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Scorpius Port

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29716 of 50000 words

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Division 2 has an Easter Egg for Terry Pratchett’s Diskworld series

In the Space Administration Headquarters building there is a secret room where fans of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld can find a very special Easter Egg.

To get to this wonderful treat is not easy, but it is well worth if for true Sci Fi fans.

To reach the secret room you need to access some office equipment, solve a bit of a puzzle, and do some quick acrobatics, but it is well worth the effort to see this wonderful tribute for yourself.

The quest begins on the second floor of the Space Administration Headquarters building, where you will find a room with prototype models. Make your way through to a computer terminal that you can access tucked in a corner. Interact with the computer to get the code for the secret room’s door, then go out and take the stairs on up to the third floor.

Along the way you will want to be on the lookout for any printers you can interact with. Find one and look at the page it prints out. There are a few different pages that get printed, but you just need to find a number on the printout and make a note of it. One of the printouts is about the arrest of a Flat Earther, and some have said you need that printout, but I got my number off a different one and still got the door open.

You will want to keep going through the mission until you descend down an elevator shaft on a rope. When you get down the rope in the elevator shaft there will be a door to your left that is marked laboratory. You should be able to interact with the panel next to the door to open it.

Inside the lab are four computers. Puzzle solvers will quickly note that there is a specific number of items on three of the desks, and a notepad with a number on it on the fourth desk. The items on the desks indicate the computer’s number. Interact with the computers to match your number. So if you have 2122 you want to interact with the second computer, then the first, then interact with the second computer two more times.

Done properly the door will open, but… we’re not done yet. One more nearly insurmountable task remains before we can have an audience with the Great A’tuin.

At this time there is an invisible wall that blocks the door that will open. If that has not been fixed in a patch, then you need to problem solve your way past the barrier much the way the early astrozoologists overcame their own obstacle to gaze upon the Great A’tuin for themselves.

To get past that barrier you need to “take cover” beside the door near computer number one, then do a roll into the room. (It worked both times I tried it.) To get back out just take cover near the door and try rolling out of the room. If that fails (did for me on my second try) then you can teleport to a party member or to the mission start point. (I suggest, if you are alone, you save entering the room until the mission is finished. Just in case something goes wrong and teleporting out restarts the mission.)

As for the Easter Egg you’ll find in there…

If you are curious about why some folks (like me) shrieked with delight to see that, and will go through all of that just to see it in person, you can find out at the Astronomy and Space Physics site of Uppsala University in Sweden. (Or just Google “The Great A’tuin”.)

Now, I must go and gaze upon the glorious sight of the Great A’tuin some more. Take care and enjoy whatever game you’re playing.

The Man in the Iron Mask

A few days ago I discovered that YouTube had one of my favorite movies available. It has ads in it, but they are not obtrusive (banners that can be closed when they appear a few times during the movie).

When I was a young girl two my favorite books were The Three Musketeers and The Man in the Iron Mask, both by Alexander Dumas. YouTube has the 1998 Man in the Iron Mask available to watch for free (with ads).

Why do I write?

I was looking over Twitter a few minutes ago and someone that I began following this morning asked a question that simply cannot be summed up in the small space that Twitter allows, so, I have decided to answer in brief there, and to actually answer the question here on my website.

What I started to respond with was…

I write because I do not know how to stop. It’s part of my soul and has been since I was a child, it was not until years into my life, however, that I began to make money writing. I no longer make money, but desperately want to get back to where my writing pays the bills.

That was only the “pretty” answer and I know it. My reason for writing is deeper and far more complex than I could ever define in so few words.

So, taking the advice of Henry David Thoreau, and many others, I shall endeavor to find the short answer by first writing it as it needs to be written.

I got a love for writing at a very young age, but it was not until I was older before I began to make money at it. By 2008 I was living my dream of being a paid writer, and of that writing actually paying the bills. Then two things happened that devastated my life. The economic collapse that sent my income from over $2,000 a month to zero in a matter of days. At the same time my biggest supporter passed away. I recall these events together because on the day that my mother died one of my sisters purchased the newspaper and the headline was on the collapse of the national economy. It had always been my mom who had made sure the bills were paid and found the money in the budget to get the things anyone needed.

I had a crisis on my hands. I had gone from full-time writer and part-time care provider to my father to full-time care provider trying to make ends meet on no money. I’m not sure what would have happened had my father not had retirement income from the Army.

Approximately two years later my father passed away and after two years of struggling to meet the ever changing requests of the bank to try to save my home I lost the house I had lived in with my parents for some 20 years. Homeless and broke I turned to family… and only a few precious few of my family stepped up rather than turn their backs on me.

The was the hardest part I think, to lose my father and have those I had always depended on turn their backs on me and whisper (or shout) how they were glad I was losing the house. To say that I fell into depression would be a terrible injustice to the severity of the kind of mental depression I felt at that time in my life.

