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Mourning’s Light January 8, 2013

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Fiction, General Fiction, Real Life.
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I posted a new story over on my new site: Mourning’s Light. It is a response to a Today’s Author writing prompt and is a bit of a departure from my normal style. Check it out!

Interviews and Features to Start 2013 January 2, 2013

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Real Life.
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In the past two days, I’ve been interviewed and have had a couple of blog posts I wrote in 2012 included in a Best Blog Posts article.

I have posted about this on the new site, but I wanted to make sure to put it here, too.

I am hoping this creative energy will continue to flow through all of 2013!

My New Writing Gig December 29, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Real Life.
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I posted a new post over on my new site: My New Writing Gig. Check it out!

My Christmas Present to Me December 25, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Real Life.
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I have long wanted to do this but this year the coupon codes and discounts added up to a “wow, you would be dumb not to do this right now” moment. So, I bought my own domain.

http://www.robdiaz2.com

I have copied everything from Thirteenth Dimension as well as everything from Thirteen Exits over to the new site. This means I have one less blog to maintain and it also means (I hope) that I will be making more of an effort to update on a regular basis.

I hope everyone who is following me here will link over and follow me on the new site as well. For the first few weeks I will cross post everything. But soon I will only update the new blog.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this or thoughts about the new site! I think this is exciting!

Release Announcment: Deck the Halls November 28, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Fiction, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories.
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I am pleased to announce that Emergent Publishing will release Deck the Halls: festive tales of fear and cheer worldwide on December 6, 2012. My story, “Yuletide Treasure” is included in this anthology.


Deck the Halls: festive tales of fear and cheer
Editor: Jodi Cleghorn

Original Artwork: Andrew McKiernan

Cover Design: eMergent Publishing

ISBN: 978-0-9871126-4-­4 (paperback)
978-0-­9871126-­5-1 (eBook)

Pages: 226

DECK THE HALLS traverses the joy and jeopardy of the festive season, from Yule to Mōdraniht, Summer Solstice to Years’ End. The stories journey through consternations and celebrations, past, present and future, which might be or never were.

Along the way you’ll meet troll hunters, consumer dissidents, corset-bound adventurers, a joint-­toking spirit, big-­hearted gangbangers, an outcast hybrid spaceship, petrol-toting politicians, mythical swingers and a boy who unwittingly controls the weather.

Heart-warming and horrifying, the collection is a merry measure of cross-genre, short fiction subverting traditional notions of the holiday season. (more…)

Coming Soon: Deck the Halls–A Literary Mix Tape June 14, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Fiction, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories.
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Later this year, my next short story will appear in print in the next Literary Mix Tapes publication, "Deck the Halls.

DECK THE HALLS traverses the joy and jeopardy of the festive season, from Yule to Mōdraniht, Summer Solstice to Years’ End. The stories journey through consternations and celebrations, past, present and future, which might be or never were. FRONT COVER DtH

Along the way you’ll meet troll hunters, consumer dissidents, corset-­‐bound adventurers, a joint-­‐toking spirit, big-­‐hearted gangbangers, an outcast hybrid spaceship, petrol‐toting politicians, mythical swingers and a boy who unwittingly controls the weather.

Heart‐warming and horrifying, the collection is a merry measure of cross‐genre, short fiction subverting traditional notions of the holiday season.

International release of Deck the Halls is scheduled for November.  In the meantime, you can get more information by clicking on the Literary Mix Tapes website.

Deck the Halls, a Literary Mixtape February 27, 2012

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy.
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Exciting news!  Earlier today I received the edits back for my story, Yuletide Treasure, which is to appear in the upcoming Deck the Halls anthology.  This anthology, originally planned for a release late in 2011, is now planned to be released as a Christmas in July (2012) publication.

The premise for Deck the Halls is to have stories written by emerging authors from around the world, inspired by the lyrics of the holiday traditional, Deck the Halls (you know, “Tis the season to be jolly, Fa-la-la-la-la, La-la, La, La” and all that). My story is themed on the line “While I tell of Yuletide Treasure”, the eighth line of the verse.

I won’t give away any secrets about the story, of course, but you might find that there is some wrapping paper, a dead Great Aunt named after my daughter, a reindeer or two (or more), some teenaged angst, some – well, you’ll just have to read it to find out more.

I’ll let you know more about the publication date and availability as we get closer and I learn more specific details. I believe there will be excerpts or previews available online on the Literary Mix Tapes website at some point, but I do not have the details of that as of yet.

For now I just wanted to share the exciting news as I get ready to revise and edit!

My 2012 Anti Resolutions December 30, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Fiction Friday, Humorous.
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written based on the [Fiction] Friday prompt on December 30, 2011: “What are your Anti-Resolutions for the coming year?”)

 

  1. I will not petition the USDA to make them add a coffee section to the ChooseMyPlate dietary guidelines, despite the fact that coffee is an important part of a balanced diet.  I will, however, continue to pursue all avenues while attempting to ensure that coffee is identified as a vegetable, just like ketchup.
  2. I will not bedazzle my cellphone, my sneakers, my eyeglasses or my laptop bag, no matter how much my wife and daughter think I should or how much my son triple-dog-dares me to do so.
  3. I will not go quietly the next time the aliens come to get me.
  4. I will not sit and eat pizza and donuts while my son does planks, pushups, sit-ups, wind sprints and other strengthening activities in preparation for the upcoming baseball season, mostly because he can now throw a baseball hard enough to hurt me. I might chance some nice, hot coffee, though. Coffee is worth a few baseball-induced bruises.
  5. I will not spend all of my time reminding my daughter that no one likes teenagers– at least half of my time will be spent reminding my son that no one likes pre-teens, either.
  6. I will not buy a Clean Step Mat just because it resembles the magical cleaning properties of the Sisal Carpet from my play, “The Good Old Days”.
  7. I will not tell the Little Neighbor Girl that every time she freaks out about a spider, mosquito or stink bug, and every time she leaves her doll, iPod, game system or homework at my house an angel loses its wings.
  8. I will not make up a whole bunch of fake email addresses with which I then comment on my own blog posts with opposing arguments and opinions just to make it feel like my posts are powerful and edgy.
  9. I will not divorce Kim Kardashian, Sinead O’Conner, Drew Barrymore, Ali Landry, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, Carmen Electra, Jennifer Lopez, Renee Zellweger, Lisa Marie Presley, Katy Perry or Ashton Kutcher this year.  Well, probably
  10. If I grow a tomato that looks like the Virgin Mary, I will not put it up for sale on eBay. If, however, there’s one that looks like it has Justin Bieber’s hair… well, that one will be up for grabs.
  11. I will not fall prey to the complacency that comes from everyone saying that December 21, 2012 is going to be the end of the world – my vegetable-based religion will be ready to take over the world and I will be named Prime Potato of the First Couch of Veganomicalism at the Most High Holy Time of 13:13 on December 22, 2012.
  12. I will not try to convince the kids that if they watch the cats play with balls of yarn they will be on the road to an easy PhD in physics as they solve all of the mysteries of String Theory.
  13. I will not sprinkle catnip into my wife’s pillowcase and blankets just so the cat will bother her enough to make her wake up. Well, at least not on the weekends.

Just One of the Girls December 29, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Real Life.
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So, I’ve long held that despite being male, I am just one of the girls. Lacking any real evidence of this, though, I’ve been forced to use more anecdotal facts to try to persuade the non-believers among my various acquaintances that this is, in fact, true. However, it seems that my distaste for monster trucks, my lack of interest in barbecuing and the unnatural-to-some number of female friends I’ve had throughout my life (historically, about 90% of my friends have been female) is not really a confirmation of my membership in the Just-One-of-the-Girls Club of America .

