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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
So over the past few days, I've been invited to four anthologies. One is a tie-in anthology that doesn't have a publisher yet, one is a tie-in anthology that does have a publisher (and an April due date), one is an alternate history anthology, and one is a theme anthology that looks to be an excellent fit for a new Cassie Zukav story.

Meanwhile, I've got a trilogy to finish by the end of the year, a sample chapter and two novellas and a short story to write between those two books, and then the first in the urban fantasy series and the first of a set of serial novellas to write in the new year. Plus those four short stories. Wheeeeee!

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Big Love" by Fleetwood Mac

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Woke up with this Talking Heads song going through my head. As seen in the fantastic concert movie Stop Making Sense.......

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Current Music: "Swamp" by Talking Heads

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After missing it last year, Wrenn and I returned to Philcon, and we had a great time. Philcon has nowhere near the attendance it used to, but it seems to have finally settled into being one (small) step up from a relaxacon. Attendance remains pretty firmly in three figures, but everyone has come to accept and work with that, I think. Indeed, my informal poll of the dealers was that no one was really disappointed with how they did -- there weren't a lot of people there, but they did spend money.

From my own perspective, neither of the panels I was on were hugely well attended, but I got half a dozen people at my reading, which is pretty good given that I've done readings with fewer people at conventions that were way larger.

Anyhow, the con was tremendous fun at least in part because of the people. We roomed with Meredith Peruzzi and her wife, which went swimmingly (good to know, as the four of us are taking a trip to Key West next spring, and this was a good field test for our ability to room together -- we passed with flying colors, as I figured we would).

Friday night, I had my autographing -- which was good, I sold a few books -- and the Meet the Pros party, which mostly consisted of sitting at a table gabbing with people while drinking. That would be a theme. The evening ended with The Eye of Argon reading, in which Michael Ventrella, Gail Z. Martin, Peter Prellwitz, and several others tried to read the worst piece of fiction ever with a straight face. And once you failed in your reading, you had to act it out.......

The Eye of Argon!!!!!!!! Photos by Heidi Hooper or Meredith Peruzzi:

Saturday was a light day for me until 4pm, so I spent some of it working on Book 2 of the trilogy, and some of it at the eSpec/Dark Quest table pimping books -- most notably The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, which was launched by eSpec this past weekend. Several contributors to the anthology were at the con: editors Danielle Ackley-McPhail and Greg Schauer, artist Jason Whitley, and authors Drew Bittner, James Chambers, Gail Z. Martin, Aaron Rosenberg, and me. As an added bonus, there was a launch party for the book Saturday night and in addition to all of the above, Bryan J.L. Glass came down for the party as well! It was very well attended -- indeed, some people I know had to leave because the room was getting too crowded -- and lots of copies of the anthology were sold. A good time was had by all.

Launch party for The Side of Good/The Side of Evil. L.-r.: Jason Whitley (artist), Drew Bittner ("Henchmonster"), Bryan J.L. Glass ("Don't You Know Who I Am?"), Keith R.A. DeCandido ("Send in the Clones"), Danielle Ackley-McPhail (co-editor), Aaron Rosenberg ("The Shtick"), Gail Z. Martin ("Ghost Wolf"), James Chambers ("Eight Million Strong" and "The Last Great Monologue of Evil Intent"), and Greg Schauer (co-editor). Photo by Judy Glass.

Other stuff on Saturday included a very lively discussion on writing in shared worlds -- which included media tie-ins -- though the panel was a bit too dominated by me and Aaron, as is our wont, but nobody complained. My favorite was the one audience member who was stunned that I seemed to write in all her favorite licenses....

My reading was at 6.30, and I got to read one chapter each from the just-released Heroes Reborn novella Save the Cheerleader, Destroy the World and the soon-to-be-released Stargate SG-1 novel Kali's Wrath.

After the launch party, we retired to the bar, which was the high point of the convention. It started out with me, Wrenn, Meredith, and Meredith's wife, and we were soon joined by Eric Gasior, Joe Berenato, Helena Frank, Zan Rosin, Greg Schauer, Liz Sullivan, Meri Ness, Ian Randal Strock, and others. We sat up talking and laughing and drinking and having a wonderful time.

