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O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Journey of Rejection and Other Writing Things

Forgot to mention that my haiku "Journey" was rejected by Ideomancer. Ms. Jaime Voss, Poetry Editor, said while nicely done it just didn't work for her. Fair cop. So now it's over to Electric Velocipede. Let's see if they can use it.

My other poem, "Rag-a-Bag" is still at Andromeda Spaceways even though we are past the three-month exclusive deadline they asked for. I'm taking this as a good sign.

The past two nights I've wanted to do rewrites to "My Favorite War Stories." I open the file and just stare at the screen. Last night I got some words down, tonight I wasn't as lucky. I know what I need to write, know where I want to go, the words just won't come out. This is something that needs to be ended. Is this writer's block? It feels more like trying to move a wheeled cart that has sat way too long in one place. The axel doesn't want to turn, the wheels are stuck to the surface. I need some more energy to get it all moving again.

In other writer news, I need to buy my membership for Confusion for January, also need to reserve the room. I also just got a postcard from Marcon. I've been wavering between going back to Marcon (the nice person at World Fantasy registration, who is some one involved with Marcon, said they're shifting the focus back toward writing after having gone in a different direction for a few years) or going to WisCon as they're both on Memorial Day Weekend. Well, Steven Brust is toastmaster at Marcon this year. That's a ringer for me. I need to register and reserve a room for that.

Also, I'm halfway through "20th Century Ghosts." Joe Hill is one of my favorite new writers. I think I've explained this before, there are some writers that are excellent and I love their stuff, but they leave my mind and empty slate when it comes to my own writing. John Scalzi and Tobias Buckell are in this category. Then there are writers that leave my mind a cornucopia of ideas (not releated to what I'm reading, just ideas) like Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and now Joe Hill.

I support this message...

All around niffy kind of guy Jim C. Hines is taking time out of his busy schedule of working the day job and writing his next book (which I believe is titled, Hear a Goblin, They're a Goblin) to think of other people this holiday season. I support him whole-heartedly, especially because of his choice of recipient and choice of what he's donating. Jim's asking for published authors to share some signed copies of their books that he will see get to his local women's shelter. My local shelter is my prefered philanthropic cause, and they have more business than they can handle.

As Jim says, the women and families that come to the shelter have typically fled their homes with not much more than the clothes on their backs. It helps to have a wide variety of things on hand at these shelters, including gifts for the holidays. This is a very rough transition these women and kids are going through. Many will return to the homes they've fled, usually the first time. I think it helps the councelors and volunteers mission to be able to show these women that others are supportive of their choice to leave. They have so little when they arrive, being able to have one or two things they can take with them means a great deal. Personal things, not just clothes and a direction.

So if you're an author, got some stock and would like to help a good cause, I recommend you take up Jim's call.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bragging Rights

For a long time I used to have an "In Progress" side bar, but that didn't get updated all that often. Then other stories would take off and zoom past the stubs I'm pushing toward the end, so I stopped it. It might come back in a different incarnation, but I've removed it and replaced it with one called "Bragging Rights." Right now this contains some placement info from the Writers of the Future Contest (3 Finalists and 2 Honorable Mentions, I had forgotten one Finalist placement, but I was going through updating my paperwork and discovered it), but will (hopefully soon) contain some published credits. Plus I also get the nicest rejection letters.

Prizes and Honors Galore

Really nice person, all around excellent writer and friend of cats, Mary Turzillo's new poetry anthology, Your Cat & Other Space Aliens was selected for nomination for the Pushcart Prize. Congrats, Mary. I hope it gets to the short list, and then wins.

Open Letter to Home Depot, Moen, Delta, and anybody else that makes or sells showerheads

To those that make showerheads, I'm pretty sure you all have hydro-engineers on staff (and if not, you should have). Please use them.

Over the weekend the fixed showerhead in the main shower I use decided to blow a gasket so when I would use the "low water usage" setting, water just poured out the back. Now, I have tried other showerheads, tried to "upgrade," and I've been disappointed and would reinstall the old cheap non-brand name showerhead. So this time I was worried.

To try and avoid the difficulties I've had before I bought a premium Delta showerhead (note to Home Depot here, clean up your displays and put displays of items that can be manipulated down where people can manipulate them instead of being out of reach, also, your selection is nice but the stock-on-hand sucks). The color available (a brushed nickel) doesn't really match anything, but hey, it's a showerhead (and nothing else really matched either).

But here's where there are problems. I'm not in the Navy. So while I appreciate the trickle, low water usage option, if I wanted a true trickle function I would buy one of those switches they have on ships. What I'm looking for in low water usage is one-third or a half of normal water pressure. Enough water-flow that I can rinse my hands, re-wet the washcloth, rinse off my face from the shampoo. My old showerhead, if I went slowly, I could wash fully under the low water usage setting. And finally, put the "full-stream" right next to the "low water usage" settings on you dial. Don't make me scroll through the various massage (don't really need) and "Champaign" settings to go from full shower to low water. Seriously.

