Color and Climate Roundup

This isn’t actually about just color and climate, but I they both start with a C? I’m not entirely sure. I just read the whole climate change article and feel overwhelmed.

Colors and words!

Color Thesaurus More words for colors is always a good thing. Plus this is just beautiful.

Nameless colors And taking color in the exact opposite direction is paint that is unnamed.

Writing and AI

Robots Learn Values from Books

Would you want the future of AI to learn from your novels?

The Future of Medicine

Tech and the Future of Medicine

Oh those Canadians! (I love Quirks and Quarks and highly recommend.) Most of these were technologies I’d heard before but it was sort of nice to really have a lot of them in once place and hear some speculation about how it could be used. The future is an amazing place. I look forward to it.

Cli-Fi without the Fi

Millennia of Sea-Level Change

This is not the short version of this. It includes a ton of links and references and charts and all the things.  Which reminds me of the interactive map from NOAA. There are a bunch of other maps out there (I didn’t see any with the brand new data, but it is brand new, if someone did please let me know).

Businessey Roundup

  1. I hate the hiccups.
  2. While 600 Second Saga officially launches its preseason tomorrow it is out in iTunes or you can add it to the podcast tool of your choice or search 600 Second Saga. If it doesn’t show up let me know.
  3. I’m not sure how so many of these links ended up vaguely business-ey but I’m going with it because they are interesting. (Also maybe because I binged on Cortex over the last week.)

Writing and Business intersect

Why new personal productivity efforts don’t stick

Don’t say you don’t have a plan. You just didn’t design it intentionally, it still exists. I keep trying to make plans, I find I do best with small changes.

“Most productivity habits develop out of necessity, without specific intention. This can leave achievement to chance, which is why there is so much interest in productivity improvement. But changing systems is what’s really tricky.”

Find your biological prime time

When writing time is limited it is important to think about when to do those things. And what you can do in the other times? For me recording is super different from writing. I should write early in the morning (especially Saturday morning) and record in the evenings. I also realized recently I was giving up my best writing time to a Not Writing activity and need to fix that.

“Bailey noted that, even if you’re generally low on energy right after you wake up, it’s probably best to do creative work in the morning. He cites research suggesting that the part of your brain associated with creative thinking is most active then.”

North Korea

Because I know how to do transitions!

Photos from North Korea

I spent way too much time today looking at these photos and quite a few others along with the descriptions of what is and isn’t allowed to be photographed.

Photos are strange things. A lifetime ago I had my purse searched in Russia, not for weapons, but for a camera. They were much more afraid of the camera.

Apple

Again with the transitions!

You may or may not have heard about this case, and the ongoing struggles that the FBI and Apple have had. The FBI wants to be able to unlock phones, they want an easy backdoor to get access to data. Apple has been pretty firm in their No. No. Super No.

A couple days ago Apple published a letter about the case. Ars posted a good write up about how Apple will be fighting it and some more information about the case.

I think this is very much a window into potential futures. Do things become more private or less? Does government get access to everything we do and say? Do private companies become guardians and keepers of our data? Are we safe if we are with one company but not others?  (Looking at you Blackberry.)

Finally? I STILL hate the hiccups.

The Future – Roundup

Here is a roundup of some interesting links and resources I’ve come across recently:

In their natural environment

Wild Jaguar in the US (video)

A wild jaguar video from trail cams. Trail cams are amazing things, you can find a lot of them and snippets from them online. Interesting to see animals on their own in the wild. I also love things like the cams that have been put in nests and such. Pennsylvania Bald Eagles cam has 2 cameras and sound, which is amazing. Highly recommend.

Science and politics meet

Would you vote for a supercomputer for president?

Thanks Stefan for this link.

The future….oooOOooo

100,000,000 Years from now

What the world might look like to someone else (an entirely different someone else’s in the long distant future).

BACKUPS!

Free 2 GB of storage at google – BACK YO SHIT UP!

Back up your work! Do the security check up and get a bonus 2 GB of space, that’s enough space to back up a few novels and a bunch of shorts or flash fiction.

Get your 2 free bonus GB of space and back your stuff up!
Get your 2 free bonus GB of space and back your stuff up!

Word shaped things

Words to use

There are so many cool sites, I’m always a little surprised when I find one. So here’s another cool one I found this week. It gives words that are kind of related to things. I highly recommend going to take a look. This could be great for needing to find an alternate way to say something, especially an overused phrase.

