Years ago I took a long bus trip. It was everything a 36-hour bus ride could be, with the usual suspects (ordinary people, crazy people, young people, old people, little children, crackheads, perverts, college kids, etc.). With a delegate present from every walk of life, that bus presented me with sights, smells, and propositions I hope never to encounter again. Some time after that, I happened upon Weird Al’s performance of “Another One Rides the Bus.” I had to watch it a second time because I was laughing so hard the first time through I missed half the lyrics – all of which rang true enough to keep me in hysterics.
Weird Al’s whimsical ditty came back to me this morning and I started thinking about all the story ideas that could come out of that bus trip. What if humans and aliens had to share a daily commute? If goblins ran bus companies, what sort of rules would they impose on passengers? Or, I could take the most inappropriate thing I heard on that trip and write it into a setting that was the opposite of the bus environment. Or, I could pick the creepiest weirdo on the bus and write the story of how he got that way. (Um…maybe not that last one, upon second thought.)
I’m a big fan of the holiday season, not so much for the traditions of any particular idealogy, but because I really like cookies and colored lights. I usually listen to music when I write, and throughout December I have a couple of favorite holiday albums that I mix into the rotation. Annie Lennox’s A Christmas Cornucopia is a decent mix of tunes (and the video for God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen is a real hoot). My other favorite to have in the background while I write is a collection of holiday music from the Middle Ages: A Feast of Songs, by Beth and Barry Hall. I can write to either of these albums throughout the entire month. When it comes to hosting holiday parties (hey, writers do social things like that!), my favorite is James Taylor’s Christmas Album. Continue reading
The other day I saw a post on Facebook by someone who has self-published a novel. In a very high-handed way he said that he was a “real author” and wouldn’t lower himself to do anything as silly as Nanowrimo. I respect people who don’t want to do it, and I know that there’s a level of kitch to the whole thing. But I was really embarrassed on this fellow’s behalf. Yes, he has really authored a novel. After self-publishing it, he did a promotional give-away of the darned thing. I downloaded the free copy and tried to read it. I couldn’t get past the second chapter. It was pretty bad. I don’t know him personally, but I actually considered contacting him and offering to help proof-edit-improve his future works. I chickened out because it seemed like a weird thing to do, contacting a total stranger to say “let me help before you do something like that again.” Continue reading
As most of the writing world knows, November’s been declared “National Novel Writing Month” – shortened to NaNoWriMo. I heard at a local convention that so many would-be writers take part in this exercise and then (horrors!) ship the slapdash product off to publishers, that many publishing houses just shut down through the entire month of December. I have no idea if that’s true (what good would it do, wouldn’t the dreadful manuscripts just be waiting in January anyway?). But, never mind. Continue reading
I was listening to an old interview with Bear McCreary (he’s the composer behind some of my favorite TV shows, most notably “Battlestar Galactica,” and most lamentably the short-lived but wondeful “Human Target“) and I realized something that stopped me in my tracks for a moment. (Luckily I was washing dishes and not jogging.) I know a reasonable cross-section of sci-fi enthusiasts who’ve watched “Battlestar Galactica” – from the ardent fans who can quote most of the series to those who watched a handful of episodes and promptly moved on to greener pastures. Continue reading
I wanted to say thanks again to everyone who’s been reading ‘Antiquity’ and to say that it’s now posted in 5-chapter blocks for (well, if not convenience, for fewer pages under that category). I’m going to post the whole thing next week as one enormous document and Continue reading
If Dire Strait’s “Heavy Fuel” is the song that keeps me working when I’m doing work I halfway enjoy, The Police’s “Synchronicity II” is what runs through my mind while I’m at my day job. (This is probably not a good thing. The line “he knows that something somewhere has to break” is not a refrain that keeps one on task.) That said, I would like – in all science-fiction seriousness – to share one of my favorite songs. “Come Sail Away” by Styx was one I long enjoyed just for its being so much fun to sing along with… but the day I accidentally paid attention to the lyrics, I actually yelled “oh, my god, it’s about aliens!!” (I hope that my inattention coupled with my exuberence makes for an endearing quality. If not, I’m simply a dork. That’s okay too.) Continue reading
I wanted to send a thanks out to anyone who’s still reading “Antiquity” and apologize for the sporadic posting of chapters (if it’s any consolation, chapters 21 and 22 are ready, but I’m going to wait a few days to post them!). I’ve registered to attend this year’s Potlatch convention and have been polishing short stories and searching Duotrope for places to submit. (I’ve got three out that I’m waiting to hear back on, and two in the revision process.) I’d list out all the reasons I’ve been busy lately, but instead I’ll share today’s motivational video. Not that the video’s all that motivating (funny, though), but I’ve always found this a good tune to work to. So, more chapters soon (another novella is in the works to follow this one), some real blog posts, and more book giveaways — really!
Just a quick note for friends and fans. The bad news is I had to abandon my intentions for Nanowrimo (a shame because I had two decent ideas and really meant to bring one of them to fruition), but the good news is the reason why. It turns out that two good professional opportunities have cropped up (both of the non-fiction book writing variety), so that’s what preempted Nano, and what’s delayed the Antiquity chapters. But, having decided to bow out of the novel-in-a-month-madness means I can keep the novella progressing at a reasonable rate. So, thanks for your patience and your readership; a new chapter will be up soon and, a new book review-and-drawing will also be coming up. Check back soon, or subscribe and/or follow me on Twitter to get updates!