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James Palmer's Journal

Monday, August 21, 2006

9:51AM - My Dragon*Con Schedule

Thanks to YA Lit Track director bevlovesbooks, I finally have the final piece of the puzzle that is my Dragon*Con panel schedule jammed firmly in place. Here is the stuff I will be on:

Saturday, September 2

10am Classics on DVD

11:30 Technobabble

1:00pm Censorship

4:00 Star Trek vs. Star Trek

7:00 Star Trek XI: A New Hope(?)

10:00 Dead Authors

Sunday, September 3

1pm Forgotten Classics

2:30 Simian Sci-Fi

5:30 Star Trek vs. Lost in Space


And that's just the panels that I will be on! I'll spend the rest of my time snapping pictures, hanging out with Joe Crowe, Shane Ivey, and Gary Mitchell of RevSF fame, saying hello to eugie and a few new folks, handing out minizines for sclerotic_rings' forthcoming books, and promoting the frell out of Blood Blade and Thruster: The Magazine of Speculative Fiction and Satire.

If you're going to be there, come by and say hi. And if you're not, there's always next year.

Meanwhile, we're having a yard sale in order to bring as much money as possible. At least we're not staying at one of the hotels and trying to sublet our room to ten other people like everyone else. Lower than that I cannot--and will not--get.

Friday, August 18, 2006

3:10PM - Busy, Busy, Busy

Just popping in for a quickie update since it's been a while.

I'm working on a last minute article for Gwinnett Business Journal. I just got back from an interview with them today for a possible staff writer position, when I wasn't even looking.

The problem is, I make more in my current job than they could likely start me out at. This stinks, as I really don't like my current job, which has nothing to do with writing. Ah well.

Also, I'm awaiting t-shirts and post cards from Blood Blade and Thruster to hand out at Dragon*Con in two weeks, as well as minizines promoting Paul T. Riddell's forthcoming books.

It's going to be bully.

Friday, August 11, 2006

1:16PM - Virtual Yard Sale

To get a little mad money together for Dragon*Con, as well as clear out some of my genre-based swag, I'm putting together a virtual yard sale. See something you like? Just make me an offer. Just keep in mind that the buyer pays shipping. You can pay via Paypal. Email me if you see something you want. First come, first served.

Here are the items:

Fictitious Force Speculative Fiction magazine #1-Fiction by Jay Lake, Greg Beatty, Sean Melican, and many more.

On Spec the Canadian magazine of the fantastic, Winter 2005 #63

On Spec #64

Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine Issue 5

Fantasy & Science Fiction February 2001. Featuring James Gurney cover art for Harlan Ellison's "From A to Z, in the Sarsaparilla Alphabet"

Transformers #1 DW Press, first issue of mini series. Some slight cover wear, but otherwise in good shape, and a great comic book.

Asimov's April 2000, featuring the story "Green Fire" in which Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague DeCamp, and others team up to save the universe.

Imagination Fully Dilated: Science Fiction The Literated Artwork of Alan M. Clark. Featuring stories inspired by Alan M. Clark's artwork, including work by Ray Vukcevich, James Van Pelt, Melissa Scott, Jerry Oltion, Leslie What, Tom Piccirilli, and many more.

P.S. Buyers will also get a few extra little surprise goodies thrown in as well.

Interested?

12:57PM - Virtual Yard Sale!

To get a little mad money together for Dragon*Con, as well as clear out some of my genre-based swag, I'm putting together a virtual yard sale. See something you like? Just make me an offer. Just keep in mind that the buyer pays shipping. You can pay via Paypal. Email me if you see something you want. First come, first served.

Here are the items:

Fictitious Force Speculative Fiction magazine #1-Fiction by Jay Lake, Greg Beatty, Sean Melican, and many more.

