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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
kradical
In addition to the print book, there is also an audio book of Baker Street Irregulars, the spiffy-keeno new anthology of alternate Sherlock Holmes stories, edited by Michael A. Ventrella​ & Jonathan Maberry​, with my story "Identity: An Adventure of Shirley Holmes & Jack Watson." So if you prefer to listen to books instead of reading them, check this audio out, with the stories read by Graham Halstead, Steven Crossley, and Saskia Maarleveld.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Cold Wind to Valhalla" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
Ten years ago this morning, I got a phone call informing me that David Honigsberg died.



David was one of my best friends. Through most of the 1990s, we were in a band together, the Don't Quit Your Day Job Players. He wrote a Silver Surfer short story for me when I worked for Byron Preiss, Marina and I hosted his ordination party after he was made a rabbi, we attended numerous conventions and went on the road for concerts together. We recorded two CDs together, and he used our work together on another CD after the band split up. We played live together more times than I can count, before, during, and after the band's heyday. He consulted on the first-ever Klingon-Jewish wedding, in the story "Creative Couplings," a Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers novella by Glenn Hauman & Aaron Rosenberg that I edited.

He was my rabbi, which is a weird thing for non-Jewish agnostic to say, but there it is. He and his wife, who is a priest (yes, really), held a wonderful little gathering a few days after 11 September 2001 that was a big help in our healing process.

It's sobering to realize that I'm roughly the same age now that David was when he died, which is scary.

Tomorrow, Wrenn and I are going to go to his grave and raise a glass to his memory. Wrenn and I didn't get together until after he died, and I was always particularly sorry for that, as he knew Wrenn also, and I'm fairly certain he would have been very happy to see us as a couple. I wish he was still here for any number of reasons, not least being that we would have asked him to perform our wedding.

We miss you, Rabbi.

MORE WHISKEY!

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "Black Sunday" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
It's the final appearance of King Tut, and he makes a startling discovery that will rock Batman and Robin's socks. If they wear socks. Which isn't clear. But whatever, the Bat-rewatch declares that "I'll Be a Mummy's Uncle."

An excerpt:
A fitting finale for the fake pharaoh, as Victor Buono remains his usual spectacular self, the plot is pretty straightforward Bat-stuff, and a good time is had by all. Batgirl is sadly underused in this one, though this time it’s mostly due to her not being able to know what’s at the end of the mineshaft.

Current Mood: nerdy nerdy
Current Music: "Dharma for One" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
Two humans, a half-Vulcan, a Sord, a Skorr, and a Nasat walk into a bar go on a quest to stop a war. The TOS Rewatch tries to avoid having to go on "The Jihad."

An excerpt:
Stephen Kandel worked on Mission: Impossible, and this has a similar structure to that show, with specialists brought in to do an off-the-books mission that is damn near impossible. We get a collection of truly alien aliens, three of whom are of a type that would be difficult to pull off in live action (Tchar and M3 Green in particular). I like the basic heroism of everyone involved—even the self-professed coward M3 Green comes through when it’s important to the mission—I like Lara’s up-front flirting with Kirk (nice to see the shoe on the other foot there), and yes, I even like the fact that the most advanced species in the galaxy is feline (for all that they mostly just reused and recolored the character design for the Kzinti to save money). With the peculiar exception of Spock (who mostly just plays Captain Obvious in this one), everyone has something important to do, and it’s a fun little adventure.

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Piece of Cake" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
In honor of Aoki's passing, here's Ian Anderson's elegy to his own deceased moggy, "Old Black Cat."



Rest in peace, my sweet little Aoki-bear.

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "Old Black Cat" by Ian Anderson

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kradical
Over on Tor.com, I provide my impression of Marvel's Iron Fist on Netflix based on the first three episodes. I look at the opening trio from the perspective of a comics fan, of a martial artist, and of a regular ol' TV viewer. Sadly, at least so far, it's lacking in all three.....

An excerpt:
Danny spends the entire first episode coming across as a crazed stalker, which isn’t a great way to introduce our theoretical hero. It doesn’t help that his attempts to convince Ward and Joy that he’s who he says he is are just idiotic. In episode 2 we find out that Danny and Joy used to avoid the brown M&Ms. In episode 3 we find out that Danny broke his arm as a little kid and Ward took him to the hospital, and only the two of them knew about that. Which raises the question of why the hell Danny didn’t mention either of these things in episode 1.

Current Mood: nerdy nerdy
Current Music: "A Gift of Roses" by Ian Anderson

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kradical
This actually happened on Monday, but I've been so crazy busy, I haven't had time to write a proper post..............



