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KRAD's Inaccurate Guide to Life
ramblings from a mad fedora'd writer
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In honor of the holiday season, I'm reminding you all that I've got bunches of my books for sale! I'll autograph 'em and everything! To pay, please PayPal the amount of the book(s) plus $5 for shipping to krad at whysper dot net or send a check/money order made out to Keith R.A. DeCandido to PO Box 4976, New York, NY 10185-4976. If you're outside the U.S., just PayPal me the amount of the books, and I'll bill you for the exact amount of the international postage after I ship the package.

Make sure to include a shipping address and how you want me to inscribe the autograph, if at all.

BONUS -- for any order of $30 or more, you'll get a free e-copy of "Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty," in mobi, epub, or PDF format. (Just provide me with an e-mail address.)


Cassie Zukav
Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet -- $15

Command and Conquer
Tiberium Wars -- $8

Dragon Precinct
Dragon Precinct -- $15
Unicorn Precinct -- $15
Goblin Precinct -- $15
Gryphon Precinct -- $15
Tales from Dragon Precinct -- $15
any 3 Precinct books -- $40
any 4 Precinct books -- $55
all 5 Precinct books -- $65

Dungeons & Dragons
Dark Sun: Under the Crimson Sun -- $8

Farscape
comic books

I have various single issues of the Farscape comics for $4 each:
Gone and Back #1-3
D'Argo's Lament #4
D'Argo's Trial #1-2, 4
D'Argo's Quest #2-4
Farscape (ongoing) #3-8, 12, 14-16, 21-23

Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda
Destruction of Illusions (hardcover) -- $10

movie novelizations
Darkness Falls -- $7
Resident Evil: Genesis -- $7

Sleepy Hollow
Children of the Revolution
-- $8

Star Trek
The Klingon Art of War -- $26
New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics -- $18

StarCraft
Ghost: Nova -- $8

Super City Police Department
The Case of the Claw -- $15
With Great Power -- $15

Tales of the Scattered Earth
Guilt in Innocence -- $15

World of Warcraft
Cycle of Hatred -- $8

Young Hercules
Cheiron's Warriors -- $3
The Ares Alliance -- $3
both YH books -- $5

Current Mood: awake awake
Current Music: "Junk" by Jeff Lynne

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Sisko has the Mother of all Prophet visions, Kira reminds everyone that she's the baddest one on the block, and Worf, Martok, O'Brien, Bashir, and Quark blow up a sun in Jadzia's honor. Plus, the return of Benny Russell and papa's got a brand-new Dax! The DS9 Rewatch plays with "Shadows and Symbols."

An excerpt:
Kira’s plotline is pretty straightforward, but it’s worth it just to watch Kira totally own both Cretak and Ross. My favorite is early on when Ross says that it’s a battle Kira can’t win, and you expect Kira to grab him by the lapels and say, “Excuse me, but are you actually aware of the recent history of the planet of my birth and the role I played in liberating it from the evil empire?” Seriously, Kira spent her entire life up until six years earlier fighting a fight she couldn’t win and winning it. And we see how as she goes up against a mess of Romulan warbirds and two interstellar governments with the interplanetary equivalent of a bunch of pop guns and, again, wins. It’s a great moment for a great character.

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

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Patrick Hayes wrote a very nice review of Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution for Sci-Fi Pulse. He gave me an A!

Money quote:
DeCandido has nailed the voices of Crane and Mills wonderfully. The banter between them and their reactions, both internal and external, are spot on with the way Mison and Beharie deliver their lines. If the book had been the two of them just having a conversation in their secret library, I would have been happy because of the way DeCandido writes them. I was especially pleased with her modern day references that confused Crane, an aspect of their relationship touched upon on television. Crane, being the outsider, naturally gets the bulk of scenes and he is just as delightful here as he is in the show. I especially liked his reactions upon visiting a fort. Abbie is much more in police mode here than shown in the series, and this was a welcome trait to have her illustrate, as the program doesn’t often allow time for her to practice her profession, but a book can. Also in the cast is Frank Irving, who gets to do a quite a bit, and made me miss him all the more from the second season. Abbie’s sister Jenny is also present, but she’s running recon until the end of the novel. The villains are a coven of witches touched upon in the second episode of the first season, “Blood Moon.” I can’t give away much of them without spoiling things, but when they are finally revealed their intercourse is hilarious, even if their plot is absolutely evil.

