The publication of my story, “A Bird, a Broad, and a Mess of Kyodatsu” in the January 2016 issue of Mothership Zeta has made me eligible for the John W. Campbell award for new writers. This is a great honor and major milestone in my writing career (I can call it a career, right?). The thought of it is exciting yet it brings with it some sadness as well. Continue reading
Just a quick note to let people know I’m still writing. 2016 has not been kind to me. The publication of my story in Mothership Zeta has been the high point of the year by far. Since then my writing career and personal life have taken a bit of tumble.
But I have not given up.
Hi. It’s been awhile, but I haven’t been entirely slacking. Back in August I got some crazy news, news I never thought I’d get. I’d made a professional writing sale. My story, “A Bird, a Broad, and a Mess of Kyodatsu,” was sold to Mothership Zeta, the new online magazine by Escape Artists, Inc. This is a story I put a lot of research and time into. It combines elements from several things I love: dieselpunk, Japanese folklore, noir, and history. And I’ve been a fan of Mur Lafferty for years. To have her not just read my story, but think it was good enough to publish. . . well, I kinda freaked out the night I got the acceptance letter.
My first instinct was to blast the news everywhere, but then fear grabbed a hold of me. The story had been rejected before. What if the acceptance letter was a mistake? I had actual nightmares of receiving apologies in the mail and of Escape Artists cancelling the magazine. I fussed over what the professional thing to do was. So I sat on the news. Only my wife and closest friends knew. Several weeks later after the contract was signed I let my parents and the other writers in my critique group know. And now that the story has been published, I’m letting you know.
If you haven’t already, please check out Mothership Zeta. And I hope you enjoy the story.
Curiosity and self-loathing can be a dangerous combination.
I was listening to Spontaneanation, one of my favorite podcats, the other day. On it, Paul F. Tompkins was interviewing Derek Waters of Drunk History fame, and the subject of sensory deprivation tanks came up. Mr. Waters was recounting his recent visit to a spa which specialized in sensory deprivation, er, treatment (?). I became intrigued. Most everything I knew about sensory deprivation came from that old movie, Altered States. Wasn’t getting into a sensory deprivation tank somewhat dangerous? More importantly, I thought, was there a place in town where I could try it? I opened up a Google search on “sensory deprivation tank Columbus OH” and dove into the resulting rabbit hole. Continue reading
When you’re a geek like me and you spy a beer that has a picture of Vinz Clortho, Keymaster of Gozer, in dog form, than you buy it on general principle. When you notice that it was brewed in part by Seventh Son Brewing Company, you buy two. This was the exact position I found myself in recently while shopping for something new to try. I rubbed my eyes to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. Nope. It was definitely a beer called Keymaster with the devil dog from Ghostbusters peering back at me from the shelf. And there was the Seventh Son logo. Yoink. Yoink. Two bottles in my basket. Continue reading
(Originally appeared on the Tipsy Techie Website in June, 2014. I have seen this beer in stores since, but have not tasted it. Not from a lack of desire, but there is just so much other local stuff on the shelves now, and I’ve been on a bit of a hometown support kick.)
Having overcome my fear of saisons, I had a bit more pep in my step during my next visit to the craft beer store. That’s not to say I was bounding down the aisles like Jack Skellington asking the universe “What is this?” at each new farmhouse ale. But I was open to further experimentation. And an experiment is what I decided on. A bomber bottle from New Holland Brewing grabbed my attention with the description, “Black Saison”. The beer’s name was Four Witches.
I feel I need to pause here for a bit of an observation/rant. It seems every few years the craft brewing industry gets caught up in a fad. A few years back breweries were obsessed with IBUs. Then came the Imperial Reign, when brewers doubled up their malt bills and started putting the label “Imperial” on all their new beers. And now it seems we are in the Dark Ages. Brewers are adding roasted grains into the mash to create “dark” versions of traditional styles. Sometimes, such as in the case of black IPAs, this works well and a whole new style is born. Most of the time, however, what made the original great gets lost amid the coffee and smoke. Continue reading
(Originally appeared on the Tipsy Techie website in June 0f 2014. I’ve found myself craving this beer on hot summer days after yard work or a good hike. Still recommended.)
I have a confession to make. I’m not a big fan of saisons. I know that admitting to such a thing in some craft beer circles would mark me as a pariah for whom hanging is too good for. Because of my aversion of farmhouse ales, trips to the store during the spring and summer months tend to be disappointing. I find myself reverting back to my stand-bys.
However a few weeks back as I was perusing through one of my favorite shops, I spied the telltale demon head trademark of Stone Brewery peeking up out of the top of a six pack. Eager to try anything new from Stone, I picked up the pack. Continue reading
(Originally appeared on the Tipsy Techie website in March 2014. My opinion of this beer has not changed. At all.)
I consider myself a fanboy of Stone Brewing. I’ve never drank a bad, or even mediocre, beer made by them. I’m also a lover of spicy foods, so much so that I once partook of Quaker Steak and Lube’s Atomic Wings. Yet when I discovered Stone Crime at my favorite craft beer store, I felt more than a bit of trepidation. For the uninformed, Crime is part of Stone’s Quingenti Millilitre series. It was created by taking Lukcy Bastard Ale and aging it in bourbon barrels with an undisclosed number of hot peppers. The peppers ranged from lowly jalapeños up through black nagas and Moruga scorpions. Some of those tiny fruits have a Scoville ranking on par with police grade pepper spray. You know, that stuff cops use to subdue people. Continue reading
(Originally appeared on the Tipsy Techie website in February of 2014. The beer was released again in February of 2015).
I scanned the shelves of the store, trying to decide where my tastes lay that evening, when the image of a human heart oozing blood and pierced by an arrow was thrust in front of my face. I jerked back and saw that the gruesome scene was painted on a bomber bottle. “My Bloody Valentine Ale” it said. I followed the arm that held the bottle and saw my wife grinning down at me. A mad gleam shone in her eyes. Continue reading
The Tipsy Techie website has gone to the big domain name recycling center in the sky. That’s a shame, because I think the site had potential. I enjoyed my brief time of writing reviews for her. I was also pleased with the reviews I wrote, so I’m going to re-post them here. If they prove popular, perhaps I will add more (given the title of this website and all).