On Spec the Canadian magazine of the fantastic, Winter 2005 #63

On Spec #64

Neo-Opsis Science Fiction Magazine Issue 5

Fantasy & Science Fiction February 2001. Featuring James Gurney cover art for Harlan Ellison's "From A to Z, in the Sarsaparilla Alphabet"

Transformers #1 DW Press, first issue of mini series. Some slight cover wear, but otherwise in good shape, and a great comic book.

Asimov's April 2000, featuring the story "Green Fire" in which Isaac Asimov, L. Sprague DeCamp, and others team up to save the universe.

Imagination Fully Dilated: Science Fiction The Literated Artwork of Alan M. Clark. Featuring stories inspired by Alan M. Clark's artwork, including work by Ray Vukcevich, James Van Pelt, Melissa Scott, Jerry Oltion, Leslie What, Tom Piccirilli, and many more.

P.S. Buyers will also get a few extra little surprise goodies thrown in as well.

Interested?

Monday, August 7, 2006

10:26AM - A Whole New Blog

I've started a new blog over at james-palmer.blogspot.com. It will allow me to do things for free that I have to have a paid account on LJ to do. So head on over there for all the updates on what I'm up to. I may also crosspost to my LJ occasionally, but that will be where the brunt of my info will be announced. You can even subscribe to its feed so you get instant notification when it is updated.

Monday, July 17, 2006

6:14PM - Here's another meme



James will have to write:








I will not think to much about the JFK assassination








'What will you have to write on the chalk board?' at QuizGalaxy.com

12:23PM - More, more, more

It's about to get very, very busy.

I've just been accepted as a feature writer and columnist for the new magazine Blood, Blade, & Thruster: The Magazine of Speculative Fiction and Satire, premiering this September (check out the cool cover on their website and in my LJ icon!).

I'm also pursuing other copywriting and freelancing opportunities, as well as working on a few fiction projects. Stay tuned. It's getting interesting.

Friday, July 14, 2006

9:55AM - Things to do on Friday when you're dead

Well, it's Friday, which means I'm free from the shackles of the day job and working on writing projects. I'm also gearing up for this year's Dragon*Con. Here's what panels I'm doing so far (days and times when I have everything finalized):

For the SF Lit track: Technobabble and Forgotten Classics (so far).

For Trek Trak: Star Trek vs. The New Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek X: A New Hope(?)

For SF Classics: Star Trek vs. Lost in Space Part 2

For YA Lit: Censorship

It's going to be bully. Stay tuned.

I'm also applying for the Speculative Literature Foundation's Fall Mentorship Program, so wish me luck. Accepted mentees will be assigned a writing mentor who will talk to them about writing and marketing their work. No manuscript reading, like a workshop, but it's free, unlike a workshop. Thanks to Mur Lafferty for posting this on her I Should Be Writing blog.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I should be writing.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

8:42AM - What's new on the writing front

I have some important writing news to announce. Finally.

First off, my review of Charmed is up and ready for perusal over at Revolution SF.

The latest issue of Continuum SF is now out, containing my latest Barium Cinema column.

Work has begun on the premier issue of Worlds Apart, containing my first fiction sale, "At the Starship Farm".

And I've got to get to work on the next installment of Barium Cinema in order to have it turned in by next week for inclusion in the next issue of Continuum, which is scheduled to be finished in time for WorldCon. It's nice to think that, while I won't be attending personally, my words will be.

That's all for now.

Monday, July 10, 2006

8:04PM - Paul Riddell, This One's For You

As some of you may not know sclerotic_rings, aka former science fiction essayist and critic Paul T. Riddell, officially shut down his LJ to go after bigger and better things, namely a Botany degree.

Meanwhile, the gang of misfits over at RevolutionSF has re-posted this great little blast from Paul's past: an article on the Saturn Awards.

This posting is strangely serendipitous, as I was thinking about Paul's wonderful science blog this afternoon as I was barraged by customers calling in twice within five minutes to ask the same question they could have answered themselves with a calculator, only because I perused his gonzo offerings in between such calls on a daily basis. (His other, equally-dead LJ, phonecenter, added further balm for the IQ-sapping flood of morons).