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: a Major Crimes rerun on TNT

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So there are three reviews on Amazon of Out of Tune, the Jonathan Maberry-edited anthology of stories based on old ballads, which includes my Cassie Zukav story "Fish Out of Water."

Two of those reviews are by people named Kelly -- Mills and Garbato -- and both Kellys single "Fish Out of Water" out for praise. Mills listed it along with Seanan McGuire's "Driving Jenny Home" and "Tam Lane" by Lisa Morton as favorites, while Garbato reviewed all the stories, most of them getting 4 of 5 stars. The exceptions were "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" by Del Howison and "John Wayne's Dream" by Gary A. Braunbeck, which only got 3, and "Wendy, Darling" by Christopher Golden, my story, and "John Barleycorn Must Die" by Marsheila Rockwell & Jeff Mariotte, which all got 5 stars. Oh, and Seanan's story (which was the primary reason for Garbato's purchasing the anthology), which was given ALL THE STARS!

Money quote:
“Fish Out of Water” by Keith R.A. DeCandido – When mermaids begin appearing in the waters of Key West, driving all humans who see them to madness, dive master Cassie – who recently discovered that she’s a Disir, a Norse fate goddess – sets out to right her friend Loki’s wrongs. (Based on The Mermaid.) 5/5 stars.

Yay. :)

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Adios Hermanos" by Paul Simon

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Sisko has a family crisis, Kira has a command crisis, and Worf has a grief crisis. The DS9 Rewatch kicks off season 7 with "Image in the Sand."

An excerpt:
Plus it continues the ruining of the wormhole aliens. In “Emissary,” the Prophets were a fascinating alien species that were so other that they could only communicate with linear humans by talking down to them via memory fragments. In “Image in the Sand,” the Prophets are the GM of a role-playing game, dropping clues on Sisko so he can go on his quest to find the treasure and gain experience points. It’s not an improvement.

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Current Music: this week's White Collar on the DVR

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MGM has approved my revisions on the outline, so I can finally talk about this...

I have come to an agreement with Fandemonium Books to write a Stargate SG-1 novel called Kali's Wrath. The book will take place in the late fifth season of SG-1, and involves the System Lord Kali (played by Suleka Mathew in the episodes "Summit" and "Last Stand") and also addressing one of the plot points the TV show never did anything with, to wit, the conflict against the Re'tu (seen in the episode "Show and Tell," and referenced once or twice after that, but quickly forgotten).

I'll be working on this book for the next few months -- it's due 15 February 2015. With any luck, it'll be out some time in the summer or fall of 2015. (In a perfect world, it'll be out in time for Shore Leave. We'll see....)

I'm thrilled to be writing a novel in the Stargate universe, having been a fan of the show for ages, and having had a grand old time writing "Time Keeps on Slippin'" for Far Horizons. This also is not the only Stargate project I have in the works, we're just waiting for the final okay from MGM for the other one. :)

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Current Music: "The Obvious Child" by Paul Simon

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Today I find myself remembering and memorializing a person I never met.

ShusekiWithSword


Ten years and two months ago, I started training in karate. I was an overweight 35-year-old white belt struggling to actually do the 30-40 push-ups per class that were required. I barely knew anything about karate, was still trying to remember all the terms and get all the moves right. I hadn't really met any of the black belts aside from Shihan Paul, the owner of the dojo and at the time the only instructor of adult classes. The only color belt I'd met was Cliff, then a brown belt, who assisted Shihan in teaching us white belts.

Ten years ago today, at what was, up until that day, the primary dojo of our discipline, several students arrived at the Upper West Side Kenshikai Karate dojo on 99th and Broadway to find that the founder of Kenshikai, Shuseki Shihan William Oliver, had died.

I never met Shuseki; indeed, on that day ten years ago, I didn't really know who he was when I was told that he died, except that he was Shihan's teacher and the founder of Kenshikai.

