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Posts tagged as “The Clockwork Time Machine”

[drawing every day 2024 post one four one]: quick now, jeremiah

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Long day helping clean up after Silicon Valley Open Studios and taking art to Kaleid, so here's a quick sketch of Jeremiah, based on a drawing of Jeremiah that happened to be sitting near me, after I had mostly assembled the furniture which goes in my new home-away-from-home office out in California:

You can barely see her next to the chair there, but it's the same drawing I have used for a variety of JW things, including the upcoming Jeremiah Willstone audio dramas:

Still, kind of appropriate that a character whose catchphrase is "Quick, now" (and who complained about her author reducing her strategies down to just the quick-strike) would be rendered in a quick sketch.

Drawing every day, even if I am shy of time.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Quick sketch of Jeremiah, with a little photoshoppery to jazz up the red scribbles around the Kathodenstrahl pistols, and my new home office, plus some of Sandi's sculptural furniture - believe it or not, the freaky egg thing is a combination hatrack / cupboard / jewelry case.

[twenty twenty-four day one two two]: fools try to win with tactics battles the wise avoid with strategy …

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A wise man once said, "Fools try to win with tactics battles the wise avoid with strategy, but true experts win with logistics only the wars that they cannot avert with policy." I think I'll give that line to Jeremiah, though in the series narrative she probably got it from her mentor, "The Last General", General Weiss I think it was.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Our late cat Gabby, who appears to have constructed for himself a crude fort of stone.

viiictory, thirty-eight times …

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Woohoo! I have successfully written 50,000 words in the month of April, completing my 38th writing challenge (counting November Nanowrimos, April/July Camp Nanos, and Script Frenzy).

This was a pretty rough Nanowrimo, given the prepwork that I had to do ahead of Clockwork Alchemy.

But, I did it, and learned so much about my story and the overall arc of the series as well. So, huzzah!

So, I am really churning with the edits on this one, but here's a segment which is relatively coherent:

The trim, egg-headed man emerged from Air Force One like royalty, the crowds of military personnel actually cheering him as he descended. At his heels, a lantern-jawed, white-haired man followed, grinning broadly, waving awkwardly at troops that seemed to like him even more.

Both kept smiling as they strode towards Jeremiah, but their body language

“Oh, my,” Jeremiah said. “They hate each other, don’t they?”

“Now, that,” Marcus said, “is an understatement.”

The pair stopped twenty meters from Jeremiah, on one side of a rough ring of Secret Service agents that made Jeremiah feel like she’d just entered a gladiatorial arena; she wondered what the agents thought they would do if the Scarab decided to go all apocalyptic on them.

“So,” the President said. “You’re … Commander Willstone, correct?”

“Sir, yes sir,” Jeremiah clicked her heels, watching, without appearing to watch, a larger group of dignitaries forming up just outside the ring of Secret Service agents. “I am Senior Expeditionary Commander Jeremiah Willstone, and I am at America’s service, sir.”

“Are you?” the President said. “I hear that you gave our security detail some trouble.”

“I heard that too,” the challenger said. “I notice you refused to be disarmed.”

Jeremiah nodded; her blunderblast remained slung over her back.

“My people use nonlethal weapons,” Jeremiah said, “even this impressive blunderblast, which I will demonstrate later. From a security perspective, however, consider it just show: I’m the weapon. If I had wanted to blow up your plane, I would just have pointed at it.”

The President shifted, just slightly, but the challenger grinned.

“Will you demonstrate that for us later?” he asked.

“Er—yes,” Jeremiah said. “Of course, sir—”

“Not on my plane,” the President said.

“Ah!” Jeremiah said. “No, of course not, sir. I’ll use our psychic’s car instead—”

“Commander!” the Owl said. “I just got—you’re kidding. Tell me you’re kidding—”

Jeremiah Willstone and the Watchtower of Destiny

Oh my. I hope they manage to convince each other to work together without blowing anything up.

Nevertheless ... viiictory!

Onward.

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one two one]: light at the end of the tunnel

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Less than 3000 words to go on Camp Nanowrimo. This was a challenge, but we're close to the end now.

I think I was behind for essentially the entire month this time:

Note to self: don't try launching an anthology, launching a Kickstarter, serving as guest of honor at a con, and running a business all at the same time as doing a Nanowrimo project to write 50,000 words in a month.

