Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Years

I just wanted to pop in and say Happy New Years to everyone. I'm still battling this nasty virus, so hopefully I'll get back to more frequent posting after the New Year.

As for my celebration, I'm going to take Ny-Quil and go to bed early. I feel like crap, and I have to be at work at 7 a.m., so it would be stupid for me to try and stay up...

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy holidays

I'm about to go off to the girlfriend's to do the Xmas thing, but I thought I'd drop in briefly to wish all of you a happy...whatever you celebrate. While I'm gone, enjoy a couple of Weird Al Xmas videos...

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Falling behind

The annual Carl Sagan Blog-a-thon recently happened, and I really wanted to participate, but with the book release, and the fact that I'm battling some nasty virus that just won't leave me alone, I simply ran out of time. Maybe after the holidays I'll post some thoughts on what Carl Sagan meant to me.

If you want to read my post from last year, it's here.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

It's here!


Today is the official release date of Seedlings on the Solar Winds!!!

America as a fascist state, soldiers driven to terrorism, insane computers, insane humans, insane aliens, these are just some of the things waiting for readers in the pages of this new collection from prize winning science fiction author J Alan Erwine.

Seedlings on the Solar Winds contains sixteen stories that will have readers question what reality really is, and wondering what the future of humanity might be.

"J Alan Erwine is a master at placing believable characters into plausible, and often dark, futures. In the process, he unflinchingly explores what is both base and noble about humanity." - David Lee Summers, editor Tales of the Talisman and author of Heirs of the New Earth.

"...Erwine always presents a banquet of plots and characters [not all of them human], generously seasoned with pith. You can relish him as the main course in your reading, or save him for dessert..." - Tyree Campbell, author of Nyx and The Dog at the Foot of the Bed.

Contains the stories:
The Opium of the People
Sad Grey Eyes on Tharsis
A Chronic Mistake
A Singular Solution
Out of Plato's Cave
Lost in the Dark
The Limit of Tolerance
On the Word of Ancients
Seedlings on the Solar Winds
Living in the Styx
The Ancient Ones
The Mind of the Cat

Order from us

Order from

You can also get your local bookstore to order the book by using the ISBN 978-0-9801703-0-6. They can order through Ingrams or Baker & Taylor.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wondrous Web Worlds Vol. 7

It's finally here. Sam's Dot has announced the release of our annual best of anthology Wondrous Web Worlds, which just happens to be edited by me...

The annual Wondrous Web Worlds series presents the very best science fiction, fantasy, and horror published online at Sam's Dot Publishing, and includes two dozen selections from The Martian Wave, The Fifth Di..., and Aoife's Kiss. The material in this seventh in the series deals with some of the fundamental questions raised in the genres.
What happens when you go mad from loneliness on Mars? If extra-terrestrials eat terrestrials, should you bring one back to Earth? Is it time to move on when you can't even entertain a rag-tag bunch of robots? What are the benefits of DIY terraforming?
Come experience the literary potential of zombies, and learn why the Bone Slayer needed help against the skeletile, and discover the true purpose of biwigglies out Alpha Centauri way.
You'll find some of the finest names in the genres between these covers: Richard S. Levine, Wendy Leeds, Marva Dasef, Tyree Campbell, David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Keith P. Graham, Karen A. Romanko, and many more!
Home For Supper by Tyree Campbell
Alone on a Lake on Mars by Cathy Buburuz
An Asteroid By Any Other Name by David Lee Summers
Future Fourth by Bruce Boston
To Sit in Judgment by Amanda M. Hayes
Devoted by Julie Shiel
A Comic on Phobos by Richard S. Levine
First Tree on the Moon by s.c. virtes
Just a Kid by Derek J. Goodman
This Old Earth by Karen A. Romanko
Bone Slayer by Wendy Leeds
Zombies on a Roll by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Fish Story by Marva Dasef
Final Days by Aurelio Rico Lopez III
In the Mind of the Beholder by David Puro
The Raw Princess by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Unplugged by Keith P. Graham
Martian Vespers by Theodora Fair
Farewell, My Droidy by Karen A. Romanko
Judas Rising by Elizabeth Barrette
Geow-lud-mo-sis-eg by Jane Mitchell
Heart by Jaime Lee Moyer

Order from The Genre Mall

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

For my Atheist friends

This had me laughing out loud almost to the point of hysterics. This is, of course, a classic image, but look carefully for the one significant change.

If you're a believer, maybe you should move on to the next post...

Things to do...things to do...

I'm still trying to work on that pirate story I was asked to write. I'm having a lot of trouble with in I haven't even started. I've made some notes, but nothing really grabs me as far as what I'd want to write about. I think the real problem is that the idea of space pirates doesn't appeal to me that much. Still, the editor who asked me to contribute has done a lot for me, so I fell like I should write the story for him. I know if I told him I just couldn't do it, he probably wouldn't care, but I feel like I owe him...even if he doesn't feel that way.

I finally heard back from a certain New York publisher about my novel A Problem in Translation. They apologized for the delay, and they said "Thanks, but no thanks." I think I really need to face the reality that I should be shopping the manuscript to agents and not publishers. So, I've decided that I'm going to go back through and do some revising on it, and then start looking for an agent.

I also need to start on the revisions for (working title) Red Moon Rising. That's going to be a major re-write for the second draft and will probably have me pulling my hair out before I'm half way through the revisions.

I also have the release of Seedlings on the Solar Winds coming up on Dec. 22nd, which means that I have a lot of promotional stuff to do...although I may have already lined up my first signing for the book.

Then of course, there's the "real" job, the holidays, one of my best friends moving, and a dozen other things I don't even have time to think about.

I always say that I like being busy...but maybe I'm getting a little carried away.

And I almost forgot to mention that the new edition of Wondrous Web Worlds, which I edited, will also be released next week...more promotion...

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Writing humor

Thanks to Tyree Campbell for sending this my way...

Friday, December 07, 2007

We have a book

Nomadic Delirium Press has announced a special pre-sale on my new short story collection, Seedlings on the Solar Winds. Up until the release date of Dec. 22nd, the book is just $7.99 with no shipping charges. The normal list price will be $12.99.

Want a description...

America as a fascist state, soldiers driven to terrorism, insane computers, insane humans, insane aliens, these are just some of the things waiting for readers in the pages of this new collection from prize winning science fiction author J Alan Erwine.
Seelings on the Solar Winds contains sixteen stories that will have readers question what reality really is, and wondering what the future of humanity might be.
"J Alan Erwine is a master at placing believable characters into plausible, and often dark, futures. In the process, he unflinchingly explores what is both base and noble about humanity." - David Lee Summers, editor Tales of the Talisman and author of Heirs of the New Earth.
"...Erwine always presents a banquest of plots and characters [not all of them human], generously seasoned with pith. You can relish him as the main course in your reading, or save him for dessert..." - Tyree Campbell, author of Nyx and The Dog at the Foot of the Bed.

For ordering info, click on the title of this entry...that will take you right to the Nomadic Delirium Press website.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Visualization of the Orion Nebula

If you're an astronomy geek like me, you'll probably love this video...

Friday, November 30, 2007

The cover

Nothing has been finalized yet, but here's an early look at the cover for my new short story collection...

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Title

There was no clear cut winner in my quest to put the title of the new collection to a vote, so I've decided to go with one of my favorites. The title will be Seedlings on the Solar Winds and other stories. I think it fits me and my writing pretty well.

We should have an actual book in hand by the end of the year. Once I have it, I'll post ordering info...

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Title for the new collection

Almost all of the responses I've gotten back about naming my new collection have said that I should use the title of one of the stories. So, I thought I'd open it up for voting and debate on my blogs and on my LJ account. No guarantee that I'll use the winning title, but I would like to hear what people think is catchy, because let's face it, I want to sell books!

There are going to be sixteen stories in the collection. I've ruled out the use of The Opium of the People as the title, since that's the name of my novel, but below you will see the other possibilities. Please feel free to comment with what you think is the best title...

