A Winter Hike

narrow snowy track through woods
traversing a slope on the Knobstone Trail

Today the husband and I went for a walk in the woods.

Okay, it wasn’t a walk, it was a hike. We did about 8.5 miles of the Knobstone Trail, with our two dogs. (Yes, on-leash, of course, and of course we packed out all solid waste. We’re responsible people.) It was a chilly 20 degrees or so, and it snowed during part of the hike, which made it even better.

We started alongside a lake with singing ice. I didn’t catch it on video, but this is what I’m talking about:

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Writing Algorithm: Will Software Put Writers Out of a Job?

Being a writer is easy. It's like riding a bike. Except the bike is on fire. You're on fire. Everything is on fire and you're in hell.By now you’ve probably seen the predictive text Harry Potter, but here’s a slightly different take, using a writing algorithm for structural and editorial guidance.

No argument, making the words can be hard. Since we have computer-assisted everything these days, algorithms helping me to research, to navigate heavy traffic, to drive safely, why not computer-assisted writing to write efficiently and beautifully? It’s a reasonable question.

Fifty notable classic and modern science-fiction stories were fed into the computer, which analyzed them for common elements of subject, theme, and style. Then it produced a set of rules for producing a new great story, and parameters for writing it. Continue reading

A Short Story for the End of 2017 — For Charity

I have a new short story out for charity. Here’ s how it happened: I was driving along Tuesday night, musing that I wished I’d released one more thing this year — even though it’s been a good writing year for me — just so I could say I’d done twelve releases in twelve months. For the sheer symmetry of it. I also thought I should have planned ahead to do a charity fundraiser again.

And then I realized that I could put those two desires together.

So I pulled out a short story with a Christmas theme, whipped up a quick cover, and we’re ready to go. Continue reading

Giftmas 2017 Guest Post: Barbara Tomporowski

close up of ornaments on treeToday’s guest post comes from Barbara Tomporowski, for the 2017 Giftmas blog tour. Donations and raffle entry below!

Writing this Christmas blog post made me consider some difficult questions. Editor Rhonda Parrish, who organizes the annual Giftmas campaign to support the Edmonton Food Bank, chose “shine a light” as this year’s theme. She also asked each writer to consider “why I give” and “what I celebrate”, as well as “no capes!” to honour the people who quietly do things for us. At first, these questions seemed unrelated. What does “shine a light” mean during Christmas in Canada? Why do I give, both to this campaign, and to other causes?  And what have other people, those with “no capes”, given to me? Continue reading

I Still Hate Spoilers.

Once, I answered the phone to hear a familiar voice tell me the end of a nine-book series. The caller knew I had finished the third book, with six to go.

Once, I suggested to a group I was staying with that we all go to see the latest Pixar film. They said no, but when I was in my room reading a book, they all left together for the theater without me. They returned in time for dinner, and while I asked that they not spoil the movie they’d gone to see without me, they spent the meal rehashing the story and retelling all the jokes.

Once, I got a message with an attached image of collected major spoilers for movies, shows, books. The message text was about how upset I’d be to get this.

Some people just get a sick enjoyment in ruining other people’s experiences. It’s the lingering inner kindergartner kicking over another kid’s block tower just to make him cry.

I hate spoilers, and that’s no secret. And while I try not to make a habit of hating people, I do hate the behavior of spoiling a story for someone. Continue reading

Sharing A Light: Giftmas Blog Tour

Giftmas 2017 fundraising blog tour

Today I’m joining Rhonda Parrish’s Giftmas blog tour! (You remember Rhonda? Editor of Fae, Scarecrow, Corvidae, Equus, Mrs. Claus, the alphabet anthologies, and more?) For ten days or so, fourteen writers will share seasonal thoughts to raise money for the Edmonton (Alberta) Food Bank.

Oh, and prizes. We’ll also share prizes. Because giving is a part of Giftmas.

Last year we raised over $500, so please, join us this year? All donations go directly to charity, nothing passes through grubby writer hands — and Americans get extra value, since donations are in Canadian dollars! ;-) Continue reading

Swag Sale! Gifts for that dinosaur or kitsune lover and reader.

shirts of various sizes and colors folded on wooden table

sorting remaining inventory for shirts

We all have problems. I need space to store new cool things, and you need gifts for that tricky person on your list.

Here’s a deal that will win for everyone.

I’m running a holiday sale on my kitsune shirts and Cupcake the Dinosaur swag, along with signed paperbacks of your favorite titles for gift-giving. Best of all, I’m a ninja at packing flat-rate boxes — challenge me! — so it’s flat-rate shipping for you. Go ahead and buy an extra shirt or book for yourself, guilt-free. Continue reading

NaNoWriMo 2017 Wrap-Up

amulet with iridescent blue eye lying on wooden table, title The Poet's EyeSo another National Novel Writing Month has ended. (That’s the challenge when your writer friends curl up in a dark corner to pound out 50,000 words, or roughly The Great Gatsby, in the space of a month.)

This was the fastest NaNo ever for me, as I finished about halfway through November. (In this case it’s important to note that “finished” means I hit my 50,000 words, not that the novel is done. The novel is definitely not done.) I picked up an older idea that I’d started but set aside — but that title is probably not final, and that cover is definitely not final. Continue reading