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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
kradical
On sale this week: Limbus Inc. Book 3, the latest in this shared-world series of horror anthologies about a powerful, mysterious company that hires people in need -- for very odd work........

Featuring novellas by Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, David Liss, Laird Barron, and me! Edited by Brett Talley and published by the fine folks at JournalStone.

Here's the back cover copy:
The Limbus saga continues with five more stories of horror, science fiction, and fantasy from some of the industry's brightest stars -- Jonathan Maberry, Seanan McGuire, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Laird Barron and David Liss.

Thomas Malone thought he'd seen it all during his twenty-five years in the Birmingham homicide division. But then they found the body of a woman suspended above the opening of the mineshaft known as the Vertical, blood dripping into the chasm below. At the bottom of that shaft, two clues -- a typed manuscript and a business card, blank but for a name on the front and a single sentence on the back. Malone couldn't know that those two enigmatic items would lead him on a manhunt around the world, on the trail of a murderer and an organization of myth and legend. But he shouldn't have been surprised.

The business card said it all.

LIMBUS, Inc. How lucky do you feel?

My story is called "Right on, Sister," and it mostly takes place in New York City in the late 1970s featuring a woman named Wanda Jackson.

Check it out!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Masters of War" by Eddie Vedder

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kradical
The cover to Marvel's Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings (Book 2 of my "Tales of Asgard" trilogy) has at last been revealed!



Here's the back cover copy:
In the action-packed Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings, Marvel's Tales of Asgard trilogy tells the adventures of another of the realm's greatest warriors.

When the nearby village of Flodbjerge is terrorized by a dragon, one of its citizens races to Asgard seeking the help of Thor. But with the God of Thunder incapacitated following a battle, it is Sif who must answer the call -- much to the villager's dismay. Despite being one of Asgard's most skilled fighters, Sif is used to being doubted.

She's also used to overcoming those doubts.

There's a reason Sif is known as the Unstoppable. But both her reputation and her life are on the line as she faces the fearsome dragon, Oter. The face-off won't be straightforward, either -- the winged beast has a secret that Sif will have to unravel in order to defeat him before the village and its people go up in flames.

Sif: Even Dragons Have Their Endings will be followed shortly by the final volume of the Tales of Asgard trilogy, Warriors Three: Godhood's End, also written by Marvel veteran and popular fantasy author Keith R.A. DeCandido

The book is available for preorder from Amazon, and will go on sale in August.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Minimum Wage" by They Might Be Giants

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kradical
So New York State has a thing whereby if you don't have a formal rental lease, you are considered "month to month." That's the situation I've been in in this apartment building (first on the third floor from 2001-2008, then on the second floor from 2008 to the present), and it has its good points and bad points.

One of the latter is that the landlord can announce that the lease is cancelled with only 30 days' notice.

Last Thursday, we were given notice that our lease was cancelled and we must vacate by 31 August.

Yeah.

Just as things have been settling financially for us for the first time since Wrenn's contract gig ended in 2013, this happens.

On the other hand, two major expenses have been removed for the nonce: we have postponed our wedding, so we are no longer getting married on 17 September as planned. We're looking now at April 2017 for the new marriage commencement date.

The other, sadly, is that I have cancelled my appearance at Dragon Con 2016. The timing is just awful, as Labor Day weekend is a time that will be required for moving and/or unpacking.

We are now frantically checking real estate ads, talking to people, and generally running in circles and screaming and shouting -- plus, y'know, getting work done, seeing as how we've both got deadlines that don't care about our personal crises. We're looking at a place in our neighborhood this afternoon, and have a ton of other feelers out as well.

Please all of you send happy thoughts in our direction. The next month is going to be insane..............................

Current Mood: crazy crazy
Current Music: "Horace and Pete" by Paul Simon

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kradical
Now that the movie's been out for a few days, here's my fully spoiled review of Star Trek Beyond on Tor.com, done in the style of the rewatches.

An excerpt:
However, the best parts of the entire film are the scenes with Spock and McCoy. Zachary Quinto and Karl Urban have both done a great job filling the shoes of Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley, but Urban has been criminally underused to date. This film finally rectifies that, and gives us the Spock-McCoy banter that was one of the best parts of the original series and their followup movies. One of the things that gave me hope for this movie in the trailers was the scene where McCoy says, “At least I won’t die alone,” then Spock is beamed away, and McCoy grumbles, “Well, that’s just typical,” and I’m pleased to report that that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In particular, the horseshit conversation is the highlight of the entire film.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Just a Little Favor for the Kinkster" by Mojo Nixon

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kradical
Dayton Ward explains it all.......

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Kissing Willie" by Jethro Tull

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kradical
I'm officially an eight-time loser! The Scribe Awards were announced by the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers tonight at a panel at San Diego Comic-Con. My short story, "Back in El Paso My Life Would be Worthless" in The X-Files: Trust No One, did not win, probably because the judges got exhausted just from reading the title.....

Particular congratulations to two of my closest friends and most awesome colleagues, David Mack and Dayton Ward, for their novel wins!

Here's the full list:

Best Novel--Speculative
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Armageddon's Arrow by Dayton Ward

Best Novel--General
24: Live Another Day: Rogue by David Mack

Best Adapted Novel
MANOS: The Hands of Fate by Stephen D. Sullivan

Best Short Story
"Fallout" by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (The Strand)

Best Audio
Doctor Who: "The Red Lady" by John Dorney

Again, congrats to the winners!

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: "Back Street Beachhouse Back in Business Blues" by Cats Laughing

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kradical
On the last night of the Republican National Convention -- which has been a true embarrassment in every possible sense of the word, from the legions of Republican politicians who announced that they were too busy washing their hair, or whatever, to attend to the hysterical nonsense speeches by a series of washed-up actors and washed-up politicians to the multiple examples of plagiarism in speeches by the nominee's family members -- Jon Stewart popped into The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to do what he does best, and what we've horribly missed since he retired from The Daily Show.

Current Mood: pissed off pissed off
Current Music: "Just Came Down for the Weekend" by Michael McCloud

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kradical
My spoiler-free review of Star Trek Beyond is now up on Tor.com!

An excerpt:
However, nice visuals and good acting are old hat for Bad Robot Trek films, but what’s been missing is a script that isn’t dumber than a box of hammers. Well, encased construction tools can take heart in the fact that they get the top dumb spot once again, as the script by Simon Pegg and Doug Jung is actually good!

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "The Crush" by the John Hiatt Band & Ry Cooder

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kradical
Kirk vs. Kang to the death -- and beyond! The TOS Rewatch experiences the "Day of the Dove."

An excerpt:
One of Kang’s officers tortures Chekov until Kirk gives in and agrees to call the ship. Kang urges Kirk not to try anything crazy, and Kirk says he’ll beam them on board—once there, no tricks. Kang fails his saving throw versus “clever wordplay” and agrees. Kirk orders Spock to beam everyone up in a wide field, but also covertly signals him. Scotty beams the landing party up, but holds everyone not in the party in the transporter buffer until Johnson can summon two more security guards. Kang and his people materialize and are taken prisoner. Kirk also beams the remaining survivors off of Kang’s disabled ship, including his wife and science officer, Mara. Mara expects them to be tortured, but Kirk surprises them by confining them to the crew lounge and ordering the food synthesizers to be programmed to suit their needs. (Given what we found out about Klingon food in TNG‘s “A Matter of Honor” and beyond, it’s probably for the best that we didn’t get a lunch scene.)

Current Mood: geeky geeky
Current Music: "Get Back" by Paul McCartney

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kradical
My World of Warcraft novel Cycle of Hatred is my most successful book, which I know has a lot more to do with the logo on top of the front cover than the byline on the bottom of it, but it's still nice to see that it's getting readers -- a decade after its release, the book is still in print -- and I just came across this nice review by "Sharp" on the Into the Dragon's Cave blog of the book!

Money quote:
If you’re a fan of Warcraft and you want to learn more about this world or your favourite characters, that’s the book for you. Probably the best Warcraft novel I’ve ever read. If you’re new to this universe, I think this is a good place to start. Cycle of Hatred does a nice job in introducing you to the world, characters and previous events.

Racial conflict is the only deeper theme of this book, besides that it is a short, simple and enjoyable story. Longtime fans of Warcraft will find familiar characters and places, newcomers - a fun story about magic and demons. I enjoyed the style and narration of Mr. DeCandido, I didn’t find the book boring. It’s definitely worth checking out.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Private Investigations" by Dire Straits

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kradical
I will be the Author Guest of Honor at Ro-Con 2 in Mystic, Connecticut this coming weekend. I will be selling and signing my books, and doing some programming. Here's my schedule:

Friday
8-9pm: Keith R.A. DeCandido Reading -- I'll be reading from one of my upcoming works (Presentations Room)
10-11pm: "Lake Geneva, 200 Years Later," w/Mario Di Giacomo and Kristi Petersen Schoonover (Panel Room)

Saturday
11am-noon: practical self defense workshop (Panel Room)
2-3pm: "Writing the Cross-Genre Novel," w/Kate Kaynak and Roberta Rogow (Panel Room)

I have nothing scheduled for Sunday, though there's a panel called "Adapting Works of Fiction into Screen or Stage Format ... and Vice-Versa" that I may crash................

