stuff for what I’m thankful

It’s very easy to love Thanksgiving, and it’s also very easy to hate it. Love, because showing gratitude for the things you have is never a bad thing, and neither is the notion of community and sharing food. Hate, because the American iteration of the holiday is rooted in a history of genocide and mistreatment of the people who lived on this continent before the Europeans showed up.

I choose to go for the former — giving thanks is always good, and, I think, very important.

I am thankful for my writing career, which has enabled me to make a living doing something I love, and have wanted to do pretty much since I was six. This year in particular I’m thankful to my assorted editors on the stuff I’ve worked on in 2022 or will be working on in 2023: Christopher D. Abbott, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Emmet Asher-Perrin, Lena Attanasova, Peter & Kathleen David, Joseph Dilworth Jr., Michael Jan Friedman, Deborah Grabien, Robert Greenberger, Marco Guerrero, Rich Handley, Tina Jens, Jim Johnson, Jonathan Maberry, Bridget McGovern, Mike McPhail, Audrey Parente, C.T. Phipps, Paul Simpson, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Stacey Smith?, Lou Tambone, and Michael A. Ventrella. I’m also thankful for my amazing agent Lucienne Diver, who is both a wonderful agent and a dear friend.

I am thankful for my readers, without whom that writing career would be less impressive. The feedback I continue to get for my work, past and present, continues to delight me and fill me with joy and fulfillment.

I am thankful for all the conventions that had me as a guest this year, whether on my own or through the auspices of Bard’s Tower. In particular, I want to thank Philcon, Bubonicon, and InConJunction, who all had me as a Guest of Honor this past year. I also want to thank all the folks who’ve been with at Bard’s Tower, who are a great bunch of humans.

I am thankful for everything related to my now-eighteen-year career as a martial artist. I’m especially grateful to Shuseki Shihan Paul, who is the finest teacher you could ask for, and an inspiration to us all; to my fellow senior black belts at our dojo, Kyoshi Gustavo, Sensei Dorian, and Sensei Charles; to my wonderful students at my afterschool program, who keep me on my toes and whose karate journey is tremendous fun to guide; and to all my fellow karateka both at honbu — our dojo is the headquarters of our style — and at our dojos around the world.

I am thankful for our landlords, who have provided us with a wonderful home lo, these last six years. The place has some issues, but it’s a great home for Wrenn and I, and we are incredibly happy here. It’s a great place to be able to work from home, and it’s also right down the street from my aging parents, which is wonderful on many levels.

I am thankful for my friends and family. I’m lucky to have a wonderfully supportive and loving family (they’re pictured above at our Thanksgiving dinner at Madeline’s Petit Paris in Northvale, New Jersey), and I have the most wonderful friends in the entire universe. I’m especially grateful for the gang I play poker with — the weekly poker games over Zoom have been a tremendous balm — and have made wine with (the two groups overlap). I’m also thankful for the lightening of the pandemic to the point where we can have parties and gatherings again.

I am thankful for the New York Yankees, who were fun to watch this year, even though they were once again stymied by the Astros in the post-season.

I am thankful for the various online places where I interact with folks virtually — yes, even Twitter, at least for now.

I am thankful for the City of New York, which remains the greatest city in the world and which — contrary to the bullshit propaganda on Fox News — is not a crime-ridden hellhole.

I am thankful for my fellows in the Boogie Knights, with whom I was able to perform with for the first time in two-and-a-half years at Shore Leave.

I am thankful for ToniAnn and Kyle, as well as Professor Zoom, Tempura, Jazz, Thor, and Loki, for so very many things.

I am thankful for my parents, who are the best in the universe.

And I am thankful for my wonderful wife Wrenn and our two loving felines, Kaylee and Louie.


stuff for what I’m thankful

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday of mine, mainly because its purpose is at once so very basic and so very important: giving thanks. Gratitude is very important, as the good things in our life are things that could very easily be taken away from us (a lesson 2020 taught us quite harshly).

I’m thankful for Wrenn, my amazing wife, who is the best life-partner I could hope for. I remember something my friend Laura Anne Gilman (who was Best Woman at our wedding) said when Wrenn and I first started dating: we suit each other. And we really do in pretty much every way.

I’m thankful for Meredith and ToniAnn, and also for Anneliese, Sas, and Kyle, for oh-so-many reasons.

