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


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…
Full of flavor and ‘chrome’…
and because it can be hard to find, where to order the book…
$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

The State of the Jim, 5/15/11

i’m having flashbacks to college years that i didn’t have – yeah, need more caffeine to make that coherent… i didn’t discover the joys of cheeseless pizza until my second marriage, so mid-eighties, but i’m sitting here having left-over pizza for breakfast and getting a strong ‘college days’ vibe…

okay, it’s official, my lazy ass is so far behind on so many different projects at once that i am officially granting myself amnesty, declaring myself ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary from the kingdom of procrastination, representing someone we’ll get around to electing when we finally break down and admit we need to get started on that whole governmental organization thing… until then we won’t worry about it too much.

i realized yesterday that i am extraordinarily blessed with friends and acquaintances who are writers, from Rie to Rachel, from Matt to Mike to Mark to Mikey, from Tino to Traci to Tom, and Sherry, Jason, Henry, Carlos and Aaron… folks, i appreciate you all. i spent part of last night, as i was drifting off to sleep, just being thankful. it was a good feeling, and a lovely way to go to sleep.

in the ongoing saga of things that don’t work right anymore, my sound, and possibly my soundcard, are still AWOL.
my machine is rebooting after getting a “Generic Host Process for Win32 Services has encountered a problem and needed to close” error message, shortly followed by another message that i’ve written down twice and cannot find anywhere after the great cleaning/reorganization of the desk in preparation for either hauling the computer off somewhere to be looked at or having someone come in to look at it.
replacement parts to correct the issues my new desk chair is having are on their way.
the xbox 360, which we’ve had since ’05 or ’06, has been showing signs of its age (and the metric fuckton of use it gets). when the $50 network adapter went belly up, Dorris and i decided to go ahead and replace our old unit with the new Xbox 360 250GB S console, which has its own built in wifi hookup. as it’s smaller, sleeker, and all black, i am referring to it as the ‘slick black Cadillac’ and touching myself in an impure manner at the thought of it.

work on my blog post concerning Mother’s Day, a Lovecraftian pastiche starring Shub-Mommerath, is one of those projects i haven’t finished yet.

well, a supper of Tex-Mex comfort food, and i’m a-gonna close this. all-in-all, the state of the Jim is pretty good, considering…

Listening to: my wife play Civ V because my sound is AWOL
Mood: passable… optimistic… at peace, for the moment

Unwelcome Buried Treasure

Going through your stuff, you ever find that composition book with page after page of really pretentious and really bad stuff that you wrote when you were Much Younger and so incredibly full of yourself that you should have been taken out behind the shed and beaten senseless?
Insomnia – irritating beyond belief.
Demo for Lego Pirates of the Caribbean – way coolacious.
Finding composition book and actually reading that shit – nauseating.
So, it’s fuck near 3:30, I’ve taken ‘make me dumb’ & ‘help me breathe’ drugs and I’m about to try that whole sleeping thing again.

One thing I did find, not mine originally which explains why it’s not shit…
“The Neolithic Ethic”
“You stay in your village and we will stay in ours. If your sheep come to eat our grass, we will kill you. We may kill you anyway if we are in need of your grass for our sheep. Anybody who tries to make us change our ways is a witch, and we will kill them. Stay out of our village.”
It amazes me sometimes how little we’ve evolved.

okay, three hours of sleep later, i’m back – think of it as a scene from pretty much any version of ‘Frankenstein’… “uuuuunnnnnnnnhhh…” – either that or a mental version of Elsa Lancaster’s scream. (I need to watch that again sometime soon – “Bride of Frankenstein” remains one of my all time faves…)

Back to that whole issue that started this post… what do you do when you find crap like that, stuff so atrocious that even if the world was offering you truly obscene amounts of money for anything you’d ever written, you’d never let them see the light of day? I mean, they’re archival – they help define for me a time and place and headspace I don’t remember all that well (we were doing a lot of drugs in those days) so i’m rather loathe to destroy them, but by the same token, i’d really like to forget these pieces… not what they represent so much as the awful, bottom-of-a-septic-tank excrement that they are, as far as writing goes.
Anyone… anyone… Bueller?

