Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Survived Nano!

... barely. :)

Well November is winding down and I survived! This is always a nutty month for teachers. Report cards go home - this requires a lot of work on our part. We also had a new computer program to work with this year so that added to the chaos. I takes about an hour per kid per report card usually. Probably a little more this year with the new program. Doesn't sound like much until you add in the fact that most of us have more than 30 kids in the classroom - this year I've got 33 - and that we do all of this outside of regular work hours. :)

So I managed to fit in reports and finish the 50k words for NaNo. The family didn't even starve - although I did rely on pizza or subs a few times. :)

I'm not finished with the story yet - probably another 15k to go at this point. I think I'll finish it up and then head on back to that rewrite. I wasn't planning on doing NaNo until the last minute - Nov 1st actually - so I'm a little surprised the story had the legs to get here. Some of it's even not horrible...I think. Maybe I should reserve judgment until I do those revisions - hopefully in February or March.

Now life will revert to the normal kind of chaos. I've been AWFUL at visiting blogs this month. Hopefully December will be better. Although it IS December and we all know what that's like... Cross your fingers!

How did your November go? What did I miss?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Gotta Love Google & Lisa Gail Green!

The other day (while Stephen Tremp was visiting here), the lovely Lisa Gail Green at Paranormal Point of View was deciding what paranormal creature I might be. Lisa's a terrific blogger and friend. Pop on over and say Hi! You won't regret it!


I think writers must have the most bizarre and eclectic mix of Google searches of all people on the planet. Just today I searched 'freeze branding for cattle', 'ammunition belts', 'PTSD recovery', 'Blackfoot swear words', 'nfl jerseys', 'cerebral palsy therapy' and 'gang symbols'.

Anyone monitoring my Google searches might wonder just what kind of life I'm living. Some people might wonder if I needed a little help. Or how many personalities I've got going on.

Writers would just nod and smile. Then they'd put together the pieces to figure out the genre of my current wip. :)

(BTW, the Blackfoot group apparently never used curse words and there aren't any in any of the sites I found. How cool is that? Gotta love the Internet!)

So, what's your Google list look like lately? Any weird and wacky combinations in your searches?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Breakthrough author Stephen Tremp

Lucky me! Lucky you! Stephen Tremp from Breakthrough Blogs is here today. He's on a blog tour talking about his novel Breakthrough and all kinds of writerly stuff. You're going to love what he has to say today. I mean, he's even tied in Steampunk! How cool is that?? :)

Steampunk is a recent sensation and is a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction that often incorporates elements of fantasy. The setting is usually late 1800s Victorian Britain. Futuristic inventions and innovations are powered by steam and introduce conflict that help drive the stories and often lead to alternate historical paths. Steampunk generally tends to be less dystopian than its literary cousin cyberpunk.

H. G. Welles and Jules Verne were masters of using fictional machines that took their audiences on a magical mystery tour without having to leave the comforts of their home. These writers were far ahead of their time.

Today we see an emerging genre similar to Steampunk called Near Future Sci-fi. Instead of using futuristic steam powered machines in the present setting, we see potential breakthroughs in physics, technology, biochemistry, and nanotechnology leading the way. Near-future science fiction is set in the present day or in the next few years. Elements of the setting should be familiar to the reader, and the technology may be current or in development. Stories about theoretical physics, nanotechnology, genetics, and techno thrillers often fall into this category.

Example: Einstein-Rosen Bridges, or wormholes as they are commonly known. In a nutshell, wormholes are theorized and predicted portals though the space-time continuum. The term ‘wormhole’ gets its inspiration from the idea of a worm traversing from one side of an apple to the other side. The idea is that if a worm could tunnel through the apple to the other side, then a shortcut would be established. In the same sense, a wormhole through the space-time continuum could theoretically allow matter, including people, to be transported through a hole from one point to another such as Los Angeles to Boston. For now, wormholes are filed under theoretical physics as a proposed theory, something physicists believe may be true about our universe but have yet to prove it in a laboratory under rigorous conditions.

