• Cars, Comics, and Clarity

    A short spring update for you all. It’s been a while but I have been busy with a few things.

    A big change happened. Wait, make that two. My day job recently made a big office move from Aliso Viejo to San Clemente a couple months ago, going from new, growing town to a beach town. It’s still making me feel bitter that my commute was increased by 10 – 15 min.

    IMG_20180217_073901On the other hand, that same week, I got a new car. Just with the math alone, my previous car (2006 Scion XB) could’ve had me at the gas pump every four days, causing my gas budget to jump off a cliff. This 2017 Prius Prime, however, is freaking awesome. Hybrid vehicle and plug-in EV. I’m practically saving half of what I pay at the station every week, plus experiment with EV chargers.

    This was all thanks to my Mom, the credit goes to her. Believe me, the first week of the office move, I was so bitter acting that it took me a few days to realize the new car in the parking lot. I feel bad for my pillow muffling my screams.

    Went to WonderCon last month and that was a blast. Last year I couldn’t go that weekend after coming back from my Alaska trip after being so sick my head was about to burst. Real bummer, but I made it up. Spent the whole weekend meeting small comic book studios (Aspen Comics is my favorite), a couple webcomic artists, a few writing panels, and, well, buying stuff. This time I finally caved and bought D&D 5th Edition Player’s Handbook so I can finally read up on a game I never had the chance to play. I’m a SF/F writer and I never grasped D&D? ‘Fraid so, and I’ll work that out, as long as I don’t get too obsessed with it.

    Lastly was about the editing services I mentioned last time. Just in the past two months, I took classes on developmental editing as a side hustle. For those not familiar, developmental editing works at the first draft level with writers on the “big picture,” such as story structure, characters, setting, fact, story flow, etc. I can call myself one, even build the freelance business.

    Yes, I know taking up a side hustle along with writing the third novel and my full-time job under my belt is crazy, but it’s chance to earn a little more during the weekends. I’ve done it for a while with an author friend from DeviantART, so it’s natural that I expand.

    That change is all thanks to that Bullet Journal I started this year. It’s kept me focused and centered on what must be done, yet still slow. No matter what, I’m changing my habits.

    Later.

  • New Year, Same Goals

    IMG_20180122_195145Hey, folks. Sure has been a while since I talked, hasn’t it?

    So the new year is here, and that means resolutions. Yet it’s just the same usual resolutions year after year—lose weight, relationships, writing, learning—and the same story not meeting those promises to myself. Changing habits alone is a tremendous internal shift to make, and knowing what triggers the habits takes time to uncover.

    Starting this year, I’ll figure them out.

    What I started in the second half of 2017 was implement the Bullet Journal method. One blank notebook wherever I go, jotting down daily lists, future appointments, random thoughts, and reflections what I really accomplished. Honestly, digital to-do lists have grown out of me past college. Most of the time I forget I had to-do lists. You can look up YouTube videos of journal spreads, designs and bedazzled pedicures to make the journals a personal creation, but really, I’ll go for the basic G2 pen and Moleskin hardcover graph notebook with an REI sticker on the cover.

    With my country’s decline in common sense and reality itself, doing anything creative was tough. I’ve known over creative types that were hampered by the constant barrage of an uneasy future. Hard enough to tell myself to unplug and ignore all that and just write.

    It’s mindfulness I’m after. With the daily tasks, I build a small habit tracker to focus on the important things: yoga, meditation, and writing. Outside forces still happen and I have to work around that to break the writer’s block.

    So what it for this year? Same old same old, with some changes.

    Ghost Factor draft is almost done. I’ll say that the Bullet Journal for the last six months kept me focused to rework the plot from the ground up. With the time lost to make it an actual ebook form, the plan to serialize it on my website is still there.

    The last two Snippet stories—Keystone and Her Discovery—will get the editing treatment and released before Ghost Factor Chapter 1 (the final form) is out.

    Moving on will be working on Tyler’s Profession, right after Ghost Factor is at the last chapter. It comes as no surprise I haven’t touched the plot line or the original Nanowrimo draft since 2011. It’ll either be serialized the same way or when I gather the funds for an editor for the paperback and ebook; whichever comes first.

    Those are the big projects, as usual, but let’s jump to the What Do We Know posts.

    The experiment last summer was great to write. It’s not quite what I wanted as a Mana Pool encyclopedia, but I’ll say it helped fill some gaps in between the stories. If you haven’t read them, you can click here and divulge. I’m just as anxious as you to share terran biology and magic as you, but that and other topics won’t be released until halfway through Ghost Factor. There’s a reason behind that.

    So really, everything depends on me finishing that draft to move on. I’m already flipping off distractions and procrastination.

    The last bit to say is what I had in mind to accomplish since last fall. I mentioned before on social media I’ve been doing freelance editing as a side hobby for other authors. As of now, I decided to make freelance editing a side hustle. Check out the new editorial services page for what I’m offering for developmental editing.

    Balancing that while writing my own work is a crazy idea to do, but this is a possible extra income stream for the bills. Can I balance both being a writer and editor? If I can do yoga, meditation, reading, and more camping trips to reset my focus, I could.

