Friday, December 31, 2010

Free SF

For those of you who are into science fiction, there's a publication called Daily Science Fiction that started up September 1. They publish a story every day, M-F. You can subscribe to get the stories in e-mail each night, or you can go to their web site and read them there, a week's delayed. I subscribed to it early and have gotten all of them so far. They're generally good, ranging from "Okay, whatever," to "Whoa, awesome!" There aren't that many on the low end of the bell curve, which makes it at least as good as any SF mag I've ever gotten.

And it's free, did I mention that? :)

Highly recommended.

Also, I wrote a science fiction romance called The Gift for the M/M Romance Group's Holiday Stories event, on Goodreads. It was posted to the group on 25 December 2010, but I just put it up on my web site. Enjoy!


PS -- hope everyone has a great New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cool Videos and a Potential Nab

Hey, all. [wave] I've been distracted by other things lately (who hasn't?!) but I've run into some things I want to share.

First, this is a great video. It's a medley of Village People songs, which is fun in and of itself, but take a good look -- there's only one performer out there. :) Thanks to Syd McGinley (and Charlie!) for sharing.

And another one, while I'm in a video mood. (It's pretty rare, so I need to take advantage before it passes.) A friend who's more into music than I am sent me this one. It's a group called Straight No Chaser doing the Twelve Days of Christmas. They're an all-male a capella group, and they rock -- great singing and they're funny too. Definitely poke around YouTube and watch more of them.

And a third. This one is more of a geek thing. :) There's a camera attached to the end of a long sword toward, and it's used to film several swordsmen doing sword-type maneuvers. What's cool about this one is that the sword stays still relative to the viewer, since the camera is affixed to it; it's the swordsmen and the room that are swooping around. I've never seen a better demonstration of relative motion. The husband sent me a link to this on BoingBoing; thanks to them for sharing it.

And finally, some excellent news reported by the Washington Post. Auditors from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) are questioning TSA's spending, saying they've been writing checks for technology which hasn't been proven, or for which there might not be a need. Nice to know someone in Washington has finally noticed.

They mention the puffer booths from a couple of years ago, which were supposed to detect explosives by puffing shots of air at travellers and screening the resulting whatever for explosive residue. TSA spent $30 million on those, and they're currently sitting in warehouses, "abandoned as impractical." The taxpayer in me is angry that the backscatter scanners, which cost more than the puffer booths and have more costs coming down the road, might end up similarly abandoned and warehoused. The citizen who still values my constitutional rights is hoping exactly that happens. :/

I loved this one, though:

Some say the fact that the United States hasn't had another 9/11-level terrorist attack shows that the investment was money well spent.

Whoever these "some" are, I hope they don't have any spending authority; post hoc ergo propter hoc isn't exactly a solid foundation for decision making. Hey, I'll bet if we'd tossed a human sacrifice into Mount St. Helens every year since 1980, these same "some" would take the fact that the volcano hasn't blown up again in all that time as proof that the sacrifices work. [sigh]

At any rate, I'm keeping a few pairs of virtual fingers crossed on the GAO reining in TSA. Someone needs to do it, and if they get zapped for misspending, the way Al Capone was finally zapped for income tax evasion, well, I'll take that.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Speculative Law

I've recently found a really wonderful blog written by a couple of attorneys, and I have to share. It's called Law and the Multiverse, and it's full of great legal discussions of questions you'll never run into in a law review.

For example, what are the legal issues related to being immortal? I have an immortal character in my Hidden Magic series, so that post was particularly welcome.

Another post was about characters who are invulnerable or otherwise incredibly difficult to kill -- how would that affect crimes committed against them, such as murder and assault? Is it actually attempted murder if you knew at the time that your victim wouldn't die when you shot him 72 times?

There's a discussion of outlawry that starts with its historical precedents and projects it into a present or future where there are criminals conventional law enforcement can't deal with, and another discussion about resurrection, probate law and insurance.

The blog is oriented around comic book universes -- superheroes and supervillains -- but the info here would be useful for an SF world too, or a world where paranormal creatures or powers exist, or an urban fantasy type setting. And besides, it's just fun to read. Highly recommended.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Review of Unfinished Business

Cryselle reviewed "Unfinished Business" and gave it four marbles. :) Here's what she said:

This was fun -- the author expanded on a little scene in a larger work (A Hidden Magic). Cal, the apprentice, gets a really funny, sexy lesson on paying attention under duress, and Aubrey, magical adept and Cal's master, provides plenty of hot, hot duress. If every lesson was that much fun, Cal will be an adept in no time at all!

I'd read A Hidden Magic a few months back, so I remembered the set-up for the whole asses-ears business, and that was my only quibble with this story. The beginning feels like a scene that was removed from the book for flow, and it doesn't really capture the purpose of the ears or why they even existed -- as a stand alone story they come sort of out of the blue. As a read with, it just follows right on. Following Cal around the restaurant at the beginning establishes that he's got a life outside magic, but it doesn't set up the rest of the story as well as it could. Asses ears --> creme brulee --> asses ears might have worked better than creme brulee --> asses ears.

All the same, the sex was hot, the relationship between master and apprentice was both loving and responsible, and the ending sweet.

You know, that one bit -- figuring out how much of the set-up from A Hidden Magic to recap, and how to present the info to the reader -- was the one big thing I was headdesking over for a while as I wrote this. I don't know that there's any one solution that would've pleased everyone, but it's a legitimate issue.

That said, though, it sounds like she enjoyed the story otherwise, and that's always very cool. :) Thanks to Cryselle for taking the time to review; I'm glad you liked it!

"Unfinished Business" is available here.


Friday, December 10, 2010

Anthology Markets

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

November Stuff

This is going to be really short, 'cause I have two pressing deadlines and I'm actually late on one of them. [flail]

First, this is a great video of Ian McKellan talking to a film festival audience about filming the balrog sequence in Rings. It's very short -- a minute and a bit -- and funny. Check it out. :)

Second, NaNo pretty much fizzled halfway through, but I got almost 20K words on the book, which is a great jumpstart. The Goodreads M/M Romance group is doing a holiday promo where writers write a story based on a photo and a request posted by a reader. One of the photos spawned a plot-bunny, so I volunteered. It's taking a lot longer than I thought to write it (so what else is new?) but I like the story, and it'll eventually be a stand-alone free read for my web site, which I've needed for a while. Also, for doing this I get a book-of-the-month promo slot in the group later in 2011, for a book of my choice, which I'll admit was attractive. I decided it was worth setting Emerging Magic aside for a bit to do this. I'll post here with a link when the story goes up.

Oh, I had a new story released and didn't even post about it! Gotta love the holidays.... [facepalm] Hell Is in the Details is a funny short story (okay, it's kind of long for a short, but it's a short on a technicality) about Benioth, the Demon of Laziness, who hasn't read his memos for a while -- like, decades. He's missed a few changes in policy and is in trouble with his boss. :)

November stats:

Writing 21,562 words -- 9 pts.
Editing 17,106 words -- 3 pts.
Wrote 1 synopsis -- 1 pt.
TOTAL = 13 pts, woot!

Koala Challenge 9