Sunday, March 30, 2008

Star Trek is to Paramount as Cow is to Farmer.

So, Star Trek: The Next Generation is 20 years old. Man, I feel ancient. I was thirteen years old when I watched the first episode that aired, Encounter at Farpoint. My best friend and I were still renting science fiction and fantasy B-Movies on a weekly basis to satisfy our craving for new and interesting entertainment. Things changed a bit, we found ourselves looking forward to each and every fresh episode. As time went on they started showing a rerun every weeknight and we watched those too. It's one of the few memories I have of tuning in at the same time on the same channel five nights a week.

The Next Generation will always be my favorite Trek, mostly because it hit me just at the right time. Sure, I love the Shatner, the Nimoy, even the Doohan. Sisko, Janeway, and Archer were fantastic characters as well. Having said that, Picard is still my favorite Captain, Riker is still my favorite Number One, and the rest of the cast are still golden in my eyes. I shed a nerdy little tear as the credits rolled on Nemesis, mostly because I was certain that it was going to be the last Generations film.

Moving on, though I do so grudgingly, I'm sure most of you have heard that JJ Abrams, whose work I respect and enjoy, is doing the Star Trek reboot Prequel/Sequel film. I think it'll be brilliant, but more so I think it's quite necessary.

Sadly, the show runners of Trek tried their best to keep the franchise going on television but with Voyager and Enterprise they just took a few wrong turns. By the time they corrected their course (by bringing Manny Coto on board for Enterprise's last season), it was too late and most of the viewers were back to watching reruns of DS-9 and Next Generation instead. Turning to a completely new team was the best thing Paramount could do.

Will it work? Well, who knows. Paramount has already delayed the release of the new Trek film to May of 2009, and the studio developing the Star Trek Online game that was supposed to be available at the time of the film's release (Generations era, by the way), has laid off everyone working on the project and Paramount is looking for another studio to work on it. If you listen to the rumors Paramount is already liscencing the property to another studio, and I hope that's true. I was looking forward to logging onto my character and jumping into an academy runabout for whatever purpose. Even if a new studio is working on it, Star Trek Online may be facing a complete restart after over a full year of development. Pretty dark times in general.

The Trek Cow still goes 'Mooo' for Paramount. They're redeveloping the old 60's television series with new High Definition special effects, cleaning up the live action video and trying to recapture that classic magic for a new generation of viewers. Will it work? Who knows? I know they'll sell a lot of boxed sets, so they'll still make cash on the old stuff. Perhaps there will be renewed interest in syndicating this updated version of the original series? That's where the real money is, syndication. Funny thing, last I checked Generations was almost as well syndicated as the original series. The only reason why there are more screens showing Kirk, Spock and Bones, I imagine, is that it has been translated into more languages.

Having said all that, I'd like to wish everyone who cares about Generations a happy 20th aniverssary. To me that first episode and the seven years that followed on the small screen were magic. I enjoyed the Next Generation movies as well, everyone involved did a fantastic job of bearing the torch through over a decade. Not bad for a crew exploring the galaxy in their pajamas.

Now if Trek keeps on making cash for Paramount, I don't think we'll have to worry about seeing Trek die off. In fact, JJ Abrams and the people he works with bring a fresh eye to the franchise (I hate that word...) and I think we're in for an entirely new Generation of Trek with new movies and maybe even a new television show. I would actually love to see Star Trek back on television. I like what they did there, and the fact that they used the spectacular characters and settings to show us a few things about the world around us.

In any case, I'm excited, I think all science fiction fans should be. There is more Trek coming in one form or another. Money is being spent, great minds are being tapped, and the fans are just starting to line up. I'll be pre-ordering my new Kirk lunch box in May 2009, I already have a spot reserved for it beside my Generations crew bobble head collection.


Friday, March 28, 2008

First Light Chronicles: How It's Going

There are a lot of people reading the first book in the First Light Series, and I have to say that the news I'm hearing is encouraging. Most people really like it and I'm waiting for someone to tell me they don't, just to hear that first bad review that makes you feel like the general public have actually had access to your work.

As most of you know already, the copies currently available in town are misprints, so the people who buy them will have something there will only ever be 14 copies of and each will be signed. I don't know if they will have any value, but I hope the fact that there will be so few helps people who own a copy with a few typos on the back cover feel better. What really matters is that the internal contents are all correct and all the scenes featuring the Bannanabear(TM) are gone.

