2015-08-02

Schrodinger Sessions

Correction: I have mentioned Grammarly several times in the past. I would like to point out that this product has a totally free plug-in for most browsers. If you want a grammar-checker embedded in your browser that will help you check your grammar, I recommend getting the plug-in.

I have returned from a 3-day workshop on quantum mechanics. My brain is still throbbing from the experience. The workshop took place at the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland. The workshop is named The Schrodinger Sessions and is modeled after Launch Pad. We were treated to lectures from a variety of instructors who told us about various aspects of quantum mechanics. Over a two-day period, we were given a tour of four labs working on various quantum experiments including quantum teleportation. One of the biggest disappointments was the cancellation of the reactor tour - more about this in a moment.

On the second day, Eric Choi put together a mixer and invited several of his friends and acquaintances from the International Space University. This event took place in a bar appropriately named Science Club. It was during this event that I met and had a long talk with Michael Capobianco - former President of SFWA. I don't need to go into the details of that discussion but I will say that he inspired me to become more involved in SFWA activities.

On the last night of the workshop, we were treated to a dinner at a very interesting restaurant called Busboys and Poets. The guest speaker was Jim Gates, winner of the National Medal of Science, former science adviser to the Obama administration, and a highly respected theoretical physicist.

One of the most interesting instructors--Raman Sundrum--spoke to us on the very last day. He presented a lot of information of great interest to science fiction writers and was such a clear and informative speaker that many of us kept him talking even while we was trying to eat lunch.

All-in-all, it was a wonderful experience that I hope to see repeated. It was obvious that this was the first time the workshop has been done and it did not run as smoothly as Launch Pad now does. Transportation to and from the airport as well as locally was a constant issue. One of the biggest complaints was the cancellation of the reactor tour. We were told that the university Director has the authority to allow anyone to visit the reactor except writers. At first, we thought they were joking, but this is an actual university policy. This struck many of the class as being discriminatory and several people felt offended. So, perhaps after attending the workshop there will be a few stories written about a certain nuclear reactor at the University of Maryland.

Thanks to the workshop, I now have a lot to process. Thanks to the people this workshop allowed me to meet, I have a lot of things to do relating to my writing.

Finally - and I'm asking everyone who reads this blog to please respond - Mr. Capobianco asked if I had any idea if the people who read my books are also the same people who attend conventions and read traditionally published science fiction. In order to try to answer that question I'm asking everyone who reads this blog to answer a few simple questions:

  1. Have you read at least one of my books?
  2. Do you also read traditionally published science fiction?
  3. Have you or do you think you might attend a science fiction convention?
Please send the answers to: author@dougfarren.com

2015-07-26

Productivity

Accomplishments this past week include:

  • Resurfaced my blacktop driveway.
  • Sealing the gap between the house and my cement sidewalk and back patio.
  • Charging and updating all of our computers (2 desktops, 2 laptops, and my netbook).
  • Chased a steam locomotive from just outside of Youngstown to Ashtabula.
  • Caught up on a bunch of television shows that have been sitting on the hard drive for a long time.
You will notice that writing does not appear in the list. I have been putting off doing some things around the house because of my desire to write. Last week, I decided to catch up on the growing list of things that needed done. I will have time to write this coming week while I'm at the Schrodinger Sessions.

I did manage to get a small amount of writing done. Dragonverse Origins currently stands at 53,695 words.

Next week, I will be attending The Schrodinger Sessions, a 3-day course on quantum physics at the Joint Quantum Institute located just north of Washington D.C. in Maryland. Several of my Launch Pad acquaintances will be attending as well. Merrie Haskell (Launch Pad acquaintance) will be driving to my house and we will ride together from here in my car. I'm looking forward to the trip: I get to spend some time with an award-winning author; I get to see a few of my author acquaintances again; I get to learn some quantum physics; And, I will be meeting up with a group of alumni from the International Space University (www.isunet.edu) as well as some local authors. This meeting will take place in a bar called (appropriately) Science Club (www.scienceclubdc.com).
 
My wife is still asleep and words that must become part of Dragonverse Origins are jumping up and down in my head wanted to snuggle up next to the others that are already in the novel. Time to start writing.

2015-07-19

WorldCon Panel Schedule



Dragonverse Origins now stands at 53,000 words. Feedback from my content editor has been very positive. I'm looking forward to his detailed comments. Much editing will have to be done to turn this into a finished novel.

I've been reading the material I finally received from SFWA. (Two previous welcome packages never arrived. The third arrived opened but the contents were all there. Thanks to Kate Baker for sending out the replacement packages.) Being a member of SFWA has been a goal of mine since I published my first book. Being accepted as a member meant a lot to me. Going to WorldCon as a panelist as well as a SFWA member...well...words cannot adequately describe how I feel.

I've been reading the SFWA bulletin included in the welcome package as well as the other material. I am amazed to discover I know quite a number of the people that are mentioned as well as the authors of some of the material. I know these people because of my connection to Launch Pad. It has been an amazing journey since I first attended Launch Pad and I can only imagine what the future is going to bring. I owe Mike Brotherton a huge debt.

My WorldCon schedule is finalized. If you are planning on attending WorldCon, please look me up. here are the panels I will be on:

Self-publishing — How To Do It
Thursday 11:00 - 11:45, Conference Theater 110 (CC)
Once your book is written, what next? Successful self-published authors explain how to go from manuscript to completed book, or ebook. (This panel discusses the sources, processes and procedures. Marketing and promotion are covered in a separate panel.)

Stu Segal (M), Doug Farren , Nick Mamatas, Linda Nagata, H.M. Jones

Launchpad Meetup
Friday 18:00 - 18:45, 401C (CC)
Have you attended a past Launchpad? Would you like more information about Launchpad http://www.launchpadworkshop.org/about/


Stroll with the Stars
Saturday 09:00 - 09:45, Breezeway/Statue (CC)
A gentle morning stroll with some of your favorite authors, artists and editors. Meeting each morning at 9AM in the Breezeway between the INB Theater and the Convention Center (check your map), and returning in time for 10AM programming.

Stu Segal (M), Kevin J. Anderson, Paolo Bacigalupi, Troy Bucher, Vincent Docherty, Doug Farren, Toni Weisskopf, Connie Willis

The Future of "Back to the Future," or, just where is my flying skateboard?
Saturday 12:00 - 12:45, 401C (CC)
In 1985 Marty McFly set the dial on the DeLorean to 30 years in the future. As we approach 10/21/15, the date Marty set, does 2015 bear any resemblance to the future of "Back to the Future"? Panel discussion of imagined futures versus realities.

Stephen Segal (M), Troy Bucher, Neil Clarke, Doug Farren, Megan Frank

Finance for Writers
Saturday 14:00 - 14:45, 303A (CC)
What are the implications for writers under contract to a publisher vs. self-published writers? Tax issues

Gail Carriger, Doug Farren, Madeleine Robins, Kevin Wiley

The New Space Opera
Saturday 15:00 - 15:45, 302AB (CC)
We've come a long way since the days when "space opera" was a derogatory term. Many of SFs best writers over the last 20 years have written space opera. What's made the difference?

Rich Horton (M), Jeffrey A. Carver, Ann Leckie, Charles Stross, Doug Farren

Self-publishing — How to Market Your Work
Saturday 16:00 - 16:45, 303A (CC)
Your manuscript is done, you've found your printer, uploaded your files, and your book is done. Now how the heck do get people to buy it? Successful self-published authors share their methods.

Sarina Dorie, Doug Farren, Kameron Hurley, Annie Bellet