Character Interview, Carryl Runderfiord, President Runderfiord Enterprises

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My last interview in this series is a busy man. It took more than a little wrangling courtesy of Miss Whittager to get a few minutes chasing after him as he refused to slow down.

What is your greatest fear?

A little incident somewhere around a year ago reminded me of how vulnerable my nearest loved ones can become if I let my guard down.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I have to lose too much valuable time sleeping.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

That’s a hard one. In my line of work you expect all kinds of underhanded dealings around every corner. I almost deplore honest people because they present no challenge.

Which living person do you most admire?

The Merchant Lord Spaeker. Now there’s a man with a mind for business.

Which living person do you most despise?

The Merchant Lord Amberoon. So many toys and so little ambition.

When and where were you happiest?

That’s easy. In the middle of a tough negotiation.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

There’s this one lady, a so-so trader, but one of the finest engineers I have ever seen. Those were the only things she would ever agree to do for me.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Here I am, president of one of Uitnep’s fastest growing corps without the benefit of any Merchant Lord patronage.

What do you most value in your friends?

There is a core of people who will stand with me during even the bleakest of times.

What is your greatest regret?

That little incident I mentioned above? I made it possible. If the most unexpected of interventions hadn’t come along at just the right time…

Visit my Published Works page to find stories involving this character.

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My Impression Of VCON 41, 2016

vcon-imageLast year I wrote two questioning posts about my experience at VCON 40. VCON 40 and VCON 40 Revisited. Now that I have had a chance to digest my experience at VCON 41 it is time to put what I saw into words.

For starters, I must say I enjoyed myself. It was a good con consisting of an eclectic mixture of panels that made deciding what to attend next a real challenge.

In a similar vein my wife’s craft table produced a nicer profit than seen for a couple of years.

Attendance was still down. Whether less than last year I can’t say for sure. For the first time since I noticed the trend I even came upon a group of regulars discussing this very issue between panels.

I must also say that the volunteer they had in charge of social media did the best job of getting the word out before and during the con I have yet to see.

All in all, VCON remains my goto Fan con of the year and we already have our Dead Dog tickets for 42.

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Character Interview, Jonine Whittager, Engineer

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It took some digging, but I succeeded in tracking down a bar frequented by my latest interview. Her language is, to put it mildly, a little flowery, so the answers below have been a wee bit edited in accordance to my Clean Reads policy.

What is your greatest fear?

Discovering all the bars are closed after getting off a long shift. Er. Not the answer you were looking for?

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Not being able to wait until no one is looking before flattening an overly annoying person? You should patent that look.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

An inability to match me drink for drink. Okay, seriously, if you’re going to be that way, double minded people who don’t know what loyalty is.

Which living person do you most admire?

You may have trouble believing this, after all he is neither from Merchant Lord stock or supported by any major merchant consortium, but my boss. Not the little guys I have to answer to on a day to day basis, the big man, Carryl Runderfiord. I mean, look what he has build without the benefit of all those aforementioned connections.

Which living person do you most despise?

I have to name just one? You may want to move onto another question.

When and where were you happiest?

In spite of our present surroundings, I’m really the happiest when I’m elbow deep in a tricky engineering problem. Machines don’t make unreasoned demands on your time and attention.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’m told I need to cultivate a modicum of self control. Refer back to my comment about waiting before flooring an, um, annoying person.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Surely you see this jagged scar above my right eyebrow. You’ve been glancing at it often enough. There’s quite the story, but I don’t think you’re up to it.

What do you most value in your friends?

They don’t give me that look when my language gets a little, shall we say, colourful.

What is your greatest regret?

I’m where I want to be, doing what I want to do. Well, my glass is empty.

Visit my Published Works page to find stories involving this character.

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Character Interview, Elder Roggi Exavent

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I was told Elder Roggi Exavent is too busy to speak to the likes of me. He offered me a cup of tea and all the time I needed.

What is your greatest fear?

I’ve lived so long and seen so much that it’s hard to talk in terms of a greatest fear, but there is one matter, steps I’ve taken. I know I’ve done the right thing, but there’s a shadow over my prayers that haunts me when things are quiet.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

This has changed many times over the decades, but more and more I deplore the way I have coddled my grandson Nivpul when even his father has implored me push him more to break out of his shell, socially speaking.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

The rigid adherence to religious doctrine among my peers when scripture drives us to be so much more.

Which living person do you most admire?

You’ve caught me there. I admire how well my son Peaul has done since that fateful day the Loabaycle was lost with all hands aboard, including my sweetest Ssilsnia and all five of Peauls siblings. I lost so many years after the news, years spent alternatively smothering and ignoring my son’s very real needs. That being said, I also admire my grandson Nivpul. So much like me in my early years before Ssilsnia came along. Maybe too much given he has yet to meet his Ssilsnia.

Which living person do you most despise?

The current Duke of Argodr. His father and grandfather were dangerous to be sure, but the present Duke, his ego and his avarice, surpasses that of any Noble I have ever had to mispleasure of dealing with.

When and where were you happiest?

