Archives, Part Nine (WTF, How Many Posts Did I Do?: January 16, 2009 to February 23, 2009)

A Reading (Baen+127) (January 16, 2009)

So I mentioned my purchase of Palm Reading: The Complete Guide last post, and, after looking through the mini book, I've done my own, very inexperienced, reading. I've decided, though it's not really story or publishing related, to share my results (All results are taken directly from the book):

"Big Sized Hands reveal versatility and curiosity. While folks with small hands skim the newspaper headlines, those with large hands enjoy the small print and cartoons. Those with big-sized hands are full of mental energy. If I am describing you, you are aggressive about getting what you want but flexible enough to see another point of view."

"When [your fingers] easily flex back, you do anything to avoid an argument."

"Those with a short palm with longer fingers are mentally alert, insatiably curious, and enjoy exchanging opinions and ideas. Like a detective, putting together a puzzle's pieces is stimulating. They are intelligent, well mannered, and diplomatic and they try to avoid arguments."

"Smooth fingers with unobtrusive knuckles belong to people who use intuition more than reason. They play their hunches rather than fret over status quo."

"Rounded fingertip folks are sensitive, enjoy people, and do not like living alone."

"Oval, egg-shaped nails suggest that you are social-minded and take things as they come. Your passions never rule thinking and you rarely act in haste or anger. You are very aware of what other people think and are inclined to conform to majority rules. You like to make friends, not adversaries."

"Nails with vertical ridges or indentations flag the worrywart. Almost too compassionate because of a need for love, you have great difficulty drawing the line with dependent people. A dreamer, you often get so mired in your fantasies that you forget the mundane world of paying bills and doing housework. Even so, you are far too critical of yourself!"

"The Loop fingerprint resembles a cowboy's lasso. A majority of loops reveal that you are adaptable, agreeable and don't like to rock the social boat. You make the most of every situation and are very concerned about the status quo. Mentally agile and clever, you learn quickly."

"Rasclettes [lines that circle the front of hand and wrist] that aim upwards into the palm denote vanity and a need for approval."

"The index finger is considered long when it rises above the nail base of the middle finger. This suggest a healthy ego, belief in you. You test your own limits and believe that you never know what you can do until you try. You take pride in yourself and your accomplishments. You have a strong sense of self and always seek new ways to do things."

"A long, straight, proud-standing middle finger reveals a love for schedule. You're serious about your commitments and don't mind being alone. Work is very important to you and you're happiest when situations are orderly and structured. You possess natural managerial abilities and are known for shrewdness, diligence, and reliability. Although ambitious, status and recognition is not as important to you as honor and personal happiness."

"When your ring finger is longer than the index finger, you enjoy the niceties money buys. You may not be especially facile with words but you communicate well with color, fashion, and visual stimuli."

"Vertical lines, or 'Mercury Lines" on the fleshy area below the little finger suggest you are good at decision-making, and see things logically. You pride yourself on efficiency and your dedication to duty and get the job done."

"You're able to see another's point of view and give to others freely when the tip of your thumb easily bends back. If the thumb arches backward, your heart rules your head and you may have trouble making rational decisions. Very sentimental and a bit unrealistic, it's difficult for you to 'live and let live.'"

"A 45-degree-like angle [of the thumb away from the hand] reveals a generous, open-minded person willing to compromise and consider the options for all concerned. Ideas and concepts are important to you. You respect intelligence and individuality but are more concerned with theory rather than application. It's difficult for you to finish anything on time or on budget. However, you're [sic] quick wit and humor make you lovable and much loved."

"When [the Mount of Apollo is] high and round, you are generous, possess an enthusiasm for life and recover quickly from illness. Self-expressions is a major concern. Although you may not be great with words, you communicate loud and clear."

"Hands with very few lines tell of a more physical, practical, organized spirit. Fine thin lines mean you are more mental and creative."

