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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
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*falls over*

So it's been quite a busy few days. Let me explain.

No, is too much. Let me sum up.

Thursday, Tina came into town and we spent the day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, mostly so she could see the "Death Becomes Her" exhibit, and we checked out two newer ones: "Kimono: A Modern History" (which was very nifty) and "Madame Cézanne" (portraits, sketches, and other drawings of Hortense Fiquet, Cézanne's wife, which showed mostly that she was a very unhappy woman...), as well as the usual pilgrimage to the Astor Court.

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Thursday night, Wrenn and Dale joined me and Tina to see a nifty burlesque show where all the acts were BBC themed. It opened with a riff on a BBC News anchor who reported on her own striptease, then included Top Gear, The Vicar of Dibley, Absolutely Fabulous, Fawlty Towers, and the closing, our friend Miranda Raven doing River Song from Doctor Who.

Before that, we took Tina to Katz's Deli, where she'd never been. So that's off her bucket list....

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Friday, Tina, Wrenn, and I went to the New York Botanical Gardens here in da Bronx to see their Holiday Train Show, which has G-scale trains zipping around New York City landmarks reconstructed out of bark and twigs and other tree-related material. It was some beautiful stuff.

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Friday afternoon, I had to do some karate stuff. The afterschool karate class that I teach on Wednesdays at a local public school is part of a larger afterschool program run by a local company that teaches kids various things (Zumba, hip-hop dancing, Capoeira, karate, arts, crafts, etc.) in the hours between 3 and 6 -- basically giving the kids something to do while the parents are still at work. Friday afternoon, the kids' parents came in for a demonstration of some of the stuff they've learned. It ended with the kids showing off some of the mad karate skillz I've been teaching them. Shihan Paul led the demos, and afterward he told me how impressed he was with how well the kids did. I must admit to being inordinately proud of how the kids performed. Unlike the kids at the dojo, who have chosen to take karate, these kids are doing it because it's part of the program they signed up for. As a result, their focus and discipline isn't 100% -- having said that, they did really well, and I'm really thrilled with them. I'm looking forward to doing more with them in the spring semester.

(The program is expanding to another school, and I'll be doing karate for them, too, on Thursdays. Should be fun, and the extra money will not hurt.....)

Saturday, Wrenn and I drove out to Doylestown, Pennsylvania for the Liars Club Holiday Signing at the magnificent Doylestown Bookshop. Fellow Liars Janice Gable Bashman, Marie Lamba, Merry Jones, Jon McGoran, Kelly Simmons, Keith Strunk, and Dennis Tafoya joined me in scribbling on lots of books from the many genres that we work in.

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As expected, our friend Zan showed up, since we were crashing at her place Saturday night. As totally not expected, our friend Meredith showed up also, having driven up from D.C. to surprise us. So Wrenn and Meredith and Zan sat and babbled while the signing went on, and then we all went to dinner and then back to Zan's to play Cards Against Humanity for hours and hours. (Some of the out-of-context highlights: "I figured the flaccid penises were yours." "I think that's a misuse of 'queefing'." "I knew I didn't play that card, so I knew it was okay, because it meant the Auschwitz card was played by one of the Jews.")

Meredith had intended to drive home Saturday night, but she was having so much fun, she crashed at Zan's, too, and we all went to have breakfast together Sunday morning. It was, all in all, a superb weekend.

After breakfast, we trundled over to Wrenn's father's place. We're not spending Christmas with her family this year, as I want to spend more time with my own family, what with my mother's medical mishegoss, so we made sure to spend some time with her Dad today, since we were in the area. We had a lovely dinner at an Italian place and a good talk about life, the universe, and everything.

Then we came home and are now having a semi-quiet evening. I'm going to do Tuesday's DS9 Rewatch and Wrenn has a rush proofread to do. Cha cha cha.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Dargason" from The Christmas Revels

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Nog gets his leg blown off, and a whole lot of people get killed, including Tuco from Breaking Bad and Lennier from Babylon 5. Plus, Rom sings for ABSOLUTELY NO GOOD REASON. The DS9 Rewatch endures "The Siege of AR-558."

An excerpt:
It’s easy to trivialize war, especially in a science fiction show. When most of the battles take place in space, where models and CGI effects shoot fictional ray beams at other models and CGI effects, and the only consequences seem to be exploding consoles and the occasional extra who’s never a person we actually know flying across the bridge, it’s hard to get too worked up about it. Credit to DS9 for this episode, for “The Ship” and “Rocks and Shoals” and “Nor the Battle to the Strong” and “Valiant” and “In the Pale Moonlight” for keeping their eye on the ball: war sucks. Even if it doesn’t kill you, it eats away at you bit by bit.

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "Another Christmas Song" by Jethro Tull

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Kor's back. Martok's pissed. Worf's stuck in the middle. Dax is nostalgic. Quark is a doof. And Davy Crockett's a legend -- maybe. The DS9 Rewatch goes "Once More Unto the Breach."

An excerpt:
J.G. Hertzler has perhaps the hardest job, because he has to act like a total dick to a character we actually like without sacrificing what makes Martok so likeable as well. To his credit, he not only pulls it off, he never once makes us think any more ill of Martok. His righteous anger is completely justified, and I like the fact that it never entirely goes away. Even at the end when he opens the bloodwine and raises a toast to Kor—he can’t bring himself to join Darok, Worf, and the others in singing a song to his victory. The hurt is still too deep.

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "The Secret Language of Birds" by Ian Anderson

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Back in 1984, Bob Geldof (prior to then best known as the frontman for the Boomtown Rats, a band best known for their hit "I Don't Like Mondays") gathered a bunch of his fellow British musicians to do a benefit song to raise money for folks starving in Africa. The impromptu group was called Band Aid, and it started a domino effect, leading for to an American counterpart called USA for Africa that did a song called "We are the World" the following year, as well as an all-day two-country concert, LiveAid -- all done to benefit the hungry in Africa. And it all started with this Christmas song.......



Man, dig the 80s hair..............

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Sweet Dream" by Jethro Tull

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Earlier this year, Silence in the Library did a Kickstarter for a graphic novel adaptation of a Gregory Wilson novel entitled Icarus. Greg's novel is a very nifty speculative fiction piece about an underground world of caves and caverns and volcanoes in which a winged being named Icarus falls from above and into the life of a curmudgeonly prospector named Jellinek. Icarus's arrival sparks a time of great change, and Jellinek gets caught up in it rather against his better judgment.

The novel is being adapted by me and Matt Slay. Matt has done some terrific evocative art already (you can see some of it at the Kickstarter page), and I've been having fun adapting Greg's fascinating world into a graphic novel script. I'm about 2/3 of the way through it, and I'm hoping to finish it before Christmas.

The 100-page graphic novel is being put together by the fine folks at Comic Mix for SITL, and it should be out some time in 2015.

(This is the graphic novel project I've been working on since October....)

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Riu Riu Chiu" by the Waverly Consort

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On Saturday the 20th of December, I'll be part of the Liars Club Holiday Book Signing at the Doylestown Bookshop at 16 South Main Street in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Starting at 2pm, I'll be there scribbling on books alongside fellow mendicants Janice Gable Bashman, Merry Jones, Marie Lamba, Jon McGoran, Kelly Simmons, Keith Strunk, and Dennis Tafoya.

The shop should have copies of Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution and The Klingon Art of War (at the very least). So come on by!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Ring Out, Solstice Bells" by Jethro Tull

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Bob Rivers's hysterical holiday-themed parody of "Iron Man."

"Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!"

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by Bob McNally

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Jethro Tull's first album from the late 1960s had a piece on it called "A Christmas Song," and the very lovely song been a mainstay of Tull's repertoire ever since. Here's a version from 2003:

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "In Dulci Jubilo" by the Waverly Consort

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Nog unconvincingly channels Milo Minderbinder, Radar O'Reilly, and Max Klinger (not that Nog is unconvincing, but 24th-century engineers shouldn't need to scrounge for parts), while Odo has to deal with not one, but two Weyouns, the poor bastard. The DS9 Rewatch deals with "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River."

An excerpt:
O’Brien reports to Ops to discover that Sisko’s desk has gone missing—and O’Brien’s authorization code (which he gave to Nog) is on the order. Kira tells O’Brien that the desk better be back when Sisko returns in two days. Nog explains to an annoyed O’Brien that he just loaned the desk to Chief Lorenzo of Decos Prime. Lorenzo collects holophotos of himself sitting behind the desks of Starfleet captains (his collection includes DeSoto and Picard). In exchange, Lorenzo will get them an induction modulator, which Nog can trade to the Musashi for a phaser emitter, which the Sentinel needs—and they have the graviton stabilizer the Defiant needs. Cha cha cha.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Another Christmas Song" by Jethro Tull

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Weird kind of up-and-down day today. I just finished watching "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River," a truly delightful seventh-season DS9 episode for tomorrow's rewatch. But I was delayed in starting it because I got some spectacularly shitty news that a tie-in project that I was involved with isn't going to happen for me. On the one hand, the project was a long shot on several levels; on the other hand, it would've been a fantastic project to do, with the added bonus of being very remunerative.

However, no sense crying over spilt milk, not when there are other bottles of the white stuff just waiting for me to break them. The same conversation that revealed that this project was kaputzki for me also provided two other possibilities -- they're only possibilities right now, and are just as likely as not to come to nothing, but an opportunity is better than no opportunity, if you know what I mean.

It wouldn't bug me so much except for the fact that Wrenn is still out of work. She's been getting lots of contact from headhunters, but every opportunity -- for jobs that she's 100% qualified for -- has fizzled out. It's frustrating. Between the (crappy-paying) editorial work she's doing and my writing, editing, and karate teaching gigs, we're managing to pay the bills, just barely, but there are so many things we can't do right now (basically: anything fun, unless it's free) that's it's incredibly disheartening and depressing.

Mind you, we could be a lot worse off. We have friends, we have family, we do have some money coming in, we have very kind landlords who have been very forgiving of the scattershot method by which we pay rent, and thanks to the ACA we have health insurance, so our health is being actually managed.

But it's also incredibly frustrating to have to put all my writing plans on hold because I have to pursue the immediate here-and-now paycheck of tie-in work. And it's not like people are banging down my door for that, either. There's one project that could be pretty big, but it's been "in the works" for over a year now with very little to show for it, and that's in the I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it stage. Certainly it's not anything I can count on. Meanwhile, I've got more than half a dozen different notions for original fiction burbling in my brain (one mystery, two different urban fantasies, two science fiction, one historicalish, one epic fantasy), but I can't afford to carve out the three-to-four months (at least) that I'd need to write each of them. Hell, I don't even know when I'm going to be able to write Mermaid Precinct......

However, it's not all bad. I've got a Stargate SG-1 novel to write, I've got another nifty project that should be approved soon-ish, I'm in negotiations with a company for something that will be incredibly cool (hoping to announce it once the paperwork is settled; the verbal haranguing has been done, it's just a matter of getting it all in writing), and KRADitorial is still chugging away (though I can always use more clients, cough cough).

Plus, I have wonderful wonderful wonderful fans. Seriously, you guys keep me going, so thanks for that. :)

So I will keep on keepin' on. Now, back to work.......................

