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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
my friend Jessica Brawner interviewed about Charisma +1
My dear friend Jessica Brawner has written a nifty book called Charisma +1: The Guide to Convention Etiquette for Gamers, Geeks & the Socially Awkward, published by WordFire Press. I picked the book up at Dragon Con and thought it a very useful guide for fans and pros alike on how to successfully navigate the convention experience.

Jessica's been interviewed about the book by the G*M*S Magazine Podcast. Do check it out!

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

Eric Dorsett tagged me with this on Facebook, but since the Book of Face frowns on multiple links within a post, I'm doing it here for reasons that will become clear shortly.

The challenge is to post an excerpt from one of my books less than 2000 words, and also a song that reminds me of that scene.

However, the scene I have in mind has multiple songs that remind me of it, because the songs are all part of the scene. This is from "God of Blunder," one of the stories in 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), with YouTube links in the appropriate spots.

There was a hush over Mayor Fred's Saloon as Ihor and Jana Naha helped Bobbi Milewski onto the stage. Bobbi wore her trademark plain white T-shirt and blue shorts. Her left leg was covered from the knee downward with a plaster cast.

As she sat on the provided stool, Jana hopped up onto the stage. She handed Bobbi her left-handed Les Paul electric guitar.

Ihor turned to head back to tending bar, but Bobbi called out after him. "Hey, can I get a beer?"

"Like hell, girl. You're on, what, Percocet? Darvocet?"

"Percs. What's the big—"

"No chance. You're cut off. And I already told Adina and Mara that if they get you any booze, I'm gonna fire their asses." Ihor then continued back to the bar while Bobbi gave him a pissed-off look before turning her attention to tuning up.

I was sitting at my usual table by the ficus tree that Mayor Fred's was built around, and as Ihor passed by me, I got his attention. "Aren't you being a little hard on her? I broke my arm once back in San Diego, and I still had a beer or two to wash down the painkillers."

"Yeah, and you've got about eight inches of height and fuck knows how much body weight on her. Shit, her BMI's in negative numbers, for fuck's sake."

Body mass index was one of those bullshit weight measurements that always pissed me off because doctors kept telling me that mine was too high, even though I'm a 5'11" woman with boobs and hips. There's only so low my weight's gonna get, y'know?

But Ihor had a point about Bobbi. She was only 5'3", and had the minimum amount of body fat you could have and still be at all identifiable as female.

I considered and rejected telling Ihor that she'd spent most of the previous day drinking quite a bit of beer amidst the painkillers at her family's Thanksgiving shindig and didn't seem worse for the wear. He was the guy responsible for the bar; I couldn't blame him for being cautious. Yesterday, Bobbi was at her home if something went screwy. Tonight, she was in Ihor's house, and he wasn't gonna take any chances.

While Bobbi was tuning, Jana was arranging the pedals in such a way that Bobbi could still step on them with her good foot. I thought she was out of her mind for playing so soon after breaking her leg. Part of that was guilt. She broke it while helping me, my twin brother, and three Norse gods stop a psychotic, mass-murdering ghost. Mostly, though, it was worry that someone as active onstage as Bobbi would go nuts having to play sitting down.

I was also worried about the show, generally. Jana was mostly behind the keyboards, and when she played guitar she didn't move around that much, and Ginny Blake (a.k.a. Sigyn, one of the aforementioned Norse gods) was behind the drumkit. As for Chet Smith—well, you know the stereotype that bassists are automatons who just stand on stage and never move? They use Chet to illustrate that stereotype. Bobbi was the one who had the most stage presence, despite being the smallest person up there. She was constantly moving about the stage, playing her guitar with passion, always. I kinda figured it was her way of compensating for her size, but it worked. Even though three of 1812's four members took turns singing lead, Bobbi was in many ways the front person.

However, Jana had texted me to make sure that I was there for the beginning of the set because, as she put it, "we're opening with Bobbi's fuck you I don't care about my leg set." My curiosity was, to say the least, piqued.

Once Bobbi's guitar was in tune, she looked around. Ginny was ready at the drumkit, Chet had tuned up his Ibanez bass, and Jana had tuned her own Gibson electric guitar, which meant they were opening with a two-guitar song that had no keyboards. Bobbi gave Ihor a nod, and he said over the PA, "All right, ladies and gentlemen, hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and now it's back to the routine—put your hands together for 1812!"

