Google Glass: Not Quite Ready for Prime Time

20140917_074443_805_xGoogle has announced they are halting the sales of Google Glass, the highly experimental, highly controversial eye-gear that looks like something straight out of Star Trek. (See “The Game” from Season 5 of Star Trek: The Next Generation.) Synonymous with “Wearable Tech” Glass promised a future seen only in video games: personal heads-up displays (or HUDs) for its users—sorry, wearers. Since its introduction in 2012, Glass won attention for its groundbreaking technology and application; but since then, popularity for the technology turned. Restaurant and movie theatre bans and certain infamous endorsements did little to raise its popularity; and with this recent announcement, tech experts are speculating as to why Glass did not take off:

The cost. Let’s see, I can either buy a new computer, or get a pair of Glass.

The aesthetic. Seriously, I look like I feel. Awkward, but empowered.

Privacy. When wearing Glass, I’m sharing my experience with the world…and that doesn’t need your consent.

I have an idea why: Glass isn’t all that. Continue reading

Writing Is Hard: Not an Excuse, A Challenge

delilahYesterday, the steampunk-romance-let-me-creep-you-out-to-the-edge-of-your-skin dynamo, Delilah S. Dawson, posted on her blog a column about being a writer, about getting off your ass, and about doing what you tell people you do. When I read the title of her blogpost, I was ready to mix it up with Big D because I’ve lost nearly twenty pounds all while editing an anthology, editing the fourth book of The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences, and writing up a new social media book, specifically geared for writers…

Instead, I read the article, proving that, yes, it is better to comment after you’ve read a blogpost instead of reading only the headline. The best part about Delilah’s blog is that, after meeting her, you can hear her in your head when you read her blog. So now I hear Delilah S. Dawson in my head…

I am terrified. Just so you all know.

Delilah’s a stitch. We’ve broken bread with her, been on panels with her, and she’s one of my literature spirit animals. I say “one of” because I have many. There’s my wife Pip, Chuck Wendig, Myke Cole, Mur Lafferty, Erika Napoletano, Kate Cross…I swear, I am building a Noah’s Ark of spirit animals over here. Thing is, D drops the mic hard in this blogpost when she says: Continue reading

Cover Reveal — Nick Kelly’s Catwalk: Lineage

IMG_4643Nick Kelly is no stranger to this blog. You may have remembered his blogpost back in March when he talked about “crossing the line” in writing. The book he was talking about then was Catwalk: Messiah, his first novel and one I had the pleasure of reading this summer.

Best described as “cyber-noir” or perhaps Blade Runner if Marvel Studios produced it, Catwalk: Messiah follows Leon “Catwalk” Caliber, a former Washington D.C. cop, now hired hit man on the west coast of the United States. You would think being a gun-for-hire in a sprawling megapolis of the future would be complicated enough, but Catwalk is good at what he does on account of the cybernetics that not only keeps him alive but also enhances his physical abilities.

The cost isn’t too bad…until you take into account that every enhancement replaces part of his humanity. Now, Cat has to keep hold of what makes him human lest he becomes what he hunts.

Nick and I have talked a lot about his first novel; and never at a loss for words, Nick and I will probably be talking over a scotch or three about what’s coming soon from his dark, twisted imagination… Continue reading

If You’re Reading This Blogpost, I’m Down Ten Pounds. #ThanksFitBit

chubby_teeFebruary 4, 2013.

That was the last time I really gave a damn about my health.

What happened? Well, if you read that blogpost, you heard my mea culpa on how I had successfully gained all the weight I had lost back in 2007. While pictures, thanks to Photoshop, can lie; it was the steampunk outfit I attempted to get into at the Emerald City Steampunk Expo that did not lie. This was when I returned to MediFast. I blogged on February 4 how happy I was on my progress. Down twenty pounds. I was thrilled.

Then, a week after that post, I went from thrilled to unemployed.

