The Next Big Thing: Blog Hop!

Yeah, apparently there’s this new thing making the rounds known of late. Lord knows this here internet is filled with memes, but when you get tagged as part of a new one, you gotta go play. My thanks to Casey Sheridan for being the one to tag me, and now I go on to spread the word! Of course, it behooves me to post the rules of this particular meme. Here they are:

  • Give credit to the person/blog that tagged you (already done!)
  • Post the rules for this hop (in progress!)
  • Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog
  • Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

And now, here are the author questions which I shall begin to answer in sequential order:

  1. What is the working title of your book?
    Data Miners
  2. What genre does the book fall under?
    Thriller/suspense, but with some clear science fiction elements since a lot of it is speculative
  3. Which actors would you choose to play your characters for the movie rendition?
    C.S. Lee (who plays Vince Masuka on Dexter) as Yamal Pradchaphet, Lyndsy Fonseca as Agent Righetti, and Mila Kunis as Angela Thompson.
  4. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
    A second-rate programmer by day and hacker by night finally stumbles onto a real-life conspiracy that is ten years in the making.
  5. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
    Self-published to begin with, with the intent that it will be represented at some later date
  6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
    Three y
  7. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
    If pressed, I’d say Neuromancer, Cryptonomicon, and Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, the works that most directly inspired it.
  8. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
    Reading plenty of William Gibson and other thrillers about technological trends, cryptology and espionage.
  9. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
    The book explores the mysteries of the human mind, with inspirations from Arthur Koestler, B.F. Skinner, and Gilbert Ryle; the concept of digital immortality; and several ongoing questions about what really happened to the Stealth Fighter that was shot down during the Kosovo War.

And last, but certainly not least, are the five people I want to tag next. Naturally, this is 100% volunteer participation, so if you can’t join, don’t worry about it:

Rami Ungar –
Nina D’Arcangela –
Nicola Higgins –
Lesley Carter –
Margaret E. Alexander –

Thanks again to Casey, and hope everyone has a good week!

The Inspiring Blog Award!

My thanks to Renee, that lovely, sassy, irrepressible lady, for nominating me for another award. I thought I was done with these, but then the other day I began wanting to put them up on my page. I’ve already made room for the new one, and am already thinking of whom I’m going to nominate in turn. So many people to thank, so many new things to share about myself. Where to begin…

As stipulated by the rules of the IBA, I must now share seven interesting facts about me. Forgive me if I cover old ground, but that’s the way of these things. There’s only so much we can say before we either start sounding familiar or get venturing into TMI territory 😉 Okay, here we go!

  1. I prefer homemade food that’s bad for ya! My wife and I routinely set aside one day a week for pizza, perogies, or other such luxuries would put us in an early grave, assuming we ate them every night! One time, I even pounded some pork loins, breaded them, and made homemade schnitzel. We also make room for desserts, such as apple cake, apple crisp, or upside down cake.
  2. I’m bad with money. I always figured I would have to end up rich, since I could never stand living on a budget. As a young adult, I loved having steady employment and money, mainly so I could be generous with friends and ensure food, drink and good times were not in short supply. I called myself “Rich Uncle Matt” for fun. They always got a kick out of it!
  3. I like fighting! Not in the sense of brawling or fisticuffs, mind you. But I love the combative arts, love doing demos (board breaking, brick breaking and self defense skits) and would think it totally badass if I could do some fight choreography in front of a camera! I would also like to fight competitively at least once before I’m too old to do so anymore. I figure I got a good decade or so left in me. Let’s see what I can do!
  4. My sister in and wife both lost their doggies recently. It’s the saddest thing in the world when a beloved dog who’ve you;ve known for so many years reaches the end of their life span. I know exactly how they feel. They grew up on a farm and are more acquainted with the death of pets than I am, but I still know how much it sucks. What’s more, I see that a number of people I follow have experienced the same of late or are wrestling with their own personal tragedies, sickness and injury and the like. I wish you all the best in this time of sad convergence! I can only hope that things will get better from here.
  5. I wish I could write more sex and romance in my work. One of the things I like best in a book is realism, and part of that is conveying love, sex and tenderness in real terms. One of the things I like best about George RR Martin, Tom Robbins and Pat Barker as writers is their unabashed and unashamed depictions of sexuality. I wish I could write more into my own work, but what I write rarely calls for it.
  6. My dreams are almost always the same. I don’t know for what psychological reason, but my dreams usually involve me being back in school, often at my current age. In some respects, this mirrors real life since I did a year as a mature student and didn’t like it that much. Sure, its fun being in school when you actually want to be, but being around so many younger people kind of sucks! It’s humbling, really.
  7. My cat is nuts! I know I’m to blame for this, but I raised an animal that is a total… well, animal! When he was a kitten, we knew him to be the cutest damn animal in the world. So tiny, yet so brave and irrepressible. He climbed everything, the walls, the curtains, pant legs. Then, when he was old enough to go outside, he began to hunt. For months, we’d find dead birds by our doorstep.He also began to play with me, way too hard! He’d bite, kick, and just generally be a total monster! Then he began getting territorial. To this day, he won’t allow another cat to venture into our area without whooping his ass! All throughout this, I refused to repress him, mainly because I didn’t want to punish the boy for having spirit. I love his nutsy personality, but my accumulated scar tissue makes we wonder if it’s really worth it…

