Friday, January 28, 2005

Going Fast While Standing Still

28 Jan
I am really -- let me repeat -- REALLY backed up. I have a ton of stories, etc, to re-read for the 'final final' anthology edits. I have to finish up two writers' groups' stories, am giving a looksee to two friends' stories (1 horror, 1 action mystery) and have to get out three (count 'em, 3) of my own shorts by next Friday.

Oh yeah and Lea Schizas of Apollo's Lyre tapped me for a chapter (on editing, imagine that) on a Writer's Common Book of Prayer (just kidding. That's not the name. Maybe it should be.).

And I am in the midst of the first black week at work. Yummy.

Sleet and ice predicted for manana, i.e., Saturday, and with it the possibility that Jenn's B.D. party at Dante's Down the Hatch will be totally fucked. I've not been to Dante's and am really hoping the ice goes elsewhere but it doesn't look like it right now.

Getting a new modem and signing on w/ another server. BS (aka BellSouth) just hasn't been doing it for me for a L-O-N-G time. And they cost soooo much more than they're worth, let alone what they're not doing!!

Saw "The Life Aquatic". It's fine, I mean it's Wes Anderson for all of that, and we know "The Royal Tenenbaums" was great. But Oscar noms? I don't think so. Read Del Tinsley's short short "Health Hazard" in AHMM's March '05 issue. Cute. A bit of a groaner, but decidedly punny.

Weather permitting, motorcycling Sunday. Or at least a trip to Claud's.


Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Biker Gang of Four

25 Jan
Well, we trekked our way in subfreezing temps Sunday to a H-D swapmeet and bikeshow past the airport. Great. Found "British in the City" and volunteered to be Miss December 2006. "Yeah!" Beautiful Norton bike from '72. $5500. Got my Union Jack patch and a black tee, size small, adverting their establishment. Lovely folks all 'round. Also had a shot of bourbon. That was $4 but worth it. Colder than day old shite out there! Beautiful bikes, rat bikes and all. Just watching the people was worth the $8. Claud got a pair of gauntlets that flared up and over the ends of the jacket. Leather, $35. Nice softies instead of those washboard grubbers yet well lined so they will hold up as long as they're worn. Mike was there and is still looking for the rat 650 Savage for me. Since I'm a short shanks, I have to have the 26", smaller seat so I don't have to rely on telepathy to manuver the bike. Like the Professor and I were saying, be comfortable, it only adds to your feeling of competence.

T bought a wolf's head patch, small but nice. Colourful. Weirdly enough, almost 40 percent of those there were from the CMA/Tribe of Judah. (Christian Motorcycle Association.) I told them if they were smart and for real, they'd put the image of the Returning Apocalyptic Christ they had on a teeshirt (as usual, on a magnificent steed) on a Screamin' Night Hog. The coffee was good and thank Dog they didn't proselytize. I say, 'let Bike sort 'em out'.

Saw Sideways. What a great little movie. I laughed my arse off. Will be reviewing "Grifter's Game" by Block this week on Short and Sweet. Okay, it's not short and of course it isn't sweet. We all know what Larry Block writes but the review will be shorter than usual.


Thursday, January 20, 2005

"Grifter's Game" aka Bush's Second Term

20 Jan
All right, okay! I know there are some Bushovites out there. Can't you take a joke?

Anyway, I am reading "Grifter's Game" by Lawrence Block and wow, am I enjoying it. Written in the early Sixties, it still holds up. Sex, drugs, murder for money and honey -- these are timeless topics of interest to someone with a decided bent for the Darker Places. Some of you may know this book by its other title of "Mona".

It will be on on the Short and Sweet side hopefully by the weekend.

Speaking of which, the new Hardluck Stories is up. Winter '05 issue. Robert Tinsley (The Short of It) has a short up called "Grasshopper" via audio, read by Tinsley himself. 14 minutes and a few seconds long. I'm impressed. We should all give this a go at some point. The photography is great as are all the stories, and Pat Lambe's contrib is -- well, read it for yourselves at

Have a good rest of week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Preditors&Editors, et al.

18 Jan. '05

My review of "LIKE A CHARM" is up now at, the Short and Sweet blog. Remarks on MEDIUM will be up tomorrow on that same blog.

The site where I am nominated for Short Story and -- Best New Author Published in '04 (I nearly fell over) -- is Preditors & Editors at . Theirs is a great site, my nominations notwithstanding, full of all sorts of info, websites, stories, tips, caveats and whathaveyou. You can go there and -- ahem -- vote of course; what's even better is you can go there and read much of what is going on in the writing community per se.

