Monday, October 31, 2005

Lily Munster Ain't Got Nothin On You

Happy Halloween. . . Baby. . .

Saturday, October 29, 2005

I never thought I'd see this day

Lookup the Metallica album, "St. Anger" on, and see this:

Customers interested in Metallica may also be interested in
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Friday, October 28, 2005

Back to the Spherical Tomi peddling

I'll do a post today covering some of the history and metadata surrounding the Spherical Tomi story, and how it came to be.

In 1999/2000, I started to write a short deep-space action yarn about a samurai named Nez, who launched against an enemy ship inside of remotely controlled clone bodies. The short story, "Immersion of the Samurai" sprawled out to be 38,000 words. While I like the images, the characters, and the overall story, the prose is largely atrocious; obviously the output of a beginner. "Immersion" is unpublishable in its current form. I think I could make the story work, but the entire thing would have to be entirely rewritten, sparing not a single page.
But as I was developing the tale and creating it from one page to the next, I found myself surprised at just how much I was getting into Nez's love interest: Tomi, the head Tokugawan combat programmer. It wasn't long before I acknowledged that "Immersion of the Samurai" was not just about Nez, but about Nez and Tomi, their love, and their roles in the Greatship battle between Shogun Ryogi's Musashi and President William the Black's Hades IV.

A few years and quite a few unrelated short stories later (2002), while still green enough to think IotS salvageable, I set to work on the sequel: "Spherical Tomi". I'd intended this to be a 5,000-10,000 word short story, depicting Tomi hiding out in an itai on a satellite after Nez's death and the destruction of the Hades IV, and finding herself again in the midst of the Ryogi vs. William Sterling conflict. I knew that she was a rich character, and that more of her story needed to be told, more of her soul needed to be revealed. Once again though, the scope of the story would not be contained in a small package, and the story grew to almost 50K words. The first draft finished around the end of 2002. There are almost no markets for a story of this length (thanks you, CGP!!), so I left the manuscript in a dusty corner of my Hard Drive and began to tackle other projects, only occasionally opening ST to look around and add a fix here or there where needed. While I wouldn't have a truly acceptable draft until summer of 2005, in my opinion, I knew by then that "Immersion" was not up-to-par, but that "Spherical Tomi" had some potential. So I tacked on the Prologue (which is now possibly my favorite part of the book) to make ST stand independent of its prequel, and went ahead with ST as its own stand-alone book. I did most of the heavy editing in the months leading up to release, sieving out the clunky sentences and awful dialogue, until I felt like the release version was honed and toned and slick.
ST is half the length of most typical novels - and has an open ending; I'd considered just finishing it and submitting the full-length mss. around - but I felt that for an unknown author like me, this was the best strategy. Release it at 46,000 words as an e-book. Get my name and Tomi's name out there. . .
And so far, so good! The feedback has all been positive, and with huge doses of help from my Dragon Page appearances and Duel of the Fates segments, we're spreading the word.

Thanks to everyone (there are a lot of you!) who's helped to make that possible, by reading, discussing, and even poking fun at me and my book. I'm glad to have made your acquaintances, your friendships, and thrilled to have shared ideas and stories with you. And thanks for reading this long blog post.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

And I guess this is old, but for thinking readers and writers, anything and everything Neal Stephenson says is worth noting:

Read the Neal Stephenson interview from earlier this year.

Danger Larry Robinson, Danger!

Let's take a break from the Tomi propaganda to talk hockey:

When Scott Stevens retired, John Buccigross said, "this is the end of an era in New Jersey". I feared for the worst, especially when you compounded the injury with the added loss of Scott Niedermayer.

So far, not so good. Larry Robinson is a competent coach, and they still have a wealth of talent, but those are 2 irreplaceable future Hall-of-Famers that vanished from the lineup. I was really counting on seeing Nieder fill in some of the huge void created by Scott Stevens' retirement. The Devils are struggling, and I fear that it may be a long season (but not nearly long enough)

A lot of boneheads will say it's because the Devils can't handle the "new NHL", but wise ones know that their fall is a direct result of the loss of their captain, their heart and soul.

Help us Larry Robinson. You're our only hope.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Spherical Tomi

So I've talked a lot about Tomi, and pointed you to countless related links across the net, but I've rarely delved into the nature of the story itself. The links I've presented offer a few different descriptions, but I should probably post something here, right? Probably something permanent, as well... but for now, in honor of its release at let's whet some appetites:
And just for fun, rather than cut-and-paste, I'll write up a fresh description right here:

Tomi was the top combat programmer in Shogun Ryogi's neo-Tokugawa Rebellion, an outlaw nation based out of the Greatship, Musashi. Her love, Nez, was the movement's top samurai. During a ship-to-ship battle with the Hades Iv Greatship, flagship of William Sterling the Black, President of planet Cerberus, Nez gained control of an itai, a combat clone body, inside the Hades IV. It would be the last thing he'd ever do. William Sterling discovered the enemy and hacked into his connection, sending deadly signals directly into Nez's cerebrum. But not before Nez had opened a bridge into the most isolated, secure, vital networks aboard the Hades IV. Stricken with grief and rage, Tomi used this bridge to destruct the Greatship. One hundred and five souls were lost in her vengeance, though William managed to escape with his life. The horrific action permanently discredited neo-Tokugawa, and sent Tomi into criminal exile...

Years later, with her true body hidden, Tomi lives on in a new life, existing incognito within an illegal itai. But sometimes buried grief can be the most dangerous... Sometimes the deepest sadness can paralyze... And sometimes, the past finds its way past all defenses, through all blockades, and into the present.

Some actions will not go unanswered.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Spherical Tomi released today at Podiobooks!

You can now get started on Spherical Tomi at! Released today, October 22.

The first three episodes are there, the fourth episode is just about ready to post. More will be posted as I can get them edited.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Writing Funk

I really ought to be writing (sorry, Mur Lafferty -- do I have to pay you to say that?).

I took a mental break for a few days, finished reading "Perdido Street Station", and now I feel like I'll soon be back in business...

Egads - I'm diary-blogging.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I've been parodied.

As stated in the previous post, the folks at SFSignal have contributed a Duel of the Fates parody to this week's episode of Dragon Page Wingin' It!.

I have to tip my hat; they did a really nice job. Miranda Thomas and the SFSignal crew threw in a lot of subtle touches, accurately mimicking my lo-fi sound quality and lo-fi sense of humor. If you liked (or disliked) Duel of the Fates, then you really shouldn't miss this.

I clenched the arms of my chair tightly during the segment's entire 2 and 1/2 minutes.... grinning and shaking my head.

I've been parodied?!

Oh my god. I haven't listened yet... but according to the show notes, the guys at SFSignal have parodied me and Duel of the Fates in the latest episode of Dragon Page Wingin' It!. Go ahead and listen...
I'm listening now - and will post my reaction later tonight. (I'll probably post at the DP messageboards too).

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Unearthed Arcana

Paizo apparently has all of the rights to all of the old TSR publications. They're now offering a wealth of old D&D and AD&D modules and rulebooks to download in pdf format.

Note to Paizo: This is a very cool step, except that a lot of the materials are obsolete, and only of interest to many of us as nostalgia tickets. Being a full-time software guy, father, author, podcaster, musician, Berzerk player, NHL fan, movie-watcher, and hermit, I just don't play any RPGs any more. So I'm not willing to pay $4 a pop to download scans of the old D&D books.

If you're making a nice profit from this PDF catalog, then I can't make much of a case for you to lower the prices. But - if there isn't much consumer interest - then try a rate-slashing. How about $1 per pdf? Why not even offer a few of the books for free?

I browsed through the titles on those pages, revelled in nostalgia at all of the artwork on those old book covers, but that's where it ends for me.

Incidentally, I think the original module used some kind of invisible ink, but I'd still love to see an electronic version of "Maze of the Riddling Minotaur".

Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas!!

I was the guest on the Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas first-ever podcast! woo-hoo!

It really is an honor to be a part of of their launch, and I have to extend thanks to Joe Murphy and Summer Brooks for having me.

As of Tuesday, October 18, 2005, the show is available for download.
I have yet to listen; I was not feeling too well that day, but I hope my brain was unclouded enough to do Dan Simmons justice, defending his marvelous "Hyperion" books in the discussion.

During one rant, I had such a huge verbal typo that it belongs in a blooper reel... I hope they edited that out - but if they didn't... well, it's a funny event at my expense. Check it out y'all.

-update- I listened to the episode - my verbal gaffe has been edited. *PHEW*

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Not for Landlubbers

If that article you're reading just isn't stimulating it enough, then filter it through the 'talklikeapirate' engine to add some 4-months-at-sea, maggot-ridden bread-eatin'-toothless-scurvy pirate dialect to your web-reading!

Just prefix the following text before your desired URL in your browser, and walla! the engine goes to work inserting piratespeak into the article.

Hull finds new game has passed him by ahoy

The results are obviously machine-generated, but still pretty comical. I imagine if you used this on International Talk Like a Pirate day, your printer would go nuts spitting out mysterious crumpled papers marked with black spots.... (what's with all the pirate stuff lately?)

--- actually, this very blog is pretty funny when given the talklikeapirate treatment.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Old News

I will have some exciting announcements by week's end, but in the meantime:

If you still haven't read Cory Doctorow's latest, then follow this link and download the text from Ourmedia.

I'm blogging it here not just because I liked the book a lot, but also because Cory Doctorow used an excerpt from my SFReader review in the "Reviews, commentaries, awards:" section.

It was posted sometime in July, so this is old news. . . but for today - it's all i got.

Friday, October 14, 2005

The Accidental In-Studio Guest

So I showed up at Draco Vista studios last weekend, in the throes of sickness, not looking to be on Wingin' It!, just looking to do my part to contribute to the Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas podcast discussion of Dan Simmons' brilliant Hyperion book(s).
What I walked into was a trial - Evo Terra the defendant, pleading his case before the court of The Signal. I ended up participating again in Wingin' It!

I won't say anymore about the KAMN podcast, because I don't know their plans...
I will say you can feel free to check out my latest Wingin' It! appearance, if you like. I was a bit under the weather, and not in the greatest form, but hey... I was there. The DP fantastic four core were entertaining as ever.

I always have a good time at the studio, but I think I'm overdoing my guest appearances, and so will take a break over the next few weeks... unless I'm needed or directly invited.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Duel of the Fates 2

Well, since this question comes up pretty frequently, let's address it in a blog post:

When will there be a Duel of the Fates 2?

I stand by what I said during my last Wingin' It! appearance (which happened to also be the episode of the now-infamous Evo-Serenity-Spoiler Incident):
In addition to the constant writing task, I'm working to get Spherical Tomi recorded for I actually have 3+ episodes recorded, 2 ready for release. That is my primary (though not exclusive) recording focus for now; once Spherical Tomi's recording is near completed, I intend to start soliciting character suggestions for the second tournament. I hope that this will be sometime in early November.

I do have some new ideas; there will be a few fun differences in season 2.

Thanks for asking!! (Thanks, jackh!)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Birthday!

to Luciano Pavarotti, Sally Ride, Hugh Jackman, Aleister Crowley, Kirk Cameron, Jane Siberry, Susan Anton, and most importantly ----- to my wife (that's the voice of the "Love Prowess" category, for all you Duel of the Fates fans).

I hope you have a good day, honey (ie, slightly less stressful than every other day).

Monday, October 10, 2005





Thursday, October 06, 2005

Yes you do care! It's the Top 25 Most Played in my iTunes for October 6, 2005

Here are the Top 25 songs in my iTunes player. :

  1. Vanity Fair Mr. Bungle 40
  2. temple of earth and sea jack mangan 29
  3. fear regret and hope Jack Mangan 28
  4. Wine Jack Mangan 26
  5. Is There Love In Space? Joe Satriani 26
  6. Organ Donor DJ Shadow 25
  7. Myself Within Love jack mangan 25
  8. Dad and Dog Fredo Viola 23
  9. Saddam A Go-Go GWAR 22
  10. Earth Time Pigs Fate Jack Mangan 22
  11. Did My Time KoRn 21
  12. Spirit Man Mango 19
  13. Defender Manowar 19
  14. The Enemy Anthrax 18
  15. Slaughter of the Soul At the Gates 18
  16. Waltz #2 (XO) Elliott Smith 18
  17. One With the Stillness Jack Mangan 18
  18. Tears of Liquid Mercury Jack Mangan 18
  19. playing with spiders-skullkrusher Overkill 18
  20. Lost In Space Aimee Mann 17
  22. Seemingly Endless Time Death Angel 17
  23. Nuthin But a G Thang Dr. Dre 17
  24. Miss Misery Elliott Smith 17
  25. Rumble Link Wray & His Ray Men 17

Here are two more that were tied for 20th with 17 plays:
Head Out To The Highway Judas Priest 17
Fight the Power Public Enemy 17

It may seem a bit odd that I have 7 of my own in the Top 25 (plus 1 tune from my old band, Mango)... Five of those are recent Audacity compositions. As soon as I figure out how to share them with the world, I will. You can get that Aimee Mann song from Amazon's Free Music Downloads.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

A cameo on this week's Wingin' It!

You may just get sick of hearing from me!

After seeing Serenity on Saturday, the missus and I dropped in at the Dragon Page Draco Vista studios in time to catch the Wingin' It! recording.
Tune in to hear a good show, plus a few minutes of our contributions. Not to mention the funniest Serenity Spoiler imaginable.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I am a leaf on the wind

So the Missus and I saw Serenity on Saturday.

Let me explain -- I'm not among Joss Whedon's legions of worshippers... I've never watched Buffy or Angel, though I did see all of the Firefly episodes, even before I knew there'd be a movie.
Firefly was a good show.
Serenity is a really great movie. Go and enjoy it, but you really ought to be familiar with the TV series first. The unique Space/Western setting might seem strange if you go in cold.
I know it will garner comparisons to Star Wars, but really, the more appropriate comparison will be to Star Trek. Whedon supposedly had Star Trek in mind when creating Firefly, aiming to create a deep space, ship-based series that was entirely unlike 'Trek'.

This film does satisfy a lot of cravings that the Trek films rarely did...