The home page for author Eric J. Juneau

Stopping By to Say Hello

giraffe pointing at duck

How are you all doing? I hope everyone’s enjoying Black Hole Son. I hope someone’s reading Black Hole Son.

I’m about 3/4 of the way through the Neil Gaiman master class. A lot of useful information in the beginning, good for fleshing out my novel. I’m more confident about it now, but I’m wstill super nervous about fleshing it out because I don’t have an full outline yet. After I’m done with this I’ll move onto Felicia Day’s book. And then I thought there was a third one I was going to look at but I don’t remember what it is. Maybe after it I’ll start the outline for Terraforming Romance. The book I’m reading now has a different style than what I’m used to. It’s a horror novel, but all the sentences are very short and simple, but the book is 751 pages long. I usually reflect my writing style on what I’m reading, but this is pretty different. I don’t like long sentences, but they could be longer than this.

I’m stil crocheting. It’s nice that I’ve got a desk now where I can put some of my figures. I probably look like an old lady with all these little cute snowman staring at me. I once made a bag that’s so long it goes down to my knees when I strap it on my shoulder.

My favorite thing has been listening to podcasts. Either I’ve picked the right ones, or they’re on a streak, but the car ride to work is a lot easier and shorter when I’ve got them going. I’ve also started working out. Trying to get to a Snap Fitness that’s two minutes away at least every other day. Not sure it’s doing me good, but it’s not doing me any worse, although it does feel like my blood pressure gets spiky after a cardio. But I’ve also been lifting weights and those make me feel buff. It helps that all my shirts are shrunken from drying them in the hot dryer.

I’m sorry this post is so badly written. It feels like I’m writing a high school diary. I just don’t have anything to talk about. Maybe I’m getting more complacent as I get older. The satisfaction with the things that are there instead of the things I want. I guess that’s a sign of maturity, but I see it as a sign that my spark is dying. I write the posts that I’m capable of at that time.

Job Woes

meh work computer

My blogging has been crap lately and I know it. Thankfully, it’s not because I haven’t been writing. I’ve been working on the first 13,000 words of Naga Story consistently, but I’m not having much good with productivity. Instead of churning 1,000 words a day, it’s more like 500-700. Not great. And it’s not like the outline isn’t there to help. I’m not sure what’s causing the slowdown. I’m not that depressed. I don’t think I’m that distracted. But it sure is disappointing.

I’ve been writing and I’m liking what I’m writing. I just haven’t felt like writing in the blog. Nothing personal feels interesting. There’s been nothing pop culture-y coming up that I like. Everything I liked when I was a kid, I feel like I’ve talked about it all. Even trying to use blog idea generators doesn’t work. I have no idea how to write an article titled “Why Back to the Future Beats Peanut Butter on Pancakes” or “What Mom Never Told You About MST3Ks” or “8 Things Your Boss Expects You to Know About Mermaids”.

To tell the truth, the things that’s been occupying my time lately (besides making cute crochet figures, but I don’t know how to put that in a blog) is job hunting. But I’m pretty hesitant to talk about that for obvious reasons. My names in the URL for crying out loud. So the last thing I want is anyone to know about job woes, either current or future. It’s cliche but I have no idea what I want to do. There’s probably a soulmate job out there for me, like the perfect woman for me, but I don’t know where it exists. I like being on the computer, but I like dinking around on the Internet, not setting up core kernels and Dockers.

But I’m also tired of “The Corporate World”. No matter what happens, they eventually forget you exist. The more senior you get, the worse they treat you, like a cult. They only pay attention when you mess up or middle-manage you. They don’t listen to your suggestions and advice, but they don’t leave you alone either. I’ve had seven jobs in tech since college and now I’m looking for another. Again, two years later, like I have a limit I can take. Or some alarm goes off in my head that says it’s time to move on. If I have to work for another company that says “oops, we have no processes for this and nothing documented” and throws up their hands, I’m going to puke.

