Sunday, November 29, 2015

Just Write

Today I'm off to write something new and post it online before midnight. Everyone inclined to do the same is invited to join me.

For more details on Just Write, click here to go to the original post.

Image credit: My kid. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

LT Secret Santa

Library Thing is holding their annual SantaThing, a secret Santa book-giving event for LT members, and here are some of the details:


You pay into the SantaThing system (choose from $15–$50). You play Santa to a LibraryThing member we pick for you, by selecting books for them. Another Santa does the same for you, in secret. LibraryThing does the ordering, and you get the joy of giving AND receiving books!

Sign up once or thrice, for yourself or someone else. If you sign up for someone without a LibraryThing account, make sure to mention what kinds of books they like, so their Santa can choose wisely.

Even if you don’t want to be a Santa, you can help by suggesting books for others.


Sign-ups close MONDAY, December 7th at 5pm Eastern. By Tuesday morning, we’ll notify you via profile comment who your Santee is, and you can start picking books.

Picking closes FRIDAY, December 11th at 5pm Eastern. As soon as the picking ends, the ordering begins, and we’ll get all the books out to you as soon as we can."

It's wonderful fun, and I'm participating again this year, so who knows - if you join in maybe I'll be your Secret Santa. For more information on what to do and how it works, check out the LT blog post here.

Friday, November 27, 2015


While you're recovering from turkey day, here's a lovely short video on the beauty of Autumn (with background music, for those of you like my guy who have to work today):

Autumn Glory from Paul Frederick on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Wishing You

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Dear Starbucks:

I'm on a strict, sugar-free diet, but every year I allow myself a couple of treats, like a hot fudge sundae on my birthday in the summer, and one of your cranberry bliss bars while I'm out shopping for the holidays. For the bliss, I always go to the Starbucks counter at my local Target store. The kids who work there are cheerful, they never mess up my order, and they usually have one or two bliss bars left in the treats case (they're very popular with tired shoppers.)

I look forward to my cranberry bliss bar because it's one of my just-for-me holiday traditions. Also, it's delicious. I bring it home and sit on my porch while I nibble away and enjoy every bite. I also have a vanilla latte with it, as that's my favorite Starbucks drink, and the two go great together. Having this treat always gets me in the spirit of things. I don't know why; maybe it's the cranberries. I don't feel guilty for this one little indulgence every winter, either (if you don't understand why, give up sugar for seven years.)

I've always liked Starbucks. Your employees are great; I've never seen someone grumpy behind your counters. You offer delicious products, and you do it with style. There's always interesting music playing in your cafes. Every other customer I see there is working on a laptop, and I'm pretty sure at least half of them are writers. After work even my twenty-something daughter and her friends regularly hang out at one of your cafes near our house, which gives them a chance to talk and relax in a safe place. I don't understand their love of iced coffee -- not something my generation drank much of -- but hey, it's coffee (as opposed to liquor, weed, or something worse.)

I wish you'd been around when I was their age. I probably would have lived at a Starbucks.

Since this is the season to be grateful for our blessings big and small, thank you for all that you do to make the holidays brighter for your customers. Especially my cranberry bliss bar. I had it yesterday and it was wonderful, as always.



P.S. Love the cup design this year. Makes your logo look very festive.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Before I Get 500 E-mails

I get a pile of requests for this recipe every year around the holidays, so I'm going to save some time and post it now. It's for those of us who want to make fudge but can't be trusted with a candy thermometer (I have broken like a thousand):

PBW's Famous No-Brainer Fudge

3 cups Nestle Toll House semi-sweet chocolate morsels
1 can 14 oz. sweet condensed milk
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
dash of salt
[optional add-ins: chopped nuts, mini marshmallows, raisins, M&Ms etc.]

Put morsels, milk, extract and salt in a sauce pan and melt over low heat. Stir frequently to blend. When it looks like fudge -- after about 5 to 10 minutes -- remove from heat, stir in your favorite chopped nuts, marshmallows, M&Ms or whatever. Pour into pan (I use an 8" pie pan), spread out, cover with foil or plastic wrap and put in refrigerator. Chill for two hours, take out, cut into squares, enjoy.

Note on fancy toppings: Before you put in the fridge, you can also top the fudge with coconut, maraschino cherries, pecan halves etc.

Monday, November 23, 2015

SF Sub Op

Here's an open call from World Weaver Press for SF stories for their upcoming Last Outpost antho:

"Last Outpost
Submission Period: September 15 - December 15, 2015
Anthologist: Bascomb James

Third volume in the Far Orbit anthology series edited by Bascomb James. Series includes Far Orbit (volume one) and Far Orbit Apogee (volume two); Far Orbit Perigee (volume four, accepting submissions starting January 1, 2016.)

To protect from all enemies… World Weaver Press is expanding the Far Orbit anthology series with a new a new military science fiction anthology, Last Outpost. Last Outpost will be published in 2016. As the name implies, we’re looking for military adventure stories, page-turners that keep us on the edge of our seats. We’re not looking for mindless mayhem; we want compelling science fiction stories with a military theme.

Send us stories about grunts, space fleets, espionage, alien invasion (even if we are the aliens), hostage recovery, battle bots, drones and droids, cyber wars, special ops, inciting rebellions, or quelling them. Anything in the military action adventure genera is fair game. We’ll entertain biopunk, cyberpunk, solarpunk, and other punkish motifs but the story has to be a rip-roaring adventure. Please stay away from fantasy elements (wizards, magic, gods, etc.). Fan fiction is a definite no-no. Fantasy-like adventures (John Carter of Mars) have to be really special to be included in the anthology. Gore is OK but it has to advance the plot.

Please remember that this is a science fiction anthology. The action can take place on far off worlds or on Earth, in the far future or the day after tomorrow; so long as it’s a military themed science fiction adventure. If you can write a military space opera in under 10,000 words, go for it. We’ll be happy to read it.

Here are some submission tips from Bascomb James, the series anthologist.

I’m not a fan of the “everyone dies horribly” ending unless you can really move me.
I’m looking for subject diversity in the anthology. If you’ve written something different in this genera, I want to read it.
I love escapist adventures, mind candy, and thoughtful integration of technologies and aliens.
Read Far Orbit or Apogee to see my definitions of these concepts in action.

Previously published stories are acceptable but we will not publish stories that have been previously anthologized.

Rights and compensation: Payment: $0.01/word. All contributors will receive a paperback copy of the anthology. For previously unpublished works: Seeking first world rights in English and exclusive rights to publish in print and electronic format for twelve months after publication date after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for a term. For reprints: Seeking non-exclusive right to publish in print and electronic formats for a term. Previously unpublished stories preferred; reprints will be considered. No previously anthologized stories.

Open submission period: September 15 – December 15, 2015.

Length: Under 10,000 words

Submission method: Paste the story into the body of the e-mail message. Include the approximate word count. Subject line: Outpost – [Story Title]. Send submission to: farorbit[at]worldweaverpress[dot]com.

Simultaneous submissions = okay. Sending us many submissions at once = no.

Most submissions receive an initial reply (decline or shortlist) within a week. Final decisions in 2016. Anthology publication planned for summer 2016."