The fact that some kind soul has subscribed me to Redbook magazine, Working Mother magazine and has also gotten me a brand new exclusive subscription to Teen Vogue magazine (complete with a nice, big For Girls Only notice on the invitation) is also not strong enough evidence.

Well, now I have real proof.

As evidence that I am, in fact, just one of the girls, I present the Gender Analyzer for blogs. The Gender Analyzer is meant to help you, the reader of any given blog, to determine the gender of the author of the blog. I do not know the mechanism it uses, but I am assuming that a lot of science and psychology have gone into figuring out what words men use and what words women use when writing.

And science, of course, cannot be argued with, especially when it is coupled with psychology.  So, here we go:

The Theory

I, Rob, a male, am nonetheless just one of the girls

The Science

I have several blogs. Here are the results when I expand them to show all posts (so the analyzer can parse everything on the site and not just the latest thirteen posts) and then run them through the Gender Analyzer:

  • Thirteenth Dimension (this blog) when analyzed, comes up as likely being written by a woman (71% score).
  • Percival’s Place, when analyzed, comes up as being likely to have been written by a man (66% score).
  • Thirteen Exits, my travel blog, comes up as likely being written by a woman (68% score)
  • Thirteen Harvests, my gardening blog, is, apparently, written by a woman(70% score).So, three of my four blogs, when read in their entirety, appear to be written by a woman.

    The Psychology

    I suppose I’m conflicted by this. At least sort of. I mean, I’ve always just been one of the girls and I have no problem with that at all… but at the same time, having some computer program give me cold, hard scientific evidence that I may not be a real man feels like it changes things. I mean, seriously – I do like the power tools and lawn equipment that “real men” like (assuming that real men are into rechargeable, battery-powered lawn mowers and weed-whackers) so where does this computer program get off telling me I may not be a man?

    All of this leaves me wondering if I should just officially adopt a single-name penname such as “Roberta,” which was the name all the women in my wife’s all-female dorm at college called me, or if I just need to put some more cursing, fighting and pyrotechnics into my writing, just to prove that I am, in fact, a man.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know that I can’t argue with science and this is clearly science. I also know that anything found on the internet must be a true and accurate portrayal of the universe, so clearly this proves that I am, truly, just one of the girls.

Coming Soon to a Paperback Near You October 15, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, General Fiction, Publications, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Short Stories.
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Within the next few weeks, you will be able to purchase your very own paperback copies of not one, not two, but three anthologies in which I have stories.

First up, we have two books in the Chinese Whisperings lineup:

RedAndYinAndYang

My story, Out of the Darkness, appears in Chinese Whisperings: The Red Book; my story, Thirteen Feathers, appears in Chinese Whisperings: The Yin and Yang Books.  The Chinese Whisperings books are mainstream fiction anthologies consisting of inter-related short stories which were written sequentially – each subsequent author wrote based on what had been written previously.  Twenty-two authors from around the globe contributed stories (ten of us in The Red Book and all twenty-two of us in The Yin and Yang Books).  The Red Book was released in eBook format on January 1, 2010 while The Yin and Yang Books were released electronically on October 10, 2010.  And now, after many, many visits and pranks from the entity lovingly known as the CW Fairy**, the paperbacks are finally shipping!

See those links above? The ones that serve as the title for my stories in these anthologies?  Click them.  They bring you to a story teaser as well as behind the scenes commentary about the stories.  I’m told the excerpts, and the behind-the-scenes details, are must read material!

The paperbacks were supposed to be available on October 11, 2011.  But the aforementioned CW Fairy decided another prank was in order and as a result the date slipped a bit.  But now you can pre-order the paperbacks directly from eMergent Publishing right now.  And as long as Amazon.com can keep the CW Fairy at bay, you’ll be able to order from them in the next week or so.

