Quick hits via Twitter
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Yeah, I know. My first mistake.
When I started iTunes again, I saw that all of my media, playlists, etc. were gone. I wasn’t overly concerned about this, as I figured I just needed to click a box somewhere or something. But it wasn’t that simple. The instructions I found online told me how to find a previous iTunes library on my computer and use it to repopulate iTunes: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS196
But the most recent “previous library” I could find was from 2010. THREE YEARS OLD. (I don’t update iTunes all that frequently, but I’d certainly done so within the past three years.)
I found other instructions on how to re-create my iTunes library and playlists: http://support.apple.com/kb/TS1967
No dice. Even using the XML file, the most recent version I could find was 2010.
No problem, I figured—this is why I have a backup drive. I’ll just pull up the right file from there and use it. But nothing worked. Whatever file I located either yielded no media and playlists at all, or else the 2010 version.
I realize that all my media—songs, videos, apps, etc. are still there. It’s not that they’ve been deleted—iTunes has just lost its record of them. And because I chose the setting to allow iTunes to organize those files, they’re all together in my iTunes folders. That’s a plus.
Another plus is that most of the playlists I’ve built are still intact on my iPhone. It’s a pain copying them off one by one, but they’re still there. (Another issue, though, is that when they point to any tracks that I’ve added in the past three years, iTunes rejects those tracks from the list because it thinks they don’t exist. Oy.)
So here’s my question, iTunes gurus: What do I do next? If there’s a method I haven’t tried for recovering my old data, that would be the best solution. If not, what are my next steps? Do I start with a clean slate and have iTunes re-locate all my media? Do I start with the 2010 version and do the same? Will I need to copy all the playlists from my iPhone? In the (many) cases where I’ve pulled album covers off the web to accompany the tracks, am I going to have to make those connections again?
I’d appreciate any advice (other than the “iTunes sucks” or “use Linux” variety) you can give me.
Friday, October 04, 2013
This Mutant Life is a neo-pulp anthology available in paperback and ebook format. Just what is neo-pulp you might ask? (I did.) The short answer is that it’s a successor to the original pulp fiction of the 20s and 30s, amped up with superheroes or other modern flourishes. Funny story—I Googled “What is neo-pulp” when I was reading the anthology’s submission guidelines. I came to this page, which prominently featured the cover for Devil’s Cape. So I guess I’ve got that covered!
Edited by my old Aussie gaming compadre, Ben Langdon (a damn fine writer), This Mutant Life is a crackling “collection of of 21 stories where the ordinary world is well and truly gatecrashed by the extraordinary. There are tales of flying boys and miniature girls; dark creatures beneath the waves; scientists losing their mind; and heroes trying their hardest to make the world a better place.”
It also features “Raiden’s River,” a new Devil’s Cape story featuring the mysterious fortune teller Jazz.
Fun fact: Three of the story contributors, including Ben, are old gaming pals of mine whose names made it into Devil’s Cape in one form or another—look for references to Langdon Fork, Louisiana; Lockheardt Street; and Ma’s Spectacular Amusements.
READ MORE ABOUT THIS MUTANT LIFE
And here’s an excerpt from “Raiden’s River”:
I shake my head. “You can fly and shoot lightning. You’re teammates with a dinosaur man and a girl who can lift a tank over her head. And yet when you come in here to have your fortune read, you’re surprised to find out I can actually do it?”
I jab a finger at him. “You need to leave and leave now. This ain’t Vanguard City, boo. Heroes die in Devil’s Cape. You hear of the Gray Fog? Our last superhero. Strung up from a tree. Out-of-towners, too. The Omega? I can show you a crack in the cement down by City Hall that’s all that’s left of him.”
“There are half a dozen organized crime groups in this city that I know about,” I say. “The Kalodimos crime family. The Pang Hui tong. Gangs like the Hombres Asesinos or the Concrete Executioners.” I swallow. I know more than I want to about the Concrete Executioners. “Hell, the Devil’s Cape Police Department, if you don’t want to put too fine a point on it.” I look past him through a window as if expecting to spot an assault team poised to take him down. I see nothing but darkness. “Nobody would be happy to see you in this city. No one would think twice about killing me in the process of getting to you.”
