Back from hiatus, and starting, edits on my second Shmuley Myers book. It builds on an ultra-Orthodox Jewish Austin police homicide detective in a world (soon to be real, apparently) where every non-birth pregnancy becomes a murder investigation, contraception is illegal, church and state prance together in an evil waltz.

Shmuley needs to balance his roles as a pious Jew, a loving husband, his job as a civil servant, and…

Accountability Report: Needing Brightly

Snapshot of empty progress graph for "Needing Brightly"First, old business

A Day at the Zoo is being shopped with editors. Most are based in New York, which is in its yearly Jewish High Holiday convulsions. Which means it might not get the attention it’d have if, say, it gets pitched in two weeks. But… I’ve already cast that dice.

Zepps, my “I’ve tied myself into knots” manuscript, is done. At least, in the draft form. There’s a slew of corrections, but I’ve got the mss in the right shape in terms of plot lines. Yeesh. Don’t want to go through that again. Lesson: If I’m gonna “pants” a novel, I’m going to need the plot laid out better before I start, just so it doesn’t spiral out of control. (Damn characters and their agency!)

So… new business. After going through my “ooh, write this next pile” (current population: too many), I came across a little snippet called “Shave the Moon.” Long story short, and mostly riffing off that title, I’m starting a hard-SF, character-driven novel. Should be fun—if I can just stop stopping to do research on which the plot dangles. Tech and background have already gone through my wonderful writers group, the White Gold Wielders. (They tell me this means something in the gaming world.)

And I know I’ve been using titles for these unpublished manuscripts. I just want to say I have no expectations any of them will see the light of page. Just see what Marshall’s written on the subject.

The beat goes on. Itchy fingers to start writing. Must. Plot. A. Little. First!


I’m juggling too many books that aren’t finished. “Last Run” needs a 40% diet, and I’ve been plowing away at edits. “Zepps” has a hit list of dozens of changes (see my previous post: Knotted!) I’m wandering around, like a Shakespearean actor in a Dr. Seuss play, shouting “what’s my motivation” in the various voice of my characters.

Oh, and I’m sending, via agent mine, the first salvo of agent queries to editors. So I’m writing up tip sheets in additional to customized queries, to make life faster for her.

That’s not to say I’m done with the final flourishes on the novel I’m pitching (“A Day at the Zoo.”) Aside from my awesome writers group, Chris Brown (author of Kansastan and ArmadilloCon #40 had a few suggestions.

Published in EDF! And a great workshop, too!

Logo for Every Day Fiction online magazine

Every Day Fiction

I was randomly checking my Submittable site and noticed that, hey, one of my flash fiction pieces got published! Best Shot is a dystopian snapshot of future warfare in Israel. Oh, the happy places I go to when writing… Check out EDF site (click their logo on the left) and ready great short pieces every day!

On other fronts I got first feedback on a SF manuscript I’ve had kicking round in the “almost ready” state. No, it’s not. And that’s what editors are for. But it’ll be better, soon. Infection is the sequel to Induction, and there are two more books in the series.

Aside from all that I’m plowing through Angels (working title), which is part of my Upline universe. I’m shopping two short stories from that milieu right now, so let’s just say that American reproductive rights fascism might actually beat my fiction to the market.

Windsor Park Library Creative Writing Workshop is a judged competition run by Adeena Reitberger, who’s an editor of American Short Fiction, as well as an ACC English professor. We’re in month two of four twice-per-month meetings. There are some seriously talented folks there!

Many thanks to the Austin Public Library for sponsoring the workshop and providing space and time for us to meet, and to Adeena Reitburger for making it all happen.

ArmadilloCon Flotsam & Jetsam

Just little bit from last week’s conference. Also submission grinder, which has some useful search tools (but definitely slanted towards SF/FF/Horror and not “straight” fiction.

I came away with a hunger to write that I haven’t felt to this degree in years–and I’ve been ramping up my writing for a few years now.

More than that, I realized, in attending the panels and the critiques, that I have a few stories, partially completed, that deserve to get finished. They’ve got good characters, stories, and lives I’d love to share with readers.

Just as soon as I get a few more submissions in…

On Research, and the Need for Brain Bleach

I’m careful, when doing story research, not to trip up and set DHS, the USSS, or EIEIO on my tail. I recently moved to a private VPN connection because my damn Internet provider isn’t paying me enough to get access to my search history (neither is Google, but I’ve got other ways around that).

I also try not to click on sites that get me, um… to places I hadn’t intended on visiting. So I was surprised, when working on a bit of research on rosaries for a short story (novella? novel?) in my Upline universe. I was trying to see if there were any specific numbers of beads in a rosary. Interesting stuff, for an atheist Jew. What I didn’t expect is exhibit(ionist) A, to the left. Seriously, this site was selling rosaries. Lots of detail about the beads, and prayers, and everything. And then I kept looking (masochism knows no bounds) and found the incredibly apt ad for a rosary belt!

There’s oh so much I don’t understand about the Mysteries of some religions…


Charlie Hebdo, Synagogue shootings, Orwell 1984, Orwellian Doublespeak, vaccines, war on terror, war on cancerI’ve got a word — augre — to describe augmented reality (as opposed to VR or virtual reality). Currently social media and news call it “AR,” which is, I think, a geeksnob way of obfuscating things.

The neo-nazis and other fascists infesting America took a page from Orwell’s 1984, redefining their brand of hate as some kind of political alternative to the spectrum of what was, until this point in American political history, bounded by parties respecting the idea of democracy — or, at least, a republic.

It’s clear that the idea of “alt-” is the new Orwellian doublespeak. Alt-right. Alternative facts. This, friends, is doubleplusungood development. And while it’s thrilling in a “we’re going down the maw of the kraken” kind of way, it’s a danger sign about our society, and the validity of language as a means to describe the reality around us.