Hope to see folks there!

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Hazel" by Bob Dylan & The Band

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kradical
Batman's cowl turns pink! And other stuff, too, involving the Mad Hatter, skeletons, rubies, and such, but mostly: the cowl turns pink. The Bat-rewatch does "The Contaminated Cowl"/"The Mad Hatter Runs Afoul."

An excerpt:
Nothing in this story makes any damn sense. The Mad Hatter only seems to steal seven hundred hat boxes so that Batman can know he’s at large again. He goes to all the trouble to steal the Hatfield Ruby, even though it turns out to be a fake. He sprays Batman’s cowl with radioactive spray, which somehow only affects the cowl and not the cape (because that’s still blue). Why does Batman make the world think he’s dead? What purpose does it serve? It’s obviously nothing more than an annoyance to him, based on how he responds to Harriet’s mourning, so why even do it in the first place? Also, why are the skeletons only wearing underwear, capes, and masks? Where’s the rest of the costumes? After making a point of making it clear that Batman has no spare cowls, we then discover that he has two—one in the Batmobile (which goes on the skeleton) and one under the cowl he’s currently wearing. But wait, if he was wearing it under the contaminated cowl, wouldn’t it be contaminated, too, that being, y’know, how radiation works? Also shouldn’t Batman and Robin know more about radiation than they do, what with there being an atomic reactor in the Batcave?

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "My Baby" by Elvis Presley

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kradical
From Shore Leave 24 in 2002, me, Marco Palmieri, and Jeffrey Lang doing a joint reading from one of the works in the "DS9 Relaunch," the post-"What You Leave Behind" DS9 fiction that Marco was, at the time, in charge of, and to which Jeff and I both contributed.

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Darkest Hour" by Arlo Guthrie

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kradical
Eric Clapton's stellar rendition of an old blues song with just an acoustic guitar. They didn't call him "God" for nothin'...............

Current Mood: impressed impressed
Current Music: "Key to the Highway" by Eric Clapton

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kradical
As ever, I will be at Shore Leave in Cockeysville, Maryland this weekend. I haven't missed a Shore Leave this millennium........

Here's my schedule:

Friday
10pm-midnight: Meet the Pros, Hunt/Valley corridor, w/all the author guests -- we'll be debuting Altered States of the Union and I'll have a bunch of my books for sale

Saturday
11am-noon: Boogie Knights concert, Valley
1-2pm: "When to Break Your Writing Instructor's Rules," Chase, w/Lorraine Anderson, Derek Tyler Attico, Michael Critzer, Jo Graham, Susan Olesen, and David Harten Wilson
3-4pm: "The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers," Chase, w/Rigel Ailur, Lorraine Anderson, Kathleen O. David, Robert Greenberger, and Richard C. White
4-5pm: "The Freelancer's Dilemma," Chase, w/Andrew Hiller, Jeffrey Lang, Aaron Rosenberg, Melissa Scott, and Steven H. Wilson
5-6pm: practical self-defense workshop, Concierge

Sunday
11am-noon: "Step One: Writing! Step Three: Published!" Derby, w/Mary Fan, Stephen Kozeniewski, Jeffrey Lang, T.J. Perkins, and Aaron Rosenberg
12-1pm: "Stargate in Literature & Media," Salon F, w/Jo Graham, Aaron Rosenberg, and Melissa Scott

Looking forward to seeing folks there!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat" by John Mellencamp

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kradical
McCoy hits all the clichés! He has a year to live, he falls in love, and he helps save a generation ship from crashing into a planet. The TOS Rewatch knows that life is a lie "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky."

An excerpt:
This script would have benefitted greatly by aping the structure of another third-season love-story-in-an-hour episode about a planetary collision, to wit, “The Paradise Syndrome.” (This despite the latter episode being inferior to this one.) The episode would have worked far better by taking more story time in the hour, giving McCoy and Natira’s relationship a chance to grow the way Kirk’s and Miramanee’s did, and have the Enterprise‘s efforts to get Yonada back on course take a certain amount of time and effort.

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

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kradical
Mark Knopfler goes bluesy...........

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "I Used to Could" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
For the monthly roundup of books for the "Her Commonplace Blog" site, there's a nice bunch of reviews, including one of Thor: Dueling with Giants.

Money quote:
Anyway, the dialogue in this novel is kind of ‘Shakespearean’, if you get what I mean. The plot itself was entertaining enough. It’s just a usual kind of plot where Thor is super headstrong and wants to be DA BEST and Loki is of course always angry and scheming, so he sets plans in motion to get his brother all kinds of fucked up.

