There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

World Fantasy Hiatus - possibly

So, I think I've decided to not take my laptop with me to World Fantasy. This way I won't be distracted by worring if the laptop is secure, yadda yadda yadda. More than likely you may not hear from me until Monday late afternoon.

Although, the conference center does have free WiFi, which would be excellent. Hmm, okay, maybe 80% sure I won't take my laptop. How's that?

My Halloween Costume for Next Year

Via Joshua Palmatier.

Your results: You are Apocalypse
Apocalypse: 67%
Dr. Doom: 67%
Mr. Freeze: 65%
The Joker: 65%
Magneto: 65%
Lex Luthor: 60%
Catwoman: 59%
Green Goblin: 58%
Venom: 53%
Poison Ivy: 53%
Riddler: 51%
Kingpin: 51%
Mystique: 46%
Dark Phoenix: 46%
Juggernaut: 46%
Two-Face: 42%
You believe in survival of the fittest and you believe that you are the fittest.

Click here to take the Supervillain Personality Quiz

Okay, I've got to start doing more work and less surfing.

Thankfully I'm not Catwoman. Those high-heeled boots would have been killer on the calves.

Happy Halloween!

George Bush is still President! Boo!

Okay, if that one doesn't work for you, here's one for your side:

President Hillary Clinton! Boo!

Just remember, when the wacko evangelists talk about Neewollah or how Halloween is totally evil, etc, that the Puritans (you know, the people whom popular culture says founded our nation when they were neither first, not successful, and were a very minor minority of settlers) did ban Halloween. But they did so because it was too Catholic.

Monday, October 29, 2007

I can haz talent

In what is my fastest response time (except, I think, years ago some simple form letter rejections) in the Writers of the Future Contest, Daddy's Little Girl was an Honorable Mention in the last (4th) quarter.

Apparently, according to the second line of the letter, "This means you have talent."

Take that Bembridge Scholars!

Lots of markets close their reading in a few days, but I don't have much free time this week (notice how many blog posts I made today). So I need to figure out where she goes next.

And while I'm thinking about posts, is it going to be very bad if I don't haul my laptop to World Fantasy and blog from the con, or should I do that? I'm literally 50/50 on this. I would like to blog some things that I hope happen, even if they fail to happen (as you can see I share the ups and downs here). But then I have a big laptop (17" for graphics work), so it's a little big of a pain to haul. I think Confusion wa a little more fun by blogging about it (certainly making comments of John Scalzi's blog, especially after he said, "You can't say that (that nothing is happening). Make something up, be entertaining." And the rest is furry history).

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It's Passing Like a Disease

Well, because everybody else was doing it (here at the lake, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear).

Your Aspie score: 110 of 200
Your neurotypical (non-autistic) score: 107 of 200
You seem to have both Aspie and neurotypical traits

To be fair, I disagreed with many of the questions.

The Aspie Quiz.

Morning Is Broken

Gun shots in the morning, sure fire way to get me up. I guess it's duck season (rabbit season!) here in Michigan. The body of water outside is Gun Lake, so I don't know that I really should have been expecting anything else. The morning fusillades now over, I'm working my way back to try and get at least another hundred words in, but you know, broadband. (insert angelic choir voices here).

This has been a lot of fun. There's something energetic about a bunch of really smart people sitting around a table writing that can bleed energy and overload the circuits. It's loads of all kinds of joy. And it sure beats the pants off of writing at home, you know, except for my wife being there. Yes, that's a plus for writing at home. This is sure fun, though.

edit It's also strange that this sotry doesn't have breaks in it, although it takes place over a year. I dont' know what that means.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Indian Writing Sprints

Well, after dinner we did writing sprints to get to the drinking part. After however many sprints I'm now at 3200 words. Not all of these last one will probably stay. And it was uncomfortable writing (which is probably why I might want to cut, I don't know how much the world wants to read about teenage boys having normal spontaneous errection problems). But now it's drinking and Eddie Izzard time.

Highly distracable

Yes, that's me. It's getting close to dinner time and I'm getting to a part of the story I haven't thought out very well, and a part I'm a little uncomfortable writing as it deals with sexual awakening. It's now at 1850 words. Some parts don't fit well, yet.

Hopefully more tonight.

It maybe the wiskey talking, but the wiskey says...

I'm typing out the story. Without my notes scribbed in bed Thursday night, I'm making some of it back up. The voice has changed a little, but so has the story (tentatively titled "Sean and the Moon"). It's now much older in it's focus. I really wish I could get that voice (writing style if you like) back, it was fun. It broke the fourth wall, had a lilt to it (I do have a rhythm going, maybe) a tweakiness that I liked. Ah well, maybe in the rewrite. So I have the opening scene down, 710 words. Not my best productivity, but with the noise around and the bright and shiney distractions.

