Tagged: writing

Intro to the Darkness

Well, friends, fans and foes, the time has finally come. The time, that is, for me to make the announcement you’ve all been waiting to hear. For like three years. Yes, that’s the one! My fourth novel is finally finished! After you finish celebrating by banging pots together and doing jumping jacks and lighting off fireworks on the back patio, come back and read all about it! I’ll wait!

Okay, you’re back. I hope you didn’t burn your hand or lose any fingers. Or shoot the dog with roman candles. So as you might remember, I was closing in on finishing the novel back in January of 2016. Actually, that’s when I was actually technically finished with all the edits my Ideal Readers Group gave me. That’s literally three years ago. Wow. Anyway, alls I needed to finish at that point was the cover. I just needed to shoot a model wearing a blindfold and edit the file in Photoshop. That’s it! That should not take three years.

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The Legacy of an Antique

I’m not very big into antiques. In fact, I think I don’t much care for them at all. I’ve stopped at antique stores before, and browsed through the old roll-top desks and the antique china cabinets. I’ve seen the old grandfather clocks and the coffee tables that were built back in the early nineteenth century. And I do a whole lot of yawning, but not much else. That stuff just doesn’t do it for me. But I got a phone call yesterday that changed everything.

Well, not everything. That’s just a cool way to close the opening paragraph of a column. It changed something though. My grandmother called, you see. And she’s the last living grandparent I have. She happens to be my dad’s mother. Happens to be. I mean, I guess she happened to be the one to marry my dad’s dad and thus, happened to end up becoming my dad’s mother. Funny how that happens. She actually didn’t even call me. She called my dad. And she had something she wanted to pass down.

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Meet the Author

If you read this site and you’re here right now, this message is for you. I write some books sometimes. I write real good, to. And people are starting to take notice. No seriously though. My buddy Spencer is the director of the public library where I live. And he thinks I write good to. So the library is going to host a Meet the Author night at the library, and I’m the author you get to meet! I know, I know, most of you have already met me. But it would still be fun for you to show up and pretend we haven’t met. You could walk up and shake my hand and act all star-struck and whatnot, and I could introduce myself, and people who don’t know you will think I have a ton of followers who have never met me. Followers who read authors who write real good.

Exciting times though, these are. Spencer will be ordering a large stack of each of my three novels to give away at the signing. Apparently the night will start with my lecturing for a bit about the perils of living in 3D, followed by some advice on being a writer in this here Metropolis and not in LA or New York. You don’t have to live there to write, you see. Following that will be a question answering session. I will be asking the audience a series of questions and seeing how good their answers are, in other words. At least this is my perception of the definition. And then I’ll sign some books. And that will pretty much be it. Well, aside from the after party at the Broken Anchor Pirate’s Pub.

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The Importance of Good Grammar

In the age of self-publishing, and the ease with which anyone can be a writer and publish his/her own work on Amazon and the like, we find ourselves both blessed and cursed. On one hand, it’s great because anyone who’s ever wanted to write can do so. And be heard. On the other, there is no QA for the work.

Listen, I’m not trying to criticize any particular writer here. I’m sure we all have fine stories. And I applaud everyone who self-publishes for seeing it through, for writing terrible drafts and making them better until they finally have a product they feel is ready for readers! That’s the process we all take as writers. My first manuscripts were pretty horrific. But that was because I didn’t know much about storytelling. The grammar, on the other hand, has to be there.

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I almost died in a horse fire.

Fourteen years, guys. FOURTEEN EFFING YEARS this site has been up and running. And that doesn’t include the slash tilde days before I even had a domain name. You know how long that is? That’s long enough to have a child, watch it grow up through the diaper and talking-back phase and hit puberty. That’s long enough to own a dog, watch it grow old and have to put it down. That’s long enough to own several cars. In short, that’s a long ass time.

Maybe you would think that should mean I have a thousand columns on here. Well keep in mind, that during the early days of the site I had up to six writers at a time (including myself) sending in columns for their publication. So I didn’t write every day. But if you count all those columns other writers wrote, and all the columns I trimmed off as being no longer relevant, plus all the four hundred fifty something I have currently, yeah, you get real close to a thousand columns.
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The Bar Harbor Diaries, Vol. 3

What I didn’t consider when I wrote volume two was that it was Memorial Day. I mean, of course I knew it was Memorial Day. But I hadn’t considered that the breweries would be closed. So in short, what this meant was that we could take our time getting to Portland. There was no need to rush to make sure we had plenty of daylight left to hit as many brewhouses as we could. And you know, that worked out after all, because we were able to have a nice leisurely drive back. What should have taken three hours took almost six. And it was completely cool.