Mayor Fred's was pretty full, with lots of tourists who were spending their Thanksgiving weekend in Key West. Some of them were looking funny at the guitarist with the busted leg, wondering exactly what kind of show they'd get.

Then Bobbi and Jana nodded at each other and slammed into the opening chords of AC/DC's "Back in Black." Bobbi also sang that, her sharp soprano fitting nicely into Brian Johnson's lead vocal from the original, and man did she kill it on the guitar solo.

The place burst with an explosion of applause, but the band didn't even wait for it to die down. Jana went to the keyboards, Ginny started the rat-tat-tat of the opening to Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll," which Bobbi also sang, and she slammed through guitar on. When she sang the final "lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely" a cappella, then took a great dramatic pause before "time," I got goosebumps.

Bobbi took a break from melody singing as she started up the guitar riff that opened the Rolling Stones's "Gimme Shelter." Chet's deep bass provided the lead for that one, but Bobbi sliced through the harmonies and yet another killer guitar solo. She was always good, but she just basically took over three great riffs by Angus Young, Jimmy Page, and Keith Richards and made them her own.

After "Gimme Shelter," Bobbi leaned her left wrist on the strings, and I grinned. It was Waddy Wachtel's turn to be supplanted by a short, skinny blonde chick in a Key West bar. Bobbi sang this one, too: "Edge of Seventeen" by Stevie Nicks.

Half the bar was on their feet, several people were dancing in the area directly in front of the stage, everyone was cheering and screaming and yelling, and I looked down to realize that I hadn't touched my beer since the first chord of "Back in Black."

You gotta understand, 1812 has been the house band at Mayor Fred's for a bunch of years now. Except for two breaks—in April when they were between drummers, and in the summer when they were in Mississippi recording tracks as the backup band for John Robertson's last CD—they'd been there every Thursday through Sunday night, and I'd seen most of their performances since I first arrived in Key West sixteen months ago. I hadn't thought there was a helluva lot they could do to surprise me at this point.

Holy shit, was I wrong. To say they were on fire tonight was to give fire way too much credit.

I gulped down about half my beer as Ginny started another drumroll, one slower than "Rock and Roll," but only a bit. This time it was Sweet's "Ballroom Blitz," which Chet and Jana split the lead vocals on—Chet did the quieter first half of the verses with Jana taking over the louder second half. All three sang the chorus in magnificent harmony.

By now, I was exhausted, and I was just sitting. Luckily, they slowed it down a bit, with Jana starting the piano bit that began Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London," followed by Jana and Bobbi both donning matching black Takamine acoustic guitars for a stellar rendition of Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up in Blue." For that, Chet, Jana, and Bobbi each sang three verses, with the three of them singing every two lines of the final verse. The two guitars rang out through the saloon.

So much for my worry about Bobbi retaining her front-person status.

They closed the first set with "Till the Walls Come Tumblin' Down," a J. Geils Band number that gave Jana a chance to remind everyone how awesome she is: she snarled out the lyrics while playing a mean-ass piano. But it ended with another killer guitar solo, while Chet and Bobbi belted the "Ooooh, yeah!" that alternated with each line of the chorus.

The crowd whooped and cheered louder than the guitar solo, and half a dozen people moved to assist Jana in helping Bobbi off the stage. I was sitting alone, so I stayed put. Bobbi had plenty of help and I didn't want to lose the table.

Ginny handed Bobbi down her crutches and the two of them slowly worked her way over to me. Chet had already gone into the men's room, and Jana was outside smoking.

Adina came over with two beers and a bourbon. She put one of the beers in front of Bobbi and smiled. "This one's on the house."

Bobbi, Ginny, and I all looked over at the bar, and Ihor gave Bobbi a thumbs-up, mouthing the words, You earned it.

Current Mood: silly silly
Current Music: the A's-Royals game on TBS

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Honor Among Thieves"
O'Brien goes undercover to infiltrate the Orion Syndicate for no good reason that the script ever bothers to explain. The DS9 Rewatch reminds us that there's no "Honor Among Thieves."

