People willing to admit to being my friends. Brave souls, one and all.|
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|Saturday, May 25th, 2013|
|One man's demons is one world's problems
So this story (from my former home city) serves to buttress a theory I've had for a long time now: conservatives who don't practice what they preach aren't hypocrites, they're terrified that the world is full of people just like them, plagued by evil temptations on all sides at all times. "The world needs a strong illiberal hand because if everyone gave in to their ever-urging dark side, like me, we'd have sheer anarchy!"
That's why it's OK (to their public) to be a closeted homophobe, or to preach about the sanctity of the family when you have five ex-spouses, or, as in this case, be a tough-on-drugs mayor while also (allegedly) a crack-smoking member of a long-time drug-dealing family. It's not viewed as hypocrisy; it's a viewed as a battle lost to the demons that plague us all, the same demons who will destroy society as we know it if unleashed, because a world full of people actually acting on all their desires and doing what they want to do would of course be unthinkably awful and doomed.Globe investigation: The Ford family’s history with drug dealing
|Dying Is My Business: Stuff About Marketing
As we move steadily toward the October 8 pub date for Dying Is My Business, St. Martin’s Press has begun to focus on their marketing plan. To that end, they sent me an author marketing questionnaire. I’d never filled out a marketing questionnaire that was quite so thorough before. You should have seen this thing. It was five pages long and had dozens of questions! It took me half a day to get through it all! But it’s all good stuff, information they can ostensibly use to market the novel (and me) more efficiently. Questions ranged from the personal (Do I have hobbies? What countries have I traveled to?) to the ubiquitous convention panel-type questions (What inspired me to write the novel? What kind of experience has writing the novel been for me?) to the professional (Have I ever been nominated for an award? Which magazines do I think should get review copies?) to the kind of questions that are probably best left to others to answer (What features distinguish my book from others on the subject? What about me as a working writer do I think might be interesting or unusual?). It was a fascinating experience, actually. I found that being forced to think of myself in marketing terms was unexpectedly rewarding. What does make me interesting? Why would anybody want to read my novel? Discovering that you can actually answer questions like these makes you feel pretty good about yourself and your work.
I also had a productive and friendly conference call with both the Marketing Manager and the Director of Digital Marketing and Social Media at St. Martin’s. We discussed various online strategies to get readers’ attention, as well as some interesting ideas I never would have thought to make use of. (To my relief, they seemed okay with the fact that I will never, ever go back to being on Facebook. Ever.) These folks really know their stuff. Apparently, there is also a publicist who will be assigned to my novel to help with offline stuff, but I won’t get to chat with him or her until closer to the pub date.
So far, I have to admit my experience with St. Martin’s Press has been pretty great. From my editor to the online marketing folks I spoke with, everyone seems top notch, experienced, knowledgeable, and eager to make the book a success. I feel like I’m in really good hands. Now I’m just antsy for the damn thing to be published already!
Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.
|CSA week 3
week 3 (5/23)
green leaf lettuce
[Posted via LjBeetle]
|365 Days of Drabbles, Day One Hundred Forty-Five
: “Poodles, why did it have to be poodles?”
* * *
“Tez, what god
did you upset
that these things keep happening
to us?” Maria screamed, as she reached the highest branch of the tree. Below, the angry natives bayed and shook their spears at them.
“Do you honestly want a list?” Tez replied. “It could take several days to recite.”
“Very funny.” She leaned to one side as a spear was thrown up at them. “Well it’s your fault anyway.”
“I can’t be blamed for laughing their hunting dogs. Poodles were developed for it, but they usually didn’t have their fur clipped in that idiotic manner at the same time
|Friday, May 24th, 2013|
A lot of my time over the last two days has been taken up with Joe Hill's wonderful new novel, NOS4A2.
This book is literally so fun that I finished it, then started it over again, and found myself staring hard at it as though I could somehow conjure more content with my mind. I just liked it SO MUCH. Everything about it.
Basically, the story starts with a guy named Charles Talent Manx the Third who, back in the 1930s, bought a Rolls-Royce Phantom limo which somehow allowed him to travel to and create a place called "Christmasland", a creepy little theme-park pocket dimension (or "inscape") he then began to ferry selected children to, sucking out all their youth and personality and leaving them with nothing but a kind of evil innocence, the sort that makes you think playing games with names like "scissors-for-the-drifter" and "bite-the-smallest" is just the best thing ever. The first inhabitants of Christmasland were his own daughters, Lorrie and Millie, but over the years he's stolen away over seventy more, with the help of various Renfields; when we first meet Manx, in 1995, he's over 113 years old and looks roughly forty, a bald, hickish, sharp-toothed beanpole in a limo driver's uniform who says things like "Good gravy!" or "That is a repugnant image," and always sounds super-cheerful, even when he's threatening to let his kids eat you alive.