And now for MY nominees. For those who inspire me and encourage me to do better…

  1. Dangerously Daydreaming – Audrey’s journeys, recipes, photo journalism, and semi-daily elocutions are always a source of inspiration, be it culinary, personal, or creative! Being of the west coast, we have a lot in common when it comes to the kinds of travel and journeying we like to partake. However, she’s dangerously close to outpacing me in terms of world travels. What’s more, her constant encouragement keeps me writing!
  2. Ramiungarthewriter – Rami Ungar, a fellow writer who’s posts and plans inspire me, perhaps selfishly because he reminds me of myself. He’s also my most dedicated follower and keeps me on my toes with his observations and opinions, and is sure to be invaluable as I continue on my own writing career. I wish him the best as he embarks on the road to self-publishing! You’re on the right track, now get out there and shake your money-maker (aka. your manuscripts)!
  3. Sotetangyal – Home of the lady Nina D’Arcangela, writer, visionary and specialist in all things dark, Gothic, and pleasing to those of us who have sick senses of humor. I refer to myself of course. Somehow, her writing always brings a twisted smile to my face. So good at capturing the depths of darkness that live at the core of us all! Also, the way she retweets my stuff is always a source of encouragement. I’ve told her she can do better than my stuff, but does she listen? Nope! And I hope she never does 😉
  4. Urbannight – A fine lady who pretty much sees the world in the same light I do. Spends too much time on her computer, feels the need tog get out and see more of the world, and writes some pretty damn insightful things! Yeah, we get along fine. This, among her rather fun and quirky observations about life, inspire me because they teach me there are more people like me out there!
  5. Bucket List Publications – Here is another fellow-traveler on the world of life who’s got it figured out. As the name would suggest, it’s all about getting it all in before the clock runs out. Her travels, photo logs and accounts of the world are always inspiring and make me want to do more, see more, and experience more of this world before I am forced to leave it.
  6. bodhisattvasiddhartha – aka. Jay, former officer in the Indian Armed Forces, turned writer, muser, part-time poet, and world cyber traveller. There’s a little bit of everything here, and all of it is likely to inspire the fertile mind looking for new perspectives and friends in distant places who have something to say. I am honored that I find myself amongst the people he chooses to read and reblog from time to time and hope that whatever I’m doing to inspire him, I continue to do 😉
  7. Dr. Sci-Fi – And I thought I knew a thing or two about sci-fi, but it’s safe to say that the good doctor here puts me to shame! Not only is he a committed fanboy of numerous classic franchises, he knows the ins and outs of the sci-fi world intimately. I can always count on him to inform me on my subject matter, and offer insight into whatever world I am currently romping through.

