FF: Mystery into Myth

December 8, 2017

I’ve shifted my audiobooks from classic mysteries to less-than-classic mythology courtesy of Rick Riordan.  One of the great things about visiting a bookstore is being reminded of series you’ve enjoyed and forgotten to check for new installments.  I saw these when I was at Page One Books over Thanksgiving weekend, and immediately put them on my list.

Persephone Reads Through Wolf’s Eyes

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffry Archer.  Audiobook.  Scammers scam.  If you wonder at the author’s sympathy with trickster types, a look at his biography is insightful.

The Hidden Oracle: The Trials of Apollo, Book One by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  I’ll definitely be listening to the next one.

In Progress:

Quillifer by Walter Jon Williams.  Intrigue upon intrigue uncoils.

The Sword of Summer: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, Book One by Rick Riordan.  Audiobook.  A re-listen, since it’s been a while and I finally realized that the second one has been out and available for quite a while.

Also:

I’ve finished my re-read of Through Wolf’s Eyes, and am currently proofing my forthcoming novel, Asphodel.

Advertisements

TT: Typing the Stereo

December 7, 2017

JANE: Last week you teased me with the promise of a tale about something that happened to you at a party many years ago.  Ready to tell?

Ursula Vernon: Stereotypical Writer?

ALAN: Yes indeed. A group of us were gathered together chatting. After a while it dawned on us that:

  1. We were all men
  2.  We were standing in the kitchen
  3.  We were swapping recipes

We discussed this for a time, and the only logical conclusion we could reach was that clearly all the women must be in the lounge watching rugby on the television. No other explanation was possible.

This story still makes me smile because really it’s a joke about stereotypes, and I enjoy the irony.

JANE: When did this happen?

ALAN: Probably about thirty years ago.

JANE: So, roughly 1987.  Hmm…  Yeah.  That would still have been a time when women watching rugby (or here American football) and men discussing recipes would have been a violation of the stereotypes.

I think that – at least here – the situation has changed.  Among my male writer friends, many are excellent cooks.  Steve (S.M.) Stirling makes wonderful bread and ebullient salads.  Walter Jon Williams is a gourmet chef.  When time permits, David Weber does much of his family’s cooking.  George R.R. Martin and I once competed over who makes the best meatloaf.  And so on…  No one would find it all odd to find the men in the kitchen and the women not.

That’s one of the things that’s fascinating about stereotypes – how they change over the course of time.

ALAN: But that change, while it is a very real thing, is not always accepted by some groups, sometimes to the extent that invocations of the stereotype can start to seem eccentric or perhaps even offensive.

For example, I get quite irritated when Mother’s Day rolls around and the television is overwhelmed with adverts for kitchen gifts. And on Father’s Day we get wall to wall adverts for power tools. Advertisers seem to be locked in to models of society (and gender behaviour) that haven’t been true for a generation or more – if indeed they were ever completely true in the first place.

It seems to me that sometimes the movers and shakers are quite blind to what is going on all around them.

JANE: Too true!  I like to tease Jim about those Father’s Day ads, ask him if he needs beer can cozies or a new item of grilling paraphernalia.  For some reason he always turns me down.

ALAN: But what about our own areas of expertise? I spent my working life playing with computers, a field that is rife with stereotypical assumptions. You have been closely involved with writers and writing. Let’s start with you. Are there any stereotypes about writers?

JANE: There absolutely are.

Many years ago, a common author photo featured the author either holding or smoking a pipe, with a dog sitting nearby.  Roger told me about an author – I wish I could remember who – who posed for his photo with the dog “smoking” the pipe.

That wouldn’t be as funny without the stereotype.

ALAN: Are there any special expectations for women writers?

JANE: Cats and tea…  As a devoted black coffee drinker, I sometimes feel ostracized.  (Not really.)  At least I have the cats.

I had an odd insight into wardrobe expectations for authors when Ursula Vernon – author of many books, including Castle Hangnail, as well as the “Hamster Princess” and “Dragonbreath” series – was here for Bubonicon.   I complimented her on a top she was wearing.  She said that it was part of her “kid’s book author wardrobe.”  I asked her what she meant and she explained that authors of books for kids are assigned uniforms.  In her case this meant:

“Flowing batik and large chunky necklaces. Colorful scarves. Teachers and organizers usually expect that a children’s book author looks like a well-heeled hippie or a high school art teacher.”