(The vanity plates on his ride, BTW, are a joke--a reference to the fact that he took his first wife to Nosferatu on their first date. "That's how long ago it was, ha ha!" She later called him a vampire, accusing him of sucking their kids dry, but he "turned his frown upside-down" by rebranding himself with the NOS4A2 label. And killing her, one assumes, though he never quite cops to that. He also claims he's been married at least one other time since then.)
1995 is also the year Charlie runs into Vic McQueen, who has a totem item of her own--a covered bridge called "the Shorter Way" which no longer exists in real life, but which materializes in front of her whenever she's travelling at high speed (say on her favourite bike) and needs to find something. She then passes through the bridge and teleports to wherever this lost or needed thing can be found. One time, it's her mother's bracelet, which she thinks finding will stave off her parents' divorce; another time, it's a girl with a similar talent, because what she needs is someone to explain this whole "inscape" thing to her and convince her she isn't crazy. And one time, when she's in a really desperate mood and wants to do something heroic...it's the "Sleigh House", one of Charlie's real-world hideouts.
One way or the other, colliding with each other ruins both Charlie Manx and Vic McQueen's lives. Charlie ends up in a supermax prison, quickly aging back to actual 113-ness once he's been parted from his limo and banned from further entry into Christmasland, and lapsing into a progeriatric coma. Vic, OTOH, ends up living with sweet, fat Lou Carmody, the geeky dude who picked her up after she fled Charlie's house of horrors--they have a kid together, Wayne, and things might go okay, except for the fact that the Christmasland kids keep phoning her up to ask when Daddy's coming home. This makes her drink too much, take too many drugs, get tattooed all over, start maniacally pumping out a very successful series of children's books to stave off the calls, etc. Eventually, she puts all their phones in the stove, burns down their house and ends up in a mental hospital, then rehab. She removes herself from Wayne and Lou's lives because she doesn't want to destroy them, starts taking her meds, and tries to forget.
Then...Charlie's long-resold car suddenly wakes up, and drives over to his last Renfield's house. Charlie wakes up, seems to die, then walks out of the morgue and into the Rolls. And all three of them start coming for Vic, bent on taking Wayne to Christmasland. But Vic, putative craziness aside, is one slippery, badass lady, and she isn't about to let that happen without a fight...
This precis doesn't actually give everything away, believe it or not, because a lot of the pleasure of the book comes from the various characters' interactions, and the twists keep on coming. One way or the other, it reminded me strongly of Locke & Key,
which is my favourite thing by Hill so far, and I found myself both thrilled and consistently amused, in an utterly black way. (For example, as Charlie gets younger again, he starts sort of shipping himself with Vic, comparing her favourably to his prickly first wife, a woman "like a bad case of poison ivy! I scratched 'til I bled, and then I came back and scratched some more!" "Do you think she is inclined to look favourably on older men?" he asks Wayne, who's sort of boggled by the idea. "She says I'm her boyfriend now," he replies. Charlie: "Oh, all mothers say the same!")
Anyhow, yeah: if you like a fast, mean ride on a cool machine, NOS4A2
is tops. It made me contact-high, in ways I really hope can translate to giving me a second wind on all my own projects.This entry was originally posted at http://handful-ofdust.dreamwidth.org/493946.html. Please comment either here or there using OpenID.
|Talen Talks Iron Man 3
In which I choose to make an idiot out of my self publically and do a video blog obout Iron Man 3.
|Saturday, May 25th, 2013|
|there's a three-day weekend on the horizon
Course ended well. I then went back to work (it was only two o'clock) to finish a few more things off.
Finally got off work, went home, and experimented with planned sewn tote bag. Didn't come out too badly, but I think I need some more practice, and to speed up. Three hours is a while for something that's supposed to be quick and easy.
