The kitchen gadget meme


The kitchen meme making the rounds: Bold the ones you have and use at least once a year, italicize the ones you have and don’t use, strike through the ones you have had but got rid of.

pasta machines, breadmakers, juicers, blenders, deep fat fryers, egg boilers, melon ballers, sandwich makers, pastry brushes, cheese knives, electric woks, miniature salad spinners, griddle pans, jam funnels, meat thermometers, filleting knives, egg poachers, cake stands, garlic crushers, martini glasses, tea strainers, bamboo steamers, pizza stones, coffee grinders, milk frothers, piping bags, banana stands, fluted pastry wheels, tagine dishes, conical strainers, rice cookers, steam cookers, pressure cookers, slow cookers, spaetzle makers, cookie presses, gravy strainers, double boilers (bains marie), sukiyaki stoves, food processors, ice cream makers, takoyaki makers, fondue sets


I’ve never had a pizza stone, but I have several pizza screens. I love them and would never switch to a stone. And I left “sandwich maker” untouched but I do have a George Foreman.

Anyway, my breadmaker was one of the first ever. My mom bought it off the TV and gave it to me, and it didn’t work very well.

First lines meme


Here are the first lines from the first post of each month.

I finally got in from my Amtrak train, only 37.5 hours after the original scheduled arrival time.

I didn’t know Melissa Mia Hall, but I do know this: she didn’t have to die.

So, Random House has switched over to agency pricing for its ebooks.

The back story.

I realize this is naive of me but would rather he’d been captured and put on trial.

today’s my wife’s birthday.

Well, really it’s my not-birthday (ob repetitive explanation: My wife and I share a Bday, which sucks, so I bumped mine back a month).

Last night our elderly neighbor, Dolores Snootheim-Jagger, was visiting to borrow some flour and harangue us about going to her church, the Holy Ministry Of The Unlanced Boil, when she asked me to show her this “internet thing” she’d heard so much about.

Here’s an interview with me at The Quillery, for those who like to read this sort of thing.

I’m going.

Everything I want to say about NaNoWriMo would be a repeat of my advice from last year.

The plugin I was using to sell Twenty Palaces directly from my website wasn’t working correctly, so I’ve switched to something else.

[sings] Typos, self! Typos!



Here’s how it works:

1. Comment to this post with “I surrender!” and I’ll assign you the basis of some TV show idea. (post-apocalyptic scifi-fi drama, fantasy, noir gumshoe pulp, criminal procedure…IN SPACE, historical drama WITH WEREWOLVES, etc.).
2. Create a cast of characters, including the actors who’d play them.
3. Add in any actor photos, character bios, and show synopsis that you want.
4. Post to your own journal.

PROMPT: from hradzka: Private space travel, mad scientists, semi-plausible with one major skiffy twist.
TITLE: Trampoline Station
TYPE: Near-space Near-future SF w/ Big Mysterious Object (and many smaller ones)
SETTING: Earth. Trampoline Station. Gold Mine Station
STARRING: That Audience Stand-in Character in HELLBOY

Self-made billionaire Montezume (Monte) Richards has been acting strangely for the past year. He’s been building something pretty big in his remote S. California compound, and he’s hired all sorts of odd people. Engineers, builders, theoretical physicists, pilots… folks are beginning to notice, especially folks in the government. Monte has always been a little odd–squandering his money of a private space flight, for instance–but what’s he building out there in the desert?

Tommy Cable is one of these new hires, a test pilot who walked away from a fantastic job two years ago. Monte loves pilots and holds him close. The government want Tommy to be their man inside the compound.

What Monte wants is more pilots for his fleet of private space ships to build a space station in a specific region of space. Why that region of space? And what happened to his first prototype space craft, which seemed to vanish for three days during its maiden flight?

