I am back from Las Vegas. The trip was great, although expensive, and gave me some time to catch up on reading and even do a little writing (about 10K words).


As always, settling back into the real world can be jarring, but such is the nature of vacations.


Not much else to say than that… back to reality! And hopefully I’ll be a little more productive with my writing in the upcoming week.

Kindle Oasis

I just got my first Kindle last Thursday: the new Kindle Oasis. In the past I’ve used the Kindle app on my iPad or iPhone, but it’s just not the same. I am in Costa Rica a lot and reading on the beach is one of my “ways to unplug.”  Unfortunately, with an iPad it’s a great formula for instant blindness. When I saw this new model had literal MONTHS of battery life and was small enough to throw in my back pocket, I decided to give it a shot.

Here is the little guy:



Really feels good in the hand, light as anything, and comfortable to hold.  You can turn the whole device upside down to switch hands and the screen flips (and the page controls, to stay consistent). I even tried it lying down in bed and it doesn’t get confused when I am sideways, which is good.

The back-light is great. It can be very subtle, or brighter than I would ever need, and I see very little dent in the battery after some hours use with the backlight.

It was quick to sync up to my Amazon account.  In fact, I am not even sure how it did it.  While I was configuring it, I started to enter my login info, but the moment it had my email it logged me in without a password.  The damn thing must know I just ordered one, and when it saw the same email it took a shortcut. I’m actually a little disconcerted by that, but I have reasonable confidence in the software engineers at Amazon to know what they are doing with that stuff.

It fits in the palm of my hand, though not comfortably for reading, but as a measure of size:


The reading screen is the about the same width as a standard mass-market paperback, and maybe two-thirds as tall.

Not much else to add! I recommend the Oasis strongly to anyone with older Kindle products looking for an upgrade.

Creativity Fail

Somehow, somewhere, I picked up a writer’s block bug, and I just can’t seem to shake it. As the days became weeks, and now over a month, it has become clear that it won’t pass on its own. Breaking out of this rut will require some deliberation and work.

This hiccup serves as a signpost for me, with two distinct markers mounted upon it.  First, it means I have reached the end of the honeymoon stage in the Lunhina Trilogy. This is not to say the new setting and characters do not still excite me — they do — but it means the easy part is over.  I could write a thousand cool starts to stories.  The start is all about layering intrigue and finding different ways to introduce people.  The questions drive the introduction.  When you exit the “start” of the story then suddenly the plot lines need to go somewhere, and need to follow an interesting path along the way.  I can’t just wing this or throw it off the cuff, and thus the end of the honeymoon.

This also explains the second marker I see clearly before me.  I don’t like free writing, or “gardening” as GRRM calls it.  I was trying it in this book for two reasons: first, it was a reaction to my first story Sapphire Spawn, which had been outlined so tightly, all my characters suffocated before I pulled them through it.  Second, new writers are always encouraged to try different things until they know what really works for them. So I tried it.

It sucks.

That might be little harsh, but it doesn’t mesh with my personality, or my need for momentum. If I don’t know where to go next, I come to a hard stop between each chapter, and that doesn’t work for my style.

I’m in the process of pulling out what hair follicles remain to me as I try to lay down an outline that can carry me towards the endings I have planned.  This is at least productive.  Less productive has been an increase in my own crits with my informal writing groups, and other expenditures of my free time that could otherwise have gone to my story.  No more.  I’m putting myself into a mandatory time-out from all that until I get this sorted.  I hope to pull free in the next few nights and be on my way.