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ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
kradical
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two reviews of The Zoo Job
Found two reviews of my Leverage novel The Zoo Job online, one on Sean the Party Man's blog, and the other by TomCat on the Beneath the Stains of Time blog. Both of them liked it! Yay me!

Money quote, from TomCat:
If there was one drawback, it was the lack of a clear and proper villain for the crew to target, and as a result, we were deprived of a long con full of fun, but dangerous, pitfalls – which were represented here by Interpol's James Sterling ("The Antagonist") and Malani's finance minister, Aloysius Mbenga, with his armed goons. They've to figure out whom to zoom in on and what the game of their opponent is, before they can put a stop it. And that full picture doesn't emerge until quite late into the book. Leverage was known for trying different approaches of telling the story, but there was always a mark or goal (e.g. beating an unbeatable security system) and it felt a little bit like watching Columbo stumbling around without knowing himself who he's suppose to be hounding.

But that's a minor, fan boyish complaint on an excellent job at translating the characters and atmosphere of the show to paper and weaving a good story around it. I hope these novels do well enough that they commission more of them and perhaps open a new avenue to re-launch the TV series. Here's hoping!

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Born at the Right Time" by Paul Simon

kradical
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I will be appearing on TrekRadio TONIGHT at 7pm EST to discuss The Klingon Art of War. If you can't listen to the podcast tonight, it'll be archived, and if you have questions for me about TKAOW, please submit them to questions at trekradio dot net.

This is the first of (at least) three podcasts I'm doing to pimp the book, and I've also got two bookstore signings in NYC set up. Oh, and I'll be debuting the book at TrekTrax Atlanta 2014 next weekend..................

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Not Ralitsa Vassileva" by Ian Anderson

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Body Parts"
Quark gets a death sentence -- OR DOES HE? Plus Keiko's pregnancy gets weird, as the DS9 Rewatch assembles some "Body Parts."

An excerpt:
When O’Brien complains about how active Keiko has been during pregnancy and declares, “It’s as if I have to remind her she’s pregnant!” Dax—who has been pregnant while in previous female hosts—has a magnificently sarcastic response: “Yeah, I guess the extra weight, the morning sickness, the mood swings, the medical examinations—they aren’t reminders enough.”

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Eurology" by Ian Anderson

kradical
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One week from today, I will be jetting into Georgia for TrekTrax Atlanta where, among other things, I'll be launching The Klingon Art of War. As with last year, I'll have a table where I'll be selling books, including copies of KAOW and other books of mine as well.

Plus I'll be doing the following program items:

Friday
8-10pm: "VIP Champagne Reception," a gathering with the guests of honor including self, Arlene Martel, Felix Silla, and Jeremy Roberts -- tickets are $30 and can be purchased here (The Marketplace)
10.45-11.45pm: "The Klingon Art of War," discussing the new book (Salon B)

Saturday
4.15-5.15pm: "TrekTrax Atlanta Presents: Keith R.A. DeCandido," a one-hour Q&A and reading by me (Salon B)
8-9pm: "The 2014 Miss Klingon Empire Beauty Pageant," the 15th annual pageant that is unique among pageants to say the least, for which I am likely to be a judge (Salon B)

I don't have anything specific scheduled for Sunday, but I'll be around, selling books and stuff....

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Coming into Los Angeles" by Arlo Guthrie

kradical
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What better song to post on my birthday than this classic from the Beatles?

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "If You Would Just Drop By" by Arlo Guthrie

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Today I'm 45. I'm a hit single, with a B-side, and that little yellow thing in the middle that prevents sliding around the turntable.

Or I'm half a right angle.

Or something.

Anyhow, most of my birthday will be spent writing because deadlines don't give a shit that it's my birthday, but I will be festivizing at one of my favorite restaurants -- Mario's on Arthur Avenue -- with family this evening.

Thanks to everyone who has wished me well on Facebook and Twitter and in private messages. I have the best friends, family, and fans in the world, and I wouldn't trade any of you for anything. *big-ass group hug*

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "St. James Infirmary" by Arlo Guthrie

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Almost exactly a year ago, the Yankees turned a very bizarre triple play against the Orioles with CC Sabathia pitching.

