Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ruminations On Hurricane Sandy Coverage! Physics Incarnate Promotion! More!

Howdy, readers!

I haven't posted in Ramble about Writing for a while, mainly because I was covering Hurricane Sandy for The Weekly Freeporter.  So, first things first, I want to talk about what I did, there!

Hurricane Sandy

On the day after this disaster, I worked alongside my colleague Jason Bass.  We went through Freeport (our home-town) and Long Beach (another nearby hamlet), surveying the devastation.  We interviewed some residents.  You can see all of the coverage at The Weekly Freeporter's webpage.  But, probably, this is my favorite example of this work, though you'll have to forgive the wind...

Covering the hurricane was exhausting, but kind of rewarding in a very sad way.  We provided a service that wasn't provided by any other entity, public or private.  From the comments and feedback we received, we honestly were the best information source in our town - vastly superior to what has been criticized as an inept attempt by the Village government to get facts to its residents.  In fact, on this medium I am rather free to say that "inept" is a gentle way to put it; "fucking failure" is more accurate.

Actually visiting these devastated places really made the difference, for me, between a picture on Facebook and reality.  Seeing the damage done, like to the house in the above clip?  I mean, you can tell by my expression just how overwhelming it really was.  But to try to tell you what it was like?  Words really don't convey it.  The wind was still really strong; rain still fell; it was really cold; water was still in the road.  Oh, and probably most of all, there were burned and otherwise brutalized houses all around us.  There were people struggling to figure out where to begin to put their lives back together - or, at least, to figure out what to try to throw out, first.

Fortunately, I only lost my basement.  Sure, we're still without hot water.  We still have to rely on electric heating.  No washer/dryer, yet.  But our living quarters are unharmed, and our overall health hasn't suffered.  For many, they have no place left to go to.  The people in the above clip?  They have no home.  I have family members whose homes have been condemned; never mind my next-door neighbors and the folks across the street, or the childhood friend whose parents are "Red Tagged."

In a way I'm glad I got in to see the damage first-hand, right after the fact.  I know I said that, on the grand scale, this storm wasn't as bad as Hurricane Katrina.  It wasn't.  That storm inundated an entire region, some parts of it irreversibly.  The more I think about it, however, the more I realize that for so many of my friends and family, it might as well have been.  Look at this:

Long Beach, NY:  Jesse Pohlman/Jason Bass/The Weekly Freeporter

So, on the outside these buildings don't look that badly damaged.  That car just looks like it's stuck in a puddle.  But that puddle?  That used to be in the ocean.  It came in over waves that hit at least ten feet in height at times.  That car was submerged - or, perhaps, floating!  Speaking of floating, y'know those pipes that run underground and carry nasty stuff away from our homes?  Sewage was floating, too!  Even the sand was probably not the healthiest stuff to walk on.  Any damage to building foundations can cause gas leaks; I know of at least one explosion in Freeport, though surprisingly the home may be saved.

It's easy to say that burning to death is worse than being shot in the head, but the end result is the same:  You're dead.  For so many, it doesn't matter if the losses came at the hands of 15 foot waves or 30 foot waves.  They are losses all the same.

So let's move on to something a little less depressing:  Thanksgiving!

Physics Incarnate Promotion!

Thursday is Thanksgiving, Friday is "Black Friday," and Saturday is Small Business Day, right?  Well, I've decided to run a promotion for my latest novel, Physics Incarnate, under which it will be free on Amazon's Kindle!  There's an obvious self-serving motive, here, in that it'll boost my sales numbers and make it seem like I'm doing really great when in reality sales are merely good.

On the other hand, I have to admit that I'm doing this to give something, however small, to those families suffering from Sandy and other tragedies.  On Thanksgiving, it's a matter of being thankful.  On Black Friday, it's a matter of...Well, hell, I guess you could say it's supporting those who are striking against Walmart?  Or maybe it's just blatant consumerism on my behalf, trying to hock my wares on a day when so many people will be shopping the world over.  And how about Saturday?  Technically, my publishing efforts are a small and independent business.

So Physics Incarnate for all with a Kindle!

Future Projects For Jesse Pohlman


First of all, I have to eventually finish editing and post the last chapter of Protostar.  For those who don't remember (or just aren't aware!), Protostar is a novel I wrote for National Novel Writing Month last year, and I have serialized it for free on it's very own blog-spot!  However, due to a number of factors (Mostly that Blogger is kind of a buggy service), I have yet to actually finish serializing the book!  It's all finished, and while it needs a nice bit of editing I would like to get it posted.

Once it's been out for about a week, I will probably edit it once again and perhaps add a scene or two.  It's original design was to have very short clips posted, so I constantly re-used character names and descriptions when I could have introduced new ideas.  This helped me hit that 50,000 word NaNoWriMo goal, but I don't feel like it helped the work as a whole.  Once that edit is finished, I will probably release it as a Kindle exclusive.

Physics Incarnate Projects

So...A while ago I commissioned a couple test sketches for a Physics Incarnate comic book.  I don't have the art skill to draw it, and the person who I commissioned the work from actually lost his home in the storm, so it's unlikely that any comic project will be manifesting itself any time soon.

Perhaps with that in mind, I'd like to create a "book trailer."  I'm not sure if it's possible or not, but it would function like any trailer to a movie, video game, or - yes - novel.  It'd have actors, and I'd post it on youtube.  However, again, feasibility is a question.  Speaking of questions, here's one I get a lot...

"Will you write a sequel?"

I originally wrote Physics Incarnate as a single novel.  Straight to the end it was meant to leave the reader with an impression that there was a larger world out there, but that Emmett's story was complete.  Whatever specific events might happen in the future, his general path is clear.  However, I got to thinking about James Lowery, the Irishman who loves "his" ladies.  I realized that Jim has a really amusing way about himself, never mind the fact that he has a story to tell all his own.

It's a story that would have to include the way James and the others were swept into their conspiracy.  It'd have to involve Emmett heavily, since James' story would be far from a prequel.  Therefore, even if the focus isn't on Emmett and even if he has few surprises left to share, there are other folders in the maximum-security safe at Lowery Security Services which might or might not need to be addressed.  So, yes...

I am about halfway through with "Physics Reincarnate."  Spoilers:  James' accent is really hard to understand, sometimes.

Besides Physics and Protostar?

I'm honestly not sure.  I'm always coming up with new ideas.  Many of them fizzle out.  Some of them are great, but unfeasible or not my style.  I'd like to eventually finish the Pillars of the Kingdom trilogy, and I owe a little explanation about this one.  Put simply?

Volumes One and Two are published via Lulu, which is an inferior and less direct means of distribution than Amazon.  This leaves me at a crossroads as to how to progress with it as a feasible project.  Writing-wise, I already am about 80% done with the novel, with only 2-3 major scenes to go.  The problem there is that Pillars of the Kingdom is a completely different type of art than Physics Incarnate was.  PI includes conspiracies, mysteries, red herrings; it's about questioning the ethics of what the characters do.  At what point do Emmett and his colleagues become evil, and at what point are they good?

Pillars is really, quite simply about Jacin, Branden, Clarice, and the rest just punching the shit out of rather unambiguously evil demigods, and saving the Kingdom of Emor from monsters (and men who might as well be monsters).

Writing a story about fisticuffs is great, alright, but is it going to satisfy me?  I dunno.  I've also always wanted to go back and re-engineer Memoirs of a Miscreant, but I'd be starting from square one.  Then there's another project I came up with; then there's political writing; then, perhaps, there's the chance of me writing a novel based on the roleplaying community I've been affiliated with for years.

We shall see.  All I can promise is that I'll keep creating things!

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