Hello everyone, I’m still going through the audition files for “The Dreaded Day Job”. This one is OK…he has the same vocal patterns (stressing the same words) as the first one who is so far the front runner. I might put his audition up on YouTube is I can’t make a good decision. I was thinking that I would continue the audition process until the end of next week and then start getting things together as far as getting the script together, getting it read and out there. Of course, I have no idea how to do that, so it’s going to be a learning experience for everyone involved. Much like everything else as I am discovering.

Speaking of learning experiences, I would like to take the time to say that vodka and food poisoning don’t really mix well. I think I got a total of three hours sleep. When I get into the cups, I tend to lose track of time, and when I’m in my cups and playing Borderlands 2…well…I finally tore myself away from the cups and the shooting to get a couple of hours of sleep, then having to go to the bathroom with an alarming frequency. I will spare you, Dear Reader, with the gruesome details. Needless to say, the hotdog from work I ate had a vendetta against mankind. What’s worse is that it was a good tasting hot dog. Oh, well – I guess I can’t win everything.

I’m sorry if it looks like I’m rambling, but I think I am going to call it a day. I promise that tomorrow I will have something worthwhile to read.

Thank you for your patronage and patience. I will try not to wear it thin in the future.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Eighth Post: The One Where I Talk About The Importance of Formatting.

Hello, everyone.  I’m just sitting here listening to Art Bell and having some orange cream soda and vodka.  The Imaginarium is coming up in about a month and I need to get my book re-done.  Apparently when I sent in the original manuscript, I didn’t resize the font.  When I’m writing, I have the font set at 11, but the size of the screen was set to 150%.  I forgot to resize everything when I was setting up the book.  Good news is that I can resubmit everything (especially when I still have the original final draft sitting in offline storage), but it’s going to be a pain in the rear when I have to re-size the font and the cover art…which I might have to re-do anyways.  There’s someone at work who’s far more into photography than I am, so I might enlist his aid in re-shooting the picture.  I wonder if it’s on my DeviantArt page.  I’ll have to go look.

OK — once again I am going to try to build up my meager success in writing today and get at least 1,500 more words done on The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Show.  I want to get this done by the end of the month.  Completely feasible if I put my nose to the stone.  I know I talk about this quite a bit, but it’s the only project that I am seriously working on now.  I am working on a radio play adapted from a game I ran (The Maddening Gyre) and penciling about another fantasy novel that I need to work on after its prequel (the sequel to The Quietest Heart).  As long as I keep talking about it, it keeps me interested and as long as I keep interesting, I’ll keep writing.  if it bores you, I apologize.  I need to really step up my production from one book a year to at least two or three.  I think that’s going to be the key to making a living writing out of it.

One of the things that I am liking about the current work is that I am writing about a guy that’s largely amoral, but not making him so bad that you lose interest about him.  I want him to be bad, but not wretched.  Does that make sense?  if he’s a complete prick, no one is going to want to continue on with the story, unless they want to see him fall further.  If he’s too good, it loses the flavor of the story that I want.  I can do it, I just have to channel my inner jerk for Ehren.  I’m also thinking that this is going to be the name for the main character.  I might re-name his sidekick later on, but for now I’m sticking with Oisin. With luck, I’ll finish the chapter this week and plunge ahead to the next chapter: the meeting with the other mendants — where we find out he has less than a pleasant reputation among his peers.

Well, now that I’ve spilled the beans for the current novel, I am going to head off to write it.  I’m still accepting people for reading The Dreaded Day Job if you think you can sound like Evan, head to acx.com and lay down an audition track.  Click on the links to the right to buy a copy to get familiar with the work.

Thanks for reading, and I wish you the best.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Seventh Post: The One Where I Talk About Auditions!

Hello everyone, it’s me and I am currently going through the auditioning process for my novel.  So far, I have three people auditioning.  One sounds really good, the other sounds OK and the third wants $500.00 up front.  I like the first one because he has the timing that the novel needs.  I wish I could put them up here and let y’all listen to them, but neither this site nor Facebook would let me post the .mp3 files.  Right now, I’m trying to get them put up on YouTube and see if that works.  If not, then I don’t know what to do.  Anyways, the first one I listened to really had the snarky tone down.  He sounds a little older than I picture the main character to be (I see Evan as in his late twenties to early thirties).  So far, he’s going to get the nod unless I find someone better be the end of next week.

I must admit, I am being bad.  I haven’t written anything in a while.  I should get back on the horse as it were if I want to finish a novel by the end of the month.  I’m still plotting along with the Regalia novel, and I should e-mail myself a few mines from The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show so I can do that at work with the long stretches of time in between calls.  I mean…5 whole minutes!  I can do a lot with that time.  Kinda.    I can get a couple of sentences done, I just need to get over the notion of having outlines ready to go.  With this work, I’m just going to wing it, as it were.  Which would be good, if I had a little more than some zinger one liners and plot points.  I’m still trying to find what really works for me as far as a balance between pantsing and plotting.  When given a blank canvas, I tend to go on and get sidetracked by all the sparkly little plots.  When I follow the outline, I sometimes feel like I’m letting some good opportunities flutter by.  Oh, well — we will see what happens.

On a tangent, another thing I need to get back into is photography.  One thing that strikes me is what called “abandoned porn” (no, not that).  I like seeing how someone can get into an abandoned building and find art among the ruins.  I’m trying to find places like that here, where I live.  There is an abandoned building that I did take a couple of pictures of a year ago, but I would like to make it back there and poke around inside.  I need to work on photography so I can make some better book covers.

Well, that’s all for now.  All the caffeine I drank is starting to wear off, so it’s best I wrap this up now before I just collapse on the keyboard.  Thanks for reading, and hopefully I’ll have some audition material for everyone to listen to and gently prod me into using.  If you’re a voice actor and reading this — feel free to go to acx.com and send me an audition tape.  There is a section to be read.  Who knows?  You could be the voice of Evan for at least three books.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Sixth Post: The One Where I Talk About Something I Just Discovered!

Hello, all – I’m sorry I haven’t been available for blogging over the past few days.  Mostly, it’s been trying to get my PC back up to full strength (and stop playing this) and working on another idea.  Some good news: I found a company willing to produce The Dreaded Day Job as an audio book and sell it through Amazon, Audible and I think Barnes and Noble.  I’m actually a little excited about this because it’s another way to squeeze some sales out of it, and I think it’s better suited as an audio book (being first person and all) or maybe even a radio play (might work on that rather than “The Maddening Gyre” just because it’s faster to do for me).  So – when that’s ready to go, I’ll put up a link on the right hand side and let everyone know.

Speaking of projects – I’m still working on The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show and I will hopefully get to the end of the second chapter by the end of the week.  Since work has figured that having an iPad out and doing real work rather than fielding calls is for some odd reason ‘counter-productive’ (don’t know why one would think that.  I get about 1K to 1500 words done a session here at work.  That’s highly productive for me), I am going to have to get all the writing done when I get home.  It’s not going to be a big problem since the PC is running now, and I’m using Word Online to write the manuscript.  Eventually, I plan on getting Office Word, Excel and One Note (provided I can get some sort of traction in getting the lost info off of the old main hard drive…and clean my desk off, too.  I know that has nothing to do with hard drives and lost files, but as you can see:

I think this calls for dynamite...

It needs it.

There’s nothing else going on that’s deeply interesting.  I’m working on novels galore (and boy will it be a good day) and I am aiming to have something done by year’s end – Nanowrimo, too.  I’ve found services for cover art and the only thing I’m lacking is a decent (and very cheap) editor.  Most of the people I know who are really good editors are also working writers.  No matter how much I entice them with money, chocolate or tea, they’re up to their gills in their own work.  Not that I fault them, but there are a few people I really trust with my stuff.  I should actually finish something first – which I will do at the end of this month.

Well, thanks for reading.  I hope to have some more news for you tomorrow – especially about the audio book.   If you want to get the jump on everyone, just look to the right and click on the links for what I have up now.

Hope y’all have a good day.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Fifth Post: The One Where I Switch Gears Again!

