Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

fun new game for all you writers out there...

find a writer buddy. if you need one, comment below, and see if anyone steps up to volunteer to join you.

then, pick the last three things you wrote about. exchange this information with your writer buddy for the last three things they wrote about.

now, both of you write a short story.

fun, right?

hell yeah it's fun!

i've already got a writer buddy this round, but check with me later and we'll see if my schedule is free.

Monday, January 28, 2008

if i had a camera, i would have taken a pcture of this sign

squeezed between a discount liquor store and a laundry service were these black letters on a white messageboard:

special laundry pants
help wanted

i spent the rest of the bike road home imagining what special laundry pants might look like. perhaps they are made of the same material that one uses in lint brushes. one walks around, and everywhere their pants touch, the lint magically collects upon the secial laundry pants.

either that, or they look painfully colorful like a bottle of laundry detergent, and no amount of bleach could ever reduce the eye-searing agony of viwing them.

regardless, help is definitely wanted among the signmen of the world.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


I just got this book:

Confused with this book:

When I was e-mailing the wrong person to congratulate them, because one of them (the latter) just made it to the NYTimes Bestseller list.

Of course, you do know that both are going to get to the list, so it really is very easy to get them confused. Give it a few weeks, Rox. Maybe a few days.

Still, don't they both look so shiny and nifty and cool?

(oh... and 8 days left!)

Saturday, January 26, 2008

count down with me now....

ten days left until the book comes out.

tomorrow, there will be nine.

no, i probably won't be coherent enough to update regular-like until then.

first signings

16-Feb 1:00 PM Borders@Hulen and I-30 in Fort Worth
17-Feb-08 2:00 PM Eurotazza Cafe on Bryant Irvin in Texas (link somewhere on the right... Hey, I'm there right now! *sips Americano*)
22-Feb Allday ConDFW
23-Feb Allday ConDFW <- Book launch party in the ConSuite beeotches!
24-Feb Allday ConDFW
1-Mar 2:00-4:00 PM Barnes and Noble in North Arlington on Collins, in the shadow of the new stadium.
2-Mar 2:00 PM Barnes and Noble in Hurst near 183/820, across the highway from Northeast Mall, where the North Texas Speculative Fiction Workshop regularly meets.
8-Mar 1:00:00 PM- 3:00PM Books-A-Million in Grapevine Mills Mall, the only Books-A-Million in D/FW.

There will be more. Makr yer calenders guys and dolls.

And come by, say hello, buy a book, get some chocolate.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