Cadillac Mountain was very nice. Gorgeous views. It was a little cold up there, but we had a great experience. Then we sat at Jordan Pond and had a brunch of popovers and lobster rolls with coffee. One of the most excellent brunch experiences of my life, right there. Completely worth the drive, friends. The wind was cool and fresh off the lake, as we sat outside at a picnic table staring out over the water while we ate. So beautiful.

These popovers are apparently the latest craze up there. The bake a muffin until it gets huge and just sort of explodes. So it’s a gigantic muffin that’s hollow on the inside. You put butter and jam on it, and – well, let me back up. You know those spherical scoops of butter they give you in breakfast diners? Yeah, I took that whole thing, sliced a hole in the pop and stuffed the entire butter sphere in it. Then poured the entire cup of jam inside, and sort of mashed it all around. Dear sweet WOW.

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I Saved the Planet, Dudes

Minnesota Chronicles, Vol. 3

No seriously. It has been made clear to me that alls I have to do is leave my towels on the rack instead of the floor, and it will save the planet. Well, friends, I am happy to announce: the planet is SAVED. You can thank me later.

I’ve done many things for you guys over the years, but none of them probably had the impact that this one single event did. I’m just wondering though… instead of printing up this cute little sign and going through all that trouble, couldn’t the person who placed the sign just left the towels on the rack? He could have saved the planet back when he hung the sign. Oh well, it’s really no sweat to me, and I’m happy (and honored) to have gotten the opportunity to perform such a magnanimous, philanthropic detail.

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SpaceBrew Review: Ancient Shores

Ancient Shores
by Jack McDevitt

as posted on Goodreads

This book was like a “wave” at a football game. You know the one where people stand up in turn waving their arms around and it gives the effect that the stadium is an ocean? Yeah. That. Let me explain the analogy.

Well you probably got that it was up and down with the suspense, drama and general kickassery of the story. It was indeed. The gait would pick up and get me real interested, then it would slow back down and even bog down with unnecessary character introductions and irrelevant loose ends. But it also reminded me of a stadium wave because of how imperfect the wave part of the wave actually was.

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SpaceBrew Review: The Windup Girl

The Windup Girl
by Paolo Bacigalupi

I have a lot to say about this book. It was a big book, so it needs a big review. And by big, I mean twenty hours. I listened to it on audiobook, you see. I think Jonathan Davis was a great narrator, but he reads very slowly. He’s very precise with his words, and his pauses between sentences are often pregnant with wait. This probably added several hours throughout the entire book. But it’s also big because Bacigalupi was very liberal with his words. If words cost money, he spared no expense.

It was good. Well written. Mr. Bacigalupi has a way of romanticizing famine and plague, terrible conditions and even rape with such smooth words. They feel like warm honey running over your skin. It’s very easy to latch onto the world, and feel like you’re part of it. His world is a post-apocalyptic version of ours, a couple of hundred years in the future. Not that he ever actually comes out and tells you that, mind you.

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My Science Fiction Fantasy

You know, there are a lot of things in life that get under my skin. So I won’t start this paragraph by telling you there’s nothing that pisses me off more than this one thing. But it does bother me a frightening lot. I mean, most people would think I was being petty and oafish if I complained about it publicly. So I’ll just do it here privately on this here little forum, you see?

So moving along, there are, as I said, many things that bother me. And this is just one of them. I absolutely cannot stand that everywhere you go, Science Fiction and Fantasy are grouped together. Petty? Inane? Shrug. Maybe so. But it really bothers me. Because some people like one or the other, and not both. I, for one, love some science fiction. I like some space opera, which it seems most of the sci-fi genre has moved to, but I really like pretty much anything fictional that involves sciency stuff.