"When the life line makes a wide, sweeping curve into the palm, you're a magnanimous, sunny individual, generous to a fault. You enjoy being respected and seen as reliable. Generous with your time and money, you enjoy every day.... A life line that beings high under the index finger area denotes a need for acknowledgement. The ultimate individualist, you can't bear to have someone tell you what to do or how to do it. You are energetic but may have trouble focusing your abundant energy. Although you enjoy praise, it's almost impossible for you to accept advice or acknowledge errors."

"The longer the Head Line, the larger your scope of perception. You respect knowledge and equal rights. You never tire of learning new things. You may tend to overestimate yourself but your willingness to learn takes you far.... The deeper-etched the Head Line, the more you harness your wits and put know-how to good use. Optimistic and idealistic, you always see the silver lining inside every cloud and believe things will turn out for the better.... A Head Line plummeting downwards to the wrist in a sharp curve is a sign of escapism and/or depression. Sympathetic and trusting, you are very susceptible to hard-luck stores and easily fooled. Overly idealistics, dealing with harsh realities is difficult for you.... When the Head and Life Lines join together near the thumb, you are cautious and focused. Practical and predictable, your greatest gift is the stability you provide to others."

"You see yourself as a peacmaker when possessing a deeply-etched Heart Line. You place great emphasis on home and family, and whether or not your experiences with family members are positive, your ties to them are strong....A short Heart Line travel only halfway across the palm ending somewhere underneath the middle/Saturn finger and says that no one takes love, sex, and relationships more seriously than you do. Passionate and playful, sensual yet sensible, you don't leap into love affairs blindly."

"Broken, split or faded [Fate] lines denote dissatisfaction with status and a desire for more money and recognition is noted.... A double Fate Line works best in partnerships and is good at organizing others.... A Fate Line ending at the Head Line forewarns of potential money loss due to poor judgement in your middle years. It's difficult for you to separate your emotions from rational thinking. Public success or recognition from peers occurs when the Fate Line veers towards the Index Finger."

"When [Affection Lines] are faint, chained, or broken, you are insecure and cautious about love commitments and a bit self-critical. It is difficult for you to assert yourself, go after what you want."

And that's me. Hm. So what did I get out of it? I'm emotional, I want to be more than I am, and I'm both happy and depressed. Sounds good. Fun stuff. Apply some of these to yourselves, and be sure to pick up the book (it's only $4.95) and read your palm yourself. It's kind of fun.

Anyways, I'll be back soon; good luck getting published!

Today's the Day! (Where the Hell is Baen anyway?) (February 2, 2009)

The contest I referred several posts ago, in this one, has officially started today! Sadly, I couldn't finish my second novel in time (more on that in a moment) but I did submit The Nobodies promptly at just before 9:00 this morning. For anyone who wants to submit, you have at most a week, but the contest closes when 10,000 manuscripts have been submitted. You can enter the contest here.

It's a relatively painless application, with the usuals needed: title, author name, description, genre, etc. It also asks for the book's pitch and the first 3,000-5,000 words as well as a biography, a summary of any local interest in your work, and several other things. Altogether, I believe it took about 15-20 minutes to fill everything out on the fly.

Regarding my second novel, I didn't finish it through lack of trying, believe me. I've been cranking away at the thing as much as possible, but February crept up faster than I anticipated. The draft is now at about 40,000 words and 174 pages, which I aniticpate will be closer to 60,000 and ~215 pages when finished, but will likely grow beyond that with the final product. Much smaller than the first book, I do believe the story is much stronger and the style very refreshing. First readings are going out relatively soon (there are still a few chapters to write and then I want to give it a once over), probably sometime in the next two-three weeks.

I'll be sure to keep you updated on that front, but if you're entering the contest, good luck! If you win anything or hear anything further, please be sure to let me know so we can comment on it further.

By the Way (February 2, 2009)

Just as an FYI: if you are looking for the perfect song to include within a novel, especially a period piece, Amazon's (and I'm sure iTunes we well, though I refuse to support the DRM proponents) MP3 Downloads is amazing. Free samples are available for every song, and simple typing "top songs of (blah)" you can find any song from any year and then sample it to ensure it provides the right tone you wish to set.

I love technology (sometimes).