abandoned in the air

My mother was pregnant out of wedlock. She was locked up for it.
The old women shook their heads. Then, the old women gathered round the rudder wheel. The engineers were busy making their calculations. Until then, my mother was locked up in the bilge. The ship’s crew and passengers gathered round the rudder wheel.
The pilot ignored all of it. He had to guide the ship through the jet streams, and had little patience for crowds clogging his viewports, thermometers, and turing engines. He pushed the elder women’s bodies away from the wheel lest one of them lean in a roll and push the wheel to our doom.
The crew and passengers waited for the engineers to return from their abacuses and papers and quills.
I abandoned them there. Nothing I did there mattered. I went down to the hold, to my mother. She sat on her haunches in the little cell. If they decided her crime was too much weight upon the helium,
“Will they throw you overboard this time?” I asked.
“Don’t be silly, Crumpet,” she said. “It’s all an act. The old birds are just trying to make a big show to scare all you children.”
“I’m scared.”
“Don’t be, Crumpet,” she said. She reached her fingers out from the cell bars. She ran her hands through my hair. “Everything’s going to be fine.”
First, the engineers measured the impact of the weight upon the hydrogen core. Then, they gave their numbers to the elder women that rationed food. The elder women made their recommendation based on a male or female child. The boys are bigger, with larger appetites. The women would set a weight limit for the new child that might be very high or very small. I had heard a rumor that once the weight limit was five pounds. When the baby was born, it was six pounds. It was thrown overboard immediately. No record exists in the logs because the child was never even given a name. It was just excess weight dumped into the endless sea.
All the people wait around the rudder wheel. They vote on their recommendation, and argue the numbers. The passengers and crew listen in utter silence as the women speak. There are no secrets on an airship, after all. Even I knew who my mother’s lover was, and I was only a child of nine.
When the elder women argued the number into a unanimous vote, they wrote their recommendation and amended it onto the form that would go to the Captain. They did this at the rudder wheel so their old legs wouldn’t have to travel far to the Captain’s tea room behind the bridge.
The bilge deck was at the lowest point on the ship, just below the bridge. I didn’t have many ladders to climb to abandon all the people crowded around the Elder women, cluttering up the ladder to the higher decks and the storage halls where the fishermen should have been busy on the calm day with their hundred yard twine and the gentle seas below their windows.
“How’s Jonathen doing?” she asked me. Jonathen was my little brother. I hadn’t seen him since my mother was taken to the bilge. The last I saw of him one of the elder women had carried him off.
“He’s fine,” I said.
“And what about Clarence?”
“I don’t know,” I said, “Shouldn’t he be here?”
“Of course not,” she said, “because he knows everything is going to be fine.”
Clarence was the engineer’s son that had done this to my mother. He was only ten years older than I was. The baby’s grandfather was right this second working the numbers to decide whether his family’s great shame was going to live or to be tossed into the sea.


somebody tagged me in comments. will i be it? will i not?

this i do not know. i do know that today i will not be it.

mayhap tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

public appearances

You know, one of these minutes, I'm going to put a post up here with public appearances that I've scheduled, so anyone can track me down and stab me with pointy objects.

Also, this will come in handy for folks who want to rob my apartment. They'll know when I won't be home!

Hm... I still need to do one, but I am talking myself out of doing it tonight.

Monday, January 21, 2008

coolest moment in my writing life, yet:

coolest moment in my writing life, yet:

one of my writer heroes just outed himself as one of my new fans, at his blog.

If you've never visited Ambergris, let me assure you should. Jeff VanderMeer is one of the world's leading fantasists.

And, he likes my book!

I remember when I first got an e-mail from him about my book, and it took a good long while for me to squelch my inner fanboy enough to actually read the message.

This is awesome!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

cowboy at breakfast

(old junk found hiding on mom and dad's computer...)

I'm sitting at the table eating eggs
and pancakes and the deepest coffee dregs.

these stupid rats keep rubbing up
against my legs their teeth rip
at my leather shoes and furniture.

my bloody tile won't clean clear.

everytime i turn another darts from
the walls and cowers under the chrome

they must be in the walls
having sex -- their rodent balls
so puny but so full of filth
every litter huge and hungry flees.

I stomp them dead with my sharp boots
those mewling rats of nibbling tooth

Saturday, January 19, 2008

do you know what makes me mad about "cloverfield"?

i've been working on this story, and submitting, and then working on it, and then submitting it (i think i might done got it, this time) called "dragon came to galveston to die", about a big motherfucking monster that wanders ashore ahead of a hurricane on galveston island in tejas. the monster walks ashore, and then it fucking dies. no parasites. no military response. no gojira.

anywho, now every editor in the land is going to assume i watched handcamerafield and wanked out a bastardized version of it with a hurricane.

not true.

i've been toying with this one long before j j abrams infected the web with his viral marketing. see my local writer buddies who saw early drafts...

blah movie people. blah. blah on all of you.

Friday, January 18, 2008

i like this cafe

two men are sitting across from me. One of them is reading Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five". The other is reading "The French Revolution" by Mr. Doyle.

I like to ask people what they're reading. I am always curious to see how people feed their brains.

Of course, the question arises: do people read one thing at a cafe and another at home, where no one is looking?

Hm. I do know that my computer will probably stop working any second now, and I just wanted to say that I have been taking a ride on an airship with Thomas Pynchon, and I am most pleased. Most, most pleased.

