A Busy Summer

This has been a rather busy summer and I’m afraid the result is that I haven’t posted very much here in the last few weeks. To summarize a bit, the reading period for Tales of the Talisman magazine was July 1 through August 15. That kept me busy reading stories and poems. I’m still sorting through the short-listed items, but hope to get final answers out to people soon. We also brought out the summer issue of Tales of the Talisman. You can learn more about that at TalesOfTheTalisman.com. I’ve added a feature at the site where you can view the complete table of contents as well as see a larger view of the cover. I will continue to do that for new issues and, as time permits, I’ll try to make that available for back issues as well.

Over the July 4 weekend, I had a wonderful time at Westercon. Highlights for me included seeing good friends such as Janni Simner, Larry Hammer, Brian Gross, Frankie Robertson, David Boop, Rick Novy, and Jack Mangan. Rick interviewed David Boop and me for his video podcast at novymirror.blip.tv. The interview with David Boop is available as of this writing and I believe Rick’s interview with me is next in line.

Another highlight of Westercon was discovering a very nice review of the book Blood Sampler that I co-authored with Lee Clark Zumpe. The review was in ConNotations, the newspaper of the Central Arizona Speculative Fiction Society. The reviewer, Chris Paige, writes, “If you like vampire stories, this may be the best seven dollars you can spend.” You can read the complete review on page 19 of the archived issue at the ConNotations website. You can order a copy of Blood Sampler at The Genre Mall. I’ll have a little more about Westercon at the end of this post.

Another thing I did this summer was to take a week of vacation. My wife, daughters and I went to Disneyland. I grew up in Southern California and went to Disneyland several times when I was growing up. However, the last time I visited was about 22 years ago. It was interesting to see how the park had both changed and was yet still quite familiar. I have to say that I was very impressed with the staff, who generally kept smiles and were consistently professional even when it was clear that park visitors were less than courteous. One of the new things for me was Disney’s California Adventure theme park. Having a background in physics, it was exciting for me to go on the California Screamin’ roller coaster and be propelled by a linear induction motor. Fun as it was to go on the rides and see the attractions, the real highlight of the trip for me was getting to see my nieces Sarah and Megan and my nephew Dan. We also met Dan’s wife Kim for the first time.

One interesting fringe benefit of the trip to Disneyland was that my daughter discovered the book The Wind and the Willows through her enjoyment of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

I’ve also been getting some writing done this summer. Yesterday, I finished a story called “Amazons and Predators”, which was a story I was invited to write for an anthology. I’m setting it aside for a few days and will go back and take a fresh look before sending it in to the editor. Also, I’ve made some good progress on my novel Dragon’s Fall, which is a prequel to Vampires of the Scarlet Order.

One challenge of this summer was learning that my youngest daughter has a number of food allergies. It turns out that she’s allergic to a number of things we take for granted including corn, soybeans, rice and chicken. So, we’ve been reading labels and adjusting our diet. It’s really amazing how many products contain corn or soy. The good news is that the adjustments are paying off and Verity’s eczema has improved considerably.

Of course, the summer isn’t over just yet. There are other projects in the works and next weekend I’ll be attending Bubonicon in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Bubonicon Schedule

Bubonicon 41 will be held August 28-30 at the Albuquerque Grand Airport Hotel. This year’s theme is “Everything’s Better with Zombies.” Here’s my panel schedule:

Friday at 5:00pm: “Going Independent: Alternative Marketplaces.” I’ll be on the panel with Pati Nagle, Joan S. Saberhagen, Robert E. Vardeman, and Peri Charlifu

Friday at 6:00pm: I’ll be reading for 40 minutes. Most likely I’ll read an excerpt from my novel, The Solar Sea.

Saturday at 10:00am: “Zombie Explosion Now: Why the Popularity.” On that panel with me will be Mario Acevedo, Peri Charlifu, Douglas W. Clark and John Maddox Roberts.

Saturday at 4:30pm: “Maxwell’s Demon: Combining SF and Horror.” On that panel with me are Suzy McKee Charnas, John Pelan, Debbie Lynn Smith and Yvonne Coats.

In addition to the panels, my company Hadrosaur Productions will be set up in the dealer’s room. If you’ll be in Albuquerque next weekend, I hope you’ll drop in and say “hi.”

Thought for the Week: Question Assumptions

On the Fourth of July at Westercon, I went to dinner with my friends Janni Lee Simner and Larry Hammer. They introduced me to Patrick and Teresa Nielson Hayden of Tor Books and we went to Rula Bula, an Irish pub next door to the Tempe Mission Palms where the convention was being held. It turns out the vegetable of the day was Brussels Sprouts. The last time I tried Brussels Sprouts was when I was a very young child. I didn’t like them then, and I never went back. I really wasn’t all that thrilled to find myself facing a plate with Brussels Sprouts. However, Teresa Nielson Hayden mentioned how much she liked them and was obviously delighted in finding them the featured vegetable. I decided to give them a try. As it turns out, I rather liked them. Okay, I didn’t like them as much as the fellow in Green Eggs and Ham who would eat the thing he thought he hated with a fox, in a box, on a train, in the rain… but I did like them. It was a good lesson for me that we should question our assumptions and approach life with an open mind.

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