Thursday, November 28, 2013

I need better words

Today is Thanksgiving. I've been thinking about what I want to say, and how to say it, but the words elude me at the moment. I need better words.

I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful that I have been able to write for the last 2 1/2 years. I am thankful for those who have helped me become a published author this year, and they are many. We are legion. :)

I am thankful that I live in a country that allows the people to determine the shape of the government, even if the "majority" doesn't always choose as I would. We still have that right, to change things if we don't like them.

But even beyond that. Deeper. For the last two years I have been focusing on my writing, and that would not have been possible without a great deal of guidance and help from a higher power. God has helped me in so many ways, I can't even name them all. Some are too personal. Some seemed fleeting and small at the time but in hindsight they gain a greater importance. Others were right there in my face, with the definite implication that saying "accident" or "coincidence" would result in cosmic laughter or a lightning bolt.

Kidding on that last one. I think.

I say "Thank You" every morning and night, and at odd intervals in between. It just doesn't seem enough, for Someone who has been there at every turn. For once, I wish I had better words.

So this year, Thanksgiving is His.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Consequences of a new Technology

We don't often think about what would happen if, but as a writer I think about weird stuff all the time. Quite often it ends up in stories (of the "Be nice to me or I'll kill you in my novel" variety) but sometimes it's just fun to run through possibilities.

This week I want to go over the consequences of a new technology. Not just a new variation on old technology, like an iphone or a DVD, but something really new. I can't find the quote now, although I've seen it three times in the last week. Orson Scott Card, I believe, said something along the lines that there are four stages to discovery: 1) It's impossible 2) it might be possible 3) It's obvious 4)I thought of it first.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries people were just discovering electricity and all the marvels attached to it. Many inventions were tried, most of which have vanished into history. A few are still used today. It was a brand new technology, and everyone wanted to jump on the bandwagon. In a very real way, the widespread use of electricity transformed our world.

The fact remains that there's enough power in the atmosphere and the gravitational force of our planet to power everything we need until the planet literally cools. We just don't know how to use it.

What would happen if someone discovered how to use that power, without recourse to utility companies? Well first of all the utility companies would try to prove the people were stealing from them (which is along the same lines as a city saying people are stealing "their" water by catching what runs off the roof) but that's not the point here.

The assumption here is that it's spread on a wide scale, everyone starts using it at once.

My opinion:

The utility companies would close their doors, resulting in an immediate 10% increase in unemployment
Everyone who had invested in those companies would lose their investment
The stock markets worldwide would plunge, probably 40 to 60%
Governments who rely on the electricity companies (they're notoriously slow at adopting good ideas) would shut down--hospitals, schools, military bases, etc.
Other companies who contracted with the utility companies would lose that business and take a next quarter loss. Many would have to close, resulting in another 5% increase in unemployment
Prices for whatever raw materials allowed the new technology would skyrocket, putting the new technology out of the reach of most people. Those who have not yet adopted the technology would be screaming for the electric companies to come back.
The government would declare the technology dangerous (or subversive) and allow it to be used only by "authorized" and properly equipped contractors.
The utility companies would return, using the technology and selling the free power at a massive markup

So that's my opinion. What do you think? What would be the consequences of a new technology?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Weird Question #837

Hey! Probably closer to number 897,463, but I don't have that many fingers.

Although I'll give my opinion I'd like some discussion.

We know that the crude oil/natural gas resources of the world are finite, and according to some sources we've nearly reached the "hockey-stick" or "j-curve" point where oil usage for the world is out of control. We're quickly approaching the PONR (Point of No Return) at which consumption outstrips production beyond the capacity of various regulatory agencies to hide the fact. Yes, at that point prices will skyrocket, but gone is gone.

At some point in the future, gas and oil will be gone regardless of how much we try to hide the fact. Increased efficiency and new sources will only take us so far. Oil companies and utility companies have no reason to look into alternatives and in many cases are actively antagonistic, as evidenced by the increasing number of lawsuits by big oil and utility companies against other companies selling solar or wind alternatives. They have a monopoly, they don't want the competition.

