Technical Tuesday 0003

So I haven’t done one of these in a long while. I know – I even forgot to come back and finish the two parter back in May. (Which, let me know if you’d like to see the rest of it, and I’ll go and redo the whole thing from the beginning.)

Now, a little Truth before we get into the Technical Tuesday. For the longest, I think I realized that the problem I have been having, even with these structured posts was that I tried to limit them too tightly. I wanted the Muse Mondays and the Technical Tuesdays to be nothing but absolute solid stuff about writing. Mondays being for things that could provide inspirational help, and Tuesdays for the technical aspect of actually writing.

Unfortunately, I’m just not that good with the technical aspects of writing – and I’ll fast run out of things to post for Muse Mondays, I suspect, if I limit it to just purely writing related. BUT, if I were to expand both series to things that have made my life better as a writer. And class them by whether or not they inspire me (Muse Mondays) or assist me (Technical Tuesdays) – I could open up the series to a great many more things. While Mondays sound like they won’t really be changing, they actually will be. It’ll go from just things that could inspire just writers to things that can inspire all creative art.

So, with that being said, into TECHNICAL TUESDAY 0003!

Okay. So literally, this purchase, which as of this writing I’ve had for a little over ELEVEN hours, has made my life so much sweeter.

I love listening to music all the time. As I work on my stories, as I draft blog posts, as I do some upkeep work in my bullet journal, as I do actual work related work, ALL THE TIME. To be quite honest, it is something I do pretty much more than anything else.

Additionally, I have this issue where silence actually makes my head hurt, because my hearing is sensitive enough that I pretty much have to have something to focus on or else I’m straining to hear the silence. Which probably makes no sense, but my ears complain if it’s too quiet.

So I’d been looking at wireless bluetooth speakers for ages. I wanted one that was respectable, had good volume levels, decent range on the wireless ability, and an aux port – but that was also a little waterproof (ie – I could sit it next to the tub while I was taking a bath and wouldn’t have to worry). I know this seems like a big list, but I have certain needs that I was really wanting it for over everything else.

I finally bought one on amazon this last thursday, and I got it saturday evening. (The joys of Prime, am I right?) I charged it for a little over 1.5 hours and then I connected it to the old iphone 4 I have and use as an ipod and shower radio and all that. (no, I don’t take it into the shower – I have a glass box shower and it’s just outside the glass.)

Well, off of that 1.5 hour charge (which wasn’t to full, by the way) I’ve already gotten 7 or so hours of playtime at near max volume – or a few notches down.

Right now, it’s playing off of my iPhone 6+ next to me, and I think I have the volume at half. Music sounds great, it’s just fantastic. I’m sitting at work and it’s a great little device to have parked on the desk not far from me. It’s about the same length as my iPhone 6, and is roughly 1.5 inches tall and 1.5 inches deep. It’s a tiny little brick that makes a lot of noise.

And it’s so nice to not have to worry about whether or not my computer is going to freeze at work because the 4GB of ram doesn’t like four internet tabs + scrivener + word + itunes running.

If you want the one I have, find it HERE.

I’ll definitely post another comment about this speaker either later this week or sometime next week. I’ll probably post my review after I’ve had it a week, and done some bonus damage to my eardrums.

Fandom Friday 00001

So, in case you had missed it, I am a major Star Trek fan.

To be quite honest, it is probably one of my two top fandoms of them all.

I dearly love it. I know more about the timelines involved than is definitely considered normal. I collect star trek ornaments and star trek toys and books, and things that surround the fandom that look like they’re not part of a fandom. I like things to look a combination of both fannish and real.

Take for instance the planetary travel guide about Vulcan. I fucking love that book. It is probably one of my most favorite things to have come out in the fandom in the last two years. (I will admit that one of the other things I’d consider a favorite from the last two years I don’t even have yet, still.) These things are awesome.

But, this year should have heralded an absolute pile of Star Trek stuff in stores.


Because it’s the 50th Anniversary of Star Trek’s premier on TV, and there was a new movie out. We should be absolutely ROLLING in merchandise at ALL price points.


What the hell? CBS, Paramount – You guys seriously dropped the fucking ball. There should be ornaments galore. There should be more toys. There should be more books. I should be able to decorate a christmas tree with all kinds of Star Trek shit this year.

And what do I get?

Overpriced clothes from a designer that has good designs about one in three times.

I haven’t really seen or heard anything about cool toys or books or clothing or household goods. Nothing. (Just a Trivial Pursuit that comes in a shuttlepod with cards nearly too hard to read.)

Just the same old shit that you’ve had forever – redone with the 50th logo on it in a few cases to try and milk more money out of people.

And the stuff you’ve always had? It goes back and forth on the scale of obscenely expensive for what it is – to obscenely expensive for the quality – or just obnoxious on the shipping (though it looks like the star trek website may have fixed the last one). Let’s not even talk about the prices of the DVDs. ST: Enterprise Seasons can be bought from the star trek website at a sale price of $57.99 – you can get the exact same DVDs for about $35 – with free prime shipping. It’s slightly obnoxious. To be quite honest – I’d probably buy anything that I could from Amazon – because almost all of it can be found for cheaper and with free prime shipping.