An excerpt:
The biggest problem I have with this episode is that we are never given a single reason why Starfleet Intelligence chose Miles O’Brien in particular for this mission. Why it’s not an SI operative, I get—there’s a mole, five agents have been killed, gobby gobby gobby, fine. But why O’Brien?

The only reason, really, is because he’s an opening-credits regular on DS9—but that’s not really a good enough reason. He has no experience in security or in undercover operations. So why did SI think it was a good idea to take this married guy with two kids off his post as chief of operations of one of the most important strategic posts in the quadrant in the middle of a war to have him go undercover for several weeks?

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Confessions" by Tim Minchin

a wonderful review of Children of the Revolution
Leah Schnelbach of Tor.com writes an absolutely delightful review of my Sleepy Hollow novel Children of the Revolution.

Money quote:
DeCandido’s narrative also spends time with the museum workers and cops who get unknowingly swept up into the mystery, which adds a wonderful element to the book that the show unfortunately glosses over. People who would just be background dressing—seen from the perspective of Mills and Crane as (possibly headless) victims—are now given backstory to set against the cosmic war they don’t even know exists. While I love the show, it doesn’t really slow down long enough for us to understand just how high the stakes are. Seeing more of the people infected by Pestilence in “John Doe,” or seeing the families of the murdered Masons in “The Midnight Ride” would give us a better sense of the war’s vast scale. In the novel, we get the sense that even the tertiary characters are dealing with the consequences of this fight, not just Crane and the Mills sisters.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Ready for This?" by Tim Minchin

Today is the official on-sale date for Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution. You can order it from finer online merchants everywhere or get it from your local bookstore.

Here are some links:

Order the book
Amazon (paperback) | Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes & Noble (paperback or Nook) | Indie Bound | Kobo | Sleepy Reads

I'm interviewed by the Nerdist
a fan panel on the show at Dragon Con where I talk about the book some
I'm interviewed by the IntelleXual

I'm hoping for more stuff online this week, including at io9 and Tor.com.....

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Budapest" by Jethro Tull

the Nerdist talks to me about Sleepy Hollow
Amy Ratcliffe of the Nerdist sat down with me to talk about Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution.

An excerpt:
N: You’ve written several characters in different universes. How do you get into their heads and match their dialogue and delivery? Do you have to binge a series before you begin writing?

KD: I usually do. I mean even if it’s something I’m already familiar with, I tend to immerse myself in it. Because Sleepy Hollow had such a short season, the whole first season had aired when I got the assignment so I was able to blow through it, basically, in one shot. But I’ve done that with all my projects for the most part. I did a Leverage novel last year, and even though I’ve religiously watched Leverage for its entire run, I still sat down and binged it anyway because you notice things when you watch it straight through that you may have missed the first time. And it gives you a chance to really pay attention because then you’re watching it for character insights and nuances and stuff that you don’t necessarily look for when you’re just watching it for fun.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "The Stranger" by Billy Joel

Had myself a good weekend. Friday night, after teaching two karate classes (both my regular kids sparring class and a review class for the four kids going for their junior black belt in October), we went to my old buddy Elissa's house for a birthday party. Elissa and I went to high school together (she was a year behind), and she and her boyfriend Tommy are always fun to hang out with -- along with Elissa's four kids by her ex-husband, who are all fantastic kids. Seriously, I love how her kids will sometimes just randomly walk up to her and hug her for no reason. It's kind of cool.

The party ended with me, Wrenn, Elissa, and Tommy just gabbing for hours on end, long after most of the other party guests had left. (Actually, all the guests who weren't staying the night -- all friends of Elissa's kids -- had left....)

Saturday I spent some time at the dojo both helping Shihan teach the kids class and then taking the adult class. After an excellent workout, I went home, napped, and then hied myself to New Jersey for the monthly poker game, which was tremendous fun. I actually did fairly well, overall -- I had one big loss in a high-pot game that cost me a ton of money, but I was already pretty well up at that point. I wound up $.70 ahead (it's a $10 buy-in), so pretty close to breaking even, which is fine.

