After a Long Delay, SUPPLY CHAIN is Published!

I was rocked back on my heels late last summer by two difficult medical diagnoses.  The first was my wife, Paula, who was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and immediately began Chemotherapy.  The second was my youngest child, who at the tender age of 7, developed Type 1 diabetes.  Suddenly I found myself the primary caregiver to both spouse and 4 youngsters.

Writing, for a time, had to take a back seat.

A year later, my wife is doing well with her cancer in remission.  We are accustomed to managing the needs of a youthful diabetic.  And now, at long last, I can carve off a little time to work on my writing...

Except other things have happened.

My proofreader has faced a family health crisis of his own.

My editor has moved on to other pursuits.

My cover artist passed away.

I've forgotten a lot of the technical aspects of editing for publication, making the process slow, slow, slow.

So I'm back, but only in a limited way.  It will take time to get back into my projects again, particularly as most of them were dropped mid-development.

One step at a time.

Beginning with this one -- Today I published the work that was nearly finished when the crisis hit, SUPPLY CHAIN.  By the end of the week, it should be available from all the usual locations

Finally, some good news

Got a call from the data recovery service about my damaged hard drive, and they were happy to tell me they recovered almost everything on it.  They also confirmed that the "mission critical" items -- which would include all my writing work as well as my current year tax return -- had been verified!  Only ten days or so and the contents can be picked up at Best Buy.

Several people have asked me the overall price tag for data recovery.  Once it is all said and done, I expect the cost to be approximately $550.  Yeah, that's a lot but for me it was worth it.  Makes a $50 back up drive sound pretty cheap though, doesn't it?.

In other news, I'll be wrapping up my first draft of "Bad Boss - Great Boss" while I'm vacationing next week.  I was surprised that pulling this book together took as much effort as it did.  This was undoubtedly due to the fact that I followed no standard guideline when I wrote the individual chapters.  I suppose that's a lesson for the future.

I'll be diving back into the first draft of Change Agent once the hard drive contents are in my hands -- looking forward to getting the rest of the latest Joel Smith novel down on paper.

Have a great 4th holiday!

The Start of Yet Another Project

So instead I’ve begun work on a new project, “Bad Boss – Good Boss.”  Essentially this will be a compilation and expansion of two blog series I’ve recently run – “What made my best boss great” and “Extreme leadership styles that fail.”  The intention of the book is provide pointers to bosses on how to avoid caustic leadership styles, and advice on how to do right by their employees.  A secondary purpose is to provide insight to employees on what to look for in a top-notch boss, and how to cope if you find yourself stuck with one that is problematic.

Confessions of a Climate Change Heretic

One thing I’m not confused over is that the global climate is a mind-numbingly complex system of interdependent variables.  I remember back when I was studying fluid dynamics in my University days – it was extremely difficult to mathematically describe the velocity profile of a fluid flowing over anything beyond the simplest surfaces or through the least complex shapes.  It took hours and hours to build finite difference models to simulate what was happening in the real world – and even after that, we would still get results that were directionally incorrect.

Are Republicans Really Evil?

According to the readers of Salon, this makes me “evil.”  In the comments section of the Facebook post of the article, this accusation was commonly made.  Attached to the article itself, people claimed that Republicans opposed “free” education because:  (1) it allows them to keep it as a good available only to elites, (2) that they want to exclude certain groups toward whom they are prejudiced, (3) They want to keep the electorate ignorant as education doesn’t favor their party.  There were many other claims along the same vein.  The article itself makes similar assertions (that Republicans want to reserve education as a good only available to the wealthy, for example.)

Fully Recovered, Back in the Saddle

The last six weeks have been a struggle.

Two illnesses (both of which required a trip to the doctor along with prescriptions for antibiotics and steroids – if you know me well, you’ll recognize that’s a big concession), no exercise, a trip out of town to visit my parents before my dad had his own run-in with doctors and surgeons, every kid in the house (four of ‘em) involved in two sports simultaneously, trying to squeeze in a turkey hunt a time or two before the season runs out, getting the house prepped for summer – the list seemed endless.

The illnesses really took the wind out of me.  Literally.  I could barely climb a flight of stairs without a major coughing fit.  It meant a temporary end to exercise and a practical end to writing – at least for a time.

I struggled to write my three weekly blog posts, and spent much of the rest of my energies paging through Facebook and fiddling around with my account.  The bottom line was I simply lacked the energy to plow through the first draft of CHANGE AGENT, the next story in the Joel Smith series.

So it sat.  And I sat, doing other things.

This week I finally felt well enough to dig back into the tasks at hand.  Got the property prepped for summer, finished a woodworking project I started weeks ago, restarted my exercise regime, and got back into the mode of writing.

CHANGE AGENT has roughly 14K words written out of a projected total of 83K or about 15% completed.  A long way to go, but at least I’m moving again.

Treading Water

Between a horrific cold, now in its sixth week and accompanied by a hacking cough, and major surgery for a family member (which went quite well, I pleased to report,) I managed to get almost nothing accomplished this week.

Seriously, nothing.

It was a struggle on Monday and Wednesday just to put out my regular blog posts.

I did read a very entertaining book -- The Martian by Andy Weir.  I recommend it for anyone that enjoys sci-fi and/or likes books that are realistically and technically accurate.

Really, that is all.  Hopefully I can contribute more to the cause next week.


Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics

I’m firmly convinced that a clever person that gathers a large amount of data on almost any controversial subject will be able to find a way to mathematically support their position without regard to the validity of their argument.  All it takes is a bit of selective manipulation, a bit of assumption massaging, or a couple rounds of aggregation/disaggregation, and you can “prove” almost anything.

Design Lite??

And while I don’t mind going through the planning gyrations with the plot, I really find character development to be tedious.  Not with the main characters – who are the ones the entire story revolves around – but more with the secondary and tertiary characters, particularly those that only make one or two brief appearances in the story.  I don’t know how many creative ways there are of answering questions like – Describe his/her appearance?  What is in her purse?  What kind of music does he like?  What’s her favorite movie?  There have to be at least 40 questions of this type to fill out for every character, and my novels often contain 20-30 characters.  Well, hopefully you get the picture – tedious, indeed.