I’m thankful for the rest of my family, both blood and chosen, especially the Forebearance, the Godmommy, and Matthew.

I’m thankful for all my dear friends, some near, some far, some whom I see every week, some whom I rarely see, some whom I haven’t actually met in person yet, but all of whom mean the world to me. I’m not even going to try to list them all here, because I’ll leave someone out, but they probably know who they are. I love you all.

I’m thankful for various furry creatures who have wormed their way into our hearts, most especially the ones who live with us, Kaylee and Louie, who have become even more affectionate and sweet with age, and also Tempura, Jazz, Thor, Loki, Professor Zoom, Eden, Jax, Spot, Hima, Ginger, and Mickey.

I’m thankful for the dojo, which managed to stay functioning during the apocalypse, and which was one of the things that kept me going during same. I’m also thankful for our sister dojos in Italy, South Africa, Japan, and Chile, and also for other fellow martial artists in other unaffiliated dojos who are nonetheless wonderful and inspirational and nifty. I’m additionally thankful for all the kids I teach in my afterschool program, who are a delight (even the ones who misbehave). I’m especially thankful for having the privilege of going for yondan and achieving it this month. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about being called “Sensei Keith,” but having had the rank for ten days now, I gotta say, I really like it.

I’m extra thankful to Sensei Charles, who went up with me for fourth-degree. We encouraged each other so much during this promotion, and I don’t think either of us could’ve done it without the other. Osu, Sensei!

I’m thankful for conventions, which started happening in person again this year, and also continued virtually in some cases (Shore Leave, Bubonicon, e.g.). I’m particularly thankful to Alexi Vandenberg and Bard’s Tower, which is back in business with in-person cons, and which has sent me to several shows that have enabled me to peddle my fiction. I’m particularly grateful to those con organizers who have insisted on attendees being vaccinated, which is just being responsible and sensible. (Alexi has also insisted that all Tower participants be vaxxed.) I’m extra thankful to Dragon Con, which had 42,000 people, and still managed to stay safe: all attendees not only had to be vaxxed (or have a negative test within the previous 48 hours), but also be masked, and the latter was very well enforced. (Which, by the way, has eliminated my patience for people who won’t mask in public indoor spaces. If 42,000 nerds crammed into five hotels can do it, you can do it.)

Speaking of that, I’m thankful for the existence of COVID-19 vaccines, which have enabled the world to start getting to a semblance of normal. (I’m less thankful for morons who refuse to get vaccinated for no compellingly good reason — and please note the adjectives modifying “reason” in that phrase, as I’m not referring to people who haven’t been vaxxed for solid medical reasons as advised by legitimate medical personnel — and also those who refuse to mask in public indoor spaces, who have made this whole mishegoss last way longer than it should have.) I’m also thankful for my hometown of New York City, which has mandated that you must be vaccinated to enter indoor restaurants, bars, theatres, etc. (We live on the edge of the city in the northern part of the Bronx, and we’re not patronizing places in Westchester County just north of us because they’re not mandating that.)

I’m thankful for the places that release my scribblings to the world: eSpec Books (the Precinct books, Without a License, To Hell and Regroup, All-the-Way House, Devilish and Divine), WordFire Press (the Bram Gold Adventures, Animal), Plus One Press (the forthcoming Ragnarok and a Hard Place: More Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet), Crazy 8 Press (Bad Ass Moms, Pangaea: Redemption, Phenomenons: Every Human Creature, The Subterranean Blue Grotto Essays on Batman ’66 series), Fantastic Books (Three Time Travelers Walk Into…, Across the Universe: Tales of Alternate Beatles), Titan (Alien: Isolation, Spider-Man: The Darkest Hours Omnibus), Modiphius (Star Trek Adventures), Atthis Arts (Icarus), TokyoPop (the forthcoming Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness–The Beginning), ATB Publishing (the Outside In series), the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers (Turning the Tied), Obverse Books (Star Trek: Gold Archive), and, of course, (my Star Trek reviews and rewatches, “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch,” and various other pop-culture prognostications).

I’m thankful for the support I’ve gotten on Kickstarter and Indie GoGo for various projects over the years (most recently “The Gorvangin Rampages,” “Ragnarok and a Hard Place,” and The Four ???? of the Apocalypse), and also for the wonderful folks who support my Patreon.