I am that guy in Office Space–if I didn’t have a job, I would just do nothing. When I come home, I think about playing Breath of the Wild*, crocheting while watching a movie, or Internetting. In fact, that’s the reason why I’ve had to leave (either voluntarily or involuntarily) three of the seven jobs.

*God, I’m frickin’ obsessed with BOTW. I come home every day and try to play it. If I don’t play it, I get a sad. Like withdrawal. And that’s even when there’s no colorful characters in it.

I’m thirty-seven. I have two kids. I can’t just start over. I can’t cause that much upheaval for them. Who knows what’d happen? We all have to move to Seattle? They never see their father except on the weekends because he’s busy with work?

I spend about 10 hours of my day dedicated to work stuff. That includes driving there, lunch hour, and driving back. Essentially, not at comfy home. Then when I get home, I have about four hours before I have to go to bed. One hour of that is spent on dinner, especially if my wife needs help. Then I’m down to three hours. The kids go to bed at about 7:30-8, so less than an hour to spend with them. If I want to do any pre-bed reading, got to make time for that. I got incredibly resentful of my wife and kids this summer because they got three months off, dilly-dallying, going golfing, tubing at the lake. Meanwhile, what did I get to do? I got to work. Every weekday.

So where’s my time? What do I get? That’s why I don’t want to spend time at a job where I’m miserable (besides the misery itself). Because this is where I spend most of my time, and I want to enjoy it as much as I can. Might as well. Life is short. At least I can afford to be picky on these kinds of things. Even though it’s a pretty miserable job and there’s no team solidarity and the proxy fucking sucks, there are advantages–no one talks to me, I can stay pretty hidden, I don’t have to do much work at one time. So I can bide my time with recruiters doing most of the work for me.

But goddamn, these interviews. Something’s been trending these past few years where they want more and more interviews with you. First, I have to have one with whatever HR person or Director of Hiring the company has. Then they schedule a tech interview with someone that you probably won’t be working under. These are the strangest, because they can range from quiz questions like “What are the four levels of visibility in Java” to “Tell me about the last project you worked on.

The first example makes some sense — they need to suss out if you actually know Java or not–but it seems they are all getting their questions from the same resource, so eventually you learn the answers. The second doesn’t. It’s more subjective and I have to jibber-jabber about Spring and microservices which, as you know, I’m not good at. Not because I don’t know it, but because I’m not good at talking. So many times I end up having no more to say, but no way to end my blathering smoothly.

But why three? Why do you need three interviews? If I have three opportunities open at one time, that’s nine interviews I gotta schedule. And I hate scheduling, I hate talking to people, and I hate trying to explain my work. I mean, put me in front of an IDE, I can do what you need. But I can’t explain exactly how I do it, like how a musician can’t explain how he knows what the proper next note to play is. Plus a lot of tech questions are stuff that the compiler takes care of. I don’t have to remember when I can or can’t use static variables or private methods. The compiler lets me know when I biff. Like how a spellchecker means you don’t have to spell or a calculator in your pocket means you don’t need to know how to do math. Computers do it for you.

Job interviews are a mystery to me. I don’t know how any company gets what they need out of these phone interviews. I don’t know what the alternative would be. It’s weird cause I just had two very similar interviews with two different companies. One passed on me, the other loved me. Go figure.

First Fresh Post on the New Site

update

Okay, so this is my first real blog post on my new website. Hope it goes okay. Been doing a lot of tweaking and plugins and Search Engine Optimization stuff and it’s not easy to go through one thousand posts and make sure they’re all okay. There’ll be plenty of busywork for me. Which is fine–it means I have something to do while watching my YouTube videos.

So at this time, I’m supposed to be working on the second draft of Dwarves of Katie Elder. Six weeks have passed so the incubation period is finished. But… I’m not.

Two reasons: I’m, of course, scared to start on such a big project, um, again. Yeah, just writer nerves, I know.

