The one where we redefine losing…

 

I hope everyone will forgive me, I’m not waiting to post this one, and it’s a bit red and raw.

I woke up smelling of gunpowder and steak, spent the night with the in-laws bbqing and launching fireworks.. nevermindwhere. That being said, I was gone when the announcement came: CJ Henderson’s Amazon Page had lost his battle with cancer.

Years ago, I sat in the kitchen of Dannielle Ackley Mcphail and her husband Mike. I had been invited into the coven of far more experienced writers, to submit next to them, to stand among them like an equal. I wrote the story, and they were asking me about it to find out how long until submission.

Being young, and without the confidence God gave the common church mouse, I was lamenting whether it was up to snuff, whether I could pull it off, whether I deserved to be in such august company.

Then, at the end of the table, this column, a steel haired mountain of a guy, pipes up with a voice as comforting and gentle as a sandpaper covered sledgehammer. “Jesus, Dan! If it’s good enough, it’s good enough, if it’s not, it’s not. All I know is they think it will be good enough to be next to my stuff, and I’ve been doing this for years. So either submit the damn thing or just quit. >I< don’t need the competition.”

And it was said just that way. The words tumbled across me like an avalanche.
Because, when faced with that level of dumbass (mine), only the bluntest of tools will do (his).

Image of C. J. Henderson

This began a strange, avuncular relationship between CJ and I. It wasn’t totally amicable at times. Cj had opinions he treated as natural laws, and I get the feeling that he saw me like that small dog that hands around Spike in the Warner cartoons.

But he did continue to dispense wisdom, though at times I knew he would rather have just smacked me with a “Neh.” And from time to time I guess he did. I responded with word games, getting under his skin, and expressing opinions I knew would send him into a tirade about Godzilla, the Magnificent Seven, or any number of his sacred cows. I know at times he got tired of it.

And Yes, this guy:

 

But then came the cancer.

I didn’t get to see Cj for most of his battle. I had moved to a new city, new job, and then got fired from the job the second they could replace me with a college kid. I bring it up because when I saw CJ, he knew. He had followed the posts, because the same thing had happened for him. He planted a seed then, mentioning when he had lost his job, he began writing full time to make ends meet. More on that if I get wacky crazy brave.

But that  is when it struck me: This guy, who is afraid every single day will be more painful than the last, this guy who I had annoyed and competed with, this guy:

Yeah, that guy asked me how >I< was doing. He listened to me talk about getting laid off with no notice, and he listened to my dumb ass vent. He remembered to me when it had happened to him.
Of course I asked him how he was doing, but he didn’t just ask back to be polite. He cared, as he had always cared from the second he had told me to grow up and stop being such a pansy.

He was one of the good ones. The best.

Which I guess brings me to my point. The man lived like a hurricane. He performed like a master. He even took age and all the related goofy bits with a kind of cranky grace. An while now he is dead, he still has his thoughts in hundreds of places in print that will outlive him for decades if not centuries.

The point (for those that skip to the end) is you can say that CJ ‘lost’ his battle with cancer if you really must… But, Goddammit, the reaper has a few less teeth than he did, and when he goes home he’ll damn sure remember the name of CJ Henderson.

 

Here is a link for the family.

 

Great thoughts on cancer.

 

Gotta go, everyone. Goodnight.

The one for my father…

This is my Dad. Yeah, he looks like a quiet kinda guy. You never would believe that he spent decades running into burning buildings, or supervising the kind of men with the raw guts it takes to do so.

We do not see eye to eye with my father on a lot. He is very Big Band, I am techno. He’s gone fishing, I curl up with a book. He was always very triathlon, I have been and remain a couch potato.

Still, he provided for his family. He stood up to corruption and evil. He charged an enemy as nasty as any machine gun nest and could never fire back. He pulled people out of satan’s own fiery maw. I respect my father, and I know of few men who have earned his place in this world as he has.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

 

The one where I make a startling, heartfelt admission to all the writer hopefulls…

This is the best thing about a freshly finished novel: The day OFF!

Suddenly, after emails from the publisher, questions from fans, and constant badgering from the actual characters inside my head to get done, I am DONE. It is finished, finito, and five months is not bad considering three of them I was employed and working 60 hours a week. It is done and ready to go to the first wave of editing. 130,000 words.  No It feels like cheating when I use numbers ONE HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND WORDS! Yes, the Second Legends of Fox Crow: The Opus Discordia is now finished!
And so now, I get a day or two where my demons get to be quiet. Where my need to daydream on paper shuts down adn I can watch TV and play video games and maybe play around on the internet without feeling a truckload of writer’s guilt (which I am told is actually far more powerful and painful than either catholic or jewish mother instilled guilt – really!) and just relax. I mean I might just have to rent an elderly hound dog for the next few days just so I can get the proper feel to my days off going.
So let’s go find out what’s online.

.

..

Well there’s got to be something on TV…

.

..

What the hell is a FIFA?

OK. Uh… well…
*Looks at laptop*

(little voices) Play with us, Dan, play with us…
(Grabs laptop)
tappa-tappa-tappa

Leave me alone, I’m relaxing…

 

the one that was less than well communicated…

WellI went to Balticon 2014. If you missed it, you missed a great (long) weekend. Now that I’m home I know I owe you all a blog post, but…

There were certain ideas that were expressed at some of the panels at Balticon that I see forming a trend. They worry me a little.

