Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

my schedule for armadillocon...

here's what's going down in A-town. This time, I won't be asking anyone for directions anywhere...

My Reading
Fri 8:30 PM-9:00 PM deWitt
J. M. McDermott
(I'll probably ask the room what they've heard and what they haven't heard. I expect I'll be reading either "Dedalus and the Labyrinth" again, or "Death's Shed".)

Literary Criticism

Sat Noon-1:00 PM deZavala

Hobson, Huey, Kofmel, McDermott, Webb*, Wagner
How does critique of sf differ from that of mainstream literature? Where should one look for the best analysis? Is this the domain of fans, or are academics taking over?

(This should be interesting. I have yet to encounter a single academic on par with a Renata Salecl discussing genre sf. Authors and bloggers, utterly dominate the feild. Maybe I'm wrong? We'll see...)

Sat 5:00 PM-6:00 PM Dealers' Room
Leicht, McDermott, McHugh, M. Wells, S. Williams

(I am willing to sign other author's books, but I will only sign my own name. I'm not much of a forger, anyway.)

peculative Fiction in Computer Games
Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM deZavala
Duggins, Huey, McDermott, Salvaggio, W. Spector*, Tyler
Science Fiction and Fantasy are in computer gaming - from Bioshock to Final Fantasy to Warcraft to Fallout. Why is there so much talk about the science fiction and fantasy element in movies, when computer gaming has so many genre elements in most of its top games?

(I'm always about three to five years behind in my gaming for a variety of reasons, so I will likely bring a very different perspective to this panel than everyone else.)

SF Canon for Short Fiction
Sun 2:00 PM-3:00 PM deWitt
Denton, McDermott, Richerson, Rountree, Swenson, S. Williams*
Is there a science fiction canon for short fiction? Are there short stories and novellas that we all should have read, or is there no required reading in this form. Our panelists will try to determine if there is a canon, and talk about what to add to it or what should be in it.

(I expect I'll be spending a lot of my time saying, "I agree with what Sheila Williams said..." and "What do you think Sheila...." and "What did Gardner say the last time you spoke with him about it, Sheila Williams, head editor of 'Asimov's Magazine'?"

You know, stuff like that.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

while pirate elvis sleeps off the hangover of all this rum-soaked fried peanut-butter and banana sandwiches, go read this essay by cat valente that will make you a better/smarter artist:

Also, go pick up a book of hers. They're all good. The Orphan's Tales are especially caramel-coated in robot/manticore/popess goodness.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

pirate elvis lives

Graceland was never going to be the same after the death of the King.

Of course, little did they know the King was not, in fact, dead. That was just one of the King's clones that broke while the king himself was out on a mission.

That mission? Capturing every shipment of Chinese sneakers before they reach the ports. America must be protected from foreign sweatshop products, after all, and who better to conquer the hordes of un-American influence than the King of all Americana himself, Elvis Presley.

His Letter of Marquis was signed by LBJ. His ship was decked out in all the latest pirate technologies. The plank had a piano keyboard on it, to let the condemned dance a tune for their salvation. The galley had more friers than McDonald's University. The crew were all musicians and actors, singing and dancing their way to justice. The carpets were plush. The bridge was a jungle room. Even in the prisoner's cages, there was a high tech recording studio for anyone that finally caved in to their interrogations and decided to sing.

Yes, my friends, Pirate Elvis lives!

spring and autumn flowers, fruits, and grasses

spring and autumn, flowers, fruits, and grasses

she had matching screens
blocking the light
in her paper
bedroom: painted screens

hydrangaea, strawberries,
hyacinth, squash blossoms,
narcissus, roses, cat-tails -
placed in the season that birthed them.

spring, summer, autumn,
she stepped from behind the screen
smiling at me from winter
white porcelain jars of harvest with
long nights and nothing to do

(author's note: I changed the date for this to come out today, since the entry I pre-dated for the 29th magically appeared by itself far too soon... Bumped everything else up a day as a result. Blogger can be weird sometimes.)

Monday, July 28, 2008

write to the title

these are the titles of stories i have never written, but i try very hard to come up with some way to use them whenever i can...