Still, almost there ...

-the Centaur

Pictured: Sunshine through a really cool tree in Alum Rock Park, and some scary yet hopeful graphs. Yes, that was 8,000 words this last Sunday. That was a day.

[twenty twenty-four day one two zero]: aaalmost there …

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Staying on target. Wrote 8,000 words yesterday, only ~5000 words left to go for tomorrow. Gonna try to put a bit more of a dent in that before I crash tonight.

One cool thing happened today: I figured out EXACTLY WHY a certain mysterious plot event happens.

Now I just need to figure out PRECISELY WHO is responsible for it ...

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one one nine]: still behind

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Still trying to get ahead on WATCHTOWER OF DESTINY. Lots of progress today though, on multiple levels: a lot of words written, and some very good ideas for both this book and the overall series, based on some background reading about computation and technology based on closed timelike curves, from the computer scientist Hans Moravec and the physicist David Deutsch. Nevertheless ...

This is not the worst I've been behind, but it's in the top three, and it ain't pleasant.

Back to it. I want to push it a little bit more today if I can.

-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day one one five]: prioritizing wordcount

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Way behind on word count, please enjoy this picture of sushi at One Flew South in the Atlanta airport.

Lots of work to do, not much time left to do it.

-the Centaur

P.S. Oh good grief! This blogpost is having trouble uploading its images, so I'm rabbit-holing on trying to post a simple update, instead of typing words! AAA! Turns out the problem was the wi-fi in this Barnes and Noble Cafe, which allows me to download gobs and gobs of images, but chokes when uploading even relatively small files. I have seen this before at internet cafes and I can't quite tell why that is happening.

[twenty twenty-four day one oh eight]: entitle me, bro

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Not much time to post today - flying out to Clockwork Alchemy, where I am the Author Guest of Honor. But, it's still Camp Nanowrimo, and I had wordcount to get in on Jeremiah Willstone #2, THE CITADEL OF GLASS. And, yes, I do count it as word count if I'm futzing around in the appendix reviewing the characters and revisiting ideas for the title, but the bulk of today's word count was in the climax, which I had sketched out earlier (almost a decade ago!) and am now adjusting to fit the new ideas in the fleshed out plot ... so I can in turn reverse-engineer how that plot shall proceed to reach that climax. Very ouroboros.

-the Centaur

Pictured: A title brainstorming session for CITADEL OF GLASS.

[twenty twenty-four day one oh seven]: departure angle on viewer

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"Off we go towards Clockwork Alchemy ... there we'll have tea with all of our fans." I'd say "sung to the theme of 'Wild Blue Yonder'" but I actually don't remember the words to that other than the first line - and it's relatively hard to parody something you don't know all that well.

Regardless, we'll have books, and panels, and the debut of Jeremiah Willstone and the Choir of Demons!

-the Centaur

Pictured: an accidentally blurred shot of my book stock, and a fortuitous super closeup of the books that I had taken pictures of at the Kickstarter.

[drawing every day 2024 post one oh two]: jeremiah willstone logo sketches

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What a long fricking day. No real drawing for you ... just sketches of a proposed Jeremiah Willstone logo. I created these as feedback to a fellow artist I'm working with who will design the actual logo in a form suitable for putting on pins and stickers. We started with an old logo idea I had a few years back:

But that's kitbashed together from a number of different public domain images and my own quickly hacked logo designs in Photoshop and Illustrator. However, Kimchi Kreative did such a good job with the Neurodiversiverse logo I asked her to apply some of her magic to Jeremiah. We're iterating on it now, with super rough sketches to bounce ideas back and forth.

You know, it's great to learn to do things on your own - and I focus on doing most of the work that I can myself, especially for my own creative projects. But when you have access to an expert, it's foolish to forego that for things in their area of expertise - and learning how to work with others on creative projects is a skill all its own.

Drawing (and learning) every day.