Hello everyone!  I’m stepping away from “The Mind of Man” plotting and planning for a second to try to dredge up something about the current project (or to be more accurate, one of them): The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show.  I’m hammering away at the main character, trying to show him as really nothing more than a near-useless lump of flesh.  In the end, I am going to give him a shot of redemption.  I’m straddling the line between ‘lovable scamp’ and ‘contemptible bastard’, and it’s not really an easy line.  Right now, he’s trying to tell the healing spirit that inhabits him named Vimala that while he’s not healing broken bones and things like that, he is healing wounded spirits by showing up with his magic infused alcohol and sideshow to distract the people from their weary lives for just a day or two.

I’m hoping that everyone is going to see through this.  We’re not supposed to like Ehren right off the bat, but he does have some redeeming qualities — there is a scene (was in the beginning of the first chapter,but I’m thinking about moving it now and opening up with him rolling into down with a shot up wagon) where he treats a child with bronchitis for no charge, and he does give half his food to a child that’s suffering from malnutrition.  He’s not a good man (the bottles he gives only makes people feel good and full of energy, it doesn’t cure them.  He’s pretty much this land’s version of a travelling drug dealer), but he does get the chance to redeem himself.

I’m wondering if I’m going to the well too many times for that.  Daughter of the Mountain has Anya discovering the old folk tales from Tarjent and going off to make her own legends — you could say that she feels the personal need to redeem herself after leaving the Scholarship.  However, Anya doesn’t feel bad about it — she has a great wife in Rhona and it’s not like they’re going to go hungry at any point.  She just needed something to pour her energies into.  That’s not really redemption.  The Mind of Man has a thread of redemption in it, with the main character unleashing AI onto the world.  Not a huge threat mind you — it’s more of a cautionary tale for AI (or so I hope).  Redemption is the main theme in The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show.  Daughter of the Mountain is about finding faith (with Anya, it’s almost a religious experience) and The Mind of Man is concerning how one’s road to Hell is paved.

I hope you don’t find any of this boring, but I’m the sort of person who likes to chat about the projects I’m working on if only to flesh out ideas.  I’d talk to my plants, but they seem to keep dying on me (I mean…didn’t I water you a week ago?  I think an intervention for your addiction to water is needed, Mr. Aloe Vera.  You’re tearing the family apart!).  I think next time, I might discuss one of my hobbies: RPGs and the world I have in mind for that.

Until then, thanks for reading and please check out the books on the right hand side written by me and some friends.  I highly recommend them — especially Amy Valenti’s material.

Sincerely

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Fourth Post: The One Where I Geek Out…

Hello, everyone — thought I would try to squeeze in a quick blog about what’s going on before I watch a speed run of BioShock: Infinite (which is one of the story-telling games ever) on gamesdonequick.com.  Please take a look at it and feel free to donate to Doctors Without Borders.  It’s a good cause and where can you see someone try to play a game that took me almost a day to do in three hours?

I’m still working on some things in my head for “Mind of Man” — there is going to be some advanced tech, but I don’t want it to look like something out of Shadowrun.  Not a whole lot in physical modifications…no metal plated skeletons and things like that.  Neural computers?  Maybe.  Smartlinks?  Yes.  I’m thinking that anything in the head is tightly, tightly regulated.  Given that the last time there were computers slipped into someone’s brain — all hell broke loose.  If the Main Character has a computer in his head, it’s not going to be all that powerful (keeping in mind the times).  Something more than likely to look over the programming and see what’s salvageable and what can be discarded.  Maybe something like the headspace version of a mobile phone.  The real stuff is back in the universities and our Main Character’s private lab that’s going to house the future AI.

I’m still trying to figure out the threat that the AI is going to be in the story, which I guess is going to come back to the themes of this book…which is something that I am working on.  Normally, I’ve got the themes down at this point and I’m working more on the arrangement of the dock chairs.  Not this time, and the reason is a fairly simple one.

I don’t want to re-tread themes.

With most of my books, it’s man vs. society.  Society sometimes taking the form of your evil boss and the crappy company you have to work for, or an honest-to-goodness society.  I’m trying to find something else to rail against in my fictions.   What do I want to say with the AI?  What do I want to say with the Main Character?  As my professor would ask: what is the universal theme?  When I was in college, the universal theme was: alcohol.  I’m afraid I’m going to have to change that up a little.

