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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
The gunfight at the O.K. Corral -- IN SPACE! The TOS Rewatch wilts under the "Spectre of the Gun."

An excerpt:
Having said all that—man, is this episode dumb. I can forgive the inaccuracies about the gunfight in Tombstone, partly because it’s rigged for maximum kill-the-landing-party potential, partly because it’s pulled from Kirk’s memories, which are likely scattershot in the extremis, and partly because the myths about Wyatt Earp were pretty well entrenched in the popular consciousness five decades ago. But if the Melkotians are in it to kill the intruders, why such an elaborate setup? Why is Spock (the only person not native to Earth) the one providing all the historical information when it’s Kirk’s memories this is coming from? If Spock’s mind-meld convinces them that this is all unreal, how come Kirk can still get into a fistfight with Wyatt?

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Imagine" by Chet Atkins & Mark Knopfler

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Today, my fiancée Wrenn, the love of my life, the woman who reminded me how to be happy again, turns 49. In her honor, one of her favorite songs, by Great Big Sea, "Ordinary Day":

Love you, Wrenn!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Ordinary Day" by Great Big Sea

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On this day in 1998, I was no longer a salaried employee of Byron Preiss Multimedia Company. I still continued to do freelance editing for BPMC (mostly on the Marvel novels) until October, and again briefly in the spring of 1999, but I was the master of my own fate at that point.

On 1 May 1998, I had written half a dozen short stories, a novelization, and half a novel, and I was under contract to do part of a TV show guide. It wasn't long before I had three more novel contracts, plus the editorial work, and things were going great guns. Now it's eighteen years later, I've got rather an impressive writing career behind me. It hasn't always been peaches and cream -- the period from early 2009 to 2013 was pretty fallow, and I had to take on work with the U.S. Census Bureau and the Cardinal Spellman High School library in order to make ends meet, but things have picked up (as the recent irons in the fire post will attest), and I'm once again paying my own way entirely by the sweat of my own brow.

Not that it's all fiction writing. KRADitorial is still a thing, there's the twice-weekly rewatches on Tor.com, and there's the afterschool karate stuff. Nice diverse portfolio, which is the key to successful freelancing.

Oftentimes I find myself reminded of the words of Robbie Robertson in The Last Waltz. He was talking about being a working musician, but it applies to being a freelance writer/editor/teacher too: It's a goddamn impossible way of life.

But I wouldn't have it any other way, either. My life is good and I wouldn't trade it for nothin'.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "Mother Goose" by Jethro Tull

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How the heck did it get to be May???????

Marvel. Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings is done, just waiting for the cover to be finalized. Warrior's Three: Godhood's End is awaiting Marvel's final approval. And I've got another Marvel novel proposal awaiting approval.

Stargate SG-1. As with Sif, we're just waiting for the cover to be finalized on Kali's Wrath, and then it should be out soon. I'm hoping now that this is done we might have a shot at the collaborative project. We'll see.

Tie-in short story. I should have this done today or tomorrow. Looking forward to being able to announce what it is. I can say it's a universe I've never written in before.

Super City Police Department. Avenging Amethyst has been turned in, and the next step is to plot out the next two novellas that are under contract, Undercover Blues and Secret Identities.

Collaborative thriller. Once the story's done, I have to get this novel written. The plot is done, by my collaborator, and I'm writing the novel off that. Should be done by mid-June, I hope.

The Adventures of Bram Gold. Other deadlines leapfrogged the writing of A Furnace Sealed, which doesn't have a set date as such, so WordFire and I have agreed to a new due date. I'll dive back into this after the thriller. Still hoping to have this out this year, but if not, it's not the end of the world. I also need to plot the second and third books out a bit more, as right now they're just short paragraphs.

Dragon Precinct. No, I haven't forgotten "Baker's Dozen" or Mermaid Precinct. I'm hoping to finally tackle "Baker's Dozen" after the thriller is done, and I'm hoping to write Mermaid after the Bram book. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee! And I have another idea for another Kickstarted story, but "Baker's Dozen" has to be written first.

Cassie Zukav. "William Did It" is now available in the Story of the Month Club annual anthology for 2015, which is called A Baker's Dozen of Magic. I've been approached to contribute to an anthology that will have another Cassie story in it, tentatively called "Behind the Scenes." And I've got notions for a spring break story, a story about Elena Hoyos and Carl Tanzler, the not-yet-told stories that have been referred to involving a dragon at the Bottroff House and a UFO at Dry Tortugas, and a story called "Ragnarok and a Hard Place."

Limbus Inc. My story for Book 3 of this shared-world anthology series is done. Called "Right On, Sister!" it'll be out in late July. If there are more Limbus books, I would not be averse to working in this milieu again.....