Sunday was a date day for me and Wrenn. Since we're both living the life of freelancers these days, we don't really have "weekdays" and "weekends" anymore, there's just more days with more work. So we made a conscious choice to spend yesterday just having fun together. The one exception to that was a side trip to the dojo, as I had to teach the Sunday-morning white-belt class. But once I returned from that, we hopped on a bus, Gus, to Ft. Tryon Park and their 30th annual medieval festival. They do this every year in the park that houses the Cloisters, but I've managed to always miss it. This year, dagnabbit, we went.

Naturally, in a park packed with people in the most populous city in the world, we constantly bumped into people we knew. Some were expected -- several friends were working the event, for example, and another friend lives a block from the park's main entrance, so I wasn't at all surprised to see her there -- others total surprises, and there's one friend I managed to find out later was there and I didn't bump into her. Le sigh.

Still we had a wonderful time, though after a full day of wandering around the park in the sun, we wuz pooped. We each lay down for a nap that we expected to be half an hour or an hour or so, and then we woke up three-and-a-half hours later. Oops.

We then got some pizza and stayed up watching this week's Doctor Who (which was delightful, with the scene where Danny points out that the Doctor hates soldiers because he's an officer was brilliant), and also finally caught up with the first two episodes of Boardwalk Empire's final season (which is fascinating, though the six-year jump means no more Rothstein, since he died in 1928, so that kinda sucks, as Michael Stuhlbarg's Rothstein was one of the best characters on the show).

Today I have to dive back into it, as there are rewatches to do, stories to edit, and miles to go before I sleep, and all that stuff.....

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Too Old to Rock and Roll, Too Young to Die" by Jethro Tull

On 20 September 2004, I walked into the karate dojo that was closest to my apartment, having picked the place solely on the basis of location. I'd been told by my doctor that I really needed to start exercising -- prior to September 2004, I led the very very sedentary life of a writer, where the only thing I exercised was my futility. But 2004 -- the year I turned 35 -- was also the year that the warranty ran out on my body. I developed a hiatal hernia, my knees and feet hurt so much that I was on prescription pain meds, my stamina was all but nonexistent (I was constantly winded walking up the stairs to my apartment, at the time a third-floor walkup), and I really needed to do something.

I knew joining a gym wasn't going to happen. All my self-discipline is tied up in my writing, and if I had to just go to the gym whenever I got around to it, I'd never do it. On top of that, most of the things you do in a gym are activities that bore the living crap out of me.

Martial arts, though, that always interested me. So I figured I'd give that a shot.

Ten years later, I'm a second-degree black belt. I not only continue to train, but I also teach an afterschool karate program and a kids fighting class, and I'm one of the regular substitutes whenever the person who normally teaches a class isn't available (just as an example, I'm teaching the white-belt class tomorrow morning). I get tremendous joy out of karate, out of the other people at the dojo, out of helping other students (adults and kids) learn, and just generally everything about it. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me. I'm happier, I'm healthier, I've been able to do lots of things I would never have been able to do if I'd continued on the route I was going when I was 35.

Plus, people don't believe that I'm 45, which is kind of awesome......

Anyhow, this is a public "thank you" to Shihan and the rest of the students at the dojo for a decade of wonderfulness. I came looking for a place to exercise. I found a magnificent community, a place where I have thrived, and a passion that has enriched me in so many ways.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Open All Night" by Bruce Springsteen

Couldn't resist this one, given how much better Scooter has been doing -- a fun little ditty about an amazing dog, dedicated to our own amazing pooch, magnificently on the mend from pancreatitis and pneumonia, the Austin Lounge Lizards doing "Flatnose the Tree-Climbing Dog."

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Flatnose the Tree-Climbing Dog" by the Austin Lounge Lizards

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "One Little Ship"
There was a little ship that took a little trip... The DS9 Rewatch is not listening to the Barenaked Ladies, but instead watching "One Little Ship."

An excerpt:
But ultimately the biggest problem is that the Jem’Hadar are portrayed here as total bloody morons. The whole Alpha-Gamma rivalry feels constructed and silly, as evidenced by the fact that we never saw it again, and is the kind of stupid thing that I can’t see the Dominion actually doing. Kudak’etan does things, not because it’s smart, but because he’s enjoying snarking off Ixtana’rax—exactly the kind of petty stupidity that the Jem’Hadar have been mostly free of.

