gwox: (me2011)

Chicago from Navy Pier

Last weekend Kristyn and I went to Chicago for our wedding anniversary. We had a good deal of fun, making it to a Blue Man Group performance, to the Museum of Science and Industry, and, (as you may be able to tell from the above photo), Navy Pier. I always like visiting Chicago, in spite of how pricey it sometimes seems.

This time around, we went via Amtrak–me for the first time. I understand that Amtrak pales compared to rail travel in other countries, but I rather liked it. It was maybe a little bit more expensive than driving (or less, given how much I would have been driving around during the weekend), but it was also a lot less stressful. Instead of watching the road all the time, I could plug in my phone and read or catch up on social media stuff. I didn’t get my junk scanned or fondled by the TSA, and could move about more easily than on an aircraft. (Wonder how long that’s gonna last…) I think that, whenever I need to travel within the U.S. (excluding Alaska and/or Hawaii) and I don’t have a pressing need to get there lickety split, trains are how I’m gonna go.


Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Gary W. Olson.

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

PersonalI’ve been on vacation this past week, and in fact still am. Last week involved a trip up to Torch Lake, Michigan, and my aunt and uncle’s place there. Had a great time, managed to get by with no great sunburn (unlike other years). Visited some wineries up in Leelenau County there and picked up a few bottles.

Yesterday was my birthday. The original plan was for Kristyn and I to go to Cedar Point for the day, but rainy weather reports made us postpone that (to tomorrow, in fact). So we largely spent the day amusing ourselves with mini-golf, go-karting, arcade games, pancake-house-visiting, and wine-imbibing. Not all at the same time, mind.

So, that’s been my week. Unfortunately, not a lot of it has involved writing, though I have spent a good deal of time thinking through what I’ll be working on in the coming weeks and months. I’m hesitant to call it a plan, as that involves a rather optimistic idea that no fresh shiny ideas will barge to the head of the queue and take over my fingers. Since that’s pretty much been the story of my writing so far this year, I’ve got to be realistic.

WritingBut. I think I’ve more-or-less worked out how things are going to go through the rest of the year. Starting with my Untitled Mad Science Novel. Untitled mainly because all the ideas I come up with for the title turn out, upon a quick Google search, to already have been used. Fortunately, that’s about the only thing that’s stopped at the moment, as the writing itself for it is going very well, with about 13k (of a projected 80-90k) words first-drafted. The genre, broadly, is Humorous Weird Dark Science Fantasy with a side of WTF. My goal is to finish the first quarter of the first draft by mid-September, then move on to…

The rewriting of The Morpheist. I have a very rough draft of this 29k biopunk novella, which needs to have multiple things fixed, some detail added to the description of people and places, and some adjustment to make it look like the things I came up with for my main characters during writing were intended all along. You know how it is. My goal here is to get this to a point where it’s coherent, polished, and maybe ready for a few beta readers to tear into it. Then I’ll return to UMSN and tackle the second quarter of the first draft, which should take me to the end of the year.

At the same time all this is going on, I’ve had a notion to dig deep into my past and revisit my old Nihil Nations stories, starting with Electricity in the Rain. It was my first publication, serialized in the pages of Mythic Heroes (the first four parts, anyway–the fifth never saw publication as the magazine died out from under it). It’s a dark science fiction take on the emergence of people with super abilities, and how the world reacts (closer in spirit to The 4400 than Heroes, though it predates them both by a long shot). With some heavy rewriting (my style at that time was still (cough) evolving) and new material, it could make novella size. If I decide to go ahead with this, it’ll likely be at the same time as the other two projects above.

Sometime in there as well, I hope to bash out a short story or two. Maybe some short-short flash fiction; it’s been quite a while since I attempted any, and that may be the only way anything gets done with everything else I’m trying to work on. Quite possibly something with bugs in it. I’m thinking bugs.

How’s by you?


Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light and a contributor to the dark fiction anthology Fading Light. His blog originates here. First photo: Elena Ray/ Second photo: Andres/

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.

gwox: (me2011)

PersonalMy grandmother, Doris, passed away today, after many days in a hospice. I’d been expecting for days to hear that she’s passed; every day that went by without the news was a blessing and a sadness. A blessing because she was a wonderful person–generous, kind, and caring–and every day she was still alive was a day I did not have to mourn. A sadness because she was in pain, and her body was slowly and inexorably shutting down. After watching her cope with multiple strokes, assorted respiratory illnesses, dementia and the like, I cannot help but be a little glad that she is no longer suffering.

