Here’s to words. Many, many words. Good morning to all of you starting out this Monday at your own desks, and for all you other writers out there — happy writing!
Happy 2020, everybody.
So, I’m going to try something different here. I love connecting with you guys on here, and browsing through posts and comments as I enjoy a morning cup of coffee. Now, sometimes, I have bite-sized “coffee thoughts.” You know, those thoughts that aren’t quite big enough for a full blog, but longer than oh, say, a tweet? Right. Based on said coffee thoughts, meet the first edition of Coffee Thoughts, where I’ve pulled together little notes from the past month into one blog. Dig the format? Let me know!
Happy New Year
… and happy new decade, on top of it? Talk about a crazy ride. At the beginning of the 2010s, I was a kid traveling across the country by myself, dreaming of someday being a writer. In 2020, I’ve become a full-time writer, published multiple books, grown into a husband and then a father, and changed in more ways than I can count. This has been one hell of a decade, and I want to offer a huge thanks to all of you, particularly the ones who have been along for the ride since 2013 (!), when I first started this blog. You guys are awesome, and thank you for that.
This’ll be a big year, ahead. As I said before, I have a new novel waiting in the wings, and I can’t wait to spill the details. Soon.
The world of entertainment keeps on keepin’ on
This is really more a December note, but still. If you haven’t yet seen Watchmen on HBO, stream it. Yes, even if you haven’t read the graphic novel. Yes, even if superheroes aren’t your thing. It takes a few episodes to really get rolling, but once it does, Watchmen proves itself to be the best TV series of 2019, and arguably, one of the most important of the decade.
In other movie and TV news: okay, so The Mandalorian is actually a lot of fun. And yes, yes, Baby Yoda (ahem, “the Child”) is just as adorable as the memes. Haven’t seen the new Star Wars movie yet, so I can’t comment on it. Also, I’m enjoying those Sinister Six hints in that Morbius trailer, though hoping the movie itself has a more interesting story than the trailer implies.
The Marshall Islands
Ever hear about the Marshall Islands? This is an issue that needs to get more attention.
As I wrote about on Grunge, this chain of volcanic islands in the Pacific had 67 nuclear bombs dropped on them, via the United States, from 1946 to 1958, causing widespread cancer and birth defects. That’s horrifying enough, but now, a nuclear disaster is in the making: the so-called Runit Dome, which is the concrete structure that the U.S. dumped all of their radioactive waste into, is predicted to crack sometime in the next century. The cause? You guessed it: climate change. This whole situation is obviously the fault of the U.S. government, but evidently, the world’s richest country is currently ignoring the pleas of the Marshall Islands, and claiming that the Marshallese have to deal with it themselves.
Horrifying? Yes. Unacceptable? Absolutely. While the L.A. Times did write about this back in November, this whole situation needs more airtime.
The News Cycle is a Dumpster Fire
And thus, the Trump impeachment has begun. About time? For sure, but still, it’s strange to watch it finally play out. I mean, obviously, the Trumpster is corrupt to the point of seeming cartoonish: after all, this is a guy who quite literally had to pay $2 million in damages last month because he was stealing money from his own charity to do things like buy paintings of himself. Is this real life? Unfortunately, yes, and the fact that the above story barely stirred the news cycle shows just how ludicrous this whole thing has gotten. However, the current GOP establishment is still pledging loyalty to their emperor, so a disappointing conclusion to the impeachment seems like a foregone conclusion. That said, Trump is a criminal, so putting him on trial (at the very least) seems necessary, regardless of how this all ends.
Nonetheless, it’s important to remember that Trumpism is just one particularly vile symptom of the U.S.’s bleeding wounds, not the original cause of them. These issues go back decades. Trump just exploited them. And honestly, even if he were removed, you have that bigoted fanatic Mike Pence sitting behind him. You know who Pence is? Oh yeah, that’s right, just the living embodiment of Reverend William Stryker, that nutcase from X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, with all the zealotry and self-righteous hypocrisy to match. Hey, seriously, I’m not the first one to notice this:
Okay, enough news. Something happier. Here is Nova, my noble friend, showing off her favorite Nicholas Conley novel. Or maybe she’s just trying to figure out if there’s a doggy treat hidden inside?
