Saturday, March 29, 2008

Day By Day

Just encountered this CD mix (my second) in my driving travels. This was intended to be a mix of songs involving specific days, seasons and the use of days more generally.

1. Book of Days -- Enya
2. Another Year Has Gone By -- Celine Dion
3. It's A Beautiful Day -- Sarah Brightman
4. Lazy Days -- Enya
5. One Of These Days -- Michelle Branch
6. Big Boy On A Saturday Night -- Kirsty MacColl
7. Once In A Lifetime -- Sarah Brightman
8. Ten Days -- Celine Dion
9. Everyday -- Anne Murray
10. Yesterday -- Sarah Brightman
11. Miss April -- Chantal Kreviazuk
12. Soho Square -- Kirsty MacColl ("Just kiss me quick, 'cause it's my birthday ..." "One day you'll be waiting there, come summertime in Soho Square ...")
13. Winter In July -- Sarah Brightman (... I don't actually have THAT many Brightman songs ripped. Just how this group worked out.)
14. Last Day of Summer -- Kirsty MacColl
15. A New Day Has Come -- Celine Dion
16. Tonight (I Want To Be In Love) -- Anne Murray
17. Halloween -- Kirsty MacColl (... on the other hand, I *do* have that many MacColl songs ripped.)
18. Nowadays/Hot Honey Rag -- Chicago soundtrack
19. Oh How The Years Go By -- Amy Grant
20. Always Tomorrow -- Gloria Estefan

Friday, March 28, 2008

Story by Story review

I'm going to attempt to do another in-depth story-by-story review, this time of something *not* in the SF/F field. The book is "Thou Shalt Not Kill," a fairly old (1992) anthology of mystery stories by ecclesiastical sleuths. This includes stories about Brother Cadfael, who I've already met and loved through multiple novels, and Rumpole of the Bailey, who I've encountered only through a very dour and pessimistic - but also very entertaining - British TV series of the same name. I'm particularly eager to see these two, especially as I'm pretty sure I've seen the episode based on this specific Rumpole story. (The Cadfael TV movies were all based on the books, and so far they've been pretty fair adaptations.)

Reading Reccs!

Just updated my webpage with a new recommendation: "Poison Study" by Maria V. Snyder.

This is also the place where I feel compelled to observe that the cover illustration looks uncannily like Leelee Sobieski.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Now Out!

Warrior Codes is now available at Art & Prose ( Moreover, I seem to be their showcase author, so should you decide to pick this issue up, you'll ... get to listen to me babble in a little interview. Wait, maybe that's a bad thing.

By The Numbers

I've changed my listening repertoire once again. For the first CD, I decided to pick songs that featured numbers or counting in some way ... and then as I was looking at them, elected to put them in numeric order, with ones that didn't reference specific numbers threaded in between. I ended up with:

1. One -- Faith Hill
2. One By One -- Enya (Forget "Only Time" which was apparently a hit - THIS is the stand-out track from "A Day Without Rain.")
3. One Night Only (Disco Version) -- Dreamgirls soundtrack
4. One Heart -- Celine Dion
5. One Name -- Gloria Estefan
6. With One Look -- from Sunset Boulevard (Mary Carewe singing)
... I'm finally getting out of the 1s now.
7. England 2 Columbia 0 -- Kirsty MacColl
8. The Second Element -- Sarah Brightman
9. The Seven Deadly Virtues -- Camelot soundtrack
10. Wrapped -- Gloria Estefan ("... lost like the seconds I'm counting 'til I am closer to you.")
11. Seven Seas -- Sarah Brightman
12. 8th World Wonder -- Kimberley Locke
13. This One's For The Girls -- Martina McBride ("This is for all you girls about thirteen ..." also 25 and 42.)
14. A New England -- Kirsty MacColl ("I was twenty-one years when I wrote this song / I'm twenty-two now, but I won't be for long.")
15. How Many of Us Have Them (Friends) -- Alana Davis
16. I'm Going Out With An Eighty Year Old Millionaire -- Kirsty MacColl
17. Sex In The Nineties -- Gloria Estefan
18. 1974 -- Amy Grant

(I did think about the last two a bit, whether it should be read as "1990" and "1974" but elected to read it as "90" and then "1974." So - largest number by a landslide!)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wait, There's More

I just came across this:

Page down.

