Dye For Ebola!

There have been a lot of notable people recording themselves pouring ice over their heads to raise awareness and donations to ALS research. Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen them.

I fully support this effort, having known people who have died from it.

There is a greater threat out there, though if you don’t live in a third world country (and if you can read this, you probably don’t), you probably aren’t really affected by it. Not yet, anyway. Here’s the thing: you probably live in a country where healthcare is readily available.

Millions don’t.

Doctors Without Borders sends doctors into places where they treat terrible diseases like Ebola. Places where the governments would more likely cordon off and abandon a diseased village than attempt to make things better.

Here’s a new challenge, that I hope you can help me make go viral. I’m calling it #DyeForEbola if you want to help trend up the hashtag.

First, either donate any amount of money to Doctors Without Borders or film yourself dyeing your hair. (Or do both, if you prefer!)

Second, challenge your friends to do the same.

Post video or photos with the hashtag #DyeForEbola on the social media of your choice.

Let’s try to heal the world together!


Getting Married, Denebian Style

Since I began writing A Time To Build, I also began envisioning what die-hard fans of The Umea Bakearen might do to:

  1. Show their complete devotion to the UB series;
  2. Freak out their mundane friends and neighbors.

Going back over the story, I realized that there are a lot of folks marrying each other. We all have heard of the big geeky theme weddings where everyone dresses up in Starfleet uniforms, or Jedi robes (Heck, I wanted to do both, but my wife would have none of it. I married her anyway). If you and your loved one are particularly geeky, but don’t have a very large budget, you can get hitched like Denebians!
The Denebian ceremony is short and simple. In addition to yourself and your intended, you need three or more witnesses. Since this is Earth, it would help if one of them is licensed, certified, or whatever else it takes to be a legal officiant. Check your local laws.
In a Denebian Marriage By Oath, The parties name each other Maiteakren (my-TAY-ahk-ren), a term meaning beloved, soul mate, life partner, and spouse. The naming statements can be as formal or informal as you choose, and goes like this:

“I, [your name], before these three witnesses, name thee, [your intended], Maiteakren.”

After they have both named each other, they are married (maiteak, in the Denebian tongue).
It’s a short and sweet ceremony, so short that anyone who comes in late might miss the whole thing entirely. Relatives expecting a longer ritual might feel a bit cheated, at least until they realize that it gets everyone to the reception that much faster.
Since the ratification of the Sol-Deneb Treaty, many Denebians have added elements of Earth customs to their events, too, so it’s alright if the naming ceremony is accompanied by other traditional elements.

A Bit of Amazon Magic

Greetings, Terrans!
Did you know that there is a way to shorten links to your books on Amazon without going to third-party sites like Bit.ly? It’s true! Take this link, for example, which goes to A Time To Build:
Long and unwieldy, right? Try Tweeting that, and you won’t have enough characters left to say anything about it.
But all you have to do is edit it, like this…
…and it goes to the same page! Magic! Well, no, it’s not magic, it’s technology! This little feature is probably documented, somewhere, but you’ll tear your hair out looking for it. The set of characters in the link is your book’s ASIN code. Keep this little trick in mind, and you’ll soon be Tweeting your books like the pro you are!

The Galactic Council Era (GCE) Calendar

Deciphering Dates and Times in The Umea Bakearen

Because there are over five hundred systems in the Galactic Union, with as many different-lengthed years, keeping track of dates and times can get a little confusing. Before the formation of the Union, there was no standard calendar, and all systems that did trade with one another had to remember which calendar contracts and agreements were governed by.

Year 1 GCE

With the formation of the Union and the Galactic Council, a standardized calendar was proposed to simplify trade, commerce, and treaties. Taking the average length of the inhabited planets’ years and rounding to the nearest standard day, the Council defined a standard year as 360 standard days. A standard day is 24 hours long, just as on Earth. The Galactic Council Era (GCE) began with the first Union Convention, now known as UnionCon.

Today, UnionCon is held on the last 20 days of the year. Sentient beings from all member systems come together to participate in cultural exchanges, trade, entertainment, and cooperation. The Galactic Council also holds its main session during this time.

Dates and Times in the GCE

The Galactic Union uses a date stamp format that uses year, day, and hour+minute. The Sol-Deneb Treaty was ratified on April 19, 1968 by Earth’s Calendar. By the GCE Calendar, the year was 1999, day 323, so it was recorded as 1999.323 GCE.

When an hour is required, it’s appended to the end of the date stamp: 1999.323.0857 would be 8:57 am, Greenwich mean time, on April 19, 1968 (the actual time of the signing of the treaty).


As the Year Ends


It’s that time of year again! More specifically, it’s the end of time. Well, it’s the end of the year, anyway. 2013 was a pretty good year for me. My only resolution last year was to publish A Time To Build (which I did, in case you haven’t noticed). Next year, I plan to publish two more volumes in the Umea Bakearen series. Early in the year, look for A Time To Mourn. The volume after that doesn’t have a name yet, but I’m working on it. Really!

Another resolution for next year is this website. It’s going to become more active. I’ll post updates more frequently, from story excerpts, to backstory information, to giveaways, to…whatever strikes my fancy. If there’s something you’d like to see, drop us a note!

Watch the skies!

Thanks, Veterans!

From the Office of the Mediator, Sol III Division,

Greetings, Terrans (and resident aliens),

In the United States, Sol III, 11 November (2046.045 GCE) is a time when ordinary citizens take the time to honor those who have served their country during times of tribulation. The brave men and women of their Armed Forces often sacrifice life and limb to protect basic freedoms that many take for granted. That such freedoms are routinely taken for granted is possibly a testament, not only to their effectiveness, but also to their selflessness.

We at the Office of the Mediator, along with the rest of the Galactic Union, would like to take this opportunity to thank these brave souls, wherever they may be. Whether you know it or not, you are heroes to us all.

OM-SIII-Div. 2046.045 GCE