Family, fatherhood, and all that good stuff
On a final note: in my last post, I shared the news about our impending baby. Now that she’s here, though, I could’ve never predicted how much my life would instantly change. That’s a cliche statement, for sure, but it’s a true one. Being a parent is already the most beautiful experience I’ve ever had. Truly. Just watching her experience everything for the first time, to feel the love as I hold her, to look into those little dark eyes that are so full of curiosity and wonder … and on top of that, to have the opportunity to share this experience with my wife, the person who amazes me more than anyone else in the world, has already made 2020 my favorite year to date. And it’s only been a little over three weeks!
Until next time, folks. Enjoy the rest of your morning coffee, and I’ll do the same.
First of all, sorry about my recent absence from the blogging world. Don’t worry, I have a good reason. Well … three reasons, to be precise.
First up? I moved. We’re still in glorious New Hampshire, but we’ve made the jump from suburban living to the rural woods, and are loving every minute of it.
Secondly, the biggest news: we’re having a baby! This little present will be arriving very soon, and I’m more excited than could possibly be put into words (even though, y’know, words are what I do). This is the main reason I haven’t checked in with you guys on here for a while, and from what I hear, I can say goodbye to sleeping at night. Just thinking about it now, the joyous emotions feel so vivid, the happiness so deep, and the surreal nature of knowing that this new person will be joining the world soon is so fascinating to think about. Anyhow, onward to the future!
Now, third: if you’ve been wondering about my next project after Intraterrestrial, wonder no more! I’m thrilled to announce that I have once again contracted with Red Adept Publishing to produce my next novel, a book titled … ah, that’d be telling, right?
Okay, here’s what I will say: this novel is radically different from anything I’ve done before. Yes, it’s science fiction. Yes, as with Intraterrestrial and Pale Highway, the story tackles contemporary real world issues through a speculative lens, but this time, healthcare isn’t the focus. That’s because, as a writer, I feel it’s important to always challenge yourself: to venture into territory that’s wild, scary, and out of your comfort zone. I’ve been working on this book for years, investing perhaps the most I’ve ever invested into any work, and it’s amazing to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
But hey, you know. Early days. From contract to print, there are many steps ahead, so don’t expect to see this new book hit shelves until probably sometime in 2020. In the meantime, watch this space for updates!
Climate change isn’t the only scientific phenomenon that took people a long time to accept the reality of. Would you believe that until the past few centuries, meteorites were considered a fairy tale? Or that one dedicated researcher, upon figuring out that ulcers were caused by bacteria, rather than stress, had to take it upon himself to go all Bruce Banner on it — I.E., testing it upon his own body — to prove his point?
Sometimes, the Nobel prizes only come decades after the controversies. Read on, in my new piece on Grunge, for more scientific realities that people used to be skeptical about!
Back in the day, people believed in some funny things. Seriously, go back a few centuries, and you’ll find ordinary folks thinking that every shot of sperm contained a tiny, pre-formed human inside. Not silly enough? How about the popular belief that mice “spontaneously generated” from mud? Yeah, that didn’t age well.Now, that doesn’t mean these folks were stupid. Honestly, give it a few decades, and everybody today will look stupid, too. Perhaps the craziest thing, though, are those moments in history where some crazed genius pops up out of nowhere, points to a scientific truth … and the establishment shreds them to pieces. Remember what happened to Galileo when he was audacious enough to point out that the Earth rotated around the sun? Not pretty. Heliocentrism has hardly been the only scientific reality that got mocked in its time, sadly, and the world is full of all-too-real phenomena that people used to think were fake.
When aliens come to Earth, they get studied at Area 51 … or, at least, that’s what some people will tell you. Is is true? Well, there’s no question that this creepy government facility in the middle of the Nevada desert, officially called Groom Lake, has kept many secrets locked up in its vaults. So far, though, there’s been no proof that a bunch of little green extraterrestrials are one of them.
That hasn’t stopped people from speculating about — or threatening to “naruto run” into — the guarded facility, and considering that it took over a half-century for the U.S. government to even admit that Area 51 existed, you can’t blame folks for not trusting the official story. What can be confirmed about Area 51, for sure, is that it’s a place of high-tech military tests and shady cover-ups, the likes of which you would normally only find in an episode of Stranger Things. Here’s what we know about Area 51.
Strange as it is to think about, the most important part of your identity is the squishy ball of grey matter squeezed into your skull. Everything you understand about the universe around you, from the color of the sky to the smell of the sunflowers to that wonky Plato paper you wrote in college, can all be credited to your favorite little cognitive organ. When it comes down to it, you are your brain.