Google terms

I find my google terms are a weird combination of perfectly sensible things…and maybe things that say I need a break.

My recent history includes “airplane cop” I couldn’t think of the term sky marshall! It is something I love, I know that a word exists and I know I want it but I can’t quite make my brain get to it fast enough. Google to the rescue!

Also looking through my Google terms list I can clearly see as I get tired during the day my Google fu suffers and I have to try 2-3 times to get the right search result.

Security Checkup
Google Security checkup (bonus 2 GB storage!)

Also, bonus thing? Today is the Google Security check up day, follow the link and once you complete the security checkup you get 2GB free in your account, permanently! The questions are basically is this still your phone number/other email, are these the programs you want to use it, is this where you are signed in?

Super ultra bonus thing? You can tell Google to not track your search terms (or just about anything, if you go through your security stuff you’ll be able to export your data or tell it to not track stuff.

False Gods

False Gods is my answer to a new challenge from the terrible minds of Chuck Wendig. The challenge was roll a random number generator and get two sub genres and mash them up into something shiny and new.

I got technothriller and mythology. I’m not entirely sure I hit either of those genres exactly…But hopefully it’s still enjoyable.

False Gods

We will remove all false gods from the world.
One by one.

I surveyed the murder scene. The woman was in her late fifties, an antique aegis and what I had to assume were owl feathers covered her body.

Someone shoved the latest manifesto into my hands, I couldn’t even get a polite thanks out. I had read the previous five over and over. I skimmed the first few lines, I’d already read them thanks to the killer’s twitter feed.

She was supposed to be Athena. She had been in the army, risen through the ranks, gone into diplomacy. She was brilliant. She was a warrior. She was this serial killer’s sixth victim.

I flipped through the hundreds of pages of supposed evidence. The digital team would be downloading it and adding it to their database now. We were working under the premise that the killer was running some kind of software to determine his next victim. He tweeted as if he were many but our profile came down to one man, working by himself, with the help of some very sophisticated software.

I stopped at the two-thirds point and started skimming. This would be where he would outline the evils and where we had caught glimpses, too late, into who the next victim would be.

The same bullshit talk about how all the creatures of mythology walked among us, and they all needed to be killed. I shuddered and closed the manifesto. It would go in my stack of reading.

***

Jennifer and Nasim sat across from me with serious looks. Nasim turned his laptop around to face me slowly.

“Just, tell me what it is, while you are wasting time, he is out there getting ready to murder someone else.” I shouted at them.

We all flinched when our phones chimed at the same time. It wasn’t him. Someone sighed with relief.

“Right now, the data we’ve gathered, it seems to show that there is a possibility…” Nasim was shifting his screen as he talked.

“It’s going to be a cop.” Jennifer jumped in before I could tell them to get to the point.

“Or a sky marshall, or a judge…it might not be a cop.” Nasim hedged again.

“I think it is going to be you.” Jennifer looked me in the eyes.

I sucked in a deep breath. “Which god is he targeting?”

“Kratos.” Nasim said confidently. I ran through the gods I knew of, I’d spent the last months researching mythology. I had never heard of Kratos. “He’s the son of Pallas and Styx and is authority. He is the state enforcer. But they all have wings so it might be a sky marshall.”

“It’s not a sky marshall.” Jennifer grabbed the laptop and scrolled through, highlighting the text. I didn’t see it.

I wasn’t a god, but I was the target of a serial killer.

***

I put my head in my hands and bumped the stack of books at my elbow. My phone went off. I grabbed for it.

A tweet to the department, he had a new account. He was on the move. Each time he created a new account. We would get it shut down within minutes. In those minutes he would send out a storm of information, manifestos, and photographs.

I skimmed through the messages. It was a review of the previous murder. It had been three months between the first two murders, then a month to the third, the fourth was three weeks later, the fifth was another three weeks, the sixth was another three weeks. We hoped that was how long his manifesto took to complete. Each one was nearly 500,000 words of accusations and demands.

I should still have two weeks. I rested my head again. I just needed a short break.

***

A sharp noise woke me. I knocked over a pile of books and turned around in the chair. My phone. I grabbed it. A message from Nasim. “We have timeline concerns. You should come down to the station.”

If Nasim was worried things had to be bad. I touched each of the manifestos and case files. Looking at each of the victims, wondering – for just a moment – if I’d be the next stack of paper.

