Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Friday, January 30, 2009


Short Stories:

Memory Analog - Chiaroscuro Winter 2004
A Walking of Crows - Electric Velocipede 10
The Song - Interzone 204
Distro - Interzone 206
Toke - Interzone 210
The Algorithm - Interzone 212
A Soul Stitched to Iron - Solaris Book of New Science Fiction 3 (out March 2009)


Heart of Veridon - Solaris (out October 2009)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New book

I just received my copies of the Solaris Book of New SF 3 in the mail today. I didn't expect to see that until next month sometime. Amazon has two different laydown dates for it; Feb 24 and Mar 2. On one of those days, this book will be available in your local bookstore. You should buy it.

I am Krador, son of Kroth, and I am the Avenger of Time!

I feel this occasional need to write a big, fat fantasy epic. Dragons and fallen gods and warriors pouring through the breech. I don't know why I should feel bad about that. My first experiences with the genre were basic fantasy. I tore through Tolkien and Lewis and MacDonald, read Brooks and McCafferey (which I count as fantasy, even though it was later revealed to be SF) and the like. I went through a stage where I was reading purely fantasy, and writing purely SF. At some point science fiction gained some traction in my mind and took over, and I transitioned to Laumer and Saberhagen (both his fantasy and science fiction) though this time really served as a buffer between my young mind and my more adult personality. The next stage was Gibson, ah Gibson, and that sent me in a whole new direction. I put milSF behind me, and high fantasy way behind me. It was at this point that I got serious about RPGs too, and spent a lot of my creative energy on White Wolf products.

But fantasy stayed with me, at various bandwidths. I kept a casual game of Middle Earth RP going all through college, and then started playing with my wife's D&D group a while later. And now I'm playing WoW, and I'd just like to point out that there are 11 million people playing this game. I've been reading more fantasy, too. Anyway. It's going to happen someday. I've got some notes, even the beginnings of a chapter.

I should note that the first book I ever wrote, and this was in 7th grade so I'm not sure it counts, but the first time I sat down and said "I'm going to write a book" it was this horrible thing about the three swords of time and an invasion by dragons and there were airships and the climatic scene ended with the hero throwing the Sword of Eternity (which was the result of the magical re-forging of the original three swords) across a battlefield and into the skull of the Dragon King. It was called Elf Wars. There were no elves.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

It's funny to me, at least

It seems that when I'm in my best moods, that's when people confront me and ask why I'm being such a dick to them. So I guess depressed Tim is polite and withdrawn, and happy Tim doesn't have time for your stupid questions. I guess that's what happens. Whereas if you're actually my friend, depressed Tim is horrible to be around, and happy Tim likes to dance.

Anyway. Carry on.

For the Horde!

I should be able to manage better than once a week, here. I don't, but you would think that I would. Anyway.

I've mentioned job frustrations in the past. One of the things that still bugs me is that they've created a corporate face for the company that really doesn't know anything about the business. The people our clients talk to consistently give out inaccurate or misleading information. They're also very good at not being in the office, or in a meeting, or just not taking calls. I've had a number of customers express frustration with this. And you know what? It's not my problem. I just type and run routines and answer the phone.

I should point out that I'm really in a pretty good mood. I don't let these things get me down anymore. Maybe it ends the company, maybe we hemorrhage customers until we're dry. Maybe that happens. And I'll grant that that might make my life a little more difficult, but I'm not going to be bothered by that. I'll find a way. I always do. And hey, when it's slow as hell I have plenty of time to write the second book, and read WoW faqs.

And update my blog, apparently.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

You wouldn't even have to make it addictive

You know what industry is pretty much recession proof? Toothpaste. It's not like people are going to stop brushing their teeth. It'd have to be extremely bad for folks to even try to consciously use *less* toothpaste. There's not a lot of room for growth, though. You can steal other toothpaste manufacturer's customers, but you can't really turn non-customers into customers. I suppose you could develop a toothpaste that canceled out the effects of The Pill, added latex-dissolving properties to semen, and made you really horny. That way you'd at least be making *new* customers for your line of toothpaste products. Still. I have to imagine there would be some liability there.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Social contracts

It's become ludicrously cold out there. Tonight's low is supposed to be -12, and tomorrow's high is -2. I know that's not so bad for you folks from Alberta, but I'm feeling it. And today was one of those days where I wish I could have called in Snow Day. The roads weren't horrible, and the only people I saw having trouble were the people who were driving as if it wasn't snowing. Which was tricky, because it was snowing.

The thing that bothers me about these days, though, is the conversation. I hate people asking me if it's cold enough. I hate jokes about how cold it is, I hate being asked if I'm staying warm in that ironic, sly manner people have. This is what passes for humor. This is what we do when we have nothing in common, and our lives are basically boring, and I'm making you nervous. And your laughter, that ridiculous, dishonest, filling in the gaps of your empty life laughter... I can't stand that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I'm grinding wordcount

The weather forecast for today was apocalyptic. Whiteout conditions, heavy snow, windchills well below zero. When we went to bed last night they were already reading a list of school closings. I worked ahead yesterday, did all my work for today as well as most of the work for my co-employee, just so I'd be able to call in Snow Day if it was too bad. Hell, I was counting on sleeping in. So yeah, we got snow, but certainly not the dire conditions that were called for. Certainly nothing that justified showing up late, much less not showing up at all.