-the Centaur

Viiictory, Thirty-Five Times

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the Camp Nano victory badge for 2023

Woohoo! After being just about as behind on a Nano challenge as I have ever been and still won, I managed not only to complete 50,000 words in the month of April, but to blow past it to 53,266 words! Hooray!

progress chart for PLAGUE OF GEARS this April

To be frank, that steep slope over the top there feels really good, and I'm quite proud of the effort that I put in to make sure I made it this Nano. But, to be equally frank, the steep slope there PRIOR to going over the top really su-u-u-cked, and I pulled two almost-all-nighters (and one actual all-nighter) to finish.

what, me eating breakfast before noon? it's less likely than you think, though I do like it

Early in the month, I prioritized Clockwork Alchemy, and the Social Navigation paper, and getting work done in our old house in California that we're trying to renovate. But once I was back in the East Coast, I really had to knuckle down, writing up to 6,000 words a day near the end.

deficits and progress on April's nano

But, by the end, I was so far ahead that the "velocity required" to stay on track actually went negative (as you can see at the very end of the graph). I broke 50,000 words yesterday, but I still had a scene in mind involving the Big Bad of the Jeremiah Willstone stories, the dreaded Black Queen, Victoria. I didn't want to lose that inspiration, so I wrote it today, and the next scene, which is starting to roll back together with other parts I've written already. So now will be a good time to take a break and take stock of my life, to resume editing Dakota Frost #4 SPECTRAL IRON, and to get my new consulting business, Logical Robotics, rolling.

twenty-one years of nano challenges

According to my records, I've attempted Nanowrimo challenges (Nanowrimo, Camp Nano, and Script Frenzy) 37 times, with 35 successes, producing over 1.85 million words in successful months. If I'm lucky, and I can keep up the pace, I may crack two million words next year - wish me luck. But I think it's more pressing to get the editing of the existing books done - so wish me even more luck with that.

Oh, one more thing, the excerpt:

“Alive, but deposed,” Jeremiah said, as the proboscis of the thing behind her touched the back of her head—then bit in with a sickening CRACK. “Aaah! Deposed in 1865—or enslaved by the Plague today,” she moaned, as it dug in. “It’s y-your … choice … your … Majesty—”

The Queen raised the pistol. “I am no-one’s slave,” she said, and pulled the—

Falconer Cadet Specialist Jeremiah Willstone awoke with a start. Staring at the ceiling, she tried to hold on to the dream … no. She knew better than that. It felt like a fading dream … but they were echoes of memories, the last remnants of some disruption in time.

The jumbled recollections were slipping away, the tangled thoughts dissipating: canaries and scarabs and plagues and queens. But she remembered at least three key things: there was a war on, in time; her memories would be out of date; and she had to rise to the occasion.

Jeremiah glanced at the clock: 4:45AM on a radium dial that did not look familiar—no, did not look like her style at all, a frilly elegant thing more French than Austrian. She looked over, found what she expected from seeing the clock, and considered. It was late enough.

“Oi, roommate,” Jeremiah sat up, feet off her cot. “Name, rank, year. No joke.”

The human computer on the cot opposite her groaned. “Wha—” the woman muttered, a dark-skinned woman with impressive curls and chest, who managed to make waking up seem elegant. Then one of the vacuum tubes in her head sparked, and she sat bolt upright, blinking.

“The Lady Westenhoq,” the woman whispered icily, then swiveled to look at Jeremiah. “Liberation Academy Cadet. And, like you, Cadet Willstone, I’m a first year.”

“Thank you, Lady Westenhoq,” Jeremiah said quietly, “but I meant the date.”

Westenhoq looked at her, then swiveled her own feet of the cot to face her.

“Eighteen-ninety five,” Westenhoq whispered. “Out drinking again, Mya?”

“No, and I … think I’m going to start going by Jeremiah.” She rubbed her face. “Sounds more professional, and pet names remind me of my uncle anyway. But, since you knew my nickname and used it freely, I … take it we’ve worked together before.”

Oh, have they. Prevail, Victoriana!

-the Centaur

Pictured: Breakfast at Stax Omega, lots of graphs, and the Camp Nano winner's badge.

[sixty-three] minus thirty-eight: put me down in the left column

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[tardis vs delorean]

Yeah, you're gonna just have to put me down in the left column there. No offense to Doc Brown's DeLorean, but The Doctor's TARDIS could BE a DeLorean, if it wanted to. If there was a write-in, of course, I'd pick the Clockwork Time Machine, but the Machine is basically a TARDIS with the serial numbers filed off anyway.

