Sunday, May 22, 2011


So strange that my knuckleheaded son now has a son. I highly recommend being a grandpa. My son may even be maturing, growing into the role that he has accepted.

Johnathan is such a small thing--a miracle. He is now one month old.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Ramona's Pizza

Ramona said, "You two have griped long enough about not having enough help here, so I hired some. I expect lots more pizzas to be cooked."

Pete looked up from the pan he was spreading dough in. "Thank you! Will they be working tonight? After the ball game, we'll be swamped."

"Yeah, they'll be here. All twelve of them."

Sophie said, "Twelve more? We're going to have fourteen people working in this place tonight?"

Ramona put her hands on the sales counter and leaned toward them. "Yup. So I expect that since you'll have seven times as many workers, you'll make seven times as much pizza."

"You're kidding." Pete said.

Sophie threw her hands up. "Where will we put them all? There's not room for that many workers in this place. We'll be lucky if we make twice as many pizzas as usual."

Ramona said, "You're very creative. You'll figure something out." She pulled her inventory clipboard out from under the sales counter and went into the back.

Sophie put her face in her hands, smelling bell pepper on them and wondering if her eyes were going to start stinging. "Those are going to be the most expensive pizzas we ever made. I should just quit now."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Volume 27

Writers of the Future, Volume 27 is here. The trailer is here.

The week in Hollywood was fantastic. Authors' Services and Galaxy Press staffs were excellent.

The week long workshop, taught by K. D. Wentworth and Tim Powers, was phenomenal. We got advice from the old pros and the young stars--both were spectacular.

The writers were all great folks with substantial talents. I enjoyed talking and laughing with them tremendously. I hope that we can form a lasting cohort.

The illustrators were nice folks, too, but we did not spend as much time with them. The illustration that Irvin Rodriguez did for The Sundial was wonderful.

The awards show was polished and professional. The trophy is a beautiful Lucite pyramid with a silver quill inside. They're mailing it to me.

The experience was highly rewarding and exhausting fun.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Burning Money

It was hot, the night we burned chrome. -- William Gibson

I like the way that Gibson turned the phrase. "Burning" can be a present progressive tense verb or a modifying gerund. In a two word title "burning" sounds like a gerund, that is, I first assumed that "burning chrome" was a noun phrase--"chrome," the noun, and "burning," telling me what kind of chrome. But Gibson immediately turned my expectation inside out. He used "burning" as a verb and "chrome" as a direct object, as in, "We are getting out the blowtorch and burning chrome."

"Killing Words," one of my short stories, uses Gibson's ambiguity.

But I want to talk about burning money.

The Writers of the Future staff suggested a dress code for the workshop and events during the week. One staff member's clarification made it clear that I was well set, with clothes that fit the code. Later, another staff member interpreted the code differently--I was a bit below the bar.

For me, spending money on clothing is akin to burning it. I have enough clothes to rotate through most of a week, then wash them, then rinse, and repeat. So I do not have the amount of clothes that normal people have. This is one facet of my nerdhood.

My view of buying clothing has led me to make friends with my decades-old shirts. When they're finally too worn to wear, it is like saying "goodbye" to an old friend. I identify with Brian Eno, who once sung, "The passage of my life is measured out in shirts." I think Eno's line is a reference to J. Alfred Prufrock's life, which he has "measured out in coffee spoons."

So today I went to Walmart and bought $150 worth of clothes. Man, that hurt. Yes, I know it will make me a bit more normal to have an office casual wardrobe that can span 10 days or more before a wash. And I know that even though I spend, perhaps, $50/year on clothing, that normal people spend much more than that. And normal professionals do not buy $150 wardrobes at freakin' Walmart. But I am not normal.

However, it just may be the case that people who buy books would rather think of the author as being like them--as being normal. My bet is that WOTF's suggestion is like a flu shot. I did not want it. But it will be good for me.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Of The Future

In a week I leave for the Writers of the Future workshop, book signings and awards ceremony. The idea is too big for my head.

Sundial will be published in the best selling science fiction and fantasy anthology in the world.

WOTF will pay for me to fly to and stay in Hollywood for a weeklong workshop conducted by two excellent, successful authors--K. D. Wentworth and Tim Powers.

I will be able to meet authors who are new forces in the genre and authors who are venerable powerhouses.

"Calm, calm," I keep telling myself. But I don't listen.