The last time I got into one of these, it was because a friend asked me some engaging questions. And so I talked about the one thing I never liked to talk about. And wouldn’t you know it? I actually enjoyed it. And it turns out that some people actually read it and found it interesting. So I thought I’d suck it up yet again and get into something else that is process-related. Again, this is something I don’t normally like to talk about. But it’s something that writers are frequently asked, myself included:
Tag: Universe Today
How Science Journalism Helped Me Become a Better Sci-Fi Writer
The following is an article that I recently published with Universe Today. And since it concerns my recently-published novels, I felt absolutely obliged to share it here. Enjoy!
Hello all. I hope our readers don’t mind that I’m taking a bit of a diversion here today to engage in a little shameless self-promotion. Basically, I wanted to talk about my recently-published novel – The Jovian Manifesto. This book is the sequel to The Cronian Incident, which was published last year (and was a little shamelessly promoted at the time).
Continue reading “How Science Journalism Helped Me Become a Better Sci-Fi Writer”
Good News… Of A Promotional Nature!
As I’ve been talking about non-stop for the past few months, I got a novel in the works. As of the writing of this post, I’ve written 25 chapters and almost 50,000 words (that terrible middle part!) But what I haven’t shared yet is that some lovely websites have promised to promote it as soon as its done. This is a first for me, and something that I’m really looking forward to!
Truth is, this wouldn’t be possible were it not for the professional writing I’ve been doing for the past year and a half. And it all started a few months ago when I was busy updating an article (How Long Does It Take To Get To The Nearest Star). The article was a few years out of date at this point, and my boss wanted it expanded to include all the cool theoretical methods that have been proposed over the past few decades.
While researching the topic to find out how long it would take a nuclear-powered spaceship to make the journey, I stumbled across Futurism.com and saw that they had reposted the old version of the article. I also noticed that they had reposted a few articles done by little ol’ me, which include the very first article I wrote back in Oct of 2014 (about hibernation technologies for a trip to Mars).
While telling them that a newer version would be coming out, the manager and I got to talking. I asked them if they would appreciate some articles on terraforming, and happened to mentioned that I was writing a book where that was a major theme. To my surprise, they expressed interest in both things, and asked if they could interview me when the book was done.
Naturally, I was worried they thought I was someone who was… you know, a big deal! I was sure to point out that this book was fiction and not some professional treatise. I’m not exactly Mike Brown or Neil DeGrasse Tyson here. But they said it was cool! Then I pointed out that I didn’t have a publisher lined up, and it might very well be indie published in the end. They said that this was cool too!
Suffice it to say, I was surprised and flattered. And after talking this over with my boss (I wanted his permission to write content that would be put on another site, he said that was cool!), he told me that Universe Today would be promoting the hell out of it too. I was honored. At no point did I ask or expect that the people I work for would be promoting something I wrote on my own time. But of course, I was sure to let them know that the work I was doing for them is what inspired it.
Were it not for all the research I had been doing about the Solar System and articles I was writing about its various planets, the story would not exist. It actually all started with the article I wrote on Mercury, in fact. Learning about its extremes in temperature, its richness in minerals, its very slow rotation, and its icy poles all made me think that a mining colony would be possible there someday. Especially if it were a penal colony!
Bottom line, when the book is finished, two prominent websites are going to be making a big deal out of it. How cool is that?
And just in case anyone is interested, those terraforming article are now finished and up at Universe Today. There are three in the series now, starting with a rundown of the topic, and ones on how it could be done on Venus and Mars. Next up, the Moon, followed by Mercury and the Outer Solar System. Feel free to leave comments too, especially constructive ones. 🙂
The Definitive Guide To Terraforming
Universe Today Stats for January and February
Good news, folks! It seems that the traffic report came in for the previous two months from Universe Today. And in my haste, I forgot to publish them. But luckily, there are no deadlines on a blog, just chances to catch up. How’s everybody doing? Oh, and I should also mention that my stint working with Green Tree Recycling is done for now, so there will be more time in the near future for posts like these. 🙂
In any case, things have changed over at Universe Today lately in terms of format. Basically, the managers wanted to do fewer publications a month overall and focus on those that were likely to draw more of a crowd. This means that the total number of articles I got to do for January/February was less than in previous months, but that didn’t seem to hurt viewership that much.
