Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This Is One Woman Got Some Pipes...

And the band, at times, sounds like the very best of seventies rock:

You might wonder why all the videos and so little commentary. If so, all I can say is; I'm busy and very, very hopeful.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

I Thought Cubicle Farms Like Prisons-

I just didn't know that office workers were like inmates, developing weapons for self-defense and the eventual break-out:

This site is insane! They even did ballistic gel tests of the penetrating power of their projectiles:

And MPS velocity:

Do check it out, just don't shoot anyone: Office Guns

Friday, November 26, 2010

What I've Been About, And Mad Chortles

I only just realized I hadn't posted a thing yesterday and had yet to do anything today. So, here goes:

Isabelle and I went to see Tangled, and both enjoyed it immensely. It was also the first movie using modern 3-D techniques I've seen. Quite remarkable. I don't feel it was a requirement for the film, which quite stood on its own without such gimmicks. Then again, Isabelle stretched out her hands many times to touch things, which was a joy to watch. My heart swells each time Isabelle reaches out that way to take my hand.

The rest of Thanksgiving was quite nice, with friends and family about. The meal was excellent, as usual. I think next year I will get to frying turkeys again. I had a request for one, and wish I could have filled that order.

Today was sit around, nap, put the brain in neutral and enjoy leftovers and my daughter's company. Tonight, more of the same. Tomorrow, dare I hope, even more.

As part of today's fun, I also watched a movie I never expected to watch, let alone enjoy: Bandslam. It stayed with tropes, but the characters were well performed, and the character motivations seemed much more keenly adhered to and different from those of the average teen movie.

The only thing, aside from this post, that I've done that was close to writing was downloading the new version of Scrivener and attending #litchat and #scifichat in the twitterverse.

I might write some tonight, but ideas for Bridge of The Broken and Eyes of The Alley are currently percolating in the back of my mind. While they are edging toward the front, they don't yet feel quite ready to flee out through the fingertips.

Part of what drives this desire to let things percolate is, having written a solid section for Bridge of the Broken, I found that while I intend to keep it, its proper place is not in the book. I will instead use it as my guide to 'what really happened'.

I will enjoy reading, polishing,tweaking, even chortling madly over it. Those of you I've run roleplaying games for will surely know what my mad chortle means, and fear for the characters...

Speaking of which, tomorrow night The Greedy Little Bastards will be getting together at my place again. I plan to bring the pain. Indeed, I actually have a plan this time. Yes, there was a mad chortle there... You just might not have heard it.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Amon Tobin

This song is not only pretty cool, it's also been useful as I write something a bit odd... And the video is amazing:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sent, My Thanks

Sent The Last Captain off. Now to obsess over what will happen with it.

In between bouts of sweat-soaked and tearful trepidation, I'll try and get on with writing the short story, Eyes of The Alley, as well as crank more pages on Bridge of The Broken and my quasi-daily rants here.

I want to thank everyone who read and followed my blog over the last year and a bit; your feedback and encouragement have been very helpful. I know the content has been uneven, even odd at times, but it has been a useful place to put my thoughts and comments on the general asshattery I see loose in the world.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Things I've Been Told About The Last Captain

Things my first readers have told me, aside from the invaluable editorial assistance:

"Pretty cool."

"Ohhh, she's a cold one, isn't she?"

"I didn't know that was why officers did that."

"Damn, but I developed a cramp in my arm after I read that."

"It's clear you know what the fuck you're talking about."

"Those two sound an awful lot alike, but then they're partners, so I guess it flies."

"I keep thinking the partners are likely Laurel and Hardy, except the one is big and the other bigger, huh?"

"He's clearly a sociopath, but I can sooo see why, and as an added bonus, he's fuckin' awesome."

"When I finished it, I had to go back and read the first fifty pages and see what I missed! It's all there, you asshole!"

It feels rather amazing to know readers get what I'm putting down.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Purpose Of The Internet Revealed

This is disgusting, and the true reason the internet exists. Indeed, it makes me wonder what a poor asshat would have to do to get reincarnated as that frog:

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Damn, Shit Can Change When You Ain't Looking

As my earlier post indicated, I had a rather foul ass-lick of a working day. I came home, plugged my phone in and forgot about checking email for a while, concentrating on enjoying time spent with my daughter.

Isabelle and I watched Mythbusters (Repeating arrow launchers are freakin' cool). When the second episode started I fired up the laptop and checked email. There were eight fresh ones.