So Monday, I had to get up absurdly early to drive my parents to the airport and then do the first day of physical therapy on my arthritic knees. After PT was done, I went back to sleep for a bit, and right when I woke up, the phone rang, and it was Terri. One generally doesn't hear from one's ex when it's good news, and sure enough, I was right: she was calling me in tears telling me that Aoki was dying and did I want to come to the vet to say goodbye before she was put to sleep? I said yes, of course, and Wrenn and I hied to the vet with dispatch.

Terri and I got Aoki on 31 August 2004, a couple of weeks after we lost Mittens to cancer. Bide-a-Wee was closing for renovations, but they had to place all their animals before they could do that, so we went down on Terri's lunch hour. Of the cats that were left, most were either cats that had to be the only cat in the place (and we still had Marcus) or pairs that had to stay together (which wasn't a great idea, as our apartment was just right for two cats, not ideal for three -- hilariously, years later, Wrenn, Dale, and I would populate that very same apartment with four cats and a big-ass dog, but we were young and foolish....).

And then there was Aoki. The sweetest little Tortoiseshell, she was only four months old, and she climbed all over Terri as soon as they put us together in the get-to-know-you room. I took her home on the subway, and she immediately started exploring the apartment and being all affectionate and sweet.

Marcus hadn't been handling Mittens's death well -- Mittens had always been there since Marcus was two months old, but without the big guy around, Marcus stopped eating. Aoki, though, was relentless in her cute-itude, and she basically got Marcus back to his old self by playing with him and frolicking with him and generally being a nuisance.

Aoki always used to sleep on my hip when I took a nap. She always would climb all over things and fall asleep on them. And she was always friendly and happy and cute and sweet.

When we first brought her home, she treated every meal like it was her last, wolfing it down as fast as she could, to the point where we had to feed her in the bathroom with the door closed so she wouldn't eat all of Marcus's food.

Mittens's death was rough on all three of us, and Aoki helped us all get back from that.

She was, for all intents and purposes, my first cat. My family had a cat named Tiger Lilly when I was a baby before my mother's cat allergies kicked in, but I don't really remember her, and Mittens and Marcus were both Terri's from before I met her.

Aoki was my sweet little girl.

Terri and I split up in April 2009, and she moved out eight months later. We both agreed that she would keep Aoki, simply because Terri would be living alone and Marcus needed to have Aoki around for when Terri was at work. As I said to Terri at the time, Marcus needed her more than I did.

For a while, Terri lived in the same building, so I got to see her every once in a while, but when she moved out of the neighborhood, I didn't get to see her hardly at all, until last year when Terri contracted breast cancer, and I transported her to and from the hospital a few times, and also took care of Aoki and her other two cats, Star and Raina, when she had a lung issue that hospitalized her for a week.

Aoki had intestinal blockage when she was a kitten before we ever got her, and they shortened her intestine surgically, which stunted her growth. (That was part of her cute factor -- she had the head of a cat but the body of a kitten, plus she had these huge ears....) As she got older, she developed kidney and bowel issues, and the medications for one cancelled out the other, which complicated Terri's life. Eventually, something was going to go, and sadly it was the kidneys, which failed Sunday night.

Terri, Wrenn, and I said goodbye to Aoki at our vet. She was a good cat, and I've been missing her horribly these past few years. I miss her even more now.

Goodbye, sweet girl.





Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "We Five Kings" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
We're less than 48 hours into the Kickstarter for Mermaid Precinct, and we're already halfway to our funding goal! Woo! Also: Hoo! You guys are the best....

Please support the fifth novel in the "Precinct" series if you can -- early backers get a discount!

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Current Music: "Down and Out in Paradise" by John Mellencamp

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kradical
I'm finally writing Mermaid Precinct -- but I need your help! I've started up a Kickstarter to support the writing and publishing of the book, which I'm hoping to have done by the fall. It's been way too long since Gryphon Precinct, and it's past time we looked back in on Torin and Danthres.

There are lots of spiffy rewards, so please do check it out and support the latest novel in my series of high fantasy police procedurals, as the detectives of the Cliff's End Castle Guard have to solve the murder of the Pirate Queen.

Please note that there's an early backer discount -- if you support in the first few days, you can get the book or eBook for less!

So check it out!

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

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kradical
Shame is back, and he's got help from his fiancee and future mother-in-law. The Bat-rewatch is a-Shame-d (sorry) to look at the last two-parter of the series in "The Great Escape"/"The Great Train Robbery."

