Monthly Archives: April 2011

Writers as Critics

I’m a writer.  I make stuff up and write it down for embarrassingly small sums of money.  I don’t write for the money, of course; I write because I like to do it, and sometimes stories nag me until I write them down, at which point they leave me alone and we never have to meet again (Now, I would be happier to do it for regrettably HUGE sums of money, but I guess that’ll happen along anytime now).  I generally like what I write, although there are parts that I hate immensely and other parts that seem to me like a real writer wrote them, one I’ve never met but enjoy reading.  Seriously, sometimes it’s like a stranger wrote something and dumped it in my manuscript.  That’s a great feeling.

However, liking what I write doesn’t make it good, so like any other writer not completely ashamed of what he’s produced I give my work to others to critique.  Sometimes I post it on a forum in a writer’s group, sometimes give it to non-writing friends, other times to writer friends.  I hope for honest feedback and seem to get it (though how would I know).  Since I’m an independent author, I don’t have actual editors to peruse my work, so most of the time it’s fellow writers who give the feedback.

This is great.  It can also be absolutely horrible. Read the rest of this entry

Homages – Friends as Novel Characters

The impetus that finally pushed me to write a novel consisted of a combination of two things.  The first was the incredibly vivid Zombie Dreams I’ve had over the years.  These dreams are full Technicolor and Stereoscope dreams, with jump cuts and multiple camera angles, where I might be a spectator, actor, or disembodied witness, but always vaguely aware that I’m watching a dream and ready to fill my role as either zombie killer or victim or hard-running candyass.  I love these dreams, and have never thought it right to call them nightmares – I may get creeped out, but I don’t necessarily want to wake up from them.

The Zombie Dreams laid the foundation.  The second push came from a daydream I had, where my friends and family were villagers in a medieval town that was overrun by zombies and eaten in a very gory and glorious fashion.

I’m a swell friend, eh? Read the rest of this entry

Chapter 12 Excerpt from The Storm of Northreach

Another unedited sneak peek at my current project.  This time, a new character!  Excitement!  Thrills!  CRAVAT-ADJUSTING!  Are you not entertained?!

The man with the golden key frowned as he examined the intricate gears and mechanisms inches from his nose.  His eyes narrowed behind the glass of his gold-rimmed spectacles as they searched for anything out of place in the workings of the Gnarri-made machine.  He eyed the coils and cogs and gears, making sure no tooth looked worn or scratched or pitted and that every pin and post was straight and sturdy.  Only then did he place the thin key inside its dedicated slot.  His fingers, though thick, manipulated the thin metal gently, almost lovingly, and a faint smile lifted the thin lips that normally rested in a sedate and calm downturn. Read the rest of this entry

Foraying into the Twitterverse

I just re-read my blog entry from June 2009, The Future of Twitter.  In that post, I did my usual round of horrible and smug predictions for the future (honestly, I think the only thing I can predict with any accuracy is the Redskins’ future.  And that generally isn’t pretty), culminating in the belief that once Corporate America realizes the usefulness of the service (mini-press conferences on demand) that it will earn a place with staying power.  I was, of course, wrong about a lot of things – including my assertion that I would never be on it (fool!).  I also used the word celebutard a lot for some reason.  I must have been vexed at one for some reason.  Probably Ashton Kutcher.  Isn’t it quaint that back in ’09 you used to hear about him?  God that was CENTURIES ago. Read the rest of this entry


I’m struggling today to do just about everything.  I’m struggling with forcing myself to work.  I’m struggling with making myself write (although I did pen a little addition to “The Space“, a small scene which has wedged itself into my brain and refused to let up until I wrote it down, so I did and will be updating the story as it’s posted here just after I finish this).  Hell, I struggled putting up a blog post.  I wanted to put something up (probably related to some interesting programs I watched looking at the Old Testament through the eyes of a military historian which absolutely fascinates me, but evidently couldn’t be less interesting to everyone I’ve tried to talk to about it over the last few days), but struggled with what to say and how to say and if I’d offend anyone with it and wondering why I care about that at all and blah blah blah.  Instead I’ll just write what I’ve been thinking half-heartedly about this morning. Read the rest of this entry

You Can Call Us Crazy, That’s Fine

Lady Aravan and I put our house up for sale about three weeks ago.  It generated a lot of interest – and continues to do so – and we did receive an early offer (that was low to the point of absurdity), so it was suggested that we begin to take a closer look at some properties in the areas we were interested in.  My Lady and I did have some specific criteria that we were looking for: land (enough land that our neighbors wouldn’t be on top of us, and if we couldn’t see them at all, so much the better), a good house, and not terribly far away from our respective jobs (which in many cases were in opposite directions of where we were looking).

So, we set up two appointments, one for a house we’d been looking at for close to a year that helped inspire us to want to move in the first place, and then another one, a bit closer to civilization.  The first house had a beautiful 6-acre lot, with nice pasture area and a great outbuilding.  Problem was, the house was so bad and unusable that I’d have preferred living in the outbuilding and letting the animals live in the house.

The second one, though.  Oh my.

Weapon of Choice: Zombie Apocalypse Style Part Tres

In my last two posts, I’ve been the exploring the concept of what weapons I would want with me during a zombie apocalypse.  My assumptions are that I can only use weapons that are commonly available to civilians and can reasonably be obtained fairly easily, and also that I’m in the Worst Case Scenario: on foot, traveling by myself.  First I dealt with shotguns, then I dealt with other firearms.  Along the way I discussed Unitaskers, objects that are good for just one thing and for nothing else, and which I want to avoid.

Today: hand weapons. Read the rest of this entry

Weapon of Choice: Zombie Apocalypse Style Part Duo

In my first post, I started a conversation about what my weapon choices would be during a zombie apocalypse.  It’s gotten other people to post their thoughts too, which is cool.  I’m restricting my thoughts to weapons I already own, or could realistically acquire with little trouble in today’s world, so any civilian-accessible weapon that could reasonably be acquired.  I’m not going to worry about being ultra-specific, since I’m assuming this would be a long-term loadout, and things will break and need to be replaced with similar objects, so specifying a particular type of scope or stock will not be part of the plan.  Part 1 dealt with shotguns, due to their near-synonymous nature with zombie-fighting, and today I will go a little further, spending much of this post dealing with two things, one of them being firearms.

But first, the Most Important Thing: addressing Unitaskers. Read the rest of this entry

Weapon of Choice: Zombie Apocalypse Style

A comment on my Zombieland post from yesterday has had me thinking.  In a zombie apocalypse, what would be my weapon, or weapons, of choice?  Nearly always, someone asked that question would answer “shotgun” without hesitation.  I can understand this, to a degree: a shotgun does horrific damage at close range, capable of ripping through an undead head with deadly efficacy; the action of pumping a shotgun just before a fight just sounds cool; and it’s nearly fetishized in Zombie Culture at this point. 

That said, I would never carry one, with two exceptions.

Read the rest of this entry

Disputing the Zombieland Rules: Rule 1: Cardio

I really enjoyed the movie Zombieland – it was funny, acted well for the most part, had plenty of memorable scenes, and introduced a great concept: The Rules, presented as an ironclad set of laws designed to keep a person alive during a zombie apocalypse.  Many of them I agree with or have no problem with: Check the Back Seat, When In Doubt, Know Your Way Out, and Hygiene are all great rules.  Some of them, though, can be somewhat misleading in my opinion, and that includes the very first rule: Cardio.

Read the rest of this entry