Sunday, October 18, 2020

A Kingdom of Children

 "When are you going to send new novels in to agents and publishers?" asks a friend of mine.  I'm afraid I've used up all my viable pieces on Kindle.  Such efforts, though more-or-less self-published, count as published to the book industry (as does uploading stories onto your own blog or web-site).  Therefore the world must wait until I churn out more novel-length works.

A Kingdom of Children, a fantasy tale that starts with the Children's Crusade of the Thirteenth Century then flies off the map into my own world of "Aanuu", is the nearest to completion.  Just yesterday I found the last notebook containing my notes and scribbles for the last section of the book.  This also means, however, that I must bridge a few chapter-length gaps with brand new material before I can safely type "The End."  Then comes the reviewing and rewriting.

The last of my written works were hidden in a small (7" x 5") spiral notebook.  I'm a bit surprised, because I don't like writing in notebooks that small or smaller.  Just as I get up a head of steam, I have to stop and flip the page.  Also, the smaller the book, the easier it is to lose, or just become one of a pile of near-identical booklets.

On the other hand, I don't like college/school sized notebooks either.  It seemingly takes forever to write across a single line, and it feels like longer than forever to finish a page and turn to a fresh new sheet.  Ever since I started writing seriously, I've used mostly Mead 9-1/2" x 6" Spiral Notebooks (or the nearest equivalent), the more pages the better.  Originally they had 200 sheets, but I haven't seen more than 180 per notebook in quite some time, and many are a paltry 150 or even 100 sheets.

Some of you might ask, "Why not compose straight onto the computer?"  Well, I've tried doing that for over twenty years; it ain't happening.  I'll always be faster with pen and paper.  Also, I can pull out a notebook and pen almost anywhere, and I'm limited to my tower PC computer-wise.

This device they call a Tablet certainly looks interesting, however . . .

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Monster Museum

 Between my web page, FaceBook, this blog, Patreon and just writing in general, I'm needing material to write, so here's something a bit random:

I remember it was the 1960s . . . kids at school passed around a rumor that there was a book in the school library about monsters -- not some silly "101 Monster Jokes" book, or a Scholastics paperback 40 pages long, but an actually heavy, hardback book about MONSTERS!  But adult books weren't ever about fun things like that!  I kept trying to check it out, but somebody always got it before  I did.  Finally I got this weird title:  Alfred Hitchcock's Monster Museum!  And the rest was history.

It was my introduction to Silver John with "Desrick on Yandro."  The next was "O Ugly Bird" in Red Skelton's Favorite Ghost Stories.  Finally, I went to college, and found Who Fears the Devil? -- the original Arkham House version -- in the library.

And -- why not? -- a link to one of my own Silver John stories:  "Away Down the Road a Piece"

Monday, August 24, 2020

Fantasy World Project -- Patreon Edition/Bradbury's 100th birthday

 For good or ill, I've created a Patreon page, The Fantasy World Project.  Between that, this blog, my website, and my stories and novels, I've got to start producing copy!


The 20th of August was Ray Bradbury's 100th Birthday, so I have to write something Bradburian!

I almost missed my only opportunity to see Ray in person when he gave a talk at the main public library in Tulsa, OK, about 1996. I was watching a goofy cartoon version of "Tales from the Crypt" ("Tales from the Crypt-Keeper"), and I wanted to see how the running feud between Crypty, the Vault-Keeper, and the Old Witch turned out. Sad, isn't it? But I finally zipped up to the library, where Ray greeted his audience with, "YOU PEOPLE DON'T KNOW WHAT DEATH IS!", which was not quite how I thought he'd start out. He talked about life during and after the flu epidemic, and how high child mortality rates were, and how families had multiple children to make sure there would be a new generation. Finally, however, he started on the more familiar Mr. Electrico and the like.
Anyway, he signed my copy of WONDER Magazine #8, the all-Bradbury issue.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Empty Warehouse

 As I've written -- on blog, FaceBook or somewhere -- I've been a reader all my life, but frequently I had next to nothing to read.  Before starting college I was proud owner of maybe 50 paperback books, which filled a whole shelf of my made-in-shop-class bookcase.

When I started at Oklahoma State University, however, I was exposed to the McFarlin Library, two million volumes plus thousands of journals, maps, newspaper archives and the like.

They say you can't miss what you never had -- but seeing the OSU library after being used to a shelf of paperbacks -- suddenly my brain felt like an empty warehouse, with my meager collection sitting off in a cobwebby corner.  I had worlds to learn about!  I think I would have had a good education had I simply spent those four years in McFarlin.

