Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pen and Paper required...

I've been tweeting a lot about 'just do it'. Just write.

Tweets are cool because you have put a complete story into 140 characters. More on tweeting another time but for this post it's tweeting that brought me to express a basic concept. 'All you need is pen and paper' to write.

I can say it in lots of ways with lots of allusions, examples from famous writers and stories from my own experiences. But really it simplifies to 'pen and paper'.

The Universe opens up when you sit down in your favorite chair, set a cup of joe on the end table and let those crazy, imaginary characters out of your noggin' and onto that notepad.

Maybe the key for you is to have that notepad and pen on the end table, ready for you between commercials at night. I write software during the day and it's a long day. Out of the house at 7:20 and back around 6:30. When I get home, I mostly want to relax, have dinner, read the paper and watch some TV.

But I keep my laptop right there on the end table, ready for the night's writing. I might write a few lines or a few chapters. I might rewrite stuff, outline new books, crawl the web for research or read the blogs of some of the cool friends I've met online. It doesn't matter, I do SOMETHING, every night.

Keep that pad and pen close to you whenever possible. On the bed stand, next to the couch, in your briefcase or purse. Just keep it with you, ready for action! ;-) There is no telling when that cool idea will hit you and you just HAVE to write that down before you forget it.

Keep writing, friends. Pen and paper required.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

First try at 'Genome' scene in SketchUp...

OK, this is NOT the final product but I thought it might be cool to show you how the scene 'matures' as I learn more about SketchUp.

I have to find a better molecule model, add Jack, Frankie and Samantha and of course a neat model of PIP, hovering near Jack.

The model needs to be more of a human cell with it's organelle or maybe just a lot more molecules, not sure which would look best.

I also want to do a video that floats you from outside the room, through the door and pans around the holograph.

What do you think?


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Working with SketchUp!

I'm bound and determined to reproduce some cool 3D scenes from my book 'Genome'. There just a ton of really cool concepts in my book, and I really want to 'show' them. I hoping to spark some interest in the book by showing off the holo-room and AI concepts.

So, I searched around, read reviews, googled, binged and generally spent way too much time trying to find the 'right' graphics tool. I finally said enough and downloaded SketchUp, it's seems to have everything I need.

It's going to take me a little while to grok the concepts and features but I'll get there.  I've got some background in graphing and diagramming tools and I've used some CAD/CAM applications in the past so I'm not a newbie here.

After about an hour, I was able to created a large room with cool textures and plop a neat looking console to one side. I need to find or create a room sized human cell or maybe just a bunch of DNA and molecules too.

The characters will be interacting with the molecules, just like in my book. I'll have PIP's avatar hovering somewhere too, helping Jack or Frankie manipulate the image.

As soon as I've got something to show, I'll post it here.

Have a great week, you dedicated writers.

Have fun.

Be cool.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An interview with a small, green hero.

Me:
Ladies and Gentlemen, I have with me today, Arlo, one of the heroes of the SciFi comedy series, 'Arlo and Jake'.

Arlo has been described as a mean, green, gnat-eating machine. He's reportedly responsible for heroically saving half the star ships in the Federation of Thirteen Galaxies, the FTG. He's saved the skin of his human partner on multiple occasions. And he's currently the love interest of alien lizardoid females across half the known galaxies.

Arlo:
What do you mean 'reportedly', Butthead. By the way, if Leeta hears about the other ladies from this, I'm coming back to chew your eyeballs out. Leeta, you're my only love, trust me!

Me:
Arlo has graciously brought with him a cool looking thought-transmission device, or TTD for short, so that we can talk more easily. Arlo is telepathic but evidently, my 'mental capacity' isn't sufficient to communicate without it. Thanks for the TTD, Arlo.

Arlo:
No sweat, Dude. Focus a little more, would you, I'm having trouble with your accent. Tap on the red button to boost the output. Man, I forget what mental midgets humans are.

Me:
Uh, right, sorry. Well. Hello, Arlo, and thank you for stopping by to talk with us. Can you tell us how you met Jake, your human partner?

Arlo:
Well, actually the whole story is classified information, Pilgrim. What I can tell you is that before this all happened we were enjoying the good life on the beach in Port Aransas. Beer. Brats. More sand flies than I could eat and nothing to do but sit on the patio, watch the waves and the beach bunnies.

Then Captain Starla, Nanel and Betzel showed up. Three bombshells in bikinis on the beach; Jake didn't stand a chance. Caught like a deer in the headlights, so to speak.

Me:
So the officers of the star battleship 'Triumph' just showed up and asked for volunteers to join the FTG  Space Navy, right?. Did you and Jake volunteer right then?

Arlo:
Volunteer? You outta your mind, Buckaroo? They conscripted us right off the patio of Jake's beach house. Whoosh. One minute we were basking in the hot Texas sun, the next we were floating in an over-sized Jacuzzi filled with slimy goo in the Triumph's medical lab.

Course, we didn't know at the time that the goo would reset our DNA and mess with our grey matter. I don't think Jake handled it all that well either. Being buck naked in a tub of bubbling goop, staring out at Pixie, was a shock to say the least.

Me:
'Pixie'?

Arlo:
Yeah. Lieutenant Tillet. She's a Spritezoid and Captain Starla's right hand gal. Petite, pink haired bundle of energy. Jake gave her the nickname 'Pixie'. You'll see why in the story. Anyway, she was assigned to help Jake and I get indoctrinated into the fleet.

Me:
Wow, getting transported onto a star ship must have been awesome, Arlo!

Arlo:
Actually, the whole 'scoop me up and drop me into a bucket of goo' scared me, uh, witless. And at that point, I didn't have a lot of wits to spare!