Sad Grey Eyes on Tharsis
A Chronic Mistake
A Singular Solution
Out of Plato's Cave
Lost in the Dark
The Limit of Tolerance
On the Word of Ancients
Seedlings on the Solar Winds
Living in the Styx
The Ancient Ones
The Mind of the Cat

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cover art

Still talking about the new collection here. We've been discussing cover art with the artist, Laura Givens, who will be doing the new cover. Laura did the cover for The Opium of the People, and she had a suggestion for the new cover. In the past, I've done some "modeling" for her, and she suggested using something with me for the cover.

In some ways, I liked this idea, especially with the way she presented it, but at the same time, it seems like the height of arrogance to put yourself on the cover of your own book! What do you think.

I've also been looking at her space art, and I really love it, and I'm thinking I might want to use something like that. You can check out her work at

I'd like to hear your thoughts on all of this...thanks for reading...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I'm working on putting together a new short story collection, and I've been thinking a lot about titles. My first two collections were Lowering One's Self Before Fate, and other stories and Marionettes on the Moon, and other stories. In both cases, I used one of the stories in the collection as the main title, but I'm not sure if I want to go that route this time.

So, I thought I'd throw it out for discussion, what sounds better to a reader...a title incorporating one of the stories, something that tries to sum up the theme (although there really isn't one), or something a little more random.

Your feedback is valued...

Nomadic Delirium Press' Holiday Sale

From now until Christmas, NDP has reduced the price on The Opium of the People and Marionettes on the Moon. You can get one for $9.99 and the other for $5.95...and even better, there's no shipping & handling on either title!

Click on the title of this entry to go to the special sale page...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

John Scalzi visits the Creation Museum

Fellow author and rationalist John Scalzi recently paid a visit to the newly opened Creation Museum. He has an extremely detailed report about it on his blog. Click on the title of this entry to check it out.

In reading through his report, I have to admit that I think I'd be on the ground laughing before I was finished with the second room. Some of the things these people are trying to push on people as science are a joke. For example, there were dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden and they were all herbivores before Adam ate of the apple. I just have this image of Adam and Even with their fig leafs chilling with a T-Rex. Absurd.

It's a great post from John, however, and he tries to examine the "museum" with as open of a mind as he could possibly have.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A blast from the past

I was doing a Google search of my name...I do it to look for reviews of my, really I do...when I came across an old article I had written for the very first Halloween issue of Expressions Newsletter. This was many, many, many, many years ago. Since it's about writing, I thought I'd share it with my blog readers...


By J Alan Erwine

The door creaks open slowly as you turn the key, knowing that what you don't want to see is there. You take a deep breath as you reach in, hand trembling slightly. Suddenly, breath held in terror, you pull out that which you feared. It's a manila envelope, and it feels thick. Your story is back with a rejection.

All of us have felt this at one time or another...some of us have experienced it so many times, we're now immune to the feeling. So, what do you do?

What you don't do is write the editor telling him or her how you feel about them and their entire lineage. That's a sure-fire way to get yourself black-balled from that publication, and possibly many others. Remember, a lot of editors know a lot of other editors! The only thing you really can do is read the rejection letter, take what you can from it, make any changes to the story you need to, and send it back out. Then, you sit back and wait for the cold sweat to return again as you wait for the next time you're going to stick your hand in that mailbox.

Something that's very important to remember is that editors aren't evil demons sitting behind a desk waiting to reject you, your story, and your progeny (at least, most of them aren't.) An editor is just a person whose doing a job that they hopefully enjoy. Their main goal is to put out a quality product, and as such, they can be your best friend...or at least someone who can help you.

One thing many authors fear is the cover letter. When you write the cover letter, the most important thing is to let a bit of your personality show through. Don't send a letter that sounds as stale as last month's bread. Your cover letter reflects your abilities as a writer, and some publishers don't get past the cover letter. If you don't grab them right away, get ready for rejection.

By the same token, don't try to oversell the story. Don't tell the editor that the story they're about to read is the greatest masterpiece since Hemingway. Nobody likes a braggart, and if you're like 99.999% of the writers out there, your story will not be better than Hemingway.

Give a simple sentence on what the story is about, and why you wrote it, but like I said earlier, let your personality show through. If you don't have one, go to a costume shop and rent one.

The biggest fear of any writer, and you won't realize this until it happens to you, comes about when your wonderful story comes out, and it's been completely butchered by the editor. I speak from personal experience as one of, what I consider my best stories, had this very thing happen to it. There were numerous typos, and even two paragraphs left out. They weren't necessarily important was only the climax of the story.

What do you do when this happens? Rant and rave, but don't kick the cat or dog...they will get even! Then, you sit down and write a polite letter to the editor. Keep all the anger inside because it's not going to help any. If they don't do anything to correct the problem to your satisfaction, don't ever submit to that publisher again.

In my case, the publication folded before they put out another issue. I'd like to say that I didn't take joy in that, but I'm only human.

I could go on about avoiding ghoulish publishers, but maybe that will be for another issue. For now, remember that as an aspiring author, you're going to encounter more tricks than treats early on, but once you start receiving those treats, they're better than anything you can imagine.

Friday, November 09, 2007

I've found another way to waste some time

I recently joined a site called It's a site for readers and authors both. I, of course, signed up as an author. If you want to check out their website, you can find it at It doesn't seem anywhere as annoying as MySpace, so you don't have to be worried about that.

If you do join, please feel free to add me by going to my profile.

In other news, I've just finished seven straight days at the place worse than hell. I'm looking forward to a couple of days off!!!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Aargh! I be writin a pirate story...

I was recently asked to contribute a story to a science fiction pirate anthology. This is a new type of venture for me. I've written stories about criminals in the past, but never pirates. I've never really given much thought to space pirates. I've always thought of it as a possibility, but I've never thought of it as something I'd want to write about.

However, the editor has always treated me very fairly, so I figured I should at least give it a shot. There's no guarantee of acceptance, but I'll write the best damn story I can come up with. Since this is something I'm a little blind and dumb about as I go into it, I've decided to try to put together some kind of outline for how I want the story to work. This isn't my normal writing style, but I've used it successfully in the past, so we shall see...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Rough draft is done...more or less...

I've just typed the last word, "water," in the rough draft of the new novel. The book came out much shorter than I'd hoped, mostly because I deleted an entire section halfway through. It just didn't fit with the rest of the novel. I have, however, come up with a new sub-plot that I'll introduce. I just haven't decided yet if I'm going to go back and put it in this draft, or just work it into the second draft.

That plus adding in all of the description that I tended to leave out should give me the word length I need.

All I know is that I'm happy to be done! Now I'll take a break from the manuscript for a few weeks, and attack it with a fresh perspective later.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Big Brother Jared is spying on me

I was just noticing that someone in the last hour or so did a search on this little blog for the term "Subway." I can only assume that this would be one of my bosses or, hi, whoever you are. I know you've been here, and I'll be watching for you again...

I've done my civic duty

I mailed in my ballot for this year's election today. Democracy in action!

Granted, I live in a very small town, and there were actually only two things on the ballot, but I voted nevertheless. Voting is the most important thing we as Americans can do, and so I've done my part.

The LOL cats meet Star Trek

MileHiCon artist guest of honor and crazy man Frank Wu has been combining the LOL cats with Star Trek on his LiveJournal. If you click on the title of this entry, it will take you over to his journal. You can scroll through his entries and read them. Some of them are hilarious.

If you've never watched Star Trek, you won't get them, but since there are so many SF geeks and cat freaks who read this blog, I thought I'd pass it along.

Now, back to work for me...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Catching up

I've spent the last few days trying to get caught up. I went back to work on Tuesday, and we were very busy. Today I had to finish the Sam's Dot update, which is now up, and I've been trying to get everything else done that I need to get done.

I've done a little writing, but not as much as I'd like.

Expect more comment from me here once I get a a few (or five or six) thousand words written...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Final wrap-up of MileHiCon

Well, it's probably not the final wrap up, since I'm sure I'll have more to say about specific things that happened. So, what were the highlights of the weekend?

I was really happy to finally get a chance to meet Tony Ruggiero. After all the years of exchanging e-mails, it was nice to actually get to talk to him in person, and to reflect on what Jim meant to both of us.

Meeting Frank Wu, was just like, really cool! Too bad the Rockies didn't get their Glory and Redemption. Frank was a great character, and he really livened up the Con. I won't ever forget before the masquerade they gave him this very large glow stick so he could see the ballots...between his absolute amazement that he could make the colors flash and his decision to use it as a light sabre, we were all very amused.

It was great to see old friends that I hadn't seen in a while like Mike D'Ambrosio, Maggie Bonham, Carol Hightshoe, and all the rest. And it was also great to meet a lot of new people, including people I'd only known through MySpace. Yes, the networking actually works!

I learned a lot, and I always enjoy a chance to speak to the fans...not necessarily mine...but fans of SF.

There was one thing that I walked away with a negative feeling on...and this is one of those personal sections that I never post about, so feel free to skip to the pictures if you'd like. Throughout the Con, and especially as it drew to a close, I realized how great it would be to have someone to share it with. In general, I like being alone, but there are times when it might be nice to have someone else...but enough of the emotional drivel.


The small press panel

Selling books at my signing

From the Masquerade

Before my reading

My reading with Rebecca Rowe

There are more pictures posted at

Sunday, October 28, 2007

MileHiCon Day 3

MileHiCon has now come and gone, and I feel like it flew by. This year's Con was a very good time, but I have to admit that by not staying at the hotel, I feel like I missed out on a lot. Next year, I will hopefully stay the entire weekend...although with WorldCon here in August, I'm going to have to sell a lot of copies of The Opium of the People, and my other books, in order to make it work.

Before I get into day 3, there was one thing I failed to mention about day 2. I had the opportunity on a couple of different occasions to talk to Tony Ruggiero. Tony had been publishing with ProMart Publishing when I first started out as a writer, and then I published a couple of his stories when I started editing for ProMart. In a lot of ways, James Baker, the founder of ProMart, was as instrumental in starting Tony's career as he was in starting mine. I hadn't realized that Tony had actually dedicated his short story collection to Jim. We talked a lot about how much Jim had meant to both of us, even though neither of us actually met the man.

Anyway, on to day 3...I started out by going to the Guest of Honor Speeches, or the Frank Wu and Friends Show as many of us were thinking of it. I like the fact that unlike a lot of Cons, MileHiCon just lets the guests talk about whatever they want. Frank used his time...well, actually it wasn't his time, but he talked about how baseball is like life, and the importance of "Glory and Redemption." Believe me, if you'd been at the speeches, you'd be laughing your asses off right about now...

Frank later went on to talk about microbes in space, while the other guests talked about more mundane things. Ed Bryant, who is a brilliant individual, and has his own quiet sense of humor, made a great foil for Frank. I think they should take the show on the road.

I then went to a panel about SF pirates. It's normally not my kind of thing, but David Lee Summers is doing an anthology on the subject, and he's invited me to I figured I should find out a little on the subject. Unfortunately, I thought the panel was very one sided, with one person hogging most of the spotlight, and with way too much feedback from the audience. I'd have to say that Con audiences are great because they love their subject matter so much, and because they really are interested in what people in the field have to say...but sometimes I think they get a bit too exuberant in their desire to participate. Still, con guests are some of the best people in the world!!!!

After the pirates panel, it was off to do my reading. I read two different section from The Opium of the People. I'd have to say that I don't think the audience was ready. The other author with me was Rebecca Rowe, and I could literally hear her cringing at some of the imagery I used. Yes, one of the scenes I read was the torture scene from early in the novel. Rebecca then read a Halloween short story, which was very enjoyable. She's a brilliant writer, and I see big things in her future.

After the reading, I decided to go to a panel about cover art. My main reason for wanting to do this was because Frank Wu and Laura Givens were both on the panel. Given their, shall we say vibrant personalities, I figured the universe wouldn't be able to handle the excitement. It was definitely a great panel. Unfortunately, Frank had to leave early because he had tickets to this little baseball game here in Denver, and he was hoping that the Rockies would find "Glory and Redemption." After he left, Laura and the other panelist, Deb Taber, forged on and I thought they did a great presentation. Deb is the art director for Apex Digest and Laura is the art director for Tales of the Talisman. Both of them really knew their stuff and did a great job of explaining what works and what doesn't work.

I will have a wrap-up of the Con a bit later. I'm dead tired and can barely think straight...which means it must have been a GREAT con!!!

MileHiCon Day 2

Day 2 is now in the bag. After a series of delaying events in the morning, I made it to my first panel with one minute to spare. This was the small press panel. It was pretty well attended, and there were some good discussions. Unfortunately, we had one panelist who tried to dominate the panel. I really hate when that happens. I did learn some things, which basically reinforced my own ideas about small press publishing, and I will be passing those on to Tyree...probably tomorrow...after some sleep.

After that, we had the Break Out session, which was an opportunity for people to learn more about the small press, and to pitch ideas. It was a pretty small turnout, but we had some great discussions about publishing. A lot of talking about the pitfalls many of us had fallen into along the way.

We then popped in on the end of the Alien Archaeology panel. I did this panel two years ago, and we had the audience rolling...this year it was not quite as funny. There were a couple of good laughs, but mostly it was a disappointment.

Then I went off to the art room, and while I was there, I ran into Frank Wu. Like many artists, I really do think the guy is crazy, but it's that good crazy. He was actually a very nice guy, and we talked a lot about art and writing, and I'm now more determined than ever to make it to a convention that both he and Jay Lake are doing. I can't imagine what those two are like together, but I'm sure it's a level of insanity that most mortals would not be able to keep up with.

At my signing, I did sell a few books, which isn't a bad thing for a small press writer. None of us really expect to make a lot of money at a convention, but it is nice when someone does want to buy your books! I had a couple of interesting conversations about global climate change and politics. Plus, since I was signing with Maggie Bonham and Carol Hightshoe, we just had to harass each other!

They then had belly dancing in the atrium. The women were dressed up like the green Vegan women (I think it was Vegan women) from Star Trek. It was interesting to say the least. I'll have pictures later today or tomorrow.

Then it was off to the masquerade. This year some of the costumes were absolutely amazing, even though there were only a few entries. We didn't start taking pictures until the end, so we only got a couple of shots. I'll have some of those posted later as well.

That's it for now. My only panel today is a reading with Rebecca Rowe. I'm hoping that it will be pretty well attended. I'm planning on reading two scenes from The Opium of the People. I'll be reading the torture scene with Dominick and Shen's scene from prison...hopefully some of the audience will get the Taoist references in that scene.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

MileHiCon Day 1

Day one of MileHiCon has come and gone, and the day got interesting before I even made it to the hotel.

I took the bus down there, and while we were stopped at a very busy intersection (for those of you from the Denver metro area, this would be Colfax and Broadway), we saw two mounted police officers chase down a suspect. As all of the lights went red, they galloped across the intersection, chasing a guy into the park directly across from the state capital. As they closed in on him, one of the officers jumped off his horse and brought the guy down. It was like something out of a movie.

The first day of the Con was a good time. I didn't really go to any panels. Instead, I mostly just sat and talked to people I'd met before, like Laura Givens, Ian Brazee-Cannon, David Lee Summers, David Boop, Maggie Bonham, Carol Hightshoe, Cynthia Felice, Michael Turner, Barb Nickless, Patricia Coleman, and I also had the opportunity to meet several others that I hadn't met before. Mostly we talked writing and politics.

After a while, I went to the opening ceremonies. The theme of this year's Con is zombies (don't ask me, I just go to these things), and seeing Ed Bryant, the toastmaster, in a zombie mask was priceless. During the ceremony, artist guest of honor, Frank Wu came in completely zombiefied chasing someone across the stage. Later he tried to eat Ed's brain, and unfortunately, this is when my camera screwed up, because I would have loved to have gotten that shot.

I'm completely convinced that Frank is insane, which means that I'm going to have to introduce myself to him today. You just can't have too many insane people in your life!

After the opening ceremonies it was off to Autograph Alley, which if you're not one of the guests of honor means that you sit around and talk to other authors. I was seated next to Mike D'Ambrosio, who I had met at CopperCon three years ago, so it gave us a good chance to catch up. I was also seated next to Maggie Bonham. I'm not sure what it is about the two of us, but we bicker constantly. I think we're both a couple of smart-asses, and we really enjoy it. We'll renew the rivalry today since we're signing together at 3:00.

Overall, it was a good first day, and now I have to finish getting ready for day two...I have a panel in an hour and a half.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm off to MileHiCon

MileHiCon starts in a few hours, and I'm just about to leave. This year I've opted to not stay at the hotel. I thought it would be a good way to save money, although I will miss out on some of the room parties. So, I will be checking in from time to time, but don't expect too many posts over the next couple of days. If I have the energy, I'll post daily updates, but we'll see.

I will try to get some pictures while I'm there...a lot of that depends on one of my friends actually making the Con.

I'm definitely looking forward to renewing some friendships, meeting some people I've only known on-line, and just meeting a lot of people.

See you on the flip-side...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Henry Rollins Show

Last night I went to the Henry Rollins show here in Denver. I can honestly say that I'm a bit sore today from laughing so hard. He's not a stand-up comedian, but he's actually a lot funnier.

His comments and stories about Bush, Bill O'Reilly, Trent Lott, Sean Hannity, Karl Rove, Condoleeza Rice, and the rest of the Neo-Cons that have almost destroyed this country had me almost rolling in the aisles. His constant references to Bush as "My President" were hilarious.

He also talked about his recent trips to Syria, Lebanon, and Iran. His reasons for going there were because he wanted to meet the people. Too often, we Americans make the assumptions that the people of a nation necessarily support their leaders, and reflect the morals and ideas of their leaders...which simply isn't true. I think most Americans, at least 71% based on the last polls, would be highly offended if some foreigner said that about Americans. Most of the people he talked to in those nations said that they loved America and Americans, but they didn't like our leader, and in the case of Iran, the people said they were afraid of America because they're pretty sure that we're coming to kill them...and of course, by "we," I mean our government.

There were several former (or maybe current) G.I.'s in the room as well, and his stories about visiting soldiers that had been wounded in Iraq were very moving, and he also talked about his USO trip to the Middle East during Christmas. One of the guys even approached the stage (much to Henry's chagrin) and tossed him a card for Iraq War Vets against the War (or something to that degree).

All in all, the show was great. I seriously thought my friend Vik was going to pass out from oxygen deprivation because she was laughing so hard at times.

My only complaint would be the theatre. We had really good seat, row K, but instead of the usual theatre seats, we had padded fold-up seats...and the rows were very close together. I'm 6'2", and it was very hard to find a place to put my legs.

Monday, October 22, 2007

That's a lot of words

I was just going back through my blog entries, and I realized that it was one month ago tonight that I started working on the new book. In that time, I've written more than 40,000 words. I'm sure there are some writers who would think that's kind of trivial, but that's a pretty impressive flow for me.

I've felt like I wasn't writing as much as I should, but when I sit down and realize that it's 40,000 words in 30 days...well, I'm not sure what to say other than way to go me!

Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night at this time I'll be on my way to downtown Denver for the Henry Rollins spoken word show. I found a great clip from his show on IFC where he talks about re-writing history.

I think it's certainly true that we've done our best to re-write history throughout, well, throughout history. Even when I was a kid, I can remember people referring to Indians as savages, and even though I'm starting to gray a bit, it really wasn't that long ago. They've been savages, noble savages, victims, it all depends on what time in history you're hearing the facts. Although I think this is one we can agree on...they were definitely victims, and most of them continue to be victims. This is actually an underlying subplot in the novel I'm working on.

Because the Soviets were our allies in WWII, Russia is often portrayed as being a paradise under Stalin, when in truth, Stalin was almost as brutal as Hitler...we just can't look at it that way because we were working with him. It's kind of like how Hussein was our buddy during the Iran-Iraq War, but then he became a brutal dictator and a supporter of terrorism with huge stockpiles of WMDS...sorry, getting off course.

History is written by the victors they say, and I guess history is re-written by whoever is in power. It will be interesting to see how history portrays Bush and his cronies. Hopefully they'll be portrayed as the criminals that they are.

Over 40,000

I broke through the 40,000 word mark on the novel. In theory, this should mean that I'm half way through this beast, but the truth is, I'm well past the middle of the book...which is going to lead to some problems. It's very difficult for me to imagine pulling another 40,000 words out before the end.

My main character has already begun to undergo his transformation. At the beginning of the book, he's a sniveling little shit that most people will feel sorry for at first, and then they'll just want to slap him and tell him to grow up. At least that's what I'm going for. However, he is now starting to get through his grief, and starting to stand up for the things he believes in. For this to be realistic with the conclusion I have in mind, he has to do his thing here really soon, otherwise it will just be him being strong, and people will wonder why he still isn't doing anything to change his life.

Another character has just gone through a major trauma that puts her clearly on the path I need her to be on...something she was kind of refusing to do for a long she's going through the change she has to go through.

So, pulling out another 40,000 words will be difficult. The only solution I can see is that when I go back to do the first re-writes, I will have to add some scenes earlier in the book. I can already see one of them, but I really have no idea what else I can do to expand it.

As well as this novel has been flowing out of me, I have a feeling the solutions will present themselves clearly to me when I begin to look for them.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Dumbledore is Gay

For those of you who haven't been paying attention, JK Rowling revealed during a reading at Carnegie Hall this week that the headmaster of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter novels is gay.

Now, I have to admit that I'm not really a Harry Potter fan. I haven't read any of the books, but I have seen the movies...other than the last one, which isn't out on cable far as I know. I will admit that I liked the first movie, and I've thought that each movie has gotten steadily worse. Yes, I know that the movies are probably nothing like the books, but I don't really plan on reading the books any time soon.

Now, why do I bring this up? A lot of people on various speculative fiction forums have been discussing it, so I figured I'd weigh in. Plus, in less than a week I will be at MileHiCon, and I can just imagine some cosplayer is even now as you read this busy at home working on a Dumbledore in drag costume. Plus, using that title in a blog entry is likely to generate some traffic. I learned from Keith...give me a break!

In some ways, I think this revelation will hurt the book some, at least in America. There are already large elements of the Christian Right that are opposed to this book because it promotes witchcraft and Satanism (which are not necessarily linked, no matter what the CR might tell you.) In Europe, I don't think anyone will care because they're not quite as morally freaked out as we Americans are.

My hope is that this might teach young readers some tolerance, and maybe that will help to grow more tolerant adults...we certainly need them. I don't have a problem with a gay character in a children's book. They are a part of our society and should not be marginalized like the Right would like for us to do.

I was talking about this with a kid at work yesterday. He's sixteen, a huge Harry Potter fan, and he's gay. He thought it was a great thing, but he worried that some people would look at Dumbledore's relationship with Harry and try to draw some sort of pedophile conclusions from that...because we all know that all gays are pedophiles. Where do people get those kinds of ideas from? Oh yeah, the Christian Right.

Anyway, those are my thoughts. Anyone else feel like weighing in?

And just so you know, if you post an anonymous comment slandering me for my views without identifying yourself, your post will be deleted. At least have the courage to let the world know who you are if you're going to attack someone's viewpoint!

Gore and the Peace Prize

I've been debating whether or not to discuss this, but as someone who considers himself a Green, I feel I have to...

My first reaction to hearing that Al Gore had won the Nobel Peace Prize was, "Are you Serious?" After sitting and thinking about it for a long time, my second reaction was, "Are you Serious?" Well, that just kind of kept going.

Already we've seen people on both sides (are there really only two sides) of the political debate weighing in on this. From the Left you've had a lot of comments about how much he deserves the award and how great it is to see an environmentalist win the award. From the Right, you've mostly gotten derision, including several people talking about the relevance of the Prize given that Yassar Arafat won it. Hey, no award is perfect. The first ever Grammy for Heavy Metal went to Jethro Tull...people do get things wrong. Of course, the Right wouldn't feel this way if Bush had won the Prize...wait, let me come up with someone from the Right that's a little more likely to win...I'm thinking....I'm thinking...I'm thinking...well, anyway, you get the point.

Now, here's my take, I think it would be great to give the Prize to an environmentalist, but Gore is not a Green. Yes, he obviously is more concerned about the environment than the typical American, but he is still a part of the political system that thinks it's ok to sacrifice the environment for the sake of big business, no matter what his movie might say. The "Inconvenient Truth" is that Gore is just another cog in the system. When push came to shove during the Clinton administration, Gore sided with Big Business, again and again.

Maybe he has raised public awareness about global warming, but I think the melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and dying polar bears have done more than Al Gore. Not to mention the continued desertification of the world, the dying forests, and all the other problems that too many people are willing to stick their head in the sand about.

So, my reaction to Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize continues to be, "Are you Serious?"

Crazy Colorado weather

Yesterday we had a high of 80. It was just three degrees short of a record. This morning at 7:30 I was awakened by the crack of thunder, which is kind of strange, since we rarely have thunder in the morning. It's almost always an afternoon phenomenon around here. So, I got up to look out my window, and it was snowing.

That's right folks, we're getting our very first snow of the season, and that makes me very happy. I love the snow. Of course, thunder snow is kind of a strange thing, but it's Colorado...what would you expect.

Today is actually my day off. Imagine that, a rare Sunday off. There will probably be a few more blog entries later in the day, as I try to clear some things from my cluttered mind.

For now, I'm going to enjoy the snow...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

My final MileHiCon schedule

This should be my final schedule for MileHiCon Oct. 26th-28th.

Friday 8-9 in the Atrium
Autograph Alley

Saturday 10-11 Mesa Verde B
Get to Know the Small Press

Saturday 11-1 Mesa Verde B
Break out session...a chance to talk to editors from a variety of publishers. I'll be representing Sam's Dot Publishing.

Saturday 3-4 Dealers Room
Autographing along with Carol Hightshoe and Maggie Bonham

Sunday 2-3 Wind River B
Reading, along with Rebecca Rowe

Hope to see some of you there. If you need a copy of my novel, go to Amazon and order a copy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Over 30,000

I broke the 30,000 word mark tonight. I'm still pretty sure that the rough draft will come up short of the 80,000 word goal, but as long as I come close, I should be fine. As I've often said, my writing is very sparse in the rough draft, so I should be able to go back through and add some detail to get more length. For some reason I'm still doing too much telling in this book. I'm going to have to work on that in revision. A lot of what goes on in the book is in the character's heads...what they're thinking is often more important than what they're doing. Maybe that's why I'm having the problem.

Still, at least I'm once again putting words to the page...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

White House hypocrisy

Click on the title of this entry to read what I think is the ultimate in White House hypocrisy. The article basically talks about how Condi is pledging that the White House (and America) will support Russian activists because as she sees it, there is too much power concentrated in the Kremlin.

Don't get me wrong, I think she's right that the Kremlin has too much power, and I also agree that the way Russia has rolled back democracy is not a good thing, but in my humble opinion, there is now too much power concentrated in the White House. Even with the "democratic" Congress, Bush and his cronies are still basically getting whatever they want, and democracy has been rolled back in our country as well...maybe not as drastically as in Russia, but things can always change.

Let's keep in mind that the Patriot Act, and several Presidential Orders since the passing of the "Patriot" Act make it possible for the current administration to declare martial law in this country, and although it has always been possible to do this, they've made it much easier for themselves. If we ever have another massive terrorist attack in this county, we might well see that the White House is a lot more powerful than any of us can imagine.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

MileHiCon addition

For those of you planning on attending MileHiCon, I just wanted to let you know that I have now been added to Autograph Alley on Friday night from 8-9. This is immediately after the opening ceremonies.

AA is basically just table after table of authors waiting to sign stuff. This is one I was really hoping to I'm quite happy now!

New Story posted

I haven't posted a new story on my website in quite some time, so I decided I would change that...especially since there's a good chance that I'll see a huge jump in hits just prior to I always do.

This story has only appeared in a print issue of Aoife's Kiss, so there's a good chance that you probably haven't seen it yet.

So, click on the title of this entry, and read your little hearts out.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The new book

So, people have been asking me about the new book I'm working on. If you're actually interested in the subject, I'd suggest you visit my LiveJournal at I'm talking about it quite a bit there, and just a few minutes ago, I posted an excerpt of what kind of came out as stream of consciousness writing.

So, if you're interested, you know what to do...

Monday, October 08, 2007

The White House and Protesters

If you click on the tile to this entry, it will take you to an article from The Washington Post that talks about a manual the White House uses as policy for keeping protesters away from Bush.

I already knew that they did their best to keep him away from dissenting views. A guy I used to work with talked about going to a rally for Bush (he was pro-Bush,) and they were encouraged to shout down anyone supporting Kerry, to steal signs from people supporting Kerry, and to point them out to security so that they could be removed.

Now it is true that all politicians do their best to avoid protesters, especially when they're on the campaign trail, but to actually have such extensive policies in place seems absurd.

As an example:

"The manual offers advance staffers and volunteers who help set up presidential events guidelines for assembling crowds. Those invited into a VIP section on or near the stage, for instance, must be " extremely supportive of the Administration," it says. While the Secret Service screens audiences only for possible threats, the manual says, volunteers should examine people before they reach security checkpoints and look out for signs. Make sure to look for "folded cloth signs," it advises.

To counter any demonstrators who do get in, advance teams are told to create "rally squads" of volunteers with large hand-held signs, placards or banners with "favorable messages." Squads should be placed in strategic locations and "at least one squad should be 'roaming' throughout the perimeter of the event to look for potential problems," the manual says."

It's difficult for me to imagine most politicians going to these lengths. Yes, they have their private dinners, where only hand-picked people get in, and I'm sure other politicians do their best to discourage dissenters from being at their speeches, but I seriously doubt that any of them are as serious as this!

It makes you wonder if they're trying to protect the president from knowing that people don't like his polices, or if they're trying to make the rest of the world think that there are no dissenting voices in's probably a combination of both, as well as several other factors.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Neil Young's Let's Impeach The President

You might have to watch the video a couple of times because there's a lot going on in it. Although the song has some great things to say, I can't say I really like it that much...but the message makes it worth posting...

My MileHiCon schedule

I just got the preliminary schedule for MileHiCon, and it looks like Saturday is going to be a very busy day for me!!!

Here it is...

Saturday 10-11 Get to know the small press

Saturday 11-1 Break-out session (this is an opportunity for people to talk to small press editors and publishers)

Saturday 3-4 Book signing

Satuday 6-7 Reading

I'm still hoping to get a seat at Autograph Alley on Friday night, but it's already pretty packed, so we'll have to wait and see...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Over 10,000

I blew through the 10,000 word mark on the new novel today. At this rate, I'm pretty sure I'll have the rough draft done by the end of the year. I always love the creation's the revision that seems to kick me in the butt.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
10,724 / 80,000

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The King Arthur Test

Even though I don't watch very many movies, I've obviously seen this one far too many times...

Your Score: King Arthur

You scored 85Worthiness!

You're King Arthur. Charged with the nobel task of finding the grail by God himself. You know exactly what you're doing and you're on top of every situation. "It is I, Arthur, son of Uther Pendragon, from the castle of Camelot. King of the Britons, defeator of the Saxons, sovereign of all England!" "The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. That is why I am your king!"

Link: The Monty Python & The Holy Grail Test written by Silent_Tiger on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the The Dating Persona Test

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Covey Awards

Voting for the Covey Awards for October has now begun. This is a monthly contest that judges books by their covers, and this month, The Opium of the People, and its great cover by Laura Givens are nominated.