Also, when you say "full-stream" it better be full-stream, not some aerated half-pressure thing. If you want to create "an experience" in the shower this is where you need to make it work. This is where the majority of my time in the shower is going to happen. Make this setting the best, not the, "oh, yeah, we need to have this one." I don't use the massage settings unless I have a tense back (and it doesn't help much then either). Spiraling water may look cool in the video, but doesn't do squat. The "Champaign" feature shouldn't sacrifice pressure.

Now, I'm sure if my showerhead was directly over my shower space many of these problems wouldn't matter so much. But mine isn't, and I doubt the majority of people have such a shower arrangement. Your showerhead needs to project water into the space.

What I would want in a showerhead? Okay, for a fixed showerhead you can pretty much can the massage crap. If I have to move my body into the massage water, you've lost all the benefit of the massage. Plus, most massage functions don't have enough pressure to make it worth my while. Give me a good full-stream function; nice coverage area and pressure that will push soap off my skin, not just rinse it off. Then have a one-third or half stream function right next to it. This should be enough flow to throw water into the space, enough to rinse off if you have time, but not enough to really get all that wet. It should be enough, though, to also keep my temperature settings correct. If you want to add a trickle setting, have at it, but don't replace the trickle with the low flow setting. For most showers I want to get wet fast, switch to low water and get clean, then maybe switch back to full-stream to rinse off. Finally, give me a deluge option, a full-on water extravaganza.

You may think you have a showerhead that "is just like showering in a waterfall." Bull. When I worked on Habitat for Humanity homes in Tennessee I had to shower in waterfalls. That was the most excellent part of that time. Really, if you never have showered in a stream with a waterfall you're missing something. I know what it means to use a waterfall to shower, you're 2.5 gallon per minute "Champaign" feature doesn't even come close. Tell your marketing people to get a grip on reality.

And here is the part for Home Depot again. Remove the "Self Checkout Lanes." I've tried them 6 times and have never had a successfully completed transaction through them. I am not a technophobe or an idiot. They don't work for you. Stop annoying me with them. When I went to checkout last night they were the only lanes open. Never do that to me again or I will dump what I was planning to purchase on the nearest aisle and walk out. If you think you're saving money, you're not. It took your clerk four times as long to help me as it did for us to walk over to the regular check out and ring out that way. If you want me to go through that again, give me a discount for checking myself out. That's the only way I will use those lanes again.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

On Writing Sex

Oh, you think I'm going to pontificate? Not when the inestimable ebear will do it. The new story Sean and the Moon has a sex scene in it and I have to admit that I was blowing it big time; 14 year-old boy, moon glow, foxtail touches, I was squicking all over the place. With a lucky message from the Muse I think I'm back on track, but with the advice of Elizabeth Bear (aka matociquala), I think I'll be able to handle it.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Decoration Weekend

Well, the weekend after Thanksgiving is here and it's time to decorate for Xmas. I'm way behind on my chores so today will be spent catching up. We'll start by raking very wet and cold leaves and scrubbing bathrooms. I probably won't be able to get on the roof because of the wet so hopefully we'll have a warm dry spell where I can get the leaves off the roof. Depending on how my back is holding up (I slept wrong, those of you who are young don't know what I'm talking about) I'll probably put some decorations out. My Mom gave us two inflatable snowmen for Thanksgiving (well, it was also Bette and I's wedding anniversary) so I might put those out next to our normal inflatable snowman.

I'm not really a big fan of inflatable decorations, although my neighbor across the street goes hog wild for them. I like that they store easily, and that you can see them in the daylight, but they use a huge amount of electricity. My outside sockets are on the same circuit as my living room (yeah, one of those things you learn after buying your first house). I need to hire my nephew to change that. Normally when I turn on my Xmas lights the house lights dim. I've been migrating to LED lights because of that (fortuantely I can afford them at this point), but I haven't been able to find white-wire white lights that I can relamp the deer with. I also will try and relamp some of my Xmas tree with LEDs this year. Bette also wants to go multi-color, so that works together.

In other news, Bette got me On Writing Horror for our anniversary. Have I said how much I love my wife?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I probably won't be on later tonight or all day tomorrow, so I wanted to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. For those of you in the US, I hope you have a good time with family, the family you're born to or the family of your choosing. I wish you all warmth, good food, laughter and good company.

Also, I missed it, Story Bone is 2 years old. Happy B-Day you ol' Bone.

LOBSTER!

(shades of "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe")

Via La Gringa's Swivet, (and because I know you all get jollies from excellent fossils), the Giant Sea Scorpion. All I can say is, time to melt that Butter Cow out in Iowa, 'cause we're gonna need it.

Story Bone

Sure, you've heard of making a meal out of the free food giveaways at the grocery store. "Would you like another eighth of a pizaa slice?" Sure!

And you've heard about how when a big meeting that has sandwiches, bagels, or donuts to ply vendors or clients ends and the food is put out in the break room that the rest of the working people, the ones who are not normally in meetings because they're working, decend on such scraps in a fashion to make carrion vultures blush with embassasment. "Sandwiches in the break room!" Stampeed!