V-Wars. I have no idea if there will be more of Jonathan Maberry's shared-world vampire anthologies, or more comic books, but I have more stories I'd love to tell in this world, mostly involving either reporter Mia Fitzsimmons and/or the NYPD's Vampire Crimes Unit. Meanwhile, we'll always have "The Ballad of Big Charlie" and "Streets of Fire"..........

Mystery novel. This is never far from my thoughts. I'm hoping to get to it after Mermaid, which at this point means some time in 2017.

Shirley and Jack. I'm going to have a story in Alternate Sherlocks called "Identity." It's the first of what I hope to be many stories set in modern New York City featuring Shirley Holmes and Jack Watson. There will be a second Alternate Sherlocks antho, and editors Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry have already said that they'd like to see a second Shirley & Jack story for it, so here's hoping........

Nights of the Living Dead. I'm going to have a story in this anthology called "Live and on the Scene." Looking forward to writing it.

Alternate history anthology. This is going to be a Key West story, actually, but not a Cassie story. Still working on the plot.

Crap, that's a lot of stuff.........

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Current Music: "Enter Sandman" by Metallica

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The site SFcrowsnest does reviews of various genre thingies, and they've reviewed five of my novels over the years:

Andy Whitaker on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Deathless: "The story is fast paced with lots of action and as I said earlier, plot twists. Some of these can be seen coming whilst others are a surprise. It’s a testament to the quality of the writing that you can actually visualise this as a ‘Buffy’ TV episode. The characters are consistent with what we know from the TV series as are the settings. Actually placing the events of ‘The Deathless’ in the ‘Buffy’ series timeline is a nice touch which will be appreciated by the hard core ‘Buffy’ fans. Yes, you could argue that it is very formulaic but within the confines of the format this is quite a good story with a good ending."

Neale Monks on Star Trek: Klingon Empire: A Burning House: "Such background details extend beyond the characters, though, with interesting sidelights on Klingon architecture, medicine, festivals, even dining habits. There’s a short but revealing scene where one character hosts another at a Vulcan restaurant, where vegetarian food is the order of the day, quite in contrast to the purple-blooded cuisine we might assume Klingons favoured."

Aidan Fortune on Star Trek: The Next Generation: Q & A: "Keith DeCandido has been writing ‘Star Trek’ stories for over a decade and his fan credentials are certainly not in doubt. The man knows his ‘Star Trek’, especially all the minor characters that the average won’t recognise. Further to that, his ability to tie them all together without seeming too cheesy is excellent and natural."

Fortune on Star Trek: Myriad Universes: Echoes and Refractions: "‘A Gutted World’ ... deals with a Federation under siege from all sides and constantly on battle alert. While the character of Captain Picard never really feels right in a war scenario, this soon evolves into a conspiracy theory investigation that pulls in strands from ‘The Next Generation’, ‘Deep Space Nine’ and ‘Voyager’ in a logical way. It’s the best of the three stories and a real gripper."

And finally, to keep me humble, there's Whitaker on Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars: "I have no idea as to who the target audience of this book is. People who have bought the game will get very little additional information from the book. Readers new to the ‘Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars’ universe will struggle to maintain interest. After reading the ending ,which isn’t an ending they may be regretting the effort put into reading the book."

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Current Music: "Alma" by Tom Lehrer

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It's our second rewatch of the day as Liberace comes to Gotham City! The Bat-rewatch does "The Devil's Fingers"/"The Dead Ringers."

An excerpt:
An interesting episode that breaks with the usual formula, but does so in a manner that is delightful and enjoyable, particularly since its primary source of joy comes from two of the unlikeliest of sources.

The first is Madge Blake, whose main purpose has been to be a Fredric Wertham-mandated beard for Bruce and Dick living under the same roof, who for once gets the chance to shine. Mind you, it takes a while, as she’s mostly her usual bland self, but then she has to grieve for Bruce and Dick and then is consoled by Harry pretending to be Chandell, at which point she turns into a badass, seeing through his ruse (despite never having cottoned to who Bruce and Dick really are all these years), and pulling a gun on him. It’s a crowning moment of awesome for the character—hell, it’s the only moment of awesome for the character, who has otherwise been the single most useless character in the history of television. Kudos to Madge Blake for making the best of a rare opportunity to actually do something.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "I Ain't Got No Home" by Bob Dylan

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A look back at Star Trek's middle period as the TOS Rewatch does the Second Season Overview.

An excerpt:
Worse, though, is that there is almost none of the humanism, the compassion, of the first season. The theme throughout season one was that there are no monsters, only people of different types. But the second season is almost all monsters, from the extragalactic creeps in “Catspaw” to the titular “Doomsday Machine” to Redjac in “Wolf in the Fold” to Nomad in “The Changeling” to Vaal in “The Apple” to the giant amoeba in “The Immunity Syndrome” to the cloud creature in “Obsession.” The exceptions—the giant floating omelette in “Metamorphosis,” the Kelvans in “By Any Other Name“—are few and far between. The Enterprise spends way too much time defeating enemies and not enough time seeking out new life and new civilizations.