As far as the second book goes, the few people who have read it really enjoyed Limbo and I'm glad to say that there are a few copies left in Sudbury. I'll be ordering more soon since the proof copies of the second installment turned out so well.

The third book in the series is being written right now. In fact I just finished writing a major turning point in the story. The purpose of the third book in the series is to give the characters a sort of ending to their first real plot cycle, to sort of lay the last brick in the foundation of the rest of the series. These three books are to be the launch pad from which everything springs, even Black Abandon, which will not be under the First Light Chronicles banner, but involve a number of the same characters and take place in the same universe.

The third installment of the First Light Chronicles series; Starfree Port, may be the longest of the three. I expect it to weigh in at about two hundred pages after a second draft. I'm still looking to write this one as though it were made for television but I'm allowing for even more character development, expansion of the universe this all takes place in, and I'm looking at this as though it is the season finale; the one episode that tells a story good enough for people to tune in again after the summer break.

As always, I'll do my best to have you white knuckled and raw by the time you read the last few pages. There are a few who have read the second book who tell me that I've already accomplished the white knuckled part at least once, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the flattery, but I firmly believe that accomplishing that sort of thing once can be chalked up to a happy accident. Doing it twice, now that's where the beginning of imagination and story telling talent really live. That's what I'm going for in the third installment, even if it kills someone.

More on First Light Chronicles: Starfree Port later!


There was never a Bannanabear(TM) in First Light Chronicles: Freeground. It would never get along with Oz.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Go Gutsy Gibbon! Go!

Down with our oppressors!

It just felt good to say that, since I have completely rid my new laptop of all traces of Vista. I didn't install Windows XP either, I went straight for Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is a Linux distribution and is free to anyone who wants it. They have very active forums that cater to experts as well as beginners such as myself. With a bit of help, a few hacks and no tutorials (though it's important that I did play with early distributions of Red Hat ages ago), I have my laptop working 100%. Go Gutsy Gibbon, go.

For anyone just looking at making the switch to Linux on a laptop, here are a few of the upsides I've found to Ubuntu:
There is no cost to this OS. They sent me the CD's free and you can download the most up to date version. All the software you want (except for most games), is on Ubuntu, and everything I'm running is free. It's stable (Vista crashed over a dozen times in less than twenty hours of use, bluescreen of death all over the place!). My wireless connections are more stable, networking is easier, and my battery somehow gained over half an hour of life since the switch. Ubuntu also requires less ram, less hard drive space, comes secure and loaded with Open Office (complete office software), Firefox, and all kinds of useful stuff. It can also look better than Vista. It also took 20 minutes to get the main OS installed.

Here are the downsides as far as I'm concerned:

Some of the drivers were hard to dig up, it took some Google searching and I had to read a couple dozen forum posts. Then I had to learn a few new things (GASP!), copy and paste some commands and install some software to get my earphone plug, graphics adapter and playing DVD's working. No biggie, took about an hour and a half for me to dig up what I needed and have it all working together. What I was missing the community already had, I just had to go find it.

Score one for everyone who hates Vista and wants to be free of Microsoft without having to pay through the nose for an Apple. This laptop is a joy to work on now that it's set up. I was looking at this laptop as a temporary solution until I could save up enough for my black mac, but I think I might just add 4GB of ram and keep it until I've worn out the keyboard.

You know, the Free Light Series is all about being independent of big corporate influence and fighting the ideals behind their actions. What's really funny to me is the fact that I'll be finishing the third book on this recently liberated laptop. *snicker


PS: Everything that got soaked last week is dry and operational again, even the LCD monitor. I'd like this opportunity to thank all the guardian angels who watch over us nerds. Now, back to work on First Light Chronicles: Starfree Port.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

All Is Well In Randyland

Well, the great flood of 2008 is finished. It taught me a valuable lesson that I had obviously forgotten somewhere along the way. Don't put all your eggs (or files) in one basket.

I went out and bought a full sized laptop, one of those desktop replacement thingies just in case my main computer ever went kaput for any reason. I feel much better now, secure even. Sadly I couldn't go with a little eeepc simply because it couldn't hope to replace a full on desktop in it's wildest miniaturized dreams. Perhaps I'll buy one when the 9" screen version is cheap.