I received the news today against the backdrop of a national tragedy. My country is reeling with the news of the deaths of twelve people, and the injuries of numerous others, from a murderous rampage in a movie theater in Colorado. I am sad for the victims and their families, and my heartfelt sympathies go out to them. No blessings here, only sadness.

There have been other happenings–matters of life and death affecting people close to me. Thankfully, life has held sway in these instances. For this I am glad. The specter of death is hovering too close right now.


Gary W. Olson is the author of the dark fantasy novel Brutal Light. His blog originates here. Photo: Elena Ray/

Mirrored from Gary W. Olson.


Dec. 23rd, 2011 09:44 pm
gwox: (me2011)
New on my blog: Gettin' Merry With It

The upshot: I'm taking next week off of blogging, updating, tweeting, and so on to write 'n chill 'n stuff. Yay.
gwox: (sinister)
It's been a busy couple of months since I last posted a real update here. Of course, if you've been reading here, you've already seen the cover art for my book, and the trailer for it. But I've also been doing other stuff, such as participating in panels at ConClave 2011 and preparing essays and interview answers for the virtual blog tour that will start in December when Brutal Light is published.

I've also, on my writerly blog, hosted a guest blog with Kathryn Meyer Griffith on her book Egyptian Heart, along with three reviews (of Bernie Mojzes's The Evil Gazebo, Micheal Grin's Princess Nonomi, and Greg R. Fishbone's Galaxy Games: The Challengers), a couple bag-o-links posts (such as this and today's entry), plus a longer entry considering the future of e-books vs. paper books.

(Note: I've been kind of playing it low-key with linking to my writerly blog from here, but I'll be switching to same-day or next-day linking of individual posts from here on in... if ony because it takes forever to do these roundups.)

Outside of writing... I'm still taking things day to day. I've done a bit of present-shopping, done a bit of gaming (including a 1980s Doctor Who roleplaying game played with some friends I just met at ConClave), and have otherwise just tried to stay on top of things. I've started reading books on bugs, both in science and folklore, in anticipation of my next work, and have been outlining and writing new stuff when I can chisel out the time for it. If it seems from this post that the book is occupying a large portion of my conscious mind away from my day job... well, it is, and I expect it to stay that way for the next two-to-three months. It comes with the territory. When it comes time to do it all over again for my next book, I'll hopefully have learned enough from this experience to manage it better, though for a first-timer I think I'm doing okay.

gwox: (sinister)
July and August have been strange months for me, choc-a-bloc with writing-and-live-thwarting happenings. Primary among them have been vacations -- a couple weeks at a beachfront house on Lake Huron rented by my in-laws, a weekend getaway to my aunt and uncle's cottage on Torch Lake, plus a day trip to several wineries in southwestern Michigan. Yes, I can just hear your tiny violins playing now. But it did manage to put me off my game for most of the summer, and I'm just now getting on track for my fall plans.

I have managed to do some things, though, most of which are detailed on my writerly blog. I've been working on a book trailer for Brutal Light, messing about with the Joomla template for (and otherwise fussin' around on) my site, as detailed in this blog post and later updated and corrected in this one. I posted some short reviews of recent books I've liked -- James L. Grant's Velan the Reticent, Tim Marquitz's Armageddon Bound, and Naomi Clark's Wild. And I submitted a couple short stories to different markets. So I haven't been completely sloth-like, see.

On the homefront, I've been helping out my wife with the charitable event, Showcase 4 Sudan, an art exhibit/sale at Madonna University with all proceeds going to Bridges for Sudan. If you're an artist and want to donate a piece (painting, sketch, or other created item -- it doesn't have to be related to Sudan) to be displayed/sold, she's accepting them up through September 24th. If you're in the area (Livonia, Michigan) on October 1st, please stop in and see the art, view the showing of Guisma's Story, maybe buy an art piece, or just donate to the cause. (Questions? Send them to her at showcase4sudan (at) earthlink (dot) net, or directly to her on Facebook.)

