Blue Moon Slumbers

August is on the way out in a big way; there is a blue moon in the sky tonight.

You know what a blue moon is, right?  It’s the second full moon for a particular month, and it doesn’t have very often.  After tonight, you won’t see another blue moon until 2015–according to Sky View Cafe online, July, 2015, will see the next blue moon.  (Note of interests:  you have to wait until January, 2018, for the one after that.  Which means we’ll have a full moon on New Years Day.)

So as I lay in bed last night, the pre-blue moon was shinning upon me.  It wasn’t keeping me awake; in fact, I don’t get to see the moon very often when I head off to bed.  There’s something comforting about that cool, white light that puts you to ease.  At least for me, that’s what happens.

Except for last night . . . no, last night was not a good night.

I tossed and turned getting to sleep, and this morning I was up about 4 AM.  By that time the moon was long gone from my window, but it didn’t matter:  I was wide awake and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Rather than get up, I laid in bed, hoping against hope I might doze off for a little bit, but that didn’t happen, either.

Today is something of a long day.  I have a full day at work, then on to the drive to The Real House.  This later could be a nightmare if people decide now is the time to head out for their long weekend.  So . . . if I have to get off the main highway and take the back roads, I’m ready to rock and roll.

I finished my article last night, so all I need think of this weekend is the next chapter of my story Replacements.  I have the chapter in my head, and it’s going to be . . . interesting.

But there’s something else niggling around in the back of my brain now–yeah, like I need that, right?  Another story idea, but this one goes back to some characters from my unpublished NaNo Novel, and how they spend a certain Yule.  I shouldn’t do this, add another idea to the list of ideas I have taking up clutter in my brain, but what can I do?  My Muse is getting frisky, and when she smiles and gives me that come hither finger curl, I got no choice; I gotta go see what she wants.  Even though I know what she wants–“Hey, I’ll give you somethin’ special . . . all you gotta do is write this story.  So get to it!”

Yeah, what a relationship.

There are times when I feel my Muse is my soul mate, because who else understands me as well as her?  Hell, I don’t even know myself that well, and I’ve been around me for quite some times.  But I’ve gotten better at understanding, and knowing who I am, and what I want, has become a simpler deal.

Now . . . write?  Right.

Time to get popping.

Brachistochrone Trajectories Around the Mind

It was one of those days where the body said, “Get up, you have things to do,” the mind says, “The hell with that.  I am in no mood for anything.”

That was today.

There was nothing in me today, at least from 6 AM until about 2 PM.  Body was functioning, but the brain had walled up the joint, and wasn’t coming out of the bunker.  It wasn’t a lack of caffeine, I can tell you that:  two large cups of coffee were had this morning, and there was plenty of iced tea at lunch.

I should say there was something going on; a story in my mind.  This newest idea I’ve spoken of, that was there, floating about slowly like a Mars rover taking its time getting to the destination.  There’s a reason they do that:  delta v requirements.  Or, to put it in terms a layperson would understand, there is a certain amount of velocity change needed to go from one orbit to another, and you have to burn reaction mass to make that change.  If you have a lot of reaction mass, or a totally kick-ass rocket engine, then you get a huge change, and you can zip to your destination in no time, taking what is known as a brachistochrome trajectories.  If you don’t have a kick-ass rocket engine, or gigantic quantities of fuel, or both, then you creep out to where your destination is going to be in many, many month, using what is known as a modified Hohmann trajectory.

We are in later category, so we creep along in modified Hohmanns, and get help, now and then, from gravity assists.

I was very much in Hohmann trajectory today.  Creep, creep, creep . . . only I had no destination.

Around 2 PM, though, it was like a slap up side the head hit.  There was a very obvious “Eureka!” moment, and I started coding–and thinking.  Coding and story thinking.  I was off, doing two things, and that lasted until it was time to go–and beyond.  I get home, I slap dinner in the oven, hit the shower, and I’m still thinking about where to take this story.  When I come out of the shower, just in time to grab dinner and start this post, I know the start, the middle, and the end of my story.

Somewhere along the line I got me a kick-ass rocket engine.

Now, perhaps my friend Allison is right:  the reason I perked up is because I knew work was almost over, and I just wanted to get the hell out of there.  There’s probably more than a modicum of truth to that statement, though I’m not saying if she’s one hundred percent right.  I’ll just say–maybe.  Possibly.  Likely.

I’m in my jammies, thinking of going home tomorrow.  I’m hoping that most of the people who are going somewhere for the weekend are taking tomorrow off, and will be on the road tonight.  I am, however, anticipating that traffic will be hell tomorrow, so I’ll relax, take a deep breath, and go with the flow.

I have some writing tonight, and some this weekend.  I’m going to get my notes in order this weekend, ’cause I need to have these thoughts laid out so I don’t forget.

Then come Saturday–Daleks!

Hey, do I know how to party, or what?

At Home in the Darkness

Things are moving along, plans are coming into focus.  With a long weekend ahead–well, three days, which is almost long enough, especially since there are Daleks on Saturday–this is giving me some time to really get into my ideas.

