I’m here, despite all attempts by the universe to make it not so. I’m hard at work on a graphic novel called NIGHTFELL and I’m still building websites every day. I apologize for the lack of blog. I think the universe is also conspiring to keep me from blogging. But don’t delete me from your feeds just yet, dear readers. There is more to come soon.
27 September 2013
04 September 2013
I’m too tired (and pressed for time) for anything but a bulleted list of the bestest memories this year.
- At dinner with Hugh, John, and Des, as Hugh described a very fun weekend he was about to take: “Did you just have a stroke and start listing the names of famous people?”
- Meeting Beth, who has great taste in the 90s cartoons (Gummi Bears, Pirates of Dark Water), and appreciates the screwed up manga Gantz.
- Walking along the riverwalk, mentioning my fear of dropping my phone in water, seeing everyone simultaneously putting phones away.
- “How many tourist bodies do you suppose they dredge out of this thing every winter?” “At least a couple.”
- Ben’s story of drinking the riverwalk water.
- Getting to hold Jaime’s forthcoming book.
- Coming up with the persuasive theory that Neil and Sean are a total Fight Club situation; never seen apart all week long, were they! But which is the imagination of which?
- Finally meeting Norm, hearing Norm’s solid minute of jokes on whale-fucking (you had to be there).
- Visiting the wax museum, and laughing until I was dizzy as each and every one of our small group attempted to crack a funnier joke about the most ridiculous place.
- Being accused of staring at the wax mannequins’ crotches when I was really just inspecting the detail work on the hands; I swear.
- Tweeting the Hugos with Shaima and Stephanie until my batteries ran out.
- “We Love You Jay.”
- Unexpectedly seeing John and Christie at the airport on the early flight home.
I’m sure I’m forgetting even more awesome. It was a year’s worth of living packed into four days. Oh it was so great.
But the best moment of all was:
- Spending an hour depressed and wandering the convention halls without seeing anyone I knew, only to finally meet Sean, and then Chris K. Then shortly later the 50 minute trip across the hotel lobby with Chris as we proceeded to run into every single writer on the planet on our way to the SFWA suite. I had tears of joy in my eyes. Nothing at all beats the pleasure of old friends showing genuine pleasure to see you again.
So many new friends to look forward to next time. This was the best WorldCon of all. I already miss you all.
27 August 2013
I will be at LoneStarCon 3 in San Antonio from Thursday, August 29 through Sunday, September 1st. I don’t have a convention agenda; I’ll be trying to meet with a few clients, going to a couple of parties to which I’ve been invited, and generally trying to meet a few friends. Clients are welcome to track me down for a meal my treat; I’m not booking anything ahead of time. Consider your reward for playing the game Where’s Jeremy a free meal at one of San Antonio’s many lovely restaurants.
I’m looking forward to the closest thing I’ve had to a vacation in quite some time! I hope to see you there.
04 August 2013
I love my house, but there are some weird things about it cropping up as we get settled.
For instance, there’s a small shrine to a horse in the attic. It consists of an old and fading photograph of a horse and a weird horse riding crop/whip thing hangs on the wall above it. There’s a woman in the photo, but her face is too blurry to make out with an aim towards identifying her. The shrine is set up in the farthest, deepest corner away from the entrance. I don’t like to go up there. Looking at the photograph makes me really uneasy, but I don’t know why. And I think there’s dried blood on that whip thing. I’m not sure what dried blood looks like exactly, but I think it looks like that. Dark brown stains of a dubious nature.
The stairs to go up into the attic are in our master bedroom closet (it’s a pretty weird setup). My side of the bed is right next to the door. Sometimes when I wake up in the middle of the night, I catch a whiff of something that I haven’t been able to identify, but I finally realized this morning– it’s the smell of a wet horse blanket.
31 July 2013
“So what do you do?” you ask reluctantly as the line creeps forward.