Current Mood: cranky cranky
Current Music: "A Winter Snowscape" by Jethro Tull

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Trying to get back into doing this. Like most pop stars of the 1990s, Melissa Etheridge did an MTV Unplugged concert, and for one song she brought out someone to do a duet: Bruce Springsteen. The pair of them did a superb rendition of "Thunder Road."

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Thunder Road" by Melissa Etheridge & Bruce Springsteen

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Last week: Sisko's Academy rivalry gets the gang sucked into an improvised baseball game -- Fancy Dans, takeout slides, the infield fly rule, double plays, suicide squeezes, ejections, "Death to the opposition!" and manufactured triumphs. The DS9 Rewatch sings "Take Me Out to the Holosuite."

An excerpt:
Yes, it has its flaws. Yes, it’s a big ol’ cliché. Yes, the story beats are eminently predictable (though I like the fact that they not only don’t win but aren’t in the slightest danger of winning, as a hastily assembled baseball team would never stand a snowball’s chance in hell in these circumstances, and it’s to Ronald D. Moore’s credit that the Niners’ bravado about winning doesn’t last past the first pitch).


Today: The Jack Pack is back! Sarina speaks and sings! Bashir acts like a total douchenozzle! The DS9 Rewatch opens a "Chrysalis."

An excerpt:
But ultimately my biggest problem is that this story is only about Bashir when it should also be about Sarina. Yes, Bashir is a main character, but he’s being a jackass. His behavior is horrendous, bordering on unethical—he stops being her doctor, at the very least—but Sarina imprinting on him is almost inevitable, and his response should’ve been to back off, not double down. (Gee, if only they had a counselor on the station to help him through that. Oh, wait!) Sarina’s struggle, outlined all-too-quickly when she unloads on Bashir in the cargo bay, should have been the heart of the episode.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" by the Beatles

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Editor Jonathan Maberry has announced the pub date, title, and cover of the third volume of V-Wars, the shared-world anthology series of his creation. I had a story in the first volume from 2011, and the second volume, Blood and Fire, was just released a few months ago, and in March 2015 we'll have Volume 3, which will be called Night Terrors and have a story by me in it called "Streets of Fire."

Here's the cover:

vwars3


The anthology will be published by IDW Publishing, just like all the others, and will have not only stories by me and Jonathan, but also Larry Correia, John Everson, James A. Moore, Scott Nicholson, Weston Ochse, Marcus A. Pelegrimas, Jeremy Robinson, Hank Schwaeble, Scott Sigler, and Tim Waggoner.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "The Boy in the Bubble" by Paul Simon

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So a bunch of people on Facebook have posted a link to a site called LittleThings.com, which posted a list called "20 Marvelous Things that Kids Today Will Never Experience."

The article is spectacular amounts of bullshit.

I really don't have patience with the human tendency summed up by two clichés: "It's not like the good old days" and "better days are coming." The assumption that everything is worse now than it has ever been at any point in the history of humanity, past or future. It's horseshit. Older adults have been complaining about how kids today suck, not like how we were since the dawn of time. I see my contemporaries in their 40s making the same complaints about 20 year olds that people in their 40s made 20 years ago about us. Nostalgia has always ruled the day, because we remember the good parts of what happened in the past and consign the bad to the dustbin of forgetfulness.

And this article is a prime example of that kind of nonsense. And it's hokum.

The 20 things that the poor, deprived youth of today will never get to experience are pretty much entirely things that have been replaced by things that are better in every measurable sense -- or don't belong on this list because they're still around.

1. Rotary phones. When I saw this atop the list, I had a bad feeling about the rest of it (which proved right). Seriously, rotary phones are, like, the worst thing ever in the history of things. It made the process of calling someone arduous and annoying, and far far far too easy to fuck up. The article praises how much harder it was to dial as if that's a good thing....

2. S&H Green Stamps. Quoth the article: "Grocery stores gave these out as part of a rewards program operated by the Sperry & Hutchinson company. There was nothing more exciting than getting one of these booklets!" All I can say is 1) I get circulars dropped on my front door that accomplish the same thing and 2) the person who wrote this article needs to get out more if the S&H booklet's arrival is the gold standard for excitement.....

3. Hot Rollers. Because sitting in a salon looking like one of the Coneheads is a vital experience missing from today's female youth. *rolleyes*

4. Encyclopedias. Since I started editing a line of eBooks at the turn of the millennium, I've gotten well and truly sick of the "tactile" crowd, who feel the need to attach a moral superiority to their preference of codex books over electronic ones. No, it's not enough to say, "I prefer paper," it has to be, "I prefer the nobility of paper and the joy of the glorious smell of an old book that truly provides the proper reading experience." But even those types agree that reference books are much better suited to the electronic or Internet format, since these are works that are not read in a linear fashion and which is rewarded by the ability to hyperlink and hop around. Plus, online search engines and wikis and such have done a great deal to curtail lengthy, stupid arguments that can be solved by a quick Google search. For that reason alone, being able to look something up easily from anywhere you have a phone or computer is better than having to make a trip to the library to look it up, and saying this is a loss to the world is stupid.

5. Fotomat. Anybody who thinks it's better to wait 24 hours to find out that all your pictures suck instead of finding out when you take it so you can take another one is too stupid to live. But apparently not too stupid to write dopey Internet articles......

6. Table trays. Now we have our first "why is this on the list?" item, because the article is things the youth of today will never experience, and table trays still exist. I have friends who use them! What's worse, the article itself says that they've "faded out of popularity," but they still exist. This violates the "never" in the article title.

7. Typewriters. Really? Really????

8. The Sears Big Book Catalog. This is one of the few where I'm willing to give a pass. Sears did magnificent catalogues that were way fun to page through. But online shopping is still better.....

