February 2020 Progress Report

Well, we’re about six weeks into the new year (or 6/52, 11.5% of the way through the year), and I figured one of the ways to keep up with my goals was to report on them more often. Let’s see where I’m at with all of these.

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Where I’ll be at Boskone 57

Hey everyone! I’m excited to be participating in this year’s Boskone conference in downtown Boston from February 14-16. I’ve got a reading scheduled, and I’m moderating my first panel. If you’re in town, and love geeking out over speculative fiction, come out and say hi! There’s a lot of great content on this year’s program. Here’s where I’ll definitely be:

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The Name of the Rose

When I was in eighth grade, I saw a movie trailer for The Name of the Rose (based on the book by Umberto Eco). Filled with images of monks and castles, my D&D addled brain thought it looked kinda cool, so I went to my school library and spent some time looking through the card catalog (this was the mid-eighties). When I came up dry, I went to the librarian and asked if he knew where I could get a copy.

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Walking – 2020

Interestingly, the one 2020 goal that’s generated the most discussion has been my walking goal (walk five miles a day). One week in, let’s see how it’s going.

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2019 Year End Progress Report

Happy New Year! 2020 promises to be a year of change, inspiration, and I don’t know—other stuff. I’d like to start with a review of the 2019’s goals and progress and spin off new goals for the coming year. I had a few extra vacation days this holiday break, so I used those to catch up on my writing schedule for book number four. I’m happy with the progress, such as it is. But, first things first, let’s see where I’m at.

Read 20 books in 2019: According to goodreads.com, I completed 15 books in 2019, for a solid grade of 75, or a C. Passing, but I should be able to do better. Goodreads says that’s below my average over the last five years:

On the whole, I have been disorganized this year, finding less time for reading. I think I’ve been hitting social media more instead of reading on my phone, so I need to tamp that down if I want to do better on this goal in 2020.

Goal for 2020: Read 20 books.

Write 50 posts in 2019: I posted in fits and starts, but according to my website, I wrote exactly 18 posts, adding nothing since my Q3 post, which put me at 18 posts for the year. So…18/50 = 36% for the year, which is a solid F in the US education system, but in the UK it might squeak by as passing. (Or maybe not—I think I needed 37% to pass a course there.) Regardless, that’s not the result I’d have liked. Despite my raising this bar up and down over the years, I seem to come in low regardless, so I’m going to randomize the goal this year. I will write 10d6 posts for the year. And the roll is:

Looks like a 38, so that’s what we’ll shoot for.

Goal for 2020: Write 38 posts.

Get back on schedule for Togahan #4: This is a softer goal, but an important one. When I made this goal one year ago, I was 186 days behind schedule. By September, despite my efforts, I was as much as 345 days behind schedule. Ugh. But like I said, I had a few extra vacation days which let me hunker down and get some traction. I completed the first revision a few days ago, and I’m currently “only” 149 days behind schedule. Progress! While I’m not back on schedule yet, I have refined some of my working habits, so I’m hoping to continue closing that gap and get the new book into your hands sooner rather than later. That said, I still have several tasks ahead: compile the book, have my beta readers review it, incorporate their feedback, do a second revision, then have it copy edited before a final compilation and some bookkeeping for publishing.

Goal for 2020: Get back on schedule for Togahan #4.

Do any of you like audio books? I’ve been toying with the idea of recording ATogahan’s Tale as an audio book for a while, but I just haven’t found the time. This is sometime I’d like to do though, as folks often tell me that I have a perfect face for radio. My wife has recently been recording music, so she has some of the technical elements nailed down. I’m going to take on an extra goal then, because I think this is do-able.

Goal for 2020: Record the first chapter for A Togahan’s Tale, and release that as an audio file on this site.

I have one more non-writing goal that I want to track regardless. My sedentary lifestyle has not been helping me, so I’m realizing that I need to exercise a little more. With wearable technology, this is reasonably easy to track, so I’m going to tack this on at the end:

Goal for 2020: Walk 5+ miles every day.

