Sunday, June 1, 2014

Jay Lake Has Passed

I first met Jay Lake in at World Fantasy 2009, the first World Fantasy convention, indeed first SF convention of any kind I had attended.

Somewhat bewildered and unsure of what I was doing there, I was sitting in the lobby area/bar when a fellow with outrageously long locks and a beard sat beside me at another small table. A steady stream of friends and fellow writers approaching him, engaging in funny, friendly banter. He took a moment during the fun to meet and subsequently include the balding, bewildered fellow seated near him in his conversations.

That fellow was me.

My time with Jay on that occasion did not last very long, but it was very, very informative to my experience of World Fantasy. As anybody who knows me can tell you: I love World Fantasy Convention. Part of that love had its genesis in Jay's inclusion and initiation of me into this world of writers and their society.

I didn't get the chance to speak directly to Jay very often on the subsequent occasions we saw one another, just exchanging a friendly nod and kind word in passing. He always remembered my name, despite our limited experience of one another, and even when he was complaining about the devastating effects chemotherapy was having on his prodigious mind.

I read his blog, keeping up with his thoughts in that manner.

Two years ago yesterday,  I was in the process of making my first fiction sale.  I sent Jay a private message on Facebook:

May 31, 2012 11:41 am
Any pointers on celebrating one's first fiction sale?

announce like crazy, tell all your friends, buy your IRL friends a round

get them to pay you in a paper check if possible so you can photocopy it and frme it

and congratulations, yes?
Excellent ideas, all! I shall see you at chicon! And thanks for the congrats. Contract not signed yet, so I'm no quite able to shriek it from the rooftops, bit it's there!

good luck

I took all your advice, Jay.

Good luck and safe journey on your travels, wherever they may take your essence.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

What I'm Doing This Weekend: BayCon (AKA: Lots to do)

So, this weekend I am attending BayCon, which Dario Ciarello was kind enough to invite me to last year on his Guest pass. I spoke to one of the organizers about my willingness to do some panels for it, and now, a year later, I am doing the following:

1. Give Me That Old Time Religion on Friday at 2:00 PM in Alameda
   (with C. Sanford Lowe, Setsu Uzume, Randy Smith (M))

   Pagans, Wiccans, and Pastafarians: There are religions besides the big three. Panelists discuss faiths they've explored or studied.

2. Writing in a Galaxy Far, Far Away: The Rewards and Challenges of Writing Media Tie-in Novels on Friday at 3:30 PM in Alameda
   (with Kevin Andrew Murphy (M), Matt Maxwell, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff)

 Writers of media tie-in novels share their experiences working in someone else's universe.

3. CSI: Science Fiction vs Reality on Friday at 5:00 PM in Alameda
   (with Kay Tracy (M), Lynx Crowe)

  Sure, you have to take some shortcuts trying solve a couple of murders in 45 minutes of screen time, but it sure helps to have devices as futuristic as the matter duplicators of Star Trek.  Which tools used on CSI are the dreams of a semi-scientific screenwriter annd what are the real tools that forensic scientists use today?

4. Surveillance and the End of Privacy on Sunday at 11:30 AM in Bayshore
   (with Jason Malcolm Stewart (M), David Friedman, Dario Ciriello)

   Between government surveillance of citizens and ubiquitous cameras, is privacy a lost cause? What can you do to preserve your privacy?

5. You Don't look like an Alien… on Sunday at 2:00 PM in San Tomas
   (with Kathleen Barthlomew, Jay Reynolds Freeman, S.L. Gray (M))

   We know what other people's concepts of aliens are, but what is yours?  Learn how to create an alien-looking alien without settling for pointy ears and prosthetic foreheads.

6. The Science of the Honor Harrington Universe on Sunday at 3:30 PM in Stevens Creek
   (with Christine Doyle, David Weber, Martin Lessem (M))

   Wormholes, gravity waves that travel faster than light, DNA manipulation. What is the likelihood that the achievements in science and technology presented in the Honor Harrington series will someday become a reality?

7. Female Archetypes in Fantasy on Sunday at 5:00 PM in Stevens Creek
   (with Beth Barany, Ursula Vernon, Taunya Gren (M))

   In fantasy stories set in worlds with their own system of gods and goddesses, are the female archetypes too limited, to roles such as The Mother or The Daughter? Do we need more stories with a full spectrum of female archetypes, such as those in the pantheon of India?

If you happen to be in the Bay Area, and attending, please look me up...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Nebula Awards Weekend

My friend, Chuck Gannon, has been nominated for the Nebula Award this year for Best Novel. He was kind enough to ask if I wanted to tag along for the banquet. I, of course, said, "Hell yes!"

