Thursday, January 31, 2008


I was tagged by Kayleigh Jamison to list sixteen random facts about me. As Kayleigh is the goddess who selected Apocalypse Woman for publication, the least I can do is comply. Then I must tag ten other people, but since she only tagged five herself, I think I can get away with a similar number.

16) The first novel I ever wrote was inspired not by any novel or film, but by two rock operas: Pink Floyd's The Wall and Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime. I am still trying to get that manuscript published.

15) I am a guitarist and collect B.C. Rich warlock model guitars. My collection currently stands at one neon-green six string, one blue-stained finish six string, and one black five-string bass.

14) For several years as a child while walking around the house I would turn right in a two-hundred seventy degree arc in order to turn left rather than just turning left.

13) I enjoy alcohol, but as of this writing I have never been completely drunk.

12) As a child I had a severe phobia of loud noises, stemming from a jet fly-over at a parade about which no one warned me. Now the louder stuff is the better I like it.

11) I am obsessed with Carnivale-style masks and have a few decorating my walls.

10) I used to be an avid miniatures wargamer, but gave it up because it was too expensive and the painting too time-consuming.

9) I am the only person I have ever heard of who hated Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

8) I used to work in a haunted building and had several encounters with the ghost.

7) I completely missed the point of Legos as a kid. I would build things and then refuse to take them apart, fearing I would never figure out how to rebuild them.

6) I find most philosophers to be bloviated and pedantic, but have a soft spot for the works of Kierkegaard and Nietzche.

5) I have a bachelor's degree in theatre. No one I went to high school with was surprised.

4) I am a history buff. I get it from my dad.

3) I am an avid gamer and for the first half of my internet life, my online handle was that of the bard I had played in Dungeons & Dragons for years and years. If you do not want to have sex with me, I understand.

2) I am a religious syncretist and a henotheist.

1) I used to be afraid of horror movies, heavy metal music, and sexuallity. What the hell happened?

I have no one on blogspot to tag. If you see this, take it and do it yourself!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

New Year's Resolution: 24 novels in one year: book 4

I'm one sixth of the way there, and I got there on a bicycle. Unfortunately some of my molecules permanently merged with the bicycle's and vice versa.

This and other dilemmas are topics of The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien.

I hate to be a lemming or a sheeple or whatever, but like many readers of this book I read it because the producers of the TV series Lost told me to. And boy am I glad they did.

A nameless narrator who has devoted his life to the study of an eccentric philosopher named de Selby dreams of one day publishing the definitive guide to the master's works. To raise money for this grand publication, he allows his roommate to talk him into murdering the local miser. But when our protagonist goes to retrieve the rich man's loot his reality suddenly shifts into a jolly nightmare world populated by nightmarishly jolly policemen who care only for bicycles.

The Third Policeman is an amazing novel which, like its time and space defying setting, manages to be multiple things at once: it is absurdist while being brutally realistic, surreal while being plain and coherent, ridiculously funny while being scary. O'Brien himself emerges as a gestalt of Irish authors from Swift, to Joyce, to Beckett while being nothing like any of them.

The Third Policeman has been quietly leaving the mark on the literary landscape for fifty years. I'm glad to see it finally getting the recognition it deserves. Sadly, it wasn't published in O'Brien's lifetime. After being rejected by publishers both in Ireland and America he pretended the manuscript had been lost, confiding in only one friend that he couldn't stand to tell people he had been rejected by publishers on two continents. Now that it's making its mark, I'd say it has a broad appeal. If you enjoy mindfucks like Lost and Mark Danieliewski's House of Leaves that openly draw inspiration from it, you'll enjoy The Third Policeman. If you enjoy Monty Python and Terry Gilliam, you'll enjoy The Third Policeman. So get out there and start enjoying already!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Quote I had to share.

This was the quote on my desktop calendar today:

"I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning."

-Peter De Vries (1910-93)

Peter De Vries was an American novelist, not the Mentat of House Harkonnen.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I think I am finally getting into the hang of writing every single day. I'm very fortunate to have a job that lets me get writing done during the day. After a year of working a ten hour a day job where writing was impossible I am very, very appreciative.

AW-to-AI-gap-bridging-short story is growing by leaps and bounds. I vowed to keep it a short story, but if it winds up a novella I really don't care. I'm having too much fun with it. I am still sticking to a greater economy of language then I've used in the past so the result is a lot more fast-paced and easy to read, I think. Unfortunately, for the life of me I can't think of a title. So it's still Rose's Thorn even though that title doesn't have anything much to do with the story at this point.

Thanks to a twelve hour day in the middle of the week and the boss being out of the office all week I've been able to get a lot of writing on it done. Also, Aphrodite's Apples has announced the next installment of their fantasy GLBT anthology series and I'm going to try and get a piece done for that. I have a short F/F piece I wrote about a year ago and never did anything with that I'm thinking about dusting off.

Now that this update has thoroughly thrilled you all, back to writing.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fishing for reviews!

Aphrodite's Apples now has a feature where you can write reviews for their titles. If you've read Apocalypse Woman and would like to recommend it to others, or just have thoughts on it in general then I encourage you to take advantage of this feature.

