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?


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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.


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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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100 Games of Chess

My daughter recently grew an interest in the game of chess, after spying an ornate set at my parents’ house and begging me to teach her to play. Since then we’ve had a number of games. I’m a terrible player, but I know enough to stay ahead of her, and I’ve defeated her every time. Take that, ten-year-old!

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Show Us a Fight Scene We Haven’t Seen Before Pt.2

In the same vein as my previous post, I wanted to highlight yet another interesting fight scene I viewed recently. My wife and I have been enjoying Barry on HBO, and Season 2, Episode 5 starts with this half-assed scuffle. The setup: Barry’s been told to assassinate a man, but he’s had a change of heart.

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The Book as Art

“Is a book art?” the teacher asked the class. I sat beside my daughter, observing her class as part an art appreciation exercise. The students speculated that the book might contain art or illustrations, but the teacher pressed the point about the book itself. If it were blank, could the book still be art?

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The First “Togahan” Story

Inspiration for the Togahan series came from a number of places, but a fundamental source was a type of story where the protagonist realizes, in a single moment, that the thing they’re facing is more important than their own survival. I absorbed lots of these moments from books or movies, but many also come from real life stories. The earliest one I remember reading was in Reader’s Digest back in the late 80’s.*

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2019 Q1 Progress Report

Well, the good news is that this report is on time for once. The bad news is that I suspect my progress is sucking. Let’s take a look at my goals and where I’m at.

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