But rather than infect your opinion on this, let me just let you listen to the podcast of this event and see if you can guess what got to me.

No, it’s not the guy taking examples from my book to use as what not to do and then telling me I’m defensive.

Listen Here

The one where I lose my mind over higher learning

Here’s the story:

Teacher takes picture of daughter wearing Game of Thrones T shirt to work. Is suspended.

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So, His DAUGHTER is wearing a GoT shirt, and someone with FAR too much time on their hands and panties that are so susceptible to being bunched up they may be used by researchers in France to CREATE BLACK HOLE CONDITIONS finds said photo on the internet and suspends this guy as a danger who may be threatening to shoot up the school.
No, really.

So I hit the contact us button and contacted the intellectually challenged administrators at the ‘college’

I see you suspended Francis Schmidt for wearing a Game of Thrones Tshirt. You said it could refer to AK47s.

You are morons.

This decision was made by morons, you should fire one another, and then go populate some island far away from thinking people so you do not interbreed and bring down the whole human race. Seriously, you are a laughing stock. Your students should get their tuition back. All  of them, since the beginning of time.
Your diplomas mean nothing now, because you have shown that the deans of higher learning are complete imbeciles.
Please pull your heads out, reinstate (with back pay) and promote Francis Schmidt. So far, he knows Game of Thrones so he must be able to read, which puts him light years ahead of the rest of you.

Please help. Write these people and let them know that there should be higher learning at places of higher learning. And perhaps, that means there should be a little bit of thought.

And I swear, if we can’t change this kind of thing, the least we can do is mock them until employers stop asking as sheepskin to prove you know anything.

http://www.bergen.edu/about-us/contact-us

The one I did not write alone…?

 

I am continuing work on Fox Crow II, and am coming up on 60K, which is… well I dunno. It feels halfway but these things surprise you.

I am Prepping for Lunacon, Balticon and Atomicon. Hopefully a local con as well, but no word yet.

 

As I am going a little mad trying to keep up with word counts, I decided to post a ghost story here. I was texting my wife and slipped the phone into my pocket. The voice recognition was still running I guess, and from that point some kind of ghost wrote a little story. I can’t swear it is sensical, or sane, in fact I think this is very HP Lovecract when you get down to it. Wife and I had fun trying to decode it.

Enjoy!

 

“You even ask kristen tired I am send chat pizza punch will choice whether to be showing up we make rice and cheese ghost security call condition of time helping us to make a decision as if we will be using have to make a decision because the machine and does he want e my mind maintenance so I will give you the distance I had voice of mice talking about something else have to trust you to pick up this is tony we would find point us awesome I believe it’s my turn because my girl I’m not leaving trees down the galaxy sounds fine in n out and a reason that operation and I’m glad you have a minute romantic morning buddy when I’m tried the second foundation no way we are guys noticed and we offer a second galactic empire be different from the first human history no dictating all the time you 3 text me sometime violin 2 minutes and porn p do calling cost only send no need we have our school wanted to speech thing I’ll ever text decent I want nothing to do detroit diesel and twitter for I tried to make toys and cannot coffee said I was time to have a recent until you are sure what time please movies your mail I’ll swing set easter 10 us he’s thanks vernon find 1 turning west space reno find right galaxy and is in the celtics”

the one where I piss off women (again) by claiming they are equals.

http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/special-issues/women-destroy-sf/women-destroy-science-fiction-a-message-from-the-guest-editor/

This article can be summarized by:

“Women aren’t writing “real” science fiction, the fallacy goes.”

Fallacy spouted by whom? I may have only been a sci fi novelist for twelve years or so, but everywhere I go there are women saying that this is a common belief, so common it is never said anywhere.OK, maybe there is a cigar smoke filled room where giants in the industry light new stogies with C notes and guffaw such opinions out. Also, maybe there is a fan built like a beach-ball, a bachelor in his 60’s, who holds this view. These two are hardly representative of the whole of fandom.

I’ve mentored three writers into the industry from amateur status. All three were women, but I did it because of the quality of work, not the parts covered by a bathing suit.

It seems like there are more and more groups, associations, and anthologies open only to women, as if screening them from the full brunt of competition were helping them instead of tacitly telling them that there would be no other way for them to survive in the free market. If someone were to say that to me, I would laugh in their face. If they had said it to me when I was younger and vulnerable I would laugh in their face, and laugh again later as they picked teeth out of their own poo.

The article even promotes another of these, but tap-dances around the PC question thusly:

“And what is a woman? A woman is any human being who identifies as one, to whatever degree that they do so.”

Meaning a Transgender/transexual qualifies, but I – who only have a sensitive side as warm and fuzzy as a Flemish bunny – do not. Especially if I won. How do I know? Let’s just call it instinct, or else why not open the contest/submissions to everyone without qualifiers?

I just think that such things weaken the reputation of women, solidifying the idea that they need help to do more than fail.

Meaning the only people repeating the fallacy are those that need it to create a special interest group in which they feel comfortable and can make them dance to one tune.

Sad.