But how about a character that makes his lunch by grazing the candy and snack bowls around the office. They go around in a loop to gather up what they can, maybe timing their rounds to the best places (pretzles, chocolate, or those strawberry candies) to when that person is away (lunch, meeting, or bathroom).

That you may see the meaning of within

To all air travellors, the TSA wants you to have a wonderful holiday and know that you're totally screwed if you want to fly this weekend.

Okay, well, they didn't use those words exactly. Instead their saying that "if you know the rules, and obey them, you'll get through faster." Yes, know the rules. Stay in line. Do not touch the barbed-wire. Achtung, allies lookenpeepers, take off your shoes, your coat, turn off your mind, relax and float down stream. It's not dying. Lay down all thought, surrender to the void. It is shining.

And in other travel news, all that union busting back in the 80s is about to bust the FAA Air Traffic Controllers. Talk about your chickens coming home to roost. Good thing the Pres wants to go to that new control system that needs fewer traffic controllers. Because obviously having a lower rate of pay for incoming people is doing wonders for the recruitment plans. Strange that. Gee, a high stress job that requires a high amount of training, and then they cut pay, cut benefits, cut breaks, cut backs, here a cut, there a cut, everywhere a cut, cut, and Old Farmer Reagan's Air Traffic Control Towers seem to be a little vacant these days.

But listen to the color of your dreams. It is not living. Or play the game, existence to the end of the beginning.

God to Left Behind Authors, "Nertz to You, Pal-ies."

So, for my book I tried to listen to "Left Behind" (co-written by an second-rate evangelist and a disguarded political operative, they've said worse about other people, live by the sword, die by the sword) to just get the drift of what the crazy was about. I didn't make it much past Chapter 1, which is the scene on the airplane. Between the airplane's captain looking in a mirror and admiring his well-shaped body that all the stewardesses (and most of the females he's ever met) wanted (and that he's enjoyed), the cardboard stock characterization, the poor dialog.. (did I mention how I didn't make it past the first chapter, yeah, there's reasons for that) there was a reporter returning from Israel with the good news about how God had saved Israel from the evil Russians by sending a meteor storm to knock down bombers, fighters, tanks, and nuclear weapons (never mind that isn't how you fight a nuclear war). He obviously was on the plane all a jiggle to bring the news back to the US about this miracle because apparently in the late 80s (when this book was written) he was the only witness to some striking devastation and nobody had film cameras and photo transfers (like AP Wire Photos), international phone calls, diplomatic channels, satellite communications, telex or short wave radios. We were basically back to taking a high-tech wheeled-cart from village to village crying out the news. No, seriously. Did I mention how I couldn't get past the first chapter?

So, when I heard this news about how a hail storm had set off some Israeli Cluster Munitions left over from the ill-fated recent invasion into Lebanon, I just started laughing. Yes, God has spoken, and he destroyed the Israeli munitions, not the munitions of those that have attacked Israel. Note to authors (and most others), God hates war.

So imagine me looking at those aforementioned authors (who in my book will be giving Post-Rapture Tours of Holy Sites until a 5 year-old exposes their charlatanism), pointing and making a Simpson's Nelson Mutz "Ha ha."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

On a Field in Pennsylvania, in July, Day 1

I'm listening to Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels on my iPod, and I know I'm gonna cry. I did when I read the book, when Longstreet goes raging into the fields of Gettysburg looking for a Union bullet to end his pain. I cried because I know that feeling. Anybody who has commanded knows that feeling, we avoid it the best we can.

It ranges out there, stalking us like a cougar. We can smell it's breath and it's musk, just working hard to keep the strike at bay, if we can see it first, if we can halt it's charge. If only we're confident enough, smart enough, daring enough, hold your head high, back straight, never show a weak moment we'll keep that cat in the trees. Never show anything that could be construed as "prey activity" or it'll come busting out of the cover right at you. Never let it know you're thinking about it, don't look in the trees or you'll see it. And if you're good and eat all your peas, you'll be able to wish it away on the other guy. The other guy you're trying like hell to make dead for his cause.

That "God damn, (insert your most colorful stream of creativity here)" feeling you get, having asked boys (and now girls) who trusted you with their lives, to walk into the buzz saw, hoping you'd at least get to the objective. And failing to do anything but get them killed. And wanting, desperately, to not only join them but end the torment of carrying that weight, carrying all their bodies back to their homes and never being able to leave everything behind. To take that cup of poison away.

It's the feeling (I'm only guessing here, but I'm pretty sure) that Cheney and Rumsfeld had after seeing the dead Kurds, laying in their Villages. Kurds dead from the weapons they handed to Saddam. Those Kurds come and visit them at night, in the car, when they get out of the shower, when they eat their breakfast. I think those two old bastards wanted this Iraq war so they could say to those revenants, "Look, we got rid of Saddam. We avenged you." This is like the child pulling the blankets over their heads because monsters can't see through blankets. The monsters are always there when you lower the blanket.

Only now there's a whole new chorus of dead for them.

