Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow Day

Thank G*d for the snow! Fortunately, I don't have a house anymore so no shoveling. If class is cancelled tonight I won't have to go there either. Wrote last night before bed, actually stayed up late because I was writing. Will get back to it after this post. But you don't need to have time to write.

Picked up some little tidbits from L. Ron Hubbard on his thoughts about that (it's in Writers of the Future XXII):

"That is a queer mental quirk with people. If a man is a writer, he is doing something everybody thinks they can do."

I found this also to be true about teaching, which I did for five years. I knew a guy who came from the corporate world to teach... he lasted three days. Another guy lasted a couple weeks.

As a filmmaker you don't get a lot of respect either.  People would say it was easy because they thought it was all fun and games, but I've worked on set twelve to sixteen hours a day with just a 15 minute lunch break. I was on set before anyone showed up and left after everything was put away, and before and after I was writing or editing videos. (I also worked with a lot of so-called "professional" crew who couldn't shoot worth a sh*t, or didn't know how to do their particular job and had to be lead around by the nose).

This is what L. Ron has to say about people saying they could write if only they had the time...

"It's their way of an apology, I guess. Nearly everyone makes that remark and, to be brutally frank, it is a source of much merriment in the professional ranks... I have a law around the house here which says that writing comes first and the hell with everything else. The lawn grows into an alfalfa field, the pipes drip merrily, the floors need paint but I turn a deaf ear to pleas and go right on writing."

He goes on to say that his writing pays for all those chores to get done and covers all the other expenses. When times are tough you just got to push yourself to write. You make the time.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Writers Groups

OK, I'm jumping into the water. I'm planning to attend my first writers critique group meeting, Writers of the Weird (WOTW), on Sunday. Also going to attend the general meeting for their parent organization, Science Fiction Affiliation of Bergen County (SFABC). Looks like a good group. As they are in Bergen County, NJ, I will be crossing the river. I'm also checking out NY Science Fiction Writers Meetup. Who knew I'd find such groups (or be found by them) by going on

I've been spending a bit of time working on my Science Fiction Examiner column. I'll try to keep this blog more up to date. If you are reading this please subscribe or write a comment so I know you're out there! TIA.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

WOTF 4th Quarter Winners & Other News

The winners of the 4th quarter of the Writer of the Future contest were announced today. The judging process for the 1st quarter of the 2010 have already begun. I have one story in progress for submission to the 2nd quarter and another I plan to enter in the Jim Baen Memorial Contest. The entry deadline for both contests is April 1st. With any luck I'll have at least one other story completed by then to submit to a magazine.

I've also been toying with the idea of forming (or joining) a writing group in New York. The other option is to do that online with writers around the country or the world. Hmm, not sure if that's a good idea. While it may be helpful for support and collaboration, I'm kinda hesitant to share my ideas and I like working alone. Conundrum. Anybody want to weigh in on this?

William Tenn, Dead at 89.

William Tenn, science fiction satirist, died on February 7th at the age of 89.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

WOTF Review by Publisher's Weekly

Writers of the Future was recently given a golden review by Publisher's Weekly. Check it out on the WOTF blog,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Science Fiction Examiner vs. Sci Fi Pen

As I am now writing for as a Science Fiction Examiner the Sci Fi Pen will be changing focus to be more of a personal journal of my writing and so forth. My Science Fiction Examiner column will focus of science fiction news, technology and publishing. My first article on the Science Fiction Examiner is about the state of science fiction in 2010. I'll be posting links to new articles here on the Sci Fi Pen.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Lost Again and Again

"LOST" had its 2hr. season premiere last night. The survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 are back and so is a mind-numbing alternate reality also with the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. Confused yet? No? Well, there's another group of Others; call them the Other Others or the Anothers. Time is both present and past. Men turn into smoke monsters, the dead come back to life (or appear so) and nuclear detonations just throw you through time. More to come...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Science Fiction Oscar Nominees

This morning the 82nd Academy Award nominees were released. Among the picks were a few science fiction films. James Cameron's blockbuster "Avatar" was nominated for nine Oscars; Best Picture, Best Direction, Art Direction, Cinematography, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. "District 9" received nominations for Best Picture, Film Editing, Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and Visual Effects. "Star Trek" got the nod for Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. The much criticized "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" was nominated for Sound Mixing.

I predict "Avatar" to sweep all nine nominations though it faces very stiff competition for Best Picture (there are a total of ten nominees). All three nominations for Visual Effects went to science fiction films.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Amazon Relents, Blio Invents

As a follow up to the previous post, Amazon announced Sunday night that it would agree to Macmillan's terms allowing Macmillan to set prices for its e-books. Amazon did so grudgingly, stating that this would only hurt customers. The new pricing would mirror prices that Macmillan is setting with Apple for the iPad.

In other news, another e-book format called Blio is set to be released in February. Blio is a free format that works on PCs and is being developed for the Mac and iPod (and presumably for the iPad as well). Blio differs from other e-book formats in that it keeps the original formatting, fonts and pictures as the original books in full color.

Blio can display books with a 3 dimensional perspective so page turns simulate flipping through an actual book. Setting the cursor on the last word read allows readers to easily return to the place they stopped reading. E-books could also be preloaded with read-aloud content and associated sounds.

Blio's audio and picture capabilities would be especially useful for education and for children's books. These capabilities could be a real boon for science fiction and fantasy cover art, illustrations and audio, leading to a rich multimedia experience. This could allow literature to compete more favorably with film and television content.

Blio's website is at

A very incisive and derisive take on Amazon's response to Macmillan from science fiction author John Scalzi entitled "All The Very Many Ways Amazon Failed the Weekend" can be viewed at Whatever.