In fact, February has been my best month so far, with a record-topping 282,176 views! Check out the total stats below:
|1/1/2015||2015 Expected to be a Record-Breaking Year for Soyuz-2 Workhorse||1965|
|1/2/2015||Rogue Star HIP 85605 on Collision Course with our Solar System, but Earthlings Need Not Worry||17554|
|1/6/2015||Exoplanet-Hunting TESS Satellite to be Launched by SpaceX||1161|
|1/6/2015||Japan’s Akatsuki Spacecraft to Make Second Attempt to Enter Orbit of Venus in December 2015||2317|
|1/9/2015||New Mission: DSCOVR Satellite will Monitor the Solar Wind||886|
|1/13/2015||Faster-Than-Light Lasers Could “Illuminate” the Universe||36082|
|1/13/2015||One of the Milky Way’s Arms Might Encircle the Entire Galaxy||10543|
|1/16/2015||Some of the Best Pictures of the Planets in our Solar System||25777|
|1/16/2015||Elon Musk Releases Dramatic Imagery of Mostly Successful Falcon 9 1st Recovery Attempt, Hard Landing on Drone Ship||9009|
|1/30/2015||Exploring the Universe with Nuclear Power||21687|
|Which Planets Have Rings?||2/5/2015||8910|
|What Could Explain the Mysterious Ring in Antarctica?||2/9/2015||239263|
|How Can Mars Sometimes Be Warmer Than Earth?||2/9/2015||11509|
|What is Hooke’s Law?||2/13/2015||6229|
|Here’s a Better Use for Fighter Jets: Launching Satellites||2/13/2015||7937|
|What is Mars Made Of?||2/25/2015||8328|
Universe Today – Total Views for December
Well, it’s a new day and a new year. And unless I’m mistaken, that means that it’s time for taking stock and setting new goals. It also means that I’ve just received my tally for the month of December from Universe Today. And it seems that the longer I’m there, the more people are willing to read what I have to say. Makes sense. Still, I’ve never seen these kinds of traffic statistics before. Not with my own site, that’s for sure!
To break it down, here’s how I’ve been doing over the course the past two and half months. In October, which was my first month with UT, I garnered a total of 50,044 views for 11 articles. In November, that went up to 171,852 views for 26 articles. And for the month of December, I received 225,577 views for 23 articles. That represents a 343% increase from Oct-Nov, and a 76% increase over last month. Numbers like this make me happy!
|What Percent of Earth is Water?||16,029|
|John Dalton’s Atomic Model||15,794|
|Planets Could Travel Along with Rogue ‘Hypervelocity’ Stars, Spreading Life Throughout the Universe||3,656|
|The Inner Planets of Our Solar System||8,918|
|Meteorite May Contain Proof of Life on Mars, Researchers Say||6,104|
|10 Facts About the Milky Way||25,643|
|Earth May Have Lost Some Primoridial Atmosphere to Meteors||1,234|
|The Science of Heat Transfer: What Is Conduction?||5,258|
|Solar System History: How Was the Earth Formed?||5,768|
|How Strong is the Gravity on Mars?||12,264|
|A Universe of 10 Dimensions||37,742|
|NASA’s RoboSimian And Surrogate Robots||932|
|What Causes Day and Night?||11,563|
|Just in Time for the Holidays – Galactic Encounter Puts on Stunning Display||1,398|
|What is the Average Surface Temperature of the Planets in our Solar System?||16,333|
|SpaceX Continues to Expand Facilities, Workforce in Quest for Space||4,413|
|Compromises Lead to Climate Change Deal||795|
|Meteoric Evidence Suggests Mars May Have a Subsurface Reservoir||2,916|
|The Milky Way’s New Neighbor May Tell Us Things About the Universe||2,519|
|What is the Average Surface Temperature on Venus?||4,722|
|Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Might Become A Reality After All||11,476|
|Student Team Wants to Terraform Mars Using Cyanobacteria||21,312|
|Making the Trip to Mars Cheaper and Easier: The Case for Ballistic Capture||8,788|
If there is one goal I’d like to set for the new year, its to turn some of that readership towards this here site, the sister site HeroX, and possibly towards some book sales as well. Those numbers have been comparatively pitiful lately, and I don’t think it would be too crass of me to hope for some additional readership in the New Year.
And here’s hoping the New Year proves to be a lucrative, fun and interesting time for my fellow bloggers and indie writers too (not necessarily in that order). What projects do you all have for 2015? What resolutions (if any) have you made?