Those ideas are kicking around now, coming from a lot of different directions.  I spent some time chatting with people yesterday afternoon and evening, but at the same time, I was running one idea through my mind . . . which is either an indication of how much it’s grabbing me, or that the conversation was sorely lacking.

The idea for one of the stories The Muse is pushing on me–if by “pushing on me”, you mean, “shoving a USB data stick in one ear while muttering, ‘What’s my name?  What’s my name?  Say it!'”–concerns an alternate past where there was never a space race–or, at least, it never got to the point where either side decided going to the Moon was a worthwhile endeavor.  Enter into the vacuum left by a lack of interest in flying into the Big Black a person who has dreams about rising above it all . . . well, you can guess the rest.

One of the things I was thinking over last night was how one would, if you had the sort of ships that I’d use for the story, go about establishing a permanent presence in Earth orbit.  Putting my mind to work, I sort of figured out what I would need to do, or my characters would need to do–or maybe I was bored with the conversation, and my mind mine was trying to conjure up images of my Muse dressed like Black Widow.

Funny how that happens.

It was a very gratifying exercise, because I spent about ninety minutes running numbers and ideas and concepts, and was even visualizing some of these things.  This is where I need to get a better understanding of using a modeling tool like Blender, because I could actually make these images become real, and perhaps even do a little movie of the events.

The flow of the scene, the imagery . . . it was great.  There wasn’t a sense of struggling as I’ve had in the last few months.  Rather, it was point, click, go:  I was off and running.  It felt good to know I was back in business.

Now, to do the same with my other stories . . .

The only issue I run into with this story I was thinking upon yesterday is that it will involve a lot of–here it comes, drum roll, please–research!  I already knew this, but it’s the sort of research I love.  It will likely drive me nuts, but I still love this.  But there it is; I’m setting myself up for some work.

I need to begin making notes; I need to get this stuff sorted.  I said that yesterday, but my Muse flashed me with visions of space ships and low Earth orbit, so I was distracted.  Blame her, the crazy wench!

It’s gonna be fun enjoying writing again.

Taming the Whirlwind

Well, now, this is a late in the day post, isn’t it?  I have been one busy writing-type person, let me tell you–though only a little of it has had anything to do with writing.  I’ve actually been–gasp!–writing computer code!  Oh, what is this world coming to?  Get the fainting couch!

I got into a grove today and couldn’t get out.  I also had some tasty tunes coming in over the earbuds, and that helped keep me entertained while I slung code like a mofo.  And, over lunch, I chatting with a friend in New York City.  Yes, I am cosmopolitan, are I not?

(Something I’ve been listening to on YouTube a lot these last few days is the album Trilogy, by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer.  This has always been one of my favorite recordings, and another of those, “Nothing On It Sucks!” albums I’ve mentioned from time to time.  Give it a listen; it’s progressive rock at its finest.)

When I wasn’t coding, I was thinking about writing.  I’ve helped with a solution on the Storytime blog that will allow people to have an easier time reading through our stories.  I’ve been asked to join a Facebook group so I can review erotica:  apparently someone there thinks I know something about that genre.  And I’ve been put in contact with an illustrator who may do a cover for me.

You may ask, “Why do you need a cover?  Are you publishing something?”  I’m giving the notion a bit of serious thought.  I’ve had a couple of friends–women on both coasts, if you must know–who are telling me that I should self-publish my NaNo novel, rather than find some house to do the work for me.  A few months back I was hesitant to go that route:  I’ve done the self-publishing thing, and seen little success.

I am eager to publish my NaNo novel, and with the first anniversary of the publishing of Kuntilanak coming, the notion of going the self-publishing route feels enticing.  So, I’m beginning discussions with an illustrator for the cover of a book that may, in the next few weeks, may be ready for people to buy and read–and, I do so hope, enjoy.

All the ideas that have been running wild in my head for a couple of weeks, I’m starting to get a handle on them.  There is work ahead of me, writing work, and some reading work, and it’s going to keep me very busy for the rest of the year, it would seem.  I’m managing time, and in order to do that, I need to get my arms around these ideas so that I know what they are, what they mean, and how I can write them.  Maybe even go so far as to set up a Scrivener file with the ideas, some notes, maybe a time line or two.

I know writers are always the most organized people in the world, but if you have ideas coming fast, and you don’t want your Muse showing up at your door wearing the thigh high boots with the five inch heels, with plans of kicking your ass, you better tame that whirlwind.

Then again, maybe my Muse in stiletto thigh high boots isn’t that bad a thing . . .

Day Tripping at the Mental Divide

I’m crazy these days, of that I’m very certain.  The brain is out to get me—or, should I say, my imagination?  Because in the last couple of weeks it’s decided to come together and bum rush the stage—

Of late I’ve had a few old ideas come rushing back to me, and doing so with great detail and urgency.  For a while I was fighting to get something, anything, to come to mind.  And now, The Muse is tap dancing in the bedroom while wearing a leather teddy, black silk stockings, and some really cute pumps, saying, “Be good to me, and I won’t beat you too hard about the head when you’re writing one of these suckers!”  Ah, she certainly knows the bedroom talk, doesn’t she?