Paul, I wish you well. Thanks for buying my first professional words, thanks for alerting me to the pitfalls of the writing industry, and thanks for turning me on to so many weird and wonderful things, both inside and outside SF.

Take care.

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

8:44PM - Darn you, hazelrah1, it was all your fault

QuizGalaxy!
'What will your obituary say?' at QuizGalaxy.com

8:28PM - Happy 4th and Stuff

Well, if you're in the States, today marks the day that our young nation officially traded one tyrant three thousand miles away for three thousand tyrants one mile away. But while everyone else is off celebrating by watching war porn, barbequeing, blowing off their digits with firecrackers, or buying towels at half price, I'm stuck here at the day job.

At least I'm catching up on my reading, including stuff I'm reviewing for Tangent and critiquing for Critters.

On the writing front, I just got my contributors copies of the latest issue of Continuum Science Fiction, containing my latest installment of "Barium Cinema". The editor changed the title slightly, and there is no mention of "Barium Cinema", but it's there, and I think it's pretty good. I'm also working on a couple of fiction pieces, and trying hard not to put pressure on myself to finish them. Right now, I'm just having fun seeing where they go, and if they're publishable when I finish them, I'll send them out. Also, there's still yet no sign of my Charmed article for RevSF, but I know Joe Crowe and the gang won't let me down. Look for Charmed: A Voluptuous Appreciation to appear any time now.

When not slaving away over that stuff, I'm planning my upcoming appearance at Dragon*Con Labor Day weekend. I'm on a total of seven panels thus far, most of which are on the new and long-awaited SF Literature track. D*C has needed a literary track for, well, since it started, and I'm happy to be a part of it. I'll be talking old books with Tracy Hickman, ripping up the new proposed Star Trek film with Joe Crowe, breathing through my mouth when entering clouds of patchouli, and in general having a grand old time.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

8:27AM - F Minus

What do you get when you cross the twisted worldview and esoteric sense of humor of The Far Side with the fatalism of Dilbert?

I don't know either, but I bet it's something like F Minus. Go check it out.

On Writing

Well, I've got some paying work in the pipeline: another article for Gwinnett Business Journal, and a gig writing copy for a website. I need to market myself more aggressively on the copywriting front, while still doing work on some fiction and creative nonfiction to keep the muse stoked. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

8:30AM - Fanboy Excitement

Well, I've lapsed in my story posting duties, but since no one reads this blog anyway it doesn't really matter. On to more important things.

Like the Doctor Who Season One DVD coming out July 7th, and in November, the Transformers: The Movie 20th Anniversary DVD. Much fanboy squeeing will insue. Now, how to pay for it all? Of course! More writing projects!

Monday, June 19, 2006

8:41AM - F Is For Fata Morgana

A fata morgana is a mirage attributed to witchcraft, named for King Arthur’s half sister, Morgan le Fay. Today’s Fata Morgana is a dusty old book shop in West Palm Beach, Florida. It’s four foot-tall proprietor will tell you that the only thing magical about the place is that it disappears every twenty-four hours, only to turn up somewhere else. It’s nothing mysterious, you understand. They just want to discourage returns.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

5:35PM - E Is For El Chupacabras

Eddie "El Chupacabras" Amezcua goes by many names, but not to his face. The federales in Chihuahua call him the scourge of the Rio Grande. His friends call him Jefe. His grandmother calls him, embarrassingly enough, Gordito. His mother refers to him not at all, except to bow her head sadly and cross herself whenever his name is mentioned. Everyone else calls him El Chupacabras, from the Spanish verb ‘chupar’, meaning "to suck", and ‘cabra’, meaning "goat." It is the name of a mysterious beast that is said to terrorize the countryside.


