Monday, April 8, 2019

Grab my ebook “The Moon Before Mars” for free this week!


If all goes as planned, then on Thursday the Beresheet lander will touchdown in Mare Serenitatis.  This will make SpaceIL only the fourth entity to successfully land something on the moon.  They will follow in the footsteps of the Soviet Union’s Luna 9 in February 1966, the US’s Surveyor 1 in June 1966, and China’s Chang’e 3 in December 2013.  The big difference between this lander and previous ones, is that it is largely privately funded. 

I am a huge supporter of lunar exploration – both publically and privately financed – so I figured the best way to mark this occasion is to have a sale of my ebook “The Moon Before Mars: Why returning to the moon makes more sense than rushing off to Mars” where I go into far more depth on why I feel returning to the moon should be our next step in space.

Hopefully, Beresheet is just the beginning of humanity’s return to the moon.  India is hoping to become the fifth entity to land on the moon with its Chandrayaan-2, scheduled to launch in May.  And then Moon Express – another private company – hopes to launch their Lunar Scout by the end of the year.  It is possible more landers will land on the moon this year, then in the past forty years combined. 

So if the idea of lunar exploration excites you, check out my book.  For this week, it will only cost you the price of a click.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Trying to write more


I can’t remember when or exactly why I started doing this, but I keep track of how many words I write each day.  Part of it was probably that I wrote it on my calendar so I could feel bad if I hadn’t written anything for three or four days.  After doing that for some time, I decided to take the advice I’d read countless times in writing magazines (this was probably around 2002) and write every day.  At first it was a bit of a struggle and I gave myself a lot of cheat days, but I eventually got into the habit of writing practically every day.  (The day I posted this was the 792nd day in a row I had written, which I believe is my current record.)

Now, writing every day is fine, but it also helps if you have a daily goal.  The goal I set for myself was 137 words a day.  (This will explain why.)  For some prolific writers, that is a really low goal.  Besides personal reasons for setting it at that, I also set it “low” so that I wouldn’t get discouraged if I missed it.  And a lot of things can get in the way of writing: needing to veg after a long day of work, illness, or having 8,000 other things to do.

For a few years I did pretty good, but for the last couple of years my daily output hasn’t been that great.  I have written almost every day for a decade or so, but some days it’s just adding a note like “Character A has some centaur food that Character B has never heard of.” That’s it.  I’ve been following the letter of “Write every day” but not the spirit.

Part of the reason I wasn’t writing much was because I was being overworked.  I got a part time job so I could make some money but still have time to help my parents and write.  But it soon turned into one of those 39 hours a week “part time” jobs, which was good because I needed to pay for a new car, but also sucked because it was so stressful I just wanted to veg when I got home.  Recently I’ve cut back to just two or three days a week, and now I have time and I’m not as stressed, which is a bit weird.

But another part of the reason I wasn’t writing that much was YouTube.  What happened was I found an interesting channel dealing with history.  They had some 300 videos, and I started watching all of them.  About fifty videos in, they did a collaboration with someone else and I checked their channel out.  They were interesting and had some 300 videos of their own.  I started watching all of them, and about fifty videos in, they did a collaboration with someone else.  It got to the point where I now have a bookmark folder of fifty or so YouTube channels I need to check out.  So in addition to all the channels I already followed, I’m working through the backlogs of two or three other channels.  While there are a few humorous channels I follow, most concern history, science, literature, etc.  I’m not memorizing everything I’m watching, but I’m at least getting exposed to a great deal of stuff.  Who knows what little tidbit stuck in my brain will birth a story, or someday help me out of a jam? 

Now to be honest, I will admit that there are days where I’ll just sit and binge YouTube or Netflix for like ten hours.  Some days it was because I was ill or injured, and really didn’t feel like doing anything.  But a lot of it is the “I only have twenty more episodes of this series to watch.  The sooner I finish it, the sooner I can get back to writing.  Or probably find another series to watch.” I felt terrible because I knew that if I spent a fraction of that time writing, I’d actually get shit done.  I’ve tried limiting the number of hours of videos I watch each day, or setting a set amount and if I want to watch another hour I have to write for an hour, and a dozen or so little tweaks to the system.  I haven’t found one that works all the time yet.  All I can say is that I’m trying to write more.  And that includes blogs, so hopefully it will only be weeks between posts and not months.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Short Story – Still?


“Still?”

“Mister Helzner.  Mister Helzner, can you hear me?”

Tom slowly opened his eyes.  At first, all he saw were a variety of dull blurs.  After several blinks, the blurs collapsed into the drab ceiling of the lab and the smiling face of Doctor Sara Caplan.

“Doc,” Tom said with a rough throat.  “How did I do?”

“Wonderfully.  You are the first human to have been in suspended animation for six months.”

Tom closed his eyes and sighed.  “Did I miss anything?”

“Well,” Doctor Caplan began, “the corruption trial for Vice-President Keogh is about to begin.”

Tom’s eyes snapped open.  “That whole thing is still going on?”

Doctor Caplan shrugged.  “The trial was supposed to start a few months ago, but it was delayed so his lawyers could review new evidence and allegations.”

Tom shook his head and groaned.  “Put me under for another six months.”

***

I first published this five years ago on a website that’s no longer around.  It began after I saw a headline about new allegations in the Bridgegate Scandal.  Given the current political climate, I’m sure a lot of us would choose to just go under for six months to not hear about it.