Today I had what could easily go down as the most pleasant and painless visit to the DMV in human history. I arrived shortly after ten, knowing that it was going to be crowded to the gills since it was a Monday, and a beautiful clear not-a-cloud-in-the-sky Monday to boot. Sure enough, I pulled into the parking lot and found it to be chock full. I was all set to drive to the back of the building when, to my delight, another car departed the parking lot just in the right time frame to allow me to slip into the spot.

I went inside and dutifully took my little paper number off of the red dispenser. I had 06. The counter on the wall read 73. I groaned and sat down, preparing myself to wait at least an hour, probably more

Not two seconds after my butt hit the plastic of the chair, a woman with a clipboard came out to the very crowded waiting room and announced, “If there is anyone here who just needs to renew their license and does not need to test, please form a line here.”

I needed no further encouragement. I dove over chairs, elbowed grandmothers out of the way, and scored the first place in that line. Thirty seconds later I was happily handing over my expired license and my insurance card to the lady, and about thirty seconds after that I was told to go pay the other lady and get my new picture taken.

All told I think I was in there for a whopping five minutes. I’m not sure what I did to deserve such amazing DMV karma, but I’m not about to complain. And my picture is actually pretty darn decent as well!


As my more astute readers may have deduced, I recently celebrated a birthday, hence my need to renew my license. Yea, verily, I turned 40 this past Friday. Actually I didn’t do a whole lot of celebrating on the actual day of my birthday, which was mostly due to the fact that my new employer was throwing a big golf tournament campaign fudraiser shingdig, and I was occupied pretty much the entire day with that.

But I wasn’t upset about that, since several of my friends and loved ones decided to be incredibly devious and threw me a surprise birthday party a week prior! I was actually 100% surprised, which made the whole thing incredibly cool and fun. I’ve never had a surprise party, and I’m still totally amazed that none of the people who knew (which apparently was the entire population of Southeast Louisiana, judging by the number of people who came up to me afterwards asking me how it had gone and if I’d been surprised) let slip that it was happening. All I can say is that I know some seriously devious, conniving, sneaky people. It’s just too cool.


Other news

The fine folks at Galaxy Press sent me a copy of another review of the anthology:

WRITERS OF THE FUTURE, Volume XXII, edited by Algis Budrys, Galaxy Press, $7.99, 500 pages, ISBN:1592123457, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

It’s hard to believe that the contest has been going on for twenty-two years. Even though there is only one winner chosen per year, there is a much larger number of writers who are making a living writing in various genres and entertaining readers all over the world. The same can be said of the Illustrators that have appeared in the pages of the annual volume and several who have also appeared on Baryon covers.

This year’s winner is “Schroedinger’s Hummingbird” by Diana Rowland and it is a story of time travel and the powerful truth revealed in the end will bring a tear to your eye. “The Red Envelope” by David Sakmyster is a story of ghosts, love and redemption that takes on an unusual aspect. Brian Rappatta’s “Tongues” is a tale about recognizing and listening to our god but do we really understand what he is saying.

Another fantastic volume of varied voices, this volume adds to the stature of the contest and shows that the future remains in good hands with a new group ready to move onto the best seller lists.

I have to wonder if this guy knows that I didn’t win the Grand Prize? Or maybe he’s just being figurative in calling my story a “winner”? Either way, I’m totally tickled pink at the review, to say the least.


Other other news

Well, the biggest writing news on my front right now is that I’m neck deep in a novel. In fact, I’m over 40K words now, and though I had a bit of a slow start I’m now averaging about 10k words a week. My goal is to finish up the crappy first draft before the end of the year, and then finish up rewrites, edits and a few tosses against the wall by about March. It’s a paranormal mystery which will probably round out at 80-90K words I think. I tried several times to write a straight “normal” mystery, but I just couldn’t get into it. I’m so very much a sf/f writer that I had to have some sort of speculative element in it. But of course I have SO MUCH FRICKIN real life experience to draw on as far as writing a mystery goes that it almost seemed criminal to not write one. The cool thing is that once I figured out what the book was about it started flowing fast and furious, plus I can totally see more books down the line with the same setting/characters.


Other other other news

There isn’t any more. Go click on another link.