The Powers

The Powers play roles in the Cat stories (some of them) and are central to the three-volume alternative history set that starts with A Carpathian Campaign. They also appear in the novella “Cities and Throngs and Powers,” and in two stories inĀ Tales from the Upland They choose a few humans and others to act as their avatars, so to speak, in exchange for knowledge of the land. But what are they?

Short answer: I have no idea. Continue reading

Inspired by Music?

Somewhere in my TBR stack, I have a short-story anthology inspired by music by Rush. And I know there are books that have been kicked off by certain songs or instrumental compositions. But only three times has music driven me to write something, in both cases scenes or chapters, not entire books (yet.) Continue reading

March State of the Author

Tired and enjoying Spring Break.

The second draft of the next-plus-one Cat novel is done. At the moment it is around 106,000 words and includes another encounter with the Pack, a secret from Joschka’s past that threatens to shatter his relationship with Rada, an oversized, waltzing fox, and a honeymoon (with werewolf. Maybe.).

The next Cat novel is being edited for late May release.

I have not heard from the acquisitions editor about the RajWorld books, so I will plan on adding them to the rotation for 2017.

The next Colplatschki book is being edited for a September release.

I have a few short-story ideas bouncing around that I will work on, and am waiting to see which novel insists on being written next. A follow-up to Language of the Land may be in the works, or it might not. I’m not sure yet.

Cheap Clothes: Musing on the Luxury of Modern Life

While picking up something at Le Mart du Wal (as we refer to it around Redquarters), I started thinking about the price of clothing, comparing now to history. The short version? Incredibly, unimaginably inexpensive to cheap in terms of time needed to make it, labor needed to make it, and the amount that can be produced. When it comes to textiles, Earth has never been so fabulously wealthy. How we got here is a fascinating story. Continue reading

Book Review: Forbidden Thoughts

Rennie, Jason, ed. Forbidden Thoughts (Superversive Press, 2017) Kindle e-book.

This is not an anthology for the easily depressed or for those looking for stories of hope and happiness. There are such tales in the collection, but all of these are dystopic looks at what could happen should the cultural trends seen on college campi, the US and other national governments, and other parts of society are pressed to their extreme conclusion. Are they extreme? Yes. Could I see some of them happening? I hate to say it, but yes, given events over the past year in Europe and other places. Are they well written? Very much so. Continue reading

Smoke on the Horizon

What no one from the High or Great Plains ever wants to see…

This is starting to look dreadfully like 2006, when over a million acres (the state of Rhode Island is 700,000 acres) burned and over a dozen people died in the fires or in wrecks caused by smoke across the road. As of writing this, seven people have died in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, three of them on one ranch when they were trapped by flame as they tried to save some cattle. The flames move with the wind, and when the wind gusts over fifty miles an hour, you can’t outrun the flame front. Continue reading

Book Review: The Lost River

Danino, Michael, The Lost River: On the Trail of the Sarasvati (Haryana, India: Penguin Books India, 2010).

Where do you find a missing river? Not a buried river, like the Fleet in London or the one under 5th Avenue in New York City, but one that disappeared over two thousand years ago and that may or may not have ever existed? Especially when finding that river could trigger international crises? You start with the written clues, then the archaeological, then environmental. This is, more or less, what Michael Danino does in his book about the Sarasvati River and the Harappan Civilization. Along the way he introduces readers to archaeology, historiography, environmental change, and the long-lost Sarasvati River. Continue reading