Over the years I have picked up my writing and seen it fall through my fingers time and again, and yet… I must write. I feel it as deeply as I feel the need to breathe. Writing is the core within my existence that keeps me moving forward.

In 1998 I spent a wild month creating a roughly 65,000 word novel in 30 days, well before NaNoWriMo was even conceived of.

Around 1993 I was maintaining a diary online while I attended the local community college… I had a “blog” before such a term was coined.

In my youth, around age 12 I want to say, I recall laying on the living room carpet with the stock pages from the local newspaper spread out around me as I worked in my notebook on how to create a Hardy Boys Mystery novel where the clues were hidden in the financial section of their local newspaper.

But before all of that, I remember sitting in a corner at the base of the stairs around age 10 and reading an article in something. I do not recall if it was a National Geographic, a checkout stand tabloid, or any of a multitude of other possibilities where I found it, but it touched something deep in me even at such a young age.

It was the story of Twelve-year-old Edward V, and nine-year-old Richard of Shrewsbury, Duke of York, sons of Edward IV, King of England and Elizabeth Woodville, who were taken to the Tower of London and… vanished.

I do not recall much about the story, only that it was on the discovery of two children’s skeletons that had been found under the staircase leading to the chapel of the White Tower in 1674. I assume it had been in one of my mother’s many copies of past issues of National Geographic, but time has eroded the actual source. What has not been eroded is the intense draw I felt that day to find some way to make history right. To by some means give those two young boys a better fate than the one their lives held for them. I began to work on a story that would become a lifetime work.

I do not recall when I settled on the working title of Heir to Magic, but I think it was in the early 1990’s. Over the years I have also changed the names of the boys in my story, for a time Edward has been named Henry instead, but I may change that back. Or …. This is all off the topic of WHY I write, though, so let’s get back to that.

A few years before she passed away my mom and I were watching a sitcom called Momma’s Family late one evening and she told me that she loved to watch it because the family was more messed up than hers. It was a means of escape for her into a world of amusement at the troubles that the characters faced in each episode. It was a way for her to, for half an hour a week, see things could have been hilariously worse than they were in her own life.

It was only days before my father passed away that I happened to ask him why he read science fiction and he replied that when he was young and doing guard duty in the Army he had found a copy of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction laying on the railing of the guard tower. He took it home, read every story in it, and returned it to where he had found it the next day. The simple act of someone leaving a magazine of short stories laying on a railing had made him a lifelong fan of science fiction and fantasy.

Both my mother and father encouraged reading for me, I recall many times as a young girl when my father would seek me out to give me a novel, telling me that he thought that I would really enjoy the book. Through him I found so many wonderful worlds and stories and became an avid reader of all things Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Life has a way of making things like reading luxuries that one cannot partake in, however, and as I grew older it came to be more and more difficult to set aside my worries and stress and vanish into a book. It took exceptional books to keep my attention long enough for me to escape my worries, and that became the kind of book I wanted to write. Escapes, stories that drew the reader in and let them forget that their life was in turmoil. If only for a brief few moments as they read the words I had written.

And at the core of that dream still resides two small princes who died centuries ago. I write because I want to make the world a better place, even in fiction, for those who life has abused too much. And I suppose that is the short answer that I have been seeking, so I will end this now and stop rambling.

Why do you write? Share your reason in the comments, on your own blog, on Twitter… maybe just write them down in your own private journal that no one else will ever read, but write it out. Explore the question and reconnect with the part of yourself that understands why you spend so much time on something that you know will never pay back what you have put into it. Why do you write?

Nora Roberts vs Plagiarism

I came across something on Twitter this evening that caught my attention.

I went looking for what was up and made my way to Nora Roberts’ website where I found that she had made not a rant, but a promise a few days ago.

Writers are aware of the dangers of others plagiarizing their work, and it is hard hard work to write a book. It takes a lot of hours of not just writing the story, but then rereading it and adjusting it and fixing places so that all the parts work as a whole and assuring that all of the lose ends are brought to a neat and satisfying conclusion at the end of the story.

Someone might think that it is not that big of a deal to just lift a small set of words out of tens of thousands of words. But trust me, writers put a lot of real work into those few words that someone decided were so great they wanted to claim credit for them.

I’ll write a scene, then go back and adjust how it reads to make it better. Then adjust it again so that it better conveys what I want to say, then adjust it again so that it touches the perfect emotion in the reader. Add in about 200 more adjustments and minor re-phrasings to get the passage to fit with the tone and mood and overall atmosphere of the story… there is a lot of hard hard work that goes into creating a piece of fiction that someone will possibly never read. Don’t even get me started on the work that is added if I decide to redo the scene with another character as the viewpoint.

I might never see any payment for my hard work, and if I do see any money from it it will quite likely never equal how much work I put into creating that passage.

