Monday, September 10, 2018

A Story About Love

Back in my sophomore year of college I grew a beard. It was the kind that Spock had in the episode of Star Trek and one of my cousins said it made me look like the devil. I think I kept it for at least a month longer just because of that comment.

When my grandmother saw it she smiled and told me about her grandfather. He had a long, full beard and would chew tobacco. Of course when he spat some of it would dribble down his chin into the beard. She said that, as a child, she didn't care. She loved him more than anything and would sit with him in the rocking chair while he told stories, with a spittoon on the floor and his beard stained with tobacco.

At the time I thought it was just a bit of reminiscing, and maybe a way of her saying she loved me beard or no. A few years back though something clicked and it took on a whole new dimension.

You see, my grandpa had a beard for as long as I could remember. I don't know when he started turning gray but by the time I knew him his hair and beard were completely white. He trimmed it in the style referred to as "mutton chops", where the beard kind of merged with the sideburns and mustache, and the chin directly below the mouth is shaved clean.

He used to joke about how his old razor broke and the new one he got just happened to be the same size as the shaved part of his chin. Grandpa had a weird sense of humor.

Grandma had a strong personality and very distinct ideas of how things should be. grandpa seemed a bit on the henpecked side, but he had his own interests. Really he was kind of a fastidious man who liked things just so. I now suspect he deferred to grandma because it was just plain easier and more peaceful that way.

Thinking about grandpa's beard I realized the beard was probably something that he was adamant about - grandfathers have beards. But as you can imagine, grandma certainly told him about her grandfather's beard and the tobacco. So they found a compromise.

I think about this every time I shave.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Gen Con 2018 Schedule

August 2 - 5, 2018

Ack!  It's only a week until Gen Con and I haven't posted about it yet! Sorry. It's been kind of a busy summer.

I'm part of the Writer’s Symposium this year and they've got all sort of great panels and such scheduled. I'm especially excited that Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck are guests of honor (they write under the pseudonym of James S.A. Corey).

For my contribution to the fun, I'm doing the following:

SEM18142584 - Real Medieval Feasts  Curious what medieval feasts were really like? Come learn about medieval cuisine as well as common myths. 08/02/2018 (Thursday), 8:00 PM, Marriott : Atlanta 
SEM18142520 - Build Your Own Language  Fictional worlds often include languages to make their setting more believable. This seminar will help you create your own language, suitable for adding color to a game or novel. 08/03/2018 (Friday), 8:00 PM, Marriott : Atlanta 
SEM18142744 - From Rations to Feasts  What will people eat in the future? How will it be packaged? What should fantasy adventurers bring on their quest, and what will be served when they feast with the king? Elizabeth Bear, Bruce Cordell, Daniel Myers, and Aaron Rosenberg discuss. 08/04/2018 (Saturday), 1:00 PM, Marriott : Marriott Blrm 1 

The first two are listed as being sold out, but if you're interested and have the time free try anyway - there are usually some open seats. I promise to keep you all entertained!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Origins 2018 Schedule

June 13-17, 2018
Greater Columbus Convention Center
Columbus, Ohio, 43215, USA

Yikes!  Next week is Origins and I've been so wrapped up in other stuff that I haven't mentioned it here. As in the past seven years I'll be selling books as part of The Library and taking part in some cool panels.

This year I'm doing a solo seminar on creating fictional cuisines:

Thursday, 12:00 PM - Crafting Cuisine
A subterranean culture probably wouldn't eat roast beef and a tree-dwelling one wouldn't eat sushi. A fantasy world should have a cuisine that takes into account the resources and technology of its inhabitants. This seminar demonstrates how to make up a believable fantasy cuisine based on real world constraints.

I'm scheduled on two panels: Old School Research for the Modern Writer  on Thursday at 3:00 PM, and Self Publishing on Saturday at 5:00 PM.

Most of the rest of the time I'll be at a table in the back of the Exhibition Hall with the rest of the writers. If you're going to be at the convention, stop by to talk. We're a fun bunch!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Strange Anthology

I've been pretty busy and have left this blog neglected for too long. I'll have a couple posts soon with my Origins and Gen Con schedules, but before that I thought I'd drop a post about my new short story collection.

This book has seventeen short stories, about a third of which are previously unpublished, and three that were actually out of print. If you're going to be at Origins I'll have copies in the dealer's room, and I'm always happy to sign books and talk geek stuff.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Whiskered Weirdos

Last week Cindy sent me an image from a friend of hers and asked me to do the fake album thing to it, with the title of Whiskered Weirdos. We decided on alt-rock, but it turned out to have a bit of a punk or grunge aspect.  Here's the result:

The title was originally a real arena somewhere - I can't remember the name and can't find it again, but it was a short name that started with "S". Of course, given the photo it quickly morphed in my head to sofa.

The track titles are snippets from the fortunes at - again I was amused at how well some of them meshed with the cover image.