Fast Forward to the past few years of (mostly) unemployment.  I was too worried, too nervous to read much.  Heck, I'd start a novel -- fade out halfway through -- and put it back on the shelf.  How could I waste time reading when I should be looking for a job?

This week, however, I realized:  there's that feeling again.  My brain is an empty warehouse.  Mix in with that an added metaphorical sensation of utter starvation, and all I could say was:

"Gaaah!  I can't take it any more!"

I'm reading, ya hear me?  I'm reading Castles by Sidney Toy, the best survey of castles, fortifications, battlements, keeps and siege warfare ever!  I'm reading Lands Beyond by SF great L. Sprague de Camp and science writer Willy Ley, an early history of places that never were, a great resource for fantasy writers.  I'm reading Churchill by Roy Jenkins -- I have 50 or 60 books on World War II, and I have to start somewhere.  I'm reading Popular Science and Scientific American for -- science!

Yes, I'll work on stories, novels and resumes; I'll wash the dishes and clothes; I'll vacuum and scrub the toilet.  But from now on I'm hijacking  chunks of time to fill the empty warehouse.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

20,000 Leagues Launch Party

On Thursday, August 6th, 8:00 to 9:30 PM EDT (7:00 to 8:30 Central), Pole to Pole Publishing is holding a FaceBook Launch Party for the paperback version of "20,000 Leagues Remembered!" Here's hoping everyone will be there!

Each author has five minutes to interact with the reading public and answer all their questions (not to mention self-promote). I hope I can figure out this FaceBook Party thing before then!

Saturday, June 20, 2020

20,000 Leagues Remembered and Underneath

A rather dreary week at least ended well -- at last, 20,000 Leagues Remembered is out (in Kindle form for now), with my story "Leviathan"! Even better, I was paid for it! Here it is on Amazon:

20,000 Leagues Remembered

Meanwhile, for those of you who have actually read my epistolary novel Endangered Species -- heck, even for those of you who haven't -- I've added a little extra to my web-site, The Fantasy World Project.  Endangered Species is composed of several issues of an old fashioned fanzine called OMNIBUS.  The editorials and letters of comment of OMNIBUS mention a frightening little tale from an earlier issue, called "Underneath", which was written by a seven-year-old boy.  The story played no part in Endangered Species, but I linked it to my web-page here:

"Underneath" by Timothy Schneider

Hopefully I'll be adding more extras, addenda, and Easter Eggs to my site in the future, expanding on the mythos of the fantasy world of Aanuu and my various other projects.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Each year I try to watch the 1995 film Apollo 13 on April 13.  Technically the flight limped back to earth on April 17, but, well, it's the 13th, when the Odyssey entered the Moon's gravity at 13:13 hours.  Anyway, I almost missed it this year, which is the flight's 50th anniversary!

Apollo 13 is my favorite movie, and Kolchak: the Night Stalker my favorite TV series, and I've always been intrigued that the original novel The Night Stalker begins in April 1970.  The FBI determines, for instance, that the vampire Janos Skorzeny arrived in Las Vegas on April 10, 1970, and buys a used car on April 18.

I always wanted, somehow, to tie the two together in some fan fiction tale.  That's one of a zillion projects on my burners, however, and very low priority.  But if I do finish it, I already have the last page written:
April 17, 1970 -- Las Vegas Daily News offices

"Hard to believe, Carl, but those NASA eggheads pulled it off.  Apollo 13's back on Mother Earth, her crew safe and sound.  What a headline we'll have on the extras!"

"Huh.  Yeah, Tony.  But if they'd exploded or burned up like everyone expected, it woulda been the biggest story since the Hindenburg."

"You're getting pretty cynical in your old age, Kolchak.  When was the last time you took time off?"

"When I twisted my ankle three years ago.  You remember."

"Oh, yeah.  I was your pasta delivery boy from the Italian American Club three days running."

"Best meatballs in Vegas, Tony."

"Listen, Carl, this Apollo success-from-the-jaws-of-doom stuff's put me in a good mood.  Why not go on that fishing trip you're always talking about?"

"For real?"

"Sure.  I'll run it past Cairncross and Herman, but I don't see a problem.  The elections are months away, and even the muggers have been lying low recently."

"I might just take you up on that, Vincenzo.  It looks to be a quiet spring for once in good ol' Sin City."