Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Shameless Attempt to Raise More Funds...

For just a little bit, the short story collection WOMEN AND MONSTERS is only 99 cents on Kindle.

I know you probably already have a copy, but I thought with the current arrival of Hercules in theaters, you might want to hear about the time his wife killed him, from her point of view.

Also, I'm raising funds for a thing. I expect a Kickstarter might even appear, if I can't raise enough funds with this little promotion (which is likely!)

(Re: Kickstarter - if a potato salad can make a fortune, I might be able to do something fun, too.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Recent Good Reads

Here are a few books I've read and enjoyed recently. I would stay and chat, but I'd prefer to be reading more books. I've become very slow since getting married. You know, these people who live with you demand, like, conversations, and housework, and shared activities. I can't just turtle into the bedroom and shut out the world!

There was this one time on my blog I walked around the festering cesspit of my apartment at the time and snapped photos at how gross it was because I was working full-time and writing and reading a lot. Let's just say, it may be a good thing I've slowed down. ;)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Nine too many

I have non copies of We Leave Together. This is too many. I will give away nine copies, then.

First nine comments below get one book.

I will autograph them for you if you promise to make a five dollar donation to your local library. Scott's honor.


Enough Time Has Passed on the Papers to Bring This Back

I had some contracts to wait out a while, and I waited until they were passed.

This little collection is back, then. It includes a few stories that are hard to find, and a few things that I think are the most YA-appropriate of my work.

And, it is back in the world, if you are so inclined. I suggest Smashwords. Amazon is really acting the part of the evil empire, at the moment.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Vultures are ghosts...

So, the really creepy thing in this picture I posted from my phone while sitting on the riverbank of the Guadalupe the other day ( is how there are no visible GIANT, HUGE OMG VULTURES in the picture.

There were at least four vultures in the frame when I clicked the button to take the picture. They were huge. They were all over the picnic and beach area. There is, maybe, one in the tree in the picture if you squint, but it has seemed to fool the camera into reducing its size and visibility. The ones that had been poking at the rocks along the tree's roots are missing, too.

And this is really creepy.

There were sweeping flocks of vultures, all over the beach and trees there. So many that I had to take a picture of them, at a dying tree along a beach.

And, there don't seem to be any in the picture.

I think Bigfoot sitings are ghost sitings. I think we are hallucinating the ghosts of an ancient Hominid, that walks the woods. I think the environment is being destroyed so quickly and so suddenly that much of the nature we see are just ghosts, memorializing migration patterns for the few living sons and daughters of the birds that remain.

The missing vultures, I didn't even notice until I checked the blog this morning to see what I had done last week, and if there was anything there worth talking about this morning.

And, there was.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Vultures in the Trees

Yesterday morning, because of an unplanned and unexpected day off, we spent the morning hiking.

The vultures and the drought-ravaged trees made me long for the long days and wer nights of the Pacific Northwest. But, the crows there and the vultures here both speak to the ominous presence of death no matter where we are. The carrion birds, no matter what we do, no matter where we go.

I am still trying to get the sunblock out of my beard. It whitens my hair, and I am older-looking. I can't seem to get the sunblock out. Drinking coffee, I taste it in the aftertaste, a mineral and chemical bitter that will not wash away.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Wherever Fine Books are Shared

I am mystified as to how books succeed or not. I have always been suspicious that critics who praise my work also create a barrier to entry by discussing the stylistic decisions to an audience that is suspicious of such things. However, as the audience for genre books is generally suspicious of style, warning shots ahead are for the best. Writers are always suspicious that there is some mysterious force external to us that decides whether the book will suceed  or not. In our neuroses, we will attach to something. In my case, I know better than to actually believe reviews don't act as a universal boon, and whatever readership I have gained, I know, comes primarily from reviews. I thank all reviewers. I mean it when I say thank you, and I  ignore my own particular brand of neurotic over-analysis.I am very gtateful for all support, even as I neurotically oceranalyze when sales figures come my way. The only thing holding back the books,  when they don't seem to do well, is chaos and randomness and the fickle hand of fate.

At this time, I do not have a clue how my books are doing. But, I want them to do well. And it is a fickle, chaotic business, and I have to trust the publishers to get the book "out there" in whatever form they can muster.

I have figured out something everyone can do, though, to champion our favorite authors beyond reviews.

At libraries, request books by your favorite authors. Put in a request with the librarians for ones missing from the shelves. Check them out when the books arrive. Libraries are the original Netflix for books, and cheaper than any subscription service, and a vital public good that deserves our time. Funneling favorite authors into that system with your time and energy is a boon for everyone. Presumably communities benefit from the books you love by authors you love in a shared space.

Can you do me a solid, fair reader, and request my books? MAZE and LAST DRAGON and Dogsland and all of them, wherever fine books are shared?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Coming in December...

Still working out some kinks, but here's a preview of things to come...

The clockwork kingdom of Saxonia engineered itself into a machine of the law, refashioning even its citizens’ bodies into cogs and pistons. Before the chirurgeons and engineers splice his brain inside the crown, Prince Hollownot escapes into the kingdom’s flogistan soul, where he sees all possible futures. In one, Princess Sapsorrow can break the law with contradiction and shatter the kingdom. But saving the world from the machine comes at a high price: Her love, her family, and her physical body will all be destroyed.

The neighboring kingdom of Bavaria has seen nothing come past the great clockwork wall of Saxonia for centuries until a Straggletaggle appears with an odd physiognomy — maybe human, maybe not — and an incredible tale of escape from Saxonia. She claims ignorance of the nearby fatal airship crash and the exquisite prosthetic foot in the wreckage. When a phonograph wrapped in the shell of a man arrives demanding Princess Sapsorrow’s return, Bavaria's disgraced prince and scientist princess, with their intrepid bodyguard, embark on a perilous mission with the Straggletaggle as their guide, to stop a war that, should it start, can only end with Saxonia turning the people of Bavaria into components of its horrific machine.
Coming this December to better bookstores, ask for STRAGGLETAGGLE by J. M. McDermott.
I don't write much Steampunk, but when I do, I try to make the form of the genre follow the function of the piece.
Here's an art preview, (papercraft cover art work done by an anonymous benefactress of amazing talent and worth.)