ALAN: Even the men?

JANE: Let me ask her.  Hang on…

Ursula said: “Male children’s book authors are allowed to dress like all other authors–i.e. sport coat over jeans.”

ALAN: That’s a relief.

JANE: There’s an interesting reason why Ursula Vernon adopted the “well-heeled hippie” look.   Apparently, her mother, whom she strongly resembles, already was using the high school art teacher wardrobe, so it was go hippie or be taken for her mom.

So, you see, authors do face stereotypes in many areas.

ALAN: And don’t forget that you have to starve in a garret…

JANE: That last isn’t as funny as it may sound.  I’ve known many an author who has refused to learn how to manage money or live on a budget – or even do something as sensible as learn how to understand a contract before signing it.  “Real” authors are supposed to be above such mundane considerations.

Stereotypes can be very damaging when they give people the excuse to be dumb.

ALAN: There’s a stereotype about the readers of blogs that says the audience won’t read anything longer than 800 words.  Since we’ve already exceeded that, perhaps I should talk about stereotypical computer people next time?

So It Goes

December 6, 2017

Earlier this year, I noted that there might be times when the Wednesday Wanderings would be shorter than usual.

Writing Pens Dry

To my surprise, despite having met a lot of my aspirations – including producing new editions of my out-of-print novels Smoke and Mirrors and When the Gods Are Silent as ebooks; writing 150,000 words on a rough draft of a new novel/novels; starting a new Firekeeper novel, and writing some new short fiction – I’ve usually managed to write a fairly long Wednesday Wanderings piece.

However, I have a lot going on right now.  I’m working on the final production stages of my forthcoming novel Asphodel; doing cover art and proofing for the new e-book editions of the original Firekeeper novels (which will include short original essays on some of the aspects of my writing the series); and, of course, writing new material on c.

So this is going to be one of those weeks where the Wednesday Wanderings are brief because, while my life is intense, events of late don’t make for great anecdotes.

I encourage you to send me questions about what you’d enjoy hearing about over the next few weeks.  I always enjoy answering questions.

Now, off to find the purple spiral notebook in which I’ve been writing the new Firekeeper novel (working title: Wolf’s Search) and start scribbling!

FF: Welcome to December!

December 1, 2017

As December wanders in, I’m adjusting my schedule to include holiday preparation, but still finding time to read.

Ogapoge Examines Quillifer

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

And Four to Go by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.  Four short stories.

FairyTail by Hiro Mashima.  Manga Issues 15 -18.

Homicide Trinity by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.  Three short stories.

In Progress:

Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less by Jeffry Archer.  Audiobook.  I read this in college, and find it holds up pretty well all these years later.

Quillifer by Walter Jon Williams.

Also:

Temporarily postponed finishing The Crown Jewels by Walter Jon Williams because I started his new novel, Quillifer, instead.

Re-read of the Firekeeper Saga.  I’m about halfway into Through Wolf’s Eyes.

TT: Cooking Disasters!

November 30, 2017

JANE: We’ve been cheerfully chattering about cooking for several weeks now.  Your mention last week of your friend Ian and his companion stew, Albert, reminded me that we haven’t discussed a very important aspect of cooking…

When It All Goes Bad!

That is those times when Things Go Wrong.  By this, I don’t mean the sort of routine problems every cook has to deal with – a kettle boiling over or something burning – but those mishaps that you remember long after they’re over.

ALAN: There used to be a TV cooking show called Floyd on Food which I enjoyed watching. One day the host, Keith Floyd, cooked some dish or other and the programme closed with him and his guests noshing away on the result. The next programme opened with him saying what a failure the dish had been and how horrible it tasted and weren’t his guests nice and polite to put on such a brave face as they ate it. He explained all the things he’d done wrong, and then he cooked it again, properly this time! I admired his bravery. We’ve all had dishes that failed, but very few of us have failed in front of a worldwide audience of umpteen million people…

JANE: That’s a great story!  Here’s one of mine.

