Saturday, April 5, 2008

And the hot dog winner is...

Tonight, we had my belated birthday party, the food centerpiece of which was a hot dog tasting. I assembled four competitors:

- Allen Brothers' steak dogs
- Lobel's
- Nathan's
- Sabretts

Though I did no scientific measurements, my random polling of those with opinions yielded the following result: no consensus. Allen Brothers', Lobel's, and Nathan's all received some first-place votes, and Sabretts garnered the most second-place nods.

The contest was fun, and all the dogs were tasty. The sides were great, and the desserts were wonderful.

I'm very lucky to have friends.

One of the joys of writing + network lag sucks

About a week ago, I realized that something very important had to change in the ending of Overthrowing Heaven. The notion hit me out of the blue, but the moment it entered my brain, I knew it was right. I love when that happens.

Tonight, as I was working on a scene, that earlier change led to me understanding something more about a character, and suddenly an important aspect of her past appeared, she became a richer person, the scene was stronger, and within a few seconds it was if all of this had always been true about her.

I think this might be what some writers call a character taking over. I don't believe that's what's happening. Instead, what's going on is that my subconscious, which lives off and on all day in the world of the current book, makes connections and figures out issues that I had not consciously spotted.

Whatever it is, it's cool when it happens.

On a completely unrelated note, tonight Sarah, Kyle (who's visiting), and I were playing Halo 3 on Xbox Live. I'm a passable Halo player for a guy my age, which is to say I suck in the general community of gamers. Tonight, though, I massively sucked as huge drifts of network lag washed over us. At times, the screen froze while someone killed one or the other of us. Quite frustrating.

Back to work; I have a book to write.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Sushi jones for the lose

It hit me last night: I had to have sushi. The craving rarely strikes, but when it does, I give in quickly. The specific sushi I wanted was available only at Waraji, which for my money is the best of the local sushi places and at least on par with the vast majority of the sushi restaurants in which I've eaten all over the country.

I didn't want to be alone in my sushi eating, however, so I sent an email to a few others, and in no time we had a small group ready to eat raw fish, their orders in email to me, a plan to meet--in short, everything we needed for a sushi party.

Except one thing: the sushi. Waraji, as it turned out, was closed.

A subset of us settled for pizza and wings, which were fine and tasty, but they weren't what I was seeking.

Lest I come across as whining about trivia in a world full of real problems, let me say that I am neither ignorant of nor uncaring about those problems.

I just had my mouth set for sushi.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


The late-night video break for the last little while has featured a 1990 British show, Chancer. Clive Owen stars in a strange, thirteen-episode first series (the BBC ran two, though the second was shorter) that zigs and zags like an old-fashioned novel of character. The less I tell you about it, the better it will be, because many of the episodes feature important revelations, so I'll leave it at this: bear with the slowness of the first few episodes, and the show will reward your time. Oh, yeah: Clive Owen is almost as charming as his character is supposed to be.

Speaking of characters, I've had a few readers ask if I would be bringing back in Slanted Jack some of the characters (other than Jon and Lobo, of course) from One Jump Ahead. In a word, no. The second book features an all new cast. So does Overthrowing Heaven.

That will change one day, but not yet.

Nothing To Lose

is the title of the new Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child, I have it, and I'm quite excited about reading it. It came out in the UK a bit ago but arrived here just yesterday; I pre-ordered it but wasn't willing to pay for rush shipping from the UK.

If you don't know Child's work, do yourself a favor and check it out. Great pacing, snappy dialog, a hero who's larger than life and wins your heart, and a different setting in every book.

For now, though, reading must wait, because I have a novel of my own to write.

Monday, March 31, 2008

What's up with the jump gates?

I get this question from time to time, so I thought I'd post the answer and save email time for others (and myself): wait and see.

Yup, I'm not gonna tell you. In due time (right around 10 or 12 books into the series, maybe a tad earlier), we'll start to learn the secrets of the jump gates. Until then, however, we can only enjoy them--and wish we had them in our world.

Speaking of enjoying, I must get back to Overthrowing Heaven, which I'm having quite a good time writing. The game is afoot.

What is the world's best hot dog?

I wonder about this question. I love a good hot dog. Heck, I'll even eat a bad one if there's something interesting about it, say a particularly vile shade of red or strange wrinkles adorning its flanks.

I intend to try to come closer to the answer next Saturday night, at a belated birthday party that will feature four or so of the top contenders. If you have a nominee, let me know. I'll post the consensus, as well as my own opinion, after the party.

Entries may be short for a while, unless the mood to expound hits me or I'm really stalling, because I'm cooking on Overthrowing Heaven and really digging it, I'm behind on reviewing the galleys for Slanted Jack, I have an April 14 deadline for a secret project (no, really, I can't talk about it), the two anthologies await my attention, I owe Dave and Toni each some work, and, oh yeah, I have a sixty- or seventy-hour-a-week full-time job as a CEO--one who has no assistant and who is still sick. I'm not whining, but I am busy--which is much better, I suppose, than not having all these opportunities.

Time to hunker down.


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