One was from my agent, advising me of the phone number of one of the two readers he'd given my MS to, and that he'd had positive feedback for me as well as finding some issues that needed clearing up. I called my agent and we discovered that we are still having email issues (I send them, he doesn't get them).

I then hung up, called his reader and left a message. I then checked the rest of the emails.

One was from a well-respected author friend of mine, introducing me to an editor working on an anthology. Totally unexpected. Totally appreciated. I shouted with glee and emailed back a thank you, already working some ideas over.

As I was writing the first few lines I got a call back from the reader, who gave me quite a bit to think on. At the end of the conversation he said two things that made my head explode in a supernova of pride, "I will buy your book when it comes out, and when will the next one be done? I want to read it before anyone else gets to."

The Stupid Is Rising

Patience drained, anger sharks swimming in my head, Gorilla rattling the bars.

Sorry, that's all I got today.

That's it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Working on Bridge of The Broken while my agent's readers finish off The Last Captain. My enjoyment of the new is tempered by ever-present concern over what will happen, whether I met the bar with The Last Captain.

When I submitted A Friend to The Watch, my first novel, I was more excited than nervous, thinking I had conquered all. I tried to be clever about making my protagonists, members of the watch, act like modern police officers. I tried to be clever about a lot of things. In the end, I overestimated the quality of both my cleverness and my work. Needless to say, it didn't turn out; deservedly so.

It took me some time to recover from the failure of it.

An incident at WFC 2009 thrust home for me just how much I had invested in A Friend To The Watch working out for me. Like most useful lessons, it was painful.

That sharp lesson in mind, I at last acted on the sound advice of my agent, putting A Friend to The Watch away and concentrating on The Last Captain.

I threw the kitchen sink into it; many of the experiences I've had, more of the thoughts and feelings those experiences gave rise to, I put in. It wasn't easy, and like the lessons I spoke of, it was even a bit painful at times. In the end I produced something that certainly feels better, more true -something I hope will succeed where the first effort failed.

The wait will be all the more grinding for the hope I have in it.

I will write on.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Things You Must Watch

One of those blogs I have along the edge there is infrequently posted to by Shawn C. Baker, who put up this video of his band, the Forest Children. I not only love the song, I like the video a great deal as well! I can't wait to hear more, and am informed they will have an album available on iTunes soon:

On a not entirely different note, this morning I watched the video below. I couldn't help but think of all my writer friends (and specifically the UFGirlz), and wonder if they hadn't pulled similar stunts:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

More Bad Girl Music I Write To

I can only think the following woman is possessed. There can be no other explanation for such sounds issuing from such a tiny a package:

Just stumbled upon this band...

Nightwish is a Euro-metal (read: hair band-ish) group of some popularity. Their videos have a bit of steampunk flair...

And though she doesn't do the lead vocals on this, the visuals are pretty damn cool:

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Bridge of The Broken

‘Some days I fuckin’ love my job,’ Venkman thought, returning the breacher to his belt and hefting the ram in one hand. There were few things he enjoyed more than taking doors; savoring the moment just before cracking a door, when all was in readiness against the unknown, but what lay beyond remained part of an unformed future.

Their informant claimed the target door was under two centimeters thick and bolted about a handspan above the handle. It certainly looked like solid alloy construction; not all that unusual in Starfall, with its high crime rate.

‘I wonder if the shot-callers don’t order a burg or two simply to make it easier to make the security on their labs and stash houses blend in better,’ he thought, keying his mic and saying simply, “Up.”

“Up,” Étienne’s voice, quietly confident. The back was covered.

“Copy that. When ready, Venkman, I’ll start the notice,” DuPlaissance said.

Venkman checked the stack, got all thumbs up. Sergeant Trudeau met his eye, smiled and nodded. He clicked his mic in the all-up signal.

“Police! Search Warrant! Police du Nouvelle Genève! Mandat de perquisition!” the lieutenant’s voice, blaring from the loudspeakers mounted on the body armor of all the officers.

Raising the ram, Venkman took a practice swing, lining up on the sweet spot. Satisfied, he drew it back until it was nearly touching the shoulder of the officer behind him. Pivoting the weight of hips into it, Venkman reversed the ram’s direction of travel, triggering the charges only as it gained forward momentum. The trio of tiny explosions cracked the heavy door loose in the instant before he brought the ram home.