Universe Today – Total Views for November
Hey folks! As is customary on the tenth of every new month, the folks over at Universe Today do an official tally of all the articles published by their authors for the previous month. And it seems that November was a pretty good one for me, even though it wasn’t exactly much of a competition. This is only my second month working for UT, and I began almost halfway through the month of October so I published way fewer articles.
Still, going from 50,444 to 171,852 is pretty good! That’s a threefold increase, and then some. The full list appears below, along with the date of publication. If any of these sound interesting, just go click on the Articles at Universe Today link under Pages on the right there.
And to my fellow bloggers, freelancers, articlers and indie writers out there – as my friend James K Bowers would say “keep hammering away at those keys!” The breaks are coming for us all!
|11/18/2014||How Do Planets Form? Semarkona Meteorite Shows Some Clues||989|
|11/19/2014||“Spotters Guide” for Detecting Black Hole Collisions||1,245|
|11/3/2014||Welcome to Mars! – Hi-SEAS and Mars Society Kick Off New Season of Missions||1,295|
|11/4/2014||VLTI Detects Exozodiacal Light Around Exoplanets||1,419|
|11/13/2014||Weather Forecasting on Mars Likely to be Trickier Than on Earth||1,609|
|11/7/2014||Canadian Micro-Rover and Lander “Northern Light” Aim for Launch to Mars in 2018||1,661|
|11/28/2014||“Eye of Sauron” Galaxy Used For New Method of Galactic Surveying||2,358|
|11/10/2014||NASA’s Next Exoplanet Hunter Moves Into Development||2,408|
|11/18/2014||Warm, Flowing Water on Mars Was Episodic, Study Suggests||2,586|
|11/19/2014||Elusive Dark Matter Could Be Detected with GPS Satellites||2,611|
|11/25/2014||Africa’s First Mission to the Moon Announced||2,669|
|11/1/2014||A Red Moon – NOT a Sign of the Apocalypse!||2,779|
|11/19/2014||Amazingly Detailed New Maps of Asteroid Vesta||3,056|
|11/7/2014||It’s Complicated: Hubble Survey Finds Unexpected Diversity in Dusty Discs Around Nearby Stars||3,230|
|11/5/2014||Where Have All the Pulsars Gone? The Mystery at the Center of Our Galaxy||3,382|
|11/21/2014||Subaru Telescope Spots Galaxies From The Early Universe||4,399|
|11/21/2014||NASA’s “Remastered” View of Europa is the Best Yet||5,411|
|11/14/2014||Concerns over ESA’s Data Release Policy Amidst Rosetta Comet Landing||5,816|
|11/20/2014||Two New Subatomic Particles Found||6,040|
|11/15/2014||Macro View Makes Dark Matter Look Even Stranger||6,820|
|11/29/2014||Astronomers Poised to Capture Image of Supermassive Milky Way Black Hole||9,210|
|11/25/2014||The Search for Dark Energy Just Got Easier||10,796|
|11/27/2014||NASA’s Van Allen Probes Spot Impenetrable Radiation Barrier in Space||18,021|
|11/21/2014||Earth’s Orbit Around The Sun||18,279|
|11/29/2014||The “Potsdam Gravity Potato” Shows Variations in Earth’s Gravity||23,686|
|11/10/2014||What Did Isaac Newton Discover?||30,077|
Retweeted by NASA and Inside Space!
Good news everyone! After about two months of working for Universe Today, it appears that some of what I say is actually being read by the big names in the bizz! It started three days ago when NASA Earth retweeted an article I wrote entitled “What Percentage of Earth is Water?“, which was part of UT’s Guide to Space section that deals with general knowledge questions about astronomy, geology, the universe, etc.
The second came yesterday when Inside Space retweeted an more recent article I did about the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, and how scientists anticipate that they will be able to view it for the first time in the near future. They were doing a list of the top ten recent news stories of space in recent days, and apparently, my story made the list (I was number 9).
All in all, it’s been a pretty cool week! 🙂
Busy, But Getting Back to ‘er!
Hey folks. As you may have noticed, I’ve been pretty absent in recent weeks. And as always, it’s because life intervened. Nothing bad, just a busy schedule with all the new writing assignments. At the same time, I’ve been busy with Tae kwon-Do since the Grand Master was coming for a visit. And on top of that, the wife and I have been house-hunting lately and that’s taken up a lot of our attention.
