More updates!

I’ve been sadly neglecting this blog lately. For that I apologize. But I have good reasons!

First of all, I’ve been very busy working on a music video for my friend’s awesome new band. We’re just about finished with it (we’re going to finish editing on Thursday). It’s been a labor of love since late spring, and it’s finally come together. And honestly, it’s exceeded everyone’s expectations, including my own.

NaNoWriMo is coming up! I’m going to try to participate again this year, though I might do the rebel thing and finish some half-written works that I’ve been procrastinating on rather than starting a new project.

Here in northern Vermont, I’m gearing up for winter. The weather has been beautiful so far this fall, but it’s supposed to turn cold this weekend, and I doubt we’ll get much more warm weather before spring. Of course, the approach of winter means a million things to do, including winterizing my house. Not my favorite task…

A new side project

I’ve just started a new side project/business that I wanted to share with everyone. I’m now doing tarot readings via Etsy, under the shop name Lux Astri (which roughly translates to “starlight” in Latin).

I’ve got eight different spreads available right now, starting at $10. So check it out, and order a reading if you’d like!

I’ll also be adding some tarot ebooks and spread collections in the future. (As soon as I get time to write them, of course.)

Is that a “donate” button?

You may notice that I’ve added a PayPal donate button to the bottom of posts appearing on this site. I thought it deserved a bit of explanation.

I don’t expect donations. I’m going to continue writing on this blog for as long as I feel like writing on this blog. But I’d like to be able to write more, and donations might allow me to do that.

Plus, this site does cost me money. I have hosting and admin costs. That’s money going out of my pocket every month. It’s not much, but then again, I wouldn’t expect to get much in the way of donations.

Don’t feel obligated to give me money. If you read this blog and enjoy it, that’s all I can ask for. Pass it along to your friends. Share it on Twitter or Facebook if you feel like it. Or just read it yourself when you have time.

But if you’ve enjoyed this blog, and you’ve found the content useful, and you have a couple dollars to spare and you feel like throwing them my way, now you have a simple way to do that.

My First Short Film is Now Live

I’ve finally made my first short film live. I finished the initial version last year, entered it into some festivals, didn’t get into any, and set it aside for awhile. Then I re-cut it and decided to put it up online, for the world to see. Terrifying, to say the least.

But here it is:

Here’s the description:

An experimental short.

The main goal here was to prove I could make a short all by myself (other than the music, I did everything from writing to acting to camera work to editing). My other goal was to create something that could evoke strong emotions from the viewer. I think I accomplished that.

Music: “Opening Credits” and “Sundown”, both by johnny_ripper and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike v3.0 License.

It’s been a few months…

Any of you who have followed this site for long will notice the new theme. It’s Adelle from BluChic. At some point I’m going to design a completely custom theme for this site, but I just have not had time. I’m more worried about other projects I have going, rather than spending time on the design for this blog. It’s not a design blog, so I’m not really concerned with how original it is. I just want it to be readable and pretty.

My writing has suffered this summer. I’ve been more focused on my social life, to be honest. I spent my time recharging and recuperating from the events of the past year or so, and am starting to get the itch to write again. I’ve got a screenplay in the works, which I’ll hopefully be finishing in the next month or so. I’m also copyediting a friend’s book at the moment. And as soon as that’s done, I’m going to do the final copyedits on the last two books of The Steam and Steel Chronicles and get those out, hopefully before the end of the year.

Right now I’m waiting to hear back from four film festivals regarding the short film I made last winter, This Is All You Left Me. I’ll hear from all of them by the end of this month. Fingers crossed I make it into at least one. (If anyone is interested, the four festivals are the Hamptons International Film Festival, St. Louis International Film Festival, New Hampshire Film Festival, and Portland Maine Film Festival; the first two are long shots, but the second two I think I have a reasonable shot at.)

I’m going to be changing the focus of this blog a bit. I’ll still post about writing, but I’m going to take a more personal slant going forward, as well as talk about other professional pursuits (including web design and development, filmmaking, and possibly another business I’m looking into). And hopefully I won’t wait another two and a half months before posting again.

An Idea I’m Releasing Into the World

This is a completely off-topic post, but something that I think a lot of people would appreciate.

Have you ever wanted to create a playlist for an event, like a party or whatever, and you spend hours putting songs into a playlist only to then have to figure out what order they should go in. That’s even more time-consuming than finding the music in the first place.

What if there was an app that would analyze the music in that playlist and then arrange it so that one song could easily flow into the next. It could be based on things like tempo but also on things like genre and artist. And of course, after it rearranges all your music, you could then manually change things around if you wanted, too.

Anyway, since I’m not an app developer and likely will never have time to put something like this together, I’m releasing the idea into the wild. If someone does take this idea and run with it, I’d love to hear about it (or even beta test it!), so please let me know! Or, if there’s an app like this out there and I just don’t know about it, let me know that, too!

The 10 Most Awesome Things in the World

I’m going to try to post more general posts rather than just focusing on writing (though since I live and breathe writing, even “general”  posts are probably going to talk about writing to an extent). Part of this is to attract more readers, and part of it is so I don’t burn out talking about nothing but writing.

In this post, I’m going to tell you what I think are the ten most awesome things in the world. This list is completely subjective. It’s only my opinion. So feel free to disagree or make your own list. Continue reading

There is No They

I currently have a lot of projects going on, and I sometimes get discouraged with the bigger ones (especially the feature film I’m planning to shoot next fall). Mostly this is due to outside pressure, real or imagined, about what I should realistically be spending my time on.

But here’s the thing, I WANT to make a movie. For as long as I’ve wanted to be a writer, I’ve also wanted to make movies. I’m a storyteller, and that transcends medium. I have some stories that work well as novels (or novellas), and I have some that would work better as films. That’s just the nature of my imagination. Continue reading

Falling Literacy Levels are Alarming

I was reading an article over on Yahoo! News this morning (linked from The Millions) that was discussing the fact that SAT scores for reading have fallen to their lowest levels ever—489 points. Part of this they’re attributing to the fact that more students are taking the test who may not have grown up in homes where English was the primary language, but part of it is likely due to the fact that we’re now emphasizing math and science over reading and writing in schools.

This is really alarming to me. Literacy, according to some studies, is the best indicator of future success we have. And literacy does not just mean knowing basic reading and writing skills. There’s this thing called “functional literacy” that varies based on the current conditions. Basically, it means that you have the necessary reading comprehension and writing skills to understand what you need to in a given situation. For some people, the level of functional literacy they require is quite low, and for others it’s quite high. Writers fall toward the high end of the scale, because obviously we need to be able to use language in a way that people who don’t write for anything other than necessity don’t need. (Unfortunately, I’ve known way too many writers whose functional literary skills are lacking, to say the least, but I’m not going to get into that here.) Continue reading