No April Foolin’

Spring has officially arrived in the Tri-cities. Along with spring Camp Nano and the Hugo nominees have arrived. I’m attending my first writing convention with my co-worker this year. It’s WorldCon in San Jose and I’m pretty damn excited. One of the most exciting things about going to WorldCon, other than potentially meeting a bunch of awesome folks in the publishing industry, is that we get to vote on the Hugo awards and go to the awards ceremony. Along with Camp Nano, I’m going to start making my way through as many of the nominees for the Hugo’s that I can before we have to vote. Oh yeah we get to vote on the awards too! I’ll post a list of all the nominee’s and then start tracking what I’m reading and watching and blogging about.

My goals for April are to blog every day, write every day, and read or watch something from the Hugo awards list every day. I’ve officially listed book 2 of the Harbingers series as my Camp Nano novel but I’m also going to work as much as possible on book 1 revision. My plan is to have the first 30-40k words on Harbingers book 1, a query letter, a synopsis, and some art work and maps ready to try and give to agents or publishers at WorldCon. I’m not even sure if that’s how it works but I guess I’ll find out. My friend, who is doing the artwork for my books, and her husband will, also be at the convention along with another writer friend from work, so we should have some fun and have people to hang out with.

The book club my buddy and I who are going to WorldCon is going strong. We have our meeting for our 4th book here in a few weeks and we might assign a nominee or two as books to read. There’s lots of awesome things to read and I’m very much looking forward to it. That’s all for now, time to go revise some more and then watch a Hugo nominated episode of Black Mirror.

Ready Player 2018?

2017 wasn’t too bad to live through and it sure seemed to go pretty quickly (I’ll be 36 in April and the years just seem to go by quicker the older I get). After 11 days of a nice little staycation where I left my house as little as possible, but didn’t have to work for the holidays, 2018 is upon us. Other than politics, which 2017 at least helped me learn I need to pace myself in consuming certain types of media, the year went fairly well. I did get some decent work in on my Novel revision during my time off, I’ve got a good path forward, and powered through the chapter I was stuck on writing. But overall working on revision and writing in general was lacking in 2017. 2018 has plenty of opportunities for success in it and I plan on journaling more, blogging more, and writing and revising much much more!

My wife and I sold our first house and bought our 2nd in 2017. Moving sucks in general but it especially sucks when you’ve just bought a new house and have 5 days to get your old one ready to sell. It was quite a hectic few months in the fall but we got moved in and are now nice and settled. Our five dogs are doing much better in a .35 acre yard as opposed to a .17 acre yard. Having a shorter commute is also fantastic, but has definitely cut into my audiobook listening time. Oh well. Changes are a foot at work with a new assignment but Hanford treats me well so I can’t complain.

Border Collies
My wife and I saw this Icelandic tradition where you give books on Christmas eve and then hang out, read, and drink hot coco then rest of the evening. So we decided to partake and start it up in our family. Much to my surprise and delight she got me Ready Player One. Not only that but she got me a signed first edition copy. Getting a signed copy of Ready Player One was a hell of a way to start of this new tradition. Good luck topping this next year! We’ve added a stipulation moving forward that books for this new tradition should be signed (I got her a signed Joe Hill, Horns book) since both of ours were. I read almost half of RPO that first evening and had a hard time putting it down until I had finished it. I love this book so much! The movie comes out in March and I know its going to be different than the book but I’m still freaking stoked anyway. 2017 was apparently the year where I re-read a ton of books. I’ve just recently started up a book club to help find new authors so I don’t think I’m going to re-read as much in 2018 but I wouldn’t be surprised if I read RPO again after the movie.

My goal for 2017 was 40 books and I finished 28. Not quite where I want it to be but I’m going to set it at 40 again for 2018 and hopefully hit the goal this year. 2017 was definitely the year of the re-read for me. The books I re-read in 2017: Dune, Harry Potter books 2, 3, and 4, Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear and Ready Player One. I even ended up reading Name of the Wind twice in 2017 because they released the 10th anniversary edition at the end of the year. In 2017 I also got 3 books deep into The Expanse, tried out Terry Pratchett for the first time, read a new Crichton novel for the first time in a long time, and continued to read the Jim Butcher Furies and Dresden series. I also read quite a few Star Wars books, with Thrawn by Timothy Zahn being the best. I also made sure to read some comics in the form of Rat Queens and Calvin and Hobbes.

