Friday, February 20, 2015

Me and Harlan Ellison

I am humbled- and awed today by something I discovered by accident.

While looking up my story collection The Big Book of Genre Stories, on Kobo, I saw the "also boughts".

I am placed on the same page as works by Harlan Ellison.

The Harlan Ellison. The writer with more awards than any other writer- and unless you're aware, you've not heard of him. One of the giants, the classics.

Which tells you something about being a successful, working writer for 50 years. Yeah, 50.
He's the man. And I'm listed on the same page on a retail site.

I'm not worthy! Though I carry his torch. As he said of himself, comparing to Fritz Leiber- "I'm not fit to carry his pencil-case."

How often are you placed in the pantheon with your heroes? It makes me weep with joy.

I've actually met the man, who said nice things about me.

You probably haven't read him. You need to.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Tough Year so Far

In the great novel Dune, by Frank Herbert, one of the quotes says:
"God made Arrakis to test the faithful"

It's a statement on how tough it is to survive on that desert planet, and how I think of New England- you've got to be hardy and half-crazy to live up here in winter. And this one is kicking our asses. A blizzard every weekend, with snow now piled so high you can't see anything, and cold to numb you into looking like Jack Nicholson's character at the end of The Shining movie.

But okay, cold and snow I can deal with. I grew up in Aroostook County, Maine, where the snow was piled up to the telephone pole wires. People sometimes think that's an exaggeration. It's not.

The snow canceled my first two book signings of the year. Sigh. Plus a couple of other things we were looking forward to. Ah well.

IBM just shed thousands of worker jobs. Mine being one of them.
So- soon to be no more health care, or able to pay for daughter's colleges. Thanks corporate America!

If this were one of the civilized countries, I'd at least have the health care and education covered, so all we'd have to deal with would be household expenses. But here in the 21st century, they can whisk your life away in a heartbeat, and it's just numbers on the sheets of corporate hacks who will never go hungry or without. Their boat starts leaking, so they punch more holes in the bottom. And hard-working American families can go suffer. It's a crappy system that ruins people for no good reason.

So, yeah, it's a tough year so far. Wouldn't be suprised to see a giant sandworm...

So as a writer, do you give up? Hell no! I'm hard at work on my 4th Zack Taylor novel (while re-releasing the first 3), as well as a clutch of stories. And I'm editing a number of other works for other writers. And judging stories for the Al Blanchard Award. And polishing my entry for the Flash Fiction Contest of the NH Writer's Project.

If you feel like buying one of my books to help out, it would be much appreciated. Or leaving a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Goodreads. Or if you know of a company that needs a good Software Technical Writer with a quarter-century of experience.