Still, I have a glorious weekend ahead of me, and
Monday off as a bank holiday. Lovely.
|Friday, May 24th, 2013|
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- Thu, 14:40: My tweets http://t.co/NJO73V0h25
- Thu, 19:38: RT @kpaxnews: The latest on the Moose attack... http://t.co/o8SdinzrmP
- Thu, 21:52: RT @nytimes: Interstate Bridge Collapses in Washington State http://t.co/WHo6FAC5DX
- Thu, 21:55: Lost Apollo 11 Moon Dust Found in Storage - http://t.co/x7Zv6WqRwN
- Thu, 22:22: 1,000 rhinos butchered in just 18 months: Bid to stop poaching as species faces extinction - http://t.co/beXdrq3m2X
- Fri, 01:52: The Sky Warrior Books Daily is out! http://t.co/uSRJe7lwc5 ▸ Top stories today via @NancySThompson @andrewnicolle @MediaWhizInc
- Fri, 02:11: Sky Warrior Books News #constantcontact http://t.co/z1Xzn5gc0O
- Fri, 11:16: RT @DepressedDarth: If she gets excited about Star Wars marathons on TV, wife that girl.
- Fri, 11:19: RT @kpaxnews: Check out this photo...Can you help Missoula PD identify this woman? http://t.co/BN5Rcen3CN http://t.co/aS2r3AqzdK
- Fri, 11:21: RT @derekpike: I hayte typos
|KS: Kick A Book
Here's a Kickstarter that needs just a little love in its final hours...
|A reason to buy from amazon
Amazon is currently selling Love is the Law
for 35 percent off. This is a guaranteed price. If you have Amazon Prime and get free shipping, amazon will depending on where you live, either barely break even and perhaps even lose money on every sale.
STARVE THE GLUTTON
DESTROY THE BEAST
|More Faster, More Furious
So, the "Fast" movies are titled:The Fast and the Furious
2 Fast 2 Furious
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Fast & Furious
Fast & Furious 6
Thus, no two of the sequels indicate they are a sequel in the same way!
I predict the following movies will be titled:Land Speed Records: Fast & Furious
(Sequel title before franchise title.)Fast & Furious VIII
(Roman numbers.)Faster & FuriouserFast X Furious
(Visual pun between Roman ten and multiplication symbol.)The Fast and the Furious: Episode 11The Furious Dozen
(Reunion movie.)Fast Fury
...and Fast: We've Said It So Much, The Word Has Lost Meaning
|Go the Distance
Today I'm going off to fight for my kid. Any parent will know what this is like.
I don't like it, but I'm ready & willing because that's what we do.
This song is stuck in my head as a result...
Go conquer your Friday!
|Finding the forgotten novels of my twenties
My twenties are now about twenty years ago and there's a chunk of them that are just a blur from this distance. One of the things I regret is not keeping any kind of reading journal. There can be moments where something triggers a recollection of a book, prompting an interest in reading it, but without any idea of the title or author, which just leaves the vague recollection potentially bugging me.
Today it was the video for 99 Luftballons triggering a memory of a weird near future post(?) war cyberpunk(?) novel set in europe where a musician is caught up in a battle at some large stone gateway. Cue several aborted efforts at finding the book online, with the challenge being to feed either Google or Wikipedia with the right search terms. Paris, world war 3, rocker, battle - one collection of search terms after another yielded little success. It wasn't until I'd started a post to whatwasthatbook
and thinking about other search terms which prompted one last triumphant search with 'arc de triomphe'.
That yielded Science Fiction in the Real World
by Norman Spinrad, which gave me the title + author - Eclipse by John Shirley
. That lead to John Shirley: Eclipse
which mentions "...was given limited publication by Warner Bros.' Questar imprint in early 1985, and it almost immediately went out of print."
which might explain its absence from various listings of third world war novels. Now the challenge is to find a copy...
|365 Days of Drabbles, Day One Hundred Forty-Four
: “You can’t get there from here today.”
* * *
“’You wake up in a blank room,’ Ha!” He hated clichés, he really did. Especially when they happened to him.
. He turned around. It was a ten foot wide cube. Grey carpeting on the floor, white walls that felt like plastic. A light panel on the ceiling above, well out of reach, along with a small air vent. No windows. And no door.
“Screw this,” he muttered, and sang the Word of Home. A black disc appeared in the air and he stepped through.
…right back into the room.
“Okay, this may be more difficult than I thought.”
Course continues very interesting: my brain continues fairly exhausted.