9. Cootie. Supposedly the older version of this game I've never heard of is better than the newer version of this game I've never heard of. Let's call this a wash......

10. Old-fashioned hair dryers. You know, the big-ass ones that came in what looked like a hat box. No idea why these are more awesome than smaller, more powerful ones with more settings.

11. Drinking Lucky Bird. According to a Google search that took me less than ten seconds, these still exist and you can order them on Amazon. So wrong again, article! (They were probably confused because they didn't see it in the encyclopedia....)

12. American Bandstand. This is the one and only place where I agree wholeheartedly with the article, especially since AB isn't available on home video in any format. A treasure that is greatly missed and, unlike many of the other things on this list, its replacements aren't superior.

13. Fried McDonald's Cherry Pies. No. Just -- no.

14. Film strip canisters. The actual text accompanying this is, "Those black-and-white documentaries may have been a little dull, but they sure beat doing schoolwork. Seeing these on your teacher’s desk when you walked into class was always exciting, because it meant a good day of watching films ahead!" So it isn't really the canisters that they're talking about, but rather the films shown in class -- which are still shown in classes, they just use smartboards instead of filmstrip viewers.

15. Bread boxes. *looks at bread box in his kitchen* *thinks about bread boxes in parents' kitchen* *thinks about bread boxes he's seen in other homes* *shakes head*

16. Spinning tops. See answer to #11. Also still readily available.

17. Tan M&Ms. Because the youth of today is totally missing out on candy that's the same color as shit (which is the real reason why they discontinued it....).

18. Metal slinkies. "It just isn’t quite the same as the ones that got could get all rusty and possibly cut your fingers." The best they can come up with for metal's superiority to plastic is the possiblity of getting wounded? Seriously?

19. Metal playgrounds. Same argument as #18 -- less safe playgrounds are better! Now I admit, I think that the cult of "We must protect the precious children!" has gotten way out of hand, but I still think it's better for them to ride padded seesaws....

20. Being a Baby Boomer. In other words, "Hey, we couldn't come up with 20 items for our 20-item list -- hell, #18 and 19 are pretty much the same one. I know! Let's end it with a totally smug declaration of how much better people born shortly after World War II are than the rest of humanity!"


This is a stupid article. In case, y'know, that wasn't clear. And it promotes a tendency that is repugnant.

Current Mood: annoyed annoyed
Current Music: "Homeward Bound" by Simon & Garfunkel

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The Love, Romances, & More blog has reviewed Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution, and given it four hearts (out of a possible five).

Money quote:
It was engrossing, intriguing and quite enjoyable. I love the TV show so it was fun to read about aspects in between episodes that may have happened not shown on the television. This author does a great job in capturing the characters personalities and voices which I was thrilled about. They sounded just like on the show while I was reading the story, CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION and the author does a great job in crafting a great story to bridge 2 episodes from the first season. The story flows smoothly, alternating at times between past and present, the characters are quite well written and fairly leap off the pages and the mystery surrounding the task Ichabod is on left me anxious to know more with each page I turned.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Late in the Evening" by Paul Simon

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My last convention of 2014 will be DerpyCon 2014. This con started out (as you might guess from the name) as a My Little Pony con but -- just as Shore Leave has expanded beyond Star Trek and PortConMaine is expanding beyond anime -- DerpyCon is expanding its focus beyond MLP, and so have a bunch of author guests, including me, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, and Michael Hanson.

Most of the con I'll have a table out in one of the hallways selling my wares and signing books. However, I can also be found doing the following:

Friday
3-4pm: opening ceremonies, w/all the guests (main events room).

Saturday
4-5pm: practical self-defense workshop (panel room #5).

Sunday
11am-12pm: C.J. Henderson tribute, w/Danielle Ackley McPhail and Michael Hanson (panel room #1).

C.J. was supposed to be a guest of the con, and in fact it was through him that I learned of the con and first made contact with them about being a guest.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Art Garfunkel

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My bio is now up on Dragon Con's web site. Guess I'm really going.....................

I'm especially proud of the abstract that's on the main guest page:
Keith R.A. DeCandido has written novels, comics, and short fiction in more than two dozen different licensed universes from Star Trek to Sleepy Hollow, as well as his original novels set in the fictional Cliff's End and the real-ish Key West. Learn more at www.DeCandido.net.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Train in the Distance" by Paul Simon

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The Sci-Fi Chick has reviewed Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution, and she likes what she sees!

Money quote:
The author did an amazing job of fleshing out Crane and Abbie just as vivid as they are on screen. There is an impressive amount of historic research that blends well into a creative fantasy story. The mystery of the Congressional Cross thefts builds to a thrilling conclusion. I hope to see many more novels in this series, if they’re at this level of quality.

In addition, I stumbled across a site called "Mervi's Book Reviews," in which Mervi has reviewed my 2001 Farscape novel House of Cards, as well as the first four Farscape graphic novels, The Beginning of the End of the Beginning, Strange Detractors, Gone and Back, and Tangled Roots.

Money quote from the House of Cards review:
I liked this book a lot because the whole premise is fun and every character has some great scenes. Chiana and Rygel are very exited about the planet, the rest of the crew not so much. In fact, John thinks that it might make him homesick so he remains on Moya. But later he gets to work on actual science and he’s very exited about that. Rygel is really in his element here and the only reason he loses Moya is because he was cheated. But he can’t prove it. Chiana is also like a fish in water and she has a feeling that their passenger has been lying to them, and investigates. Aeryn has to pretend to be a Peacekeeper which brings back lots of bad old memories. And D’Argo gets to be a grumpy bodyguard, making snide comments to a self-absorbed singer. Eventually, they work well together to get out of the jam.

