Thursday, November 19, 2015

What’s waiting in Toronto?

On my way up to the Great White North for SFContario 6. For those that might possibly be interested, I’m serving on a quartet of panels that will less disturbing than the news, and more interesting than a blank LCD screen.

But I Liked It - Friday 7 PM, Gardenview: In which we defend indefensibly bad genre movies. 

Economics in SF - Saturday 12 PM, Gardenview: In which we convince you that economics is as cool as drooling aliens or rampaging robots.

Coming Soon - Saturday 7 PM, Room 209: We shall talk about what really is new and deserves to be talked about.

Getting to Done - How to Finish Your Work - Sunday 10 AM: Time spent on time management is time not spent on developing excuses for not writing or editing or reading that article about language development that might figure that conversation in chapter 4 . . . but I digress.

 Join us. It will be, on average, 23-percent more fun than you expected.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wanted: Best of the worst

I’m looking for troubled science fiction movies. SFContario 6 is in two weeks and I’m moderating a panel (description below) on movies that were less that perfect. If I haven’t seen your suggestions, I will arrange to do so while my wife is still out of town and will not say “Why the Hell are you watching this crap?”

So, anyone?

Panel description:
But I Liked It - You've just seen the latest SF movie and loved it, and can't wait to discuss it with other fans! But when you do, it becomes glaringly apparent that A, everyone else hated it, and B, anyone who even sort-of liked it is a Brain-Dead Stupid Lame-O MORON! This panel is for all the people who had no problem with Star Trek Into Darkness, who forgave Indy 4's flaws, who thought X-Men: The Last Stand could have been a whole lot worse, and (Ghods help them) the people who actually enjoyed all 4 Transformers movies! Stand up for your right to enjoy the unpopular!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Just Joshing: Ella Beaumont

Joshua Pantalleresco, who I met earlier this year at When Words Collide runs a great blog – and accompanying pod cast - about writing, made greater today with an interview of Ella Beaumont. She is the acquisitions editor at my publisher, EDGE.

My only complaint is the length of this piece. Ella is ripe with knowledge regarding current publishing and I wish Josh would have squeezed her for more. Perhaps there he’ll have a sequel, or a multi-part series. Publishers seem to love those. It should be directed at the young adult market, but without excluding the mainstream, a taste of genre . . . I’ll stop now.

Check out: Just Joshing

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Not all Munchkins are the same

My daughter Nina got a part in her high school’s production of The Wizard of OZ. She is a freshman, so she’s excited. No. She’s excited because she’s excitable and the part is the spark. There are, it seems, other sparks.

Max is in fourth grade. Nina’s school needs a few more Munchkins, so it called down to the elementary school. Now Max and Nina are in the same play, even though they are five years apart. Awesome right?

Not if you’re Nina. I’m proud to say that performing in her first high school musical with her nine-year-old brother did not ignite in the fireworks I feared. The reason, as Nina explains it: Not all Munchkins are the same.

There is a Munchkin class system. Who knew? I am not sure I wanted the kids to learn about ridged societal structures, but they are getting a nice, round education and I should leave it at that.

My future lies 
Beyond the yellow brick road.

Is that line from that show?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Repairmen Wanted

The repairman never came. My oven stopped working two weeks ago. I called the place where I bought it and they said the quickest they could send someone was two weeks. Fine. I always knew appliance repair people were in way more demand than writers, but I’m not about to switch careers now. First, I’d have to invent a talent machine to infuse me with mechanical acumen, and if I could do that, I wouldn’t be fixing ovens.

Jump ahead two weeks and I’m waiting around for this person. I get a phone call, and a pleasant young woman tells me he ain’t showing. It’s not worth it. The repairs on my oven are going to be so much that I’m not going to want to pay. He’s doing me a huge favor by not coming out and changing $125 for rolling into my driveway.

I tell the woman that this would have been a bigger favor the day before, or the week before, or maybe when I called, seeing has how they can diagnose over the phone and all.

“Does that mean you want me to send the man out, then?” she asks. “No,” I reply, because how could the answer be anything else? I didn’t ace my logic courses in college, but how could statement one lead to statement two?

In my head, I’m thinking, these people have my email address, phone numbers – plural – and it’s the 21st century. I’m not in the witness protection program. On the odd chance that Ridley Scott wants to turn one of my books into a movie, I want him to be able to contact me. As a result, everyone can get a hold of me any time.

Relieved my post on the repairman watch, I run up to the pharmacy. They had ordered something for me. “I’m wondering if my order is in,” I start.

The woman at the counter puts her hand up. “I’m sorry, the truck is not in yet. You’ll have to come back tonight.”

“But,” I say, “I haven’t told you my name or when I ordered this stuff, which was a week ago.” I give her my name and she leaves. I have hope that she’s looking for my order, though I can’t really be sure. I am, at this point, doubting my ability to communicate with young woman or older woman or anyone.

She returns with my stuff and I’m gone, back out into the world, into the Information Age. Information is not communication and I don’t think there’s any repairman that can fix that fact.

And if there was, I’m not sure he’d show up.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Learning from Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter faces terminal cancer with “faith, hope and acceptance” just like do with my writing career . . . which makes me a total schmuck.

I'm going to learn from this guy and change right now. Ebullient is the word I am now, officially, making my signature quality.

Friday, August 14, 2015

From Calgary

When Worlds Collide is a writer-reader festival that throws authors from different genres together. Which is kind of how we all are anyway. Thrown together. I don’t know anybody in the real world who just reads one kind of thing, so it’s nice to be here for this, um, collision.

The word ‘collision’ got tossed around quite a bit when I toured the Gates Vascular Institute last year. The place was designed to enhance interaction among the various disciplines involved. Doctors, physician assistants, nurse and techs interact with engineers, scientists, marketing professions and even – and can’t believe I’m saying this – writers. They all share ideas via informality. The goal is to save lives.

The device here is the same, though the goal is not so lofty. But, good literature does make life worth living. I’ll hang my new Calgary cowboy hat on that. I’ve got to. You don’t want me putting a valve in your heart.