And this just disappoints me because Star Trek released one of it’s biggest movies this year and I barely saw ANY merchandise in stores.

I can still buy Rey’s staff from SW:TFA – which was released at christmas this last year, but I can’t get Jaylah’s staff anywhere? Can’t find a Lirpa anywhere, just klingon weapons from TNG and phasers from TOS. I’d like to get my hands on a voyager compression rifle toy, but they just don’t exist.

And for that matter – while I understand that there’s a lot of love for TOS and TNG – can the other series get a little love too?

There’s a whole dedicated section on the Star Trek website’s merchandise section for TOS, and TNG – and all of the Starfleet Academy stuff is set in the year 2161 – which doesn’t line up with any era for any captain. And it technically doesn’t coincide with the founding of the academy either.

There’s no tea cup to honor Picard. Hell, there’s not even a coffee mug to honor the Captain that literally is known for her comment of “There’s Coffee in that Nebula!” There’s nothing baseball themed for Sisko.

It’s like Deep Space 9, Voyager and Enterprise just don’t exist at all.

But they do.

And, you know, I’d buy shit that had my favorite series plastered all over it.

There are literally 8 t-shirts that include things other than Klingons, TOS or TNG or the upcoming Discovery or Star Trek Beyond. Only ONE of them includes Voyager – but it’s not a just Voyager shirt – it’s got an outline of each of the first four series flagships on it. Most of them are DS9. One is general Federation. One is Borg. One is Enterprise, and includes a little known quote.

The only uniforms offered by the star trek website are TOS and TNG. Again, there are 3 more series to pull uniforms from, guys. COME ON. You’re literally leaving out roughly one third of your fanbase.

Going into the collectable things tab – there are three things for Voyager, and two for Enterprise and two for Deep Space Nine, but they’re all $150 and higher.

Jewelry, there’s only a single set of cufflinks for Enterprise. Nothing for Deep Space Nine or Voyager, just a single general Federation set of cufflinks. Five things are Vulcan, and then the rest are either TOS or TNG, with 2 klingon things. And let’s not forget the sqaure with a yellow cushion cut stone. What the hell is that for, anyways? It looks so out of place – but it’s an official piece of star trek jewelry.

There’s ABSOLUTELY nothing reminding everyone that Archer had a beloved Beagle named Porthos in the pet section – in fact the only two things there are TOS.

The toy section isn’t even worth mentioning.

There’s just so much that you people are missing in merchandising opportunities that it’s insane. Everything that could be done that you haven’t – and all the things that you could have done for the 50th will always disappoint me.

After all, this was a year you SHOULD have gone crazy.

And you did jack shit.

In fact, honestly, the only thing I’ll probably remember about this year is Beyond. Not the 50th – but Beyond.

You blew it.

Muse Monday 0004

Okay, so, after the depression situation that was last week, let’s look at something cool again!

If you know me IRL at all, then you’ve probably heard me gush about architecture. It’s probably one of my strongest loves outside of space and coffee and swords and winter. (Yes, I know my list of cool things is weird. Did you actually think I was normal, because if yes, please be advised: AM WEIRD.)

So , anyways, BACK to the architecture!

One of my most favorite things that I have ever come across on twitter was an account that tweeted cool looking home design pictures. It was connected to a website called Home Adore – and let me tell you, Home Adore is a bit addictive.

They have hundreds, if not thousands, of examples of cool residential architecture.

Like the Edgeland House, which is a unique take on a Native American Pit House.

Or the Sorrento, which caused me to have a twenty minute long crisis of the mind. You’ll figure out why when you read the page and then look at all the pictures. Hint: Look closely at the kitchen pictures.

Or the Vista Mar, which has absolutely stunning views as well as both stunning interiors and exteriors.

I find the Derby House to be one of great value to me for one of my stories – it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to the house I see in my head for one of my characters. Though, their decorations are more colorful.

This Penthouse in Moscow is probably one of the coolest I’ve seen on the site, I especially want the light fixture from the kid’s room. But, I will say it’s got interesting features in the form of the exterior walls – being at such angles.

And this Modern Home in California, with it’s unusual design including lots of skylights and lots of glass accents, and unusual windows on each of the bedrooms.

And then while I was just kicking around on their website I found a modern castle like thing, and I WANT IT.

A setting tells as much about the story you’re writing as you choose to let come through. A slick clean space may mean that your character’s don’t spend a lot of time in that area, versus a warm comforting room may be the hub of the home. Or, it could even reverse.

Truthful Thursday 0002

Hi folks, AM Devine here, popping in to say a quick hello and to give you a probably way too long life-website-writing update.