In the years since, I have learned quite a bit. Shuseki studied Kyokushin (as did Shihan), and when Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura broke off from Kyokushin to form Seido in 1976, Shuseki joined him (again, as did Shihan, a teenager at the time). In 2001, a disagreement with Kaicho led to Shuseki forming Kenshikai, along with several people who ran their own dojos in New York, Ecuador, and South Africa (Shihan among them).

I got a copy of Fighting Black Kings, the late 1970s documentary which focused on Shuseki as well as two of his fellow Kyokushinkai, Charles Martin and Willie Williams. I found YouTube videos, I watched The True Way, the posthumous documentary put together by the students he left behind to run Kenshikai after his death.

On the one hand, it's one of the great regrets of my life that I never got to meet Shuseki Shihan William Oliver. On the other hand, I feel like I do know him, because in a sense I see him all the time. He taught Shihan, and he taught other black belts with whom I've trained over the years.

And I see him in myself. My own teaching style evolved from watching and learning from and emulating the students of Shuseki.

The one thing I know is true from the footage I've seen and from the commonality among those he taught in how they teach is that Shuseki encouraged and pushed without discouraging or forcing. He'd never make you do anything you couldn't do, but he'd also make you realize that you could do more than you think you can.

I love that I can watch footage of him teaching in 1986 and see that he's running his students through the same punching drills that I ran the kids through at the afterschool program I teach yesterday.

I wasn't going to go to the dojo tonight. I'm on deadline, I've got a busy weekend at the dojo coming up (there's a promotion Sunday), and I'm teaching the kids fighting class tomorrow night, and I just didn't want to. But then I read this magnificent blog entry by Kyoshi Jennifer. Along with her husband, Kyoshi Matthew, they now run the Upper West Side dojo, carrying on for Shuseki (though in a different location). And after reading that, I realized that I had to train today of all days.

So tonight, I plan to go to the dojo, and I plan to punch and kick and block and sweat. And I plan to remember a person I never met, yet who has continued to have a huge influence on me.

Osu, Shuseki Shihan. Rest in peace.

Current Mood: thoughtful thoughtful
Current Music: "With You There to Help Me" by Jethro Tull

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Back in 2001, Boskone 38 did "Iron Author," a riff on Iron Chef, where three "cooks" -- Iron Author Science Fiction (me), Iron Author Fantasy (the late Josepha Sherman), and Iron Author Horror (Esther M. Friesner) -- went against a challenger, each using "ingredients" chosen for us with which to create an instant story. The challenger for this one was James Macdonald.

Here's a picture, taken by Terri Osborne, of the four of us:

ia11

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Current Music: "Dangerous Veils" by Jethro Tull

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It's Nebula nominating season! All SFWA members can nominate works they think are worthy of Nebula consideration on this page (it won't work if you're not already logged into the SFWA forums).

I have a bunch of works eligible for the Nebula Award, and I would very much like it if folks would nominate me. If necessary, I can provide PDF copies of all the novels and stories listed -- just e-mail me at krad at whysper dot net (or comment here), and I'll shoot it off to you.

Best Novel
Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution, Broadway Books

Best Novelette
"Fish Out of Water," in Out of Tune, edited by Jonathan Maberry, JournalStone
"Time Keeps on Slippin'," in Stargate SG-1/Atlantis: Far Horizons, edited by Sally Malcolm, Fandemonium

Best Short Story
"Stone Cold Whodunit," in With Great Power, edited by John L. French & Greg Schauer, Dark Quest

I realize that two of the above are media tie-ins, but so what? There's nothing in the SFWA bylaws that forbid tie-ins from winning, and considering that a piece of fanfiction was nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation a few years ago (Worlds Enough and Time, which actually did violate SFWA bylaws, as it was not a professional production), there's really no leg to stand on with regard to keeping tie-ins out of it.

(To my annoyance, there's no category in the Nebulas in which The Klingon Art of War fits....)

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Current Music: "Cat's Squirrel" by Jethro Tull

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At Dragon Con 2014, I was on a panel (alongside Joe Crowe, Michael Bailey, Kevin Eldridge, Philip Schweier, and Geena Phillips) called "From Howard to Hasselhoff," which covered the movies based on Marvel Comics that were created in the 20th century, before X-Men in 2000 and Spider-Man in 2002 started the current trend of Marvel movies that are awesome. There was a remarkable amount of crap, and we talked about all of it, from Reb Brown's embarrassing Captain America to George Lucas's misbegotten Howard the Duck to the Hoff as Nick Fury. The panel was archived for Episode 195 of the Views from the Longbox podcast, and can be heard by clicking on this paragraph.