The day my dear departed Ssilsnia cornered me into courting her affection. We had so many happy years together before the tragedy.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

To be honest. I am what the years have made me, there is little worth changing this late in life.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Marked characteristic? That has to be my refusal to limit myself to the rigid patterns practiced by most of the devoit aboard Motherload when asked to pray in public. As if I allow such rigidity to restrict me in private.

What do you most value in your friends?

Really, the fact that they are my friends. Once you’ve risen to my status as an Honoured Elder it is easy to surround yourself with status climbers or to spend too much time easing the status climb of your children.

What is your greatest regret?

Sigh. Even so many decades later I find myself torn by that question. Do I regret not clearing my calendar so I could be with my family when the Loabaycle was lost. Or regret letting Ssilsnia take the rest of the family ahead while Peaul stayed behind with me for the father to son talk.

Visit my Published Works page to find stories involving this character.

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Character Interview, Lieutenant June Trynamour

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After much diplomacy I have succeeded in getting a few moments to ask the second most important character in my Worlds Together series a few questions. As with my interview with Nivpul Exavent, this took place shortly before the events in Synergy Of Hopes. Given the conditions under which we talked her short replies may be more than I could have hoped for.

What is your greatest fear?

Being rejected by the Samafm ambassadors Carlos and Uno Yondu.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

The way I let pride get in the way of common sense.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Inconsistent people throwing wrenches into well planned operations.

Which living person do you most admire?

The Samafm Ambassadors at large, Carlos and Uno Yondu. They see something in me nobody else can see.

Which living person do you most despise?

A certain Guard Fleet officer who wouldn’t let it go.

When and where were you happiest?

When I’m free to distract myself in the pursuit of certain private research projects.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I would erase the memory of things I’ve been forced to do.

What is your most marked characteristic?

The way I can terrify with a look.

What do you most value in your friends?

The love that binds them whatever the stresses they face.

What is your greatest regret?

Not swallowing my pride when the opportunity arose to return home after my discharge from Guard Fleet.

Visit my Published Works page to find stories involving this character.

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Character Interview, Ensign Nivpul Exavent

 

I caught up to the main character in my Worlds Together series shortly before the events in Synergy Of Hopes could take place and asked him the following questions. His answers were a little terse, but I’ll take what I can get.

 

What is your greatest fear?

Never finding a love like the one my Grandfather knew before the too soon loss of my Grandmother SSilsnia.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

The way I freeze when asked to speak up in public.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Duplicitous people.

Which living person do you most admire?

My Grandfather Roggi. No one has had to overcome more pain to fullfill his dreams.

Which living person do you most despise?

Duke Argodr. His ego is nothing but trouble to everyone who has to deal with his people.

When and where were you happiest?

Working with my Grandfather Roggi making the Konhor project a success.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d learn how to speak to a girl who catches my eye rather than pulling into myself.

What is your most marked characteristic?

My Exavent red hair.

What do you most value in your friends?

People who do what they said they would do.

What is your greatest regret?

Not forming any lasting relationships during my time as a Cadet in the League Star Academy.

Visit my Published Works page to find stories involving this character.

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Wither the Audiobook

Last week I posted a list of the podcasts I presently listen to on a weekly basis. One area of the modern reading experience referred to on a increasingly regular basis is the whole world of audiobooks.

As a writer I admit to having the thought of eventually releasing my works in audiobook format but production and distribution is a large subject best left for another day. This post is about my thoughts on the reading by audiobook experience.

To start, I have listened to a handful of audiobooks during extended road trips. This includes using regular CDs, MP3 CDs, and via the Audible app on my phone. Just enough for me to have a foundation from which to postulate.

Roadtrips are a good place to listen to an audiobook with one caveat. If you are not alone in the car you are signalling to everyone else that conversation is not welcome while the book is playing. During my day to day routine things get a lot trickier. Right now the majority of the time I have for listening is taken up by the podcast rotation mentioned on my last post. To make room for audiobooks I’d have to give some of them up.

A quick estimate based upon the three podcasts that push audiobooks the most suggest I could free up two hours a week by no longer listening to Functional Nerds, Writing Excuses, and Wordslinger. I’m sure they won’t mind losing my listener support to follow their ongoing advice.

Two hours a week equals eight to ten hours a month. About the length of your average audio version of a full length novel.

I further estimate I may be able to carve out another two hours each week by adjusting my daily priorities. This is where things get tricky since this cuts into time I presently use to do things like think about where my writing/editing endeavours are headed. Another danger, listening to audiobooks is far more passive than reading, making easier to listen on when I should be getting to other things.

I am now capable of listening to two audiobooks a month.

One good thing about listening via Audible is the ability to accelerate playback speed. If a little experimentation shows I can handle a book at 1.5 speed I can hear six hours of story per week. In the unlikely event that I can remain sane at 2.0 speed that becomes eight times, or almost a book a week.

Audiobooks tend to be for more expensive than either print or e. I could go the library route though this will almost certainly limit me to CD or MP3 CD at this time. No acceleration. It would also limit me to older books for the most part. Audible.com does have a monthly subscription option but that would only get me one average length novel each month. At this moment I can’t see how that would work for me.

All in all it looks to me like audiobooks just don’t fit into my reading experience at this time, except on road trips.

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