This is a fun little book and it could have been a light episode.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" by Paul Simon & Ladysmith Black Mambazo

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I just got back from taking my best friend to the airport. Laura Anne Gilman, my sister from another mister, is flying to Seattle, where she is moving for at least a year. She kept her apartment in New York (she's subletting it to a friend), and has signed only a one-year lease.

It's an interesting thing she's doing, because I've always thought of LAG as a New Yorker through and through (even though she spent the first 35 or so years of her life in New Jersey). But she's had itchy feet for most of her life (particularly since her divorce), and she feels the need to be somewhere else for a while. And Seattle is definitely somewhere else.

What makes it interesting to me especially is that I have never, not once, ever wanted to live anywhere other than New York City. I understand that other people have wanderlust and decide to up and move to a completely different part of the country/world, and others stay in the same place, not by choice, but due to inertia. I've had plenty of opportunities to move elsewhere (for example, I could've moved down to Delaware with Wrenn and Dale instead of dragging them up here), but I've never even considered them for more than a nanosecond.

I'm going to be very curious to see how Laura Anne's adventure turns out, if she'll find a new heart home that she won't want to ever leave or if she'll come running back to NYC after her year is up, or some other result.

Either way, I'm going to miss having her around. She is, as I said, my best friend, she's already agreed to be Best Woman at Wrenn's and my wedding (whenever that winds up being), and her apartment is only five minutes from ours. But I hope it winds up being a grand adventure that brings her happiness. Because we all should have that, dagnabbit.

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

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The arrival of Ezri Dax on the station, an event filled with awkwardness, anger, confusion, and snark. And that's just how she acts. The DS9 Rewatch observes an "Afterimage."

An excerpt:
What isn’t convincing is Dax’s subsequent catharsis. Garak only stumbled into it because of an accident of how the conversation between her and Garak turned. It certainly wasn’t due to anything she did as a counselor. Now, to be fair, this kind of therapy isn’t instantaneous and would take many sessions, what Dax does are preliminary steps, but they’re halting ones that are sabotaged by her own adjustment to being joined. Sisko somehow convinces Starfleet Medical that becoming joined will make up for her incomplete training, and I’m wondering how the hell he convinced a single medical professional of that. (For what it’s worth, scripter Rene Echevarria has said that he was told by several therapists after the episode aired that what he wrote was hokum. Would that he had consulted one or two before writing the script...)

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: "Reasons for Waiting" by Jethro Tull

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Been a most excellent holiday weekend. Aside from my holiday shopping post, I've done no actual work this weekend, instead playing host. First we had Tina and Neal over for Thanksgiving with my parents, and they stayed to Friday evening. Thursday was, as I said, at my parents, with the four of us, the four parents, and the Godmommy. My mother has been dealing with a lot of medical nonsense this year, and she wasn't up to running Thanksgiving like usual, so instead everyone else pitched in. I made two-leaf salad with my mustard viniagrette (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard, and oregano from the garden), Wrenn made scalloped potatoes (which were a huge hit), Tina made roasted vegetables (which were also a huge hit), the Godmommy made string beans marinated in viniagrette, and my father and Mom-Like Product made everything else: turkey, ham, mushrooms-and-bacon, and stuffing, plus dessert. All in all, it was a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat, and we didn't get up until the next morning....

...when Wrenn, Tina, Neal, and I went to a fantastic local diner for breakfast, then came home to play a wonderful game called Slash, which is played similarly to Cards Against Humanity and Apples 2 Apples -- you play a card with one character on it, and you must pick the most entertaining romantic (or lustful) partner from your own hand of cards. It is tremendous fun -- one high point was Tina playing Anne from Misery, and both Wrenn and I played Bella's suitors from Twilight (I had Edward, she had Jacob), with the story being that they all met at Crazed Stalkers Anonymous. Wrenn won because she pointed out that, if Anne cut off Jacob's foot, it would just grow back. I also won a hand when Wrenn played Cersei Lannister (described on the card as a "brother fucker," among other things), and I played Tyrion Lannister, saying, "Sometimes you just gotta fuck a different brother."

We had another couple visit this weekend, giving them a place to crash so that one half of the couple (who live in Maryland) could see her dying grandparent in the hospital on Long Island. We took them to the Cloisters this morning before they hit the road.

Gonna take it easy tonight, maybe work on the Kickstarter story, maybe not. I'll be back in the groove tomorrow, for sure, as this week I have to write the story, start at least one of the client edits, and look over the edits on "Down to the Waterline," the Cassie Zukav story that will be in Buzzy Mag next year. Plus, of course, the DS9 Rewatch -- this week is "Afterimage" (which I'm dreading) and "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" (which I'm eagerly looking forward to).

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: "Cold Dead Reckoning" by Ian Anderson

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I've got a ton of books floating around out there, and they do make dandy gifts for whatever your solstice holiday of choice is. Here's a guide to buying some of them:



Star Trek fiction


My latest Trek book is The Klingon Art of War (Amazon (hardcover) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (hardcover or Nook) | Indie Bound | Kobo | direct from the publisher), a guide to how to live your life as a proper warrior. This book has ancient precepts of honor with examples from throughout Klingon history, from the time of Kahless to the post-Dominion War era.

Also still readily available: Star Trek: The Next Generation: Q & A (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), which is a post-Nemesis tale that is the ultimate Q story, tying all the omnipotent trickster's appearances together to reveal the true purpose behind his meddling with our heroes -- with nothing less than the fate of the universe at stake. Star Trek: Klingon Empire: A Burning House (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound) gives a look at the greater tapestry of life in the Klingon Empire -- not just the Defense Force and the government, but everything from the mean streets of the slums of Krennla to the hallowed halls of a Klingon opera company to the shadowy corridors of Imperial Intelligence to the rustic joys of a Klingon farm. And Star Trek: A Time for War, a Time for Peace (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound) is the acclaimed book that leads into the final TNG movie Star Trek Nemesis, the final adventure of Picard's intact crew, and setting the stage for what is to come.

