self-imposed deadlines

August 15, 2019

Taking a really big trip is a good way to set deadlines for myself. This is a good way to get things done. But it can backfire, like last week, when I decided I need to finish, like, everything.  I have a couple of actual, contractual deadlines on September 1. But seeing has how that’s just a week after I get back from the Ireland trip?  No sir, let’s do everything before so I don’t have to worry about it! That’s great!

In the last two weeks I’ve finished revisions on two novellas and three short stories, started revisions on a third novella, compiled notes for a novel revision and started a new novel outline. I always seem to do this to myself. I spend six months writing up a storm and at the end of it am left with this giant stack of revising that cannot be avoided, and I can’t really start anything new until I clear my brain.

I need a vacation.

Hey, guess what?!


P.S.:  The three novellas and three short stories will all be released at some point in the next year, along with two other novellas that are totally done, including The Immortal Conquistador. The only thing harder than revisions is waiting for all this work to make its way to the public…



The Immortal Conquistador

August 1, 2019

Sorry about the silence and the spotty posting. I had family visiting this weekend and so was off on adventures like hiking Garden of the Gods and taking my 7 year old niece to Casa Bonita. She’s the perfect age for it because Black Bart’s Cave was too scary.

And now I’m back, and getting ready for Worldcon in Dublin. I’m on a bunch of programming and hope to have some good adventures.

Meanwhile, I have a cover reveal.

(Art by Rebecca Harp.)

The Immortal Conquistador is all stories about Rick the vampire, who has become one of my favorite characters to write about.  Half of this is reprints — “El Conquistador de la Noche,” “El Hidalgo de la Noche,” and “Dead Men in Central City.”  Taken together these stories have a great western frontier flare that are a big reason why I keep writing stories about Rick. I love that milieu, and he’s got 500 years worth of stories to tell.

The other half of the book is a brand-new novella that jumps back and forth in time. It tells what happened to Rick immediately after the events of Kitty Rocks the House, and back to 1848 and that one time Rick ended up in Santa Fe…

But I say too much. You’ll have to read about it. It’s due out in February from Tachyon Publications.

Barnes and Noble did a write-up on the whole thing here.

Stay tuned. More announcements are on the way. I don’t have a novel coming out this year, but I do have 5 novellas coming out over the next year. Apparently I’ve been busier than I thought…



I just got back from a much-needed camping trip in Buena Vista, where I slept by a rushing creek, went rafting for the very first time, discovered a nice local whiskey, spotted a red-naped sapsucker nest, and got sunburned sitting in hot springs.

It all sounds lovely, and it was, except that my friends and I are also mourning the loss of one of our own. Our friend Andro passed away from leukemia a week ago. He was a good guy and way too young and I haven’t found a good way of talking about it so I’ve mostly been quiet.

It’s been a rough few weeks.

And now it’s time to get ready for the Ireland trip and Worldcon, which is in a month.  I’m looking forward to more travels and adventures. Will I see you there?


It’s a Monday, it’s July. June turned chaotic for both planned and unplanned reasons, and the chaos is continuing. Some of those deadlines I was so happy to sign up for are coming due, so it’s time to put my head down and git ‘er done.

I’ve got a new story up on Curious Fictions:  “Gamma Ray vs. Death” , which is about how superheroes always come back. It originally appeared in the anthology Better Off Undead. As always, if you feel like buying my next cup of coffee, there’s a tip jar/subscription button.

This month’s issue of Lightspeed has my review of Tolkien, which is a fine enough film but fraught with meta-questions.



June 27, 2019

Deadwood, South Dakota, was a little more like Black Hawk Colorado than I expected or would have liked. More casinos and motorcycles than anything else, and not much of the Old West town left. Although there are “shoot-outs” staged three times daily for your entertainment, and you can pay $10 to sit in the spot where Wild Bill was shot while holding a hand of aces and eights.

However, the Mt. Moriah Cemetery, where Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Seth Bullock are buried, was quiet and chock full of the history I was looking for. This statue of Wild Bill is a more recent addition, but I was amused at how admirers are still determined to keep him well stocked.



latest research trip

June 24, 2019

A bit of silence there, I forgot to post on the road. Because what’s the point of being self-employed if you can’t drop everything and drive 400 miles to check on some things for a story? The story is a Cormac and Amelia adventure. We’ll see if I can pull it all together.

The trip was to the Black Hills area of South Dakota, with a bit of a detour to the Badlands. I packed a lot into a few days, did some hiking even though the weather was cool and cloudy and I could have used a bit of sun. Visited Deadwood, and the graves of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Swung by Sturgis just to say I did. Did not go to Mt. Rushmore, believe it or not. I saw it as a kid and I just didn’t want to deal with the crowds this time. The region is beautiful, but very touristy. Deadwood is all casinos, and I had to hunt for the Old West bones of the place. But I saw lots of deer, pronghorns, the bison herd at Custer State Park, and did some birdwatching (I got a lifer:  vesper sparrow). Wore myself out a bit.

Now I’m home, and it’s time to work on this story.


This is your last chance to sign up for my online workshop on writing superheroes, which happens tomorrow!

And on that note, while I’m mostly indifferent to Dark Phoenix, didn’t go see it, and think McAvoy and Fassbender deserved better because I like their takes on Professor X and Magneto, I am secretly pleased that the studio execs on this film can’t go around claiming it flopped because “people just don’t like superhero movies featuring women.”