Update. Next Publication is: Under Strange Suns, available digitally August 2015, print version due December 2015, Twilight Times Books.

by ken

Upcoming Appearances

A new book out means another opportunity to press the flesh, meet and greet, and…other rhyming euphemisms for marketing. Where, you ask, can you partake in such activities? Not every event is locked down yet, but currently I am scheduled for the following:

I will be signing copies of “Thick As Thieves” at Jan’s Paperbacks on Saturday, November 11. I believe that kicks off at 11 AM and runs until 2 PM. So, yes, that is 11 o’clock on 11/11. If only I could have managed this six years ago.

I will be at Orycon the 17th-19th of November. I’ll be around all weekend, but if you’re interested in getting a taste of “Thick As Thieves” I have a reading on Friday at 5:30. What do you think, should I begin reading Chapter 1 or pick a chapter somewhere in the middle?

There is more to come. This book won’t flog itself. But the above is what is currently on my plate. I hope to see you at one of these events (or more — hell, why not?) And if you can’t wait for a signed, why the book is available to purchase in print or digital right now.

Eugene, Oregon

It never rains at Autzen Stadium. At least, it didn’t last night.

The drive down I-5 to Eugene, Oregon suffered from the typical bottlenecks that develop when both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University host home football games on the same day. Occasional squalls and heavy, lowering cloud banks hinted that the night’s game would be a wet one.

Oregon is Burning

So, Oregon is on fire. I mean, not all of it but enough so you notice. Were it not for the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico’s attempt to wash the southern tier states off the map, the Columbia River Gorge fire would probably get more press coverage.

I mention the fire instead of the usual minutiae that fills this web log because it affects me. I thought the worst of the smoke had cleared a couple of days ago. I could see blue skies and the air smelled like air again. The winds must have shifted, because the smoke has returned. It isn’t as bad today as yesterday when the entirety of the outdoors smelled like fresh ashes, like God was sweeping out his fireplace.

The forecast of rain over the course of the next several days is promising. Clean the air, aid the firefighters. Seriously, this thing has been going on for a couple of weeks now and it is still only about one-third contained. That’s a lot of burning.

And it’s a shame, too. I mean, it’s a shame anytime there’s a big fire. But we get them every year in Oregon (not to mention the rest of the West) and it’s usually scrubland east of the Cascade Mountains. That’s tragic enough for the ranchers losing grazing land and everyone else suffering. I don’t mean to diminish that. But there is — to me — a qualitative difference when what is going up in flames is something as scenic and beautiful as the Columbia River Gorge. Seriously, if you haven’t been, I feel sorry for you. I hope the view hasn’t been unalterably ruined, though I fear it has. The Gorge is one of those things we residents show visitors, along with Portland Rose Garden, Powell’s Books, Timberline Lodge, and Cannon Beach. Multnomah Falls is an essential stop. At least the firefighters saved the lodge.

Well, enough with the gloom. I hope next week to provide some more cheery news.

LA and a Writer’s Workshop

What a weekend. I’m writing from a hotel lobby in Los Angeles. I mentioned before that a creative organization was flying me down to LA to participate in a writer’s workshop. Well, that’s done. Now I can recap the weekend while waiting for my ride to the airport.

The flight down was fine. Enjoyable even. Shuttle van hell proved less joyful. Let’s just say the trip from airport to hotel required two hours. And let’s never speak of it again.

LA is warm. Did you know that? The blocks are too long and they radiate and magnify the heat. But the tacos are good. Thank you, Daniel, for the tour. Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive. Done and done. I’d come back for the tacos at Grand Central Market. The rest is fine, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Karl Strauss Brewing tells me LA’s beer scene is coming along nicely. I could ask for a greater concentration, but as a visitor I’ll humbly accept what I can get.

The workshop was a treat. The list of mentors, faculty, and speakers was — with the exception of yours truly — distinguished. In fact the roster of student/attendees was impressive. I’m not going to name drop, so you’ll just have to take my word.

My part of the proceedings went off without a hitch. I don’t believe I embarrassed myself. The conversations over the course of the weekend scintillated and entertained. Well worth the trip. Hard to believe I got paid for this. I mean, I’m going to cash the check, don’t get me wrong. But the weekend proved more pleasure than work.

I feel energized. I’m looking forward to opening the laptop again once I’m on the plane and letting the words flow. The goal: complete chapter two before Portland.

Appendix N, Margaret St. Clair

I’ve been reluctant to write this one. You know the ubiquitous maternal aphorism “If you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing at all. “ And I dislike offering particularly critical opinions of other writers. After all, who am I to judge.

The first book by Margaret St. Clair I read was The Shadow People. I’m not going to offer up a single word concerning it. Understand?

But I’d read positive comments regarding Sign of the the Labrys. With my prior experience in mind, I had the library find a copy for me through inter-library loan instead of shelling out cash from my own pocket to procure a copy. I began it with somewhat higher hopes. Now, unfortunately, I have to offer an opinion. That makes me a bit uneasy.

What I’m going to do is provide my opinion in two sections. First, Sign of the Labrys as literature. Second, Sign of the Labrys as an Appendix N contributor to the development of Dungeons and Dragons.

Currently Reading

I’ve mentioned before that I’m usually reading multiple books at any given time. (Not simultaneously of course. Let’s not be ridiculous.) I have a workout book, a lunch book, a book on the toilet tank, a book in my library, and one book on CD in each vehicle. Here is a rundown of the current books in progress.