Fingers crossed, I’ll have more success with these, because as Barbara Walters says, this is 2020.

Best, -Pete

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2019 Q3 Progress Report

It’s October 1st. The leaves are browning, it’s getting chilly, it’s time to hang the Halloween decorations. It’s also the end of the third quarter, so let’s see where I’m at with my various goals.

Read 20 books in 2019: I’m a little over halfway through Cold Choices, the 2nd book in Larry Bond’s Jerry Mitchell series, and still working on Max Tegmark’s Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. I’m working both sides of my brain with the fiction/non-fiction. But those are in progress, and I have only 8 books actually completed this calendar year. With only 25% of the year remaining, I still have 60% of that work to do. Outlook isn’t so good. I’ll shoot for a passing grade on this one.

Write 50 posts in 2019: I started strong on this one, but this post marks my 18th for the year, so I’m only 36% complete on this goal. With the craziness of the holidays approaching, this is also unlikely to approach 100% complete. If we get to 30 posts, I’ll call that passing.

Catch up on the Writing Schedule for Togahan #4: Good news/bad news on this one. Good: I completed the rough draft earlier this summer, and have already edited it through Chapter 6 (of 36). Bad: According to the mega-schedule, I’ve slipped 300+ days, so we’re looking at a 2021 release assuming there’s no more slip. But there’s more good news! I over-budgeted time for this pass of editing, and it’s going faster than I’d assumed, so that 300+ day delay should narrow some. I’m finding small time blocks where I can focus on editing, and it’s moving.

So that’s the status of things. I’ve got three more months to get traction on these and make up some progress. I’ll let you know how it goes. How’s your year going?

-Pete

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AT4 Draft Complete!

This morning before work, with very little fanfare, I finished the epilogue, completing the rough draft for this fourth novel in the Togahan series. Like previous drafts, finishing the first pass is…well, weird. It’s like, there should be a firework or two? Maybe? Or an “Achievement Unlocked!” appears on my screen? Instead, I just came down from the attic with a subtle smile and informed my wife of the news. Then I got ready for work.

AT4 (the working title until I decide on a final one), came in at 35 chapters, 391 pages, 156,701 words total. It’s not the longest first draft I’ve done, but it’s up there. According to my schedule, I started it on January 1, 2017, and it took me a little over two and a half years to finish (or close to one Martian year; I can live with that). I had planned to finish it by September (of last year). So I’m roughly 326 days behind my arbitrary schedule.

Regardless, it’s done, putting the project at 41.6% complete. Next up: sketch maps for a couple of weeks, then I hunker down for the editing. I’m hoping to make back some of those 326 days there, but I’d rather take it slow and do it right, than rush something I’m less happy with. We’ll see.

As always, thanks for sticking with me. I’ll let you know how it goes.

-Pete

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Halo Rekindled

I was wowed by Halo: Combat Evolved when I first saw it back in 2001, and rushed to get my first Xbox when it was released just so I could play it. I went through the game several times, increasing the difficulty, learning all the tricks and quirks, and later went on to play the sequels, upgrade to newer versions of the Xbox, and play group matches with my buddies.

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2019 Q2 Progress Report

Hey everyone! It’s the end of June, closing out the second quarter of the year, and that means it’s time to check my progress versus my goals. I’ll say up front that I delivered two presentations at a professional conference in early June, and preparing for that took away from my writing time. Plus we’re now two weeks into the summer schedule rollercoaster where my wife and I are readjusting drop-offs/pickups and general coverage on a day-to-day basis, so carving out (or rather, reestablishing) regular writing time has been even less likely—i.e. I write when I can, when I’m not exhausted. But more on that bullet below. Let’s check the goals!

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Play With Toys

My daughters have the LEGO collection I always wanted and never had. They’ve got Barbies of countless professions, and other toys that are classic, new, or popular. There are like five dollhouses and a mountain fortress (a proud hand-me-down from me).

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