I started a book club with my buddy at work in late 2017. We’re looking for new authors and stories to read and decided to start with some Hugo Award winners. We’ve only read one book so far, The Fifth Season, but we’ve got a nice long list of potentials to be read and a goal to meet monthly. I’m currently finishing up our second entry, Blackout, for our book club and it’s interesting so far.

I also won this awesome Kindle Fire tablet through The Portalist that had 10 YA Sci-Fi Fantasy novels on it and got through several of those. I’ve been making myself use my e-readers more and I’m definitely getting used to it, but still prefer an actual book. It’s nice having options though, especially for travelling. Speaking of travelling, 2018 has some potential good times lined up. We also had some good R&R in Kauai this year, I got my tweet shown on the fan photos on the Mariner’s broadcast while at Waimea Canyon and it was so epic! I’m planning a 10th anniversary trip with my wife that may take us to Canada or maybe somewhere a little more tropical, we haven’t decided.

Joe-Waimea

I’’ve decided I’m going commit to going to at least one writing convention this year. I need to coordinate with my writing friend at work, Bob Brown. He has a new anthology out of political speculative fiction stories, Alternative Truths and More Alternative Truths. Go check them out they’re a lot of great stories. If things go as planned 2018 could be big for my writing so networking sooner rather than later is going to be a good way to make sure things keep moving forward with Harbingers. I’m considering some projects for the blog to help with a regular writing schedule, it’s good to just write everyday that I can. More to come! That’s all I’ve got for now, I’m going to be utilizing Cuppa more this year and possibly even upgrading my blog, so expect to hear from me more. I’m considering posting chapters of Harbingers on the blog if it’s upgraded.

Blog! What Blog? Harbingers first draft finished.

Well it has been a little while since I’ve posted, a little over three months, and I haven’t forgotten about blogging, I’m just lazy. I have been keeping busy writing though. I finished the first draft of Harbingers of Magic a few months ago and while this is a huge milestone for me personally, the work is only beginning.

I have never written anything nearly this long before (or taken this long to write something, it took almost four years), the first draft came in at almost 84k words, 48 chapters, and 245 pages. Writing a novel is an intimidating prospect even for seasoned authors. Seeing as I had never even thought about writing a book, or making a career out of it, until my late 20’s, I’m so excited that I was able to follow through and complete the first draft.

It was a short lived victory though, I took about a week off from writing and have been hitting revision hard ever since. I’m 1/3 of the way through the first revision and have added a couple thousand words overall (while removing many more thousands). Probably more important is that I have started correspondence with my Alpha readers. I have been talking with co-workers and friends about the book and helping me as an Alpha reader for quite a while so it was really exciting to email them and lay out a timeline for when I would have a draft ready for them to read.

I was at first going to revise the whole book and send it to them but I’m at a point in revision where I’m adding in a big new section of at least 10k words and I’m happy with how the first third of the book reads so I’m looking to send that to my Alpha readers this weekend. So far I have only had a couple people read my work (my wife and BFF), so the prospect of now 9 new people all of the sudden reading and critiquing me is intimidating, but I know in the long run it will greatly help my book be the best it can possibly be. My goal is to have the entire first revision to my Alpha readers by the end of 2015. If you are interested in becoming an Alpha or Beta reader please email me at Harbingersofmagic@gmail.com

I have also been working with my friend Jessica Campbell, who is an absolutely amazing artist, on some maps for Aeden. I’m so excited to work with her, if you want to take a look at her artwork it can be found here, http://www.jessi-campbell.com/. She just moved to Portland and I hope I can hang out with her and her husband Doug more now that they are a little closer to the Tri-Cities.

To go along with writing I have also been trying to keep up on my reading, but my pace has slowed down some from the beginning of the year. I’m about seven books behind on blog posts so I will try to get those up soon, but I think I can reach my goal of reading 40 books this year no problem. That’s all I have for now, the weather is changing to be cooler and the days are getting shorter, which means the hoodies are starting to come out (one of my favorite parts about cooler weather). Keep reading, keep writing, and keep warm!

Friends Re-Watch: Season 1, Episode 3: “The One With the Thumb”

Episode 1×03 “The One With the Thumb”

Ross discovers the fate of his childhood pet, Chichi. Chandler starts smoking again; when the group complains, he diverts their attention to their own faults. Phoebe gets money she doesn’t want; she complains and gets more; she gives it away and gets a can of soda in return… which contains a thumb. The beverage company gives her $7000. Monica’s new boyfriend (Alan) is a hit with her friends, but Monica’s not too sure.

