Sparks, explosions, and burning smells. Oh, my!

Well, this has been one relatively unusual and awkward period.

I had started doing the editorial sweep for Project: Ember, got some reorganization done with it, etc. Things have started working, though circumstance hasn’t let me fall into a work-routine.

For those that pay attention to my social media feeds, you might have noticed I was having some technical issues with my computer last week. Those “technical issues,” bloomed into building a new rig. Let me explain.

Last Tuesday night, I noticed a strange tapping-like sound coming from my machine. Not wanting to deal with it, I turned it off and went to bed. I woke up the next day feeling sick (food poisoning) so I didn’t go into work. Upon turning on my machine and attempting to diagnose the sound, I noticed it came from my power supply. Noticing this, I ordered a new supply for Same-Day deliver.

Now before I continue, let me elaborate on a couple things. 1: My old power-supply was a Thermaltake TR2 600W PSU. 2: Same-day shipping, in my region, has a “no later than 8pm (20:00) delivery. 3: I have prior experience with the shipping service, it is not pleasant.

The new supply shipped by Ontrac. After shipping from Amazon’s warehouse that’s no more than roughly two hours away from my home (figuring terrible traffic), it showed up at 8:50pm (20:50). The driver, in typical Ontrac fashion, literally dropped the shipping box on my deck, ran back to his car, and sped off with nary a ringing of the bell.

Wonderful. Thanks again for your continued service, Ontrac!

Anyway, the computer had a hard-shutdown no more than half an hour after the power supply (PSU: Power Supply Unit) was making noises. Luckily, I periodically back-up my music and photos to an external drive, while my project files all save to my dropbox account, so those were all safe. I saved my bookmarks just to be sure, though it was pointless.

After work the next day, I threw in the new PSU and turned it on. Things seemed to be fixed. There was no more crackling noises, the PC hadn’t shut down in a few hours, etc. All’s good, right?


I tried to boot-up a game, which caused the computer to hard-shutdown no more than fifteen minutes later. I tried changing the power cable, surge protectors, etc. Gave it a whirl again with a game, only to fail once more. Re-checked the new PSU the next day just to make sure it was all hooked up right, no cables were loose, etc. Tried it again, ran fine for a few hours, then it failed.

The conclusion I arrived at was either the motherboard or processor was damaged by the short in the Thermaltake PSU, and that nothing was going to bring it back. Even pulled some reviews on the old PSU afterword and saw a proportionally large amount of people having trouble with them as well.

So, yesterday, I went and grabbed a new motherboard, processor, and case after we worked around the house. Last night, we threw it together and built up a new rig (keeping the RAM, video card, new PSU, and hard-drive from the old rig).

Of course, those of you who are computer-savvy will recognize this as grounds for a reformat.

The new machine is up and running (even surviving some time on games, so the issue is fixed), but now begins everything anew. The bookmarks restore-point from Firefox didn’t work, so I am down all of my links. I am staring at three different downloading queues while moving 90 gigs worth of music from my back-up drive to my main while writing this.

Dropbox is up and running, so my project files have been imported from the cloud. Still, it’s going to be more than awhile until I am back up and running at 100%.

During the meantime, I’ve had plenty of time to play Destiny, which I will actually write a My thoughts on… article on later. I also managed to watch Afflicted, which I might jot down some thoughts on as well (short summary: different but enjoyable).

Overall summary: I’m not dead, just out of action for a little bit due to technical problems. Things seem to be fixed and such, but it takes a lot of time for me to get a new rig up to usable levels for me.

Now, because I don’t think I can leave this article without giving some brief reviews, I am going to give some thoughts on some things below.

Thermaltake TR2 600W PSU: I purchased it thinking that it was a better quality PSU at the time, and I needed one in a jiffy to power a new video card. This unit maybe lasted me a year before burning itself up (well ventilated case, no fault there) and basically taking my computer with it. After going back and reading some reviews, I’m not entirely alone in that camp either.

Verdict: I am going to need a lot of strong praise for another Thermaltake product before I buy one again.

Corsair CX 750W Modular PSU: Picked it out due to the wattage and relatively high ratings, though the modular bit was a nice extra. Fit in nice, easy to setup, and more than powers my new machine. Rather quiet too, so not much noise coming from the machine.

Verdict: The jury’s out in regards to longevity, but it seems like a pretty good PSU.