"throw it in the fire"
"pirate elvis was a friend of mine"
"never trust the dead"
"king for a day at pirate elvis castle"
"watch for sunlight"
"revenge of pirate elvis"
"king basilisk's terrible palace"
"zombie pirate elvis wats scooby-doo and the gang"
"snow gophers versus pirate elvis"

These are all stories I would like to write.

i'm working on a story right now, instead, called "when we were executioners".

and, back to work i go...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

buttons, buttons, eat all the buttons!

congrats to all who earned buttons.

spambots, beware: i know you're there, pumping up my pagehits, waiting for your chance to swing in and post about something really awful...

like that time someone thought my post about pre-dating a blog post was really about looking for a dating website and commented and linked to me.

i wonder what will set off the spambots, now. will it be viagra? arnold schwarzenegger? buttered toast and tea?

regardless, it isn't free buttons, apparently. i can post about free buttons with impunity.

buttons! buttons for everyone! some of them the thread still attached! some of them with the pointy bits all mangled and crunchy! some of them boiled limp and gooey like a dali clock!

buttons, buttons, eat all the buttons!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

i knew it...

adsense be saying i get so and so many hits... but people don't be reading to the end, except for Lola.

I'm not mad. It's my fault for not being more interesting. Really, I don't blame you, fair reader. If my blog post is dull, than don't read it.

Let's try this again:

First five comments get a free, official LAST DRAGON button.

Friday, July 25, 2008

snow gophers, plus...

I looked up suicide in the Thesaurus, but there’s no other way to say suicide. I have to come up with something for this fucking obituary. I don’t want people to think Quentin killed himself. He didn’t kill himself. His death was ruled a suicide, but it was really more of a self-inflicted act of stupidity than intentional ending of life. How do I put “Qualifies for the largest Darwin Award ever”, but with some respect for the dead?

The thing about Quentin’s death is that it wasn’t that he was trying to take all those pills and drink all that alcohol. He had a headache. He didn’t realize the reaction that would happen when he mixed his special migraine pills with alcohol. He was underage, and a bespectacled geek. No doctor would have figured Quentin – zit-riddled, snaggle-toothed Quentin – for the kind of math geek that drinks vodka in his Mountain Dew. Sure, they might have warned him about the side affects of chronic masturbation, if there were any. But vodka? One look at the boy in his short pants and suspenders and the thought of underage drinking would have zipped right out from anyone’s head. No one could have predicted that.

Also, the knife wounds along his wrist were not intentional. I know they look intentional. But, accidents happen. It just so happens Quentin was always very, very uncoordinated. It’s lucky he does have ginormous spectacles. I can think of at least three occasions he would have accidentally put his own eye out. I know it seems convenient that he managed to cut his wrist, but after the pills, and the vodka, you can’t expect anyone to be very successful cutting up another lemon for their drink. Don’t forget those lemons. They were at the scene, you know.

The gunshot wound is a bit harder to understand, but it isn’t like he was blowing his brains out. Don’t ask me where Quentin got his gun. I have no clue. But, I hate to say that about a dead kid, you have to admit you could see Quentin owning a gun. He had a real problem asserting himself socially, and anger issues. I don’t think he would have shot up the cheerleading squad, even if they did make fun of him instead of ignoring him, but you could really see him as the lone gunman type. Of course he had a gun. He had a Libertarian bumper-sticker on his mini-van, and a FPS obsession that bordered on addiction. He had real anger issues, and plenty of history flaring his nostrils and slamming inanimate objects when he didn’t get his way. He was a math genius, and could easily figure out how to acquire an illegal gun. The fact that it blew his own chest off may seem miraculous in someone who is not suicidal, but need I remind you about the pills in his system and the alcohol?

I suspect he didn’t even know how many pills he took, or how much alcohol. I suspect he took them a couple at a time, and then forgot he had already taken his medicine on account of the overdose with the alcohol. Then, he took more, drank more, and all the while oblivious to the catastrophic meltdown in his pancreatic system.

Sometime between trying to cut the lemon, and pulling the trigger, he probably noticed he was bleeding and assumed he was under attack. He pulled his gun out of his shoulder-holster, but didn’t quite make it all the way out before the trigger went off.

The M.E. did say the bullet entered at an angle, around the breastbone. If he was trying to kill himself, he would have shot himself in the head, or blown off a toe and let himself gently bleed to death.

The noose is also a bit difficult to explain. Still, he was a nerd. Nerds wear ties. When they are alone, sometimes they wear really freaky ties for no good reason. Nerds like ties and wear them even when they don’t have too. If you told me that Quentin was hanging out in his house in slacks and a tie, I would laugh but I wouldn’t call you a liar. He always wore a tie. He thought it was cool to look like Elvis Costello. We liked to remind Quentin that Elvis Costello was not only older than our dads, but nerds never listen, do they?

The fact that pill-and-alcohol-addled Quentin had tied a noose instead of a traditional knot has more to do with his gallows humor. He thought it was funny to tie a noose around his neck with his tie. Seriously. He did it at parties, when he was drunk and trying to look cool. He tied the noose around his neck, but he didn't want to use it.

