Here’s a particularly cool version of the Dire Straits song from their 1980 album Making Movies, this from a concert they did at Wembley Stadium in 1985 where they were joined by the great Nils Lofgren of both the E Street Band and Crazy Horse.
A song John Fogerty wrote and released in early 2021, discussing the sad state of America in the Trump years, and it’s a song that’s still irritatingly appropriate given the shenanigans performed by the Supreme Court in recent times.
Happy fucking Fourth…..
While putting this together, I realized I’m approaching two writing milestones…
When Feat of Clay and Phoenix Precinct are finished, I’ll have written 60 novels (or novelizations) for publication. That’s pretty fabulous. (I’m not counting my second collaboration with Munish K. Batra until it’s sold, nor am I counting two movie novelizations I wrote that were cancelled and will likely never be published.)
I have six short stories in the queue to be written, and once they’re done, I’ll have written 100 short stories for publication.
That’s pretty cool……..
Anywho, here’s what I’m working on:
Precinct series. The plan is for eSpec Books to do a three-way Kickstarter for Phoenix Precinct and novels by Ef Deal and Aaron Rosenberg this fall. This means I have a 1 October deadline for Phoenix Precinct. It’s pretty much plotted, so I just have to, y’know, sit down and write it. It should be out either by the end of 2022 or in early 2023, depending on how eSpec wants to handle the release. In addition, I need to start thinking about assembling More Tales from Dragon Precinct.
Bram Gold Adventures. I’m still halfway through Feat of Clay. Sigh. Really will finish it one of these decades. Hoping to have the book out this year, but 2023 is looking more realistic. In addition, I’m going to be doing another Systema Paradoxa novella that will take place in this setting.
Science fiction novellas. I’ve written five of the novellas in this series, and just starting on Book 6 now. I promise to say more about this as soon as the guy who hired me to write them says it’s okay…..
Phenomenons. With the successful crowdfund of the second volume, Season of Darkness, I’ve started brainstorming my second Luminosity story with editor Michael Jan Friedman and a few of the other writers. This is gonna be fun….
Anthology editing. Wrenn and I have been struggling to get moving on The Four ???? of the Apocalypse, but it’s gonna happen in July, dagnabbit. If all goes well, we’ll have copies of the book ready to go in time for Dragon Con. In addition, I’ve somehow been talked into co-editing two more anthologies, one of which will be announced soon, the other of which is being shopped around to publishers. I will also have stories in both of those (which will be edited by my co-editor in each case).
Medical thriller. This collaboration with Dr. Munish K. Batra is being shopped around by our agent. Cross fingers, please! Also, Munish and I are going to be doing more collaborations…
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness–The Beginning. I’ve written all my scripts for this one. The art is coming along nicely. Looking forward to seeing this in print….
Star Trek Adventures: Incident at Kraav III. I’ve done what should be all my work for this. Just waiting for CBS to approve it and Modiphius to publish it. I also have some mission briefs to write for them…
Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet. I still have to write this collection’s one original story, “Stop Dragon My Heart Around,” but once that’s done, it will go off to Plus One Press for publication. The rest of the collection is reprints.
Short stories. I’m doing a story for another Crazy 8 Press anthology, which will be announced (and set up for crowdfunding) soon. That’s due at the end of July, and I’ve already outlined it. I’ve written my story for The Eye of Argon and the Further Adventures of Grignr the Barbarian, edited by Michael A. Ventrella, which Fantastic Books should have out in time for Philcon in November. I’m slated to write a tie-in short story for an anthology, assuming the publisher is able to work out the contract with the rights-holder. I’ve also sent several short-story pitches to a magazine that is publishing tie-in work, and waiting to hear back from the licensor.
Nonfiction. Currently have three weekly things going on Tor.com: the Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch, reviews of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, and the summer revival of “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch.” I’m in early season 2 of Enterprise, there’s just one episode to go of SNW and then the first-season overview, and I’ve still got five movies to cover for 4CT35MM: Spider-Man: No Way Home, The King’s Man, The Batman, Morbius, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. I also have a piece to write for another of the Outside In anthologies, and my usual monthly TV and movie reviews for my Patreon.