Like, one trailer for "I Am Legend" left me with a "WTF? Where is that in the book?" feeling, after seeing some more I see the movie more as a remake of "Omega Man" with it's Dark Fantasy (I'm immune) aspect than the horror of the actual story (which I read a long time ago, and picked up the audio book a few weeks ago, slightly not ready for work in case you're interested).

And then there was the trailer for "Sweeny Todd." So not a Christmas movie, and I might wait until the video comes out before seeing it.

Did I mention there's broadband at the retreat? Ohhhhh, broadband.

Here, there, and everywhere

Here I am at the retreat. Last night was very fun.

This morning was awoken to gun fire, just like at home. I guess it's duck season (rabbit season!) on the lake.

Still getting ramped up. Need to check my notebook for my handscribbles from yesterday. Get back in the swing of things.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lost it!

I am so hyped to get to the writers retreat put on by all around good woman Mer Haskell. Most of the other participants are already there.

Last night I started writing notes for a new story that was completely different than anything I've written before. Or I should say it's a Modern Fairy Tale, but the voice is very different. It's a mix of Charles DeLint (for story) and Kelly Link (for style). That I can remember, I've never writen using this technique. I have two small scraps of paper here at work with notes (and some from my notebook near the bed, although those are at home, long story but the familial theme of no time because of the day job). I was looking forward to time and support to let it flow out.

But now that voice is gone. I hope it's just on pause somewhere back in my brain and once I get the keyboard in front of me it'll start flowing again. I'm worried that if it's still there it'll start spilling out on my seven plus hour drive to the retreat. I don't have a voice recorder (although one is in my wish list on Amazon), so I might be somewhat screwed. I know that not writing it down while it's there is the surest way to not only forget, but to stiffle more of it coming out. For a long time.

I really hope it comes back when I'm in front of my laptop keyboard.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Advice

It's like we're bringing in a harvest here. Just a sec while I start up the combine...

pllogan is posting some good links with writing advice lately. The latest is Jim Van Pelt's Rough Draft of Top Ten Rookie Mistakes.

Excellent advice.

Rock the Casbah

Cool dude and con-buddy, Sam Butler (S.C. Butler) is close to finishing the draft on the final book in his trilogy The Stoneways. Congrats, Sam!

BTW, the first book, Reiffen's Choice is out in paperback. Finding hardbacks was difficult this summer. You should probably get it, it's on my Xmas list (unless there's a good copy at World Fantasy and I've got the bucks - spending at cons is under strict control- that way I'll get it signed as well). BTW, Amazon lists one copy left, Sam. So when I said that the Borders you went to see it in the wild was out because they sold their copies, that might have been true. I know my two Borders I can get to were also out (I was going to tell you that at WF). Good job, Sam. Here's to several reprints.

Hope to hear what the next project is next week. I know you've got one.

Edit More good rocking, Camille has another poem published. Congrats, Camille (also, thanks for the midweek post)!

It's the end of the world as we know it

There's a new comet in the skies this weekend. Nice guy and cool daddy-o Dan sent me an IM about it. Last night this comet, which can be located in Perseus, brightened to magnitude 2.8 last night (from 19, which would have been pretty amazing to see). It looks like a star right now (2.8 is pretty bright), is almost overhead, and should be interesting to peak at. Heck, we may even get a visible to the eye tail if it continues to brighten.

You can find some info here (technical data) and here (sky map) and here (article).

So, if I remember to pack them, I'll be taking some binocs to the retreat. You can see it without them, but I'd like to see if I can spot a tail.

Also up tonight and tomorrow, the (full) Blood Moon, which may interupt viewing.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Return to rejection and scary encounter

Well, Coyote Wild has rejected my haiku submission as not right for their market, fair enough. So now I need to find another poetry market, maybe submit it to Andromeda Spaceways. So a little bit of a downer going into the writers weekend. But the editor did wish me good luck with it, so props there.

In other news, at the library I was looking for Halloween Sound Effects. Well, I was looking for audio books and also wanted to check out sound effects. That's when I found the Martha Stewart Living Spooky Scary Sounds for Halloween. Ayiee! Run, run for your lives. (okay, well, I've only listed to a little and it's pretty good.)

