I’ve just finished a podcast radio interview with Lisa Kessler of Book Lights Radio. Lots of fun. You can listen to it online at: blogtalkradio.com. It will also be available at itunes and other podcast channels.
Our beloved cat, Moonlight, has left us, taken by cancer and age. She was 20 years old, almost 21. She was an amazing friend to all of us. Far from the aloof cat of Siamese stereotype, she always wanted to be part of the family, dogs and all. She used to try to come along on dog walks, but we could never get a leash and harness to work right on her. As a young cat, she competed with the dogs for dropped food. (Ask me sometime about the Battle for the Broccoli, wherein Moonlight squares off with a boxer, and the little beagle sees opportunity.) Moonlight was quite vocal, and would “Mwah” whenever stroked. She loved laps, and in response to gentle hugs would go, “Mwah! Mwah!” like a squeezebox. In the last few months, her meow evolved—first into a melodic “Moi?” and then later into a “Honk!” She was the living embodiment of “cat gravity,” which prevents you from getting up with a cat in your lap, and excelled at putting whoever was holding her to sleep.
Over the last couple of years, she came through two surgeries for skin cancer with flying colors. Our vet was amazed at her resilience. “Ordinarily, at her age, we wouldn’t even be having a conversation about surgery,” he said, shaking his head in disbelief. Here’s a picture of her, after one of the operations.
I love animals, and Moonlight had a unique place in my heart. I hate this part of loving animals, where your heart is broken at the end. It’s probably going to be hardest on my daughter Jayce, to whom Moonlight has been a special friend for the greater part of her life. We will grieve together.
The timing could hardly be worse, as I’m leaving shortly for a convention in Philadelphia. But the last 24 hours have been telling, with noticeable decline in her strength—and it seemed better to say good-bye now, rather than endure worse scenarios while I’m gone. But there is no good time. At the vet’s, she put up a final fight: Even in her severely weakened state, it took an extra injection to stop that stalwart heart of hers.
Moonlight, I hope you find little Sam the beagle, and Hermione the boxer, and all of your other friends waiting for you on the other side. Peace now, little one. Peace.
I’ll be attending my first Philcon this weekend. By all accounts, it’s a great convention. I look forward to seeing friends, making friends, and taking a little time to myself for the trip. I’ll be autographing Saturday, and moderating several panels. Here’s my schedule. Please say hi if you see me!
Saturday, November 9
Sunday, November 10
At last! Strange Attractors is now out in audiobook, narrated by the amazing Stefan Rudnicki! This has been a long time coming, and it’s a superb recording from the studios of Skyboat Media.
This took a different route to publication from my earlier audiobooks. I published it through Findaway Voices under the Starstream Publications / Book View Café imprint. It will be available through innumerable outlets, including iTunes, Audible, Overdrive, Hoopla, and many more. Right now it’s migrating through the distribution system. Here’s where it’s available, right this very minute, that I know of:
Others coming soon!
In my second broadcast appearance this week, I’ll be one of the panelists tomorrow on a special edition of Writers Showcase, talking about science fiction and its future with Robert J. Sawyer, Edward Willett, Kristina Rienzi, and host Christie Stratos. It’s an hour-long show, and I’m sure it’ll be interesting! This will be in full video—like going to a con, but without the hotel and airfare. Hope my equipment cooperates!
That’s Thursday evening, October 24, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, on Facebook video. Here’s where to tune in.
I did the time travel calculations wrong. I’m going to be on SirenRadio today at 12:30 Eastern time, not 1:30! Listen to it here: https://www.sirenonline.co.uk/
Tomorrow (that’s Wednesday Oct. 23), I’ll be interviewed on SirenRadio, a UK radio station that you can listen to live at https://www.sirenonline.co.uk/. We’ll be chatting on the Midweek Drive show about…well, I suppose about my books and whatever the host asks me!
That’s 6:30 p.m. GMT, or 12:30 p.m. in the Eastern time zone where I’m located. Listen in!
Another show coming on Thursday! I’ll post that next.
The other day, I was searching online for podcasters who interview SF authors, looking for ways to get the word out about my new books. (This in addition to the fine work my newly retained publicist is doing.) I didn’t find what I was looking for, but I did discover a plethora of fiction podcasts—basically radio plays for the internet age. This is a whole world I knew nothing about! I started listening to one called We Fix Space Junk, written by Beth Crane of the UK. The episodes are short, witty, and lots of fun. In a blipvert between episodes, she said she’d be appearing this Sunday (i.e., yesterday) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at a podcasting festival called PodTales.
It turned out PodTales was a free, open-to-all podcast festival—and best of all, it was happening just down the street at Lesley University. I putted down on my moped and spent a fun afternoon talking to podcasters about their shows—and listening to a panel on story structure, where I learned that the process of writing 20-minute podcast episodes was pretty much the same as the process of writing thousand-page novels. I even ran into someone from my church, who (I learned) has started his own podcast of stories for young kids (Moosiverse).
In the space of four days, I’ve gone from complete ignorance about this burgeoning art form—I didn’t even know I had a podcast app on my phone!—to boasting a full slate of podcasts I’m eager to try. Here’s a screenshot of my to-listen shelf in Podcast Addict on my droid phone.
By the way, if you hear of any podcasters looking to interview writers, please let me know!
It’s been a little over a week now since Allysen’s mom fell and banged herself up enough to need to go to the hospital. (Nothing broken, fortunately.) A few days later, a close family friend had to be hospitalized. So we’re doing double duty on the hospital/rehab visits, and pondering the difficulties of aging. Feh. Not for the faint-of-heart. Difficult decisions lie ahead.
To counter this, I ask you visualize the adorable tableau I encountered today, when I got up. Captain Jack (dog) and Moonlight (cat) were curled up asleep together on the sofa (where, mm, Jack is not supposed to be). Did I have the presence of mind to grab my phone and take a picture? I did not.
This one, from an earlier time, will have to do. The shaggy one is dog-in-law McDuff, who’s staying with us for now.
It’s an old fannish expression from an A.E. Van Vogt novel, but it’s true. Fans are Super Loyal and Not-to-be-under-appreciated! The latest three examples came one right after another. First, longtime fan and correspondent David B (whom until last week I had never met) was visiting the U.S. from Brazil, and he and his lovely wife took a day to ride the train from New York City—where among other things, he had been trying to get bookstores to order my books—to Boston, just to have lunch with me! We spent a wonderful couple of hours hanging out at Legal Seafood and walking along the Charles River near MIT. And I signed a couple of new books for him. It was great. Only a true fan would do that.
A day or two later, I got a package in the mail from Chad H, another longtime fan (whom I hadn’t met until DragonCon). In the package was a totally cool STARRIGGER doorstop, custom created on his personal 3D printer! Who has their own 3D printer, I ask? Fans, that’s who.
Right after that, I got an email from Kitty K, who needed information to help arm her in her efforts to get her local library system to buy The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time. They were being reluctant, but she was keeping after them. That’s the kind of thing fans do.
So here is a heartfelt tip of the hat to fans everywhere—especially my fans!