Thursday, August 29, 2013

A year on Refuge

Ember (Refuge's primary) orbits Oasis at about 70,000,000 kilometers.

I realized today that Refuge's seasons would be tied to the axial tilt and orbital duration of Ember, and completely unrelated to the speed with with Refuge orbits Ember.

Oasis is .71 solar masses.
Ember is 3,487 times the mass of the Earth.

I used this calculator (previously used to calculate Refuge's orbital duration) to determine the year length of Ember and Refuge.

Planetary Orbit Calculator

I was completely surprised by the answer.

1.0664 standard years.

What does that mean?  It means Refuge has a 389 day year, then a 390 day year, alternating.

The actual orbit is 389.49428 days (Earth days) long.

I thought that with Ember being so much closer to its star, the year would be much shorter.  But with the smaller mass of Oasis the year is remarkably close to our own.  So they'll have Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter that are close to our duration, each about 6 days longer.

Since Refuge orbits Ember in 2.22551(Earth days) that means that Refuge orbits Ember 175.01349 times during a Refugian year. 

So I now get the task of making a calender for the locals based upon that. :) 

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


I just wanted to share that revision is the worst part.  There are a couple of reasons.

These words have come out of my mouth in the last few days.

"I ******* wrote that?"

"Oh my GOD, I just want to play one more game of World of Tanks, THEN I'll get started."

"This is why I didn't work in an office before.  I hate paperwork."

"Christ, Jake!  Stop it!"  (My dog gassed me out of the room.  Seriously.)

I am working on chapter 6 at the moment, printing the chapters as I think they're done.  I'm putting them in a nice binder, ready to hand them off to a beta reader once I have completed the entire book.  I am not looking forward to chapters 12-30, that's where the most loose ends and unfulfilled subplots are going to be, and probably the most work. 

I do love telling a good story, though, so I'm back to it.  It's 10:30, I have a good 5-6 hours in me tonight.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

First draft is finished.

I finished the first draft of my novel, and came in at 72,360 words.

First draft is the key descriptor, now there are holes to patch up, character voice to look after, cutting, adding, and then it'll be a second draft manuscript.  Fortunately I think the first draft is probably the hardest part in the sheer quantity of work involved, but the precision involved on the subsequent drafts is what's an issue now.  It's going to say a lot of good if no contradictions, messed up names, or improperly tangled plots are present when it's all done.  It will say the opposite if it's a mess.

So starting Monday I'll be diving into it for revision two.

What I'm wondering now is whether or not to complete all three books before I attempt to find an agent for them.  Hmmmm.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Black holes and mass

((2 * G) / (c^2)) * (1 000 000 000 000 000 kg) =
1.48512969 × 10-12 meters
A 1 quadrillion kilogram mass, compressed into a singularity, creates a black hole that is 
.00000000000148512969 meters in diameter.

I was thinking about the FTL drive on my starship for my novel yesterday, the method by which the mass within the drive would be contained (magnetic bottle), how it would affect the ship (it would add to the mass of the vessel, in essence, GREATLY increasing fuel cost when it comes to maneuvering the ship.

In fact, it makes the very idea of moving the Michael Stennis impossible by conventional means, at least in any practical way.

So that means there has to be a science fiction means of moving the ship, either described very loosely or in a very detailed (yet likely a flawed) fashion.

I've decided to invent a lens for the purpose of my book that shifts gravity, which is how the ship will move.  That lens will be able to focus the gravity of the black hole adjacent to the ship, causing the Stennis to "fall" into the artificial gravity well.  I've seen this used in many other books, but don't remember the methodology used.  Any similarity to other books is coincidental, and not meant to encroach, but two authors arriving at the same method should be confirmation of the idea, not a challenge. :)

The ships of the Seventh Fleet move via fusion engines and fusion microthrusters, but the main drive of the Stennis will be a gravitational drive facilitated by a HUGE black hole and gravitational lensing.  By huge I mean:

((2 * G) / (c^2)) * (1 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 kg) =
1.48512969 meters

Since the black hole will be falling with the rest of the ship into its own gravitational field, mass no longer matters (lol... get it, matters).

