Posts Tagged ‘Gaslights and Rayguns’

THIRTY DAYS LATER reviewed by the Punkettes

Saturday, April 23rd, 2016

Excellent news – THIRTY DAYS LATER has been reviewed by the Punkettes!

Need help steaming up your Summer? The other day I made myself a cup of tea and sat down to read the THIRTY DAYS LATER anthology put on by Thinking Ink Press. I wasn’t expecting the soirée of steam/clock infusion. I soon found my tea turning cold and me turning the next page. Thirty Days Later is full of interesting diverse stories that will appeal to a wide variety of readers with sightings of Royals, ghosts, dragons, Japanese folklore, spies, and even a Sasquatch(?!).

Very cool! Go check the review out, and remember, THIRTY DAYS LATER comes out in a couple of months!

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Not Ducking Questions, Just Working

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Between a crash course in learning deep learning and full court press on THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE, I’m far behind on far too many questions. So even though my good buddy Jim Davies just hit me with a comment on a post which I want to riff on in at least five blog posts, I’m afraid for the next few days I need to focus on getting caught up on THIRTY DAYS LATER.

Back to work.

-the Centaur

She is Sent

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

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Also on the note of resurrections, the latest version of JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE is winging its way back to the publisher. Apropos, that I sent this back at Easter: this book has been through so many drafts that I’m starting to feel dizzy. I expect there will be at least one more, though, so I’m prepared.

Lots more work to do. For now, though, back to SPECTRAL IRON.

-the Centaur

All the Transitions of Tic-Tac-Toe, Redux

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

What was supposed to be a quick exercise to help me visualize a reinforcement learning problem has turned into a much larger project, one which I’m reluctantly calling a temporary halt to: a visualization of all the states of Tic-Tac-Toe.

What I found is that it’s surprisingly hard to make this work: all the states want to pile on top of each other, and there are a few subtleties to representing it correctly. To make it work, I had to separately represent board positions – the typical X’es and Oh’s used in play – from game states, such as Start, X Wins, O Wins, and Stalemate.

The Mathematica for this is gnarly and a total hack; it probably could be made more efficient to process all 17,000+ transitions of the game, and I definitely need to think of a way to make each state appear in its own, non-overlapping position. But that will require more thought than my crude jitter function above, the time it takes to run each render is way too long to quickly iterate, and I have a novel to finish. I don’t want to get stuck in a grind against a game known for its stalemate.

Ugh. You can see the jumble there; it’s hard to see which transitions lead to X’s or O’s victory and which lead to stalemate. I have ideas on how to fix this, but I want my novel done more and first, dag nab it. So let me give you all the transitions of Tic-Tac-Toe in their full glory (22.8mb). I could say more about this problem – or I can say what I have, call it victory, and move on.

On to the novel. It’s going well.

-the Centaur

Thirty Days Later on SF Signal

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

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So THIRTY DAYS LATER, Thinking Ink’s first and latest steampunk anthology, has been announced on the Hugo Award-winning blog SF Signal! The post details the table of contents, which I won’t duplicate here, so go check it out!

-the Centaur

Priorities

Monday, February 29th, 2016

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Wow, the Vegan New Orleans and Vegan Las Vegas posts are taking a lot longer than expected – I didn’t get them out yesterday like I wanted. But that’s OK, because even more important stuff happened: Thinking Ink Press received the print proofs of THIRTY DAYS LATER, our first fiction anthology, which happens to feature Harry Turtledove. Woot! Here’s Betsy Miller, the author and publisher who did much of the work making the physical copy of this happen:

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I’m normally a hermit, working on my projects, but this past week has been almost totally focused on people: coffee with my thesis advisor talking about the Google, interviews, office moves with my team, coffechats with friends about the mathematical underpinnings of deep learning, dinner with my buddy Nathan Vargas, dinner with my buddy Derek Reubish planning a friends and family trip, and dinner with Derek and our buddy autocross racer Fred Zust catching up after Fred’s wife participated in a big race. No pics of that – I let Derek and Fred handle that chore – so instead I give you pics of the farmer’s wrap I had at Barnes and Noble while waiting for the call that Fred had finally hit town.

