Sunday, November 30, 2008

Two Sales

I did a short story blitz over the holiday weekend, sending out stagnant stories back into the market. As a result, I sold two more stories.

1. Road Rage, a story that has been floating around for a while, sold to new SF online magazine M-Brane SF.
2. A Rock by Any Other Name, sold to The Future Fire.

Details to come.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Finally I Can Show It

Happy Thanksgiving.

I finally finished cleaning out the home office today. It took me 5 days to do the deep thorough cleaning starting with the closet and working my way out. Along with that work came two large loads to Goodwill and more recyclables than I can fit in my bin. Today is our normal recycling day, but because it is Thanksgiving, the truck comes tomorrow.

I have the 16-track recorder in its new home and have the back half of the room available for recording. 10 years of junk gone, and it feels good to be able to move around in here.

Along the way, I put up three shelves for my old cassette tapes (including one sliver I can't get out), vacuumed and steamed the carpet, and shredded check duplicates as much as 20 years old. The only thing I didn't do was move any furniture because everything is already in the best place for this room.

here is a brief video showing the new Rick Novy writing office and Iapetus Project recording studio.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spring Cleaning (in November)

One of the priorities while I'm off work this week is to give the house a thorough cleaning. We did the curtains already. Now, I'm hammering away at my home office. It's become the room where everything we don't know what to do with ends up. Also, anything we haven't wanted the kids to get into for 10 years ended up in there. The result? An almost unusable room. (Mom, it's like your sewing room in Waukesha. Yeah, that bad.)

One reason I need the extra space is I need room for the recording gear. My new recorder is sitting on a wooden TV tray. Yikes. I have absolutely no room for boom microphones right now. So, we already took one trip to Goodwill and another trip is in the making. I also tried to trade in about 5 years worth of Locus magazines, a foot-tall stack of National Geographic magazines, three-inches of Scientific Americans and Sky and Telescope magazines, a few issues of Asimov's and F&SF, and a few various old Writers Digest volumes at the used book store down in Tempe. Of course, all they took were the Writers Digests and Sky and Telescopes. So I still have most of that in my truck with no clue where to give them away. The NGs I might be able to give to a school, but the Locus volumes are so esoteric that I doubt I can find them a good home. Probably they will end up back in my home office.

While I was on the trip down to Tempe, I slid over to Mesa to visit Milano Music. They are the oldest music store in Arizona and have a bass player on staff who is into home recording. He's been very helpful discussing gear and different options. I bought my boom stands a few days ago at another of my favorite music stores, AZ Music. Since I'm spending a decent amount of cash, I wanted to share it with the places that have helped or given me good deals in the past. So, I finally bought the studio condenser microphone set I've been looking at since February.

Now that I have all the gear, I need to make the space to use it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Catching Up

Today, I started going through my list of stories that are sitting on my hard drive. This has been an incredibly tough year for me in the real world, making following Heinlein's rules numbers 4 and 5 (You must put your story on the market, and you must keep it on the market until sold) incredibly difficult.

I came up with 8 queries of stories of which I did not know the status. Some were rejected and I was too busy to note it down. That would make for embarrassment if the editors all knew how many queries I sent today. (Most editors don't read my blog, so I should be safe with the confession.) On others I really haven't heard back. And the markets that I'm talking about do occasionally vanish while I have something submitted. It has happened more than once to me, and I even got paid and had all rights revert on one occasion.

Including the queries, I had something like 21 stories waiting to get back into the market or with status unknown. I spent a great deal of effort this evening getting some of those back into the market. It's not as if the Packers were beating the Saints, or anything like that.

Of the 16 stories I had on my list to resubmit, I managed to get 8 back into the marketplace today. Not a bad accomplishment while watching Green Bay give up 51. Ouch.


I recorded and mixed my first experiment with the Fostex multitrack recorder on saturday. I still need to bounce the tracks over and covert to a stereo wave file, but that should happen soon. If the file size is small enough, I'll post it here for your listening agony. It's an unmeasured, unrehearsed, ad-libbed sort-of excerpt from Gordon Lightfoot's The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. The chord sequence is one of the first I learned, and I kind of use it as a warm-up.


If you are interested in reading some controversy, hop on over to James Maxey's blog. James has allowed D.N. Drake to post a free-for-all intentionally controversial guest blog post here.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

2008 Flute Competition Resuts

For the fifth consecutive year, Audrey competed in the Arizona Flute Society Young Artist competition.


2004 - Debut Division - Honorable Mention (unshared)
2005 - Debut Division - 3rd Place
2006 - Debut Division - 1st place (tied)
2007 - Junior Division - Participant

In the Debut (4th - 6th Grade) division, Audrey moved up every year, finally tying for first with a girl named Jennifer Chiang when they were both 6th graders. In her first year competing in the Junior (7th - 9th grade) division, Audrey had a miserable performance and fell out of the listings. Jennifer Chiang, meanwhile, took third place.

This year, Audrey's nemesis, Jennifer Chiang won the Junior division. Audrey is back in the listings at third place. The two that beat her must have had outstanding performances, and I suspect the scoring was very close. Audrey had a very good performance, one of the best runs-through she did with this piece. (As a consolation, Ms Chiang is ineligible next year.)

Unfortunately, despite checking the camera batteries before we left, I could not get it to work at the performance. Alas, I have no recording of this years performance. Now that my recorder arrived, I can hopefully record it here once I buy some microphones.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Iapetus Rising

I finally did it. I ordered my 16-track recorder last friday and it's due here on thursday. You can see the one I ordered here. (I didn't buy it from Zzounds, but they have a decent photo.)

So, the Iapetus Project is on the launch pad. For the past few days, I've been looking for a public domain song to try it out. I finally settled on Hark! The Hereld Angels Sing for reasons having more to do with the chords I can currently play on guitar than fondness for the song.