Listening to: Lay Lady Lay – Ministry
Mood: surprisingly upbeat, given the abortion that last night was…

I Feel Kinda Guilty…

Got a very nice email this evening from a reader of my Soap Opera From Hell, he discovered the story after Thanksgiving and really hoped I was going to continue it – I last updated it at Christmas, 2010. It’s been a third of a year since any new material got posted… yet still readers are interested.
Nice to know… makes for the guilt though… just a bit.
From past experience I know that when I post Chapter 60, it’ll hit high in the downloads stats, as well as the score stats for recent downloads. That’s really kind of humbling, given Sturgeon’s Law and how it applies to my SOFH.
If only it were a nice, small story and not the daunting monster it’s become. I mean, yeah, I have to be in a certain headspace to enjoy writing my form of erotica, otherwise it’s a horrible exercise in “variations on insert tab A into slot B, lubricate when required, repeat as necessary” and that’s about as much fun to write as I imagine being a resume doctor is. But the other issue with just picking up and working a little on “Oil” is that even with all my notes and charts and such, it’s 750k words, metric mega-fuck-tons of characters and plot lines – keeping all that straight without a lot of rereading and such is a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

Elsewhere in the writing part of my life, I finally finished the manual archiving of my LiveJournal, I’m in the process of repairing the damage done to the sole surviving copy of my NaNoWriMo project…
Okay, a bit of an explanation, so you’ll understand just what a technobarbarian you’re dealing with here. I composed the vast majority of the project in Scrivener. When I was very close to the end of my labors in November, I submitted what I’d completed to the NaNoWriMo site for a word count. They turned it into some kind of file, I can’t remember what type.
In the meantime, hooting and grunting at the shadows dancing on the walls, probably flinging poo at them as well, I erased the Scrivener files – all of them. That took extra-special effort on my part. I did it so well that Dorris couldn’t find a ghost of them anywhere, on any computer, in any format. They were gone.
But I had this copy in the I-can’t-remember format from NaNo… so I found a way to translate it into a Word doc… but the process left the file messed up – lots of trash to be cleaned up.
Now, any time I start feeling too bitchy about it, I remember just how close I came to losing 80% of my work, and how it felt when I thought I had, and all of a sudden, I stop bitchin’… for a while. It’s deadly dull, repetitive work and I hate it only slightly less than doing punctuation revisions.
But it isn’t lost, so I can cope.
Submitted a story to a website that publishes a story a week, and at the end of the year will publish them all in an anthology… haven’t heard back yet.
The Oz story is still sitting with the editor – I haven’t heard anything negative, nor positive, so I’m real unsure what’s going to happen with that one.

Wow, that’s enough damn words for this time of night…

Listening to: Dragula – Rob Zombie
Mood: generally okay

Y’Know, Maybe More Writers Should Take Up Editing Professionally

So I’m looking at the “low prices just so as to be affordable to Indie Authors” rates from the woman who’s behind Red Adept Reviews, and the average is 0.0065 cents per word. Now, being mathematically challenged in that way that requires me to actually do the math before forming an opinion, I ran the numbers for “On A Road Going Nowhere”… twice…
$708.19 for spelling, grammar, composition, two sets of eyes looking it over and perhaps some feedback on flow and such.
Now I ain’t sayin’ it wouldn’t be worth it – hell, their editing pass might be just the thing any Indie novel needs to make it shine, and I totally agree that the more professional-appearing a book is, the more likely I am to not hurl it across the room/delete it from the Kindle. But for that kind of money, from where I’m sitting right now – on any project I’m working on – there’s no way in hell… not even with copious amounts of wanton sex thrown in with the lust object of my choice.
Not to mention “Yog’s Law” (“Money flows toward the author.”), I keep hearing in the back of my head the old sales pitch from vanity presses – “You have to have enough faith to invest in yourself!
So, y’all get out those books on English Composition and the rules of punctuation, grammar, spelling and such and hang out our shingles. I’m thinking you can undercut the hell out of that price… hell, Shandy (a fellow writer at Cen-Tex) could probably charge more than that and deliver results well worth it.
It could well be raining soup… perhaps some of the more educated and learned among my writer friends should get a bucket and go into professional editing. Indie publishing isn’t going anywhere except up…

Listening to: Comin’ In On A Wing And A Prayer – Ry Cooder
Mood: rather taken aback