Thursday, June 28, 2007

My One and Only Paris Hilton Post

I'm sick of this creature.


Maybe I'm not sick of Paris Hilton. I've never met the girl. But I am heartily sick of seeing her face everywhere. The insane degree of media coverage leaves me thinking that either the American public has an insatiable need for celebrity minutiae, such that collectively we are absolutely the worst busybodies-without-lives in the history of our species, or the media collectively thinks that we have that need-- which, in a way, is worse.

So that is it. I'm writing to all of these "news" shows and asking them to stop with the Paris coverage. She isn't important. And talking about her is a waste of time. If you are reading this, please help. Send email to all of these shows-- whichever ones you like-- and ask them to knock it off. Ask them for real news. Ask them not to waste our time and congest our consciousness with the most meaningless trivia about a very meaningless person on this planet.

If we do-- all of us-- maybe we can turn our attention to things that are more meaningful. Take your pick, as long as it isn't Paris Hilton.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Some Favorite Interviews, Pt 1

I did a lot of comics-related journalism back in my day. It started in 1988, with an offer from COMICS SCENE magazine (well, from editor Dan Dickholtz, my best buddy from college) to write a short article on the comic adaptation of Harold Coyle's WWIII-themed book TEAM YANKEE. The comic was to be written by David Drake, who became a star with combat sf titles (primarily the HAMMER'S SLAMMERS series).

Getting the assignment sheet, I interviewed Drake, wrote up the review... and what do you know, it got published--my first article for a national magazine. Mom was very proud.

A whole lot of interviews followed after that. I think the single best one was interviewing Archie Goodwin about his Wolverine arc with John Byrne. He was one of the nicest guys I've ever interviewed. We met in his office, chatted about a few things and wrapped up the interview very handily. It was a great piece and Marvel's Steve Saffel (hey, Steve!) provided us with terrific Byrne art to accompany the article. (Steve is now a freelance editor and one heck of a guy as well.)

A great interview that led to getting work was with Steve Jackson. I wrote an article about roleplaying games for STARLOG, having been a roleplayer since about 1978, and Steve was one of the subjects of the interview. He was generous with his time and followed up my mentioning an interest in writing by sending me a copy of a GURPS supplement, which he had inscribed "Now start writing!" I wrote GURPS: Magic Items 2 for him in 1990, earning a professional credit that helped me get work with TSR, but my work showed a lot of rookie mistakes (and some rushed lack-of-polish), which left Steve disinclined to work with me again. I don't believe there's any ill will on any part, and who knows? If I get my act together as a writer, I may end up writing for him again one day.

In the next installment, I'll describe how I made a total fool of myself when I first met Isaac Asimov.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Gulf Coast Adventure

Hey everyone!
Kat and I just got back from a terrific four-day weekend trip to Gulfport. We went to see my mom, who celebrated her 77th birthday on Saturday.
While we were there, we:

  • had Mom's fried chicken, which is absolutely delicious;
  • toured the Coast from "bridge to bridge" (that is, from the Ocean Springs bridge in Biloxi, currently being rebuilt, to the Bay St. Louis bridge in Pass Christian, which has two lanes open but is still being rebuilt) and saw... lots and lots and lots of empty lots;
  • had lunch at Harbour View (which is a cute name but entirely inappropriate--it's at least a full mile inland);
  • got together with Mom's closest friends and my Uncle Dick, Aunt Mary and cousin Debra to have a birthday party for Mom;
  • went out on a yacht all day Saturday (courtesy of Ruth, Renee and Drew A.) to Ship Island--saw manta rays (or maybe stingrays), swimming crabs, jellyfish... and a large pod (or two) of porpoises, two of whom "surfed" in our bow wave halfway back to Gulfport;
  • effected a rescue at sea for a boat that had broken down a few miles out;
  • had dinner with Dick, Mary and Debra (Kat absolutely LOVED all the Southern cooking!);
  • attended church with Mom (I sang a duet with her-- On Eagle's Wings);
  • dropped by Dad's grave, as well as Jerry, Maman and Papaw's;
  • went to Wal-Mart and got CFLs, which we used to replace all of Mom's lightbulbs; and
  • said farewell before hopping a (delayed) flight to Atlanta for a harrowing run to make our connection and then getting home around 12:40.


We took a LOT of pictures, including Mom's wacky pets (Barney, Henery and Tess), and Kat will be putting them online. As soon as we have a URL, it'll be posted here.

Hope you're all doing great and that you'll stop back to see some pictures!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Upcoming Projects

Hey everybody!
There's always a lot going on-- Bugle's Planet Daily, f'r instance-- but I'm also revving myself up to do a big project. Most of you know I've been a writer (and got paid for it!) since 1986... but I've never gotten very far writing a novel.
Well, I'm working on it now.
My deadline is World Fantasy (November), and I'll be turning in a finished novel of 60k words by then.
The protagonist's name is Dexter Knight and he's a 12-year old who's just starting to realize how different he is. He's got some big challenges ahead, not to mention solving some family problems with very major implications for his hometown.
Gonna be working on it as much as I can, but I know I'm a pretty fast writer-- with luck, I can hammer out two drafts before the deadline.
If I post only once or twice a week, you'll know why. In the meantime, I'll post bits and pieces from the book as I get them done. Read 'em and let me know what you think!
I'm also hoping to wrap up a short story I started a couple months ago, which has grown into a sprawling story that's way bigger than I expected. It's "The Gray Cloud of Somber" and I'll post that here once it's finished.
Take care and be well!

Monday, June 11, 2007

What's Goin' On?

Hey everyone,
It's been a great week in many ways. The Bugle's Planet Daily blog launched last week and has been doing very well-- I've got tons of posts in our inventory, which means readers will be eyeballing my stuff for the next few weeks unless our contributors start cranking.

Saw "Knocked Up" with Kat yesterday, then wandered the streets of Old Town Alexandria, mostly thinking about having kids and being a parent. It's in the cards, just a matter of when, not if. The movie's good but goes to places that left me thinking "okay, a little TOO far..." Worth seeing but not necessarily owning, if you know what I mean.

Kat and I are going to visit my mom in Gulfport in a couple of weeks, which will be terrific. Last time I was there was just after Katrina and it was heartbreaking-- imagine your old hometown torn to pieces and a lot of your familiar childhood touchstones gone. Supposedly there's rebuilding going on but it'll never be like it was. But Kat will get to see the place and Mom's very excited. Should be a great visit.

Kat's also going to Philly this week to spend her brother's 21st birthday with him and her cousins. Those wacky kids. I know they'll have a fun time together. Meanwhile, I'll be at home writing.

Check out the BPD, love the one you're with and have a great week!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Bugle's Planet Daily- a Must-Read

Hey everyone, check out Bugle's Planet Daily RIGHT THIS SECOND! It's the best thing on the web. Sure, I helped create it but that has absolutely nothing to do with my impartial and unbiased claim that it is BETTER THAN ANYTHING YOU WILL EVER READ IN YOUR LIFE.

Just check it out. See if I'm lying. The Question wants you to.