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Bacon Talk: Books and Reading

Welcome back, everyone. Where have you all been? We’ve been right here waiting for you to come read! We don’t like to write something until we know you’re coming. We’re like the Whataburger of websites. We don’t make it ’til you order it. Actually, we’ve just been on sort of a hiatus, since Haycomet got bored of writing, and I lost eight of my fingers in an opossum attack last fall. They finally regenerated though, and I’m ready to write! So without any further ado, let’s get down to today’s Welcome Back Bacon Talk topic, which is Books and Reading!
Now I know I do a lot of both. Well, wait. Okay, one’s a noun and the other’s a verb. I’m still trying to get that straight in my head. Okay, so I have a lot of one and do a lot of the other. There. That’s better. So how about you, Haycomet? Do you have a lot of one? And do you, therefore, do a lot of the other? It does seem that the verb might be dependent on the noun.
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Vincent Hobbes is a Thief

I’m a writer. One might debate how well I perform this craft. Or not. Almost everyone who has read my books has told me they liked them greatly. I say this not in boastful arrogance, but just to say that I do it to the best of my ability, I take it seriously, and I take pride in making it as good as my ability will allow. I’ve written millions of words. A lot of them on this website. If you peruse back through the archives, you will see I have over 450 columns attributed to my name. And most of them are 800 words or more. Not just some quick paragraph about nonsense. Why do I say all this? I don’t know. I think I’m just trying to justify the title I used in the first sentence of my column.

But I don’t need to. Not really. The word writer speaks nothing of the personality of the writing. It doesn’t lend itself to any superlatives or adjectives describing the talent of the human being who takes the title. It only expresses that he or she has set out to perform a task, an effort that takes at least a fair amount of talent or skill, and has thus taken the label.

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SpaceBrew Review: The Wasp Factory

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

I enjoyed this book well. It was far different than anything I’ve ever read – which I’m sure most people who’ve read it will agree with – but not bad at all. If you’ve read any other reviews of this book, you know how violent and gruesome it is with animal cruelty and murder. Some people have said it makes them physically ill and they’re not able to finish it. I didn’t have that problem. I guess I’m desensitized from all my years of working on computers. Anyway, if you can fight through it, just tell yourself it’s fiction. It’s a book and nothing more. I think it’s worth reading.

My writing here will be vague and make references to events without spoiling any of the book. You can safely read my review without fear of losing anything in your reading of the novel.

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SpaceBrew Review: Dooms Day Book

I have so many things to say about this book. I’ve never really read anything like it. I do love time-travel tales. It follows that I love anachronistic situations, people getting stuck in a different time, and – well, just a bunch of bad schlit happening. This book has all that. I also rather enjoy tales set in medieval times, or the Middle Ages, as it were. I’m not, however, big on fantasy. You show me a dragon or a wizard, and I’ll show you how to set down a book so fast you risk injury to the wrist. Alas, this novel had nothing of the sort. This book was more like a National Geographic presentation about the Middle Ages.

I hesitate to say anything about what happens in the book for fear of the spoiler. It seems to be that every other review on the book sort of just expects you to know it though. The thing that perplexes me is that if Connie Willis had expected you to know the preliminary twist, why did she write so deeply into the book trying to add suspense and mystery over it? Why did she not just advertise it on the dust jacket? Well, I don’t know. But assuming you aren’t only going to read one review – my review – of the book, I’m going to have to go with the notion that you probably already know what the book was about, and that huge plot device that seems so carefully hidden by Connie yet so destructively advertised by every other reviewer I’ve seen. Further, if I don’t talk about it, then I really can’t tell you why I thought so highly of this story.

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SpaceBrew Review: Slaughterhouse-Five

I have begun my endeavor to read a series of classic books, so that I can fully appreciate and understand the cultural growth and development the industry and art has undergone. I want to be weller read, to put it bluntly. So I bought the classic masterpiece entitled Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Let me first tell you the accolades that adorn this book’s jacket: it was ranked number 18 on the all-time most influential and best literary works of the last century. One of the best and most important books ever written. So clearly we’re not dealing with a lightweight here. And I also happened to luck into this one, as it just happens to be about time travel. I felt like reading this book would be like killing one bird with two stones! I was excited to curl up by my virtual fire with my new eBook Reader and delve into this imaginary world of time travel and literary prowess.

I should just go ahead and end the review there, because everything great I have to say about the book is just parroting what others have already said. But just like one can say the phrase “nice things about the IRS” no one can actually say nice things about the IRS. Yeah I said those great things about this book. But I was merely quoting. I don’t feel that way myself. And it’s a damn shame. I was so excited to participate in something so grand that so many millions of people have read! But here’s my little secret that I shall now share with you, dear reader: I think most people voted this book five stars because they’ve seen the ratings it already has. And they didn’t get it either. So as not to sound like a moron, or not seem intellectual, or – perhaps even more plausible – not to sound like they don’t ‘get it’, they jumped on the bandwagon. Clearly, ten hundred million people can’t be wrong! You didn’t think the book was a masterpiece? Well, aha! You just don’t get it.