On his way to the ground, after the bullet wound, but before the carbon monoxide poisoning, his tie was blown out of place from the rippling energies of the angled bullet. The tie swung out and caught something – in this case a corner in the ladder – and held it by a few important, influential threads. These threads bunched. The cheap stitching was destroyed. The errant threads got caught inside the jagged wooden ladder, and held.

What was he doing on a ladder? Obviously, it was the only surface clean and clear enough to double as a cutting board. He had his mountain dew and vodka on the little tray at the top of the ladder. He used the very top of it as a cutting board.

I know this sounds illogical, but you didn't know Quentin, and I did. This all made perfect sense to him.

When you first stepped onto the scene, the second thing you’d notice was how the tie looked like it could be torn any second. It did not look intentional to me. It looked like it got stuck when he fell, and his bad, drunken, noose joke became reality.

This, of course, merits mentioning the true cause of death: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.

Someone left the minivan with the Libertarian bumper-sticker running in the garage. If you can’t hear the engine running over the 80’s power metal (Quentin was an Iron Maiden freak) then you can’t possibly know you are being slowly poisoned to death by a running car in the garage. Have you tried doing anything but angry drinking while Iron Maiden played in the background?

I know, I know, what the heck was he doing in the garage drinking vodka, taking pills, cutting up limes on the top of a ladder, etc. etc.? Well, to answer all those concerns, let me just remind you that I knew Quentin and you didn’t.

I could go on. Seriously. Anyone who knows Quentin knows this isn’t a suicide. It’s just a case of a clumsy weirdo finally having the accident everyone thought he was destined to have.

I know, everyone thought he had gone loony because of the Snow Gophers, and his mystery animals seem like some kind of warning sign in retrospect. Imaginary animals should have been the first sign of trouble.

I disagree. I knew Quentin. The Snow Gophers were real.

I also suspect a Snow Gopher slipped all that vodka into the first Mountain Dew, and whispered in his ear about the pills he needed.


to be continued...

Also, first five comments to this thread get a free "last dragon" button in the mail.

Ready, set, CONTEST!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

things thought about whilst doing nothing better

Q: What did one Inuit say to the other Inuit?
A: I don't-i-know. Let's Esk-i-Mo!

Yup. I'm up at the Kimbell a lot these days, and it shows no sign of dying down. If you know anyone in Fort Worth looking for some part-time work, send 'em to the museums.

I'm still trying to do that whole novelist thing full-time, too. this morning, i was late to work because i fell asleep on my keyboard.

sometime after 500 pages of straight "s", the computer crashed. i was able to investigate the document and delete all those "s"'s but who knows how many could have been written.

maybe tomorrow i'll put together an interesting thing for you in the morning. i've got plans to reward regular readers with something cool and free.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

just heard from Behind the Wainscott

'Tisn't a paying market, but their theme looked like fun.

I just heard from Jonathan Wood about my entry into their Tarot-themed issue.

I'm the Seven of Pentacles.

In other news, today was see people that look just like people I know day at the museum. I saw at least five people that looked just like people I know. (Including you, Lola!)

It was creepy. I was surrounded by doeppelgangers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Abyss and Apex published 3 Poems Called Cosmic

Despite the title, this is actually just one poem...

going to the movies...

because i was too tired to do anything else, i went to see a movie yesterday at the closest theatre to my apartment. this establishment sells food and drinks, and even has waiters running around during the movie to provide restaurant services.

i got there about half an hour before the movie, so i figured i'd wait at the bar instead of in the theatre. i had a cup of coffee and watched some movie without sound starring louis gosset jr and roy scheider on the big screen tv behind the bar for a few minutes before going into the theatre.

i wouldn't talk about this here except that a pregnant woman - clearly late in her pregnancy - sat next to me at the bar. she ordered a coors light and a glass of cheap wine. both beverages were for her. she sat there, chatting about her pregnancy with the bartender, drinking beer and wine.

her male companion came in a bit later, and took half the glass of beer that was left, and ordered more wine for his pregnant lady.

i finished my coffee, and went in to sit in the empty theatre.

In the theatre, a cockroach crawled up the side of the screen - a very large cockroach - and it was a dark spot on an empty white screen. It was a spot that moved up and up and up, slowly making its way to the ceiling.

I didn't order any food.

Because this is a restaurant establishment, waiters were running in and out trying to get people food and margaritas. when choosing a seat, i picked the most empty i could find, hopefully with no waiter running in front of me.

no luck. after i had sat down, more folks came in and picked a spot next to me, where the waiter would be running right in front of me. they ordered a bunch of food for their little kids, who were loud and obnoxious the whole time.

this family brought their 3-7 year old children to see "The Dark Knight". There were many children in this establishment, going to see this movie, ordering food and making noise.