Ellie

Overall thoughts:  Chandler smoking.  Joey’s actually a pretty good actor. Aww the dog.  Alan!  Subtle 90’s dick jokes. LOL.  The softball game is pure gold.  Chandler’s covert smoking made me laugh, but not as much as his super dated computer.  Phoebe is such a gem!  Joey’s hair looks gross.  Monica’s outfits continue to be horrib…bly on trend for 1994.

This is kind of a bland episode, with a few bright spots. The Alan plot was pretty funny, but the bit went on too long. Not my favorite episode so far, although I did love Phoebe’s plot with the thumb and magical money.

Best joke:

The breakup conversation Monica has with the gang when she tells them she’s breaking up with Alan.

Monica: I’ll meet someone else! There’ll be other Alans!

Or

Ross: “Yeah. He could row like a Viking.”

Grade:  B-

Joe

Overall thoughts: Ohhh Chandler’s going to smoke, he loves it so much but knows its so bad for him. Chandler and Monica have pretty good chemistry right off the bat too. That’s a sweet football phone, I feel like I had one or knew someone who did. Why does everyone have softball episodes, I remember Seinfeld had several of them through the years too. OMG Chandlers computer is so old and I wonder if you could smoke inside buildings still the first year of this show, since he was doing it in the coffee shop. Oh and there we get the title of the episode I couldn’t remember what it was referencing it took forever to get there, thumb in the soda! Okay I finally put 2 and 2 together and see that Iridium is the name of the restaurant Monica works at. The giant cordless phone is awesome. Only seven thousand dollars for a thumb in your soda?? People would sue for millions now a days. There is a lot of sitting around eating food, exactly what I like doing with my friends.

Best joke: “If only he were a woman (Chandler)” – Ross

Grade: C+

The least funny of the first three but still good.

Friends Re-Watch: Season 1, Episode 2: “The One With the Sonogram at the End”

Episode 1×02 “The One With the Sonogram at the End”

Description:  Ross finds out his ex-wife (Carol) is pregnant, and he has to attend the sonogram along with Carol’s lesbian life-partner, Susan. Ugly Naked Guy gets a thigh-master. Ross and Monica’s parents come for dinner, which stresses Monica out. Ross and Rachel console each other. Rachel returns the ring to Barry, who is much less upset about thebreak-up than expected.

Ellie

Overall thoughts:  Different Carol, same Susan. LOL.  Ugly Naked Guy!  Ross’s tie.  Now that there’s a baby involved, the stakes are higher for Ross. Comic relief from Joey eating the lasagna. Ross is the favorite child. Why do Monica’s parents hate her? I love that they hang out at a coffee shop and not a bar.  They changed Barry’s last name from Finkle to Farber. Good choice.

There were many Ross/Rachel moments in this episode that made me smile. I really enjoy their chemistry.  I thought the best part of this episode was when Ross, Susan, and Carol saw the baby for the first time on the sonogram.  I appreciated how well that scene balanced humor with a serious situation, something which Friends continuously does well during its entire run. This episode was not as funny as the pilot, but that’s probably because of the higher emotional stakes and more serious subject matter.

Best joke:

Carol: Is this a bad time?

Ross: No… it’s the stone age.

Grade:  B

Joe

Overall thoughts: This episode is obviously about Ross finding out his lesbian ex-wife is pregnant with his baby, just typing that is funny. Rachel is the worst employee ever. Whoa,  its a different Carol and I love Ross is putting a display together for work, I want to do that! Monica is so OCD, Courtney Cox plays her so perfectly. First Ugly Naked Guy joke, Thigh Master eww. Joey is so much more himself this episode, in the pilot he seemed a little off. The  Geller’s Parents are introduced really early, I like them. Monica fat shaming has also started from when she was a teenager and chunky, Ross is such a golden child, on second thought I don’t like the elder Geller’s. Still the original Susan that I remember though, the Sonogram scene is so cringe worthy. Rachel’s ex-fiance is so douchey.

Best joke: “I’m the only one in here who…Stands erect.” – Ross

Paleontology joke hooray!

Grade: B+

Solid second episode, Ross is so hilarious and sad and mopey but can you really blame him. “When did it get so complicated” – Rachel. This show is so great.

