Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A series of photos and some news

My story "Farmer" was in the January/February Analog SF, and now, in March, my story "Snowbirds" is featured with my name on the cover and everything.

Here are photos of various things I have been puttering with while writing and working...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Awards Eligibility

So, this time of year people post what stories and fictions they wrote that are eligible for awards this year. I believe there are only two from me, this year, currently eligible.

My short story "Paul and his Son" was in Asimov's April/May 2015 edition.
My short story "Everything is Haunted" was in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet June 2015.

It's been a crowded year in short fiction, with lots of great stories, so I doubt this is more than just a tallying for my own, personal records, but...

There it is, for those who are interested.

I expect to have a more exciting year ahead, beginning with a short story called "Farmers" in the January/February issue of Analog Magazine!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Stay Frosty...

So, there's this infamous organization out of Maryland, that for years caused a lot of pain and suffering in the world of books. I'll refrain from mentioning them directly, because I know they're suing people. Anyway, whether you love them or hate them, I know that lots of people are critical of the organization's business practices, and I certainly don't feel any love for their business models in the past. I don't know what they're doing these days, but the random e-mail I got left a pretty bad taste in my eyeballs.

I discovered that a very well known operation out of Maryland have actually changed their name into something new, and seem to be sending out lots of e-mails into the world offering to do free promotion at library bookseller events. Personally, free promotion sounds too good to be true. What is in it for the promoter? I suspect that this now renamed organization is trying to build a list of potential clients to milk for promotions that actually cost something. And, since it is coming from a fairly notorious organization, I can't imagine their promotional activities will be any more effective than the soulless and clueless form letter that seems to be populating itself across the many comment sections and e-mail inboxes of the world of independent publishing. This operation does not have a reputation for effective promotion. Free promotion, done poorly, is worse than no promotion at all. It would attach one's name and reputation to that organization.

So, let's review: 1) Is it too good to be true? 2) Why is it free? 3) Does the address or name of anyone or anyplace involved smell fishy, for instance, like the same area that a notorious operation has their roots and lawsuits?

Maryland is an interesting place in the recent history of potentially exploitive, generally widely unliked publishing operations. I am immediately suspicious of anything out of Maryland, period.

I'm certain there are some people who are happy with this organization, and I'm happy for you if you are. But, wow, I don't see how what I saw meets anyone's professional needs, and you will not be able to convince me to change my mind on that.

Check everything that you aren't 100% certain about over at the forums of, with Victoria Strauss of WriterBeware, and any number of watchdog groups. People who sue watchdog groups seem to misunderstand how to have a good reputation with watchdog groups: Be fair and just and non-exploitive in such a manner that people can find no fault in what you do.

It's much easier to do that than lawsuits.

Consider yourself warned.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fancy Tea and Fantasy Authors at the Twig Book Shop on November 7th!

Fancy Tea and Fantasy Authors

Join award-winning and critically-acclaimed fantasy authors Martha Wells, Stina Leicht, Amanda Downum, Patrice Sarath, and J. M. McDermott at the Twig Book Shop on November 7th, for a lovely, little gathering with tea for drinking, and books for signing. Fancy dress encouraged, but not required.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cornbread the hard way

O axacan Green crossed with all sorts of things in the garden was harvested and allowed to dry out. Shucked, plucked, milled by hand, and turned into a rustic cornbread, i have frozen all that is left for future stews and bean chilis. Doing things the hard way is actually quite rewarding and fun.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Been busy...

The room was large with a high ceiling and had all sorts of tubes and wiring in the rafters. There were different sizes of glass funnel above, ready to descend, with rubber sealant sprayed onto them. The tanks of gas were overhead, too, nestled like eggs among the nest of tubes.
“I’m relaxed, sir,” I said. I tried not to look up again.
“Good. So, we’re going to stand you in the center of the room, right inside the yellow square painted there. A glass tube will descend. For just a moment, you’ll be in vacuum, but you’re young and strong and you can handle it. Then, the ionized gas will fill the vacuum in an instant, and the glass will come up once transfer protocols lock in. You’ll be done in less than a minute. Okay?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Take a deep breath and hold it on my signal. Keep your mouth closed. It doesn’t really matter if you panic or not once the tank descends. You can’t break it if you try, I promise. Best thing to do is just hold still, try to relax, and let it happen. It will be over before you even start to hurt.”
“Got it, sir.” I stood firmly in the center of the yellow square, but I looked up at the glass tube above me.
“It will hurt a little. The ionization process is not a pleasant one. But, it will be no worse than getting a shot in the arm.”
Lights went on in another room behind a glass window that was darkened before. I saw technicians there looking in, and working at terminals, securing their connections and focusing the data lines into the proper channels for my transcendence.
“Hold still, Ensign,” he said, speaking calmly. “On my count, take a deep breath. 3...2...1...Hold.”
Air held still inside my lungs. The glass came down from above surprisingly quickly, but not so fast that I couldn’t jump out from under it if I had the nerve. It separated me from the room, and the vacuum seal hissed. I couldn’t hear anything, then. The air filled with a blue gas that emerged in spots and lines like a grid of flowers in the air itself. It was dazzling, and sudden, like getting punched and seeing lights. The gas filled out the air, and swirled and then I was through. In fact, I had been through for a few moments already, and the gas was actually an optical illusion of my body and brain trying to process the sudden shifts in my vision and orientation.
The glass came up and I was born here, on the Citadel.
The moment I had seen gas, I was already here, and the images in my retinas of the place I had been is proof to me that it was real. Once upon a time, there was a place called Earth, and a young cadet named Ronaldo Aldo who had lived at sea with his mother and father, until he went to War College in the ancient city at the heart of Mexico, and he stepped into a glass tube that quantum cloned him, creating me.

I was born, then, and I was reborn with all the sins still in my heart, my failure with Shui Mien, with my terrible pride.
Is starting to look like an interesting short novel, but more revisions needed.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Friday, July 24, 2015

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Starting on July 1st, a Promotional Price Diminishing

Howdy all,

On July 1st, and for two weeks, STRAGGLETAGGLE, my latest novel, will only be $0.99 with the lovely people at WeightlessBooks.

At just $0.99, this will be a huge steal, less than a lottery ticket for something that will entertain you far longer than a lottery ticket will, without the horrible letdown when you don't win at the end, because you'll have read a book, and reading books is never a let down.

On July 1st, then, there will be a price drop at Weightless Books. Go there, and purchase a book.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The last of the blackberries

K iowa blackberries are delicious. In year 3, we got 4 pints, easily, off a single bush. Huge, delicious berries. With the rain and overcast weather, not as good as last year, but still very good, and HUGE!

Planted with a Natchez thornless, the birds went after the smaller fruiting, thornless one, which was fine by us because the fruit quality on the Natchez was inferior.

We also managed to propagate both into new bushes by bending down a good cane and burying it in the raised bed beside the first bush. So, expect more blackberries next year!

Kiowa blackberries are amazing and you should totally plant one in the fall!