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08 April 2016 @ 10:45 am
Back on March 23rd, our number came up in the SpringTime in Texas Severe Weather Lottery. (There’s a new roof, new gutters, and a couple of new skylights in our future, but that’s another post.) In the course of surveying the damage for an estimate, Matt from the roofing company mentioned having observed what looked like honey bees moving and in and out of the wall in one area at the front of the house. If, as he suspected, there was a hive in there, it would have to be taken care of before roofers started making horrible noises topside.

With our permission, he contacted a friend of his who keeps bees as a hobby. Said friend confirmed that we had previously-unknown tenants, identified them as reasonably-peaceful Italian honey bees, and confirmed that they probably had a hive behind the brick facade. Getting them out was, unfortunately, beyond the hobbyist’s capabilities. I mentioned that, given a choice, I’d rather see the hive rescued and relocated than exterminated. (Yeah, I’m an old hippy. I also grew up on a farm and know the importance of honey bees in the Grand Scheme of Things.) Which is how we ended up with Paul Giesecke from Honey Bee Relocation Services working to do just that on April 6.

Paul and his fellow bee rescuer were amazing. They suited up and, at 10:00am, began dismantling the section of the front facade, brick by gently tapped-out brick, below where the bees had been observed going in and out. They reported that the hive was “huge”, so it would probably take longer than originally thought. Gentle tapping and gentle scraping continued as more brick was removed. Comb, honey, larva and a large number of bees, including the queen, were moved to a hive box resting in the front yard. At around 1:15pm, Paul called on the phone (I’d mentioned that I was allergic to bee stings) to tell us that progress had been made, but they weren’t finished. The plan was to leave things alone while they guys went off to grab lunch, and give the bees that were eluding capture by going to the bottom of the wall the opportunity to come back up and follow the scent of the queen to the hive box. This sounded like an excellent plan to me.

In about an hour, they were back. Many of the remaining bees had followed the queen, but not all. We still had what seemed like an awful lot of confused bees flying around, and there were still bees hiding out in the lower recesses of the wall. Paul *could* dismantle the rest of that section of wall, but recommended against it. They’d gotten, he estimated, 80%-90% of the hive (close to 100,000 bees), all of the comb, all of the honey, all the larva, and the queen. With no support system and no queen, the remaining bees will not be able to reestablish the hive, and will die out within two to four weeks. Paul covered the large V-shaped hole in the brick with a tarp, protection from both weather and the return of those bees not currently in the wall, while Himself and Paul’s partner went around the rest of the house looking for other possible hives or breaches in the brick. No hives, one breach, and Himself has taken care of that.

Somewhere in Somervell County, a bunch of probably disoriented bees have crawled out of a hive box to find they’ve relocated, en masse and en famille, to Honey Bee Heaven. Acres and acres of farmland and quality food sources. I’m sorry we couldn’t save them all, but we saved most, and that’s something. And the fact that the cost of all of this was less than one-quarter of what an extermination would have cost is a nice bonus.

Thanks and a resounding recommendation for Paul Giesecke and Honey Bee Relocation Services (honeybeerelocationservices.com). They do exceedingly good work.
Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
18 February 2016 @ 12:11 pm
I get a little crazy when I go too long without a convention fix. Take me off the road for a prolonged period, and I get grouchy, short-tempered, and prone to exchanging diplomacy for short declarative sentence comprised of single-syllable words when confronted by politicians, phone scammers, and door-to-door cultists. The longer I go without, the more likely it is that words of fine olde Anglo-Saxon origin will creep into the aforementioned interactions. Let me tell you, folks, it’s not pretty.

It’s been five months since DragonCon. Household circumstances prompted me to cancel the remainder of my 2015 schedule, unpack the suitcases, put the traveling boots by the fire, and be a homebody. Intellectually, I knew it was the right thing to do. But that didn’t stop me from resenting the hell out of the necessity and feeling walled in.

But, at long last and with much rejoicing, it’s time to hit the con trail again. And it couldn’t start with a better convention, the always-fun AnachroCon, Feb. 26 - 28 at the Atlanta Marriot Century Center. I’m a Featured Guest for this annual celebration of Steampunk, History, Alternate History, Science, Music, Time Travel, and Classic Sci-Fi Literature, not to mention a high concentration of some of the finest costuming I’ve ever encountered. This year’s theme is “The Weird Wild West”, and the programming alone looks amazing.

And speaking of programming, I’m going to be delightfully busy. Here’s what’s in store for me so far:


5pm: Panel: Hello Sweetie!  A Love Story in Time and Space, with Lee Martindale and Mark Heffernan. I’m a big fan of both the character River Song and the actor who plays her, the wonderful Alex Kingston. And with an arc than spanned three incarnations of The Doctor, three very different actors playing The Doctor, and some of the best scenes in genre, we’ll have a lot to talk about.