And as I said, for those of you who missed "Nice Tie" , it's in the Best Short Story listing. Just click onto the hardluckstories site. I enjoy sites like P&E, Hardluck Stories, Thrilling Detective and many others as they go WAYYY beyond just being a site and turn into a forum, information center, directional, and can help, as well as guide, wouldbes and wannabes to the right location in this vast e-world. I have more hope than ever when I go to these sites that the short story is indeed not lost at all to us; that thanks to folks like Bob Tinsley, Gerald So, Dave Z, Sarah Weinman, Ray Banks, Megan and *so* many others I cannot list (as I can't type that long or that well), that the short story may actually be on an upward swing.

However, I am still working on "SMOKE AND MIRRORS" , the Jo and Grace mystery series. Book 1 should be finished by summer's end. And "HOMEWORLD" (the grand poohbah SF thingamabob) is still a go. But wow, is it monstrous...


Monday, January 17, 2005

Best Short Story Nomination

17 January '05

Nothing like being nominated for Best Short Story in 2004 in a poll (Preditors & Editors) to make you feel good. While I would of course like to win, just knowing a few people have read my work and feel it should be up for some type recognition is more than enough to feel chuffed over.

Well, let me see. Here's the deal. The home 'puter is on the fritz, still. So on my one day off this month, here I am at the office, playing catch up. The elbow feels better, thank Dog.

Finished "Like A Charm", edited by Karin Slaughter. I will have that up on my SHORT AND SWEET site at Tuesday A.M. for those of you who want to give it a looksee. And now I have to make THIS short and sweet as I actually have to edit one of my other shorts and post it for my writers group. (Hi gang!)


Friday, January 14, 2005

TILT and More

14 January

Watched TILT on ESPN and liked it well enough that I can give it a thumbs up. I'll be watching it again. You know, the old 3 strikes and you're out gambit. Unless you're in.

Ubiquitous shots of glitz and glamour, gyrating dancing girls, clubs in blue light semi-darkess, their underground games watched over by the stereotypical homeboys with 'tudes aside, it's a good show with a decent cast, the biggest star being Michael Madsen (hie thee to a video store and rent "Reservoir Dogs". His scene cinched the movie for me. Those of you who saw it know the scene I mean, yeah?).

My full review is on the other blog, Short and Sweet.

An office party tonight at Pappadeaux down I-75. Free drinks, tons of food, gifts from Mexico! Ole, senorita! Leaving at 4pm since traffic in and out of The City Too Busy to Hate is enough to make you wish for your very own Death and Destruction Tour. Gridlock is not the word for what it is... godhelpus if there is ever a real disaster in the city.

Back at you Monday. No work on this MLK Day for the First. Time. Ever. for me. Happy happy. Joy joy. Let there be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me... until I get stuck in traffic in approximately 25 minutes FOR approximately 55 minutes. One spot. No shit.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Back in the Saddle Again

13 Jan
Hello all.
Out for a few days due to -- again so what's new? -- computer problems, plus a raging bout of tendinitis in the left elbow. Mmm. Not fun. And Just in Time for Busy Season.

Doing better however, thanks to a 'synergistic' approach. Physical therapy, anti-inflammatory, icepack, and typing no more than 6 hours a day. HA! Bwahahahahahaha.....

Jennifer Lee says I can pick up the computer this weekend. Should be fine again. Wish I could get her to do something about the elbow.

On that other site I blog out, Candace Wiggins, Short and Sweet, I'm reviewing the premiere episode of TILT, Lawrence Block's baby debuting on ESPN, tonight at 9pm. (I know, opposite CSI. I have two TVs, however, so hopefully no problem there.) Hope to get this up sometime Friday.

There are of course a couple of others involved in this mini-series, but I'm interested mainly in Block's input on this. Plus am interested in seeing how they're going to 'fresh' Vegas up for the viewers.

Also this weekend, will be spent working up a review of Karin Slaughter's LIKE A CHARM for those who've not had a chance to get to it. It came out rather quietly as many short story collections do. Wow, is it good! Karin is the editor plus has two stories in it along with a cast of -- several others.

Try it out if you haven't already. There wasn't a single story I didn't like, and that is saying plenty. Saw "Darkness" last weekend. What a load of shite. This from someone who is always hoping the 'scary' movies will be -- ahem -- scary. Or at least suspenseful. Thrilling. This was none of the above and with the cast it had, it should have been at least a C+.

