Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Contest time

Want to score a copy of Never Knew Another before anybody?

I got a bunch of them to spare. I'm giving away two right now.

Just tell me what you'd like written in your personalized copy, and the two I deem most fun to write score a free book, months before the release date.

Ready... Set... Go!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Exciting Weekend...

I'm not traumatized or upset or anything. Really I'm not. I'm going to keep telling myself this...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


One cannot curb the corporations' right to free speech; ergo, one cannot curb their right to bear arms.

How long until corporations have mightier armies than the governments that hold them -- loosely, gently, not-so-convincingly -- in check?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Stop Dreaming

There isn't enough time to pursue dreams. Even pondering them is a waste of time. Buddha teaches us to live our real life. Accept what is and what cannot be changed. Your word has bound you to industry, and family, and responsibility. What use are dreams when they do not answer your responsibility to the people of your life, whom you owe so much. And with the time we have on earth, there are starving children and unclean waters and the myth of omnipotent corporations.

I was thinking about this, how there is no point dreaming in the age of advertising while money and research are poured into making us want so much, so loud. Our dreams are polluted. We want but we do not know how our wants are crafted. Stop dreaming, then, and just work, meditate, and live your real life.

The dreams you have will only add to the smog that destroys the world for our grandchildren: tour buses burning oil, paper mills spewing pulp into rivers, and another company with another product to beat into our minds.

Instead of dreaming, garden. Fill your home and yard with local plants that can pull the toxins from the sky.

That is our real life, not art and not glory and never peace against and among the corporations that have become the shadows in our minds.

And, whatever you do, don't write another book!

Monday, December 13, 2010


Keytar. I want one.

Friday, December 10, 2010

not world war iii?

Ever notice people keep talking about some mythical global warfare where nations clash against nations and billions die?

I was thinking about this while I was out for my morning walk, and it would seem like we have been quietly living in world war iii for some time, but no one realizes it.

The Haves (us) have been destroying the environment, raking whole impoverished nations for precious minerals, oils, and metals to the detriment of their nations, fueling the warlords that destroy the people of the world. Druglords and organized crime proliferate as the corrupted world feeds us, the Haves, with all the shiny plastic geegaws we desire. The environmental disasters that follow in that wake might as well be nuclear bombs, for the sudden deaths, and lingering pollution.

Don't tell me this isn't world war iii. Afghanistani Muslims hates us because they are in poverty, and we are "free". Iranians face sanctions of aspirin and medicine, but we sleep at night because none of our sons have died. China's bankers play tricks, and their party leaders sweep the internet, for any advantage of currency they can muster in the world economy, to the detriment of the people in the Rust Belt who don't even realize they're just casualties of a global war, far more dangerous than anything carrying a gun.

Bloodshed and conquest are done quickly in colonial wars of the past. 3 years, 4 or 5. This war, without bullets, extends for decades.

Blood for oil. Oil for blood.

Lone gunman, lone bombers, running through the dark, wanting for the open warfare that could resolve this slow, lumbering, ponderous combat in a lifetime, instead of century after century of economies acting selfishly instead of selflessly, taking when they ought to give, and relying on the backs of distant lands for the bread on the table, the table, and the bricks that build the house, the wealth that bought the house.

We are in a long, slow war. It is an economic one. We are Adam Smith's Invisible Army, raping and pillaging by proxy, through corporations and ambassadors, while few, if any, of our sons and daughters touch the guns.

And, there's very little I can do about it. I'm conscripted into it, for better or worse, with my family and everyone I know. Being aware of it only makes it harder to buy shoes, and stop at a restaurant for take-out after a long day's work. It only makes me angry, but I am impotent. One man can do nothing. There's nothing to do.

Except Vote.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

MAZE will be very pretty.

Freelance Artist Angela Giles passed these on to me, because they're going to be some of the interior art in MAZE, coming in April from Apex Publications.

I post them here because they are pretty, and because I think she's got a real gift for this stuff, and probably others haven't heard of her before.

Her Website

MAZE will be a beautiful book!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I remember reading this mid-grade/YA book back in my youth, though the title and author escape my memory. What I remember about it was that two young friends, both boys, die. One dies first by accident, then the other dies either by accident or suicide (can't remember). This happens right away. They talk before they die about a magical land everyone goes in death, where everything's cooler and better.

They end up there. The first one who died paves the way for the second. Once dead, they have magical adventures as young noble heroes or somesuch against demonic forces in the magical land. Then, when they've had their high adventure, and reach the end chapters, they talk about what happens when you die in this magical land. Apparently everyone knows you go on to some other magical land for another High Adventure.

So, they jump out a window together.

Ring any bells? Anyone remember this book?

It's been 20 years, thereabouts, since I read it, but I would like to find it again.

Also, I'm deathly curious if such a trope is acceptable at all in this day and age. Once, youth suicide was so unthinkable. Now, it is unthinkable to write about it as if it were a happy, joyful adventure into magical lands...

Morality changes fast in art, doesn't it? 20 years is a blink of a minnow in a rushing stream.

Monday, December 6, 2010

care package arrived from my Mom

Mom's home made cranberry sauces, and some Texas jellies (to tide me over whilst here in Georgia where the Mexican Food tastes nothing like Mexican food).

Cooking is quite an art form, when you think about it. Compared to painting, or writing, or music, most of the greatest artists are total unknowns: mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers, who cook for an audience they know well. Even "mass" artists of the culinary form only serve a couple hundred people at most a night. Maybe a cookbook author is a greater artist, as they guide other cooks. 

Writing guidebook authors are not treated with the same gravitas as cookbook authors.

I don't have any deep thoughts about that right now except to point to the difference. I'm a little too stuffed on Chipotle-Cranberry Sauce to think straight. 

Thanks, Mom! (The chipotle-cranberry is the best!)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Addendum about yesterday's post...

The aliens that live in the bellies of whales will definitely be either arsenophiles or meth-heads. Meth-head is the official scientific term for someone who subsists their sustenance and DNA structure from methane. They also do lots of methamphetamines from inside their whaley kingdom.

We shall call their species the Jonahnians

If a sufficiently advanced alien species had made planetfall, they wouldn't be in the sky. They'd be in the ground. Too many people looking at the sky. Too many people looking in the water. Unless this sufficiently advanced species could hide themselves from our technologies. I imagine, then, the water is the place to be. There are depths we could not peer upon casually. 

Also, it would not be difficult to hide inside large whales. They are protected from extinction, and contain vast quantities of space inside their fat bellies. Hollow out a whale and or two and maintain the illusion of movement. If the alien is small enough, they could fit a pretty excellent colony inside the whale. Small enough, and it will be a whole world. Imagine the conical space ships that spin to produce gravity. Wouldn't a small one of these fit handily inside the belly of a blue whale? 

I think if I were a small alien, that's the place I'd hide to study the people of the world. I'd colonize the planet by colonizing the whales. The water, after all, is a lively place, full of beautiful wonders that are probably more familiar to aliens than our hills and mountains and forests above the ground. 

That's where we should be looking for aliens: in the bellies of whales. SETI should be turning their antennae to the whales.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

a link to the past

I was thinking about December, and got to thinking about one of the first things I did that generated actual feedback from readers who were not people I know.

Don't know why I was thinking about it. Decaying cities, or vampire-overload, or perhaps a sense that the weather here resembles a little what is described in the piece.

Anyway, it's from 2007, which is practically a lifetime in our new internet era. It's like a relic from some dark tunnel.