Back to my plans. Who all is going to Conclave in October? I'll be there (as an attendee, and depositor of fliers promoting the novel)... my real name will be on my badge, so if you see me, make happy welcome noises!

Also, I'm on Google+ now, for those who want to encircle me. (And I have invites, for those of you not on who want on.) And apparently I'm still on Orkut. I'd forgotten that even existed... and I'm going to go back to forgetting, starting... now.

Aside from that... it's just been day-to-day for me. Watchin' movies, spoiling the kitty, keeping up with the exercise, losing some weight, reflecting on how politics these days is increasingly looking and sounding like Tom Waits's 'In the Colosseum'. How's by you?
gwox: (sinister)
(x-posted from here)

Brutal Light has been scheduled for a December 1, 2011 publication from Damnation Books. More news as events warrant... in the meantime, I have things to plan.

Things... oh yes, the things there will be...

gwox: (sinister)
(x-posted from here, because... because I can.)

So... it looks like Brutal Light has found its publisher.

I can't give out details at this point... but it's happening. It's really happening.

More info when I can tell it. I'm going to go have myself a little lie-down now.


gwox: (sinister)
Just a FYI, A Taste of Strange, my writing-oriented blog on, is now being syndicated via NetworkedBlogs to Facebook. If you're using the NetworkedBlogs app there, please add this blog to your list of blogs what are being followed. Thanks!

gwox: (sinister)
Egad... didn't really mean to not post in so long. At least, not post *here*, as I've been cookin' on my writerly blog of writerly things. My Dreamwidth/Livejournal area was going to be All Stuff Outside of Writing, or, What's Eating Gary Now.

But... finding time's been tuff. Then things come along that catch my attention and don't let it go 'till it's all exhausted. Such as a shiny new Android-powered smartphone. Such as Amazon's Kindle, on said smartphone. Such as all the crap that's going on in the world right now, from Egypt to Wisconsin to Japan.

But somewhere in there I think I've found a way to reslice my waking hours so I can post here (as opposed to Facebook or Twitter) a little more often. So hopefully we can get reacquainted.

(By the way, this non-writerly journal is on both Dreamwidth and Livejournal. If you, also, are on both, but are only connected to me on one, could you connect to me on the other as well? Otherwise it's weird and awkward and there's a chance of rickets.)

gwox: (sinister)
There once was a lad who wanted to tell stories. He started telling stories just for fun, and eventually discovered it was more than just fun--it was what he wanted to do. What he wanted to be. And since the entrance exam for becoming a writer was fairly easy ("Q. Hey, kid, wanna be a writer?" "A. Yes." "Oh, great. I'll go tell Shakespeare and Milton to scooch down some."), he became one.

He wrote a lot for Internet consumption. He wrote short stories, three of which saw publication. He made four or five attempts at writing a novel, only one of which turned into a finished manuscript. He seemed on his way. Then the... I dunno, what are we callin' 'em, the Oughts? the Two Thousands?... sure, let's go with that... then the Two Thousands happened.

Things got strange. He got married. He got a house. He got way too much debt. He worked. He had troubles large and small. He managed to write another novel during all this, but his other output was nearly nil. He struggled. He moaned. He wore a saggy diaper that leaked.

By 2010, however, things had changed again. He was out of debt, and had short-sold his house. Now living in a rented townhouse with his wife and cats, he found himself wanting to tell tales again, to whatever audience he could manage. He reapplied himself to trying to get his manuscripts published, and discovered that many publishers look for authors who are craven little self-promo monkeys stand ready to do their responsible part to promote their works. He also discovered that some prime evidence of this willingness would be to--as put to him in the least-technical terms possible--'make a thing on the internet.'

So he did. And he called it...

...which was pretty stupid, since his name was Bob Jenkins.

Anyway, long story short, Bob ran away and is presently believed to be a flamenco dancer in Antigua. As I was looking to make a fresh start after getting in for 50 large to the Swedish mob an exciting career in accounting, I bought the website, married Bob's wife, and changed my name.

The website has some semi-exciting biographical information about 'me,' some capsule descriptions of 'my' published stories, and some other dross you'll probably only want to read once, if that. It also has a blog, A Taste of Strange, which you will hopefully want to return to again and again as I desperately try to be interesting, or at least amusing, on subjects such as writing, fandom, and things of that nature. (Or, if you are sane, use the RSS feed instead, in conjunction with your favorite RSS-supporting program or app. If you have a Dreamwidth account, you can subscribe to the syndicated feed on Dreamwidth and see new entries on your reading page. If you have a LiveJournal account, you can subscribe to the syndicated feed on LiveJournal and see new entries on your friends page.)

