Announcing the Title

Today I announce the title of my book. It is called Deathship. I have been spending exhaustive hours completing it this week, and I’m nearly drained of life. While I have gone for runs, and had breaks for eating, that is basically all I have been doing since last week. It is possible I will reveal the cover art tomorrow, I just want to check with the artist first. They have made a wonderful cover, and I wish to share it with you. I hope that within a weeks time the book will be available, but one never knows these things for sure. I have been currently running through it once more just to check it for the hundredth time for spelling and punctuation errors. Peddles, and pedals was found, and changed. Spelled correctly, but meaning very different things. I’m surprised it was not caught earlier since another similar mistake was found just before it earlier. I’ve found nothing else to worry me, and I am being extremely careful this time. The past several times on my own I feel I was merely glancing through, making sure the story was in order. Now I’m dissecting each sentence, and it is a massive strain. As a self publishing author I have the final say over everything about it, and while they were extremely helpful, my editors and proof readers seemed to have missed a few things, including comma usage. When can you start calling yourself a professional anything? Is it the hours you put into the work, or is it merely from acclaim? I’m saying this because I did not hire anyone to help me, I am using people I know, who have read as much or more than myself, and who have keen eyes for literature. I hope I have given back to them as well, and they have done me a great service with their help. The artist is so fantastic as it is almost unreasonable how great the cover looks. I just happen to know them, and through that relationship I now have what I consider an astounding image that is directly from the book. When I first saw it the smile that split my face left me giddy for days, and allowed me to work even harder at writing. I say thank you to her for her art, and even her assistance proof reading. I say thank you to my other editor and proof reader. You both have made this journey easier, and I think better for your presence.

Update – Nearly done with this last read through. I might even get done today, as I continue to work throughout the afternoon.

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

– Steven Oaks

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Formating and the spell of language

So today I leapt from the bed excited to work on my book. Several hours later I am happy to report I’ve learned page breaks in Libre Office. I was getting a little frustrated as it does not implicitly say page break, but instead says Manual Break. It took all of two minutes to search for the answer on the Internet, and I rectified the Title Page, the Copyright Page, and the Dedication and thank you page. Such a silly thing to think you have to do all these things just to make a book. I knew there were many things I would have to do, but I brushed them aside to focus on writing a story I liked. Editing for over 6 months to ensure everything is in order certainly taught me many things. By myself I am only middling at editing, with others helping I have advanced. Luckily the demon comma has been harnessed, and I feel more confident in writing. I’ve culled many (That)’s from this book and from the following two. I think I have a better command of the English language now, even though I have always been able to express myself verbally, at least one on one. I highly suggest, if you have the time, try writing a book. You will find that you know less than you think, and the process of working with others on what you write can lead to greater insight into language. The time fast approaches when this book will be available, and I look forward to hearing your opinions.

Update – Comma’s wrangled, words put better into place, and formatting started, if not nearly completed.

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn”
― Orson Welles

– Steven Oaks

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Conversations about Sexuality

Yesterday evening I was able to converse with some friends I hadn’t been able to do so for a few minutes. It was enjoyable to catch up even just a little. Sadly I think my intake of coffee before such an encounter led me to ramble instead of being concise with our dialogue. I informed them of the impending release of my book and they seemed genuinely excited. I too am excited, but I still have doubts of its worth. I’m not saying I hate it, far from that, but still it is hard to place a value on something you are so closely working on. I enjoy the book, and as I continue to fine tune things I still get little thrills from the story. Mostly we bounced ideas back and forth about BRIC and Russia and the Ukraine. Then we moved on to thoughts about the different flavors of sexuality all of us humans have. Asexuals came up for a short time, and we discussed how people merely brush aside such individuals as those who cannot find companionship. There are some who wish no partner, sexual or otherwise. I find it strange that people doubt this. There are many different ways people interact, and not interacting is just as valid. Then there are those that prefer to be in group marriages, or even open marriages. Is it so strange that these people can find happiness in things other than monogamy? It isn’t selfish to live that way if all parties involved agree to the situation. If there is force, coercion, or power over another then there is a problem. Law wise it does become more complicated when it comes to divorces or inheritances when people pass away, but that is not about morality. That would be a discussion about ways in which we restrain others actions. If we wish to live in a way, we should be allowed to. Of course as long as it breaks no autonomy. That is, and probably will always be, the keystone to my own morality. No lies, and no mistreatment of others, that is how I live. In the end I wish to live in a world where we can respect each other’s wishes, and be left to do as we desire. Any restraint needed is then left to the individuals you interact with. Respecting others does not mean liking them, but simply allowing them to live as they see fit. I hope you too can live in such a manner.

Update – Several pages reviewed for commas again, and I found myself enjoying it today. Stupid commas.

