May 19, 2022 9:41 AM

Every time I exercise, I’m basically asking Death if he’s ready to take me that day. And when it’s done, when I’m panting and sweating and somehow still alive, I can’t help but feel the icy sting of rejection. 

I’ve been making a quiet return to exercise now that Rainbow is mostly sleeping through the night. It’s hard to work out when you’re running on three hours of sleep or when you’re old or when you’re sick with allergies… I have so many excuses. And yet I can’t deny the feeling of accomplishment of setting a workout goal and completing it. Today was easy: ten intervals of a minute up and a minute down. A recovery day. Just to fill the green ring on my watch.

And really, it’s all just maintenance anyway.

Just trying to get this trainwreck another mile down the tracks.

Who knows? There might be fish and chips and Red Bull at the next station.

May 14, 2022 – 9:25 AM

I saw this pop up on Twitter the other day, and my reactions were mixed. On the one hand, I empathize with the desperation of being a new author or launching a new book and wanting reviews. On the other, you can’t guilt people into reviewing your book or doing your marketing for you. Sometimes, support from friends, family, and readers is simply about giving you what they afford to give you: $9.99 and a friendly smile when you start rambling about your next great story idea.

Most readers aren’t going to post reviews. And those who do, may not post one for every book you write. Don’t get on them about it. Don’t guilt them. Let them support you in their own way and focus your efforts on real marketing.

A buyer may not know if a review came from a random stranger or your best friend Scott, but you will.

Personally, I’m on the hunt for that random reader and trying my best not to bully my personal network into making my publishing dreams come true.

Sure, that’s probably why Vise Manor only has one text review two months after its launch, but it’s the principle of the thing.

And after all, aren’t principles more valuable than money?

Anyway, go review Vise Manor.

May 13, 2022 – 9:24 AM

I was struck, as I so often am in the middle of the night, with how formulaic my next project is. I thought after Vise Manor that I could just keep doing the blending of cyberpunk + genre and have books to write for ages. And over the months, I’ve done just that, laying out a general outline of a genre movie and trying to figure out how it would work as a novel, how to make it interesting, and how to make it that special blend of tech and violence and nudity.

What immediately grabbed my interest but then later became the death knell was how easily existing characters fit into the story. Cynthia Mesquina was back, as was Patrick “Meltdown” Kumanov. Gilbert Reyes and others from Perion Synthetics. New characters had already been alluded to in other stories. All told, there were only one or two primary characters who had never been mentioned before in any of the books.

Last night, that started feeling wrong. Maybe not wrong, but boring. It’s the same people doing new stuff. It’s filling in details of an existing story arc.

I’m 100% sure I overestimate your commitment to Sparkle Motion, err, the Vinestead Universe. Are you happy to see the same characters over and over again? Continuing down the same paths? Fighting the same enemies? The marketer in me hopes yes, please, buy all my books. But the writer in me says… meh.

I mean, it wouldn’t be hard to throw it all together. Write the scenes as they’ve been outlined. But ugh… where’s the inspiration? Where’s the discovery?! Where’s the beef?

This is why I don’t write sequels. Or series.

I despise the subtitles that say, “Book 1 in the Waxahachie Pickle Series.” Especially when there’s only one book out or it’s not even published yet. Don’t tell me you’re planning to drag this out. Tell me you wrote a story with a start and a finish and that I can move on to another book afterwards without this gnawing emptiness inside me Severance.

And there I go being a hypocrite again.

That’s what has always bugged me about writing an anthology–a shared universe. In my mind, it’s all connected, and I want to make those connections plain. But to readers? It’s probably not as important.

When writing gets boring, I like to challenge myself.

I don’t always complete the challenge. The last one was to write a book from a single POV; that still hasn’t happened. But last night I came up with a new one: write a book with all new characters. That doesn’t mean a few familiar faces couldn’t pop up and take a shower every now and then, it just means the primary pillars and supporting cast will be new. Brand new. Sparkling new.

That seems doable. And more fun.

What do you think, Mom?

April 27, 2022 – 5:43 AM

The great “backlash against the backlash” has begun in regards to Elon buying Twitter. Everyone wanted to delete their account, but now we have think pieces about why that’s a bad idea, why “free speech” is so important, and how you/we don’t have the guts to leave. Even if Elon did something stupid like reinstating Trump or any number of his acolytes, it wouldn’t be the reasons I, personally, would want to leave Twitter.