Great fun also talking with coders from other countries (people on course include from America, Sweden, Amsterdam).
|Thursday, May 23rd, 2013|
I Fought the Claw
- No real progress this week mostly due to chores and children sucking away my evening writing time.Foxen Worldbuilding
. - Debating whether to do a write up what Foxen Service exactly means (it's not entirely military, though it is compulsory, unless you're a Noble in which case it's mostly social obligation. It also results in a smaller than average professional force backed up by a planet full of civilians with military training in various shades of rustiness.)
Also, marriage and gender roles, care and feeding thereof.365 Days of Drabbles
- Despite a hiccup now and again, I'm keeping up with this, amazingly enoughOther Stuff
- I've got two script bits wiggling in my brain. One's a fix fic for Iron Man 2
that re-write most of the scene towards the end of act two when Tony tries to talk to Pepper in her office. The other is a script re-write of the opening to For Your Safety
where we see what happened before the chase began and what all those morphs were doing in town.
|NIght of the Blue or Off-Pink Death Save Ninja
Last night's 13th Age session was even madder than usual. Three of the six players in the Wednesday night group were rejoining our campaign after finishing several weeks of a mad sprint to get a great new iOS game ready for submission to the Pax 10 contest. It was wonderful to have them back. But a day off from work had included, umm, celebrations earlier in the day that left one of the players flapping madly in the wind before the game night's drinking had even begun. So to frame the action around the table, the congratulatory note I got earlier this morning centered on having found a way to allow the boozled player to LARP as a Chaos Beast. Metaphorically true.It takes me way too long to do full game write-ups, meaning that I end up not doing any write-ups. That's got to stop. So here are high points from last night's plucky attempt to deliver a centuries-old message tube to the Emperor, who in this case happens to be an Emperor who has been dead all those centuries. He's buried in a recently rediscovered Imperial Tomb and the Imperial Tomb Approach Paths appear to be experiencing dimensional turbulence, probably related to the destruction of the flying realm that warded the area. Behind the scenes, I was tinkering with dimensional madness because I've had the developed mechanics for chaos beasts and naga and drow to get into playtest in a hurry.The Return of Luthan: Fehlauer had rolled up his one-armed wood elf fighter ages ago and then I'd placed the character sheet in a Very Safe Location that we hadn't uncovered for later games. His original ability scores? Ridiculously well-rolled. When he had to recreate the character (these were the days before electronic devices . . . . or rather the days before we got around to using them) I had made him reroll his ability scores. It didn't go so well. So yesterday the session returned to glory days for Mike, because I'd found Luthan's One True Character Sheet. Happiness is an overly competent mini-maxer reunited with his well-rolled stats. Chumming My Dungeon: Early on I asked Lightner, playing a bard who'd rolled a story-die result with the Emperor, to go ahead and tell me what the name of the Emperor was who was buried in the tomb. As I was talking, I'd decided that although Emperors in this campaign had no name during their reign, The Emperor being quite sufficient, dead emperors gradually acquired a sobriquet that summed up their spot in the historical record. Without missing a beat, Lightner, playing the Intelligence-nerd bard, said, "Why, the Bloody Emperor. Of course." "Thank you. Oh, thank you," I said. "Chumming the dungeon!" chirped Lightner. The table bursts out in all its voices, "How about the Generous Emperor? Or the Emperor of Incredibly Rich Funeral Goods? The Emperor of You Can Take it With You?" And so on.Reservoir Elves: At some point, approaching the gatehouse in the middle of the tomb path, I asked for a marching order. They spread the minis across the table. Six abreast. Everyone wanted to be in front. Well. OK. The immediate reference to Reservoir Dogs only temporarily lurched into Mr. Pink designations. Foreshadowing, there.Hampered: At some point I told Fehlauer that Luthan was hampered, save ends. "Hampered! Oh, slightly dampish." "But placed carefully at the side of the battle." And it dissolved from there. "Thank you. Thank you all. The book has gone to the printer, and you waited for the perfect moment to notice this term. Thank you."Rumpled: The battle mat was just a tiny bit folded, mounding in a few rubber crests. Not enough to be a true problem, but it was fascinating to watch people decide that dice that were not favorable to them that happened to be sitting on a slope of any gradient were "clearly cocked." Rerolls occurred quickly. But really, I was hitting them hard in order to test nagas and some nasty drow, so the one-quarter cocked interpretation of the night was fine.I'll Just Lie Here, Thanks: The elven rogue who plays like a ninja, Talimir, wasn't having the best session, partly owing to the player being smashed. Talimir got smashed too, but by a troll wearing the red and gold livery of an alternate emperor. So Talimir's player, Mark, kind of fades in and out of the building, getting up for air. Nobody healed Talimir the first round, so it's time for a death save. Mark didn't bring dice this time, grabs a die out of the pile and rolls. That's the result pictured above, though not the original location of the roll. Mark said, "17," pushed away from the table, and shambled into the darkness for awhile. When the explosion of voices around the table had died away, I heard Sean say, "Well, Mark found a way to roll less than 1." The Blue Cube of Zero is going to be a thing, particularly since Mark's usual yellow d20 has rolled so poorly for so long (original 3e playest) that we all know it as Old Yeller. And yeah, in the daylight I can see that this bead isn't actually blue, but that's what it looked like in last night's bad light and it might be funnier to get the color wrong.