“Understand that sexuality is as wide as the sea. Understand that your morality is not law. Understand that we are you. Understand that if we decide to have sex whether safe, safer, or unsafe, it is our decision and you have no rights in our lovemaking.”
― Derek Jarman

– Steven Oaks

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Punctuation

Whew. I spent large amounts of time working on punctuation in the first novel this weekend and today. Comma’s are my enemy. Most everything else seems in order, but these damn comma’s and their placement seem to be a sticking point in my own writing. Today instead of writing more of the third novel I wanted to go back through what I have and ensure better use of such a simple punctuation. This is a quote from a site I’ve looked at on the use of comma’s. “If there is ever any doubt, use the comma, as it is always correct.” While that might be true, I still think it looks sloppy to throw them about everywhere. Also there are times when due to my pertinacity for limiting their use, I found they needed to be included. Sigh, this is a struggle. The story was, while not easy, at least less time-consuming per page. I suppose I must review it all once more, and that is what I am doing. I still think there is plenty of time for me to release this book in early August, but perhaps not as early as I hoped. I will be working hard to ensure this throughout this week.

Update – several pages reviewed this weekend, and many more today. A wearying effort on my part, and on those I ask for assistance.

“I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.”
― Oscar Wilde

– Steven Oaks

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Offensive Speech.

Is it alright to be offended? Absolutely. Then is it okay to be offensive? Now what do I mean by okay in that sentence? Do I mean it is a positive act, or do I simply mean you should come to no harm for saying things others take offense to? Harming another with words can be seen as a negative act, however does it break their autonomy? You break autonomy only when you hinder someone from living the way they wish to live directly, because really if we were to step back we are breaking each others autonomy indirectly all the time. Now I have said lying breaks autonomy, so as long as you are using truth in statements, at least as you see it, then you are not directly causing any harm. So then when someone states an opinion, their own, and you happen not to agree, that does not make hate speech or whatever buzz word they decide to come up with to steal away free speech. Once you go down a road where you outlaw the ability to say horrible things, then it is much easier to outlaw any type of speech. Yes of course this is the slippery slope argument, and there are flaws, however it has been shown that rarely are laws and their powers shrank, only do they grow more bloated. Keep it simple, stupid. A motto I have heard from a particular martial arts instructor that I am fond of. The more complex ways we try to control each other, the more likely it will come back to control us. We should not be trying to control others behavior, we should respect others life choices. If it hinders our autonomy, then we should step in. Preventative measures rarely work. As a whole we are not set to harm others, we just want to be happy. Allow freedom, and we will see more respect grow. There will be bad apples in the bunch no matter what we do, and we should act on those few, but that does not mean we all should be punished for that minority of deranged people. Be offended if you desire, but allow others to hold their own opinions, even if they are ridiculously stupid.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

-Voltaire

Update – Another fine Saturday. Of course pancakes were eaten. Looks like I need more syrup, dang. Money, money, money.

– Steven Oaks

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Children and Autonomy

Must you follow blindly another’s wishes when it comes to their own life? If someone wants to die must you help them? Not at all. If you do not wish to do something you do not have to. My characters in the third book are having some difficulty getting along because of this misunderstanding. One wishes to do something, while the other is hesitant to allow it. You do not have to allow anything to be done by you, but you do have to let another person decide what they want to do with their own life. Sadly the problem becomes more complicated the more another’s life is intertwined with your own. If you have children is it okay to kill yourself? Unless you can guarantee their survival without you, then it is a horrible idea. They are your responsibility until they reach the age when they are allowed full rights. Which I think is a bit of a problem in itself. Kids should have full rights, but we limit what they can do because they’ve not had the experiences to allow them to make smart decisions. However do any of us have the full experience to decide not to do something stupid? That is a very hard question to answer. Right now some may consider my own actions as foolhardy. I have thrown away a very well-paying job to sit at home and write in hopes that I can survive on whatever meager sums I can attain through this effort. Am I merely too young to know better, or am I an adult that is doing something silly? What is the difference with children? Life experience is the only difference I can tell, that and their minds and bodies are not fully developed. Hence why we try not to allow them access to drugs or activities that would harm their immature bodies. Then again we do give them antidepressants and other mood altering drugs when someone we consider educated in such matters recommends it. We give them no choice in the matter, and force them to consume such powerful mind altering things. They cannot decide what is best for them, and that worries me. We hope the parents or guardians offer them the best home life, and directions, but that is never guaranteed. I think I will have to set aside an opinion on the matter until I can discuss it further with others. In the end I wish to respect everyone’s autonomy, even a child’s.

Update – 1,000 words written in the third book. 8 pages double checked on the first novel. It takes some time to ensure good punctuation.