Our House

Countrywide is dedicated to refinancing 80,000 ARM Loans given to subprime borrowers. That's excellent, you know, except for Countrywide holding about 2,500,000 such loans. They're also selling it as a gracious benefit to their customers who may find themselves struggling to pay their loans once the rate adjustment hits. That's really nice of them.

If it weren't completely self-preservation motivated. If those home-owners default Countrywide will be left holding the bag, very literally, for these properties. These properties that have probably lost value in the past few years, are on loans less than 5 years old, and in a very soft market for sellers. Yeah, they're doing this to help their customers. Nope, sorry, they're doing it so they won't lose their shirts. Even in a good market, with prices going up and a large pool of home-buyers a bank will lose money if they have to foreclose. If the loan had been serviced for 10 years or so, they won't lose a lot compared to value in value out (they still lose a great deal than if the home owner had been able to continue paying on the loan until it was closed). But they still lose even when everything is ducky. So, yeah, they're doing this to save themselves.

This isn't to say I don't applaud that move. However, maybe not having such ridiculous loan packages in the first place would have helped. Sorry, balloons for subprime borrowers is like playing the lottery on the corporate level. Of course, they expected that people with these loans would either sell their homes or refinance before the payments ballooned, generating extra loan processing fees (which you may not know, Countrywide has been sued over).

Countrywide holds the mortgage on my home. We have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, and I wouldn't have trusted anybody to get an ARM (on which you're betting that interest rates would remain at all time lows, or that you could get out before rates adjusted - Vegas gives you better odds). I'm not completely satisfied with my loan, but their rates for our area were comparable to other lender's rates.

Also, I'm fortunate to be able to pay extra toward my mortgage, and if you can, I suggest it. Here's some quick math on why. Let's say because of my refinance that I still have 25 years on my mortgage. Think of extra money toward your principle as prepaying the last payments on your loan. So if I pay an extra $100 now, for the sake of quickness lets say I have a 5% mortgage (simple, not compounded). Every year carrying that $100 would cost me $5 until that last payment 25 years from now. Sending in that $100 now saves me an extra $125 that I would have paid in interest. Of course inflation will knock off some of that, but then interest rates are compounded daily, and then you have to factor in the prediction of will your pay raise to meet inflationary rises, both of those mitigate the loss through inflation. At some point the rate of return reduces to below a certain pain level, but then you can think of it as discharging your debt early, so then you'll have extra money when your pay rate hasn't been rising to meet inflationary changes in the prices you're paying.

A 25-year repayment schedule is also a good exercise to show this as most credit cards base their minimum monthly payment based on a 26-plus-year schedule. And their rates are much higher.

Burin' Down the House

So, anybody else tired of hearing about how FEMA is working in California to help with the devistation surrounding the wildfires and how they "learned our lesson from Katrina" (not that we're tired of hearing about the fires, but that every time Chertov gets on the news he repeats that line). Yeah, how they're helping out with houses worth millions for areas that are generally conservative (only the major cities are liberal, something that was brought up during the "give electoral votes to reflect popular vote in counties" kerfluffle), well, that's a welcomed change from flying over the flooded-out poor people of the Gulf Coast as you end your month long vacation almost right on schedule. Geez, Karl Rove goes away and everybody forgets the game plan. Didn't he leave a manual or program to help out?

Say, Mr. President and the conservative party that blamed Clinton for the wildfires of 1998-2001, how's that "clearing out the deadwood and underbrush," plan going? Seems like it's working really well. Glad we dumped so much of the conservation programs to re-log those lands. Oh wait, that's right, that's not what your plan really addressed, was it?

The House is Rockin'

More rocking friends with good news. Hoopy frood Mer Haskell has sold another one to has a possible publication date for her story in Asimov's no less (one of the big three, which if you're following the writers' blogs has been getting a lot of discussion lately). Alrighty, Mer. You rock. Edited 10-25-07 4:42pm Mer says in the comments that this is the publication date of her previous sale. Still cool.

edited Frequent commentor from the great west, Ken McConnell just finished up rewrites that he's very happy with and muses about the short story.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Salute! Then wave.

You know, I thought I blogged this last night.

Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, US Navy, SEAL Team Leader, was awarded (posthumously) the Congressional Medal of Honor yesterday. Under enemy fire, Lt. Murphy, already wounded, endangered himself to call in support by putting himself in the open so he could get a good signal. While requesting support he took and returned fire, eventually receiving the wound that killed him. From reports, at the end of his call he said, "Thank you," when he was told help was on the way.

'nough said.

The President then took this opportunity to demand Congress approve a $42 Billion supplimental to the just started new fiscal year to fund the war in Iraq.