I’d just take a quick shower and head in. I responded to Nasim and stood, restacking the books next to me.

“Oh just turn around already!”

I spun toward the unknown, cheerful voice. My gun. It was on the desk behind me.

The murder stood in front of me. Dressed in an absurd Loki costume. My mind raced.

“You can’t be Loki. You murdered him. His name was Jackson.” The murder’s face kept the disgusting grin as I talked. My gun was on top of Jackson’s file behind me. “Jackson was a homeless man, he had two brothers, he had schizophrenia, he made sure all the stray dogs were fed before he was. Did you know one of his brothers calls me every day to see if he can help? Let me show you a photo.”

I turned and grabbed the gun and the papers and hid the gun under the thousands of sheets of paper.

“You have found me out! I am not Loki. But you are Kratos. And you are a false god. You will be dispatched with the rest of them. I wasn’t sure if you were truly Kratos. Now I know.”

I edged a step closer to him. “Look at this photo.” The photo showed three teenage boys, cleaned up in suits, with giant grins.

The murderer raised up what I had thought was a staff, it was a sword. He was laughing. I heard sirens outside.

“Drop the sword.” I dropped the paper and gripped my gun. I shouted the command again.

He shrieked with laughter and raised the sword up. I fired and he fell. I stood over him with the gun pointed at him until reinforcements arrived.

 

We live in the future now

Some links I’ve rounded up for you. I make no promises that they are all recent, but they did all interest me and I wanted to share. Some of substance, some less so. (Mostly they have substance.)

Adorable puppy gif

Because adorable puppy gif.

Who Owns the Word Ghost?

Copyright and words and gaming oh my! The word “ghost”. Other words that have had copyright attempts put out there “candy”, “scrolls”, and “let’s play.”

Sciencey things

Potatoes on Mars

I’m sure others have and will link to this article because:

  1. it is awesome
  2. The Martian
  3. it is martian potatoes

I could stop there and this would be complete, but I’ve heard some speculate whether we are doing studies based on potatoes because of The Martian or did The Martian include potatoes because they would work well on Mars? I think that it all indicates a great and powerful feedback loop of science fiction and science. Which is pretty awesome, if you ask me.

Prenatal Multivitamins and Iron and Evidence

To me one of the coolest things about science is that testing things your gut assumes to be right. Turns out your gut is not all that great. I mean it’s amazing if you want to digest things. But for making decisions about your medical care or the size of the universe? Less great. (Sorry gut!)

For all the studies that people point to and say I could have told you that, or we didn’t need a study to tell us that, or they are wasting our money on that! There are studies that are WHOAH. That’s…not at all what I thought. And those moments are amazing.

Finally a challenge!

How to talk about what you are doing

I have an eyebrow to raise at the bread story but mostly because he uses the word beat, rather than knead. But then I went, oh I know a thing about bread. Maybe I can know things about other things too…

Talk about what you are doing, I need to talk about what I’m doing. Try it here, I promise I will be worse at it than you because wow I am new and stink at it!

What is one awesome thing you are doing?

 

600 Second Saga

I’m starting a podcast at the end of March. It will be 600 Second Saga. It will be a flash fiction podcast. 600 seconds (or 10 minutes) or less of science fiction and fantasy delivered as a weekly podcast.

I will be writing and reading my own works, but I’d also like to read flash fiction from other authors.

I am in search of pieces that are 1,000 words or less that float anywhere within or near the sci-fi and fantasy realms. I’ll read it. Put the audio, along with credits and plugs for your work, in my podcast. I’ll make sure that you get the audio to use on your site as well.

Guidelines page

600 Second Saga Submission Guidelines

Please submit:

  • Flash fiction pieces less than 1,000 words (750-1000 ideally)
  • Reprints
  • Science fiction and fantasy

Rights and payment:

  • You retain all your rights – reprints are encouraged – give me a place to point people if they’d like to buy your work
  • You’ll receive a copy of the audio and be able to use that on your site or to promote your work
  • Work will be posted on the podcast feed for at least 3 months – after that you can contact me to take it down
  • There is no payment

How do I submit?

  • Email your flash fiction to mariahavix@insani-x.com with 600 Second Saga Submission in the subject
  • Include:
    • Story title
    • Your pen name
    • A short bio
    • Links – where can your stuff be purchased?
    • Any publishing history
    • I’ll respond to let you know it was received within 48 hours, decision on the piece will be within a month

I’m also open to artwork, please contact me directly.