The door didn’t fall as expected, instead sending the ram back the way it had come and Venkman lurching off-balance. He almost hit Trudeau with the rear of the heavy length of metal, the rebound was so unexpectedly hard.

The arrest team stalled, lots of wide eyes under helmet brims indicating their surprise.

“Shit, Venkman,” Baptiste muttered from his place two down in the file.

‘Motherfucker, no door takes two hits!’ Venkman thought, embarrassment spiking anger.

He quickly re-set his feet and launched another. This time the door thumped inward with the sharp report of snapping metal. Venkman stepped aside and dropped the ram as the door toppled into the hallway.

The stack hammered past, a shouting blue freight train of meat and aggression.

Venkman drew his sidearm. As door-cracker on a small building, he’d been given no specific assignment beyond getting the main door open, so he followed in their wake, ready to offer help should anyone need it.

Stepping off the fallen door, his boot clipped something that clattered down the hall. A broken stretch of metal about four centimeters on a side spun to a halt against the wall, the broken end the off white of shattered metal. The door hadn’t just been bolted, but also barred across the middle. He bent and picked up the piece, found it still warm from the breaking stress.

Bruised ego somewhat soothed, Venkman put the piece in his cargo pocket and followed the noise of the rest of the team.

“Resistor, front room left,” Baptiste said over the radio right as Venkman looked into the very room.

Probably a living room at one time, the place looked like a bedroom decorated by crazed and colorblind electronics technicians vomiting forth all the spare parts left behind in their labors. Wires went in and out of walls and stacks of archaic monitors, more modern displays, input ports, printers, cortex-cases, and other, less recognizable accoutrements of a sick mind far too interested in the internal workings of such devices. Speed did that to a body; motoring that long and that high gave lots of time to pick things apart.

Baptiste, his recruit, and a half-naked man were struggling on a narrow bed in the center of the disaster of a room. Venkman hesitated, wanting to help but also knowing Bap wouldn’t thank him for fucking up a training opportunity. The struggle looked low-grade, and Bap had already complained of a lack of opportunities to address his recruit’s lack of experience with the shit hitting the fan.

As Venkman dithered the suspect flexed, sending the young officer flying. She fetched up against a battery of monitors, waded back in with a snarl. Venkman admired her spirit, if not her technique: the charge ended on the point of one of the suspect’s knees, sending the air whiffing out of her in a high almost-whistle. She slumped to the ground in the narrow space beside the bed.

Decision made for him, the big man moved. He reached the foot of the bed as Baptiste managed to wrench one of the suspect’s sweat-slick arms back and into handcuffs. Grabbing an ankle, Venkman yanked the leg straight even as Caron began to climb the man’s arm from the floor.

Trying to avoid having his arm dislocated at the shoulder, the suspect rolled toward Caron, giving Venkman his first full exposure to the resister. Venkman didn’t recognize him, but from his thinner than-humanly-possible frame and the rank stench of burnt-out humanity he exuded, the man must also have been responsible for the decor.

Caron used the suspect’s movement in her direction to her advantage, bending his arm at the elbow to present the wrist to Bap for cuffing.

Never one to ignore an opportunity, Jean snapped the cuffs on. He rolled the man on his belly, pinning him to the bed under one knee. Realizing Baptiste was after something, Venkman stepped back to give his partner space and time. Caron didn’t. She took hold of the man’s arm, started to pull him upright.

“Don’t,” Baptiste said, hands diving into the bedding.

The pretty redhead either didn’t hear or was too amped to process her training officer’s words, either way, she continued to haul on his arm.

“Mawg!” the suspect moaned, wrenched between Baptiste’s knee in the small of his back and the upward pull of the recruit.

“Recrue Caron! Stop! He’s got something!” Jean shouted, hands busy.

That got through. Caron let go. The suspect fell flat again.

Baptiste yanked a short-barreled pistol from the prisoner’s filthy underwear. Holding it up and safely away, he bounced off his knee to his feet, coincidentally pressing the suspect hard into the mattress, forcing another groan.

Venkman keyed his mic, “One in custody, front room.”

A bit of shouting from the back of the house, the discharge of a stick closely followed by the all-clear over the radio from Trudeau.

“Vilnius, what were you gonna do with this?” Baptiste asked.

Memory clicked into place, ‘Vilnius, liked to think himself a gangster of the old school- never thought he’d be one to go with the sauce.’ Venkman glanced at the tiny coilgun in Baptiste’s hand, ‘Civilian weapon, a round that missed armor would still ruin anyone’s day. Hell, even a round caught in armor would make for a lot of crying and hair-pulling.’