Now go buy the book already!
Sunday, January 13, 2013
I updated you recently about the Triumph Over Tragedy anthology released as a fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Sandy (featuring one of my stories). Many thanks again to editor, contributor, and organizer R.T. Kaelin for arranging this and allowing me to participate.
The original fundraiser, through IndieGoGo, is over, but the anthology will now be on sale for six months for both Kindle and Nook and their respective apps. All profits (over and above the Amazon and B&N cuts) will go to the charity—still a significant percentage. Lots of great authors are involved. Please jump in and pick up your copy now!
Sunday, December 30, 2012
Author R.T. Kaelin has spearheaded and edited a new fantasy/sci-fi + ebook anthology called Triumph Over Tragedy to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
From his description:
I am R.T. Kaelin and I am an author.
Seeing the images of Sandy's aftermath was hard, some left me cold inside, others, left me wondering what it was I felt. So many needed so much. In past tragedies, I have donated some money to the Red Cross to help, but I’ve always felt like it was inadequate.
“Hey, you lost your home? How awful. Here’s fifty bucks. I gotta hop in my car now, get a cup of coffee and go off to work. What’s that? Your car and job are gone? Ooohh…”
So, this time, I wanted to do something more.
I reached out to fellow writers (who in turn, reached out to more writers) with the idea of putting together an anthology of donated short stories, sell them via eBook, and donate 100% of the proceeds to the Red Cross for relief efforts. As this will take time to put together, I thought trying to raise money now in exchange for the anthology later might be useful. Hence, I am here.
The theme of the anthology is simple: triumph over tragedy. It will contain all sorts of stories: fantasy (traditional or urban), sci-fi, mystery, pulp, romance, action…I don’t much care what goes in it. To me, the more variety, the better as I want this to appeal to as many people as possible. The more readers, the more money to those who need it. My only guidance is that every story be appropriate for all ages.
What We Need & What You Get
We don't need anything. The people in New Jersey and the surrounding areas do. Food, water, power...the things you take for granted until they are gone. To help them, we would like a donation for them.
I’ve contributed an original short story, called “Sergeant Argent’s Moment in the Sun,” a favorite of mine, to the anthology. A quick excerpt:
The first time my best friend Mike died was on a band trip to Devil’s Cape, Louisiana.
Mr. Trevathan, the band teacher, picked Devil’s Cape because it was cheap and less than a day’s drive from Fort Dire and the camp had some kind of drum corps savant. Also, my dad said, because Mr. Trevathan thinks the slots in Devil’s Cape are looser than in Shreveport, but that’s my dad for you. Camp in Devil’s Cape was cheap for a reason, though. With its crime rate, nobody wants to send their kids there. Except Mr. Trevathan, my dad says.
Anyway, the story goes that Mike was sneaking off to see some girl he met down there and he left the camp after hours and was attacked by one of the local gangs—they’ve got names like the Concrete Executioners and the Hombres Asesinos—and stabbed to death. Except that sounded like baloney to me because Mike was scared of girls and even scareder of doing things like sneaking out of band camp. For a Star Trek convention or to see Doctor Camelot, maybe, but not for a girl. And, you know, he wasn’t exactly a ladies’ man. Mike had been pudgy since fourth grade, he had zits, and I was pretty sure his mom still laid his clothes out for him every night.
So, yeah, I knew something wasn’t right about the story even before Mike had a chance to tell me how he really died.
Other authors contributing stories include my old friend and editor Phil Athans, as well as an amazing group of other talents, including Marion Zimmer Bradley, Timothy Zahn, and Robert Silverberg. Please consider contributing to the effort, helping people who need it, and scoring a terrific ebook to boot.