Raidmax Agusta Mid-Tower Case (White): You look up pictures of this thing and you’ll recognize this case is a beast. Two intake fans on the front, three outtake fans on the back and two on the top (with mounting holes on the side-panel for another fan), and an air-channel that runs under the main case and PSU while serving as a hard-drive bay. It’s big, it looks like a decepticon, it pushes air like you wouldn’t believe, and is remarkably quiet.

Verdict: I am loving this behemoth next to my desk.

Ontrac Shipping: If I find out something I ordered shipped by Ontrac, I know a few things. 1: It’s not arriving close to on-time. 2: I’ll be lucky to get any notification when (or even if) it shows up. 3: The box and contents inside are likely not going to be in fair condition. The people at Ontrac do not care in the slightest for your shipment. After complaining on twitter about their service, I came to find out there’s even an entire account dedicated to nothing but anti-Ontrac posts (@Offtrac) If you ship items by them, you are doing all parties involved a disservice.

Verdict: My UPS service here is good and reliable, my Fedex isn’t so great, but I would bow at the feet of both these companies and sing their praises in comparison to Ontrac.

Project “S” revealed.

As I mentioned back in this article, I had “set a ludicrous goal.” You might also have seen me mentioned Project “S” on my social media feeds. These two are one and the same, and now will be revealed.

Project “S” is actually a short story that I’ve written since falling ill back on the 10th, titled “Salvaging Life.” At just under 4000 words, it’s a Science Fiction tale about a space-based salvaging crew that makes first contact with an alien species. Its entire purpose – besides telling a story that I wanted to create and all that jazz – was simple: have it be my first piece ever submitted to Clarkesworld Magazine.

Yeah, talk about shooting for the stars, right? Well, that was entirely the point. Due to the recent euphoric experience I had when I was accepted by Fireside Magazine, I decided that I needed to make an effort that either went big or went home. So I wrote the story, edited it multiple times, then sent it out for consideration.

It took less than 24 hours before I received a form rejection. When I saw it, I smiled happily.

“Wait, who the hell wants to hear they’ve been rejected?” I can hear you yelling. The answer is, the guy who wanted to be told that he wasn’t some jewel that just hadn’t been seen yet, who wanted to know that he wasn’t squandering some miraculous gift during those long nights where no progress was made.

If I had been accepted, I’d have sincerely felt like there was something wrong with the universe. I’d then also feel self-loathing at my squandering of my literary abilities (as if I didn’t already, but still). In a way, as amazing as being accepted would be, it feels better that I was knocked back down a peg.

It has felt like every time I shot for the stars – first being published, then being accepted by Fireside, ect – I wound up striking my mark. I needed to feel like I wasn’t infallible. So now here I sit with a complete short story that is looking for a home. There are plenty of options for me to take, so I’ll figure out what to do with it at some point.

For now, however, I’ll be quite content to be in the same mud as many of my fellow writers and work on more edits for other projects and imagine new tales to tell.

The State of the Mind.

Well, this has been awhile. So what’s going on? Well…

1) Flash Fiction submissions. I’ve recently written and submitted two pieces of Flash Fiction out and am waiting to hear back on. Both are technically pieces of contemporary fantasy, though in their own way. As a whole, however, I am actually thankful to be done with Flash Fiction. The restrictiveness of it, while great as a learning instrument, is just unbearable for someone like me. I enjoy having some room to elaborate and unveil things, something that Flash Fiction doesn’t afford you in the slightest.

2) Under a Falling Sky is back in the re-working chamber. Not after a draft, mind you, but on the conceptual front. I’m just not pleased with the current state of the story, so it’ll be being reworked and re-engineered for now. It is a setting and a story I want to show, but it’s just being a little … difficult.

So, why don’t I just shelve Under a Falling Sky in favor of working on the Dark Stars universe? Well, I’d rather not have my first novel out the door being part of a larger, sprawling series which is rather intertwined. So, for that reason, I am wanting to make this story be my debut, but I want it done in a proper way.

3) On the revisions and editing front, I have Echoes which needs a plot revision before I post it up for beta reading. I also still have Guns of Asgard which needs a load of edits and revisions, so there’s that. Then, to round that off, Blood in the Machine still needs some work, though actually only a little. So, as you can see, there’s still plenty to be done.