That's all. Please enjoy the bran muffins.

gwox: (eyeswim)
I've finally been able to take some vacation time this year, for the first time since last November. The garganto-work-project-thing that was, as last reported, jumping up and down on my head has now been staked, beheaded, and buried at the crossroads beneath the light of the full moon (or, if you want the technical jargon, 'put into production'), so work pressures have suddenly gotten much lighter, to the point where I can actually be leisurely during my leisure time. Hurrah!

All the things that were causing me stress in the past few years -- job, finances, other stuff -- are causing much less these days. Plus, I'm writing again, on a new short story. Plans for my next novel are coming together. I'm actually feeling kind of...

Wait, I'd better not say it.

Um... attention universe, ignore all that I just said. I feel, um, really bad and stuff. Argh. Because reptilians from another dimension are making my head all explodey. That would ruin anyone's day.

gwox: (eyeswim)
Kristyn and I did make it to PenguiCon 2008 this year, though we only made it for Saturday evening through Sunday early afternoon. It was a good time, all told (and before you ask, I was entirely oblivious to this controversial activity). I picked up a couple intriguing books (Where's My Jetpack by Daniel H. Wilson, and Discarded Science by John Grant), saw a number of I-seem-to-see-them-only-at-con friends, and generally had a fun time.

But by far, the coolest thing that went on at PenguiCon 2008 was this (as captured in this YouTube video):

The Singing Tesla Coils

(Note: this is the first of what looks like a series of videos chronicling the Tesla Coils at Penguicon, which had concerts on both Friday and Saturday evenings.)



Mar. 1st, 2008 10:06 am
gwox: (eyeswim)
Work has gone from just sitting on my head to jumping up and down on it. Apparently, it wears stiletto heels on its feet. Who knew?

And when that's not been happening, I've been in the middle of a re-finance of my mortgage (from an ARM to a fixed rate) that's somewhere between fiasco and farce, but is very nearly done.

So, I've been reading LJ off and on, usually only on weekends, but have had little time to post or even comment. And that will continue to be the case through March and probably the first couple weeks of April.

Damn, I have to do my taxes sometime in there, too.

But other than this, life is pretty fair. It could be worse. Last year at this time was considerably worse than now.

How's by you?


Dec. 14th, 2007 04:47 pm
gwox: (eyeswim)
I just learned this morning, from lemagia, that Terry Pratchett has been diagnosed with an early-onset form of Alzheimers. Which is not good news for anyone, though Terry's announcement handles it with optimism and warm wit.

I don't think I'm going to get into, just now, how much his books have affected me, or how I have in recent years read his books to see how it is he got so damn good at what he does. Like he says, he's 'not dead yet,' so no eulogies, please. (And the last line in the announcement is priceless, and pure Terry.) And well wishes shouldn't have anything to do with how many books he wrote (a lot), or how good they were (very very and very some more).

I met him at a science fiction convention held in Detroit a few years back (the first Penguicon, actually), and found him as kind, warm, witty and charming as anyone who's read his books could hope. So I'll just wish him my best in this, and hope that the end is still a long ways away.
gwox: (monkey)
The FFTFNAMIOA campaign has, at long last, reached its glorious conclusion. I completed the final draft of Brutal Light about three weeks ago, finished the dreaded and shadowy Putting It Into Standard Manuscript Format ceremony two weeks ago, and spent much of the last week doing the synopsis and cover letter and other arcana that publishers claim they like.

Today, I took my submissions package (consisting of the cover letter, prologue and first three chapters, synopsis, and stamped reply envelope) and I MAILED THE HELL OUT OF THAT THING!

(Actually, I just handed it to the guy at the post office. But on the inside, I mailed the hell out of it.)

So, off it goes, to darken slush piles for years to come. And I can actually write something else now. It makes me tingle in dreaded and shadowy places.

Thanks to everyone who offered to critique, said vaguely encouraging things, or at least put up with my incoherent rambles about the progress of the novel whenever asked about how it was going, or how I was doing, or if I like toast. (I do, by the way.) It helped me through the rough patches.