Friday, September 21, 2012
I absolutely love FenCon, which starts today. I missed it last year due to a family obligation, and was absolutely determined not to miss it this year. With two small babies in tow, though, as well as a broken wrist, I’m having to curtail my activities quite a bit. I’ll be attending tomorrow and participating in two panels: a superhero movie overview at 10, and a random novel reading panel at 3. I’ll also do my best to say “hi” to old friends between those panels. I’ll be the one with the lovely wife, the double stroller, and the bright red cast on his right arm.
You can see my complete schedule here. (If it’s still showing a reading for me on Sunday afternoon, please disregard that—I’m not going to be able to make that.)
Hope to see you there!
Monday, September 03, 2012
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to read and blurb a superhero novel called Just Cause, by Ian Healy. Here’s what I had to say:
Ian Healy's Just Cause is a slam-bang good superhero story: part JLA, part Young Romance, with some splashes of Our Army at War to keep you on your toes. I thoroughly enjoyed Mustang Sally's adventure and look forward to reading more of Healy's work.
Well, now there’s an opportunity for me to read more, because Ian has written a sequel, called The Archmage. Ian’s touring some blogs with a Q&A, so below, I’m sharing both some of his standard responses and some new questions from yours truly:
Tell us about The Archmage.
The Archmage is a sequel to the novel Just Cause, starring the super-speedy Mustang Sally along with the rest of the Just Cause superhero team. In it, I explore the use of magic in a superhero setting. In this case, a character named Wolfgang Frasier has been slaughtering other mages around the world and taking their power for himself. He’s gotten so powerful that there is only one other mage remaining besides him, the hero Stratocaster, who is a member of the Lucky Seven hero team that Sally trained with at the beginning of Just Cause. If Frasier manages to kill Stratocaster, his power becomes absolute and he could plunge the entire world into darkness, becoming its total ruler. This is, of course, his goal. Sally and the other heroes have no choice but to try to stop him, even though his power is so great that he can call armies of the dead out of the ground and turn anyone captured to his side. There’s a nifty bit of time travel thanks to magic going awry that sends the team back to the 1870s, and of course some great intrigue and epic, cinematic battles. At the same time, Sally’s relationship with Jason is growing much more complex and suffering growing pains all its own.
What’s Local Hero Press?
LHP is an imprint I created specifically for the release of my novel-length work and collections. I didn’t want to simply release them under my own name as the publisher because with such a wide variety of genres under my belt, I wanted something to tie them all together. This way, if someone buys The Archmage, likes it, and looks to see what else LHP has to offer, they might discover Blood on the Ice or Pariah’s Moon or Troubleshooters.
You right in multiple genres. Talk about that.
I don’t like to be pigeonholed, so I don’t force myself to stay in one genre if I’m interested in writing in a different one. This goes against common wisdom of building a brand, from what I’ve seen on the internet, so I’m forming my own uncommon wisdom instead. That again ties back to the LHP imprint by creating a common thread beyond just my name. I follow my muse, so I’ve gone from superheroes (Just Cause, The Archmage) to funny science fiction (The Milkman), to cyberpunk (Troubleshooters), to fantasy/Western (Pariah’s Moon), to urban fantasy sports (Blood on the Ice), to religious symbolism (Hope and Undead Elvis) and even more. And if my agent sells The Guitarist, I can add “Mainstream Young Adult” to my genres.
So you’re self-published, but still have an agent?
I do have an agent, Carly Watters of PS Literary Agency in Toronto. She represents my Young Adult work only, and when we discussed the possibility of her representing me, we both agreed that she could still effectively represent a portion of my work and I could still effectively release my speculative and adult fiction without interfering with one another. I am, in fact, searching for a second literary agent to represent The Oilman’s Daughter, the epic steampunk/space opera that I coauthored with my dear friend Allison M. Dickson.
What’s it like working with another writer?