“I just launched a news aggregation site in the style of Pokemon text,” he says with the broad grin of youth that has yet to wake up with a back ache for no good reason. “We’re in one of the incubators over in West Plaza North.”
“Pokemon? That video game for kids with the little anime monsters?”
“Well,” he says, shifting his weight uneasily, “Pokemon was for kids when we were kids. But a lot of people our age still play. It’s a very popular franchise.”
“How does that even work?” You very much really regret forgetting to charge your phone overnight.
“Here.” He pulls a tablet out of his canvas messenger bag, flips up the black leather cover, and swipes to unlock. He hands you the tablet.
“‘PALESTINE uses PEACE TALKS… it’s INEFFECTIVE!’” you read aloud. You scroll down the page. “Seems pretty limiting.”
“Not at all. We’ve got the ‘X learns MOVE NAME’ format to work with also. Pretty much any news can be phrased in a way our generation just ‘gets,’ and it’s all about catering to our needs now that the Boomers are in decline,” he says. “You should come by our office some time. We have every Pokemon game ever made, including some really rare imports.” You hand the tablet back to him and he puts it away.
“Sure, some time,” you say in a tone that unmistakably means “no way in hell.” The line moves forward as another freelancer places their order for a Starbucks-brand kopi luwak coldpress grande at $12.99. “How’s that working out for you?”
“Eh.” He shrugs. “It’s okay. We have three million daily readers, but I think we can hit ten once we start publishing in English too.”
# # #
29 July 2013
I’ve been a bit lax on updating the blog with sales news. The headline says most everything you really need to know, but that would make for a poor blog post so here are more details.
When I got the email from Sheila Williams on Friday, I scanned it and thought it said she was rejecting the story at first. When I read it a second time and realized that she said she wanted to take it provided I rewrite the over-long first sentence, I let out an involuntary shout that scared the cats and had my wife calling from upstairs to know what was wrong. Then I started hooting and maybe dancing a little. It’s all a blur.
Selling a story to Asimov’s Magazine has been a dream of mine since I was 13. My father read Asimov’s religiously, so for me this sale is special. I’m very proud of the sales I have made to Lightspeed and Interzone, but it was Asimov’s that represented “breaking in” for me for so many years. My Dad would have been almost as excited as I am.
Equally awesome, Podcastle contacted me about podcasting my fantasy story from Lightspeed last year, and of course I agreed. I’m really looking forward to hearing their production of it, and their interest in it has reminded me that I need to somehow make time to write the sequels to that story that I have planned. A world where human souls are a commodity lends itself to a lot of world-building fun.
In other writing news, I’ve received in invitation to write a short story for an anthology called Wrecked Earth which is a series of stories set in the world of CLUTCH by C.E.L. Welsh. This will include a short comic book adaptation of the story.
In longer form writing news, work continues apace on the NIGHTFELL graphic novel I’m working on with Outland Entertainment’s lead/colorist Jeremy Mohler and artist/penciler Nicolàs Giancondino. This is going to be a longer form (150 pages or so) graphic novel that is kind of epic fantasy and kind of something… else. I’m really excited about working with the artists; collaboration on this scale is new to me, but if all goes well, I think this is going to be great fun to work on and read.
Life in general is very full, busy, and generally awesome. I’m keeping busy with all the writing, freelance web design, and unpacking our belongings in our brand new house here in Lawrence, Kansas. The only thing I need right now is a few friends over to play board games on our new dining room table. And that should happen soon enough, I’m guessing…
25 June 2013
I don’t know if anyone reads this blog anymore that isn’t also friends with me on Twitter or Facebook. Despite my best efforts to switch back to more blogging, what I have found is that social networks give a sense of more immediate feedback and connectivity than blogging does. You blog something and it just seems to disappear into the void that is the net.
With Twitter and Facebook, feedback is near spontaneous. Only problem is, you can’t share as much. But then, we’re all pressed for time, with more things demanding our attention than ever before, so maybe there’s a certain arrogance in expecting anyone to read a blog post that is more than 140 characters in length. Better make it valuable, then. Or at least short.
