Monday, 3 October 2016

I CAN SEE THE MATRIX (or my Beautiful Mind moment)

Two weeks ago something clicked and I finally, finally understood an element to the science I'd been studying.  It was an aspect that I had been struggling with.  It's funny how a different approach (namely by a different author) can make all the difference.  I was introduced to it via a new analogy and bam!  There it was.  I got it.  I had a Beautiful Mind moment where everything added up and it was awesome.
(I'd just like to say that the concept I understood was somewhat simple when compared to other elements of quantum mechanics but my brain completely and utterly refused to get to grips with it, so there).
So I saw the Matrix, felt good about myself for a good two or three minutes, and then reality came and smacked me between the eyes again.

My book makes no sense.

The science does not work.


I remember reading (or hearing?) a rule that applies to science fiction writing.  Provided the rest of the story is sound, the audience will normally overlook (or go with) one or two things that may not be entirely factually accurate, or that remain unexplained.
Let me elaborate:  I've recently rewatched Moon.  It's awesome, I love it, but there are, of course, a few things that are never fully explained, probably because it would ruin the pacing and aren't particularly necessary to understand in order to "get" the film.  The most glaring omission (by that I mean the most present one that you are confronted with throughout) is the existence of gravity within the base the main character inhabits.  There probably is an explanation and it probably makes sense.  But I'm happy not to sit there and obsess about it because the rest of the film feels right to me and doesn't force me to make any big logic jumps.  
(As I write this I am now obsessing that this is a terrible example - but go with it, please?  I'm just trying to make a point!)
So what I am saying is that, provided the science in the book (or movie) makes sense (at least, the type of sense a layman like myself and most of the audience believe to be correct) then you tend to forgive something that may not add up, or may be left unexplained.
Unfortunately, I'm aiming for hard sci-fi with proper, full on, no-holds-barred science.  So the glaring issues in my book just are unforgivable.
And, honestly, even if it wasn't hard sci-fi, the jumps I make in terms of what is actually possible would probably push this book into the fantasy side of sci fi.  Maybe I am being a little too harsh there, but really, it's just not okay.  Not good enough.

So I scrapped it!

If anyone reads this blog regularly (or when I do post) then they'll know that I recently cracked 25k words and that I was proud of that.  I am still proud of that, but it isn't going to stop me from shelving this book and starting again.

And start again I shall.

The Matrix moment was worth it, even if it meant that I realised I had to give this story up.  At the time, and for about a week afterwards, I was lost in this awful mire of frustration and confusion where I knew that I wanted to write something, I felt I had it in me, but I couldn't figure out what it was.

Wait for know what's coming!

Yes - I worked through it.  I have a new story.  And I think it makes sense!
It may not, of course.  I may be writing a very similar blog post in a few weeks time, lamenting my foolishness.  Sure, that would suck, but for the moment I feel more positive and on more solid ground than I was before.  And it's okay that I've lost a few month's worth of productivity, because the process to get here was also worth it.


I want to apologise before writing any more.  These blog posts are a little formulaic - they generally contain a story of me realising something bad and then working through it, ending on a positive, upbeat note. 

What I offer in these posts is a cut down version of the mental process, so in a few short paragraphs you reach the end without having to come on a magical journey of self-discovery with me.  Believe you me, the middle bits when I realise that I suck at science really, well, suck.
But I keep on going, because writing is like...super important.  It's something I just have to do.  Annoyingly upbeat, yes?

(I've just realised that these posts actually end up like the plot to most every episode of House.  Bad thing happens, team works through it, team nearly loses faith, team works it out, team saves life.  It's like that except for the whole saving a life thing.  And most of the other parts.  Okay, maybe my blog posts aren't like an episode of House.  Maybe closer to an episode of Postman Pat.  I think I'm still giving myself and this blog entirely too much credit.)  

Check back next week for more vomit-inducing content!

Sunday, 11 September 2016


What is success to me?