 

I don’t Facebook-my characters do: Facebook Invasion

Over at Terrible Minds Chuck Wendig threw down a confusing but interesting flash fiction challenge.

Tell a story using a social media platform (FB/Twitter/etc). Yeah, ok Chuck, I’ll grant you, it’s hard to explain! Basically an epistolary using your social media of choice. An interesting challenge. Not one I’m sure I’ll be quick to repeat, but difficult things are good challenges. Though I do love reading messages and tweets from superheroes, I’m not sure that is the kind of writer I am. I am not nearly cool enough for that.

I opted for Facebook, despite my lack of booking of face.

There is no audio with this because I don’t even know how I’d do that. There is however for your viewing pleasure, screen caps of this Facebook Invasion.

Facebook Invasion

I’m not entirely sure the best way to make this accessible in case you want it in a not screen cap format. But I’ve created a PDF of the script for Facebook Invasion. (If this doesn’t work for you please let me know!)

Stay tuned, later this week I’ll be updating you on where I’m at with the upcoming podcast, options for participating, and other cool things. I hope.

The number one thing I’ve learned from this flash fiction piece is I cannot spell “invasion” I keep typing “invation”.

Alone – Again

A couple of updates and then onto another flash fiction piece (or jump ahead for Alone – Again).

Update: Publishing

Thieves has been updated and remastered and is out now on Amazon for $.99. It will also, hopefully, be out soon on Audible as an audiobook. (Check back for updates on that.) I will also have another audiobook (I’m reading someone else’s book) coming out soon on Audible. I’ll announce that when everything is finalized and it is available.

Update: Podcasting

I will be kicking off my own podcast in March. It will be a primarily flash fiction podcast. So episodes will be normally 10 minutes or less of audio fiction. I may also create opportunities to feature flash fiction from other authors, so please get in touch with me if you are interested.

Update: Dead stuff…wait…

I think I found – yet another!- dead podcast, but it had a flash fiction challenge I decided to take on anyway, despite being…months late. Whoops.

Episode 6 – Keeping it Real – Writing in the moment

Alone – Again

Alone – Again audio

The glass shatters on the closing door. I kick the couch and growl at the pain.
“Alone.” I huff and storm across the apartment. The apartment was designed for two, now it would be just me, alone. “Again.”

I brush my hands across my face, red and hot with anger. I growl at the empty space. I snarl at the hole left behind. I won’t get irrational and overly emotional. I’m perfectly rational about this.

She’s the one who is being irrational. I have been nothing but rational, reasonable, and kind.

I grab the plates off the table and toss them into the kitchen recycler. I flick the switch and it starts separating things. The recycler will pull the organic detritus from the strong, sturdy, remoldable plastic.

I storm over to shelves and throw them open. I snap at her clothes “I was great, she said. I was everything she wanted. She loved me.” I grab an armful of her clothes and throw them into the laundry chute. “LIES!” The chute flashes Recycle or Clean. I smack Recycle.

I stop in the middle of the living room and look around for evidence of her. A painting she made. Worthless. Her absurdly, expensive collection of old fashioned silverware. Sell it. She said she never wanted to see me again, so she wouldn’t.

I unclench my jaw and massage my neck. “I don’t deserve this. I deserve someone who cares about me.”

I sink into the chair and lean back into the computer. I look through my files, cleaning her out of them.

I’m going to make her go away. I open my editor and start pulling out memories. I start with the oldest ones, the best ones. I have a note in my editor to never start with the newest memories. I don’t know why it is there, but I trust me. I feel my anger, my frustration rise as the memories slip away. Until, I sweep the last of them out and my body relaxes.

I look at my system, my brain editor is open, I frown for a moment. I must have been stressed out about something but that’s gone now. I think maybe I’ll turn in early tonight. I hear a chime from the door.

A beautiful blonde in an incredibly sexy red dress shoves past me. Her face is smeared with makeup and tears. She grabs down a painting I don’t remember buying, and weird collection of shadowboxes with something shiny inside. I watch her with confusion.

“You already deleted me didn’t you?” She wipes at the makeup, smearing it more. “You’re never going to be happy if you don’t start learning and stop deleting. But it doesn’t matter. You’re going to delete this right now aren’t you?” She snorts and leaves.

I go back to the computer to pull up whatever I’d just deleted. I look at the editor and instead delete my recent memory with a swipe.