'nough said.

And the only reason I put these two together is because the President, the person who makes the award presentation, put them together. Some people have timing, some have tact, others have propriety. Our President has none of these qualities.

My Friends So Rock

Todd Wheeler is having a party which hopefully will be more than just in his mind for the launch of the anthology Sporty Spec: Games of the Fantastic. Where he has a story published. Yippie! If you in the near Bostonian area, check him out.

Also published in the same antho, but celebrating other things, Camille, is celebrating getting into Courting Morpheous being put out by Apex (which has gained a lot of creed in my submission book). She also won an Excellence in Writing award for one of her reviews at Green Man.

Most excellent.

Also, Tobias Buckell just slogged through edits for Sly Mongoose, which wins my award for best use of the phrase, "This is going to hurt" in a reading for this year. Tobias read parts from SM at Confluence this year. Let me just say it sounds exciting. It'll be on my gift list for next year.

Discovery Is Up!

Discovery is back in orbit. Go, little shuttle, go.

Story Bone

Misheard lyrics from Mic Jagger this morning,

"Her raven gown."

That just tickles me pink.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More Writing Advice Than You Can Shake a Stick At

In comments on outlining, Camille points out Janni Lee Simner's post on Nothing wasted, nothing lost, which is all about the process and the wonderous messyness that is the real writing process. It was so good I thought it needed to be brought forward so you all wouldn't miss it. Write much, fail gloriously, write more, rewrite it. Or as Ann Lamonte said in Bird by Bird, write the crappy first draft, get it done and out. Only once that's done can the good stuff arrive. In the process, nothing is wasted, nothing is lost.

All those stories I wrote that are sitting on my hard drive stagnating, a slow iron death of words, they all tought me something. Even the many thousands of words I've cut or rewritten on the stories that I'm sending out, they all tought me something. They were all necessary.

Also, via pllogan's We can Always Dream, is Kate Logan's Deep Genre's Advice to the First Time Novelist. Which boils down to, if you can quit, do so, if not, never give up.

It's a sickness. I can't give it up.

Apparently I suck

Okay, so I'm a total geek and I do look at my site statistics. You know, because I'm a paranoid and insecure geek.

In the past few weeks I've dropped viewership of this blog by half. Do I need to gargle? Shower more regularly, is everybody going into hibernation mode right before NaNoWriMo?

Okay, yeah, I've been complaining a bit more than usual, and my life has been duller than usual. I haven't pushed out a short story in a bit, but I have been working on the novel (about 2500 words this month, not spectacular, but movement). I've been real busy with stuff around the home.

So, anything I'm not giving that I did give before that you all would like to see me give again? Is it that I'm not able to comment on everybody else's blog (it's a time thing only, I am reading them all)? Do I need those activated carbon inserts in my sneakers?

Okay, well, I'm being a little silly, but if anybody does have suggestions on if they used to read but now don't read regularly, I'm willing to listen.

Cons for Fun and Profit (but mostly for the fun)

Via all around cool guy, Dave Kletcha, comes Diana Rowland's How to Network at Conventions. This has been a topic of conversation the past year among several people I know. Diana (whom I don't know, yet) does an excellent job of summing up the major points. It's also been on my mind as I gear up for World Fantasy.

The most important point, IMHO, is her second bullet, "Have Fun and Make Friends." Yeah, howdy, hallelujah, sell it sister! I was a complete idiot at my first con (World Fantasy in Madison, 2005, I hereby appologize to everyone I was a dick to). Now that I've gotten over myself, and embraced this concept, I enjoy cons a whole lot more.

Cons are really fun places, even bad ones. If you write or enjoy any genre that holds cons (SF/F/H, Romance, Chick Lit, etc) you owe it to yourself to try one out. One good place to start looking for SF/F/H cons is the Locus Magazine Convention Lists. Not all cons are listed every year, but most cons have websites and you can check previous year lists and click on the websites to see if they're continuing.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Bright Future in Sales

So, today was strangely non busy. This week saw only 6.5 hours of overtime, having less than an extra day of OT a week feels weird. It was also a highly productive week, we didn't break a record for outputing plates, but we came close. The big difference, I think, was in the slowness of those secondary jobs I do.

This weekend is the first that nothing is really planned. I hope to catch up on a lot of work and really start critiquing a friend's book. This is the only open weekend from now until Thanksgiving, the next two seeing major travel time to get where I am going. I am very excited about what's coming (writers retreat, World Fantasy, then writers group). I'm looking forward to it all. In there I also really want to get a new tankless waterheater in by Xmas. I'm feeling the time crunch.