It sounds simple and vague, or perhaps too complex to really mean anything.  I don't know which of those things it is and isn't, and I'm not sure there is any virtue to trying to examine the concept without...well, examining the concept.
I used to think happiness and success were the same thing, and that success meant power, money, people liking me, position, possessions.  The sort of thing a lot of us equate to success, I suppose.  But all of this is ephemeral.  I cannot control any of these things, just as King Canute couldn't control the tide.  The moment I pinned my happiness on being successful in these particular respects, I was already onto a loser.  I can't control any of these things and yet, here I was trying desperately to do just that.  Even if I attained any one of those, or many of those, wouldn't my life just be spent trying to maintain these standards?  How can that make me happy?
I think this is where I first started.  I stopped thinking that to be happy I had to be successful.  I'd seen enough successful people who were stressed, angry and miserable.  This isn't to say everyone is like that, but I guarantee you that their happiness isn't entirely based in any of the things I listed above.  So I began to wonder what happiness was, as it seemed to be illusive.  That's when I realised that learning to be happy is a huge success in itself.

To quote Matthieu Ricard:
Authentic happiness is not linked to an activity; it is a state of being, a profound emotional balance struck by a subtle understanding of how the mind functions.

Stuff can't really make you happy.  It can give you joy, sure, same as a lovely compliment or, I don't know, a tasty latte with a muffin for breakfast.  But it's not going to make me feel much for long, no matter how big the muffin.  Happiness isn't living in a state of perpetual joy.  That's different emotion.  Equally, happiness isn't about not being unhappy.  This is where a lot of people get confused, I think.  Happiness is letting go of trying to be anything, really.  It's about letting go of trying not to be depressed, for example.  I get depressed.  Usually it's because I'm trying to control things outside of myself.  Or judging myself based upon how I've read the world that day.  But I've learnt to attribute my feelings to that and to be introspective, without wallowing in self-pity.  When I'm there, thinking about it, I remember to greet the negative emotions as a visitor at the door.  I acknowledge them without being distant or trying to push them away, and then, when I'm ready, close the door again.  I'm not going to force the visitor to leave, however unpleasant they may be.  They can stay if they need to.  And I don't judge myself for that (most of the time).

Anyway, happiness is not trying to stop being other things.

Something that went a long way to helping me understand how to adopt this way of thinking is about learning how important the ego is to day-to-day life.  It dictates a lot.  It tells us that we LIKE this or we ARE that and suchlike...but why must it push us around that much?  When it does, it's practically bossing us around and telling us to be upset, angry, joyful, elated...etc. etc.  So to let it go is to help free oneself of misreading the world around us, to stop attributing values to things that essentially have none, other than what we give them.

To quote Matthieu Ricard, who described this process as (and I paraphrase poorly here) not trapping myself as water in a glass.  Those boundaries are self-imposed.  Why must I be one thing or another?  Why can't I be an ocean that just undulates?  Anyone who knows me knows that I dislike labels.  I wouldn't want to limit myself to being any one thing or another, and then to feel bad or embarrassed or apologetic if/when that were to change.  I am not static, and neither is the universe.  Every moment my body is shedding particles of numerous types of matter.  I am not the same person physically year to year.  Even my braincells alter, die and are replaced.  So why would I ever want to trap myself, my personality, in time like an insect in amber?  It goes against the very nature of existence.  So I try not to.  I try to

And I suppose this is what happiness is to me.  And what I see success as.  But the latter doesn't matter to me so much, as it changes day to day and a lot of the time doesn't come into my thinking about myself at all.  I know to some people this might sound arrogant, but, again, I can't control that and that's okay.  Think what you will - that's the joy of being your own person.  I'm just me and some days that's hard, I get upset, I get manic, I can be rude and I can be awful, but that's okay because at the very centre, I am not trying to be anything to anyone else.  I am not trying to make someone else feel bad.  I am not trying to make someone else hurt.  Why would I want to do any of those things?  It doesn't feed into my own sense of wellbeing and happiness - even the little thrill of bringing someone down a peg or two doesn't last.  It's transitory and unsatisfactory.  Why do it?  So most of the time I don't.  It's a waste of energy, of time and of me.  In fact, if I were to invest in an emotion, why not try some generosity?  Some friendliness?  What does that bring me?  It's a good feeling.  It's nice to help.  It feels good - and yes, I know, that sounds very selfish.  Charity for my own purposes.  Not really charity then, is it?  It's a really complex subject, and I would say it comes after the first bit about achieving your own happiness.  When you are okay in yourself, you extend that to others and not for your own benefit, because you aren't interested in benefiting yourself at all anymore.  Just as you aren't interested in hurting other people to benefit yourself, you aren't interested in feeling good because you are being nice.  You are just happy regardless of the reaction.  I think I'll write separately on this.  Otherwise you'll be here all night.