It’s a very typical Loki vs. Aesir type story. Long story short, if you really love Thor comics and want something quick and easy to read for like a long bus ride or whatever, then pick this up. Might even be a good book for middle school kids who are getting into superheroes!

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Portland Town" by Arlo Guthrie

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kradical
A version of a couple things I posted on Facebook (that prompted massive conversation there)............

It's been announced that Hikaru Sulu will be established as gay -- or, more accurately, having a husband and daughter -- in Star Trek Beyond, partly in tribute to George Takei (who himself thinks it's a terrible idea, as he always played Sulu as straight). Here's the thing -- he's the only character among the Big Seven who can be so established, because he's the only character whose heterosexuality (or, at least, interest in women) wasn't made clear. Chekov had the yeoman in "The Apple" and his old girlfriend in "The Way to Eden." Scotty had women he was fond of in "Who Mourns for Adonais?" and "The Lights of Zetar," not to mention his flirting with Uhura in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. As for Uhura, there's also her ideal man shown by the salt vampire in "The Man Trap." McCoy had the yeoman in "Shore Leave," Natira in "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky," his ex-girlfriend in "The Man Trap," and his ex-wife, not canonically established until the 2009 Star Trek. Spock had Leila Kalomi in "This Side of Paradise," the Romulan Commander in "The Enterprise Incident," and Droxine in "The Cloud Minders," not to mention T'Pring in "Amok Time." And Kirk is the most heterosexual character ever.

But Sulu? Nothin'. He's the only one of the six main male characters in the entire history of the TOS crew to never be given a love interest. Closest we came is in "Mirror, Mirror" when the alternate-universe Sulu hit on Uhura, but that's the Mirror Universe, and for all we know, he pulled the same shit on Chekov.

There are bits and pieces here and there, of course: Sulu was just as affected as the other men on board by Mudd's women in their eponymous episode and by Ilia in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, but both cases involved chemical pheremonic enhancement, natural for Ilia, artificial for Mudd's "cargo." There's the animated episode "The Magics of Megas-Tu" in which Sulu conjures a woman and kisses her on the bridge, but that entire episode is full of nonsense, and the animated series' canonical status is variable in any case.

My favorite is the argument "he has a daughter!" from Star Trek Generations, as if that proves he's straight, as if homosexual people can't possibly have children, which would be news to (to name three prominent gay men in the nerdy community) David Gerrold, Neil Patrick Harris, and Samuel R. Delany and their kids.

Many are dismissing this particular revelation as yet another case of the Bad Robot folks "not getting" and "rewriting" Trek, even though establishing Sulu as having a husband changes nothing we saw on screen between Sulu's first appearance in Trek's first season in 1966 and his last in the Voyager episode "Flashback" in 1996 (or, for that matter, in the Bad Robot movies of 2009 and 2013).

One thing that those folks will cite as another example is the Spock-Uhura relationship, as it isn't based on anything that happened in the original series!!!!!!

Except it totally is. One thing I have realized in doing my weekly rewatch of TOS for Tor.com the last year or so is that they did not pull Spock-Uhura out of their asses. There is evidence to be found in "The Man Trap" when Uhura's asking Spock about Vulcan, in "Who Mourns for Adonais?" when Uhura's performing repairs, and in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?" when the Spock/Kollos gestalt quotes Byron's "She Walks in Beauty" at Uhura.

But the best evidence that Spock and Uhura were an item in the original series was in "Charlie X." Here's what I wrote in my rewatch of that episode:
The mess hall scene when Uhura sings along with Spock’s Vulcan lyre playing is Exhibit B in the evidence that Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman did not pull the Spock-Uhura romance out of their asses for the 2009 Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. I can see the pair of them rewatching the original series and getting to this scene.

KURTZMAN (not a Trek fan, pauses after Uhura’s done singing): So, those two are fucking, right?

ORCI (a longtime Trek fan): Of course not. What are you, nuts? Spock would never...

KURTZMAN: Seriously? They’re totally fucking. I mean, it’s 1966, so they can only show much, but still. Watch the scene again.

ORCI (yanks the remote out of Kurtzman’s hands and rewinds, then watches the scene again): Holy shit, they totally are!

It is my fond hope that people come out of reading my rewatch realizing that a) Jim Kirk was NOTNOTNOTNOT a maverick who disobeyed orders and went his own way and did what he wanted and b) that the Spock-Uhura romance is a perfectly legit interpretation.

Current Mood: nerdy nerdy
Current Music: "Blowing in the Wind" by Bob Dylan & The Band

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kradical
It's the Catwoman/Sandman team-up that nobody demanded! (Least of all the original scripter...) The Bat-rewatch does "The Sandman Cometh"/"The Catwoman Goeth."