Second, I got a keen idea for another erotica (porn). No fantasy things this time. Just a boy and girl, one scene, no fantasy hybrids or weird stuff. A quickie in both form and content. I thought I could bang it out in a few days (pardon the expression) and then start on dwarves. Am I procrastinating? I suppose. But that’s what tiggers writers do best. (Plus you’d think I’d be sick of erotica by this point.)

Fortunately, I should be able to finish the first draft in one more day, maybe two. The trick is not to slip up again and stop writing, then get worried that I haven’t written for a while, think I’ll be bad at it, and never do it again. That means I can start this Friday or next week.

Right now, the guy in the back of his mind is brushing one index finger against the other at me (the “shame, shame” thing, complete with blackboard). Yes, yes, shaming guy, I’m not gonna let it go that much longer. Dwarves’ll be the very next thing I tackle. (Although I’m not really looking forward to that dwarf music. Makes an appropriate ambience, but there are only so many times you can hear any variation of Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold.)

A Brief Check-In

check in

So I’m waiting the requisite six weeks before starting revisions on Dwarves of Katie Elder/The Mudbow Sisters/The Dwarf Sisters/???. In that time, I finished the first draft of a 30,000 erotica/porn thing that I started a while ago, but didn’t finish. My idea was to self-publish this and some other erotica stuff (since erotica is a hot seller on the eReaders) but under a different name. It’s experimental, so we’ll see if that pans out.

Also, my domain name finally got past the 60 day waiting period, so now I think I can start operation on making my website again.

I still believe in Defender, and I think about ways to improve it. More than Black Hole Son or Merm-8, I think that’s the story with the most commercial potential. But I have to rewrite it. I have to take out everything that makes it unappealing. Most importantly, making the main character less entitled. But doing so I untwist the main internal struggle–that he thinks he’s in the wrong category. That’s the very definition of entitled. Also, magic system needs work and the central conflict needs to move closer to the forefront. In other words, it needs a lot of architectural work.

Lately, I’m amusing myself by trying to remember what I named the stripper/bitch character in Black Hole Son. Was it Sapphire? Jade? Diamond? Some other mineral? A food? Candy? Cakey? I remember I was real proud of it, but now I can’t think of what it was.

So What’s Going On Lately?

disney infinity logo

I know you all get sick of my posts about Marvel heroes I don’t know and movie junk. The authorship is going okay. I’ve found a way to combine writing and not writing at the same time. Merm-8 should be getting re-released pretty soon by eTreasures publishing.

We recently got Disney Infinity for our Wii U. Well, my wife really got it as a birthday present to herself, but I’ve been playing when I can. It’s like Kingdom Hearts but simpler. It’s just the co-operative multi-gameplay I’ve been wanting. Too bad it’s now defunct.

Collecting the merchandise has been an interesting experience. On one hand, it’s super-discounted. On the other, it’s hard to find. And figuring out the mechanics of the game — I mean the collecting, the versions, what’s compatible and what isn’t — was a challenge. Disney does not put a lot on its site. I had to appeal to the good people of Reddit to find out what’s what. Also, I gotta download 500 toyboxes before they all go offline.

But I’ve been so obsessed I created my own Wishlist out of HTML and XML. I couldn’t find any owned/wanted lists out there that fulfilled all my needs, so I just made one of my own. It has pictures and you can filter by franchise, playset compatibility, version, etc. The disadvantage is that you have to edit the HTML to edit the data – an HTML file can’t write to itself. But at least it made me feel like I was playing the game when I was stuck at work, plus kept my coding skills sharp during a lull.

Speaking of keeping the skills sharp, I’ve been working on version 3.0 of my writing macros. The biggest change is that there is now a “main menu” all the macros can be invoked from – you don’t have to go to Tools->Macros->Run Macro, then find the one you want and so on. It’s my first GUI! I haven’t posted anything yet, because I want to QA it some more, and there are old bugs to remove. But you’ll know when it’s ready. And it should be easier to import too.

