BLOG HOP – TAG – Doc Coleman

As I said in my bloghop post I would be tagging two other authors in the blog hop thing.

The second of those two authors is my friend and voice actor extraordinaire, Doc Coleman. (See the Questions for Zachary Ricks)

Doc has this to say about himself:
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Doc has been working with computer technology for over twenty years. He started working with mainframe computer systems and has transitioned to client based systems using Windows based PCs, and then to platform independent web-based infrastructures. Through all this time, Doc has been the go-to guy when any of his co-workers have had problems because of his ability to discuss complex technological problems in simple, easy to understand language.

In February 2010, Doc took his skills online and created The Nifty Tech Blog in an attempt to share his enthusiasm for technology with those who can best benefit with letting the technology do the work. Since that time he has discovered a love for writing and new media and has embarked upon a number of different projects.

In July 2010, Doc turned from writing technology articles and started writing fiction as a contributing writer for the Every Photo Tells… podcast. Three of his short stories were nominated for the 2011 Parsec Awards, but he was shut out of the Finalists list by fierce competition in the Best Speculative Fiction Story (Short Form) category. Doc continues to write short stories, and has also written an article on writing that appeared in the February 2011 issue of Flagship Magazine from Flying Island Press.

Doc ventured into the podcasting world in the summer of 2010, going on microphone with Tee Morris in a six episode crossover series between The Nifty Tech Blog and Tee’s Bird House Rules podcast. Sadly, a dispute with Tee’s publisher has prevented the last episode of the crossover from going live.

Doc returned to the world of podcasting as a guest on Flying Island Press’ podcast Galley Table in September 2010. The Galley Table crew invited Doc to come back any time. And he did. After several guest appearances, Doc was made a part of the Galley Table crew as the Galley Table Stowaway.

Doc also started his own podcast in December of 2010 with The Shrinking Man Project, a journal of philosophy and personal change. He shares his experiences and observations in the hopes that others will be able to discover their own solutions to dealing with their weight by talking about their issues with others making the same journey.

And Here are my questions for him:

1. You seem to be a very regimented person. I might be wrong about that, but how does that translate into your writing process? Where do you fall on the seat of your pants / outlining scale?

2. A lot of writers get the question, where does your inspiration come from, which is a pretty meaningless question if you ask me. But on the other side of the coin is the question what inspires you to write? For example, do you hear the stories in your head, and feel the need to get them out.

3. When do you find time to write, and when you are writing what does it look like? Do you have a certain time and place you have to be, are their any other requirements for when you are writing, quiet, music, special pen, pre-writing warm-ups?

4. Have you had a mentor in your writing process? And if so, how has he or she influenced your writing? If not, can you point to something in your life that has most influenced your writing, and can you share that with us?

5. You have written short stories and novels, you have done voice work and produced podcasts on your own. from all of that, what would you say was the greatest take away for your creative process?

6. Do you have any other things about your writing process that you would like to share with us?

Your post is due on Monday May 12th 2014

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Blog Hop – TAG – Zachary Ricks

As I said in my last post I would be tagging two other authors in the blog hop thing.

The first of those two authors is my friend and co-founder of Flying Island Press, Zachary Ricks.  (See the Questions for Doc Coleman)

Zachary has this to say about himself:

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I am a blogger/writer (here), editor/publisher (Flying Island Press), and attorney originally from Southeast Idaho. I attended BYU for my undergraduate degree, and Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland OR for my law degree. It was at Lewis and Clark that I caught the blogging and podcasting bugs. And also was inducted into the school’s Cornelius Honor Society for service to the school. I now reside in beautiful Austin, TX with my wife and daughter.

This website is where you’ll find my own short stories (as I write them) and longer works (as they’re written and I edit them into a releasable state), as well as my personal views on everything from political philosophy and education to video games and cool stuff I’ve found on the internet. In other words, this is the place where I practice all kinds of writing.

Random bytes of writing. Enjoy.

And since he is a writer, I have some questions for him about this writing process.

