March 27th, 2007

Fever -- the Writer's Friend?

On Friday, I came down with what was diagnosed yesterday as bronchitis.  Now I'm on some heavy-duty antibiotics, which is good, but I do miss the intense nights of fever-dreaming.  I've been working on a for-hire project, and for three nights, as I lay fitfully tossing and turning, tunneling into that netherworld of feverish obsession that somehow combines a laserlike focus with a total lack of critical censorship, I plotted out a really wild book that nonetheless holds up to more sober analysis.  And it occurred to me that every novel I've written, and some of my stories, has been improved by a night or two of fever-dreaming. 

I remember with my novella "Left of the Dial," especially, how the convoluted timestreams that were giving me so much trouble gradually untangled themselves as my temperature rose, until, by the time I was up and about again, I had the story all finished in my head, and it merely remained to write it out.

Has anyone else experienced this?  Neither drugs nor drink has ever had this effect on me; only fever.  It's enough to make me seriously think about ways in which I could cultivate a low-level fever during those times when I'm trying to work out the ideas, technical and otherwise, behind a story or book.
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Critical Mass

With the recent demise of the printzine SF CHRONICLE, the science fiction/fantasy/horror community has lost a valuable resource for news and reviews.

But perhaps the best "feature" of that zine has migrated online! I'm referring to reviewer Don D'Ammassa, my longtime pal and fellow Rhode Islander. (Don and I met in 1973, a mere mumblety-mumble years ago, in the wake of Torcon II.)

Don has crafted a site to host his reviews, old and new, and much bibliographical goodness. You can also learn about his other, fiction-writing side as well.

Anyone with an interest in quality criticism needs to bookmark this site:
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SF from France--For Free!

In 2004, Deborah Newton and I had the immense privilege of being invited to the annual SF Festival in Nantes called Utopiales. It was a splendid time, as the programming was excellent, the hospitality was magnificent, and the new friends we made were all splendid and quirky, witty and wise.

One of those new pals was Laurent Queyssi. (We had previously had some electronic contact, but this was our first meeting.) Laurent is a very savvy guy in SF, comics, and music, and although I have not sampled an inordinate amount of his fiction, due to my primitive monolingualism, I suspect it's as smart and hip as he himself is.

Now comes a chance for all those gifted in French to acquaint themselves with Laurent's work for free.

Let Laurent explain:

Hello guys,

Just a quick note to let you know that my first novel, NEUROTWISTIN' (published last year), is now published online, for free, under a Creative Commons Licence.

It's, as far as I know, the first French science-fiction novel published that way.

It's here, on the website of my publisher:



Let's hope that some English-language publisher picks this up soon, for those of us who are Gaulishly challenged.
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I love art and artists. The visual mediums they work in and their non-verbal sensibilities and viewpoints are a refreshing tonic to the word-drenched writer.

Incredibly, I'm even lucky enough to be personal friends with a few of the most talented people working today. Among these I include my pals Rick Altergott and Ariel Bordeaux, husband and wife creators. R&A lived in Seattle for a long time, but moved to Providence (and, later, Pawtucket) a few years back. They're expecting their first child shortly, and Deborah and I had them over the house on Sunday March 25 for a small celebratory dinner.

And of course, generous friends that they are, they could not arrive empty-handed, even though the affair was in their honor. They brought along Rick's latest project, an anthology of sorts from Buenaventura Press titled PRIVATE STASH. Handsomely packaged, stuffed with eye-popping feelthy pix, the "book" rewards endless viewing. And with two-hands even!

But why the heck am I keeping you from seeing what I'm raving about? Just visit here for a look:

Podcast Help!

Okay, here's a call for help/suggestions.  I've professionally recorded a podcast of me reading an excerpt from my new novel Generation Loss, out in a few weeks.  The reading is the opening chapters of the book but works as a self-contained performance piece.  There will eventually be two versions of this: the original, raw, unenhanced version (the one I have now) and a professionally engineered version with soundtrack, sound effects etc. 

The present version is about 40 minutes long and, I have to say, came out fantastic, far better than I had even dare hope.  All that acting training 35 years ago finally paid off! 

But now I'm not sure what to do with it.  I want to have it on my site for a free upload, which my webmaster Zali will handle, but I'd obviously like to get it into as many hands as possible, for free, to promote the book.  I will confess to being pretty clueless as to how this stuff works -- how do you advertise it or get the word out, other than through a forum like this.  Any ideas?  Someone suggested giving out CDs when I do readings & signings, which sounds like a good idea. 

Anyway, I'm sorry to sound like a total ignoramous but this seemed like a good place to ask for help.  Many thanks ...

6 Degrees of Separation: Anna Nicole Smith & Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Chloral hydrate, the drug of choice for models and the guys who love 'em!  Choral hydrate went out of fashion a long time ago, but Dante Rossetti became addicted to it (I found great descriptions of the drug's effects while researching MORTAL LOVE) and used it to excess after his wife & muse Lizzie Siddel died of a laudanum overdose. 

Now, in today's news, we learn that our very own  post-millennial PRB babe, Anna Nicole Smith, died from ingesting the same substance.  I thoguht chloral hydrate went the way of cocaine in Coca Cola.  Wrong-o! 

Something else for the girls on the catwalk to worry about, apart from their BMI.