This panel was tremendous fun, and you should definitely check it out.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Smokestack Lightnin'" by Howlin' Wolf

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Out of Tune is a new anthology edited by New York Times best-selling author Jonathan Maberry which has a bunch of stories based on ballads -- mostly sea ballads, like the Child Ballads -- and published by JournalStone. The book's official on-sale date was today, and it features a new Cassie Zukav story by me, plus a whole bunch more.

outoftune

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (hardcover) | Amazon (trade paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Nook or trade paperback) | direct from the publisher


Here's the full table of contents:
    Introduction by Jonathan Maberry
    "Wendy, Darling" by Christopher Golden
    "Sweet William's Ghost" by David Liss
    "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" by Del Howison
    "John Wayne's Dream" by Gary Braunbeck
    "Bedlam" by Gregory Frost
    "Awake" by Jack Ketchum
    "John Henry, the Steel Drivin' Man" by Jeff Strand
    "Fish Out of Water" by Keith R.A. DeCandido
    "Making Music" by Kelley Armstrong
    "Tam Lane" by Lisa Morton
    "John Barleycorn Must Die" by Marsheila Rockwell & Jeff Mariotte
    "In Arkham Town, Where I was Bound" by Nancy Holder
    "Driving Jenny Home" by Seanan McGuire
    "Hollow is the Heart" by Simon R. Green

    Plus folklore commentary following each story on the song that inspired it by Nancy Keim Comley

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Current Music: "Gumboots" by Paul Simon

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From the heights of "In the Pale Moonlight" and "Far Beyond the Stars" to the depths of *shudder* "Profit and Lace," a look back at a most uneven year of television. The DS9 Rewatch does the sixth season overview.

An excerpt:
Plus, while I’m not one to ding someone for a bad idea, there are a lot of bad ideas in this season. Some of them work—“His Way,” for example, is a terrible idea, but James Darren’s sheer charisma as Vic Fontaine leavens the self-indulgent absurdity of having him there—but most don’t. Whether it’s bringing Alexander back or bringing Bareil back (the world was assuredly not desperately crying out for a return engagement for either), or stripping Dukat and Winn of their nuance to make them capital-E evil, or crowbarring O’Brien into a Donnie Brasco riff for no compellingly good reason, or an entire episode focused on a gag character, or doing The Wedding Episode and The Shrinking Episode and The Tarzan Episode, or bringing back the Pah-wraiths, or the ill-advised introduction of Section 31 into the Trek universe.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Anji" by Simon & Garfunkel

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I've received notification that I will be a guest at Dragon Con 2015 over Labor Day next year. I've been attending DC on and off since 1998, and I'm thrilled to be going back again. I've never had a bad time at DC, and am eagerly looking forward to being there again in 2015.

In addition, for the third straight year I'll be a guest at Treklanta (formerly Trek Trax Atlanta) at the end of April 2015. Very much looking forward to going to this much smaller but tremendously fun show as well.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard" by Paul Simon

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So I had the -- privilege? -- of seeing the closing night of Visible Language, a play that ran at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Gallaudet is a school mainly for deaf people, and in fact a lot of the play takes place on the campus of what was then called Kendall Green in 1893. The play is about the different schools of thought regarding the teaching of deaf people, generally represented by Alexander Graham Bell, who was big on teaching the deaf to speak, and E. Miner Gallaudet, who was big on sign language. It was more complicated than that, and Mary Resing's book doesn't really give much of a notion of the sweep of the conflict.