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: "How Bad Do You Want It?" by Don Henley

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My SCPD novella is finished and off to the editor. This is the long-awaited sequel to The Case of the Claw, entitled Avenging Amethyst. (It also takes place after "Stone Cold Whodunit" and "Send in the Clones," the SCPD short stories that appeared in With Great Power and The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, respectively.) It will be released serially in a cool format that I will be happy to talk about as soon as I'm allowed to.

I have nothing to say about the Hugo Awards. Honestly, I don't care that much about the Hugo Awards and never have for reasons I enumerated last year when the canines took over the nomination process: the Hugos are an award voted on by a statistically irrelevant and totally non-representational sample of the actual readership. I find a juried award or one voted on by professionals to be a far more useful barometer of quality than a subset (voters) of a subset (WorldCon members) of a subset (con attendees) of the readership. As a media tie-in writer whose work (both in and out of the tie-in field) is regularly ignored by any award not given by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, I have no sympathy for the complaints about being shut out of the Hugos. And the fact that so much energy is being expended on gaming the Hugos strikes me as a colossal waste of time that would be better spent by writers on writing or promoting their work in ways that don't lead to snotty articles and blog posts.

(Gee, that was a long paragraph about something I said I had nothing to say about. Oh, well...)

Remember, tonight I'm participating in the Line Break Series portion of the Queens Literary Crawl to benefit the Queens Book Festival. I'll be at the Aged Restaurant at 107-02 70th Road in Forest Hills, part of a gaggle of writers reading from 8.15-9.15pm that also includes Nancy Hightower, Robert J. Howe, Richard Taylor Pearson, and my friend Ilana C. Myer. I'll be reading a bit from Marvel's Thor: Dueling with Giants. I also will have some books for sale............

My next writing thing is a short story for a tie-in anthology that hasn't been officially announced yet, but is going to be very very cool, and then I write the collaborative thriller, finally.

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Sometimes Love" by Redhead Express

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In tribute to Prince, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band led off a recent concert with a stellar rendition of "Purple Rain."

Rest in peace, Mr. Nelson.........

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "Absolutely Sweet Marie" by Bob Dylan

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A really really good piece by my dear friend Laura Anne Gilman about the influence of parents on their children who write.

An excerpt:
My father didn’t read fantasy. My father didn’t read much fiction at all, honestly. That all came from my mother. But he did read, and read voraciously, in history. He delved into the why and the who, the elements that drove action, and the results of those actions. And he taught us by example to do the same, seeing absolutely no reason why our gender would or should have any impact on what we were capable of, with no apologies for being smart, or tough, or delicate, or emotional or clinical, and to hell with anyone who tried to shove us into half-a-space because of Being Female.

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Mary Had a Little Lamb" by Stevie Ray Vaughn

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At Balticon 50 this year, they are debuting the BSFS Writers Seminar Series, developed by the mighty Chuck Gannon. These are intensive seminars with various writers on a variety of writing subjects that will be very useful for you aspiring and up-and-coming writers out there. Seminars are given by me, Chuck, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, Bud Sparhawk, Fran Wilde, Jody Lynn Nye, Hildy Silverman, Tom Doyle, Sarah Pinsker, and Alex Shvartsman.

Here's the info straight from Balticon's web site:
BSFS is sponsoring this fantastic series of 3-hour writers seminars.

This is a seminar-based workgroup where the emphasis is not upon line edits and mechanics, but the guts of story itself. The total duration is 3-3.5 hours, where the first hour is a general discussion (see below), the next hour is a catered working lunch that is open to general conversation with the pro, and the last hour-plus is a one-at-a-time Q&A session. In that session, each attendee gets to ask questions specific to their project/concerns; those who wish privacy will so signify and wait for the end slots.

Select a seminar that is addressing what you want to work on. Bring two primary “problems with your fiction” to the seminar. You’ll share those, round-robin style. The pro will guide the group through a discussion of those challenges, and you’ll be surprised how many of your fellow group-members come with identical or overlapping challenges.

This means there’s no “waiting your turn.” The seminar engages you immediately, both personally and as part of a group discussion. Troubleshooting the challenges is the focus of the conversation which is both led and moderated by the pro. Everyone is helping everyone else succeed, and there’s no direct comparison of writing, so writers at a variety of skill levels will find it useful.

Each Seminar brings attendees together with a renowned SFF professional who is highly regarded for their skills and mentoring.

Here's what I'll be doing:
9 am to ~ 12:15 pm, Sunday, May 29, 2016, in Parlor 11029
The Business of Writing with Keith R. A. DeCandido

Best-selling award-winning author Keith R.A. DeCandido discusses all the (many many many) parts of a writing career that don’t involve writing: time management, money management, career management, and so on. You know, all the things they never even mention in creative writing class...