Okay. Comparatively speaking here. This is how bad this movie is. Do you recall how people slammed "The Chronicles of Riddick" ? Well, where are they NOW? I liked "Riddick", if only because of the ever-engaging Karl Urban, a fine character actor and not bad to look at either. The dynamic between Urban's characterization of Vakko and his powerhungry spouse (played by Thandie Newton) was enough to pique my interest throughout. I was REAL disappointed in the re-appearance of Jack (see Pitch Black) and what they did with the new improved character but hey, Hollywood loves to do what it does.

Give Medium a try as well, if you haven't. NBC, Monday night, 10. This past week, we saw the fallibility of psychic phenomena and the anxiety of spouses.

Have a good one. See you again soon.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Daily Meditations

For a good time, go to

Seriously, Bob Tinsley's blog "The Short of It" is one of the best sites to go for a daily dose of short story reviews or writers 'stuff'. I discovered this site not so long ago and actually it was the impetus I needed to springboard myself into taking my own blogging as more than just a lark or a type journal.

There are a lot of wonderful sites out there, but I check Bob's daily. Rain or shine, this maverick has something to say. His own short stories are good, as well, and I've found several of them on different sites, also.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Biting the Bullet

Okay, I have this love/hate relationship with Stephen King. He is totally unaware of it and this may be a good thing. I wonder why we were treated to that drek "Kingdom Hospital" -- a redo of Kingdom, a weird but ultimately satisfying Swedish TV miniseries -- which wasn't even HIS, before "Riding the Bullet". This is some of his earlier (better) work and may be worth the wait, if H'wood does not wipe its ass all over it. (I guess King just HAD to insert that little autobiographical bit of the guy's hit and run by the guy in the truck with the dog in "Kingdom Hospital".)

But it takes a shitload of shock and awe to impress me and the Greek, let alone scare us. Unnerving me is just a challenge these days. So I will be watching and crossing my fingers and then, after reviewing it on (aka Short and Sweet) I will more than likely be sticking another pin in a wax effigy of someone. Not Mr. King. Oh no, of course not. Never Mr. King.


Wednesday, January 05, 2005


5 January

Payday. Always nice.
Oh brave new world, that has such people in it. I just sent out a sort of a P.I. story, having girded my loins. Watch here for any word either way. I look forward to working with the editor of this particular e-zine. Having recently discovered this site and his and the co-editor's blog(s) and reading the stories on the site, I am determined to ratchet up my writing each and every time, each and every story.

Enough about ME... sort of.

I'm happy to report I will be reviewing Forge Books' whopping huge collection called "Transgressions", sooner rather than later.

That review will be on the other site, the "serious" site I have, titled Short and Sweet. Okay, what does 900 pages have to do with short and sweet? It's a collection, as I say, compiled by Ed McBain, with the likes of Himself, Lawrence Block, Walter Mosley, Sharyn McCrumb, Jeffrey Deaver, Anne Perry, Donald E. Westlake, Stephen King, Joyce Carol Oates. I am definitely looking forward to it and hope you are too.

Join me for that review -- soon.


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

A Word From The Blockhead

4 Jan 2005

Yeah, I love the blog for different reasons; but the least deviation or brushstroke while keying, and I have my own tsunami effect. Aldo has consistently given really nice comments which, of course, I am tickled pink (okay, deep blue!) over and twice now, his comments have been deleted. I managed to save the one he had for "Short and Sweet".

I've been getting WAAAYYY too little sleep. T was up till 3 and of course, so was I. Still had to get up and trudge into work even tho there was only one call to audit, one call to stream live. DaimlerChrysler. Go figure. Came in and crashed till 9:30 pm. Now I am up, a pot of coffee is coursing thru my system like molten lava, and am trying to play catch up with everything I should have had done by now. Sod it.

Reviewed -- sort of -- "Medium", the new NBC show. Lawrence Block has a series entitled TILT
which debuts on ESPN 13 January. It's a nine-week series that he's exec story editor and staff writer on; set in Vegas, it's a drama and should be worthwhile.

Of course, I saw what H'wood did with "Burglar". Ouch! Sorry, Larry; and hey, sorry, Whoopsie!

But really, truly, sorry again, Aldo and everyone else who watches me struggle off and on with this blog. A good night's sleep, a couple of good belts (liquor and otherwise) and I'll be set right again, I'm sure.