There's a good play to be written about this particular time in the history of deaf education, but Visible Language is not it. The script is leaden and dreadful, with the characters speaking in contrived exposition, and sounding more like bad history texts about the era than like actual people. There are a bunch of themes that are brought up but never examined, from the important role Bell's and Gallaudet's fathers played in their lives and their approaches to teaching the deaf to whether or not one of Kendall Green's best students, Ennals Adams Jr. (magnificently played by Aarron Loggins, one of two outstanding performances), will be permitted to study at the new Teacher's College that Gallaudet is lobbying Congress to fund. (The question is whether or not the deaf can teach the deaf.) The show throws a bunch of different methods of communicating at the audience without passing judgment, which is fine, but it's not clear what the lengthy displays of how Bell's father's Visible Language works are supposed to accomplish. The students at Kendall Green -- whose banter with each other is the only time any of the people on stage sound like actual human beings -- mention that this will only allow the rich to learn, another theme that deserved examination. So did the fact that Adams was African-American -- Kendall Green was incredibly progressive in allowing "coloreds" to enroll, and that's never even brought up. (Adams was an actual student at Kendall Green, though the character of Ennals in the play is an amalgam of several contemporary students.) The play does, at least, acknowledge the issue of women's education, mostly through one scene at the White House with Helen Keller and First Lady Carrie Harrison and the song "We as Women, Educated."

Yes, song. Did I mention this was a musical? Not enough that this is an unfocused mess of a story, it's also interrupted by songs that are repetitive, dull, clichéd, and spectacularly mediocre. There's not an interesting melody in the bunch, and the lyrics are just nowhere. Perhaps the worst offender is "There's Nothing Sweller than Teaching Helen Keller," a putrid song that serves as the coda to three scenes showing Bell's ever-more-frustrating attempts to teach Keller Visible Language. The song's only benefit is that it's short, but that's ruined by hearing it three flipping times. *shudder*

However, Miranda Medugno puts in the other great performance as the thirteen-year-old Keller. At the post-show discussion (which was considerably more interesting than the play itself), Medugno talked about the challenge of the role being that it was before the Keller of The Miracle Worker, as she was still young and figuring out her place in the world. Medugno's performance is radiant, and she captures Keller's youthful curiosity and also how scary her world must have been, as she's startled every time she's touched -- which happens constantly, because it's the only way to get her attention. I kinda wish the play had been more about her and Adams as people facing the twin issues of their handicap and their sex/race.

Instead, Resing just stumbles from historical event to made-up event without any clear notion of what's being said. There's no rhythm to the musical scenes, no pattern to it. Usually a musical will follow a progression of types of songs (introductory number, character songs, humorous song, Act I closer, ballad, intense dramatic song, show-stopping finale), but we don't get anything like that here. A serious scene where Gallaudet is trying to convince a member of the House of Representatives to support his Teacher's College ends awkwardly so that a jaunty bouncy number can begin, and somehow Congressman Randall is convinced (a scene that includes the elderly chairman of the appropriations committee being thrown onto a table). It's a spectacularly (you'll pardon the expression) tone-deaf transition and it's indicative of the scattershot nature of the show.

Resing admitted during the post-show chat that the climactic scene when -- after ten days of seemingly fruitless tutoring by Bell -- Keller recites a poem verbally to Bell's National Geographic Society was wholly made up. Bell knew Keller, but never tutored her in Visible Language, and she never did that recitation. The moment had already lost most of his power due to Resing's misdirection. The three scenes of Bell tutoring Keller (which each end with a teeth-grinding rendition of "There's Nothing Sweller than Teaching Helen Keller," and why did no one tell Resing how fucking absurd that sounds????) show a complete lack of progress. Keller learns the P and E sounds, but Bell's attempts to teach her M and I and TH and A result in her making the P and E sounds all over again, showing that Bell's efforts are in vain. Except then, with no explanation, she pulls it off at the Geographic Society meeting.

For that matter, the theoretical central conflict between Bell and Gallaudet over the Teaching College and whether or not it gets funding is resolved offstage and mentioned offhandedly by a Congressman who in passing comments that Gallaudet got his funding another way. The entire play has been building to the fight over Congressional monies, and it's resolved by not being resolved.

There really is some excellent acting going on here -- besides Medugno and Loggins, Kari Ginsburg (Mabel Bell, who is deaf but can lipread and speak normally, but doesn't know sign language) and Sarah Anne Sillers (Anne Sullivan, Keller's aide) were particularly strong. The post-show chat revealed that Sillers didn't know ASL at all before taking on this role, making her performance that much more impressive. (Another missed opportunity: Ennals and Mabel can't actually talk to each other, even though they're both deaf. That was worth exploring in greater depth, but like most of the other attempts at theme, it's shown once and forgotten.)

