Good Stuff for YOU

Friday, August 31, 2012

MAJOR revisions to The Kildaran coming


In preparation (we hope) for John really taking The Kildaran seriously, I am going to be making some serious alterations to the book.  So for those of you who have requested a copy and have not yet received it - you have a choice.  You can either wait for the revised edition (Version 3.0) or take what's out there now.

If you want a CURRENT (31 August) copy, please email THEKILDARAN@YAHOO.COM No Later Than Wednesday, (5 September) and I'll make sure you get the current (2.0) copy.

If you wish to wait - do nothing, and as soon as I have 3.0 ready, I'll release it.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hey, Look!


So, the title is Cruise Quarters, by Cara and Ray Bertoia.  Full disclosure - I won this from Mysti Parker's 20,000th Hit Giveaway ( and would never have picked it up otherwise.  That said...

It's a fun read.  Light and well-paced, I zipped through it in a little less than a day.  It tells the story of Sarah Seldon, an American dealer in a casino on a cruise ship, and Paul Campbell, a British dealer brought into the same casino.  Essentially, it's a romance, with most of the usual glop left out (sorry, not a romance fan).  What you're left with is the evolution of their relationship over about a six-month period, set against the backdrop of the cruise around various Caribbean and South American ports.

It feels autobiographical, which isn't a bad thing - we're always told to write what we know.

My quibbles?  The copy I got was a proof copy, so some technical errors (no numbering of the chapters, pages unjustified, and the spine fell apart as I read it).  But no problems with the writing itself.

Overall, let's say this is a 4 out of 5.  Definitely worth a read on a relaxing summer's day.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lest you think I've been resting on my laurels (such as they are), here's a sneak peek at a little something I've been working on.  Now, I won't be posting the entire thing here - I do have hopes of this getting published for $$, instead of simply writing for the pleasure of it - but just a sample here and a sample there.

So here's the first bit.


June 23, 2037    1643 GMT
Kitt Peak Observatory

    Dr. Phil Hutchinson liked to be called ‘Hutch’ by his friends.
    Unfortunately, he didn’t have any.
    Most of the staff at Kitt referred to him as either ‘The Evil Dwarf’ or ‘Grumpy’, based on his diminutive stature and perhaps overly-aggressive nature.  Argumentative, abrasive, arrogant - that was just the ‘a’s’.  So when he applied for time to use the Lippershey VLDA (Very Large Distributed Array) to scan what he considered an understudied patch of sky, he received the munificent amount of two hours.  Per week.  At 2am.  On Fridays.
    No matter.  He didn’t have much of a social life, he rationalized, and it kept the chowderheads from bothering him.  Plus, it gave him a full week to analyze each observation.
    After eight years of scanning, though, he was beginning to have the slightest doubts as to the wisdom of his choice.  Sure, with the VLDA, based as it was at the L4 position along the Earth’s orbit, he could peer farther and deeper into the past than anyone else had ever attempted for that patch of sky.  Unfortunately, it seemed that little if anything of note had ever happened there.
    Until today.
    “Moira!” he bellowed.
    His lone graduate assistant, an unlucky girl named Moira Kingsley, hurried to answer.  She’d learned to respond quickly or risk facing his wrath - which had cost four other assistants their positions and their hopes of gaining their PhD’s.
    “Yes, Dr. Hutchinson?”
    “How did you manage to botch the scan from last Friday?”
    “What’s wrong?”  Three more months of this, she thought.
    “There’s a huge streak across the image!”
    “I haven’t done anything to it, Professor,” she answered.  She hadn’t.  Hutchinson wouldn’t allow any of his assistants to handle the raw images, only permitting them to examine carefully selected sections.  “And, with all due respect, Professor, I wouldn’t call that ‘huge’.”
    “Baloney!  I’ve done this a thousand times, and know what I’m doing, so therefore it must be something you did to it!”  He pointed angrily at the projection in question.  “Again, how did you botch this?”
    “Professor,” said Moira carefully, noting the coordinates for the shot, “That’s not my assignment.”  She pointed.  “See?”
    “I didn’t say it was your assignment, I asked - never mind!  Just get out of my sight, you worthless…”  His voice trailed off into barely-discernible mutters, and Moira gratefully fled.
    “If she didn’t foul it up, and I know I didn’t…”  He thought a moment.  “Computer!”
    The Kitt Peak AI was called ‘Rover’ by everyone else.  Somehow, it conveyed an exaggerated sense of patience and tolerance into it’s simple reply: “Yes?”
    “Analysis of image currently displayed.  What alterations have been done, and by whom?”
    “No alterations have been done to displayed image.”
    “Check it again!”
    “No alterations have been done to displayed image.”
    “I said check it again, not repeat yourself!”
    “No alterations -”
    “Shut up!  Idiotic piece of silicon, can’t tell that the picture is faked.  Fine, I’ll do it the hard way.”
    Hutchinson got to work, trying to track down the errant data in his little patch of sky.