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- Wed, 17:10: RT @missoulian: UPDATED: Obama administration admits 4 Americans killed since 2009 in U.S. drone strikes http://t.co/mAyadoVnay
- Wed, 18:16: Amazon Debuts Licensed Publishing Program for Fan Fiction - http://t.co/2cFbif8H3b
- Wed, 21:17: Physicists Create Quantum Link Between Photons That Don't Exist at the Same Time - ScienceNOW http://t.co/zoZWw0n2K9
- Wed, 21:22: Do Cosmic Rays Grease Lightning? - ScienceNOW http://t.co/8PvTiKMzno
- Wed, 22:05: RT @OMGFacts: The SR-71 Blackbird managed to outly 4000 missiles fired at it when it was in service! Learn more --> http://t.co/lQ15MVDQct
- Wed, 22:27: E-book Sales Were 15% of Canadian Market in 2012 http://t.co/CEEuvBFDWI via @publisherswkly
- Wed, 22:28: RT @ResolveWriting: How to #Write a Novel: 7 Tips Everyone Can Use http://t.co/NzfuVRaFi3.
- Thu, 01:52: The Sky Warrior Books Daily is out! http://t.co/uSRJe7lwc5 ▸ Top stories today via @Feenix217 @jsph1959 @matt_janacone
- Thu, 01:56: http://t.co/5ZOVSYJCkf Macrophages Drive Regeneration on The Scientist
- Thu, 02:02: Blue-eyed Humans Have A Single, Common Ancestor: http://t.co/z6VnURUCPD
by Cherie Priest
The third book in the Clockwork Century series, Ganymede
takes us down to New Orleans, where airship captain Andan Cly has been hired by his former lover Josephine Early to retrieve a prototype submarine from lake Ponchartrain and sneak it out of the city. This is complicated both by the uncertainty of operating an experimental device and by the fact that New Orleans is a contested area in the Civil War*, and is thus occupied by Texas, which is closely allied with the Confederacy. And in the background, there is New Orleans' growing zombie problem.
Like the other books in the series, Ganymede
was a lot of fun, although the action was slower to start in this one. However, that did allow for a really great exploration of 1880s New Orleans and more good world-building, especially concerning the effects of a longer Civil War. The characters are great, too, especially Josephine, who is complex and extremely capable at making things happen the way she wants them to. She's able to be a driving force in New Orleans even though she is operating almost entirely from the margins. I also loved the way Priest does not use the past relationship between Josephine and Andan to create superfluous sexual tension or a love triangle. It's refreshing to have past lovers meet up in a novel and have it be totally fine and not all about resolving or rekindling their relationship. I'm also intrigued that there is starting to be a suggestion of a plot arc for the whole series, having to do with the zombies (and possibly another such arc concerning the war). There are at least two more books, and I'm very interested to see how that will play out.
*In Priest's alternate history, the Civil War was extended by the development of steam technology, and thus this book takes place in the early 1880s, with the war still going strong. Current Mood: hungry
|Xbox One... or Xbox: Done?
Man, the Xbox One (Microsoft's next gaming console) is getting seriously
ambivalent press. It's not hard to see why: No backwards compatibility, the possible destruction of the used games market, and the fact that they want to turn it into a Roku/cable box. Hey, I already have
a Roku and a cable box.
My philosophy regarding game consoles has been that I'll wait for Roo to start demanding one, then get what she wants, thus making us both happy, but it's looking more and more like the console market won't even exist by then...