Sale!

Good morning world. The week is starting out well, with contracts being signed for The Wererat’s Tale: The Collar of Perdition, progress being made on my second novel manuscript, and excitingly, a sale to The Beast Within 4: Gears and Growls anthology. This is my first apperance in this antho series. Edited by award-winning anthology editor Jennifer Brozek, it’s sure to be a good one. Jennifer actually gave me one of my first big breaks in the business, suggesting I fill the slush reading void she left at Apex Magazine a couple years back. This anthology is a collision of were-creatures and steampunk. My story, “The Business of Ferrets,” centers around a were-ferret saboture named Colin, who is sent to infiltrate and destroy a new, infernal machine built by the invading Steamers.

Publishing date TBD. Keep checking back here for updates.

Sesame Street Under Fire

M’kay. Going to steer a little political here. Generally, I try to keep such things off this page, but in this case, I feel too strongly. In regards to Mitt Romney’s claim that he wouldn’t cut education funding, yet would defund PBS, those are contradictory statements. I’ll ignore for the moment the absurdity of balancing the budget by pledging to cut “unnecessary” programs like PBS (0.012% of the annual budget), while simultaneously promising to ramp up our 700 billion dollar annual defense budget by 20%. Instead, I’m going to focus on the education aspect of this issue.

The plain truth is, Big Bird is an educator. Possibly one of the most important, yet under appreciated ones working. For many decades, Sesame Street has helped jump-start the education of hundreds of millions of children before they ever set foot inside a classroom. The foundation it gives children in language, math, science, and important social skills is simply unmatched in the history of television. For many children with parents of more modest means, who cannot afford private preschools, it is the first school they attend, and at a time that is absolutely crucial for brain development. Sesame Street has helped generations get a leg up before starting class, and continues to supplement and reinforce their education through the early years of school once they return home.

Now, ol’ Mittens almost certainly did what was best for his children by sending them to preschool where they were taught in person. I would never deny that luxury to those who can afford to do so. However, his success leaves him without a clear understanding of how important PBS and Sesame Street is to parents who can’t afford to. He doesn’t understand that Big Bird, the Count, Oscar, and all the rest may be the difference between a child excelling early on, or falling behind their classmates.

Help me explain it to him. If you grew up watching Sesame Street, if you learned the ABC’s from Muppets, if the skits and jingles are still in your head, please, repost this. Show Governor Romney that cutting funding to PBS IS a cut to education in this country.

Reincarnation

Good news, everyone! The site has been reincarnated with WordPress, making updates and general maintenance much easier than it had been before. The result will be more brain trimmings from me than ever before. Maybe this is a positive development in your life, maybe not. Either way, I’m excited.

A few things to announce with the new system. First, I had another sale a few months ago, to a wonderful project called Eighth Day Genesis. In short, it is a textbook for writers, game masters, and creatives of all stripes who want to learn how to craft believable worlds. Twenty authors came together, each contributing a chapter tailored to their own strengths in world-building. My own chapter, Building Worlds in a hostile Universe, focuses on the hard science of life around different types of planets, moons, stars, and galactic neighborhoods. This one was very popular at GenCon among both writers and GM’s this year, selling out of all of our paperback copies. Try it, tell a friend.

Next up is a short story I’m really happy with called The Business of Ferrets. I was asked to write a story with were-creatures, preferably not wolves, coming into conflict with steampunk. I picked a were-ferret, with a twist. A little bird told me it has a good chance at getting sold. Watch for an announcement soon.

I bit the bullet and joined Twitter, and I’m actually sort of enjoying it. Catch the random emissions of @stealthygeek by clicking on the Follow button over yonder on the left side.

Also, because the world of publishing doesn’t offer rejection in real-time, I took up stand-up comedy over the summer. Expect a smattering of videos of my attempts on stage soon.

Finally, as there has been some small controversy surrounding this subject inside my peer group of late, I’m going to re-post a diatribe from my Facebook author page from last week:

There seems to be some confusion among my nerdy friends about football and how it relates to being a geek. Yes, I am a massive geek, and yes, I am a massive football fan.

These are not contradictory stances. One does not exclude you from being the other. Let me tell you something about being a geek, maybe the best part, actually. Being a geek means not having to be embarrassed about the things that you love. It means you can shout your enthusiasm from the rooftops without caring what the mundanes think about it. It means being part of a community that doesn’t judge you for your over-the-top devotion to the strange, the off-beat, the obscure.

So why do some of us think it’s okay to be so dismissive of the love of things slightly more mainstream? I have a secret; sports fans are some of the biggest geeks out there. You want endless lists of stats to memorize? They have you covered. Merchandise to collect? Done. Throngs of rabid fans who will sit out hours or days in freezing temperatures for tickets? Honey, you have no idea. Costuming? Have you seen a BW3 on game day?

They’re no different, and no better or worse, than the rest of us. Sure, the guys huddled around their laptops in the sportsbar drafting their fantasy team may not recognize the parallels to a basement full of guys rolling character sheets, but they’re still there.So stop pretending there are different strata of geekdom, or that some types of nerdiness are less legitimate than others. That reeks of the same type of elitism that so many of us chaffed under back in school.

I am a geek about many things. I wear my Packer Superbowl XLV hat as proudly as I display my One Ring armband tattoo. And that’s okay.