Regardless of what I've written here, I don't have it yet.  I don't know what "it" is, to be honest.  Maybe "it" is enlightenment?  Who knows.  Either way, this is something that I've understood on a level deep enough to make my life better.  I want to be happy, being happy isn't an emotion, a response to stimuli, it is a state of wellbeing.  And it isn't always pretty, and it is often hard, but I hope that whatever happens in my life, I will always be working to exist in a state that cultivates it.

So, in answer to your question: success to me is learning about happiness and cultivating it.  But I'm not looking to be I have no idea where that leaves me, or this post.

Thanks for reading.


Okay so I went through my favourite book on the matter (Happiness by Matthieu Ricard) and grabbed a few choice quotes that I like.

Rabindranath Tagore - "We read the world wrong and say that it deceives us."

We take for permanent things that are ephemeral and for happiness that which is but a source of suffering: the desire for wealth, for power, for fame, and for nagging pleasures.

Our desires are boundless and our control over the world is limited, temporary and, more often than not, illusory.

Happiness is not given to us, nor is misery imposed.  At every moment we are at a crossroads and must choose the direction we will take.

These are only passing, sometimes morbid states of elation that, like moments of positive euphoria, have nothing to do with happiness.

Authentic happiness is not linked to an activity; it is a state of being, a profound emotional balance struck by a subtle understanding of how the mind functions.

Suffering and unhappiness are different.  Suffering can be triggered by numerous causes over which we sometimes have power, and sometimes none.  Unhappiness is altogether different, being the way in which we experience our suffering.

Understanding that we are neither perfect nor completely happy is not a weakness.  It is a very healthy acknowledgement that has nothing to do with self-pity, pessimism, or a lack of self-confidence.

Friday, 9 September 2016


I've cracked it.
I've worked out the best form of procrastination!

Book research.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am in the process of writing a piece of Hard Science Fiction.  Despite the somewhat serious setback I experienced a few weeks ago (see this entry for my tale of woe) I'm going to break 25k words tonight and I'm still enjoying writing it (that last part is pretty important - I have in the past forced myself to continue writing something I just wasn't enjoying anymore).  It does, however, require a level of understanding of quantum mechanics.

I graduated with a degree in International Politics.  I stopped studying Physics at AS Level for a reason.

So I have bought books.  A lot of books.  All deal with the basics of quantum mechanics, its history, all the leading theories (having them explained by different authors in a variety of different ways has been immensely valuable to my learning) and a couple focus on the area of application I am interested in: The Many Worlds Theory.  All good, right?
Well, not really.
It's really impacted upon my productivity.

This process has been really enjoyable, don't get me wrong, I have expanded my understanding of a fundamental area of science and my life is richer for it; appreciating just how amazing the universe is does something wonderful for perspective of day-to-day issues, I'll tell you that much.  It has, however, proved to be somewhat of a rabbit hole.  I want to keep studying, over writing.  There are many things that just don't click with me and I want them to, I want to understand it beyond a level probably necessary for my novel.  I keep telling myself that it'll make the science in it better in the long run and, yes, it may do but for the basic draft that I am trying to write it is hardly necessary.

So, yeah.  Try researching a novel.  It'll really help if you don't want to commit energy to, you know, actually writing it.

On reflection, I really don't need this depth of understanding as my novel is moving away from some of the themes I thought it was going to be focused on.  I just went back and read the beginning, and can see how far the story has deviated from where I set out.  This is natural and organic and all those good things, but it further proves my point that I don't need to be spending so much time reading books on quantum mechanics.  It is following a slightly different theme, bringing in elements of philosophy and psychology (I did a fair amount of "research" in those areas for another project, now collecting digital dust on my hard drive) to set this story apart from other, similar projects.  Perhaps it is time to accept that maybe this won't end up being the book I wanted it to be.  Maybe it won't be Hard Science Fiction at all, in the end.

Oh, there is a temptation to bin it on that basis alone.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is hard to realise and then accept that the thing you had your heart set on making just isn't coming together.  I have wanted to write hard sci fi for a while, dedicated time to researching it, but now find myself meandering off into areas that I didn't expect it to.  But then, I have to remind myself that that's okay and I can keep on writing this to see what it turns out to be.  Who knows, it might organically come back to what it originally was meant to be.  I'm still pushing through the nagging sense of disappointment and frustration, but, as I said before, it is going too well to just throw away.
Well, for now at least.

Anyway - pro tip: book research.  A great way to not get stuff done but how to pretend to yourself and others that you are getting stuff done.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

This book sounds familiar...?