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Work is important – I spent the morning working on math and writing prior to meeting Betsy to talk about the page proofs, which itself was another kind of working; and as you see above, I worked while waiting for Fred to arrive.

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But there’s more to life than work. As another buddy, Gene Forrer, just pointed out, THIRTY DAYS LATER wouldn’t exist except for the strong camaraderie of all the authors at Clockwork Alchemy, and as Belinda Messenger-Sikes pointed out, that level of camaraderie among writers is unusual for such a small genre convention.

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But that camaraderie does more than just produce books; it also produces communities, long-lasting friendships, durable associations that pass the test of time. I’m happy to have all the friends I have, and even though I love being a hermit and just working on my work, I enjoy all the time I get to spend with all my friends building and building upon our friendships.

-the Centaur

Announcing 30 DAYS LATER, a Steampunk Anthology

Thursday, January 28th, 2016

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The small press I’m associated with, Thinking Ink Press, has just announced its first anthology, 30 DAYS LATER, edited by A.J. Sikes, B.J. Sikes, and Dover Whitecliff of the Treehouse Writers’ Group! Check out the Thinking Ink Press announcement for more details, but it should be coming out around the time of the Clockwork Alchemy conference this May.

-the Centaur

Pictured: A clock, image credit: Deutsche Fotothek, downloaded from Wikimedia Commons under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany license. Not the cover or anything, just something I liked – we’re saving the cover reveal.

Excuse Me, I Ordered the Large Cat

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

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Busy catching up on writing today, trying to get Chapter 1 of the rewrite of THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE done, plus various small press tasks, plus writing documentation at work, plus getting new tires for my car … aaaa! So here’s a picture of a cat. Also, apropos, of a tire … but that made me think. I used to take a lot of notes – I still do, but I used to too – but a lot of the time a quick snapshot of something with your cell phone can do you one better.

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I took a few pictures of tires and of the label on the inside of my door without having to write down any numbers. I then went back to my desk, found some highly rated tires on a web site, found a local tire store online, found the models they had in stock, looked up the old tires I bought for the car to confirm the numbers made sense, and made an appointment. Bam. No paper involved.

It’s amazing to me what can be done with storing information in the cloud, as much as I am a skeptic about it. (And even my complaints about how hard it is to take notes on computers are getting addressed – a fellow author just got a Windows 10 book and claims he now prefers its tablet mode for editing because he can use it like real paper).

But it amazes me even more that when I showed up early for my tire appointment, they fit me in so quickly I had my car and was on my way to work at essentially the time I would have normally have gotten in. As a colleague said, “how many times does THAT happen?” My answer? “ONCE. Just today.” America’s Tire, Mountain View, California. Go check them out.

-the Centaur

Welcome to 2016

Friday, January 1st, 2016

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Hi, I’m Anthony! I love to write books and eat food, activities that I power by fiddling with computers. Welcome to 2016! It’s a year. I hope it’s a good one, but hope is not a strategy, so here’s what I’m going to do to make 2016 better for you.

First, I’m writing books. I’ve got a nearly-complete manuscript of a steampunk novel JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE which I’m wrangling with the very excellent editor Debra Dixon at Bell Bridge Books. God willing, you’ll see this come out this year. Jeremiah appears in a lot of short stories in the anthologies UnCONventional, 12 HOURS LATER, and 30 DAYS LATER – more on that one in a bit.

I also have completed drafts of the urban fantasy novels SPECTRAL IRON and HEX CODE, starring Dakota Frost and her adopted daughter Cinnamon Frost, respectively. If you like magical tattoos, precocious weretigers, and the trouble they can get into, look for these books coming soon – or check out FROST MOON, BLOOD ROCK and LIQUID FIRE, the first three Dakota books. (They’re all still on sale, by the way).

