A-Kon Departure Minus One…

Dorris is working on the final shirt, the one for the launch party Saturday night. I’m going over the fragments of lists I’ve written myself to make sure I don’t forget anything (sooner or later I might actually want to consider pulling out the bags and packing). I’m also going over some pages of a novel for a friend of mine, wondering where I’m going to fasten my pocket-watch on shorts that have no belt loops (may have to just deal with jeans for part of the con) (y’all really didn’t need to see my fish-belly-white, hairless legs anyway) (really, they’re like something from a Lovecraft story).

Elsewhere in the news, a site where I do no small amount of business ( www.drivethrurpg.com ) is sponsoring a contest where you described your favorite RPG (table-top role-playing-game) character – a brief stat block and no more than 400 words of bio. Their staff has narrowed the field down to twelve. Those twelve will be pruned back to five by a panel of ‘celebrity’ gamer judges. The final five will be voted on by the site’s patrons – first prize is a tablet computer (not an iPad) and the other four get gift certificates to the site ranging from $100 to $25.
My entry made it to the semi-finals. Not sure when the judging for the finals will be finished (have since found out it’s next week at some point), but further updates as they occur. Further than I expected to make it… while I love my humorless preacher from “Deadlands”, I really didn’t expect anyone else to. At the very least, “Jed” will be featured in an issue of their weekly e-newsletter.
I have achieved immortality! 😉

laundry proceeds, having had the blockage in the vent pipe cleared so that we’re no longer frying thermostats… Dorris is locked in a death struggle with the koi shirt, trying to get things to match… i’m washing dishes, working on items on the list, and going over chapters…

Listening to: This Too Shall Pass – OK Go
Mood: upbeat but worried I will forget something

And the Monkey Flings Poo at the Switch…

y’know, as gamers, be it console or PC, the programmers of the world have tried their damnedest to teach us a simple concept:
Save Early, Save Often.
Wise words, good words… words that could, for a writer, easily be translated as “Back Up Your Files Early, Back Up Your Files Often”… very wise words, very good words indeed.
This is so when your flash drive horks and tells you it is not formatted and asks if you’d like to format it, you don’t worry, you are not troubled, you say calmly to yourself “Why, I backed up my files just last night, nothing is lost, all is well.”
This is an infinitely better response than the one I’m having right now.
My current response is “I don’t remember the last time I backed up my files…”
That’s not just me wondering if it was this week, or this month – that’s me wondering if I’ve done it this year… because, you know, to me – the lotek proto-primate – flash drives are magic talismans that are forever safe, forever incorruptible.
How, you may be asking yourself, can a reasonably intelligent man such as I make such a silly assumption about flash drives?
Primarily, I take it as an article of faith, because remembering to back up my files regularly is haaaaaard, and it takes time away from important things like playing video games where I know the Motherfucking Rule is SAVE EARLY, SAVE OFTEN!
That’s how I can make such assumptions.
Have a tech-knowledgeable friend advising on recovery efforts, but at this point it’s not looking really hopeful.
The one saving grace, or shred of one anyway, is that a majority of my recent work has been emailed hither and yon, so copies are available for most, if not all, of my work.

Listening to: my teeth grind
Mood: carefully avoiding letting myself get my hands on sharp objects

Up & Down & Up & Down…

so, the evil computer dude who dealt with the problems of Dorris’ and my machines planted an idea in my head, a glorious, wicked idea… instead of two 500 gig drives, i could real cheaply ($70) have one 500 gig drive and one 2 Terabyte drive.
i’m surprised the ‘SQUEE’ didn’t deafen all of you. both my old drives had less than 50 gig free on them – dangerously full for someone like me – so i jumped on that idea and away we went. now, to keep things inexpensive, i just shuttled stuff from my old slave drive to the master drive and then switched out slaves, and ferried the same stuff to the new drive, named “Bigass”.
this can take a while… i mean, i had 150 gig folders full of stuff – lots of data to move – and so a lot of the past three days has been shuttling files back and forth and such.
but at last, ‘Bigass’ is installed, i’ll be looking at using my old 500 gig as an external drive and everything is working just dandy…
except that my network card won’t link into Clear and until it does, my wife and i can’t share documents on the network (other than by email – which is a little ridiculous) so we’ve got a friend working on that problem.
(many, Many thanks to Matt for giving Lotek Jim a way to transfer data that even i could understand)

if you might conceivably enjoy a zombie novel done as science fiction instead of horror, i urge you to check out Mira Grant’s “Feed” (if you haven’t already) and its sequel “Deadline” (which came out this week and i devoured in a day and a half). the ending of ‘deadline’ had me screaming for a multitude of reasons – biggest of which is that the last book in the trilogy, ‘Blackout’, won’t be out for quite a while… DAMN IT.