The leafs are hitting peak. It was a fairly quick turn. Last weekend they weren't near. I expect by next weekend they'll be gone. My own leaves are mostly just going brown and dropping. The weather is turning coolish again. Not sure how long that will last.

With the light schedule I finally was able to catch up with the bloggeroll. Now I'm only a few posts behind. Blog posts art like Doritos, everybody just keeps making more. Hope you have a good weekend.

Oh, forgot to pose this question, if Turkey invades Iraq to attack PKK/Terrorist strongholds, does that make them a part of the Coalition of the Willing?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Jeff VanderMeer is at it again

Will someone please give Jeff VanderMeer more work? I swear he's in a race with Jay Lake to see who can post the most. Doesn't Jeff have an evil monkey he needs to tend to?

Anyway, Jeff has made a long post on The Triumph of Competence. I can see his points here, but I think the industry is suffering from self inflicted wounds.

Everywhere that I read editorial opinions I see that they want stories that will surprise them, take their breath away. Or, alternatively, I see admonishments about, "the good old days, why doesn't anybody write them like that anymore." Then you go to those magazines and read their submission guidelines where there is the inevitable line about, "reading the market to see what the editors like."

Well, this is the same thing as women's magazines having headlines about "Drop twenty Pounds in Twenty Days" right above, "Best New Delicious Cheesecake Recipes." Seriously. Very big contradictions are going on here.

When in doubt, the submission guidelines win out. We read what you've published, and we feed it back into the system. Your slush readers are tuned to your tastes so they feed up those stories that they know have worked before. Editors know their reading audience so they give them what worked before. Mediocrity reigns supreme.

This isn't the only industry suffering. My (former) day job suffered from "mining the past for ideas" and "everything looks like last year's award winners." Well, it's how we were trained, how the clients respond, how art directors direct, mediocrity is process and institutionalized.

Young writers are told to explore and do weird things. So we do, and we don’t get published. Eventually we learn by reading what has been published, by learning the ropes, by getting more competent, and those wild hair stories drop by the wayside as we move on to eventually get published. I wrote a post earlier in the year wondering if I would get published for my mil fiction if that would lock me out of other things. The same thing happens with this process. "Oh," says the just published writer, "you liked that story. I can do more."

It's a self-feeding cycle. If editors want to see new stories that take risks, they have to publish them. They have to see that some writers may need help with basic skills but have those wild hair stories, grab them at that point. Help them with edits. Publish the wild ones and more will come. Continue to wait until all the ducks are lined up and you don't have to develop the writer, and you'll get the preprocessed stuff that's out there now.

Not everything published falls into this trap. And those stories set me on fire. They're what I want to write. Are they what the editors want to publish though? Especially from a brand new writer? Or will you only try those stories with established writers, the ones where most of those wild ideas have been suppressed to get publishable stories.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More Linkolicious

Really nice guy and cool author of Goblin Quest/War/Hero, Jim C. Hines, has a very new interesting project with CatsCurious Press. You write a humorous fairy tale, single POV, and Jim will write a companion piece. Guidelines and more info are here.

I'm Out'a Touch, Obviously

Okay, our Secretary of State has visited Bethlehem and the Church of the Nativity there to bring both sides of the Israel-Palestinian conflict together. She went to the birthplace of the Christ to bring Jews and Muslims together. Can someone please explain this one to me, 'cause I'm missing it.


Well, I've been remise in my shout-outs and it's time to change that. I'm still a few hundred posts behind in my normal bloggeroll reading, so I'm sure there's more than this.

First up is former Marine (can you really be a former Marine? I suspect not) and all around neat guy, Dave Kletcha. Dave and his wife, having had such a rip roaring success with the first child, have repeated the experiment, bringing forth Hannah. Congrats, Dave. There are eddies in the space time continuum and I hear Dave's voice floating back from sixteen years hence saying, "See that little girl? She is my life and my joy. If you touch her or think bad thoughts about her I just want you to remember these words, I am not afraid to go back to jail."

Then there is my favorite littlebird Camille who continues on her diabolical plan to control the publishing world by having a new story, To Heroboy From Tiffani appear in A Thousand Faces #2. Since she's turned off comments on this post let me give a big, "Hurray!" here.

Hoopy frood Mer Haskell has started a graduate program in Library Sciences. You go, Mer. We wish you all the best of success with it. Oh, and it might bear repeating here, Librarians Rock!

