Vintage Computers

I guess it is probably my tinkering with the Raspberry Pi, not sure, but for some reason I’ve had a very strong urge to find an old computer from the 1980’s. I used to use an Apple IIC, Tandy 1000, and Mac 512, so I started looking for one of those. I’ve always been interested in these old things, but I’ve kind of let that go.

Until now.

I put an Apple II emulator on the Raspberry Pi and started messing around with it. Eventually I decided to try to write something for it. A game.

I have a degree in Computer Science, and I used to work as a programmer, so I have written a decent amount of software, and even a couple of games. But that was all on newer computers, with more modern programming languages, not on an Apple II using their very rudimentary BASIC language.

So yeah, it’s… rough going. The thing is, it’s so lacking that it is hard to do things you want to do on it. Even simple things. Even drawing two boxes of different colors right next to each other isn’t really possible because the way graphics are done on a hardware level will cause the colors to bleed over into each other. At least in hi resolution, which is what I’m trying to use. It’s rough, that’s all I’m going to say. I’m still working on it.

Anyway, I wound up looking around for one of these old things, and I came across a TRS-80 Color Computer 2 and bought it. I’m waiting for it to ship, but from what I can tell (never even seen one of these in person) it is very similar capability-wise to the Apple II, except possibly being a little easier to program for. So I’ll probably finish up the game for Apple, then port it over to the Color Computer 2 when I’m done.

As far as writing-

I’ve been querying more. No agents have been interested yet, but I got a very personalized rejection, and the agent seemed to like the idea and the story quite a bit, just didn’t love it quite enough to represent it. I’m taking this as a positive thing, and I’ll keep going.

Meanwhile, ideas for new stories have been flying into my head lately, so I’ll be making some notes so I can get to these in the future.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Still Querying / PSA About Tire Shops

Yeah, I’m still sending out queries. So many different ways that agents want you to send things in, so little time. But that’s fine, it’s the process.

I am terrible at updates.

I swear I did a post last week. It is nowhere to be found, but I remember typing up a nice long post, but for some reason it didn’t stick. I don’t know if I didn’t save it or what. It was a bog long post complaining about queries and giving recommendations on how this could be improved (at least from the author side.) It wasn’t that interesting anyway, so there’s that:)

It is so hot here right now. It’s not that extreme from the sound of things, around 90ish, but it feels like we’re all in danger of going up in flames the second we step out the door.

Maybe I’m just a wimp?

We got new tires on one of our cars yesterday. When we got home I double checked the lug bolts were tight and that the air pressure was about right. Let’s just say a bad experience with service taught me to always double check their work, at least to the extent you can.

So anyway, the bolts were good, but the tires were all aired up way too high. About 8 psi on each tire, based on the tire pressures they are supposed to have and which is printed inside the driver side door. If they had all been aired to the exact same pressure I would have understood how it happened, because that would probably mean they just air them to a certain amount when they mount them and don’t look at the sticker. But the front tires on this car air to 29 and the rear tires to 36. They aired the back to 44 and the front to 37.

Why do they do that? I consulted the master (aka, Google), and I can see that a lot of people experience this. Apparently a lot of tire shops do this, but I didn’t really find any good explanation of why. The closest I found was that the air pressure just went up after the tires were installed because the tire heated up. This makes sense to a limited degree, but not 8psi. I would believe 3 or 4, maybe.

So to check that theory I rechecked the tires this morning, after they had cooled all night. They only went down 2psi. So This tells me they probably aired them about 6psi over recommended pressures, at least.

So this is my PSA:

Check your tire pressures the day after you have new tires put on.

If your tire pressures are way too high when the tires are cold, there is a good chance your tire shop also over-inflated your tires. It is probably not a serious danger or anything, but the vehicle manufacturer recommended that pressure for a good reason, and I’m going to trust them on this. SO check inside your door or in your owner’s manual to find out what your pressure should be.

Everybody have a wonderful, and safe, Independence day!

Querying Is A Lot Of Work

I’ve been working on my query for my latest book. Now I knew some of this coming in, but it’s a crap-load of work to query. First of all you have to write a very solid query (or at least one you feel comfortable with.) I’ve got one that I feel decent about.

So now the next step. Do you know what the next step is? It’s making a list of agents to send queries to. Do you know how you find those agents? Yeah, um, there are long, long lists available, and you can scan through THE ENTIRE LIST, searching for agents who accept queries from middle grade fiction. That’s a bad way to go, though. There are a couple of sites that list agents, and you can even do a search and weed out the ones that accept mg. Excellent, we’re on the right track.

What next? Oh yeah, now we have to go to each agents listed site and see where to send our queries. What’s that? Oh, some of the sites no longer exist? Some of the sites that do still exist do not list that agent anymore, meaning they probably no longer work there? And you mean sometimes, even if the agent is still working there, they aren’t open to queries right now?

Great, well…

Ok, so let’s just move on to the ones who are accepting queries. What’s the next step now? Oh, you mean I have to go to each agent’s site and find out how they want you to submit? Ok, no problem. Oh, so… so each agent has a different way to submit. Some want you to put the query and the first 10 pages in the body of the email. Some want the first 10 pages attached as a word doc file. Some want it attached as a pdf. Some want you to use their submission form on their site. Some also want you to send 3 chapters, or 5 chapters, or no chapters. Some want the email subject to have your name and the name of your book, some want the name of the agent only, some don’t say at all.

So you’ve made it this far, and now you submitted to several agents. Great, good, you’re all set. Replies will start rolling in anytime now. Um… no. So some agents respond asap, some in 2 weeks, some in 30 days, some in 6 months. Some say if you haven’t heard in 3 months to email again to make sure the email hasn’t been lost. Some say you won’t be contacted at all if they decline.

So yeah, that’s good.

The last step in the process, as far as I can tell, is to give up and publish it yourself, then 9 months later get a rejection from someone you barely remember sending it to in the first place.

Yet still we try it.

The thing is, I know agents have a hard time too. Agents get more queries than they can possibly deal with, and (I’m guessing) the majority are pure trash. Maybe mine is some of that, I don’t know. But I know it has to be tough. I am not in any way disparaging agents.

What I am saying is that there must be a way to sort of homogenize things. If all agents, or most, could just agree on a standard query process, even if it included much more than any particular agent wants, it would help a lot. Each agent would get what they want, and could ignore the extra. Authors could have a basic set of query items ready to go.

I’ve heard some people say that doing all this extra work is part of the process, that authors who stick it out to do this much show that they are very serious, and so it weeds out the ones who are just sending things on a whim. Yeah, well, if that’s the case, it stinks. Just saying.

However, in the long run I do think it will be worth all the work, if I can get my book published and have more backing for it. Self publishing is nice, and it’s relatively easy, but it doesn’t get you that much attention. A little extra help from a publisher might help.

Have a good weekend!