Friday, September 24, 2010

The Wings of Leonardo

I've always been fascinated with Leonardo daVinci.  His ability to think outside of the box and to create new ideas was amazing.  But, what if he had the ability to peer into the future, to see the results of his creations?  That is the thought behind my latest short story, The Wings of Leonardo.  I came up with the idea last week, spent the week writing it, then did the edit and first submission today.  Whew!

One of my problems is that I always have too many ideas.  Even this morning, as I woke up, I came up with a new idea for a story dealing with time travel.  I'll chew on it for awhile, flesh it out, and keep it on the back burner for when I find time to actually work on it.  As I tell my wife - too much to do, not enough Tim!

Friday, September 17, 2010


Control Z is my savior!  I've been working on a new short story called "The Wings of Leonardo".  I was using yWriter5 software on my laptop and I was in the heat of creativity.  The thought juices were flowing and the synapses were firing in perfect harmony.  In the middle of a major paragraph, with a total word count of over 1000, everything became highlighted and disappeared.  I was devastated!  I stared at the blank box for what seemed like an eternity.  Normally I use a usb mouse with my laptop.  Not this time - in my rush to crank out some content during my lunch break, I only grabbed my laptop.  No power cable, no mouse.  That was my mistake.  I have an awesome laptop.  A Toshiba.  However, I'm not a fan of the track pad.  It's very sensitive.  While in the middle of madly typing away, a stray thumb - yes, a stray, since I wouldn't in my right mind completely delete my story on purpose - decided to hit the track pad in a way that caused all of my text to be highlighted.  This happened so quickly, that my other fingers (which were behaving themselves) were madly typing away.  This immediately caused the highlighted story to be replaced by the newly entered characters.  Thus, the full disappearance of my story. 

After the initial shock washed over my entire mental being, a very well known set of keys suddenly came to mind - CTRL & Z!  I quickly entered the magical keys, not knowing if yWriter5 had the intelligence to know what to do with them.  Success!  I was so happy to see my story reappear that I almost got up to do a dance around the conference room.  Which would have been very embarrassing if one of my work mates had walked by.  Getting my senses, I followed up with a nice Alt-S, to save.  Whew!

Now wouldn't it be nice if we had a Ctrl-Z for those real-life slips, mistakes, and faux pas?  "Yes dear, those pants do seem a little tighter than they used to be."  Oooops - Ctrl-Z!  Whew - saved.  "Hey boss, my favorite show is on tonight.  So, I'll get that report to you tomorrow afternoon instead of the morning."  Ctrl-Z!  Job saved!

Is it too much to ask to have a nice 5 second Ctrl-Z?  Anything over 5 seconds would mean that you were either too slow, too drunk, or too stupid to figure out how to get out of your sticky situation.  In that case all bets are off, and you have to deal with the consequences.  Besides, if you drop a nice luscious chocolate on the floor - don't you get 5 seconds to recover it before it's polluted beyond being edible?  (Crawling babies have no time limits, by the way.)  Any time past 5 seconds makes it totally inedible.  Makes perfect sense to me.

However, knowing us humans, we would tend to start to abuse our Ctrl-Z.  "No, I'm not going to mow the grass!"  Ctrl-Z!  "What makes you think I care about the grass?"  Ctrl-Z!  "No, you go mow the grass!"  Ctrl-Z!  Then when we feel we've gotten it out of our system, "Yes dear, I'll go cut the grass now."  I could also see lawyers trying to figure out how to make a new plea in 5 seconds or less.

So, maybe it's good we're limited to the real Ctrl-Z's in our lives - "I'm sorry.  I love you.  Yes, I'm listening," seem to work pretty well.  Then there's the silent Ctrl-Z that I like to use - a hug!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Garar's Secret

In a single morning, I came up with a short flash fiction piece, wrote it, and then submitted it to Daily Science Fiction.  It was rejected.  So, what the hey, I figured I would post it here for everyone's enjoyment.  Feel free to comment.  Be brutal or be kind - I can take it.  Thanks for reading.

Garar's Secret
[Image courtesy of Dan via]
I remember the days when there used to be water everywhere.  There were lakes, rivers, and streams.  We would drink from the trees and play in the river.  The river would flow high enough that I could actually lift my feet from the bottom.  The trees were many then.  You would have been proud to see them.  So tall that they would almost disappear into the sky.  They would reach the clouds and feed the river with sweet, crystal clear, water.  Everyone was so happy back then.  Sometimes, when I look up into the clear sky, I can imagine the white globs of cotton slowly streaming across.  The trees would seem to tug at the puffy whites, drinking the floating moisture, and then pour it out into the rivers and streams.  I could almost see their leaves stretch a little further as a cloud would move past.  They so wanted to drink of the clouds.  I know that you could be like that.  Be able to drink from the clouds. 

It seems so long ago.  Now the clouds are gone.  The Olders refuse to tell me why.  I try to ask them about why the clouds are gone, and why the trees all died.  I'm sorry.  I don't want to make you sad.  It's just that the Olders look down on me and tell me to not dwell on the past.  To only focus on the future.  They point to the night stars and talk about how the fuel will carry us there.  Carry us to where the planets have abundant water.  But, I figured it out.  I know what they did!  The Olders took all the water to make their fuel.  They tell us that our planet is dying and that we need to leave.  I know they made our planet die by taking too much water.  Taking the clouds away.  Making the trees die.  They yell at me, "Garar go away!  Go play in your cave!  Leave us alone and let us work!"

So, I do my own work.  I'll play in my cave.  Deep in my cave, where the Olders cannot find me.  Where the Olders cannot find you.  My tree that I've raised from a tiny seed.  When I found you, you were just a dot on the edge of the dried out river.  I would talk to you after my portion of water. I watched you grow and I gave you a portion of my water.  And now look at you!  Your leaves are so beautiful.  I love how you reach up your leaves when I breathe upon you.

