Monday, July 28, 2014

Reasons I Do and Don't Write

Originally I posted this as part of an answer in a thread on a writer's forum:

I write because I think I have some interesting stories to share.
I write because it makes me a better English teacher.
I write because it allows me to earn CEUs to maintain my teaching license.
I write because I enjoy it.
I write because it helps pay the bills.
I write because it's neat to have my name on a cover.
I write because I want the opportunity to meet readers and other authors at signings, events and conventions.
I write because it enables me to share and help others to achieve their writing aspirations.
I write because it keeps my mind active, and I am working--being productive.
I write because it's a good example for my daughters.
I write because it's a challenge and a form of competition.
I wrote my first novel because back in college it was something promised myself I'd do one day.
I write because I think reading is important, and having a few more good stories out there counts for something along that line.

I don't write in hopes of earning massive royalty checks.
I don't write because I crave fame.
I don't write to prove a point to anybody.
I don't write because I have a vast (or even a small) amount of spare time to fill.
I don't write because I enjoy rejection and less than positive reviews from readers.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Author Michael J Sullivan's Perspective on Kindle Unlimited

For those readers who don't own a Kindle, or purchase ebooks from Amazon, this may not make any difference--at least not in the short term. For Kindle owners, Kindle Unlimited might be beneficial. It's been described as the Netflix of ebooks.

Amazon's unveiling of its new sales strategy, Kindle Unlimited, came as a surprise to just about everyone, and it may have a long reaching impact on many author careers, especially those who self-publish, or are published through a small or medium size press.

Briefly: Kindle Unlimited is where a reader can borrow any number of books that are available for a fee of $9.99 per month--for now the first month is free.

In any case, bestselling author Michael J. Sullivan has weighed in on the issue, offering his view. In my experience his opinions are well thought out and supported with relevant facts/statistics and experience.

Here's his article. I think it might be worth a read: Kindle Unlimited’s Two-Tier System Makes Some Authors Second-Class Citizens

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Forced Retirement after 11 Years of Solid Service

My Old and New Nokia
(I am guessing you can tell which is which)
I was less than amused to receive a letter from AT&T, saying that starting July 30th my model of Nokia phone would no longer be supported--in other words, the antenna would not be able to effectively pick up the new signal they'd be sending.

My cellphone still worked perfectly fine. The battery held a charge for three days and it got better reception (more bars) than most phones. Just couldn't do a lot of fancy stuff. I believe it would have lasted a few years longer...but hopefully this new one will go at least the eleven years my old Nokia did. I kind of doubt it. Even if it does, they'll probably force it into premature retirement too.

Two good things related to the issue: The Nokia Lumia 925 was free, and the upgrade didn't add any additional expense to the family plan.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Interviewed by Authorcast (Episode 105)

Click on over if you have a chance to Episode 105 of Authorcast, hosted by David Wood and Alan Baxter, where I'm interviewed by David Wood (2nd half of the show).

David asks me a number of questions about my novels and writing, and we discuss writing in general. Plus, I have a 'brain fart' for a few seconds, which was fun...sort of ;)  Although phone interviews aren't my strength, maybe that makes it a more interesting listen.

Link: 105- Sci Fi and Fantasy with Terry W. Ervin II


Monday, July 21, 2014

Tarzan Call (Johnny Weissmuller)

Back when I was a kid, I remember Sunday afternoons after church, watching television--especially when it was raining.

Sometimes it was Abbot and Costello or Shirley Temple. Other times it was Tarzan. To me the 'real' Tarzan was Johnny Weissmuller. Yes, the movies are black & white, and dated but, for those who've heard it, who can forget Tarzan's call?

(Turn the sound down a bit before clicking the Youtube link)

Might be good sound for an alarm clock ;)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Article: Don't Expect Shortcuts

Yesterday my article was featured over at author Kim Smith's blog.

It discusses a few shortcuts writers early in their career try to take. Click on over if you have a moment.

LinkDon't Expect Shortcuts

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Art Affair on the Square coming July 19th in Urbana, Ohio

A quick reminder that I'll be at the 10th Annual Art Affair on the Square this Saturday (July 19th) from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, talking about reading and writing, and signing copies of my novels and short story collection.