The third book coming out in paperback form this month is the Literary Mix Tapes anthology called Eighty-Nine:

EightyNine

My story, “All I Wanted,” appears in this anthology.  The Eighty-Nine anthology has twenty-six authors from around the world creating stand-alone stories inspired by specific songs from the year 1989. The song which inspired my story is “Funky Cold Medina” by Tone-Lōc.  This anthology is speculative fiction.

I don’t have fancy links to an excerpt or behind-the-scenes commentary for this story… but I do have a link that might be even better:  For a limited time, you can enter to win one of three free copies of Eighty-Nine.  That’s right—between now and October 25, 2011, all you have to do is click on that link and then the button in the middle of the page that says “Enter to Win” and you may win a free copy of this anthology!  Good luck—and if you win a copy, stop back and let me know!

I also have a fancy link to a video book trailer for this book, too.  It’s only the teaser trailer at the moment, but it is still fun!

Eighty Nine releases officially on October 25, 2011.  You can pre-order it now through the Literary Mix Tapes website.

As always, I thank you for your support of these projects.  I’ve been blessed to work on these anthologies with some amazing emerging authors. I hope you get a chance to pick up one or more of these books and if you do or if you have already done so, I’d love to know what you think of them.  Post comments here or, even better, on Goodreads.

________________________________________________________________________
**The CW Fairy is a filthy, awful, vile beast that no one has ever seen, but most everyone involved with Chinese Whisperings has interacted with from time to time. Trust me—you do not want to meet the CW Fairy in a dark alley.  Or in an airport lounge.

Writing Is My Time Capsule June 12, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Non-fiction.
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I was tagged by Icy Sedgwick in her meme and while it has taken me a few days to get to it, I absolutely do not want to be the one who breaks this chain letter… so here’s my post about what writing means to me.

Writing is my time capsule.  Or maybe it’s a scrapbook.  Whatever stamp I may put on it, writing is a history.

I have written for as long as I can remember.  Poetry, short stories, plays, novels, limericks… whatever it was, it contained a part of me.  Much like someone might build a scrapbook of important events for themselves or their child, my compiled pile of writing is a memory book of thoughts, ideas, emotions and dreams.

While I lost quite a bit of the writing I did in my early years thanks to yellowed paper, faded pencil marks and water damage, I still have most of what I wrote from my middle school years and beyond.  Whenever I go back and read any of it, no matter how good or bad the writing itself was, I remember where I was, what I was doing and what I was feeling at the time.  I remember who inspired each piece, as well, so I am reminded of friends or family or unrequited teenage love.  I can see patterns in the writing that show me periods of deep depression, periods of extreme happiness and periods where I was (or was not) at ease with myself and who I was.

Even though the majority of my writing is fiction, there is a lot of truth to be learned from it. When I wrote things as a teenager, I couldn’t see it then. Nor can I see it in the writing I do today.  But the passage of time allows me to look back and see what was really going on inside my head and, sometimes, remind me of how I dealt with situations that have come up again.  While it would be easy to say “wow, Rob, you deal with everything by hiding on a different planet, with different rules which make your problems go away”, it isn’t really the case. Escaping to a different time or place is certainly a part of the reason I write, but I could tell stories that are set on a sandy beach just as easily as I tell stories set in alien landscapes.  While the settings, the aliens and the abundance of free coffee are included to entertain people who might read my writing, the emotions and plot elements are straight from my life, usually something I’m trying to work through without yelling at too many people. Putting them on the page allows me to review them and analyze them later to see how I did.

What is the writing I’m doing today reflecting about me and my life today? I don’t know. But in five or ten years, when I re-open this time capsule, I should have some interesting things to sort out.

Tagging:

Matt Robb

Virginia Diaz

Heather Dudley

Nothing But Flowers, A Literary Mix-tape February 16, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Edited, Publications, Real Life, Sci-fi/Fantasy.
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It has been my privilege and good fortune to be asked to be a part of a new anthology!

