Thursday, May 31, 2012

On Schedule Changes

So I suppose it would be good for me to admit something at this point. Iron Angels won't be coming out in May.

That might be kind of obvious, given that we are on the last day of the month. Hope springs eternal, I guess. :) Unfortunately due to delays caused by our move to Pennsylvania, other projects, and the unavoidable craziness my life seems to attract, the possibility of getting the book out this month wasn't very high.

Which, of course, means I now have a decision to make. I can either continue to work on Iron Angels until it is in publishable condition and get it out during the month of June. That would mean putting off the revisions on Badger until Iron Angels is completely done, possibly delaying that book as well, which is something that might get me mobbed. :) Alternatively, I can shift my focus to work on Badger and finish up the work on Iron Angels at a later point. One way will minimize the delay before Iron Angels hits the market, while the other preserves the rest of my schedule for Badger and the other books.

As I've been thinking about it, though, the best option seems to be the second one. Iron Angels is in the final stages; that means it will only need a short, final revision to touch things up before it is ready to go. I think that if I get Badger ready during June, send it to the copy editor by the end of the month, and turn my attention to Iron Angels after that, I can have Iron Angels ready before I get Badger back at the end of July. Then I can pour my efforts into getting Badger ready, which I will hope to get out by the middle of August. That way, instead of stressing myself to my limits and possibly rushing the development of these two stories, I can take each at its own pace, and probably have both of them ready by mid-August. They'll be released at the same time so that they can support each other, which might be a benefit that I won't complain too much about.

There are benefits to doing things the other way as well, but I think they are more than outweighed by the costs in time, effort, and most importantly, sanity. Putting too much pressure on myself to get everything done at a preset time, without consideration for the usual chaos that infects my life, will do more harm than good in the long run. By taking a more measured approach, I can have both books out before the end of the year, and hopefully arrive at my next project with my wits intact.

So yeah, if you are waiting for Iron Angels to come out right now, I apologize for the let down. It has taken me a while to admit it, but it turns out I am human too, and can fail. Blergh. Rest assured, however, that my schedule for Badger remains unchanged. My rewrites on that are starting as we speak, and the alpha readers have pretty much all gotten back to me. That project has me both excited, scared half to death and ready to start. Let's hope no more crazy hops in the way this time.

In any case, I'll see you around!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

On the Zombie Apocalypse: Location, Location, Location

Alright, so part two. Mainly because I get a bit...focused... on things sometimes. Yeah. That sounds better than obsessive!

Anyway, part of what would make any successful survival effort during the zombie apocalypse would be where you choose to settle down. All the weapons and planning in the world won't help you if you are in the middle of a rampaging horde of zombies. So how to avoid that shambling, biting mass of disaster?

One of the most popular solutions is to load up a vehicle (or actually, probably more often a horse) and ride on out of town. Running for the hills seems like a good option. After all, less people means less potential zombies, and that means less potential bite marks. Plus, farms should provide some food right?

The other option is just to fort up in town and hold out against whatever comes. You'll hopefully have some food storage, and you'll be able to scavange something from the local supermarket once things run out. You won't have to travel anywhere, which is good because the main ways to travel are going to be clogged with people...people and probably zombies. Sure, there will be zombies around the city, but you can just barricade the door and wait til they rot, right?

So I think there are problems with both of these scenarios. Sure in the countryside there will be less zombies...for a time. As the zombies spread out from the cities, you'll start getting swamped eventually. Plus, since when do I know how to farm? Unless I mysteriously pick up tilling-the-earth skills, I'm pretty sure food will be pretty scarce. Especially if I have the fortune to be in the lost and forsaken deserts of Utah or something. There will be a few awesome country refuges, but I imagine cranky farmers/squatters/survivalists with guns will get there first and not want to share. Probably best to avoid that situation--most people die from other people in zombie movies rather than the zombies themselves.

In the city, though, there will be no food either. Ever. If the stores are stripped bare two days in advance of a Houston hurricane, imagine what will happen once the dead start to eat people? Besides, the giant armies of undead walking the streets will be obstacle enough to get to any food storage. There might be some people around willing to band together and beat back the horde, but we're probably talking about millions of undead versus a few hundred humans. Seriously bad odds. One time I tried to estimate how many zombies Houston's metropolitan area alone would produce if every third person turned. That was upwards of six million undead. Yikes. Definitely avoiding the cities.