Speaking of keeping the skills sharp, my writing ones aren’t. I’ve finished up Princess Crossover, but I haven’t uploaded it yet. There are some new FF sites around, and I want to upload my catalog to them first. I don’t really have a reason, besides getting the work out there. Maybe it’s my OCD about keeping things even. But until that’s done, no uploady. And it wouldn’t be so bad if it was just a story at a time. But it’s a chapter at a time.

So next is some bad erotica. In the same vein of Milk & Honey and The Upgrades, but not fan fiction. And so far it’s all been fantasy creatures — centaurette, spider-woman (half-woman, half-spider) and possibly an Amazon warrioress in the future. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. Maybe try to sell it. Maybe self-publish on Amazon (I hear weird erotica does well there). I don’t think I have a career as an erotica writer. I’m basically just writing scripts for high-budget porn.

But the composing is like pulling teeth. Could be the story isn’t really
singing with me anymore. Could be that it’s just… weird. There’s plenty of time to write at my job, but I also get distracted easily. And the company puts a lot of restrictions on my computer. I’m behind a proxy, I can’t go to YouTube. Facebook and Twitter are blocked. I can read off a USB drive, but not copy or move anything around on it. Can’t open programs with the app I want. Starting up takes forever. I can’t remove icons from my system tray. And it asks me for a password every twenty seconds. I can’t even go to the page where Merm-8 is being published.

Besides that I’ve been looking at expanding my t-shirt wardrobe by perusing TeeFury.com. Sure are more ways to combine eighties art than I thought.

How’s It Going

I’m in-between big projects right now.  I finished a second draft of one story and partially did another. Don’t have a really great idea for my next novel, but I haven’t really looked through my notes either.  I could probably come up with something if I stared and let my mind wander.  But I keep coming back to this fan fiction I thought of.  It’s a long one too.  Like, Gatecrash long.  Just my luck.

But it seems to be what I want to write right now.  And writing should be fun.  I guess it’s a good way to write and not worry about making it publishable or perfect.  At least for a while.  Hopefully it won’t take me a forever to get through.

All right, all right, I know I still have to make that giveaway on LibraryThing.  I had it scheduled for November, but then work got in the way, and then the holidays, and then I just didn’t want to do it, and so on.  You know how it is.

Top 10 Celebrity Nipples

flynn rider tangled interesting

From now on, I think I’ll just title all my “I’m not dead” posts as link bait, because if I need to search for posts, it doesn’t do me much good to have everything in the list titled “update”.

Yeah, I know, using work as an excuse is kinda lame, but it’s the truth.  At least I’m doing something I like now, something that keeps me busy and interested and I’m learning new things.  The writing is going well, still working on draft 1.5 of the White Mage Story/Defender, and it’s not too hard, as of now.

To tell the truth, I wish I could write a better entry now, but I’ve had the strangest dream yesterday.  It was like a lucid dream, where I was still semi-conscious, but my brain was playing out a movie.  And what a movie, it was like a post-apocalyptic comedy.  Like “Idiocracy” and “Borderlands” but stretched out into a seven-hour epic movie.  And since I don’t think I ever really entered REM sleep, plus that my body is sore and achy from working out, not at my cheesiest macaroni and cheese today.  Hopefully, I’ll be better soon.

But the only way to kickstart writing is to write.  No amount of coffee or pick-me-ups are going to force your hands onto the keyboard and do the tippity-tap thing.  Tired or no, I cannot let myself fall too far behind.  That way leads to sloth and things not getting done.

Updates

update

I haven’t made a post in more than 10 days and I feel bad about that, but I really don’t have anything to talk about.  I send queries, I send short stories.  I get rejections, and maybe I sell one.  I’m working on writing White Mage Story/Defender which is going to be way longer than it should be.  I have blog posts in the hopper, but

I don’t know how writers can do it.  Maybe they pay more attention to goings on in the world than I do.  It’s not really that I’m dry for things to write about, I just don’t feel like writing them, or I need to space it out more.

