Monthly Archives: September 2021

The Big Idea: Lee Matthew Goldberg

Sometimes, the killer hook for a thriller isn’t a plot point, or even the first line of the novel, but something else… something that comes even before that. Lee Matthew Goldberg explains in this Big Idea for his latest story, The Stalker Stalked. LEE MATTHEW GOLDBERG: The first germ of a Big Idea I had […]

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Hibiscus, 9/16/21

Our hibiscus plant nearly died because after keeping it in a heated garage all winter, we replanted it too early in the spring and it got snowed on, so the hibiscus flowers this year have been few and far between. It just makes me appreciate the ones we have gotten. Here’s today’s. — JS

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The Big Idea: Monica Byrne

Travel broadens the mind, or so they say, but for Monica Byrne, travel to a particular Central American country did much more than that — and the result was her novel The Actual Star, which (disclosure!) I liked so much I gave it a blurb, and participated into an author Q&A, which you can view […]

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Signs of the Season

The annual reappearance of these particular cereals has arrived. Krissy saw these in a three-pack and assumed I would want them because I eat like a sugar-amped child, and she is not wrong! I do want them. But as it happens when I was an actual sugar-amped child, I don’t think I ever partook in […]

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The Big Idea: Amanda Jayatissa

Ideas come out of anywhere, and for Amanda Jayatissa, the motivating spark of the novel My Sweet Girl came out of being really, really, really annoyed. Hey, whatever works. Here’s Jayatissa to fill you in on the circumstances and what came out of that moment. AMANDA JAYATISSA: If there‚Äôs anything this blog has shown me, […]

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The Unrecalled Governor

I woke this morning to the news that California governor Gavin Newsom has defeated the recall initiative against him, and apparently by a margin large enough that even committed conspiracists can’t make a claim that the vote was tainted with a straight face. Oh, some of them will, because they can’t not, but every time […]

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The Big Idea: Calder Szewczak

Want a kid? Okay, but it’s gonna cost you. And before you say, “Yes, I know, I’ve seen college tuition these days,” read Calder Szewczak’s big idea for The Offset. The cost is something else entirely, here. CALDER SZEWCZAK: Having children might be one of the most cruel things a human can do. No one […]

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23 Years

Another September 13, and another year of Whatever in the (virtual, electronic) books. For the site, an unusual year, in that I was not the sole writer here — through most of it Athena wrote nearly as much as I did (more accurately, I had more posts, but more of my posts were cat pictures […]

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Thoughts on the “Debarkle”

Australian blogger and science fiction genre commentator Camestros Felapton (not their real name, the pen name is taken from logical syllogisms) has taken it upon themselves to write a fairly exhaustive history of the Sad/Rabid Puppy mess in science fiction lit, calling it “Debarkle” and posting it up on their site on a chapter by […]

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30 Years of Being a Professional Writer

On the same day that “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was officially released as the first single off of Nirvana’s Nevermind album, September 10, 1991, I started my first post-college job: Film critic and feature writer for the entertainment section of the Fresno Bee. I had done freelance work before — indeed, I paid for a […]

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20 Years of 9/11

In point of fact, these days on 9/11 I don’t tend to think about it much at all, which is I think a healthy thing. It was a national shock and tragedy, and we are still living with many of the things it set into motion. But the day itself was twenty years ago now, […]

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An Actual Party of Death, Now

Bluntly, I blame this on (of course) Donald Trump. The GOP has been a mess for years — decades, really — but allow me to suggest that had any other Republican been president when COVID hit, that person would likely have been reasonably sensible about things like masks and vaccines and taking advice from the […]

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Gas vs. Electric Road Trip

Three weeks ago I talked about why, although I was excited to be getting a Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck, I was also glad that at the moment we still will have a gas-powered car for longer trips, because the powering infrastructure for electric vehicles (particularly non-Tesla vehicles) isn’t quite where it should be. Day […]

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The Big Idea: Cassandra Khaw

For the Big Idea for their novel The All-Consuming World, author Cassandra Khaw looks at life lessons, and how the reasons for them can be and frequently are different than we’ve been led to expect. CASSANDRA KHAW: There are lessons that you are lucky to learn if you have the right friends at the worst […]

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The Big Idea: Kelly Jennings

“Nature versus nurture” is a question that humans all through the years have weighed in on, and it seems likely in the future they will continue to do so. Or at least, in the future of Kelly Jennings’ new novel In the Deep, that question, or more accurately a unique spin on it, comes into […]

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The Big Idea: David Liss

Many years ago, television interviewer Barbara Walters rather infamously asked Katharine Hepburn, “If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” I don’t know whether author David Liss remembers that particular media moment, but in The Peculiarities, at least, he presents us with at least one character who might have an […]

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Labor Day Check-In

Last day of Dragon Con, which for me has been a terrific experience about which I will write about more later, and also a travel day as we head home from Atlanta. While my Labor Day will be busy, I hope yours is relaxing and fun. See you on the other side of the day. […]

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