The show has an interesting mix of communication styles, as people speak and sign both, and there are supertitles. If you want to see the performance I saw, as well as the postgame (which includes my friend Meredith Peruzzi, who served as a historical consultant for the play, and who was responsible for my being there), the video's on HowlRound.

If nothing else, this show informed me of Bell's work with the deaf, which I'd had no idea about before this weekend. But I came away from this show thinking that it was a promising first draft of what some day may be a good play. It certainly isn't one now, which is too bad, as the subject matter deserves much better than this.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Down on the Corner" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

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I have a new Cassie Zukav story in the Jonathan Maberry-edited anthology Out of Tune, a collection of tales based on various ballads (like the Child Ballads and other sea ballads and such). The book is officially published this coming week, and in anticipation, there will be a signing at the excellent Los Angeles-area genre store Dark Delicacies on Sunday 16 November at 2pm. I will not be there -- 3000 miles is a bit too much of a commute -- but Jonathan will be, as well as contributors Del Howison, Lisa Morton, and Nancy Holder.

So if you're in SoCal, check it out!

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

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The Pah-wraiths are back! Dukat is back! Damar and Weyoun are back! The Romulans are back! And Dax gets herself killed, stupidly, as the sixth season stumbles to a close. The DS9 Rewatch cries the "Tears of the Prophets."

An excerpt:
Terry Farrell leaving the show is a huge loss anyhow, and I really just do not get the decision. The show was only going to be on the air for another year, why not just hold out? Especially since, of all the actors in the cast, Farrell had the worst negotiating position because she was by definition the most replaceable member of the cast. Just shove the slug into someone else’s belly.

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: "The Cool Cool River" by Paul Simon

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Yesterday was a most fantastic day. It started with Wrenn having a very a productive interview with a headhunter. Of course, she's had those before, but interviewing is better than not interviewing, and these guys are putting her up for two jobs, either of which would be fantastic, and they're ones she's 100% qualified for. So happy thoughts, please, everyone.

Interestingly, since Wrenn started working regularly for Riverdale Avenue Books (she's been doing editing and production and office work for them the past few months), she's been getting more job attention because the top of her resume has a current job on it. Even though the job isn't even in the field she's looking in, just the fact that she's currently employed is getting her more attention from recruiters.

This is, to say the least, maddening and stupid. The fact that headhunters are lending more weight to current employment than experience is why the unemployed are struggling so much, and is why we're so fucked up right now. You know what? People with jobs right now have jobs. People who don't are the ones who need jobs so they can do shit like pay rent.

Snarl. Anyhow, I was supposed to be talking about a fantastic day. And it was -- after Wrenn's interview, we met up downtown, where I provided her with a comfy change of clothes and then we hied to Alice's Tea Cup for a lovely lunch of tea, scones, sandwiches, and cookies.

After that, we went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and saw the "Death Becomes Her" and "Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection" exhibits, in addition to our traditional pilgrimages to the Astor Court and the Temple of Dendur.

"Death Becomes Her" is in the costume exhibit room, and features British and American women's mourning garb from the 1830s to the 1910s. It's a fascinating look at the culture of mourning in the middle and upper classes of Europe and the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Wrenn, as a costumer, was particularly enthralled by the outfits, I was more interested in the cultural history that the outfits illustrated, but there was plenty for both of us to chew on.

"Cubism" has Lauder's extensive collection of art by Pablo Picasso, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, and Georges Braque. The exhibit does a really good job of showing the progression of Cubism in general, and in particular showing the influences on Picasso and Braque as well as their influence on each other (one room is dedicated to the period from about 1909-1911 or so when the pair of them were constantly spending time at each others' studios every evening and comparing notes and critiquing each other -- that one puts Braque's "Still Life with Clarinet" alongside Picasso's "Pedestal Table, Glasses, Cups, Mandolin," which makes for a wonderful side-by-side comparison).