After making the best of it, and enjoying the movie as well as could be expected in such facilities, I went to the bathroom, and noticed how one of the toilets had overflown and smothered the floor with water. it had been there a while, if the trash floating in the water was any indication.

order no food at movie theatres.

i have decided i will probably not be going back to the movies this summer.

listening to parents explain to their small children why the joker didn't really kill anybody, and why they shouldn't be afraid of harvey dent's face, just... no.

no, i don't think i'll be going back to the movies for a while.

i try to think the best of people. i really do. i odn't want my experiences at movies to make me hate people.

Also, why on earth was this movie rated PG-13? Did the ratings people actually *see* the movie?

Spoilers ahead: Didn't they get a look at Harvey Dent's face? Didn't they watch the joker slaughtering recklessly, and relentlessly - even once by using a pencil on a table and once with a bomb that was surgically installed inside someone? Didn't they watch Rachel getting blown to bits while her fiancee was on the other line, trying to talk to them? THAT was PG-13?!

I gotta say, the kids in the theatre didn't seem able to handle it like a PG-13 movie.

Monday, July 21, 2008

just to let everyone know...

I've heard some very bad news.

I could rant on end about Hasbro's folly, but businesses have been engaged in folly for quite some time, and most of them seem to come out of it all right. As Steve Tem says over at shocklines, "That's Showbiz". These sorts of things do happen, I'm afriad.

I do want everyone to know that to my knowledge I am unaffected by this. My book will have its run. The mass market paperback is coming out.

Wizards of the Coast Discoveries hasn't made any public announcements that I'm aware of, and I'm not going to announce anything here if you don't already know, or can't find out over at shocklines, Steve and Melanie Tem's blog.

I do want to use this opportunity to remind everyone about how writers best deal with career hiccups.

We write new, more, and better stuff. We send out to people who buy it and publish it. We build our audience.

That is always the solution to our career difficulties.

Even scenarios that involve lawsuits... We writers let lawyers be lawyers and agents be agents. We go write new, more, and better stuff. We send it out to people who buy it and publish it. We build our audience.

That is how writers problem-solve. At least, that's what I'm doing, and I'm pretty sure it will work just fine at solving all the problems on my horizon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

why the christian fiction section of your store is the work of the devil

i have had this conversation with a couple friends and fellow book junkies. they were trying to argue the merits of christian fiction with me. i explained why the christian fiction section of the store - including separate bookstores - are completely and totally evil.

as consumers, we vote with our dollars. retail buyers notice trends, and order accordingly. editors select books according to both retail buyers and readers' dollars. agents select according to editors buying trends, retail buyers and readers' dollars.

with me so far?

now, imagine if christian fiction had no separate section, and these books were mixed and mingled with regular romance, SF, litfic, mystery, and etcetera. every time a book is bought out of the SF section, it makes a small impact on retail buying decisions for that section. enough little purchases can travel up the chain to influence the kinds of books written and produced.

when you, as a christian, choose to separate your buying power to your own separate section, you ghetto-ize yourself. you take your buying power out of the influence of the mainstream. all of the issues you care about, and all of the reasons you choose books, have now stopped influencing the buying decisions of retail buyers and editors and agents in the mainstream. with fewer influence from the moral crowd, the moral center of the section will change accordingly. books will get racier, sexier, and more violent. christian values will steadily and gently seep away from that section, as other influential buying groups (agnostics, liberals, gosh --queers--!) gently move the moral medium to new and exciting places.

by ghetto-izing yourself to - as one christian fiction enthusiast stated - "...protect yourself from ideas you don't need in your head", you end up hurting your cause with your dollar votes.

the separate economy you've created for yourself will actually diminish your influence on the mainstream, and encourage all the evil ideas you despise to flourish.

thus, separating your buying power away from the mainstream is a deadly and dangerous thing, and the work of the devil.

Here's a challenge for Christian Fiction enthusiasts. Go to a bookstore section not your own. Read the back of the book. Read an excerpt. By now, do you notice that you probably can judge whether or not this book will offend you or not?

If it offends you, don't read it. But, don't reject a whole section of the store just because you have to actually research your buying selections a little bit more, and risk exposing yourself to sex, gay people, and wicca.

You are doing the work of the devil, Christian Fictionists, by separating yourself from the rest of society.

I will not discuss the quality issues that arrive when buying decisions are made primarily by moral content than artistic content, but let's just say all my time freely wandering the store looking for books has confirmed this little prejudice. 90 percent of everything is crap, of course. in CF, this rule is probably more like 95-98 percent. C S Lewis is one tough act to follow.