Hollywood likes to fantasize and sensationalize wormhole concepts and place the setting in the future, develop strange characters with pointy ears, and (gulp) use wormholes for time travel, which simply is not a practical or realistic use of wormholes. But they make for a good story nonetheless.

However, using a wormhole to punch through the fabric of space (length, width, and height) is far more realistic. In fact, governments, militaries, universities, large global conglomerates, and the guy working in his garage have committed larges sums of time and resources to discovering a breakthrough in practically using wormholes to travel through space, even if it’s a short distance such as from one side of the laboratory to the other side. We know space is already curved. If space can be folded like a piece of paper, then punching a hole through the two pieces can make a shortcut, or a wormhole.

Wormholes (also called Star Gates and Jump Points in fiction) are seen everyday in children’s TV programs such as Pokeman, Dragon Tales, Dinosaur Train, and Fairly Odd Parents and shows like Stargate, Sliders, and the Star Trek series among countless other shows. They’re also in popular movies such as Déjà Vu (Denzel Washington), Jumper (very cool movie), the Terminator series, and Contact (Jodie Foster). After a cursory glance of my kids DVDs I see two movies with wormholes: Princess and the Frog and Meet the Robinsons.

My book Breakthrough, the first in a trilogy, begins with a breakthrough in wormholes at M.I.T. in Cambridge, MA. It is used as a means to assassinate powerful global figures. However, wormholes are merely the key that opens Pandora’s Box. In the second and third installments titled Opening and Escalation, wormholes open the door for more unexpected discoveries and breakthroughs in theoretical physics that will threaten the world and life as we know it. This is a series of technology gone too far, discoveries and breakthroughs mankind is simply not ready to steward. Can Chase Manhattan and his friends destroy this technology before mankind destroys themselves? Stay tuned …..

Please join me tomorrow as I visit Matthew Rush at The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment as we ask: do you use morals, ethics, and social matters in your stories to convey lessons learned. As always, thanks for stopping by.

Stephen Tremp is author of the action thriller Breakthrough . You can visit Stephen at Breakthrough Blogs .

If you feel this blog is worthy, go ahead and make my day. Retweet it

Told you it would be a great post! Thanks so much for visiting, Stephen! I'm looking forward to the rest of the tour! :)

Wormholes create so many possibilities! I can think of a few occasions where I'd like to use one! How about you?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Standing Strong and True

I came across this song the other day and I had to share. It's a group of Canadian country artists who've put together a song to honour our veterans. Our Remembrance Day is Thursday November 11 and this song is perfect.

I showed it to the kids in my class and they loved it. They're going to be singing it at our service on Thursday.

Powerful stuff.
"Love one another, that stranger is your brother. Leave a footprint everywhere you go."
"Standing strong and true, on guard for me and you."

I know it's a few days early, and I'm not sure when other countries celebrate and thank their veterans and their troops, but I wanted to share.

"Bless the true believers who stand and fight for freedom."

The men and women who enlist have my eternal gratitude and respect. They give so much more than most of us realize to help make the world a better place. Thank you all.

"I pray the past can teach us all before another hero falls."

Monday, November 1, 2010


So, 5 minutes ago, I was all set to start my NaNo rewrite. I opened my older file. I pulled up my outline. I even opened the vocabulary list I created to keep track of all the steampunk words I created.

I wrote my first sentence.

It wasn't my rewrite. It's not even steampunk!! It's for a story idea I had ages and ages ago. All I've got is the setting and main character and what her struggle is. Not even a name. Certainly no outline. Or anything helpful.


But that's the story that popped out. *Double sigh*

So, now I have to decide. Do I work on the rewrite I've prepped for or do I go with this new story that apparently REALLY wants to get out? I hate decisions. Especially when I really didn't intend on making one. I thought I was set.

Maybe I'll work on this one tonight and see how it goes. Then I can put off that decision until tomorrow!

Have your plans ever been hijacked (or highjacked??) by a new idea? How'd it work out for you???