After that, we chilled out in a midtown Barnes & Noble for a bit before walking over to Quinn's Irish Pub, which is hosting Ego Actus's "Love in an Irish Pub." This was a series of eight one-acts -- well, six one-acts, bookended by a two-part story called "The Barmaid" -- all about people in an Irish pub who look for love, or at least lust, in an Irish pub, to varying degrees of success. We were mainly there to support our friends Heather Bagnall (my former Boogie Knights bandmate) and her husband Luke Tudball. Heather co-starred in "Mrs. Jansen Isn't Here Now," directed by Luke, which starts out as a defrocked priest trying to pick up a woman in a bar and then it gets weird -- and then it gets delightfully weirder, and then ends magnificently.

However, the other plays were fun, too. My favorite of the whole bunch, actually, was "Assumptions," which had a magnificent performance by Skyler Volpe as a spectacularly clueless young woman, and an equally brilliant performance by Azizi Bell as the person in the bear suit. The acting was generally pretty good, but I thought "Assumptions" was especially top-notch, with the added benefit of the first of two delightfully snarky performances by Tommy Buck as a smartass bartender.

The two segments of "The Barmaid" served as excellent bookends, with very real performances by Marguerite Forest as Suzanne, a bartender who's a bit too tightly wound and emotionally fucked up, and Erik A. Schjerven as "Samo" (short for "Samo Shit"), a supremely narcissistic artist who mistakes his passion for his work to be license to do whatever the hell he wants. Playwright Allan Knee (whom I briefly met while we were ordering drinks at intermission) did a superb job of creating nuanced characters -- he doesn't let them off the hook for their flaws, but he also shows why they can be appealing even when they're being douchenozzles. This particularly impressed me because Samo is the type of artist that I -- as someone who's been actually making a living off my creative work for a decade and a half now -- have absolutely no patience with, but I was able to see his good side, as well as his shitty side.

If you're in NYC, try to get to the show. It's totally worth it. Information can be found on the event's Facebook page.

Work proceeds apace on the graphic novel. Not sure if I'm allowed to say what it is -- will check and announce it if I can. Also: I am this close to a tie-in novel deal. Should be able to talk about it at the top of next week if not sooner.

This will be a quiet weekend of recovery -- feels like I've been going nonstop since before New York Comic-Con -- so you may see very little of me online until Sunday night. Have a good weekend, y'all!

Current Mood: happy happy
Current Music: "Fallen on Hard Times" by Jethro Tull

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I'm not sure exactly when this picture was taken, beyond that it had to be prior to the fall of 1998, as I am beardless (I stopped shaving in July 1998, with the beard taking full effect in September or so). It was definitely taken during one of the parties held by my writer's group, in the back yard of the now-former house of Linda and Gerard (since divorced).

IMG_20141113_0001

Current Mood: amused amused
Current Music: "Still Crazy After All These Years" by Paul Simon

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The Defiant races to rescue a stranded captain, talking to her the entire time. The DS9 Rewatch listens to "The Sound of Her Voice."

An excerpt:
Also O’Brien’s whole we’ve-grown-apart speech doesn’t really feel right. He just was reunited with his family in the previous episode (honestly, flipping this and “Time’s Orphan” would’ve worked beautifully, with O’Brien’s resolve to bring Keiko, Molly, and Yoshi back to the station growing out of his talks with Cusak), Odo and Kira are planning playdates in the holosuite in this episode, the whole gang was taking excursions to Vic’s Place on the holosuite only a month ago, and we saw O’Brien, Odo, and Worf hanging out in Quark’s like old buddies just three episodes ago. They haven’t been growing apart, the script just says they are, and I don’t buy it.

Current Mood: disappointed disappointed
Current Music: tonight's NCIS on the DVR

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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

Current Mood: thankful thankful
Current Music: "American Tune" by Paul Simon

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I will be part of the Liars Club Holiday Book Signing Event at the Doylestown Bookshop on South Main Street in Doylestown, PA. Joined by fellow mendicants Janice Gable Bashman, Merry Jones, Marie Lamba, Jon McGoran, Kelly Simmons, Keith Strunk, and Dennis Tafoya, we'll be scribbling on books starting at 2pm on Saturday the 20th of December 2014.

This makes up for the fact that I won't be able to attend another Philadelphia-area event, sadly -- I will not be attending Philcon this year. Simply put, the money isn't there, and the show isn't one that makes up for its cost with book sales, and we cannot justify the expense when we're already behind on so many bills. At this point, the only way I can do a con is if it doesn't cost me anything, either because the convention pays for it (as happened with HonorCon and will happen with DerpyCon) or I'll make enough money at it to make up for the cost (as happened with New York Comic-Con and generally happens with Farpoint).

