Tag Archives: update

To Book the Face or Not?

I don’t do Facebook. My wiseacre reason for not doing so is that lost friends from high school are lost for a reason and should remain that way. That’s not entirely a joke.

Six or so years ago, I had an account for about a week and quickly deleted it. It kept trying to put me in contact with people who didn’t even rise to the level of lost friends from high school. About a decade and a half ago, I made a joyful noise sang in the choir at the church I attended, which is on the other side of the state (TX) from where I live now. I was flooded with suggestions to send friend requests to a number of people I had known at that time. Several of them were children of a woman in the choir. I had almost no contact with them when they were kids, didn’t really know them then, and had had no interactions with them since I’d moved. I found the whole situation a bit creepy. Send friend requests to kids I barely knew a decade previously? No thanks.

I deleted the account. Someone later told me that Facebook made friend suggestions based on your email address. Made sense, I guess.

Since then, I’ve from time to time considered getting a new account, one attached to the email address associated with this blog. That email is primarily for writing and blogging activities, not personal things. James Reasoner told me at Armadillocon I’m the only one of the authors he’s published who doesn’t have a Facebook account. Then Charles Gramlich posted earlier today about his experience being off Facebook for a month. His point #8 was about missing calls for submissions from certain markets. That got my attention.

On the other hand, Adrian Simmons, the editor of Heroic Fantasy Quarterly, once told me Facebook in some ways is like a nonstop online convention and can be a real time sink. I don’t need another distraction. I have Twitter for that.

So I’m going to throw the question out there. Should I get a Facebook account or not? Will the advantages out weigh the disadvantages? What do you guys think?

Back in the Saddle Again

It’s been rather quiet in this corner of the internet the last few months.  That’s not because I wanted it that way.  Real Life has kept me busy.

But hopefully (crosses fingers, knocks on wood, throws salt over shoulder) that’s going to change.  The first summer session of classes is over, we’re back from vacation, and things should slow down a little bit.  I’m not teaching second summer, so even though I’m still supervising the labs, I should have a bit more free time.  I won’t be attending Armadillocon unless something changes; I can’t justify the expense.  Not with World Fantasy later this year.

I’ll be doing more blogging, although I’m not going to be accepting many review requests.  I’ve got too many books I’ve dropped the ball on that I need to read and review.  Most reviews will be things I’ve read because I’ve wanted to.  There will be some of those within the next few days. Continue reading

End of June Update

Posts have been few and far between lately.  I’m teaching a class during the first summer session that will end next Saturday.  Things should pick up somewhat after that.  We’ve got a family vacation planned later in the summer, but I think I can work around that.  The class I’m teaching isn’t divided into traditional lecture and lab sections.  Rather, it’s an inquiry-based format, meaning its hands-on and interactive.  Or to put it another way, I have to teach it all rather than letting a TA cover the traditional labs.  Rewarding, because I get to know the students better than I do with a large lecture hall; frustrating and tiring because it’s so time consuming.

What little time I’ve had to write has been devoted to trying to get back on a regular schedule for fiction writing.  I’m hoping to have some things ready to publish by the end of the summer.

I’ve got a few titles in the queue for review that I”m doing because I’ve been asked to.  After that, I’ll probably not do too many for a while, although there will be a few exceptions, mainly for friends.  For the most part, any reviews I post going forward will be because I would have read it anyway.

Which begs a question.  I’ve been reading a lot more short fiction these days, when I have time to read, that is.  I’ve got half a dozen active anthologies going, but I’m not reading any of them straight through.  By the time I’m done with one, months could have passed.  Details of the first stories have faded. So the question is:

Should I post about individual stories or not?  This is a serious question; any thoughts you have would be appreciated.

Most of my reading this past semester that’s been for fun (as opposed to by request) has been older stuff.  There’s very little new fantasy or science fiction that appeals to me, especially at novel length, that’s coming out of the big publishing houses.  Small publishers and indie press titles being excepted, of course.  So look for a lot more pulp related posts and reviews of older titles that  have been out for a while, “a while” being defined as a few years to decades.  I’ve been REH deficient lately.  It’s like a vitamin deficiency, only worse.

That’s what I’ve been up to.  What about ya’ll?

Summer Schedule

I’ve been kinda busy lately, but I thought I would give a short update.

Last week my son competed in the state solo and ensemble competition.  He didn’t play a solo, but his quartet scored a one.  (For those who don’t know, band scores are like golf scores; lower is better.)  I went along as a sponsor, and since I rode the bus rather than drove myself, I got some reading done.

I’ll try to post reviews soon, but I’ve been devoting what free time I’ve had to fiction writing.  I’ve got three stories in slush piles.  With one exception, which got a very nice rejection of the send-me-something-else variety, all the other stories I sent out earlier this year have placed.  I need to get some more stuff finished and out the door.  I’m hoping things will settle down next week.

Why not this week, you ask.  Summer classes started today, so normally I would be into a routine by the end of the week.  However, this weekend is my annual pilgrimage to the holy land, also know as Robert E. Howard Days.  I’m going down on Thursday afternoon (and in my car since my wife needs hers this weekend.  It will be an adventure.)

So look for a writeup on Howard Days next week.  If I can squeeze in a review before then, I’ll do it.  Otherwise, they’ll hit after I get back.

I Aspire to a State of Burnout…

…because I suspect it might be an improvement.

Things have been pretty hit or miss here at the blog lately.  I managed in the last week to get birthday posts up for Stanley G. Weinbaum, Robert Bloch, and Henry Kuttner, along with a post on a collaboration between Bloch and Kuttner.  Looking back, I’m not sure how I did it.