My new Toshiba (which is made to look a bit like an expensive Macbook, a plus, but came loaded with Vista, a big minus, booooo!), is going through severe testing as I pound out the second half of First Light Chronicles: Starfree Port, listen to numerous mp3's, customize the shoddy OS (Vista has blue screened on me three times), and watch a couple videos. I even installed Ubuntu on it for a few hours only to discover that the drivers weren't available for this chipset just yet. I wouldn't really know how to install them if they were available, but I'd be willing to learn so I could avoid Vista!

Anyway, back to work I go, churning out what I think is the most interesting and exciting part of the First Light series. I just hope I don't lose anything because of Vista, the operating system that lives up to the dumb blond stereotype better than any blond I've met. It's pretty, it's even a little sexy, but it's as dumb as a fencepost and tends to slow everything down as it flourishes and poses during common, every day tasks.

If anyone happens to know how this Linux beginner can get his Toshiba A200 running without Microsoft, please drop me an email.

Back to work I go!


Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Day I Would Rather Forget...

Last night I came home from work to find that a big leak had opened up in my ceiling. Normally not a big deal, just call the landlord, get him to come fix that up. The problem was that this leak spewed winter water directly onto my desk. I swear not a drop dripped anywhere else, just my desk.

The good news is that nothing I had written was lost, the water missed my computer by no more than 12 inches. The bad news is that my lcd and crt monitors are toast along with my keyboard and a couple USB keys. Just enough damage to hurt, but not enough to warrant paying the insurance deductible. I'm writing on an old 15" monitor right now, by the way.

I'm happy to say that regardless of all that drippy dreariness I still wrote this morning, I will be working on the third installment of First Light Chronicles this Thursday and Friday RIGHT AFTER I GO GET A LAPTOP!!

Anyhoo, all is well, I'm alive, and my brain is as sticky with ideas as ever. In fact, I think I'll include a natural disaster in one of the next few books I put out. Watch for it, I'm going to kill a lot of people. Like, a lot. Probably a character you like. I'll feel better.


Water bad.

Monday, March 17, 2008

New Shipment In Sudbury!

The last advance copies for two books in the First Light Chronicles series: Freeground and Limbo are here!

The First Light Chronicles: Limbo advance copies are perfect, and I like the black and white look of the cover (intentional design), it reflects the feel of the story as well as anything. As far as the logo on the cover, it looks much better in glossy print. In short, I'm happy with that one.

The First Light Chronicles: Freeground advance copy came with spelling errors on the cover! Looking back at my master files, I found that the file I was supposed to be upload was spell checked, the one I uploaded was not. Considering I drafted the final version of the synopsis at 4am, I'm not terribly surprised, though I have to admit I'm a little disappointed with myself.

Instead of going into a massive fit and starting a bonfire out of the 14 copies I have, I'm going to sign these copies and sell them for $10.00 apiece for anyone who wants a copy now and doesn't want to wait for the corrected final version. The interior edits are all there, so other than the back cover everything turned out fine. I'll be ordering copies of the final, corrected version when the third installment in the series is finished.

The Fate Cycle: Dead of Winter advance copies are in as well, and it looks pretty good for a book that has been sitting on my shelf for 4+ years. Sadly I didn't order any spare copies of that one, but I'm glad it turned out well and I'll take pre-orders from anyone who's interested (they're $14.99). So drop me an email if you're interested in that one and I'll make sure I include a few copies in my next order.

All in all it has been a good day, now to work on the third installment in the First Light series before I run off to work.


Friday, March 14, 2008

First Light Chronicles General Status Update

Well, there's some news regarding the First Light Chronicles series, and it's all good!

The first real shipment of the first novella in the series; Freeground has come across the border at Fort Erie, Ontario according to UPS, so copies may be in Sudbury on time for Easter. In that same box are advance copies of the second novella in the series: Limbo. I'm anxious to see that one in print, especially since it's so completely different from the first and there are people who are in real need of a copy. How much people like the first book still stupefies me, but not for long, thankfully.

Almost all the advance copies of the second novella are spoken for so if you want one, you'd better email me quick otherwise you'll have to order your own copy from or wait until I order more copies in.

The third First Light novella is coming along well. Again it's something completely different. It's called First Light Chronicles: Starfree Port. A couple people have been watching the blog for progress on the book, and I realize it's been 'stuck' at 30% for a few days now but that's not because there isn't more work going into it. It's growing, fast, and to be honest I'm not quite sure how big this book will be. It's taking more space to tell this story and it's a good one as far as I'm concerned. The final size of this book is difficult to estimate, so I've decided not to estimate it at all. There's a lot of character development here, I'm giving all the important personalities time to breathe, and it's lending a lot of depth to the plot.