We've asked our boys and girls to win Iraq three times now ("Mission Accomplished"/First Insurgency-Fedayeen/Surge-AQI). Each time they've done what we've asked, and each time there was no political follow up. We railled against the Iraqi Parliament for taking August off. It's now 2.5 months later and they still haven't fixed their problems. Are we going to ask our boys and girls to win Iraq a fourth time? Time for this administration to show some political savvy and balls and get Iraq's political situation straightened. Their fear, though, is that they'll ask us to leave. Well, then, we leave. either than or drop the pretending and make Iraq a protectorate and get it done.

Only that way can we truly refocus of Afghanistan and take this war back to where it needed to be.

Huddle up for the 7th Inning Pep Rally and Hat Trick

Dear Santa, for Xmas I want a metaphor Cuisinart to help make those headlines easier.

All around nice guy and East Coast raconteur Todd Wheeler is in the midst of NaNoWriMo (as are many of you, from what I understand) and continues to chug along, pumping out the words like a... like a... Damn it, Santa, I could use that thing now (Oh we need a little Xmas, right this very minute...). Anyway, Todd points out a pep talk by the Neilster himself. Neil Gaiman gives you these words of encouragement, which work if you're participating in NaNoWriMo or not. Really, if you're writing, you should read them and know that those feelings you have about the work, we all get them.

Oh, and Santa, while you at it, I could use some Elf Help on my Chapter 9.

Monday, November 19, 2007

It Must Be Winter and Rejection Holiday

Well, if it weren't for the snow over the weekend (no, none of it staid around for long) there are other signs it's winter. Say, like the 3 pages of hand written notes on three different stories in different levels of progress, including a short-story stub I hadn't thought about for a while. Add to that the full scrap of paper notes I made this morning here at work. And all of it is story (with a few notes on research needed, such as "Snake Eaters" are Force Recon, and do the kids these days say SpecFor or SOCOM).

Also this weekend I got a rejection from Dark Wisdom on "My Favorite War Stories." It read as a form email. Yesterday I killed my darling (the first 900 words) and started rewriting. Some of the notes form the weekend and this morning were for the rewrite. The SEAL character now has a name (Casey Batterson, dont' make fun of it, that's what lead to him being a SEAL). The gist of those 900 words will be there, but I have to get to the main story faster, so they have to go and get meta instead of inference (more telling than showing, or a different way of showing that doesn't include the stone by stone journey log).

Friday, November 16, 2007

Kids These Days

So, we had a bomb threat at our local K-12 School. A student wrote the warning on a wall. I guess they forgot about the video cameras. Not exactly the valedictorian of the class.

And you might notice that on the high school page they have a tag for "Academics" but no actual link to a page about them. Unlike Athletics, Arts, Guidance, and the Report Card (No Child Left Behind and Ohio's Wonderful State Requirements).

Record Setting 275 Plates!

This week was a record for the day job. With the help of a client merger, and the Holidays approaching (everybody suddenly has deadlines) we squeezed 275 small-press plates out this week, with a normal amount of overtime (actually down from last year). Last record was 268. Yippie!

Story Bone Redux

From a previous Story Bone, this line came to me.

Reading the comments on Scalzi's Creation Museum trip, the Creationists that whine about all us rational scientific types not being open minded, logical, scientific, rational, and intelligent enough to really understand Creationism just makes my inner Klingon giggle with glee.

I'll Take "Things That Are Cool" for $400.

Oh, okay, maybe it's my inner child that remembers going to the Phildelphia Natural History Museum and seeing all the bones, but new, weird dinosaurs turn my knobs up to eleven.

Tough Enough?

So, the President is going to help all those weary holiday travelers out. Yes, the Prez has got a plan.

First, they're opening up the air space over military reservations along the coasts so flights don't have to route around. My guess is that the Whitehouse Airspace is still verboten.

First cluebat to the President, transit time isn't the problem. Flights are already calibrated for fuel usage and travel time.

Next, the President is relaxing FAA maintenance standards. No, seriously. He's relaxing regulation passed by Congress. You know, something that might not be all that legal.

Second cluebat to the President, maintenance is scheduled months in advance. This isn't a problem. This is an excuse by the airlines for their screwups and it's an excuse by you to deregulate a deregulated industry. Remember back in the 70s and 80s when airplanes fell out of the sky? Like a couple a year. Know what stopped that from happening? Bingo! Welcome to the old days of Air Soviet Union, but without the wonderful benefit of no meals, no peanuts, no service, and we might, might have a working bathroom. Edited TO be fair to the President, he was a heavy drinker in the 70s and 80s, so he may actually not remember the times before all the maintenance schedules were made because of safety reasons.

Next the President wasn't to continue to roll out the new air traffic controller system. A system that is dependant on every aircraft transmitting their GPS and other data continuously (after they're all updated). Because, you know, there's no flaw with that concept. Like bad guys turning the system off, or faulty transponders or equipment failure, or..

Third cluebat to the President, your plan will weaken our defenses, lead to job losses, and cost the industry a fortune, mostly on the low cost carriers. This is another attempt to lose workers that could unionize and weaken the federal employment programs. Plus all those easily identifiable flaws above.

Finally the President wants to double the amount of the payback if your, the consumer's, ticket isn't honored and you're bumped.