50,000 Hits!

photo by tt83x at deviantART

Well wouldn’t you know it, another milestone has happened this week and I almost missed it! Yes, today, after roughly two years and four months of keeping this blog up, I passed the 50,000 mark! Woooooo! Yay for me! And yay for the people who have nothing better to do than read my thoughts. I would pity you, but right now I’m too happy!

Of course, I would like to thank all those people who have chosen to follow me since this blog first went up. But according to my stock ticker, that’s like a thousand people. So instead of naming names and risk leaving anyone out, let me just send a grand digital hug out there and hope everyone catches some of it.

However, I must thank one person, Mr. Fraser Cain over at who inspired me to start this blog in the first place. It was he who convinced me to bring my message directly to the good people and avoid the needlessly long and inopportune process of waiting on a publisher. And so I take this opportunity to thank him for all the good stuff that has come of it. Thanks Fraser, hope to see you and the family again soon!

And of course, I would also like to take this opportunity to say that there’s still lots of work to be done. Though I could pack up now and say I’ve explored the crap out of the world of sci-fi, the real point of this site is to share ideas, promote my and others’ works of literature, and make connections with people. I can’t foresee that ending any time soon, nor would I want to. The work and connecting must go on!

And I look forward to it. I’ve made many great friends and been able to liaise with many great talents since I got here. So why stop now? I want to success, I want to be able to share it with people. Yes, I totally plan to let it go to my head, but I also plan on spreading the good fortune around. You might want to be there, just in case… 😉 Thanks you all and let’s keep this ball rolling!

I Would Like to Thank the Academy…

Well, not so much the Academy, what have they done for me lately? Really, the person I need to thank is the one who nominated me for not one, but two awards: Maryam, aka. Caracaleo. Apparently, I’m doing something right in her eyes, otherwise I doubt she’d have given me the nod here. Or to be quote her words:

“This blogger is my hero. Amazing posts. Great keep up with publishing. Not to mention an amazing ability to write and talk about things I find fascinating.  Therefore it is my honor to present not one, but two awards.

Excuse me a moment… I can’t stand praise it makes me all… gushy! Okay, all better. And now, as is customary for these awards, I shall answer the five following questions as best I can:

  1. Why do you blog?
    I started blogging two years ago as part of my ongoing efforts to promote myself as a writer. However, I’ve found that having a site and being able to share your thoughts, not just on your own work but anything really, can be a very fun and rewarding experience. These days I blog mainly so I can keep up with people, share new and interesting ideas, and hear from others and what they think. It’s become more of a way to maintain relationships than promote anything, thought I still like to do that from time to time 😉
  2. What do you hope people get from your blog?
    Honestly, I just hope they come away feeling entertained, enlightened, or both if possible. Everybody’s got their share of loves and interests, but what’s really awesome is being able to share those things with other people and knowing that they enjoy them too. I always feel good about my site and my writing whenever someone says my passion is “infectious”. It lets me know that I’m making a positive impact.
  3. Are you happy?
    Yes I am, thank you for asking. Sure, I wish I had more money, I wish I got paid to write, I wish I could go on tour and talk to people face to face more often. But right now, I’ve got everything I could possibly want. My wife, my cat, our home, our community, we live in BC, one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I got plenty of people who tell me they think I’m a good guy and good writer. Who could ask for anything more?
  4. Chocolate , Vanilla, or Strawberry?
    Damn… I think I’ll have to go with Chocolate, though Vanilla is lovely with some melted chocolate or Nutella spread on top. But I can’t really discount Strawberry from the mix, it’s great with chocolate and hazelnut spread too. Oh, this is the hardest question yet!
  5. What are your two favorite bands?
    Now that is a tough one, but for the moment I would have to say Big Sugar and Peter Gabriel. The former are a Canadian Rock/Jazz/Blues ensemble that have been around years and are just plain kick-ass! I own most of their albums, have seen them numerous times in concert, and even got their farewell compilation CD autographed. As for Peter Gabriel, he’s an old favorite who’s classic rock and world beats have always been inspiring to me. While he can tough to classify sometimes, and a little weird and esoteric, no one can doubt that he’s an inspired artist who has plenty to say. And he always dressed classy!