Indubitably, this text is most delightful.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

i discovered a small piece of potato that slipped into the crevices of my little laptop and decided to take root. the natural nastiness that lives below keyboards proved a fruitful ground for the little plant to spread tubular thumbs everywhere, pushing through everything.

until the crash. CRASH!

only occasionally does my computer work. alas, i am barely keeping potatoes on my table, much less replacing expensive laptops.

my phone is on its last legs, too.

if anyone ever thinks there's anything romantic about being a starving artist, punch them in the nose.

i am reliant on the electrons of others. i am unable to maintain any sort of consistent on-line presence at the moment.

i am getting lots of reading done, which i guess is a good thing.

Monday, January 14, 2008

scheduling book signings

This is actually kind of fun. Lots of fun. Way more fun than I expected.

If you live in D/FW, or even Austin and San Antonio, keep an eye out for the signs that feature my humble, little book.

I will bring you chocolate and my pen. All you have to do is buy the darn thing, and pretend like you're going to like it.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

firefly makes me mad

everytime i zone out to episodes of firefly, it pisses me off that some suits at Fox decided this show was unworthy of an actual, full season.

call me a Browncoat, friends.

when will djoss and tim get a phonecall from HBO or Showtime begging the two guys responsible for the brilliance of Firefly to come over to the cable side of things and once again create works of genius that no tv show has yet been able to replicate.

until that time, at least we have a few brief episodes that flash at the genius that was left unfinished.

oh, and i'm having a little difficulty writing anything worth sharing with others with my book launch about three weeks away.

i'll update as best i can until then. stressed out. nervous. sweating bullets the size of beer cans.

woof, it's going down soon, ladies and gents.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

man with metal detector

My dreams are haunted by the strange tropical bird with just that one tinny beep, and the long beak that skims the ground like a grazing ostrich hunting metal. At the furious height of the beeping song, the ostrich digs into the dirt, and pulls out the hole where the head would soon be buried.

Every stash we found was the final scene of a tragedy. Treasure buried by a person that never returned to dig it up.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

vaguely remembered fragments of lost poetry

skating the edge
i become the blade
or i become the skin beneath
i don't know what i am

i know cutting
bad love anthems

new hips

a dancing flamenco
hunting shrimp with
a long beak, dinosaur eyes

beautiful, feathers

beautiful, pink feathers

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

little note discovered in a used ARC

I found this message inside a second-hand advanced reading copy, scribbled on a small, yellow post-it note. It was pasted to the back cover flap, as if the note should be read after the book, in a plain, round hand.

“Please review.
First navel frim
New sf/
fatasy impt

I’ve seen my book called “Boger”, but I did not know it was also a “navel frim”. I know it must be a navel frim, though, because the first book from this imprint is by Richard Dansky, and I am the second book.

I am also the first “navel frim”.

So, anybody have any theories on what the distinction between a book (a.k.a. “Bog”) and a “navel frim” might be?

Also, will “fatasy impt” replace “Sincerely Yours” as the new gibberish to hiccup at the end of letters?

At least “fatasy impt”, unlike “Sincerely Yours” is too nonsensical to be a lie. Usually when people write “Sincerely”, there’s nothing sincere about it.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

