For Wise Readers Only (With a Little Something for the Rest)

Today is the day that I make an announcement: I’m writing a non-fiction book.

Still writing fiction, too, mind, but I’ve got this idea for a little geology book rattling around inside my skull, and the only way to extract it so I can have some peace and quiet round here is to actually write the damned thing.  I’ll be working on it through the summer, probably, and here and there as the mood takes me.  And you, my darlings, my joys, my beloved Wise Readers, get exclusive access.  The first bit of the introduction’s up at A Slight Risk of Insanity.  Go on over, kick the tires, examine the interior, make all those critical remarks you make when the used car salesman’s trying to tell you this is the bestest car in the entire universe.

Not a Wise Reader yet?  Not a problem!  Email me at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com requesting to become one, and become one you shall.

For those who are just passing by, or have other reasons for not wanting to become Wise Readers (if it’s because you think you are Not Wise, I shall give you such a smack before I make you get your arse on the list), here’s a little something to take your breath away.

The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Wise Readers Wanted

Those of you who were with me last year know that I keep a writing blog, A Slight Risk of Insanity.  And it’s shortly going to be open for business again.  ‘Tis the winter writing season, after all.

Right now, you may be thinking, “What, no link?”  No, indeed.  It’s an invitation-only enterprise.  Members of my exclusive Wise-Reader Club get access to excerpts available nowhere else.  They also get a chance to participate in the process.  If you’ve ever wanted to become an important part of a fiction writer’s work, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for you.  Writing might seem like a solitary endeavor, and it often is, but it’s not something we can always do alone.  We need sounding boards, consultants, people who know more than we do and people who can provide a fresh pair of eyes, not to mention a reader’s perspective.  And did I mention, exclusive access to excerpts?

If this sounds like something you want access to, all you have to do is send me an email at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com, and justlikethat, you shall become one of my Wise Readers.

I’d be honored to have you.

Now Would Be a Good Time to Tell Me How Awesome You Are

(Postdated in hopes all shall participate. Speak up! I beg you! Love and hugs to all who already have. New content below.)



There was a meme running around ScienceBlogs for a while there, asking lurkers to de-lurk, stand up and be counted.  You know what, why not?  The most important part of blogging is you, my darlings, and at least just this once, step into the spotlight and take a bow!  I promise you can run back to the shadows afterward, if the shadows are your preference.

Tell me who are you (although you can choose to remain anonymous, pseudonymous, or any -mous of your choice).

How did you get here?

Why are you here?

What do you want from me?  Which is actually a pretty serious question, although you can be snarky if you like.

Any of you wanting to engage in shameless self-promotion, by all means do!  This is your time to shine.

Right, then, my darlings, it’s over to you.

To My Texas Readers

You have my deepest sympathies, my darlings. Should all the right-wing freaks invade Texas in the hopes of a glorious revolution, I have a couch. And an air mattress. They’re not big, but they’re not surrounded by wingnut lunatics, either. Just one small homicidal cat, who will stop trying to rip your throat out if you wave a vacuum cleaner at her. One will be provided at no cost to you.


You know where to find me if the above items are needed. But there is hope for sanity in Texas, my darlings:

Now, things can be a mite crazy in Texas — the motto of its capital city, after all, is “Keep Austin Weird” — but there’s crazy and then there’s downright stupidly dangerous. And when somebody like Governor Goodhair veers off into catering to the worst instincts and fantasies of the worst persons in possession of voter registration, even tolerant Texans will step forward to call him on it. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Texas state senator Rodney Ellis:

“It was only 12 years ago that Texas had a deadly stand-off with those urging secession. Governor Bush stood up to those fringe elements. I urge Governor Perry to ramp down the rhetoric and state unequivocally — as Governor Bush did in the 1990s — that secession is not only not an option, it isn’t going to be part of the political discussion.

“In the last week, we’ve seen an extremely troubling escalation of rhetoric. Talking about state’s rights, the oppressive hand of the federal government and secession brings up some pretty bad memories in this state. It was not all that long ago that those were the exact words used by those who opposed desegregation and the civil rights movement. The top elected official in the second largest state with our history simply cannot be so loose with his comments. He’s not a radio or cable TV talk show host.”

Ellis isn’t the only prominent Texan outraged by Perry’s playing to the knuckledraggers and playing with fire. State house Democratic leader Jim Dunnam, whose district represents Waco, had some words for the governor as well:

Every Texas elected official takes an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. I take oaths seriously, and that one most of all. And every day during the legislative session we pledge “allegiance” to the flag of the United States.

We even require every public school child to recite the pledge — every day. That is “one nation, under God, indivisible.”

“Indivisible.”