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SpaceBrew Review: The Time Traveler’s Wife

After several years of deliberating and delaying and any other excuses I could find to put it off, I’ve finally finished building my HTPC. To you lay folk out there, that stands for Home Theater Personal Computer. And let me tell you: you need to get yourself one of these bad boys.

Anyway, the point is that since I have finally finished it out, my red-haired wife and I have been watching a lot more movies. And she’s even stayed awake for a few of them. I know, I know, most of what I write on this site is fictitious, but trust me, this is true! And last night she stayed awake through the entire viewing of The Time Traveler’s Wife.

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SpaceBrew Review: From A Buick 8

I’ve told you all before why I like to read Stephen King. Not because of his stories. Most of his stories are pretty unremarkable in and of themselves. I think I might have said before that his stories have all been told before, but that’s not quite accurate either. I can’t think of anyone who’s ever written a story about a car that came alive and ate people. His storylines are pretty original. And some of them are even pretty interesting. But most of them are pretty shrugworthy.

No, I read his books because of his ability to tell the story. And you best believe if I were sitting around a campfire with buddies telling scary stories, I would want him on my left. Welcome, SpaceBrewers, to the first SpaceBrew Review of 2011. It has been a while since I did a book review, so you might want to pop over to my review system page and freshen up on the categories I use to judge.

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SpaceBrew in Hibernation Mode

Good morning, SpaceBrewers! Just a quick note to let you all know that we’re coming into the winter season here at the Brew. It sort of lines up with the winter season the weather patterns follow. But what that means is that we spend less time in front of the computers and more time in front of a fireplace, or wrapped in the stinky, rotting carcass of a Tauntaun.

In the end, and in the interest of sparing you all from minutae and random hogwashical white noise, we will be cutting back our writing to once a week apiece. I’ll be writing on Mondays, Haycomet will write on Wednesdays, and we’ll continue to write our award-winning collaborative column, Bacon Talk, on Fridays. So just basically cutting out Tuesdays and Thursdays gives us, well, something like two days we can relax.

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Retirement Party: This Weekend

So when I heard the news that Brett Farve was finally retiring, I sighed and shook my head, then went to sit on the sofa with a beer. As I was in motion dropping into sitting position, a news flash came on saying he had changed his mind. Again. Now I don’t actually have television service of any kind, and the radio was not on. But a news flash surely did happen, and – well, I just knew he wasn’t really retiring. And now I’m kind of getting a little tired of his Barbra Streisand-like retirement hoopla. Dude, I don’t care how many times you “retire”, you’re only getting one party.

Seriously, how many times can one really ‘retire’ anyway? Take the Eagles, for instance. When Don Henley said, “We’ll get back together when hell freezes over…” everyone believed him. But does anyone believe you can get a snowcone in hell right now? From what I hear they’re touring again, and they’ve even got a new quarterback. Wait. Not that the Eagles. It’s like the ‘in’ thing to do right now is to retire, take a few months off, and come back acting like it’s a whole new gig. Sorry though, Poison. No one wants to hear your new stuff. They only want to hear Unskinny Bop and Talk Dirty to Me.

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Bacon Talk: Nicknames

Hi Space!  How’s it it going?  And hello out there in blogland!  This is yours truly, Haycomet, and I hope all of you have a big plate of meat candy and a cup o’ Joe in hand, because today we are talking about nicknames.

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Bacon Talk: Cell Phones

Good morning, Haycomet. That’s a very nice bonnet you have on! How’s your bacon? I’ve been really enjoying these little Friday-morning Bacon Talk get-togethers. It’s a great way to start the day, and I always know my weekend will get a little bit better jump start.

Well this morning, I’ve been thinking about connectedness… again… And I started getting a little uncomfortable. Again. Yes, every time I think about how connected we are as a society and as a people, I get a little sad inside. And it’s not because I fear technology, but rather, I fear our dependence on it. Gone are the days when I could leave the house without a phone and access to my six email accounts, facebook, my website, my bank account and my stock portfolio. And just being sad or uncomfortable about it doesn’t seem to be enough. It won’t spur me into changing my ways and leaving the house technologically naked. And for good cause, too. I’m expected to be connected for work as well.  So how connected are you?

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Things sure have changed around here.

Welcome back, friends, family and – well, and I guess you too, foes. Welcome to another edition of the Daily Brew. Or at least Weekdaily. Unless I get lazy and don’t write anything, which most of the time, someone else steps up and knocks one out real fast, in which case you don’t (hopefully even notice anyway), wait, where was I going with this? Oh yeah. Welcome back. There’s someone I’d like you to meet.