Fourth cluebat, most people take the free tickets or cash that's offered them to voluntarily give up their seat. How about something with real teeth, say triple the price of your ticket, the tickets of those traveling with you (say if you're bumped but your wife isn't), plus a new ticket on the a flight to get you where your were going.

So, basically this is nothing but a giveaway to industry. The airline industry, which has lobbied hard for these changes (including the new air traffic controller system, because it will cost the right people more money), is the only beneficiary. It has nothing to due with actual consumer protection.

So the President is still a cream puff. A lumpy cream puff.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Joshua Palmatier Is Throwing a Contest

Josh wants you all to know that the second book in his trilogy is out in paperback. The first, The Skewed Throne, has been available in paperback for a while now. But now you can continue your paperback fix with The Cracked Throne. Josh also wants you all to know that the capstone third book, The Vacant Throne, will be released into the wild in January. So if you decide to fill someone's stocking with good reading material this holiday season, once their hooked, they won't have to wait too long before getting their final installment. And speaking of getting fixes, you can sample Josh's books at www.joshuapalmatier.com. Oh yes, the first taste is free.

The contest is to win a copy of the final hit, I mean installment, when it comes out. As I've said before, I'm a sucker for free books.

Ground Control to Major Tom

For the past decades Ohio has been a local laboratory for Republican Theories of Government. Fortunately, we now have a Democratic Governor, but we're still limping along fomr the wounds inflicted by what continues to be a Republican controlled legislature.

The latest wound inflicted on us is the removal of local cable franchises in favor of state-wide franchises. It was all sold to us as "increased competition, lower prices, better service" and all the other lollipops and suger-plum fairies that dance in conservative minds when they get giddy with power and drunk with control. So the Ohio Legislature violated local control and enactd state-wide franchises for cable TV operations.

So now AT&T is our first state-wide licensee. There's two more in the dock, ready to go. And now comes the report that even though we'll have more competition, in those places where AT&T wants to compete, that nobody expects cable TV prices to go down (except for the teaser rate months). Most are predicting that after the first three-months of service rates will increase faster than before.

Next up for our legislature, fixing our electricy deregulation problem. The major companies chased out any competetion by unscrupulous business practices, and rates are about to open up. Again, nobody is predicting that rates will go down. In fact, most are predicting they will skyrocket. What does our legislature do? Proposes a bill that further weakens our PUCO (already a puppet of industry).

These are the last in a long series of decisions and laws that have weakened individual citizen and worker rights, strengthened business protections by raping consumer laws, and removed home rule (local laws). All while jobs flee the state, businesses fleece consumers, tax rates are lowered for everybody but real people who don't make over $250,000 a year, and we solve no problems. Welcome to the future of Conservative Politics. Frankly, this future sucks.

Story Bone

"Don't bother me. I'm getting in touch with my inner Klingon."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Scalzi Book Give Away for Your Best LOLCreation Museum

John Scalzi is holding a contest to win Ghost Brigades. A special edition, no less.

I think this is the only newer Scalzi Book I don't have (read it from the library). And as you know, I'm a Whatever for free books.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Story Bone

Semi-frequent commentator, author in his retired life, and all around cool guy Jim Wright, sends us this Bone. (cool guy = Alaskan resident, get it! Ha! Oh man, do I have to go to bed, I'm so tired)

It seems Jim and his son sat down to watch "Night at theMuseum" (which, BTW, I happen to recommend, practically the only Ben Stiller movie I own, but hey, Mikey Rooney as a crotchety old man in a gang with Dick Van Dyke and Bill Cobbs, that right there should be enough to watch it but there's also Robin Williams, forget the logical fallicies of "okay, it works for flesh, but how does that make the train go and the catapults work?") and has been joining in the fray over at the Whatever and John Scalzi's trip to the Creation Museum and thinks they're two great tastes that would taste great together.

Adam and the T-Rex go out for coconut mixed-drinks ala the Skipper and Gilligan. They play with the lambs and the lions and then go romp with the pocket-sized dinos that fit on Noah's Arc. Professor Brand(tm) Coconut Radios in a week, I say. I mean, "NatM" had some stinky ol' Egyptian tablet, heck, Yahweh's got Two Tablets. Just like Alka-Seltzer for the soul (can you tell I've been worked up by the discussions over at the Whatever, and I'm a little tired). Now, of course, when I see Charlton "Cold Dead Hands" Heston come off the mountain in that Easter Perennial, Cecil B. Demille's "The Ten Commandments", I'm going to be singing in my head, "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what-a belief it is."

edit Sorry about the double post last night, was having connection issues.

Story Bone

Can you trust a guy who eats his pizza with a fork?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another Writer Podcast

I'm not all that into podcasting, really, but from time to time I check some out.

This is one I've been listening to lately, and she seems to be pretty good. I Should Be Writing is something you might want to check out. Mur Lafferty, our host there, does a pretty good job of it.