1. When you sit down to write, what does your process look like? Do you have certain hours each day that you write? Do you need to be in a certain room, with the music just right and your lucky socks on? Do you do anything like writing warm ups, prayer, reading, even singing first? Are you an out-liner or seat of your pants kind of writer?

2. How has your life, your career choice, you religion and faith, your early childhood, influenced what you write? Can you point to one thing that changed the way you think about your stories? Do any one of these things effect your writing process?

3. We are all very busy people, you have your job, and your now teen-aged daughter, church and professional classes, your family life, how do you balance all of those things and still find time to write and produce podcasts?

4. We can all look at the same thing and all see it differently. With that in mind, what piece of writing advice have you gotten that has effected you the most, and what did it mean to you? How did your process or writing change after that advice?

5. Research – Do you research, and how do you go about doing it? Are you like some people who book learning is enough, or do you have to actually go out and do things before you can write about them.

5. Do you have any other thoughts on your writing process that you would like to share with us?

Your post is due on Monday May 12th

Gypsy In The Attic – Interview

GITALogo[1]Recently I was interviewed by my good friend and Arch Nemesis Laura Nicole for her podcast / vodcast Gypsy In the Attic. The interview was myself and My good friend Zachary Ricks. We talked Flying Island Press, Audio production, podcasting and the future of our works in audio form.

Ha! I just realized that if you look closely when I am on screen, you can see what is left of the “portal” that inspired the “There’s a Portal Under My Sink and Stories of Portals to Places You Don’t Want to Go”

Thank you so much Laura for having us on.

Here is the interview.

Check out the rest of her podcast and future video interviews, at her site gypsylaura.com/

Defining Moments – Scott Roche

After being invited to a military retirement ceremony where the retiree talked about the defining moments in his career that shaped his life, I thought it would be interesting to ask other people about their defining moments. Many of these will be very personal, some of them will mean nothing to anyone but the person who is writing about them but for all of us, we understand the idea. There are moments in our life that shape us and change us forever.

First up is Scott Roche

I’ve had an interesting life so far. I’ve lived in six states. I’ve
worked in over a dozen industries. I have a wife of nearly twenty
years. I am a father to three children; one of whom is autistic and
another who may be bipolar. I’ve been bankrupt and at one point lived
in a trailer not much bigger than an RV with nothing but a kerosene
heater for warmth. Now I’m blessed with a lovely house across from a
lake and am able to provide well for my family. At every step in my
life I’ve tried to learn from past mistakes and let every incident
work towards making me a better person.

Jeff asked me to think of a few things out of that history that have
changed my life for the better. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, many of
them may be perceived by others as failures. I find that most often
it’s easier to learn from hardship than from success.

Flying Island Press – Jeff and I were part of the glorious experiment
that was Flying Island Press. Sadly, it didn’t last forever, and we
closed the doors on it quietly, each of us moving on to other
projects. I said it more than once while I was there, and I’ll say it
again, I learned more from that experience than I would have ever
learned on my own. Being an editor, slush reader, and quasi-social
media director for it stretched me as a person. I got to experience
the joys of finding new authors and the pains of rejecting stories
that were soooooo close. Having read so many good and less than good
stories has made me a better writer. Last, but not least, getting to
work with the crew is something I will never forget.

Fatherhood – Most of the stuff I write isn’t for the squeamish and
REALLY shouldn’t be read by children. When my own kids asked me to
give them something of mine to read I didn’t have anything to hand
them. After much thought and a dash of inspiration, I came up with the
character Ginnie Dare. Crimson Sands, the first book with Ginnie, is a
point of pride. The feedback I’ve gotten indicates that I created a
book that parents can read with and to their children. It’s something
I likely wouldn’t have written except for the intervention of my own
children.

Rejections – One of the temptations of an era in which we can
self-publish all of our own stories is to do just that. Writers can
circumvent the whole rejection cycle and put out everything
themselves. I think that’s a mistake. Sending your short stories to
anthologies and your longer works to publishers can be a valuable
experience. I’ve been doing more of that lately and it’s taught me
patience, thickened my skin, and made me want to be good enough to
make it past the slush reader’s desk.