Friday, July 18, 2008

finally got a subscription!

i just got so tired of hunting for back issues at conventions. i have at least three, at most six, issues of electric velocipede hiding in my bookcases (and friends' bookcases), and now, i no longer have to spend time digging at conventions.

thanks to george w bush who made this possible with his gratuitous free tax money program. i still think it's a bad idea, but i want to use what funds i had left over after my electric bills to buy something else electric.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

थे फुन्निएस्त थिंग i हवे सीन अल डे लॉन्ग...


"I am the Very Model of a Modern SF Novelist

I am the very model of a modern SF novelist,
I've manuscripts space opera, anime, and fantasist,
I know the kings of fandom and the best flamewars historical
From Andrew Burt to LiveJournal, in order categorical;
I'm very well acquainted too, with matters editorial,
I keep my cover letters brief and never too suctorial,
About rejection etiquette I'm teeming with propriety,
With many cheerful facts about your online notoriety,
I'm very good at worldbuilding and proper use of ansibles;
I know the hyphenated names of beings unpronounceable:
In short, in matters space opera, anime, and fantasist,
I am the very model of a modern SF novelist."

Jim Hines is once again one of the funniest fantasy authors on the planet.

lost prose

"...My parents were both from Maryland. They moved south like the Canada geese one particularly miserable winter. They never looked back. The weather was so warm in Fort Worth. The winter was only a couple days of freezing rain now and then. The summer filled the sky with a perfect blue light, and a heat that was so refreshing after working all day in some freezing, air conditioned office building.

I was born in Maryland, but I was raised in Texas. I moved to Dallas right after I graduated from college because I had a job in Carrollton, north of the city. I thought it was kind of weird living in the city and commuting to a suburb to work, but the urban sprawl had gotten so mixed up by now with all those open fields around Dallas and Fort Worth that you never knew what to expect in all those swallowed suburbs adjusting their taxes to attract the business to build more revenue and better roads and better businesses until the city was mostly rotten and the suburbs was where everyone lived and worked...

...One time, I saw a werewolf once, digging through a dumpster in downtown Haltom City, on two legs with forepaws that could have passed for hands if it wasn’t for the hair and long claws. I saw an alien spaceship flying through the night sky over Richardson. I don’t know what the fuck aliens are doing in Richardson, but I guess no one would notice them in that beat up little burg."

some stories die. most stories die. all stories are forgotten, eventually, and they die too.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

it has begun...

beta phase has begun.

i'm signed up, and looking forward to greatness.


Monday, July 14, 2008

GUD Magazine is running a contest for my book...

If anyone in the UK/EU want to try and win the review copy of LAST DRAGON Debbie Moorhouse used for GUD Magazine?

Enter this contest:

"You're the Last Person on Earth, but you're allowed to share your solitude with one creature from mythology--any mythology. To win the review copy of "Last Dragon", tell us in [GUD Magazine's review] comments who--or what--it's going to be :).

Contest open to UK/EU only and closes July 21st (midnight pacific time)."

I will also sweeten the pot. If you win, I'll send you a LAST DRAGON button.

(Lisa, I promise I will get that button in the mail, I just have to finish prepping the story I'm sending out this week, and the button will go out when I get to the post office! I haven't forgotten you! I'm just slow, like the publishing industry!)

do we call it "Calvinball" and/or "उइद्दित्च"? we should if we don't...

Hear ye, hear ye, all Speculative Fictionists!

I hereby propose a new moniker to refer to something many of us do in our stories, as a convenient shorthand for discussion groups, crit groups, and general verbal shorthand.

Sports of the future, of the magical alternate reality, and any other invented sort of sport in our stories that is sufficiently different from known sports as to require an "As You Know Bob" about the rules, the specialized equipment, and anything else particular to that particular speculative sport, shall forthwith be referred to as "Calvinball" is SciFi and "Quidditch" in Fantasy!.

Thus, in your crit groups, you might overhear this sentence, "So, in your Calvinball, you have guys playing some kind of floating soccer in the lowgrav center of the generational ship..."

"So, your Quidditch has these guys facing off trying to turn each other into bats and baseballs? But who gets to do the swinging and who gets to do the pitching. Do they pitch themselves? That's not clear in the story."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

tips on taking kids to an art museum

As a parent, you want the best for your child. art museums, and high culture, are part of that equation. unfortunately, most kids of a certain age (2-7) would rather stab themselves with a sharpened candy cane than stumble through an hour or two of art appreciation.

Trust me, the staff of the museum would likely be willing to provide your child with the sharpened candy canes in many loud, unpleasent cases.

Some parents have developed techniques to help their child appreciate the art, instead of just running around and touching stuff. I thought I'd share those that I have seen here, because they work extremely well.