Saturday night selfies at the bar! First there's me, Meredith Peruzzi, Helena Frank, and Joe Berenato. Photo by Helena.

Then there's me and Helena, also taken by Helena.

Finally, I took a Liars Club selfie of me, Gregory Frost, and Jon McGoran.

Sunday was a light day -- just a Tanith Lee memorial panel with Ian, Darrell Schweitzer, and Diane Weinstein, which was a lovely tribute. (I actually worked with Tanith on a couple of short stories and her "Unicorn" YA trilogy when I worked for Byron Preiss in the 1990s.) But I spent more time hanging out with folks and being in the dealer room doing commerce and so on.

The Tanith Lee memorial panel. L.-r.: Diane Weinstein, Darrell Schweitzer, me, and Ian Randal Strock. Photo by Michael A. Ventrella.

It was great to see so many folks. Besides those listed above, there was Mary, Dennis & Kat, Bill, Savan, Orenthal, Neal, Ira, Susan, Vikki, Chris, Stephanie, Wendy & Chris, Glenn, Ian H., Meg & Ross, the amazing Lynati, fellow Liars Club members Gregory Frost and Jon McGoran, and best of all, the mighty Hugh Casey, who was freed from the hospital in the midst of his cancer battle to hang out with folks. (Apologies to those I left off this list because I'm forgetful and I saw a lot of people.)

Me, Orenthal V. Hawkins, Jim Prego, and Dan Adler, complete with JJ Abrams-esque lens flare! Pic by Orenthal's selfie stick.

After the con ended, Wrenn and I went to visit her father for a bit, then headed home to watch a devastating Doctor Who and a couple of other things off the DVR.

This week: WRITING! Plus, y'know, there's a holiday on Thursday......

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Current Music: "Rebel Rebel" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

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The Joker's back, and he's targeting Dick Grayson's high school! The Bat-rewatch does "The Joker Goes to School"/"He Meets His Match, the Grisly Ghoul."

An excerpt:
A lot of this episode is well put together. Batman’s tracking down of the Joker is refreshingly free of the usual leaps in logic—the Caped Crusader’s detective work is actually quite skilled. I question Batman’s deliberately walking into a trap that involved getting shot at in the bar (especially since he didn’t even clear the bar of innocent bystanders first), but hey, that got us our first look at the magnificently ridiculous Bat-shield, so there’s that. (Seriously, even when I was a kid and bought into much of the absurdity without question, I thought the Bat-shield was the dumbest thing ever. It took forever to unfold and fold, and where did he keep it?) Certainly Batman is a better detective than Robin is an undercover operative—he was the most unconvincing bad boy in the history of bad boys, even before he botched smoking a cigarette.

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Crimson and Clover" by Joan Jett & the Blackhearts

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The fine folks at Entertainment Weekly have put up excerpts from the various Heroes Reborn novellas that were released yesterday, including my own Save the Cheerleader, Destroy the World. Among other things, it includes a portion of a State of the Union address by the president played by Michael Dorn on the original Heroes TV series.

An excerpt of the excerpt:
“This country’s history has been marred by an inability to accept that which is different, but it’s also been blessed with an ability to move past that. People with skin the same color as me came here in bondage. The Constitution of the United States, as originally written, considered people who looked like me to be only three-fifths of a person. When immigrants from Western Europe, from Latin America, from Eastern Europe came over here, they were initially viewed with distrust and not considered ‘real’ Americans.

“But we’ve been able to move past that. I’m not three-fifths of a person anymore, I’m the President of the United States. Women can own property and vote. You don’t see employment ads reading, ‘Irish need not apply.’ Not that we’re all there—we still have a long way to go, and that is why these ‘Evos’ have felt the need to stay in the shadows. This administration was recently made aware of the existence of ‘Evos,’ thanks in part to the late Senator Nathan Petrelli. Mistakes were made, primarily by a rogue agent who has since passed away. I can assure you that the same mistakes will not be made twice. Evos are people, just like us—just like my ancestors who came to this country in chains, just like so many of your ancestors who came in boats or planes hoping for a better life. The American dream isn’t just for white people, it isn’t just for landowners, it isn’t just for men, it isn’t just for heterosexuals—and it isn’t just for people who don’t have strange powers. It’s for everyone."