you know that book, ‘the secret of the bermuda triangle’, that i’m reading so you won’t have to?
well, believe me, it continues to suck mightily, imho. i’ve never considered the idea of writing an entire novel in dialect, much less writing an entire novel in ‘dumb as a post’ or whatever whacked-out headspace the main character of this pile of excrement is in. it alternates between sixth-grade prose and clumsy mystical enlightenment, which are NOT two great tastes that taste great together. i’m only able to read it in short spurts… any longer and i won’t continue reading it, i’ll return it to the guy i borrowed it from (Thank whatever Deity there may be that i didn’t pay money for this piece of shit). the things i do for you people…

so, tomorrow is Naming the World at CenTex Writers Group (which i’m not making any pretense of participating in – i’ll just be attending), a get-together with fellow writers and spouses at Opal Divine’s, sunday we’re doing a double feature of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean IV’ and ‘X-Men: First Class’, sometime next week i need to get together with Tino to get my hair trimmed (split-ends-ville), i’m meeting a fellow writer for coffee thursday morning, and then friday it’s off to A-Kon!
i have acquired a flask to enable easier minor self-medication.
i had planned to finally finish decorating my tennis shoes with sharpie to wear to the party saturday night, but it’s been so long since i started that some of the linework has faded terribly, so that idea’s pretty much kaput. that leaves me either wearing my dark brown kathunkkathudboots from hell or sandals – which raises the question, would it be a party with me in sandals and NOT have my toenails painted?
ponder on this… lemme know what you think.

Listening to: women’s collegiate softball on ESPN
Mood: really hatin’ allergy season

You Remember That “Unwelcome Buried Treasure” I Found…

back in http://jimreader.net/wp/?p=76  ?

well, i’ve transferred it all into a document and put it in the “Old Shit and Bad Shit” file.
i’m really down with the idea that there should be someone assigned to wipe your hard drives in the event of your death… for me, not only wipe the hard drives but take the flash drives and make sure nothing in the old shit and bad shit file ever sees the light of day. some of the other stuff on the flash drives, maybe… not this stuff. i can’t bring myself to delete it, but they should.

probably need to put those provisions in my will… probably need to make a will, come to think of it.

and upon typing it out – ye Gods an’ wee l’il fishies, it sucked. the only saving grace is that it was put in the composition book when my handwriting was still legible.
hell of a way to spend a Sunday morning.

Listening to (and watching) : “Kick-Ass” streaming from Netflix
Mood: need more coffee

Okay Y’all, My Tentative A-Kon Schedule

Saturday, June 11 (two very short weeks from today)
2:30 – 3:30 PM – State Room 4 (CC3) [no idea what that ‘CC3’ refers to]
“The Ladies of Trade Town” panel
4:00 – 5:00 PM – Artists Alley
“The Ladies of Trade Town” autograph session
7:00 – 11:00 PM – Chaparral’s, 38th floor, Center Tower
“The Ladies of Trade Town” launch party

