Blogapalooza

     Several years back, I did a fair amount of blogging. I had blogs on starwars.com and LiveJournal — multiple blogs on the latter, in fact. Between them, I posted with some regularity.

     But I ran out of steam with the Star Wars blog and slowed down on LiveJournal. Then I
had my March 2009 heart attack, which was an interruption at every level of my life.

     But I knew I’d get back to posting some day, and here it is. I hope I won’t run out
of steam anytime soon. And maybe I’ll get my act together with regards to my Facebook and Twitter accounts as well.

Ivory Towers and Distant Lands

     I thought I’d start, self-referentiall enough, by talking about the relationship between writers and fans. See, although I’m an early adopter of some technologies and cultural changes, the interactivity between writers and their readers that has arisen in recent
decades is still a little alien to me.

     I grew up in a very SF&F friendly house, which gave me a keen awareness of writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Lester Dent, Walter B. Gibson, Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clarke… And though I wanted from an early age to be a writer, it didn’t occur to me that at any point I might someday interact with people who read my work. All those writers whose work I knew were either dead or (as I perceived it) living in some remote land in citadels whence they never emerged to walk among mortals.

     Yeah, okay, I simply hadn’t thought this through. But in my childhood and teen years, I never met a published SF&F writer. Period.

     Only after I went off to college and then went to work for Steve Jackson Games, the Austin-based game publishing company, and began attending SF&F conventions, did I encounter authors in the flesh. They lived, they met fans, they gave talks, they ate pizza, they flirted, they argued… they were arguably human, and they were obviously far too numerous to live in just one remote citadel. It was kind of eye-opening.

     So the upshot is that now, even thirty years after I began experiencing this phenomenon, when someone walks up and says he or she is a fan of my work, I can accept it at an intellectual level but still have some trouble believing it an an emotional level. After all, these people have come to this conclusion before I was dead or living in a back corner of one of Mad King Ludwig’s Bavarian castles.

My Current Status

     An update on details, in no particular order, of my life…

Health

     Good. Taking all my medications and regularly seeing my doctors.

     Because of lingering ramifications from my heart attack and corrective surgery, air travel is still kind of demanding for me. Somehow, sitting in a cramped chair for hours, followed by a period of hustle-bustle through a busy airport, causes my fun, semi-inexplicable blood pressure drops to visit me with a greater frequency than I enjoy.

Public Appearances

     Related to the above, Dragon*Con was especially challenging for me this year.

     I was lucky enough to be on a flight to Atlanta with my friend Lillian Butler, who stepped in and took charge when I had one of those woozy post-flight sp3lls in the Atlanta airport. Thanks to her, I got through that all right, but I played it safe and didn’t overexert myself at the con itself. Apologies to members of the 501st, whom I’d hoped to join at their Saturday night mixer; I was just too pooped and chose to play it safe.

     Upcoming public appearances include Sci-Fi Expo’s Star Wars Fan Days and an SF&F event at the Pflugerville (TX) Community Library. Check my Appearance Schedule page for more details.

What I’m Working On

     Lots, including —

  • Mercy Kill, first and foremost. This is the first new Star Wars Wraith Squadron novel since 1999, a project I’ve hoped for years to be able to do.
  • Growing Up Dead, an original urban fantasy, a vampire action/comedy novel. It’s in rough draft form and I’m editing it into polished first draft form. I’m very pleased with the results so far.
  • Sky of Fire, an original fantasy novel still in the early writing stages.
  • “Replay Value,” a fantasy short story submitted to an anthology for (I hope) publication
    next year.
  • “Collide-o-Scope,” an SF short story now in rough draft form. It was originally intended for that same anthology but it got too long. Now I’ve set it aside for future development.
  • “Big Plush,” a longish SF pseudo-military short story intended for a military SF anthology. I won’t describe it yet except to say that it’s odd.
  • Plotting: The Novelist’s Workout Guide, a nonfiction work on the art of fiction plotting, which I hope to release in e-book form late this year.

     And a few weeks ago, I released a fantasy short story, “An Occurrence at Bifrost Bridge,” as an e-book. “Occurrence” tells the tender story of what happens when a 1940s-era fantasy author decides to put a bullet into his brain but is stopped by supernatural forces. It’s available for sale from the Kindle Store, the iBookstore, and my own sales web site, ArcherRat Publishing.

     So, yeah, I’ve been keeping busy, and that list doesn’t even include other work still in developmental stages. Feels good.

Last Notes

     That’s all for now. I hope to be back in a week or so.