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Current Music: "Bye Bye" by the Subdudes

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This past evening was the mid-season finale of Heroes Reborn, and to tide you over until new episodes air in the new year, Bastei has released five all-new novellas that flesh out the narrative, including my own Save the Cheerleader, Destroy the World, which chronicles Claire Bennet's road from jumping off the Ferris wheel at the end of the Heroes series' fourth season to the tragic events of June 13th, 2014, as chronicled in the new series.

Book 1: Brave New World by David Bishop was released the night after the season premiere -- it was a novelization of the first episode. (Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo) Today, the other five are out:

Here's the promo copy for my novella:
When she jumped off a Ferris wheel in Central Park and survived, Claire Bennet changed the world. Now "Evos" - Evolved Humans - are exposed.

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Current Music: "Further on Up the Road" by Eric Clapton & The Band

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The shitstorm of stupidity that is emanating from far too many politicians regarding Syrian refugees is just appalling. In particular there are the 31 governors who are saying that they will refuse to accept Syrian refugees in their states, never mind the fact that a) the Syrian passport found on one of the attackers in Paris was planted and b) governors don't make decisions about accepting refugees, that's federal. But the whole idea is despicable.

Many mayors have come out in favor of accepting refugees, in many cases in direct opposition to the governors of their states, including Tallahassee, Chicago, and New York City. I'm no fan of NYC's Mayor Bill de Blasio -- he's an ineffectual moron with his priorities in entirely the wrong places -- but I like this statement he made: "It sends a horrible message to the world. It means we're turning our backs on the people who are the victims of terrorism. ... We're not going to turn our backs on children and families. It's not the American way. It's certainly not the New York City way."

And then we have Mayor David Bowers of Roanoke, Virginia, who made a statement on the same side as those 31 governors, saying that Roanoke should suspend any assistance to Syrian refugees until "normalcy is restored." I'm not sure what "normalcy" consists of in this context, but I'd say that no situation that involves refugees even existing could possibly be considered normal. Normalcy is restored when there is no need for refugees, Mr. Mayor.

But that's not why I think Mayor Bowers is an awful human being. It's this paragraph:
I'm reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to American from Isis [sic] now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.

Seriously, Mr. Mayor? Your justification for your stance is to cite as backup one of the most despicable and embarrassing moments in U.S. history????? Oh, by the way, Mr. Mayor? President Roosevelt didn't "sequester" Japanese foreign nationals, he "sequestered" (and what a lovely euphemism for "imprisoned" that is, like they were all jurors being put in a room) American citizens of Japanese descent. That appalling, horrible, awful time in our history is the best reason not to deny refugees.....

Current Mood: angry angry
Current Music: "Baba O'Riley" by Roger Daltry & the Chieftains

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Shihan is on a two-week vacation right now. He's been doing that more and more lately, as the dojo is successful, which means he can afford to take the vacation in two senses of the word: the success of the dojo means he can financially afford the trips, and the success of the dojo means that there are plenty of black belts to take up the teaching slack.

It's interesting, when I started in 2004, Shihan taught almost all of the classes: a kids class and three adult classes on Monday, two kids classes and two adult classes on Tuesday, three kids classes and two adult classes on Thursday, an adult class on Friday, four kids classes and one adult class on Saturday, and two adult classes on Sunday. The only one he didn't teach was a kids class on Friday -- the sparring class that Senpai John used to teach and that I teach now.

Shihan still teaches all those classes, except for the Friday night adult class (an advanced fighting class that has kind of fallen by the wayside), but he's also added several classes to the docket, all of which are taught by other black belts: an adult class on Sunday morning (Senpai Dago) and three classes on Wednesday (one kids by Senpai Charles, one teenagers by Senpai Jorge, one adult by Sensei Gustavo).

When I started, the only person who ever assisted Shihan was Senpai Cliff (at the time, a brown belt). When he went on vacation, which usually only happened once a year and only for a week, there were a couple of black belts to teach.

Now, though, there are several of us who help him out, including me. We have several afterschool programs taught by me, Senpai Harley, and Senpai Dylan. He goes on vacation more often, and there are half a dozen of us substituting. It's a really wonderful sense of support that to my mind makes the dojo stronger, and all of us better.