Okay, that’s all I got for those questions. Hopefully those who read this will feel they know me a little better, which is always the point of these things isn’t it? In sharing with other people, we learn that we are never alone, that there are plenty of others out there just like us, and that we grow by the constant exchange of ideas, support, and experiences. This is why I blog, people. Thanks to Maryam for reminded me of this. Peace out :)!

Nominated for a VBA!

Well, this is awkward. It seems I’ve been nominated for a VBA for the third and fourth time… by two people… in the space of two days. I’m not sure what to do… I can’t imagine there’s a protocol for something like this, but I assume that the practical thing to do would be to roll them into one and acknowledge everyone who made it possible.

For starters, thanks to Dave W at theroadmarathon and Richard at Richard’s Ramblings for the nomination. You guys both rock!

And of course, seven things about myself… going to be hard to think up things I didn’t say the last two times.

  1. I have a notorious love for the color green. An inordinate amount of my clothes are this color. It’s embarrassing when they clash!
  2. I’m a historian and English teacher by training, for high school students. How I got into writing sci-fi and teaching elementary kids is kind of a long story.
  3. I am obsessive. When I want to learn about something, I kind of OD on it before moving on. It’s how I got into the history of WWII, Star Wars, cool-looking guns, and sci-fi literature.
  4. I don’t do organized sports. Though I’ve been doing Taekwon-Do for over two decades, I have no real love for organized sports outside of martial arts and MMA. Some people don’t get this, can’t say I blame them.
  5. I have more girl friends than guys. Though my oldest and best friends are all men, the one thing we all have in common is in being SNAG’s (Sensitive New Age Guys). We all tend to get along better with girls than guys. Probably because there’s no dick measuring involved.
  6. I’ve inherited a slew of health problems from my ancestors. These include baldness, high cholesterol and other heart problems. As such, and despite the recent advances in the field of medicine, I’m likely to die at the age 65, bald and as a result of a heart attack.
  7. I don’t tan well either!

And now for my nominees!

  1. Khaalidah – Indie author and fellow grim5Next contributor Khaalidah Muhammed-Ali. In addition to being a fantastic writer, and a faithful friend, she’s also a working wife and mother. I know eh?
  2. ramiungerthewrter – Rami Ungar, a college student who’s passion for anime, horror and science fiction are a constant source of inspiration for my own work.
  3. Sotet Angyal – The dark angel, or as she’s known to her friends, Nina D’Arcangela. I recently pledged my thanks for her constant follows, but today, I would like to acknowledged her hard work as writer, publisher and a social media anarchist!
  4. Kotev1000 – The dedicated soul who runs the site European Scientist and Journalist, a site dedicated to capturing history in words and photographs.
  5. hnsieverding – Esteemed (and published) fantasy writer Mrs. Sieverding, a relatively new acquintance of mine, but one who’s extensive credentials have not failed to impress me!
  6. VictorsMovieReviews – Film buff, movie reviewer and cinematic guru, definitely a man to be consulted on the latest releases, but not someone you want to cross while waiting for tickets on opening night!
  7. jazfagan – The website of catseyesk, a notorious lover of music, practitioner of Buddhism, and lover of all things existential. If its musical, life-affirming, and spiritual, chances are she’s posted about it.
  8. nicolahigginsfiction – The home of Nicola Higgins, fellow science fiction writer AND martial artist. She is also a working woman and a wife who somehow finds the time to also run two brownie packs. Though I can only nominate 7 people, I would be derelict if I didn’t acknowledge her too.

Well, that about does it for me. Thank you all for the ongoing support and recognition. Rest assured, I am not letting it go to my head… much. If I got paid to do this, then I might start going batty. So… we’ll see how that goes 😉


Holy crap, this has been the month of milestones! As the title suggests, I have just received my 1000th “Like”! You gotta appreciate the notifications feature on this website man, they really keep you abreast of things. And as usual, there are many, many people to thank.