Yesterday, our Governor had the opportunity to disavow anti-American rhetoric of secession. He chose not to, and instead he chose affirm those who believe and actually contemplate that our nation is divisible.

What do I say to my youngest daughter when she asks “why do I recite the pledge every day at school, if our Governor doesn’t believe it?”

Hopefully Gov. Perry simply made a mistake; a mistake I call on him to correct by unequivocally declaring that our nation is one and indivisible, and that talk of secession from the union is thoughtless and reckless.

Perhaps he did not understand that words are important and that talk of secession carries heavy meaning.

You’re not the only sane ones in Texas. Take heart.

“How to Talk to an Atheist” Coming to an In-Box Near You!

At least, it is if you requested a copy. If you did, and it’s not there, email me at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com so I can rectify the situation. My powers of organization, they sucketh mightily, so I may have missed a few folks.

If you didn’t request a copy and regret not getting a chance to join the demolition, let me know. The more Wise Readers, the merrier.

With all that said and done, I’m going to Discworld. Catch you later.

What It’s All About, Really, When You Get Right Down to It

Most importantly: a profound muchos gracias to those who have volunteered to become my Wise Readers. You’ll forever hold a high place in my personal pantheon. And there’s still room, so by all means, volunteer if you haven’t already.

Writing is one of the hardest things a person can do. It’s easier when we’re not going it alone. That’s by way of saying, my services are available to those who need the favor returned.

It’s now Night Three of my get-back-in-the-saddle attempt, and it’s hard getting those feet in the stirrups. I’ve always been a cyclical writer – I go through months of profuse creativity, followed by many more months of wasteland. Unfortunately, the wasteland encroaches further with every passing year.

That’s why I turned to blogging. On the nights when I’m singularly uninspired, when writer’s block is more like writer’s insurmountable obstacle, it’s still simple enough to find a bit of news somewhere and riff on it. It’s writing, of a sort. It’s useful writing, even: I’ve met some incredible people, we’ve got the start of something brilliant in this Carnival of the Elitist Bastards, and I don’t doubt I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life.

But my passion and focus has always been on the fiction. Even when I’m not actively writing, I’m always thinking about it. It’s pervaded every aspect of my life. Every decision I make, every book I read, every interest I have, all of them can be traced back to the series I’ve been working on for decades.

Bush pushed me to take my politics public, but I was studying politics long before he pissed me off, because worlds will have governments. I’m not the kind of writer who can do it half-way: I’ve got to understand the basis of things so that my characters live in a world that developed from their perspective, not one that’s just a generic template. That’s one of the reasons it’s taken so long to build the universe I write in, and why the work continues. It takes a lot of effort, and you have to know a lot of things, to write this way.

Take maps. Most fantasy writers I know draw a continent or two, slap on a few mountains, squiggle a few rivers, and call it good. What do I do? I spend years studying physical geography, plate tectonics and other branches of geology, and I buy a $200 Wacom Tablet so I can draw the world in exquisite detail. Not that I’ve put the whole thing together yet, not by half, but I’ve got a really nifty island:


My darlings, meet Cariicedraas. Someday, I’ll take you on the full tour. I know everything there is to know about its market district.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve got Unicorns. I do. Only they’re not called Unicorns: they’re Drusavs, and they’ve got their own evolutionary history (of sorts), their own language, culture, philosophy, foibles, and history. One of the stories you Wise Readers will get to read is from their very ancient history, when two poets got into a war with each other, and ended up unifying the world. And it’s bloody hard to write, because Drusav poetry is physical. Equines have a rich body language. It’s taken a lot of thinking to extrapolate from what we understand of how horses think and speak, and determine what sentient, highly intelligent equines with a bloody great horn growing out of their foreheads would have done with that rudimentary language.

Besides, I’m not what you might call the world’s greatest poet. Nahkorah and Disahnahle were. Pressure’s on. At least, since their poetry was a physical language, I can put down any weakness in the poetry to something lost in translation. Useful, that.

Right now, the story I’m struggling with revolves around what it means for the immortal to give up immortality, subject themselves to repeated rounds of birth and death in service to their people. I’m aided in this by Buddhist philosophy and the concept of samsara, but it’s not enough. I also have to figure out just what they mean by a “soul.” I can tell you this: t’ain’t what the theologians think.

Times like this do make me think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. But the most important words ever spoken to me were these:

Do them justice.

Garrett said that to me many years ago, in the fervent tones of one who believes that it’s not only right and necessary to do your characters justice, but with the supreme confidence that I can.

How can I not live up to that? Even if it takes me twenty more years to make it so.

All you Wise Readers have to do is answer one question: did I do them justice? That, in the end, is what it all comes down to. That simple, and that bloody difficult.

Guess I’d best get to masticating.