Randomness for 2/12

1) The Galactic Empire responds to the White House refusal to build a Death Star.

2) Goodreads review in 2250 of a historical novel set in the present time: “Most of the details were correct, but the author forgot that, in the early 21st century, people had to wear special clothes in the rain because their clothes were not yet water- mud- and oil-proof.” Video.

3) An index to fantasy maps. Would it be ungrateful of me to suggest that this seems thin?

4) Walter Cronkite describes the space age kitchen of the far-distant future of 2001. Video included but no auto-play.

5) A chart to demonstrate that fantasy series get longer with each book.

6) “Game of Thrones” Valentines

7) OH MY DAYUM. Video. Normally I’m not big on autotuning normal dialog but this is brilliant.

4 Feb 2013, 6:37am
making books:

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Follow up to my new cover art post

Over the weekend I posted the cover art to my next novel. Here you can see it without the text, here you can see the preliminary pencil sketch.

Hey you guys, it’s the artist’s web site. Check out the other work he’s done. Every link in the page opens in a new tab, which is a little bit something but check it out.

On my Facebook page, there are currently 140 people who “like” me. Basically, they’re there to keep up with what I’m doing.

Unfortunately, the link to the post about that cover art was only seen by 62 of those people. Less than half. If these folks who are interested in hearing about my books want to actually hear about them, I’m gonna have to pay.

I’m not the first to say this, but this is stupid. If you want to put in a “promote” button, promote beyond the people who are already on my “like” list. Not to the people who have already signed up.

More and more I’m thinking that I should disconnect from FB (as a writer, at least) so that people won’t think they’re getting the latest news when they’re not. I’m becoming increasing convinced that it’s better to have nothing to do with a social media company than to make do with defective service.

I mentioned in the blog post that KING KHAN will be “upbeat and family-friendly,” and right away someone asked me if that meant they could hand it to their seven-year-old.

That was a bit of a stumper. There’s nothing in the book I wouldn’t show to my 11yo, but seven? There are hopping vampires, dirty cops, and period-appropriate (I hope) racism. At one point the action goes to a Sunset Strip nightclub taking part in the Pansy Craze. There are a handful of lechers, an island populated with beautiful women where men are kept in cages, and one mostly-elided sex scene. There is punching. There is shooting. There is stabbing.

I don’t think there’s anything in the book a kid can’t read, but a seven-year-old kid? The only way to know would be for a parent or guardian to read the book first to judge for themselves. Maybe I’ll do what my friends at Jet City Improv do, and change “family-friendly” to “TV-clean.”

24 Dec 2012, 8:11am
The outside world:

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Gingerbread house exhibit that benefits Juvenile Diabetes (pics!)

One of the things we do every year is pop down to the Sheraton hotel in downtown Seattle and check out the gingerbread houses. They’re always huge, beautiful, and intricately done.

And I never do them justice when I take pictures. My little one-shot camera can’t really capture the translucent sugars and…

Anyway, this year had a Disney theme. Here’s Beauty & The Beast and remember, everything you can see (but the lights) is edible.


I have a bunch of detail shots on Flickr but the closeup of the candle guy didn’t come out.

Here’s the mastershot of Aladdin


Those domes are gorgeous and look as delicate as cotton candy. Over at the set I have a closeup of the elephant and the genie.

Here’s a detail of Aslan and the White Witch in her sleigh pulled by polar bears.


See more at the set.

10 Dec 2012, 7:28am
The outside world:

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The Best (Ghostiest) version of A Christmas Carol ever

As per annual tradition, here’s the full version of Chuck Jones’s 1971 animated adaptation. It’s got more ghosts per frame than pretty much any version, and my favorite Marley ever.

Plus it’s stylish as hell.

Stupid iframe embedding had better work, but if it doesn’t you can watch it on YouTube.

6 Things About My Trip to San Jose

1) I still like riding on the train, despite some of the later points here.

2) During the trip, I went back to every bad food habit I have. I ate without planning. I ate because of stress. I ate when I wasn’t hungry to be social. I ate my son’s leftovers because I didn’t want to waste them. Yowch. Bad habits might go but they never go far.

3) This trip was wall-to-wall Pokemon. On Thursday during the train trip he found another player and stayed up until midnight playing in the observation lounge. On Friday he met some other kids in the hotel lobby and he played until after dinner. After the tournament on Saturday he played all evening until midnight again. On Sunday, even though he didn’t make the playoffs, he went right back to the event to hang with is friends and play pick up matches. Then we caught the train on Sunday night and he kept playing late into the night and all the next morning until the other kid’s stop arrived. Who knew there was so much Pokemon to be done?

4) One downside of riding the train is that there is usually one person who’s had too many. It doesn’t normally get too ugly, but sometimes people can be loud and obnoxious. On the way down, for example, I was sitting across the boys while they played a match, and a man walking the aisle fell flat on his face. He was in his 50′s, kinda tattered, and I had the powerful urge to Not Engage.

Someone else in the room asked, reluctantly: “Are you okay?” As the guy tried to get up, he answered “Of course I am. I’m tough.”

Since then, that line has become something of a joke around here, along with (no context) “Trees are made of cells. Your argument is invalid.”