Toastmaster General John Scalzi just announced he will be an instructor for next year's Viable Paradise. I was hoping to go next year and this is an extra incentive to get my rear together and get in the application. Those wonderful people Patrick and Teresa Nielsen-Hayden run Viable Paradise. They bring in top notch people to instruct like Elizabeth Bear among others.

And as a harbinger of the coming season, snow has come to Alaska and Jim Wright.

Okay, and I'm sure I'm missing several things here, like my friend Dan's new brick patio and my other friend (who goes by) Leaf who is sending out his manuscript to agents and publishers.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

To Outline or Not to Outline, that is something

All around neato person, Jeff VanderMeer, a usually seat-of-the-pants kind of writer, has given his take on the benefits of having an outline with a new novel he's writing. He makes an excellent case for them.

I'll reiterate my axiom, "whatever works, baby." Seriously. I remember from high shcool being told that to write a story you need to have an outline, character sketches, research, background, ad nauseum. You don't need all that. Heck, some writers don't make outlines until they're well in the middle of rewrites (as a way to find balance in sections). There are nine and eighty ways to tell tribal lays Rudyard Kipling said. And each and every one of them is right. Do what works for you. But Jeff makes a good case for having one.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Promised Pictures

(click for larger image)

Here is the magificant pumpkin group; the award winning pumpkin grouping.

Well, I have another picture of the whole scene including the light wrapped mailbox and a scan of the major award, but alas, blogger seems to be having issues.

Edit Yeah fixes!

And then the award.

So, as you can see, even if it's not legit and one of my neighbors is pulling my leg, this is still excellent. They went through a great deal to do this.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Okay, so I have to post pictures RSN (real soon now) of my decorations. But tonight, after hosting the writers group, I go outside to see everybody off, I answer some questions about the decorations and the neighborhood. As I'm coming back inside I noticed someone left a calling card next to my door. It was the:

Berea Society for Pumpkin Appreciation & Admiration for Outdoor Phantasmagoria Best Pumpkin Award 2007 First Place, Category, Jack O' Lanterns!

Yippie! I won! I have no idea who they are, but I won!

Actually, having tried googling them, I'm pretty sure it's one of my neighbors tweaking me, but even that is exceptionally cool.

I'd like to thank my wife and who have stood behind me and supported all my purchases and fetishization of outdoor decorations. I would also like to make a shout out to my Grandmother (may she rest in peace) who passed on the gene that expresses the concept "if they don't sell what you want, make your own." (I tend to use decorations the way they weren't meant to be used, and created my own scarecrow with jack o' lantern head, and my own ghosts, one of which is pretty complex). So whomever did this, thanks, it certainly jazzed me. I appreciate it. I'm still giggling inside over it.

(note, edited 10-15-07 to remove typos and to clarify some text)

Friday, October 12, 2007

At the Cliffs of Insanity

Have you ever noticed the place names in books just never sound realistic. While most character names have progressed beyond the Morality Play conventions (James Bond movie females being the most noticeable recent fall-back), most place names haven't progressed. Granted, in high fantasy we sometimes have names that require a working knowledge of Khoisan (the family of African languages that employ clicks) to pronounce correctly, but those are some of the exceptions.

In real life you'll never see the Ocean of OMG We'll Never Make it Back, you have the Pacific Ocean. There's no We're All Gonna Die Cape, we have the Cape of Good Hope. We don’t' have Dire Straights, we have the Straights of Magellan. So why in novels do we have place names that sound like they are totally made up by fifth graders? I mean, people don't normally name things like Island of Crazed Monkeymen. Instead you'll have a name that describes the flowers.

I'm thinking about this because in my novel I need a place to have a Lake of Fire. Right now I have a "Hells Hollow, PA." It just feels right, and I pass a Hells Hollow (it's a Ohio State Nature Preserve) every day on the way home, but it still feels a little cheesy.

Oh, and while you can get to the Cliffs of Insanity from the Mountains of Madness, you can't get there from here.

What Jim Said

It's come up on other blogs about my feeling concerning the current occupant of the Oval Office and his administration. Many people have doubted my convictions abotu the issues and what I am really willing to do because they have never met someone (at least of my political persuasion) that has both the depth of my feelings about the issues and a willingness to lose everything to maintain what is necessary. When I talk with other vetrans (of whom I always feel like a poser around given my degree of service), I find that while we may disagree about issues, we have that depth of feeling and that willingness.

Well, I've found at least one other comrade-in-arms, Jim Wright. He outlines his position here, in a post called This I Believe. What he said.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

More Good News for the Book Reading Public

Okay, well, maybe not, but don't you really want to read an article like that? I'll make a compromise with you, here is article on reading habits and what makes a best-seller (because you know all us authors overly obsess about it). It's yet another reason why I love women.