It's possible I'll be missing Arisia for similar reasons, unfortunately. We'll see....

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon

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Anthony Schultz of "Blogging for Books" has written a very nice review of my Sleepy Hollow novel Children of the Revolution.

Money quote:
It follows the rough formula of each episode of the series, but it cuts nicely between two episodes to bring readers a little more information and insight into the characters and overall arc of the series.
All-in-all, “Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution” is a good read. It is solid in its own right as a supernatural thriller, and it pays fan service nicely to the acclaimed television series. It is definitely worth the gander.

Current Mood: pleased pleased
Current Music: "April Come She Will" by Simon & Garfunkel

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In November 1994, exactly twenty years ago, Berkley Books and Byron Preiss Multimedia Company co-published a short story anthology in trade paperback entitled The Ultimate Spider-Man (this was six years before Marvel debuted their "Ultimate" line). With a cover by Mike Zeck & Phil Zimelman, and with Stan Lee as Editor, the anthology featured a bunch of Spider-Man short stories by a variety of folks ranging from science fiction authors like Tom De Haven, Dean Wesley Smith, Craig Shaw Gardner, Lawrence Watt-Evans, and Greg Cox to comics writers like Peter David, Ann Nocenti, David Michelinie, Robert L. Washington III, and Stan Lee his own self.



Also in that anthology, as the penultimate story, was "An Evening in the Bronx with Venom," written by John Gregory Betancourt and Keith R.A. DeCandido. We wrote that story at the 11th hour -- hell, past the 11th hour -- because we needed a Venom story and didn't have one. Stan's name on the cover notwithstanding, John and I were the actual editors of the anthology, and we'd been having trouble getting a proposal approved that featured Venom. Since Venom was a) on the cover and b) by far Spider-Man's most popular villain in 1994, we had to have a Venom story in the book. We finally built our story around a one-sentence springboard that the person at Marvel who was doing the approvals (one of the assistants in the Spider-Man office -- after a year, the approvals were transferred from Marvel editorial to Marvel's Creative Services section) sent us.

It was an intense collaboration, one that happened in less than a week. There are parts of that story I know I wrote (the fight scenes), there are parts of the story I know John wrote (the initial scene in the safehouse from Detective Hawkins's POV), and there are parts of that story where I haven't the first fucking clue who wrote what because it was that intense.

That was the first piece of my fiction that was ever published.

Twenty years later, I've written 60 more stories that have also been published, in anthologies, collections, and magazines. I've written 50 novels and a bunch more novellas, comic books, reviews, and articles. I've won a Lifetime Achievement Award, I've appeared on more than one best-seller list.

From that first story, which came about from the most ridiculous of circumstances, I have built a career I'm extremely proud of. And I hope it keeps going for a lot more than 20 more years.........

Current Mood: thankful thankful
Current Music: "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" by Paul Simon

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This weekend, I learned that an old buddy of mine, Karen Jones, had died. We don't know what happened, she apparently died in her sleep.

I'm just gobsmacked. Karen was a delight, a funny, charming, geeky, hilarious, wonderful person with the most radiant smile in the world. She was always fun to be around, and I can't believe that she's gone.

Rest in peace.

Current Mood: sad sad
Current Music: "Crazy Love Vol. II" by Paul Simon

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Molly falls into a special effects hole and comes out ten years older and way more feral. Yes, really. As an added bonus, Worf may not entirely suck as a father. The DS9 Rewatch does "Time's Orphan."

An excerpt:
But Molly isn’t really a character. We know the O’Briens care about her because they’re her parents, but we’re given no reason to be engaged with her as a character. The other parent-child relationships on modern Trek—the Crushers, the Siskos, Rom and Nog, even Worf and Alexander—are actually developed, the kids in question allowed to be actual people. Molly, though, is a moppet. Her sole function is to be adorable. Her (adorable) declaration that she wants to be an “exobologist” is the first time in the character’s existence that she’s even come close to expressing any kind of actual personality.

Current Mood: tired tired
Current Music: "I'm Changing My Name to Chrysler" by Arlo Guthrie

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