An excerpt:
It’s not all bad. Spring Byington is a delight as Spaghetti, Michael Rennie brings a certain charm to the Sandman, and the story is generally well populated with capable women, much more so than we usually see in a show that tends to embrace the sexism of its period with both arms. But overall, the story is a mess. It’s unclear what Catwoman brings to the table that necessitates the team-up. If the Sandman’s plan is to marry Spaghetti, why bother taking pictures of her ledger? Why set up Batman trying to gain Catwoman’s cooperation if they don’t need it and will just arrest her in any case?

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Heading for the Light" by the Traveling Wilburys

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kradical
When my character, while talking about New York City, says that "I heard this was a helluva town," and he and the person he's talking to go on to continue to riff on the song "New York, New York" from On the Town, please do not change it to "hell of a town," especially since the actual lyrics from the actual song written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green are "helluva town."

Also: when my first-person narrator indulges in a metaphor, please do not change it to a bland description without the jokey metaphor because your way is more grammatically correct, as you then drain the personality out of my first-person narrator.

(I generally love copy editors, they are wonderful people, and this one has also caught some major fuckups on my part, but you don't edit dialogue the same way you edit narration, and you don't edit first-person narration the same way you edit third-person narration, and you don't edit fiction the same way you edit nonfiction.)

Grumble.....

Current Mood: grumpy grumpy
Current Music: "Hill Farmer's Blues" by Mark Knopfler

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kradical
Nothing changes.

A black man was shot by cops even though he hadn't actually done anything wrong. He took out his wallet so he could identify himself to the cops (who thought he matched the description of a serial rapist). They opened fire and shot 41 times.

This happened in the Bronx in 1999.

Nothing changes.

Bruce Springsteen wrote this song for Amadou Diallo. It applies just as much to Alton Sterling and Philado Castile.

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "41 Shot (American Skin)" by Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

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kradical
Back in 2001, my first Trek novel, Diplomatic Implausibility, was published. It featured Worf's first mission as an ambassador following the DS9 finale, and also showcased a Klingon ship, the I.K.S. Gorkon, captained by Klag, a guest character from a most excellent second-season TNG episode "A Matter of Honor." I also brought the ship and characters back in The Brave and the Bold duology in 2002.

In 2003, I was given the green light to do two books in a new series focused on the Klingon ship, the I.K.S. Gorkon series. It only lasted three books (the third came out in 2005), with an attempted rebranding in 2008.

Jim Arrowood's only recently discovered the adventures of Klag and the gang, and he just reviewed the first Gorkon book, A Good Day to Die, on his blog.

Money quote:
As I have mentioned in previous reviews of this author’s works, chief among Keith’s many strengths is his ability to bring characters alive and make them seem like real people. Although A Good Day To Die is obviously a work of fiction, it seems real as one reads mainly owing to the vivid character development.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Give Me Back My Wig" by Interstate Brickface

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kradical
Rosie Amber has given my Stargate SG-1 novel Kali's Wrath 5 out of 5 stars in a review on her blog! Hooray!

Money quote:
A rescue mission is planned with the added bonus of help from the Tok’ra and Master Bra’tac making this an action packed episode. There were clever back stories informing the reader about the System Lord Kali and how she fit into the many Goa’uld leaders, as well as enough background on the lead characters for first time readers to feel involved, but not too much to bore dedicated fans of the TV series.

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

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kradical
We had a grand old time at InConJunction XXXVI. I was Author GoH at InCon XXX in 2010, and both we and the con wanted me back, and we were finally able to make it happen this year. And it'll happen again next year, as it was formally announced at closing ceremonies that next year, I will be Toastmaster.

The weekend included catching up with old friends, including Farscape creator/Media GoH (and my collaborator on the Farscape comics) Rockne S. O'Bannon (and also meeting his son Eric), Helen, Marceille, Joe, Kat, Dawn, Lexi, Lisa, Emily, and the magnificent crew of the U.B.S. Indycent of Barfleet. I am now actually a member of the Indycent crew, which is a great honor.......

I also got to meet new people, sell tons of books, do nifty panels (on Farscape with Rockne, as well as one on the 50th anniversary of the Adam West Batman, one on morality in Star Trek's Federation, and one on writing combat scenes in fiction), and generally have a fantastic time.

We're off this morning to visit relatives in western Pennsylvania, and also relax a bit at the B&B in Clarion that we love (both Wrenn and I have deadlines that don't give a shit that we were at a con). We're back home Wednesday afternoon/evening.

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

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