Instead, it’s the advertising. The ads. They generate money.

That means that every ad you view on Twitter puts money in Elon’s bottomless pockets.

And there is just something horribly wrong with that. I already have to look at his ridiculous monolith building every time I drive south on the toll road, and now he wants my money too? Naw.

I sell books on Amazon, which means every day I put (a tiny bit) more money in Jeff Bezos’ pocket. And that makes me sad.

I think supporting one billionaire is enough.

April 26, 2022 – 10:17 AM

I continue to be jazzed about Obsidian. Just to have all these files on my local computer backed up by OneDrive… I love it. No more worrying if I’ll ever be able to export from MediaWiki (and no more worrying about having to upgrade it).

And check out the graph view… that’s pretty neat.

Really can’t recommend it enough.

April 25, 2022

8:14 AM

I saw this question pop up on Twitter and immediately felt old.

A sure sign of aging is not wanting to change anything about the way you do things, and trigger warnings and content warnings are prime examples. On the one hand, there’s a definite empathic argument to warning people about the kind of things they’re going to read. On the other, books have been around for billions of years, and people have survived.

And it’s such a weird thing to have a content warning for sex. There is sex in this book! Oh? So the book is about humans?

Furthermore, it’s time to do away with all the “may contain violence sex nudity smoking drug use” warnings on Netflix, or at least let me opt out of it. If there’s going to be nudity, why spoil the surprise? Especially since more often than not it’s just some dude’s butt.

Pretty soon the ratings will include things like “May contain: nudity, sexual situations, hurt feelings, deceptive practices, passive-aggression, John Mayer, nose picking” and so on.

Anyway, the answer is no.

No content warnings.

Book is about humans. Humans have sex, bleed, and do bad things.

Sincerely, Old Daniel

7:09 AM

Some redditors were snickering about this book’s title the other day.

But as I was scrolling past, I realized I recognized that name. When I lived in Misawa, Japan in the 90s, we only had one movie theater on base: the Richard Bong Theater. It looked a little like this when I lived there:

Though honestly, I don’t remember the stairway sides being enclosed like that. Makes sense if you consider the lines that used to form there and the snowy weather. Sadly, the building is no longer in use.

And now as of 2016, the building has been condemned due to the roof being bad beyond repair. No base theater these days. Two movies per week in the Mokuteki Community Center.

Farewall, Mr. Bong Theater.

April 23, 2022

4:23 AM

The more I play of Returnal (Ascension), the more I’m convinced that my brain isn’t functioning properly. There is no way to win this game. You just keep playing. You just keep dying. Nothing changes.

I’ve gotten pretty good at running through levels 1-3… but something happens at 4. The enemies get tougher, and by then, your proficiency and integrity are maxed out. And then I get the feeling: is this really what I should be doing?

Aren’t there more important things happening in the world?

For example: *gestures vaguely to everything*

In other news, I used to have crippling social anxiety, so much so that whenever I was outside my house, I was always convinced someone was watching me. Even if I was just walking around or doing yard work, I was super self-conscious of how I looked. Was I digging a hole correctly? Was I emptying the lawn clippings like a doofus? That kind of stupid thing.

Turns out my anxiety was well-founded. I am being watched.

April 19, 2022

10:31 PM

Found an old picture from freshman year of college.

This is looking south from the 13th floor of Jester West on the University of Texas at Austin campus. Notice the complete lack of towering eyesores on the other side of the capitol. It was a simpler time… ICQ, HoTMaiL, long distance phone cards.

In hindsight, we probably should have put an end to the Internet then and there. We could still be renting VHS copies of Starship Troopers from I Luv Video instead of putting all our personal data in the hands of Bezos, Zuckerberg, and Muskrat.

Oh well.

April 8, 2022

9:17 AM

So I finished Horizon Forbidden West, and while it wasn’t the sweeping epic that God of War was, I still enjoyed it.

I think my problem has to do with the balance between the quest and the grind. Open world games don’t always get it right. With HFW, I found myself grinding for the best weapons and armor, but hitting brick walls that I thought would be removed by progressing the story.

And then the game was over.

So I don’t know. The grind didn’t seem worth it. Finishing the story didn’t seem to require the BEST weapons or BEST armor.

Still, a great game, and I spent HOURS playing it. Definitely worth the buy.