Fire Storm Scientist

I’ve got a new story named “The Fire Wish” in the Japanese Mythology issue of Penumbra Emag  It takes place in the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plant just after the 2011 tsunami struck and involves a worker struggling to bring a reactor under control.  It is the darkest story I’ve had published so far.

I have always felt a kind of mad glee when one of my stories goes out in the world, and though I do have some of that feeling right now, the subject matter of this story is so serious that it has tempered my usual effervescence.

The rest of the issue of Penumbra is absolutely great.  I strongly recommend getting a copy.

 Penumbra eMag Vol 2 Issue 10


On another note, I’ve just returned from San Diego where I visited my sister Alison, her husband Craig, and his extended family.  They don’t actually live in San Diego but in a small town named Ashby, Minnesota.  Their nearest big city is Fargo.

They were so nice I thought maybe I should leave northern California and move there.  My wife caught me thinking this, I suspect by that far away “I could be a Viking” look in my eyes, and pointed out that they have something in Minnesota called winter.  I knew she was right, but still, it sounded nice.  At least it did until everyone started talking about the storms.  Apparently at least twice a summer they have to rush into a storm cellar before some tornado rips a freight train off of its tracks and hurls it at them.  How do they know when it’s time to get underground?  They feel a change in pressure.  My brother-in-law does this in his sleep.  He’ll just sit up in the middle of the night open his eyes and tell my sister to grab the kids.


Okay.  I’m not moving to Minnesota any time soon.

I’ve got a six-year-old nephew named Aksel who has decided that when he grows up he wants to be a scuba diving scientist.  His dad explained to him that they call these people marine biologists.  Aksel understands this, but he prefers the title scuba diving scientist.


I think he has a point.  After thinking about this, I realize that I want to be a scuba diving scientist too.


Photographs are difficult.  Most of the time, for whatever reason, in photographs I look like someone just ran over my puppy.  I don’t even have a puppy.

Lucky for me, I have a friend in Los Angeles named Christopher Popp that I knew from the bad old Hollywood days.  He is a brilliant cinematographer and although he hasn’t shot stills in some time, he took pity on me.

Art 1

Not bad. Maybe a little puppy concern, but not much.



I’ve got another story published!  It’s in “Silver Blade Magazine” and can be found at  My story is called “I Love Death” and it’s a little like my relationship with my wife, but with more fear, trembling, and pillow fort building.

Here’s what happened.  The wife was on a committee that amends California legislation and there was a particular statute that no one wanted to deal with.  She was a little late getting on a conference call, so she got stuck with it.  This piece of law had to do with the disposition of bodily remains, as in, who gets the body after someone dies.

People joked that my wife had become a sort of Wednesday Adams, and she pretty much embraced that.

My paranoid imagination started churning and the story wrote itself (It did not rewrite itself.  That was a lot of work).


It has been a long time since I’ve blogged.  Here’s what’s going on with me:

I have a two week vacation coming up and I can’t wait.  As usual, work ramps up the closer I get to leaving.  I don’t know if this happens to other people, but during the final week before I go, urgent meetings appear out of the mist that I must attend, and extensive issues that only I can solve that can’t wait, and trainings that are vital that I must attend and and…well, you get the picture.  This time I’ve got actual tickets and family responsibilities that I cannot wriggle out of (I mean, I can, but I would expire from guilt), so, but, anyway, this week is going to be intense.

Holy snap.  I’ve written 60,000 words of a novel.  Now I must make something coherent out of it and hopefully gain another 20,000 words.  Also, it must be (ha!) good.  Oh, and, it has to be compelling, and entertaining, and actually interesting to other people.  Gulp.

Since I’ve last blogged, Ray Bradbury died.  R is for Ray.  When I was a kid, his stories made me feel less alone.  The angst hidden in them mirrored my own.

I admit, though, I got a little upset when I read “R is for Rocket.”  I wanted it to be a full novel and only realized it was a collection of stories at the end of what I thought was the first chapter.  I think I’m still waiting to read the rest of that book, which doesn’t exist.  I mean, some day, when I’m good enough, I could write it, but it won’t carry that weird ‘60’s modernist optimism about space travel (and, frankly, Mr. Bradbury’s lyricism).

But, speaking of ‘60’s modernist optimistic space travel, man, when I was a kid we were on our way to the moon.  It seemed that after we got there, we’d visit Mars and Venus, maybe about a week later, and then on to the stars.

That didn’t happen.

On the other hand,

maybe Gil Scott-Heron had a point.

Oh.  There’s one other thing I wanted to say about Ray Bradbury:

One night, some years ago, I found myself at the American Film Institute, and Ray was the guest speaker.  He was amazing.  He talked about following your heart and originality and how everything else would follow after that.  He was so inspiring that my friends and I thought we could actually do anything that we believed in.

 And we did.


I’m not usually a big fan of KPop, but, this is, well, the best video in the world, at least it was way back in the middle of July.

Ah, Writing

Ah, writing.  I love writing.  I also hate it.

Sometimes the words flow like a river.  Sometimes the words come out like pulling teeth.  When I write a draft, I am a genius.  When I read a draft, I am an utter fool.  I suppose I’m being a bit dramatic here, but you get the point.

And that is why I am so terrified, because…

I’m planning a novel.

There.  I’ve said it.

Now I guess I have to do it.

My in-laws were visiting from the East Coast, and we were somewhere near Point Reyes Station at a bed and breakfast.  It was all very nice, really.  Everyone who stayed at the house ate breakfast together, including a fellow from Chicago who complained bitterly about traffic.  My mind wandered while he spoke and a story popped full blown into my head.

I wrote down the story in a fever.  The next day I couldn’t wait to look it over.

Boy, did it suck.

But there was this one little part that was kind of, I don’t know, not so utterly horrible.

And my idea for a novel grew out of that.

And now I’m worrying that thread until it turns into something I can actually write.