4) On the gaming front, I’ve actually become quite engrossed in three titles for the moment. I’ve fallen back in love with The Secret World & Diablo 3, while I’ve also been starting to play Defiance. All three are unique and quite enjoyable. In case anyone wants to track me down, I’ll make it easy for ya.

TSW: Vaerys; Defiance: Alec Rho; Diablo 3: Makon#1350.

Anyways, I am off to go grab a few groceries, stew on some ideas for UaFS, and see about getting into trying tea (the proper English way), so I’ll be off for a little while. Ciao.

Seven Psychopaths

Well, It’s been longer than normal when it comes to my posting here. Things have been chaos around my end, so time has been a very precious commodity.

I did, however, make some time to watch Seven Psychopaths last night. I went into it thinking it was going to be a dark comedy, especially given the cast. Boy, was I mistaken.

For those uninformed, Seven Psychopaths stars Collin Farrell, Christopher Walken, Sam Rockwell, and Woody Harrelson. Farrel plays a writer named Martin who’s trying to write a screenplay called, you guessed it, Seven Psychopaths. Rockwell is his actor friend who runs a dog kidnapping-for-reward scheme with Walken, who also winds up stealing Harrelson’s dog. Harrelson, however, is a gangster head who doesn’t take kindly to his dog being stolen, so he goes out and starts trying to kill whoever took his dog.

The movie descends into a madhouse from there, easily living up to its own title. Each and every character (save Martin) is a true psychopath in every respect, ranging from Walken’s odd mannerisms to Rockwell’s own special flavor of psychotic. You’ve got a number of scenes (and even characters) who are nothing but Martin’s own creations as he’s trying to write his own movie, just to spice things up.

It still has a dark sense of humor, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not a comedy. It’s a film that plays upon and defies a number of stereotypes and cliches, and it even admits it.  I could definitely say that it seems more like a stream of consciousness from a writer who’s projecting … or the result of a lot of alcohol (or both). Either way, the movie felt original and different, especially these days, and it actually seemed like a very good film.

Just thought I’d throw that out there, in lieu of any major announcements or anything. When the word comes down on some stuff, you’ll all be the first to know.


So here we are, it’s almost National Turkey Culling Day (also known as “Thanksgiving”). This is that absolutely dreadful time of year where one is supposed to be such things as “thankful” and “appreciative”.

Fine, I’ll put aside my cynicism for a few moments and let a few things out.

One year ago, I was in the midst of writing my first real manuscript. It was for a novel, The Veil, though that ultimately didn’t come to fruition (yet anyways). At the same time, I was giving the concept of actually going forward as a writer some serious consideration. Was it a crazy idea? Yes. Was I foolish for setting out on this path? Yes. Do I regret it? Don’t even think for a second that I regret it.

In April of this year, I was given an amazing gift by means of being published in eFiction Magazine for the first time. A couple months later, I repeated that success. After that, I threw my own short story out there for free. Each time I tried, I got a newer and larger audience of people who were keeping tabs on me.

Since then, I’ve been rejected a few times. Oh well, acceptance is nothing without rejection. There’s a reason rejection has the little known name of “C.B.O.”, or Character Building Opportunity. You find out pretty quick if rejection is that brick wall that stops you for good, or it’s the road bump that you just run the hell over while you keep going.

So what am I thankful for this year? Seriously, anyone who follows my feeds knows I am quite the cynic and can be easily annoyed. I am thankful, surprisingly, for quite a number of things.

I am thankful for my family who accommodates (for the most part) my whack-ass schedule and habits due to this work. I am thankful for having an ever growing reader base who helps motivate me and makes me try to push harder and faster for better material. I am thankful for the risks I’ve taken and the successes I’ve had, despite the fact I’ve never made a single cent on my work.

I am thankful to Doug Lance, EiC at eFiction Magazine, for giving me my published start. I am thankful to Brian White and the folks at Fireside Magazine, along with the ladies and gentlemen of Petrichor Machine, for the rejections they’ve given me. I’m thankful to Audrey Lee and Jonathan Barton for providing a productive and entertaining atmosphere for writing on these long November nights.

Perhaps most of all, I’m thankful for everyone who has offered me advice, suffered through my weaker material, given me a motivational slap on the back, and told me to stick my head down and write more. This gig, while non-paying and enjoyable all on its own, is made all that much more fulfilling and worthwhile due to all of your support.

Thank you.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a day to survive, some bird to massacre, and words to butcher. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.