A PSA for those who have never been to Austin, TX

Last weekend, I caught the episode of This Old House that was filmed in Austin.  As I watched the episode, I couldn’t help but think of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition episode that filmed here last year.  I also couldn’t help but be ultra-super-mega pissed off at how television networks portray Austin.

So for the record…

We do not ride horses.

We do not wear cowboy hats.

We do eat foods other than barbeque and baked beans.  We have excellent Vietnamese restaurants here, and most of us aren’t afraid to eat there.

Every bar in Austin is not a honky tonk.  There’s, maybe, ten out of a few hundred.

Yes, some people wear cowboy boots.  Much like the rest of the world, these people are laughed at mercilessly.  Because they’re wearing cowboy boots.  And they look like assholes.

We do not make our livings as ranch hands.

We have roads and air conditioning and all of that.

No, Dallas didn’t get Texas right either.  We are not all oil barons.

No, we don’t all know Matthew McWhatshisname or Lance Armstrong.

That said, here are some misconceptions Austinites have about the rest of the world that I would like to clear up.

Look, there are hot and spicy foods everywhere.  And they’re just as hot and spicy as they are here.  Get over yourselves.

You did not invent football, beer, or live music.  These have been around for a long time, and it’s time you realized it.

And, finally, a few apologies I would like to make to the world.

Varsity Blues and Once Upon a Time in Mexico were both filmed here.  So was that movie about Tommy Lee Jones and the cheerleaders.  For this I am sorry.

The last two bands to make it big from Austin were Los Lonely Boys and Blue October.  Again, I am sorry.  We should not inflict our lame frat bands on the rest of the world.  It’s a bad habit of ours, and we’re in meetings to correct it.

(Author’s note to Shawna, Zan, and Carrie.  After reading this last bit, I’m sure you will consider me both a jerk and wrong-headed.  Please disregard these feelings and accept that I am right in all things.  Thank you.)

(Correction:  Blue October, it appears, is from Houston.  They are still lame.)

Good Months and Bad Months

An extended email exchange on Saturday got me thinking about good months and bad months.  When you’re a writer (I won’t even qualify this as writing for a living), you measure success in short bursts of time.  If you’re really good, your units of measurement get bigger.

Allow me to explain.

August has been a good month for me.  A week after I signed the contract for the Bruce Springsteen anthology, I received an acceptance from Delirium Books’ for their Horror D’oeuvres series of flash fiction.  Two pro sales in a month is a feat I’ve never managed before, and I’m thrilled about it.

But they were my first story sales since February.

And let’s face it, without either one of those story sales, I would have just had a good week.  And at this point, I can only hope to make another sale in a week or two, making it a good couple of months.  Maybe I’ll sell something a little bigger, a novelette or novella, and make it a good year.

But maybe that’s not fair.  In the last year I’ve made three pro-rate sales.  Even with a six month dry spell between them, I’ve had a good year.  Hell, I’ve had my best year.  Would I kill to make a sale a month?  Sure.  I don’t know anybody who’s managed that feet, though.  Well, maybe Jim Moore, who sports a bibliography big enough to choke an elephant.

So yeah, it’s been a great year for me.  Know what, though?  Next year could suck.  There’s always that possibility.  You’re only as good as your last sale.  Or worse, your last publication.  If I sold a novel today, it might not make it to shelves before 2009.  Hell, with how well the small press is doing, the publisher could be out of business by then (this is why you always try to sell to the best small presses first).  You never know.  You take your success as it comes, and you bite, claw, and scratch for the next little bit.  That’s all any of us can do, I guess.

So there you go.  I hope you all have a good month sometime real soon.

New Story Sale (A Big One)

Last night I received the official go-ahead to announce this, so here goes…

I am proud to annouce that my short story “Armageddon: Now Available in High Definition” will be appearing PS Publishing’s anthology of Bruce Springsteen inspired fiction, Darkness on the Edge.  This is a huge deal for me, and I’m incredibly proud.  This is my first big anthology, and I’ll be appearing with the likes of Lee Thomas, Tom Piccirilli, Brian Keene, Gerard Houarner, and many others.  Huge thanks to Harrison Howe for accepting the story!

“Armageddon” is based on Bruce’s song “57 Channels (And Nuthin’ On).”  I don’t want to give to much away, so I’ll just say those who could do without Paris Hilton and her ilk will get a gleeful charge out of this one.

Blabbering and such…

Shawna just informed me she doesn’t even check my blog anymore due to my recent lack of updates. For this reason, I have decided to do the mature thing and spite her.

Or maybe I’m just giving in to make her happy. For fuck’s sake don’t tell her. If she’s not checking in, she never has to know.

Either way, Here’s some recent dispatches, courtesy of Static Broadcasts…

– I have entered one of the periodic stretches of time all writers must face, when you just have to sit at your desk with a bunch of stuff out there and wait to hear back about any of it. I did make an incredible sale recently, truly my finest hour, but I’ve promised I won’t say anything until the contract is signed. I really want to tell you, but I just gotta exercise some kind of restraint and patience.

– Speaking of restraint and patience, those qualities have always been a problem for me. I think I’ve told Shawna what her Christmas and birthday presents are more times than I’ve actually let her be surprised. Well, not this year! As long as she doesn’t read this blog again, she’ll never know about that black rubber corset! I just hope I look good in it.

– The management offers its sincere apologies for those who might have actually pictured me in a black rubber corset. Try picturing somebody hot and famous in it instead. That should help.
– Recent concerts attended: Projekt Revolution and Ween. The Revolution tour featured great set from Placebo, Taking Back Sunday, and My Chemical Romance, who had the greatest backdrop I’ve ever seen. I left well before Linkin Park took to the stage, because I give not a fuck about Linkin Park. The Ween show was great, even for somebody like me, who isn’t a major Ween fan. Shawna is still convinced I hated it for some reason; I really don’t know why. She can be silly.

– Thank goodness she doesn’t read this blog anymore. I’d be in the deepest of shit.

– That thing I said last month about ordering Jeff Strand’s incredible novel Pressure–I meant it. Go buy that sucker NOW!

– The upcoming television season looks so boring I might just have to sleep through it. Take that, networks! Ooh!

– I think I might be getting over Kelly Clarkson. Damn shame, because Shawna is falling deeper and deeper into her Gerard Way(Wey? Weh? Smith?) crush. Life just ain’t fair.

– Seriously, if the love of my life ever reads this blog, I’m a fucking dead man.

– Okay, I should end this on a writing note. Strange days. I’ve finished with the major projects I’ve been breaking my back over for the last six months. Everything feels relaxed, but kind of empty. Now, I’m starting a novella that I tried to sell as a graphic novel a few years ago. It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell for a long time now, and I can’t wait to see how it flows out. At the same time, I’m trying to decide between two story ideas that could be the basis of novel number four. It’s a tough decision, and I don’t relish making it. Such things must be done, however

– Finally, a note for the other writers, or at least the newer ones. I don’t know if any aspiring writers read this blog. I’m hardly an expert, and the term aspiring still applies to me in just about every way. If you want some free advice, though, here it is: Be careful where you sell your work. Research your markets, and don’t go placing yourself in any shady mags or anthologies just because you think you can get in. I’ve seen friends of mine burned, and I’d hate for any of you to think you’re making a great sale only to be raked over the coals because the editor’s a psycho or something like that.

– Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes.