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Messages - J.R. Darewood

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[JAN 2019] Air / Re: [Jan 2019] - AIR - Discussion Thread
« on: February 01, 2019, 08:26:45 AM »
It *is* the weekend... I mean you could go thru Monday if you were feeling generous...

Introductions / Re: Hey!
« on: February 01, 2019, 04:05:27 AM »
So now I want to know all about your gaming adventures!!!

[JAN 2019] Air / Re: [Jan 2019] - AIR - Discussion Thread
« on: January 31, 2019, 11:04:51 PM »
Oh yay, 10 stories!
Just one more, to give us 3 votes? Let me know and I can wait a day :)

@JMack Are you gonna pull something off this month? I'm rooting for you!!


Sorry to doublepost (and I hate to distract from the fb stuff) but this expose on former NSA American hacker mercenaries is just crazy


I haven't finished reading yet but so far these are really great!

Writers' Corner / Re: Writing Software Recommendations
« on: January 31, 2019, 03:48:45 AM »
I missed the half price coupon!

I have scrivener and I have both a PC and a Mac.  I couldn't really tell you about the differences b/c I've never been very successful at using it.  I remember thinking "This would be good for complicated non-fiction projects" then never using it.  The only time I've ever really used it was as a substitute for Final Draft when i needed to format teleplays and scripts.  i guess having a file in a format I can't just read anywhere makes me a little uncomfortable.

I, like the OP, have a sprawling fantasy series and have written scenes and outlines for for future books I may never get to when inspiration hits in notepad, word, and wordpad.  I have been trying to organize them chronologically somewhere but I'm just a mess.  There's a lot, and at some point MS Word's spellcheck stops working if your document gets too big. So I tried splitting it in half.  And then as I ran it through my 9000th beta reader at some point i converted it into 2-chapter chunks, a series of 17 google docs.  This has actually worked out pretty well for me.  if I want some advice from someone, they can just look at the link, and see the piece in the latest condition as well as note what other readers have commented and either agree or disagree.  I love having it on the web where I don't have to worry about my HD failing or something.  Eventually I'm going to consolidate everything into a single doc, hopefully after my latest run-through. Google docs is like the perfect level of simplicity-- I don't need the heavy load of Word, but I need italics and bold which I can't do in notepad.

So I'd say I'm pretty happy with google docs.

Haha, it's funny that many dystopian scifi stories always have a giant corporation as the big bad, but rarely show what happens when two giant corporations fight EACH OTHER.

Behold, Apple and Facebook having an argument.


I hate to agree with apple on anything, but fb's Onavo project is evil af. "Onavo Protect" has people scan their fingerprints for "security" while giving fb root access to their phones. It's like Cambridge Analytics on a galactic scale. And they had a whole slew of apps from other developers to mask fb's involvement for those that didn't like fb. The whole "committed to privacy" congressional hearing thing was a joke.


[JAN 2019] Air / Re: [Jan 2019] - AIR - Submission Thread
« on: January 29, 2019, 11:52:27 AM »
Still trying to figure out the title.  Maybe just "Air" ?  idk hopefully I'll edit this b4 it closes with a proper title. If not, uhhh..  "Air"

The Mathematician

1484 words

Spoiler for Hiden:

Rick forced his eyes open. Everything was red.


He gasped, choking on nothing. His brain fumbled with thoughts.  There was nothing.  There was no air! He clawed helplessly at the crash jelly, his arms leaden in the thick substance. How could he feel for the emergency latch when his fingers could barely move? His hands tried to claw desperately to no avail, his body an animal acting on its own. Air! I need air!

“In case of an emergency, remain calm,”
the instructional video had said. Rick tried to take a deep breath and failed. Fuck calm. Smiling, the actress dressed as a space explorer had waved her hands in a useless pantomime: “Find the emergency release lever...”

Where?! Where?!

“...three feet from the foot of the pod, near your right hip...”

His fingers found metal, beautiful cold metal.

“...and pull.”

With a hiss the lid of the crash pod slid open, and Rick clawed his way out. He fell to his knees, gasping for air.

Everything was red.

“Oh no,” Rick whispered.

The dim crimson emergency lights cast deep shadows on the other crash pods, occupants still, heart monitors flat. Without oxygen they had blacked out, and suffocated in their sleep.  But something had woken him.

“Daddy!” It was his daughter’s voice, begging him to stay, her arms and legs wrapped around his leg.

Rick shook his head to clear it. Hypoxia could cause hallucinations, and he needed a clear head  now more than ever.

“An emergency has occured, but stay calm. Please enter your assigned crash pod in a quick, orderly fashion.” It was an automated message, the voice of the woman from the instructional video. Rick eyed his dead companions in their crash pods uncomfortably. Laura, Paul, Peter, Hooch…  Systems chief, atmospheric specialist, pilot and biologist.  He was a mathematician pretending to be an engineer! How was he going to fix the ship?


“No!” Rick slapped himself. “Stay alert--”

“Daddy!” His daughter clung to his leg. “Please! Let me go with you!”

Rick picked the little girl up and wiped the tears from her cheeks. “You’ll make a brave explorer one day. When you’re old enough. But for now--”

He had to go. His launch was in ten minutes. Xerxes-9, first and only space station in sector was out of air, and if his team did not succeed they would all die.

Rick set his daughter down. “When you’re scared, close your eyes and breathe, honey, and imagine me walking through that door. Hold that thought in your mind, and I promise, you’ll see me again.”

She fell to the ground cross legged and threw her hands to her eyes. He kissed her on the forehead and walked away, but she did not move her hands.

“Bye honey,” he whispered.

“An emergency has occured, but stay calm.”

Rick snapped to.  He had to figure out what was wrong with the ship. It was an emergency shuttle, not meant for these speeds and distances. He tried to remember the list of possible disasters Laura had outlined before the launch.

“Please enter your assigned crash pod--”

Hooch’s pod! The monitor was flat, but the pod was empty!

“--in a quick, orderly fashion.”

Rick raced to the door forcing it open as the ship shuddered. To his left, the red rimmed airlock remained intact: a yellow button to seal the passageway, and a red button to open the door into the dead coldness of space. To his right, flames licked the ceiling of the tiny passage beyond. A charred welding device slid down the hallway as the ship lurched, as did Hooch’s charred body. Rick’s heart sank.

He racked his brains… “In case of a fire--” the actress in the instructional video had said.

“In the control booth!” Rick murmured. Pulling his shirt over his nose, he plunged into the burning passage.  Smoke and sweat burned his eyes, the heated door to the control booth burned his hands. The fire extinguisher!


“Not now!” he mumbled to himself. Coughing uncontrollably, his eyes shut, he sprayed the flame retardant wildly into the passage.  He heaved and hacked on the floor, relieved to feel the sweat cooling on his ash-covered face. So little air, and most of it smoke.

A soft hiss made his heart sink even further, and suddenly Rick understood what had happened. “The biggest danger,” Laura had explained, “is that we have no debris shields.” A tiny piece of space trash had cut through the hull blocking the lines that supplied the crash pods. And Hooch.... “The welding device is located here,” Laura had said, “but never use it to patch leaking oxygen or fuel.”

“You idiot.” Rick wanted to cry. He knew in a panic he might have made the same mistake. He frowned as a gentle hiss signaled the air leaking from the shuttle’s cabin. There was no need to fix the oxygen lines to the crash pods now.  But what had Laura said about oxygen leaks? He fumbled his way back to the control booth and found the resin gun. Within moments the patch was sealed.

He took a deep breath. A deep, smoke-filled, low-pressure breath. Dread returned. How much oxygen was left?

Rick was nearly blind with panic as stumbled his way into the pilot’s chair in the control booth. He flipped through screens until he got the oxygen monitor.  Mumbling under his breath he did the math. Rick breathed a sigh of relief.  Barely.  Just barely.  Any less and….


There was enough air, for now.  Why was he still hallucinating?


Rick frowned. The others had remained asleep but something had woken him up…. He counted his breaths per second, calculated the oxygen depletion over the last minute and--

“Honey!” Rick shrieked, leaping out of his char.


The vents. Her voice was coming through the vents. “Honey!” he shouted. “Honey where are you!”


Rick was back where he started, eyes high and low searching for the air vents. Tiny fingers stuck out, near the floor in the wall behind his pod. He grabbed a the screwdriver from the kit frantically removed the grate. He pulled his daughter into his arms, bawling as he did it.  He delicately brushed a strand of her hair out of her eyes, careful not to touch the bruise on her cheek.

“Please don’t be angry daddy!”

His daughter had stowed away during the launch. She must have snuck in before Paul sealed the vents. Outside of a crash pod, the turbulence could have killed her! Rick’s eyes fell on the crash pods, acutely aware of the irony. No, she had saved his life. Maybe all of their lives.

Rick kissed his daughter, silently crunching figures in his head. “I’m not upset, baby.  I’m just… so happy to see you.”

“Then why are you crying?”

Rick set his daughter down.  “I need to show you something.” He walked her to the control booth and sat her down in the captain’s chair. If his calculations were correct, they only had a few minutes, but he kept his voice clear and steady. “This is where an explorer sits.”

Her eyes widened.

“And you, sweetie,” he gently tapped her nose, “are old enough to be the bravest explorer of them all!”

Delight flashed across her face.

“In just two hours, when the shuttle lands on Ceali-7, this screen is going to tell you what kind of air the planet has.” His hand trembled ever so slightly as he pointed.

“Really?” she gasped in amazement.

“And when you push this button, you can send a message back home to Xerxes-9 and tell them all about it!”

“Me? I can do that?”

“Absolutely. But there’s one more thing.”

Rick’s daughter nodded attentively.

The automated message repeated once again. “An emergency has occurred, but stay calm....”

“Daddy… has to go somewhere.” I’m sorry honey. I did the math.

“No, Daddy!” she shouted, clinging to him. “No!”

“...Please enter your assigned crash pod in a quick, orderly fashion.”

Rick carried her with him out of the control booth and down the tiny passageway.

“You're the bravest explorer I know. But when you’re scared, close your eyes and breathe, honey...” 

He set her down near the end of the passageway. She fell to the ground cross-legged and threw her hands to her eyes. He kissed her on the forehead and walked away, but she did not move her hands. 

"...and imagine me walking through this door."

His eyes fell on the buttons: one yellow, one red. He stepped over the red line into the airlock chamber.

“Hold that thought in your mind, and I promise, you’ll see me again.”

He watched her nod, eyes closed, and he pushed the yellow button. A door slid between them, sealing the passageway from the airlock. Everything was red.

“Bye honey,” he whispered.

Rick pushed the red button.

[JAN 2019] Air / Re: [Jan 2019] - AIR - Discussion Thread
« on: January 29, 2019, 02:03:21 AM »


Okay that's it. I'm done with my story. Let's just adjust the minimum word limits accordingly.

Writers' Corner / Re: Making villains pathetic
« on: January 28, 2019, 09:21:13 AM »
Galina Sedai,
basically the Donald Trump of the White Tower
authoritarian, insecure, incompetent, and utterly pathetic, but boy did she know how to make a mess

Writers' Corner / Re: Making villains pathetic
« on: January 28, 2019, 04:31:09 AM »

General Discussion / Re: Fantasy Poetry
« on: January 27, 2019, 01:52:19 PM »
Both I and the Gem Cutter have entered poems I think. Aaaand we ever have a poetry thread!

I like all kinds of poems even free verse

In my WIP, music plays a strong role as that's how stories legends etc reach the people so I've got a few songs in there. They rhyme

Writers' Corner / Re: How much did you write today?
« on: January 26, 2019, 09:37:58 AM »

I have come to the conclusion, after several years of floundering, that the secret to revision is to actually not care if its any good or not
(and just tell the damn story and try to have fun again).

Links, Competitions and 'Stuff' / Baen SF short story competition
« on: January 26, 2019, 01:34:35 AM »
The deadline is coming up fast (Feb 1) it's an SF contest that's pretty specific.  The prohibition on "Stories that show technology or space travel as evil or bad" sort of disqualifies most of my stuff plus the whole baen mixing of "military" and "adventure" sort of rubs me the wrong way. Maybe this would be a good one for @tebakutis ?

Anyway here's the link:


Wait, what? WHAT? Dude, how you can just drop that casually like it's a normal thing?

You have the weirdest life. :P
You just said what I (everyone?) was thinking ;D

Okay so at the time, there was an economic crisis, no one had any money, there were people taking over busses in the city b/c the prices went up and burning tires and everyone was robbing everyone and there were vigilante mobs.  So getting held hostage was sort of par for the course.  We also got tied up later and I sort of got pistolwhipped "eres americano, donde esta su plata!" while tied to this girl from canada until she told them I was French and they were like 'oh, sorry."  But Ive been held at gunpoint and knifepoint and assaulted probably like 10 or 11 times (once you total them all up, not each) so there's that.  No lasting injuries really, just a scar on my face, two under my hair from beer bottles and guns, and a knife wound in the back.

I wouldn't say life has been kind exactly, but I will say this, it's never been boring.
You don't need to write fantasy novels, you need to write memoirs.

"Getting Mugged" by JR Darewood

But honestly I have about 400k words of letters and journal entries that friends have repeatedly urged me to publish but I couldn't figure out how to put it all together in a book... I couldn't find a common thread or an arc that was strong enough to tie it all together. I tried turning pieces into longform creative nonfiction and submitted a few places but I got nothing but rejections

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