I also wrote an essay for Sequart's comprehensive history of Trek in comic book form, New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics (Amazon (trade paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound) on WildStorm's run of comics from 1999-2001. The book covers the entire gamut, from Gold Key to IDW and everything in between.






the "Precinct" series


Taking two characters I originated in role-playing games -- Torin ban Wyvald from a college Dungeons & Dragons game, Danthres Tresyllione from an early prototype of what eventually became the Wildside Gaming System in my 20s -- and turning them into cops, for ten years I've been writing novels and short stories featuring these two and the other members of the Cliff's End Castle Guard. In a world where humans, elves, dwarves, and gnomes live alongside wizards and warriors, the Castle Guard's job is to maintain law and order within the demesne.

There are four novels so far. In Dragon Precinct (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audible audio) | Barnes & Noble (Nook or trade) | Indie Bound | Kobo | direct from the publisher) the members of a heroic quest are killed off, one by one, and Torin and Danthres must find the culprit before more heroes of Flingaria are killed. Unicorn Precinct (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audible audio) | Barnes & Noble (trade) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Indie Bound | Kobo | direct from the publisher) thrusts Danthres and Torin into the world of the upper crust as the scion of a wealthy family is murdered on the eve of her wedding, and the murderer may be her mistress, which causes all kinds of problems. A new designer drug is unleashed on Cliff's End in Goblin Precinct (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audible audio) | Barnes & Noble (Nook or trade) | Indie Bound | Kobo | direct from the publisher), and it leads to a clash with the Brotherhood of Wizards and the current government of the elven lands. And in Gryphon Precinct (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audible audio) | Barnes & Noble (trade) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Indie Bound | Kobo | direct from the publisher), there is tremendous upheaval as a death in the castle leads to massive changes in how the Castle Guard is run -- and also a massive conspiracy that may strike at the very heart of the human lands.

There've also been a mess of "Precinct" short stories. Five were published in various anthologies: "Getting the Chair" in Murder by Magic (Amazon (trade paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (trade paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), where a wizard who animates furniture is murdered, but the chair tells a different story from the lamp and couch; "Crime of Passion" in Hear Them Roar (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound), where the evidence in a family massacre doesn't add up; "A Clean Getaway" in Pandora's Closet (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound), in which a closet that never existed spews filth all over someone's house; "House Arrest" in Bad-Ass Faeries (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound), in which Torin interrogates a house faerie; and "Fire in the Hole" in Dragon's Lure (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (trade paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Indie Bound), where the traditional midsummer dragon sighting takes a turn for the deadly. In addition, those five stories, as well as five more -- "Catch and Release" (an Iaian and Grovis story), "Blood in the Water" (a Dru and Hawk story), "Brotherly Love" (a Danthres solo story), "Heroes Welcome" (a sequel to Dragon Precinct), and "When the Magick Goes Away" (Danthres and Torin's first case together) -- can be found in Tales from Dragon Precinct (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (trade) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Indie Bound | Kobo | direct from the publisher).

Two more stories are currently only available to people who supported them via Kickstarter -- "Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty" and the forthcoming "Baker's Dozen" -- and another story, "Partners in Crime," will be appearing in my short story collection Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido, which Dark Quest will be publishing in 2015.




TV tie-ins


My most recent TV tie-ins are to a show long off the air and another that is currently running: "Time Keeps on Slippin'" in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: Far Horizons (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble | direct from the publisher) is a short story that fills in the gap between the third and fourth seasons of SG-1, explaining why Teal'c got a soul patch and why Carter grew her hair so shaggy. Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound | Kobo) is a late-first-season adventure of Ichabod Crane and Lieutenant Abbie Mills as magical items that tie into Crane's adventures during the American Revolution are being stolen by thieves who leave brutally murdered bodies behind -- and that's just a prelude to what they have planned.

I did my first role-playing game adventure this year, entitled "Merciless" in the Firefly: Echoes of War supplement Things Don't Go Smooth (DriveThruRPG), based on the tragically short-lived TV series, as the adventurers must rob a museum. Also this year, BOOM! Studios finally released the final twelve issues of the ongoing Farscape comic book in a single trade paperback, Farscape: The War for the Uncharted Territories (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound | direct from the publisher), written by me with series creator Rockne S. O'Bannon with art by Will Sliney, chronicling Crichton and the Moya gang's last stand against the unstoppable Kkore. Last year my novel Leverage: The Zoo Job (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound | Kobo), based on the not-as-short-lived-but-still-greatly-missed caper show, was released, as Nate Ford and the gang must help a local zoo track down a valuable animal for a major exhibit that has gone missing before the zoo is forced to shut down.

Finally, I've done three novels based on the hit CW show Supernatural, including Nevermore (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), which sends the Winchester brothers to the boogie-down Bronx to deal with a haunting and a series of Edgar Allan Poe-related murders, Bone Key (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), which has Sam, Dean, and Bobby travelling to Key West to fight a pair of demons, only to find an even bigger threat on the island, and Heart of the Dragon (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), where three generations of hunters -- the Campbell family in 1969, John Winchester in 1989, and Sam, Dean, Bobby, and Castiel in 2009 -- fight the demon known as Doragon Kokoro.




tales of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet


I've written bunches of short stories featuring Cassie Zukav, a young woman currently living in Key West, Florida, where she tends to find herself involved in weird shit -- she lives with the ghost of an old wrecker captain, the remnants of the Norse pantheon all hang around her, and she regularly encounters strange creatures ranging from mermaids to nixies to soul-sucking musicians to other ghosts -- while taking people on scuba dives and hanging out at Mayor Fred's Saloon to watch the house band play.