Go to You can vote for "Most Eye Catching" and "Most Relevant." Laura and I would appreciate your votes in both categories...and of course, you should also buy a copy while you're at it!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Let's talk about sex!

I've just finished a rather steamy love scene in the book I'm working on, and I was wondering how people feel about sex in their books.

My own thoughts are that it's ok as long as it's not just put their for thrills. If it actually moves the plot along develops character, then I think it can be a good thing. Other thoughts?

The scene I just finished does let us learn a little more about one of the characters, and we get into her mind a bit as her lover sleeps. Of course, the scene could also be seen as gratuitous because the lovers are both women...and let's face it, this will appeal to most male SF readers...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Copyright question

Perhaps there's someone reading this who can help me on this. In the book I'm working on, I'd like to include an excerpt of some song lyrics. I've spent a good portion of the day researching copyright law, and all I can find is what's called "Fair Use." Basically it says that I can use an amount that is fair to the creator. Does anyone have a better answer than that for me?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Another 1000+ words

Cranked out more than a thousand words again tonight. I'd like to think that I can keep doing that each day that I work, and then crank out three or four thousand on my days off, but I know that the job will interfere at some point. Still, it feels damn good to be writing again. It's kind of like a drug, you really miss it when you're not getting it, and then it's such a rush when you start doing it again. Still, I have no delusions, I'm sure there will be some "bad trips" in the future with this book. If writing was easy, everyone would be doing it, right?

For now, I'll just enjoy the rush of a new story.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Writing again

Since returning to the horrible "real" job, I've had a lot of trouble writing. I can honestly say that other than the occasional ranting blog, I haven't done any real writing in months, but that all came to an end tonight.

Many many years ago, I wrote what I guess would be considered a novella about a young man struggling with the death of his brother, and struggling with the environmental damage of the world around him. I can honestly say that it was some of the worst writing I've ever done...absolutely horrible!

However, I was always attracted to the story, and I thought there were some good characters in it...especially a secondary character who was an Indian and environmental activist. I honestly think that this character was the best character I've ever created. Ever since I went to Taos a few years ago, he's been screaming in my head to get out...

Over the last couple of days, I've torn the novella apart and figured out how to turn it into a novel. Other than the characters, there probably won't be much of the original story left...and tonight I started writing the book, and I cranked out more than 1200 words, which I don't think is too bad for my rusty brain and fingers.

Stayed tuned for more updates.

Buying Opium in bookstores

I've had some people ask me about buying The Opium of the People in bookstores. Although it's only currently carried in a couple of stores, most stores should be able to order it, as it is listed with Baker & Taylor.

If you want your local bookstore to order a copy for you, simply give them the ISBN 1-4196-2588-8. They should be able to get it that way.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Opium Excerpt

I thought I'd post another excerpt from my novel. As a set up for this scene, the main character, Edward, has recently been taken into custody by the Charismatics because of his behavior at a recent book burning. It's also important to note, because of one of his statements, that Edward is Jewish.

“How much have things changed at the lab?” Edward asked.
His friend Bill smiled a half smile. His weathered black face showing some of the life it once had. “We’re still doing research, but it’s nothing like we used to.”
“What do you mean?”
“Edward,” his friend said glancing around, “Do you really think we should be talking about this? Didn’t you just get interrogated a couple of days ago?”
Edward waved his hand in the air. “They can’t arrest me for asking innocent questions.” Bill just looked at him. Edward laughed. “Okay, maybe they can, but I think it’s alright.”
He glanced around as well. The street was well lit and fairly crowded. It was market day, and many of the vendors had yet to pack up their belongings for the evening. People walked around in their most colorful clothes, laughing and smiling as if all was right in the world. The vendors called out the names of their goods in loud voices trying to drown out the competition. Many of the items being sold were useless in Edward’s opinion. How many different types of prayer beads could one person own? Some of the vendors brought food items in from the country. There was nothing like farm grown chickens or milk from a hand-milked cow. Edward noticed a man in a black uniform two stalls behind them, looking over some fabric. As Edward watched, the man glanced up and looked right at Edward and his friend.
“Maybe it isn’t safe.”
Bill followed Edward’s gaze. He shook his head and sighed. “They don’t hide most of their research from the public, so we can talk about that. I wouldn’t talk about the top secret stuff anyway.”
“Bill,” Edward said, glancing back and noticing that the Charismatic was still behind them, walking slowly, seeming to make sure he was two stalls behind them. “Is there any real research still going on?”
Bill shrugged. “Sure, I guess. I mean, we really are doing research, some of it’s even scientific, but it’s only research that will help the government.” He laughed. “It’s really not a whole lot different than it was with the old government, just a little more philosophy and dogma thrown in.”
The two men stepped up onto the sidewalk as a car came down the market street. Cars were rare, so everyone stopped what they were doing and watched it go by. The windows were opaqued, but the car bore the gold cross of the Charismatics on the driver’s door, and Edward assumed on the passenger’s door as well. As if that were necessary. Only the religious drove, so who else could it have been?
“What do you mean about philosophy?” Edward asked once the noise of the street had returned to normal. No use in making it too easy on the Charismatic who was obviously listening in on their conversation with some sort of device.
Still he worried; maybe Bill was a traitor. Edward had seen it happen a number of times before. Even a few of his friends had betrayed people they’d known for years, decades even.
“Well, there’s one whole group that’s trying to determine what Jesus’ last words were.”
“How could anyone know?”
“Like I said, it’s philosophy, but it’s an interesting question. What would He have said before dying?”
“Careful Edward…that could get you killed.”
“I know, but I’m sure his last words weren’t ‘Damn the Jews,’ like so many people think.”
“What’s going on with you, Edward? I’ve never seen you this wound up before.”
“I guess it’s just…” Edward didn’t finish his sentence as he suddenly made out a face in the crowd, walking parallel to them, but in the opposite direction, and looking right at him. The face belonged to a man in his late twenties, who was tall and thin. The man smiled, and Edward saw there was a gap between the two front teeth.
“Edward?” Bill said.
Edward turned to face Bill, suddenly realizing where he’d seen the man. He’d been in the store the day the Charismatic had followed him. Not only that, but Edward was sure he had seen the man on campus before the Ascension.
“Everything okay, Edward?”
“Yeah,” he said, turning back towards the man from college, but he was gone. Edward turned and saw the Charismatic was still keeping pace with them. “I just remembered I need to get home. Adriana wanted to talk about something.” He had no idea why he was lying. The last thing he wanted was to see Adriana, and the last thing he could do was go chasing after phantoms with gap toothed smiles, but if this man might be looking for him, he might go to Edward’s home. It was a crazy thought, but Edward didn’t think the meetings were chance.
“I’ll talk to you later,” Edward said, turning and heading for home. The Charismatic stepped aside as Edward almost ran him over. He hadn’t walked this fast in a long time. It felt good. Edward turned around and saw the Charismatic talking into his radio. “Wonderful,” Edward muttered to himself. He’d probably get arrested for almost knocking the idiot down.

Order from

My Dream Home

Your home is a

Time-Lord's Mansion

Your kitchen consists of dilithium-powered food replicators, manned by obedient robot slaves, who are sure to never, ever rebel. I mean, it's preposterous to even consider it. There's a Chocolatessin, a word you made up yourself, but that is beginning to catch on among your wealthy neighbors. Your master bedroom is the size of a small barn, with carpet thick enough to reach your ankles. Your study has every science fiction title ever written. One of your garages contains a life-sized X-Wing fighter, and KITT. (KITT was a gift from a well-meaning uncle.)

Your home also includes a robot repair bay, where your mechanized servants are routinely fitted with new restraining bolts. (It's just a precaution.) Your guests enjoy your animatronic replica of the cantina at Mos Eisley. Outside is your radio telescope, listening constantly for alien transmissions. Especially invaders. They'll come eventually, even if nobody believes you. (Nobody does.)

And, you have a pet -- a doberman pincer named "Warren".

Below is a snippet of the blueprints:

Find YOUR Dream Home!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


I've heard a lot of people griping lately about the American presidential candidates for the next election, and I can't really say that I blame them. I believe there are 17 democrats and republicans running, and it really does seem to be a case of voting for the least scary candidate. This has lead a lot of people to decide that they aren't going to vote, unless someone new joins in. I'm guessing this would be Zombie Kennedy or Zombie Regan, bu I think this is the wrong strategy.

If you don't like the candidates, then vote third party. Most people say that voting third party is like throwing your vote away, but that's only because the democrats and republicans have done so much to limit us to a two-party system that most people don't realize that there are options. Will a third party candidate be elected president? No, not this year, but if we continue to build strong third and fourth parties, we can break the stranglehold that the two big parties have on us.

America is in the position it's in because of the two party system. If you really look at the candidates running on both sides, there aren't that many differences. All of them support the continuing corporatization of America, and in some way they support American Imperialism...maybe not in a military way, but certainly in a corporate way. A third party will lessen the grip the two main parties have on our throats, and will let us build the country we as the American people want.

So, if you don't like the two main parties, vote third party. You aren't throwing your vote're letting the politicians know that the American people want their government back...and after all, it is our government.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Troop levels

So, today is the anniversary of the attacks of 9/11 and all Americans' thoughts are on the victims of those attacks, and on the soldiers who have lost their lives since then in the "War on Terror."

Therefore, this would be the perfect time for our illustrious leader George W. Chimp to come out with a statement that he sees us being able to withdraw some of our troops from Iraq by next summer. In fact, he claims that we'll be able to pull out roughly 30,000 troops.


I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but wasn't the troop surge somewhere around 30,000 troops, and wasn't that supposed to be a limited escalation, with most of them coming home after about a year...which would mean that we'd be able to bring home about 30,000 troops sometime next, oh, I don't summer!!!

The sad thing about this is that a lot of the American people will see this as Bush doing something good for the soldiers. They'll think he's actually trying to play ball with the democrats. They'll think he actually gives a damn. This isn't the case. This is Bush just playing his usual games. He's playing off of our grief as a nation to try and score political points. Now people will start to think that the Democrats should back down from their efforts to get our troops home because dubya is actually trying.

Do I believe him? Hell no! A lot can change by next summer, and just because Bush says he's going to do something doesn't mean he will. In fact, next summer he'll probably deny ever having said it.

Don't fall for it, America. It's just the same old games from a president with his own agenda, who doesn't care what We The People say anymore...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Rendezvous With Rama

Sorry, Jim, I know how much you hate YouTube videos in blogs, but I just had to post this one.

For a long time, there's been talking of making Arthur C. Clarke's novel Rendezvous with Rama into a film. Morgan Freeman has been the one doing most of the work in trying to get this done, and I'd love to see it happen. I always thought that Clarke was a brilliant short story writer, but most of his novels were just good, but not great. Rendezvous with Rama was the one exception. It was an amazing novel.

If it's ever made into a film, it would be much like 2001: A Space Odyssey in that it would be a much more intellectual movie than most of what Hollywood makes. There are three reasons why I think that's great. 1) I'd actually like to see more intellectual films coming out of Hollywood. 2) Since I first read the book, I've always wanted to see a movie based on it. 3) If it were successful, Hollywood might want to make more movies of this ilk, and that might be just the motivation I need to finish the screenplay I've been working on off and on for a few months now.

Now, back to the whole YouTube video thing. Here is a short film made by a film student named Aaron Ross. It's great, and it just starts to capture the brilliance of the novel...

September 11th Remembered

Once again we've come up to the anniversary of September 11th. No matter what your political views and no matter how you feel about the war that quickly followed the events of September 11, 2001, I think the most important thing to remember is the victims of the senseless attacks.

Below is a video about the events of that day, put to the song Christmas Eve/Sarajevo by Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The video starts out with a strange advertisement for the group that put it together, which is completely incongruous with the rest of the video. It's then followed by phone calls from the planes and from the WTC. It even has Howard Stern interrupting his show to mention what's going on. Then the music starts...

I should warn you that the video contains some graphic material that might disturb you (in fact, it probably should disturb you.) One thing that is shown is the planes going into the buildings, which I know a lot of people have trouble seeing, so consider yourself forewarned...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Disturbing searches

Like many people who have their own websites, I like to check out how people are finding me, and with all of the sites I run, I often see some very disturbing things. Until today, the most disturbing search had been one that found its way to The Genre Mall. At The Mall, there's a publisher called Raw Dog Screaming Press (yeah, you can probably imagine where this is going), and about every two months I get a search that is "Raw sex with a screaming dog." Obviously there are some real sickos out there!

That's nothing compared to the search I found today. Someone had done a google image search for "Naked pictures of J Alan Erwine." As far as I know, and it seems quite likely, I am the only person in the world whose name is spelled like that. The spelling of my first and last name are not exactly common, so I would think that they'd have to be searching for me. That just really bothers me. I think I liked it more when I was getting the hits from the .gov and FBI sites...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

WorldCon 2009

Montreal has announced their guest of honor list for 2009. Kind of makes we want to go even more...

Neil Gaiman - Guest of Honour
Elisabeth Vonarburg - Invitée d'honneur
Taral Wayne - Fan Guest of Honour
David Hartwell - Editor Guest of Honour
Tom Doherty - Publisher Guest of Honour
Julie Czerneda - Master of Ceremonies

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Why I don't care about Sen. Craig

Idaho Senator Craig has resigned because of his alleged misdeeds in an airport bathroom. You know what? I really couldn't care less.

It doesn't seem like there's really much of a case other than his confession to a different crime. It almost looks like the GOP is serving him up as a sacrificial lamb to try to stave off all of their other problems. Maybe he's gay, and maybe he's not. Again, I don't care. Granted, it would be ironic if he turned out to be gay since he's been banging the anti-gay drum pretty loudly...but again, I don't care. If he's in the closet and ashamed of himself, then that just makes him a hypocrite. Are we going to go through Washington and remove every hypocrite in office? There won't be many people left...if anyone. It also may be true that he's an unethical individual. Again, are we going to go through Washington and remove anyone with questionable ethics? Now there really won't be anyone left.

The real reason I don't care about this is because the media is using the story to ignore other more pressing problems. As long as they report on this, they can devote less time to covering the fact that we still have young men and women dying in Iraq fighting an illegal war. Not only that, but last month more than 1800 civilians died in Iraq. As long as the media talks about Sen. Craig, they don't have to report on that. Then there's the illegal wire tapping, the departure of Rove and Gonzalez, the fact that New Orleans is still basically screwed after Katrina, and countless other debacles brought on by the Bush administration.

Sen. Craig serves as a diversion from the real problems we're facing in America. Let's face it, we're always going to have corrupt or immoral politicians. He wasn't the first, and he certainly won't be the last. More and more people in this country are facing foreclosure because of "borderline" illegal practices by the banks, which are getting the backing of the federal government, but the news devotes more time to a guy who may or may not have been horny while in the john.

"Nero plays while Rome burns."

That's what the media and the politicians in America remind me of these days...

Montreal anyone?

WorldCon 2009 is going to be in Montreal. I've always wanted to visit Quebec...maybe this would be the perfect opportunity for it. Of course, now we need a passport to get to Canada, and given how well the new passport system seems to be working, I may not get my passport in time...I do, after all, only have two years to wait...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'm a little surprised...

What kind of extremist are you?
Your Result: Rational Person

You consider these questions obvious straw men, designed to distract people from a meaningful investigation of facts and a serious discussion of relevant political issues. How boring.

Left-Wing Extremist
Moderate Extremist
Right-Wing Extremist
What kind of extremist are you?
See All Our Quizzes

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Let's end this bullshit

As many of you may know, the boyfriend of one of my best friends is currently assigned to a stryker team in Baghdad. Ok, you may have known that he was there, but you probably didn't know what he did. For those of you not in the know, a stryker is one of those big ass armored vehicles they use over there.

Apparently, today he was able to call her, and he let it slip that his unit had been hit by an IED, and although he's ok, he's apparently very shaken up...especially given that one of his friends lost his leg in the attack. Granted, it could have been much worse, but again I have to many of our young people are going to be asked to give their lives and limbs in an illegal war?

If you don't think this is an illegal war, then you obviously don't know what an illegal war is. Simply put, it's any war that the UN doesn't approve, and no matter what the Fox "News" Network might try to tell you, the UN did not approve this war. If Russia were to invade Georgia, you can bet that the US would be pissed off about it, because it wouldn't be approved, and would therefore be illegal. Just being American doesn't give us the right to do whatever the hell we want, and it's time we get out of Iraq. We need to pursue a diplomatic solution with Iraq, and with Iran before things get out of hand. As long as we have soldiers on the ground in the Middle East, we'll continue to have problems...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Books you've probably never heard of, but should read just the same

This is a list at Amazon put together by book reviewer "Book of the Moment." It features quite a few books, many of which look interesting. I'm definitely interested in The Plot to Save Socrates by Paul Levinson...and yes, The Opium of the People is on this list.

Click on the title of this entry, and have a look around...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Galton Principle

Since the idea of expanding my story into a novel has generated quite a bit of discussion, I thought I'd post it on my website for you to read...should you want to.

The writing's a bit rough, as it was roughly a decade ago that I wrote it, but there are some decent things in it...and a fascist state still seems very realistic to me as the future of America...although what form it would take to bring about this type of government is still a mystery to me.

Obviously, if I were to expand it, the main character's story would only be a portion of it...much as was the case with The Opium of the People. That story was originally just a short story. When I expanded it into a novel, Albert who became Edward, was just one of the stories. He was still the main story, but there were several other characters introduced...some of whom interacted with him, and others who didn't.

Now, I must leave you...keep talking amongst yourselves.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I'm not sure what to think of this...

Jay Lake linked to this in his LiveJournal, and I'm still trying to get over the sickening feeling I got from reading it...

Exclusive: Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
Philip Atkinson

Author: Philip Atkinson
Source: The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
Date: August 3, 2007

While democratic government is better than dictatorships and theocracies, it has its pitfalls. FSM Contributing Editor Philip Atkinson describes some of the difficulties facing President Bush today.

Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
By Philip Atkinson

President George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005 after being chosen by the majority of citizens in America to be president.

Yet in 2007 he is generally despised, with many citizens of Western civilization expressing contempt for his person and his policies, sentiments which now abound on the Internet. This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy.

The inadequacy of Democracy, rule by the majority, is undeniable – for it demands adopting ideas because they are popular, rather than because they are wise. This means that any man chosen to act as an agent of the people is placed in an invidious position: if he commits folly because it is popular, then he will be held responsible for the inevitable result. If he refuses to commit folly, then he will be detested by most citizens because he is frustrating their demands.

When faced with the possible threat that the Iraqis might be amassing terrible weapons that could be used to slay millions of citizens of Western Civilization, President Bush took the only action prudence demanded and the electorate allowed: he conquered Iraq with an army.

This dangerous and expensive act did destroy the Iraqi regime, but left an American army without any clear purpose in a hostile country and subject to attack. If the Army merely returns to its home, then the threat it ended would simply return.

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide. Israel provides the perfect example. If the Israelis do not raze Iran, the Iranians will fulfill their boast and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Yet Israel is not popular, and so is denied permission to defend itself. In the same vein, President Bush cannot do what is necessary for the survival of Americans. He cannot use the nation's powerful weapons. All he can do is try and discover a result that will be popular with Americans.

As there appears to be no sensible result of the invasion of Iraq that will be popular with his countrymen other than retreat, President Bush is reviled; he has become another victim of Democracy.

By elevating popular fancy over truth, Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government.

However, President Bush has a valuable historical example that he could choose to follow.

When the ancient Roman general Julius Caesar was struggling to conquer ancient Gaul, he not only had to defeat the Gauls, but he also had to defeat his political enemies in Rome who would destroy him the moment his tenure as consul (president) ended.

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome – thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world.

If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege while terrifying American enemies.

He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

To expand or not

Many years ago I wrote a short story called "The Galton Principle." The premise behind it was that a fascist US arises where eugenics is used to control the population. The story was almost 6000 words, and it was the only story I ever wrote in one sitting...non-stop 6,000 words. That's how much the story grabbed me. It was also the first story I wrote about a fascist US, a concept that has always fascinated me...and finally culminated in The Opium of the People.

For a long time now, Tyree Campbell at Sam's Dot has been trying to talk me into expanding the story into a novel, and I have been tempted, but I'm not sure if it would really be that good of an idea. For one thing, the plausibility of the idea worries me. Could this really happen? I'm not so sure anymore, especially given the state of science in the US now. Plus, I've had a few people tell me that the premise of Opium is hard to believe...which seems a bit naive to me. Maybe it wouldn't be as drastic as I what I painted, but it certainly is possible for the Christian Right to seize control of the US government.

Another concern I have is that I already have one novel out about fascists taking over America, do I really want to go back to that well again?

Still, I have a friend who keeps saying to me that people should have a certain IQ before they're allowed to maybe eugenics is plausible, although I don't think IQ would be the criterion used to determine who can and can't reproduce.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Another Book Meme

I liked the result of this one, so I thought I'd post it. Let me know how the rest of you score...unless it's Spencer and The Great Gatsby...hated that book.

You're The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe!

by C.S. Lewis

You were just looking for some decent clothes when everything changed
quite dramatically. For the better or for the worse, it is still hard to tell. Now it
seems like winter will never end and you feel cursed. Soon there will be an epic
struggle between two forces in your life and you are very concerned about a betrayal
that could turn the balance. If this makes it sound like you're re-enacting Christian
theological events, that may or may not be coincidence. When in doubt, put your trust
in zoo animals.

Take the Book Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.

Why I must see Henry again

In my last post, I mentioned that I would be going to see Henry Rollins again in October. For those of you unfamiliar with him, he was the lead singer for Black Flag (a pioneering punk band), and then later for The Rollins Band. I have to admit that I was never a big fan of their music, but they had a message that rang true.

Later, he would go on to write poetry, star in movies, and then he started doing spoken word tours. Basically, he stands before an audience and mouths off about his opinions on things for two to three hours, but he's a very smart man, and his opinions are backed up by good data...which is very important!!! He has a very in your face style that I like. He refuses to accept anything without a challenge, and for that I admire him. In some ways, I reflect his attitudes, but my actions don't always follow my attitudes. Perhaps I've been too beaten down by the system, or perhaps I haven't yet found the courage to really express myself as I would like. Of course, he also has some money...and that can go a long way in our society.

These days, a lot of punks think that he's sold out because he does Hollywood movies and has his own talk show on IFC...but being punk (or a rebel of any kind) is about more than dressing a certain way, or wearing your hair a certain way. It's about having the heart and courage to really stand up for the things that you believe in...and actually believing in them in your heart...not just believing them because the rest of your clique does.

So, here are some Henry excerpts...

Friday, August 17, 2007


I just bought my tickets for the Henry Rollins show. October 23rd at the Paramount here in Denver. I saw him a couple of years ago, and it was a great show. I'm definitely looking forward to this one!

Books, books, and more books

For some reason of late, I've been getting a lot of e-mails asking me about my books...not the ones I've written, but rather the ones I own. People have wanted to know what I've read, what subjects interest me, how many books I own...and so on.

So, rather than going into detailed answers, I figured I'd post pictures of my bookshelves. They're raw, and you can't read some of the titles, but I figured it was worth posting...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

No more slush piles!!!!

I just replied to the last manuscript in the multitude of slush piles that I had to read through! That's such a great feeling. Granted, tomorrow morning when I open my e-mails, I'm sure there will be more stories to read, but for now, I'm telling myself that the piles are empty...