Very tired, working on the social navigation benchmarks paper, no more post for you.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Poll seen at a Starbucks while I was waiting on my car to be serviced.

Clockwork Alchemy 2023 … so far, so good

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the centaur in his native environment

SO! I survived the first day of Clockwork Alchemy, and only had to make one trek back to the house from the hotel to pick up something I forgot (something important - my frigging costume, not pictured because I wasn't wearing it). But the convention was great, and we had great talks on Worldbuilding with Madeline Holly-Rosing and Villains and Heroes with Sumiko Saulson and more, and the Author's Alley was delightful.

the author's alley seen from inside

Most people seemed to think there were more people this year than last, possibly because (a) the hotel is cheaper and easier to stay in and (b) we continue our long slow slide back out of the pandemic. Certainly there were a good number of people at the morning panel, and even more for the afternoon panel.

the crowds, they slowly start to return

And the hotel restaurant wasn't bad either! I got to spend some time with some friends in the evening nibbling away at some noshies before driving down to get my costume and some extra books. Oh, that's right - books ...I sold some! But don't worry, I have plenty more ...

Tomorrow I'll be at the following panels:

  • Science of Airships
    Saturday 11am – Synergy 5(2nd floor)
    Anthony Francis
    Steampunk is more than brown, boots, and buttons: our adventurers must travel the world in style! Learn about the science behind the leviathans of the skies. From how they stay up to how they crash down, explore how the physics of flight gives distinctive shapes to airships past, present and future!
  • Author Signings: Anthony Francis
    Saturday 4pm – Convene Lobby(2nd floor)
    Get your books signed by Anthony Francis.
  • Secret Hideout or Secret Lair? It’s All What You Do With It.
    Saturday 5pm – Synergy 5(2nd floor)
    Stephanie Clemens, Anthony Francis, Michael Tierney
    Sometimes it’s not obvious who is the hero and who is the villain. We have the traditional heroes, anti-heroes, villains we love to root for, and villains we love to hate. Then there are the redeemed villains and fallen heroes! It’s a slippery slope and a lot of fun to play with as an author and a reader.

Hope to see you all there!

-the Centaur

Pictured: Various panels and events from Clockwork Alchemy

Clockwork Alchemy 2023

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Hey folks, the Clockwork Alchemy steampunk convention is back, and in a new location, the San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport! I’ll have an author table there with all my Jeremiah Willstone books - the CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE and the Thinking Ink Press anthologies TWELVE HOURS LATER, THIRTY DAYS LATER and SOME TIME LATER, and much more, including the Dakota Frost urban fantasy series and my science fiction writing! 

I will be at two author signings and four - count them, FOUR panels, including World Building, Who’s the Villain, Science of Airships, Secret Hideout or Secret Lair, and Getting Past Page One - hey, wait a minute, that is five, I counted them, FIVE panels! I may need a nap after all that. But not before I’ve signed a book or given a talk for you!

Time and Location:

Clockwork Alchemy 2023
Friday April 7 - Sunday April 9
San Mateo Marriott San Francisco Airport
1770 South Amphlett Blvd San Mateo, California 94402

And here's where you can find me:

