Through the Holiday

by wjw on November 25, 2015


Just to let you all know, I’m continuing the 99-cent sale on Days of Atonement through the Thanksgiving holiday.  Just ’cause I’m a nice guy.

You may find it via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, and iBooks.

Have a great harvest festival!


Water View

by wjw on November 24, 2015



Once again, we have created a calendar, this one for 2016.  It features views of some lovely places one or another of us has been in the last year, including Hawaii, Lake Superior, and the Black Hills.

I do this to share my life with my friends, so I don’t make any money on this.

The calendar features all your holidays, at least if you live in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and/or Mexico. (And happy St. Andrew’s Day to my friends abroad, by the way.)

If you’re the sort of person who still uses a wall calendar, then you’ve got to buy a calendar anyway, and therefore it might as well be this one.

Feel free to partake.



That Darn Postillion

by wjw on November 23, 2015

Years ago, I heard of a phrase book used by travelers to the Russian Empire which included the useful phrase, “Alas!  Our postillion has been struck by lightning!”

What I didn’t realize until today was that the unfortunate lightning-struck postillion had become a kind of folk meme transmitted down nearly a century, and thus become a suitable subject for an article in Wikipedia.

The earliest use of the term dates to a 1916 article in Punch, where the phrasebook is described as Hungarian.  The next use is 1932, in a travel book by “Septimus Despencer,” adds, “This is the sort of thing that only happens in Hungary; and, when it happens, this is the sort of remark that only Hungarians make.”

It is still unclear whether the phrase book actually existed or whether it contained any such phrase, but I can personally attest to some pretty odd bits of translation found here and there.

I saw a very recent English-Mongolian phrase book that contained the following sentences:

“Please call off your dogs.”

“May I see your yurt?”

“I would like to drink kumiss now.”

(I was picturing an American tourist using these three sentences in succession.)

Other useful phrases travelers should memorize at once:

Warum nicht in die Luft gehen?  “Why not just blow up?”

Vasanesoume.  Greek for “I am being tortured.”

Se taper le cul par terre.  French, “Bang your butt on the ground.”

Qi qiao sheng yan. Chinese, “Smoke from seven orifices.”

Heittaa vesilintua.   Finnish.  “Go throw it at a water fowl.”

Poronkusema.  Finnish again.  The distance reindeer can travel before needing a comfort break,

Du Kannst Mir Gern Den Buckel Runterrutschen Und Mit Der Zunge Bremse.  Austrian.  “You can slide down my hunchback using your tongue as a brake.”

Bayram Degil  seyran degil eniste beni niye optu?  Turkish.  “It’s not a festival and it’s not an outing, so why did my brother-in-law kiss me?”

Mi nalgas son llenado con arroz.  Spanish.  “My ass cheeks are filled with rice.”

Sentios aliquos togatos contra me conspirare.  Latin.  “A bunch of old men in togas are conspiring against me.”

Avoir le cafard.  French for “Have a cockroach.”  (I’ll have the Bordeaux instead, thank you.)

I’d go on at greater length, but I’ve got to go clean out my hovercraft.  For some reason, it’s full of eels.


Words of Astounding Wisdom

by wjw on November 17, 2015

Author Ryan Schneider has asked me his famous ten questions, in an interview directed at my writing process, the Oxford Comma, and my novel Days of Atonement, which I remind you is still on sale for a mere 99 cents.

Check it out!

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Taos Toolbox, Rousing from its Hibernation

by wjw on November 17, 2015

Taos-LogosmallYes, there will be a Taos Toolbox next year!  I’ve had to delay the announcement due to our losing our lodging, and to the fact that there will be massive construction in the Ski Valley next year.

The master class for writers of science fiction and fantasy will be held July 17-30, 2016, at Angel Fire, NM, just a short distance from Taos.

Teaching will be Nancy Kress, Walter Jon Williams, indiepub guru Emily Mah Tippetts, and James S.A. Corey, author of The Expanse.

Applications begin December !  Get busy and start scribbling!



November 14, 2015

I’m just back from seeing Penn and Teller at the Route 66 Casino, west of Albuquerque and owned, I believe, by the Laguna tribe.  (Indian casinos seem to own most of the new concert venues.)  The concert was great fun, though I was a bit disappointed that I’d recently seen almost all the tricks on […]

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Atonement Bargain

November 13, 2015

My novel Days of Atonement, which I have described as “the world’s only gothic Western science fiction police procedural,” is on sale for a mere 99 cents. You may find it via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, Google, and iBooks. It’s one of the books which, as the years go by, I find pleases me […]

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Reviews in the Nick of Time: Ken and the Muppets

November 12, 2015

I don’t watch a lot of sitcoms.  It’s not that I don’t like to laugh, I just don’t have a lot of time for TV, and I choose to spend most of my limited TV time with dramas, possibly because dramas are pretty much what I write for a living, and that’s what interests me. […]

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Grand Tour

November 11, 2015

This grim-faced, big-eared fellow is I believe the Middle Kingdom pharaoh Amenemhat III (my notes are a little unclear). Just before leaving New York, we caught a special exhibit at the Met featuring goodies from the Middle Kingdom, which was a period of economic growth, massive building, and foreign trade, sandwiched between the fall of […]

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Big City

November 2, 2015

I’m off on a trip to an Undisclosed Location.  And as I have in the past, I’ve inserted a clue as to my present location in the above photograph.  The clever among you may be able to work out where I am. As you can see from this second photograph, business is booming here in […]

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