More behind the cut: Continue reading

Offer last minute gift suggestions


‘Tis the season to offer gift suggestions for last-minute Christmas shoppers. Do you have something people might want to give as gifts? Well, I’m going to copy an excellent idea that’s been going around LiveJournal:

Please feel free to post links to anything you’ve got for sale right now: books you’ve authored or edited, and any arts or crafts you’ve made. Then spread the idea around on your own blog. It’s a handy way to promote interesting gifts to last minute shoppers.

And a reminder for folks: a lot of the commenting that happens in my online spaces happen on my LJ. If you’re looking for smart gift ideas, be sure to check there.

So have at it!

Ten writing rules not published in the Guardian


A couple of days ago, I linked to the Ten Rules for Writers in the Books section of the Guardian. They’re fun to read, completely contradictory, and simultaneously wonderful and irrelevant. (Wanna make a sour face over them? Head over to the Globe and Mail.)

But why should those writers have all the fun (just because they’re all incredibly successful)? I can write a contradictory list of rules for writers, and so can you. So, I’m going to whip up ten useful and useless “rules” that work for me (except when they don’t) and I recommend everyone do the same.

(It’s a meme!)

By the way, I’m using second person in these rules, but the “you” I’m addressing is the confused-looking guy in the mirror, not any of my readers.

1- You can’t “find” time to write; you can only steal it. In short, you have to give something up. If you find you can’t give anything up to make time for your book, good for you! Your life is too awesome to be wasted writing books.

2- People are more interesting than monsters. Sometimes the person is monster-shaped and sometimes the monster is person-shaped, but the rule holds.

3- No rituals. Try to avoid having any habits you associate closely with writing. If conditions change and you have to drop the habit–even if it’s something as innocuous as “play quiet music”–you may find it hard to put words on the page.

4- Blame yourself. If you get a rejection, always assume it’s because of something in your writing, even if it’s not objectively true. The person who takes the blame is the person who has authority and responsibility, and when it comes to writing, that should be the writer. Blaming others gives away your power.

5- Don’t cheat the concept. If the reader is thinking “Oh my God, is he going to go there?” The answer should be “Yes! He went there!” Don’t shy away from uncomfortable implications of your concept.

6- Cheat the concept sometimes. Don’t be an asshole about rule 5. If “going there” means being lurid, tedious, cliche, or repulsive, figure out a better way.

7- Text is very linear and artificial. Use that to your advantage.

8- Never put the word “into” immediately after the word “and” except in the dialog of an annoying character.

9- Talent is accuracy. In writing, talent is accurately predicting what effect a particular string of words is likely to have on a reader. The more rare the string of words, or the more rare and powerful the effect, the more talent the writer will be thought to have. And yeah, by my definition, it’s the reader who determines whether a writer has talent, and the thing people call talent can be learned. (Isn’t that good news?)

10- If you feel mildly bored with a scene you’re writing, stop working and go do something you hate as punishment. The only real “rule” in writing is Be interesting. All the rest are tools to be used or discarded as needed. (Tools, not rules!)

So, write and post your own ten rules. Why not? They don’t have to be useful to anyone except you.

Meanwhile, a hypothetical…


If you could change your own personality in one way, what would you change? Or would you not change a thing? Please answer here in comments or on your own blogs.

Personally, I would rather have a brain that derived mild pleasure/relaxation from moderate exercise. I’d be better off if I didn’t find it so tedious.



This meme is stolen from Brett. Open your current WIP and type out the first ten verbs that appear in the manuscript.

I went to Man Bites World, because it’s newest.

  1. was
  2. sat
  3. did
  4. slumped
  5. fidgeted
  6. stared
  7. pulled
  8. was
  9. was
  10. had been
  11. grown

Boy, that doesn’t sound promising, does it? It’ll work when it’s finished, though. I promise!

Also, thank you to everyone who has been voting in my polls. Today’s is about recurring characters in a series and last weeks poll (which I should close this weekend about what I should do with my ARE copies of Child of Fire.