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...