Today’s Cat Tale

In today’s adventures with Belyn and Llyr, Llyr was half-asleep in the cat bed in front of the patio door when the Butler-The-Neighbor-Cat ambled up to the screen door. Spotting the large, strange cat, Lly startles, jumps from the bed, runs a few feet away before turning and (unimpressively) puffing up and making a squeaky little noise between a growl and a meow. He sounded more startled and frightened than ready to fight.

This, however, woke up Belyn, who was sleeping next to me on the couch. Belyn jumped across the room, landing between Llyr and Butler, went all (rather impressively) Halloween Cat, and made a noise like an angry Harley Davison powered by a nuclear reactor before slamming into the screen with both his front paws, claws extended, still growling and hissing.
Butler fled like shot.

Belyn and Llyr are now on the couch with me. Belyn spent several minutes aggressively grooming his kitten before they both went to sleep next to me.

It’s funny, because they were wrestling earlier and Llyr was all over Belyn, tackling him, knocking him over, chasing him around, but when the strange cat showed up, it was all Belyn.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 20, 2015 – 3:48 pm | Comments (0)

Redshift Radio

I forgot to mention this. I wrote the pilot episode for Redshift, an old-time SFFH Radio show. Give it a listen! “Steadfast.”

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2015 – 12:42 pm | Comments (0)

Every Body’s Doing It, Doing It! The Marscon Schedule!

Marscon is this weekend, March 6th through 8th at the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport Hotel. This year’s theme is “Heroes and Wizard and Fey.”

I always have a lot of fun at Marscon, and look forward to seeing people I only see during convention season. If you’d like to come up and say hello, please do. I’m on the programming events below, so I should be hard to find.

How Come Nobody’s Heard Of Me, Dammit!!
Room 419 (Krushenko’s) — Friday 04:00 pm
Let’s figure out all the things we did wrong! With: Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, mod.; Rachel Gold, Michael Merriam.

Fiction Reading: Michael Merriam
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Saturday 10:00 am
Michael Merriam reads from his latest novel and possibly from something upcoming. With: Michael Merriam.

Storytelling vs Story Writing
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Sunday 01:00 pm
Is there a difference between these two arts, and if so, what is it? While they are often lumped together, are they really that closely related? What skills are absolutely essential to storytelling but useless to story writing and vice versa? What is the difference between the markets these two arts aim for? What are the advantages/disadvantages of one over the other? What tools or methods are out there for refining your storytelling skills, and how do they differ from writing? Skill, talent, both, neither? With: S.N.Arly, mod.; Haddayr Copley-Woods, Michael Merriam, Susan Woerhle.

Convoluted Quests: The Modern Writing Career
III Eagle’s Nest (Re(a)d Mars) — Sunday 03:00 pm
Book contracts, self-publishing, short fiction, editing… writing careers these days are often made up of a patchwork of options. Join GoH Lyda Morehouse and other professional writers to talk about how they’ve dealt with current publishing realities. With: Lyda Morehouse, Naomi Kritzer, mod.; Roy C. Booth, Michael Merriam, Kathryn Sullivan.

Posted in Uncategorized on March 3, 2015 – 12:05 pm | Comments (0)

Dread NoteBook Roberts

I’ve been writing morning pages ala The Artist’s Way. I write them in a notebook and at the end of the every entry I finish with, “Thank you
notebook. Have a great day. I’ll probably throw in the fireplace tomorrow.”

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2015 – 5:35 pm | Comments (0)

Thoughts On A New Year

Here we are in February and this is my first post of the year on my poor neglected blog.

I opted to skip the annual year in review post. 2014 was mixed bag.

I had a reasonably okay year as a stage storyteller with good shows at Minnesota Fringe and as a quest of the Rockstar Storytellers.

As a fiction writer it was a tough year. There were disappointments and rough patches, enough that I realized I need to change the way I do certain things, which I am changing. The only reason I don’t count the year as a complete disaster is that I managed to finish the first draft of novel that challenged me as a writer.

I started dipping my toes into play and script writing, which has been an interesting experience and one I intended to pursue. My sparse, dialogue driven writing style lends itself to script writing quite well.

So yeah, kind of a downer post for kind of a downer year.