No cities, no urban areas. Where then? I think that of all the places to be, a multistory house in the suburbs would be the best. A little surgery with a hammer or an axe would remove most of the stairs, thus preventing zombie infiltration. There would be places for gardens and a moderate food supply for the short term, yet the ravening hordes of zombies wouldn't have reached us from the cities yet. We could probably build up a food supply, then wait out the wandering hordes when they came. Wildlife would be more common as well, giving us the chance at meat. Also, most people in the burbs would probably head for the hills, clogging the roads and leaving behind their well stocked houses, ripe for salvage and/or defense. It wouldn't be perfect, but this is an apocalyse we're talking about. Better a slightly crappy place then no place at all.

So yeah, more thoughts on random stuff. See you around!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

On the Zombie Apocalyse: Weapons

So, based on the in depth discussion at our recent writing meeting, I have felt it necessary to clarify my general strategies for the eventual coming of the zombie apocalypse. After all, one can never be too well prepared for those sorts of things...

In any case, my choices of zombie hunting gear would not, in fact, be a shotgun and chainsaw. Too much (infected) blood flying everywhere. Besides, if you ever find yourself at close range fighting a pack of zombies, you're probably going to go down anyway. Especially if the infection can be spread with just a simple bite. Better to keep things at a distance.

With that in mind, my primary weapon would probably be a kind of sniper rifle. Given my previous predilections, I would probably try to go with a Mosin-Nagant sniper rifle. The accuracy is something that would be needed in a world where bullets are rare and the shots are critical, and it is a very effective gun. And really, could you go wrong with the gun the White Death used? I think not. In addition, the gun could be used for hunting; in Texas that would have meant shooting hogs. In Pennsylvania I don't know, deer maybe? Anything better than going herbivore...

For the occasional, unavoidable close range encounter, I think a splitting maul would work the best. With a zombie, the main threats are the teeth, the numbers, and the fact that they are infectious as a sewer drain. Not to mention the 'dead already' thing. So weapons like knives aren't going to cut it (pardon the pun). Not enough damage done fast enough, the stupid zombie's not even going to notice getting slashed. That's not to mention the fact that the more blood you spray around, the more you risk getting infected anyway.

The best way to down a zombie is with one big hit, hopefully one that does the kind of damage that breaks bones and knocks it down. That way if you need to, you can run without having to worry about it hanging on or coming after you. A hammer doesn't break or dull, and the worst I have to worry about is maybe making a new handle for it. Plus, the sledge/axe combo can help with all kinds of work outside of combat, from splitting wood to pounding (dare I say it) fence posts into post holes or something. Of course, carrying around something that heavy would be a drag, but the benefits would totally be worth it.

So yeah, now you know both my primary and backup zombie apocalypse weapons. Good times, right? Of course, to use either of these two, I would probably need to be more experienced. As in, actually owning the rifle and practicing with it, or not being a scrawny, pipsqueak cross country runner. You know, little details. :) The best defense is probably where you would live during something like this anywa, but that's a post for another day...

Anyway, hope you are enjoying the weekend, and I'll see you around!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On Tweets and Meets

So we're back from the LDS Storymakers conference! It was an awesome experience. We got to meet a lot of people (including Ailsa from our writing group! and Aneeka, also occasionally from our writing group!) and listen to a lot of incredibly interesting lectures on writing. The entire thing took pretty much two whole days, so I will try to distill some of the best parts into a five highlight list.

1. Yes, Howard Tayler, I will work very, very hard. Enough said.

2. Sandra Tayler managed to make finances both scary enough to pay attention to and managable enough that I am not totally panicking. Not bad for someone with a Humanities major.

3. Per David Wolverton, sci fi is about a sense of wonder. I should make an extra effort at including that. Heh heh heh...

4. No matter how well your day went at a writing conference, it will always still suck to come home to water leakage and fans trying to dry out your carpet.

5. I won a door prize! It included a discount for a content edit through Eschler Editing. Now what would I use that for... :) Mwahahahaha!

So those are some of the highlights. It was a lot of fun! I will probably write more about the whole thing later. Just giving a quick update.

Speaking of quick updates, I am now on Twitter. Not sure how I like it yet, but we will see what pithy remarks I can make to win the respect and admiration of the entire world, 140 characters at a time. Shouldn't be hard, right? Muttter, mutter, mutter...