On this particular occasion, it's been a bit of a perfect storm of vacations, as this week, not only is Shihan away, but so is Sensei. So Shihan assigned Senpai Dorian to teach the adult class last night.

Senpai Dorian has been studying karate for quite a while, though she's taken breaks here and there. She is a superb karateka, and I was very grateful to see her teach, as it's not something she's done much of. And she was amazing. It was an excellent class.

I remember the first time Shihan went on vacation, I really enjoyed the different style and perspective brought by Sensei Clai, Sensei Gustavo, Senpai Michael, and Senpai Joel. I think it's valuable to learn from different people periodically, because each teacher brings something different.

Senpai Dorian is one of the best performers of kata in our dojo. I've participated in three adult tournaments at our dojo over the years, and every time I've been in the same division as Senpai Dorian, which has guaranteed that I'd never finish higher than second place in kata. In 2014, there were five of us competing as second-degree black belts, and we were very evenly matched -- four of us tied for second place with scores of 29, but Senpai Dorian was in first with a well-earned perfect score of 30.

So last night, there was a lot of focus on kata. And one of the things she threw at us was this quote, which is from Kenwa Mabuni, the founder of the Shito-ryu discipline of karate and one of the first people to bring Okinawan karate to the Japanese mainland.
A kata is not fixed or immoveable. Like water, it's ever changing and fits itself to the shape of the vessel containing it. However, kata are not some kind of beautiful competitive dance, but a grand martial art of self-defense -- which determines life and death.

I love that quote, in part because everyone does kata differently. One of the things I loved about that tournament where we had the four-way tie was watching all five of us do the primary second-degree kata, Koryugojushiho. It was the same kata, but all of us did it differently, bringing our own style to it.

Senpai Dorian had us focus on our kata more than usual last night, and it was glorious. Just a wonderful class.

(And I'm totally stealing that Mabuni quote when I teach...........)

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "The Motorcycle Song" by Arlo Guthrie

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The Constellation has been beat to shit, and the Enterprise may be next, especially if Commodore Decker has his way. The TOS Rewatch meets "The Doomsday Machine."

An excerpt:
In addition, we have William Windom’s magnificent Decker. Windom brings so much depth to a character who could easily have been a caricature of a crazy person. Unlike, say, Adams in “Dagger of the Mind“—played by quite a fine actor in James Gregory—who was just randomly evil, Decker has very obviously been broken by the loss of his crew. His attempt to make up for it is tragic, but also understandable. And you can just see the stress, the agony, the pain etched on his face throughout.

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Current Music: "Wond'ring Aloud" by Jethro Tull

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Need to get more writing done today. The second book of the trilogy is slogging along at a distressingly slow pace, and it's fucking everything else up.

Been catching up on TV. Since we haven't done an in-review episode of The Chronic Rift in a while, here are some quick thoughts:

Agent X is intriguing -- parts of it are brilliant, like the interagency bitching and pretty much every time Gerald McRaney opens his mouth; parts of it aren't, like the lack of concern for collateral damage in the fight scenes (especially for someone who's supposed to be the world's most covert operative) and the absurd notion that anyone would try to poison the head of the CIA on the verandah outside the vice president's residence, which is a space always under surveillance.....

Major Crimes continues to be a delight. Just a fun, well-put-together procedural with a superb cast.

Doctor Who is having its best season since 2005, and I don't say that lightly, as the 2005 season remains the high-water mark of 21st-century Who that has not been matched since. (Christopher Eccleston is far and away the best Doctor of the revival.) But this one may match it, as Peter Capaldi has settled into the role beautifully, his rapport with Jenna Coleman is superb, and the writing has been stronger. While Steven Moffat has always been an excellent writer, his abilities as a show-runner have been scattershot, but this season actually is the first time it feels like he has a plan and knows what he's doing. We'll see how that holds up....

Arrow is still holding strong, and in fact stronger than last year, which was kind of a mess, mostly because there's been progress. I particularly like the fact that Oliver is actually calm and centered this year instead of being angsty and/or angry. Plus: Neal McDonough!

Supergirl is an absolute treat. Melissa Benoist is perfect, and Mehcad Brooks is fantastic as James Olsen.