As you can imagine, this has not left much time for personal writing or blogging. But in and around all that stuff, I have managed to make a bit of time for my works-in-progress. For instance, I finally started making some progress on Oscar Mike the other day. I left that story in the midst of a cliffhanger chapter, so stopping short of completing it was a bit silly on my part.
Also, I got back to editing Flash Forward, which I also stalled on, and managed to get a few more stories polished and ready for publication. I was really hoping to have of these stories ready for publication by now, but professional writing and my preoccupation with one other story kind of put a hold on that plan. That would Reciprocity, which I went into some detail about a little while ago.
Ever since I decided to redo that idea this past summer, I’ve been pretty much obsessed with it. This is typical of me, always hopping from idea to idea and becoming fixated the latest one. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I suffer from a peculiar condition when it comes to writing. It’s known as Literary-Attention-Deficit-Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder (or LADOCD, for short).
Or at least it would be, if it were recognized by any medical authority on the planet. But I digress! The point is, I’ve managed to shake myself loose from that story long enough to commit to work that needs my attention more. And I really, REALLY need to get back to my writing group and get the boll rolling again on the Yuva anthology. People are working, and waiting for direction. I cannot abandon them!
Well, that it’s for me right now. What’s up will all you fine folks? What’s new and interesting? Or, failing that, what’s just new? Any plans for the holiday season? And to my American cousins, how’s Thanksgiving treating you?
Universe Today – Total Views for October
Good day all! Recently, I got some good news. It seems that one of the perks of writing for a major website is that they keep tallies on how your articles did. And in addition to getting paid for all the submissions I wrote for the month of October, I was also sent a list with the official numbers.
Here’s what it looked like:
|10/13/2014||Bigelow Inflatable Module to be Added to Space Station in 2015||3913|
|10/16/2014||NASA Investigating Deep-Space Hibernation Technology||7032|
|10/20/2014||Water On The Moon Was Blown in by Solar Wind||1811|
|10/21/2014||How NASA and SpaceX are Working Together to Land on Mars||3871|
|10/22/2014||Is Dark Matter Coming From The Sun?||6857|
|10/23/2014||The Physics Behind “Interstellar’s” Visual Effects Was So Good, it Led to a Scientific Discovery||14318|
|10/27/2014||Small Spacecraft Ejected from Space Station Airlock Will Provide Same-Day, On-Demand Parcel Delivery||2303|
|10/27/2014||Make a Deal for Land on the Moon||1420|
|10/28/2014||100,000 Ice Blocks Mapped Out at the South Pole … of Enceladus||3124|
|10/28/2014||Just In Time for Halloween: Jupiter Gets a Giant Cyclops Eye!||4386|
|10/29/2014||Cassini Probe Spots Methane Ice Crystals In Titan’s Atmosphere||1009|
Judging from this table, it seems that far more people will pay attention to you when you write about space news – instead of a combination of zombies, guns, star wars and gynoids. Who knew?
ESA’s Rosetta Mission Lands on Comet!
One hundred years ago, Europeans were engaged in the most brutal, inhuman struggle in history – one that saw millions of people killed and entire countrysides devastated. Today, Europeans stood together, hand in hand, to witness the momentous occasion of the Philae Lander setting down on the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Not only was history made in this one act, it put a whole lot of history into perspective.
And my good friends over at Universe Today have been covering this news in a very as-it-happens fashion. So have countless other news sources all over the planet, and for good reason. This is the first time human beings have ever landed a robotic rover on a comet’s surface. Due to the high-speed, transitory nature of these celestial bodies, we’ve been forced to sit back and watch up until now.
In fact, comets have been around for billions of years and date back to a time when the Solar System was still in its early stages of formation. For human beings, the sight of a comet in the night sky was often seen as a bad omen. For example, the presence of Halley’s Comet in the Inner Solar System is still believed by many to be a bringer of doom. During it’s last appearance in 1986, it became the first comet be observed in detail by spacecraft.
But with the Rosetta space mission, we finally have the opportunity to study the surface of a comet in detail, and up close! Who knows what mysteries lie beneath that icy surface. Most likely, there’s a whole lot of dust that is billions of years old and can tell us things about what our Solar System looked like way back when. But you never know…
Nice to know that humanity has made some progress in the past century.