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All Those December Holidays!

All Those December Holidays!

At this time of the year, we are once again confronted by all those December holidays. I’ve been blogging since 2009, so I’ve been down this road a few times. Finding something fresh to say gets challenging! But this year I already have enough challenges, thank you. So, before I leap back into revisions on Bone of Contention, my current novel-in-progress (I now have a projected release date! September 24, 2024!), I gratefully returned to what you might call my…

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Gratitude Season

Gratitude Season

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, which ought to mean we Americans are at the height of the annual Gratitude Season. We’re supposed to be thinking about all the ways we’ve been blessed in the past year. All the things and people and experiences we’ve enjoyed. But do we? Some of us undoubtedly do. I know this, because I’m one of that “some of us.” But I also think it’s likely a lot of us don’t. Many people scorn…

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Music Becomes the Villain

Music Becomes the Villain

I want to talk about the ways music becomes the villain in some movies. In my last post I talked about music that monsters, witches, and demons dance to. But you know the kind of “villain” music I mean. After all, what is the 1960 movie Psycho without the screeching violins of the shower scene? How could Darth Vader make an entrance without John Williams’ Imperial March? (Although Williams didn’t introduce that character theme until The Empire Strikes Back). Simply…

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Monster’s Ball

Monster’s Ball

My friend, Deb, is part of the mystery writers group that blogs as Jungle Red Writers, and it was her turn at bat last week. When she turned to me, searching for ideas, we brainstormed our way through Halloween décor, pumpkin-centric agriculture, and spice cake recipes before I suggested she investigate Halloween music and the tradition of the monster’s ball. She wasn’t sure what I was talking about, so I dragged Camille Saint-Saëns, Modest Mussorgsky, and Edvard Grieg into the…

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A SoonerCon 31 Summary

A SoonerCon 31 Summary

By Jan S. Gephardt I promised a SoonerCon 31 summary, and I mean to deliver in today’s post. But this overview won’t be our last glimpse of SoonerCon. I love this convention, and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event. However – as at every convention – this one provided some “learning takes.” Our dealers table experiment continues, although after SoonerCon 31 the effort is looking ever more dubious as a genuinely money-making proposition. We had another unfortunate entomological…

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Due a Review

Due a Review

By Jan S. Gephardt I’ve been reading some very enjoyable books recently. They really are due a review. I’m an Indie author myself. Co-publishing out of a micro-press I run with my sister counts as “indie,” trust me. Thus, I know how vitally important reviews are. But frankly, reviews are important to all writers, whether indie or traditionally published. Every single review posted by an individual reader tells the world that this author wrote a book someone felt moved to…

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What should police do?

What should police do?

By Jan S. Gephardt We rarely think to ask a fundamental question: what should police do? What part should they play in a multicultural, representational democracy? The ubiquity of police forces around the world argues that many societies believe police do have a role in civilized life. But what – exactly – should it be? As a novelist whose primary characters are science fictional detectives, I am in an unusual position, both to ask and to answer this question. But…

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Gratitude isn’t only for one day

Gratitude isn’t only for one day

By Jan S. Gephardt Here in the United States, we recently celebrated Thanksgiving. As I noted in my last post, it’s supposed to be a time to reflect upon the blessings in our lives and be grateful. My purpose today is to make the point that gratitude isn’t only for one day a year. It’s better understood as a lifestyle. It’s my lived experience that when one looks at the world with gratefulness, it’s easier to see the blessings that…

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Liberty and Personal Freedom on Rana Station

Liberty and Personal Freedom on Rana Station

By Jan S. Gephardt Recent events have gotten me thinking about liberty and personal freedom. Here in the United States, we recently seem to have had an unusual amount of trouble defining just exactly what those are. To whom should they be extended, and in what measure? There seem to be different standards, depending on who you’re talking to, and about whom they’re talking. Yes, I know. We Americans are kinda famous around the world for having staked a claim,…

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A Vision From a Different World

A Vision From a Different World

By Jan S. Gephardt To a certain extent, every piece of fiction opens a vision from a different world. But in works of science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction, the idea of “a different world” is often more front-and-center. But translating that into visual art can be tricky. As I’ve described in the last two blog posts, “Visualizing a Character” and “Portraying Hildie,” this winter my friend Lucy A. Synk and I undertook a multi-painting project. We sought to create…

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