So what did I discover in 2013? Tee Morris, award-winning author, podcaster, and unbelievable beer snob is a stress eater. And yes, it’s a real thing. And yes, I’m really good at it. Continue reading

A Game of Wait and See: The Hullabaloo over “Hullabaloo”

Hullabaloo-poster

I’ve been getting tagged all week on social media platforms about the successful IndeGoGo-finded project, Hullabaloo. I was originally going to respond to this via Facebook, but it started to get too long, and thought this better suited for a blogpost.

First off, this definitely needs to be said — congratulations to the animators and creative team behind this project. After my own experience with Kickstarter, both the positive and the negative, it is always awesome to see brilliant, passionate crowdfunded projects not only hit their goals but surpass them. Well done, Team Hullabaloo. You kicked ass, and even grabbed the attention of io9 in the process. That is tremendous work, and I admire that.

Second, it’s nice that when people think of steampunk, they think of me, my wife, and the Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. We’ve been working hard since breaking into the genre and it means a lot to me that people are curious as to my thoughts on steampunk creations.

So, what are my thoughts? Continue reading

Villains and Why We Love Them

Peter Capaldi as Cardinal Richelieu in the BBC's The Musketeers.Last night, I was watching The Musketeers, the new BBC series featuring Peter Capaldi rocking the Van Dyke and redefining diabolical as Cardinal Richelieu. He’s pretty badass in The Musketeers, but not chewing the scenery or twirling his mustache (which I would imagine is hard to resist because dat stache!) kind of way. Capaldi is working the dialogue like a boss and creating a foil against our heroes that makes you sit up and take notice. There’s a mind and a motivation you connect with on a visceral level, and sometimes it’s difficult to take a side against Richelieu as he makes villainy look really, really good.

That and the wardrobe. And did I mention DAT STACHE?

Watching Capaldi in this role has me of late considering villains, what makes them compelling versus comical characters, and why they are so important in writing.

Your villains—or antagonists, if you want to use the fancier term for “bad guys”— are as high a priority to develop as your heroes. They need to resonate with you, lest they reduce themselves to nothing more than set dressing hell bent on destroying said set along with any major players that happen to be in the vicinity. Continue reading

Stranger on a Train XXIX

Four days of Photoshop. Eight lessons with a few bonus skills added into the mix. I have to work a bit on Day One of Level 2; but once I took a lesson from Kacy Catanzaro and took a steadier pace, Day Two more than made up for my stumble.

Did you see this woman rock the American Ninja course? #MightyKacy indeed.

I’m digging Photoshop CC a lot. Good program. Now I need to take a serious look at Lightroom. I’d like to see if we (that’s Mike Witherall and I) can turn it into a class. I don’t see why not.
20140717-162432-59072401.jpg

So the people behind Snowpiercer‘s Facebook page put that image online this morning. It’s a stitch, especially when you consider the film. Lot of “in” jokes here, so kudos to the fan who created it. Inspired works like that just remind me of how incredibly talented people are everywhere, and I’m lucky enough to get to share my stories. I’m gearing up to do it again, too. The edits for The Diamond Conspiracy arrived today, so it’s time to level up and work on the next adventure of Books & Braun. We are dealing with a lot in this one, so I look forward to returning to that world…

…Monday.

First, I need a nap. A really big one. Photoshop is a demanding mistress.

20140717-163415-59655177.jpg

Snowpiercer: The Best Science Fiction Film of the Year (that Hollywood wanted to fail)

snowpiercer_ver20_xlgIf you’re a fan of film, especially science fiction and film, you may have heard of this low budget “art” film, Snowpiercer. Describing it as an art film may insinuate this dystopian action-suspense film carries with it an air of pretension, but give me a moment here. Based on a French graphic novel, a South Korean director assuming the big chair, and featuring an international cast including Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Kang-ho Song, and Ah-sung Ko, Snowpiercer could be one of the most outstanding films of the year. Terrifying, daring, and compelling, this stunning work of science fiction, hailed by critics and science fiction fans, was initially released in eight theatres.

Yes. Eight. As in, not ten.

What. The Hell?!

At the end of this review, this dark tale—in its own way—offers you, the moviegoer, a happy ending. So read on. Continue reading

Tales from a Shock Jockey: We See Them Rollin’, and Hatin’…

truck_rollinCoalWhen I first heard about it, I was convinced it had to be a joke.

