Friday, December 29, 2006

End of the Year Push

I banged out about 5000 words in the past three days, almost half of it yesterday. Finished the story I had been struggling with for the past two weeks, and more importantly, I surpassed 102,000 short story words for the year with three writing days left.

I only have about three more short fiction pieces I want to write before I turn my attention back to long fiction. On deck is the end of the year challenge from Liberty Hall, which is being run in conjunction with Shimmer magazine. In this challenge, the story should be triggered by a painting that will grace the cover of the magazine. Of course, most of those folks are fantasy writers, and it's been difficult for me to put an sfnal spin on it, but I have an idea solidifying.

I also want to write a short-short for a certain themed children's magazine, and I have the misty beginnings of a sfnal story involving W. A. Mozart near the end of his life. When I finish those, I'll turn my attention to redrafting my novel Neanderthal Swan Song. I'd like to have that finished before the kids get out of school for the summer.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Carl Sagan

I've posted my contribution to the Carl Sagan bloggathon on my Scottsdale Republic blog. You can read those comments here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Reanna's on a Roll

My daughter, Reanna, just had a poem titled "The Air" accepted by Wee Ones magazine for their Kids Korner section. It will appear in their Jan/Feb 2007 issue.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I sit here waiting for the last minutes to tick away before I get the stuff removed from my face. I managed to write 974 words last night, despite my malaise and discomfort. I finished the story I had in progress. I proofed it this morning and mailed it off to F&SF. I've got about 4000 words to hit my goal of 100K for the year. With two weeks left in the year, it should be pretty easy to hit that goal.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Clear those sinuses

Yesterday, I went in for sinus surgery. People with bad allergies have a tendency to grow polyps in their sinuses, and this was the case for me. Even on the best of days, I sounded congested, and I've struggled with this since I was 16, maybe earleir. Now, at age 41, I did something about it.

I underwent three hours of computer guided surgery via cat-scan. The whole set-up is pretty slick, even if it requires the patient wear vice grips on their head. It doesn't matter much, the patient is unconscious.

I'm recovering today with plastic tubes in my nostrils and gause over the end of my nose. I won't describe this in any more detail because it will turn your stomach. I've recovered enough that the hardware is the most irritating part. I'm still tired and slow, but mostly I want this stuff off and out of my face. It will be removed tomorrow just before lunch, and supposedly I'll feel a lot better after that.

Submitted a story to Writers of the Future today. It's not the one I had been working on. Instead, I sent a short novelette that I couldn't send anywhere else because all my other options are currently saturated. I want to try to finish up the story in progress this weekend. I'm closing in on that 100K for the year.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Double Sale!

I sold a story called Little Dark Nebula to Beyond Centauri toappear in the July 2007 issue. What makes this story particularly special is that it will appear in the same issue as a poem my daughter wrote. That's right, Reanna's poem Fade Away will appear in the same issue!

I'm so psyched to have a father-daughter combo!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's a-comin'

Monday, I spent an hour at the Scottsdale office of the Arizona Republic, learning how to use their blogging software. Actually, it was mostly listening to trivium, but regardless, I now have a local blog. The thing should go live later this week, targeting tomorrow evening. When I have the chance, I'll post a link here. When I have more time, I'll add it to the list at right. You can always get there from my home page, once I add that link, that is.

Audrey played her winning flute solo at the school band concert last night. She played a 3-minute solo in front of a standing-room-only crowd. That's a pretty tall order for an 11-year-old. However, she played almost flawlessly and received a raucous ovation when she finished. I can imagine how good that must have felt. Amazingly, she's very modest about her talent. She's no braggart, and a performer should have humility.

Monday, December 04, 2006


Last night, I put the finishing touches on my first pure fantasy story, "The Great Basilisk Race." I mailed it off to Realms of Fantasy this morning. I'm about 7000 words short of my goal for the year, and not making much progress lately due to other commitments. Likely I can hammer that out in one story, but right now I'm in one of those ruts where I don't have a story in mind. It can take up to three days for me to get going again. Once I get going, I usually get three or four ideas and fall into my next rut when I exhaust those.

I made a goal of 5000 words per week for 2007. that equates to well over 300K for the year. With everything else in life, I'm not sure if I'll hit that. I'm only at about 1100 for this week. I should have fewer ruts in 2007 since I'll largely work on long fiction. Two novels alone should account for 200K.

Monday, November 27, 2006

More Progress

Put in another 1200 words today at piano lessons. Would have continued at home, but had to help one of the girls study for a math test. That 1200 words puts me at about the mid-point of the story I'm working on, "The Great Basilisk Race." This is the first pure fantasy story I've ever done. I've done some fantasy slipstrem, but never pure fantasy. I considered putting this on a different planet and making it SF, but I've wanted to try a fantasy story for a while, and this story fits that kind of setting.