That's all. Enjoy the bacon bits.

gwox: (monkey)
I've been editing up a storm in my campaign to Finally Finish The Freakin' Novel And Mail It Out Already, which is the principal reason I've not been making posts to LJ of late. (Well, that and a very nasty stomach bug that had me laid up most of last weekend and then jumped over to my wife, who is just now recovering.) This period of me not posting to LJ (and not doing very much commenting on friends posts, though I do continue to read them) will likely continue until the glorious FFTFNAMIOA campaign has reached its conclusion (which also means that every other writing project I've got in mind, is On Hold until then).

So... there. I guess.

In fact, the only reason you're getting a post now is because some of you still may have not seen the movie Pan's Labyrinth, and some of that subset of you may still have it showing at some reasonably local theater ("reasonably" as in "somewhere in the state in which you live"). If you are a part of this select group... why the hell are you still reading this? Why are you not out driving, biking, running, or crawling in the direction of that theater like crazed sinners who have suddenly seen the horrifying errors of your non-seeing-Pan's-Labyrinth ways? WHYYYYYYYYY???

Seriously. You should.

In the meantime, I have a grindstone to get fresh with.
gwox: (monkey)
This is going to be brief, because while I'm on vacation this week, I'm busier than I would be if I were at work. Such is the fate of those of us who wait until the last week to gift shop. And the pet stores are all out of humbug.

This has been a long and somewhat rough year for me, particularly these past three months, which is why I haven't been posting much. (Sorry... I know I shouldn't, but I tend to clam up when things aren't going good. Of course, I'm not very talkative when things are going good, too. It's all part of my mysterious allure.) But, without going into details, things are looking up once more, and I'm almost back to feeling like a functional human being again.

I have next week off, too, but I expect to be doing stuff other than spending time in front of the computer then, so you'll hear from me next in 2007. In the meantime, I hope you and yours have a great holiday time, and a great new year's celebration. Do something I wouldn't do, eh?
gwox: (creature)
I haven't been posting, or even commenting, in a while, which makes me a naughty Gary. Last week was a financially stressful week in general, and one day in specific (thanks to an automotive brake repair job that revealed how bad off my car's rotors and brake pads and brake shoes and brake spitoons were looking). Today things are looking up somewhat. Or maybe I'm just high. It's hard to tell sometimes.

But now, it's meme time! This pinched from [info]mrbankies:

If you ask...

1. I'll respond with something I like about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll name something we should do together.
4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me (or just me).
5. I'll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I'll leave you a quote that is somehow appropriate to you.
7. I'll ask you something that I've always wondered about you, if I have such a thought.
8. If I do this for you, please post this on your journal so you can do the same for other people.
gwox: (creature)
So. Spring has sprung. In case you were wondering what that rusty coiled metal thing was doing lodged in your right nostril. No point suing - you have a calendar to warn you about these things.

Back on the ranch, I'm more-or-less managing to get back into making progress on the second draft of the novel. Some bits are getting trimmed, other bits are getting added. More added then subtracted, so far. The date I gave before about shoveling this out to a publisher by Memorial Day? That's in the ground, making the flowers grow real purty. Next best guess is that by Memorial Day, I should at least be ready to start floating the first half or three-quarters out and about to beta readers. (And hopefully by then, I'll have figured out how the hell I want to do that -- the old school way of emailing a file, or the new school way of putting it up on a password protected web site. Probably wouldn't hurt to actually ask about who wants to be a beta reader, but I'm holding off on that 'till the day gets, you know, closer. So people don't volunteer, then forget, then feel guilty because they have lives and they're too busy just at the point when I come a'callin.)

Meanwhile, I'm also helping my wife set up her photography business, particularly the web-based portion of it. And I've got about five metric truckloads of leaves to clear out of the backyard because I was too busy last fall to deal with it. Oh, yeah, and I have to do my taxes. And for some inscrutable, probably blamable-on-the-conspiracy-or-elves-or-Mitchell reason, I'm thinking of starting up a webcomic (though not until I've finished shoveling the novel at a publisher - because, you know, I like having my skull not explode), and I keep coming up with stuff for it instead of doing all the other stuff demanding my attention.

And somewhere in all of that, find some time to sleep. For a month.

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