CatinaThis here is Catina. Say hi to Ca- — wait. Where the hell did she go? Well actually, I’ve never met her, you see. But I’ve known her for almost twelve years. And what makes Catina so important that she should be introduced here? Well, she’s been here a lot, lot longer than you. Catina has been reading this site since 1999.

When Catina started reading the site, it was still Moon’s Crater. That was the first domain name under which we all wrote. And this site has been through many phases, changes, color schemes and domain names. Well, she’s been here through all of it. And I think that’s pretty damn cool.

So what is your earliest memory of the site, Catina?

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End Stupid Construction

As I was driving back from the clinic today, I came across a few things that made me frown a little, tilt my head to the side, wrinkle my nose, and quite possibly quote the phrase that started the now world-famous acronym you all know as WTF. You see, I have to go to the clinic an average of two to three times a week. That’s how bad my genital centipedes have gotten. Oh wait. No, no, you see, I work for a company that has 22 clinics. Phew. Thank God it’s that. So maybe I don’t have genital centipedes after all.

Anyway, as I was driving I saw a couple of things that I thought I should let you guys know about, and see if you have the same reactions I do. Since I’m what some call an ‘intellectual’, and I’m terribly smart, I catch some things most people don’t. For instance, you know those concrete barriers they line up beside highways? They’re about 20 feet long and weigh like 40 tons. Yeah. Well, I thought about something, guys. Before they rebar those things together on the side of the highway, they just leave them all stacked in grids over on the grass, usually near the starting section of where they’re going to install them. I mean, no fence, no guard dog, no security cameras… Dude, we could totally just walk away with a couple of those. And who couldn’t use a twenty-foot concrete barrier to toss in his driveway? See? Told you I was smart, guys.

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A New Forum for Old Taste

I’d like to draw everyone’s attention to the links over there on the right side of your screen. The little orange ones in the box titled ‘Navigate’. If you haven’t noticed, there are two new links there. Stories takes you to the short stories page, which is something I will be concentrating on pretty heavily over the next few weeks. And Forums is a brand new project. I opened up the SpaceBrew forums so people have a — well, a forum in which they can rant, rave or just read. When the comments section of a column isn’t enough, go open a new thread in the forums.

There are two categories right now on the board; one is the Discussion area, and the other is tentatively titled Media. I may or may not keep that one in place. But for now, it’s there. Inside the Discussion, there are three forums. Your Dose of Humanity is the main one. This is a place where you can post a new topic about anything you want, and get your own responses and interaction going. It’s pretty much an open forum to post whatever topics you want. The SpaceBrew Review is a home for site discussion. If you have something to say about a column someone wrote, or about the technical and design aspects of the main website, this is where you post. The third is Your Chance To Shine, which is a place for those who would like to try their hand at writing.

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Here’s To Tradition

Well we did our annual remembrance of Doug Adams on Tuesday night, with a few minor changes. Now the tradition is to setup six pint glasses and fill them all, then you drink them all. Not much to the drinking part. You can slug them if you want, or you can savor them. Either way is fine, because in the book, Ford Prefect slammed his and Arthur Dent sort of just sipped on it. Hell, he didn’t even finish his three before his house got knocked down.

Well we’ve got some new blood in our crew now. Stout and I have been practicing this ritual since the year after Douglas passed away. Well now we have Two-Step and Siege in the group. Two-Step sort of has to be there since she’s my wife and all, and I really sort of don’t like doing anything without her these days. The whole “existing” part of existence gets pretty shitty when she’s not around. And Siege, my newest partner in crime, has decided to become a member of the Brotherhood. Well, that is after we invited him to. Not just anyone can decide to get in, you see. Anyway, yeah, so there you have it. Our two newest members of the group.

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Where-Fi?

I’m sitting here writing this column on Friday night. I will schedule it for publication as soon as I finish it, for Tuesday morning, the 4th of May. Why, you may ask, am I sitting here writing a column on Friday night when I could be out slipping warm ones into garters and Cold Ones down my gullet? Well, like I told you on Friday’s column, I’m in the hospital with my recovering wife. No, that wasn’t a joke. She really did get surgery. No, it wasn’t really a whoopie cushion. But wouldn’t that be bad ass?