So taking into consideration the fact that resources are finite, that there is little research being done in viable alternatives, and that embedded interests (scientific, economic and governmental) are doing their best to keep our heads in the sand, what do you think will happen when the oil does run out? This is under the assumption that viable alternatives are not found in the meantime.

My opinion:

Governments will try to hide the fact as long as possible so as to avoid a panic
Permanent rationing will go into effect but it will be blamed on terrorists or economic factors rather than scarcity
Resources will be reallocated so that governments can continue to run, further increasing the strain on citizens credulity
"Insurrections" will be put down with increasing force and brutality as people try to protect themselves from the growing chaos
As resources are reallocated, food distribution will start to break down, resulting in chaos and panic
People will run to the countryside, expecting to find food. Rumors about "hoarders" and "stockpiles" will cause further panic
The countryside is stripped bare by people looking for food
Mass starvation and disease
Armed camps spring up to protect the remaining resources
Governments confiscate what they can, destroy what they can't in an effort to maintain their power

So what's your opinion? Local, national or international consequences of one resource disappearing.

Next: Consequences of a new technology

Thursday, November 7, 2013

As A Reader

A few weeks ago I was reading a blog post that talked about what readers want from a writer. Outside of the creative part, it said that most readers want to know the writer, to feel like they're a friend.

Oddly, what I most want to know about writers is "When is your next book coming out," but that's part of the creative stuff, I guess.

So I was thinking about my blog. This particular blog is for my readers. I also have a writers blog, and my crazy herb lady blog, and a seed exchange blog, and...Um, I think my interests are rather varied. And obsessive.

I was thinking about what my readers might like to know about me, and I kept coming up blank. What would I like to know about my favorite writers?

"When is your next book coming out?" which brings me right back to the beginning. I have no idea what my readers might like to know, but I know that whatever I say is probably going to be TMI. If so, I apologize in advance.

Your continued perusal of this blog is acknowledgment that I am human. Deal with it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NaNo Update 2 (day 5)

Hit 22k today. Not nearly up to where I wanted to be, but well above where I should be to hit 50k by the end of the month. If I can do another 3000 by the end of the day I'll be halfway there.


Plans told her that the building held 120 sufficiencies, tiny family apartments that held, at most, four people each. Common sanitary facilities, common kitchen to which a sufficient number of nutritionally balanced meals was delivered on a daily basis.

The meals were uniformly tasteless, their texture something like hardened jelly from the one Nix had tasted many years ago. With her ancestors being teachers, she'd never had to live like that. And yet these people had pride in their own way, even when they had next to nothing, determined that their children would be better off than they were. That determination held them on track to make sure that their children had education and a higher position in the nonexistent hierarchy of the Council.

Without connections and without any ability to influence the decision makers, that hope was a dead end road. But still they worked, hoarding their social credits to buy the special schooling, the tutors and good clothes so that their children didn't need to be ashamed.

She found the little boy in the common classroom with fifteen others. All of them worked on their own studies. They all knew they were being watched, so there was no overt bullying, but a note was passed from hand to hand until it reached the child next to the boy.

He looked down at it, looked over at the smirking originator, and opened it. After a moment he folded it carefully and dropped it on the floor.

The boy who had planted the garden outside the apartment house looked down at it and swept it toward himself, centering it carefully under his shoe. He went back to his work.

After a time he froze his Teaching program and ran upstairs, incidentally sweeping up the note as he left his seat. He closed the flimsy door carefully and filled a pitcher with water, carrying it down the narrow stairs and out the front door.

There he stopped, and stared. He knelt in the dirt and read the little note at the base of one of the plants, then looked around as if expecting to find someone hurrying away with a shovel.

Carefully then, he emptied his pitcher around the base of the two plants and piled dirt around them before he went back inside, the pitcher swinging from his fingers.