The description from her blog says, "The podcast for wanna-be fiction writers, by a wanna-be fiction writer. Freelance writer Mur Lafferty discusses rejection, cover letters and getting the oomph to keep going." And that seems to be about it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Write-tober is over

Just finished all the Write-tober events tonight with the conclusion of the meeting of my writers group. It's been an event filled month that didn't see a whole lotta words getting down on paper, but every weekend had something going on with writing. I'll be glad to get some time back to actually write. One thing I have learned this month is that broadband is something I should avoid if I want to get words down. There is too much cool stuff that requires broadband to go look at. So I guess I'm saved with mostly having only dial-up access when I'm writing. Where sometimes it taked whole minutes for webpages to finish loading. And video? Forgettaboutit.

Now that we're in the middle of NaNoWriMo, some people's Write-tobers continue. I'm not on that track, but I wish all of you a merry good time (Todd, Leafy, and everybody else).

Also just realized it's time to synch my links at work with my links at home. I know there's two more people who have commented here about NaNoWriMo, but their RSS feed links are at work.

Doggie in the Window

We've found the puppy a good home and she's off to that home. She really will be on a farm with at least one other dog to play with. The person who picked her up was very nice and knew her way around dogs. She will be giving the little puppy, whom she called "Lucky" some training and structure, which dogs need.

The positive end of this is that the puppy has a good home and will get the attention she wants. We've also found out that if we do get a dog, it can't be a big dog. Lucky was a little too much for us. Although I liked that she got us out an moving (okay, mostly my wife). We've not received any calls about Lucky, and nobody we asked had ever seen her.

Good luck, Lucky.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Weekend Roundup

Camille continues to sell stories like clockwork. This new one to antho "Desolate Spaces."

Todd Wheeler is cruising along with his NaNoWriMo project.

And the rest of the world continues to spin along. Write-tober is coming to a close this weekend with my writers group meeting tomorrow. I still have to read a short story, a novel segment, and a synopsis for critique tomorrow. I also still have that novel I need to continue to critique for a friend. Things have just been going crazy lately.

Puppy update: We still have her, she's calming down a little, but she doesn't get along with cats. That was the big determining factor. We're still looking for a good home. She likes people, doesn't get playing fetch (yet), is good being outdoors, needs a good home. We're working through her worm medicine to make sure she doesn't have any.

Story Bone

"Looks like the house settled," the handyman said, looking from the crack in the wall to me. "Houses do that."

I wasn't sure if he was talking about the gash in the plaster or about my own home improvement skills.


If I had time to write this, I would call the story, "Crack in the Wall." As I've said before, I really suck at short story titles. I already have some story ideas for this, and I might eventually write it, but this felt like it needed to be released, so I'm betting one of you needs it as well. Have at.

Get thee to a Museary

This is why you should get a Muse. Blam-o, right out of the sky while I was ::cough:: indisposed of one day at work.

"Her hair was a coppery red and her eyes the color of purple twilight. the fragrance of midnight shade in an apple orchard surrounded her. After he had been successful, he purchased an orchard to work his retirement away in sweet cider-press bliss. When she brushed past him, just the hairs on their arms reached out for each other like their bodies were filled with electricity that needed to pass to the other and he thought of the foxtail clip again...

"She didn't say that she would marry him, but that they had already been married (scene of him making a twisted dew-grass ring) and she was just waiting for him to realize that."

Okay, the second paragraph is more like story notes than actual text. There were also notes about the foxtail clip and how the touch of the moon was just like that. The text above is about the main character's childhood girlfriend that he ends up marrying. She's also a "substitute/analog/daughter of" the moon. The story has transformation and growth of the character. The "conflict" is mostly between him and his Dad, but I'm not sure that's enough. Does that make for a good story? I don't know.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Yippie! Another Sale (for someone else)!

Ken McConnell made a sale to Space Westerns that will come out in March. You better give us a link when it's posted, Ken, so we can all go and experience the writing. You rock, Ken. Congrats. This makes #2, right?

Everybody else should go over and tell Ken he's doing great. He posted this last Friday, so I'm late to the party. Still catching up on the blogeroll.

The thing about internet submissions...

is that you don't get a pysical paper rejection letter. Kind of hard to send a SASE through email.

OSC Intergalactic Medicine Show bounced Running of the Deer. The rejection email reads the same as my rejection for Changelings, so I'm going to go with that it's their form rejection. It was there a good long while. I have to update my submission files to see where I need to send it next.

Radio Freefall - for free!

The inestimable Matt Jarpe is holding a contest to get a free copy of his first book, Radio Freefall.

I would enter myself, as you know I'm just a man ho for free books, but I have a copy I won the old fashioned way - by winning it in a silent auction at WFC.

So go forth and win.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Polls Are Closed!

It's about 9pm and results are available, yet.

For anybody who really cares, here are the results from my last election. That was an actual contested race (3 seats open, 4 people running). It was also a contest for mayor. At 172 votes I wasn't exactly blazing a trail, but I also was only in the Village for 3 years.

This year my tally will be less. How do I know this? Well, when I got back into the Village to cast my vote it was about 6PM. At that time I was ballot number 119. Yeah, just a fewer amount of voters turned out this time. Well, one there really is no contest (3 people are up for 3 seats). Add to that that today is the first bad weather day this year. Low voter turn out.

When the results are in, you'll be able to see them from the links right here.

VOTE FOR ME!

