While We Wait for the Carnival to Come to Town…

Due to a breakdown, one of our sideshows is coming in late, so Ye Olde Accretionary Wedge #34 Addendum won’t be up until later today or tomorrow.  It will be worth the wait.  And if you missed the first go-round but have something you’d like to submit, please do feel free!

Due to a breakdown in my mad time management skillz, I haven’t got anything to fill the gap.  And I’ve got five hours of hard writing ahead, which means I can’t whip up anything brilliant.  So I’m going to ask your input instead.

Y’see, I’m fast running low on quotes for Cantina Quote o’ the Week.  And I figured, rather than scouring the intertoobz for more quotes, I’d invite you, my darlings, to submit your own favorites.  Anything you like.  I can’t promise I’ll use them, but I’d love to see them all.  I likes a good quote, me.

And now, ’tis time for a quote from my best friend: “I’m off – and I’m leaving, too.”

See ye at the sideshow.

Not For Wise Readers Only

I’ve got the outline for ye olde geology book posted for Wise Readers only.  If you’re regretting your decision not to be a Wise Reader about now, there’s still time!  Just send a request to dhunterauthor via Yahoo. 

Even if you don’t take that plunge, though, you’ve still got a chance to shape the book.  Isn’t that exciting?  And all you have to do is let me pick your brain.

I’ve got questions, you see.

Geology professionals and students: 

What are words used commonly in geology that trip laypeople up?  What terms do you find yourself having to explain (or at least sum up) every time you discuss this stuff with a layperson?  What are terms, phrases and words you believe the public at large should be aware of?  What words do you find laypeople misunderstanding because their common usage is completely different from the way they’re used in geology or science in general?  What stumped you when you first started studying geology?  Favorite geology words?  That sort of thing.

Interested laypeople:

What scientific or geologic words really throw you off?  Confuse, confound or otherwise baffle you?  Are there words you’ve heard that you don’t quite know the meaning of, but would like to?  If scientific language is a stumbling block for you, why?  Don’t be shy about admitting it – believe me, I’m among those interested laypeople who stop dead at certain words and says, “What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

Half the fun is in finding out.  Hence, this book. 

Right, then.  Hit me.

Topics, People! I Need Topics!

I’m insane.  Right round the bend.  Gone straight for a madman.  Loco (well, in my case, loca).  I’m trying to write a month’s worth of blog posts within the next four days.

Topics.  I need topics.

So, if there’s anything you’ve been burning for me to write about, now’s the time to mention it.  I don’t care how crazy it sounds, or if you think it will only be interesting to a minority of circus performers, or if you think you’re the only one who could possibly care.  Pitch it.  You never know when you’re not the only one.

Got a question about atheism?  Ask it.  Want to know something about this life as a writer?  Inquire within.  Some aspect of Arizona or Pacific Northwest geology intrigues you?  Do tell!  Those are just a few suggestions to get your topic synapses firing.  

And if anyone’s been itching to post a guest post right here on ETEV, now would be a good time to raise your hand and squeal, “Ooo, me!  ME!”  Send it along to dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com and you might just see your name in lights.

Right, then.  Fire away.  I’m off to continue preparing for the last month o’ the winter writing season….

Fear and Loathing

I’m just going to throw this out there, because I’m stymied: what scares you?

Not in general, in books, I mean.  You see, I’m trying to ensure that my main antagonist, Sha’daal, isn’t just some cheesy, generic Big Bad whose soul purpose is to provide a force for the heroes to overcome.  I know Sha’daal’s not just that.  There are aspects to that character I can’t bring out until later in the series.  In their stead, I have to ensure that when Sha’daal appears, when he’s even just mentioned, people freak out.  Or at least break out in a cold sweat.

And this is difficult because we’re not talking a human character.  I could create a terrifying human and make him believable.  Probably.  But when it comes to something inhuman, something far beyond human, I’m stymied.  I’m just not afraid of most of the templates.  Satan?  Yawn.  Most everything that’s ever appeared in fiction or literature has done nasty things, but never struck terror into my heart.  And when I tried to analyze the things that terrify me, I came to a realization that I’m just not that scared.  Worried sometimes, yeah.  But not shitting myself with fear. 

Forces of nature don’t terrify me.  I’m sure I’d be shit-scared in the midst of, oh, say, a volcanic eruption or a megathrust earthquake or watching a tsunami bear down, but it’s not like I lie awake nights shivering in terror of them.  They happen, we’ll deal or we won’t.  I’d survive or I wouldn’t.  If I die, I won’t care, now, will I?  Dead people don’t care.  If I survive, then I’ve got a job o’ work to do putting the pieces back together.  And it’s impersonal.  It doesn’t mean me, specifically, any harm.  It’s just the kind of thing that happens on a geologically active planet.  So I can’t draw on the fear of forces of nature.  Haven’t got enough.