The Librarians and The Player are both show-run by John Rogers, but the latter has already been cancelled, sadly, probably because the lead is good but not great, and the attempt to capture the Blacklist vibe with Wesley Snipes doesn't take into account that Snipes is no James Spader. Meanwhile, The Librarians is actually better this season now that the team has settled into a rhythm.

Gotham is still a mess, but the good parts (Donal Logue, Sean Pertwee, Donal Logue, Michael Chiklis, Donal Logue, Morena Baccarin, Donal Logue, Robin Lord Taylor, Donal Logue, and also Donal Logue) mostly make up for the bad (the inconsistent writing, the inconsistent tone, the inconsistent acting on the part of most of the rest of the cast).

I have other thoughts, but I'll post them another time.

Funniest thing I read on the Internet today, on the Gum Wall in Seattle, which I hadn't heard of until a Pacific NW friend mentioned it today:

"It was named one of the top 5 germiest tourist attractions in 2009, second to the Blarney Stone."

Second funniest thing I read on the Internet today, on John Scalzi's Whatever blog entry on why you should vote for each of the other nine novels nominated for Best Science Fiction Novel on GoodReads besides his own The End of All Things:

"You should vote for Star Wars: Aftermath because it’s one of the best Star Wars novels yet, and it annoys whiny bigots as well, which is its own special reward."

Okay, back to the grind, especially since I have to teach two kids classes at the dojo tonight, and will probably also take the 7.15 class........

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

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Been a busy weekend. Our friend Laura is up to visit from Atlanta. She flew in Thursday night and is leaving Sunday afternoon (today as most of you read this, tomorrow as I write it). Since she was here for three dinners, she got one meal each cooked by each of us. Wrenn made a kielbasa stir fry on Thursday night, I made breaded chicken cutlets on Friday night, and Dale made meatloaf on Saturday night -- all yummy, of course. You don't stay in our house without being well fed....

Friday, Laura and Wrenn had a spa day, getting a manicure and a pedicure, and then Laura watched me teach my kids sparring class. Laura teaches special-needs kids, and she enjoys watching other people work with kids.

Saturday was hugely busy. Shihan is on vacation, so I had to teach the four kids classes from 9.30-1, then Laura and Wrenn joined me for lunch with my friend Rosa, who's also in from out of town. We had a fantastic lunch at a superb local diner, and then we took Laura to the Cloisters, where she'd never been.

After we came home to dinner, we went back out again, this time to see my friend Lilly perform as part of Village Playback Theatre, a kind of therapeutic audience-participation improv troupe. (Find out more about them here. They're really wonderful.) Lilly's parents were there, too, and we sat next to them. It was wonderful.

I'm amazed I'm still awake. I snuck a nap in earlier, but still, it's been a full few days. (I got in a bunch of writing while Laura and Wrenn were getting their mani-pedi, at least.) Should crash soon....

One more thing -- Laura took a bunch of pictures! Here are three of them................

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Georgia Lee" by Tom Waits

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The Mad Hatter is out on parole and immediately goes after the people who put him in jail: his jury and Batman! The Bat-rewatch does "The Thirteenth Hat"/"Batman Stands Pat."

An excerpt:
Gordon acquires the list of jurors in the Hatter’s trial. He’s staring right at it, yet he has no idea why Batman would want it, even though eleven of the twelve names on it are the same as the eleven people who’ve been kidnapped. Dumbass.

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Current Music: "Potter's Field" by Tom Waits

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I was interviewed by Marisa Serafini, Steve Kaufmann, and Jonathan Meza of AfterBuzz TV, a YouTube channel that discusses TV shows after the latest episode has aired. They talked to me about Save the Cheerleader, Destroy the World, and I had a great time! Check it out.............

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Current Music: "Up on the Roof" by the Persuasions

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Back in early 2009, Kevin Lindenmuth interviewed me and a bunch of other folks in the horror field about death. Besides me, he also talked to spiritual journalist David Crumm, Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman, author/artist Bob Fingerman, author Jack Ketchum, special effects artist Tom Sullivan, filmmaker Scooter McCrae, professional Tarot Card reader Sasha Graham, and "Scream Queens" Debbie Rochon and Caroline Munro.

Kevin released it himself in 2011, but now Wild Eye Releasing is putting out a new DVD edition next month that should get wider distribution. It's available for preorder on Amazon, and you can learn more about the documentary from Kevin's web site.