An excerpt:
I love Batman reading Shame’s note in a Western accent. I love how craven Batman and Robin are under the influence of the fear gas. I love how Batman calmly replies to each of Shame’s insults with a reasonable calm response. (“Your mother wore Army shoes!” “Yes, she did. As I recall, she found them quite comfortable.”) I love that Gotham City has a used tank lot. I love that it takes the brain power of all three heroes to dope out the opera-house robbery. I love the easy banter between the husband-and-wife team of Cliff Robertson and Dina Merrill as Shame and Calamity Jan. I love that Batgirl and Robin save the day by actually expecting the bad guys to go back on their word, thus saving Batman’s trusting ass from getting shot.

And oh my goodness do I love Fred! Barry Dennen is superb here, looking every bit the unbathed, droopy-mustachioed Mexican that was a tired staple of Westerns, but speaking with a posh British accent and with a delightfully withering dry wit. Honestly, this whole storyline is worth it just for Fred and his sardonic commentary. He’s fantastic.

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Doctor to My Disease" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
On the day of the debut of Iron Fist on Netflix, I take a look at the history of the comic book character, who debuted in 1974 in the midst of the kung-fu craze.

An excerpt:
After a decade—and after losing his two closest friends to the Hylthri, the plant people who are sworn enemies of K’un L’un—Rand leaves K’un L’un and returns home to New York City. He wants revenge on Harold Meachum for killing his father (and inadvertently leading to his mother’s death). Meanwhile, Davos, a.k.a. the Steel Serpent—son of the man who trained Rand, and who covets the iron fist—also travels to New York to kill Rand and claim the iron fist.

Along the way, Rand makes several friends, including former policewoman Misty Knight and swordswoman Colleen Wing. Later, he and Luke Cage are thrown together, and they become partners in Heroes for Hire—and best friends. In addition, Rand starts a relationship with Knight, one of the first (and few) interracial romances in mainstream comics.

Current Mood: nerdy nerdy
Current Music: "The Curse" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
They moved my autographing to Sunday at 10am. My full schedule (now updated) is here.

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Dharma for One" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
There's an article in New York Newsday about I-Con 32, and I'm one of the people that reporter David J. Criblez talked to and wrote about in the article!

You need either a Newsday subscription or an Optimum account to read the article, but here's the relevant part (about me!!!!):
Keith R.A. DeCandido first attended I-CON back in 1988 as a fan. Now he’s appearing as a special guest fiction author with 53 novels, 68 short stories and 98 novellas utilizing properties such as Marvel’s Thor, Aliens and The X-Files as well as his own series, “Super City Cops.”

“I have a lot of good I-CON memories over the years,” he says. “Hopefully they will be able to recapture the magic.”

CATCH HIM AT Signing (11 a.m. Sunday) and reading (5 p.m. Sunday)

They also talk about Daniel Knauf, Pamela Gay, Brian Cea, and my buddy Kristen Nelson. Very groovy!

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Acres Wild" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
For various reasons, I was thinking about my time working for the late Byron Preiss today.

Byron was a very successful book packager, and also was both an early pioneer on the cutting edge and one of the many who fell over the cliff of the CD-ROM industry, having gotten in on the ground floor in 1993 when the market was gearing up and having crashed and burned with everyone else by 2000 thanks to bad marketing in the whole industry (nothing was categorized, it was just all lumped into "the CD-ROM section" of stores, so nobody could find anything, so nothing sold) and the rise of the world wide web.

But Byron's most successful mode was books, starting in the late 1970s with the "Weird Heroes" book series he put together. He packaged kids books, books about dinosaurs, anthologies, scholarly works, art books, comic books, and a metric buttload of science fiction and fantasy of all kinds.

I worked for him from September 1993 - April 1998 as a staffer, and on and off from May 1998 - June 1999 as a freelancer. Byron was -- interesting. He was a brilliant salesman, a penny pincher, a guy who would gleefully renegotiate a deal with someone who was in the hospital and in no shape to do so, but who also was great with kids (and did pretty much anything for his own daughters), and produced some great stuff. I learned a lot working for him, both good and bad, and I was saddened by his death in a car accident in 2005.

During my time as a staffer, there were four of us who did most of the work on the SF, fantasy, horror, and comics side of things: me, Howard Zimmerman, Ken Grobe, and Steven A. Roman. Ken, Steve, and I were starting our careers, all in our twenties at the time, while Howard was a veteran of the industry, having worked for years at Starlog magazine, among other places. The four of us had a grand old time putting together stuff, from The Ray Bradbury Chronicles and Bill the Galactic Hero and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy comic books to the Ray Bradbury's Dinosaur World and Isaac Asimov's Robots in Time and Battlestar Galactica and Marvel Comics novels to the illustrated screenplay of Harlan Ellison's I, Robot and so much more. And we always had fun with it. I truly couldn't ask for better comrades in work and fun than those three.