I was asked if I was willing to put on a panel or workshop, but my other LE friends are not attending so I went back to talk to Chuck, my personal rain-maker, who said he'd be glad to help out with a panel. Some days later we decided on our subject:

Cops and Spies: Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence in SF
Griffin Barber and Charles E. Gannon
Friday, May 16, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Blossom Hill Third Floor

If you are attending the awards weekend, please come. If you aren't, please send me your good thoughts regardless. I will assume you already voted, if eligible, for Chuck's fantastic work.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Next Week I Appear, And You May See Me...

Going to MarCon in Columbus, Ohio next weekend, for the 1632 MiniCon and another milestone for me: next Saturday, a friend of mine, Alistair Kimble, and I will be putting on a writing workshop at MarCon entitled Law Enforcement For Writers. We'll talk about everything and anything our attendees want to ask or hear about. I'm rather excited to see what people come up with.

Friday, March 21, 2014

FOGCon Appearances Done and General Updatery

Well, I went to FOGCon and I had a very nice time, meeting several people. The first panel I was on was full of bright, interesting folks with clever, insightful things to say...And then I was on a panel with Tim Powers, who is not only famous for a long and amazing career in SF, but wickedly funny and smart, all of which combined to make me feel a total impostor. I managed not to put my foot in it, I think. At least, no one looked at me as if I had grown a sentient, mouthy boil on my lip. Perhaps they were just being polite.

 I have been slow to update the blog for a couple reasons, the main one being I my wrist is a bit painful from all of the hand writing I must do at work forcing a slow down. I purchased Dragon Dictation and started using it (Jury is out, just now, on how awesome it might be. There's issues.), but I've been focusing on getting Mughal Mission drafted. It appears I am on track with that at least, cracking 72,000 words today.

And now I'm off to do some more work on it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

I Appear, Publicly Even...

Last year, FogCon gave me my first shot as a panelist, and they were kind enough to ask me back for this year. So: This weekend I will be at FogCon in Walnut Creek, with two panels on Friday, back to back. The first, A Secret Is Something You Only Tell One Person At A Time, is at 1330. Just after that, at 1500, it's Secret Agencies of The Occult, which I look forward to. On Saturday I will be on my third and final panel, at 1330: Cryptography and Codes, which I believe I can add some interesting things to, especially regarding the use of codes in history. If you are in the Bay Area or someone who travels for cons, I hope to see you there!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Back in The Saddle

I climbed back on the horse and dug my spurs in:  I'm writing 1000 words a day on the current project until the draft is done.

See you in fifty or so.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Things I've Learned In 14 Years

Today marks my fourteenth year in law enforcement so I thought I might share a few of the things I've learned.

People can be fucking stupid. That includes me.

The job will never love you, no matter how much you love it.

Addicts take no time off. You can encounter them at any time, under any conditions.

Gangsters do take time off. You'll rarely encounter them before 1000hrs. Gangsters almost always start out mama's boys, crying for attention from mama.

Traffic stops are not routine.

If it looks to good to be true, it will definitely bite you.

Yes, you may have to touch that vermin-infested criminal, but you don't have to smell him.

If you are fighting with someone in the middle of the street and didn't call it in, you are on your own, no matter how many civilians are watching. They'll record your actions, but don't count on them helping you.

Shaking it off is for games, not work. You get hurt, you report that shit.

A full moon affects some people, sometimes. Be aware that you might be the person affected. 

Domestic abusers do not generally change their stripes. Pedophiles do not change.

You are going to see things that should not be seen. Hear things that cannot be unheard.

Write the best report you can, every time. You never know when someone is going to get arrested on that stolen property report and you'll be called to testify.

Accidents happen a lot less often than collisions.

Don't bring that shit home. Don't wear your boots home, and don't take your shit out on the kids, pets, or spouse. That said, figure out how to lance those wounds so they don't come out at night.

Drinking is not a solution, no matter how fun it can be.

Suicide is not an option. Everything ends, including pain.

If you see a fellow officer in pain, put it all on hold and help them, even if you have to overcome resistance to do so.

Cultivate courtesies even as you learn to talk shit. Know when to use one or the other.

Stay in policy. It might be stupid, but it might protect you from stupid, too.

Supervisors are not out to screw you, but they also may not be looking out for your best interests, either.

When in doubt it is better to be tried by twelve than carried by six.

It's also better to write the report, no matter how pointless or long, than expend even more effort trying to avoid taking that report.