Many years ago, my mom decided we were going to learn to make donuts.  This went very well.  We made cake donuts and fluffy yeast donuts and even filled donuts.  In fact, our excursion into making donuts went so well that, sometime later, my sister Ann and I decided we’d make donuts without Mom’s supervision.

Because we’d liked the filled donuts, we decided on these.  I’m not sure what we did wrong but instead of magically puffing out after being dunked in the hot oil, our jelly donuts sunk to the bottom and lurked there. We fished them out and set them to drain.  Then, because they smelled good, we dusted them with powdered sugar and tried them.

They weren’t bad, so we dubbed them “Strangelings,”because they certainly weren’t donuts. They were small, so we ate quite a few of them.  This then led to a sugar rush of cosmic proportions.  I still remember feeling slightly out-of-body.

Your turn!

ALAN: The choice of ingredients has a lot to do with the success or failure of a dish. After I left university and got my first job I was, to put it mildly, very poor. I chose the food I bought purely on the basis of price. One day the supermarket was selling something called pig melts and the price was so low that they were practically paying me to take it away! I had no idea what a melt was, but the price was right.

I had a melt for tea that evening. Never have I experienced anything quite so foul. My teeth rebounded off the rubbery meat and an indescribable nastiness filled the whole of my head. Pig melts failed both the taste and texture tests, and I threw the whole lot away.

After a lot of research, I finally tracked melts down in (I think) Larousse Gastronomique. A melt is a spleen… I have no idea what function a spleen performs in a body. But whatever it spends its day doing definitely leaves a nasty aftertaste.

JANE: Urrgh…

Not all cooking disasters come from ingredients or cooking techniques.  Sometimes familiarity breeds disaster.

A dish I make regularly is a version of nasi goreng.  The recipe came to me via Kathy, one of my college roommates,  who had it in turn via her best friend from high school whose family was, if I remember correctly, from India.  Over time, I discovered that not only does this version of nasi goreng make a good meal, it both freezes well and travels well.  That means it’s a natural both for making meals in advance, and for bringing to potluck dinners.

One time when I was going to take some to a potluck, I looked at my recipe and worried there wouldn’t be enough, so I decided to double it.  I set it to cook.  The rice absorbed broth and expanded, and I suddenly realized that my Dutch oven (which holds five quarts) wasn’t going to be large enough.

Happily, I have a truly enormous soup kettle that was Jim’s grandmother’s.  I managed to transfer the whole bubbling mass over.  I then added a note to my recipe saying “Do NOT double!  Already doubled.”

Later, after I made nasi goreng for a dinner party at my own home and it was a hit, someone asked if she could copy the recipe.  She started giggling madly when she saw my note.

What other sorts of cooking disasters have you had?

ALAN: Sometimes even when the dish is perfect, the social situation can deteriorate rapidly if you serve it thoughtlessly… I rather enjoy both rabbit meat and venison and, on the grounds that what people don’t know won’t hurt them, I have sometimes served these at dinner parties, usually with great success. But I learned the hard way that when someone asks you what the yummy meat is, it is counterproductive to say “Fluffy bunny” or “Bambi”. The atmosphere grows chill, people aren’t hungry anymore and they sometimes leave early. So these days I’m much more literal.

JANE: As in what?  Saying venison and rabbit?  Or more general “game.”

ALAN: Rabbit and venison, though I have been known to say cervena instead of venison when I’m feeling pompous. I like to be specific.

JANE: My mother never hid what we were eating behind fancy names.  We didn’t eat “escargot,” we ate “snails.”  We didn’t eat “calamari,” we ate squid.  However, despite this, I’ll admit finding it off-putting when my great-uncle proudly declared we’d be eating “Moo-Cow” – the pet calf we’d met and patted earlier that summer.

ALAN: Shades of Alice Through the Looking Glass when the Red Queen refused to let Alice carve the leg of mutton she’d just been introduced to.

You know, our discussion about cooking has reminded me of something that happened to me at a party many years ago. How about I tell you about it next time?

Real and Imaginary Friends

November 29, 2017

This past week was crazy-busy, what with fitting in getting ready for Thanksgiving between writing (both fiction and non-fiction), and proofing.  I planned to give myself a full four-day weekend, but then a funny thing happened.