Instead of giving you an estimate on how far along I am into the first draft I'll tell you when I'm finished writing it. At this pace, it may only take another week or so. Once this is finished I'll start work on Black Abandon, which is the stand alone novel based in the First Light universe. You'll have to wait for more details, but I'll give you a big old hint: people who read the first three novellas will have a perfectly clear idea as to how important Black Abandon will be to the entire series. That's all I can tell you about that right about now, I might have even said too much already.

Sadly, I haven't been paying much attention to the entertainment world lately since writing is so much more fun right now. There won't be any interesting tidbits or scathing points of view for a bit, at least not until I feel like I need a twenty minute breather from writing. For those of you who check in for a bit of entertainment news and the like, you can look forward to a couple book reviews in the near future. I'm reading some interesting stuff these days, and I plan on filling you in.

Now I'm off to sleep, time to pay some attention to that mad sock puppet show that plays in my head every night. I'm cheering for the frayed around the edges faded sock this evening.


Oh, and go check out, truly a solid blog. It's well written and has a ton of very useful real world info, such as; "Will I be able to type on this really tiny laptop I'm looking at?" His most recent posting involves a question that I've been mulling over for a while, actually; "What do you think about refurbished items?" Go see his site, go now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Geek Skillz Blog Now Rules World!

Yes, while we were all sleeping, Neil of Geek Skillz just decided it's time, he should just take over and rule us all. Did he do it for the power? The fame? More m&m's than he could eat in a lifetime? Nope. He did it so he could get Lucas Arts to make an updated version of Maniac Mansion, to more easily add to his collection of antique buckets, and most importantly, to eventually hand it back to the people who took it over in the first place and say; "Well, that wasn't so hard, you should change your password!"

Actually, Neil is a long time blogger and programmer who has a different point of view than my own, which I appreciate when I have the opportunity. He's also given me some central plot advice on a recent work that possibly saved a whole bunch of readers from simply asking 'why?' during an important part of a book instead of having the intended 'whoa!' reaction.

So, this Thursday, that karate guy will be posted somewhere on this site (he's still picking out just the right spot, preferably facing East). Once you're all finished here, or just tired of me going on, and on, go see his bright white and green website for contrast (and on).

Type at ya soon!


Love that 8 bit Karate guy...

Friday, March 7, 2008

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I've finished editing an older work; Fate Cycle: Dead of Winter. It's a light hearted romantic tale about an arranged marriage between a healer and a future warlord.

It's always interesting to take a look at work from years past and it's especially nice to realize that the story you told back then is still a fun read now. There's charm, depth and a solid beginning, middle and end to this book. I'm proud that it was written long before I really learned how a good story comes together.

There were grammatical problems, over writing and such but they were easily corrected. It just took time. I hope anyone who takes the time to read this volume enjoys it. For me it was a good primer to start working on the third part of the First Light series again.

Oh and by the way, my proof reader, who will be nicknamed R.A.I. for the purpose of this blog, gives First Light Chronicles: Limbo his seal of approval. He doesn't know it, but if he didn't like it I would have never published it.

Until next time!


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rumor That Heroes Is In Trouble Is Completely False!

Okay, so some how there are some bulletin board posts going around and even a news item on a site that is normally quite correct that claims that Heroes, the NBC smash hit, is actually at risk of being canceled.

First off, I can tell you for an absolute certainty that not only are they going to do at least one more season (I'd place my bets on 3 more), but they are selling every single episode of the show to foreign markets for absurd prices. What does that mean? That means Heroes is so popular world wide that NBC is actually making syndication class cash before syndication. That means Heroes is their biggest cash cow! NBC is owned by a big corporation, that means that shareholders are watching the bottom line and if they canceled Heroes, that bottom line wouldn't look nearly as good. Everyone loves a good bottom line. Besides that, the show runners are living every writer/producer/developer's dream right now, they're the golden boys (and girls) of the network and don't have to answer to as many people as say, a failing show would. So, in short, HEROES IS NOT BEING CANCELED!!