1) Call ahead - if the museum is going to be particularly crowded today, your child's stress will be much higher, and they will be unlikely to get a good look at anything through the sea of legs. The time spent in the museum trying to do so increases, and this only stretches a young child's attention span far beyond the breaking point. Look for a day or time that won't be too crowded.

2) Arrange an outing with multiple families, and take a tour - museums have free tours by docents, and if docents discover they are talking to lots of children, they tailer their tour to entertain and engage the children. Again, call ahead, and find out what times there are tours. Team up with friends and relatives to take the tour together.

3) Bring sketchpads and pencils - sketching is almost universally encouraged when it does not interfere with other museum guests. On a day that is not terrifically crowded, a child can sit on a bench with an unrestricted view of that Carravagio masterpiece, and attempt to sketch out a copy of the painting. More recent art is quite popular among kids, (Miro, Mondrian, etc.) because kids can actually sketch a pretty good approximation of what they see. However, encourage your child to find paintings they like and recreate them in their sketchbook.

4) Make sure your kids have already had time to run and play before entering the museum. Before entering the museum, walk the kids around the grounds, and let them play tag first. Wearing them down a bit will make the experience much more bearable. Museum grounds are generally lovely, and often have cool installed sculptures to explore. (I particularly recommend the giant twisted chimney in front of the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art that has an amazing echo-effect inside.)

Simple tips, but it always amazes me how often parents don't think about ways to make the experience enjoyable for their child. Art contemplation and appreciation does not come naturally to a normal, healthy five year old boy. If the experience, however, becomes remembered as enjoyable, your child can develop an appreciation of art that will serve them well in life.

And, for the love of jesus, don't touch anything while you are trying to point out things to your kid.

Thank you, and good night.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

alien impressionisms

the impressionist movement of art (monet, renoir, pissaro, etc.) would be utterly insensible to any alien eye. the movement is deeply rooted in the way the human mind and the human eye interact, creating shape out of familiar chaos, and light out of the suggestion of dots and swirls and smudges of patchy colors.

alien eyes, with alien ways of seeing, would be incapable of making heads or tails of this stuff. the science of it is too human.

i've been spending perhaps a little too much time standing around the art museum thinking about aliens. if that's even possible. (there's no such thing as pondering aliens too much.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

you got friends, right?

I hate to say that I expect sluggish sales in July, but I do. Gas prices are very high. I'm so swamped between the museum and trying to write another book this year, that I don't have a chance to do book signings for a while.

Most of the short fiction and poetry I have that's going to be published isn't coming out until August and later.

Thus, I expect a slow July.

Want to help? I assume you have a copy of my book sitting somewhee within arm's reach (or a local library), and I assume you have friends (because only cool people would read my blog, and cool people always have friends).

Put one and two together. Take book. Insert into hand of friend.

Frankly, 'tis the nicest and kindest thing you can do to any writer whose work you enjoy.

Then, when August rolls around, keep your eyes peeled for Fantasy Magazine, GUD Magazine, Weird Tales Magazine, Abyss & Apex.... Etc. Etc. Then, I expect an uptick as new readers discover that I exist.

le sigh. I put too much of my sense of self into my sales figures. I really ought to focus on the next project.

I know this novella I'm putting the spit polish on right now is pretty hella good. I can only wonder what lucky editor will be the first to see "People of the Maze"...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Scene from the UCLA Bookstore!

The lovely and talented Lisa Spangenberg just made my day with these great pictures from the UCLA Bookstore:

The better of the two, with Lisa intact, and the book appropriately upside down.

And, here's the book face-out at the UCLA Bookstore, surrounded by so many other fine titles.

Who deserves a Last Dragon button? YOU deserve a Last Dragon button, Lisa!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

setting up डिसेंट links...

I took down my link to other blogs because I realized I needed to overhaul the list to make sure they were all still active blogs. The list got so out of date, I couldn't remember why I put some of them up at all.

Then, naturally, I kept putting off my overhaul...

and putting it off...

Okay, I'm going to be putting up a list of blogs and websites that are worth a visit for anyone who comes visiting my blog. This will be a work in progress, and have very little organization. I'm probably going to be adding things to the list all year long.

I've got more than a few ideas of places I've been reading when I can. (Bibliophile Stalker is my favorite fan-run blog in the webverse. Charles' enthusiasm is infectious, his book reviews are blessedly spoiler-free, and his interviews are awesome. SFSignal and OF Blog of the Fallen are close seconds/thirds. I've taken to reading Jeff VanderMeer's blog every day, as well. Quite a few others, but I'll just list them all out... Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, and etc. Stuff like that!)

