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

Full Weekend: OryCon AND a Birthday Party

My weekend was eventful. How was yours?

OryCon returned to (almost) its former site for the 39th installment of the convention. The Red Lion on the Columbia River was home to the first several OryCons I attended, beginning back in the late ‘80s. The Red Lion owned two hotels, bracketing I-5 with views of the bridge. The west side hotel hosted those early events. This year the convention returned from many years deep in the heart of Portland to this border hotel, facing across the river into enemy territory: Washington State.

Carousing Through the Dismal Season

The leaves are dropping, exposing the bare wooden scaffolding of the trees. The rain is either a constant or an intermittent irritant. Moments of warmth are welcome rarities. Yes, the dismal season is upon us until Spring comes to our relief.

And so, we party. There’s a reason we call it the holiday season. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve in rapid sequence. Why? Because the days are short, gray, and miserable and remind us of our mortality. When faced with thoughts of death what do we do? We gather up our friends and family and we eat and drink, deliberately focusing on the positives. Each beer, each glass of wassail is a middle finger to the skeletal fellow with the black cloak and sickle.

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.