My Chicon7 Update

Had a good day today. Go up, ate a big breakfast, and walked to the convention. I checked on my bookmarks and attended a panel on How to Get an Agent. Later I met Jennifer Brozek and Matt Forbeck for lunch and hit the dealer room.

We went through the Dealer Room and I stopped by the CZP table and met with Sandra Kasturi and Brett Savory. These are the editors who will be publishing my Haxan novel in 2014. I offered to help them carry stuff up to the room party tomorrow afternoon and told them if they needed help at the dealer table I was available. After that I attended another panel on how editors fill magazines and returned to the hotel.

Guess what? I was so busy today I forgot to take pictures. Idiot me.

I’ll have supper tonight and may nor may not return to the convention. Thinking about pizza and red wine. I am always reminded I must pace myself because I have overdone these things in the past and then I am too tired to do anything the next day! And tomorrow looks like it might be a long one….

Later: Clouding up. Hope it doesn’t rain, but I think some is expected tomorrow. I need a bumbleshoot!


Attending the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, 2012

I made it to Worldcon in Chicago yesterday. So far it’s been good even though I had to wake up at what, I forget now, 3:15 am? Had a little trouble with the plane trip from Dallas because we had to go back from the runway because there was a problem. After an hour wait we got a new plane and flew in to Chicago. Later that night I attended a Chicago Cubs ballgame, and of course they lost, haha. I also ate an Italian beef sandwich for supper, and boy am I believer!

I got my registration packet yesterday and read through it today. Penciled in a couple of panels I want to attend, but mostly I’m here to see and connect with some writer friends and watch some anime. Even so I expect to be pretty  busy. Hope to see some friends and have drinks with them on Saturday afternoon.

I’ll try to update what’s going on when I can. Maybe some pics, later, if I can remember to take them. 🙂


So far the new start on the novel appears okay….fingers still crossed

So far the change to 1st person POV appears to be working. It might be a little too soon to render final judgment. I might not be able to do that if and until the manuscript is completely written.

But so far so good, I think. The three chapters I have done so far appear strong and I think they are, but who ever really knows? I also want to thank everyone who gave me well wishes when I started this new POV. Your support is invaluable.

Over the next week or so I will be busy headed to a wedding so I won’t be around. But I hope to have some new posts for you when I return. Thanks!

Guest Blogger: Jenn Nixon’s new novel Lucky’s Charm

Today I am happy to welcome Jenn Nixon as a guest blogger. She will talk about her new novel Lucky’s Charm. Enjoy! –KMH

  Jenn Nixon says:
I started writing at a very young age but didn’t realize I actually wanted to make a living as a writer until I finished my first Star Wars Fan Fiction. It was one of the first projects I started and finished. It was a cohesive story that, to me, was really awesome at the time! Actually, it’s not a bad story, and I’ve gotten a lot of miles out of the set up, the character names, and the plot for other small projects I did afterward.
Lucky’s story came to me one day while chatting with my best friend. I’ve always loved women who can kick ass and take names. Lucky is no exception. The original plot transformed over the course of the books as I introduced more characters who took on lives of their own. Eventually, I was telling their story instead of making up my own story for them!

Lucky’s Charm

To protect her family and find a killer, Felicia “Lucky” Fascino assumed her adoptive father’s identity and joined the network, an organization of moral assassins to finish the job he began. Eliminating the man responsible for murdering her mother has consumed her for the last five years. While keeping her Uncle Stephen and cousin Elizabeth at arm’s length, Lucky begins to feel the weight of her career choice and reclusive lifestyle. Then a chance encounter with an enigmatic hit man, during one of her jobs, turns into a provocative and dangerous affair. Distracted by the secret trysts with Kenji Zinn and mounting tension within her family, Lucky makes reckless mistakes that threaten her livelihood and almost claim her life.


Lucky watching her next target…

The average person wouldn’t know how to spot someone following them. More often than not, the marks Lucky tailed looked like every other citizen making his way through a herd of bodies on the sidewalks. In a major city like Montreal, it was easy to become lost in the crowd.

Lucky never drew attention to herself, especially while working. The sweater she wore—thanks to Bet—was perfect for the chilly fall weather. It went down to her mid-thigh and covered most of what she wanted to conceal. The self-tinting glasses lightened some when the clouds played hide-and-seek with the sun. Colored contacts and a dark chestnut wig hid the rest of her unusual features.

To the world, Lucky was just another pedestrian, walking down the street.

During her second day in town, she had followed Newton into his office to do some recon. She’d timed the elevators and checked for security cameras in the building and surrounding areas. The fourth day, she memorized the traffic around his office and house, and decided it was less risky in town than his home.

Day six of watching Newton progressed smoothly. He was more difficult than most, constantly searching his surroundings like a Cold War spy. Since he had things to hide, including a thriving illegal pharmaceutical business and murder, she considered it a challenge to go up against him. Lucky liked when a mark tested her abilities because it made her more vigilant.

Newton’s secretary had inadvertently confirmed a meeting for today when she called earlier. Lucky waited all morning to catch a glimpse of him. He appeared close to noon, heading to the corner store. When he vanished into the parking garage to find his car, Lucky backtracked to hers. She didn’t need to follow him. Newton was a workaholic; he never left his office before seven. Meeting or not, he’d be back.