So here I am, merrily tapping away, writing a new book.  It's going well.  It's the first project to break 20k words in a couple of years.

In a completely unrelated occurrence, a book arrives in the post for me.  I can't remember ordering it, although I must have because it...well...arrived in the post.  For me.  This isn't uncommon (not things arriving in the post, but me preordering books and then forgetting about them.  It's like Christmas every so often when unexpected presents appear).

As soon as I read the blurb to remind myself of what it is I've ordered, I have a weird moment of weird.
This book sounds familiar.
So I start to read it.  Quickly.  Without enjoying it.  I read it within a day just to get through it.
Yeah...this is my book.  And I don't mean, this copy in my hand is my book.  This book is telling the story I've been working so hard on.
Oh, crap.

Okay, let's break this down.  So I ordered a book and then forgot about it, only to crack on with a writing project that, oddly enough, is incredibly similar to this very real, very published novel that I am holding in my hands.
I know what you're thinking.
I started this project after ordering this book.  I forget having read a plot line from the blurb, and then end up taking it as my own and created my own book from it.
Sorry, but there are two flaws to this supposition:
1) The blurb isn't that informative.  It's informative enough to give me the sinking feeling that it may be a little similar to my own work, but not enough for me to create an entire story from it (if you see what I mean).
2) I started my project before I preordered this book (I checked my Amazon order history).
(Perhaps I should have started with point 2...)

The funny thing is that the story is about quantum mechanics and the Many-Worlds interpretation of a number of leading theories, specifically Schrodinger's equations.  It's entirely made funnier because of this fact.  With the possibility of a new, tangential universe being created with every observation made by every possible observer then, of course, there is a universe in which two people end up writing the same story.  Anyway, moving on from this, I'm thinking practically about it.
It's not unreasonable to say that this type of Sci-Fi is very in at the moment, so it's not surprising that I've come across a piece of work that is akin to mine.  Except, the applied science used in this book (I refuse to name it - I refuse to!) is pretty much my own.  So not only have we written on the same topic, but we have taken it to the same level in terms of deriving technology from it that would, essentially, allow the protagonists to access other alternate worlds.  That's weird.  After that, of course the stories are going to be similar as the same ethical and philosophical ponderings are bound to come up.
So, yeah.

Surprisingly, it hasn't stopped me from pushing on.  I decided, once I finished the book, that I could do better.  And I would do better.
The science isn't in depth enough.  I'm aiming for hard sci-fi, the stuff that makes your head hurt on the first reading.  I'm working my buns off trying to wrap my own head around elements of science that I never thought I'd ever want to get to grips with and I'm not going to let that go to waste.  
The published story is, at its heart, not about the science either.  It's a love story.  And that's okay, it works, it makes it more mainstream (and I really don't mean that as an insult!) but I'm not looking to take away from the central themes of identity and probability and all that good stuff in mine, so I'm not diluting mine down.  Even if that makes it less marketable.  I'm writing this for me, I suppose.

I hope this means something to others out there who have found themselves in a similar boat.  I know your pain.  And it takes a lot to just accept the reality that someone else out there, effectively, beat you to it.  Of course, I wish the book didn't exist, but it does, however I'm going to outdo it.  That's my resolution.

(If you want to know which book it is, let me know.  It's a pretty good read, if you aren't rushing it...)

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Just keep on writing, just keep writing, just keep writing

Sometimes you just have to push through.

On nights like these, it's a real struggle to write anything of substance and I have (and probably will tonight) walk away from my projects with this sense that the stuff I've just put down is nonsense.  
It's hard not to find that depressing or frustrating.
On nights like these, I have to remind myself that at least I did something.

I used to wallow in self-pity when I hit blocks like this and ended up brutally editing stuff I'd just written because I knew it was bad and wasn't up to the calibre I'd expect of myself.  Then I realised that that was the worst thing I could do.  Mostly because it ended up with having nothing left after ripping it apart and I ended up feeling worse about myself for having wasted valuable time to arrive back where I'd started when I'd first sat down.

It's very hard, but allowing yourself to write crap and silencing that inner voice that is telling you to go back and just delete it is super super important.  It feels like continuing to run when you have a stitch.  Well, sort of.  Clearly I don't mean it physically feels like that, but in terms of just pushing through the barrier and continuing on, even if the goal is so far ahead that you can't see it, writing and running feel quite similar.  You go through these periods of not doing your best.  You stumble, run out of puff, start walking, stop, start, stop again, feel like quitting...eventually, however, you (hopefully) continue on and accept the fact that this may end up being the worst race you've ever run but, at least, you're going to finish it.
Wow, that was a long sentence.  See?  Shitty writing all over the place.