Out of curiosity, I thought I'd look up the guys and see how they're doing, since it's been a while.



When I first went freelance, I'd intended to become a book packager, using the skills I learned under Byron. That never really worked out, but Howard Zimmerman did the same thing, and has had much more success with Z-File Inc., a book packager of lots of nifty stuff.



Meanwhile, Ken Grobe moved to San Francisco, and is a multimedia guru of many different and varied and interesting hats under the umbrella of Idea Czar. Ken is one of the single funniest people I've ever known, so the fact that most of his work is in the comedic realm is no real surprise.



Finally, there's the one guy where I knew what he was doing, as we've crashed into each other at local conventions: Steven A. Roman has turned his Starwarp Concepts into a thriving small press, putting out a bunch of nifty horror and SF/F books and comics. Steve was always suited to do this kind of boutique publishing, and the industry now favors folks who can do that well.

I'm really happy to see that all three of the guys are doing well. Honestly, if you'd asked all four of us what we'd like to be doing twenty years later, the answers we'd all give would be pretty close to what we all wound up doing. So yay us!

Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic
Current Music: "A New Day Yesterday" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
The years 1984-1986 were something of a golden age of rock and roll music. It was in that span that Born in the USA, The Unforgettable Fire, Brothers in Arms, Graceland, 1984, Grace Under Pressure, Purple Rain, Stop Making Sense, Building the Perfect Beast, Centerfield, Songs from the Big Chair, Southern Accents, Be Yourself Tonight, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, Fables of the Reconstruction, Scarecrow, Listen Like Thieves, Fine Young Cannibals, Different Light, Control, Raising Hell, Slippery When Wet, and so many more were all released. That's some seriously great -- and enduring -- stuff.

Brothers in Arms is one of the most amazing albums ever put together by Dire Straits, a kind-of under-the-radar band that kind of slid in between punk and new wave to create some nifty rock and roll music, and while it's mostly known for "Money for Nothing" -- one of the ten best guitar riffs in the history of rock and roll -- Brothers in Arms gave us a bunch of other great songs, including this one, which Mark Knopfler wrote with the Everly Brothers in mind. They wound up covering it the following year, and while both versions are spiffy, this live version -- which adds guitar great Chet Atkins to the mix -- from 1986 is superb.



As an added bonus, here's Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris covering the song on their All the Roadrunning tour twenty years later in 2006:

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "The Part You Throw Away" by Tom Waits

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kradical
As some of you know, my fiancée Wrenn Simms started an Etsy shop late last year to sell her various crocheted items.

That shop has now expanded to include GEEK BEARS!



From the description on Etsy:
Geek Bears! 14 inch stuffed bears. for $35 plus shipping.

I make them in various licensed fabrics ( mostly from JoAnn's Fabrics). I have a small growing stock, but also do to order.

Doctor Who, Star Trek, Marvel, If I can find it, I will do it. Contact me which fabric you want.

I will also make bears to order for a $10 discount on the above price. I need at least 1 yard of non stretchy fabric.

I need a week to 10 days maximum to ship. If I have it in stock, I can ship faster.

Check them out, they are delightful.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Nothing is Easy" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
It's all happening at the zoo. The TOS Rewatch is goin' to the zoo, zoo, zoo in "The Eye of the Beholder."

An excerpt:
Spock says the communicator signal is 1.1 kilometers away, but Scotty later says the city (where the signal originated) is 98.5 kilometers away. Scotty also reports that the city is to the northeast, but the Lactrans take the landing party northwest to the city. Nice to see D.C. Fontana was putting that script editor title to good use...

Current Mood: nerdy nerdy
Current Music: "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3" by Ian Dury & the Blockheads

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kradical
I will be at I-Con 32 in Brentwood, New York this coming weekend. Please note that I'll only be there Saturday and Sunday. Here's my schedule:

Saturday
4-5pm: "Genre Writing for Different Media," w/David Gerrold, Christopher Golden, Daniel Knauf, and James A. Moore (HSEC Lecture Hall)
5.30-6.30pm: "Greatest Superhero Martial Artists," w/Patrick Kennedy and Ric Meyers (HSEC A114)

Sunday
10-11am: autographing (HSEC signing area)
11am-noon: "The Final Frontier in Four Colors: Star Trek in Comics," w/Peter David, David Gerrold, and Glenn Hauman (HSEC A122)
4-5pm: "Why We Love Sci-Fi," w/Russ Colchamiro, Peter David, David Gerrold, and Ian Randal Strock (HSEC Auxiliary Gym)
5-6pm: reading (HSEC A124)

I'm currently scheduled for an autographing, but it's also Sunday at 11am, and I'm waiting to see how that is going to be resolved, as I can't be in two places at once.............................