First off, I would like to thank jazfagan for being my 1000th like. As the person who pushed the stock ticker over, you deserve special mention. I also notice you’ve been following me and liking my posts for some time, so good for you! And me…

Also, there are many people who take the time to come by and like what I have to say. I know I can’t possibly honor everyone who has done so, but I shall try to do my best by giving credit where credit is due. The following people deserve special mention:

Amateur Professional
nine and a half hours ahead
Nonoy Manga

Were it not for your attention-giving, on a pretty much daily basis, I’d be typing to myself! I know this is starting to sound repetitive after three separate announcements, but it’s still true. And all the kind words of encouragement, suggestions and constructive criticism have been extremely helpful and encouraging. While I am still not as accomplished as I would like to be, stuff like this makes me think like it’s truly possible.

Thank you again, and best of luck to all of you in all your future endeavors!

20,000 Hits!

Morning! Some good news, netter news, and bad on this rainy day here in Victoria BC. Good news first, I’m finally over my flu… well mostly. For days it’s been dogging me and keeping me grounded. Luckily, I turned this  time towards more articling and have topped 250! Good for me. As for the better news, I just learned that my hit ticker, the thing that monitors my overall traffic, has just passed 20,000. YAAAAAAY!

Okay, now for the bad news… I lied, there is no bad news! At least none that I can see right now, but I’m heavily biased by this good news. Perhaps I’m tempting fate… Who cares?! Point is, I’ve finally reached this milestone and there are plenty of people to thank!

For starters, I want to thank for the FP back in March of this year. Were it not for them posting my article Dystopian Science Fiction, on their home page, I never would have made it this far. I know, the moderators give FP’s to like a dozen people a day, but thanks to that sliver of recognition, I got over 7000 hits in the space of 24 hours. That’s almost twice what I managed to get in the 12 months leading up to it. In the space of a day, my overall traffic went from just over 4000 to 11,000, just in the space of a day!

Wow. But more importantly, that day allowed me to pick up roughly 100 new followers. 100 new colleagues, peers, friends, and collaborators to spin ideas with, bounce my thoughts off of and help with ideas of their own. This meant that every day thereafter, whenever I published something, I had 100 people to share it with, rather than just speaking my thoughts to the void. That kind of interaction is invaluable and matters far more than overall traffic, let me tell you 😉

And things only got better from there. As March rolled in April and April to May, more and more people came by to comment on what I had to say and began following my blog. In those eight weeks, my total followers went from just over 100 to 200, on WordPress that is (think I got like 600 from twitter, but they rarely stop by!) So naturally, my endless gratitude goes to all the people who came by, liked what they saw, and decided to stay. Without you, this would really be impossible!

And of course there’s my family, my darling bride, the good folks at Grim5Next, and Story Time to thank. You’re encouragement, invitations to join in writer’s projects, proofreading and editing and helpful comments have always been a source of help and inspiration. I dream of someday writing professionally, which in addition to committing all my time to it means that I’ll also get paid. Hopefully, that dream isn’t too far from realization. I can’t tell you how annoying I’ll be when that happens, at least to those who sign my checks… Freaking PAY ME!

So once again, thank you all and I hope you’ll keep coming by in the future. I have plenty more to share, new ideas to formulate, and about a million more articles concerning science fiction, pop culture and the changing world we live in. And rest assured, if I EVER get famous, I’ll be taking all of you with me! Good luck and good day!

250th Post!

Boy, this has been the seasons of milestones for my little site here. Just the other day, I was told that I had just posted my 250th post. And that was a few days after hearing I had picked up my 200th follower. And very soon, I will have reached 20,000 hits! Hmm, if I were a numerologist, I might sense some significance in all this.

And of course, credit goes to all the people who take the time to read these things called my thoughts and postings. Were it not for you… well, you know the rest. I said all this already for my 200th follower and will probably do some again when I reach the big 20,000! So I won’t bother you with simple flattery right now. You know you’re great, I know you’re great, let’s keep this party rolling!

Nominated for a VBA!