People don’t even scare me that much.  Not after what I’ve been through in life.  Dictators can be defied (should we ever get one in America, pencil me in for the revolution).  Violent people can be avoided or stopped, and if they can’t, I’m either dead (in which case, see “don’t care” above) or I’ve survived (see “job o’ work” above).  People concern me a bit more than nature, but only a bit more.  I try to mine myself for terror there and can’t find a motherlode.  And it’s no good for Sha’daal, anyway.  He has a mind, and a form, but he’s not human.  He’s not even mortal.

Then I tried going back through books and television and movies, and came up empty.  Everything everyone’s ever thrust at me saying, “This will scare you to death!” hasn’t.  I watched The Ring and never twitched.  Got bored, actually.  Horror novels make me yawn.  I’ve not yet encountered one with the power to keep me up past my bedtime.  Certainly haven’t given me nightmares.  Hell, I’ve watched “Blink” twice now, a Doctor Who episode that has one friend of a friend so terrified of stone angels that she screams every time she sees them, and that all of my friends hold up as the scary episode par excellence, and all I got was a brief but delicious case of the creeps.  Next time I see a stone weeping angel, I’ll probably thump it and say, “I’ve got your number, you barstard.”  But I won’t flee it.

All of this is a long way of saying that soul-deep, gut-wrenching, nightmare-inducing terror is a hard thing for me to achieve.  So I need you lot.  If there’s something in a book or show or movie that’s terrified you, I’d like to know about it.  Who are your favorite Big Bads?  Who or what genuinely worried you, do you loathe, do you simultaneously love and hate the author for creating?

Temple Grandin once said she feels like an anthropologist on Mars trying to figure people out.  I’m feeling the same way trying to figure out what will truly make Sha’daal a force to be feared.  So thanks for guiding me through, my darlings.  I’ve never needed you more than now.

Give Me Your Tired, Your Hungry, Your Unappreciated Animals

Because I haz plans for them.

Seriously.  Doing up vultures made me realize there’s probably gobs and oodles of blue-collar animals out there who deserve some recognition.  So this winter, we shall be doing a Blue-Collar Animal Tour.  This means we need blue-collar animals.

Thanks to Lockwood and Chaos Lee, we’ve got a list started, which includes


But there’ve got to be bajillions more.  So lay ’em on me.  If it’s ugly, unglamorous, bothersome, noisome, rude, obnoxious, boring, common as muck, or otherwise unwelcome, I want it.  I’ll even take awesome animals if they’re virtually unknown.

Bring them to me, my darlings.

Ogods, Decisions – Geologists in the Audience, Halp!

It’s that time again – got me bonus, must stimulate the economy.  I already have me music picked out, but ye olde book list is gargantuan.  So what do I do?  Make it bigger!

Need moar geology.  So all you geologists and geology-enthusiasts in the audience, this is your chance to influence the composition of my science shelves.  What shall I get?  What tomes on geology can I not do without?

And if you know of good books on the geology of the Mediterranean, now is the time to mention them.  For some reason, those are hard to track down on Amazon.

Non-geologist?  No problem!  Put in your recommendations for books you think I should own.  I’m not looking exclusively for geology, thee knows.

Extra bonus points to the readers who puzzle out this picture.

Decisions, Decisions

Help me decide them.

AllPosters is evil, and has decided to have a 22% off sale.  I’ve got a blank wall wanting to be filled with prints.  Alas, I have found too many.  So it’s opinion time.  Tell me what you guys think.  Prints are after the jump.

For Chinese prints, we have the following:

For Japanese, we have got:

Right, then.  Opinions, please.  What should grace my walls?


Anybody familiar with Alexandria, Virginia and environs?  I sincerely hope so, because the intertoobz are being no bloody help at all.  Tell me where one would find a simple home on a couple of acres of land relatively close to Alexandria on the way to Quantico, and I will be yours forever.

Attention Readers Who Know Greece

If you’re from Greece, have been to Greece, or know someone who knows about Greece and will babble about it to an author, I need you desperately.

I’m looking for information on the geology of Chios.  Even if you’re not a geology buff, you can help.  I need to know which bits have high cliffs, which bits slope more gently down to the sea, and which bits are sort of flat.  What kind of rocks are there?  What’s it like?  Pictures, travel memories, knowledge of the actual geology – anything’s welcome at this point.

If you’ve been to Santorini and can tell me about that, that would be a bonus.

Get in touch with me in the comments or email me at dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com.  There could be a dinner for thee if we ever meet IRL.  Definitely will get your name in the credits to my magnum opus even if not.  And you will be my hero/heroine.

Thankee kindly, my darlings!