NothingButFlowerscoverFINAL

“Nothing But Flowers: tales of post apocalyptic love” is the second offering from Literary Mix Tapes (a quarterly crowd-sourced short fiction anthology inspired by music).

Inspired by the Talking Heads song of the same name, Nothing But Flowers explores the complexities and challenges of love in a post-apocalyptic landscape. From plague to fundamentalist governments, comets and war, from terra firma to outer space the people on these pages face up to what it means to love and be loved when you’ve lost everything.

My story, “Escape from Paradise”,provides the “comets” portion of the above blurb as it details the last-minute attempt to escape of the last outpost of humanity.

You can get information about this book and about the many, varied authors from around the world by checking out the Literary Mix Tapes website.  Starting on February 17, 2011 you should be able to purchase web-access to the stories or an eBook version (ePub, mobi or pdf format) as well as pre-order the paperback.

All proceeds from this anthology go to support the Grantham Flood Support fund, supporting the victims of the January 2011 flooding in wide areas of Queensland, Australia.

Thanks to all who have or will support this great and worthy cause.

As an update, you can now purchase the paperback version of this anthology from amazon.com. It is available here:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/098074461X

My 2011 Anti-Resolutions January 5, 2011

Posted by Rob Diaz in Biographical, Edited, Fiction Friday, Humorous.
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(written based on the [Fiction] Friday prompt on December 31, 2010: “What are your Anti-Resolutions for the coming year?”)

Note:  Most people put in 5 or 10 of these… but somehow, 13 seemed more appropriate for me.

  1. I will not continue trying to find a legitimate way to claim my coffee investments as a business expense, even though I drink most of it during business hours.
  2. I will not blame Microsoft for everything that is wrong with technology in the world; clearly, most of the blame belongs on Apple.
  3. I will not blame the cats or the dog for smells that most certainly came from my daughter.
  4. I will not sing about compost and pig slop at my next audition for a role in a musical; clearly, it’s better to sing about gang violence and infidelity instead.
  5. I will not continue to float the idea of coffee-flavored cigarettes and coffee-flavored alcohol products because I am completely against supporting such addictive behaviors as smoking and drinking.
  6. I will not go into local steak houses just to place “Meat is Murder” stickers on all of the tables, chairs, menus and light fixtures; I will make sure to order a blooming onion and use the “For Customer Use Only” restroom first.
  7. I will not allow my son to blame the cats, the dog, his sister or his mother for smells that most certainly came from him.
  8. I will not continue my lobbying efforts to make March 30 a national holiday in honor of the glorious day in 1971 when Starbucks opened its first store in Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington.
  9. I will not continue to blame science for letting me down by not having invented flying cars and teleportation devices yet when it is obvious that these technologies do exist and have been suppressed and hidden by a little-known, right-wing government conspiracy.
  10. I will not make my apocalypse story be about December 21, 2012 because the world doesn’t need another story about that specific apocalypse on that specific day; clearly, the real apocalyptic event would be due to a shortage of broccoli and garlic on December 22, 2012 and will take everyone by surprise because of the media’s focus on December 21. (Multi-million dollar movie contract for this unique idea… here I come!)
  11. I will not goad my wife into breaking her anti-resolutions by bringing Caxton or the Great Vowel Shift up in otherwise ordinary conversations, even though it would be a lot of fun to watch her try to avoid her inevitable rant about the subjects.
  12. I will not make fun of the dog for wearing the ridiculous outfits my wife puts on him; I’m sure that if he had opposable thumbs, he’d change out of that stuff and into ripped jeans and spiked studded collars as soon as he got out of her line of sight, just like any self-respecting dog would do.
  13. I will not continue trying to find a legitimate way to claim my coffee purchases and intake as a healthcare expense, even though I drink it for the health of those around me and I once had it prescribed by a doctor (No lie! This happened on November 9, 2010 – along with a slip for antibiotics and codeine-laced cough medicine, I got a slip for a cup of coffee).