Yes, that is the story mentioned below.

And no, I didn't know about this in time to vote.


Trawling Google in a bored late-night wander, I came across this review for "The Oracle Unlocked" in Staffs and Starships:

For the second time in this issue I was reminded of a favorite author. This time it is Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories that come to mind. And before anyone balks at this, I am not saying that this tale is a Conan clone or anything like it. For me Howard had a gift with description; of places and things. This story has that wonderful vivid touch. The setting and theme are very much like a Conan tale, but hero is completely different. A lot of people forget that Conan has a brain, and it is this aspect that this hero uses in her quest. This story was simple, elegant and a lot of fun.

I am really excessively amused at being compared to Howard. I am glad it is a compliment, but something giggle-worthy about it.

(For the curious, this was found here:

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Gig

I get a fair number of compliments when I perform, but this is the first time I've actually been put on a pedestal.

... no, literally. They're having me play on this little raised platform in the middle of the buffet.

Friday, March 21, 2008

O, Canada

This is what I meant by Calgary:

I booked the hotel room and bought my membership Wednesday. I have a budget and a specific savings account just for this events - I am financially armed and dangerous.

Amusement, the very next morning I got word that the convention hotel was starting to fill up and the committee had booked rooms at an overflow hotel. Three blocks away, same room rate. I have some perfect timing.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Essence of Story

What makes literature artistic? What makes it great? What makes a work of fiction literature?

... wow. Step back from *that* can of worms for a second.

I was struck in taking my Mystery, Horror and Detective Fiction course how strongly the author felt that he had to defend the literary value of mysteries - as if there was some question. As if the possibilities of the genre could somehow be less worthy. As if one would be ashamed to be reading *anything* in this day and age. (Though inherent in that is a different rant.)

This has led, I think, to an unfortunate trend in the science fiction and fantasy fields of writers *trying* to be literary. Experimentation is excellent, and it produces some beautiful visions - that's one thing. I'm talking about when an author sets out to be deep and constructs a story around, not some sudden flash of idea, intriguing setting or character that just leaps off the page and throttles them, but around the goal of making a story that makes people think and has Meaning.

I sincerely doubt that any writer sets out to write non-literary, pulpy drivel. Certainly, it's hard to imagine a writer penning something intended for publication with the goal, "I'm going to use the most clunky, ugly prose I can write!" Thus, striving to be literary seems, to me, to be redundant. We all are trying to make our writing better, to produce something that is enjoyable, to produce something better than the last book/story/even chapter. So what, really, is left? Cultural acceptance? Adherence to a standard of greatness that was one way in Shakespeare's time, another when Shelley rolled around, and a third into the modern era?

When it comes to genre fiction, I don't think that "being literary" should be a, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" proposition. Each genre has its own core, its own value, its own place where artistry and merit shine. I've probably heard romance novels bashed more than any other genre - but isn't Jane Eyre a romance?

Here, then, is my standard for what makes fiction great: it should be organic. It should be in a world (whether that's a fantastical setting or an apartment building) that is immersive, populated by characters who feel like people, with a plot that is determined by the necessity of these forces colliding, and chronicled - but not forced - by an author who can see all three clearly. It should grow naturally. If there is a moral or a philosophy, it evolves from the requirements of the story, not the other way around. It should be, in its own way, a living entity.

No meticulous construct can, for me, match the artistic value of a story raised to the potential of its own adulthood.

Also, to be explained in a future post:

Iiiiii'm going to Caaaaalgary!

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Have been inexplicably sick for about a week and a half. We're talking sleeping for eleven hours and still feeling cracked, nauseous or stomach-achy, dizzy or headachy - take your pick. My intent when I get better is to occasionally post things on here that aren't just story updates, but in the interim, I stay quiet in lieu of whining.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

A Time To ... 2

Not actually available for another week or so, but I thought I'd share now. This anthology includes a flash fiction piece of mine, "Retirement" -

And here's some comments made on the anthology by a reviewer:

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Diminishing Returns

Now available at Electric Spec ( Check it out!