I’m thankful for everyone who reads my aforementioned scribblings. Without readers writers are just people who curse into the keyboard a lot. Mind you, we’re that also, but readers help us delude ourselves into thinking there’s more to what we do than that. So thank you all….

I’m thankful for music, which keeps me going. I’m especially grateful for various online sources like iTunes, YouTube, etc., which has given me access to far more music than I could possibly have imagined in the twentieth century.

I’m thankful for Star Trek, which has been an important part of my life for all 52+ years of it, from providing entertainment when I was a child to providing a source of income as an adult (seriously, I’ve been writing for and/or about Trek professionally for 22 years now). Most importantly, though, is that Trek continues to posit a future where Earth is united and where compassion rules the day. Consistently throughout 55 years of TV shows, movies, novels, comic books, and games, Trek has solved its problems through talking and being nice to each other rather than through violence: from helping a ship in distress despite that same ship nearly killing them in “The Corbomite Maneuver” in 1966 to the Dominion War ending because Odo agreed to return to the Great Link in “What You Leave Behind” in 1999 to the Burn being reversed because our heroes rescued someone who was, in essence, a one-hundred-year-old child in “That Hope is You, Part 2” in 2021. Especially these last two years, the message of Trek has been very important, and I’m particularly thankful that in the period between January 2020 and now we’ve gotten six new seasons of Trek shows (two each of Discovery and Lower Decks, one each of Picard and Prodigy), with the promise of much more to come.

I’m thankful for my life and my career. It isn’t perfect — there isn’t enough time for everything, and I feel like I’m perpetually behind on everything, but I still wouldn’t trade my life for anything. I’m making a living doing the thing I love surrounded (both in person and virtually) by folks whom I love with all my heart.

And I’m thankful for you people who read this blog. You’re awesome.


stuff for what I’m thankful

There isn’t a whole helluva lot to be thankful for this year, as this is the year that makes dumpster fires look good by comparison.

But there are things….

I’m thankful for my family and friends, most of whom I haven’t actually been able to be within six feet of unmasked since March. But thanks to phones, Zoom, Facebook messenger, and the occasional socially distant gathering, I have still been able to interact with them.

In particular, I am thankful for Wrenn, the Forebearance, Matthew, the Godmommy, Meredith, Anneliese, Sas, ToniAnn, and Kyle. Also the entire poker gang, as well as Wrenn’s gaming gang.

I’m thankful for my fans, who remain the greatest ever.

I’m thankful for all the conventions that went virtual, thus allowing us to have at least some semblance of convention-going. In particular, I want to single out Shore Leave and Dragon Con, which had events throughout the year, not just on their con weekends.

I’m thankful for everyone who joined my Patreon this year, and also for everyone who has been watching the KRAD COVID readings YouTube channel.

I’m thankful for all my publishers, which this year has included Atthis Arts, Crazy 8 Press, eSpec Books, Modiphius, and WordFire Press, as well as all my editors at same. I’m also thankful to another publisher that I can’t name because of an NDA, who brought me into a really nifty project.

I’m thankful for, a fantastic, award-winning webzine that has provided me with wonderful opportunities to expound on pop culture, which this year has included starting a Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch, continuing “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch,” writing reviews of all the new Star Trek shows (Picard, Lower Decks, and season 3 of Discovery), and pieces on The Umbrella Academy and Warrior Nun.

I’m thankful for the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers, a great organization that I’m incredibly proud to be a member of.

I’m thankful for my dojo, which switched to virtual classes in the spring, and has been doing hybrid classes since the summer, thus allowing us to keep training and also stay safe.

I’m thankful for music, which keeps my soul enriched even in the worst of times.

I’m thankful for all the people who have behaved sensibly during this pandemic by wearing masks, keeping their distance, staying in as much as possible, and not doing anything idiotic. (I’m significantly less thankful for the huge numbers of people who haven’t been doing that, which is why the pandemic isn’t even remotely under control.)

I’m incredibly thankful that, despite everything that was being done to prevent it, the election this year had a record turnout. I’m even more thankful at the results of the presidential portion of that election, and I’m hugely thankful to know that we might actually have leadership in our country again, instead of self-serving corruption.

I’m very thankful to all the medical professionals who’ve been working their asses off to develop a vaccine that looks like it’s about to be ready for distribution.

And I’m thankful to you (yes, you) for reading this blog.

Happy Thanksgiving!