About an hour ago, I transposed the melody for Bb instruments and pulled my clarinet out of the closet. Augh! It sounded awful. No, I sounded awful. Of course, I've probably spent a total of about 30 minutes with the instrument over the past five years. I can blame part of it on the reed, but not all of it.

The song is in the key of G, which puts it into the key of A for clarinet. At first, I couldn't remember the fingerings for the A scale, but it came back after thirty seconds of trial and error.

I did manage to get the clarinet and guitar in tune with each other, but I think my clarinet tone needs a bit of practice.

As a side note, I pounded out a holiday flash story last night in one sitting.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Made the Deadline

I am pleased as punch to announce that I did make the deadline for submission to Jay Lake's anthology. It took a late night with the wife asking when I plan to turn off the light, but I made it. Now that the submission window is closed, I don't mind talking about the story.

The anthology is called Footprints. It is centered around the idea that we leave traces of our existence (namely, footprints on the moon) long after we are extinct. The story must be told from an alien point of view.

I took a slightly different tactic. My story is called "Radio Waves," and in it, an alien species detects the radio frequency emissions of Earth. Ultimately, the aliens glom onto a televangelist and become the faithful. In the end, they make a pilgrimage to Earth to bring the televangelist back to their planet. The radio waves just stop half way to Earth. What do they find and how do they explain things to the faithful? You'll have to read it to find out.

Also on the writing front, I am preparing the agent query packages for Neanderthal Swan Song. 13 months on the Baen slush pile was a long wait, and probably not the best place to send the manuscript. But, it's back in my hands and I intend to shop it more conventionally now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Novel Status

13 months and Baen rejected my novel "Neanderthal Swan Song." Not a surprise. I spoke with Alan Dean Foster back in August, and he said that he and his agent had some discussions with Baen shortly before that. According to him, they are really only buying military SF and alt history. Since Neanderthal Swan Song falls into neither category, I'm glad just to finally have the manuscript back in my hands. Will be sending queries to agents now.

I'm almost done with the story I am writing intended for the Jay Lake anthology. The deadline is tomorrow, but I've crossed the minimum word count and have maybe 10% of the story left to tell. Hopefully I'll have enough time for a thorough once-over.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Busy busy

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I'm trying to finish a short story in time for the deadline to the Jay Lake anthology Footsteps. Every time I get a block of time to work on the story, it's taken away by some other obligation.


Still, I think there's a fair chance I might hit the deadline, which is this coming Saturday.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Back from Scout Pueblo

A nice two-night camp out finished up today. we took the troop to the Heard Scout Pueblo. There are two main attractions of this camp. First, it's close. 30 minutes and we arrive. Second, they have a rifle range, which we reserved from 9:00 to noon on saturday.

They had 4 NRA instructors on site. (The BSA and the NRA have always had a good relationship.) The boys got a substantial class in firearm safety before they were allowed to shoot.

The boys worked on rifle shooting merit badge, which in part requires the boys to get 3 shots grouped in an area the size of a quarter using a 22-caliber rim fire rifle from fifty feet, and do it five times.

Most of the boys worked on that. The three boys who already have the merit badge, as well as all the adults, worked on NRA marksmanship qualification.

My father used to compete with his 22-caliber rim fire and brought home trophies as proof that he knew a little bit about it. He took us to the range from time-to-time, so I had shot before. However, I never attempted any qualification until saturday. Considering the rifles were scout camp inventory, I didn't do too badly, and I managed to earn my pro-marksman rating.

That is the first level you can attain, and is relatively easy. 10 targets with a score of 20 or higher. My lowest score was 32, which is good enough to qualify for the sharpshooter level, but you have to earn the lower ratings first. The rifles were fairly heavy and fatigue certainly was a factor. The boys going for the merit badge get to rest the rifle on a block, but for NRA certification you have to support the gun yourself.

By noon, I had a nice certificate, the rifle qualification patch, and the pro-marksman patch. Russell made good progress, too. His first target had 3 holes scattered around the target. you could have put a grapefruit between the three holes. A few targets later, he was grouping them well enough to meet the "quarter" requirement for the merit badge or better.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Scout Pueblo

I'm about 30 minutes away from leaving for the Heard Scout Pueblo. Our troop is doing a 2-night camp out. The boys are excited because it's an official scout camp, and so we get to use the rifle range. Hopefully, I'll have pictures when we get back.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Smelly Shit

In addition to the morning paper, we found this smelly piece of racist shit in our driveway this morning.

I've lived here almost ten years and this is the first time I've had something like this dropped in my driveway. Perhaps I should ask my 100% Filipino wife and 50% Filipino kids if we should join as a family, eh?

Notice the tire tracks on the top, by the way.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Astropoetica? Really?

Here's another first for me. I sold a prose poem to Astropoetica.

Nominally, I don't do poetry. Except limericks. I do sometimes write limericks.

There was a man incredibly crass,
Who had horribly flatulant gas.
Smells? There were plenty.
Friends? There weren't any.
But he sounds like a section of brass!

That's generally the limits of my poetry, though I did sneak in the superman atomic wedgie haiku for James Maxey.

But "Everywhere Spirals" was a fun little thing I put together a while back. it's actually a story inverse. No, not inverse, in verse.

I do not yet know the date it will go live, but I will post a link when that happens.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Alan Dean Foster

Russell and I went down to Poisoned Pen this evening to see Alan Dean Foster and have a book signed.

Russell had to write a report on a well-known Arizonan in 4th grade, and he wrote about Alan. I thought he would enjoy meeting the real deal.

I had an innocent bystander shoot this one. I am not having much luck getting a decent photograph with Alan, but at least both halves of both of us are in this one.