About 16 years ago we wanted a new cat…

July 21, 2016

So we went to the Geauga Humane Society to get a new friend for our cat Mu. Michelle wanted a fluffy white Persian, but she made the mistake of handing me a little black kitten before filling out paperwork. By the time she came back, I told her we found a cat. She was all, “no, that was not what I was looking for!” But what did she expect, handing me a kitten like that?

panzer 1

Not a white-haired Persian

She got her name, Panzer, because she was built like a tank and had a habit of running and plowing over poor Mu, even when Mu was twice her size. Though, that didn’t last as Panzer eventually grew bigger than Mu.

Mu didn't have any hard feelings though

Mu didn’t have any hard feelings though

Panzer grew to be a pretty large cat.

No more room in here, go away.

No more room, go away.

And she was probably the most playful.

What you hiding in here?

What you hiding in here?

While she was always closest to Mu, she did get along with all our subsequent animals.

This is what mommy was looking for?

This is what mommy was looking for?

Unfortunately, after a bout of illness, we had to say goodbye to her this week. All I can say is what we gained from having her this past decade-and-a-half outweighs what we lost on Monday.

File under "cat picture."

File under “cat picture.”

Game Update

July 19, 2016

forests4For those of you that don’t follow my Facebook page, or missed my announcement last month: I have been contracted by Choice of Games to write a “choose-your-own-adventure” style game based in my Moreau Universe. And, yes, one of the first choices you make in the game is choosing your species. And yes, you can play a genetically engineered capybara. You can thank one of the editors for that ;). The game is progressing well ahead of our deadline, about 1/3 written so far, and I’m finding it a nice change of pace from linear novel writing. I will keep everyone posted on my progress, but it seems on track to appear sometime next year.

For my writing friends: It is worth checking out these guys. They pay rates comparable to a genre mass-market paperback sale. Just bear in mind that you need to access a different skill set than straight novel writing. Any experience coding is helpful. Also any experience running a RPG is also helpful.

 

Libertycon 29

July 14, 2016

Me and head programming guy, Rich Groller, at the tail end of LibertyCon

Me and head programming guy, Rich Groller, at the tail end of LibertyCon

If you were following me on Facebook you know I attended Libertycon 29 this past weekend. I had a blast. Even though it was a bit outside my normal stomping grounds, I found no shortage of folks to talk with— no small thing for an introverted cave-dweller such as myself. Highlights:

  • The con staff was fantastic, everything I saw ran smoothly, from the con-suite to the banquet to the panels. (And buy a banquet ticket if you go, it’s well worth it.)
  • The venue is the most impressively strange setting for a con I’ve ever been to, it’s like having a con in an alternate steampunk universe.
  • My time in Author Alley was well spent, even though I only sold a handful of books, because of all the folks I met and talked to who said they were fans of my stuff. (Apparently there’s a big Venn Diagram overlap between fans of my work and Libertycon attendees.)
  • And I got a kick when Jonathan Maberry, the literary GoH came by my table, said he liked Hostile Takeover and bought a copy of Prophets. Had a nice chat with him then, and later in the con suite, and even later had him sign a copy of Patient Zero for me.
  • And even more of a kick attending the Baen dinner party, where I got to hear Larry Correia wax poetic on video game tanks, and spent most of the evening talking with David Weber.

All in all, a great time, will do it again.

And I am back again…

July 12, 2016

I have returned. (Not that I’ve actually gone anywhere.) My wife is cracking the social media whip at me, telling me I should stop ignoring the blog portion of my site. So I’m going to start posting here again so my little corner of the web doesn’t look so abandoned. Look for me to be posting stuff here Tuesdays and Thursdays…

Arriving March 1st

February 25, 2016

Dragon WizardThe third in the Dragon* series is coming March 1, 2016.  It’s full of new soul-swapping shenanigans, new gods, and new apocalyptic threats to the Kingdom of Lendowyn.  Also, Dudley is still a dick.

Buckeye Book Fair

November 6, 2015

Buckeye Book FairTomorrow, Saturday November 7, 2015, I will be at the 28th Annual Buckeye Book Fair. The event will be held from 9:30am to 4:00pm in the Fisher Auditorium, 1680 Madison Ave, Wooster, OH 44691. Directions are here. Brochure is here.

It’s always a great event. Hope to see you there.

Coming Soon

September 23, 2015

mq2_big

Coming this October, The Moreau Quartet Volume Two. Amazon is accepting pre-orders, and next week I’ll be starting another Goodreads book giveaway. (Watch this space.)

In other news: In the /r/Fantasy subreddit, I will be holding an AMA on September 29th. (If you don’t understand any of that, just follow the links.)  That means I’ll be answering questions live online, starting around 7pm Central Time on the 29th.  The AMA thread will be posted around 11AM Central Time, so you’ll be able to post questions in advance.  To participate you’ll need to set up a Reddit account, which isn’t that difficult.  Hope to see you there.

A literary snob pisses on Terry Pratchett’s grave

August 31, 2015

A couple of days ago, Toni Weisskopf posted a link to this letter from Edgar Rice Burroughs to a young Forrest J. Ackerman. It’s a pithy letter, shorter than most blog posts, but is a prescient rebuttal to this hot mess of a Guardian article appearing almost exactly 84 years later.

The Guardian:

Life is too short to waste on ordinary potboilers.

Burroughs:

No fiction is worth reading except for entertainment… If it forms the habit of reading, in people who might not read otherwise, it is the best literature.