Extended Unemployment – I’ve often thought, “Man if I just had free
time, I’d write my butt off.” Well guess what? I got my pink slip in
January of last year. I was unemployed for six months. I don’t think I
wrote six thousand words. I’ve been employed and have written almost
fifty thousand words of new fiction since the beginning of the year.
It’s not as much as I’d like to have done, but it’s more than I’ve
written in the first quarter of any year I’ve been alive. And that’s
with kids, a wife, and a full time job. You can do this. It taught me
that I was using my blessings as a crutch not to write. Not doing that
anymore.

Bad things are going to happen to us all. Life gets more complicated
the older you get. You can’t let those complications stop you or slow
you down for good. Sometimes you’ll have to step back and take stock,
but don’t let that be permanent. Let life’s defining moments, good and
bad, drive you forward with a new purpose!

Scott Roche craves only caffeine and the clacking of keys. He
pays his bills doing the grunt work no one else wants to take,
bringing dead electronics back to life and working arcane wonders with
software. His true passion is hammering out words that become anything
from tales that terrify to futuristic worlds of wonder. All that and
turning three children into a private mercenary army make for a life
filled with adventure.

Scott’s Website – http://www.scottroche.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/scott.roche.author

Twitter – http://twitter.com/spiritualtramp

Patreon – http://www.patreon.com/scottroche

eBook_cover (1)Scott is also trying to fund his next book in the Ginnie Dare series so if you are so inclined please consider throwing a few dollars in his direction.
IndieGoGo. http://igg.me/at/ginniedare/x/397786













If you would like to participate this this and submit your own essay please use the contact form below to let me know.
Thanks,
Jeff

A Mid Summer Night’s Dream

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A few years ago I got it in my head that I wanted to direct and produce an all audio, full cast version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. At the time I worked for Flying Island Press, and I had my own little “island” called Pirate’s Cove.

Now Flying Island Press is no more and the Island is all but sunk. I didn’t want the hard work of all the actors, so with permission of Editors of Flying Island Press I have moved the work to a permanent home here.

Click on the links below to hear the production:

Act 1 Scene 1
Act 1 Scene 2
Act 2 Scene 1
Act 2 Scene 2
Act 3 Scene 1
Act 3 Scene 2
Act 4 Scene 1
Act 4 Scene 2
Act 5 Scene 1
The Actors: (Not in any order)

Brand Gamblin
Veronica Giguere
Allison Gamblin
Indiana Jim
David Sobkowiak
Mark Kalita
Mildred Cady
Arlene Radasky
R. Taylor
Elaine Barrett
Laura Nicole
Philippa Ballantine
Scott Roche
Philip Carroll
Peter Katt
Ayoub Khote
Doc Coleman
Valina Cutler
Scott Roche
Richard Asplund 

You can find it on my other projects page.

Thank you to everyone who was involved, I had a great time producing it, and hope that I get a chance work with you all again.

I Herd That

DSC02308Recently I read a post by one of my friends and co-founders of Flying Island Press, Zachary Ricks called Going Straight. Before you read on, I am going to ask you to go read his post, most of what I am about to say is not going to make sense unless you do.

Ok you read it right?

No?

I’ll wait.

We’re good now right?

Before I get into this two deep let me say two things.

First, my farming experience has come as an adult. I don’t think it lessens it, but it does make it different. My experience is also on a much smaller scale, you might call it hobby farming, heck you might even call what I am doing just goofing around. Whatever you want to call it, it is different than what he has experienced.

Second, I am going to use some humor here. I am not in anyway meaning to lessen the message that Mr. Ricks is sending. He has a good message here and I am hopefully going to add to it and not take away from it. We are both using the farming metaphor to describe life, and well that just lends itself to some pretty humorous things. Not the least of which is the idea of two “old men” arguing about which kind of farming is a better metaphor for life.