The Champaign County Public Library is hosting the tent where you can find me and five other authors. My understanding is that we'll be located near the Douglas Inn (the South West Corner of the Square in Urbana, Ohio).

It's a great festival with over a hundred artists and vendors of all types, plus some pretty nifty food selections.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Handwritten Records from 2001 for 2014 Sequel

If you've followed this blog or my Facebook page, you know that I'm working on Relic Rescue, the sequel to Relic Tech (published by Gryphonwood Press in November 2013).

Relic Tech
First Novel in the
Crax War Chronicles
I started writing Relic Tech way back in 1998. Well, I started outlining and planning and studying how to write a novel in 1998. One thing I wanted to achieve was consistency, especially where it related to space travel.

I did my best to determine accurate distances between stellar bodies and, after creating the 'rules' for condensed space travel, I established the parameters for humans and the various alien races. The main factors included the rate at which a ship could travel based upon its own thrust capability and the degree to which it could condense space (and maintain such condensation). Another factor was the use of con-gates (condensation gates) which generally offered a more effective condensation factor and required less ship-based energy.

In essence the theory is to compress or condense space directly in front of the ship as it travels, thus reducing the time it takes to travel, by making the distance traversed 'shorter.' This mode of travel also alleviated some of the concerns of time dilation, related to when a ship begins to approach the speed of light. Time passes differently for those moving on a fast spaceship as compared to those not on the ship in question.

In any case, I made a chart for reference. Yes, handwritten, dated 200. As I write now, in 2014, I am in need the information to remain internally consistent in this novel in the Crax War Chronicles, and also to remain consistent with the first novel in the series (and that follow).

I am a believer in making backups. I keep one such file (with important photocopies of originals) a cabinet at work (about 1/2 inch thick). And the originals in a plastic file case stored out of the way in the basement. Even back then, when I was writing, I kept multiple backups of my files, saving them to disks and later thumb/flash drives, and emailing copies to myself. How devastating would it be to lose years of work? I don't know and it's something I intend never to experience.

This afternoon I am transferring this bit of paper data to a digital spreadsheet. Got to be more modern...which is something that Security Specialist Keesay (an R-Tech) might not necessarily endorse. I'm not him, that's for sure ;)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Character Interview: Lilly (from Flank Hawk, Blood Sword and Soul Forge)

If you have a moment check out the interview with Lilly, a spunky and sometimes thorn-in-the-side character from the First Civilization's Legacy Series.

Link: Interview with Lilly

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Boy Scouts and The Tattooed Lady

While proofing the audiobook version of my short story collection, one of the stories "The Candy Bar Game" the setting and background is roughly drawn from my experience as a Boy Scout.

Our scout master, Mr. Smyth, was an interesting guy with a wry sense of humor, and I was thinking about him. I recalled being roughly a First Class scout, and hearing Mr. Smyth sing The Tattooed Lady. For some reason that song/memory stuck with me.

I decided to look it up, because you can find anything on the internet. I only recalled bits and pieces of the song. So, here it is, although Mr. Smyth didn't sing it with a British accent.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Flank Hawk to be Released in Spanish

Earlier today I received word from my publisher (Gryphonwood Press) that contracts have been signed and Flank Hawk will be released in Spanish.

It will obviously take time for the translation process and I'll provide updates as they become available.

Top TV Series over the Years

My favorites over the years, in alphabetical order:

Babylon 5

Burn Notice


Gilligan's Island

Happy Days


Married with Children

The Rockford Files

StarGate SG 1

Star Trek (The Original Series)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In the Final Minutes of his Life, Calvin has One Last Talk with Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbes
My All Time Favorite Comic Strip
I came across this online.  It brought back memories and has a pretty good message. Reading it brought tears to my wife's eyes.

Link: In the Final Minutes of his Life, Calvin has One Last Talk with Hobbes

Maybe it's the English teacher in me, but you'll have to ignore the scattered errors, mainly punctuation.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th of July

I hope everyone in the USA enjoys a memorable Independence Day celebration with family and friends.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Reading is Necessary

If you've got a moment, click on over and read my article Reading is Necessary, over at Myself as Written

Why? Because reading is necessary, right? :)

Link: Reading is Necessary