two weeks… trying not to go into con-mode twelve days early

http://www.a-kon.com/bm/latest-news/a-book-launch-at-a-kon.shtml

Listening to: Lee play “Alan Wake” in the living room
Mood: pretty damn good

High on my List of Ways NOT to Wake Up…

is from nightmares like this one – potential triggers –

so i’m trying to help someone find their Sunday School class in the old First Baptist Church in S’ville, now even more horribly labyrinthine than it was in reality, and another man and younger woman are looking for something as well so they join the parade, but it’s not the church, it’s a hospital and the younger woman is looking for a doctor – nothing in her tone or behavior indicates anything too serious, so i tell her i’m a doctor (’cause in the dream i suddenly am), she doubts me, i tell her ‘graduated med school and everything – first year resident’ but we can’t find an examination room so we’re standing in the hallway when she tells me she’s been raped and needs an anal swab so i grab a kit and i’m looking around for somewhere private to do this – she’s very serious in tone and behavior now – but there’s nowhere to be found so i grab a passing nurse and she directs me to a restroom – except it’s a restroom with a plywood dutch door that won’t close all the way, top or bottom, and this poor woman drops her pants and panties – i’m trying to get a good swab of her anus, trying to get her to relax a little so she does and i not only get my swabbing but this dessicated, husk-like piece of shit, white and kind of dusty, falls out into my hand – i take a sample of that as well but that’s when i realize this ‘kit’ is woefully inadequate for protecting lab samples, much less potential evidence, so i have to improvise, using a scalpel to whittle a hole in the bottom of an empty medicine bottle to protect the swab and using a sandwich bag for the feces. the woman disappears and i’m suddenly paranoid as shit so the samples are in one hand and the scalpel’s in the other while i go wandering through this maze of rooms to find the lab – i find a lab, but they’re analyzing core samples of soil, but the woman working there sees i’m on the edge of freaking out and promises to make sure the samples get to the right place. the scene fades to my superior’s office – i’ve been brought in with that whole ‘prepare yourself for disappointment’ vibe and in strides this man who claims that any accusation of rape is ludicrous, it was consensual sex that the victim later regretted and besides, the samples were so mishandled as to be useless in a court of law and somewhere in these protestations he’s turned into the woman’s mother who proceeds to try and destroy her daughter’s character and honesty, so it’s better to let the whole thing drop says the mother and my superior but in the meantime i’m seeing through the daughter/young woman’s eyes and they’ve put her in a very form-fitting cage, leaning it back at about a 45 degree angle – the bars are electrified and so’s she and she’s screaming and screaming and screaming…

now that it’s on the page maybe it’ll get out of my head…

Listening to: the morning quiet of the house
Mood: really sucky at the moment

Chopping and Slicing and Gutting and Crippling

okay, in reality, the line edit of “Saying Your Goodbyes” wasn’t that bad, but it was taxing and painful – didn’t lose anything (this pass) that i was determined to keep – if the editors don’t think i’ve done enough that may change – but it was stressful nonetheless.

next ten songs on my personal playlist:
Shelter Me – Cinderella
Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
Funkytown – Lipps Inc.
God’s Gonna Cut You Down – Johnny Cash
James Bond Theme – Paul Oakenfold
Sympathy for the Devil – Laibach
Life’ll Kill Ya – Warren Zevon
Temple of Love – Sisters of Mercy
This Too Shall Pass – OK Go
Cold Black Heart – Shawn Mullins

Dorris is heading to Houston tomorrow afternoon to watch Lori-chan’s twins graduate. she may not be back until Monday. i’m looking forward to having the house to myself for a couple of days, living a wild bachelor lifestyle (yeah… right) and dealing with the expectations of dawgs who have no concept of time. wild and exciting plans include vacuuming, washing dishes, writing… yee haw, we’re rawkin’ now!

Listening to: peace and quiet
Mood: overall good, though very damn tired

Y’Know, I Ain’t Goin’ Out Like ‘Dis…

no, there’s not a market for dark little Oz stories – but there may be a market for dark Oz novels, and i can use that short as the 1st prologue of such a novel – i’ve had my eye on a nasty magic/technology armageddon Oz novel for quite some time – this may well be how to begin it.

got word today that “Saying Your Goodbyes” has found a home… if i’m willing to do some trimming down. i’m more than willing to do that – tomorrow about 2 pm Rie and i start cutting. so, hopefully, after the first of next year it’ll be published in an anthology from Nevermet Press, and may well be appearing on their website afore then.

the friday night group, “abusing the universe”, will be taking a look at ‘The Lament of Maryam” as my submission this week. we’ll see what comes out of that and hopefully it’ll be in some kind of shape to be sent out by the end of this weekend.

there’s a story i need to write that none of y’all will ever see, something to help me deal with recent events in my wife’s job search. i’ve got way too much hate built up to be healthy, and i need to funnel it somewhere.

i’m thinking in addition to the already full plate of projects i’m not working on/finishing, i need to churn out some short stories, just to wrap my brain in some short, satisfying, easily completed projects… of course, see above.

Listening to: White Rabbit – Emiliana Torrini
Mood: pretty damn good, how’s it with you?

A Big Ol’ Chunky Mixed Bag of a Day

SOL contest – closed. Either I misremembered the shut-off for submissions (entirely possible), or they closed early.