Constructing a Wizard’s Museum

Thursday I woke up in the night.  As I was drifting off again, I heard Blind Seer (a character from the “Firekeeper Saga”) talking in my head.  The only way I could keep him from repeating the same phrases over and over again was to promise him (or myself) that I would make time to write on Friday.

So I did.  This meant giving up doing yard work (which I like) on an absolutely lovely day, but… Well, as those of you who know the series are aware, Blind Seer is a very large wolf and can be very persistent if he chooses.

One of the tougher things I find about being a full-time, self-employed writer is balancing work time and play time.  Achieving this balance is more important than it may seem because, if I don’t take play time, my subconscious tends to fizzle up on me.  Making finding a balance a bit harder, at least some of this play time needs to be creative.  Watching television or even reading doesn’t always provide the necessary oomph.

The answer would seem obvious, right?  Schedule in play time.  Well, as with most obvious solutions, it’s not that easy.

As I explained to the prosecuting counsel when I was called for jury duty a few months back, if I don’t work, nothing gets done: business or writing.  I don’t have an assistant.  (Although my friend Julie Bartel, forever blessings on her head, helps me with my Facebook page.)  You’d be amazed at how many full-time, high profile writers have one or more assistants who handle not only routine business, but also more writerly jobs like proofing or reviewing copy edits.

Others have a non-employed spouse who handles the routine house running chores.  I don’t have that either.  Jim is an excellent partner who does his share, but he’s not at my disposal.

By the end of a typical day, even when I’ve anticipated having some time to listen to an audiobook and do some sort of craft project, I’m often too beat.  And when this happens too often, burnout starts wavering on the horizon.

Making matters worse, if I don’t make time to write as well as doing proofing and such, I become a person that I don’t like living with…  So clearing my desk of routine matters first to give myself “time to write” is also a strategy that doesn’t work.

So this weekend, I made sure to replenish my creative batteries by not writing (except on Friday).  I did manage a little craft time.  In addition to having folks over for Thanksgiving, we made time to see friends other days.

On Friday, our friend Michael Wester came over.  In addition to introducing him to the joy of throwing atlatl darts, we viewed some of Jim’s slides from a long-ago archeological project. Then we played a round of a very amusing tabletop game called The Wizard’s Museum.  I lost, but I had fun.

On Saturday, we went to Page One Books to help with their Indies First promotion.  In addition to doing my gig as a Guest Bookseller, I had a chance to visit with several of the local SF/F fans: Dawn, Mike, Erika, and Daisy.  I also enjoyed chatting with some of the other writers who shared my shift.

Sunday we hosted our usual role-playing game.  I’ve had people ask me if running a really complicated RPG drains my creative juices.  Actually, I’ve discovered that it does the opposite.  I find it invigorating to adapt my story around the dual random factors of what the dice indicate and my gamers’ whims.

But the work remains.  I have a list on my desk that I use to remind myself what needs to be done.  At least right now, a little bit here, a little bit there, seems to be the way to go.

Now, off to pull out a notebook and get back to scribbling.  Blind Seer is delightful in many ways, but I really don’t want him keeping me from getting my sleep!

FF: Short But Sweet

November 24, 2017

I don’t do “Black Friday” shopping.  Instead, I’ll be enjoying time at home, with reading near the top of my list of things to do.

Kwahe’e Reads!

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

Gambit by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.

Rock of Ages by Walter Jon Williams.  Book Three of the “Divirtimenti.”  I enjoyed, so I’m going back to Book One.

Double Sin by Agatha Christie.  Audiobook.  A short story sampler: a few Poirot, a few Miss Marple, a couple of supernatural tales.

FairyTail by Hiro Mashima.  Manga.  Issues 13 and 14.

In Progress:

The Crown Jewels by Walter Jon Williams.  Book one of the “Divirtimenti.”

And Four to Go by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.  Four short stories.

FairyTail by Hiro Mashima.  Manga Issue 15.

Also:

Catching up on some magazines and catalogs.

TT: Favouring Curry

November 23, 2017

Alan and I would both like to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving…  Now, a discussion that may inspire you (as it already has Jim) as to a way to deal with your leftover turkey!

A Few Curries

JANE: Last time you promised to tell me about Terry Pratchett’s Jingo curries which were described as “Containing yellow curry powder, big lumps of swede, green peas, and soggy sultanas the… size of eggs.”