If you’ve been around a while, or got bored and read the archives, then you’ll know I’ve got a nice quiet job now. Well, a nice job now. Sometimes it’s not so quiet, but that’s okay. I mentioned in the past that I was glad to have a job that was going to be a Monday through Friday thing, and while I am glad to be here, we’ve yet to actually make it to the Monday through Friday part. Why? Because one of the shifts doesn’t have someone to work it. It’s generally a hard shift to fill anyway, and it’s been since January that they’ve been trying to get it filled. Twice they’ve thought they had someone and twice it has been a bust. Even if they hired someone tomorrow, it wouldn’t be until January that they’d be ready for their shift.

The medical things I was trying to take care of didn’t quite work out the way I was hoping they would, but I did come out with a diagnosis of three things, and hopefully I’ll be able to start actually getting that under control as time goes by. I’m also going to be reattempting to line myself back up for a near total gluten free life again. I felt so much better while I was doing that a couple of years ago that I’m planning on doing it again.


NaNoWriMo 2016 is SPACE THEMED, and basically I can’t get over how badass that is. Don’t mind me. I freaking love space. Space is so seriously up there in my list of favorite things it’s kinda crazy. (I’m aiming to buy all the gear this year. I mean… is anyone actually surprised?)

I’m going to be doing a lot more than what I’ve got listed on the NaNoWriMo website this year, mostly because I’m trying to get a project together for TOR’s submission window, and while I know the whole plot and could probably crank out a thousand words per day on it – I’ve got NaNoWriMo things to get done as an ML. So I’m going to crank out the rest of that story during NaNoWriMo because it’s still in need of nearly 20,000 words and I like watching the bar rise.

I’m going to be working on at least one Aurora Story during the event as well. I do know that I’ll probably be doing more on my Indigo/Bronze/Marigold series that I’ve been kinda plotting on for the last 10 months. I hope to come out of this NaNoWriMo with at least one complete first draft MS, completed plotlines for I+B+M, and possibly even worked out plotline problems in the Aurora Universe. Also during NaNoWriMo, I hope to add a chapter to each of my currently active fanfictions over on AO3, as well as draft a whole separate fanfiction of off the Star Trek Word Crawls that I’m writing.


So, in case you are new, I redid my blog’s hosting and the theme. I really like this theme, and I’m actually looking forward to the day when I have pictures to plug in for the slideshow. I’ll be completely revamping my author website sometime in the next couple of months, or at least before my birthday in May, as well.

Am I ever going to have forums? I have no idea anymore. I used to have forums on three different occasions. The first couple, the program locked up and just would not let me back in and I lost a few dozen things I wish I’d had hard copies of. The third time I never actually finished setting them up. Never actually had a reason to finish them.

Okay, that’s enough rambling for now. I’ll see you folks hopefully on Monday!

Technical Tuesday 0002

So yesterday I talked about doing things with loads of brightly colored pens. Things like storyboarding and plot outlining. And these are things that each person does differently.

Personally, I start with which ever thing comes to my mind first. Sometimes this is a character, sometimes it’s a scene idea, in one story’s case, it was a line of internal monologue from the main character. Generally, depending on which one comes to mind first tells me where to start.

Over on the Facebook and the Instagram from 9pm to 11pm CST I’ll be sharing images of various WIP projects that utilize each of the main forms of Story Planning that I’ll be discussing below.

These types include:
-story boarding (which I do incredibly rarely)
-something I call ‘discovery writing’
-something I think of as story bubbles but I swear has a different name with every person I’ve ever shown them to, but are useful for thinking out things
-plot lines, which in my actions are less than story boarding but more than general outlining.
-and of course, outlining, which is something that I both do well and don’t do well.

The order in which they go is usually something a bit like this:
1. Discovery writing
2. Story Bubbles
3. Plot Lines
4. Outlining
5. Storyboarding (if I do it at all until the second draft)

This week, I’ll discuss numbers 1 and 2.


What the hell is discovery writing? For me, this is where I sit down with the idea and just start writing everything that comes to mind on an idea. These thoughts are generally not in any kind of order, they’re the most rough form of writing I do. It’s simply getting as much of the rough idea down that I can. The first sample (from a series of WIPs referred to as Trio) I’ll be showing and discussing tonight has gone through a couple of rewrites and is a little more organized than they usually are. The second sample is still a bare bones discovery write and actually covers two story ideas (cheerfully known as faries and aether academy).



I *love* story bubbles. Story bubbles are absolutely fantastic fun. Some people refer to them as thought bubbles, some call them thought maps, but when you see them, you’ll remember them from school. I personally love them. They’re a slightly more interesting way to work out all the pieces of a world, and are quite excellent for world building. This is where I’m sitting at a table with a massive sheet of paper and an army of markers. Some of what ends up in bubbles are plot points, character development, language bits, historical distribution of information. Sometimes it’s a breakdown of departments and what they do in the case of my science fiction universe (known as the Aurora Universe). This will be, providing I remembered to bring it with me today, the samples I use for this later this evening.



Next week on Technical Tuesday, I’ll discuss numbers 3 and 4.