June 23, 2037    1735 GMT
Lovell, Maine

    Sarah Haynes was eighteen and had been addicted to sky watching ever since she’d discovered her dad’s stash of Star Trek DVDs.  Every night, she linked to the live feeds from Lippershey and peered at the stars, dreaming of aliens and spaceships.
     During the day, she’d examine images that came in after she went to bed, or of odd corners of sky.  So far, in her six years of observing, she’d been credited with discovering, or co-discovering, six comets, fifteen Near-Earth Asteroids, and numerous supernovae.  She had a gift for noting the small details that changed from one plate to the next, and had the IAU’s reporting line on hotlink.
    Today’s take was easy.  Huge irregularity?
    “Reporting anomaly at 1735 GMT, 23 June 2037,” she began, and rattled off a string of coordinates.
    “Confirmed report,” answered the IAU’s AI, Copernicus.
    “First report?” asked Sarah.  First reporters got the option of naming their find, instead of simply getting a designation.
    A pause.  “Confirmed, first report.  Credit to Sarah Haynes.  Undetermined anomaly name preference?”
    Sarah had been saving this one.  “Khan.”
    “Tentative designation 2037 Khan, pending confirmation.  Thank you.”

23 June 2037    1808 GMT
Kitt Peak Observatory

    It wasn’t an error, or a glitch in the processor.  There was definitely something there, something big.  Finally!  His patient, painstaking work had paid off, and he’d made a huge discovery!  This will shut them up, he thought, activating the link to the IAU.
    “New observation.  Location…”  He read off the position.
    “Incorrect data.  Not a new observation.”
    “Of course it is, you metallic moron!  I’m calling it in now, therefore it’s a new object!”
    “Incorrect.  Object has already been reported and catalogued as 2037 Khan.”
    “By whom!”  Hutchinson’s furious indignation resonated through the room.
    “Sarah Kingsley.  Thank you for confirming sighting of object 2037 Khan.  Have a nice day.”
    It was not a good afternoon to be at Kitt Peak.

24 June 2037    1237 GMT
New York

    “…And we’re live, via remote, with Sarah Kingsley, who discovered a new object in the northern skies.  Good morning, Sarah.”   
    “Good morning!”  If she was nervous about appearing on a national broadcast, she didn’t show it.
    “I’m sure the question everyone wants answered is, where did you come up with the name?”
    Sarah blushed.  It’s never easy revealing your fandom.  “Well, my dad had these disks, and I watched them when I was a kid, and one of my favorite characters was named Khan, and I just wanted to use it.”
    “Uh-huh,” said the anchor, clearly at sea.  “And how did you find Khan?  Do you get good observations up there in Maine?  How big is your telescope?”
    “Oh,” laughed Sarah, “I don’t have a telescope!”
    “So this is big enough to see with the naked eye?”
    “Not yet, though it might be someday!  No, I use the net to stream feeds from the VLDA and just check things out.”
    “Very Large Distributed Array, it’s a telescope way out in space.  Anyone can look at what it sees.”
    “What do you mean, it might be someday?”
    “Well, the reason I picked it out is because it’s moving.”
    “How can you tell?  Was this a movie you watched?”
    “No, it’s just a single shot, but anything that moves will show up as a streak.  Stars, stuff like that that doesn’t move, they’re just dots.  So this has to be an asteroid or something.  It’s really easy to do, though.  You should try it.”
    “Anyone could have done this?”
    “Ayuh!  Just takes good eyes and time.”
    “Well, thank you for taking time this morning to talk to us about your discovery.”
    The picture of Sarah, blonde hair shining in the morning sun, eyes sparkling, froze. 
    “That was Sarah Kingsley, discoverer of a new asteroid.  Up next, how to make delicious low-calorie chocolate chip muffins, right after this break.”