Showing 1 - 10 of 87 posts found matching keyword: work
Friday 4 December 2020
Now that I'm no longer tending for a sick dog, I finally have some time to get stuff done. Stuff like publishing a novel!
Apprentice to Murder: The Tale of Robin the Rascal in the Wizard's Own Words, my latest novel, is now available in both a $15 paperback edition and a $2.99 Kindle eBook on Amazon.com. Just in time for Christmas!
This is my fifth novel, after the Central Kingdoms Chronicles quadrilogy (The Wizards of Ranaloy, Prince Thorgils' War, A Quest Before Dying, and Specter of the Lich). Those were all about wizards. I admit that this one is too. But it's also a cozy murder mystery!
According to the book cover (which I also wrote):
Life is easy for young Prince Robin. Growing up with the luxuries afforded members of the royal family, he dreams of one day becoming a knight like his late father. But the young nobleman’s dreams are derailed when his cousin, heir apparent Prince John, dies under questionable circumstances. Fingers quickly point to Robin, who inconveniently happens to be the next in the line of succession and the last person to have seen John alive.
To prevent civil war, Robin abdicates his birthright for an apprenticeship under Royal Wizard Septimus. Robin’s sacrifice saves the kingdom, but one by one, the inhabitants of Windwick Castle begin to die, each new death seeming to further incriminate the fallen prince. The only way for Robin to save himself is find John’s real killer.
The apprentice wizard is going to learn the hard way that even magic has its limits.
If that's not enough to whet your appetite, you can read the first chapter of this or any of my other books for free at JamesWalterStephens.com.
Thank you to all who have supported this project.
Wednesday 26 August 2020
I don't just stare at the sky! Sometimes I work on coding video games.
For example: Legends of Draxia, a mobile device video game that has just been announced on Kickstarter!
I'm not saying you have to support it, but if you do, thanks in advance.
Tuesday 14 January 2020
Just a quick FYI: I watched the pilot of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist last week, and I liked it. I liked it a lot.
The protagonist is a coder for a San Francisco tech company, and a plot point is that their code doesn't work. Zoey manages a promotion after realizing that no one on her entire team knows even the first step in debugging a network communication error. I
probably definitely should have been irritated, but series lead Jane Levy is too cute for me to be mad that she's bad at her job.
Knowing that musical television is an uphill battle, NBC is streaming the episode on NBC.com and YouTube to build positive word of mouth in advance of its February 16 series debut. In software development, we call that a soft launch.
Try it. You might like it. A lot.
Sunday 15 December 2019
Last year I vowed that instead of gingerbread houses in 2019, I would make gingerbread men. It was a good decision.
I looked at a bunch of gingerbread cookie recipes before deciding which to use. (I didn't want to use my house recipe because I wanted cookies that didn't have the texture of drywall.) Like apple pie recipes, most gingerbread recipes are very similar, deferring primarily in the ratio of
flower flour to butter. The one I decided I liked best I found in the Tis the Season Holiday Cookbook (2000) by Mary Engelbreit. It must have been another good good decision. I made 2 dozen on Friday, and they were all gone by Sunday.
As you can see, I had some trouble with piping the royal icing. My first try was too thin (overcompensating for the 2018 disaster), and the second batch popped the seam of my makeshift Ziploc pastry bag. I got the hang of it only relatively late in the game.
Now that I know what I'm doing, I guess I'll just have to make some more.
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Sunday 17 November 2019
Two years ago, I helped my mother with invitations and other aspects of preparing for her 50th high school class reunion. Part of that included developing art and layout.
The reason I mention that now is this placard recently spotted in the local public library:
That's my design at the top of that flyer, presumably taken from the reunion website.
It's kind of cool to see something that I had a hand in placed in a cultural archive. I'm immortal!
Tuesday 22 October 2019
Do you love fantasy? Do you love playing mobile games on your smartphone? Do you love supporting programmers who need to pay expensive veterinarian bills for an aging poodle?
Then have I got something for you!
Cutthroat Canverns, the competitive cooperative multiplayer dungeon crawling card game is now a single player phone app coded by yours truly.
Thanks for your support.
Sunday 14 July 2019
What? I skipped a post again? Dammit.
In my defense, I've been busy these past few days. As you know, I've been supervising Dad's medications and dog-sitting Rambo and Scarlett (and trying to make July not jealous). Also, there have been issues with our commercial rental property, including an AC failure and an (unrelated) fallen tree that damaged the roof and destroyed the gutter over the back door that has a bad tendency to flood. Add to those that I have an end-of-July deadline on a coding project. And I helped one friend build some shelves and another fix her cable system. And my own ISP was down for most of Friday and Saturday. And I've been trying to find time to write more. And and and and.
But that's all just excuses.
On the up side, I did just recently discover that my phone takes great panoramic photos, a feature which I have been using exclusively to take photos of clouds.
So that's good. And that's enough.
Tuesday 28 May 2019
I have a new computer. My five-year-old machine had been feeling sluggish for quite some time, so I finally upgraded. I was very reluctant to spend so much money, but it was pointed out to me that since I spend most of my time programming video games, I should have a computer than can actually play them.
To that end, I picked out a new machine with four times more RAM than I used to have. It's a noticeable difference. I can now goof off much faster than before.
The new machine also has a terabyte solid state disk memory. Remember when a terabyte of memory was something that only Microsoft possessed? I do. That was 22 years ago. I shudder to think what my computer might be capable of in 22 more years. By then, it will probably be programming me.
The only real problem with the new computer is its High Definition 17-inch monitor with accompanying 144GHz refresh rate. Those aren't the problem, exactly. My eyes are. I have to sit much closer to the machine to make out the fine details. At least I know I can spend less money on my next computer (estimated 2024). That, or a lot more money on new glasses.
My favorite new feature is the backlit keyboard. It pulses (in solid red) in a pattern that the manufacturer has called "breathing." At least I think the manufacturer named it. Maybe the self-programming has already begun. I'd give the machine a name, but I think I'll wait and see if it chooses one for itself.
Saturday 4 May 2019
I made this poster as a first draft for a client's event. The final product focused less on the Star Wars and more on the car show, but I still like this one. So I'm sharing.
Enjoy your Star Wars Day.
Monday 7 January 2019
Believe it or not, I sold 190 books on Amazon.com in 2018!
To clarify, that "sold" number includes books that Amazon gave away for free to good homes (with my permission). I won't tell you exactly how many of them were free. I will only say that my total take-home revenue for the year was $9.92, which means that for a third year in a row, I can call myself a (marginally) professional writer.
And yes, I am currently working on another novel. The next one will not be in the same series but it still will be about wizards. Wizards who solve locked-room murders. Because even fantasy murders need solving.
I'll tell you more when we get closer to release, sometime later this year.