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Tinfoil Fedora Time

Before I get to what’s useful for writing, I’d just like to ask the world to spin just a little slower. I could use a couple more hours in each day. I have projects to finish. The car need an oil change, as (probably) does the Valkyrie. And Mrs. Dave’s Jeep. The bedframes are coming together (hehe), but some of the boards need another shot with the sander, and then some stuff needs gluing and screwing (fun, but not fun-fun), and then staining, and I’ll need to acquire some plywood to support the new mattresses. I can almost taste the greater organization of having a clean laundry-room-slash-office. Read more

Blast from the Past: Ooh, Look, More Advice

Amanda is all tied up this morning. Er, not literally. At least, I hope not! This post from 2015 still rings true, so I’m bringing it forward in time to share again until she escapes her current predicament.

Yesterday, on one of my few forays onto Facebook, I saw several authors debating the so-called wisdom of an article posted in the Huffington Post. The article is basically a warning for self-published authors not to write four books a year.

Yep, you read that correctly. The headline for the article implores indie authors not to write — not publish — but write four books a year. Read more

Some thoughts on Apollo 11, and the American landing on the moon.

It’s been 50 years (and a few days) since the Apollo 11 mission took the first two men to the moon. I remember clearly (and I was rather young) the black and white grainy images and the US flag flying proudly on the moon, and hearing the crackly ‘One small step…’

I’m sure I was only one of millions of little kids who saw that and dreamed of going out there one day. I was already reading sf (and most of it was mediocre to bad science, but great entertainment, great dreams) so this helped my suspension of disbelief, as well filling me with awe, hero-worship and a life-long support for space exploration. Read more

The Successful Writer

Detail from a ceiling. Author Photo.

Ah, that legendary beast of misty lore, the creature that haunts authors’ dreams, whispering in the dark of night, then disappearing in the harsh light of dawn…

OK, sorry, that’s the neighborhood cat that gets Athena all riled up by perching on the windowsill.

These days, depending on which news stories you read, it is easier than ever to become a successful author, or you are doooooomed by the lack of government support (UK) and the enormous numbers of independently published books of dubious quality. Either you can make lots and lots of money, or the pie slices are shrinking faster than an ice-cube on the hood of a black car in Phoenix, Arizona in mid-August.

What is success? It depends on the author’s goals. How do you get there? It depends on your goals. Read more

The Uncertainty Of Creation

You should know, before you start reading the words that come after this, that before I started writing them I sat here staring at the blinking cursor on the pristine screen for far too long. I often approach Mad Genius like this. ‘Who am I,’ I ask myself silently, ‘to offer any advice whatsoever on writing? I still don’t know what I’m doing, much less how well I’m doing it.’ But here I am, and I am determined to honor the privilege of my position because… Because I was given so much help when I first started. And now I’m here, a little way in on the journey, able to reach behind me to give some encouragement to those still staring at their blank screens.  Read more

On Killing

“One Death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic.” Allegedly spoken by Joseph Stalin, so it’s regrettably a Real World Thing.

But it’s also something for writers to keep in mind.

You can have all the galaxy spanning wars you want, kill entire planets full of humans and aliens. But if you want to make your readers really feel it, you have to kill a character they know well enough for it to hurt. Read more


The Bugger-cat is unwell. Listless, not interested in food, seems a bit wobbly on his feet. Since he’s still on chemo this is not a good thing, so the Bugger-cat has been taken to the local vet, who gave him a chunk of blood tests.

Naturally, the kitty oncologist wants to take a look at His Buggerness since he’s exceedingly anemic, and both sets of vets are worried that his treatment has led to gastric ulcers.

Welcome to the House of Kate, where any time things seem to be settling into a more or less sane pattern, the world will upend you and destroy your plans. Or at least, it seems that way.

In any case, I’m taking him to the oncologist, and in the meantime keeping an eye on him since the Husband and I would rather like him to be around for a good long while. He’s only 13 – not that old for a kitteh, even one who managed to earn himself the name Little Bugger.

He earned that name fair and square, as an itteh bitteh kitteh hiding from the Husband and forcing him to search the entire house in order to get his Little Buggerness to his first vet appointment. And by hiding I include artful camouflage so he wasn’t noticeable even with the Husband looking right at him (I was at work that day. The Husband already had the day off).

Obviously as a kid I had it all wrong thinking that adults had it good. Instead of those nice long days of summer break, time just flies and there’s never enough of it, and that’s when things are going well. Nobody tells you you’re going to get slammed with responsibilities and you’re going to put those ahead of anything else because dammit you’re an adult now and that’s what adulting is all about.

Yeah, I’m a tad frustrated. Bugger was doing so well, damn near doubling his body weight over 6 months. I just hope this is a minor setback, not anything worse.