Me:
What do you mean?

Arlo:
Dude! I'm a Panther Chameleon. You know, 'Furcifer Pardalis'. Back then, my noggin' was still filled with 'oooh, tasty flies' and 'hmm gotta find a place to go bad. eh, this spot will do'. Get it? Little ole me was still a happy, carefree, dumb as a stump lizard, who just got snapped up and dumped into a bowl of bubbling buffalo snot.

Me:
I see. So when did you become 'aware', so to speak.

Arlo:
Really? You want to give away all the good stuff in this interview? You're dumber than a pine post, man.

Me:
Sorry, wasn't thinking. So. Let's wrap up this interview on a positive note, shall we? In book one, 'Arlo and Jake Enlist', we read how you and Jake enlist to fight for Earth and other planets against the evil 'Galactic Houses of Aquinoxous' or GHA. This alien federation is scouring the galaxies, wiping out all terran life forms, and then 'aquaforming' the planets for colonization. They are led by the warrior 'Octozoid' species. Huge, tentacled... ah... well the reader will find out in book one.

Arlo:
That's right. We kick some Octozoid butt, man, and ... ooops, almost gave away the goods myself! Let's just say me and Jake have a bang up adventure, meet some sweet girls and, well, we are 'heroes' after all.

Gotta run. Just got a message from the Triumph, there's some trouble in the T'otCeeRoll galaxy, all leave has been cancelled. We can chew the fat next time I'm in the neighborhood.

Me:
That's too bad... Oh, he's gone. Nice trick. I thought chameleons were slow. Huh.

Well, that's it, folks. I've extended a invitation to all the crew of the Triumph to stop by whenever they pass this way.

Till next time.
Be cool.
Be happy.
Be the Bee.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Outlining is a pain!

How much time have you spent outlining your current block buster novel? Couple 'a days? A few weeks? More?

I'm working on the outline for book 3 of the 'Arlo and Jake' humorous SciFi series. It's a bitch. A cold-eyed, coal-hearted, unforgiving son of gun. It's definitely not as much fun as writing the story. It's kicking my ass and I'm sore. I had a good bit of it done and it's doo-doo. I have to rethink at least half of it. Arlo was not a happy camper with his parts, not enough wise cracking or adventure.

It amazes me how much blood, sweat and beer it takes to sketch out a good story. It should just flow like wine from my imagination, right? I hear and read about writers that sit down and just 'let the characters tell me their story'. Really?

For me it's more like digging molasses out of a jar with a toothpick. My characters are laughing at me the whole time. 'Why should we tell you anything? It's your demented imagination, we just live here!'

Don't get me wrong, it's the right way, at least for me, to write. I've tried doing without; just letting my Muse take over and go with the creative energy sort of thing. Doesn't work all that well for me.
Sigh. I'm one of those 'slough through the brambles, choosing every wrong path possible until I find a clear way through the thorns' kind of guy.

If there is a stupid plot twist possible, I'll find it. I'll work it hard for days until I finally see that it's not going to work. Most of the time, I can't even remember why I choose this slant over any other more likely one. I'm thick, slow and prone to dumb ideas.

But. Without the outline, I'd be wasting all that time writing myself into corners and throwing away all that fine literature!  At least with the outline I can 'see' where the story is going and backtrack before it's a total waste of time and karma.

Well, back to it. I can hear Arlo chewing Cajun gnats and snickering in the background.

Be cool.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Big kudos to James Paddock for 'Elkhorn Mountain Menace'!

This is a blatant plug for Mr. Paddock's thriller 'Elkhorn Mountain Menace', a book I review on Amazon and in my review section here on the blog.

I love Mr. Paddock's writing style, plot development, character generation, pacing... ah hell, I'm envious of all the aspects of this book. Great characters, inventive plot, solid pacing, intelligent dialog (one of my struggles) that carried me to the very last page.

James has written the perfect book for me. Constant action, just the right amount of twists, great characters and wonderful bad guys. Natasha's not bad either. ;-)

Check out the reviews and get your butt over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and grab this book.

Well done, James!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Making progress!!

I should have a few promo pictures up next week for 'Genome'! Whoo Hoo!

I'm doing a couple of quick chapter scenes to get my feet wet, rather than try for perfection from the beginning. Sort of like doing rough drafts on story outlines. I need to get a feel for what I CAN do and move on from there.

The first shot will be of the tiny holograph of PIP coming out of Frankie's laptop, in the scene where he's just received the laptop from the Geek Squad. He opens it and gets his first look at the small head avatar of PIP.

Then I'll go for a couple more with Jack and Frankie in the offices at 'Magnus Somnium' headquarters and all the employees arriving first thing in the morning. Show my vision of the gorgeous building in the heart of Boulder, CO.

Then a 'big' shot of Frankie, Jack and Jerry inside the holo-room, firing up the DNA modeling holograph with a full body PIP avatar floating next to Jack.

Can't wait to share and get some feedback!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Need to make some cool screen shots!

Yeah, I'm finally getting around to wanting/needing to makes some cool videos or screenshots of both my books, 'Genome' and the 'Arlo and Jake' series.

I can throw around lots of cool excerpts and talk about the plot, and characters till the cows mutate but a single image will do more to entice new readers that anything I can write. A picture gives you instant 'aha' feelings of 'damn I want to read about THAT!' Think about that those posters of 'Star Wars' or 'Star Trek' or 'Iron Man'. Instant adrenalin boost!

So, now I start the search for the right way to create a few cool vids and/or pictures and add to them as I go.

If you have any ideas for the best ways to create images, etc, please leave a comment, I would really appreciate it!

I'll post when I have the first one up!

Best of luck, you writers of the night!