“What?” Vilnius said without turning his head to look, “You planted that shit on me!”

“Yeah, I’ve got nothing better to do than risk my career on nailing your petty ass with a crime, asshat,” Baptiste muttered.

“No, man, you got nothing on me! I know how the NGPD works; framing us off-worlders for your dirt. I was just sleeping when you jumped me!”

Caron shook her head, “I’ve been on this job like two seconds, and even I don’t think that bullshit will fly, Vilnius.”

Venkman laughed, “Got that right, Caron.”

Bap snorted, slipped the weapon into the back of his gun belt, “Right, let’s get him up.”

“Lieutenant, two in custody, quite a bit of dope, lab fixings,” Trudeau’s voice on the radio, "Something else.  It's a bit odd."

“I ain’t got shit to do with that,” Vilnius hissed as Venkman dragged him to his feet.

“Of course you don’t, you were asleep while all that money and dope was passing back and forth right in front of you,” Bap said, rolling his eyes.

"Go fuck yourself."

"With all due respect, I refuse to fuck myself."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Magickal Pharts

I found it interesting that my girl asked me the same question at least two of the UFGirlz also hit me with:  What's with the weird faces?

As you can see, my daughter is not only creative, she can also be a real stinker!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honor Them

In 2008 my friend was in Afghanistan with the US Army. This was before the troop surge there, when Afghanistan was the backwater conflict mainly prosecuted by Special Forces and the units tasked with supporting them. My friend was attached to one such team.

My brother, having been in a similar position in Bosnia, had one bit of advice for my friend before he left, "No matter what you've done, you haven't done what these guys do. Be humble, be respectful, and don't push it. They may come to accept you, but it'll be on their terms."

I was in my car, driving home when the phone rang.

It was my friend, calling me from the sandbox. He was upset. A friend of his had been killed; An SF operator liked by all the troops, one who had made that connection with my friend, mostly on the range set up to keep their skills sharp.

My friend told me what he could, which wasn't much. It was only later, when the information became public that he could talk a bit more about it and piece it together for me:

A HUMINT collector, my friend had been listening in on the tactical net as Staff Sergeant Robert Miller reported his twenty-two man recon team ambushed and taken under fire by well over a hundred insurgents. He listened as Robbie ordered his men, caught in an exposed valley floor, back. While they fell back, Robbie advanced, drawing fire so his command could withdraw to cover.

Robbie called for fire missions, engaging the enemy himself with rifle and grenade.

At the base, my friend heard the increasingly frantic calls of the soldier tasked with coordinating assets in support of Robbie's team, his own hands twitching with desire to do something. My friend was trained as a forward observer and wanted, with all his heart, to take the mic from the coordinator and rain death upon those trying to take the life of his friend. He couldn't, knew everything was being done to bring all the men back safely.

Robbie was shot. Still he called missions and fired, giving his mixed force of Afghan and US soldiers the time and distance needed to maneuver into a stronger tactical position. Seven hours the firefight raged.

Robbie fell silent.

Eventually the valley in Northern Afghanistan where he fell was cleared of the foe.

Robbie was brought home, posthumously awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor.

My friend, who just wished he could have done something more, needed to talk about the things going on inside. I listened. I spoke very little. I think I did the right thing. When asked a question, I answered to the best of my ability. My friend settled, I heard the resolve growing in him.

Eventually my friend came home too. We don't talk about that conversation. We don't have to.

Thank you, veterans. Your blood and sweat on the battlefield are not the only things you offer for the freedoms your countrymen enjoy. Your sacrifice of tears is of no less value for being offered later, away from the altar of war.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Cool, She Continues...

Last night I commented to my wife and daughter how lucky I am. My life at home makes all other things possible, including my semi-sanity. But I don't think my wife will appreciate me getting all sappy on her here, so I will instead talk about The Cool, and how She continues to roll through my life of late...

I have been blessed in recent weeks with old friends and new who kept to the promise they showed me, both making my life easier and filling it with experiences that rank among the best I could imagine.

No, I did not say promises, as in something one might utter.

Instead I refer to the promise I felt in them; of good things, deep conversation, deeper laughter, shared moments of time that etch themselves in memory. The promise of friendships renewed and fresh-grown is what I speak of.