5) The long, long train trip left me with a screwed up back. I’m moving like an old man, stretching my legs and back as much possible, slathering on the Topricin, and gulping acetaminophen. At the moment, it’s mostly better which is good. The bad thing is that I’ve completely lost the thread of the Twenty Palaces short story I was going to write. The POV was supposed to be from a predator instead of Ray Lilly, but with the way I feel I just can’t find the voice.

So it’s shelved for now. EPIC SEQUEL WITH NO DULL PARTS opens with a scene where someone recovers from terrible injuries, and that’s coming along just fine. I just wish I had more places outside my home where I could write while standing.

6) The Coast Starlight offers really beautiful views. Not Oakland, but northern California and southern Oregon were gorgeous: mists blowing through evergreen valleys, stands of dogwood with golden leaves, broad rivers and lakes with pelicans, herons, ducks and even an eagle. Even a rainbow. It’s a lovely country, if you get the chance to see it.

Brickcon was last weekend and here are the pics

Brickcon, for those who don’t know, is a “con” that allows adult Lego enthusiasts to show off their ultra cool builds. This year I dragged my son, his buddy, and my camera off to the show.

Unfortunately, this year’s pictures aren’t what you call fabulous. For one thing, the camera wasn’t the best. Depth of field was needed for quite a few of these dioramas, but you don’t get depth of field from a point-n-click.

For another, I had a terrible time checking the screen to see if they were really in focus. My vision is getting pretty bad in these old, old prescriptions, and it was only that night that I could see just how off some of them were. So, quite a few didn’t come out at all, and several are not as crisp as I would like.

Before I go on: Here are the posts for Brickcon 2010 and 2009 (we skipped last year).

Now the pictures: As in previous years, the fantasy builds were arranged in massive contiguous dioramas, while the science fiction was mostly isolated ships and gadgets… except for this: more »

Look at this piece of art

I ended up doing a fair bit of blogging over the weekend. Most of it was jokey, silly stuff, but not all. There’s at least one post about failing at writing.

I mention it because I know people like to read about my shame.

What I didn’t mention was that I turned in KING KHAN to Evil Hat. The first round of (minor) revisions have already come back and I’m working on those today.

In the meantime, I have something nice for you guys: My in-laws are artists, in case you didn’t know, and my sister-in-law has just started a tumblr for her work. Check out the first painting she’s showing there.

23 Apr 2012, 10:08am
The outside world:

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Hey, Artists!

Want to be an artist for the next edition of D&D? Take their art test.

This would be an opportunity to show some diversity in their characters, if that’s your thing.

Randomness for 4/6

1) A webcomic appreciation of Doctor Who. via @sinboy

2) The invasive species diet. I don’t care how much good it does for the planet, I’m not eating nutria.

3) The Dalek Relaxation Tape. Video.

4) Worst Album Covers Ever. Some of these are NSFW.

5) It’s Official: Star Wars Kinect Is the Worst Star Wars Thing Ever. I don’t know. To me, a little silliness if just fine.

6) D&D: The Important Questions

7) Awesome animated gifs. No, seriously for real.

Randomness for 2/13

1) Former ‘Static Shock’ Writer John Rozum on ‘What was Really Going on Behind the Scenes’.

2) Harry Potter and the Chinese Bootleg Subtitles.

3) Classic depictions of Venus Photoshopped to make her thinner.

4) This karate rap is even worse than you expect. Video.

5) A scented candle for ebook haters.

6) How to use a women’s urinal. “I am convinced that women could pee standing up, with the same accuracy as a man (which means, what, 90% accuracy?), if they practiced as often as men do.” Via @ccfinlay

7) A functional bathtub made of books.

Randomness for 1/5

1) Best space photos of 2011.

2) The 2011 Wonky Awards.

3) New Zealand orcas attack great white sharks in the shallows, driving one onto the beach. Video.

4) Best of Literally Unbelievable for 2011. Part 1. Part 2.

5) A Doctor Who Timeline

6) Need a dedicated writing space? Live in Chicago. Check it out.

7) Building a Minecraft village IRL.

Randomness for 12/21

1) How to make your own chocolate D&D dice.

2) The Invisible Mother in Victorian photographs.

3) Best Christmas Webcomic Ever: “Poop us some candy, poop man!”

4) I love light shows projected onto buildings, and this one is especially good. Video.

5) The Great Successor Is Right Over Here You Guys.

6) Worse than the bedmonster.

7) Scene from THERE WILL BE BLOOD with gaze locations: Video. Via Rod Ramsey.

Randomness for 12/13

1) Children’s drawings painted realistically.

2) Sketchy bunnies. To each and every screaming child in those pictures I say: Kid, I am on your side.

3) The Ten Most-Watched YouTube Videos Of All Time. I’ve seen exactly one of them (the one about Charlie).

4) Rules of 50 Magical Systems In Convenient Chart Form

5) Robot Monsters With Breasts! Screenwriter and low budget film aficionado Bill Martell on two of the weirdest movies he’s ever seen.

6) 13 Punctuation marks you didn’t know existed. Actually, you know some of these, but probably not all.

7) One does not simply walk into Mordor.

  • The prequel to Child of Fire: see here for more details

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Starred review from Publishers Weekly

  • Named to Publishers Weekly's "Best 100 Books of 2009" list. Get the audiobook here.

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