Woohoo! It looks like I’ve been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award… for the second time! The first time came in January of 2012, back when my good friend and colleague Jamie A Hughes gave me the nod. Now, a new colleague and follower has honored me with a VBA nomination. As the great and venerable Duckman once said, “I accept [this prize] with humility and smuggness!”

And now, to fulfill the obligations of the VBA:

First off, a big thanks to the mystery writer, AB Ciccone, for nominating me for this prestigious meme. Keep hammering those keys, and best wishes with all your writing endeavors.

Second, here are seven things about myself:

  1. I always smile too big for photos: My wife, who’s a photography buff, loves to take pictures of me. Somehow, I’m always hamming it up and raising my eyebrows. Not sure why…
  2. I love to cook: my specialties include curry, pastas, stir fry, soups, stews, and bbq. I also make some mean spinach and tomato salads!
  3. I love beer!: Not necessarily for its deleterious effects, but for its history, culture, and diversity.
  4. I dig martial arts: Since the tender age of nine, I’ve studied martial arts in one form or another. First it was a year of Judo, then I transferred to Taekwon-Do and have stayed with it ever since, earning my fourth degree black belt in 2006. I also dabbled in Wing Chun, Aikido, and Aikijujutsu. I’ve broken lots of wood and about half a dozen bricks in my time.
  5. I’ve wanted to write since I was 18: It was during my senior year in high school that I began reading the classics of dystopian sci-fi. Orwell’s 1984 was my favorite, and I hoped that one day, I too would write something like it. It’s been a long road, but I believe I’m getting closer.
  6. I’ve got way too many ideas on the fly!: I can’t count how many ideas I’ve opened and then never finished. Seriously, I’ve tried! My “My Documents” folder is crammed with them. The other day I did a tally so I could seriously buckle down and focus on the ones I needed to finish first. Hopefully, I finish those off before I come up with any more!
  7. I love it when people like my stuff: I am drawn to praise like a moth to a flame. It’s one of the most pleasing things when my wife likes my writing, and she’s a tough critic! When friends, colleagues and even strangers do it, it makes me happy. I got into writing to share my ideas with people, and it warms my heart to know they get something out of it too.

Third, here is my list of nominees for the VBA in alphabetical order (no favorites!):

  1. Amateur Professional – Run by David DeMar, who’s insights on pop culture, sci-fi, fantasy and zombie guns are always punchy and often hilarious!
  2. Dangerously Daydreaming – The home site of Audrey Johnson, fellow traveler, gourmand, and photography enthusiast. She’s also a fan of Firefly… yeah, we get along fine!
  3. MythRider – The writing blog of Phyllis Moore, writer extraordinaire who delights in exploring the process of creating literature and spawning the mythos that drive us.
  4. Nonoy Manga – Dedicated to manga and anime, this self-styled Filipino artist loves to create scenes that tell a story, often as part of flash-fiction. Illustrated beauty meets the written word!
  5. Rendezvous with Renee – The site of Renee Homan Heath, blogger of life, love, marriage, devotion, and all things in between. Her observations, anecdotes and personal reflections are a constant heart warmer!
  6. Urbannight – Home to the urban night, female blogger extraordinaire who’s reflections on life, at the tender age of 4o, are smart, insightful, and often quite funny!
  7. Writerlious – The site of business woman and part-time writer and YA addict Brady Pike. Like me, she aspires to be a full-time writer someday; probably why we get along so well!

Okay, that’s everybody! My thanks to all those who have taken the time and effort to follow me and read my many, many ramblings. My apologies to those I didn’t nominate, but the rules are strict. Only seven people per nominee! Damn things a popularity content, I tell ya. Ah what can you do…

Universe Today

Hey all. Just wanted to take a minute to publicize a very cool website that deals in all things science, especially astronomy, physics, and the planets. Not only is it a very cool place to pick up some additional knowledge, its also my part-time employer. If you’ve any interest in reading a brief but educational article on a wide range of subjects, just enter my name “Matt Williams” or click around. You’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy!

Universe Today