Mr. Ricks starts with the premise that if you are going to get anywhere in life, if you want to reach your goals you need to look straight ahead and plow your rows straight by keeping your eyes on your goal. If you do then you will make nice straight lines. While I was reading this, I could not help but think about the very small amount of “creating rows” I have done. First, I will say that I have never done this with a tractor. All of our farming has been done by hand. The biggest power tiller that you can rent from your local supply store is the largest piece of equipment that I have used on our farm. That being said the tiller (and yes I know that is different than disking and that is different than plowing but hey I gotta start somewhere) I have used on the 3+ acres that we messed with this year, yanked me around until I was sore even after days of trying to pick the rocks out of the soil, and I never had anything that looked like a straight line. When we went back and use the furrower the story was much the same. Then we had a string guiding us and I was still all over the place. I guess it does not mean that we had a bad field, just that we had one that didn’t have straight lines as hard as we tried. So while I like the idea of keeping your eyes on the end of the field and getting straight to your goals, it is not something I really have any experience with.

Well one of the reasons that we make straight lines in our fields is that we want to be able to use equipment in helping us to continue the growing process. We want to have it help us spray the crops to keep the weeds down and of course water. If your lines aren’t straight, then when you run your equipment through you’re going to run over some of your crops.

What does this have to do with life? Simple. If you don’t keep your eyes on where you are going and keep your “lines straight” you are going to have a hard time later, some of the work that you did in the past will get lost, because you didn’t do it in the right order, or it was off track. You might even waste time redoing things because you didn’t understand enough to have done it right in the first place. You might find yourself at the end of the field, (the end of a project) only to realize that you plowed the wrong field. These are very real dangers, and very good reasons for keeping your eyes on your final goal.

Crew_working_DSC02345While I don’t have any experience plowing and making strait rows, one of the things that I do have some experience in, is herding animals and pulling weeds. For me, while the idea of keeping your eyes on your goal makes a lot of sense, I find myself having to make sure that not only am I headed in the right direction, but also that the animals that I am trying to herd are going there as well. That means taking my eyes off the end goal. That sometimes means running around side to side to keep the strays from wandering off. It means some turning my back on the goal so that I can run back and get a sheep that has decided to be stubborn. It is these side trips that can, from time to time, tell you if an animal is sick, tell you if you have missed a spot where they could graze, figure out which ones of them are the leaders (if you don’t know already,) and in general get a good look at your animals. Some times you even learn that you and a new sheep needed a bath.

These side trips in life, let you know what you are missing. You might find things that interest you, they might give you ideas about future projects, or help you to realize that you have a problem. While you always want to keep an eye on that end goal, you don’t want to be chasing “sheep” all day, some times it is good to move from side to side and look at things from a new angle. You might just find out something about yourself that you didn’t know before. But you to want to keep an eye on where you are going so that you don’t end up getting completely side tracked and not making it to your goal.

As for the weeds, well, while you are down on your hands and knees pulling weeds it is a good idea to know where in the field you are, but over all that can some times make things worse. If you have ever worked on a really large project, one that felt overwhelming, you likely know the virtue of just keeping your head down and moving forward, because if you look at the end goal too much you will get depressed because it seems too far away. Along with not letting your self get overwhelmed, there are things that need a level of detail that you can’t give them if you have only half your focus on them. If you are weeding along with your eyes on the end of the field, to make sure that you are in your row, then you might start pulling up the plants that you are there to weed around. Sure, it might mean that you accidentally change rows, or that you reach the end of the row before you realize it (won’t that be a pleasant surprise,) but it also means that you have given the little details the level of attention they need.

If you look closely to this picture you will see that the thing I have around me is a baby sling.  There is a baby in there, but I am also using it to help me hold the apples I pick. I am such a good dad. Here baby, hold these apples that are bigger than your head.I don’t think any one way is right. Mr. Ricks points out that not keeping straight means that it will take you longer to reach your goals. He is right. Some times it feels like it takes way too long to move the sheep from the barn to the pen only a hundred feet away, but as I said some times it gives you a new perspective. Then again some times it is just down right annoying. When you are trying to get ready for work and need to get the sheep moved, the chickens fed and the children all up and started on their day before you get yourself out the door.