Here’s the thing:  I’m out to lunch today, and I’m beat.  I’m dragging.  I didn’t sleep worth a damn last night, and that luna moth that’s suppose to come and help me get rest must have been out drinking with his buddies, ‘cause the medication did nothing to help.  Needless to say, I’ve been brain dead most of the day.

But I’m at lunch, getting coffee and something light to eat—or so I thought, until I saw the huge plate of food—when who shows up, but My Muse.  “Hey,” she says, snapping her fingers to get my attention.  “Remember that story idea you had a few years back about . . .”  And just like that, I remembered something I’d dreamed up, something to do with an alternative history of space flight that involved—well, it’s not important now, but lets say it’s one of those stories that gets very involved, demands a lot of research, and wouldn’t be an easy undertaking to write.

But it’d be a great story.

Now I’m reaching a dilemma.  I have a story I’m writing, but will end in three more chapters.  I’ve agreed to write a Halloween story for a blog, because—hey, I’m a nice guy.  And I like the idea of one of the characters being a sexy witch in fishnet stockings.  I’m editing Echoes—or I should say, I’m going to get back into editing the story, as I seemed to have just let it fall by the wayside.  And there is an article, or two, that’s I’ve promised to write for someone else.

That’s a lot of stuff to do.  And not a bit of it seems to involve a story my Muse is kicking my ass to do.

Or are they?

I’ve picked up steam in the writing area again.  I feel as if I’ve gotten a second wind, but . . . I guess you could say that I feel like, if I get back into writing another novel without selling my others, I’m going to burn myself out creating stories that no one sees.

Who wants to do that?  Not I.

I’m giving serious consideration to taking something I’ve written of late and returning to self-publishing, but I’m not there yet, not quite.  Though this suddenly bring another thought to might . . .

My Muse; she’s such a naughty lady.

Star Born Unicorn

I remember a time when no one walked on the moon, save in the science fiction stories I read, or movies I watched.  Hell, wanna get real, when I was born no one had even launched a satellite; I beat Sputnik I to the gate by five months and one day, and it would be another four years before a Russian went up for one orbit around the Earth, mostly because he was a very good parachutist–but that’s another story for another day.

I was big into science fiction as a kid, which meant I was big into space–’cause, we’re talking about reading stories that had been written during the Golden Age of Science Fiction–and that meant I was into everything that happened regarding space flight.  We had no internet, so everything came from papers, from radio and TV news, from Life Magazine–which used to print most of the pictures released to the public–and from the few books pertaining to the American efforts, as those wacky Soviets just didn’t want to talk about their stuff.  Hell, they even named their launch complex after a town that was hundreds of miles away, just so we’d get confused . . .

Whenever I had the chance I watched whatever was shown.  I tried to keep up; I tried to gather as much information as possible.  It’s not easy when you’re nine, ten, eleven years old to get your hands on stuff that wasn’t normally available to the public, or had limited accessibility.  That’s the 1960’s for you:  we just weren’t on the cutting edge of the future, you know.

I saw it all.  I watched every mission that went into orbit.  I watch every one that went to the moon.  And I watched, to the best of my abilities, every walk upon the moon.  Even saw a few cars drive around, saw three Lunar Modules take off, and once watched one of Galileo’s experiments get proven.  It was a great time for science, and an even better time if you were a geek.

Those times are long gone.  We haven’t walked on the Moon since December, 1972.  If you removed the trips to the Moon, we haven’t had anyone higher than a few hundred kilometers above the Earth since the last days of the Gemini Program.  While we’ve had a continuous presence in orbit for a long time, we’ve lost our will to explore.

There will come a time, probably within the next five years, that everyone who has ever walked on the moon will have died.  The youngest of the walkers is 76; the oldest 82.  After that, we might have to wait until the middle of the 21st Century before someone does it again–unless people do start walking on the Moon in the late 2020’s, as some are saying.  And the chances are good those people who do the walking again are Chinese, because it seems like no one here gives much of a shit anymore.

In the U.S., there is a definite feel that science is for people who are just too damn smart for their own good, and who are pretty anti-religious as well.  That ignorance is just as good as intelligence, and in some ways better.  When you have people yelling at Bill Nye, as they did a few years back when he spoke in Texas, that the Moon gives off light like the Sun ’cause the Bible says so, one has to wonder where they hell we are going.  When you still have people saying they have “proof” that we never landed on the Moon, you have to wonder how we are ever going to continue.  And when you hear people state, as “fact”, that the Earth is only 6,000 years old, and they have “proof”, it makes you want to just end it all.

One day we, as a species, will get back out into The Black.  It might not be us as a country, but someone will go.  Someone is going to take more steps–on the Moon, maybe Mars, maybe somewhere else.

Say it won’t happen?  You’re surely wrong.  ‘Cause one day I’m gonna hop on my unicorn and take my own trip . . .

And join those who can tell me what it was really like to skip along in the dirt of another world.