Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Awards Eligibility in the Year of Our Hellscape 2020

This is the year that I did THE THING and watched a bouncing, baby novel scamper out of the presses at Angry Robot Books. It's called "The Light Years," and I am well chuffed about it. AR and I have a deal for the next book (not a sequel) which is coming out in August 2021.

"A long-lost battleship and an arranged marriage may hold the key to faster-than-light travel and humanity’s future in R.W.W. Greene’s debut The Light Years."

"The Light Years" netted a starred review on Booklist, and folks seem to like it. 

Also eligible for some stuff is my short story, "The Build 'Em Tough on Magna Mater," published in Metaphorosis in July 2020. It was inspired by the movie "Footloose" (Kevin Bacon edition). 

And, yeah, I have some survivor's guilt re crowing about my success during a pandemic, but Cat Rambo says it's okay. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

On Writing: A Word Cloud

I made "word clouds" out of pieces from a short story collection I'm working on. The site I used builds the clouds based on how often a word appears in a work. It's interesting to see the character names and themes rise out of the cloud, along with evidence that I use "nodded" way too often in a couple of these.

The Chicken Spot

Monday, November 7, 2016

I am, without doubt, with her

Hillary Clinton has my respect, my support, and, around 6 a.m. tomorrow, she’ll have my vote.
I like Hillary. I met her years ago, and I voted for her in the 2008 Primary. I respect much of what Barack Obama did in office, but I believe Hillary would have done a better job with his first term. She’s scary smart, and, at the time, she had more experience. Obama was not the card-carrying liberal he appeared to be, and Hillary had a better track record on my Lefty issues. When Hillary lost the nomination, I went with the next best choice. I cast my vote for Obama, and it turned out okay. We’re not living in my liberal utopia, yet, but we’ve taken a few, fragile steps in that direction.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Count down the months in #typewriters

I have a butt load of typewriters (butt, in this case, being a cask used to carry ale or the wagon used to carry said cask, not the fleshy mound I sit upon). How many? It depends on who's answering the question.

On a good day, I have 25 or so that work, and maybe a dozen that have good ribbons. By my count, I have two dozen typewriters, but my lovely wife, Brenda Noiseux, insists on counting the machines awaiting repairs and the projects in the wings. So forty typewriters. Maybe fifty. And let's not count the ones I've cleaned up, fixed, and given to students. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

On Writing: Interesting Bit of Research

I was showing my students how to use EBSCO and used “typewriters” (of course) as a search topic. Among other things, EBSCO came up with an article from the Nov. 2016 British Journal of Psychology about a study testing “transcription fluency” (typing speed) against essay-writing skills.  According to the study, “decreased fluency can actually benefit cognitive processing.” The poor typists showed better “lexical sophistication,” sentence complexity, and essay cohesion than the speedy ones. 

It made for an interesting conversation with a few students who insist on typing essays on their phones, with their thumbs, and, as a two- to four-fingered typist, it made me feel somewhat better about myself. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

On Writing: What I learned at Boskone 52

Boskone is a 52-year-old, literary-heavy, science-fiction convention that I’ve been going to for a number of years. It’s a small convention, where you might find Charlie Stross wandering around with a cup of tea or find yourself sharing a bank of urinals with a Hugo winner. The programmers offer a mix of fandom, readings, exploration of themes, comics, hard science, filking, and writing advice. I gravitate to the writing panels, and this is a sampling for what I learned this year.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Typewriters: Life with Typewriters

It does not take long to become known as a “typewriter enthusiast.” A few Tweets, a photo or two, a couple of dozen typewriters in the basement, and you are branded as a technology fetishist
You bring your typewriters into your high-school classroom, and abruptly there is a list of names on the corkboard, each one representing a teen that you’re supposed to be finding a typewriter for. You have placed four this year, with seven to go. Five last year, including one with a Cyrillic keyboard.
Folks try out typers from my collection  at a spring 2014 event at the Currier Museum of Art in Manchester, N.H.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Blues: We Need to Make Our Cops Better

The recent controversy over police use of force brings my reporting days to mind. The first police standoff I covered took place in Gardiner, Maine. It was a chilly, Clinton-era day, and the owner of the house police were surrounding had drunk too much and barricaded himself inside with a gun. He said he would kill himself or shoot anyone who came in, whichever made more sense at the moment. I stood behind the line with other media types and concerned citizens and sipped the bad coffee the Red Cross brings in for such events.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Typewriters: The Queen City's First Type-In

I had no expectations when I loaded thirteen typewriters into my car and made the drive to Cafe la Reine in Manchester, NH for that city’s first Type-In. I had organized the event as part of the Granite State’s “Writers’ Week,” a celebration proclaimed by the governor and set in motion by the New Hampshire Writers’ Project.  The Type-In got some good advance publicity, with multiple Tweets and reTweets, Facebook posts, and a story in the alt-weekly The Hippo. Still, in my mind, I was as prepared to be flooded with type-curious folk as I was to sit idle with lonely typewriters crowded ‘round my feet in search of solace.

The event was slated to start at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 5, and I loaded everything in at 5. By 5:15 two happy people were banging away -- one on a Olivetti Lettera 33 with script font, the other on a Royal 10 with a purple ink ribbon. More typers followed.

Soon, the little coffee shop was full of the sounds of typing. Some typers knew about the event in advance, others I seduced with the nifty machines and my paper mache pig full of writing prompts. I’d written up a quick guide to life with typewriters and handed out most of the copies I’d made. 
One woman sat down at my Olympia SM4 (also with cursive font) and didn’t leave until she had finished whatever writing project she was banging out. 

Another woman wrote several drafts of a letter, using a black pen to add the Spanish-language accent marks that the Olivetti she was working on did not offer.

Overall, it was a good time. And I have requests to do more …

P.S. My thanks to my wonderful spouse for taking the photos.
The author checks out his typing stock the night before the Type-In.

Friday, December 5, 2014

On Writing: Words to Write By

Ursula K. Le Guin, while accepting her Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, at the 2014 National Book Awards:

"I think hard times are coming, when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies, to other ways of being. And even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom: poets, visionaries—the realists of a larger reality. Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. The profit motive is often in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable; so did the divine right of kings. … Power can be resisted and changed by human beings; resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art—the art of words. I’ve had a long career and a good one, in good company, and here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. … The name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom."