CORVIDAE Cover Reveal

So, some of you may remember that my story, Faerie Knight, was published in Fae, edited by Rhonda Parrish last year.  Well, she has a new anthology that will be released soon entitled CORVIDAE.  While I don’t have a story in the anthology, Corvidae is the genesis and inspiration behind my own recently completed story HawkeMoon, so what better way to show my appreciation to Rhonda than to showcase this awesome new project.

Here is the cover reveal and more information about the anthology:

CORVIDAE
Anthology edited by Rhonda Parrish
Rhonda Parrish’s Magical Menageries, Volume Two

CORVIDAE Cover
CORVIDAE

Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.

In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.

Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.

Corvidae
Edited by Rhonda Parrish
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Genre: Fantasy and Horror
Length: Anthology, approx. 230 pages
Tradepaperback: $11.95; ebook $5.99
ISBN-13 (trade paperback): 978-0692430217
ISBN-10 (trade paperback): 0692430210

You can find out more information about Corvidae from the publisher World Weaver Press or on (my personal favorite book related site) Goodreads.

And hey, if you like the book and the stories inside, consider contributing a review on Amazon or Goodreads.  As authors, we all like to see a little recognition/appreciation for our hard work!  😀

Almost there . . . Wi-Fi and the Writer

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Almost there–this post takes its title from Star Wars: A New Hope (aka Episode IV) during the “trench run” sequence.  I think that I finally figured out the problem with my wifi (crossing fingers, knocking on wood, throwing salt over my shoulder, and any other good luck myths that I can use).

If so, that will solve a HUGE issue for my for my writing and should make me more productive and regular in terms of fiction and this blog.  I’m on summer break and I should be using this blog to explore ideas for writing for the upcoming writing year.  I’ve decided that, hey, I’m a teacher, so my writing year should start and continue all throughout the school year.  Kinda’ sorta’ like what companies do with their fiscal year.  Summertime should be a time to let projects lie fallow (for editing), trying to come up with rough drafts (for things to turn into stories later), and finally new ideas for new projects (that can turn into rough drafts later).

But, with no wifi, I’m chained to the one area in the house that my ethernet cable will reach and its really affected the way I write.  I finally think I tracked down the issue: long story made short, it appears to be an issue with the mac and the airport utility (firmware) used to communicate between the router and mac.

So here’s what I *think* happened: (new) airport basestation –> downloaded (new) firmware when I plugged it in and connected it.  (new) firmware and (new) airport basestation ≠ (old) 2008 macbook pro and (new) OS X (Mavericks/Yosemite).  plugged in old base station.  (old) base station + (new) firmware did not get along, resulting in an unstable wifi connection (up and down constantly with new and old basestations).  finally reverted back to (old) basestation with (old) firmware with (old) 2008 macbook pro with (new) OS X (Yosemite).  Did you follow all that?  That’s 6 months of reading forum posts, trying different OS X solutions, YouTube vids, and waiting to see if new updates of IOS/OS X would fix the problem (hint: it didn’t).

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Fingers very crossed that going backwards on everything but the OS results in a stable wifi connection again.  The computer is long in the tooth, I know, but it still has life in it and does everything I need it to do.  It runs all my software (except the games on Steam, but that’s what I have my PS4 for anyway 😀).  I would hate to spend money on a new laptop just yet when it really isn’t needed just to get wifi working on the new router if the old one will work just as well with the correct firmware.

I can’t say that I fault Apple for this–I mean this is a 7 year old computer.  But still, Apple has knocked it out of the park for me so often in that the software just works.  I never thought that I would experience a compatibility issue with Apple’s own router and firmware because of the age of the computer as everything worked seamlessly so far (and even when I used Apple software on Windows machines like Airport Utility for Windows, Safari for Windows, and iTunes for Windows–those all worked flawlessly).

More to the point, however, is how wifi affects me as a writer.  Unfortunately, I live in a neighborhood where it isn’t a good idea to show off your possessions (even a 7 year old laptop), otherwise I’d be living the writer’s dream and writing on the deck in all seasons except winter.  Since that can’t be the case, I find I write better (and more) when I find places inside with lots of sun and that are sun-warmed.  Ethernet, while giving internet access, limits me to the family room area (which is pretty dark and relatively cool), exactly the opposite of what I like as a writing environment.  Hence, my reluctance to write and one of the main reasons this blog is so haphazard.

I’m going to think positive and hope that I am “Almost There . . .” in getting my wifi situation sorted and moving up to be more productive and professional as a writer.

Dark Matter – Show Review

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Yesterday, I watched the premiere episode of the ScyFy’s (I hate that spelling of their channel name, by the way) new show: Dark Matter.  I am cautiously optimistic.  It was actually quite good, although a lot of the tension comes from the initial concept of the show (that they seemingly answer at the end of the first episode.)