I set a goal for 100,000 new short fiction words on 2006, and with this big surge over the past few days, I'm sitting around 92,000 with over a month to go. That leaves one or two more stories by the end of the year and I'll have hit the target.

"The Great Basilisk Race" will be story number 36 in circulation. If you add back the four I sold this year, the number is 40. I wrote almost all of them since Bootcamp in June of 2005. They range from a low of 185 words to a high of 14484 words. The main population falls between 4000 and 6000.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Back early from the holiday

Looks like the spammers came back from the holiday early. The pill-pushers and, ehem, phalus expansion crowd are up to their usual tricks. It's the penny stock pump and dumpers that have the rest. Never ever buy a stock off these emails. You will lose. Today's bait is APWL. Stay away.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New personal best

Today, I overcame yet another bout of lethargy. Yesterday, I managed to put down a very painful 850 words on my current work in progress, a short story called "Chemical Soup." We've been doing so much work around the house that I didn't have many ergs left for writing, yet managed to force myself.

Again, today, lethargy almost shackled me, but I forced myself to write. Now, two hours and change later, I completed both the story and my best single-session word count ever, 2199 words. (No, I'm not going to hunt for a word to insert for the nice number.) It feel's good to pound out the words that way, especially when I run out of story before I run out of vigor. The first 500 words felt as painful as yesterday's slog-a-thon. Once I got past there, the story just few out of my fingers. Ba-boom, the story's done. I'll give it the once-over tomorrow to clean it up, then I'll send it into the world on Monday.

Interestingly enough, the plot I started with never made it into the story, so I still have that one to write eventually. This one changed from a horror story about the dangers of experimenting where we arguably have no business, into an emotional character story about betrayal. Sometimes writing is funny that way.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tarot anyone?

Mary Robinette Kowal found this fun web site that will tell you which tarot card represents you. This is what came up for me. I'm not sure how well it represents me, but here it is.

You are The Hierophant

Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.

All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.

The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Home Page Overhaul

I just did a serious revamping of my home page, as in a complete overhaul. I think it looks pretty good now. check it out at and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


This week I finally broke down and purchased a share of Berkshire-Hathaway. Now, before you jump to any conclusions, I have to confess that I did not purchase the $108,000 A shares. I purchased a single $3500 B share. It's enough to get me Warren Buffett's shareholder newsletter and has a pretty good track record to boot. Hey, it's Warren Buffett.

Now if you'll excuse me *sniff* I have to make plans to attend the Berkshire-Hathaway shareholder meeting next May to exercise my 1/200th vote.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Results Are In

Today, my daughter Audrey competed in the Arizona Flute Society young artists competition. This is her final year in the Debut (4th-6th grade) division. In 4th grade, she took the only honorable mention. In 5th grade, she took 3rd place. This year, in 6th grade, she tied for first place!

She played Haydn's Serenade, and played it well, despite the fact that her piano accompanist had to recover from having a page of music upside-down as a result of dropping the music. Audrey played on without missing a beat, allowing the pianist to jump back into the piece quickly.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Big Hurrah

...for my friend and IGMS editor Ed Schubert. One of his stories was just nominated for an Edgar award, the mystery genre's equivalent to SF's Nebula award. You can see all the comments on his blog:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Another Blog

The Scottsdale Republic is the local section of the Arizona Republic. I will be one of several community bloggers that will comment on local activity of all kinds, starting sometime in December. I am supposed to go for an orientation meeting on December 4 to see the software and hear the ground rules. I'll post a link when it goes live.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sale - State Secrets

I just received an interesting rejection from Between Kisses. They like my story, but it's too long. They offered to buy it for their children's magazine, Beyond Centauri. Considering I planned to send it there next, it saves me the trouble.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ben Bova

Not long ago, a speculative fiction magazine called Apex Digest needed help. Some writers banded together and held a successful auction to save the zine. I participated in the auction and won two prizes. One was an autographed copy of a book by Steven Savile. The other prize was a copy-edited manuscript of the U.K. version of Ben Bova's novel Titan. Dr. Bova used to be the editor of Analog magazine, and is a popular science and hard science fiction author.

Because Dr. Bova was going to be in Phoenix this month, he offered to meet with me and deliver the manuscript in person. Today was the day.

I met with Dr. Bova at The Poison Pen in central Phoenix, and arrived about ten minutes before his signing. He signed the manuscript for me without personalizing because I told him I would eventually auction it again at a SFWA charity auction. He also signed my copy of his pamphlet '10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Writing,' and also signed my copy of 'How to Write Science Fiction That Sells,' personalized for this one.