Hope folks will sign up!

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Jokerman" by Bob Dylan

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Wrenn and I are now sitting in Fort Lauderdale's airport, heading home after the finest vacation in the history of the universe. This trip was a joint birthday present for both of us -- Wrenn's and my birthdays are two weeks apart -- from both our travelling companions and my parents. The former paid for the accommodations, the latter paid for our airfare. We were able to cover the rental car that took us from south Florida to Key West (and also to the other side of the island on Sunday to visit the Martello fort museums), and the entire trip was a hilarious argument among me, Wrenn, Meredith, and Anne to see who would pay for everything else. ("I'll take the check." "Shut up, put your wallet away." "At least let me cover the tip." "No, I won't tell you how much it is, we're covering this one." And so on.)

It was a magical trip. Meredith enjoyed seeing the places that are in the various Cassie Zukav stories, including Captain Tony's (the model for Mayor Fred's), the Old Town Manor (the model for the Bottroff House), Pincher's Crab Shack (the model for Em's), the Mallory Square pier (where the, ahem, climax of "Down to the Waterline" takes place), the Hemingway House, the Little White House, and the Key West cemetery (all seen in Cayo Hueso), and the Fort East Martello Museum (seen in "William Did It"). And in general, it was a relaxing wonderful trip.

I even got to see places I hadn't been to before, which is a neat trick for a place I've been going to on and off for 23 years: the butterfly conservatory and the Key West Garden Club. Plus we got to take Meredith and Anne on the ghost tour, which was huge fun, and we went to the Fort East Martello Museum and saw a sunset and shopped and, of course, spent a ton of time communing with the cats in the Hemingway House. And we spent lots of time in the Schooner Wharf Bar, my favorite watering hole (with Captain Tony's a very close second).

If you ever go to Key West, and are not allergic to cats, I strongly recommend the Angelina Guest House, which is off the main drag of Duval, but not so far off that you can't walk there easily, it's got a lovely pool and garden, and they have Finn, the friendliest cat ever. And they bake their own cinnamon rolls for breakfast. And the coffee's fantastic. Really, no flaws in the place whatsoever. :)

We're already talking about our next trip down. As it is, I've hatched a few more Cassie story notions, and also did some research for another non-Cassie Key West story for an anthology that should be announced soon.

Now, though, we're about to board our plane to NYC. More anon.....................

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Southern Cross" by Crosby, Stills, & Nash

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This Thursday, the 28th of April, the Queens Literary Crawl is happening to benefit the Queens Book Festival. Part of the QLC will be a special series of readings by Line Break ("the eclectic live literary magazine"), to be held at the Aged Restaurant on 107-02 70th Street in Forest Hills, New York.

If you participate in the QLC, which costs $9.99 (tickets can be purchased here), part of your ticket includes the Line Break readings at the Aged, which will include me!

Here's the full list of authors:
    Jacob Appel
    Marleen S. Barr
    Carey Bernstein
    Jeremy Blutstein
    Malcolm Chang
    Keith R.A. DeCandido
    Alex DiFrancesco
    Nancy Hightower
    Robert J. Howe
    Rajan Khanna
    Barbara Krasnoff
    Ilana C. Myer
    Richard Taylor Pearson
    Sarah Riccio
    William Shunn

I will be reading from my newest novel Marvel's Thor: Dueling with Giants, Book 1 of the Tales of Asgard trilogy. Readings will be going on all night, but I believe mine is somewhere in the vicinity of 9pm.

So come on over to Queens! It supports a good cause (the world needs more book festivals, dagnabbit), and you get to hear me (and other cool people) read!

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Heavy Horses" by Jethro Tull

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Last year, Bastei Lubbe released six eBooks that tied into the Heroes Reborn miniseries on NBC. The first was David Bishop's adaptation of the pilot episode, released at the same time as that episode, and then the other five were released during the break between the first ten episodes and the final three. One of the latter five was my own Save the Cheerleader, Destroy the World.

For the record, this was one of the best tie-in experiences of my career. The production staff worked very closely with all of us to make these novellas tie in directly to the TV series. Every effort was made to make these tales be part of the larger Heroes mythos. I'm extremely pleased with the end result, as I think we all did a superlative job of expanding the tapestry of the universe.

Last month, Titan released Heroes Reborn Event Series Book 1, which collected David's pilot adaptation Brave New World, as well as A Matter of Trust by Timothy Zahn and Dirty Deeds by Stephen Blackmoore.

My friend Nancy found a copy of Book 2 in a bookstore in Washington, Pennsylvania the other day, and the book officially goes on sale on Tuesday.

Here's a copy of the one Nancy found:

As you can see from the cover, Book 2 includes my own novella, sandwiched between Catch and Kill by Duane Swierczynski and A Long Way from Home by Kevin J. Anderson & Peter J. Wacks.