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: "Holly Herald" by Jethro Tull

my Stargate SG-1 short story is approved!
My short story, "Time Keeps on Slippin'," has been approved by MGM, and will be appearing in the Stargate SG-1/Atlantis anthology Far Horizons, which will be published by Fandemonium Press some time soonish.

My story specifically focuses on Carter and Teal'c, and takes place in the one-week gap between the third and fourth seasons. The third season finale, "Nemesis," ended with O'Neill, Carter, Teal'c, and a pod with a very sick Thor diving through the stargate after setting the Asgard ship the Beliskner to explode with a crapton of Replicators on board. The fourth season premiere, "Small Victories," picked up a week later, with the trio rescued via the second stargate (Thor was rescued by the Asgard). Somehow, despite only a week passing, Carter grew her hair, y'know, a lot, and Teal'c grew a blond soul patch -- yet O'Neill hadn't changed hardly at all, and indeed hadn't even showered.

"Time Keeps on Slippin'" explains exactly what happened on P4X-234, filling in the gap in a story about time dilation, tectonic stress, idiot politicians, Carter being brilliant and giving long-winded explanations, and Teal'c being brave and tilting his head and saying "Indeed."

With luck, the stories in the anthology being approved will clear the decks so MGM can approve my two novel pitches..................

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Moments of Weakness" by Michael McCloud

preorder Things Don't Go Smooth with my Firefly adventure "Merciless"
I'm on The Batcave Podcast and Tuning Into SciFi TV
I'm on two podcasts that were released this week.

First we've got The Batcave Podcast, in which I join John S. Drew in discussing the two-part Batman episode "The Clock King's Crazy Crimes"/"The Clock King Gets Crowned," as the Clock King's perfectly timed crimes are thrown off-kilter by Batman and Robin. Plus: bat-burgers!!!!

The other is Tuning Into SciFi TV, which did the same thing that The Chronic Rift does, to wit, record panels featuring the staff of the show at Dragon Con 2014, in this case Kevin Batchelder. In this case, they're presenting the "Sleepy Hollow Fan Panel" on the Horror Track, which included Kevin, me, and fellow authors Catherine Scully, Erika Annabelle Pratte, and Karen Taylor discuss the FOX show. I also did a giveaway of both The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane and the blowup of my Children of the Revolution.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Peace and Quiet" by Michael McCloud

A little early (or late) for this, but I need these things for my own use as well as yours, so here's a roundup of my writing and editing docket.......

Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution. This should be officially published next week, though copies may be showing up in stores sooner. I live-tweeted the premiere on Monday night, and there'll be other promotional stuff going on.

Dragon Precinct fiction. At some point I do need to sit down and write Mermaid Precinct. And before that I need to write Torin & Danthres's second adventure for the Kickstarter supporters of same. The latter is my next prose writing project on the docket. "Partners in Crime" will be in Without a License (see below).

Cassie Zukav fiction. "Fish Out of Water" is all set in Out of Tune, and will be out next month. "Seven-Mile Race" will be in Without a License (see below). "Down to the Waterline" was turned down by Tor.com, and is currently under consideration by Buzzy Mag. I also have a story in mind riffing on Key West legend Robert the Doll that is awaiting time and/or a market to write.

Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido. I've turned the manuscript in to Dark Quest, including new introductions for all eleven stories and the collection as a whole. This will have a new "Precinct" story, a new Cassie Zukav story, and two previously unpublished short-shorts, "Behold a White Tricycle" and "Wild Bill Got Shot," in addition to seven reprints.

Stargate SG-1 fiction. I'm waiting for MGM's approval on three projects: "Time Keeps on Slippin'," a short story for the Far Horizons anthology, and two novel proposals. One is a solo novel that will take place during the fifth season of SG-1, the other is a collaborative novel that's the proposed first in a series that will be cowritten by me, Diana Dru Botsford, and David Read.

X-Files fiction. Yesterday I turned in "Back in El Paso My Life Would be Worthless" to Jonathan Maberry for the XF anthology The Truth is Out There.

Tie-in project #1. It's been a year and no word on this, so I'm assuming it's dead.

Tie-in project #2. This is a big-ass project that's starting up, and I've got ten different novel pitches in for it. I have no idea how many will go through, but they're all with the licensor and we'll see what happens.

