Right at this moment I’m beginning to wonder if this blog post is going to get written today, or if it is, posted. Suffering from a wonky internet connection. We—okay, I—have gotten so dependent on this ephemeral flow of electrons that I now find it hard, creation-wise, to function without them.
Case in point, the illustration to the left. That is Skelos #1, a new magazine of dark and weird fiction from Skelos Press. I ordered a copy when I first heard about it, and I admit this was mostly from nostalgia. See, when I was first entering the field, there were no online magazines like Lightspeed or Beneath Ceaseless Skies. In fact, there was no “online.” There were personal computers of various sorts, and something called a BBS, which was basically a bunch of users clinging to one central computer via analog modem. Yes, I am THAT old. Regardless, magazines like Skelos were almost the only game in town if you wanted to write and sell(?) fantasy fiction. Pro level magazines did pop up from time to time. Most didn’t last long. Pro magazines like Weird Tales or Fantasy & Science Fiction were the exceptions, not the rule. There were a lot more pure SF magazines around, but they wouldn’t touch a fantasy story with a ten-foot cattle prod. So it was the amateur and semi-pro magazines that filled the gap. Most were shoestring affairs, everything from perfect bound presentation pieces to saddle-stitched fanzine level crap, published only as long as the creator’s energy and money held out. Names like Copper Toadstool, Fantasy Macabre, Whispers, Weirdbook, Space & Time. Some of those names you may know, since Weirdbook and Space & Time have resurfaced in new incarnations. I would have included Weird Tales in that, but it has apparently died yet again. Continue reading →
One of the joys of living with cats is, every now and then, it will be your job to clean up a crime scene, dispose of (parts of, usually) a body, that sort of thing. They bring their prey home. That’s what cats do. Dogs are predators too, but only under the right circumstances. They’re mostly content to let us handle the food thing. Not cats. They are predators all the time. A well-fed, healthy cat is just a more efficient hunter, that’s all. You know all the time they’re purring in your lap or rubbing against your face they are still thinking “If I was as big as a leopard, I would totally eat you.” And they would.
If you write long enough, one thing you eventually learn is that actual writing is only part of the picture. A big part of the rest is keeping up with what you’ve written, and the longer you spend in the trenches, the more of a pain keeping everything organized becomes. There are different approaches. The system I use is adapted from one L. Sprague de Camp wrote about using, and if anyone reading this has forgotten or never knew who he was, Google is your friend. Regardless, with some updating it works well enough for me. I keep five separate text files: a Works List, a Submissions List, a Sold List, a Bibliography and a Trunk List.
These are all pretty self-explanatory but I’m going to explain them anyway, if for no other reason than to remind myself how it all is supposed to work, because sometimes I am lax. Ahem. Continue reading →
Not for us, anyway. Case in point, the illustration to the left. That is Sheffield. He is the elder (we think) of our two cat brothers, Sheffield and Sterling, sometimes referred to here as “Da Boyz.” This is the context–yesterday I started a new story. What it is or how it’s going to turn out is, for now, beside the point. What does concern us is the simple fact I had stolen the time for it from a period when I was supposed to be working on something else, and I had taken the time for that theoretical “something else” from other pressing projects. In short, I was writing in the mode of “guilty pleasure,” which is one of my favorite ways to do it. Seriously, I get some of my best work done when I’m supposed to be doing something else. A psychologist might make much of that, but I really don’t care. It’s just the fact, and being forced into early and I believe temporary retirement hasn’t changed that. Continue reading →
On Saturday Carol and I took a break and headed down to Cooperstown. Not, as you might have guessed, for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but rather for the Farmer’s Museum. Next trip will likely be for the James Fenimore Cooper Art Museum. We would have stopped this time but there was too much to cover and not enough day. Continue reading →