Anywho, anyone who comments here can get their blog and/or website investigated and unless I see something spam-like or horribly inappropriate, I'll add you to my linkbacks. If you read my blog, you *deserve* a linkback.

I'm still pre-dating entries on account of difficult schedule, so it might take me a couple days to get everything done.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

one explosion after another 'round these parts...

ever since I got back from BookExpoAmerica, seems like I can't go three days without some kind of explosion going off on the perimeters of my defenses.

The invading forces of invisible gremlins have finally tracked me down, and I've got to pay the wheel of fortune for all the good luck borrowed in the last few years.

Where's Athena when you really need her help with your own life's little Eumenides?

I need a break wherein I get to read this lovely little book, picked up from the library just yesterday, though I don't think it will happen soon, alas...:

Monday, July 7, 2008

so sleepy...

too many hours of the awakeness.

not enough hours of the asleepness.

almost done with wicked cool novella. not done with wicked cool novel, alas.

sleepness. then, writeness.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

about pre-dating blog entries...

man, this is like... really hard. i just don'e have that many interesting things to say in one day, that i can spread them out into an entire week.

i feel like the only interesting thing i can think of is a madlib of random unrelated words that also happen to rhyme.

purple gorillas with frankfurter eyes
eat swallowtail sausage and rotten fruit pies
multifaceted conundrum candy is difficult to eat
because you hold it with your feet
you can only see it in your backseat
sitting with periwinkly baboons with dandruff sleet
who weave blankets from ear hair and tofu meat
and tuppins and puffins and Rene Magritte
and eyeballs and appendices of soccer cleats
dangling like bad participles from fungal sheets
hey nonny nonny nonny hoe!
And awaaaaay...we...go!


that's all i got, folks.

good night!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

thinking abour speculative fiction and women...

There's been some talk in the wires about the gender gap in Speculative Fiction. Since I actually think Paranormal Romance totally counts as Science-Fiction and Fantasy, I don't really know what those guys are talking about.

However, in HardSF/MilitarySF, I can honestly say there seems to be a gender gap. And, the women who are writing Hard SF/MilitarySF, the women we have kick ass.

I just finished "Marquee and Reprisal" by Elizabeth Moon, and I thought it was a great time. Exciting space battles, excellent world-building, and excellent plotting heavily rooted in believable characters. If more people of either gender wrote stuff this much fun, TV would go out of business.

The gap that worries me is not the gender gap. The quality gap worries me. At the highest levels of quality, I've noticed parity between the number of men and women.

Perhaps this percieved gender gap is just that men, for some unknown reason, are better at limping through some average-to-bad paint-by-numbers Heinlein rip-off. Once you get out of the sticks and into the upper echelons, I don't see any gender gap at all. In fact, Nancy Kress and Elizabeth Moon and a few notable others are totally kicking ass.

Friday, July 4, 2008

thought Balloon

All stories are true.

On a large enough time scale everything that is possible becomes probable.

On an infinite timescale, everything that is possible becomes inevitable.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hey New Hampshire!

a friend of mine's plays are running this weekend at the player's ring! I had the great pleasure of reading one of the plays before it found its way to stage, and I know you are in for a real treat!



Body: That's right, kids - one more weekend! Don't miss the fun!!!

Three more nights: Friday and Saturday at 10:30pm and Sunday at 9:30. Don't forget to call and reserve tickets!! 603 436 8123.

Stay up past your bedtime at Players' Ring
By Tim Robinson
July 03, 2008 6:00 AM

The Players' Ring opened its' 2008 Late Night Summer Series this past weekend with "Evening Broadcasts," a collection of one act plays written and directed by Jacquelyn Benson. This show is arguably by far the best production to grace the Ring's stage in quite a long while. The three plays make up quite a long show for a late night slot, running two hours in length. Its quality and talent should have made it a shoo-in candidate for the regular season. But if you have the stamina for it, it is well worth the time and money.

The first of the three plays on stage is entitled "Death and the 1889 Columbian Herpetological Expedition." The title alone should be enough to give you a heads up that Benson's work isn't going to turn out to be 'normal' by any manner of means. 'A tale of terror and thrills set in a remote scientific research station in the jungles of Columbia' so says the program. What you get is a rather manic Monty Pythonesque vision of life with three researchers in deepest darkest South America: Bennett (Bill O'Donnell) a young researcher, Mallory (Glen Provost) a taxidermist and the famous Swedish Zoologist Professor Carl Gustafson (G. Matthew Gaskell.) Gaskell's character is bitten by a venomous frog, the consequences of which form the central, and only, plot line, with Provost and O'Donnell vainly trying to cure him and avoid the same fate for the rest of the show. Gaskell is a tad bit the archetypal scene stealer here, which, given that all he has to say are two words of supposed Swedish, is quite an achievement.