ALAN: So I did… But in order to do so, I’m going to need to give you some history about curry.

JANE: That’s great!  I know nothing about curry, except that I like it.

ALAN: Curry powder was invented by an anonymous employee of the East India Company sometime around 1747 (that’s when it was first advertised for sale). I imagine that it was designed to make the cooking of curries less complex for the average English cook who often found the idea of selecting a range of spices for adding different flavours to their dishes to be rather frightening. Many of the cheaper curry powders contained an over-abundance of turmeric and were therefore very yellow in appearance. If you didn’t like the taste of final dish that you cooked with it, you could use the meal to dye your underpants and socks a fetching shade of yellow instead. Very economical.

JANE: Indeed!  And now that turmeric is being touted as a health food, you could add medicinal value to your list of reasons for using yellow curry powder.

As a small aside, I’d say most American cooks also start with pre-blended yellow curry powder which is what you’d find in most grocery stores.  Specialty stores will carry other types.  Jim and I bought a book that contains recipes for various curry powders, and sometimes we blend our own.

But back to your discussion of British curry.   I can sense something ominous building.  Go on…

ALAN: The British took to curry powder with great enthusiasm and invented kedgeree and mulligatawny soup, both of which can actually be quite nice when properly prepared (though I make my kedgeree without eggs, for obvious reasons). But they also invented the dreaded British curry…

JANE: Oops…  I don’t know what kedgeree or mulligatawny soup are.  Remind me to ask you.

ALAN: There’s no time like the present – kedgeree consists of boiled rice cooked with curry powder. Flakes of fish (generally haddock and often smoked) which has been cooked in milk and hard boiled eggs are stirred in to the cooked rice. If you are feeling adventurous, you might sprinkle it with parsley. Kedgeree is only ever eaten at breakfast time.

JANE: Urrgh…  I’ve never been a fan of sweet breakfast foods, but maybe this tastes better than it sounds.  Do you like it?

ALAN: Yes I do – as long as it doesn’t have eggs, of course. Kedgeree is really a sort of risotto or biryani, so it’s quite a respectable dish with an impeccable pedigree. I have no idea why the British restrict its consumption to breakfast. I’d happily eat it at any meal.

JANE: Very well!  If I’m given the opportunity, I will try it!  Now, how about the soup with the long name?

ALAN: Mulligatawny soup is made by frying onions, garlic, carrot and celery in butter. When the vegetables are softened, add pieces of apple and a couple of teaspoons of curry powder. Stir, add stock, tomato puree and mango chutney. Simmer until the veges are cooked. Stir in a cup of cup cooked rice. Serve with a dollop of yoghurt or cream. If you aren’t a purist, you might want to add some cooked chicken.

JANE: This sounds better.  I might look up a recipe, and try it sometime.

ALAN: Now, getting back to curry… I don’t know how it happened, but generations of British housewives, none of whom had ever seen or tasted an authentic curry, somehow got it into their heads that all you had to do to make a curry was toss some curry powder into a stew and then boil it to bits.

And the stew had to have sultanas in it. The more the merrier. Presumably that made the dish more exotic (it certainly made the thing sweeter). Such a “curry” was a staple of school lunches and suburban dinner tables, probably until the late 1950s when Indian restaurants started to flourish and the British finally found out what a real curry tasted like and realised that they’d been doing it wrong for two hundred years.

JANE: Ah-hah!  Now I understand what sort of curry Pratchett was alluding to in Jingo.  I must ask, although I fear I will find the answer unsettling…  When you say “stew,” what do you mean?  To me (and I’d hazard to most Americans) a stew is usually built around chunks of beef, potatoes, carrots, onions.  This is slowly cooked until there’s a nice brown gravy, the meat is tender but has not cooked to shreds, nor have the vegetables become mush.

Did they add curry powder and sultanas to this?

ALAN: In a word, yes. In two words, yes but…

The stew you describe is an ideal stew and, properly prepared, is a gastronomic delight. British versions are often less than ideal and, particularly when prepared by indifferent cooks, are thin and watery. The mystery meat in them is generally tough and gristly, particularly when mass produced for serving to institutional hordes such as schoolchildren or prisoners. Curry powder and sultanas can only be an improvement to such a dish.