Eddie is a beast that terrorizes the countryside, but there’s nothing mysterious about him. Every day, he can be seen in his black Trans Am aimed hellbent toward the horizon, his hair a greasy pompadour, Elvis sideburns zig-zagging down the sides of his portly, pock-marked face. A tin of pomade, a Zip-Loc bag of peyote buttons and a half-empty bottle of tequila invariably lay beside him in the torn, faded passenger seat. There’s a shiny Colt .45 in the glove compartment that he stole off a drunkard behind a bar in Oaxaca, just before he robbed and killed the man with a Louisville Slugger the man had in the back of his pickup truck. He’s wearing a pair of well-worn chinos and a white tank top, what they call a wife-beater in the States. Everyone knows where Eddie is going, but they’re smart enough not to say anything about it.


It is getting dark when Eddie finally reaches his destination, a secluded farm up in the hills. He has been here before, knows the owner will not try to run him off. Eddie knows the old man is afraid of strange things in the night. There’s nothing out here stranger than Eddie, at least Eddie hopes so. Eddie gets out of the car, tucking the .45 into the back of his chinos.


Eddie quickly selects his target: a she-goat standing close to the fence. Eddie slowly climbs through the fence, and carefully approaches the goat, so as not to frighten her off. He is getting excited now. He unzips his pants and lets them sag. He grabs up the she-goat from behind, and she baas complainingly.


Eddie is almost finished when he hears an ungodly shriek. He drops the goat who, along with the other animals flitting about the barnyard, instinctively run for cover. Eddie quickly zips up and pulls the Colt. A dark shape whips past him, and he fires off three shots in its wake.


Knowing he has just awoken the farmer, Eddie makes for the fence, but something lands on his back, knocking him to the ground. Eddie never saw it clearly, but he knew what it looked like: red glowing eyes, two arms with long sharp claws, and a row of sharp spines running down its back.


The old farmer never heard the shots, as he was sleeping off a bottle of tequila. When he found Eddie the next morning, there wasn’t much left of him but a few shreds of meat drained completely of blood. Eddie had learned too late that there is always someone-or in his case something–that is bigger and badder than you.

Friday, June 16, 2006

8:59AM - D is For Dreamtime

The Dreamtime is the Australian aborigine version of Jung’s collective unconscious, a meeting place for the spirit realm. It is the place where our collective experiences are kept. Shared only by the aborigines, dolphins, whales, and elephants–and before them, the mastodons and mammoths–this dream place has become the stuff of legend. But how else do you explain Crocodile Rock, an outcropping of rock that only resembles a crocodile from high in the air? Some people refuse to see the evidence, even when it is right in front of them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

9:00AM - C is For C.R.O.A.T.O.A.N.

The Inquisitor AI hovered before him, jetting him in the face with water. Frank awoke, sputtering, gasping for breath, thinking he was drowning. The effects of the dream juice still lay like gauze on his mind. In a flash he remembered the alley, the beautiful woman with the needle gun. He shook his head.


"I do not like to repeat myself," the Inquisitor said. "What did you do for your employer?"


"I don’t remember," said Frank for the hundredth time. It must have been that many times. He didn’t know how long he had been chained to the wall in these dank catacombs, but he knew it had been a long time. Since the alley. Since the woman.


"Then tell me this," the Inquisitor said, turning and hovering away from him. "What does C.R.O.A.T.O.A.N stand for? Your company name. What does it mean?"


"I don’t–."


"Is it Creating Robots and Other Automatons To Oppress and Annihilate Nations?"


"No."


"Then what? What was your business?"


Frank thought, going down deep in his mind. His first clear memory was of the alley, and the realization that he had been fired. The rest was foggy, unclear. He reached in deep, knowing the answers were still in there somewhere. He pulled out a name from the murky depths of his mind. C.R.O.A.T.O.A.N. For some reason, Frank saw the name as if it was carved into the trunk of a tree.


"What was your business?" the Inquisitor repeated.


Frank smiled. "Mystery was my business."


