Pantsing a post

I’m really kinda alarmed at how much of a pantser I actually am. Ok, let me back that up for the non-writers. I’m really surprised at how much I make up as I go along.

Before we get to all that, a few quick plugs for things we learned on other topics:

Over at Curious Continuity, we have concluded our survey of FTL methods.

And at Fantastical History we recap some things we learned (including the pantsing thing) at Leprecon 45 last weekend. 

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Some people make and use plans.

In truth, I like to know what I’m going to write before I sit down, but the realities of time and life mean that sometimes I just have to sit down and tap away and see what happens. My problem is that I’m good enough at spouting out nonsense off the top of my skull that I charge into the void with unwarranted optimism.

And a lot of typos.

And then I tie myself up in a not when I actually have to pull the plot together.

My whole life goes like that. I have a bit of a plan, it fall apart from errant assumptions, I make a new plan? – no I just make stuff up until I’m out of it all somehow.

I abandoned a carefully researched plan to buy a car to snap up a car I assumed to be beyond my reach. (Ruby Vroom). I seem to be getting away with that.

Not really related, but something I learned: open both side of the dead swamp cooler before deciding to replace it. Sometimes the previous tenant had just disassembled the belt for some reason. Put it back together and – cool-ish swamp air until late July.

Back to things I make up as I go along – WORD COUNT:

I wrote 1000 new words on Taliesin’s New Apprentice (the working title for the sequel to Beanstalk and Beyond), and transcribed 1500 into the thinking machine. Add the writer’s group I read it for critique in, and that’s 3000 words.

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As I hinted at a bit in my last post, I edited and ran two episodes of Go Action Fun Time at Leprecon 45. That’s a thousand word worth each.

So At the Monday cut-off I made my 5000. And at the end of this blog, I’m already at 3000. But I got more to transcribe for Jack to read in 22 hours.

So now we know.

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Go Action Fun Time at Leprecon 45

This weekend!

I will be running two episodes of Go Action Fun time at the local ASF/F convention.

Leprcon 45 – Double-tree Metrocenter. Bottle-brush conference room – 2nd floor.

10220 N Metro Parkway E, Phoenix, AZ 85051. It’s by the Metrocenter Mall off I-17 at Peoria Ave.

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Dice Monster will also be in attendance

9:00 am Saturday [April 20]

Ravenna’s Tower

Rescue Snow White’s daughter from the dragon  whether she wants you to, or not.

1:00pm Sunday [April 21]

We Are All Sam

Confronting the terrible secret beneath a besieged a city full of clones

 

Does this all seem thrown together at the last minute? That’s kinda the theme of the whole con. Come play if you are inclined.

Go Action Fun Time is designed as a drop-in role playing game. You do not need to have participated in any of the previous episodes to be included in the next. I will have pre-generated characters available.

 

Faith in finance brings me Ruby Vroom

If you missed the last entry, we learned that my Kia Soul did not survive  a collision, and that was the end of that. (And I’m fine, because we also learned that’s the first question you’ll ask).

I have a new vehicle: a 2015 Subaru Forester.

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It has just under 50k miles, and represents a couple notches of improvement im bith size and over-all quality from the vehicle it replaces.

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Even so, my payments are about the same. How is that possible?

Turns out I had gap insurance after all.

At least, that is the theory. There are a list of people, office professionals, who were going to contact me and confirm the details, and none of them have done so. Even the down payment check has taken nearly a week to clear.

But, as far as I know, I bought a car for the same money that I owed on the previous one.

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I named her Ruby Vroom – refering to the Soul Coughing Album, her color, and her tendency to go faster than you expect. A more complet review coming in a few weeks.

Assuming I still have her, of course.

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WORD COUNT:

1000 words of new Taliesin’s Last Apprentice content.

1500 of 2nd draft TLA content

500 words for Thursday Night writer’s group.

500 words for editing Go Action Fun Time material and

1000 words for playtesting Go Action Fun Tie at my house last Sunday. This could become a regular thing.

Missed it by 500 words.

I will live with myself.

Now we know.

 

How my Soul was crushed

A serious car wreck – even without injury – yes – is a life-changing event for those of us treading water in the middle class of western civilization. I was in a serious car accident. Before we get to that:

 

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MY HOUSE – Sunday April 7 at 3pm.

Because I can.

 

More about Go Action Fun Time here.

In my world, play-testing now counts as an Author Event.

 

Ahem. To the topic at hand:

At about 7am on March 28th, I proceeded northbound on 83rd Avenue into its intersection with Camelback Road and WHAMMO!.

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Post Whammo!

The light had just turned green for the northbound 83rd. I was first into the intersection. A passenger van heading eastbound on Camelback ran the red light to strike the driver’s side front corner of my 2013 Kia Soul hard enough to spin my vehicle 180 degrees, and deploy the airbags.