The grin on his face seemed bright enough to illuminate the hallway.

The door he had entered gave her the names of the occupants, and only one was in the right age range. Nix was unsurprised when she accessed the records to find that he spent much of his time in Axon planting and tending a garden.

A look at his records showed her about what she expected—although he and his parents hadn't been informed yet, this was his last year of primary school. His scores alone would have indicated he should continue on. He was listed as a "disruptive influence," often interfering between the other children when they were involved in tormenting each other.

Nix looked deeper, grimaced at the "educational path" outlined for him. Street maintenance. Another mind gone to waste.

Friday, November 1, 2013

NaNo update 1

I got 9000 words today. I was hoping for 15k, but I don't think that's going to happen. Right now I am going to go take a nap.

Last year I worked up to 4000 words per day prior to NaNo. This time I didn't "warm up" so my writing muscles are screaming.

Excerpt from Axon:

"Exactly. Nationalism nearly destroyed our world, even before the collapse. Ania, can you give me a quote that supports this?"

Ania blinked at her, as if surprised. She didn't look to the side. "Nations must be abolished. We must come together under the banner of a shared humanity in order to stop the madness."

"Who said that?"

The other students stared at her, surprised that she would ask what everyone knew.

Since it was Ania she looked at, Ania answered. "Faber Milanoiaki. He gave us the peace after the collapse."

"You're close. Actually it was his wife Gina who said it first and the first Councilor always gave her the credit. She died in the second year of the collapse, killed by an assassin sent for the Councilor. Records indicate that the assassin was supported by Unistat, although they disclaimed all responsibility."

She looked around at her students. "Think of that. A single nation made a decision that could have destroyed any chance for a recovery from the collapse."

A light on one of the monitors indicated that Georg had a comment and she nodded to him. "Go ahead."

"They all feared him, so why limit it to one nation? It could have been Rus, Unistat, the Chin. Any of them. I looked at the records, and all we have is a statement by the first Councilor indicating that he thought it might have been Unistat."

Nix shook her head. "Regardless of who did it, it was nationalism. The idea of borders, the idea that people are different because of where and how they live, is one of the first fallacies that the great Councilor changed. Analysis of records captured from the Unistat databanks indicated it was them." He still looked skeptical.

"I've seen those records too," Anai commented. "In my analytics class last year. I see half a dozen ways that the information could have gone in another direction. All we know from that information is that Unistat knew who did it after the event."

Foolish girl. Most of Nix's co-teachers would have been confused, muttered and stuttered until they inadvertently supported the girl's delusions. "The Councilor had access to other information and he stated that it was Unistat. In any case, nationalism killed her. And the Councilor as well, later."

"It took more than a century to abolish nationalism," Priete commented. "And the nations fought every step of the way."

"Why would anyone fight against it?" Francis asked, his forehead furrowed in real confusion. "It's the only system that makes sense."

"But they didn't abolish nationalism." Ania smiled faintly and Nix began to wonder if the girl was doing this deliberately. "There are still a few nations that hold out."

How had the foolish child learned that? It wasn't common knowledge even among the elite of the university. A dangerous statement, and a dangerous situation she had put her teacher in.


Ha! Today is the first day of November, so that means the next month will be crazy busy and impossible. So fun.

NaNoWriMo is an international writing contest (in a sense) and the goal is 50,000 words in a month. That means a little over 1600 words per day if I write every day, but since I don't write on Sundays I do 2000 words the rest of the days to make my goal by November 30th at midnight.

I'll be posting bits and pieces here, along with word count updates.

For the last few years I haven't been able to contribute to support NaNoWriMo, even though I participate every year. This year I found a blog-hop that's "giving back" to the NaNoWriMo website to support their programs.

They've written an anthology, The Spirit of Christmas, and ALL PROCEEDS are being donated to The Office of Letters and Light, which runs the NaNoWriMo programs.

So here's my wish. All I want for NaNo is...a cover for my next book. :)