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Month: May 2012


The Impossible Dreams screening on Saturday was good! Pretty well attended for a mid-afternoon weekend non-kid-related library function (meaning that, counting me and the librarian, there was an attendance into the double digits — nothing like the dozens of attendees the typical children’s program event gets. I should’ve added some basic clowning or magic to my act!). I showed the movie and did a Q&A (a good crowd, with lots of good questions). Pretty fun. Afterward I got a beer with a couple of friends, then came home.

We’d anticipated nice weather, so Heather and I had a few people over for a cook out, but it turned out be cloudy and cool. (Curse you, weather shamans, and your flawed precognition!) Still: great mounds of grilled meat were prepared, and rare beers were consumed, and much conversation was held, lo deep into the evening.

Sunday was mother’s day, so River and I let Heather sleep in, and then gave her gifts, and took her out for lunch. Then I gave Heather the greatest mother’s day gift of all: freedom from being a mother. I took the kid on a train ride into San Francisco to fulfill one of his great dreams: to ride all the curved escalators at the Westfield mall. (I know. One of his favorite things lately is watching youtube videos of people riding the world’s longest escalators.) So we rode a great many escalators numerous times, bought some legos, and played some video games at the arcade. (By which I mean, he sat in front of a video game and pushed buttons and turned the steering wheel. He’s four. He doesn’t care if he’s really playing, at this point.)

A fun weekend… but I’m now even farther behind on my writing. Too much fun. I have to step things up this week. All play and no work makes for a blown deadline.

Impossible Dreams Screening This Saturday!

There’s a screening of the short film version of Impossible Dreams this Saturday, at 3 p.m., at the Temescal branch of the Oakland Public Library. If you are local, please come — it’s a really cool film. (It’s different enough from my story that I can say that without any unsavory arrogance.)

Here are some more details, and the library address, and all that. I’ll introduce the movie, show the movie, and then I’ll take questions, talk a little about writing and other East Bay writers, and so on. It’ll be fun.

Here’s the trailer:

It’s 21 minutes of romantic science-fictional weirdness; with kazoo. Don’t miss it! (And for those who attended the SF in SF screening, where we had technical difficulties: I’m 99% sure we won’t have any such difficulties this time. We are taking steps and having backup plans. It should be good.)

The Deep Woods

Good news! I can now announce that my fantasy novella/short novel The Deep Woods will be published by the great British small press PS Publishing. I’ve been a fan of PS since I first read Geoff Ryman’s V.A.O. a decade ago, and have been hugely impressed by their publications over the years — especially their dedication to publishing novellas, which are one of my favorite forms in the genre, but hard to find homes for. I’ve wanted to work with them for ages, and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity. This book is one of my favorite things I’ve ever written, and I’m glad it’s going to see print, especially since PS can be relied upon to produce beautiful editions. The book should be out in spring 2014.

In other book news, the e-book of my science fantasy adventure The Nex is still free to download at Amazon, but this is the last day. Tell your friends. Unless they hate free stuff.

The Nex: Now Free!

Yes, I know, my novel The Nex (a weird short science fantasy where every chapter provides either a new spectacle or a new revelation) has been free, posted in its entirety on my website. But now you e-book readers can get it in handy Kindle format for free too, at least for the next few days. (It’s my lowest-selling e-book, which saddens me, as I love it. So I am experimenting with promotional possibilities.)

Get The Nex for free!

And if you like The Nex, you might consider the sort-of-a-sequel short story “We Go Back” (also free to read) with the same narrator, and a short story about supporting characters Howlaa and Wisp, “Dream Engine (likewise free!).

The PrattShaw B&B

Grim Tides is available in print! (Once I get copies from the publisher, I’ll sign and send them to the Kickstarter backers who donated at the appropriate levels.)


I have been super social lately, which is odd for me, as I am a hermitlike recluse. It helped that many of the visitors came to my house, instead of requiring me to emerge from my shell. There was Jenn Reese’s visit a couple of weeks ago, when she stayed over with my family while doing Bay Area events for her new book Above World. That was awesome — we got to hang out a fair bit in my living room, have brunch, wander around Berkeley, play board games, go out to dinner after her reading, and so on. Truly marvelous. I don’t see her nearly enough. We tried to convince her to uproot her life and move to Berkeley, with inconclusive results. It will be an ongoing project of persuasion.

Then this past weekend we had a whirlwind visit from my oldest friend Scott, his wife Lynne (also an old friend — I am startled to realize I’ve known her going on 12 years, though it’s nothing to the 27 or so years I’ve known Scott), and their adorable son Graham, who is a year younger than my own kid. They were visiting for a wedding, so they crashed at our place, and we entertained their kid while they attended the ceremony. We also managed to drink about four bottles of wine, to sit in the backyard enjoying the sunshine, to stay up too late, to have a nice brunch, and to hang out at a playground with them. But as good as it was to see the grown-ups, the best part was how amazingly well Graham and River hit it off. I’ve never seen my son take to another kid that quickly, and River’s a pretty friendly guy. They played together beautifully, and just seemed to endlessly delight one another. I’m so sad they live so far apart. I hope we can get them together more often in coming years.

Scott and Lynne and Graham had to depart pre-dawn on Sunday to catch a flight back home. But that was not the end of my socializing! Oh no! Heather had a social engagement on Sunday afternoon, so River and I hopped in the car to visit my friends Chris and Maggie (and their houseguest An) at their place in Moss Beach. The drive was kind of boring for the boy at first (lots of traffic on the bridge, my iPod spontaneously erased itself so no good music), but once we got south of San Francisco and started going down Highway 1 he liked it — seeing the ocean and the cliffs.

The visit was lovely. River was initially scared of their dog — as he will tell anyone and everyone, “I’m scared of big dogs, I only like little dogs” — but he warmed up to her later, and even got his fingers licked. We all hiked over to the beach, so River could look at tide pools, play in the sand, examine shells, wade in the surf, look at distant slumbering seals and express skepticism that they were seals, and throw rocks into holes in the sea cliffs. He was sufficiently entertained that the rest of us were able to exchange a few words of actual grown-up human conversation. It was very generous of them all to let their afternoon be shaped by the whims of a four-year-old.

We went back for dinner, wonderful pasta and chicken with cream sauce, and fresh bread (a meal designed to be picky-preschooler-friendly; a very kind gesture). Also: very good sangria. I would have had a lot more than one glass if I hadn’t needed to drive home by River’s bedtime. And we talked! Largely about the books of Stephen King and, by extension, about writing. We had the ritual Exchange of Books that writers so often do when they visit one another, and an additional exchange of baked goods, before the boy and I had to depart. Alas!

We got home, I transferred my sleeping son from the car to the bed, and Heather and I spent a wonderful rest of the night together. It’s been a fabulous couple of weeks. Normally being so social exhausts me, but it turns out, when it’s people I feel sufficiently comfortable around, it’s actually quite pleasant to interact with other humans!