FAQ’S:

  • Yes. I am fine. A bit of whiplash. Some bruising.
    • I was not treated on scene.
    • Nobody else involved in the accident was injured enough to be treated on scene.
    • I went home via ride-share.
    • I have since seen my GP, who diagnosed some whiplash.
    • I am getting treatment for that.
  • Yes- I have everybody’s insurance info – or rather I have a copy of the Glendale Police report that has everybody’s particulars.
  • Glendale Police told me they were going to cite the other vehicle.
    • The officer told me they had reviewed the traffic camera, and it showed the eastbound light was red and the northbound light was green.
  • Nobody has officially claimed the car is totalled, but I expect that declaration Monday.
  • I have called insurance companies. I am awaiting their calls back.
  • I have not retained a lawyer.
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The white truck is just sneaking through the intersection before Glendale PD closed it.

What I’ve learned:

Everyone asks some version of the above questions, generally in that order. Particularly they are going to ask if you were hurt, even if you lead with the fact that you were not hurt.

I was not seriously hurt. Thank you for asking.

The rear hatch would not open on the accident scene. This would end up mattering…

We have previously disclosed some Strange Facts about my Kia Soul. They are worth reviewing.

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In better times…

If you skipped reading that, you need to know that I am upside down on the loan, and do not have gap insurance. This horrifying revelation is tempered somewhat by the realization that I was already screwed, and this just changes the particulars of how I am screwed. Most likely, I will end up paying a little more money for a little less car. The sun will rise in the morning.

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Get gap insurance if you finance a car. GAFDE.

I remain, at this writing, in tow-yard/ insurance process purgatory. (We have visited impound lots in this space before.) Glendale PD towed the remnants of my crushed soul to their lot. I could not even enter the lot without an ID that matches the name on the title. The name on the title is my ex-wife. She was kind enough to meet me last Saturday morning so I could try to recover my things out of my soul. But Farm Bureau, the insurance for the other driver,  had towed my soul to a different lot sometime late Friday, without telling me. No one from that company who might know where that lot was answers their phone on the weekend.

It turns out, though, that State Farm, my insurance company, sometimes uses the same lot. It’s popular with insurance companies. They were able to pull up the electronic inventory, and find my soul.

That lot is closed on the weekend.

They gave me a rental car, though.

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Yes – seriously.

I don’t know what the future truly holds in store for me, but I like to think it holds some vehicle with a roof rack.

And not nearly so … red.

You were warned.

A jumbled history that never was

That’s how I describe Steampunk. I spent the last weekend at WildWestCon 8 at Old Tucson Studios. Yeah- I should’ve publicized it more, but it’s basically a costume convention with just a dash of literature and almost no gaming. I moderated some panels to earn my keep.

I’ve never been much for wearing costumes at cons. The few times I’ve tried it, years ago,  they were all thrown together last minute, and consequently more troublesome than impressive. I wear loud tropical shirts and tell people I’m a time traveler – but one that’s completely burned out.

Then I started dating the costumer I met at a Con.

Before we get to that, though, I have an announcement. You might want to stand back a bit there….

Go Action Fun Time is LIVE at Drive-Thru RPG!!!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/268196/Go-Action-Fun-Time-Basic-Rules

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Go Action Fun Time is an open-ended, rules-lite role-playing game invoking action/adventure cartoons. You can play basically any character you want and have them run amok through any setting. Adventures can be played in one session. Characters can pop in and out without affecting continuity. And sometimes … dinosaurs.

Teen-age superheroes from the past, present or future – real or imagined – have been thrown together to compete (as a team) (in theory) in a reality game show produced by chaotic and perhaps insane gods called the Executive Producers. These heroes now travel randomly through time, pursuing the strange and crazy challenges given to them by the Producers, and perhaps righting wrongs along the way.

It’s just $4.99 – because I want people to have a copy of the rules. These are very basic: no fancy typeset or watermarks, a few illustrations, all by my hand, some just pencil over graph paper. But this is all you need to start playing.

Where and when were we?

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Crank Hazard and friend.

I discovered recently – with some coaching, that I can put together a reasonable cowboy outfit out of means at hand. Not totally period ( I cannot abide actual cowboy boots) but it doesn’t have to be. Steampunk is forgiving like that.

I found myself inventing Crank Hazard, a cowboy, of sorts, who repairs time machines by way of trade. That’s fun and all, I can blather on command about the imaginary machinations of time travel, but Crank’s name is not on the cover of any of the books I am trying to promote at these events.

So I’m still trying to find that line.

More on the Steampunk genre here:

The term “Steampunk” originated in the late 1980s with a cheeky letter to Locus Magazine from science fiction author K. W. Jeter. Jeter was trying to find an accurate description of works by himself (Morlock Night), Tim Powers (The Anubis Gates), and James Blaylock (Homunculus). While Jeter coined the word, it was William Gibson and Bruce Sterling that brought the genre attention with the book The Difference Engine (1992). Best known for their offerings in cyberpunk, Gibson and Sterling took their intimate integration of man and machine back to 1885. In this alternative Industrial Revolution, Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine is not merely a curiosity but the norm, and now his Analytical Engine comes to fruition. The book centres around the struggle between the working class Luddites (who fear technology) and the upper-class “enhanced” elite.