It had to be.

No, this is a thing.

On Facebook. On Tumblr. On Instagram.

And now, in the air.

As reported by Vocative, a new protest against President Barack Obama and environmentalists has taken to the streetsRollin’ Coal. The Facebook page reads as “for all the diesel lovers out there” but this community has apparently evolved into a statement against green drivers. How Rollin’ Coal works—keeping it to the basics here—is modifying a pick-up truck to intentionally spew thick soot either from massive exhaust pipes or smoke stacks. The Rollin’ Coal folks call this “Prius Repellant” and post both video and memes celebrating their “victories” on the road. The kits and the modifications, Slate reports, are legal (although the EPA disagrees); but as one Wisconsin vendor tells reporters:

“I run into a lot of people that really don’t like Obama at all. If he’s into the environment, if he’s into this or that, we’re not. I hear a lot of that. To get a single stack on my truck—that’s my way of giving them the finger. You want clean air and a tiny carbon footprint? Well, screw you.”

Modifying your truck to protest clean air initiatives? That’s about as smart as staging a protest of “I don’t like khakis, so I’m going to wear my blue jeans and fart in your face because khakis.” Such is this the latest protest against our President and environmentalists.

Okay, setting aside the American Cancer Society’s findings to diesel exhaust attributing to adverse effects to one’s health, let’s look at another possible reason why people choose EVs. Continue reading

Amazon v Hachette: Round Two (Featuring 100% More Monster Porn!)

20140515-161639.jpgI honestly thought I had said everything I wanted or needed to say about the current face-off between Amazon and Hachette; and when I read John Scalzi’s angle last week, I figured this discussion was done. 

Amazing what complete and utter absurdity writers can kick up within 24 hours.

It started first on Chuck Wendig’s TerribleMinds.com where he brought to light a petition making the rounds on the Internet.

Well, it’s not really a petition as a petition is defined as “a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause.” This it is more of an open letter to Amazon saying “You are a winner, bro! Keep that up!” with an appeal to independent authors everywhere to sign this, acknowledging why Amazon is so star-spangled awesome.

Here’s how the “petition” closes:

“It is fitting that Independence Day is upon us. Amazon has done more to liberate readers and writers than any other entity since Johannes Gutenberg refined the movable type printing press. With the advent of e-books and the ability to ship paper books to your doorstep in record time and at affordable prices, Amazon is growing overall readership while liberating the voices of countless writers, adding to the diversity of literature. A large percentage of the e-books sold on Amazon are from independent authors. You have validated our decision to write and to publish. Don’t let the wealthiest of writers convince you to turn away.

We urge you to support the company that supports readers and authors. Amazon didn’t ask us to write this letter, or sign it. Amazon isn’t aware that we’re doing this. Because in the end, this isn’t about Amazon. It’s about you, the reader, and the changes you’ve helped bring about with your reading decisions. You are changing the world of books, and you are changing our lives as a result.”

I was trying to process exactly why I would want to add my name to this when, later in the same day, I got a note from the Science Fiction Writers of America, announcing their endorsement of an open letter from New York Times Bestselling Author Douglas Preston. Here’s a selection from this letter the SFWA president is signing and the SFWA Board are inviting members to co-sign:

“Many of us supported Amazon from when it was a struggling start-up. Our books started Amazon on the road to selling everything and becoming one of the world’s largest corporations. We have made Amazon many millions of dollars and over the years have contributed so much, free of charge, to the company by way of cooperation, joint promotions, reviews and blogs. This is no way to treat a business partner. Nor is it the right way to treat your friends. Without taking sides on the contractual dispute between Hachette and Amazon, we encourage Amazon in the strongest possible terms to stop harming the livelihood of the authors on whom it has built its business. None of us, neither readers nor authors, benefit when books are taken hostage. (We’re not alone in our plea: the opinion pages of both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, which rarely agree on anything, have roundly condemned Amazon’s corporate behavior.)”

Seriously. This “Pick A Side” bullshit has got to stop. Now. Continue reading