“Children aren’t coloring books. You don’t get to fill them with your favorite colors.”
― Khaled Hosseini

– Steven Oaks

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Bill worries

Life is going well right now. I’m doing what I love, and I find myself happier than I have ever been in my life. The worries I have are more long-term than the day-to-day ones I had while working some place. My social anxiety is doing well, but that is only because I have no call to interact with others. The long-term worries of money, and what job I might have to take to secure a living are beginning to nag at me. I am a little more than half way through the funds I had saved, and if any emergency happened I would be in a truly harrowing position. Thankfully my book is nearly fully ready to publish, though it still will be early August when it’ll be available. Paying bills becomes a task I now hesitate to do. I watch my money drain away so quickly. I felt it was a good amount, and yet it seems to rapidly pass through my fingers. I suppose without a stream of income that is always how it is. I am lucky I calculated so accurately how much I needed, and am still in good standing. I hesitate to hope enough people will purchase my books for me to survive, but the number is not astronomical. With luck some will read it, and recommend it to others. I live very simply, though I do have my own vices. I do not require much to live, and I am happy enough to live as I have been these past 6 months. Yes a pizza now and again, but mostly my bachelor chow, ramen, and oatmeal is what I subsist on. Perhaps not the healthiest things in the world, but I do not seem to have gained weight. Perhaps that has something to do with running and getting out on the trail with my bike for a few hours. Any-who, wish me luck, and I will wish you the same. We only have this one life to live, so I plan on living it the way I want to, writing. Find your passion and see if you can make it your living.

Update – 1,000 words written of the third novel. Life is good, the only issue is I’m halfway through my funds now.

“Don’t care what people think about you. They don’t put food on your table or pay your bills.”
― Vikrant Parsai

– Steven Oaks

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Thank You My Son

Yesterday was not as hard on me as I expected. It was my sons 5th birthday had he lived, and yet all I could think of was all the positives he brought to my life. He only lived two months, but still I recall how motivated I was to ensure he would get the best life I could provide. When he died I lost all direction and could not think of anything to make me want to continue living. He was the sole reason I worked, and did anything day-to-day. Then that was suddenly gone, and I was left completely empty. Luckily I found motivation again, this time in the form of trying to live the life he could not. I can’t guarantee he would want to do the things I am, yet that isn’t the point. I am living the way I wanted him to. I wanted him to live a life full of self-improvement, and free of hate and work for work sake. He may not have become a writer, but I would hope he would have found a job that he loved. I love writing, though there are days when I wish to stop. We can’t continually be happy, but if I look at my recent life as a whole I can see that it is a fair improvement over the many years I spent toiling away behind a desk for someone else. Now I work for me, and I am even a harsher task master than any boss I’ve ever had. Get up daily and drain your mind completely to accomplish this task of fashioning a tale that hopefully someone will enjoy. Make sure you get plenty of exercises, because sitting behind your own desk still means you are sitting and not working out! Eat right, and reduce the negatives in your life. These are all things I repeat to myself, and mostly I listen. Some say there is no such thing as will power, and that we are preprogrammed to do, or not do. However I can say if that is the case I am programmed to do what I set my mind on. I just hope it turns out to be lucrative enough for me to continue to do so. Not that I need much, but I still need others to help me on this journey. There will be a book coming out early August, as it only needs minimal of work to ensure it is as good as it is going to get by that time. I might even reveal the cover art that was made for the book next week, yet no guarantee’s as I want to ensure a few things first. In conclusion, thank you my son, you’ve let me try to live.

Update – 1,000 words written in the third book. The epilogue in the first book modified to what I think is more reasonable. Dedication mostly done, and special thanks also worked out.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” ― Edward Everett Hale

– Steven Oaks

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In Memory you live on

He was born 5 years ago

shortly lived

but not without something to show

Each day that passes

I try to make due

In the end

I am living for you

Because you can’t be here

I live what you cannot

I miss you deeply

but I feel you are always near

I have lost so much

when you went away

though I remember everything

It is not the same

Had you lived

You would have started school soon

and I would be a proud father

to see you grow and learn

As that cannot be

I throw myself into life

and I write as has been my dream

I use your example that life is short

Leaving behind those things

that mean little to living

so I can live for two

both me and you

Thank you my son

for the time you gave me

I will always miss you

my forever young baby

 

Update – 1,000 words written on the third novel. Now up to 40,000 words, I find it interesting the things I am thinking of while I write.

 “On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.”
― Henry David Thoreau

– Steven Oaks

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Practice Appropriately

If you are ever to get better at something you must practice. If you wish to be the best at combat, you must practice against an opponent. If you merely drill the forms without someone to work against, you will merely improve you ability to do those forms. Certainly that is better than nothing, but you will not be able to stand against someone who has trained with another. This is why when you write you cannot do it alone. You must have someone there to read through what you have written. They are your opponent, and you must illicit an emotion from them. Merely making yourself feel something only shows you know how to write for yourself. I am very glad I have several who have been willing to read what I have written, and I have learned a few things on the way. What I found easily understandable was not always so. When you write alone you sometimes forget to fill in little words that change the whole meaning of a sentence. Even reading over what I’ve written did not allow me to clarify, as I continued to fill in what was necessary in my mind. When you have someone there to ask questions it makes a world of difference. While you may have to write alone to complete your first draft, do not mistake it for being done when you put the last word into place. You must edit! You must review! You must cut, and you must clarify! Have someone there with you when you do these things, and you will find you may have indeed written something worthy when you are done.

Update – 1,000 words written of the 3rd book. Things are looking great!

“Practice doesn’t make perfect.
Practice reduces the imperfection.”
― Toba Beta

– Steven Oaks

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