It came flooding back in waves now. Frank Bonaventure, a cataloguer of mysteries for a corporation that had been around since man first learned to wonder. Fired and mind-wiped when he couldn’t be trusted with those secrets anymore. Frank Bonaventure, who knew where Jimmy Hoffa lies buried, and who shot JFK and George "Superman" Reeves. Frank Bonaventure, who could tell you what really happened in Roswell, New Mexico in the summer of 1947, who knew whether or not there is a bigfoot, an abominable snowman, a Loch Ness monster. Frank had been a keeper of secrets as old as time. Now they were all gone. He couldn’t remember the answers to these riddles, only that he once knew them. He had screwed up, gotten the Inquisitors on his tail, and had been erased and let go.


"What do you mean, mystery?" the Inquisitor AI asked.


And Frank told it everything he could remember, which wasn’t much. It would be up to the Inquisitors and Investigators to find out the rest. But the jig was up. C.R.O.A.T.O.A.N would have to spill its secrets, now that its existence had been discovered. Now that no secret was safe.


"But what does it mean?" the Inquisitor AI asked again, apparently thinking that all its questions would be answered if it could simply deduce the meaning of the acronym.


Frank shook his head. "I don’t know. Maybe I never did."


Apparently satisfied, the AI floated backward, turned, and hovered up the dark passageway.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

7:58AM - B is For Bunyip

B is For Bunyip



"Lenny, baby. G’Day, mate. So good to hear from you. What can I do ya for? What? You want to cancel the book gig? But that’s a sweet deal. I fought hard for–yes, I did tell you you’d have to pose for the illustrator of the book’s cover. What can I say? The guy’s a real stickler for reality. Well, what’s the world supposed to think? You crawl out of a billabong one week wearing a bear’s fur and fish scales, then the next you’re in a children’s book with a
snake’s body and bat wings. What image? You look different every time someone ogles you in some Outback watering hole.

"No, Lenny. I’m not upset. I just think that–movie? What m–oh yeah, I’m still hammering that one out. Oh yeah, a real classy horror picture. Same guys that did Mad Max. Yeah, you’ll be shot mostly at night. No, I haven’t seen a rough draft of the script yet, but they tell me it’s a doozie. Canberra. Yes, you’ll have your own trailer.

"Now listen, mate. Back to the book gig. I think that–I think you should–what? No, please don’t eat anybody, especially womenfolk. Remember what I told you about good and bad publicity? Hello? Len? Damn overseas phone lines."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

8:15AM - From A to Z, in the Ambergris Alphabet

And now for something a little different.

Because I'd like to post to this blog more than once every two weeks, I decided the best way to do that was by posting something I've already written. And to give you all a break from tales of my recent publications or kvetching about work, and because I don't have a valuable public service to provide like sclerotic_rings, I thought I'd put some fiction up. So, for the next 26 days, I'll be posting an entry from my abecedary story, From A to Z, in the Ambergris Alphabet. If everyone likes it, I may do this again sometime. If everyone hates it and tells me so, I still may do this again sometime. As Kingsley Amis said, if you can't annoy someone, there's little point in writing.

A is for Abracadabra



Abracadabra is the most powerful word in all of magic. Real magic, that is. M-a-g-i-c-k magic. But nothing happens when it is spoken. Like a granddaddy longlegs, supposedly the most venomous arachnid in the world–yet its mandibles are too small to bite–the word abracadabra is both all-powerful and useless. The reason for this is that, over the years, it has become mispronounced. It was originally spoken thus: ‘a’ as in ‘ah’, the ‘b’ with a short ‘p’ as in ‘put’, rolling both ‘r’s, the second ‘a’ as in ‘as’, the c pronounced as an ‘s’ like ‘cephalopod’ and the remaining letters were ran together in a phlemy ‘h’ sound as in the Yiddish ‘chutzpah’ and ‘Chanukah’. If you can say that, you can do anything.


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