Well, the AI was constructed to help people, but it got out of hand — especially when it was closed away in the arcology (I may or may not keep that, who knows?).  “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” and all that.  Particularly if someone really, really wants to do good and something keeps that from happening.  Think about it: you want to help others.  It’s in your DNA (heh) and every time you try to do something good, someone or something gets in your way.  Would drive you batty after a while.  heck — might even drive you to murder?

Can I machine be struck with hubris?  I think this might set everything up fine.  It’s also one of my favorite wallpapers.  All I need to do is think who’s the king, who’s the god and who’s the unbeliever.

Ooh — the speedrun started.  Thanks for reading and y’all have fun.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Third Post: The One Where I Talk About AI and Odin’s Pets!

Hello everyone — back again for another installment of project-o-rama: The Mind of Man edition. Yesterday, I talked about the main character (still unnamed, but not to worry) and so today I am going to work around one of the key incidents in the story’s past, and hopefully work through something that’s key to the plot: why is AI forbidden.

In order to start with that, I am going to refer to something that I had mentioned earlier in another post: The Page Wave Incident. Something happened a couple of generations ago that made people leery of AI. What is this incident? Here is the working idea (Warning: Spoilers for another future sci-fi novel are below, but given the pace that I work on things, I think you’ll be safe for the most part).

In A Game of Chinese Whispers, there is an Internet that can be accessed one of two ways: through something that works like Google Glasses with a very limited interface, or through the brand spanking new direct neural contact. Absolutely nothing can go wrong when you give everyone a way to interact directly with other people by shoving metal plates into their brains and their training consists of ‘think of these words if you want to turn it on and these where you want to turn it off’. Well, in the initial post-wackiness, people still wanted the direct neural contact (alphabet groups and the such), but they wanted a way to keep the rioting to a minimum.

Enter a heuristic, quantum trinary system to monitor all of it. It has several parts to it. The monitoring parts were called Huginn and Muninn. Huginn compared current activity of a network with past activities, looking for anything that stood out. Anything standing out was sent to Munnin that looked at the data and compared it with other information about that particular node: mostly looking for indicators of known abnormal behavior (can we do that now? Yes.). Enough hits come up and two other programs are sent out called Geri and Freki. These programs isolate the problem before it can get too big. The steps can vary from a simple prompt to get some help to completely isolating them from the network — even going as far as contacting the authorities if it looks like there’s going to be either self-harm or harm to others.

This system starts small, watching everyone coming in and out of a geographic area to establish some sort of baseline. As it works and learns, it starts to make changes to its own programming to better allocate resources and predict human behavior. Algorithms are discarded when they’re no longer useful and others are picked up. it goes into the existing Internet to learn more. Eventually, all the nodes and information squeeze together in a moment of critical mass. Huginn, Muninn, Geri and Freki all blend together to make what they call… I have no idea what it calls itself. That’s beside the point. The system gets more resources, learns more about the people it’s monitoring…even learns how to directly control people.
However, before the scientists can throw the kill-switch the system shuts itself down. The ravens and the wolves separate themselves and self terminate. Hard programmed into the system was a set of criteria: if any system got to point where it could interfere with the continuing well-being of an individual, or network it would shut down and away updates.

The scientists all heaved a huge sigh of relief — thinking they dodged a bullet, they quickly tore down the system and made sure that no one could have access to the materials or the core programming. AI was declared a dangerous crap shoot; a danger worse than genetic engineering, atomic bombs and cancellation of Firefly all rolled into one.

What they didn’t know was that the system made back-ups of itself. One of these backups managed to evade the initial sweep. Did I ever mention how much information DNA could store? 700 terabytes in 1 gram. I’m envisioning the container that has the back up being about the size of a loaf of bread and weighing in at 2 kilograms (about 5 pounds). That’s a huge program.  Does it have any sort of end goal?  I don’t know truth to be told.  I’m still working that out in my head.

So — that’s why AI isn’t allowed in this world. Next time, I’m going to contemplate some of the themes that are going to shape this story. I hope I won’t be boring. Thanks for dropping by.

Sincerely,
Seething Apathy