We had a pleasant discussion for about five minutes before he went back into the bookstore for his signing and I got back into the car for my drive back to work.

Ben Bova is a very pleasant man. I hope I have the chance to speak with him again.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The New Phone Book's Here!

Issue #3 of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show went live today. The cost is $2.50, which gives you permanent access to that issue (just like buying it off a newsstand and throwing it in the closet).

I have a very good collection of TOC-mates. Tim Pratt is an emerging big name. Orson Scott Card has a story in every issue. In addition, fellow Codexians Alethea Kontis, Oliver Dale, and James Maxey have stories in this issue. Brian Dolton I know from Hatrack, OSC's web site. It's almost a family affair here.

Looking back over the story, which I wrote nearly a year ago, I can see how much my writing has changed and improved over that time. This story seems very passive to me. I suppose we all grow.

Click on the "current Issue" hyperlink to see the table of contents and access the beginning of the story.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Cool thing to win

As you may know, Apex magazine has been going though some tough times. Recently, an auction was held to keep the publication alive. The auction and subscription drive were a success, and I won two things in the auction. First, an autographed copy of a book by a friend of mine, Steven Savile. Second, a copy-edited manuscript of Ben Bova's recent novel Titan. The cool thing about the Bova manuscript is that he will be in town next month, and offered to hand it to me personally.

In other news, the publication of "The Adjoa Gambit" in intergalatic medicine show is imminent. News when I have it.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

IGMS Delay

Got word a while back that issue #3 of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show will be delayed. There is a new editor in house, but there are still some transition pains. I am confident the story will appear as I've already been paid. It's simply a delay.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Neometropolis Issue is Live

The transhuman issue of Neometropolis went live yesterday. It includes my story "The Problem with Immortality." You'll need to download the pdf or zip file to read the story.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Another sale

I just heard from Neometropolis that they want to buy my story "The Problem with Immortality" for their upcoming issue. It was the 11th market for this story.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Contract

I received the contract from Intergalactic Medicine Show in the mail today, along with the 6-cents per word check. So, it's really sold! the next issue is due out on August 1st. I don't know for certain that it will appear in August, but I think it likely. There are at least two other writers I know who sold a story to Scott within the last few weeks, so theirs may appear with mine.

Friday, May 26, 2006

First pro sale!

I received an e-mail today from Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show. Scott wants to buy the story I recently submitted called The Adjoa Gambit. It is uncertain when it will appear, but I'm told probably sometime this summer.

This makes my first fiction sale at professional rates, which is defined by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as minimum 5 cents per word. It isn't a tremendously large sum of money, but then, the money isn't the point. This is my first sale that will have real exposure. The exciting part about this sale is that IGMS was the first market for this story.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


The publishing industry is slow, but Tor has finally released a short fiction anthology called Elementals. This book is a fundraiser for tsunami relief. Two of my fellow Codexians, Steve Savile and Alethea Kontis edited the volume, and it contains stories from some of the best of today's speculative fiction writers, including my friend David Gerrold. David's is a rare story without a point of view character, but it works and raises some truly disturbing ideas. Well worth the read.

Again, all the writers donated the stories, and all the profits go to tsunami relief. If you buy one book this year, consider making it elementals. If you click the link at right to go to my home page, you will find a banner ad at the bottom to take you directly to the book on Amazon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Story went live

My story, "Hole in the Wall" went live yesterday. It appears as the lead title in the premier issue of Atomjack Magazine.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I met Harlan Ellison today!

Attended the friday portion of the Nebula Awards Weekend in Tempe.

Spent the early hours wandering around the hospitality suite. Met Karen Anderson, widow of the late great Poul Anderson, one of my all-time favorite writers. Very nice lady.

I attended a lecture on Current NASA planetary exploration activities by Dr. David Williams of Arizona State University.

Went back up to the hospitality suite and got into a group discussion (with me mostly listening) that included Jacqueline Lichtenberg. Stayed there until my fellow Codex writer Eric James Stone arrived. (His web site is linked from mine.)

Eric and I decided to grab some lunch, but ran into none other than Harlan Ellison, who is the grand master this year. Scott Card is right, anyone who spends five minutes in a room with Ellison has a story. Eric has a new name (how can you discard a name given by Ellison, even by accident?) and I have some of Ellison's DNA on a water bottle.