(I'm still not listed on IMDB's entry for it, but I should be eventually, and that'll bring my listing there up to four, all documentaries: Done the Impossible, "The Captains of the Final Frontier" episode of Biography, and Backyard Blockbusters.)

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Current Music: "Like a Rolling Stone" by John Mellencamp

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IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

---Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918), Canadian Army

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Current Music: "One Vision" by Queen

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Spock's goin' to the chapel and he's gonna get married -- OR IS HE??????? The TOS Rewatch experiences "Amok Time."

An excerpt:
McCoy basically saves the day, keeping either Kirk or Spock from having to kill each other by slipping the former a neural paralyzer that creates the illusion of death. Thus everybody wins: Spock’s blood fever runs its course, Kirk doesn’t lose his first officer, T’Pring gets her hunka hunka Vulcan love, Stonn gets T’Pring without having to risk being killed, and McCoy gets to see Spock break into a goofy grin that he can’t walk back with logic (though that doesn’t stop Spock from trying) and the doctor gets the last word as well.

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Current Music: "(Nothing But) Flowers" by Talking Heads

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The essay collection A Long Time Ago: Exploring the Star Wars Cinematic Universe is now on sale from the fine folks at Sequart! Featuring essays about the six Star Wars movies, and released just in time for the seventh, it includes my own list of the top ten good things about the prequel trilogy, plus pieces by Joseph F. Berenato, Jean-Francois Boivin, Joe Bongiorno, Nathan Butler, Julian Darius, Ian Dawe, Kevin Dilmore, Rich Handley, Zaki Hasan, Rocko Jerome, Alex Newborn, David Pipgras, Matthew Sunrich, Lou Tambone, Dayton Ward, and Steven H. Wilson. There's also a foreword by Scott Chernoff.

The book's on sale now from the fine folks at Amazon in both Kindle and trade paperback. It should be up on Barnes & Noble soon, as well as other online dealers.......

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Current Music: "Jump Start" by Jethro Tull

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After missing it last year, I'll be back at Philcon from 20-22 November in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. This was the first convention I attended as a professional in the field -- all my prior con-going was done as a fan or as press when we were doing The Chronic Rift as a public access show -- as it was the first con I went to after starting as an associate editor at Byron Preiss in the fall of 1993.

Philcon is much smaller now than it was 22 years ago, but it's still a fun little con, and here's what I'll be doing there:

8-9pm: autographing, w/Brian Koscienski (autograph area)

4-5pm: "Writing in Shared Universes," w/Catt Kingsgrave, Dina Leacock, Mike McPhail, T. Patrick Snyder, and Michael Ventrella (Plaza IV)
6-7pm: reading, w/Fran Wilde (Executive Suite 623)
7-9pm: The Side of Good/The Side of Evil publication party, w/Danielle Ackley-McPhail, James Chambers, Walt Ciechanowski, Gail Z. Martin, and Mike McPhail (Executive Suite 823)

12-1pm: "Remembering Tanith Lee," w/Darrell Schweitzer, Ian Randal Strock, and Diane Weinstein (Plaza III)

Congrats to the con committee, and in particular Lynati, the new programming head, for getting the schedules out more than a week before the con.........................

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "I Will Not Go Quietly" by Don Henley

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The Riddler is back, just in time for King Boris's visit, and the Queen of Freedom may never survive! The Bat-rewatch does "A Riddle a Day Keeps the Riddler Away"/"When the Rat's Away the Mice Will Play."

An excerpt:
In the Batcave, Batman finds Robin fiddling around with the atomic pile (yeeeeeeeep) because he thought he heard some rumbling and wants to make sure there isn’t anything wrong (YEEEEEEEP!). Batman pulls him off that to help solve the last riddle: a woman in love is like a welder because they both carry a torch. The bomb is in the torch, placed in the replica when King Boris was Riddler’s prisoner. (They show a rather appalling lack of concern for the possibility of their friggin atomic pile malfunctioning, but whatever...)

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Current Music: "Seal Driver" by Jethro Tull

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As I type this blog entry, there are only ten hours left to get the Monsters Story Bundle, which includes twelve fantastic tales of monstery goodness. You name the price, and choose where the money goes to.