So here I am at work. There's nothing to do. I'm on tomorrow's work (just got a rush that's due by noon!) and tomorrow was looking like a light day anyway. I hope it picks up.

I've done two things to address my writing productivity. First, I've changed my daily quota from one thousand words down to eight hundred words. Write eight hundred words every day, and you'll get a novel in one hundred days. Well, longer, since HoV was around 92k words, but you get the idea. Secondly, I've been stopping each night's work pretty much mid-sentence. Used to be I'd work to a section break, or at least a scene break, and each night I'd spend some amount of time kickstarting the writing process, trying to decide how I wanted to approach and shape the next section. Now I just sit down and write the next word. By the time I get to the section break I'm already on a roll and it's just a matter of keeping at it.

This is working. Each night's writing hasn't taken more than twenty minutes so far. I was a little intimidated at first by the prospect of starting a whole new book from scratch, but I've remembered that I know these characters, I know these places, and I know how to make them do interesting things. So it's settling down.

Some thoughts on World of Warcraft. I'm enjoying it, sure, and I understand how it could be all consuming. I don't think that's going to be a problem for me. There's no narrative context. I mean, there's some, but not in the same way as a game like Final Fantasy. I don't get quite the same thrill out of finding new places or meeting new people. Mission accomplishment isn't as fulfilling as working through the storyline in something like FFVII. I don't have the same sense of connection with my character, or the characters I'm playing with. Which is ironic, since the characters you play with in FF aren't real people. They're too interesting to be real people, let's be honest.

Anyway. I do like leveling. And I have a pet!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cover Art

Solaris has posted the cover for my book, along with a publication date in October. I'm... uh. Quite pleased! This is a good way to start a good week.

Heart of Veridon!

Also? My name is huge.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Like green peppers, not peppercorn. Different meal.

I enjoy calling my mom for recipes. It does her good, and it does me good, too. She's a pretty good cook in that purely traditional mode that most mothers fulfill. Nothing spectacular, but solid food. I was planning on making pepper steak last night because I hadn't had it in a while. I went out and bought everything I felt should go in, then read through a bunch of recipes but couldn't find anything that really grabbed me. So I called my mom and got her recipe. Surprisingly I had accurately remembered most of the product. I bought too few onions, too many peppers. Didn't get tomatoes because, honestly, even though I've eaten that dish a thousand times at home I never remember there being tomatoes in it. I guess I don't like it with tomatoes.

And it was good. There are things I want to add to it. Maybe some crushed cashews. Probably more garlic, maybe shallots. It needs a broader range of flavor. But it was a good meal, and my mom was happy to talk food with her son.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The girl in the hood

Morning exercises -

We stood there, staring at the car. Lexus, new enough to be nice, but not nice. Its colors were faded, the trim and paneling washed out. It sat heavy on its tires. Water leaked from the doors and ran in rivers from out of the engine compartment. The windows were fogged. When the door opened a small flood of murky water spilled out onto the hot Arizona pavement. He was a business man, silk suit, brown shoes that squelched out greenish pond water when he stood. His skin sagged across his strong frame. Black blood was smeared across his belly, dried in tar-stiff lines down his pants and across one sleeve of his suit. There was a hole in his stomach, plugged with black creek mud. His mouth was sewn shut. Water poured out around the rough stitching; thick, algae-choked water. He was carrying a tire iron, hanging loosely in his hand. The end was sticky with blood.

I turned to the girl and pulled the frayed hood on her sweatshirt up over the tiny antlers poking out of her ginger hair.

-Get inside
-I think that's the guy...
-It's the guy. Get inside. If you hear the door open, or any of the windows, go out the back. Just keep running.

He was coming up the sidewalk. I could smell him, a smell like the rotting forest floor. The tiny iron anchor I always wore under my shirt went cold. I shoved the girl inside.

-Just keep running. I'll find you.

She looked at me with wide eyes, scared eyes, her hand held up to her mouth. My clothes were too baggy on her, the hems of the pants loose around her bare feet. I pointed inside and she went, disappearing into the hot air of the kitchen. I turned back to the street.

He was looking at me, and his eyes were ocean-black and cold. Condensation was building up on the flaking white paint of the porch rail, and the clear glass of beer on the table had gone dark with sediment.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Slow days at the office, and my chair is stiff.

I was going to do a big end of year post, about the things that have passed us by, the things we have yet to see. Etc. But I couldn't get up for it, so I didn't try. That's the best thing I can say about 08, I suppose. Sometimes I knew when to quit.

That's bullshit, of course. It was a great year. I've just never been very good at picking out the good bits. Anyway.

I did finally start on book two. Building up to that momentum point, where I'm sitting down every night and producing a thousand words of usable text, that's going to take some effort. But I managed on Tuesday, and I'm going to try some more this weekend. And maybe in a week or two I'll be moving smoothly again. I've abandoned the whole "Hand written first draft" thing for now. Too many words to write in too short a time. I need to be more efficient. Affectations must die.

I used to be one of those guys who never got down. Serious things would happen, and I'd move on. I don't really know what happened. But I'm going to get back there.