Reading Paper Books

Recently the university where I work had their annual library book sale, and, as always, I found myself unable to stop from buying a couple.  One of them is a paperback copy of John Steakley’s Armor. 

It’s a classic (originally published in 1984) and I’m finding myself being sucked into the story just as I was when I first read it thirty years ago.

It is interesting, though, how different I am finding the experience of reading a paper printed book after doing the overwhelming majority of my reading on a Kindle screen.  It’s kind of awkward to hold, thicker than my Kindle, and it takes two hands to hold the book and turn the page.

The pages are not self-illuminated, so when I woke up in the middle of the night last night I had to turn on a light in my office to read it.  And, of course, a paper book won’t read the text to you.

I am enjoying the book, but I do think from time to time, “I want to see if this is on Kindle” and “I wonder if there is an audiobook?” My awareness of the media isn’t too intrusive to keep me from losing myself in the text, but it is there.

This is interesting because I haven’t been a Kindle reader for that long, really, just five or six years, and I was an avid reader of paper books for the prior four decades or so.  My reading reflexes, however, have changed to the point where reading a paperback book now takes some adjustment.

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The Way Type Used To Be Set


For Susan.

Originally posted on The Arts Mechanical:

Some Linotype videos.

Letterpress printing.

A film from Britanica.

Another school film.

The Wiki.

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Local Authors at County Library – Spencer Creek Branch Nov. 19th


I’m going to be there, too.

Originally posted on Dreaming...:


If you’re in the area stop on by. Steven Thomas and I will be having an arm wrestling match around seven or so, He doesn’t know it yet so mum’s the word.

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Cirsova Issue # 1 Line-up Announcement + Other Updates


One of the collections that my work will be appearing in soon.

Originally posted on Cirsova:

I’ve gotten an amazing response from the SFF writing community over the last month and some change. I’m finally ready to announce the contributors to Issue 1 of Cirsova.

The hardest part of this has been holding my tongue until now because of how much I’ve wanted to sing the praises of the Cirsova authors. Seriously, these guys (and gals) rock, are totally amazing and certainly names to be on the look-out for.

Issue one of Cirsova will feature the following:

Short Stories
The Gift of the Ob-Men by Schuyler Hernstrom
This Day, At Tilbury by Kat Otis
Rose by Any Other Name by Brian K Lowe
Late Bloom by Melanie Rees
The Hour of the Rat by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
At the Feet of Neptune’s Queen by Abraham Strongjohn

A Hill of Stars by Misha Burnett

My Name is John Carter by James Hutchings

Feature Column

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Don’t Say A Prayer For Me Now, Save It For The Morning After

On June 20th of this year I released Gingerbread Wolves, the fourth novel in my series, The Book Of Lost Doors.

Some time after I released it I realized that it was also the last book in the series. I hadn’t planned it that way.  I don’t really plan anything in my work, I just kind of let it happen.

I was expecting, in fact, to have at least two more novels, and I had some ideas for what was going to happen in each of them.

However, once I had some time and distance to look at the series as a whole, it became obvious to me that the story that I had set out to tell was over.  Again, I hadn’t planned it out in advance, but the events in Gingerbread Wolves completed the overall story arc.

While it wasn’t always obvious, even to me, there is a definite three act structure to the series–Catskinner’s Book is act one, Cannibal Hearts and The Worms Of Heaven are the second act (with the midpoint coming at the end of Cannibal) and Gingerbread Wolves is the third act.

The ending of Gingerbread Wolves is the ending.

“Life must go on, I forget just why.” I must have known on some level when I lifted that line from Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “Lament” that I was saying goodbye to James and Catskinner and Agony and the world that they had lived in and saved at such great cost.

And now, damnit, I’m grieving.  I spent four years of my life with James and even though the breakup is amiable, I am going to miss him.  He’s going to leave a hole in my heart and no matter what I do from here on out, nothing will ever quite replace what he means to me.

I’ve been listening to the series on audiobook and I’m in the middle of the last one now.  It’s strengthened my resolve that it is over and we can’t go back, but it makes me wish that we could.

I’m scared.  I’m scared that I’ll never be able to write like this again, that the spark is gone and I’ll spend the rest of career trying to recapture something that is gone. I’m scared to move on, to try to find a new voice and new characters.

But I know that I can’t stay here.  I’ve seen that happen to too many other authors, unwilling to give up something that is dead and dragging a corpse behind them for book after book.  I don’t want to write Friday The Thirteenth Part Six. I need to let James leave the stage when he’s ready, to take a Greyhound bus to some town where no one knows him and fade away into well-deserved obscurity.  Send me a postcard sometime, kid, let me know how you and Catskinner are doing.

And me?  Well, I’m going to work on stories for a while.  Nothing serious, just play the field.  I’ve done some good pieces since Gingerbread, and I’ll probably crank out a few more before I start another novel project.  I need some space.

Life must go on, I forget just why.

Posted in Book Of Lost Doors, Cannibal Hearts, Catskinner's Book, Gingerbread Wolves, On Writing, Worms Of Heaven | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

An Update

I’ve been feeling a little lost in my writing life without a novel project to work on–yes, I know I had Tsarina, but that’s back on hiatus.  There’s still no there, there–I have all the trappings of a story, and some fun concepts, but there’s no basic conflict to drive a story.  I may go back to it, if something occurs to me.

I have been doing short stories.  I’m doing pretty well at it, actually.  They give me a chance to explore some new styles and formats.  Right now I have out there:

“In The Driving Lane”, being published in the upcoming collection Sins Of The Future, followup to last years Sins Of The Past (and which I am reading at a bookstore Halloween party tonight.)  It’s a cautionary tale, a kind Dangerous Visions style “If this goes on…” story.

“The First Man In The World”, being published in an anthology called All These Shiny Worlds. It’s a deliberate pastiche of early “hard SF”, a story about slower-than-light colonization of another star system.

“A Hill Of Stars”, being published in Cirsova magazine.  It’s my take on what the editor called “Sword & Planet” fiction.  I did a mashup of H P Lovecraft and E R Burroughs, setting it at the end of the Great Old Ones’ dominion over Earth, about sixty million years ago.

“The Silk Of Yesterday’s Gown”, submitted to an upcoming horror/romance collection called Forever Red. It’s a story about a polyamorous relationship between humans and unseely sidhe gone very wrong.

“The Darkest Hour Of The Night”, submitted to an upcoming collection of haunted house stories.  It’s about a haunted garage with a twist ending that I hope actually works.

Next up, I am working on a “The Winter Children” for submission to a radio show that is looking for Twilight Zone style stories for adaptation to audio plays.

So, I really am staying busy, it just doesn’t feel like it.  I think somewhere deep inside I feel that short stories aren’t “real” writing.

Ah, well–I need to work on that.

See you in the funny papers.

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First Review for Seeking Control Of The Myths That Never Should Have Been


A nice review of the second book in a very fun new series.

Originally posted on MetallicWolff:

Seeking Control Final Kindle cover

I’m very pleased to share with you the first review for my latest book:

Seeking Control Of The Myths That Never Should Have Been

I gotta say, I’m pretty happy.

Seeking Control Review resized

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