  • World Building
    Friday 1pm - Synergy 5 (2nd floor)
    Anthony Francis, Madeleine Holly-Rosing
    Come and find out what's necessary to create a living, breathing world for your characters, whether you're writing a book or running an RPG.
  • From the Darkly Ironic to the Moody Byronic: Who’s the Villain Here?
    Friday 4pm - Synergy 5(2nd floor)
    Sumiko Saulson, Anthony Francis
    From the ghosts haunting Ebenezer Scrooge to Dr. Frankenstein’s childlike creature, Victorian horror embraced a new class of complicated, morally ambivalent heroes and villains such as Prince Prospero, Carmilla, and Dorian Gray. If Mr. Hyde is a part of Dr. Jekyll, who is really the villain here?
  • Science of Airships
    Saturday 11am - Synergy 5(2nd floor)
    Anthony Francis
    Steampunk is more than brown, boots, and buttons: our adventurers must travel the world in style! Learn about the science behind the leviathans of the skies. From how they stay up to how they crash down, explore how the physics of flight gives distinctive shapes to airships past, present and future!
  • Author Signings: Anthony Francis
    Saturday 4pm - Convene Lobby(2nd floor)
    Get your books signed by Anthony Francis.
  • Secret Hideout or Secret Lair? It's All What You Do With It.
    Saturday 5pm - Synergy 5(2nd floor)
    Stephanie Clemens, Anthony Francis, Michael Tierney
    Sometimes it's not obvious who is the hero and who is the villain. We have the traditional heroes, anti-heroes, villains we love to root for, and villains we love to hate. Then there are the redeemed villains and fallen heroes! It’s a slippery slope and a lot of fun to play with as an author and a reader.
  • Getting Past Chapter One
    Sunday 2pm - Synergy 5(2nd floor)
    Stephanie Clemens, Anthony Francis, Michael Tierney
    Why being perfect keeps you away from finishing your book.
  • Author Signings
    Sunday 3pm - Convene Lobby(2nd floor) 
    Shelley Adina, Madeleine Holly-Rosing, David L. Drake, Katherine L. Morse, Michael Tierney, Belinda Sikes, Dover Whitecliff, Stephanie Clemens, Anthony Francis, Thena MacArthur, Sumiko Saulson
    Last call! Get your books signed by any of our authors at Clockwork Alchemy 2023.

Looking forward to seeing you all!

-the Centaur

Pictured: A sampler from Clockwork Alchemy 2022.

Viiictory, Thirty-Two Times

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Well, after a long hard month and many ups and downs, I have successfully completed Camp Nanowrimo, one of the three yearly National Novel Writing Month challenges to write 50,000 words of a novel in a month - and this is my 32nd time claiming viiictory!

This was one of the more challenging Nanos for me, as April is our quarterly planning month, and on top of that we decided to switch managers within our team and to switch to semester planning in our org. So that led to a dip in the beginning, where it was hard for me to get my groove.

The blood on the deck continued almost to the end of Camp Nano. This month's project was my third go at JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE FLYING GARDENS OF VENUS, and I found it particularly difficult to get momentum as the story is more complicated than normal, with a new protagonist Puck taking center stage in addition to Jeremiah. You can see the dip compared to past Nanos:

I felt like I was struggling and stumbling with the story, writing and rewriting scenes, trying out different alternates (I count these as words written; editing can come later). However, as I rolled into the end of the month, these struggles started to pay off, as I understood better what was up with Puck, why so many weird things happened around her, and what role they played in the story.

Over the years of doing Nano, I've reached this particular point of the enterprise many times - a point which I sometimes call "going off the rails". This is the point where the story seems to gel, and I think it happens when I go from exploring the logical consequences of a set of characters in a situation - which is where I start almost all of my writing - to creatively injecting things into the story that could not be predicted from its beginnings. These still need to be grounded in the plot and consistent with the characters, but there's a difference between the things you typically expect to happen in a scenario and truly creative innovations which cannot be predicted from the setting alone - what the Mythcreants writing team calls Novelty in their ANTS framework (Attachment, Novelty, Tension and Satisfaction).

Over almost 20 years, I've had this creative spark, this "going off the rails" many, many times, and stories always seem better for it. I have tackled 16 Nanowrimos so far out of 34 monthly challenges (also counting Camp Nano and Script Frenzy) and have successfully completed it 32 times.

Each time for me, it's facing those middling slumps, facing the places where I've fallen out of love with my own story, that ultimately kickstart my creativity into high gear and make me fall in love with my work again.

That happened this time, even though I wanted to give up. I know Nano doesn't work for everyone, so your mileage may vary, but for me, as I've often found in other arenas of my life, you sometimes have to work just a little bit harder than you want to to reach an outcome which is far better than you have any right to expect. That was true with Cinnamon, originally a side character in the first Dakota Frost about whom I have now drafted three novels, and it is turning out to be true here with Puck as well, the Girl Who Could Wish, now turning into a truly interesting twist.

Oh, an excerpt. Let me see if I have some rough draftiness lying around here ...

