Hello! With American Thanksgiving yesterday, we are now Officially in the Holiday Season. With the completion of Thanksgiving dinner, it is now permissible to play Christmas music (a guideline I just made up yesterday afternoon) and I have also decorated the website here (Christmas lights are my favorite).
And my first holiday gift is only barely from me: the Untold Podcast has produced “Wight Christmas” for your listening enjoyment! You can listen to it here:
While this is not strictly a Halloween story, it’s certainly in the spirits of the season, both macabre and prankster, so I’m going to share it.
In the early 2000s, we purchased an estate property and eventually built a house, where we now live. The property needed a lot of work, from the many piles of trash which needed to be cleared (so large that they photographed from the air as buildings in our property tax assessment and we were being charged for them) to the old farmhouse where I lived mostly alone for a year, which had ancient and damaged wiring so that I had very limited choices regarding electricity, which couldn’t be heated above 56 degrees in the winter with a furnace which could snuff a light at two feet, and which turned out to be a structural death trap the local fire department refused to enter. Also possibly haunted, but that’s another story.
Tonight some friends from church held a “decompression night” and invited a bunch of us over to blow off steam. We had stress balls to squeeze, bubbles to blow, putty, over-sized Jenga, punching bags, wrapping paper swords, cornhole, video games, and a Nerf shooting range (with paint for the darts to mark your shots).
They’d set up a villains gallery for target shooting, with four rogues to take fire. There was the demogorgon from Stranger Things, Harry Potter’s Delores Umbridge, and–
Sometimes writers are clever. Really, really clever.
There’s a character named Frangit in the Shard of Elan series, because his purpose is to break. In one scene Shianan argues fiercely that something has never, ever happened, and he believes it, but the careful reader will note that in his emotion he’s deceived himself, as we often do. I take great pride in slipping absolutely-true-but-also-misleading statements into the mouths of kitsune and Fae.
Authors are frequently asked about where ideas come from, or sharing ideas, or how to get ideas. This is a bit funny, because ideas are frankly the easiest part of storytelling, and they can be found everywhere.
But honestly, no matter how weird and twisted I can get as a speculative fiction writer, I can’t match up to real life. Continue reading
A week ago, I posted this short personal tale to my Facebook page:
As I got into my car to drive home last night at 2 am, my proximity sensor warned me something was close behind my car. I checked my mirrors, checked the rear camera, but nothing. I started to back out, and the proximity warning screamed. I checked again. Nothing. Backed up veeery slowly, the warning shrieking the entire time.
I drove home. I pulled up to my gate, set well back from the road, under large trees between empty fields, in the total dark of a feeble moon. Proximity warning goes off. I check the mirrors and camera. Proximity sensor indicates something big and very close behind.
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
So 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
Apparently someone reposted an old 2015 story and gave it new legs, and my news feed has been full of reports regarding a rural town voting a moratorium on solar energy because the panels would, among other terrible effects, suck up all the sun and stop photosynthesis.
I think you guys are being unfair and are just following the critical mainstream media on this, without paying attention to the evidence which is right in front of you.
In September, I unwisely had solar panels installed on my house, believing the environmental propaganda that they would provide me clean energy without nasty side effects. And sure, by my calculations we’ve produced over 3.4 megawatt-hours of power so far even in a rainy October, the equivalent of more than 4 NYC-LA flights and saving over 60 trees’ worth of CO2.
But. You know there’s a but.
My trees were full and green when those panels were installed. And look at them now. Brown leaves or even bare branches — it’s true. I installed the solar panels, and the trees stopped photosynthesizing. YOU CAN’T ARGUE THE EVIDENCE.
(Update: Wanna see how this solar thing worked out for us? Read on here.)