Finally, I Can Enjoy Books Properly

If you’re like me, you agree that there is nothing more annoying than reading a book in a series out of order.  It’s almost as bad as being prevented from compulsively reading the foreword, afterword, and author’s notes.

So you, too, will rejoice in the website Order of Books.  It lists different series of books in their proper order, both by publication (which is the easy part), and by chronological order, for those series where the author gets all famous and successful and either a) can finally indulge in exploring origin stories, or b) realizes they need to go back in time because they ran too far forward too quickly and risk their characters getting to old to jump from car to car during a freeway chase or whatever.

So now, with a quick check, you can read in comfort, secure that you won’t suffer the horror of reading Sharpe’s Eagle before Sharpe’s Havoc (seriously, Bernard Cornwell – when you give every book in a series a two-word title, and make the first word the same for all twenty-three titles you aren’t giving us all that much to go on)


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And What Have You Learned From Johnathan Franzen Lately?

Not to reopen the never-ending battle between advocates of literary vs. genre fiction, but I assume by now everyone has heard about the girl that saved a friend’s life using first aid techniques she learned by reading The Hunger Games.  I’d always assumed The Hunger Games was more useful for information on shooting people with arrows, but there you go.

But what useful skills has anyone ever picked up from reading literary fiction?  How to make cutting remarks?  How best to map the travails and grievances of previous generations of your family?

I’m just sayin’.



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Another Book, the Third

Once again, it takes a book by Carrie Patel to break my long silence in the blogosphere.  As you can tell by comparing the cover to previous entries in the trilogy, things have taken a less chaotic turn, but things are still very exciting indeed.  And now dirigibles are involved!

Thanks to my long delay in posting, of course, you may have already read about it elsewhere, but in any case, pick up a copy today.  It makes a great Father’s Day gift.

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You Just Sound Defensive There, Trail

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you, the erudite and well-read follower of this blog, about the latest developments in the comic strip Mark Trail, but for those of you that have been too busy to keep up with it, or absorbed in Ziggy or something, I’ll catch you up.

First, upon arriving in Rapid City on assignment, Mark was accosted by a kidnapper who was looking to add to his stable of victims, and who was interested in the careers of said victims:

The kidnapper’s intuition about the reason someone would have to visit the Cheyenne River reservation proved correct, as Mark confirmed:

So far, the conversation is pretty civil.  I mean, the “never heard of it” is arguably a bit rude (as is, perhaps, the non-standard pronunciation of “huh”), but as far as conversations with kidnappers go, you can’t ask for much more.  The man is expressing interest in Mark’s career, after all.  But things take a turn for the worse:

I have to say, I’m disappointed in Mark’s verbal sparring here, especially considering he’s a writer.  The guy gave you a nice opening, there, to defend the craft of writing on intellectual and spiritual grounds.  You could go with “Just because it takes you forever to get through an article about ferrets because your lips move when you read doesn’t mean everyone is semi-literate”, and that’s just off the top of my head.  Mumbling something along the lines of “Well, I make pretty good money at it” is just sad, especially to a kidnapper/bank robber.  Step up your game, man.

(Hat tip to Comics Curmudgeon)

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Get Me, Being Like Scalzi Again

As frequent readers know, I occasionally pull off Scalzi moves by getting Books and such.  Well, here I am again, showing off the view from my hotel room at Worldcon, just like Scalzi:


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Final Teaser

Redneck_Eldritch_cover_namesThe final Redneck Eldritch sneak peek is It Came From the Woods, by Jason Anderson, which certainly sounds foreboding.

We now return to me complaining about mis-use of cliches.

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Teaser Tuesday

Redneck_Eldritch_cover_namesToday’s Redneck Eldritch sneak peek is a special one, from the very editor of the volume: Ostler Wallow, by Nathan Shumante.

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It’s Tuesday If You Believe Hard Enough

Redneck_Eldritch_cover_namesSo since it is Tuesday (wink wink), today’s Redneck Eldritch teaser is Highways of Madness, by David West.  With a classic eldritch title like that, it must be good!

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The Power of Names






I have a connection with Binghamton, New York, so it was with interest that I read about the city’s double-A baseball team name change, despite my generally solid indifference to baseball.  But of course, you may have already heard about it, thanks to the fact that they’ve opened the name change to an internet vote, and limited the choice to some frankly bizarre names (Bullheads, Gobblers, Rocking Horses, Rumble Ponies, Stud Muffins, or Timber Jockeys).  I assume that Boaty McBoatface hangs heavy over their decision not to let folks on the Internet actually suggest names, but given that they should have asked someone who had, like, good ideas.

This is something of a sore point for me, since my alma mater, in the same area, used a committee to decide on a new mascot for SUNY-Binghamton (shortly after another committee decided to stop calling it SUNY-Binghamton).  Granted the old mascot “The Colonial” was kind of dumb, but the new mascot, the Bearcat, is worse.  Not that I have anything against bearcats, per se.  I mean, look at the little fellow:


No, the problem is that the committee that decided on the mascot had somehow heard of bearcats but never bothered to research what they were, and in fact, based on their press release, labored under the misapprehension that bearcats are mythical, like griffins, or hippogriffs.  So the logo looks something like a pissed-off bear rather than a cuddly, musk-emitting rodent.

It seems Binghamton just has trouble with sporting names, because this latest committee seems to have developed a strange fixation on Binghamton’s connection to carousels.  Which, okay, be proud of the carousel thing, I guess, but Binghamton has so many other historical connections that seem a bit more vigorous and manly than carnival rides.  For example, the famous shoe people Endicott-Johnson started there (technically in the suburbs of Endicott and Johnson City, I guess).  Why not call them the Binghamton Booters, or Ass-kickers?  And of course, IBM was big in Binghamton once.  How about the Binghamton Business Machines?  There’d have to be some awesome logos for that.  The flight simulator was invented there – how about the Binghamton Fake Flyers?  Or the team could be named after the local delicacy – the Binghamton Spiedies sounds athletic, right?

All that said, “Timber Jockeys” works, I guess.

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Tuesday Teaser

Redneck_Eldritch_cover_namesToday’s Redneck Eldritch Teaser is Blood, by Steve Diamond.  It starts off even more horrifyingly than most, so enjoy!

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