June 14, 2010

Breaking out and splashing down

I want to give a Blatant Plug to P.A. Baines, the first member of the New Authors Fellowship to land a book contract. His Alpha, renamed Alpha Redemption, will be published this fall by Splashdown Books. At left is the cover art by Zoë Demaré, also of the NAF.

The fellowship grew out of the critique-partner atmosphere of last year's Marcher Lord Select contest. I post about once a month on the Fellowship blog.

Speaking of contests, my poorly named A Gift With Which To Serve was a runner up in the Novel Journey contest, apparently getting no help from a name change to The Prophet's Chronicle. The judges wrote, "Very good story. Initial set of characters needs work--tripped from the beginning, not realizing there were three different people on stage. A little smoothing out and this piece could be awesome!"

Slightly discouraging, because I thought I'd smoothed this opening out already. Ah well. The folks at my new, live-in-person critique group, Word Weavers, can have at it next month.

June 4, 2010

All about the money

Once again, the key theme coming out of a space industry discussion -- today it's a task force meeting in Orlando -- is funding.

Funding - or the lack thereof -- is the reason for the spaceflight gap. The shuttle and its replacement can't both be fully funded at the same time.

Several participants at today's meeting -- including self-professed geek MJ Soileau from the University of Central Florida -- said what we really need to keep our high-tech workforce employed is money. Soileau said UCF is submitting a grant proposal to fund work at the fabrication facility that was donated this week. He urged the cabinet members at the meeting to "grab it out of the stack and fund this sucker" so UCF can put people to work.

Whether you talk to people in workforce development, economic development, or high-tech startups, it all comes back to funding. The only way to retain Florida's position in the aerospace industry is to feed it money. That also happens to be the only way to maintain America's position in human spaceflight.

The NASA Railroad carried the last space shuttle solid rocket booster segments across the Indian River Kennedy Space Center. Six cars transported the segments to Titusville from the ATK solid rocket booster plant in Promontory, Utah. The booster segments would be used for shuttle Atlantis on the "launch on need," or potential rescue mission, for the final scheduled shuttle flight, Endeavour's STS-134 mission.

Image Credit: NASA/
Kim Shiflett