more aborted beginnings

The face of the person was a shifting multiface that grew beards of every color and lost them again in moments and changed eye-colors and jutted and unjutted jawbones and warped and bent because it wasn’t just one face: the face of the person was every face.
I was sipping my coffee and watching the person. I couldn’t quite tell if the person was standing up or sitting down. The cafĂ© didn’t seem to notice. The barista cranked the espresso drinks out. The anonymous faces in business suits stepped up to the counter and sputtered out the advanced beverages that labeled their identity in milkfoam. The person with the constantly shifting features looked at me looking at the person.
“Hello,” I said.
The person smiled. The teeth went from underbite to overbite and back. A red beard sprouted around a woman’s face, and changed to a thin, mousy man with no beard at all. “You can see me, can’t you?”
“What are you?” I said.
“What do you think I am?” Blue eyes, green eyes, blonde hair, mongoloid, retarded in sweatpants, respectable suit and tie, Thai grandmother with a long blonde beard…
“I don’t know.”
“It’s very nice to meet you,” said the person. I noticed the voice was constant. It wasn’t a tenor, and it wasn’t an alto, but it was in the middle somewhere. “What is your name?”
“I’m Howard,” I said. “I bet you have a pretty weird name.”
“I don’t have a name, because I am not usually visible to the people who have names.” She carried a beverage over to me. She held it out to me. “Take this,” she said.
I took the cup. When my hands touched the waxed cardboard, it became a plain cappuccino – my preferred identity in milkfoam.
The person touched my face. “Drink up.”
Then, like nothing at all had happened, the amazing amorphous individual wandered into the street, down the street, around the corner.
Part of me wanted to stand up and run after the person. Most of me didn’t think I was sane enough to be crazy enough to chase after someone like that.
I looked down at the cup in my hand. I looked around at all these suits that seem to be the same person – just male, female and different ages.
I was in a corporate chain in the middle of Addison, TX. Driving up the tollway, the only thing you could see for miles are highrises and yuppie condominiums. I was the outsider here because I was only passing through on my way home from my sister’s house. I had gotten tired of driving, and I had decided to stop for a minute and type a few words to my sister’s publishers about how she was doing.
My sister was a very famous poet until she got sick. I was thinking about how I could describe organ failure at 34 to a bunch of people that loved the poetry that came from organ failure at 34. I didn’t give a shit about the poetry. I gave a shit about my sister who wasn’t going to be around to watch my little girls grow up to look just like her and me and my ex-wife.
Then, the person walked in like a physical manifestation of movable type. All the symbols got mixed up. All the identities twisted.
I didn’t drink the cappuccino.

Friday, January 4, 2008

walked into a bookstore yesterday

i walked into a bookstore yesterday and spoke with ann about doing a signing.

she pulled up my book in her computer and showed me that her store already had two on order, and "...the press on this was amazing!"

it is? cool.

I have a book coming out in one month, and apparently, the press on it is amazing, and bookstores are ordering it to have it in stock.

holy shit.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Um. I'm supposed to like... update this, or something, right?




Ooh, I'm going to open LAST DRAGON to a random page, and type up a little snippet for you.


"I carried two buckets with me, in one hand, dragging on the ground and clattering. I walked to the edge of the old man's land, at a place where a large stream ran nearly dry. The buckets clanked and clattered.

The dry season was upon us. The rain hadn't fallen for months. The land was brown and the earth was cracked up like dead skin. In spots, where ponds used to be, the mud dried and curled into round chips. I remembered before my mother and I were on the farm, and we walked all the time. We dug into those old, dried mud-holes. We found lungfish and frogs encased in slime and mud. We ate them raw because then we could preserve all of the foul juice inside of our parched throats."

Ew, gross! I'm glad my research didn't extend too far into the content of the text.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A Public Appearance

I will be doing a book signing starting at 2PM on March 2 at a Barnes and Noble in North Richland Hills, TX...


Want me to scribble furiously on your book, whilst bribing you with chocolate?

Sure ya do.

circular chess

I played circular chess for the first time last night at a party with the lovely and talented Tamisan.

in circular chess, knights are rendered nearly useless in the face of the other capital pieces because 1) it's really tough to visually make an "L" on the wonky circular chessboard and 2) bishops and queens can do things that boggle the mind.

in circular chess, the bishops are the new rooks.

also, with all those white pieces clumped in the middle, try to target your attack your opponent just on the opposite side of the central clump from their line of sight.

or, to make things fair, play standing up and circling the board as if you were playing billiards.

Of note, there are multiple methods of playing this fascinating variation on a classic.

explains it besser als mich