Cassie stories have appeared in a bunch of anthologies. "Ragnarok and Roll" in Tales from the House Band Volume 1 (Amazon (trade) | Barnes & Noble (trade) | Indie Bound | direct from the publisher), reprinted in Apocalypse 13 (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (trade) | Indie Bound | direct from the publisher), in which Cassie must stop Loki from bringing about Ragnarok; "I Believe I'm Sinkin' Down" in Tales from the House Band Volume 2 (Amazon (trade) | Barnes & Noble (trade) | direct from the publisher), where Cassie must save her friends in the band 1812 from having their souls taken away from them by a rock star; "Undine the Boardwalk" in Bad-Ass Faeries: It's Elemental (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (trade) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Indie Bound | Kobo | direct from the publisher), where Jana's new boyfriend proves to have a dangerous connection to one of Mayor Fred's regulars, and only Cassie knows the truth; and "Fish Out of Water" in Out of Tune (Amazon (hardcover) | Amazon (trade paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (trade paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound (hardcover) | direct from the publisher), when a mermaid shows up in the Keys and Cassie tries to get her home.

In addition, Plus One Press put out a collection of Cassie stories called Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (trade) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Indie Bound | direct from the publisher), which includes all of the above (except for "Fish out of Water"), as well as "Love Over and Over" (which details the bizarre history of Loki and Sigyn), the three-part "Cayo Hueso" (in which the ghosts of the island become more active and we meet Cassie's parents and twin brother), and "God of Blunder" (when Thor shows up at Mayor Fred's and much wackiness ensues), as well as the "bonus track" of the first-ever Cassie story (from the long-out-of-print 1997 anthology Urban Nightmares) "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires...".

Two more Cassie stories are coming in 2015: "Down to the Waterline" will be in Buzzy Mag Online, and "Seven-Mile Race" will appear in the aforementioned Without a License.




gaming fiction


I've written bunches of gaming fiction, some of which is out of print or hard to find, but a few that are still floating around include World of Warcraft: Cycle of Hatred (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), my most successful book to date (nine years after its release it's in its 12th printing) which fills in the gap between Warcraft 3 and 3X and World of Warcraft, focusing on Jaina, Thrall, and a surprise sorcerer from the distant past; StarCraft: Ghost: Nova (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), the prequel to the never-released Ghost game, providing the origin of Nova Terra, the main character of the abandoned game (who plays a supporting role in StarCraft II); and Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Sun: Under the Crimson Sun (Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audible audio) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), part of the "Abyssal Plague" storyline that crossed over among the main D&D world as well as Eberron, Forgotten Realms, and (in this book) Dark Sun. I also wrote about my experiences writing gaming fiction in Kobold Guide to Combat (Amazon (trade paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble | Indie Bound | direct from the publisher), which is full of cool essays about combat in RPGs.




other original fiction


I've created a couple of other original universes besides the "Precinct" books and Cassie Zukav, but I haven't done as much with them. In 2011, I experimented with the whole small-press revolution by teaming up with Crossroad Press to put out Super City Police Department: The Case of the Claw (Amazon (trade) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audible audio) | Barnes & Noble (Nook or trade) | Smashwords | Kobo | Indie Bound | direct from the publisher), the first of an intended series about cops in a city filled with superheroes, and the trials and tribulations of being law-enforcement in an environment where spandex-dressed people are damaging property all the time. I've also written a short story in the setting, "Stone Cold Whodunit" in With Great Power (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | direct from publisher), in which detectives must figure out how a person died, knowing only that it related to superheroes somehow...

In addition, I've got two others floating around, which I've only done one story each with (so far). One is an urban fantasy world focusing on a New York City hunter of supernatural creatures (called "Coursers") named Bram Gold. In "Under the King's Bridge" in Liar Liar (Amazon (trade paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (audio) | Barnes & Noble | direct from the publisher) Gold is hired to find out why people in Marble Hill are acting weird, and it leads him to a lamprey and an ugly time in Courser history. The other is a science fiction setting involving a woman named Jin, known as "the human finder," as her being accidentally implanted with a strange alien gem has given her the ability to find anything. In "The Stone of the First High Pontiff" in Defending the Future Volume 5: Best Laid Plans (Amazon (trade paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (trade paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound), Jin must find a religious artifact that the client doesn't actually believe exists -- which complicates matters when she actually does find the thing....




shared-world fiction


I've been fortunate to be invited to participate in a couple of different shared worlds. The first was "Tales of the Scattered Earth," a far-future space-opera science fiction setting in which Earth is long gone, but humanity has been re-seeded by powerful creatures, worshipped as gods. Created by Aaron Rosenberg, Steve Savile, and David Niall Wilson, one of the re-seeded worlds is the Olodumare Hegemony, a solar-system-wide empire that employs telepaths, called Ori-Inu, to enforce their rule. Guilt in Innocence (Amazon (trade paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Audible audio) | Barnes & Noble (trade paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Nook) | Indie Bound) focuses on one of those telepaths, Folami, who is investigating the disappearance of fellow Ori-Inu, and uncovers a massive conspiracy that could destroy the Hegemony.