You'll find a link for creating a review on the righthand side of the page. To any who participate, thanks in advance!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fun with pseudonymns

Super Publishing Mama posted this a few days back and I meant to repost it as well.

And yes I do know a few authors on that list.

Being a male author in a genre where male authors are a rarity and occasionally viewed with some suspicion I've often toyed with the idea of creating a female nomme de-plume as I know some men in my situation do. I think I've finally hit upon one that's crazy enough that I actually like it: TESS LACOIL

And if anyone asks why I write under that name I'll say something corny like "because my erotica is really INVENTIVE and it creates a lot of SPARKS!"

And all will go well until a writer named Edison comes along and plagarizes me. And then I will cry.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Year's Resolution: read 24 novels in one year: 2/24 read

I'm one twelfth of the way there!

Reviews of the first two:

Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The prince of a coastal kingdom sires a bastard son and is forced to relinquish his claim to the throne in the ensuing scandal. Without even the dignity of a proper name, the child is left in the care of an alcoholic stablemaster and then forgotten about... until the day the king decides that such an overlooked and inconspicuous person would make an ideal candidate for his new professional assassin.

It's an intriguing and exciting premise for a fantasy book. And with such intriguing side characters as a precognizant court jester, a malevolent psychic drill instructor, and an armada of mysterious pirates who transform their captives into Reaver-like zombies it doesn't stop being interesting. What stops Assassin's Apprentice from being a magnificent fantasy novel is that the protagonist is well... dumb. Seriously, this kid is as dumb as a bag of hammers. He is a passive milquetoast who seems perfectly content just to let things happen to him no matter how humiliating or degrading they are. A hero should have flaws, but when he's just one big flaw after another it gets harder to see why we should care about him.

The pacing of the book isn't terrible, but it's still slow as far as fantasy novels go. It really picks up in the third act however, the last hundred pages or so being crammed with suspense and excitement that leads to a concluscion that left me wanting to read more.

I'll be reading the other two books in the Farseer Trilogy. If you enjoy low-magic fantasy I suggest you do so as well, if you don't mind a hero you'd love to smack across the face a few times.

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
On an alternate Earth where every human is accompanied by an incarnate extension of their soul called a "daemon" a shadowy organization is kidnapping children. The kidnappings may be tied to the discovery of a new type of quantum particle and to a mysterious otherworldly city in the sky. Armed only with these clues and well, a golden compass that's more than what it seems, a scruffy orphan sets out to save the children and maybe the entire universe as well.

Say what you want about Pullman as a person, he knows how to write an exciting yarn. The fully-realized steampunk world he creates is vivid, brilliantly detailed, and filled with memorable characters. The publicity machine may be trying to tout His Dark Materials as the next big thing in children's literature, but the cloak-and-dagger mysteries and nation-hopping chases owe far more to Indiana Jones then they do Harry Potter. It's a fast, fun story of high adventure. My only complaint is that the ending felt a little abrupt.

Speaking of the ending, I'm more curious than ever to see how they turned this novel into the Big Family Movie of the holiday season because well... the ending is very dark. In fact it ends on quite a downer. Based on that and on many events throughout the story, I'd say this is not a book for younger children. But it is a book with a very important message that children need to hear: that there are adults out there who will hurt and do bad things to children, and that you need to be careful who you trust.

In regards to my own writing, my Apocalypse world short story is zipping alone nicely. It's taking so long because I write all stories set in this world in longhand. But I'm getting work done on it daily and feel confident saying draft one will be complete by the end of the month. If anyone wants to beta-read it let me know. Familiarity with Apocalypse Woman is not necessary to understand the story.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

It's good to free your mind.

My first actual writing-related update of the New Year. Apocalypse Woman's follow-up, Apocalypse Incarnation is progressing... well, it's not. Writing it has been a continual frustration and I've decided the whole story needs to be reworked from the beginning.

Long story short, to make events unfold as I'd planned I was going to have to do something horrible to one of the characters; as in horrible even by Apocalypse standards. While this series is all about dark, edgy, morally ambiguous stuff, what was going to happen crossed a line I didn't feel comfortable crossing. And while I can't speak for them, I don't think my publisher would have wanted to cross it either. Making matters worse, the story porceeds in such a way that the character who would suffer the greatest emotional impact from the event would not be able to acknowledge it in the manner I feel she should. Not an option.

So I'm taking a break from Apocalypse Incarnation for now and resuming work on a short story that bridges the gap between Woman and Incarnation. It's a stand-alone piece that can be read outside of the series, and likewise you'll be able to skip it without missing anything in the series if you choose. But I'm hoping it will make for good "bonus material" for those who enjoy the world of the stories and want to see more of it. The working title is Rose Thorn but that's likely to change.

It's good practice for me on a lot of levels. I am verbose and thus don't do short stories very well so forcing myself to stay within the format is good practice. And playing in the Apocalypse world* without being chained to the main characters of the series is renewing my enthusiasm for the place as a whole. I'm keeping my semi-official New Year's Resolution of writing on it every day as well, and that's so much easier when you're not frustrated with the piece in front of you. I think anyone who's ever tried writing will agree.

*I really need to come up with a name for this place. Calling it "Apocalypse world" conjures up too many associations with place ruled by a big, grouchy blue guy who hates Superman.