You can preorder the book from the fine folks at Amazon or from the equally fine folks at Barnes & Noble, and of course it should be in all the bookstores by Tuesday if not sooner. Check Indie Bound, if you want to support your local independent bookstore (always a good thing).

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Current Music: "Hotel California" by the Eagles

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Every year, Story of the Month Club pulls together the stories it made available to the web site's subscribers over a calendar year and collects them into an anthology. The one for 2015 is now out, and it's called A Baker's Dozen of Magic. Edited (and with a story by) SMC guru Jessica Brawner, the anthology includes a Cassie Zukav story involving Fantasy Fest, Hallowe'en, and a classic Key West legend, entitled "William Did It."

Here's the front and back cover:

The book can be ordered from the fine folks at CreateSpace.

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Current Music: "A Kind of Magic" by Queen

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It's a backdoor pilot for a show that never was! Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln briefly take over as the TOS Rewatch does "Assignment: Earth."

An excerpt:
This episode was scarily predictive, as Spock mentions a major assassination and a rocket launch on the same day that they’re there. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated and Apollo 6 had a messed-up launch on 4 April 1968, six days after the episode first aired. (Apollo 6’s mishap was nothing like what happened here, of course, but that could all be part of Seven’s coverup...)

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Pride (In the Name of Love)" by U2

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Wrenn and I are in the midst of doing last-minute prep for our vacation. We're going to Key West -- same place we went on vacation in 2013 -- along with Meredith (woofiegrrl) and her wife Anne. We're flying down to Ft. Lauderdale, picking up a rental car, going to Miami to pick up Meredith and Anne, then staying in a hotel in south Florida for tonight. Tomorrow, we hop into the rental and do the incredibly lovely drive through all the Keys before arriving at Key West and our wonderful stay.

Among other things, we'll be there for Independence Day! (Click here for an explanation....)

This trip is still partly work -- everything is still partly work -- since I write a cycle of stories set in Key West, plus I've been invited to another anthology for which I'm writing a story that will be set in Key West but will not be a Cassie story. Either way, copious notes will be taken...............

I will try to keep up with the blog -- at the very least, I will be doing the Bat-rewatch on Friday and the TOS Rewatch on Tuesday.

And keep an eye on Facebook (either my personal page or my fan page) and @KRADeC on Twitter for many many pictures.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Born in Puerto Rico" by Paul Simon

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Today I went to my local polling place and voted in the Democratic primary for Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton.

On this blog, I have written quite a bit about the presidential elections in 2004, 2008, and 2012. I haven't talked much about 2016, even though I am a huge presidential election junkie (as anyone who read those blog entries, or read my Star Trek novel A Time for War, a Time for Peace, can attest). But this race has just exhausted me, and I haven't had as much to say.

But I have been paying attention. And I chose to vote for Secretary Clinton over Senator Bernie Sanders for a number of reasons.

First of all, let me emphasize that this was not an easy decision, and that I have the utmost respect for Senator Sanders and for his platform. Were he running against a lesser opponent, I would have voted for him today, and should he win the nomination, I will vote for him without hesitation or regret.

However, a few things tipped the scales toward Secretary Clinton for me.

One is the fact that Secretary Clinton has been using her fundraising money, not just for her own campaign, but for Congressional and gubernatorial Democrats all over the country. She's not just trying to win the presidency for herself, she's working to build a coalition that will actually be able to govern the nation. Senator Sanders has only just now started the process of doing that.

Another is the fact that, while Senator Sanders is superb on domestic issues, he's not so much on foreign policy. Secretary Clinton proved her foreign policy chops in her last job as President Barack Obama's secretary of state. (Having said that, I didn't think Governor Bill Clinton or Senator Obama would be such hot shit on foreign policy, and they both did fine, so I could be wrong about Senator Sanders.)

But the straw that broke my back was the other week. Secretary Clinton was interviewed and said that she wasn't sure that Senator Sanders was ready to be president. This was reported back to Senator Sanders prior to a rally in Philadelphia as her saying he was unqualified to be president. At that rally, Senator Sanders said that Secretary Clinton said "I am quote, unqualified, unquote, to be president," not only getting it wrong, but doubling down on it by making it an exact quote that was wrong. (Mind you, the person interviewing Secretary Clinton was obviously trying to get her to say that the senator was unqualified, but she didn't take the bait.) Senator Sanders then said that she was unqualified, and proceeded to list a bunch of things about her he doesn't like -- precisely none of which makes her unqualified to be president. Oh, they're things that might make her a bad president, and if Senator Sanders had said that, it wouldn't be an issue, but he didn't. Anyone who thinks that Secretary Clinton is unqualified to be president is a moron. Again, this isn't a question of policy. Honestly, of all the people who've run for president in my lifetime, the one who was most qualified for the job before election was George H.W. Bush, whom I despised as a president. But that didn't change the fact that he was immensely qualified for the job. (Ironically, the one least qualified is his son, who's prior jobs were running a series of failed businesses and holding the least powerful governorship in the union.) Secretary Clinton is supremely qualified to be president, given her background.