Before long, I will take you to the water.  When the Olders have gone.  They say they cannot take everyone.  So, I will stay with you.  You will soon see the water.  It is deep in the planet, in the caverns.  It is beautiful.  There is so much that it almost floats in the air.  I can smell it when I go there to gather portions for the Olders.  Soon, they will be gone.  I will carry you there and plant you by the water. And you will be able to breathe the water in the air.  I will bring my friends.  I will show them how we can all breathe to you and we will become your cloud.  I understand you.  You need water and planet to grow.  We too need water and planet to live.  You will grow and provide more water.  Your seeds I will take to the surface.  Once the Olders are gone.  Then I can point to the stars in the sky and yell at them, "Olders, go away!  Go play in your stars!  Leave us alone and let us play!"  Yes, my dear tree of water and life.  You will see.

Copyright (c) 2010, Timothy Trimble

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Classic or ePublishing?

There was an excellent posting on Gizmodo today, on why best selling authors are making the move to epublishers.  It's a hot debate that's been discussed in many writing forums, blogs, and magazines for quite a while.  However, I think the tide has turned.  With the Nook, Kindle, iPad, and the soon to be seen flood of tablet devices by the end of this year - it's clear that the use of paper based reading is on the way out.

In a way, it makes me sad.  There's something special about the feel of paper on the fingers.  The sense of progress being made, as a page is turned, to reveal the unfolding of the story - is hard to replace.  Although the convenience of pulling out your iPad, opening up iBook, and instantly be back at where you left off, has a great appeal.  Let's face it!  We're a society of instant.  Instant news, instant entertainment, and instant productivity.  But, that's another article I'll write about in the future.

From the angle of being a writer and looking for the best platform to distribute on, the article on Gizmodo carries a lot of weight.  I love the idea of having my work-in-progress book being picked up by Tor or one of the major publishing houses.  What I don't like is the idea of finishing the book, doing the edits, and then waiting 6 to 18 months before it comes out in print.  I'm sure most other authors feel the same way.

This has also given birth to a new type of publisher - the ePublisher!  They take your work, have you do the required edits, they package up the publication in an electronic format, and then they distribute to multiple outlets - those being Apple, Amazon, Sony, etc.  There's less risk to the publisher and lower cost for distribution.  The author gets a higher royalty rate, quicker distribution to market, and more exposure.

Are agents and classic publishing houses going to jump on-board?  Or are they going to be like the record publishers who have been slow to accept that the markets for CD's are being replaced by electronic distribution?  This is yet to be answered.

I, for one, am excited about the prospect of seeing my stories distributed via electronic media.  I'm one of those consumers who has already purchased books for my iPhone with the Kindle application.  However, plant me down in a comfortable lounge chair, in the shade, on a nice summer afternoon - what will I be reading?  A paper based book!  There's just something about being in a relaxing environment and reading a hard bound book.  But, if I'm sitting in the break room at work?  I'll be reading the news or a book on my iPhone.
[Image provided by Tina Phillips via]

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Foundation

Pouring a foundation
I've been writing fiction since I was a kid.  I never really did anything with the stories.  My idea of publishing at the time was to bind the hand written note paper with string, add covers stripped off an old 3-ring binder, write a fancy title on the cover in black marker, and then pass it around to my friends at school.  I actually still remember a few of the stories.  One was about a boy who shrunk down so small that he was able to meet people who lived on a planet the size of a molecule.  Another was about a treasure hunter who found a space ship under the ocean.  These always had leanings into science fiction.  I think it was due to my fascination with science itself and my early exposure to H.G. Wells and Andre Norton.

Back then, I never really had an interest in becoming a published writer.  Once I learned how to play guitar, nothing else mattered.  If I had stuck with the writing, my approach would have been to just start submitting my stories to some of the popular magazines.  Asimov's Science Fiction, Amazing Stories, and Fantasy & Science Fiction were the ones on the shelves at the time.  Once anyone got published there, it was just a matter of continuing the writing and submissions.  I think I missed the boat back then.

Today, my interest is back on the fiction writing.  I've managed to get a couple computer books under my belt, a few technical writing projects, and a whole slew of magazine articles - all having to do with non-fiction technology topics.  All the while, the stories are still sitting in the back of my head, asking to be set free.

With my new found writing focus, comes the realization of how it has to be done in today's world.  The paper based trades are slowly fading into electronic media.  Web sites, eBooks, eReaders, and hand-held media are becoming the standard for publishing.  If any author wants to get any kind of recognition for their writing, it's not just a matter of writing and submitting (while that might still work for some).  Now, an author needs to have a web presence - a web page, a blog, a twitter account, a Facebook site, and it looks like Ping (from Apple) is going to be the next big thing.  Basically, good author marketing requires a foundation in electronic media space - a presence.

So, I'm setting the main cornerstones into place.  This posting marks the beginning of my author based web site.  I'm not going the route of Facebook or MySpace.  I just don't feel that I need to play in that space in order to get exposure as a writer.  A publisher might tell me differently in the future.  I guess I'll play that tune when it comes.  For the time being, I'll maintain the web site, make some twitters here and there, and then write, submit, write, submit, write, and submit. Overall, I'm in this for my personal enjoyment - I love creating and telling stories.  If I can get those stories out, share them with a greater market, and possibly make a few credits in the process - then I'll be a happy camper.

Soon, this blogger space will become a part of  My old and un-maintained site will eventually go away.  And hopefully, this will be the start of a very enjoyable ride.  Feel free to hop on for the ride.  Let me know what you think.

Timothy Trimble