E. Scrooge is alive and well and working in Iraq for your tax dollars

Whenever I hear pundits talk about how the Great American Company loves their employees and clients and just want to provide the best for both, I always laugh. Whenever you hear a news story about a company "controlling costs" you can bet that means cutting employee pay to help preserve and increase management (top management that is) pay and bonuses. I'm not being cynical here, I mean this as the truth. There are some companies that do try their best, there are always exceptions to the rule. But if you think I'm being a little overboard in my condemnation, just read or listen to this story about the other contractors in Iraq. If US companies could get away with that here, you bet they would. Or I'd bet on it that way, and I'd win. I may play the lottery somedays, but I always bet to win.

Work environments have gone down hill since I started working. Some people maybe confused why the UAW went on strike at both GM and Chrysler, I'm not. It's putting the employeers on notice that the employees have accepted all the cuts, and the horrible services and cut-rate benefits, all the disrespect (and if you don't know what I mean here, count yourself lucky), and all of the crap they're going to take. Workers were once considered important. Then they were delegated to "Cost Units" and treated no better than the office equipment and furniture. We're now on the slide to having the workers considered the same as the grease you use to lubricate the equipment and polish for the furniture.

There is an economic philosphy about how little quality is acceptable (why things break quicker now), where are the pain points in any transaction (where is the line when people will just walk away). Unfortunately business has adopted this as not the base-line level of quality and service to both customers and shareholders, but as the goal. This is not a good thing and upon the brow of this bastard child of economic research is written the word, "Doom."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Because I Am Just a Male Ho for a Free Book.

Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing, which I think I've mentioned before, is running a contest for a Michael Moorcock book.

First off, how excellent is that? It's majorly excellent, in my book. Adventures in SF Publishing has been one of those podcasts that I obsessively download (the link on the blog roll has been there for awhile). The only other podcast I'm like that is The Onion (which is also excellent). The fun interplay with Shaun and Sam is very good. Not exactly Nick and Nora, but still pretty good. The interviews on AISFP range the gammet from, "I've gotta listen to that again right now," to, "now that was interesting." Plus they have great segments like "Ask an Author with Tobias Buckell" (of which I've refrained from asking too many questions because I've already been on twice) and the long awaited next segment in "From the Editors Desk" with Lou Anders. You really ought to check them out.

Now on Mr. Moorcock. I've been a fan since my first experience of his writing for the band Hawkwind. I haven't read all of his output but the Elric series and a few others from his Hero of Chaos and Order continuum. Always an excellent ride in every book I've picked up.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Holy Great Pumpkins!

Acording to Jeff VanderMeer, yesterday was International Cephalopod Awareness Day! So, probably like me, you're going to spend today buying Belated Happy ICA Day cards and getting them in the mail. I guess I spent yesterday in the wrong patch being as sincere as I could be. Instead I should have been swaying to the rythms of the waves and chanting my sincerety to the seas.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn. (Call of Cthulhu)

Oh noes! A Shortage of Wii!

As is being reported on the various business channels (I heard it first on NPR) there is a possible, drastic shortage of Wii for this Xmas season. No Wii. How can I dream of sugar-plum fairies without more Wii? Will Santa be as jolly without his Wii? Is Nintendo having problems of locating wild Wii in the Amazon Rainforest? Are the islands of Japan such a gloomy place because they mined all the Wii out of them? Why, the global implications of a shortage of Wii are staggering. Pretty soon Black and Grey Market Wii will be all the rage. People will be scoring their Wii fix off of cheap pushers that cut their Wii with rat poison.

Can you tell I just love to say, "There's a shortage of Wii!" It's just funny.

Good thing kids have those sneaker skate thingies so they can Wii Wii Wii all the way home.

Monday, October 8, 2007


This month sees a plethora of writing events in my life. First off is this weekend when I'm hosting my writers group meeting. Then at the end of the month there's a writers retreat I was invited to and I'm really looking forward to that. After that there's the World Fantasy Con the first weekend in Novemember. So lots of writing stuff. Not a lot of time to write, though. But lots of events. To, instead og Rocktober, for me this is Write-tober. Happy Write-tober!

Now, all I need to do to cap it off would to be actually published!

Also, before I forget (again) next month is NaNoWriMo. I've never participated, andf I probably won't this year either, although I plan to use it to start the long delayed novel project.

Writetober Continues

Hoopy frood Jay Lake continues his all around good things by talking about first lines and titles.