If this is how Senator Sanders responds to what barely even qualifies as an attack on his campaign, how's he gonna respond when Donald Trump or Senator Ted Cruz or whichever doofus gets the Republican nomination really gets the knives out?

(Seriously, the notion of any of these scumbuckets, whether Mr. Trump, Senator Cruz, or Governor Kasich, getting into office scares the piss out of me, as any one of them will spend the next four years trying to roll back all the progress we've made of late, including curtailing the rights of women and LGBTQ folk, endeavoring to make the nation more "Christian," and generally trying to turn back the clock, even though in the entire history of this country, attempts to curtail and roll back rights that had already been granted has never worked in the long term.)

Meanwhile, Secretary Clinton has spent the last two and a half decades being attacked constantly and repeatedly, from the moment she made it clear that she intended to be a part of her husband's administration as a major player, not just a decorative housewife who runs social events like a good little girl. The outrage over her actually using the First Lady position to be a politician got the ball rolling -- but she has, over the course of the last two and half decades of smear campaigns, of lies, of bullshit, of attacks, of assaults on every aspect of her personality and life, weathered all of it with dignity and class and grace, and still gone on to be a good senator and an excellent secretary of state, and now for the second time, a viable presidential candidate for a country that was unable to elect anyone who wasn't a white Christian male to its highest office for 220 years.

Again, I have great respect for Senator Sanders, and I'm particularly glad that he's been running, because he's getting issues out on the table that might've been ignored had he not been in the race. I hope that, should he not win the nomination, Secretary Clinton plans to make him part of her Cabinet should she win (if not her vice presidential candidate), as he'll be a valuable ally to have.

(BTW, there's other reasons why I'm iffy on Senator Sanders, and Avery C. Bauer expressed them very nicely in this article for the Daily Newsbin. Thanks to the mighty Emily Asher-Perrin for the link.)

So yes. I voted. And you know what's most important? That I did so. That's the way politics works in this country, and it may not be the best system, but it really is the best one the human race has managed to come up with so far. And it's a right that a lot of people gave their lives to have.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "Accidentally Like a Martyr" by Warren Zevon

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And what a birthday it was................

Any day that starts with me getting up at 6.45am is -- er, not a good one. Adding a funeral to it doesn't really improve it.

Still, the funeral was -- well, if Gramma had been able to choose her funeral, today is pretty much her ideal of it. Most of her family was there, including all nine of her brothers and sisters, and all four of her children, and six out of her nine grandchildren (the two in Florida and the one in South Carolina couldn't arrange it, sadly, so she only got the three in New York, the one in Denver, the one in Philadelphia, and the one local to her in western Pennsylvania). Many people came for the viewing Sunday and lots of family were present for the funeral Monday morning. It was at the church that had been her church growing up, the church she got married in, and the church that she went to every week from when she moved back to Pennsylvania in 1977 until she was put in the assisted living place in 2010.

At the end, we went up to the cemetery and put her casket in the grave right next to Nana's. My grandfather is buried in a veterans' cemetery in Long Island, but it makes more sense for Gramma to be buried next to her mother. (If nothing else, she lived with Nana a lot more than she lived with Grandpa....)

I got to provide a moment of unintended comedy before the funeral. Immediate family was at the funeral home for a final bit and convocation before taking the casket to the church. As the priest was talking, something fell out of my pocket. I bent down to pick it up, but I forgot that I was standing in front of a set of windchimes that were a gift to my aunt Monica (Gramma's youngest, who spent the last decade taking care of her as dementia and age claimed her). The act of bending over caused my butt to hit the chimes, which went off loudly. I managed to get them under control and get the item off the floor, but Jesus.....

To make matters worse, my cousin Laura is trying desperately not to giggle while the priest is laying our grandmother to rest. *sigh*

It was a typical ludicrous moment. We always seem to have one of those. Or more. And hey, I could just hear Gramma making a "tch" noise and saying, "Oh, Keith......"

The best part of the day was the lunch afterward, and not just because I was hungry. The one good thing about Gramma's death was the opportunity to see relatives I hadn't seen in far too long. We cross paths here and there on Facebook, but this was an opportunity to actually talk to a bunch of my great aunts and uncles, my cousins, my second cousins, my aunts and uncles, and various other folks.

Among other things, I learned that my second cousin Billy's son thinks I'm the best thing ever because I wrote a couple of Spider-Man novels. I need to get him a copy of the Thor book, and I need to eventually meet the kid (we missed each other at the wake, and he didn't come to the funeral, which would be a bit much for a seven-year-old).