Have a good one, all.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Sarah Weinman, Sarah Weinman

3 January

Sarah Weinman said it in a nutshell -- or put it in one, anyway -- when she commented re: Bob Tinsley's ongoing campaign with the short story form:

"...I cannot count the number of times I've heard from dedicated mystery readers that they simply don't like to read short stories. A number of reasons are listed: not enough time to develop the plot or be engaged by the character, or they want to invest their energy reading a novel. I've said before and I'll say again that I don't get this attitude. ... It's an art form to write a short story in general, but a mystery story requires greater command of structure and form. So when it works, the payoff is excellent..."

Well said, Ms. Weinman. I have heard the very same comments and yet, I increasingly hear -- which is heartening -- "I don't have the time to invest in a novel. I get interrupted, I put it down, I pick it back up a couple of weeks later. I've forgotten what I've read. I have to start over. I get interrupted..." You get the drift, I'm sure.

This Sunday, on Candace Wiggins, Short and Sweet (a review blog as opposed to the soup to nuts blog here), we (meaning the Royal we) check out some mystery/noir blogs. It's damned hard to find those that meet myriad demands at all, let alone quality ones. Sarah Weinman may agree with me on this, there's a lot of sodding blogs out there! So let's find some.


Short and Sweet

3 Jan

The other blog is up. Weekly bit called CW, Short and Sweet. I think that will help separate and journal more efficiently. THen again, I may totally crash and burn. When one has only so much time, things get sticky, don't they? Everything is smushed together into one generic posting.

Anyway, still doing some of what I am doing there here. But there will again be weekly. This will give me more time, definitely, to 'get it together' and separate the wheat from the bloody chaff. Mmm, yes, just like sinners in the hands of an angry God.


Sunday, January 02, 2005

Kiss Her Goodbye

2 January
May be old news to you but I just ordered "Kiss Her Goodbye" by Al Guthrie. Says it's not available till March. Oh good. That means I will be out of 'busy season'.... "Season in Hell" is more like it.

Soon as this book's in my hands, it will be read and reviewed here.
Dammit, there are just so many shorts and novels out there now. I am never going to be able to do each latest/greatest novel, antho, whathaveyou Johnny on the spot.

But I am going to try and make the greats accessible to the masses.
Al Guthrie certainly fits that bill.


Saturday, January 01, 2005

Next Level, Contest, and What Do We Want?

1 January 2005

Besides personals, which are fascinating to me anyway, The Homeworld is now going to be more streamlined to writing information, etc. An occasional short story by Self and others; reviews; events and -- when I can master the feat -- fotos.

So bear with me as The Homeworld undergoes the first change. Which I am at least giving you the heads up on... but I do intend to update the site monthly or quarterly, at the very least.

Editor and writer Lea Schizas recently asked her online peeps: "What are your goals ((as a writer)) for 2005?" Specifics, she wants. I do give specifics -- I think.

But no, they are not quite specific enough for this scamp's up and comings. (Scamp is totally tongue in cheek. Do you really think I'd give anyone other than me actual space if she or he weren't top of the line in some way?)

As some of you know, I have been struggling with what I call "cracking the code" for CD (Cemetery Dance) for a while. In other words, being published in that particular genre's top-drawer publication. Shortcomings or no, it's established quite a name in the field and it has been going strong and from rather humble beginnings for 15 years. I at least am being told 'Not quite. Please try us again.' So I do -- like a dog returning to its vomit. (First person to name the Bible verse giving us this sickening visual wins a prize!)

I love noir and mystery in general, some in particular, and carry a torch for the horror and SF genre as well. Anything just out of mainstream is where many of us are happiest, and having had my own chequered life experiences, relationships, etc., I understand it as well as the next person. Lookit, I've gone out with guys in the past who may as well have been Klingons, okay? (Thank you, Judy Tenuta.) Not that there's anything wrong with that...

But I digress. Back to Lea Schizas. Or what she started -- Her remarks to me of "Really be specific, word count, who, when what etc etc" at first made me roll my eyes and laugh -- and then I realized, 'No, this is the real thing this time out. Have to get a grip on this.'

What do we want to accomplish this year? How many stories? Do we want agents this year, some of us? A novel? How many words? Etc etc etc. Is this the same old same old tiresome bullshit we all go thru this reflective time of the year? (I promise I will be good. Or at least better.) HA... easier said than done. Wait, maybe I need to write it out on a list. That will help, eh?

Stay tuned. Tomorrow, a short story. And a review.

Oh and by the way. The prize will be cooked up in my witch's brew, courtesy of The House, as soon as I have a winner.