Scary Stories in Time for Halloween

My story, “The Talking Box,” which involves magical boxes, greed, stupidity, and self-vivisection, is out now in EAB Publishing’s, Midnight Circus: In the Age of Horrors, just in time for Halloween!



You can get it for Kindle as well.  I’ve been told it’s creepy.  I certainly hope so.

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VCON Wrap Up

The last day of VCON went by quickly.  The panels on YA Dystopias and Good Villains were fun, and a friend and I were able to hear C.C. Humphreys and other panelists explain what makes a good science fiction tv show.  The best thing of course is how the nerves subside when you realize you’ve completed your last panel.

On the whole, I think VCON is getting better every year.  It is a shame that Spider Robinson couldn’t attend, but I understand he is rescheduled for next year.  I hope the convention continues to grow in popularity and talent.  It is a great place to network and learn.

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Day One of VCON Panels

Three panels today, all very different.  The first was with Julie McGalliard and Joe Haldeman on killing off characters.  It was fun.  There was a big audience and good questions.  I think we all came down on the side of killing characters only if the story needed it.  Gratuitous assassination was frowned upon.

The second panel was on humour in YA and Middle-Grade fiction.  The other panelists were Danika Dinsmore, Jennifer Ellis, and Jennifer Lott.  The audience was smaller, but seemed interested in a discussion on the differences between age groups and how each appreciated humour.

The third panel was one I had been dreading: The Hugo Awards analysis.  I had been worried that some puppy supporters would make things awkward, but we were preaching to the anti-slate choir in this room.  Co-panelists T.G. Shepherd, Jason Bourget, Dana Korra’ti, and Julie McGalliard all brought up important points about the puppies’ lack of logic.  Dana and I competed for the most over prepared in terms of documents spread out over the desk, but she won.  All in all, it was a big transfer of information but no drama.

Tomorrow’s panels are YA Dystopias and Good Villains.  Report to follow.

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First Report from VCON

Well, I didn’t do much today at VCON, but I had fun.  Since I purchased a higher-level membership, I was invited to a lunch with some of the Guests of Honour and the convention’s organizers.  All were charming and welcoming to a stranger in their midst, though the excellent vegetarian dim sum probably put everyone in a good mood.  I had a great conversation with Rick Sternbach and Eric Choi.  Rick did a lot of the design work for the Star Trek franchise from STNG on, and Eric is an editor and author who has worked at NASA and the Canadian Space Agency.  The talk ranged from old movies to the popularity of The Hunger Games among teenage girls.  Amazing time.

After lunch, I went to the hotel and registered, then looked in on the art room and the vendor’s room.  Both looked like they would be an exercise in self control.  Lynn Fahnestalk is back with her whimsical robots made of household and workshop materials. I posted a picture of mine after the last VCON.  It would be helpful if everyone else bought one so I wouldn’t be tempted to get it a friend.

Tomorrow is my first day of panels.  The nerves are starting now.

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New Cover for City of Demons

Since Galen Dara’s cover for City of Masks was so wonderfully creepy, my publisher, Tyche Books, asked her to do one for the first book in the series, City of Demons.  Here it is:


No, that’s not disturbing.  Not at all.  I’ve got to start writing books about puppies.

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VCon Is Coming Up and It’s Panel Time!

Vancouver’s science fiction, fantasy, and gaming conference is next week, October 2-4, and I’m on panels.

Sat. 10:00 A.M.     Killing off Characters (with Guest of Honour, Joe Haldeman)

Sat. 1:00 P.M.       Humour in Teen and Middle Grade Fiction

Sat. 5:00 P.M.      Sad Puppies and Happy Kittens: The Hugo Situation

Sun. 10:00 A.M.    Good Villains: Why Do We Love The Bad Guy?

Sun. 3:00 P.M.      YA Dystopias: Why Do Teens Want the Dark Stuff?