The last thing we did before hitting the road was take a picture. See, back in 2000, a picture was taken at my parents' house of me and my twin uncles, Fred and Nat. Here it is:

My father called this picture "Father, Son, and Holy Shit."

Wrenn decided that we needed to have an update of "Father, Son, and Holy Shit," as the original is now 16 years old. So right before we hit the road to head home, Wrenn took an update:

In both pictures, that's Fred on the left, me in the middle, and Nat on the right.

Anyhow, I'm home now. I have my birthday lunch with my parents tomorrow, and then Wednesday, Wrenn and I head to Key West, where we'll be vacationing with Meredith and Anneliese. YAY!

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: "Mambo Swing" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

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Just a day after I posted a what's-coming entry, co-editor Michael A. Ventrella announced that Alternate Sherlocks Book 1, edited by Mike and Jonathan Maberry, will be released in January 2017.

This is an anthology of alternative Holmes stories, in which the only common thread is that a) they're all Holmes stories and b) they do not take place in Victorian England. My story is called "Identity," and it takes place in modern New York City, starring Shirley Holmes and Jack Watson. And I'm already cogitating on my next Shirley-and-Jack story, which I hope will make the cut for Book 2..................

Other authors contributing include the two editors, David Gerrold, Jody Lynn Nye, Gail Z. Martin, Ryk Spoor, Heidi McLaughlin, Beth Waggoner Patterson, Hildy Silverman, Michael Strauss, and a few more!

This is going to be a very fun anthology. Hopefully it will be out in time for a nice launch party at Arisia.................................

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Dad's Gonna Kill Me" by Richard Thompson

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Since I was talking about this at my Treklanta panel, I figured I'd say something here, too, about what all's coming from me in 2016.

Stargate SG-1: Kali's Wrath should be out some time in May as an eBook and some time in June as a print book, both from Fandemonium Press. I'll have cover and more solid pub dates some time in the next week or so.

Marvel's Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings is currently scheduled for June by Joe Books, pending some last-minute approvals happening (not involving the manuscript). Assuming these things go well, the book should be out in a couple months.

Marvel's Warriors Three: Godhood's End should be out in the late summer, early fall, depending, assuming Marvel gives Joe Books an approval on the manuscript. I'm hoping to have all three books in the Tales of Asgard trilogy for Dragon Con.

"Right On, Sister!" will be in Limbus, Inc. Book 3, which is on track for a late July 2016 publication by JournalStone.

"Identity" will be in Alternate Sherlocks, which should be out from Diversion Books by year's end, or in early 2017. I will also have a story in the second Alternate Sherlocks antho with the same two characters (Shirley Holmes and Jack Watson in modern New York City), title TBD.

A Furnace Sealed should be out from WordFire Press by year's end, or maybe in early 2017, depending on how the writing of the book goes.

Mermaid Precinct should be out from Dark Quest Books by year's end, or maybe in early 2017, depending on how the writing of the book goes. *cough*

"Live and On the Scene" will be in Nights of the Living Dead from St. Martins in spring 2017.

Finally, SCPD: Avenging Amethyst will be released serially, in ten 3000-word installments, in a manner that I look forward to announcing soon. So will at least two more SCPD novellas, Undercover Blues and Secret Identities.

I think that's everything a) that's scheduled and b) that I can actually talk about in public.....

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Gumboots" by Paul Simon

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I had a great time at Treklanta, though I was only there for Friday and Saturday day. The VIP Champagne reception was delightful, and mostly afforded me the unparalleled chance to chat with Bjo and John Trimble, which was a joy and a privilege. I sold a buncha books, I got to meet some wonderful new people and also hang out with old friends. And for my one-hour panel, I read the first three chapters of A Furnace Sealed, which were very well received.

Special thanks to Eric Watts, the Treklanta guru, who went out and got me a sympathy card and got most of the staff and several of the guests to sign it. I was beyond touched. Stuff like this is why I continue to support Treklanta in any way I can, and why I love Eric like the uncle I could never get rid of.

Thanks also to Laura (who took me to and from the airport, and gave me a place to stay Thursday night), Cassidy (who was a magnificent table assistant today), Chris and Tina (and Tina's brother, who came all the way from Seattle!), all the staff, all the guests, all the attendees. I wish I was still there partying with everyone.

Instead, I buggered off at 4pm, stood on the longest security line in the history of the universe (45 minutes to get through!), boarded the plane, got home, was met by Wrenn, and we came home to two cats who missed me.

They're gonna miss me some more, as we're getting up stupid-early tomorrow to go to western Pennsylvania for the wake (tomorrow afternoon) and the funeral (Monday morning). We're coming back home Monday afternoon/evening, and then celebrating my birthday with lunch at Sylvia's in Harlem on Tuesday.

At some point, I may even get the TOS Rewatch and the SCPD novella done..............

