I’ve been writing professional for going on seventeen years now.  I’ve been self-published, on-line only, and most recently signed to an independent press.  While I’ve never been signed to a major publishing house, I have done some work for/with them and I’ve seen a wide variety of success in the industry.  Yet I still seek out advice and even occasionally straight-up ask for help.

Last night, I called a good friend of mine to talk shop and to get some new bearings.  It was a wonderful and fruitful conversation that left me feeling a little energized about the next stage(s) of my career as an author and a writer (which I do not consider to be the same thing, though they are obviously related).  I was glad that I didn’t have any trouble shutting up and listening, that I took in his every bit of advice and have been mulling it over all day today.  I’ve known more than a few artists of all persuasions whom, upon achieving success (big or small), resolve that what they have left to learn from others is minimal.

Continue reading “Learn-Unlearn-Relearn”

Deliberately Incomplete

I think I’m buying a house tonight.

I’m not sure, partly because the process is so convoluted and partly because I don’t understand the process except to know that it’s convoluted.  I know we’re applying for pre-approval on a mortgage.  I get that much.  I’m not clear what the difference is between a mortgage and a loan; maybe there is none.  Maybe a mortgage is just another name for a very specific type of loan.  And that’s endemic of the problem.

I don’t understand why there are so many costs.  I get that houses cost a lot.  I get that you need to pay for this filing service and that inspection service and all of that.  I get that there are costs, but it seems like those should be more or less set on the outset.  Yes, the price can fluctuate as you realize the attic needs so much work, but that’s a relatively simple process.  Ultimately, what it boils down to, is I don’t understand why the price on the sign isn’t the price that you will pay.

I have the same issue with stores.  Why is a bag of chips $2.99?  I’m not going to pay that at the register.  I’m going to pay $3.14 (or whatever).  I get that there’s sales tax and that’s fine, but why isn’t that tax figured into the equation and labeled clearly on the shelf?  It’s not like the tax is going to change more than the price, so why make the math happen at the register?  The tax isn’t dependent on what we buy.  If I buy two sticks of deodorant and potato chips, I won’t pay a different tax rate on those items if I add peanut butter.  So why isn’t the actual price of the item placed on the shelf?

Our relationship with money – on a societal scale – seems deliberately on the obtuse side.  Obtuse and obfuscated.  Very little of what we are shown to be the price of anything is actually what will result.  Whether we’re talking about interest rates, taxes, accrual rates, etc, it all seems not only subjective but deliberately so.

That always bothers me.  I feel compelled to walk away from any deal that involves that.  And yet, were I to do so, I’m not sure I could find any place to buy groceries.  I certainly couldn’t buy a house.  The game may be rigged but it’s also the only game in town.  While I like the mobility of apartment-living, renting has a whole host of problems all its own.  So the game will be played.  I just feel like a sucker for even entertaining it.

Maybe a sucker isn’t born every minute in a biological sense, but born of necessity, of desperation.


So the house is gonna happen.  Buying hell aside, I’m kind of excited.  I like the idea of installing solar panels and having bird feeders and wind chimes and, heaven help me, having a real chin-up bar and not some silly doorway bar.  A yard for a dog and a moat with a draw bridge.

…what?  Well why do you think I want to own a home if I can’t install medieval-style fortifications?  And sniper’s nests?

“But Robert,” I hear you say because I bugged your computer while you were waiting on the toaster to finish warming your Pop-Tarts, “do you even own a gun?”

You’re clearly missing the point of this.




This is a big year for me for a lot of reasons, some personal and some professional.  I’m excited to see the transition and movement towards what was once the future to now be the present.  The next six months will be tense, full of a lot of upheaval and transition, but hopefully it will all be good stuff.  I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve got a whole mess ‘o stories that I’m sorting through and working on, as well as nonfiction and panels I’m preparing for conventions.  The development process is slow but I’m hoping a bumpy development will make for a smooth roll-out.

Friday will be a new short story.  It kind of came out of nowhere, creatively, and I’m curious what people will think.  Given that it cropped up so abruptly, I’m not sure where I might take it, whether it will be a one-shot or whether it might turn into a series or even more.  But we’ll see on Friday what you think.

In the meantime, take care of yourself and be good to yourself.

Less Than Meets The Eye

Watching all of Transformers is going to kill me.

I’ve been working on a convention panel called ‘Top Ten Episodes of Transformers’.  In it, I discuss the ten best episodes of the long-running franchise, starting with the original 1984 cartoon, up to the current series.  Watching episodes sequentially, I’ve made it up to 2002’s Transformers Armada, looking to complete it sometime next week.  This has included all of Gen-1, the Japanese series (Headmasters, Supergod Masterforce, Victory), Beast Wars & Beast Machines, and 2001’s Robots in Disguise.  If you don’t know what any of that means, just suffice to say that it’s a lot of cartoons.

Continue reading “Less Than Meets The Eye”