Can life be described as one farming metaphor or another? Likely not. I guess what I am saying here is that you have to be flexible. Everything in your life is likely there for a reason. If that means you get to make nice straight rows, awesome. If that means that you spend a while running after sheep, or down on your hands and knees in the dirt, well that is part of life too. Keep open, keep flexible, and don’t get discouraged if your life is not always straight, you can do better next time.

Thank you to Zachary Ricks for the great post, and wonderful ideas. You can learn more about him and what he is up to at his site Mad Poet Files Trust me you want to keep an eye there, beyond being wise, he is also a wonderful story teller. His book Battle Hymn is awesome and I am eagerly awaiting the next one in the series.

The Announcement

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I have been avoiding posting anything because I knew I needed to write this post first. I knew that if I didn’t write it first it would just linger in the background and never get written. So I have been waiting, and dreading writing this, and every day it gets worse and harder to write.

If you listened to last week’s Galley Table (which you really should because it was really good, and featured Scott Sigler and Abigail Hilton (warning some adult language)) you already know this but if not here it is.

About a month ago, I decided that I was going to leave Flying Island Press. I have a lot of reasons but the biggest one was that I need to spend more time with my family. With all of the other projects that I have going on, I needed to let something go. I have worked with Flying Island Press since the beginning. Since it was an idea in an e-mail. For those of you keeping up, that is even before it was a discussion on Google Wave. For a while I even hosted the site on my own servers. I really, really enjoyed working for them. I loved building the company. I really liked working with the people there and I loved the idea of what we were trying to do. But for a while now it felt like I was torn between doing what needed to be done at Flying Island Press and doing what I needed to do for my family. When you are torn like that you can’t do either one of them right, and of course when It came down to it, family wins.

So it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Flying Island Press. The new Managing Editor, Philip Carroll, is a great man and has been a friend of mine for a long time. I know he will do great things with it. I wish him and the rest of the crew the best of luck in the future. I hope that they can continue to take fiction where we all want to go.

The Courage to do What’s Write – Does Tiger have the Stories?

FIPLogoI have been pretty quiet this week. That is mostly because I have been very busy with other things. Mostly the new book, but more news on that in another post.

I wrote this post for Flying Island Press, The Courage to Do what is Write – Does Tiger have the Stories? Even as I hit the publish button I realized that there were things that I left out. One of the things that strikes me as interesting, and tends to crop up on the less dark shows, (I will reference Star Trek heavily here) is that when people are happy in the future, they seem to all be atheists. Even if that is never really stated explicitly.

I honestly find this line of thinking incredibly disturbing. I know other, pretty popular Sci/fi writers have some of the same thoughts on the subject. I personally believe that there is no need for the two to be separate. For that you can even reference Father Barons Homily from this week, where through Thomas, God leaves room for science in faith.

As far as Flying Island Press goes, one of our stated goals is positive Sci/Fi. Stories that even if they don’t have a happy ending, still have leave you feeling better at the end that you did at the beginning. Stories of hope for the future. That is one of the things that I love about working For Flying Island Press, and the thing that I find most disturbing about the state of Sci/Fi on television.

Flying Island Press – A Look To the Past and To the Future

GTPodcastSeal[1]This week Flying Island Press took a few minutes to talk about why we got started. What our mission is and how we are going to go forward.

We have from day one, been about producing quality science fiction and fantasy with a positive spin (so nothing too dark and leaves you feeling better than when you started) In as many formats as possible. “Taking Fiction Where You Want to Go” is not just a motto, it is our goal. Our aim is to let you decide how you want to get your fiction by offering it in as many “E” formats as possible and also in audio.

And can I just say, Free Free Free stories.

Galley Table 88 – Why We Do What We Do.

Please take a few minutes and listen to this weeks episode, and then go grab yourself a copy of this months issue, and share it with your friends.

Why I “Flagship” By Flying Island Press

FlagShipVol2Ish6Resize3Over the last few years I have been working for a company called Flying Island Press. We have a stated goal of presenting positive up-lifting science fiction and fantasy, at a fair price, in a format that lets you take fiction where you want to go.

We have recently gone from a for pay model to a free / donation modle. Last night we sat down and talked about why, and here it is.