She’s doing well, I guess, or as well as well can be after getting gutted like a fish. She just went for her first walk and made it like twenty feet before having to turn around. She’s hurting pretty bad. And I know you guys probably think I’m an asshole for not tying her gown up in the back for her, and – in fact – telling her it was tied in the back. But I just figured I could give a little back to humanity. And that’s a good way to do it. The Hispanic family in the hallway sure appreciated it.

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No More Goodbyes

I promise – no more farewell letters. I do think it’s important to let you all know when I plan to take a hiatus. But if you look back through the history of this site, you’ll find several ‘goodbye, this is it, no more columns’ type columns. It’s getting to be like the little boy who cried. A very relevant imageAm I rite? I have never lost the passion for writing. I just sort of go through seasons. It’s actually quite annoying, because that’s the way I am with all of my hobbies. Camping is conveniently appropriate, because I don’t like to do much camping in the winter. But I find myself going through periods lasting months where I don’t even pick up my guitar.

I do plan on writing some more here. Maybe even frequently. We shall see. I am presently contacting several people I think would fit in well here among the pages of the Brew. I think you’ll be hearing some more from Captain McRight and maybe even Stout. But I’m also lining up some new writers from whom you’ve not yet heard. We’ll see what happens. I’m not counting my wolves yet. We will have some good fresh content up here though, you can take that to the eggs.

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Farewell, old friend.

Yesterday, one of my favorite authors of all time passed away at the age of 66. He had been privately battling cancer. Michael Crichton wrote some of the greatest science fiction stories I’ve ever read, and more times than not, I found myself wondering if they were reports on events that actually happened. The Andromeda Strain and Terminal Man, for instance – both written like essays on actual events – yet, not at the expense of thrill and good storytelling.

In his later years, Michael began politicizing his writing to the point I almost couldn’t stomach the read anymore. State of Fear was one, then Next was really not even worth reading, in my opinion. I don’t want to use this space to bash Michael’s writing, but to say that it was evident he had an agenda. Maybe this explains some of that.

At any rate, he will be remembered well, and missed. I will have to add yet another date to my calendar where I drink a short of scotch in remembrance of someone. Rest in peace, old chap.

Thank God it’s Friday.

No, it hasn’t been a really long week or anything. I haven’t had a series of bad days. I just don’t really like having to get up every morning to go to work. I’m beginning to believe I was duped into this career field. When they told me cleaning and emptying portable toilet systems would be fun and exciting, I believed them. I’m beginning to think differently though. Maybe I need a career change.

We’re going camping this weekend. And by camping, I mean setting up tents and sitting outside getting sweaty and drunk. And by we’re I mean a whole big group of us. Should be fun. I’m bringing my electric grindcoil and Stout is bringing the baby mouse livers. As long as the girls bring their marble guns, we should be all set for a helluva time!

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Faults Advertising

You know how you keep hearing that stupid commercial on the radio from a car salesman saying some shit like, “If you can find a better deal anywhere in Texas, we’ll just give it to ya!”? The very first time I heard it, I caught onto their sly antics. Obviously they’re not going to give you the car. It’s actually scary how wildly proper their grammar is in that sentence. It’s just that America is so dumbed down by now that no one gets it. The subject of that sentence is the word ‘deal’. So when they use the pronoun ‘it’ in the predicate, it refers back to the subject, just like it should. If you can find a better deal anywhere in Texas, they’re just going to give you that deal.

And speaking of grammar, of which I know you’re all so fond… Look at how we write things like Texas’ Best Hot Dogs! And Dallas’ Hottest Titty Bar! It’s not technically improper to put an apostrophe without an additional s at the end of a possessive. But in formal writing, it is highly recommended. Ever hear of Strunk and White? Yeah. They say “Always put an s at the end.” So it should be Texas’s Hottest, or Dallas’s Biggest. And my point in telling you this is that people have for so long been omitting that additional s at the end, that we’ve begun to pronounce it the way it’s written. So when you hear these commercials on the air, it sounds phonetically like this: Come check out Dallas finest set of tits! And yeah, I do have a problem with that.

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And a Happy New Year…

Looks like we made it into another century. I don’t even know what that means. I heard a sports commentator the other night during the football game talking about Testeverde, and how if he played for one more year, he would have played in four centuries. Centuries? Really? Last I checked, that still meant one hundred years. Right? I guess he meant decades. But if Vinnie’s thrown a ball in the 70s, 80s, 90s and these here the oughts, he’s already made that mark. Either way, it cracked me up quite a bit.