Tonight, against the Rays, with CC pitching once again, the Yanks turned a more traditional triple play. It was started by Yangervis Solarte, a 26-year-old rookie who came out of nowhere in spring training to take over the everyday third base job, and finished by Scott Sizemore in his first-ever professional game at first base. Gotta love it...



Not only that, but in the top of the inning, the Yanks hit two triples. It's triple day!

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: the Yankees-Rays game on YES

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Back in 1987, Paul Simon promoted his Graceland album -- much of which was a celebration of South African music -- by touring with several South African musicians, among them the a cappella group Ladysmith Black Mambazo, guitarist Ray Phiri, and the great performers Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela. One of the songs Masekela (a great trumpeter) did was "Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela)," a song urging the release from prison of Nelson Mandela.

The song is, of course, dated, which is what's so awesome about it -- the song actually worked, Mandela was released, apartheid ended, and Mandela became the leader of the South African nation.

I was thinking of this song yesterday when the Yankees, as part of the annual Jackie Robinson Day festivities (normally held on the 15th of April, but the game was rained out, so they did it last night), they put a plaque in Monument Park honoring Mandela, partly in honor of his visit to Yankee Stadium in 1990.

Anyhow, here's the great Hugh Masekela. Just listen to that trumpet.......

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "N'Kosi Sikelili Africa" by Paul Simon, Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ray Phiri, et al

kradical
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The tie-in novel is proceeding apace. I'm behind where I want to be, but the book will be done on the 28th. Dammit.

I've also spent time this week showing my friend Jenn around NYC. Today we were all touristy and went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and I also took her to the New York Public Library to show her the children's book exhibit (mostly so she could see the stuffed animals that A.A. Milne based the Winnie the Pooh stories on) and Grand Central to do some shopping.

She's catching a 3am train home, so I'll be driving her to Penn Station soon. Meanwhile, I write away...............

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Hunting Girl" by Jethro Tull

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "The Quickening"
Bashir is not an Immortal from Zeist, probably. The DS9 Rewatch suffers through "The Quickening."

An excerpt:
I had absolutely no recollection of this episode, which is usually a bad sign. Upon finishing it, I realized that I had no recollection because I never watched the episode after the first time I saw it, and have no desire to ever watch it again.

This is not to say that the episode is bad. Exactly. We get a reminder of just how nasty-ass the Dominion can be, we get an episode in which our hero suffers setbacks and only manages to save the day partly, and...

Yeah, I got nothin’. This episode left me completely ungripped. It’s the same medical crisis story we’ve seen a thousand times before (a million if you watched House)...

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: "With You There to Help Me" by JethroTull

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A favorite Jethro Tull song, one I use for my Sunday update posts, here are my several favorite versions of this song about being seriously hung over after a fun Saturday night.....

First, there's the original from This Was, Tull's very first album in 1968:




Then there's this one from 2001. For the Living with the Past DVD/CD, the original foursome of Jethro Tull -- Ian Anderson (the frontman, and the only original member still with the group), Mick Abraham, Glenn Cornick, and Clive Bunker -- got together for the first time since Abraham left in 1969 to do a few songs at a pub for a group of fans:




Finally we have the version from the Hammersmith Apollo concert that was the primary source material for Living with the Past with the 2001 lineup of Anderson, Martin Barre, Doane Perry, Jonathan Noyce, and the great Andy Giddings:

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "My Sunday Feeling" by Jethro Tull

kradical
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Scooter was much better this morning, and the diarrhea is less intense than it was. Wrenn and I took him to the vet anyhow, and the vet was encouraged by everything he (and we) saw: no fever, his weight's good, no obvious masses or anything, and his behavior is good. They prescribed antibiotics and probiotics, and we're keeping him on boiled chicken and rice for a few more days. They have to test the stool sample to be sure, and we'll keep an eye on him.

Whew.

And, of course, on the walk there and back Scooter was prancing about and sniffing things and watching people and basically acting exactly like himself.

I love that dog.

Thanks to Dr. Karen for all the advice, and to Jenn for putting up with hosts who are distracted. The latter is about to be rewarded for her patience by a trip to the Bronx Zoo......

