Archive for March, 2010

The Hugo Awards

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

They are currently tallying the Hugo Awards and the results will be announced on April 4.

Unfortunately, they received a record number of nominations this year. That makes it harder to squeak in with just a few votes. I was hoping for just the opposite. I figured with a far distant locale and the high cost of mailing ballots that fewer people would vote. I received my Hugo Nominations Ballot last week, but that was long after the voting stopped. (I voted online.)

I expect to see Australian writers and magazines make a good showing at the Hugo this year. The Aussies are great spec-fic fans and Aussiecon4 is going to be quite a party. Air fair and hotel for a Euro or Nortamericano  is upwards to $2,000 and out of many people’s price range, so the Aussies will rule.

Aussiecon Twitter Feed

Rick Estrin at the Turning Point

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

I had just started to doze off last night when Larry called and told me that Rick Estrin and the Night Cats were down at the Turning Point. I roused myself up and went down to see them. If they come to your town, don’t miss them. They are great.

This is the first time I’ve posted a video directly to Facebook.

Had to check this morning

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

The large hadron collider has been tested at full steam. I had to check the link below right away.

Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the earth yet?.

Facebook Fan Page

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I made a fan page for the JT30 microphone. I did it in order to learn how to make a fan page. Since social networking is the next big thing, I thought I had better get some skills.

I did not try to promote the page at all and I didn’t even think about it until I went to check on it and the page had six fans. I click a few days later and it had nine fans. The thing was growing all by itself.

I went to the page and made a “badge” and placed that on my JT30 website. Within the week I had 20 fans. I invited all of my harmonica friends to join (10 or so) and four of them signed up.

Today I have 29 fans and it looks like the page will continue to grow organically and geometrically.

I asked several big name harp players to sign up, but none of them did. They were eager to get me as a friend, but not so willing to return the favor. The all use JT30 microphones, though and many have bought stuff from me.

Giveaway #2

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I closed giveaway #2 last night and I’ll post the winners. There were only 5 entries. I will try this one more time.

I have selected the Earthsea Trilogy, A Princess of Mars, and a Gray Mouser Book for the next contest. This is for the Once Upon A Time Challenge, so a few lucky people can get started on their goals.

I’ll have to take pictures of the books, but as soon as I do I’ll put the entry form here.

If I don’t get better results, it will be the last giveaway.


Friday, March 26th, 2010

Sci-Fi fans chart by Worm Miller – Artist: David Hwang

Well done.


Leigh Brackett’s Empire Strikes Back

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Leigh Brackett wrote some 200 Science Fiction Stories and is in my top 10 favorite writers. I prefer the bronze bra space operas of the 1940s, but she wrote some good serious stuff (the Big Sleep script – you know; Bogey and Bacall!). George Lucas liked her work, too, and gave her the project of writing the first draft of The Empire Strikes Back.

Read this review of the first script and enjoy. It seems way better than the later scripts. It’s too bad Brackett died shortly after writing this.

Alternative Draft Week – Original “The Empire Strikes Back” draft.

17 pasos para escribir y vender una historia de ciencia-ficción

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

A Spanish Science Fiction Blogger translated my 17 Steps to Writing and Selling a Science Fiction Story. I am very pleased with this. I would like more of the essays here translated into Spanish.

One of the things the the readers of the post complain about is that there are few markets for Spanish Language SF stories. I think this is just wrong. Spanish language internet is huge and I would be writing in Spanish if I could. If I spoke Spanish I would start an eZine today and I bet it would take off.

Here are a few that I’ve found, but there should be more:

Axxón: Monthly Argentine ezine of Science Fiction featuring fiction from around the world.

Alfa Erídiani: SF ezine which published a special supplement devoted to Cuban Science Fiction

Disparo en red: Homegrown Cuban site run by the Espiral Writers’ Workshop.

Químicamente impuro “Chemically impure”: a Spanish-language blog of ultrashort (40-149 words) stories, typically sf, horror, or fantasy.

Breves no tan breves: “Not so short shorts”: QI’s sister site, for stories between 150 and 1000 words.

Guaicán Literario — An exhaustive Spanish-language site for information on Cuban SF.

Cochambre Literaria: 17 pasos para escribir y vender una historia de ciencia-ficción.