I set out to make this a post that allowed the unleashing of my inner fanboi, but found I couldn't go there. You see, I am a fan of all my friends, and wish the best for them, always. I moved, through conversation and correspondence, into the friendzone with a number of the people I have long admired in the field of speculative fiction.

So I can't very well brag about who I've spoken with, can I?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Congratulations, Myke Cole

Myke Cole has just announced he's inked a deal with Penguin Putnam for his military fantasy in three books, Latent! Publication slated for, "around 2012."

Readers might remember that Myke has recently had mention here as a man who gets things done. Now he shows the proof of it.

I look forward to the books, and wish him every success!

Monday, November 8, 2010


Get away from me kid, ya bother me...

I'm a busy man.

Until I return, please enjoy this commentary on soccer moms, shitty drivers, SUVs, and the sense of entitlement:

And for those of you underwater on your mortgage:

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bill, A Man of His Word, Must Want Someone Dead

I am a recovering bibliophile, mainly because I refused to torture myself with desire for limited edition books I can't afford. Today I fell off the wagon, big time. Rather, I got kicked off by a man of his word.

You might remember me mentioning I wore my most offensive shirt the first night at WFC. I had a great time, met a presidential candidate's cousin, and also spoke with and entertained Bill.

Now, I had no idea who Bill was on meeting him; just a guy in a band t-shirt and bad attitude Kyle and I had a blast shooting the shit with. Partway through the evening Bill said that the more we entertained him, the more books we would get. Uncertain what that meant, we gave him some shit. He then told me to email him with my home address.

Subterranean Press was in the email addy...

Oh!  Snap!

Like I need that much encouragement to act the fool.

He emailed me the next day to inform me he'd sent the goods along. I gave him another ration of shit. Bill gave as he got.

When I got home, still no books on the doorstep. More shit ration email.

Today I was trying to get some writing done before the end of season meal with my Pink Pixies. Leaving at the last moment, I jumped on the motorbike. As I rolled by the front door, I saw two cardboard boxes. Cursing my lack of time, I sped off.

Needless to say, when I got home the boxes were torn open within two minutes. Inside, I found these treasures:

Now, there are some signed, limited editions in there.   I haven't owned a limited edition anything, let alone ones as valuable as these.

As some would kill to have these books, I can only conclude that Bill wants someone dead.  Be afraid, people. Bill's a man of his word, and he's got the currency to purchase willing bibliophile slaves.

Be very afraid.

Have to Write Today

So I will only leave you with two videos from an artist I thoroughly enjoy.

I have previously told my readers I listen to French rap. Caroline is the song that attracted my interest in MC Solaar. The Concubine of Hemoglobin is simply a great song.

Take it away, MC Solaar:

Friday, November 5, 2010

My Pink Pixie

Isabelle gives her father much to be proud of.  The best things in life are, unlike Conan's claims, the hugs of a happy daughter and the pride of watching her angle across the field to smoothly steal the ball from the opposing team and dribble downfield, passing or taking the shot herself, as the situation warrants.

It has been my distinct pleasure to coach her and six other girls this year.  The team, dubbed the Pink Pixies, had a shaky start, but showed what training and a desire to learn can bring.

As you can see, she's here to score goals and chew bubblegum, and she's all out of bubblegum:

And don't get me started on her academics.  I about blubbered in the parent-teacher conference this year.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Dead Weather - Treat Me Like Your Mother (Video)

I am writing, or will be once I have put my little one to bed, so no lengthy post tonight.  Just a cool video and great music:

White is some trippy mo-fo and this is the third band he has been in that I have found worthy of my dollars.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank you, L.E. Modesitt

Sunday, the last night of WFC, I was lucky enough to go out dinner with Mark Van Name, L.E. Modesitt, and Eric Flint.

What I'm working on came up.  I suppose it was simply the kind thing to do, you know, ask the kid what he's doing and all that.   At any rate, they were informed of what I was working on and what I do for a living.

We then talked about that old saw of 'writing what you know'.

L.E. Modesitt said two very interesting things on this point; the first of which was about his worst-selling book (He has 56 novels out there.  That's right, FIFTY-SIX!).  The poor-selling novel was based on his experiences in DC.  The tale he told was quite funny in hindsight: the book sold less than three hundred copies in hardback. Not funny at the time, I'm sure.

The second thing L.E. talked about was the difference between his experience and spy thrillers.  Namely, how boring the reality of DC was: no political killings, no international assassins, just a lot of suicides when people were discovered to have sold themselves or accused of crimes they could not live with.