And, for Scott D: I have photographic evidence to prove I am at least an inch taller than Ellison. he is such a giant in so many other ways that I'm just thrilled to have finally met the man.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Story to Appear

I just received this morning an acceptance from Atomjack online magazine for my short story, "Hole in the Wall." It's a humorous little story written in first person, and using a somewhat strange style. I'll post a link when it is available.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


I passed a milestone over the weekend when I submitted "Road Rage" to The Pedestal. That submisson puts me over the 50,000 words of short story submissions. that covers 18 stories ranging from 350 words to 6500 words in length.

Monday, March 27, 2006

So, it's been a while...

since I made a blog entry. What has happened? Well, I have a new garage door because some fool was checking his mail at the clusterbox and decided not to use his brake, so his pickup truck rolled into my garage door, and into my van inside. That was several weeks ago. Everything is fixed as of a few days ago after 2 weeks with the van in a body shop.

My girls both won blue ribbons in the band instrument evaluation fo rthe local school district.

Most notable is that my son has a new attitude about playing trumpet. He was very resistant, and I gave him an ultimatum an hour before we left for his lesson back in February. He was whining and screaming and throwing a world-class tantrum. His ultimatum was this: Pick up the horn and play something, anything, befor your lesson otherwise you are finished playing trumpet. Five minutes before we left for what I thought would be his last lesson, he played a C scale. I took him aside and asked him if this means he was going to have a new commitment to playing. He said yes, and has practiced pretty much every day since. His teacher notices a vast improvement, and the boy's emboucher muscles are much stronger. He's playing notes much higher than he's played before, and it has become fun for him again. I love when my instinct is right.

The notices for the 2006 Q1 Writers of the Future contest started going out recently. I haven't heard anything yet. I think this story is likely to fare better than the last, but I dont think it's good enough to be a finalist. The story is too linear and predictible. I mailed another one for Q2 a few days ago that I think has an even better chance.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Nation's First Freeway Photo Radar

Last week, the City of Scottsdale, Arizona installed the first photo-radar system used on a freeway. We already have them at major intersections to catch both speeders and red light runners.

The flow of traffic on Loop 101 in the north valley, including the Scottsdale stretch, was upwards of 80 MPH. this is the flow, not the people zooming past.

They turned the system on this past monday and had something like 7000 photos taken on the first day, with numbers significantly decreased over the following days. There are only warnings mailed right now, but tickets will be mailed starting Feb 22.

The radar will only take a photo when your speed is 11 MPH over the posted limit of 65 MPH. This is standard in the valley of the sun for photo radar and for officers.

My fears: Flashes at night will distract drivers and cause accidents when travelling at freeway speeds. That hasn't happened yet.

What I've noticed over the past week is that the speed of freeway traffic is about 70 to 75 MPH on Loop 101 in Phoenix to the west and on the Indian Reservation to the south (the geography is actually east, but the freeway jogs east onto the reservation about five miles after it turns south on the east side).

Going away from Scottsdale, the flow of traffic gradually increases until it's back in the mid seventies about three miles past the city limit. Going toward Scottsdale, the traffic gradually slow at about the same distance. What surprises me is that in Scottsdale proper, the speed slows down to under 60 MPH near the first trap, despite the fact that it won't trigger until 76 MPH. There are three or four in each direction. Based on a sample size of one (I have driven past more than one trap only today) the speed increases to about 65 after the first trap.

So far, it seems to be spectacularly successful and may be the wave of the future across the country. You may wonder why the highway patrol doesn't just put more speed cops on the highway, and that has been the argument against the photo radar traps. I don't know the answer to that. Maybe they were too busy responding to accidents. forwarned...may be coming to a town near you.

Friday, January 27, 2006

A Double Whammy!

Big news. My younger daughter, Reanna, came home from school today with a note that told of her scores on the reading honors test, and she passed! She is now in both reading and math honors.

My older daughter, Audrey, came home with a note a few days ago that said she did not pass the math honors test. She scored 93rd percentile and she needed 97th percentile. Well, just after I heard about Reanna passing, I went up to the bedroom to change, and there was a message on the answering machine. It seems her teacher made an error while grading the exam, and she actually passed the test! This poor girl has scored between the 91st and 96th percentile on five consecutive honors tests, so I am very happy for her that she finally managed to get that "just one more" question right. She is now in both math and reading honors.

This means, twice the helping with homework for Dad, but we are all thrilled with their success.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

WOTF Result

Well, What a Difference a Day Makes did not make it far in the Q4-2005 Writers of the Future contest. I'm actually glad because the story had several problems. I've revised it and sent it to analog.

Last night was the Four Peaks District (Grand Canyon Council BSA) district dinner, and I was given a plaque that enshrines me into the district hall of fame for Roundtable Commissioner. it was a nice gesture and a complete surprise to me.