Current Mood: relieved relieved
Current Music: "My Sunday Feeling" by Jethro Tull

kradical
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Been quite a day today....

Last night my friend Jenn came in from Virginia. I picked her up at Penn Station and brought her home, where we fed her Wrenn's homemade fried chicken, and she got to meet Dale, Scooter, Kaylee, and Louie. She bonded with them all in pretty short order.

Today, we had a tournament among the adults at the dojo. Participants included four groups: two advanced white belts, three advanced yellow belts, one advanced brown belt and two first-degree black belts, and five second-degree black belts (myself among them). We competed within our group in kata, self-defense, and board breaking.

The details of the tournament..............Collapse )

In the end, I took fourth place in kata, first in self-defense, and second in board-breaking. Nothing to be ashamed of there. Wrenn took video of most of the katas, and Jenn took about 200 pictures, so look for some of those either here or on Facebook.

Afterward, I took Jenn on a little touristy trip, taking her to Grand Central, the steps of the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, and Times Square. We went into the Toys R Us and the Disney Store in the latter location, and I was disgusted to find tons of Captain America: The Winter Soldier merchandise, but all the figures were either Cap or the Winter Soldier -- or, bizarrely, the Red Skull, who isn't even in the film. But no Black Widow, no Nick Fury, no Falcon. Heaven forfend they give us action figures of the two black guys or the woman......

We then went to a lovely dinner at John's Pizzeria, so Jenn could have real Noo Yawk pizza. Then we came home.

Unfortunately, tomorrow morning will be spent at the vet. Scooter has had diarrhea all week, and it got better for a bit, but now it's back to bad again, and we're worried enough that we want to have tests done. We can't really afford this, but every step forward he's made has been followed by a step back. The good news is that he's not showing any other danger signs, and his personality is still the same, so there's that. But it's been going on long enough that we need him to be looked at by a professional.

Assuming all goes well, I'll be taking Jenn to the Bronx Zoo tomorrow.

Now back to writing the tie-in novel...................

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Cheerio" by Jethro Tull

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I had an e-mail glitch today, so anything sent to krad at whysper dot net today (Saturday) probably bounced. It's fixed, so please re-send....

Current Mood: grumpy grumpy
Current Music: "Kathy's Song" by Simon & Garfunkel

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "To the Death"
Starfleet and the Jem'Hadar, together again for the first time. Plus a trifecta of great guest stars in Jeffrey Combs, Brian Thompson, and the great Clarence Williams III. The DS9 Rewatch fights "To the Death."

An excerpt:
But what makes this episode an absolute delight is the interaction. This ensemble has come together beautifully, and the banter mixes in nicely with the action. There’s the brief conflict over Worf’s seat in the mess hall (though the funniest line is Dax urging Bashir not to sit there, and Bashir’s instinctive question is, “Did Miles spill something again?”). Once the plot kicks in, it’s mostly Dax and O’Brien who provide the entertaining levity, either together (the line about the get-to-know-you buffet after the briefing) or separately (Dax’s conversation with Virak’kara, O’Brien’s response to the Jem’Hadar pre-battle ritual).

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon

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A wonderful a cappella singalong by the Irish folk/rock band from the tropical island of Newfoundland (well, that's what they call it, anyhow), Great Big Sea!

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Strangers in a Car" by Marc Cohn

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "For the Cause"
More than one recurring character turns out to be affiliated with the Maquis, and Sisko is very not happy about it. The DS9 Rewatch takes one "For the Cause."

An excerpt:
I’m really disappointed that in the discussion amongst Worf, O’Brien, and Eddington about the Maquis (in which Eddington maintains his cover by saying he has no opinion about the Maquis one way or the other), nobody brings up the fact that the Maquis could’ve just moved. It’s a big galaxy, and yes, those worlds are their homes, but there are other homes out there. They were given a choice to stay in the Federation by going elsewhere, and they chose to leave the Federation by staying behind and becoming terrorists. The very first act the Maquis performed was the destruction of a Cardassian freighter, and that act alone meant that there was no way they could be “left alone,” as Eddington requests later. O’Brien says that they’re defending their homes, as if that justifies everything, and while the ceding of those worlds to Cardassia was ridiculous, staying behind and becoming terrorists was not the only option.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Don't Let Us Get Sick" by Jill Sobule

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There's a thread on the Trek BBS's "Trek Literature" forum that asks people to list their favorite literature-only characters -- to wit, characters that were created specifically for the Star Trek novel program. There've been a lot over the years, and I'm inordinately pleased to see that a character I created, Federation President Nan Bacco (introduced in my novel A Time for War, a Time for Peace, in which she was elected to high office), has shown up on a lot of people's lists.