A contest closing submissions early? Impossible, you say?

Jezebel contest – I KNOW this one was open ’til the 27th… got swamped with submissions, closed today, as Matt and I were hammering the final bits on our submissions. That, and some advice from my daughter, had me expand the story, “The Lament of Maryam”, from 500 to 874 words, still well within flash fiction range. I’m happy with it, although at present I’m not sure how the new final line will play. Have found two possible homes for it. We’ll see…

The “Oz” anthology story, “Incident at a Kansas Carnival”, was rejected because it lacked a strong, conclusive ending. This is a more than fair judgment, as I ran out of word count before I could really draw it to a satisfying close, so I made do. It will be going up on my website soon, as there’s really not much of a market for “Oz” stories that I’m aware of.

As far as the SOL stories, I’m thinking if Matt, Rie, Tino and I can finish up some good erotic stories on the theme ‘contests’, we may well publish the damn things as a four-story mini-anthology. I need to actually sit down and get this one out of my head, as that’s the only place this story exists at present.

I need to implement changes to “Gone West” courtesy of the feedback from this weekend and see if I can find it a home.

I actually started keeping my record of what has been sent where, when, and what was the disposition of the submission.

It’s been a good, productive day and yet I still feel like it’s been a failure of a day. It’s a “Feel-Like-I’m-Slamming-My-Head-Into-A-Brick-Wall” kind of day.

Listening to: Initiation – Psalm 6 by Paul Horn from “Inside the Great Pyramid”
Mood: rather down

Arcana Imperii: Origins by Ben Hamby

I like Steampunk. I write in the genre, I enjoy it in books and film. I like some of the music and aspects of the social culture of Steampunk. I mean, c’mon, my favorite movie of all time is Disney’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”! Me and Steampunk, we been friends for a while.
There are a lot of Steampunk books I haven’t gotten around to yet and the primary reason I picked this up was that it’s by a local author. I believe in supporting local authors – soon I’ll be one. Besides, the set-up for this one sounded interesting… quoting from the back of the book (without permission):

“Origins is a reimagining of the classic horror figures of the Victorian Era, where Jack the Ripper and Jonathan Harker battle the forces of darkness. A world in which Dr. Frankenstein’s long lost child takes up his work, and Dr. Jekyll’s formula finds a new victim. This book introduces you to these creatures and others, all dedicated to protecting the new Industrial Age from its darkest enemies.”

As it turns out, there is a lot to love in this book, and only one or two minor quibbles.
The biggest one, the heavy hitter, the (potential) mistake that really irked me… about as much as if I had a mild itch in an easily accessible location?
I’m not absolutely sure, but I’m reasonably certain that the honorific “Ms.” is a 20th century invention, and it’s used several times in the book.
There ya go, that’s it. My big complaint.
The second? The one which doesn’t even reach the exceedingly minor level of the last one?
One character’s name sometimes strikes me as borderline cutesy/clever – and we all know how much I loathe cutesy-clever – there are times that the name Jacqueline du Rippier makes me cringe just a bit.
Folks, if those are the worst issues I have with a book, then in the vast cosmic scheme of things, I got nothing to bitch about and, in this case, a lot to complement.
Interesting takes on the classic monsters, a solid introduction to the world, well-written – I was left at the end wanting more and wanting it right damn now. I was almost tempted to read the excerpt from the next novel, “Rise of the Steam Goddess” but I managed to restrain myself. (I’ve never read a single ‘excerpt’ from a next novel that didn’t jack up the “I-want-it-in-my-hands-Right-NOW!” even more, so it’s always struck me as a form of self-torture, kinda like window-shopping when I’m broke.)
A Very Enthusiastic Thumb’s Up… and now on to the non-story-related cool stuff…
The series website…
http://www.thearcana.net/
Full of flavor and ‘chrome’…
and because it can be hard to find, where to order the book…
http://www.thearcana.net/origins.html
$10, that includes shipping, for 188 pages (not including the excerpt) of Steampunky goodness! Signed… dedicated as well, should you so desire. The book arrives wrapped in brown paper, sealed with wax bearing the imprint of the Arcana Imperii… it’s just a little bit of ‘chrome’, but it adds to the charm of the book.

If it sounds like your kind of book, please check it out.

Listening to: something on HGTV from the living room that I’m doing my best to ignore
Mood: crappy, for reasons that have nothing to do with this book