Riding home today, I was trying to figure out what the hell to do about the character that has been giving me a headache for the last few months.

Like a thunderbolt, L.E.'s words came back to me!  I was screaming into my helmet like an idiot at 70 miles an hour.

Thank you, L.E.

Plot problem solved.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Circles of a Social Nature

This World Fantasy Convention was a new, greater experience for me...

Don't get me wrong, last year's WFC was a very special one as well:

I had the pleasure of meeting a number of the writers from Baen Books, some of whom I have read since my teens. David Drake is a font of information and very willing to inform and educate, at least before the asteroid takes him out.

One, a man whose work I was not familiar with before the convention, has become something of a mentor for me.  I mention him quite often here.  Thank you, Mark Van Name.

Peter V Brett, who is not a Baen writer, is a phenomenal fantasy writer I had not read before the convention.  He and his friends are the New Yorkers those of us who are not from that city never hear about; they are uniformly kind and generous. Then again, that might be a product of the man they call friend. I returned home and read his work, posting about it immediately after.

I briefly spoke with several editors, discovering that, despite my cringing desire to bow and scrape before them, they are people too, with all that means.

Last year I was in a bad place at the end of the con, and came away upset yet lit up by the experience.

So, 2010 rolls around, and I know I have to go.

This year was exceptional:  Despite my behavior, I am not a true extrovert.  I must run up a charge to fully engage. It is far easier to do this from a place of comfort, such as surrounded or at least in the company of friends.  Casting about for such a network at the con, I asked my friends, all of them, if they would be able to come and share the experience with me.

All but one couldn't make it.  Kyle is my oldest friend.  We've known one another for 28 years. We hadn't seen each other in about three years, when another of our friends was leaving for Afghanistan.  Holding my breath that he, too would somehow be prevented from coming at the last moment, I planned my attendance.

I began the con with a small circle.

This year I attended a few panels, being both educated and enjoying them.

The first one, Fantasy Gun Control, was moderated by Chuck Gannon and had as one of its participants Walter Jon Williams, a writer both Kyle and I have been reading since we were fifteen.  Gannon was an excellent moderator, and the panel exceptional despite one audience member failing to show common courtesy and eat his breakfast elsewhere.  Another member of the audience, Alistair Kimble, displayed a similar mindset to my own in his questions to the panel.  After the panel I had an opportunity to speak to Chuck Gannon, Kimble, and Walter Jon Williams.

I will not bore you with a further list of who I met and where, but instead present to you why these panels and the minor events that spring from them have significance.

Kimble was the gentleman I mentioned in an earlier post who, based on my t-shirt the night prior, believed me an asshat. Why his low opinion of me improved over the next few minutes, I am not sure.  He is also a writer with works out to publishers and high hopes for the future.  We spoke at length to a british gentleman and literary agent, then went to another panel or two together.  We also discovered common intersection in our day jobs.

My circle grew.

I used my familiarity with the few writers I know to make introductions for both Kyle and Alistair to authors of my acquaintance.  Much of this was transacted at the bar, but some was after panels or in elevators and the parties each night.

Myke Cole, one of Peter V Brett's inner circle of friends, is also a writer of fantasy.  He is a man who gets things done.  Many think him an extrovert reveling in the attention of the convention-goers.  Like all things, it is more complicated than that:  I believe I know the what it costs him to do as he does, feeling many of those costs myself.  I bring him up because he too acts as the social lubricant for his friends and acquaintances at these events.

Indeed Myke introduced me to many new friends at the event, including the beautiful and talented Sara McClung, Carolina Valdez-Miller, and Karen Hooper, whom I have collectively dubbed the UFGirlz.  They are all on the verge of great things, and it was their first World Fantasy.

My circle expanded.

Later, the UFGirlz introduced me to their friends, Gina Penney, a horror writer and Ricki Schultz a contemporary young adult writer.  In turn I introduced them to others of my acquaintance, Mark Van Name, and others I knew or had been introduced to.

My circle expanded yet again, as did theirs.

I look about at our forebears in the field, and see that many knew each other.  Many were friends.  Many talk of those that have gone before as their idols, much as I speak of them.

These circles, these connections, will be the grand avenues down which great things reach us and we are carried on to our futures.  I love the idea that I might have helped to spread the gravel at the base of such a roadway, not only for the things it might bring me, but everyone in the varied circles of our lives.

We pay forward all things.

The good.

The bad.