Second on stage is "The Shores of Lake Parima." Described as 'A most woeful story of death, poetry and other such unpleasant sorts of things' the story line is knit around a meeting between Sir Walter Raleigh (Chuck Galle) and his old friend Henry Percy (Roland Goodbody), a notably treasonous Earl. This one is in a much more serious vain but equally well directed and performed. If there are any problems they lie in two simple things. Firstly the fight scene really needs to be shorter and tighter to truly be believable.

Secondly it is a little problematical to write a story set so definitely in England, a conversation between two Englishmen, and then cast one real Englishman and one American and not allow for how wrong some colloquialisms sound in the wrong accent!

Last but not least is the finest of the three works, "And the Angels Sang." Right after intermission this piece is definitely worth sticking around for. Utilizing all of the cast members this one has a curious tale to tell; 'if you were given knowledge from the future, would you act to prevent a disaster from happening or not?' Five men are sat around a work table in an armament factory in a small Italian town, making bullets and listening to an erratically functioning radio. It is Sept. 1, 1939. Date ring a bell? The struggle to believe what they hear on the radio and then translate into a concrete plan of action is tangible. Each of the actors brings something to the table here that contributes to the success of this work.

Each of the component offerings of the evening pose different problems to be solved by the director, and Benson seems to dispose of all of them. The settings are simple and effective using only a minimum of tables, chairs and personal props which makes for an ease of transition between shows. If you are up for a late night the Ring is definitely the place to be.

WHAT Evening Broadcasts written and Directed by Jacquelyn Benson

WHEN Friday, Saturday at 10:30 p.m., and Sunday at 9:30 p.m., July 4, 5 and 6.

WHERE The Players' Ring, 105 Marcy St.

, Portsmouth

COST $10 members, $12 non-members; Seniors and students: $8 members, $10 non-members

CONTACT 436-8123, www. playersring. org

about amy sisson and strange horizons

So, the gas crunch struck, and nobody has the money they need to throw at worthy causes like Strange Horizons' annual drive.

At ApolloCon, I once again ran into Amy Sisson and had a chance to chat and socialize with her.

She was running the writer's workshop at ApolloCon, and I had full confidence that everyone in her workshop was learning and improving. Amy's awesome.

Strange Horizons has two of her peices archived for your reading pleasure:

Amy is fun at parties, and a great writer. The place that's published her and paid her money and brought her to the world's attention is in need of your support.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

my only apollocon regret...

With my whole leaving early on Sunday, not only did I miss out on some great stuff, but I also didn't really have the full opportunity to help EDGE BOOKS make as much money as humanly possible off my book. I didn't really get a chance to do my whole shindig at a Con and try to convince people to check out my book.

Edge Books is an awesome company, with an amazing selection. The only reason I didn't blow fifty bucks at their table is because I didn't get a chance to swoop in before the rest of the con descended on their table. Other people bought up the things I had scouted out prior to the opening of the con. Then, I didn't have time to dig deeper, because I was leaving early and had to squeeze as much as I could from the convention.

And, I am saddened by that.

I am not saddened at making new friends (Like Lola! Welcome to my comments section! It may seem lonely, but I am always happy to see comments!)

I am saddened, as well, that this post is being put up pre-dated, and I probably haven't had a chance to check my comments section since I wrote it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

if i was in the WWE...

i can only imagine what i would be like as a character in the WWE.

first off, i think i would probably not wear spandex. i don't think it would help the ratings. i would likely wear comfortable pajamas. i don't understand why we have the perfect clothing - flannel pajama pants - and we can't wear them in public. in high school, i actually did wear pajamas all the time. seemed appropriate when i was going to be sleeping through most of my classes.

yes, i would wear pajamas. loose, free-flowing pajamas. i'd also wear a mask, because one of the rules in my family is "don't embarrass the family". my mask would probably be made of some kind of synthetic fabric. cotton is too loose. leather is too dead animal.

i think i would probably not rant at the top of my lungs. frankly, i don't think my enemies are worth getting worked up over. really, they're beneath me. i think i'll just rhyme poetically about how "i'm going to body slam them, then have tea, crumpets and jam".

wrestling is also too much of a hassle. if i have enemies, i don't want to mess around. my special move would be a shotgun blast directly to their face.

call me a cheat, but i think it might be effective. then, if the commissioner doesn't want me to wrestle anymore, i'll just shoot him in the face with a shotgun, too.

"after i kill you with my shotgun, i'll go out for tofu and dim sum."

It might be hard to maintain a story arc if I keep killing my enemies, but zombie wrestling would be even more fun than regular wrestling.