Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Critters Readers' Poll: Up for Awards

Lesfic story I edited. Good read!
One story, one novel, and one anthology I edited are up for awards in the Critters Readers' Poll. This used to be the Preditors and Editors Readers' Poll, but apparently P and E has been inactive for a while.

The short story: Dragons and Thorns, by B.B. Anders. B.B. Anders also contributed to an anthology I edited a while back, Mardi Gras Murder. Dragons and Thorns is a lesfic story with some erotic content.
  • Vote for Dragon and Thorns here!

The novel: Sparky of Bunker Hill and the Cold Kid Case, by Rosalind Barden. Rosalind has contributed to numerous anthologies Mystery and Horror, LLC has published.

The anthology: Strangely Funny V, which is the sixth book in the series.
  • Vote for Strangely Funny V as an anthology!
  • You can also vote for individual stories from SF V here and here! The authors have been invited to nominate their stories.
Voting will be going on through January 14th. I'd appreciate it if you would participate in the poll and support these fine authors.

Many thanks!


Tuesday, December 11, 2018


This squid's context (boogie board) was very bad. We returned it to the ocean.
Sometimes it is important to know your true setting, and how others interpret it.

During one of our previous iterations of "Let's get into better shape," Gwen and I joined the YMCA. It was located in downtown Lexington, KY, which was very close to my workplace at the time. We would exercise (FYI: that YMCA had the coldest swimming pool in town!) and then shower.

While we were toweling off in the locker room one afternoon, I was greeted by the Chief of Staff of my employer. We had a short and pleasant exchange about the virtues of exercise and the convenience of the facility.

Flash forward about a week. The Chief of Staff visits our office. She said that it had been a while since she'd seen us, "except for Sarah. I saw her when we were both naked."

Everyone in the room was aware of my sexual orientation... except her. They were all quiet, so she repeated it. Then she added that we were both in the locker room at the Y, and my coworkers laughed. For a moment, I'm sure some of them thought, "no wonder she still has a job."

I'm trying to find my personal context again. Like most people, I partially define myself by my occupation. And why not? Your job determines a large portion of your social life, what lifestyle you can afford, and 'free time' to get other stuff done.

I've lost my context. The good part is that I've used the time to write, exercise, and even clean things.  The more difficult part is looking for a new place to work. Tampa Bay is a tough job market, but I'm wondering if there's a way to choose my context this time. Maybe I should look for contract, temporary, or part-time work, giving me more time to write and focus on the press. We may need to cut out some luxuries, but wouldn't advancing our personal goal of self-sufficiency as authors be worth it?

I don't know yet. I do hope that, when I find my next job, it is filled with good people like the ones that laughed that day.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Book Review: A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee

A Necessary Evil (Sam Wyndham, #2)A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you've read Kipling or other Victorian stories set in India, this novel contains some of those elements, but it gives you the bad as well as the good. An excellent murder mystery with strong characters of both nationalities and genders.

Plotline in a nutshell: Captain Sam Wyndham and Sergeant 'Surrender-not' Banerjee travel to Sambalpore to solve the murder of an Indian prince. This description, though, doesn't begin to encompass the rest of the story: our entry into a realm where exorbitant opulence and crushing poverty meet, and leaving the relative familiarity of British culture for one less so to an American reader like myself.

I strongly recommend the book.

View all my reviews

Saturday, December 01, 2018


My employer did many things for me. I accumulated retirement again, Gwen and I had 'regular' healthcare again, and we were able to move into our own home.

The catch: my job was in the shrinking part of the company. I'm not going to get too specific here, but technology is rapidly rendering it obsolete. Some jobs were outsourced to cut down on expenses, but dwindling returns kept the demand for cuts high. The game of Musical Chairs began before my arrival, and I lasted for a long time. Yesterday, when the tune stopped playing, I lost.

I have a number of conflicting emotions about this. There's disappointment, anger, and fear for the future, but there's also a sense of relief. I've never liked Musical Chairs, for the same reason I don't like Jenga: too much stress. Someone is going to lose, and every misstep, every move you make could lead to your downfall. 

I will miss the people, but not the stress.