The lens will be called... the Schwarzchild-Kerr lens in honor of two great black hole physicists.

Problem solved, science fiction style.

Now to calculate the lifespan of a black hole that size.  Hopefully it's many millenia and the thing isn't a radiaton hazard to the point where it couldn't be contained by a reasonable housing.

Black holes evaporate, more and more quickly as they shrink, shining brighter and brighter until they *poof*.  You knew that, right?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Time keeps on slippin' slippin'... into the future...

I have created a calendar for my universe.

24 hour day (it's hard to step away from the human biorhythm too much.)
10 day week
40/4 week day month.
400 day/40 week/10 month year.

A galactic standard for trade purposes. Each planet in the galaxy would still have their own year, their own week, etc. Earth might still be on what we have today.

But in the year 3,186 AD (I don't do the BCE/CE feel good silliness), the galaxy adopted the above standard for trade purposes. A common calendar allows traders to show up at the same location at the same time, with less likelihood of conversion mistakes between calendar systems.

Here is what I've come up with:

Month        Days
Jand            1-40
Febbed        41-80
Mapri          81-120
Mai             121-160
Huni           161-200
Juni            201-240
Gusta         241-280
Seppet        281-320
Ors             321-360
Noder         361-400

Day 212 would be 12 Juni, 8428 for example.  The year means nothing yet, I need to do the conversion to 400 day years on 1 Jan 3187, and bring that forward to the current time.  Once I determine the day and year of the start of my first book, it's just a matter of adding days and figuring out the day/month the event takes place.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Red Robin

Red Robin is my favorite chain restaurant. There are other local places I like better, but for a chain, Red Robin is top notch.

Apparently someone got two sacks in some sort of sport, and I get a free tavern double burger as a result. I'm not a sports guy, I actually think that professional sports are a ludicrous waste of our national resources. We spend five times as much on professional sports as we do on scientific research to cure disease I read recently. Which is a serious indication that we have our priorities wrong as a country and a species.

But I'm not going to turn down a free burger from Red Robin. So whatever happened, on whatever nonsensical professional sports field in Denver, thanks for finally having some real world use to me. Whoever you are, and whatever you getting two sacks means, please feel free to repeat it.

I will be eating my free burger, sipping a tasty drink, and celebrating unknown people doing unknown things in unknown places.

Ok, Ok, I'm pretty sure it's football, I'm pretty sure it was the Broncos, but I don't care. The burger I'm about to partake of is more important to me than the entire NFL.

Sack on.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Nature likes to remind us how powerful she is.  I need to remember this as I write. I think I look for the parts of nature that advance the story, such as the radio conditions near a gas giant. I'm not sure if I can exactly put random weather into a story, but I do think it's something that a writer might consider.

Here is what happened at my house today.

It's quite the show, fortunately nature was just kidding about destroying my Mercedes with ice from the sky.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Underline and Italics

This would be a nightmare to change by hand, so I thought I'd share something I just learned.

Now you can change italics to underlines or underlines to italics within your documents with ease.

Don't say I never did you any favors. ;)

Sunday, August 4, 2013


I've been busy writing, and playing a game online called World of Tanks.

Yes, I play online games sometimes, and this one currently has me hooked. 

I just rewrote chapter one, however, in an effort to make my protagonist, Captain Sarah Dayson, more lovable, more easy to identify with, and more real.

So I haven't stepped too far away from the blog, and I haven't stepped away from the book at all.  I find in rewriting I'm cutting away a lot of the cool stuff that I research, as it's often fluff and not story.  So as I get back to writing story, the blog will be the benefactor of my research, or "fluff" if you will. 

I also seem to have a natural affinity for shooting people in armored vehicles.  World of Tanks is basically, when you boil it down, an arena.  Two sides, 15 tanks on a side.  I, my friends, appear to have a bit of tactical ability.  Who knew?  It's really simple as a game, you just aim, shoot, drive, and occasionally die.

Here is my best game so far.  I killed over half the opposing team myself.  I have to confess, that was the high point of my week emotionally.  How sad is that?

Sweet victory, who knew thy name was anti-tank round?