I’m not sure I have anything better to compare it to than a successful marriage. We worked very closely together on the project (two time zones separating us notwithstanding!). We had complete trust with each other, and were able to discuss what should have been extremely divisive and difficult issues not only with calm heads, but with a sense of joy that only two opposing viewpoints between dear friends can bring. The best thing about working with someone like that is going back through the manuscript and not being able to tell exactly who wrote which parts. That’s just awesome.
Who are your biggest influences as a writer?
From comics, I'd have to say Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and Keith Giffen are the big influences on me. Alan Moore's plotting of Watchmen was masterful, and I strive to achieve that level of depth. Nobody writes humor better than Giffen. Frank Miller can convey tremendous story and characterization through deceptively simple artwork and dialogue--showing how you don't need to have the glitz and bling to tell a story.
From the world of prose fiction, I'm inspired by the collective authors of the Wild Cards series, edited by the venerable George R.R. Martin. Mike Resnick (Santiago: A Myth of the Far Future) has one of my favorite narrative voices of all time. Michael A. Stackpole (Star Wars Rogue Squadron novels) has a deft hand with writing action sequences, which is something I admire greatly. Alan Dean Foster is to prose fiction what Keith Giffen is to comic books.
As we both know, superheroes are largely associated with comic books, cartoons, and movies. Prose fiction, not so much. What do you think are the unique challenges of writing superhero prose?
Writing superhero prose isn't different from writing any other kind of story. At the end of the day, they're stories about people. Costumes and powers are just incidentals compared to human drama. The bigger challenge is the marketing of said material. Superheroes have been in such a small box for so long that it's hard for some people to grasp the idea of prose superhero fiction. "No, it's not a graphic novel," is the phrase I've had to utter most frequently when telling people about my work. Bookstores don't really know how to deal with the genre either, because superheroes really deserve their own location/genre classification. They're not just science fiction, or just fantasy. They have their own tropes which in my mind, makes them a legitimately separate genre. For the most part, when I put them up for sale, I classify them as "contemporary fantasy" and "general science fiction," which seems to cover the bases as best as possible.
Are you reading any comics today? What are your favorites?
I'm a diehard DC guy, and I was so disappointed when they rebooted everything this year. I think they turned a lot of titles I formerly enjoyed (like Green Arrow and Catwoman) into crap. There have been some bright spots in the new line: Batwoman, Stormwatch, Birds of Prey, and World's Finest that consistently make their way to the top of my reading pile.
What was your favorite superhero movie of the year so far?
I still haven't seen The Dark Knight Rises so I can't speak to that. The Avengers was my favorite of the year and in my top 3 favorites of all time (the other two being, in no particular order, The Incredibles and Batman Begins).
Cage match: Doctor Fate vs. Doctor Strange. Who wins?
Answer #1: Darkseid
Answer #2: Is there a preliminary match between Zatanna and Scarlet Witch? In mud?
Answer #3: Ron Marz, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, and Kevin Nowlan (if you get the reference, you are a SERIOUS COMIC BOOK NERD) [Note from Rob: Apparently, I am a serious comic book nerd. Not only did I get the reference, but I had it in the back of my mind when I asked the question.]
Answer #4: DC and Marvel accounting departments
The Archmage, book 2 of the Just Cause Universe series, launches from all online retailers on September 1, 2012. You can purchase exclusive signed editions directly from Local Hero Press (http://localheropress.ianthealy.com).
Find Ian on Twitter as @ianthealy, and follow Local Hero Press as @LocalHeroPress.
Author website: www.ianthealy.com
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Just a couple of quick minutes here: I’m heading to ArmadilloCon 34 this weekend.
If you’re in Austin, I’d love to see you there. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and to some lively discussions.
Here’s my schedule:
Fri 8:00 PM-9:00 PM San Antonio
A. de Orive, R. Klaw*, B. Mahoney, R. Rogers, J. Rountree, H. Waldrop
Hobbits vs. Avengers? Star Wars vs. Star Trek? Aliens vs. Predators vs. Terminators? Our intrepid panelists attempt to ef the ineffable and address the truly deep questions: What constitutes not just a great SF/F movie, but an outstanding series?
Sat 11:00 AM-Noon San Antonio
B. Hale, R. Klaw*, G. Oliver, D. Potter, R. Rogers
How did this show become so watchable and interesting? Has it maintained its promise, or jumped the shark?
Sat 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Sabine
S. Cupp, M. Maresca, R. Rogers, P. Sarath*, M. Wells
A discussion of good examples of this mixed subgenre and the special challenges of writing it.
Sat 10:30 PM-11:00 PM San Marcos
Sun 2:00 PM-3:00 PM Dealers' Room
E. Burton, B. Denton, G. Faust, R. Rogers
Monday, January 30, 2012
I released the novella for Kindle a while back, but hadn’t gotten around to pushing it out to Nook yet.
It’s available here.
Neither the Amazon page nor the Barnes and Noble page has any reviews yet. If you’ve read the story, I’d love for you to post a review.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Just a quick reminder that my most recent Devil’s Cape story, “Star of St. Diable,” was published in the second issue of Comets and Criminals this month. It features Doctor Camelot and some armored combat on an oil rig.
The story will eventually be available on the Comets and Criminals site for free, but you can buy the whole issue in Kindle, epub, or PDF format for a mere $2.99 right now and get a bunch of cool stories. Tell ’em I sent you.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Devil’s Cape has been translated into German and will be published by Piper Fantasy in January. I love the cover, and am also excited about the publicity page, which includes a video (in English) from yours truly. Please recommend it to all your German-speaking friends!
Many thanks to Michelle Gyo from Piper, as well as Christian Jentszch, the translator.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Just in time for today’s new movie release, I’ve released some Sherlock Holmes content of my own. My novella, “The Adventures of the Pirates of Devil’s Cape,” which sees Holmes and Watson tracking a mystery to the city of Devil’s Cape in the 1890s, is now available as a Kindle ebook at the low price of $2.99.
This story has previously been available in the terrific anthology The Improbable Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, but this is the first time it’s been available as a stand-alone. As a bonus, I’ve added a new “making of” afterword, kind of like a special feature on a DVD.
I’ll likely try to get this released on Barnes & Noble in the next few days, and possibly on Smashwords as well. Many thanks to ebook guru Ben Trafford for his work in formatting.
Here’s a little of the story to give you some flavor:
I had assumed that the long summer boat journey, particularly the sweltering leg that took us through the Caribbean Sea and into the Gulf of Mexico, had prepared me for the heat of Devil’s Cape, but I was wrong. It was a tangible, constant presence, like walking through water.
Holmes and I emerged from the steamship that had carried us there—not that different, really, than the Friesland—squinting into the sun, having left our trunks behind with instructions for them to be transported to a nearby inn where I had arranged rooms. The docks were a swarm of faces and voices. A crew of black men was singing a chantey while unloading our ship. Three Chinamen hawked cool beverages and roasted nuts, arguing about prices and stirring cinnamon-coated pecans over small pails of hot coals. Masses of people milled back and forth, shoving and swearing. I heard traces of French and Portuguese and Hindi. I stared openmouthed, taking it in.
“Not so fast,” Holmes said, darting out an arm and catching a street urchin by the ear. The lad, blond-haired and tan as leather, winced as Holmes took hold of his elbow and forced a wallet out of his hand. My own wallet, I recognized. “Tut, tut,” Holmes said, handing my wallet back to me, and I wasn’t certain if he was scolding the boy or me. He gave the boy a quick kick in the rump and sent him scurrying off.
I nodded my thanks. “Not unlike one of the Baker Street Irregulars,” I said. “Where to, Holmes?”
He pointed at a black hansom drawing up, pulled by an Appaloosa horse. “I believe our transport has arrived,” he said.