They include:
    The Love-Haight Case Files by Jean Rabe & Donald J. Bingle (read more about this story)
    Jurassic Dead by David Sakmyster & Rick Chesler
    Pack Dynamics by Julie Frost
    Working Stiff by Kevin J. Anderson
    Empty Rooms by Jeffrey J. Mariotte (read more about this story)
    Cayo Hueso: A Tale of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet by Keith R.A. DeCandido (read more about this story)
    For This is Hell by Aaron Rosenberg & Steven Savile
    Enter the Janitor by Josh Vogt (read more about this story)
    The Wolf at the End of the World by Douglas Smith
    Monster Academy by Matt Forbeck
    Helmet Head by Mike Baron
    Mammoth Dawn by Kevin J. Anderson & Gregory Benford

Very little time left, though, so hop to it!

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Current Music: "Bitches Ain't Shit" by Ben Folds

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Yesterday was a busy day of festivizing. It was my father's 69th birthday, and the Forebearance, the Godmommy, and Wrenn and I went to one of our favorite restaurants in Little Italy. We had a lovely time -- I had Fettucine Alfredo and my mother had some of the best veal scaloppine I've ever tasted -- plus there was prosciutto and melon for an appetizer.

That evening was the annual black belt dinner, held at a local restaurant. About 27 of our black belts were present, which is most of them. The dinner was a buffet, plus an open bar (I stuck with red wine, as the beer choices were not great), which was quite yummy. The main point, though, was the camaraderie. And also a chance for us all to dress up and be in each others' company outside the dojo. I gotta say, we clean up real good:

Me all dressed up and stuff.

The cake.

Standing, l.-r.: Senpai Pablo, Senpai Anthony, Senpai Dylan, Senpai Justin, Sensei Gustavo, Senpai Sebastian, Senpai Rey, Senpai Jorge, Shihan Paul, me, Senpai Michael, Senpai Joel, Senpai Stephen, Senpai Charles, Senpai Harley, Senpai Richard, and Senpai Ryon.
Seated, l.-r.: Senpai Ashley, Senpai Talia, Senpai Olga, Senpai Christina, Senpai Lucy, Senpai Karen, Senpai Dorian, Senpai Dayana, Senpai Danni, and Senpai Liza.

Today is the Bat-rewatch, then I'm heading down to D.C. to visit folks. The train trip should allow for lotsa work to get done on Book 2 of the trilogy........

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Coyote Dance" by Robbie Robertson & the Red Road Ensemble

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To-GA, to-GA, to-GA, to-GA! Apollo lends the crew a hand as the TOS Rewatch asks "Who Mourns for Adonais?"

An excerpt:
So much of rewatching the original Star Trek requires filtering for the time period. Most of the time, it’s easy to do. Sometimes it’s a lot harder to get past it.

This is one of the latter. The general storyline is excellent. The notion of alien beings who were worshipped by ancient humans as gods is hardly new—the Marvel Comics character of Thor was built on it prior to this, the entire Stargate franchise will be built on it, and your humble rewatcher has used it as the spine of a cycle of short stories, to name but three of hundreds of examples—but it recurs because it’s a good one. It helps that Michael Forest puts in a bravura performance here, lending regal dignity to a role that absolutely requires it (especially while wearing that hilarious toga).

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Wipeout" by the Ventures

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Found three reviews of The X-Files: Trust No One, one of which I'd already read, but here they all are because I'm feeling complete-ish.

First there's Chasing Monsters with Butterfly Nets, which has mini-reviews of all the stories, including some nice things said about my story. Then we've got Dustimus Prime, where the reviewer was disappointed with my story, but softened the blow by referring to me as someone who "writes some of the best pop sci-fi fiction around." And then we have the one I'd already read, but will link again, on Sci-Fi Pulse.

Money quote from Rain Knight's review on Chasing Monsters...:
It’s an interesting change of pace, and it’s fun to see a case from the point of view of one of the other agents who’s been working on it. Mulder and Scully are in character, and the case has a nice mystery to it that keeps you wondering until the end. It did feel like it could have been an episode of the show.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: the Bones from two weeks ago on the DVR

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The trilogy I still can't talk about. Book 1 is done and approved. Book 2 should be finished in the next week or two. Book 3 will be, er, some time after that.