We celebrated last night by going over to a buddy’s house and drinking, listening to music and throwing the Frisbee. In the garage. Seriously. While we stood out in the garage with beers and cigarettes in our hands, we started tossing around the Frisbee. It was actually quite entertaining. We made up rules as we went along. “Now you can only use your left hand.” “Now you can only throw over-hand.” Stuff like that. Then we got bored with the Frisbee and nailed up a piece of plywood and began throwing knives at it to see if we could get them to stick. Our parties.

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Meeting another hero.

Remember way back in 2002 when I met Michael Crichton? Well, about two months ago, when I started reading The Plan by Stephen Cannell, I checked out his website and saw he had a book signing coming up, close to home. So I marked it on the calendar. Tonight was that night.

So I rolled up there with Stout and checked out his discussion session about the new book. About twenty people were there in the seats listening as he talked about how he made it in the business. Need credentials? He’s written more shows than I can count. Basically, he’s the fucing man. Anyway, after the discussion, he took one question (the guy asked a question that required a long ass answer, and Stephen warned us it would take a long time, and was real cool about it, then told it…) he started signing books. So I got my book signed, and I asked him, “Is there any way I can send you a book?” He asked what genre it was and whatnot, and said he typically only reads within his genre, and he reads slowly because of his condition (he’s dyslexic) but said yeah, send it on. He loves to read, and said he’ll get to it when he can.

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What, no San Diego Chronicles?

I’ve been in San Diego all week, but haven’t really been inspired to write anything about it. I have been writing like crazy – don’t get me wrong… Just not about this fair city. Or its glorious sleek-bodied women with their midriffs showing and their ample bosoms bouncing as they walk, cell phones attached to their ears, ponytails streaming behind them like banners in a sex mag. I’ve been writing, instead, on my third novel. In the last four days I’ve written almost twenty pages, which – doing the quick math – translates to about twelve thousand words. Good wow.

I’m really liking where it’s going, and though I never get too much in the way of comments from my fantastic readers on my excerpts, I’ve decided to post a bit of this one. This isn’t a terribly important part of the book, it’s just the last few paragraphs I’ve written tonight. So here it is, an official excerpt from Shedding Sadness, my third novel:

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Copperwound Chronicles Vol. 1

People ask me quite frequently “how I come up with this stuff”, referring to my writing – be it music or fiction or otherwise. And the simple answer is, “I just don’t know.” But that’s sort of a copout too. Creative energy is like a good beer. The more you have, the more you want, and the more it keeps flowing. Right through you. At least if you have a small bladder like I do.

I wanted to journal some of the ways I’ve written music though, partly for those who wonder how it happens, and partly so that when they’re nickelbacking it on the radio, I’ll remember how it all came to be.

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Book Update

I’m halfway done with the final readthrough of Resurrecting Mars. My dad read through it and made some notes, some suggestions, and some comments. After a good long discussion, I made some pretty major plot changes that strengthen the tale and make the characters and – well, the plot – more solid.

My theory is that I should be done with the readthrough by Wednesday or so. I hope that’s not too optimistic. But hell, I had originally thought I’d be done by Saturday night with the reading, then I’d spend all day Sunday applying the changes, then Monday morning I’d submit the final copy for press.

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Cast of Characters

Stout and I sat on the balcony overlooking my pool for one or several hours last night. I don’t know why we didn’t get in the pool. Well, probably because we were drinking pretty heavily and it was dark. We came up with some pretty good character assignments for my books, should they ever be made into movies. For those of you who’ve read Midnight’s Park, check this list out and tell me what you think.

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Customer Freaking Service

I’ve something to say today about something that’s very near and dear to me. Well let’s not mince words here, I’m going to rant. I’m going to use very strong language. Language I never use on the site. But I’m so full of rage I can’t see straight, and I think to shave off the language would be to strip the column of its spirit. I’m madder than a mean bull in a – what are those bullfighting things called? In one of those things. This issue about which I want to write is Customer Freaking Service. And yes, those words should always be capitalized. I will attempt to outline the reasons why.

One: Because of the first word, Customer. If I’m a Customer, that means I’m either buying a service or a product from you. I’m not one who is automatically of the opinion that the Customer is always right, but I’m definitely one who believes that the service side of the counter should try to make the Customer happy.