Tie-in project #3. This is a collaborative project with three other authors. Right now we're at the batting-ideas-around stage, though that stage has been very fruitful and we're almost ready to start writing proposals.

Graphic novel. This is a 100-page graphic novel adaptation of someone else's novel that I've been hired to write. Not sure how public this is yet, so I'm keeping it vague, but that got jumped to the top of the queue.

Editing. I've got an anthology's worth of short stories and two client novels to edit over the course of the next couple of months.

Various bits of original fiction. The mystery, the science fiction novel, the urban fantasy, and the historical novel are all on hold until such a time as I can devote several months to writing something on spec. I don't see that happening any time soon, sadly.

I think that's everything..........................

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Aunt Margaret's Hat" by Michael McCloud

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Far Beyond the Stars"
It's 1953 New York, and Benny Russell is a colored man trying to make it as a science fiction writer. But his editor won't buy his latest story, "Deep Space Nine," because the captain is a Negro. The DS9 Rewatch goes "Far Beyond the Stars."

An excerpt:
And that’s why this episode is important. We see so many aspects of how far humanity has to go to get to the egalitarian 24th century. The era picked was a good one. It predates the ugliness of the Civil Rights unrest (not to mention the antiwar movement) of the 1960s and 1970s, but postdates things like a woman’s right to vote, the integration of the armed forces, and the integration of sports. It’s an era where progress is evident, but it hasn’t progressed nearly far enough. Yes, Willie Hawkins can play for a major-league team, but that’s only been the case for six years, and he still can’t really leave his neighborhood. Russell and Kay can write for Incredible Tales, but they can’t have their picture next to their stories.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Fat Man" by Jethro Tull

I will be live-tweeting the Sleepy Hollow premiere tonight!
From 8-9pm EST tonight, I will be live-tweeting the Sleepy Hollow second-season premiere from my Twitter account of @KRADeC. Look for the hashtag #Sleepyreads, especially since I'll also be pimping Children of the Revolution, my new Sleepy Hollow novel that comes out next week (which you can preorder from the links at DeCandido.net or Sleepy Reads).


Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Still Loving You Tonight" by Jethro Tull

This was an excellent weekend, for the most part. RocCon has some organizational issues, but they're working on them, and they mean well. The volunteers are all wonderful people, Alicia Lurye puts on a very good show, and a good time is always had by attendees. I know several dealers were disappointed in their sales (mostly folks who do decorative-arts-type stuff), which is really unfortunate, but I know several who did well.

As did I. I sold out of all the copies of all the Star Trek books I brought (The Klingon Art of War, Q & A, A Burning House, and A Time for War, a Time for Peace), as well as Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution and Ragnarok and Roll. Plus, I actually sold copies of Command and Conquer: Tiberium Wars and Dungeons & Dragons: Dark Sun: Under the Crimson Sun -- I rarely sell copies of those two! In fact, I sold at least one of everything I brought except for Guilt in Innocence and the two Young Hercules books.

I also did two program items. My Q&A Friday night was a big hit. I read from The Klingon Art of War and talked about various and sundry projects and answered questions. On Saturday, Lois Gresh, Tim McCormack, and I were supposed to do a panel comparing the original series to TNG, but it wound up being just Tim and I vamping, with a few contributions from Lois, mostly talking about various Trek-related things. At least for half the time. Unfortunately, the scheduling wasn't really thought through: our panel was from 11.30-12.30, but Brent Spiner's Q&A was from 12-1, and anyone who was going to be at our panel was also going to go see Spiner. So we had a mass exodus at 11.55.....

Among the other highlights: seeing and hanging out with old buddies Alex Saviuk, Patrick Thomas, Megan Parker, and Nate Squires, as well as new buddies Vince, Rob, Stef, Rose, Joy, Tifa, and particularly my tablemate Sal Otero, a comics artist who was attending his first convention, and who got tons of sketch commissions throughout the weekend. Sal's a very good guy, and I was glad to see his first con experience be a good one.

I also got to meet Traci Kanaan, the self-style "princess of parody," who came to the con and also performed at the comedy club in the hotel I was staying at. She was very funny (unlike her two opening acts, who were, respectively, mediocre and dreadful) and I would definitely recommend catching her act if she ever winds up at a venue near you.