It's done! (February 18, 2009)

That's right, I've finished the first draft of my second novel. Every chapter is down, every idea I've had up to now is spelled out, and I can take a nice load off of my brain. At 183 pages and about 42,000 words, it's not too shabby of a length considering how it's composed (more on that in a future post). Honestly, the length be damned, I'm just glad it's out there now.

So now comes the fun part. It's not completely done, at least for me, until it is full edited and every ounce of an idea from my head is squeezed out and I simply want nothing more to do with it until I absolutely have to. To do this, I'm going to sit down over the next week or so with a pen and pad and read the entire book without making any additions or edits and just make notes about what works, what doesn't, what should be embellished more, what I think the reader SHOULD get, what I think the reader WILL get, etc. and so forth. This--as my girlfriend would absolutely love--gets rid of as much confusion as possible and makes for a better reading experience overall. So good times.

Now that the bulk of the story is done, I can also move onto some other things. Since coming back from the New York Comic Con (Hell of a show. If you have never been, I highly suggest it or the newly announced Chicago version or the San Diego Con, which has been around even longer. I met a lot of people, bought a lot of great stuff, and saw things you can only see there. But don't go on Saturday if you're claustrophobic!) I've wanted to work on a comic adaptation, at least a page or two, of The Nobodies. Not meaning to ever have it published, it's just something I feel like drawing as a method of relaxation. I've never drawn something like that before, so it'll be quite a new experience, but I'll be sure to keep posting on that and eventually even the drawings.

Then, after all of this, I plan on taking a break from writing for a time to concentrate on my studies. I plan on going back to school for graduate courses soon and I'm not going to skimp on them. I will be writing, though, as always, and already have the outlines for the next two books. I doubt I need both right now, as the next one is going to give me such a bleading headache. Here's a hint: the second half's influence will be celebrating its 350th birthday in only eight years. What a feat.

I'm going to continue posting book reviews (though I've put off a few until now in order to write) throughout everything as a manner of discipline and practice, so always look forward to those. Next week at some point I'll also be writing up a graphic novels only review series and if you don't plan on seeing Watchmen yet, I really hope you do so after that.

Oh, and I almost forgot: I hope all of you who have written something got a chance to submit to ABNA, but if you didn't, I'm certain there will be another one next year. The quarterfinals are due to be announced on the 23rd, only five days away. I realized after I had submitted my entry that I had left my name on the manuscript (typical form includes it in the byline as well as in the header next to the page numbers) and that the rules ask not to include a name anywhere within, so I may be disqualified. We'll see.

That's all (quite a bit, actually) for now, so good luck getting published!

Review: Paul of Dune by Frank Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson (February 23, 2009)

This title is available for purchase here.

Paul of Dune. (6.8/10)

As much as I dislike their series, I have to say that I cannot look away. It's like being the deer caught in the glare of oncoming headlights, only I have to fork down $20 to get the chance to do it.

If not for the love I have for the original series (see
here for my review of the series), I would never continue purchasing these books. While full of relatively interesting ideas, everything in here was already covered in other titles. Frank Herbert himself avoided this era--Paul's jihad, which takes place between the first and second Dune novels--because of the forced repitition that would have occurred. Besides, the climax of the novel was already well outlined in the Dune 7 novels, which we will avoid discussion of due to their utter failure as novels.

Paul of Dune does benefit by being a one and done, although by all accounts the new trilogy, which continues with
Jessica of Dune next, will likely tie into each other in some regard. The novel does fail in one regard, and this has been discussed on many fan boards. Throughout Paul of Dune the authors change several facts of Dune canon and due to this actually state--several times in fact--that Frank Herbert's original novel was not how things actually occurred. The blame is placed on official biographer Princess Irulan who, in her rush to release the novel, did not research well enough. So the authors just wrote off the original landmark science-fiction masterpiece as fanfiction.

How nice of them. I'm certain they'll lose many readers for this bit, if they haven't lost them already, as many are already boycotting the series. I wonder how much more they will change in the upcoming novels? While a strong idea, in theory, the whole concept is disservice to longtime fans and will only lead to inevitable backlash. And I'll be sure to be there.