Thawing Out

Spent the day at an outdoor event with my daughter that required me to stand around for hours in the cold, biting wind. I felt like one of those cows you see in snowstorms hunkered down against the cold and wet. It's taken me hours to properly thaw out. And yes, I know I am a wimp, that Louisiana cold doesn't measure up to 'real' winter weather. Be that as it may, I still freeze. I'll be glad when Spring comes for good.

Finished 'Memento Mori' a few days ago and sent it off to Chiaoscuro. So, now to wait and see.

Tomorrow will be spent inside, working, except for a short trip to the grocery. I'd also like to update the website and post a couple of short pieces so that visitors can get a sense of my work.

Last week's labors involved a lot of note organization and outline work on The Queen of the Night. I feel like I'm getting a much better handle on the more subtle plot points, and it's really helping to collect and arrange all of the notes I've made over all the long years of research. I have a couple of scenes that I need to finish, but I feel like the project is at long last starting to come together in a meaningful way. Hurrah!

28 February 2009

Warm and Dark in my Little Black Heart

Don't ask me where that title came from; I just don't know. I make this stuff up as I go along. It's what I do.

Pretty productive day yesterday, the first in a while, as obligations related to the Fly have been taking up much of my time. Was finally able to sit down and add about 1500 words to "Mememto Mori", the new short story. It's horror, by the way, if you didn't catch that from the title. Inspired by this. Have it out at the Online SF/Fantasy/Horror writer's workshop at the moment, but also looking for a market. My new strategy is to start pro and work my way down as I collect rejections. Am thinking of Clarkesworld to start for this one. We'll see though, that may change as I re-read, and put some final edits on the thing. In any case, hoping to have it out in a week.

Work on the novel beckons for now. I think I am done with reviews for the time being. Short stories, probably but no promises. One of the best things about being a writer is when you are sitting around and a good idea just drops out of the sky. When that happens, I have to listen, everything else be damned.

My goal is, 10 stories sold this year, one novel written and off to potential agents. So far I am on track with one sale to date. Hopefully this will be the next one.

12 February 2009

Review: Babe & the Kid by Charlie Poekel

I’m not a big baseball fan. I can admit that. I love history though, and like nearly every other American I’m a sucker for pop culture. Most of us tend to think of celebrity in terms of what Paris Hilton wore last week, but this story reminded me of a time when doing something nice instead of something stupid was what got lots of publicity.

Babe & the Kid tells the story of Babe Ruth and his enduring friendship with a young boy during and after the 1926 World Series. The kid, Johnny Sylvester, was seriously ill when a kind gesture by the most popular pro ballplayer of his day literally made the difference between life and death. What I found most interesting was the fact that their friendship endured for years afterwards, a testament to Ruth’s character. His visit and gift weren’t a publicity stunt staged for the camera, but the genuine actions of a true hero.

Poekel has done a fine job of researching the facts related to an iconic story in American sports. Especially welcome were the numerous photographs and memorabilia he was given access to through the collection of John Sylvester, Jr., who maintains the scrapbook his father kept of his extraordinary friendship with some of the leading athletes of his day. The book is well-written, an easy and accessible read, and thoroughly enjoyable

The High Cost of Living

Yesterday was bizarre, bizarre. A step back in time for me, as it were. A bit of the backstory -

When I was a kid I was fascinated by death. Not in the 'killing small animals way' (actually I'm quite the pacifist in that regard) - more along the lines of infamous murders and the like. My mom had a book of famous crimes of the first half of the twentieth century (complete with photos), and I poured over the thing, reading with gusto all the gory details. I still remember the picture of Charles Lindbergh's baby. The story of Ruth Snyder & Judd Gray. As a teenager one of my favorite poetry finds was Ogden Nash's "A Tale of the Thirteenth Floor". I read books about Jack the Ripper and his ilk.

So yesterday I'm browsing around looking for info about the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper. I found a site called, and I was quickly sucked in. It appears to be run by a guy who does celebrity death tours in Hollywood. I spent a couple of hours there, most of the afternoon, actually, reading the stories and looking at the pictures.

To be honest, I felt somewhat guilty by spending the day doing what amounted to staring in the street at the passing funeral procession, but it got me to thinking about the social taboos we have surrounding death. There are the euphemisms, for instance. (Down here in the south we say he or she "passed away.") There also seems to be a (fairly modern, it would seem) taboo against photos of the dead. Although I also found this yesterday, and it seems like a wonderful idea.

It's a shame, really, all these cultural rules and regulations. I think we dishonor the dead by refusing to deal with the more visceral aspects of it.

Death is all around us, every day. It stands behind us, holding that ticking clock. And yet, in our isolated, sanitized modern world of medical miracles and antibiotic soaps, we have learned to treat it like some pedophile uncle we'd like to pretend doesn't exist. It seems odd to me. I spent the day with Him yesterday, and while it was a strange day, it wasn't sad. Just...another part of life.

Momento mori. Et in Arcadia, ego.

04 February 2009

The Absence of Malice

...or at least, the absence.

Most of my posts lately have been book reviews. Apologies, as I have been writing, submitting, and taking care of the fly. I could say that I will try to be better about posting, but I always say that, so...

The LOML is leaving today for a business trip to the UK. I always worry when he flies. Only a couple of days, thankfully, returning by Friday evening. And hey, he has the added bonus of seeing some snow. Back here its supposed to be mid 70's by the end of the week, so he'll be returning to shorts & t-shirt weather. The year's first barbecue might just be in order.

In other news, I have finally been "officially" published. Twisted Tongue #12 went live yesterday, and it contains my story, "What Goes Around", along with a poem of mine, "Wicked." You can download a PDF of the issue here. Enjoy!

The music died 50 years ago today. Whenever I hear that song, it makes me wistfully sad, not only because of the tragedy, but because it makes me long for a time I never knew - that golden time when we are teenagers without care, immortal, inviolate creatures who will conquer the world. McLean captures that feeling so beautifully.

For the curious, a few links. Wikipedia's article about the crash; Photos (warning, you can see bodies); an analysis of the lyrics of "American Pie"; an article on the death of Buddy Holly; how Waylon Jennings carried the pain of what happened that night his entire life; and finally, the exhumation of the Big Bopper by his son who was born after his death. It was the first time he'd ever laid eyes on his father.

Take time today to look around you and take a long breath of air. Enjoy the feeling of being alive. Conquer the world.

03 February 2009

The Persistence of Vision - Wordpress Themes is proudly powered by WordPress and themed by Mukkamu Templates Novo Blogger