Moderating panels, I learned:

  • Steampunk actually began with the dime novels of the day, where authors, desperate for new angles, would occasionally insert fantastic and rarely scientific elements.
  • BUT the TV show Wild Wild West was the first recognizable entry into the genre to gain any popular traction. And it predated the term “Steampunk” by several decades.
  • Technology does not let you make costumes and props any better necessarily, but it does let you make them faster.
  • The resource triangle: Good, Cheap, Fast. Pick 2.

 

Over at Curious Continuity, we talk about Warped Drives.

That’s all I have for word-count.

Non-linear time does not enable productivity.

Now we know.

Things I have done so you don’t have to

As usual, I have been busy: travelling, making things, dramatically reducing the amount of vegetation surrounding my house. Since this is supposedly an author blog, let me lead with that news.

I have uploaded Go Action Fun Time to Drive-thru RPG  and now await their approval.

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Yes – my artwork. If you think you can do better, contact me. 

It is only a PDF for now. That was enough of a maze without trying to reformat for e-pub or mobi.  I now know there are six different formats of PDF. And PDF/A is bad. Well, it’s fine, but the security features will lock up the bots at Drive-Thru. Also, compressed or linked JPEGs and transparencies are bad because Apple is i-fussy. I’m not clear what any of that is, so I don’t have to worry?

You, loyal reader, do not have to wait for Drive-Thru’s blessing to get this product. Contact me directly, and I will hook you up. With a commitment to playtest it for me, it would be free.

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Bongo at a river-side park in BHC.

I journeyed to Bullhead City on RC Lurie business, so you don’t have to. Bullhead City is a cluster of hills on the banks of the Colorado River, across from Laughlin Nevada – where all the money comes from. On top of each hill is a 55+ trailer park. The exception is along AZ95, the main drag, which is an extended strip mall. You might infer how much I enjoyed my stay.

I’ve actually been there twice. The first stint I stayed at a $40/night motel, where nothing was open after 11pm (I arrived at 10:30pm) and my door didn’t quite lock. They had a fridge and microwave but no coffee. I found coffee in the lobby in the morning, and I survived.

On my return trip, the client put me up in a casino.

Casinos are crappy places to stay when on business. The Avi Casino, south of Laughlin proper,  gave me a room with no fridge, microwave or coffee. It’s like they don’t want you spending time in your room at all.

In fairness, the casino cafe (Feathers – I think) is open 24/7 and I was able to get a decent breakfast and out the door in half an hour.

I had a better time in Las Vegas, as you might imagine. I don’t gamble to speak of, but I drink, and prefer to drink with nerds. For that, Vegas features the Millenium Fandom.

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Yes – I have a girlfriend.

True confession: I have never been much for cosplay. Cheryl (my girlfriend)

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Cheryl 

 is an actual costumer, though, and views these events as marketing among other things. I now own a pirate shirt, and several other items of clothing I would not otherwise possess.

I’ve done worse things for romance.

 

Closer to home:

I have finally bottled the mead I tossed last summer. It is sweet and fruity and bubbly – like magic unicorn sweet and fruity. I’m mildly disturbed. It’s called Wildflower, and she be recovering from bottle-shock by late April, early May.

 

The internet promised me that replacing my two exterior doors would cost about $800. I’ve had bids from $1800 to $3600. So … that’s a little more. Curiously, the two estimators who quoted me around $1800 took the most measurements and asked the better questions.

It likely come down who provides the better actual door.

There is a 4-6 lead time with door installation.

The tool of choice for removing dandelions from gravel is a pick-ax. A 30 gallon garbage bag stuffed full of decapitated dandelions weighs the better part of 50 lbs. I filled 9 bags.

My arms still hurt.

Now you know.

A few quick notes because this blog is not dead

I have been on the road for the past five days, both personal and business reasons, so I might be a bit punchy. What follows are items worthy of note, but not, of themselves, worthy of their own posts.

A memo to my conservative friends, mostly the ones on Facebook: Venezuela is not a dumpster fire because it is socialist. Socialism is just the paint on the dumpster. It is a dumpster fire because the Maduro administration is both corrupt and incompetent. (Compare with his predecessor Chavez, who was merely corrupt). Somalia has almost no socialist programs. Sweden has a good deal more. If I have to explain how that deflates your analogy, you are not the world-savvy observer you claim to be, are you?

It is totally worth it to fill the car with snacks at the start of a journey rather than relying on gas stations as you go. Rural gas stations suck. Get a good cooler and load it up in civilization.

I mentioned to a couple of people the importance of the Jumping Frog Fee for designers, and they just stared at me blankly. I may or may not have promised to e-mail the link to this trove of wisdom, but I totally forgot who these people are.

So: The Jumping Frog Saga from 27B/6.

Also, while three hours at $75.00 does equate to $225.00, the total cost to recreate and sent your business card artwork would be $450.00 due to the Jumping Frog fee.

Before I sent Go Action Fun Time off to print, I had a moment of clarity regarding the introductory material and the cover art – deciding I could do both better. (You can see the cover art in question on the previous post.)

Perfect is the enemy of done but I can do better, so I will.

Due to travel and its distractions, word count is disastrously low this week, but we did update Are We Lost Yet ? about Bloody Basin Road. 

Now we know.