I particularly suck at short story titling. It's a weakness.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


Way too many things to accomplish this weekend (cleaning, organizing, decorating, cleaning, Pumpkin Festival, writing, cleaning, etc). And work has gone buggy again. This is why I didn't get to post yesterday. Hope your weekend is going nicer.

Next week for me doesn't look much better. Maybe sometime after New Years I'll be able to relax.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Cold Fusion Roundabout

Via all around cool guy (because he lives in Alaska, get it?) Jim Wright, could this be the future of heating? It seems miraculous. Although I've always believed if we could tap the energy in atoms without spliting or fusing them, that tech would solve all our energy needs. This seems to do that to some degree (or at least that's their theory).

Of course it could all come to naught, like the Cold Fusion discovery (which I still hold the opinion that the water was spiked with something, intentionally or accidentally). And I'm still waiting for my household fuel-cell. While we're at it, just where is my air car, dagnabit!

The Space Age Turns 50!

On this day, 50 years ago, the Russians launched the space age by orbiting Sputnik (NASA, Wiki) and also sparked the "our scientists are better than your scientists" rivalry that was a side skirmish in the Cold War. Recently moved in to the world spot light, the original scientist are speaking about it. It was an triumph of excellent engineering. Not the orbiter itself (which was very lo-tech, even by the standards of the day), but that it was cobbled together to make an artificial deadline using pieces and parts from various programs (space and military) and launched sucessfully. Most people have this concept abotu engineering and men in crisp white-shirts doing "high minded stuff." It's a lie, the best engineering, and what mostly happens is people getting themselves dirty and pulling it all together with a whole bunch grit, determination, and bailing wire, bubble-gum, and spit (duct tape hadn't been invented, yet). In the news reels, the people that look good in the suits are from the front office that had very little to do with the success, the ones that look lost in the back and are wondering where the clothes they are wearing came from because they don't remember putting them on that monring, those are the ones that got the project done.

And now that we're 50 years into the Space Age, I have to ask (again), where's my sky car and why can't I take a vacation on the moon?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Three-Card Monty

All around hoopy frood, Jay Lake, describes the Three Pile Theory of Anthology Slush Reading. Like Moses come to the Artic Ocean, Mr. Lake parts the slushy sea into threes and works out the details.

And here I thought they threw them down a stairwell and whoever made it to the bottom was the pick. Or is that grading and who gets an A? Or am I thinking of the "Throw them at the ceiling and whatever sticks gets an F" method? Nevermind. (and just in case anybody takes that too seriously, I am obviously joking, getting out of the slush is contingient on whomever sends the best cookies, we all know that).

Tuesday, October 2, 2007


Since I've posted elsewhere about this in the past, I just thought I would do an "end of story" post.

A guy I work with, former SEAL, has a son who was in the sandbox (Iraq). Key word, "was." He came home yesterday in one piece. End of his second tour there. When his Dad asked him if he was done now, he replied, "Yeah." His Dad still isn't sure exactly what he meant by that.

The son has a PhD in Nursing and while the hospital he worked at kept his job, they moved him to third shift. I guess he said, "no thanks." Having a PhD in nursing in Ohio right now means his chances are good at landing a nice job soon.

The son also came back with a bronze star. Seems he was zooming his Dad (again, former SEAL who had a boat shot out from under him in Viet Nam) when he said he was on a hospital ship. He was riding medical evac. Hoo-rah! They were transporting an IA (Iraqi Army) soldier who was in bad shape (missing an arm was the only description I got) when they were shot down. The son stayed with the patient, under fire, until they could get out. The paitent, from what I could tell, lived. Something else, I'm sure, happened, but I don't have the story.

Bronze star. Hoo-rah!

I did joke with the Dad about he had a boat shot out form under him, and his son had a helicopter shot out from under him, that I don't think it would be good for his grandkids to go into the service.

So, as of today, I don't think I know of anybody in theater.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Story Bone

I mistook my USB backup drive with my digital key and accidentally uploaded my novel to the car.

Red Mass

It's October 1st which means it's another season for the Supreme Court. And this year there's a bumper crop of interesting cases from 2nd Amendment Issues (Washing DC's law) to Gitmo Detainee Rights (habeous are we back to corpus). But the major thing about a new season means that Nina Totenberg will be getting more air time on NPR. Yippie!

Edit I forgot that many years ago the Car Talk guys did a joke about NPR premiums for membership and did a gag about The Nina Totin' Bag. And now you can buy one. Life imitates art.

Story Bone

He emmigrated to Canada to teach English as a Second Language.