Tonight I'm allowing myself to spew out terrible prose.  It's there still because it's contributing towards my goal, even if most of it ends up being edited out it's still forwarding the story.  Without it, I'd still be stuck in the same spot.  At least I'm moving past a bit that I'm clearly not doing well with for whatever reason.  Hopefully, when I return to it, I'll be able to hit that bit with a little more focus and enthusiasm, making more out of it than the first time.  What's good, and what I have to remind myself of, is that it's content at the least.  I have an idea of what I want to happen, even if it isn't very well explained or whatever.  I've been in worse situations where I have written myself into a corner and can't find a way out.  That really really sucks.  That's when you know that it's either a lengthy rethink and rewrite needed to make it work or allowing a massive plothole to form right there and then.  I've had to settle for the latter and just continue writing.  That leaves you with a sinking feeling, I'll tell you.
Maybe because I've had that experience, knowing that I'm writing crap tonight isn't so bad.  At least it makes sense in the grand scheme of things and is pushing me forward.

I've had similar experiences at Uni with writing essays.  You can get in such a muddle with everything you want to say and explain that you can end up writing awful waffle.  That's another instance where deleting and waiting for the "perfect" rendition of the work to spontaneously pour out of your mind and appear on the screen is completely the wrong thing to do.  You're getting bogged down in the detail.  Again, I had to allow myself to have verbal diarrhoea a few times until the word count was hit, before wading back through the nonsense to weed out the stuff that mattered.  That ended up working quite well and it's definitely translated well to writing.

The new project I'm working on, The Aperture, is generally going very well so, when it comes to nights like tonight, I just have to ignore the doubt and frustration and take a page out of Dory's book.

Pixar FTW.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Writing is about accepting that you may be embarrassed later...

Confession inbound, people.

I used to write fan fiction.

Somewhere, buried deep in the darkest depths of the internet, hidden on a long-forgotten forum are some incredibly cringe-worthy bits of Dark Angel fan fiction.

If anyone remembers Dark Angel then, congratulations, you win many cool points (only redeemable in conversation with me, and what for I don't know*).  If you don't, then you aren't missing a great deal, just mostly Jessica Alba racing around Seattle on the back of a motorcycle and beating up villains whilst wearing heels.  Well, I say all this but truthfully I quite like the series still and [EDIT: I had to go back after finishing this blog and redact what was almost an entire paragraph critiquing the series.  I'll bore you with that in person, unless you have cool points to spend and can cash them in to avoid that happening entirely].

Let's get back to the point (there was one, I promise).  I have come to terms with the fact that I probably embarrassed myself then with my fan fiction and may be doing exactly the same now with The Great Hand.  At least this project isn't essentially me living out my teenage fantasy of being a slim, athletic super hero.  It is, however, a reflection of me (unsurprising considering I wrote it, right?) and that's just a tiny bit terrifying.  I'm a private person (other than my propensity to bother my friends with entirely too many pictures of my daughter) and prefer to keep my life to myself, but here is an iteration of me on the screen (maybe one day on paper) for everyone to examine.  Button, my protagonist, is confused, anxious and lost at the beginning of the book.  I won't spoil it for everyone by revealing whether this state endures until the end, but it's safe to say that these character traits dictate a lot of her decisions.  I was a total mess throughout most of my early twenties and Button became the vessel for a lot of this angst.  Now, I'm happy to say, I have plenty enough distance on this period in my life that I am able to look at her and her behaviour and see it as alien to my own, but I'm still working on not finding her embarrassing.
Because I do.
I find my fictional character embarrassing.
This is because I'm still too close to it to be able to go "hey, it's fine that Button is essentially me at that age.  It's totally okay that that's out there for almost anyone to see.  I'm absolutely, 100% cool about that.  In fact, I embrace it!"  Still, I'm doing it, the book is out there, I'm letting it be and will have to just deal with the consequences.  This isn't even touching on other concerns which include worrying as to whether my spelling and grammar are right (I know there are still errors aplenty abound in there - I WILL FIND THEM AND DESTROY THEM).    