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Goodbye Crater

Greetings friends and family of the Crater…

The Moon’s Crater Network has been alive and prosperous on the web for ten years now. It started as a single page on an AOL account and graduated to a tilde account at a dialup company in Abilene. Upon my discharge from the Air Force, I slid into a position at a web hosting company where I was given a dedicated Proliant 1850 Server with a RAID 5 and a meg pipe to the Internet. All for my own site. I thereby registered spacebrew.com for my humble online home. It’s gone through many changes and has seen many faces over the years. I once even turned it into a Star Wars fan site, though I’ll never publicly admit that. Many writers have come and gone, many columns have been posted and stolen and posted elsewhere. Many visitors came to visit and many memories were made here. During the Crater23 days, the site took more than 2000 unique visitor hits per week. Okay, I’m exaggerating a little bit. But not much.

The site(s) have seen many colors, have spawned many ideas, and have brought about inspiration in many other people to do the same thing. Some of these sites went on to become well known hard-hitters in the industry. Microsoft, Google, Amazon and FatXXX.com come to mind. Some of the writers here went on to pursue their own projects, never to be heard from again. For instance, none of you remember the catastrophe that was stellasite.com. I think I even paid for that domain name.

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A Day With No Turkey

Can you believe it’s been a month and a half since I contributed? Well, I feel worthless. But hey, tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Day! A lot has happened in the last month and a half that I guess you should know about. I got a job (a real one). I work with an old high school buddy of mine now at an IT place doing – well, doing IT stuff. I no longer dread going to work.

The baby has gotten bigger, though it still remains within my wife’s belly. I’ve tried repeatedly to get it to come out and join the world, as we’re no doubt ready for it. All to no avail though, I’m afraid. And we have decided on a name if it be a boy. His name will be Kissel Ramon. Has a touch of class, you know?

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Midnight’s Park is Written

I’m done.

I finished late last night (early this morning). Holy cow, that was a task. I can’t believe it took me that long. All that procrastinating just made me want to keep putting it off. Well, I’m going to try and do better with my next book. Maybe I’ll shoot for three months, so it’ll for sure be ready by winter of 2005.

Standard procedure dictates that I now read over it and make changes to any glaring critical grammatical errors. Strunk and White say to omit needless words, which I do during this phase, and Stephen King says I should end up with 90% of what I have now. Cut the fat. That would be some eighteen pages worth of material. It hurts to cut that much, but it’s good advice. I’ve never seen that much to cut personally – maybe because everything I write is worth keeping, or maybe because I think everything I write is worth keeping. We shall see what happens.

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Midnight’s Park Nears Completion

I’m perilously close to finishing. Aren’t you excited? You should be. I’ll be making the announcement either tonight or tomorrow, which will no doubt trigger a massive celebration. I’ve only about ten or fifteen more pages to write to get the story told. Of course, that’s what I said thirty pages ago. I’ve now written about 170 pages, and have finally covered everything I needed to cover. So it looks for real this time.

Tying up loose ends is possibly the hardest part of writing a book, but also the most enjoyable. You have to read and reread your work so many times to make sure that A) you’re familiar with your work, and B) you cover all your bases. For example, if you say someone did something, and then later in your book you say they didn’t, you’re obviously not familiar with your work. You haven’t read through it enough to check for stuff like that. Like if someone is a smoker, then quits, but later on in the book you say “he crushed out his cigarette with the heel of his black boot.” Well? Is he smoking again, or did you screw up?

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Almost done.

I recently got in touch with an old friend of mine, who is a published author. And since I’ve been actively seeking publication for my first book, she has become a resource. A wealth of information. She’s been writing for over 25 years, and has published some 60 plus books under several different names. So she knows a little about the business. It’s nice to have someone I can ping when I have questions.

If I would get off my lazy butt and hit my book again, I’d be done with it. This is my second book I’m talking about now. I have probably 20 more pages to write to get the story told, but I’ve been too tired and lazy to get in here and work on it. I have these lulls, you know?

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SpaceBrew Review: The Trap

I started reading The Trap by Tabitha King the other night, and immediately had to invoke my Rules of Fairness, Article 15; Column 2; Section 9A, which states that:

When reading a book I must give it a fair chance of being a potential Full Finish. Compliance with this article says the reader shall finish no less than fifty (50) pages of any book to be read unless the eyes combust or turn to acid in the sockets, whereby the reader has the option to either A) rent the book on audio cassette or CD and listen to the rest of it, B) have someone read it to the him, or C) terminate reading immediately and return said book to either the shelf or the dust bin.

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Books

A great light went out this weekend. Douglas Adams died at his home in Santa Barbara on Friday, May 11. He was 49 years young.

He brought us such books as the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and Last Chance to See. All his books were superb. He brought ideas into the world, the likes of which have never been paralleled. He practically invented the Internet back in 1979 in his radio show, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

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