“It’s an ecosystem,” Puck murmured. “There’s a whole ecosystem in the floatbergs—”

One of the jellyfloats wandered under one of the falls, and screamed, terrifyingly human-like, as it steamed and melted—and then Puck realized what the liquid was: sulfuric acid. This was an upper-atmosphere floatberg, its engineered bacteria designed to harvest sulfuric acid from the air—and as the floatberg disintegrated, the collected sulfuric acid which had not been processed was now spilling out in uncontrolled streams, destroying whatever had inhabited this cavern.

“I’m sorry,” Puck said to her little audience. “I … I think it’s too late.”

One of the bigger parakeys, with a crest, hopped up on her knee.

“Is that a vest?” she said, touching a bit of what looked like cloth. “You … you can’t be intelligent creatures, now can you? How could you start a whole civilization up here? Floatbergs only go back a few hundred years, and they don’t last for more than months, maybe weeks—”

The parakey chieftain, if that’s what it was, cheeped at her.

Puck drew a breath.

“I wish this cave could be saved,” she said carefully. The crowd of parakeys cheeped and beeped, and the chieftain pawed at her and cheeped even louder, like a little screech, and she relented. “Alright, a proper, non-conditional wish this time. I wish this cave would be—”

The bottom dropped out from beneath them.

Poor Puck! She can't seem to cut a break. But at least I know who and what she is now, and how she's related to Jeremiah, and can therefore move forward with this story with confidence.

Prevail, Victoriana!

-the Centaur

Just Checking in on the Currents

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SO! Hey! GDC and Clockwork Alchemy are over and I'm not dead! (A joke which actually I don't find that funny given the circumstances, which I'll dig into in just a moment). Strangely enough, hitting two back-to-back conferences, both of which you participate super heavily in, can take something out of your blog. Who knew? But I need to get better at blogging, so I thought I'd try something new: a "check-in" in which I try to hit all the same points each time - what am I currently writing, editing, programming, etc? For example, I am currently:
  • Listening To: Tomb Raider soundtrack (the original).
  • Reading: Theoretical Neuroscience (book).
  • Writing: "Death is a Game for the Young", a novella in the Jeremiah Willstone multiverse.
  • Editing: SPECTRAL IRON, Dakota Frost #4.
  • Reviewing: SHATTERED SKY, Lunar Cycle #2 by David Colby.
  • Researching: Neural Approaches to Universal Subgoaling.
  • Programming: A toy DQN (Deep Q Network) to stretch my knowledge.
  • Drawing: Steampunk girls with goggles.
  • Planning: Camp Nanowrimo for April, ROOT USER, Cinnamon Frost #3.
  • Taking on: Giving up alcohol for Lent.
  • Dragging on: Doing my taxes.
  • Spring Cleaning: The side office.
  • Trying to Ignore: The huge pile of blogposts left over from GDC and CA.
  • Caring For: My cat Lenora, suffering from cancer.
  • Waiting For: My wife Sandi, returning from a business trip.
Whew, that's a lot, and I don't even think I got them all. Maybe I won't try to write all of the same "currents" every time, but it was a useful exercise in "find something to blog about without immediately turning it into a huge project." But the biggest "current" in my mind is the person I am currently worried about, my good friend and great Game AI developer Dave Mark. Dave is the founder of the GDC AI Summit ... but was struck by a car leaving the last sessions at GDC, and still is in the hospital, seriously injured. More in a moment. -the Centaur Pictured: Butterysmooooth sashimi at Izakaya Ginji in San Mateo from a few days ago, along with my "Currently Reading" book Theoretical Neuroscience open to the Linear Algebra appendix, when I was "Currently Researching" some technical details of the vector notation of quadratic forms by going through stacks and stacks of books, a question which would have been answered more easily if I had started by looking at the entry for quadratic forms in Wolfram's MathWorld, had I only known at the start of my search that that was the name for math terms like xWx.

Guest Post on Speculative Chic!

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What makes you hang on the edge of your seat? I call that a favorite, and I talk about some of my current faves over at the Speculative Chic blog! [embed]http://speculativechic.com/2017/12/18/my-favorite-things-with-anthony-francis/[/embed] Go check it out!    