Very Simple Awstats Install for 1and1 Hosting accounts

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

I’ve had an automated install for the Awstats package for a while. I cleaned it up today to make it user friendly and made it available for download. It works only for 1and1 linux hosting with the business or developer package.

The instructions for doing this by hand are so difficult as to make it impossible. I had to automate it because I could never get it right twice in a row.

Now I am happily installing awstats on the 20 or so websites that I have hosted at 1and1. It takes about 3 minutes for each install.

Very Simple Awstats Install for 1and1 Hosting accounts | Blogs Eye.

Martha Hive First Day of Spring

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

I woke up this morning with a sinus headache and I had to sit through two intense meetings already. The headache is from allergies to the the pollen from trees that are starting to bloom. The good news is that the bees are finding these trees and bringing home lots of pollen and nectar.

Here is a video of the Martha hive. You can watch the girls going home with baskets full of yellow pollen.

One benefit of the honey from local bees is that they have small amounts of the allergens that have passed through the bee’s digestive process. These fragments of allergens act to help the body build resistance to the pollen, but don’t induce an noticeable allergic reaction. At least that is what many people claim. I tend to be skeptical, but I will be having toast and honey for breakfast every morning after I harvest the honey. If it helps with my allergies, I won’t complain.

MagCloud POD Magazines

Friday, March 19th, 2010

MagCloud (an HP Service) has an interesting alternative to using LuLu or one of the other book publishers. It is a print-on-demand magazine publisher.

There are two advantages, as far as I can tell. If you are publishing smaller number of pages with lots of color graphics this would be cheaper than a paperback book.  It has a larger form factor than a book so the same number of words can go on fewer pages.

At 20 cents a page it is still not cheap, but a 20 page eZine would be produced for $4. Most internet magazines would fit into this size.

It costs you next nothing. If you are an eZine publisher it would make sense to try it out.

I am thinking about producing a beekeeping magazine about my hives using text from my blog and filling it with pictures.

I am also thinking about publishing  my short stories as a small magazine, but I would need an artist.

MagCloud | The Best New Magazines, Printed on Demand by HP.

Giveaway #1 Winners

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Michelle (Mush) Moses won The Helmsman by Bill Baldwin. I have a few other books in the series that I will send her.

Bryce Lee won Brain Wave by Poul Anderson.

Sheila Korman, Jim Shannon, and Gregg Olson will be getting consolation prizes from my collection.

Nobody wanted the Piers Anthony book and it is going into the recycle bin – probably for the best.

Congrats to all winners!

Birthday Present

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

This T-Shirt is one of my Birthday Presents from Erica modeled by Fafhrd, our giant Maine Coon Cat.

Mom made me a great pineapple upside down cake, which was gone in two days.

Giveaway #2

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

This contest is closed.

Science Fiction Giveaway #2 is three great hard SF books. I learned from the last giveaway that my readers want hard SF. The three books below are in excellent condition and are very collectible.

Even if you won last time you can put your bid in for one of these books. I will ship the books out at my expense in the week after the contest closes.

I will announce the winners of the last contest tomorrow. Everyone who enters gets something. I will pick some good books from my collection for the runner ups. I can’t guarantee that I’ll do that again, especially if I get a good response this time.

Next time will be three fantasy books, probably by Andre Norton, Fritz Leiber and/or L. Sprague de Camp.

A nice 1961 edition of one of the great books of the Golden Age. It is the story of a telepathic mutant living among humans. Van Vogt’s Slan simply changed the face of Science Fiction. It was one of John W. Campbell, Jr.’s first purchases at Astounding Stories, and set the tone for the Golden Age. Wonderful Cover.

This is a collection of 8 short stories by one of the best writers in SF. These are great SF stories. Harry Harrison is known for books like The Stainless Steel Rat and Deathworld, but in these stories he really pushes the limit of Hard Science Fiction.

This 1965 first paperback printing of the two part Orphans of the Sky is classic Heinlein. It is the story of a generational ship traveling between the stars for hundreds of years that has forgotten its mission. I have read and re-read this book and I think it is one of the Grand Master of Science Fiction’s best.
Slan by A.E. Van Vogt 1940 The War With the Robots, by Harry Harrison, 1962 Orphans of the Sky, by Robert A. Heinlein, 1941