I’m going with short.
Personal life updates: we’re buying a house next week. It’s a nice turn of the century number with a lot of charm in a quiet little Lawrence, Kansas neighborhood. We’re really looking forward to restoring the original character to it and growing a big vegetable garden in the yard. We’re nervous about the added expense, but it seems time to put down roots again. Lawrence is a lovely little town full of interesting people. July is going to be a very hectic and scary month, I’m afraid, but it will be worth it.
Business has been great this year, and continues to be good. I’ve got various projects lining up to take me through to the end of the summer right now. If you’re looking to have me tackle a project for you, please contact me about it as soon as you can, as my calendar continues to fill up quickly. /shill
On the writing front, I have even more good news. I sold a story, “In the Dying Light, We Saw A Shape,” to Lightspeed Magazine. I’ll be sure to post here when it comes out. I think you will enjoy it.
The story went through numerous drafts and was one of my workshop pieces for the James Gunn short fiction workshop run by Chris McKitterick and James Gunn, with guest instructor Andy Duncan. Overall, I learned a lot from my two weeks in the workshop. I highly recommend you attend if you’ve been considering it.
It’s been a busy and productive summer. I hope yours is going well.
08 June 2013
I’ve always wondered why hench-people are so willing to lay down their lives for clearly evil and unbalanced masterminds, but I think I just figured it out.
Henchmen and henchwomen are recruited from the homeless population. People who have reached the bottom rung of society, slipped from it, and dropped into the abyss. Villains trawl for the lost souls and the give them food, a home, companionship with other henchmen. A purpose. They’re trusted with responsibility.
So why do they line up to die in fights against “good guys?”
Gratitude. Henchmen do what they do out of gratitude.
Put yourselves in their position. Sure, the boss is insane. But you know insanity. You’ve wrestled with it yourself, maybe, or you certainly know people on the streets that struggle with it. And “evil?” What’s evil anyway? Oh, the boss wants to change the world, and how it would change might be unclear, but from your perspective, he or she has made your life 1000% better.
Villains do more for the homeless than any heroes. Supervillains build industry and provide jobs to those who most desperately need them. How many jobs does your average superhero create? Hell, they probably puts police out of work if they’re ‘good’ at their jobs. Some henchfolk might even be former cops who lost everything after yet another round of cuts, because hey, we have all these volunteer heroes, why do we need another dozen police officers?
Giving someone who has nothing even the smallest something is the easiest way directly to the core of them.
I am rethinking every superhero comic I’ve ever read in this context now.
22 May 2013
This is just a semi-crappy camera phone picture but it makes me excited for the photography opportunities for living in the country. We’re putting an offer on a 100 year old Kansas farmhouse tonight! In celebration, here’s a snapping turtle we saw tonight.
20 May 2013
We saw the new Star Trek movie. I liked it as a movie. I enjoyed it about as much as the first one. But it has problems. Big problems.
Here be spoilers.
Io9 has a really good FAQ that takes the movie to task for some of its more dense decisions. It really focuses on that first opening away team mission. The more I think about the start of that movie, the less I like it.
Here’s how it reads to me:
It’s like someone watched an away team mission from the original series, but dubbed in a language they don’t speak. They kind of understood there was something was bad about directly interacting with alien natives, but they weren’t sure why. They saw the movement, the tension of the situation, and the characters and the ship. But they didn’t understand word one of dialogue. It was just people doing stuff in neat costumes with some weird effects. They didn’t understand the spirit of the idea. And then they wrote their own version of that.
To put it another way, it’s like someone trying to build a space shuttle from a collection of parts with only a photo of one in flight to go by as direction.
The new Star Trek, especially in the opening scene, is a pithed frog. All twitch, no brain.
I’m not even going to get into the race-bending controversy. I agree with what others have said 100%.
And that’s what I have to say about a movie I actually enjoyed. Can you imagine what I say about movies I hate?