All good things come to an end. I’ve known that since I was a child, when I asked my art teacher whether she had kept any of her childhood drawings, and she, with aplomb, replied no, they all burned in a house fire. But I’ve become more aware of that recently, as, one by one, places that I enjoy have come to an end. I’ve written about this before, but now it’s struck the place where I’ve written much of this: Caffe Romanza is closing.
As I’ve said before, it’s all too easy to kill the golden goose: a business decision which appears to save money may actually undermine the way you make money. Perhaps Books Inc is struggling, but I and many others like me spend a lot late at night, and when they cut their closing hours from 11pm to 10pm it took away one of the reasons I had for going there. Moving from their glorious two-story corner location to a regular storefront will remove more reasons for more people; and eliminating the cafe will remove more reasons still, leaving it just another bookstore instead of a landmark destination.
I don’t have access to their books and I can’t know all their reasons; maybe they were forced into this move. But I’ve talked to similar business owners about similar moves, and they never say, “we can’t afford the late night staff” but instead say “we aren’t making money on the late night traffic,” which shows that they don’t get the connection that the traffic they get at earlier hours is dependent on the later hours, and those of us that are night owls will be compelled to go everywhere. It’s not the four buck cup of coffee we’re paying for: it’s the pleasant environment to drink it in the company of friends.
Still, I wish Books Inc the best of luck in their new location, and I’ll be sure to drop by. And I hope Jay at Caffe Romanza finds a new option. But I will miss that place where I wrote the bulk of my many novels … but I will soon move on and find a new favorite, as the cycle continues.
Pictured: Books Inc, an insanely large gift certificate for Caffe Romanza given to me by my colleagues on my tenth work anniversary, and Caffe Romanza, end of shift.
Facebook is not a waste of time: it saved my cat.
Not long after my good friend Jim Davies shared a story about his beloved pug’s sudden illness, I came home to find our beautiful cat “Loki the Loquacious” turned lethargic, not interested in food, and yowling at touches to his abdomen. This struck me as seriously unusual, and I was motivated by Jim’s experience to look up Loki’s symptoms.
The recommendation: take him to the vet right away. So we did.
It turned out we were right not to wait: this was a life-threatening urinary blockage which could have killed him through cardiac arrest. According to the emergency room vet, this is a particular issue for male cats near the end of winter, when for some reason they drink less. This leads to increasingly concentrated urine, crystallization of debris in the bladder, and, thanks to the (ahem) tapered nature of the male cat anatomy, can lead to blockages that can kill a cat in under 72 hours.
Fortunately we caught it in time, and they were able to catheterize him, put him on an IV and antibiotics. Loki started out as a feral near-bully cat, but after years of love the vets pronounced him a sweetie.
They thought he would be home after a couple of days, though it was closer to five. But he’s home safe now, and that happened because me and my friends were on Facebook, sharing our stories.
Jim, if you’re reading this, as I said on Facebook: I’m sorry for your loss. But thank you for sharing it. You helped me save my cat’s life.
Welp, that was anticlimactic! Thanks, God, for a smooth update to WordPress 4.7.3! (And thanks to the WordPress team for maintaining backwards compatibility). And hey, look – the Library has close to 1,000 posts!
Expect major site updates in the months to come, as WordPress’s Themes and Pages now enable me to do things I could only formerly do with static pages and hand-coded pages, and it will all be backed up easier thanks to WordPress’s Jetpack plugin.
The things you learn helping other people with their web sites ….
Welp, it’s time: I’ve backed up the Library of Dresan three ways to Sunday, said a prayer … and now am planning to upgrade WordPress from 3.0.1-alpha-15359 to 4.7.3. I know that’s 1.7.2 full version numbers, but it’s been too long, and there are too many new features I need, so … time to press the button.
God, please help me! Everyone else, your prayers, please.
Lots of great content …
… and this year I have pages and pages of notes!
Stay tuned …
… or check the talks out in a few weeks on the GDC Vault!
At long last, Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, my fourth published novel, is OUT in the world! You can get it wherever fine books are sold:
The Clockwork Time Machine tells the story of Jeremiah Willstone, a female adventurer from an alternate world called Victoriana, where, because women’s liberation happened a century early and twice as many brains ended up working on hard problems, science has advanced more in 1908 than it has in our world today – but inadvertently, these scientific advances attracted the attention of aliens called Foreigners, who have come calling to make this world their own!
When Jeremiah’s treacherous uncle steals a dangerous alien weapon and secrets it away on an airship to a possibly hostile shore, Jeremiah leads a strike team to retrieve it – and finds herself chasing him across the seas of time itself, with her uncle just possibly aiming to upend the entire world order she holds dear! With time running out, Jeremiah must sacrifice everything she is to save everyone she loves.
It might not be immediately apparent from this shot, but outside, it’s sunny and the weather is nice. That’s despite the mammoth evacuation of San Jose yesterday … which, for the record, was nowhere near me:
I live near Coyote Valley, not Coyote Creek – two totally different areas miles apart – so my home was providentially spared.
I was, however, woken up yesterday morning by a text, a call, and a Messenger message, all wondering whether I was OK. My wife, off to the East Coast on a business trip, called to ask if I’d evacuated yet; I looked out the window to sunny skies, sleeping cats and the early-morning sound of a leaf blower, and said no.
Sorry for concerning you, I know there have been three different disasters / evacuations in San Jose recently! Last night at dinner at Alexander’s, the server, my good friend Todd, reported three different closures of Highway 17 that kept him from work – one that involved a gun battle and five hours trapped in his car, but the rest, weather. 101 in San Jose has suffered similarly. I think these are somehow all related to “atmospheric rivers” which fortunately have dumped all their water before hitting my area. I’d never heard of these before, but apparently the terminology has been around since the 90s.
Thanks for your concern, though! I too am pleased I am not dead! I’ll try to keep it that way!
For those wondering what I’ve been up to for the last six months, the biggest thing is THIS …
At long last, JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE is coming to print! We’ll be picking the actual release date in the next few days, but I can’t think of a better gift for my birthday than seeing the cover of my new novel!
Here’s a sneak peek at the back cover blurb:
From an Epic Award winning author comes a sprawling tale of brass buttons, ray guns, and two-fisted adventure!
In an alternate empire filled with mechanical men, women scientists and fantastic contraptions powered by steam, a high ranking officer in the Victoriana Defense League betrays his country when he steals an airship and awakens an alien weapon that will soon hatch into a walking factory of death.
Commander Jeremiah Willstone and her team must race through time in a desperate bid to stop the traitor’s plan to use the alien weapon to overthrow the world’s social order. With time running out, Jeremiah may have to sacrifice everything she is to save everyone she loves.
“Addictive, sassy, sexy, funny, intense, brilliant.” -Bitten By Books, on Frost Moon
Epic Award winner Anthony Francis writes the Dakota Frost, Skindancer series and Jeremiah Willstone series while working on robots for “the Search Engine Which Starts with a ‘G’.”
Welcome to the future, ladies and gentlemen. Here in the future, the obscure television shows of my childhood rate an entire section in the local bookstore, which combines books, games, music, movies, and even vinyl records with a coffeehouse and restaurant.
Here in the future, the heretofore unknown secrets of my discipline, artificial intelligence, are now conveniently compiled in compelling textbooks that you can peruse at your leisure over a cup of coffee.
Here in the future, genre television shows play on the monitors of my favorite bar / restaurant, and the servers and I have meaningful conversations about the impact of robotics on the future of labor.
And here in the future, Monty Python has taken over the world.
Perhaps that explains 2016.
I’ve been going to conventions for about thirty-five years, but have appeared on panels only in the last ten, and even that only consistently for the last five – so I still feel like a fanboy up with all the more experienced authors. And while sometimes I have a lot to contribute, I often find it’s better not to ask whether I have something to say, but whether I have something to add. It’s frankly awesome to be up here with luminaries like John Ringo or Esther Friesner, and it’s often just best to to sit back and listen – but even then, don’t give up on yourself. I was on three panels today with more experienced people, and I made sure I both shut up and listened and stepped up and said something at the appropriate time – with the result being that several people came up to me and thanked me for my contribution to the panels that I’d been on. Several of the authors got together afterward, and we all seemed to think that it was our interactions with each other that made the panels great. So … think of what you can add, but never give up on your own unique contribution. It’s there, you just have to find it.
Pictured: the forward and reverse angle on viewer for a panel on “101 ways to kill a character” which I was on with John Ringo, who chose just the moment I took my selfie to lean over and ask someone a question.