Friends Re-Watch: Season 1, Episode 1: “Pilot”

Episode 1×01 “Pilot/ The One Where Monica Gets A Roomate”

Description:  Rachel leaves Barry at the alter and moves in with Monica. Monica goes on a date with Paul the wine guy, who turns out to be less than sincere. Ross is depressed about his failed marriage. Joey compares women to ice cream. Everyone watches Spanish soaps. Ross reveals his high school crush on Rachel.

Ellie

Overall thoughts:  I still remember all the words to the theme song.  Joey and Monica look the most “1994.” I think the most likable/funny character right off the bat is Chandler, but the most sympathetic character is Ross. It’s clear that they are setting up Ross and Rachel as end game… reminded me of the opening scene of How I Met Your Mother when Ted first meets Robin.  Monica’s overalls are completely ridiculous. Paul The Wine Guy is a douche.  Joey’s hair could be its own character.

Overall, I think this is a solid pilot episode. I thought it did a good job of introducing each character and making us sympathize with them. However, I think it relied a bit too much on stereotypes. Although most of the jokes landed, a few fell flat. And, of course, the pop culture references were really dated.  But I laughed more times than not, so for me, it was successful.

Best joke:

Ross: I just want to be married again.

Chandler:  And I just want a million dollars!

Grade:  B+

Joe

Overall thoughts: Awwww that theme song, I remember the music video by the band too but I can’t remember the name of them. Everything looks super dated and hilarious, if this was a pilot in 2014 it would have been a smart phone in Chandler’s dream. Ross’ wife being a lesbian seems like it would have been pretty progressive for this time, but idk. Ross and Rachel are totally endgame and I always thought they would end up together. Joey looks ridiculous, actually everyone is dressed ridiculous.

They all have such lavish apartments, especially Monica’s, I always thought it was unrealistic. I can see Ross having that nice of one being a Paleontologist (I wanted to be one forever growing up), but the rent controlled one is awfully convenient. Speed Racer Poster, no foosball table yet! First 80’s/90’s reference by Ross I didnt get. The transition music showing NYC stock footage between “commercial breaks” is annoying. I didn’t remember Monica cooking at work and the whole guy tricking Monica into sleeping with him plot line.

Best joke: “Sometimes I wish I was a Lesbian” – Chandler

Grade: B

The Pilot is dated but a very solid start to arguably one of the best sitcoms of all time. I want to know more about all of the characters. It was still funny now and pretty nostalgic overall.

Friends Re-Watch Commencement

My wife and I watch a lot of television. We mostly prefer binge watching them on Amazon Prime or HBO Go. Being caught up to a show that is on weekly television I find to be especially annoying. It’s like waiting for years for the last or next book in a series that you really like (I’m looking at you Kingkiller Chronicles book 3). The current and recent shows we have been enjoying include: How I Met Your Mother, Parks and Rec, Modern Family, Supernatural, Grimm, Dr Who, Orphan Black, Sherlock, True Detective, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Haven, Sleepy Hollow… Like I said we watch A LOT of television.

We like to treat our watching as research though, and several of the shows like Supernatural and Modern Family we like to watch several times because they are awesome or funny and when we write our own show we want it to be awesome and funny too. For Christmas I got some Screenwriting software called, Script It. My wife has had aspirations of being a television writer for quite some time and I need to write more in general so we loaded it up on a laptop and have been working on ideas and writing ever since. We hope to make this a regular occurrence during 2015 and write several Spec Scripts for current shows that are on the air and an original pilot or two. There are quite a few contests that you can enter original and Spec Scripts into and we have aspirations of at least getting feedback on our writing and perhaps even placing in one or two of them.

So in keeping with the theme of writing and everyday and researching the craft we want to excel in we are going to start a re-watch of the classic sitcom Friends and blog the experience. My wonderful, and vastly superior writer of a Wife will be joining me for the duration of this re-watch and giving her two cents about each episode as well. This was one of my favorite shows growing up and was at the height of it’s popularity during my teenage years, my wife is a little younger but it is still one of her favorite shows as well. If not for Seinfeld and Buffy this would probably be my favorite show of the 90’s.

We will be having a standard format for each of our entries as seen below.

Episode:  1×01 “Pilot”

Description:  Rachel leaves Barry at the alter and moves in with Monica. Monica goes on a date with Paul the wine guy, who turns out to be less than sincere. Ross is depressed about his failed marriage. Joey compares women to ice cream. Everyone watches Spanish soaps. Ross reveals his high school crush on Rachel.

Ellie

Overall thoughts:

Best joke:

Grade:

Joe

Overall thoughts:

Best joke:

Grade: