Saturday, September 10, 2011

If you want to read my ramblings on The Wild Side

Check out this guest blog entry on Ed Gorman's blog. Ed invited me to contribute, so I supplied him with this short essay.

If you like mystery fiction and you don't know Ed, you should definitely check out his blog and his Web site. He's been working in the field a long time, created a lot of interesting characters and books, and knows a great deal about it.


In case you need a pick-me-up this morning

Just watch and listen to this.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Two beauties

One is this photo of clouds as the day was winding down and we were heading into a restaurant eight days ago. I took it with my iPhone's camera and wished I'd had a better one at hand.

The other is my daughter's blog, because she is amazing and a wonderful writer. Yeah, I've plugged it before, and I'll try not to do so too often, but her description of wandering the Uffizi alone and her memories of doing it with me--memories I share and still treasure more than I can express--touched me so much that I felt like sharing it again.

Florence is, by the way, magic, pure and simple.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Reflections on an open mic night

A while back, a group of us went to an open mic night where Ben was going to perform. Each musician (or group of musicians) got two songs or ten minutes, whichever came first, on the stage. People appeared in the order in which they had signed up.

I expected to enjoy Ben's performance, because I've heard recordings of some of his songs.

I expected to grimace a lot at the rest.

The first expectation was, of course, correct. Ben has good stage presence, was the best guitar player of the night, and sang two good songs. I very much enjoyed his turn on stage.

To my pleasant surprise, my second expectation was wrong. The worst of the acts was pleasant enough, and most of them were quite enjoyable. They sang covers and they sang originals. They sang with guitar and a capella. They sang for love and only love; no one was making any money.

In the breaks between performers and in the days since the show, I've been struck again by the bravery and dedication of those artists. They performed because they had to, because the art in them needed to find a way out. I'm sure they all dream of more, of platinum records and major awards, but in that night, in that small restaurant, on that barely raised stage, they sang for the love of singing.

They sang because they had to.

That is, in the end, the only correct reason to sing. Or to paint. Or to write.

After a convention in which I listened to writers discuss marketing and sales and promotions and agents and almost everything except writing itself (and even that on my last panel), I can't help but think of that open mic night. Yeah, I want to be a New York Times #1 bestselling author, and I want to win every major award, and all of that; I'm just like everyone else. What I must always remember to do, though, is to ignore all of those desires, all of that nasty clutter in my head, and simply write, write to let out the stories in me, write for the love of writing.

Write because I have to.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

An alternate perspective:
Tigger answers the Dr. Efficient questions, #3

Warning: The following is an adult entry. If you are underage or simply do not want to read about sex-related topics, stop now.

Tigger is still working hard to catch up to Dr. Efficient and is now on her third installment.


All opinions are those of Tigger.

Why is porn such a rush??

I'm not entirely convinced it is "such a rush," but this is likely because I wasn't raised right or something.

I suspect that porn is more exciting to you if you were raised to view it as illicit, forbidden, shameful.

Especially, if you were also raised to view sex as illicit, forbidden, shameful, since then porn triggers those same feelings you associate with sex and orgasm.

In addition to it just being a rush to be getting away with something you think you shouldn't be doing.

For the rest of us, it's just a visual cue to inspire thoughts about sex.

Or, for some, maybe instruction on new and interesting ways to perform sex.

On the whole, though, for those of us who do it, having sex is way more fun than porn.
Why do most men have the ultimate dream of having sex with more than one woman at a time? Preferably twins. Preferably twin cheerleaders. Preferably twin cheerleaders that are built like Pamela Anderson?


When asked about their favorite sexual fantasy, why do most men suggest a menage a trois (with two women and one man, not two men and one woman)?
Generally, because men are gluttons: if one is good, surely two are better!

Also, because they haven't thought things through properly. In the minds of most men, this is two women working to satisfy him, rather than two women he has to figure out how to simultaneously please.

