Sorry for the absence

I apologize for the somewhat long absence this past month on the blog – I hadn’t planned on taking a leave until after the little one is here, but apparently nature has a sick sense of humor, and had put me in and out of the doctor’s office/hospital for the last two weeks.

While our website states I’ll be out of office for two weeks starting May 5, it seems it may be as of this Friday morning, as a problem with my blood pressure may make it necessary to induce. Fun….

So, if anyone has any dying questions that need answering, please get them to me ASAP, otherwise, you’ll have to wait for my response, or deal with one of the editors during my scheduled leave. I will be randomly checking my email here and there during my (ahem) “vacation,” but don’t expect too much of me. I’ll be trying to get as much sleep as I can before returning to work on the 19th.

Again, sorry for the silence this last month, but baby comes before chatting, and I promise to doodle some interesting posts on the crisp hospital sheets while waiting to be released from the sterile hell.

Until then!

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Some fun, exciting news

Ok, this is a little off-topic, but guess what?

We found out we’re having a boy!

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Well, Adrian and myself that is, not the entire press…exciting, isn’t it? My sister called me up yesterday already asking about throwing a baby shower and everything. Hell, I think the family may be more excited than we are. Did we really take that long?

Anywho, another four months before the little guy’s here, but just wanted to share the news. Alright, back to writing people.

Abaculus proofs have arrived!

The editor copies for Abaculus, 2007 have arrived, and they look wonderful!

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They are hardcover laminate, cloth binding, with beautiful edges and wonderful artwork….
But, ahem, there is something that needs to be fixed before it’s approved and sent off to authors and stores. Not the printer’s fault though – ours actually. Just a mistake on the table of contents that no one caught…until now.

Yeah, it’s a little embarrassing, but hey, what the hell. We learned.

We also made a slight change to the previously posted cover artwork; just the font used in the title. The original didn’t print well, and this came out much clearer.

So the corrections will be made today, and verification should happen in a few days, and then we’ll start shipping off contributor copies and review copies. The release date is still solidly set for December 7, 2007, and we can’t wait to see them out and available.

Midshipmen knock down Panthers in double overtime

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Well, another brag session about my nephew. Navy won 48-45 yesterday against Pittsburg in a very close double overtime game. For the most part both teams were neck and neck throughout the four quarters, the score teetering within a one touchdown range.

Kaipo (no. 10), awesome job!

If you want to read the rest of the story (for those of you who already haven’t) here’s a good link:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21231712/

Blah blah blah, get a life

Some writers (myself included) approach dialogue with the ill-advised notion that, “Oh, I’m smart, so my characters should all sound like I do and it will be all good.”Yeah … well, your characters are going to sound like assholes. Seriously, no one wants to hear a writer’s voice when they think of what their characters sound like. Haven’t you ever heard a writer talk? Not the nicest thing to listen to. I mean, it’s bad enough that they’re megalomaniac enough to write a hundred and fifty-plus pages worth of a story that they feel is a priority, now they want you to wallow about in words that they would spew out like so much regurgitated knowledge?Which is where we get to the subject of bad, self-indulgent dialogue in literature. Not dialogue that services the plot – which is problematic but not something one would call bad. No, we’re talking about bad dialogue. Post-Tarantino, pop-culture-pornography in which the writer yammers through his or her (usually his) characters, which are usually based on his or her masturbatory fantasy alter-ego (again, usually his). Some writers can get away with it, but that usually only happens if the writer has either an inspired plot or writes from a first-person perspective that playfully implies the inner workings of a megalomaniac while still retaining enough interest in what is happening. Not everyone can be Nick Hornby.Dialogue is supposed to build character rather than the writer’s ego. For example, here is an example of bad self-indulgent dialogue:Jarvis: You’re nuttier than Conker’s turds.Wilford: Well, you’re lamer than the finishing moves in MK.Jarvis: Good comeback, noob.Wilford: L-O-L.This dialogue tells the reader that a) they play too many video games, b) they’ve never heard a real conversation (between two real people, anyway) in their life and c) they haven’t ever felt a woman’s touch.Here’s what concise, relevant dialogue sounds like when used correctly:Jarvis: Seriously, when you write dialogue like that, it sounds as if you’re just doing it to satiate some kind of unfulfilled promise to yourself. Like, you feel as if you’ve failed miserably in life so you need to succeed in the fantasy world you’ve created … with countless grammatical errors and misplaced punctuation marks.Wilford: You shut up! This is art! This is how I express myself!Jarvis: I know this is how you express yourself. As in, right now, you’re expressing yourself in a way that shows how lyrically impotent you are when it comes to creating spoken words that develop character. Stop watching movies, stop using TV shows as a reference and read a book that came before the Harry Potter craze. Indulge yourself in the world rather than yourself.Wilford: (sobbing) I’ve never felt a woman’s touch! Might I add that this is coming from someone who YouTubes all day when not on Myspace or Facebook.

Why some art sucks: Part 1

Seriously, will someone pick up a newspaper? Oh wait, the news sucks. Well, looks like we’re left to pool our resources — the intellectual equivalent of handball, if you will. Time to turn on the television.

My sister asked me if I watched the MTV VMA’s and I asked her if any of my favorite bands were on. You know … good music. She said no and I went back to reading about how terrible the world really is in my newspapers. Britney Spears parading her cellulite on screen while lip-synching to music processed in a computer somehow doesn’t seem as important as a country embroiled in a war or my health declining because I’m unable to receive health care. Lo and behold, there Britney is caught mid-undulation – like a vertical elephant seal – with the writer seemingly concerned about the feelings of a woman who would not wipe the sweat from her spoiled brow to quench the thirst of a dying pauper. This is news.

Well, that is why I think some art sucks. When a professional newspaper writes a column about a glorified brat, when a walking anachronism like OJ Simpson can slither his way back into the limelight and a college newspaper fails to send an experienced reporter to interview a presidential candidate because it isn’t as much of a priority as covering football practice for a college team that isn’t in the Top 10, that is when you can tell that the suck tsunami of modern art will drown out all that is creative and awe-inspiring for mediocrity and irrelevance to reign as king because no one really cares anyway.

The news and modern events are one of the many roots of art. And if the media won’t shed light onto things that matter – or things that should matter but are largely ignored, like lead-flavored toys – then it is failing in its duty and should be called out by a community that is in desperate need of information.

Now, I’m not blaming the news for making artists terrible. We have Norman Rockwell, The Beatles, South Park and several well-known writers for that – self-glorifying, overly-defensive, status-quo-upholding crap that they are. But, they do make it easier for mediocre art to be looked at as “great” and great art to be looked at as “elitist” or “pretentious.”

I heard one person say that Hemingway is too complex for them. Too complex? This is every Hemingway novel: surly American guy goes to Europe/Africa, gets drunk, falls in love, learns to hate women and eventually comes to the conclusion that life sucks. If he didn’t have talent, he’d be the godfather of emo.

When your culture can’t grasp Hemingway, then it indicates a severe deficit in creative cultural acceptance. How can Americans comprehend Vonnegut when they can’t even comprehend where their state is on a map? The news, by not challenging America, is putting the future generation of artists in a water-treading race in which every participant but the fattest, most bloated and full of hot air contestant will drown by sheer effort to stay afloat.

Seriously, when someone who reads books and acknowledges information is looked upon as an intellectual, snobbery is the least of insults one can hurl at the masses.