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Cocaine" by Eric Clapton

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An egg-cellent debut by Vincent Price as the egg-ceptionally devious villain Egghead! The Bat-rewatch does "An Egg Grows in Gotham"/"The Yegg Foes in Gotham."

An excerpt:
More problematic is Chief Screaming Chicken. There’s a fine line between satire and offensive stereotyping, and this episode just keeps dancing all over it. Mind you, there are some brilliant moments. The genuine American Indian blankets made in Japan bit is hilarious, and Batman’s story about Screaming Chicken’s time as a bottlewasher when someone told him to go back where he came from, and Robin sadly notes that this country is where he came from is a biting bit. But there’s the egg-scruciating thing where Screaming Chicken talks like a not-too-bright five-year-old. The fact that it was, at this point, pretty well entrenched in screen portrayals of Natives (especially in comedy) doesn’t make it any less horrible.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Why Aye Man" by Mark Knopfler

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Always fun to be able to get an "I can see my house from here" photo.

As we took off from LaGuardia to head down to Atlanta last night, I got a lovely view of the Bronx from the window, and managed to get a good picture in before we flew past. (I also got a couple of bad pictures, but you don't need to see those....)

I love my city. And my borough.

Current Mood: content content
Current Music: "The Habanero Reel" by Ian Anderson

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For the eighth time, I have been blessed to be nominated for a Scribe Award by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, which are given out at San Diego Comic-Con every year to reward excellence in the tie-in writing field. My short story "Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless" in The X-Files: Trust No One (edited by the mighty Jonathan Maberry) got a nomination nod this year! (Along, amusingly enough, with three other stories in the same anthology.)

Here's the full press release from the IAMTW:

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers is pleased to announce the Scribe Award Nominees for 2016.
Acknowledging excellence in this very competitive field, the IAMTW’s Scribe Awards honor licensed works that tie in with other media such as television, movies, gaming, or comic books. They include original works set in established universes, and adaptations of stories that have appeared in other formats and that cross all genres. Tie-in works run the gamut from westerns to mysteries to procedurals, from science fiction to fantasy to horror, from action and adventure to superheroes. HALO, Elementary, 24, Star Trek, Mike Hammer, Star Wars, Shadowrun, Doctor Who--these represent just a few.

The Scribe Award winners will be announced at Comic-Con International in San Diego in July. The exact day, time and location of the Scribes Panel including the award ceremony will be announced shortly.

IAMTW thanks everyone who sent entries, all wonderful, for consideration. Congratulations to the following nominees:

Elementary: The Ghost Line by Adam Christopher
Kill Me, Darling by Mickey Spillane & Max Allan Collins
Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan: Desert Falcons by Michael A. Black
24: Rogue by David Mack

Deadlands: Ghostwalkers by Jonathan Maberry
HALO: Last Light by Troy Denning
HALO: New Blood by Matt Forbeck
Pathfinder: Forge of Ashes by Josh Vogt
Shadowrun: Borrowed Time by R. L. King
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Armageddon’s Arrow by Dayton Ward
Star Trek: Seekers 3: Long Shot by David Mack

Backcountry by D. E. McDonald
Batman: Arkham Knight by Marv Wolfman
Crimson Peak by Nancy Holder
MANOS – The Hands of Fate by Stephen D. Sullivan
Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Mike Hammer: “Fallout” by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (in The Strand)
Shadowrun: “Swamp of Spirits” by Jason M. Hardy (in Shadowrun: World of Shadows)
The X-Files: “Back in El Paso My Life Will Be Worthless” by Keith R. A. DeCandido (in The X-Files: Trust No One)
The X-Files: “Dusk” by Paul Crilley (in The X-Files: Trust No One)
The X-Files: “Non Gratum Anus Rodentum” by Brian Keene (in The X-Files: Trust No One)
The X-Files: “Statues” by Kevin J. Anderson (in The X-Files: Trust No One)

Dark Shadows: “Bloodlust” by Alan Flanagan, Will Howells, and Joseph Lidster
Dark Shadows: “In the Twinkling of an Eye” Penelope Faith
Doctor Who: “The Red Lady” by John Dorney
Doctor Who: “Damaged Goods” by Jonathan Morris
Pathfinder Legends: “Mummy’s Mask: Empty Graves” by Cavan Scott

This is Keith again. I want to single out several of my closest friends who are also nominated, including Dayton Ward, Christie Golden, Jonathan Maberry (who not only got a nomination, but also edited the XF antho), and especially my brudda David Mack, who got two noms! Plus also my friend and new publisher, Kevin J. Anderson...

Just in general, I'm in some really fine company here, from writers whose work I've admired for years to people whose careers I've actually been involved in developing to some degree or other. Just in general, these are all some great folks.

Congrats to all!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: the "Yegg Foes of Gotham" episode of Batman

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