I based Bacco in part on my great-grandmother, Grazia DeBacco, who died in 2003 at the age of 98. She was a great old lady, the matriarch of a huge, wonderful family, and it does my little heart proud to know that a character I based on her has proven to be a very popular Trek character, portrayed by a large number of writers.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "She's the One" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

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I'd never heard of Guster before tonight, when a friend pointed me at them. I came across this delightful cover of a Talking Heads song that I've always loved......

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "(Nothing But) Flowers" by Guster

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier is tremendous fun
I won't go into too much detail to avoid spoilers, but suffice it to say that this movie was very enjoyable. A few observations:

If they don't make a Black Widow movie, they show an appalling lack of understanding of their audience and an inability to utilize their assets. Since they've proven over and over again that they know their audience and use their assets well, I expect a Widow film to be announced very very very soon. Scarlett Johansson is just amazing and can easily carry a movie.

Anthony Mackie almost stole the movie as Sam Wilson, and that's impressive in this cast.

It's easy to forget that Samuel L. Jackson has only been front and center in two previous Marvel movies, Iron Man 2 and The Avengers, given how dominant his role has been overall. Everything else (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) has been a cameo. Anyhow, Jackson is, of course, superb.

The Peggy Carter scene is just heartbreaking, says the guy whose grandmother has dementia.

If you'd told fifteen-year-old me that there'd be Marvel movies that featured actors like Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Hiddleston, Ben Kingsley, Samuel L. Jackson, and now Robert Redford, I'd have told you that you were out of your fucking mind, that no way any actor with any kind of gravitas would be caught dead doing this shit. I love living in the age of the geek....

I'm a little disturbed about the lack of consequence to the property and collateral human damage done in this movie. I mean, it's all caused by the bad guys, but still...

Favorite line of dialogue: a tie between "I'm multitasking" and "I do what he does, only slower." Favorite in-joke was the saying on the gravestone.

Finally, one SPOILER thought....
































Now that S.H.I.E.L.D. seems to be disbanded, we were talking in the car on the way home about what might take its place. We came up with the Secure Tactical Force Unlimited. Or STFU for short...........

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "You Belong to Me" by the Traveling Wilburys

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So I've had five of my previous works nominated for a Scribe Award, and none of them won. Will Leverage: The Zoo Job break the streak or continue my losing tradition?

The previous nominees include:

For Best YA Fiction in 2008:



For Best Speculative Original in 2008:



For Best Novelization in 2008:



For Best Speculative Original in 2010:



For Best Speculative Original in 2011:



And, of course, for Best General Original in 2014:

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: the Yankees-Blue Jays game on YES

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The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers has announced the nominees for the 2014 Scribe Awards, given to the best in tie-in fiction from 2013. The winners will be announced in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego.

The 2014 Scribes Nominees:

Novel Adapted
Man of Steel by Greg Cox
Pacific Rim by Alex Irvine
47 Ronin by Joan D. Vinge

General Novel Original
Murder She Wrote: Close-Up on Murder by Donald Bain
The Executioner: Sleeping Dragons by Michael A. Black
Mr. Monk Helps Himself by Hy Conrad
Leverage: The Bestseller Job by Greg Cox
Leverage: The Zoo Job by Keith R. A. DeCandido

Speculative Novel Original
Fringe: The Zodiac Paradox by Christa Faust
Supernatural: Fresh Meat by Alice Henderson
Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller
Supernatural: The Roads not Taken by Tim Waggoner
Star Trek: From History's Shadow by Dayton Ward

Short Stories
“The Dark Hollows of Memory” (Warhammer 40,000) by David Annandale
"Locks and Keys" (Shadowrun) by Jennifer Brozek
"So Long, Chief" (Mike Hammer) by Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane
"Savior" (After Earth) by Michael Jan Friedman
"Redemption" (After Earth) by Robert Greenberger
"Mirror Image" (Star Trek) by Christine M. Thompson

Young Adult
Kevin by Paul Kupperberg
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 by Stacia Deutsch
The Croods by Tracey West

Audio
Dark Shadows: The Phantom Bride by Mark Thomas Passmore
Dark Shadows: The Flip Side by Cody Quijano-Schell
Blake's 7: The Armageddon Storm by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright


I'm thrilled to once again be nominated, especially for my Leverage novel, of which I'm very proud, and who knows? Maybe this year I'll finally win (but more likely I'll continue my streak of nominations without victories....).

Congrats to all the nominees!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Fool too Long" by Rockpile

kradical
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The week was so shitty that I totally forgot to include two of the shitty things in last night's blog post.

One is literally shitty, as Scooter has diarrhea. Luckily, he doesn't have any of the other possible bad things that tend to go along with it (throwing up, not eating, stuff like that). We've been managing it, with help from a friend who's a vet, and he seems to be on the mend. Best of all is that he's behaviorally still Scooter. :) But still, it's been worrisome, and we've had to take him out a lot.

And on Wednesday, I also went to the dentist to have my gums poked. I apparently have bone loss in my teeth, and she measured it by poking a thin, sharp metal tool into the gums around my teeth. Each tooth got six pokes. That was -- very not fun.

The next step is a deep-scale cleaning, assuming my insurance will cover it. If it does, the next step after that is a periodontist -- which I'm 90% sure my insurance won't cover, which means it won't happen for quite some time if at all. Right now, all our (meager) income is covering food and shelter (barely).

Wheeeeeeeeee......

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "The Code of Handsome Lake" by Robbie Robertson

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The week started on Monday with having to pick up my mother at yet another medical professional's (latest in a series, collect 'em all!) as her health woes continue. The middle included me and Wrenn totally forgetting to do something incredibly important and letting a friend down in a huge way (said friend is ripshit pissed at us, for good reason, as we totally fucked this one up). An edit took me 24 hours longer than it should have, and I'm ridiculously behind where I want to be on my tie-in novel. And Wrenn continues to be unemployed, while Congress continues to not pass the unemployment extension (the passage of which would totally save our asses, financially speaking, though not as much as Wrenn actually getting a job). She's sending out dozens of resumés a week, calling recruiters all the time, and nothing -- and my favorite is the one interview she went on to which the person who did the interview has not responded in any way, shape, or form to any communication since the interview. No rejection, no second interview, no response, no nothing. It's despicable and appalling and unprofessional behavior.

Sigh.

It wasn't all bad. We went to lovely concert at St. Luke in the Fields downtown in which the church choir and a ten-piece orchestra did a lovely rendition of pieces by Buxtehude and Schutz, and today we went to the New York Botanical Gardens to see their orchid show. (Pictures are up on the book of face.)

This weekend, Wrenn's going down to visit a friend and do his taxes, while I get to hunker down like whoa on the tie-in novel. Also we'll likely see Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Sunday night.....

What are y'all doing for the weekend?

Current Mood: grumpy grumpy
Current Music: "The Cool, Cool River" by Paul Simon

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "The Muse"
Lwaxana's pregnant and running away from the father. Jake meets a woman who sucks all his creativity out of him. They cast Meg Foster and Michael Ansara and waste them on this dreck. The DS9 Rewatch is totally uninspired by "The Muse."

An excerpt:
The notion of Jake being attacked by a creative succubus posing as a muse probably seemed like a good idea in the writers room, but holy crap does it not work. Seriously, the big threat of the week is Jake writing on a piece of paper while Onaya gives him glowy-hand neckrubs. Mind you, Meg Foster is the perfect person to play Onaya with her whispery voice and weird-ass eyes, but the role itself is just awful.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Further to Fly" by Paul Simon

who is this guy?
Keith R.A. DeCandido
User: kradical
Name: Keith R.A. DeCandido
Website: DeCandido.net
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