And yet, I move into 2015 enthusiastic and hopeful that I can turn that bad year around with effort and focus.

Posted in Uncategorized on February 3, 2015 – 4:33 pm | Comments (0)

And Draft. And Year.

I had hoped that I would finish the first draft of Ghosts of the Places We Live before the end of the year and I managed to hit the end on Christmas day. I think that’s a nice Christmas present to myself. Now I shall let it sit for a month or so while I work on other projects.

Speaking of other projects: the next MinnSpec anthology By Polaris Bright is still on track for publication by Minicon 50 in 2015. I am pretty damned thrilled by this.

I have pulled out my weird west novella There Are Not Enough Midnights and given it a read. There are some structural problems and a couple of plot problems, but nothing large or insurmountable.

So, what does 2015 hold for me? I have no idea. We’ll just have to see what happens together.

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Ghosts of the Places We Live

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Posted in Uncategorized on December 27, 2014 – 8:19 pm | Comments Off

Winter Settles In

Oh, how long it has been since I posted a blog update. I’ve been pretty active over on my Facebook page, but my poor neglected blog…I can only blame it on the dark and cold winter that has roared in and settled on Minnesota.

Things have been going on. I ran the merchandise table for the latest Minnspec Showcase reading, spent a lovely weekend in Duluth with Beloved Spouse, and have unfortunately fallen ill, missing a full week at my day job.

The one positive to being stuck home is that I’ve managed to jumps start working on Ghosts of the Places You Live. Lots of writing managed this week and I’ve pretty much got the third and final section outlined, so hopefully even with heading back to work and heading into the winter holidays, I will be able to keep some momentum going. I would also like to take this moment to give a shout out the “You Know You’re From Oney When…” community on Facebook. I have gotten all kinds of valuable information from the kind folks there.

Tomorrow night, I will guest storyteller with the Rockstar Storytellers at the new Phoenix Theater. I am planning to tell a story about one of the nameless Nazgul. I am pretty pleased with it and I might try to record and upload the story after the performance. I’ve been thinking that I need to get a good microphone and learn to use audio software so I can make recordings of readings and stories.

Word Meter Ahoy!
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Ghosts Of the Places We Live

Posted in Uncategorized on November 22, 2014 – 11:56 am | Comments Off

Long Update Is Long

I haven’t blog in quite some time, it seems. I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with social media, and I seem to be in a hate phase right now. I should probably take one of those social media sabbaticals I sometimes go on. I think I need to get away from Facebook, G+, and Twitter. Not so much my blog and Live Journal (though Live Journal doesn’t seem very alive anymore). The problem is all my friends and family are on social media and it’s just easier to keep up with them that way. And now there is this Ello thing I should sign up for, never mind the fact that I’ve avoided Tumblr since it’s inception.

The novel is still moving along. I have the third section outlined, so all I need to do is carve out time to settle in and write the rest of the first draft. Once that’s done, I’ll need to connect the three sections together, which I suspect will take some serious time and work. I am also editing a third anthology for the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writers, which should be out in early 2015, probably in time for Minicon’s 50th anniversary convention. I have all the stories picked out and am waiting for the last of the contracts to arrive before writing my editorial and front-of-book material and sending everything off to the copy editor.

For those of you playing the home game, Minnesota Fringe Festival was a success. I thought the show was well received and though we were better some nights than others, we never had a bad performance. I was reasonably pleased with my own performances over the festival. I also have one more storytelling gig lined up before the end of the year, with a second one possible but still in the planning stages. I will post more information once things are official. I am also working on the script I plan to submit on spec to a science fiction theatre festival in Los Angeles. We will see if anything comes of it.

I’ve been doing some thinking about where I am as an artist. I pulled out a story I’ve been working on off-and-on for the last 2 years, and I found I liked the style and voice I was exploring in that story more than the style I am using in my current novel. I’m not sure the style in the short story (very baroque and ornamental) would work for this novel, which seems to need plain, straightforward, almost invisible language, but I do miss playing with tone and style and voice in ways I normally do not.

I have also been thinking about how despite the fact that I strongly identify as a prose writer first, as a spoken-word performer second, and all other arts I pursue a veryvery distant third, I will make more money as a spoken-word performer again this year. It has me thinking about career path. My last two royalty statements from Harlequin haven’t included a check because my sales have slumped. I suspect those two books are quite reasonably played out after 3 and 4 years on the market and none of my newer stuff has moved well, though I can lay a lot of the blame for that at my own feet. I just haven’t had the energy lately to get out and market and pitch and shill and flog and hand sell like I have with other books.

I’ve been reading Jeff Vandemeer’s BookLife and it has me thinking serious thinky thoughts about my identity as an artist, and artist’s statements, and planning how to reach my goals. I don’t need to make a ton of money to be able to stop working part-time. I fully acknowledge that I have an advantage with drawing SSDI and being on Medicare, but it is an advantage I pay for by being blind, so I don’t feel all that bad about it. The thing is, I’ve hit a point a decade into my writing career (how the hell did a decade pass?) where I find myself hard up against the question of pursuing my passion versus personal financial goals.

If I want to keep doing this being a writer and performer thing, I need to change my approach.

That was gloomier than I meant for it to be. Here, have a word meter to show I’m still passionate about my current project.

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Ghosts Of the Places We Live

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2014 – 7:06 pm | Comments Off

Shave of The Day

Edwin Jagger DE with Astra Platinum Blade
Escali Badger Hair Brush
Dapper Dragon Shaving Soap in Strawberry Lemonade
LadySea Creations Shaving Scuttle
Clubman Pinaud Aftershave

IMAG1298

As some of you know, I’ve stopped shaving with expensive multi-blade cartridges, going back to the way I was taught by my grandfather and the way I shaved until my early 20s, using a double-edged safety razor. I don’t often do these “Shave of the Day” things because once I find a razor, blades, shaving soap, and aftershave I like, I tend to stick with them, but I’ve been trying a lot of different products lately, so I thought I’d post a review of some of the new things I’m trying from time to time.

The Jagger DE is a loaner from a friend, but I’m thinking I want to buy this one. I liked the control of the shorter handle and heavier weight over my lighter long-handled workhorse Lord L6. The Astra is my usual blade, though I’m always willing to experiment.

What really made this shave was the Dapper Dragon Strawberry Lemonade, which is a seasonal, but I’m sure still available at their Etsy store. It whipped up super easy with great foam (I just traded up from a boar brush to a badger brush and the difference in how well and quickly soaps whip is significant). The shaving soap smelled delicious and left my skin feeling a nice tingle. The razor went over it smooth and easy and I only needed two passes to get a good close shave instead of the traditional three. I highly recommend this shaving soap.

On a personal note, I like using the scuttle instead of just a bowl because it keeps everything warm, which I find makes the shave more pleasant, and the LadySea Scuttle is just a lovely piece.

Finished off with the Clubman Pinaud because this is pretty much the aftershave my grandfather used and if it works for me, why switch?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 24, 2014 – 8:52 pm | Comments (1)

Review of “Haxan” by Kenneth Mark Hoover

“We go where we’re sent. We have names and we stand against that which must be faced.” So says the primary protagonist, United States Marshal John T. Marwood.

Marshal Marwood is sent, or called, to the New Mexico frontier town of Haxan, and he’s already faced with a murder to solve right from the start. This murder-mystery provides the over-arching plot, but while solving the murder, Marwood must also deal with a town that needs some cleaning up, a budding range war, a Navajo war party, and multiple other matters. Sometimes he uses applied violence, sometimes smarts and words. John Marwood is not a one-trick pony, but a well-conceived character, tough, honorable, flawed, willing to do things the hard way, aware of his own strengths and weaknesses, willing to die for the right things, this is Marwood.

Author Kenneth Mark Hoover has created a novel that is part murder-mystery noir, part unblinking, non-romanticized western novel, and a little bit dark fantasy. But don’t think Haxan is all darkness and grit: There are genuinely amusing (but not laugh out loud funny) bits of dialogue and scenes; there are moments of compassion, friendship, love, and honor. Yes, this a hard novel, but it was a hard time and Hoover’s prose and plotting pulls you along like an express train on a long flat straightaway.

I highly recommend this novel, especially if you are a fan of westerns, dark fantasy, and detective-noir.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 13, 2014 – 2:50 pm | Comments Off