Just because you understand everything using your brain, though, doesn’t mean you understand anything about it. Despite the fact that humans spend every waking moment firing up their little think-nuggets, there are a lot of misconceptions about how the brain works, to the point where outright falsehoods are spouted as facts nearly every day. Don’t be one of those people. Whether you want to use your left brain or your right brain or just go all in, it’s time to expand your mind with the truth…READ MORE.
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”
– Stephen King
Hey, King said it best.
Recently, I was asked by Carmen Jacob of UpJourney for my opinions on the benefits of daily reading, as someone who reads quite a bit. It’s a cool article, with thoughts from 26 daily readers from various walks of life, including authors, speakers, lawyers, and entrepreneurs. My answer is the third one down, but yes—the whole piece is worth adding to today’s daily read. Check it out:
Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you all had a great start to 2019.
Now that I’ve been a full-time writer for a few years, I’ve spent a lot of time writing for a wide array of different publications, on subjects ranging from quirky science facts to superheroes to word histories on Dictionary.com. That’s just the nature of being a professional freelance writer: you never know what you’ll be doing next week, and sometimes that’s the most fun part. One of the projects I’ve been the most proud to work on this past year, though, has been Eastern Bank’s “Join Us For Good” initiative, a campaign dedicated to spreading the word about important social issues, speaking up for the marginalized, showcasing good deeds, and making change in New England, the United States, and the world as a whole.
Here are some features I’ve written for Join Us for Good. Thanks for reading!
Not everyone enjoys reading their stories in the form of a paperback book, and that’s okay. Many readers, especially today, prefer the ease and comfort of ebooks. Lots of people also prefer audio books, a format which allows them to sit back and listen as a story enfolds them, speaks to them, wraps them in its auditory universe. The only problem? Until now, audio book fans have had no way to tune into my newest science fiction novel, Intraterrestrial.
If you’re about to take a long road trip, train ride, or are simply looking for some crazy stuff to listen to on your daily commute, the Intraterrestrial audio book can be found on Audible and on Amazon:
Even if you’ve already enjoyed the print or ebook versions of Intraterrestrial, I highly recommend checking out the audio book, mainly because Daniel’s narration is (pardon the cheesiness) out of this world. While he does a great job bringing to life the main characters of Adam and Camille, what’s really amazing are the many tones, reverberations, and styles he uses for the alien figures, particularly the Star Voice and the Mad Glee. Even as the author, listening to it felt like a whole new experience.
Anyhow, hope you all have a great weekend!
As science and technology perpetually shoot forward at the speed of light, there are a lot of things we take for granted today, which would’ve been totally bizarre to past generations. For example, isn’t it weird that telephone calls used to involve using a human operator, instead of calling people directly? Isn’t it odd that “computer” was once a job description?
Or how about this: before human beings ever had the ridiculously ambitious idea of jumping on a rocket and going into the stars, what did they think the Earth looked like?
Seriously, stop and think about this for a moment. Today, popular culture is so inundated with images of our little blue globe that it’s odd to remember that, once upon a time, people had no idea what it looked like from the outside. Sure, everyone knew it was round—ancient Greek mathematicians figured that out thousand of years ago, according to the Independent—but for the majority of human history, it was like every one of us was locked into one house, totally unaware what color the outside paint might be.
Humankind is nothing if not ambitious, so naturally, lots of people tried to figure out what our little globe looked like from space, with varying results. The U.S. Library of Congress shared some of these old images back in 2013, and you have to give those artists an A+ for effort. For example, check out this image of the Earth and the Moon, as seen from Mars, drawn by Marcianus Filomeno Rossi in 1920:
Not bad, right?
Anyhow all that speculation came to an end on this date in history, October 24th, in the year of 1946. According to Vice, it’s now been over 70 years since this pivotal day, where a rocket launched from the U.S. southwest shot into the sky and snagged Earth’s very first selfie:
Sure, there have been a lot of better photos since then. But there’s something magical about looking at this picture, and realizing that it was the first time we ever got to see ourselves.
Meanwhile, if you’re into spacey coincidences: the date of October 24 also marked the death of astronomer Tycho Brahe in 1601, and legendary Star Trek creator Gene Rodenberry passed away on October 24th, 1991.