). Odyssey 5 was a series on Showtime.

See you here next week for IWSG -- Insecure Writers Support Group, hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh -- and I don't know what my other post will be about yet. It'll be a surprise.