Sunday, March 30, 2014

Social Media Control for Writers

Do any other writers need a parental control capability for social media to keep you from wasting away your day?  You know what I mean, something that would cut you off after you’ve spent more than 20 minutes on FB, Twitter, or Google+.   It’s not that I post that much, because I don’t, but I find myself spending way too much time perusing the posts of others.  It’s addictive.
My wife calls all of you my “imaginary friends.”  She’s right.  How could I be “real friends” with the 700 people who’ve LIKED my FB page or with 8,000 Twitter followers?  Still, I’ve come to readily recognize the profile pictures of a couple dozen people, even if some of you portray yourselves as animals or as caricatures of the protagonists in your books.  I enjoy the back and forth banter with those I’ve come to know.
I’m on these sites to learn from others, and admittedly, try to create awareness of my writing.  I’ve found the first reason to bear fruit.  It helps to see how others go about preparing, writing, and marketing their books.  As far as the second reason, I’ve found social media a poor marketing strategy.   It’s sort of like selling hot dogs at a ballgame where only hot dog salesmen are in attendance, and everyone is yelling “I’ll eat yours, if you’ll eat mine.”
Anyway, back to my original point.  I spend way too much time reading about what other hot dog salesmen, I mean writers, are doing each day.  I need to find a way to shut it down, or maybe use it as an incentive, allowing myself 5 minutes for every 500 words written. 
Time sure flies when I write these posts. It’s already time for lunch.  For some reason, brats and sauerkraut sound good.   

Friday, March 28, 2014

Excerpt #2 from CYBER ONE

- Chapter One -

HIS LAPTOP WAS POSITIONED in the center of the dining room table. Miles pulled the drapes shut, blocking the view to anyone behind his house.

Miles' blood was pumping. It was a nervous energy he hadn’t felt in months. He loved the challenge of a new mission.  It was like combining the strategy of chess with the endurance of a triathlon.

He craved a scotch, but a clear head was needed.  Dr. Jones didn’t waste words or time on these transmissions from the future, and Miles didn’t want to miss anything.

The CIA DHI logo appeared on the computer screen centered behind a large cherry desk.  The desk was flanked by U.S. flags, draping from their seven-foot poles.  A few seconds later, Dr. Jones stepped behind the desk, took a seat, and faced the camera.

His next mission was minutes away.

“Miles, I trust you’ve made progress with your assignments. The success of your mission will require both your physical stamina as well as your mental toughness.  It will also require a mix of advanced skills from a team that will be placed under your direction. I will come back to this team in a minute.
"Your mission is going to take you to the spring of 2032.”
Miles jotted the year on a pad of paper and circled it. The closer he was to 2050, the more he’d remember.

“In 2030, a special intelligence unit, Cyber One, was formed from representatives of the National Security Administration (NSA), U.S. Cyber Command (USCyberCom), and Department of Homeland Services (DHS).  This unit’s specific objective was to root out foreign threats to U.S. information systems and infrastructure before damage could be done to systems vital to our national security.

“Cyber One failed in its mission.  On the eighth day of May in 2032, a multi-pronged attack took down critical U.S. financial systems one weekend, and then on the following weekend, turned our largest cities dark by knocking out electrical grids."

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Excerpt #1 from CYBER ONE

- Chapter One -
His body was hardened from months of grueling training. Moisture funneled to the center of his chest and rippled over his abs before disappearing into the waistband of his trunks.

Miles Stevens sat poolside at his Tampa home wearing only swim trunks and a towel draped over his neck.  He’d just finished a five-mile run before taking a refreshing dip in the pool. As he dried in the late morning sun, he spoke in Arabic to the computer tablet propped on his lap. 

“How are you?” the program asked.

“Ana bekhair, shokran!”  Miles replied.

It had been five months since Miles heard from his CIA superior, Dr. Robert Jones. The February communication had been short. Appearing on Miles’ laptop, Dr. Jones told him, “Spend the coming months getting into the best shape of your life and becoming fluent in Arabic. Details on your next mission will come soon.”
CYBER ONE, the second novel in the Miles Stevens Series, is coming this summer. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

My 10 Signs of Spring

1.  The neighbor’s dog crap in your front yard is no longer visible on top of the snow.
2.  You’ve run out of holes on your belt.
3.  The pothole at the front of the subdivision consumed a Subaru this morning.
4.  After an outside tour of your house, you discover the spring projects from last year are still undone.
5.  You find a fertilizer bag in the garage and wonder if it’s too late to put down the Fall Weed-n-Feed.
6.  You optimistically clean off your golf clubs, completely forgetting how badly your game sucked last year.
7.  The professional football flags are taken down from front porches, except for a few annoying Seattle Seahawks fans.
8.   After looking in the mirror at your winter muffin top, you decide it’s a little early to store away your bulky sweaters.
9.   Putting on shorts for the first time, you discover “winter white” is really a leg color.
10.   Oh, yeah.  Robins.