The only flaws in the weekend were either minor (coffee in the green room, but no creamer of any kind on Saturday and only 2% milk on Sunday, plus only clear plastic cups to pour it into, which you need to triple up; generally the food was pretty poor in the green room, honestly, though there was lots of fruit and cheese that was yummy), or unavoidable (I'm currently on a train heading home which was 90 minutes late getting into Rochester, and is now sitting outside Syracuse waiting for a train to clear the station, so we'll be even later getting home).

Oh, and I also met a lovely and talented young woman (one of the dealers, who made superb jewelry) who was telling me about how she's getting her first novel published. The more she talked about it, the more alarm bells went off, and it didn't take long for me to work out that she'd been scammed, particularly when she mentioned the $1000 fee they charged her (the icing on the cake being the publisher in question being listed on Writer Beware). She was devastated, but also grateful, and is going to work this week to extricate herself from these fucknuts.

Meantime, I've gotten some preliminary work done on a new project that should pay well, as well as writing most of the story introductions (and giving a final read-through) to Without a License.

Now, though, I just want to go home to my puppy dog. Scooter is slightly better than he was when I left, but he's still pretty sick, and he may not make it through the week. Or he may recover. I won't count him out yet, but part of me is preparing for the possibility of having to say goodbye. :(

Current Mood: exhausted exhausted
Current Music: the noise of the train as it hurtles toward Albanyny

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Who Mourns for Morn?"
Morn is dead, and Quark is his sole heir. Quark thinks the latter is good news. Quark is proven wrong very very quickly. The DS9 Rewatch asks "Who Mourns for Morn?"

An excerpt:
The next day, the five of them go to the cargo bay, Quark puts his thumbprint on the padd, he opens the container to find 999 bricks of gold-pressed latinum. The four thieves all then pull their weapons on each other. Nahsk winds up pulling on Krit, to the latter’s shock—“We’re family!”—and then all four start shooting. While the thieves go all last-scene-of-Reservoir-Dogs on each other, Quark dives into the container to wait out the shootout. Eventually, Odo shows up, and arrests the foursome. This leaves Quark with all the money—

—except it turns out that it isn’t gold-pressed latinum. It’s just gold—the latinum (which is liquid, and which is suspended in gold as a delivery agent only) has been extracted. Quark now has 999 bricks of “worthless gold.” Odo just grins and says, “And it’s all yours.”

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: the noise of the train as it hurtles toward Syracuse

Sitting in the waiting area of Amtrak waiting for my train to Rochester to board.....

Scooter's doing better by tiny increments. He's still lethargic and moving slowly and barely registering stuff around him, but all those things are less than they were last night, which were less than they were yesterday morning. He's starting to build up speed, starting to get up on his own more often, and generally just looking a tiny bit better.

This weekend will be the acid test. It sucks that I won't be there for him, but Wrenn and Dale will take good care of the old fart, and I know I'll be getting regular updates.

Meantime, those of you going to RocCon, please do come by my table in the dealer room and buy all my books! We've got vet bills to pay.......

Current Mood: bleary
Current Music: the PA in Penn Station

Me and my old pal Jeremy Bottroff in 1997 at the San Diego Comic-Con. I was there on behalf of Byron Preiss, promoting the Marvel novels (which was going very strong at that point three years into the program) and Virtual Comics (which had just launched that year). That was when we had Stan Lee and Kurt Busiek at our booth signing an Untold Tales of Spider-Man poster to promote our upcoming anthology, which was the busiest autograph session we had. Having said that, a ton of folks related to either the Marvel project or VC signed at the booth. That was a particularly good year.

Anyhow, Jeremy lived in the area (still does, in fact), and while we've been friends since the early 1990s, the only times we've been in each other's physical presence has been when I've gone to SDCC. This was one of them. At the time he was a student and I was married. Now he's got a wife and offspring....


Current Mood: nostalgic nostalgic
Current Music: "Mother the Queen of My Heart" by Arlo Guthrie

Scooter is doing better this morning. This is not to say he's doing well, but there's visible improvement over yesterday. He's spending the day at the vet, getting IV fluids and meds. With luck, today's course of treatment will result in us being able to handle the rest of his treatment orally and at home.