In addition, Jonathan Maberry invited to play in his V-Wars universe twice so far. This series -- which includes two anthologies, with a third on the way, a monthly comic book, and a TV show in development -- does something new by doing something old. The world is overrun by vampires, but they aren't the vamps of pop culture, but rather of folklore -- junk DNA has been activated by a virus, turning people into the vampires from the folklore of their particular ethnic heritage. My story "The Ballad of Big Charlie" (Amazon (hardcover) | Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (audio CD) | Amazon (Audible audio) | Barnes & Noble (Nook or hardcover or audio) | Barnes & Noble (paperback) | Indie Bound | Kobo | Science Fiction Book Club | Gladstone (audio)) has a Bronx DA running for reelection announce that he has the virus during his campaign -- and then things get really weird. I will also have a story in the third anthology when it comes out in 2015, a story that returns some characters from "Big Charlie," entitled "Streets of Fire."


In addition to the ordering links I've placed here, some of the above are available directly from me, with the added bonus that they'll be autographed! Details can be found here.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Locomotive Breath" by Jethro Tull

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....as always, there must be Arlo Guthrie performing "Alice's Restaurant Masacree," with illustrations by Andrew Colunga.

"You can get anything you want....."

Current Mood: thankful thankful
Current Music: "Alice's Restaurant Masacree" by Arlo Guthrie

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Laura Anne Gilman took this photo at some convention or other in the early 2000s. It seems fitting to post a pic of a person asleep in an easy chair on Thanksgiving.... :)

IMG_20141127_0001_NEW

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: still the parade

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I'm thankful for my family and friends -- Wrenn, the Forebearance, the Godmommy, Dale, Tina & Neal, Lilly, Laura Anne, Meredith & Anne, Megan, Dave & Kara, Ian H., Peter, Glenn & Brandy, Aaron & Jen & the howlers, Chef Dave, Meg N., Bonnie & Brian, Danielle, Christine, Arinn, Susan, Amy, Lisa, Karen, Arwen & Peter, Hildy & Dave & Rayanne, Dennis & Kat, Em & De & the kiddies, John & Carol & Arren, Jay & Pam & the kiddies, Jonathan & Sara Jo, Dani & Mike, Mary, Zan, Jen, Ian S., Rebecca, Elizabeth & Jimmy, Hugh & Stephanie, Meg H., Bob & Deb, Dayton & Michi, Kevin, Isabelle, Helen, Suzie & Colleen & Evan, Jennifer, Laurie, Heather & Luke, Jon & Leslie, Laura, Amanda, John & Sue & Eddie & Mikey, Orenthal, the entire GISHWHES team (especially April, Cat, and Barb), plus all the cousins and aunts and uncles and such, and anyone else I left out whom I'll remember later when I'm away from the computer and can't edit this post. And, of course, the kitty cats, Kaylee and Louie.

I'm thankful for two older creatures in the family -- my grandmother and our dog Scooter. (Yes, this makes sense.) Gramma turned 91 this year and is in an old folks' home in Pennsylvania where she barely remembers who she is. Scooter turns 15 in a month (the dog equivalent of 91) and suffers arthritis and occasional other issues. Both of them gave us scares that made us think we'd lose them recently, but as of right now Gramma is back to playing Bingo every other night (which she hasn't done for a year) and this morning Scooter was jumping around and playing with a puppy when I walked him. Neither of them are giving up on life just yet, and I'm incredibly grateful for that.

I'm thankful for Shihan Paul, everyone at the dojo, the parents/guardians of all the dojo kids, and the kids I teach at the local school every Wednesday. Karate has enriched my life in so many ways and I think has made me a better person, and I hope I'm helping others along on the same journey. I'm so glad I came to the dojo ten years ago.

I'm thankful for my career, where I get to write fun stuff and get paid for it. I've developed two original universes in the "Precinct" series and the Cassie Zukav tales, and I've written novels, short fiction, and comics in the universes of (deep breath), BattleTech, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cars, Command and Conquer, CSI, Doctor Who, Dungeons & Dragons, The Executioner, Farscape, Firefly/Serenity, Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda, Kung Fu Panda, Leverage, Magic: The Gathering, Marvel Comics, Resident Evil, Sleepy Hollow, Star Trek, StarCraft, Stargate, Supernatural, World of Warcraft, The X-Files, Xena/Hercules, and Zorro, not to mention the shared-world universes of The Scattered Earth, Viral, and V-Wars.

I'm thankful for the Boogie Knights -- Dave, John, Sharon, Kate, Linda, and Lynn -- with whom I've been percussing for almost nine years. I don't get to make music nearly often enough, but when I do with the BKs, it's always joyous and wonderful.

I'm thankful for the Liars Club, a wonderful buncha mendicants who let me into their club. Looking forward to the signing in Doylestown next month!

I'm incredibly thankful for all my readers. I have some of the best fans in the world, and I'm grateful to each and every one of you for reading my work, for reading this blog, for sharing things on Facebook, for sending me e-mails, for the silly gifts (several responded magnificently to the "Stinkburger Chef" thing this past summer, including a chef's hat!), and for everything.

I'm thankful for modern medicine, which is keeping Wrenn going despite her brutal asthma, and which my mother has been making copious use of this year to deal with some significant stuff. Not to mention our wonderful vet, Dr. Fried, who has taken superlative care of Scooter in his dotage.

I'm thankful for food, for drinks, for books, for comic books, for music, for the Internet, for television, for movies, for you, for me, for everything. Life isn't perfect, and there's lots of room for improvement (yo, banking industry! hire my fiancée a'ready!), but in general I have a great life and I'm thankful for it every single day. I just express it in more depth today. *laughs*

Today we're off to my parents'. Because my mother has been dealing with the aforementioned medical mishegoss, she's not cooking like she usually does, but we're all picking up the slack. Tina is making broiled veggies, Wrenn is making scalloped potatoes and brownies, the Godmommy is making -- er, something, I forget what, I'm making salad with my special dressing, and The Dad and Mom-Like-Product are doing everything else.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Current Mood: thankful thankful
Current Music: the parade on CBS

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