Timeline 10(ab)”’

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No progress on BOT NET for Nanowrimo yet today ... yesterday I got my daily word count, but today I needed to core dump some ideas I'd been brewing about a Jeremiah Willstone novella, "Crypt of the Burning Scarab".  I had a brain flash about how to make the plot work out, involving a twisty time travel paradox I haven't seen before, and wanted to make sure I read up enough physics and math to make sure the idea made sense, then wrote it all down before I dove back into Cinnamon's world of mathematical magic. But you know your plot is complicated when you non-ironically need a timeline point 10(ab)''' - that's point 10, timelines A&B, variant 3 (prime prime prime). Happy writing ... -the Centaur Pictured: A few of the math/physics books I've been reading on this idea, plus the "GBC" (Goodfellow, Bengio and Courville) Deep Learning book which I'm (re)reading for work.

My Daily Dragon Interview in Two Words: “Just Write!”

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So at Dragon Con I had a reading this year. Yeah, looks like this is the last year I get to bring all my books - too many, to heavy! I read the two flash fiction pieces in Jagged Fragments, "If Looks Could Kill" and "The Secret of the T-Rex's Arms", as well as reading the first chapter of Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, a bit of my and Jim Davies' essay on the psychology of Star Trek's artificial intelligences, and even a bit of my very first published story, "Sibling Rivalry". I also gave the presentation I was supposed to give at the SAM Talks before I realized I was double booked; that was "Risk Getting Worse". But that wasn't recorded, so, oh dang, you'll have to either go to my Amazon page to get my books, or wait until we get "Risk Getting Worse" recorded. But my interview with Nancy Northcott for the Daily Dragon, "Robots, Computers, and Magic", however, IS online, so I can share it with you all. Even more so, I want to share what I think is the most important part of my interview:
DD: Do you have any one bit of advice for aspiring writers? AF: Write. Just write. Don’t worry about perfection, or getting published, or even about pleasing anyone else: just write. Write to the end of what you start, and only then worry about what to do with it. In fact, don’t even worry about finishing everything—don’t be afraid to try anything. Artists know they need to fill a sketchbook before sitting down to create a masterwork, but writers sometimes get trapped trying to polish their first inspiration into a final product. Don’t get trapped on the first hill! Whip out your notebook and write. Write morning pages. Write diary at the end of the day. Write a thousand starts to stories, and if one takes flight, run with it with all the abandon you have in you. Accept all writing, especially your own. Just write. Write.
That's it. To read more, check out the interview here, or see all my Daily Dragon mentions at Dragon Con here, or check out my interviewer Nancy Northcott's site here. Onward! -the Centaur    

Dragon Con Schedule, 2017 Edition!

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Hail, fellow adventurers! I’ll be back at Dragon Con again this year, with a great set of panels! Sometimes that includes dropping in on the Writing Track, but the ones we have officially scheduled so far are:

  • Androids & Automatons
    Friday 1pm - Sheraton / Augusta
    This presentation will cover the history of artificial life from the ancient Greeks to modern automata artists. Techniques for creating your own automata will also be shared.
  • Practical Time Travel for the Storyteller
    Saturday 4pm - Sheraton / Athens
    This panel discusses the real science behind time travel, as well as how these scientific theories can place both challenging & rewarding demands on the stories we tell. Time dilation, the grandfather paradox, & others will be explained & these theories discussed.
  • The Magic and Technology of Building Alternate Worlds
    Saturday 5:30pm - Sheraton / Augusta
    Be it alchemical spells or industrial revolution, many alternate history and Steampunk worlds feature magic, fantastic technological marvels, or even both. But each choice shapes the worlds these authors build. This roundtable discuss worldbuilding and the balance between fantasy and science.
  • Author Reading: Anthony Francis
    Sunday 2:30pm - Hyatt / University
    SF & Urban Fantasy author of Frost Moon, Blood Rock and Liquid Fire reads from his work, including selections from Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, from future Dakota Frost novels, and maybe even some Cinnamon Frost stories!

Also, I was scheduled to do a SAM Talk, but it was inadvertently booked over my author reading, and I pretty much have to prioritize my own author reading over a SAM Talk even if there might be more people at the other room. So if you attend my author reading, you may also get to hear what was intended to be my SAM Talk, “Risk Getting Worse”.

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Hope to see you all there - from my end of the table, it kind of looks like this:

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Here’s crossing fingers that we get the double booking all worked out!

-the Centaur