Things at work have gotten pretty hairy.  My title is Undergraduate Teaching Lab Director, which means I’m in charge of the graduate teaching assistants, come up with lab homework, handle student issues, and such.  My regular job assignment includes teaching one course.  I’m also teaching an additional course as an overload (for which I’m compensated.)

We’ve had a person who sets up and takes down the equipment each week, maintains it, and orders more when we need to buy things.  This is a full time position.  That person recently retired.  Being a state university, we’re subject to the governor’s hiring freeze that was issued earlier this year.  What that means is that I’m picking up most of the slack.  There are a few folks who are helping out, which I greatly appreciate, but for the bulk of the work is on me.

I don’t really mind helping out in the short term.  The hiring freeze extends through August, so I’ve got these responsibilities over the summer.  I’ve been told to expect this to be part of my job going into the fall.  My attitude on that isn’t so positive, but I’ll deal with that at the proper time.

The result is that I’ve fallen behind on blogging commitments.  I promised a review of the latest HFQ and a survey of the works of Nictzin Dyalhis (this is for a paying market).  Those were promised for Spring Break.  That was three weeks ago for those of you who are keeping score.  I also haven’t  forgotten to finish the series on Kuttner’s Baldy stories.  I just haven’t gotten to them yet.  I also need to write reviews of a mystery novel and A. Merritt’s Dwellers in the Mirage.

I’ve managed to get a little fiction writing done.  Not much, but a little.  Hitting a routine before summer classes start might be a bit of a trick because we’ve got four and a half weeks before finals, and each of those weeks has its own unique schedule differences.  I’m not dead yet, although at the end of a few days lately I’ve felt like it.  Most days I’m too tired to write much of anything.  I’m going to try to get some more stories into slush piles.  I was going to try and put together a collection of short stories (horror and dark fantasy), but I’ve still got two to finish and a third to start.  I may try to hit slush piles with some of them instead.

One of the consequences of these extra opportunities responsibilities is a need to manage my time better.  I’ve started cutting back on Twitter and social media.  That will continue.  I’ll be keeping a lower profile, trying to honor my blogging/reviewing commitments, and maintain some level or fiction productivity.  Things may be feast or famine for a bit, but that’s better than nothing.

Spring Has Broke

No, this isn’t about the trees budding leaves and the weeds grass turning green. That happened back in the middle of February. Spring break started today.  I’ll be in the office for part of it.  We’ve had someone who has been responsible for setting up and taking down all the experiments in our introductory labs.  She walked into my office on Tuesday and said, “I thought you should know that I’m retiring at the end of the month”.  I said something nice, but what I was thinking was “…but we still have another four labs to do at the end of the month…”

I’ll be picking up the slack, which means going in on Monday to learn where she stores some stuff and some other details, as well as catching up on a few things that fell between the cracks this past week.  How this is going to shake out over the long term has yet to be determined.  That includes the impact it might have on my writing time.

And speaking of writing, I’m hoping to get some done this next week.  I’m not going to set any goals or make any public announcements until things are finished.  Other than going into work on Monday and getting some yard work done, plus some general straightening and organizing, I plan to read, write, and blog for the next week.

Some Thoughts on a Pulp Speed Weekend

My son didn’t have school yesterday (Monday) because the teachers had an in-service day.  So my wife took advantage of his vacation to take a day off from work to go visit her parents.  My son plays trumpet, and solo and ensemble competitions are coming up.  As my father-in-law is a trumpet player, there was instruction and practice taking place.

I didn’t have Monday off.  The university was education (or something that resembles it to the untrained eye) as usual.  This was a good thing.  It meant I had the house to myself all weekend.

So I wrote. I tried to write at pulp speed.  For those who may not be familiar with the term, pulp speed is writing at a rate at which you can support yourself as a writer, like the pulp writers did.  They rarely rewrote, at least more than once, and they wrote prodigiously every day. Continue reading

Statistics Are Interesting Things

And no, this post isn’t going to be about math.  So come back here and quit running in terror.  The screaming is disturbing the neighbors.

Things have gotten rolling full speed at the day job, the offspring has gotten back into the swing of things, and I’m trying to juggle numerous (figurative) flaming chainsaws.

So while trying to kill time between interruptions at work this afternoon (there was too much going on to be able to shut the door and work on tasks that require extended concentration), I looked at the top posts for this blog.

It was rather interesting.  I didn’t compare or combine the numbers from when I was on Blogger, just looked at things since I set up my own domain.  I didn’t look at the other blogs, only Adventures Fantastic.  I ignored the most viewed page, which is the homepage, and looked at only individual posts, wherein a pattern quickly emerged. Continue reading

I May Have Lost My Ever-Lovin’ Mind, but…

… I sat down last night and compiled a list of all the fiction I’ve written, started, or for which I have ideas developed enough to at least begin writing.  I tend to be something of a pantser, so I don’t always know everything that’s going to happen when I type the first sentence, but  usually I have some idea of what the ending will be or the general direction the story will take.

Anyway, I’m trying to get some stuff out there this year, and I’m not going to rely solely on anthologies and magazines (print and electronic) to do that.  I don’t have control over editors and what they choose.  Some stuff I’m going to make available myself through my own publishing outfit. Continue reading

Obligatory First of Year Post

new year cartoonThanks to the wonder and magic of prescheduling, it’s 2017 was you’re reading this but still 2016 as I’m writing.  Consider this my shot across the bow of general plans for the next year.

I’ve never been a huge proponent of New Year resolutions.  I’ve always thought that if something needed changing, you put a plan in place to make sure things change in the way you need them to, don’t wait a around unless you’ve got a really good reason.  And if you’re content with the way things are, why change them.  (This latter view is largely a reaction to hype about something changing your life, when really all that will happen is your bank balance changing if you buy the product.)

So here’s where I’m at and what I intend to change over the next year. Continue reading