Following the example of my friends Bill Crider and Ed Gorman, I've decided to start a blog. I may not post every day, and what gets posted here may be pretty haphazard sometimes, but I intend to talk mostly about what I'm reading and sometimes writing, as well as the events in my life I don't deem too boring. (Whether the readers find it too boring is, of course, up to them.) Don't expect anything about politics or religion.
To start things out with some griping, our phone service was out for five days this week, following a month of power outage after power outage due to a series of bad storms. If I had to choose between the electricity and the phone being out, I'd choose the phone, but I still don't like being without it. I like email and the Internet too much. The phone was fixed today (otherwise I wouldn't be posting this), but then this afternoon one of our circuit breakers went bad, killing the air conditioner in our living room. My wife Livia (aka L.J. Washburn) can fix 'most anything, and she was able to replace the breaker. Then this evening we discovered that Sugarfoot, one of our Nigerian dwarf goats, had Crossed the Great Divide. Now Sugarfoot, like all of our dwarf goats, was a cull, not a show goat, which means that unlike the cute little things you think of when you hear "dwarf goat", this old fella was damn near the size of a Great Dane. So we spent the evening digging a large grave in black clay, not the easiest task in the world, meanwhile fighting skeeters and trying not to think about all the chiggers that were bound to be crawling on us. We managed to lay him to rest properly, though.
The last thing I read was the August 2004 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. I recently subscribed to F&SF after not reading it regularly for several years, and this was the first issue on my sub. It was a good one to start with. The best story is novella "The Tribes of Bela" by Albert E. Cowdrey. I'd never heard of Cowdrey before, but based on this story he's a darned good storyteller. "Bela" manages to be both a well-plotted, fairly-clued mystery story and a survival-on-a-hostile-planet adventure yarn. The other stories in the issue were okay, but sometimes unnecessarily obscure, in my opinion. I'm currently reading ON THE TRAIL OF FOUR by Max Brand (Frederick Faust), which originally appeared in the pulp WESTERN STORY in 1925. That's a typical swing in genres and time periods for me, because I read a little bit of everything. However, I'm really fond of pulps and moderate a Yahoo group called WesternPulps. Check it out if you have any interest in the subject.
For those of you who don't know, I'm a professional writer and have been since 1976. Yesterday I finished my 165th novel, so I'm sort of between projects at the moment. I have to do some research and come up with a proposal for a historical novel, and then the next thing on the schedule is a house-name Western novel. I have work lined up through the spring of '05, which in the world of freelance fiction writing is considered pretty good job security. Of course, it could all come to a crashing halt after that.
That's enough to start this off. Feel free to comment if the mood strikes you.
And the first comment on the blog came from Todd Mason, who I already knew from the WesternPulps group. Todd, Bill, and Ed may be the only ones reading this who read that first post back in 2004.
I'm still writing about pretty much the same things on here. I'm still writing house-name books, so I can't talk about them much. I still don't talk about politics or religion. I'm up to 335 novels now and working on #336. I don't recall reading anything by Albert E. Cowdrey since then, but I've read quite a few novels and stories by Frederick Faust. The WesternPulps group is still rolling along, not as busy these days, but I posted twice there yesterday. In looking over the old posts, I see that they're a lot chattier and don't have the level of promotion and self-promotion that social media has today. I kind of miss that. I may try to do more of it. So don't be surprised if I start talking about the weather (it's hot and dry), and the errands I need to run (car needs the oil changed and the two little dogs have to go to the vet for a check-up), and the chores I do (I've mowed and used the weed-eater and tried--none too successfully--to work on the tractor in the past few days), and the bookstores I've been to (yesterday Shayna and I went up to Denton because Recycled Books was having a 20% off sale for the holiday). After all, the word blog comes from web log, right? Sometimes I think social media has become too slick and overproduced. Or maybe I'm just a nostalgic sucker for the good ol' days of 2004. Anyway, thanks to those of you who are reading this. You're a good bunch of friends.