There’s other stuff that’s way in the background, as it were. This is what’s in the foreground. Wheeeeee!
From the Prince’s Trust Gala Concert 1986, a VHS tape I pretty much wore out during my college years, here’s Paul McCartney leading a stellar version of “Get Back” for which he’s joined on vocals by Tina Turner, Paul Young, and Bryan Adams, with Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton providing great guitar solos, and Elton John on piano, Ray Cooper on percussion, Howard Jones on keyboards, and Phil Collins on drums. Yeah.
It doesn’t get much better than this……
Here’s what’s gone up on my Patreon since the 20th of May:
- $1/month and up: reviews of 9 to 5 and Presumed Innocent
- $2/month and up: 37 cat (and dog) pictures
- $5/month and up: a review of Signora Volpe
- $7/month and up: excerpts from Pigman and Star Hoppers Book 5
- $10/month and up: a Super City Cops vignette
- $20/month and up: first looks at every chapter of Star Hoppers Book 5
Coming in July will be a movie review, TV reviews of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ms. Marvel, tons more cat and dog pics (I visited ToniAnn and Kyle in Raleigh last week and took a lot of pics of their zoo), the usual work-in-progress Wednesdays, July’s vignette, and first looks at Star Hoppers Book 6 and the short story “Ticonderoga Beck and the Stalwart Squad,” which is due on 30 July.
So what are you waiting for? Support my Patreon and get all this cool stuff!
For whatever reason, this has been a major short-story year for me. With today’s official release of both Zorro’s Exploits and Tales of Capes and Cowls, I now have six stories published this year, with another five planned between now and the end of 2022.
- “The Carpet’s Tale” in The Fans are Buried Tales
- “The Light Shines in the Darkness” in Phenomenons: Every Human Creature
- “History Lesson for Royal Puppies in the Castle Portrait Gallery” in Ludlow Charlington’s Doghouse
- “What You Can Become Tomorrow” in Three Time Travelers Walk Into…
- “Smells Like Teen Spirit” in Tales of Capes and Cowls
- “A Lovely View” in Zorro’s Exploits
- “What Do You Want from Me, I’m Old?” in The Four ???? of the Apocalypse
- “The Rat’s Tail” in The Further Adventures of Grignr
- “Ticonderoga Beck and the Stalwart Squad” in Thrilling Adventure Yarns 2022
- “Stop Dragon My Heart Around” in Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet
- as-yet-untitled Luminosity story in Phenomenons: Season of Darkness
Of the five remaining for this year, I’ve written “The Rat’s Tail,” I’ve outlined “Ticonderoga Beck and the Stalwart Squad,” I have a basic idea of what both “What Do You Want from Me, I’m Old?” and “Stop Dragon My Heart Around” will be, and I only have a vague idea what the Luminosity story will be, though I can say that it will involve several other characters in the Phenomenons milieu including Sarcastic Fringehead, Red Sky, and La Colosa y La Particula.
By contrast, I haven’t had a novel out this year, and may not unless we get Phoenix Precinct or Feat of Clay out by year’s end, but I’m not entirely optimistic about that. Sigh. Though I guarantee that both will be out before the end of 2023…..
(I still will have a graphic novel — Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness–The Beginning — and a short story collection — Ragnarok and a Hard Place — out this year, at least….)
One of the greatest duets of all time, David Bowie trading vocals with Freddie Mercury as the Thin White Duke joined Queen for “Under Pressure.”