Though she had the time to go to the hotel, she opted to move into the parking garage and wait. The interior had no obvious security, but she wanted to be certain no one watched the lot. Lucky settled in and pulled out the USA Today she’d bought before getting on the plane. She spread the outdated paper over the steering wheel and kept her eyes just above the edge. If there were any kind of hidden security system in the garage, she’d have to change locations. For now, she left the car running in case she had to move fast.

Bio: Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.

Jenn often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

Twitter: @jennnixon

SWTOR Goes Free to Play

I suppose we kind of saw this coming but it was shocking news nonetheless. I view it this way. No gaming company goes f2p because they want to. If subscriptions are healthy and show a positive climb, then it escapes me why a company would decide to go f2p. It seems to me Bioware made this decision not because they wanted to,  but because they were forced to.

I still like the game but I am worried about its long term viability. I can’t help but be reminded of the slag mess Star Trek Online became when it went f2p. Then again it was a slag mess before it went f2p and I left that game when it became apparent they were not going to fully support a Klingon faction. A lot of people point to Lord of the Rings Online as a game that has succeeded as f2p. But even so LOTRO is pretty lean on expansions and updated content. Because the f2p model doesn’t demand content but it does demand microtransactions.

Companies have this pretty well figured out. They know all the ins and outs of the sociological aspects of what drives customers to purchase extra stuff (carrots) using a f2p model. Of course, part of the disconnect here is that no game is free to play. Not if you want to experience the entire breadth of content. Dungeons and Dragons Online has figured this out to an art form. Yes, you can play the game for free. But you can’t experience the entire breadth of the game for free. Looks like Bioware now wants to dip their biscuit into that gravy while it is still hot.

I don’t like this move, personally. I haven’t had very good experiences with free to play games. I didn’t mind when SWTOR went f2p for the first fifteen levels. That’s a good way to get people to try the game and if they like it they can purchase a subscription. But, sheesh, this damn game hasn’t been free to play for the first 15 levels very long before Bioware went whole hog and made the entire game that way.

I think this says a lot about their subscription base and how soft it is. I honestly do not believe they would have made this move if the subs were healthy. And it doesn’t really take many subs (relatively speaking) to keep a game healthy. Look at Eve Online. It has about 400,000 subs and it’s still going strong and certainly shows no signs of even thinking about f2p. Then again Eve Online provides a playing experience no other MMO does. It’s a niche game. SWTOR, despite its excellent voice over work, is still a standard MMO when it comes to playability.

Oh, well, nothing can be done. Sad to say this appears to be somewhat of an epic meltdown as regards SWTOR. Too bad because as I said in a previous review I liked the story driven content.  Which came as a surprise to me because I don’t like the Star Wars mythos at all. I also liked the voice over work and how it tied to story. It spoke to the writer in me, haha. I also thought the writing within the game along with the story arcs were pretty good. But I still have Eve Online to play and Skyrim…and let’s face it as a writer I need to be writing more than playing computer games anyway, haha. But I do like computer games. I have always found them a nice way to relax. We writers are already an angst-ridden lot. We need relaxation now and then, and computer games are how I relax.

I think I will let my subscription to SWTOR end and then I will move on. It’s really not a big deal because like I said I do have other games to play and I need to write a lot more anyway. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. And I’m really going to miss my avatar Gaella. 😦

Poor Gaella...she was my favorite avatar!

Wish Me Luck

I have decided to write the new Haxan novel I am working on in first person POV. I think this is the right move for the story and for me. But mostly for the story because I have always been of the opinion the story comes first. My wants are secondary to that and always will be.

I’m a little nervous about this decision and excited. I hope this is the entry point I have been looking for. I’ve thought about this a long time. It doesn’t change what the novel is about or what I want it to say. I can still demand the lift and work from the novel I want. Hope so, anyway.

I mean, I’ve tried everything else, right?

So. First person POV. I start work on it today.

Wish me luck. Please.

Sometimes you gotta take a chance....

Learning How to Write by Watching People

When I attended ArmadilloCon I had the good fortune to see my friend Gabrielle Faust on a panel focused on how you can write better. One thing she said, and it’s something I have been saying and believing for a long time, is that you should watch other people to see how they act and move and behave and speak…and it will make your fiction better.

I completely agree.

This is one reason I rarely if ever watch any commercial television anymore. People don’t behave like that in real life. They don’t speak like that, move like that, interact with other people or behave like that. It’s clearly fake. And it’s so obviously fake that’s why I can’t watch it. Don’t even get me started on “reality” shows. They are even more egregious examples.

Go to a coffee shop and watch people. Or an airport. Or a grocery store. Watch how they move. Listen to the way they talk. Understand how they interact with other people and the world around them and why they do what they do. That’s what you need to use in your fiction. That’s what you need to study.

I mean, let’s get real. If you’re looking to television in the first place to learn how to write then you are already in trouble. Unless you are looking to television to learn how to write television scripts…in which case you are doing the right thing by watching a lot of TV.

But if you’re writing fiction, either story length or novel length, you can do a lot worse than sitting in a coffee shop and watching how people really behave. Writers write about people. You need to study people to write about them well. So go to the source. Study the closely, and use what you learn in your stories.

You’ll thank me later.

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