The Guardian:

By dissolving the difference between serious and light reading, our culture is justifying mental laziness and robbing readers of the true delights of ambitious fiction.

Burroughs:

That, however, seems to be a universal pedagogical complex: to make the acquiring of knowledge a punishment, rather than a pleasure.

Our critic at the Guardian seems to be of a piece with Forrest J. Ackerman’s long forgotten teacher. Great literature must require effort! If something is accessible, one need not apply. . . Not like anyone from the cannon of English literature ever wrote for the masses *cough*Dickens*cough*. And while our critic sings the praises of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, somehow I suspect he might contemplate seppuku before deigning to touch a modern regency romance.

So while our arbiter of taste at the Guardian says “I am not saying this as a complacent book snob” I may just invoke the words of that author of 16th Century potboilers and say he “doth protest too much.” After all, who but a snob would open a critique of an author by saying “I have never read a single one of his books and I never plan to. Life’s too short… Pratchett is so low on my list of books to read before I die that I would have to live a million years before getting round to him.”

If you wanted to efficiently display literary bigotry, mean-spiritedness, close-mindedness, and pretention all wrapped in a bundle of industrial strength smug, and do it in as few words as possible, you couldn’t do better than emulating this opening. Of course, our “critic” does let us know that he “did flick through a book by him in a shop, to see what the fuss is about, but the prose seemed very ordinary.”

I guess this guy isn’t a Hemingway fan either.

But, I think, the worst part of this vile literary emetic is its apparent genesis. Our “critic” was upset at “the huge fuss attending and following [Pratchett’s] death this year.” Read that again. Our purveyor of literary light, our guide to the right and good in the fictive universe, is upset that people made a fuss when Terry Pratchett died. I know there’s this British thing about reserve and overt displays of emotion, but really… can someone’s heart be so black to object to people’s sorrow over the man’s death? Oh, and just when you couldn’t think less of his argument, he throws a swift kick at Ray Bradbury’s corpse as well.

So, in conclusion, I suggest if you want to critique the ovure of a recently deceased author and want to be taken seriously you avoid the following pitfalls:

  1. Don’t admit you never read the their work, or intend to in the future.
  2. Don’t call the readers of their work lazy.
  3. Don’t say no one should have made such a big fuss when they died.

A point about the Hugos that someone needs to make. . .

August 27, 2015

Those people on the other side of the debate, the ones you attack with such righteous fury, who called down your wrath by acting in such an asinine and nasty fashion. . . they’re you. They’re called to this genre by the same love of different worlds and different realities, aliens and spaceships, dragons and wizards. A lot of them were the same weird kid in high school. They like D&D, or Star Trek, or Doctor Who, or Guardians of The Galaxy. And some of these folks have lucked out by being able to make some money, even have a career doing what they love.

They are not orcs designed in some dark wizard’s lair, they are not some inscrutable alien horde come to slaughter us and lay eggs in our corpses, they are not some shadowy cabal bent on destroying what is right and good with the universe, they are not evil.

They are just fans with slightly different taste in fiction. They are fans that got understandably angry when other fans derided, belittled and otherwise seemed to condemn the things they loved. Fans that perceived insults and, as humans are wont to do, threw insults back. Fans that, like you, will argue that the other guy threw the first punch.

If you don’t like what’s happening to the genre, maybe you should consider how many times you’ve said how horrible those other fans are. It shouldn’t be hard to understand how they feel, since you’re reacting in exactly the same way.

 

 

(I leave as an exercise for the reader to determine if I am addressing the Puppies or their opponents.)

Yes, I’m a little pissed, how can you tell?

August 24, 2015

Fuck this shit!

Up to now I’ve been pretty quiet about this, but you all have finally pissed me off. I’m seeing all sorts of grandstanding, self-congratulatory, “I’m so fucking proud of fandom,” nonsense all over the place. This is some sort of high-water mark for the genre. Schadenfreude for everyone! Crush the puppies! See them driven before us, and hear the lamentations of their women! Yay us! We won!

If you’re part of that cheering squad, fuck you.

This is what you’re cheering: A bunch of guys came to the game trying to get people to win. A bunch of other guys came to make people lose. The latter was victorious. So you’re all cheering, “Yay! People lost!”

Applauding “no award” means nothing but your own profound joy that everyone in the category lost. It means you are celebrating their defeat.

It means you celebrate the fact that a pair of women editors who’ve done fantastic work in the genre for decades, who managed to pull in record setting numbers of votes, were successfully blocked from getting an award because mumblemumble-hate-mumblemumble-misogyny-mumble. It means you are okay that, given the traditional meaning of “no award,” fandom pretty much up and said to Sheila E. Gilbert and Toni Weisskopf that, “no, really, we don’t think you should have this Hugo, and furthermore, we really think you aren’t worthy to be on this ballot.”

That is what you’re cheering.

So fuck you.

If you start saying “collateral damage,” Fuck you.

If you start saying “but the puppies…” Fuck you.

If you start saying “if they distanced themselves from…” Fuck you with a rusty chainsaw.

All of the above is an attempt to deflect responsibility. Fandom decided that voting “no award” across the board was a reasonable response to the Puppies, and that’s what they did. The people who did so, the people who encouraged them to do so, and the people cheering the results, are all taking a massive steaming sour-burrito dump on the careers of two women who’ve probably done more for the genre than the whole lot of knee-jerk puppy kickers put together.

So, yeah, if you’re blabbing on Facebook about how proud you are about all this, I’m pretty much losing my respect for you.