And yet… there are people out there that think nothing of taking that passage and claiming that it was written by them and selling a book they put no real effort into. A book that was ghost written from bits and pieces of other books.

Those are the thieves that have been brought to my attention by Ms. Roberts’ experience and her writing about them. I doubt there is much that I can do, but I thank those, like Ms. Roberts, who have taken on the battle to try to stop the theft of writing. Hopefully one day my writing is to a point where others can read it, and while I understand that imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, and would be open to the option of fans writing stories set in my worlds, I would not want others to profit off of the words I have struggled so hard to create. Especially through the claim of having been the crafter of those passages and scenes.

Thank you, Ms. Roberts, for standing up for writers. I’ll stand up with you as best I am able and help support the real artists in the writing community.

Found old manuscript from 1998

Many eons ago, back in June 1998, I spent the month typing away on a computer that I had borrowed from my sister. As my parents and my sister sat out in the dining room playing pinochle, I sat in my bedroom typing away on a story that would have the working title The Shadowlord’s Gambit.

I remember going to the library that year and pouring over books that listed published novels so I could be sure that no one else had yet published a story under that title.

In August I printed the entire manuscript out on a dot matrix printer, diligently pulled the edges with the holes off the pages, and set to work rereading it. That fall I pulled the sheets all apart, punched holes in them, affixed little paper re-enforcement things to them, and put it all into a rather large three-ring binder that I took with me when me and my parents went for a road trip from Alaska to the Mexican border and back up through Utah, with time taken to show me things like where my dad grew up in Prescott, Arizona and stuff.

I remember reading that novel I had written and thinking it was really great.

Then I remember misplacing it for a few years, finding it a few years later and realizing that what I had wrote was best hidden in the bottom of a box and lost in the shed.

It was bad. Dreadful. Horrible. I had wrote nothing less than a narration of a bad Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

And now… I’ve found it again. I was looking through some things that had come out of the old house and there it was, beside an early version of Heir to Magic. I’m currently stuck on the ending of The Queen’s Champion, so I have this wild and crazy idea of reading what is probably the worst thing I’ve ever finished to get myself back to working on the story I am supposed to be working on.

Can I make The Shadowlord’s Gambit into a book worth publishing? I dunno, but I am going to try. It’ll be a self-published book I am sure. I’m thinking I might use it as the bonus for my Patreon supporters. Go through and type back in the story as it is now and share it with my Patreon supporters as I work on the Heir to Magic series. We’ll see how it goes when I read a few pages of it, if I share it or scream in terror and throw it into a fire.

New Division 2 video.. unlocking Archive Safe house at level 6

A new video of The Division 2 to kick off my effort to get back into uploading game play videos. This is some footage of me roaming around in the game world and setting off at level 6 to unlock the Archive safehouse, which is in an area where the enemies are much higher than my level.

Why can’t the NPCs run when you save them in The Division 2?

Going along in the Division 2 and there are missions to save people that are going to be publicly executed. This is all well and good for a mission type, but I really wish that after I saved them the NPCs would either run their little backsides off away from the area or at the very least would take cover when they grab a gun. I keep ending up with them dying because they are either going after the enemy with a baseball bat or standing in the open firing with a pistol as someone opens up on them with an assault rifle.

Finally got The Division 2 downloaded

Now I just need to get my PS Plus back up and running and I will be able to run with my clan mates. Until then, however, I am going to enjoy doing some of the missions and getting leveled up in the game. It looks awesome!

Still downloading Division 2

I’ve finally got it down to roughly 18 GB, around 73 hours, left to go on my download for The Division 2. I am going to try not to pause the download this time and hope that it will finish even if they update it.

So far, every week, there has been an update to the game that has left me aggravated as I watched my download go from around 15 GB, 72 hours remaining, back up to 46 GB and showing 99+ hours to go. I should have been able to be part of the first beta players, but my connection refused to let me get the game downloaded. Then when the second beta came around my system again refused to let me be a part of it. I had pre-ordered the game, however, it has been updated every time I have almost finished downloading it to the point that I am starting to think that I will never get to play it. Not until it is no longer getting updates.

I kind of want to scream. At the moment I am thinking if it fails this time I might download Conan instead and hold off on The Division 2 a bit longer. At least Conan should not update the entire game every week just as I am about to finish my download of it.

The Black Hole

Scientists have finally managed to get a picture of a black hole.

France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation, at a Washington, D.C., news conference said, “We’ve been studying black holes so long, sometimes it’s easy to forget that none of us have actually seen one.”

It really is an amazing advancement that will shape the study of the universe going forward. With this image the study of black holes has gone from theory to actually seeing what one looks like. They have become tangible phenomena that we can look at.

And that is no small feat. Black holes are difficult to see.

As much as I would love to do this article justice, I am in a lot of pain at the moment, so … for more information check out the article at Science News and other science resources this week.

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