Week in Review – September 12, 2009

The kids are back in school and Kitt Peak’s summer shutdown for maintenance is over as is Tales of the Talisman’s summer reading period. Autumn is almost here and it’s time to look back at the last couple of weeks and look forward a little as well.

Bubonicon

I had a great time at Bubonicon in Albuquerque, New Mexico the weekend of August 23-24. I was there as a panel participant and Hadrosaur Productions was there as a dealer. I spoke on panels about everything from alternative marketplaces for your writing and artwork to the recent surge in the popularity of zombies. Sales were down a bit at our dealer’s table, but I sense that was true for most folks. Even though the economy seems to be improving in some sectors, we’re not out of the woods yet and people are still being careful with their spending. I think the best part of the weekend was making some new friends and visiting with several old ones.

Interview on the Novy Mirror

I mentioned last time that Rick Novy had interviewed me at Westercon for an episode of his video podcast, The Novy Mirror. That interview is now available on-line. Hope you get a chance to check it out. The interview is in episode seven of the podcast and you can watch it here: http://novymirror.blip.tv/file/2504801/. Rick talks to me about Tales of the Talisman magazine as well as my novels and my anthology Space Pirates.

Tales of the Talisman and Hadrosaur Productions

As I mentioned earlier, the summer reading period for Tales of the Talisman has concluded. We had around 300 submissions. Many of those were wonderful and we ended up with more than enough short-listed stories to fill the spring and summer 2010 issues of the magazine. I have sent rejections and acceptances to almost all who have submitted, but there are still a few to go out. I hope to have all of those out the door by the end of this week – September 18, 2009.

This past week, I also took some time and updated the Hadrosaur Productions Bookstore. My goal was to make the store easier to browse and more representative of the stock we have at conventions. Most (but not all) of the books there are either ones I’ve written or edited. Some are published or co-published by Hadrosaur, but there are some published by other companies including LBF Books and Sam’s Dot Publishing. The store is now organized alphabetically by the last name of the author. Under each author’s names, series are listed in order. For example, under my name, you’ll find The Pirates of Sufiro, Children of the Old Stars and Heirs of the New Earth in order. Vampires of the Scarlet Order is after them, but that’s a completely different world.

Of course, I encourage anyone who wants good quality science fiction to subscribe to Tales of the Talisman. However, buying books at the Hadrosaur Productions Bookstore also supports the authors and artists of Tales of the Talisman. I encourage you to take a minute and browse the links above and see if there is something that interests you.

The Hadrosaur Productions site also includes a downloads page with some nifty desktop backgrounds by Laura Givens. I’m hoping to get some more fun stuff up at that page before much longer.

Bad Author Habits

My friend David Oakes brought a link to my attention and I felt it was a good one to share since it addressed a couple of bad habits that authors sometimes get caught up in (as opposed to habits bad authors get caught up in, though they might be one and the same in this case). The blog is by screenwriter Josh Olson and it was published on the Village Voice site. (Warning, some may find the language in the post offensive.)

The blog mostly addresses the fact that all of who are writers and editors at one time or another get approached by a friend, or a friend of a family member, and asked to read something and tell them what we think. I try to accommodate these requests when I can, but sometimes I have to say no. This blog tells you why I have to say no sometimes. It also addresses something that has happened a few times in the last two reading periods — someone submits a story and then a few days later, without having received a request from me, they send a rewrite. Olson’s blog reminds us that this is just not professional. Always make sure your story or poem is ready to submit before you send it it.

At Kitt Peak

It’s been a busy time at Kitt Peak. During much of the summer, which is nominally the rainy season in New Mexico and Arizona, the telescopes are shut down for routine maintenance. I took some time off for vacation and then helped with work at the WIYN telescope. I got to help install the primary and tertiary mirrors after they received a new aluminum coating. I also got to help refurbish the motors that drive the secondary mirror of the telescope — moving the secondary mirror further from and closer to the primary is what allows us to focus the instrument. Summer shutdown is now complete, but the rains are still occasionally keeping us from observing. Even so, this last week, I spent one night in the observer’s chair taking images of a star cluster in the infrared for an astronomer who could not make the trip to the observatory. After that night, I went back to my normal role of driving the telescope for visiting astronomers.

Remembering September 11, 2001

I just want to conclude by taking a moment to remember all those who lost their lives in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. As I look back on that day, I remember the worry I felt for my friend William Grother who was in Manhattan and Frank Melsheimer, an engineer I was working with who was at the Pentagon subway station when that attack occurred. I am thankful they along with others I knew came through that day unharmed. Unfortunately, there are many others who cannot say that. Here’s to a world where no one has to go through a day like that again.

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