Today is election day. I'm on the ballot for Orwell Village. Don't forget to go out and vote.

Given the emails I had for the village when I got into work, I don't know if I'm going to vote for me, but I don't think I have a choice.

Snow!

Yes, Jim, we now have snow here in NE Ohio. It probably won't stick (and it really wasn't on more than roofs and cars). But there were the pellets of snow (first lake effect snows come as pellets).

Also, in puppy news, apparently the puppy likes being outdoors. This is good news as we've been trying to figure out how to have her indoors. So now a dog house purchase will probably be in our future. I did make a crude shelter for her out of some hay bales we had with a tarp thrown over the top.

Monday, November 5, 2007

World Fantasy and the Whatever

Meeting everybody at WFC was just a mind blowing experience. You all are very neat and cool.

I spent about a half hour talking with George Scithers when I just wanted to thank him for his personalized rejection letters. Sat with Jay Lake and Elizabeth Bear for ten minutes (I didn't contribute much to the conversation). I was able to talk with a boat load of authors; some I knew, some I didn't, some I should have been reading (sorry about that L. E. Modesitt, I really do want to read your stuff).

And there were about eleven or fourteen people who asked me if I was the Steve that posts on the Whatever. Yes I am. I recognized some of your names, but not all of them. Thanks for saying hi, though. It freaks me out a little (so that's why I kind of hesitated each time). I mean, I'm still there to play fanboy to the writers and editors, so when it happens to me, it's a little disconcerning. When you're at these cons, there's lots of badge checking. When you see someone you look to their badge to grab their name. I'm not good at that. But yeah, you guys and gals zoom me. It's a serious rush to have that happen.

But I do have to make clear some things about me.

One, I'm horrible with remembering names. Seriously. I blew that section of my mind out with NutriSweet. Before I tried diet pops, I was pretty good with names. Afterward I have to work very hard to remember them (the people from the first night, I wrote their names down on scraps of paper, I didn't have the opportunity on the other days). But I never forget a face. So walking around places like WFC is an experience, I know many of the people walking around having seen them all before. The people I've talked with I know I've talked with them (I can remember most details about those I meet). It's just not remembering names.

Two, I blew some of my hearing out playing in marching band, orchestra, jazz band, and my own rock band. My HS marching band (GlenOak, under Roger Hall) was small, but we outplayed bands twice our size. We were very loud (controlled sound, not blatty). The "cocktail party effect" (where you can focus in on one person talking in a crowd) doesn't work for me. So when I'm in a crowd, hearing someone even if they're right next to me is very hard. I sometimes go by reading lips.

Anyway, you all were great. I hope to see you all again real soon.

Homecomming

Made it home in one piece, mostly. Didn't get to say good-bye to most people.

However my wife had several surprises for me. First, she had taken down the Halloween decorations. The second was waiting in the garage for me.



Bette found her playing in traffic in downtown Orwell Saturday morning. We've called the police, no missing report. We'll put up flyers to see if anybody knows her. Then we're deciding if we're going to keep her.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Cha cha cha Changes

Well, the clocks have changed over, but I haven't. Although dead tired and stark awake and getting a slow start to the day.

And it maybe the paranoia but I think I was an awful bore last night at the party. I blame the demon rum from Friday night. I hope I didn't kill anybody with conversational deadening skills.

So today, must pack back up, take my duffle full of books, load up the car, and drive with Karl back to Ohio. It's gonna be a long day.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

WFC Saturday

Met way too many people to remember at the Tor Party. You all were excellent and I'm sorry I was such a bore. As you can see, it's only midnight, and I hit pumpkinville about an hour ago, but kept on trying to keep going. I wasn't successful. 'nough said.

Too much to write about as I'm falling asleep. Tomorrow is the long ride home (about 7 hours).

Won Matt Jarpe's Radio Freefall but didn't win The Coyote Road in the PK Dick Silent Auction. I would put in a bid for the Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet but I think the bidding is above my comfort level at this point. But that action doesn't close until tomorrow, so I still might.

Anyway, time for sleep. Glad I took Monday off. I think I'll sleep until I have to get up to take my car for the 60,000 mile checkup.

Should say I met Jay Lake and Elizabeth Bear, who are wonderful people and allowed me to sit for ten minutes with them as they waited to go to dinner.

Friday, November 2, 2007

WFC Friday

OMG, what a day. And I've been a little shy (yes, I know, you can't imagine it). So I haven't gone up to everybody I wanted to.

Hung out at the parties more tonight, had a great time. I'm so tired, I'm going to forgo linking, sorry. I might put them in tomorrow.

I started posting several times per day, but kept on getting interupted. So much to do. Finally got to say high to a lot of people, especially at the book singing. I got to tell Ellen Datlow that she was the person who sent me my first rejection letter. If you all think you've had a bad rejection letter, my first one basically said, "Thanks for submitting to Omni Online. As of February we have decided to close the magazine. We are returning your story unread. Good luck."

Yeah, get over that. Your story was such a stinkeroo, we closed up shop and went home. Yeah, now that's a rejection.