Before I begin with my impressions, I should note that there will be slight spoilers.  If you’re sensitive to any spoilers, you may want to wait, watch the show, and come back later.

Now, back to the show:

So, the premise of the Dark Matter is that several people awake without memories on a space ship that is floating unpowered in space.  The tension comes from the fact that no one remembers anything about themselves, the others, or why they are on the space ship.  The episode establishes character building, character relationships, and tries to solve the mystery of who they are and why they are here.  Whatever has effected their memories has left their abilities intact (and the show’s creators go through several scenes and a good bit of screen time to show you that several characters possess extreme abilities that they still possess even without their complete memories.

The episode reminds me of two different other pieces of media: The Bourne Identity and Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Conundrum.”  In each one, there is a mystery of identity to be solved, along with the idea of skills left intact and able to be used.  It also has a dash of Farscape mixed in as well, where there promises to be character clashes and conflicts based on the various personalities and character drives of the crew.  These are definitely not members of the United Federation of Planets (or any other Federation for that matter).  These crew members are portrayed as pretty tough–when one character can spin katanas like Darth Maul, you know that’s a guy who’s use to getting his own way.

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My hope was that they would spend most of the 1st season figuring out who they were and that it would be revealed for each of the crew by the time the first season wrapped up, but they actually (again, seemingly) gave a crew biography at the end of the episode.  I say seemingly, because they do it in the last 5 minutes and they rely on the computer finding and repairing “corrupted data” to tell us who the characters are and the name of the ship–which is important as we learned from secondary characters slightly earlier in the episode.

[spoiler] Slight Spoiler Warning: The Farscape idea comes back again with the reveal of the characters identities at the end, but to say more would be a major spoiler. [/spoiler]

I’m not sure that I like that reveal, but I need to see more before I decide one way or the other.  I can already tell that I’m probably not going to enjoy ScyFy’s next new show which debuts next week–Killjoys (space bounty hunters) because of its irreverent tone, although I am planning to watch it (unless I forget).  Dark Matter, on the other hand, might be a keeper.  If you like Sci-Fi (ah, I finally get to spell it the CORRECT way!) then give it a try.  If nothing else, it has spaceships–which never fails to pique my interest.  Here’s hoping the show goes in the right direction.

Final Overall Episode Grade: B

Author’s Note: Childe Roland

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On Friday, June 5th, I finished Project Roland. It turned out to be a short-story of (unedited) about 6,000 words long. I’m calling it Childe Roland. I will probably edit it over the next 3 weeks and start submitting it at the end of June.  It is, of course, based on the famous poem by Robert Browning, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.

This project has been on my mind for years – I originally planned for it to be a novel (and I might still try to turn it into one later). After years of trying to unsuccessfully trying to plot it and expand it into chapters, I simply wrote down all the action that I saw in my head and shaped that into a story.
Childe Roland is about Roland’s quest to find the Dark Tower. It takes Robert Brownings’ poem, Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came as its inspiration. Yes, I know Stephen King also has a famous series featuring the Dark Tower, but King’s Roland is a Gunslinger (in the tradition of Clint Eastwood or Yul Brenner).

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Every since I read the poem in Dr. Shawen’s English Literature class as an undergraduate at UTC, I’ve imagined Roland as a “sword-bearer,” not a Gunslinger. This was brought home to me when I read about the sword Durandal (aka Durandel, Durindana) that Roland carries in The Song of Roland.

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Very few of my stories actually have a genesis from my dreams, but this story is one of them. As a child, I’ve dreamed of the “Dark Tower” no less than 3 times. I can remember each dream as vividly as if they were from memory of events that actually happened even though they really didn’t. The clearest dream is from a school visit to Red Clay State Park. In the real trip, we traveled the park counterclockwise, from the main center, crossing a small stream, then seeing a remaining Native American meeting lodge, and finally back to the main complex. In the dream, we went clockwise and we started at the lodge, crossed the stream, and then where the right turn should be, there was a pass to the left, I took it and I would up in a darkened copse and there was the “Tower.”
Finally, as luck would have it, as a child, I happened upon the Dark Tower game in a toy store (the precursor to ToysRUs in the 80’s) and persuaded my parents to buy it for me for Christmas. It was, of course, the Dark Tower game. I learned the rules and learned how to beat the game on even its highest, most challenging session ).  I even still to this day have the Tower and the Game Board (although I’ve misplaced the pieces and instructions) for this game!

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So, in a weird way, the Dark Tower has been something that has been apart of my life from my earliest memories, through my childhood, into college, and now again as I a writer. It is only fitting that I should now write a story about the Dark Tower and one man’s quest to find it—even as I’m questing to find my own mythical Tower: success as a writer.