Here's where these people who obviously like to jump to conclusions might have misheard some news leading to them revealing their status as 'least brightest bulb in the box'. There was this spinoff called Heroes: Origins that was supposed to come out for six episodes during 2008. The writer's strike put an end to that, so the idea was shelved. As it turns out the spinoff is still something the creator Tim Kring wants to do, but there are a lot of casting, time, story and production barriers between wanting to do it someday and actually making it happen. Right now they have to focus on getting Heroes back on track, especially since they didn't get to shoot half a season worth of material that the creator has since changed a great deal because of the early ending in season 2.

So, here's the point:
Heroes - We'll see it this season, including Kristin Bell, who is returning as her broken blond character from last season.

Heroes: Origins - Might happen, might not happen. Who cares? As long as regular Heroes makes a 20-24 episode season 3 I'm happy!

People Who Jump To Conclusions or Lie To Get Attention - It could be worse, you could be getting what you deserve.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Fate Cycle: Dead of Winter

So, several years ago I wrote this book called Fate Cycle: Sins of the Past, it was book one of a two book set. I'm still working on Fate Cycle: Exodus (the second part), but as a way to get to know some of the central characters in those two novels, I wrote a shorter book called Fate Cycle: Dead of Winter.

Dead of Winter was serialized on my old website: (now and available in part until someone took the domain. The book takes place before the main two books, but I refuse to call it a prequel, it isn't, it's just another story dammit. The pace and style are actually vastly different from Fate Cycle: Sins of the Past and the plots are barely tied in together.

Why read it? Well, now that I'm carefully editing Dead of Winter, I'm finding that it's a very charming story where the central characters get to tell stories about their pasts as they live out the plot line. It's actually a fun read and after I'm finished cleaning it up, it'll be worth reading if you like descriptive fantasy and multi-layered story telling.

This is also my way of taking a nice deep breath before diving into the third book in the First Light series, which looks to be one hell of a finish for the first three. Will there be more? Oh hell yeah. I'm having too much fun with the First Light Series to put it down for more than a week or two at a time, the ideas just keep boiling to the top.

What about Fate Cycle: Exodus? Well, I'm going to be starting on that in June or July and the first thing I'm doing is pulling one entire plot line out of the book. Yup, 100 pages or so are about to go bye-bye because I'm looking back on it now and realizing that there was absolutely no point to that part of the story. The rest of the book is fantastic and I'll be redrafting the entire thing from scratch, which means it should take me about two months to write, another month to edit, then an actual editor will be working on it for another month or two. Then I'm hoping to have a nice big Christmas party.

For now there's Dead of Winter, and so far it's a fun read. It'll be available for purchase online in about a week.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Smallville and Supernatural Getting One More Season

For several years millions of people have enjoyed Smallville and Supernatural every Thursday night. I'm one of them, and even though Smallville has changed drastically during it's run (It was once a high school drama that featured a young Clark Kent as the central character, now it's a early 20's drama that features a young Clark Kent), I still enjoy it. Especially now that Lex Luthor is just a wee bit more Evil. (Yes, that's Evil with a capitol 'E')

Supernatural is a joy to watch, and the circumstances of the brothers continual quest have changed quite a bit, but the episodes are generally about the same kind of thing; hunting down big Evil baddies and disappearing their asses! It's a formula show that works, and that's the only kind of formula show worth watching.

Anyhow, I'm very happy the CW has announced they're back for another year starting next September/October, with other shows facing the axe of the big bad corporate networks (How I Met Your Mother being one of them, which is just a bit confusing), it's good to see that some quality remains.


Monday, March 3, 2008

First Light Chronicles: Limbo now available!

My final draft and edit on the second book in the First Light Chronicles series, Limbo, is finished and now available on for purchase.

I enjoyed writing this act of the story mostly because the plot took all the characters to a completely different place. The plot has so much momentum that it wouldn't fit in the 120 page mark, instead it took 150 pages to tell this tale.

In terms of how I feel about this part of the story, I believe that if it were an episode in a television series it would leave audiences just not knowing what to expect next but certainly wanting more.

The good news is that there's more on the way, as the ideas for Act 2 spill over into Act 3, and Act 3 will most likely spill over into Act 4. I'm enjoying the roller coaster ride, and I certainly hope to take you all with me.

In other news relating to the First Light Chronicles, there are a few concept sketches on the way from a very good artist friend of mine who just finished reading Freeground. Stay tuned for more on that, eventually.

Once again I hope everyone enjoys reading this volume half as much as I enjoyed writing it, and I thank you for your support!