I said hi to Jay Lake. He knew my name from my sometime blog commenting (excellent person he is). Thanked Tamora Pierce for her book recommendations for my wife that she kindly gave me at Confluence (which, although she did add her books in, she didn't start there, and her book selections form her own published works made sense, very classy woman). Said hi to David Hartwell. Let him know that my writing had progressed from the time we first talked and he said, "Your writing probably (stinks) right now." He was playing the odds. Tried to say hi to Patrick Nielsen Hayden, but that man is quick on his feet, I tell ya. There was a panel to honor Bette Ballentine. I came in late, found a seat near the front, and then looked around at the people sitting around me. I was WAY out of my league. I'm glad I went, Bette was a hoot and a half (and overly modest). And just sitting in that room with those people was a personal rush. I don't even know where to begin listing them all. Look at the membership list and pick out all the big names and you pretty much have the packed room audience.

So tired, must get sleep.

Did I mention however long ago that Camille also sold another poem. I must have. If I didn't, congrats Camille. right now I'm feeling all fanboyish and wondering how I've gotten to know these amazing people I have the temerity to hang out with.

Other cool things at World Fantasy

So, this morning I went down for the first panels, and stack in boxes under a homemade sign saying, ""Free Books, these Arrived after the bags were packed" (or something like that) were copies of Jay Lake's Trial of Flowers (trade paperback).

Also, best line from first panel, "I fell bad when the ghost are having a better time than I am." - Daniel Olsen

Another Sale for Mer!

All around hoopy frood and multiple language raconteur ("qua?" "quoi?" thanks Mer) Mer Haskell has sold story to Electric Velocipede. If you don't know either (Mer or EV) you should really check them out, and go tell Mer how great this is. Mer, you rock!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

World Fantasy Fever Dreams

Well, I called the hotel and asked if they had free wifi access. Sure enough, they have access all over the place, and it's all free.

So, I said to my wife, it seems to me like I'm looking for a reason not to take my laptop with me. She agreed and said that I would be over-hyper worried about it. And then made a snarkey comment about my obessesive compulsiveness.

Here I am at World Fantasy with my laptop. Ha. Ha. Ha.

"And is it excellent," I can hear you all ask. "It most certainly damn is," is my response.

And it is. I can't talk too much about the surrounding town, except for a almost futile hunt for dinner. The town has a very "walk around and shop" feel to the main throughfare with a "dangerous bar off the beaten path" feel to the side-streets. We eventually settled on a pizza shop that turned out to be decent, but I ordered something way too spicy. Well, I was trying things.

Then my friend Leaf (whom I am sharing the room with) and I came back to the hotel for the ice cream social where I had a rootbeer and goggled the BNA's roaming around. Obviously Leaf and I don't rank as several people took a look at our names and turned around before saying hi (oh well, I didn't recognize their names either, and they should probably read Tobias Buckells "Getting Past Being Joe Blow Neopro"). Ah well. Ran into Josh and Sam down there. Met a few other people.

Then I went to Mary Turzillo's reading. Mary is an excellent writer, BTW. I really feel honored that I know her and I get to talk to her on a regular basis. Mary read from her story about a smilodon, which I've heard before but it keeps on getting better every time I hear it.

Then I went to the party called "Zombies Need Brains." Excellent. There's something delicious about a party that has free beer and books for sale. Also, there's excellent people at this party. First off is Amy, who I keep forgetting her name (sorry about that), but then she doesn't have a name tag on. Amy was very gracious about me being an idiot because she doesn't know me and my sense of humor. Sorry, Amy. I think I carried a joke too far.

Then, as I'm looking for the paperback of SC (Sam) Butler's first book, Reiffen's Choice, I get introduced to a pacel of other writers and editors. Including Matt Jarpe, author of Radio Freefall. Ian Tregillis, whom I am told is an excellent person that we can expect great things from. From what little I've talked to him I believe that. I can't find a website or blgo for him, but here's a story from Trabuco Road of his. Then there was Catherine Cheek, who is a recent graduate of Clarion. I didn't get to talk to Catherine, but she pointed at me while talking to Ian, and I was standing right next to them. So I think I've met her, or something like that. She also seems to be a very interesting person. And last by not least I ended up taking with Matt Jarpe and John Joseph Adams (aka, the Slushgod, maybe you've heard of him). How psyched am I at this moment? BTW, all these and more (I'm sure I'm forgetting people, like the name of the person who registered me in who is the programmer for Marcon).

I've also seen people in the hallways. Big Name people. It's excellent. But right now I've been zombified. And I think it's time for bed. The curse of having a job that starts at 7am and has an hour's commute. Add in the creaping crud from my wife's job and the slight sickness from last weekend. Yes, the eyes are droppy, and the typing is going down hill.

Oh, before I forget, for World Fantasy, as a part of the "welcome gifts" they gave cookies and a duffle bag with books (not filled with books, but a goodly amount). My BNA book inside, Joe Hill's 20th Century Ghosts. How cool is that. I did a little geek victory war dance. This was the book my wife badgered people about last Xmas because I asked for it. I put it on my list as I saw the new NA Edition was out. And now I have a copy! Woohoo!