I have a friend who is perfectly horrified by the idea of the traditional two-women, one-man menage a trois arrangement. He has explained to me how it sounds like a grueling amount of work, and he would much rather have a woman suck him off while she took it in the ass from some other dude, because then, it's no work for him and all pleasure, right?

Possibly, he was just trying to impress me with how thoughtful and conscientious he is about wanting everyone else involved in his sexual escapades to be satisfied, too.

Possibly, he hasn't really thought it through, either, and other men just plan to outfit the second woman with a strap-on.
I would like Dr. Efficient to explain to me how this beautiful girl doesn’t have a boyfriend.
Oh good, I think he did. :)

As long as you keep sending in questions, Tigger and Dr. Efficient will return soon! Email your queries to me or send them via the Contact page on my site.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

On the road again: Dragon*Con, Atlanta, day 6

Up early after too little sleep, work, shower, and a long drive home; that was how I spent most of the daylight hours.

The early evening went to seeing Ben Azevedo (opening act) and Levi Weaver (main) at a local coffee shop. Both put on very good shows, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. I knew some of Ben's music but had never heard Levi. When his set was over, I bought a t-shirt and all of his CDs.

Much work and unpacking to do, then Sunday I hit the road again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

On the road again: Dragon*Con, Atlanta, day 5

Like most cons, this one transformed into a ghost town in the space of half a day as programming wound down and the con ended in the late afternoon. Also like most cons, though, five to ten percent of the people stay to the end, which in this case makes for thousands of fans still hanging around. Even in its departure, Dragon*Con makes its size apparent.

After work and shower, I headed off to moderate the panel, "Who wants to be a writer?" As I've noted earlier, my fellow panelists were Terry Brooks, Mercedes Lackey, and Timothy Zahn, all New York Times bestsellers--and Brooks a big-time seller. About a hundred folks showed up for a largely Q&A discussion that I moderated. Our messages were amazingly consistent for four so very different writers, so I hope the would-be writers in attendance found the panel useful.

Afterward, I worked for quite a well, wandered a bit, enjoyed a good dinner, and will soon pack.

Tomorrow, I will once again attempt to stay current on email while riding in a car on the way home. (Don't worry: while I'm driving, I won't be doing email.)

By the way, if you're a fan of Sarah's writing and you're not reading her blog, you're missing out on some fine bits, such as this on a local fireworks show:

I’ve never heard or seen anything like it - the light in the sky and the hills lying silent and black against the dark blue of the night, the explosions striking them like drums.
Yeah, that's my daughter.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

On the road again: Dragon*Con, Atlanta, day 4

Went to bed late and slept reasonably late, though nowhere near as late as I'd hoped.

Woke up, worked, showered, and headed off to be a guest auctioneer at the charity auction.

That, sadly, proved to be a bust. I thought I was going to work for an hour as an auctioneer, which can be fun and is a kind of performing. Instead, what the two current auctioneers wanted was for me to hold up the books I had donated, say a few words, and then get the hell out of the way so they could work. Which I did. Regardless, between my books and the ARC of The Wild Side, we raised about $150 for Dragon*Con's charity, which is a good thing.

Next up was the Baen brunch, which was a nice time in a revolving restaurant with a great view of the city. The conversation was generally good, as was the food.

The rest of the afternoon went to work, after which I listened to a panel in which Michael Whelan talked and answered questions about his horror paintings and his art in general. I don't know him personally, but I love his work, and he comes across as a very level-headed, creative, great guy.

I opted to watch the masquerade from the room, rather than sit on line for hours, but ultimately had to stop because the announcers were so mean to the contestants that I couldn't stand to listen to them any longer. While I certainly agree that some of the contestants needed to brush up on their presentation skills, there's simply no excuse for guys with microphones who are supposed to be helping with the event instead being jerks to contestant after contestant.

After some work and when the masquerade was over, I wandered a bit, perched, and people-watched at the Marriott. Amazing, simply amazing. I've never seen another con on this scale, nor one with so much happy energy. Very cool.


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