Second, I’m publishing books. I and some author/artist friends in the Bay Area founded Thinking Ink Press, and we are publishing the steampunk anthology 30 DAYS LATER edited by Belinda Sikes, AJ Sikes and Dover Whitecliff. We’re hoping to also re-release their earlier anthology 12 HOURS LATER; both of these were done for the Clockwork Alchemy conference, and we’re proud to have them.

We’re also publishing a lot more – FlashCards and InstantBooks and SnapBooks and possibly even a reprint of a novel which recently went out of print. Go to Thinking Ink Press for more news; for things I’m an editor/author on I’ll also announce them here.

Third, I’m doing more computing. Cinnamon Frost is supposed to be a mathematical genius, so to simulate her thought process I write computer programs (no joke). I’ve written up some few articles on this for publication on this blog, and hope to do more over the year to come.

Fourth, I’m going to keep doing art. Most of my art is done in preparation for either book frontispieces or for 24-Hour Comics Day, but I’m going to step that up a bit this year – I have to, if I’m going to get (ulp) three frontispieces done over the next year. Must draw faster!

Finally, I’m going to blog more. I’m already doing it, right now, but one way I’m trying to get ahead is to write two blog posts at a time, publishing one and saving one in reserve. This way I can keep getting ahead, but if I fall behind I’ve got some backlog to fall back on. I feel hounded by all the ideas in my head, so I’m going to loose them on all of you.

As for New Year’s Resolutions? Fah. I could say “exercise more, blog every day, and clean up the piles of papers” but we all know New Year’s Resolution’s are a joke, unless your name is Jim Davies, in which case they’re performance art.

SO ANYWAY, 2016. It’s going to be a year. I hope we can make it a great one!

-the Centaur

Pictured: The bookshelves of Cafe Intermezzo in the Atlanta airport, one place where I like to write books and eat food.

The Centaur at Dragon Con

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

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So I’ll be at Dragon Con this year, the convention I’ve attended the longest. It’s where I sold my first book, it’s where I’ve served on endless panels, it’s where I’m an Eternal Member, of course, but this year, I’m a bit more: I’m an attending professional, which means I finally rate my own tiny, tiny little space in the program:

By day, Anthony Francis works on search engines and robots; by night, he writes science fiction and draws comic books. He’s the author of the Dakota Frost, Skindancer series including Frost Moon, Blood Rock, and Liquid Fire, and is the co-author of the 24 Hour Comic Day Survival Guide.

And the really good news is, I’ll be having a reading to celebrate the release of my latest novel, LIQUID FIRE, on Friday at 2:30PM! If you’re a fan of Dakota Frost, you should definitely come by, because I’ll read selections from LIQUID FIRE, answer questions, give away swag, and read preview versions of other future books in the series!

Title: Reading: Anthony Francis
Time: Fri 02:30 pm Location: Edgewood – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)

From my perspective, however, what’s even more important is that because I’m an attending professional, I actually get to know my schedule in advance! (At least most of it!) That means I can not only show up at my panels with more than a minute’s preparation, I can actually, like, tell you all about them! I’m tentatively scheduled to appear on three panels:

Title: Steampunk/Magepunk/Dieselpunk?
Description: Steampunk branches out! Tips for the market for the Punk genres.
Time: Sat 08:30 pm Location: Embassy D-F – Hyatt (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Lisa Mantchev, Stephen L. Antczak, Gail Z. Martin, Anthony Francis)

Title: Steampunk and the TARDIS
Description: Victoriana and retrofuturist Steampunk themes are popular in Doctor Who.
Time: Sun 05:30 pm Location: Augusta 1-2 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Dr. Scott Viguié, Anthony Francis, That Darling DJ Duo, Ken Spivey)

Title: World Building, Part 2: The Multicultural Multiverse
Description: This Q&A covers the wide world beyond Britannia.
Time: Sun 07:00 pm Location: Augusta 3 – Westin (Length: 1 Hour)
(Tentative Panelists: Michael J. Martinez, Milton J Davis, Anthony Francis)

There’s a chance I may be on a few more, but for that, stay tuned. Otherwise, I look forward to seeing you at my reading!

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-the Centaur