How it went at last weekend’s SF convention…

  • I am getting much better at public speaking, and I had next to no stage fright this time at all.  This is a HUGE improvement over the past.
  • At the Yard Dog Press roadshow, I did a short reading from my story “It Came From Willy McCracken’s Buttocks” while Melanie did interpretive dance.
  • While Melanie read an excerpt from her story, I did interpretive dance.
  • Selena Rosen laughed her ass off, which is good, since she is the editor.
  • Next day I hosted some panels, yadda yadda yadda, and had a reading at noon.  I had my PDA all set up to record it but at the last minute forgot.  Ugh!  It would have been perfect, as I read some short stuff that seemed to be quite funny, and had everyone laughing.  I had intended to post it here, but, alas … it’s not to be.  Probably better this way, so as to keep my ego to a more manageable size.
  • Bill and I partied hard two nights in a row.  When you’re standing next to an entire hotel bathtub full of ice and really good English beer, it’s hard to say “No.”  A hangover hung over me on Sunday, Monday, and part of this morning.
  • At one point my younger (15 year old) daughter was chilling with me in the lobby, and I was approached to sign an autograph.  I thought it was cool that my kid got to see that.    Gave her some bragging rights at school.
  • Even though I brought my camera, I didn’t take many pictures.  I did, however, take some movies.  One of Selina Rosen of Yard Dog Press telling a funny story at the bar (about how she’d had LeVar Burton’s manager thrown at her) and another of an author who’d brought a cool robotic baby dinosaur with her, controlled by a relatively sophisticated AI.  If people really want me to, I’ll upload these videos.
  • That’s about it.  Next time I do a public reading I have to remember to record it.  And hope that I don’t suck.


This is my version of the Hymn to Ninkasi, written from three translations of the original Sumerian.  Instead of a traditional hymn form, I used Wickado G (pattern of 4,5,7,6,5,5,3 syllables in each stanza).

Ninkasi is the Sumerian Goddess of Beer and Brewing, and this hymn dates back to nearly 2000 years before Christ.  It contains the earliest known recipe for beer.  Some say it’s the Holy Beer.


Crystal clear womb
Water lifegiver
The earth and mother-goddess
Ninhursaja by name
Cared for Ninkasi
On her arrival
Water born

Towering walls
Grand as canyon cliffs
Ninkasi completes them
To protect the city
Standing on the shores
Of the sacred lake
Called Abzu

The great Enki
Lord of deep waters
He did father Ninkasi
From his love of Ninti
Queen of the Abzu
And she gave to him
A daughter

Smooth and golden
Handle in her hands
Hefting the big dough shovel
She mixes the bappir
Beer-bread with honey
Sweet aromatics
And passion

The bappir goes
In the big oven
Hot with the fire of the gods
Ninkasi bakes it well
Then puts in order
The piles of hulled grains
Safely kept

Ninkasi she
Then waters the malt
That she’s spread across the earth
Her tigers stand guard
Even potentates
Are forbidden from

She soaks the malt
In a holy jar
While the waves they surge and ebb
The cooked mash she then spreads
Across large reed mats
So that they may cool
And be ready

Ninkasi holds
Her holy sweet wort
In delicate goddess hands
Brewing it with honey
And nectar of fruit
From the Tree of Life
All blended

Ninkasi then
It is suggested
Poured her most holy sweet-wort
Into a large vessel
But this is a guess
As the next few lines
Are damaged

Delicate hands
Carrying aloft
Places the fermenting vat
Which rings low and pleasant
Atop a large vat

Ninkasi she
Pours the filtered beer
Out of the collector vat
It is like the Tigris
And the Euphrates
Raging together
At one time

My ConDFW Schedule

I am honored to be one of the guest writers / publishers at ConDFW 2008 this weekend.  Anyone showing up can find me on the following panels:

Saturday 10 am    Panel Room 2 (Rose/Magnolia)
Does Fantasy Mean Paranormal?
Hosted by Jerry J. Davis, Lillian Stewart Carl, Lee Killough and Nina Romberg.

Industry Pros discuss the difference between the genres of fantasy
and paranormal fiction.  Are these just synonyms or are there real
differences?    How does understanding the difference help you to get


Saturday 11 am    Panel Room 4 (Pecan)
Starting Your Own Publishing Company
Hosted by Jerry Davis, Glenn Yeffeth, and Thomas W. Knowles.

Sure … sure … everybody wants to be the writer.   But writers never
get anything in print without the unsung hero of the industry – the
publisher.    Industry pros discuss the career of publishing, what it
takes to enter this field and what it takes to succeed.


Saturday 12 pm    Reading Room (Live Oak)
The author will be reading.


Saturday 1 pm        Panel Room 2 (Rose/Magnolia)
The Haunted City:  Urban Fantasy Today
Hosted by Rachel Caine, Jerry J. Davis, Carole Nelson Douglas, Brad Sinor, and Lee Killough

Industry pros discuss the urban fantasy genre.   What makes this
style essential, vital, beautiful and what needs to be paved over?   
And is there any room left in this haunted city?


Sunday 12 pm        Panel Room 2 (Rose/Magnolia)    
Published in the Periodicals: The Sci-Fi/Fantasy Magazine Market
Hosted by Lou Antonelli, Jerry J. Davis, Linda Donahue, Rhonda Eudaly and J.M. McDermott

Industry pros discuss the getting published in magazines.    Who is
really looking?   What are the really exciting markets?   And what can
you do to maximize your chances of escaping from the slush pile?

Far Too Short

I am writing this on a plane in between rough patches of air.

This visit with LadySavina has been FAR TOO SHORT.  We had to say goodbye in my rented car in the office parking lot.  People saw us kissing.  We didn’t care.

I miss her so much.

The next three days I’ll be at ConDFW as one of the guest writers/publishers. I am usually very happy at these events but this time I’m going to be distracted. 

I miss her so much.

Air turbulence has returned.  This is what it looks like to write on a PDA while the plane is bouncing around:  Oh I have slippeœ yhe surley .bon^s of eartl anb danced the skies on lauehter silvcrcb wings…