EDITED TO ADD: They moved my autographing to 10am........

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Sweet Rosyanne" by Pete Seeger

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kradical
On the third episode of Volume 2 of Dead Kitchen Radio: The Keith R.A. DeCandido Podcast, I talk about my Sherlock Holmes pastiche stories featuring Shirley Holmes and Jack Watson in modern-day New York City, and read the first one, "Identity," out this month in Baker Street Irregulars.

Show notes and the podcast itself are at the link above, and you can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "The Sinking of the Reuben James" by Arlo Guthrie

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kradical
Penguin is all about the money in Burgess Meredith's swan song. The Bat-rewatch gets caught in "Penguin's Clean Sweep."

An excerpt:
Using the portable bat-lab (kept in a blue case handily labelled, “PORTABLE BAT-LAB”), Batman discovers that the latest batch of moolah has the bacterium for Lygerian sleeping sickness mixed into the ink. According to the guard, a shipment of money was sent to the Gotham National Bank after Penguin’s break-in. Batgirl heads to the bank while Batman and Robin go to the hospital to obtain the vaccine for Lygerian sleeping sickness. (How a batch of money managed to actually be printed and put into circulation when the entire staff has been unconscious since Penguin broke in is also left as an exercise for the viewer.)

Current Mood: nerdy nerdy
Current Music: "This Land is Your Land" by Arlo Guthrie

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kradical
At the launch party for Baker Street Irregulars at HELIOsphere....

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: crowd noise

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kradical
Peggy Seeger's magnificent version of Woody Guthrie's "Union Maid," which she has updated a bit (Woody wrote the song in the 1940s), which seems fitting for International Women's Day.

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Slip Slidin' Away" by Paul Simon

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kradical
So Bastei's audio department created new covers for the three Super City Cops novellas by German comics artist Timo Wurz, and the print department liked them so much that they've decided to use them on the prose versions moving forward.







Pretty nifty, huh?

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "The Obvious Child" by Paul Simon

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kradical
Larry Niven brings the Kzinti to the Trek universe, and it's awesome! The TOS Rewatch discovers "The Slaver Weapon."

An excerpt:
I like the intelligent conversations among the landing party about history and archaeology and the doping out of the weapon. I like the way Spock tries to play the Kzinti, and only partially succeeds (for starters, Chuft Captain knows that Uhura is intelligent, and so Spock’s hope that they won’t notice her turns out to be a forlorn one). And I like the fact that this story actually works perfectly in the half-hour format. Too many of the animated episodes either have too little or too much story for the running time, but this one is just right.

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

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kradical
I will be a guest at the first-ever HELIOsphere convention, which is being run by some dear friends of ours, and which has David Gerrold, Jacqueline Carey, and Danielle Ackley-McPhail as their guests of honor, which is awesome. I will be there, as well, and we'll be launching Baker Street Irregulars at the con as well, with contributors Gerrold, me, Austin Farmer, and Hildy Silverman, as well as co-editor Michael A. Ventrella, and possibly some other contributors as well..........

Here's my full schedule:

Friday
3.30-5pm: reading, w/Anatoly Belilovsky, Grant Carrington, Alex Shvartsman, & Michael A. Ventrella (Ballroom 1)

Saturday
1.30-2.30pm: Baker Street Irregulars launch party, w/Austin Farmer, David Gerrold, Hildy Silverman, & Michael A. Ventrella (Ballroom 6)
2.30-3.30pm: Guest of Honor Interview with Danielle Ackley-McPhail, w/me interviewing Danielle (Ballroom 3)
4.30-6pm: "Elementary, My Dear Watson," w/Carole Bugge, Elizabeth Crowens, Marvin Kaye, & Michael A. Ventrella (Ballroom 5)

Sunday
10-11am: "Books 'n' Brews with Keith R.A. DeCandido" (Ballroom 6 -- signup required)
1.15-2.15pm: autographing (Westchester Pre-Function Area)

I am currently listed on "Breaking Into the Industry as a Writer" on Friday, but I have to back out of that one, as I have dojo obligations that conflict with it.

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Slip Slidin' Away" by Paul Simon

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