With the X-Files story all but done (just awaiting girasole's editorial meat axe), I now turn my attention to the following:
---writing the introductions for Without a License, as each story will get its own intro
---editing a bunch of short stories
---editing two client manuscripts
---adapting a prose novel into a 100-page graphic novel
---writing the Kickstarter short story
---writing Mermaid Precinct

Plus I've got several tie-in projects that are awaiting licensor feedback, any one of which could jump the queue. And there's always the DS9 Rewatch......

In addition, I've got New York Comic-Con to prep for. I'll be sharing a booth with my dear friend Megan Rothrock, she of The LEGO Adventure Books, and also doing a panel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer alongside Amber Benson, Rachel Caine, John Scalzi, Carol Goodman, Michelle Knudsen, and Hillary Monahan (final panelist list not confirmed, so that list may change) on Friday at 5. I might be doing other things to promote the Sleepy Hollow novel.

This weekend is also RocCon, where I'll have a table and will be doing some panels. Best of all, I get to take a train up the Hudson River and then through some beautiful parts of upstate New York in order to get to Rochester. (Yes, I'm a train nerd. And a scenery nerd. Sue me.)

Current Mood: busy busy
Current Music: "Like a Tall Thin Girl" by Jethro Tull

This seems fitting given Scooter's travails: Jethro Tull's "Sleeping with the Dog," off their underrated and wonderful Catfish Rising album from the early 1990s.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Sleeping with the Dog" by Jethro Tull

Scooter has pancreatitis. He also has indications that could be cancer and could be pneumonia. To determine if it's cancer requires an expensive test we can't afford and which will tell us (if it's cancer) that there's jack-shit we can do because he's 15 and can't handle surgery or chemotherapy.

So we're treating it as if it's pneumonia and hoping for the best. He's been on IV fluids and meds all afternoon, and now he's home to be with his people (he wouldn't handle being alone at the vet's overnight, and would probably chew off the IV port in any case -- it's better for velcro dog to be with his people overnight). We'll bring him back first thing in the a.m. for another day of treatment and then see how he's doing.

Thank you all so very much for your kind thoughts here and on Facebook and on Twitter. I actually am much less anxious now than I was earlier (teaching the afterschool karate program today was nightmarish) because now we know stuff and have a solid plan of action.

More as we learn it.....

Current Mood: worried (but not as much)
Current Music: "Old Blevins" by the Austin Lounge Lizards

Scooter has been doing well for a while, more or less, but last night he started throwing up, y'know, a lot. He was fine overnight, but as soon as he drank some water, he threw that up and has continued to puke on and off all day.

It could just be a tummy rumble, but it could also be something far worse. We're taking him to the vet this afternoon.

He's going to be 15 in December, so pretty much anything is cause for concern that we're going to lose him. Most Golden Retrievers his age have been dead for two years.

He really is the most wonderfulest sweetest puppy ever and I'm afraid we're going to lose him. :(

Happy thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Here's my favorite picture of him, taken on one of his walks:

Current Mood: worried worried
Current Music: "Once Upon a Time in the West" by Dire Straits

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Waltz"
Dukat puts a pair of underpants on his head, shoves a couple of pencils up his nose, and goes all cluck-cluck-gibber-gibber-my-old-man's-a-mushroom, etc. He does not, however, say, "Wibble." The DS9 Rewatch searches in vain for Matilda in this "Waltz."

An excerpt:
There are parts of this episode that are brilliant, but ultimately it’s an object lesson in why you shouldn’t let the opinions of fans on the Internet (which was nascent at the time, but quite vocal) influence your writing decisions. Ira Steven Behr and the rest have admitted that this episode’s making of Dukat into “pure evil” was motivated by people who were saying nice things about him online and justifying his behavior.

This is a natural reaction. There is always going to be a subset of a TV show fandom that goes apeshit over a character because he or she is good-looking and/or charming and are willing to forgive a character many transgressions because of that charisma. (I always used to joke that Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans wouldn’t have been interested in redeeming Spike if he was played by Wayne Knight instead of James Marsters.)

But that’s not a good enough reason to do this idiotic story. It breaks DeCandido’s First Rule: Don’t mistake a few fans bitching on the Internet for any kind of trend.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "The Last Worthless Evening" by Don Henley

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