    So with all that, it’s my job to keep up with these tasks. As Chuck Wendig mentioned with the one writer resolution to have this year: write with intentionality.

    Later.

  • Fall Is Here

    You just can’t get away from a pumpkin spice joke this season: so ubiquitous on every corner. Or more like in every food we see in the store beside the coffee drink. Sometimes I think about Frank Herbert’s Dune, where the Arrakis spice or melange turned user’s eyes blue over regular consumption. Makes you wonder if melange makes glowing blue eyes, would pumpkin spice cause eyes to glow orange?

    This is the kind of stuff that makes me chuckle in the middle of the day.

    But yeah, cold weather is approaching and the opportunity to wear a coat is coming closer for me. The best weather for my creativity. Sure wish it was raining more where I live.

    Good news is the plot issues in Ghost Factor are dealt with. Now, sub-plotting and drafting run smooth. It is still a long road until I say that the draft is done. I know I’m learning my lesson from this mess.

    So two weekends ago I went my third trip to Las Vegas for SiglerFest every fall, a small convention/party of an author friend Scott Sigler. There was much laughter, beer, and friends I haven’t seen in a while to go around, but still had time to sit down to write. And yes, I know. This was Columbus Day weekend. This was the weekend after the shooting massacre. It was hard to stomach what happened that night, knowing that in three days I’ll be in that city. And well… let me draw you a picture.

    Early Thursday morning, well before sunrise, with coffee and breakfast sandwich to go. The trek to the city in the desert is known by heart; head east until the 15 freeway, then head north until the city lights are in view. A quick stop in Barstow, Baker, and a rest stop to get the blood flowing. By the time it was around 8:30 or 8:45 the city was coming to view around the mountain corner. Then a massive wave of nausea, anxiety, dread, sadness, and depression came over me I lost my attention to the podcast on the stereo and believed the breakfast sandwich was tainted. But no. It was the city. The feelings of that dreadful night hung thick in the air. I breathed a few times, drank some water, a turned the A/C up a couple notches. The Mandalay Bay jumbotrons and others along the highway didn’t display shows or nightclub ads, but condolences and heavy hearts. I got to the hotel room that morning and expelled those feelings.

    When the first drink of the night and seeing old friends from last year and always enjoyed their company, I never forgot the lives lost. It was tough to come close to the Strip, even see those busted windows overlooking the road.

    In other words: my heart goes out to the loved ones of the tragedy. Friggin’ psychos.

    Ending this entry on a bad note is hard, but it’s what I wanted to say about it.

    Back to the grind for me.

    Later.

  • Catching Up from the Silence

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    Ever dusted cobwebs in a neglected part of your home with a broomstick? How about an entire house overrun with cobwebs to make your skin crawl with goosebumps? Armed with your broomstick and blowtorch, you set out to clear them out, but also hope that the dog-sized spider roommate moved out after drinking gallons of hot cocoa and watching Dancing with the Stars reruns after losing his textile job and girlfriend months ago. And pray there are no eggs in the bathroom. Hope he snaps out of it.

    That’s my brain before cleanup recently. Only not Dancing with the Stars, but anime.

    Hello, all. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Yes, I know. No good Ghost Factor news this time. My day job brought in new high-demanding clients and new features recently, taking most of my brain power and patience than usual. But I still get to update this blog every now and then right?

    So. Writing progress.

    For those that read the What Do We Know posts, I’d thank you all for your interests and feedback. This was somewhat close to what I wanted, unlike having a wiki that couldn’t fit my needs. One step to making it happen, but I still have more work to do. The last one, Titan Spires, was an idea developed months before The Days After was released, yet it needed time to flush out the mechanics, politics, and logic. If there is any incentive to have other species cope with one another, especially humans/terrans and Jaruka, there has to be a tolerance test. Hopefully all humans/terrans can take this that the Galactic Republic wants to help, but still be cautionary.

    It is hard to say there won’t be anymore What Do We Know posts until that darn book is complete. If there’s a large enough demand before the book starts serializing, I’ll consider it. Trust me, it’s hard not to share more layers of terran magic and biology. That part will come.

    I also did some freelance editing for my DeviantART friend. If interested in transformations but straight biological, furries, and drama, check out My Special Sister, part of the Taur Virus stories.

    With the book, freelance editing, and What Do We Know, I have been still developing short stories whenever I can. I have mentioned I wanted to be published in a scientific-fi lit magazine one day. Right now, they’re in development… hell. One is half finished. Another still having plot problems. It’s just apparent that I’m out of practice when reading through them, even three different drafts of the beginning.

    So there, four separate projects in my hands. Finding and making time to write is still a daily struggle but that has been alleviated some. For a few months, I been using the Bullet Journal system. I wanted a way to better track my tasks and focus without forgetting about my tasks as I did with digital todo lists as of recently. Not sure if it’s working writing side, but stress management is a tad low using it.

    So to wrap up there are a couple things about the website. I added a Ko-Fi button in the sidebar. That is the tip jar. I used to have a Patreon page, but the production demand is too much right now. You can donate at your own discretion, but it does go toward this website. And I’m bringing back the mailing list soon so keep an eye out for that.

    Back to the grind for me.

    Later.