Status Update

New web page up (satisfaction level rising), story developing, CC entries submitted. Doing good.

 

Progress Report

I’ve got a lot of balls in the air right now. Legion, obviously. I lost about a month of writing while I was working on all the side projects, but I’m starting to get back on track.

The spaceship design thing was a huge time sucker. The real cost is learning Blender, which is a large, complex program. I’ve ended up with something I really like, but it’s version 1. Now I have to redo it, fixing the mistakes that I learned about the first time around. Oh, well, it’ll be quicker this time.

Stellarium took a lot of time as well. That was well worth it, and very much required, as I was losing track of the paths of my various Bobs. Once Legion is published, I’ll put the Amazon link in the About page, and release it on Codeproject.

Then there’s this page. I decided recently that it was about time for me to have my own domain. I checked out the competition and eventually decided on arvixe.com . They have the most complete offering, their price doesn’t triple after the introductory period, they don’t nickel and dime you for every little thing, and they have a lot of options. As it turns out, they don’t seem to believe in documentation, and setting up is a challenge. I think they may be used to dealing with more experienced clients — for all that I’m a computer guy, I’ve never set up a domain or a website before. Fortunately, their tech support is responsive. I still have things to fix, but I’m making progress.

And the latest tangent– I’ve been using Excel to maintain my timeline in Legion, and I just caught a significant error. So that’s not working so well. I’ve decided to write a timeline program. Why write one? Because the ones I’ve looked at come in two types: free, and useful. So I’m going to roll my own. I’ll do the same thing with it as Stellarium– release it on Codeproject when Legion is released.

I’ve started doing chapter submissions on CritiqueCircle.com . First submission will be out April 29th, and I’ve set a personal goal of not missing any weeks.

So, things are moving along nicely. And I certainly don’t have time to be bored!

 

I am here!

Hi everyone! (I can’t decide if that’s ironic or not)

As you can see, I now have my own domain. Woo hoo! It’s going to be a bit of a slog for a while, but eventually I’ll get this puppy organized. I’ll also be bringing over my posts from my earlier blog.

I guess I’ll have to release a new version of Outland as well, with the new URL in it.

Wow. I have to say that setting up your own website is not a trivial undertaking. To be fair, I think my hosting service is a little noob-unfriendly, although their overall offering is best by far. Still, a whole lotta crap involved in getting set up.

 

First Renders

Here’s a first render of the Heaven-1, and a short video of the ship being rotated. I’m still not sure about the composition of the ship’s skin. I was originally thinking of a white ceramic look. I may try that again. Also, I’m going to put on some warning decals and such. Ever looked at a close-up of a fighter jet? “No Step” “Warning – Intake manifolds” etc. 🙂

http://i1257.photobucket.com/albums/ii507/donutz666/0001_zpsmot3pxxx.png

Spaceship Design

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been learning Blender. It’s been an uphill battle (the software is not intuitive) but I’ve made progress. I actually have the beginnings of a good spaceship.

Interestingly, it’s not just a matter of having something for the cover. Designing the ship has forced me to think through some issues, and will affect the story-line. So, well worth the effort. I hate it when the cover doesn’t match up to the contents of the book, and I don’t want to end up being one of those people.

I’ll likely have a still to post up soon. And just for the halibut, I’m going to do a short video clip– probably a planetary fly-by.

Got my stellarium working

I got the app working. It shows pretty clearly the path through space taken by my protagonist(s). I’m kind of geeked out about it, actually. Here’s an upload of my animation. Unfortunately, youtube really trashes the detail. You have to watch full-screen to have any chance of reading the star tags.

 

Off on a Tangent

Wow, talk about distracted…

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I’m trying to learn Blender so I can do some art for Legion. I have to admit, it’s fun in its own right. Blender, like Bryce (I own v5), is not intuitive, and you really have to go through tutorials to learn it. But the results are impressive.

And now I’ve realized that my protagonist’s interstellar escapades are getting out of hand, so I need a way to visualize what’s going on and where he’s been. So I’m writing a 3D stellarium program in Visual Studio using XNA. And how much writing am I getting done? Heh. Not much. Jeez, I need to do this full-time.

Making a Cover

I paid someone to make the cover for Outland, and most of the comments have been good. However, the artist is a “photo manipulation” specialist, rather than a painter, sketch artist, or 3D graphics creator. I don’t think she’d be able to do much with my requirements for Legion.

I’ve done some looking around and pricing for 3D graphics artists, and my initial reaction can best be described as “Eek!”

So, I’m going the DIY route, at least for now. I may find that I don’t have the skillz to produce a really first-rate cover, but that I’m able to block out the basics. In any case, it’s a learning experience, and kind of fun. I’ve always said that I have all the artistic skill of an artichoke, with apologies to artichokes. But hey, I said the same thing about writing, and so far I’m doing okay.

I’ve downloaded Blender, which is a free, open-source 3D rendering program. Looks pretty good, so far. How hard can it be, right? There’s a joke that’s built around that statement, but I can’t remember it except for the “How hard can it be?” part. There’s probably more than one.

Anyway, we’ll see how this goes. Worst case, I got to play with some cool software and confirm my limitations. 🙂

The Journey From Irate Reader To Nervous Author

I guess I should explain the subtitle of this blog. In May 2014, I bought an e-book on Amazon which was, erm, less than stellar. It was, in fact, the kind of book that gives self-pubs their bad reputation. About 30 pages into it, I realized it wasn’t getting better, and I was not going to be able to finish it.

I said something to the effect of, “I could write better than this. In fact, I will!” It’s an attitude, by the way, that’s responsible for a lot of the house renovation designs in Coquitlam 🙂 .

So, three months later, I had a novel written. Then I spent four months actually getting it ready for publication. It’s surprising how much of the craft of writing doesn’t actually involve, you know, writing.

Time will tell if I become a popular author, but one thing’s for sure– I’ve got the bug.

Vacation is over

I’m back at work after three weeks off. I had originally booked the three weeks in Feb so that I could snowboard every day. Unfortunately for me, all four local mountains are closed due to lack of snow, and Whistler isn’t exactly doing happy dances. And three hours to Manning or Baker is just a bit much.

So, I spent most of the three weeks writing. I’m about a third of the way into Earthside (Outland 2) and about halfway into Legion. My wife just did an alpha read on what I have in Earthside, and we have to sit down and discuss it.

To be honest, three weeks of writing without too much in the way of other commitments was very relaxing. Still, I would have liked to get a little snowboarding in.