Bold Venture Press has put up an ordering page for Zorro’s Exploits, the new anthology of stories featuring Johnston McCulley’s swashbuckling creation. Editor Audrey Parente has also revealed the full table of contents:
- introductions by Audrey Parente, Jan Zbicinski, and Bill Cotter
- “The Alcalde’s Last Try” by Tekla Cichocka
- “Courage by Firelight” by Aaron Rosenberg
- “Fray Felipe’s Dilemma” by Michael Kurland
- “A Fox in the City” by Jim Beard
- “Out of the Night” by John L. French
- “The Shepherd” by Susan Kite
- “Life and Death” by Scott Cranford
- “Fox Hunt” by Bobby Nash
- “Los Hombres Buenos” by Patricia Crumpler
- “M for Murrieta” by Francisco Silva
- “The Road to Penance” by Ron Fortier
- “Zorro and the Red Devil” by Teel James Glenn
- “The Gold Bell of Canfield Featherstone” by James Mullaney
- “A Lovely View” by Keith R.A. DeCandido (that’s me!)
- “A Wolf in the Land” by Don Everett Smith Jr.
- “The Kindness of Strangers” by Patrick Thomas
- “Z” by Bret Bouriseau
The book officially goes on sale on Thursday….
As is evidenced by my regular postings of songs on this here blog (among many other things), I’m a huge fan of music, and also of a wide variety of music. Over the last week, I got to experience two fantastic concerts in two different settings of two very different types of music, each with one of my favorite people in the whole entire world.
Last week, I spent a few days in Raleigh, and on Thursday night, ToniAnn and I went to one of the Candelight series of concerts. This particular one had a string quartet — two Asian women on violin and two white dudes on cello and viola — playing Antonio Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons,” as well as four other classical pieces that are adjacent to or inspired by Vivaldi’s classic. Both ToniAnn and I are huge fans of “The Four Seasons,” and these four musicians did an amazing job of playing it. These four pieces of music are in my DNA, and to hear them in that lovely venue performed by these four superb musicians was a treat I will treasure always.
The video above has the final bit of “Winter,” which ended the show. They wouldn’t let us take pictures or video until they got to “Winter,” which was a good compromise, I think. As you can tell from that, the acoustics in the venue — All Saints Chapel on South East Street in Raleigh, a church that dates back to the nineteenth century — were perfect for music. (Not so much for talking — when the musicians spoke between numbers, I could barely make them out…)
Truly a magical night…
I drove home Saturday, and on Sunday, Wrenn and I went up to Connecticut for the Round Hill Highland Games in Lime Rock Park. This was, more or less, a Scots-themed Renaissance Festival, with food (meat pies!), music, Scottish merchandise, drink (whiskey! mead!), caber tossing, dancing, and bagpipes — lots and lots of bagpipes.
Our main reason for going, though, was to see a folksinger friend of Wrenn’s named Charlie Zahm. Charlie has a beautiful baritone voice, and he’s also a fantastic guitarist. He played several sets throughout the day, singing some grand old tunes.
Besides the tune in the video above, I recorded two other songs he did, but the video was nowhere near as good (and possibly a bit seasick-inducing), and one was oriented wrong for no good reason (stupid phone…). You can find them here and here.
We didn’t buy much merchandise, though the mead merchants who were doing tastings also had maple syrup that we bought a couple of bottles of, and I found a new bourbon that I want more of (Litchfield Distillery — good stuff!). And we also got to hang out with our friends Robin and Jenny, and even got to have a lovely steak dinner with the pair of them afterward…
Here’s one of the bagpipe brigades:
This was a beautiful, glorious, fun day.
Both musical experiences were stellar, and I will treasure them both. I love music….
It starts with a dance-off to “Footloose,” and just gets crazier from there, all the way to the end of the universe. The plot doesn’t always cohere, but the characterizations and the examination of what family is remains strong. My review of The Umbrella Academy season 3.
One element of the series that was dictated, not by the comics, but by events in real life was handled magnificently, if a little too unconvincingly smoothly: actor Elliot Page transitioned in the interim between seasons, and Blackman beautifully works that transition into the storyline, with Vanya becoming Viktor. Given everything that the character went through in 1963, including being unreservedly loved for the first time ever, it all works. They even have Luther do the whole awkward, “should we do something for him to celebrate this?” with Diego telling him to chill out and just roll with it. Before long, it’s all completely natural, which is as it should be. (Honestly, it’s a little too natural given the contentious relationship among the Hargreeves siblings, but there’s plenty of other family drama to keep them busy…)