Okay, so my point (here it is, I told you it was coming) is that I am prepared to be embarrassed at some later stage in my life when something about this project comes back to bite me in the bottom.  At least with my DA FF (as we called it in the business), it's buried and it only came to the attention of a few fans on a forum that probably doesn't exist anymore**.  This, however, is on the internet good and proper AND I've drawn it to the attention of my friends, the people who I don't intend to cut and run from if it turns out that this was all a horrible mistake.  Or when.  When this turns out to a horrible mistake.

Despite all this, however, I'm going to keep doing it and will have to keep bracing myself for the outcome.  And I think more people should do the same.  Put up your stuff, even if it's just a rough draft or whatever the equivalent is, whether it's painting or modelling or vlogging or amateur porn, because I am pretty sure that you get better a lot quicker when other people are involved***.  If you're lucky, like I am, you'll have friends who'll review your work and give you pointers or support or both.  You may even be surprised, as I have been.  People who don't know me, who only have my work to go on, have actually bought my book.  Real, honest to Hand, humans with actual money have paid for my book.  They may never get it if I don't reach my goal (PLUG PLUG) but still, that's incredible and has made me feel pretty good.  That wouldn't have happened if I hadn't of risked the embarrassment.

Okay, I think that made sense.  Most of it.  Enough of it.

Speak soon,
Sammy Bee

*Please avoid the obvious joke.
** Please nobody try to prove me wrong and find the stuff.  Your eyes will probably bleed as soon as you look upon it.
***Particularly when it comes to porn AMIRITE

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Welcome and Inkshares

Hello hello!

Welcome to this...whatever this is...enjoy reading my thoughts, if that's at all possible.

I want to get straight into it and talk about Inkshares.

Here's where my campaign to get published is right now.

I went into this completely unprepared, on a whim, almost.  I've never really tried to get published, other than send my manuscript to a few publishers and agents.  This is my first real attempt...and it's not a brilliant one at that, either.  After first getting over the immediate shock of the fact my work is up there for serious, real writers to see I then moved onto realising that to get this to happen I'd actually have to show faith in my work and ask people to support it.  I don't do that.  I've never done anything like that.  I used to hate the idea of anyone reading my work for fear of them criticising what is a very important part of my life, one that I have kept under wraps for a long time.  Still, I did it and here I am, talking about it.  

What I really wanted to say about Inkshares is how it's already done me a world of good.  For anyone reading who hasn't clicked the link above (how dare you!) or doesn't know me personally, therefore hasn't received one of a bajillion updates on the campaign already, you'd think that me saying it's been a good move is because I've gained loads of preorders already.
Well, I haven't.  Not really.
This isn't to sound ungrateful - please don't take it as that.  I am eternally thankful to my friends and those awesome people on Inkshares who don't know me for putting actual money in to support me.  What I mean is that Inkshares gives you this crazy chart of how many preorders you need to be generating a day or week or whatever to hit your goal and I am nowhere near that.  Not to say that it won't happen, that I won't have a late surge of support, but I have honestly (already) made my peace with the idea that I probably won't hit my funding goal.  I'm only a week in.  Chalk that up to whatever you like, realism or negativity or whatever.  In any case, that's where I am now.
So what I mean by "it's done me a world of good" is that I've had a chance to talk with other real writers.  People like me who probably don't have a hope in hell of attracting a publishing house to them and not because their work is bad, but because this area is just saturated with amateur authors and budding manuscripts and you need to already have x number of accolades against your name to even get noticed.  Oh, and an agent.  That helps.
Anyway, here I am having joined an awesome Syndicate (shout out to Break The Bechdel With Strong Female Characters!) and started chatting with some of its members.  I also paid money to support another author and intend to do more of the same, once I'm not so poor.  It's pretty awesome, actually.  I am helping other people achieve their ambitions (in a small way, admittedly) but it's lovely and I'm enjoying trying to help get some great pieces of work off the ground.  As I've said, I have made peace with the idea that I probably won't hit my goal but that's okay, because going forward I would have made some great connections with other authors and maybe have gained a readership, however modest.

So, go check out my book if you like, I think it's pretty good.  Going forward, I am feeling positive about another project I started a month or two ago.  It's a voyage into hard Sci-Fi and it's kicking my bum, but that's okay.  My brain feels like its pooling and dripping out of my ears some days, although that may be me feeling the effect of trying to write after having a giggling toddler wake me up at 4:30am.  Who knows?

Speak soon,
Sammy Bee