Pseudonymous novellas. Will dive into these after Book 2 is done.

Dragon Precinct. "Baker's Dozen" will also need to be done in and around the pseudonymous novellas because holy fuck am I late with that. And I've got another Precinct story I want to Kickstart, but not until after "Baker's Dozen" is done. And probably not until next year, all things considered. Oh, and Mermaid Precinct will be out in 2016. I don't know when in 2016, but it will happen! Honest!

SCPD. "Send in the Clones" will be in The Side of Good/The Side of Evil, which will debut at Philcon 2015 and be on sale generally starting on the 1st of December, though folks might be able to snag a copy or two at Between Books in Claymont, Delaware (which is owned and operated by anthology co-editor Greg Schauer). I've got another SCPD project in the works, Avenging Amethyst, about which I hope to give more details soon, once paperwork is papered.

Stargate SG-1. Kali's Wrath is awaiting MGM's approval. We're hoping to have it published by the end of the year. After that, I have the collaborative project that's been gestating since 2011 (some other things need to fall into place before that can become a reality) and I've got another SG-1 notion that I want to pitch once the dust settles on Kali.

Collaborative thriller. This is a project that's still in the development phase, but it will be really cool if it happens.

Mystery novel. I'm hoping that 2016 is the year I can carve out time to write this. We'll see.

Urban fantasy. A publisher has expressed interest in this. Will announce it formally once the contract is settled.

Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. No new Cassie stories in the works just yet, but remember that the Monsters Story Bundle is still available, and it includes Cayo Hueso. I may make the eBook of the full version of Cayo Hueso available as well. In addition, you can still subscribe to Story of the Month Club to get "William Did It," and "Down to the Waterline" is still available for free on Buzzy Mag. I also have a spring break story I may or may not want to write, plus there are two stories I've made reference to (a dragon in the Bottroff House garden and a UFO in Dry Tortugas), and I also have a notion for a story called "Ragnarok and a Hard Place."

I also have some client editing to do.................

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Sunshine of Your Love" by Eric Clapton

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This was the first year for 2050 Events, held in Daytona Beach. While they didn't have any big huge actor guests, they had a whole lot of B-listers (many of them B+, like Michael Biehn, Gigi Edgley, Anthony Montgomery, and Aron Eisenberg), as well as a mess of anime voiceover actors, plus a few other cool folks like me and Alex Saviuk, not to mention roboticist Tony Dyson, who designed and built R2D2 in the 1970s for George Lucas. Plus they had a major gaming thing going on called Iron Gaming, a bunch of nifty parties.

They flew me and Wrenn both in, they put us up in a hotel, they set up a VIP room. They had a nicely set up exhibit hall for all of us with plenty of room, our own garbage bins and hand sanitizer and plenty of water bottles. There were some interesting panels, too.

Basically, they had a really good infrastructure for a big convention.

What they didn't have was people. If the attendance was as high as 2000, I'd be surprised, and most of those people never left Iron Gaming. The place was mostly dead on Friday, completely dead on Sunday, and a steady trickle of people on Saturday. Gigi and I were scheduled for a Farscape panel on Friday, and only two people showed up.

I sold some books, but nowhere near what I had hoped based on how much outlay there was for this con. I'm not sure what went wrong -- but you never know with first-time cons. It's possible that the Daytona Beach community isn't able to support a con this size. It's also possible that it just needs a few years to build. I'm not sure, but at the very least, everyone seemed to get paid and nobody made noises about taking a financial bath, at least that I heard. And the con did get a lot of local sponsors (who may or may not be displeased).

Having said all that, I, at least, had a good time, as did Wrenn. Aron, Gigi, and Alex are all old friends, my agent Lucienne Diver was here along with her husband Pete Wheeler, we got to make a ton of new friends, including Sasha Jackson, Brittney Karbowski, Daniel Logan, John Mangus, Carl Gottlieb, the aforementioned Tony Dyson, Genesis, William Hatfield, and tons more, and in general we made our own fun.

The people running the show are good people who did a lot of things well, and I have no real complaints aside from the lack of people, which is kind of a biggie if they want this to be a going concern......

Ah, well. We fly back home tomorrow....

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Jumpin' Jack" by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

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