So just to let you know I’m alive, here’s a funny tidbit.  In the car this morning, I realized the “game” in “The Most Dangerous Game” refers to hunting (as in gamecock), not the game of cat-and-mouse/chase/eat or be eaten that’s taking place in the story.

Update

I got a new job, so working the transition means I have to concentrate on being a good “employee” at the current time. Switching jobs always sucks. You have nothing to do at your old one and nothing to do at your new one. But at least at your old one, you had all your stuff. I am now programming on a laptop, and while it’s beefy enough, I don’t have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, or phone yet. So my back is getting sore from all the leaning over.

It also means I have to find a new place to write. My old place had a nice couchy lounge area in the corner that no one ever went in. My new place is in a six floor corporate building, and I feel weird going into a conference room. The lobby downstairs is okay, but they have no real wifi (seriously? in this day and age?). Unfortunately, I’m now at the point where I need wifi for writing, because I rely on Thesaurus.com. But there might be a way to do a site dump…

Speaking of writing, the only writing I’m doing is composing the outline for my next novel. The biggest problem with outlines is that this is where you can easily screw up everything with a butterfly flap. It’s in a pretty jello state, yes, but once you write down an idea, it’s hard to unwrite it, especially in your mind. You have to concentrate on making every plot point interesting, cohesive, necessary, and flowing from one event to the other. Plus you’ve got to make sure it’s commercially sound.

In the meantime, I’m doing a lot of reading. The great thing about an eReader is that it does enable you to read more books. Before, I had to go to the library, and was only able to get one book, because that was all the time I had to read it. Now I can load up quite a few on my Nook, with no delay in between. Plus it’s easier and less conspicuous to take around than a normal paper book. And as an added bonus, I can watch movies on it. It’s almost like a tablet, except no apps.

I also just got a new computer: nice big screen, extra memory and disk space.  Now I should be able to play Portal 2 in style.  The problem is reloading all the software.  Instead of buying from a brand, I used AVADirect to build it.  I was able to get better stuff for the price, and hopefully it’ll last a nice long time.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

The Year in Review

2010 in review

I don’t think I did this last year, but if I did here’s another one, AuthorQuest’s Year in Review.

The year started off good. The Dunesteef posted their production of “Playable Character”, and I liveblogged as I listened to my first published work. I also sold Fairy Kingdom and got that published. I got in some trouble with The Shine Journal, and then realized I did not have comments turned on. For three years. This led to my first spam comment. I also made an obligatory “about me” page, which every blogger should have at some point.

Most of the beginning of the year, I worked on the first draft of Merm-8, and finished that in May. In between, I started work on my “Revising Macros” (and that link is a living document, I am still adding new stuff to the code). There were a few feature premieres–“Authors I’d Like To Have Dinner With” and “Hot Girls You Don’t Know About”, both of which I promptly forgot I ever wrote. Hopefully, Featured Fan Fiction won’t go the same way. I published a list of Hugo-nominated works and where to find them, made a lot of Left 4 Dead posts, and wrote an experimental erotica/pr0n. I put in more images and videos, as well as an awesome quote widget (see the website, if you’re on RSS reader or something).

The nice thing is that traffic has been steadily increasing. I got 2,000 visits, 13% which came from direct traffic. My top search keywords were things like “good fantasy movies” and “top 10 fantasy movies”, which dovetails to my most popular post of the year, “Eric’s Top Ten Fantasy Movies”, followed by “Renaissance Fair Write Up Part 1”, “Top Five Movies that Need to Be Remade”, and the post announcing “Milk and Honey”.

So it’s been a productive year, better than last year at least. I’m disappointed that “Black Hole Son” still hasn’t found an agent or publisher. I’ve improved on my query letter, but I still don’t know how to write one, least of all for this piece. But we’ll see what the future holds.