The driver stepped from the cab and swaggered to us. He was smartly dressed in a tailored suit, the jacket open in front, a diamond gleaming from a ring on his pinkie. He had tanned skin, a handlebar moustache, and a confident smile. A golden police badge shaped like a sail was pinned to his jacket. “Holmes and Watson, right?” he asked in what I’d later come to identify as a Cajun accent. “I hope you not been standing here too long, you.” He shook Holmes’s hand, then mine, his grip forceful enough to grind my knuckles together. “My boss, he ask me to show you around town real nice and send you back where you belong, see,” he said. “Now, my cousin, he ask me to help you any way I can.” He grinned, showing an infectious smile and a chipped tooth. “I’ll leave you to guess which one I’ll listen to best. You got some boys bringing your things to your rooms?”
“That’s good,” he said. “We can start right quick, then, though I fear your entire trip’s been a waste.” He patted the hansom. “Hop in, gentlemen,” he said. We climbed inside, and he climbed above us, taking the reins. Then his head popped up in front of us, upside down, as he looked through the front of the cab. “Aw, hell,” he said. “I forgot to introduce myself.” He smiled again. “I’m Deputy Chief Jackson Lestrade. Welcome to Devil’s Cape.”
Sunday, December 11, 2011
I’m very pleased to announce that a new Devil’s Cape short story will be published in the second issue of the new genre magazine Comets and Criminals. The story, “The Star of St. Diable,” features Doctor Camelot.
Last I heard, the issue should go live on Jan. 1. I’ll plan to send out another update once the story goes live.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I’m getting ready for ArmadilloCon, but Mihir Wanchoo at Fantasy Book Critic posted a review of Devil’s Cape that I had to pass along right away.
Here’s an excerpt:
Random chance gave me another opportunity to read Devil’s Cape, and I’m very glad it did. Rob Rogers’ debut is a fantastic gem, the kind of novel that one fervently searches for, but rarely finds. In fact, Devil’s Cape has now become one of my favorite UF books of all time and I find it a cruel shame that the book is not more popular amongst SFF readers.
Obviously I’m very pleased with and grateful for the review.
You can read the whole thing here.
Monday, August 22, 2011
I’m going to be a panelist at ArmadilloCon 33 in Austin this weekend and am really looking forward to it.
I’ve posted my schedule below. For the reading, I’m planning to read a new Devil’s Cape short story starring Doctor Camelot. I’ll be interested to hear what people think.
Also, I’m moderating a panel Sunday afternoon about superhero movies. If you’ve got any questions you’d like me to ask the panel, or an particular movies you’d like us to address, please let me know.
ROB’S ARMADILLOCON SCHEDULE
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Just a quick note about something I found interesting:
In the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death, we of course saw a flood of comments on Twitter and Facebook. Most people felt relieved at his death and happy for that closure. But some also felt ambivalent or guilty about their reactions, not liking the idea of celebrating someone’s death, even bin Laden’s. Riding on the heels of that, I saw two quotes being passed around a lot:
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy." — Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." — Mark Twain
Both of these were interesting ways of dealing with that ambivalence or with discomfort at seeing the general Schaudenfreude at bin Laden’s death. They were so representative of the world’s feelings that they were copied and pasted and forwarded hundreds of times.
The catch? The Martin Luther King, Jr. quote didn’t come from Martin Luther King, Jr. And the Mark Twain quote? Not from Mark Twain.
The King quote seems to have been made up on the spot, although it was often used to introduce an actual quote from King. You can read more about that in The Atlantic. The Twain quote came from Clarence Darrow instead, but was altered to better fit the situation. That was covered on The Atlantic Wire.
Correcting the attribution of the quotes doesn’t change their sentiment. After all, the quotes did a good job of representing the emotions of hundreds of people. But maybe it does diminish their impact if you attribute the first one to “some guy” and the second to “a paraphrase of Clarence Darrow.”
The lesson? I’m not sure. I don’t want to get all preachy about always double-checking the facts before passing something along. You’ve heard that already. Everybody’s received a forwarded message that’s been debunked by Snopes. And in these cases, I think the sentiment of the quotes was more important than the truth of their origin. But maybe let this be a tickler in your brain: Even if you see it in print, it ain’t necessarily so.