It’s a great event with a well-stocked vendor’s room and many more interesting panels.  Go to VCon to see more.

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An Un-Sale of a Short Story, etc.

I wrote a horror short story a while back called “The Talking Box,” and it has been accepted by Midnight Circus Magazine, a literary, themed quarterly.  It seem like an interesting publication, so please feel free to check it out and maybe read my very creepy story.

On other writing fronts, I have sent off Luck, my odd science fiction comedy novel, for its initial rejection by the cold, cold world.  I can hardly wait.  The sequel to City of Masks is still germinating.  I admit to having trouble finding the proper “voice” for the story.  Voice is the one thing I have to get right before I start.  If I don’t feel comfortable with how it sounds, nothing else works.  Plot, character, magic, all these things can be changed, but the voice has to be constant.

In writing adjacent news, I hope to be at VCon on October 2nd to 4th in Richmond, just south of Vancouver.  With any luck, I’ll be on some panels, or just heckling from the audience.  It’s fun.  You should go.

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The Hugo’s Won

Well, after a nail-biting ceremony, the Puppies of various types were banished to that outer darkness called the internet, and sanity prevailed.  ‘No Award’ is not pretty, nor very useful except in circumstances as bizarre as these (whole categories filled with–in my opinion–low quality work).

So the Hugo’s won, the way Mel Gibson wins in a movie, after much torture and bleeding.  We can only hope there won’t be a sequel.

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The Hugo Awards Controversy

I’ve been obsessed with this issue for some time now, so here’s my two cents (and no, I won’t pay anybody two cents to read this).  I’m taking the Puppy arguments from several sites and their comment sections.  They are probably not held by all the Sad and Rabid Puppy followers, but they are representative.

Cent One: The Sad and Rabid Puppy slates don’t work, and will eventually turn around and bite the people who created them.  By showing the effectiveness of recruiting voters, you make this into a contest of numbers, not quality.  And, considering demographics and mortality rates, I think the 21st century is going to beat the 20th in that fight.

Cent Two: Their reasoning isn’t going to win the Puppies a new generation of converts and so boost their numbers.  For example, one of the Puppy arguments I’ve run across is that Hugo-winners are preachy, the so-called SJWs (sidebar: I’m ashamed to say it took me forever to figure out who they were mad at, Single Jewish Women?  Slow Jesuit Wardens?).  But have the Puppies read Heinlein or Niven and Pournelle?  Their old-timey sic-fi adventures are infomercials for their politics, and not very subtle ones either.  By the time I was 18, I was yelling, “Shut up and tell the story!” at my last Heinlein books.  A second irritating point is the puppies claim the current Hugoists are too literary . . .for a literary award.  Yikes!

As a writer with no awards and never a hope for a Hugo, I can say this with the utmost objectivity: stop messing with the system just because the results offend you.  Create your own awards.  Or better yet, vote as an individual and leave slates for the world of politics.  I’m afraid I won’t change a single Puppy’s mind with this blog, because for them, the Hugo Awards are political.  It follows then that writing itself is political, and, by extension, all art.  If art is political, it must serve the politics of its maker.  Come to think of it, that’s what Chairman Mao said.  Maybe he was a secret Puppy.

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City of Sand

The title of the sequel to City of Demons and City of Masks is City of Sand.  It takes place in the dry country south of the river Ar, and involves some characters from the first two books.  They are one of several groups trying to find the origin of the demons so that the threat can be ended for all time.

The problem is that Marick is part of the expedition.  Although he has certain skills (such as lying and thieving) that could come in handy, he has certain character flaws (such as lying and thieving) that might get him into serious trouble.  As I write the novel, the question seems to be: will Marick mature enough to be a help instead of a hindrance in their mission.

I’m still working on the answer to that, but, if I figure it out, the working title for the book after this is City of Shadows.  There is another project that I might finish first.  Actually, there are a lot of other projects that I have in mind.  I think they call that job security for the self-employed.

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