JANE: I agree!

ALAN: But not all British stews are necessarily bad. My friend Ian lived with a stew called Albert. Albert sat in a large pot on the back of the stove and grumbled away to himself day and night on a very low heat. When Ian was hungry he’d eat a bowl of Albert. When Albert started to get a bit low in the pot, Ian would throw in whatever was selling cheaply in the market and Albert would slowly assimilate it. He was one of the tastiest stews I’ve ever eaten. Adding curry powder to Albert would have been an insult.

JANE: Ian clearly knew what to feed Albert to maintain his health.

ALAN: Indeed he did.

Ian too was a curry fan and in 1976 he gave me The Complete Book of Curries by Harvey Day as a housewarming present. At the time, it was the definitive curry book, and had been since the mid-1960s. It has now been somewhat superseded by Madhur Jaffrey’s books and unfortunately it appears to have gone out of print. I think that’s a shame.

JANE: Thanks for the titles!

There’s an ominous aspect to cooking we haven’t addressed, but I’ll save asking you about it for next time.

Thanks!

November 22, 2017

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays.  We’ll be having a few friends over for dinner.  Jim and I will provide the main course (including stuffing and potatoes and cranberries) and pies.  Our friends are bringing the side dishes.

Turkey Pot by Mary Weahkee

I love Thanksgiving because I celebrate it as an outgrowth of the traditional harvest festival, a time to pause and appreciate.  Thanksgiving is about being grateful for what I have – and I have a lot: a great husband, a home, and the chance to spend a lot of my time doing things I love, like writing.  I could keep listing, but I think you get the idea.

This time of year, I also try to look the things that I often view as stressful and negative from the “thankful” side.  Just one example…

We have two geriatric cats with kidney failure.  Taking care of them involves giving them subcutaneous fluids three times a week.  We’ve been doing this for well over a year for both of them.  Neither of them really likes getting fluids, so the sweatshirt I wear as my “armor” is beginning to be more holes than shirt.

But I’m grateful that Kwahe’e and Ogapgoe are responding well to treatment, that their kidney levels are more are less stable, and so they are enjoying their lives.  (As I write this, Ogapoge is bouncing back and forth between the kitchen table and the top of the microwave, apparently just for the fun of it.)

I’m grateful that I can afford the treatment – which in addition to the fluids involves regular bloodwork.  I’m grateful that I have Jim’s strong and steady participation in the process, because it’s definitely a job I couldn’t do solo.  Really, it’s worth the stress.

Being thankful is why I’ll be participating in “Indies First,” a sub-section of Small Business Saturday that focuses on independent bookstores.  Between 2:00 and 3:30 (maybe a bit later, depending), I’ll be at Page One Books here in Albuquerque acting as a Guest Bookseller.

Since this time I’ll not be focused on doing a reading or talking about a specific book, I’ll have time to chat with people, which will be really nice.  Page One will also be offering door prizes, a chance to sign up for drawings for free books, and lots of available staff to help you get a start on your Christmas shopping.

If you can’t make it, Page One now provides mail orders for signed books, both those in stock and special orders related to their many author events, so you may be able to find somethings special for the readers on your list, as well as supporting a small business.

I hope to see some of you there.  Now, off to make a pecan pie!

FF: Better Late Than…

November 17, 2017

Sorry this is late!  Yesterday I was immersed in writing and forgot what day of the week it was.

A Howling Good Read

For those of you just discovering this part of my blog, the Friday Fragments lists what I’ve read over the past week.  Most of the time I don’t include details of either short fiction (unless part of a book-length collection) or magazines.

The Fragments are not meant to be a recommendation list.  If you’re interested in a not-at-all-inclusive recommendation list, you can look on my website under Neat Stuff.

Once again, this is not a book review column.  It’s just a list with, maybe, a bit of description or a few opinions tossed in.

Recently Completed:

A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony.  Continuing my ventures into humorous fantasy re-reads.

Not Quite Dead Enough by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.  (Actually two novellas, linked by time.  The other is Booby Trap.

In Progress:

Gambit by Rex Stout.  Audiobook.

Rock of Ages by Walter Jon Williams.

Also:

Not much.  When I can take time from anything else, I’ve been writing.