6pm: Panel: Who Wants to Live Forever - The Issue of Immortality in Doctor Who, with Lee Martindale, Jevocas Green, Mark Heffernan. Working a panel with Jevocas “Java” Green is always fun, and the subject has potential for some good, solid discussion.


1pm: Panel: Doctor Who Series Nine Review, with Lee Martindale, Kim Holec, Tom Faber, Mike Gordon, and Jennifer Hartshorn. A good group of panelist is halfway home to a good panel, and this one fits my definition. The discussion promises to be lively, given the topic. And I may manage to get out of the room alive. Controversial opinions? Moi?

4pm: Panel: The TV Movie 20th Anniversary, with Lee Martindale, Jevocas Green, and Mark Heffernan. I remember seeing Paul McGann’s turn as The Doctor when it originally ran, long before I got seduced into the Whoniverse by Atlanta fandom. There’s a lot to be discussed about its place in the scheme of things, and I suspect this panel will cover a good bit of it.

5pm: Panel: Spinning Off Doctor Who, with Lee Martindale and Mark Heffernan. There have been spin-offs in the past, notably Torchwood and the Sarah Jane Chronicles, and a new spin-off, “Class” has been announced for later this year. I’ve a hunch this is going to be another lively discussion.

7pm: Panel: Beyond Schoolmarms and Saloon Girls: Women of Steampunk and the Weird West, with Lee Martindale (M), Charlotte Henley Babb, Beth Dolgner, Laura Anne Gilman, Misty Massey, Margaret McGraw, Nicole Givens Kurtz, and Catherine Scully.  The Literary Track brings me on board for a panel with a top-shelf line-up of panelists and a topic that is going to be a blast.

8pm: The AnachroCon Salon: In Which Many of Our Author Guests Will Be Reading From, Selling, and Signing Their Works, with Lev Butts, Charlotte Henley Babb, Laura Anne Gilman, Leanna Renee Hieber, Lee Martindale, and More to Be Announced! Something tells me this is going to be a fun way to spend Saturday evening.


10:00am: Panel: A Decade of Modern Doctor Who 2005 - 2016, with Lee Martindale, Kim Holec, Winfield Strock, Jevocas Green, and Jennifer Hartshorn. Depending on how late Saturday night went, I may be going into this on too-little sleep and definite traces of hemoglobin in my caffeine stream. But it’s another fine gathering of panelists and the potential of spirited discussion and varying opinions.

11:00am: Panel: Fantasy as Alternate History, with Kathryn Hinds (M), Darin Bush, Laura Anne Gilman, Lee Martindale, and Misty Massey. Back to the Literary Track for the last panel on my schedule and a good one to finish out with.

Check it out at http://www.anachrocon.org

Now to go pack. Where *did* I put those goggles...?
Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
03 January 2016 @ 08:57 am
The last think on my New Year's Weekend To-Do List is done. The HarpHaven website is now updated into 2016, including the list of conventions confirmed to date. Have a look at http://www.HarpHaven.net
Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: accomplished
24 December 2015 @ 06:51 pm
It’s the Day Before Christmas at HarpHaven Keep,
We are not, repeat NOT, in snow eyelashes deep,
There’s sunshine, and temps do toward 80F reach,
All that’s missing are pina coladas and beach.

We’re not out on the highways or in airports delayed,
Simple plans for the Day, some might call them staid,
For as much as I travel and enjoy The Road,
It’s a treat to spend Christmas in mine own abode.

The Tree is assembled and merrily twinkling,
Why it’s still unmolested I haven’t an inkling,
No garland unraveled, no balls missing yet,
I’m starting to think that I should call the vet.

It seems that our furballs have called Christmas truce
To their usual turf wars and sibling abuse.
Beneath the lit branches, in unnatural peace,
Eggnog and Mistletoe snug together to sleep.

So before I head off to my own peaceful bed,
There is one think left hanging, a wish to be said.
To you, friends and fans, who these line should see,
Merry Christmas and the Best of The Season from me.
Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: amusedamused
10 September 2015 @ 07:51 am

I'm back from DragonCon, after having an even better time than anticipated. I'll be putting together a report, after I finish working through the pile o' stuff that accumulated during the week I was away, but in the meantime...

The Daily Dragon is DragonCon's "newspaper", distributed in hardcopy throughout the hotels and function spaces and electronically on the website and through the DragonCon app. In addition to invaluable info like programming changes, cancellations, changes of location and/or time, reminders, and the like, there are features such as reviews of panels and interviews.

It was my honor to be one of the featured interviews this year, and it was great fun fielding questions from Amanda Faith. Here's the piece that resulted:

Lee Martindale: “Poet, songsmith, teller of tales, lover, student, teacher, warrior… Bard”

Current Location: DragonCon
Current Mood: pleasedpleased
27 August 2015 @ 01:33 pm
Yes, it’s enormous. Yes, it’s crowded. And noisy and weird and wonderful. And I love every blooming minute of it.

The gods have smiled, the patterns have aligned, and a bunch of hardworking volunteers in numerous departments have wrought their magick. My schedule and other pertinent info is in hand, I’m packing like a madwoman, and in a few short days I will making my way to Atlanta for the festivities. Here’s where I’ll be and what I’ll be doing during the slotted times. Again this year, it appears I’m listed as moderator for all the panels on my schedule, and I’m more than happy to put those skills to use. Besides, it’s fun!

Friday, Sept 4

11:30am - 12:30pm, Embassy A-B - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Panel: Definitions
Bill Fawcett, Chris A. Jackson, Lee Martindale (M), Stephen H. Segal, and Mark L. Van Name.

What do all those genre labels mean? What elements define a work as being in a particular genre?

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Edgewood - Hyatt
Reading: Lee Martindale

As of right now, I’m thinking of making this one “listeners’ choice” from the Bard’s Road collection.

8:30pm - 9:30pm, Embassy A-B - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Panel: Blurred Lines: Genres within Genres
Jenna Black, David Mack, Lee Martindale (M), S.M. Sterling, Debbie Viguie

Earlier in the day, a panel defined the genres. This one examines mixing genres and subgenres in one’s work.

Saturday, Sept 5

2:30pm - 3:30pm, Embassy A-B - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Panel: Strong Women in SF
Elizabeth Moon, Esther Friesner, Lee Martindale (M), Kelly Swilley, Ceccato, Amy Herring

It ain’t your granddad’s science fiction, when men were men and women were good screamers, anymore, but then again, it never really was. We’ll talk about what makes a “strong female character”, and talk about some of our favorites.

7:00pm - 8:00pm, Embassy D-F - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Panel: Challenges for Today's Writers
Taylor Anderson, Kevin Dockery, Laura Anne Gilman, Ciara Knight, Lee Martindale (M), Linda Robertson

If we didn’t live in the real world, being a writer would be the ideal existence. But we do live in the real world, where things like eating on a regular basis, sleeping indoors, paying taxes, and other mundanity are important. We’ll talk about the logistics of being a writer in the real world.

Sunday, Sept. 6

1:00pm - 2:00pm, International Hall South - Marriott
Autograph Session

Come by and say hello.

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Marietta - Hyatt
SFWA Informational Meeting
Open to current SFWA members only

Come here what’s happening in the organization, share opinions, and ask questions.

8:30pm - 9:30pm, Embassy D-F - Hyatt
Writers’ Track
Panel: Just Kill Me Now: Self-editing
Lou Anders, Lindsay Cummings, Lee Martindale (M), Rebecca Moesta, Elizabeth Moon

It’s painful, it’s difficult, and it’s an invaluable skill that makes for better work and better writers. Come learn from some of the best.

Monday, Sept. 7

11:30pm - 12:30pm, Embassy A-B - Hyatt
Sci-Fi Literature Track
Showcase: Eric Flint

I’ll be hosting an hour with the creator of the 1632 universe. He’ll discuss that, what he’s up to now, and take questions from the audience. This should be a lot of fun.

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Embassy D-F - Hyatt
Writers’ Track
Panel: Multi-Cultural and Diverse SF/F Fiction
Lee Martindale (M), Amanda Ray, John Johnston, Lisa Yaszek, Rebecca Kumar, Amy Li

Writers who deliver characters who are culturally diverse and non-stereotypical talk about the why and how of doing just that.

There are any number of panels, dances, meet-and-greets, and concerts I’d like to attend as well, so we’ll see how it goes.
Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: ecstaticecstatic
10 July 2015 @ 01:09 pm

The Baen Podcast featuring a roundtable of Chicks and Balances editors and writers is live. The roundtable itself starts at 4:40 in.


Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
07 July 2015 @ 11:29 am
I recently heard from a very unhappy reader. And when I say “unhappy”, I mean nail-spitting, name-calling, threatening-to-sue-me ticked off.

The woman, it seemed, had downloaded the electronic version of one of the anthologies I edited. When she opened it, it was, she said, the worst piece of (expletive deleted) she’d ever seen. Badly formatted, typos and scrambled characters on almost every line, and more blank pages than pages with text. Some stories stopped mid-sentence, others started midword. Even worse, downloading the file apparently downloaded a nasty virus that required professional help to clean up.

You know where this is going. She’d downloaded the book for free. The hot mess she described was consistent with running hard copy through bad OCR and not reviewing the file that resulted.  Sending a virus along as a “bonus” is a common practice, often the primary purpose, among those who set up such sites.  But the final confirmation came with the name of the anthology she’d acquired. Such A Pretty Face was published in limited edition hardcover and trade paperback only.  Once rights to each story reverted back to the individual writers, some put them out in e-version themselves, but as for the anthology as a whole, there has never been a legitimately published e-version.  Any e-copy you see being offered for download is unauthorized and, most definitely, not “real”. It’s a rip-off of the writers, the editor, the copyrights holders, and those who download it.

Such A Pretty Face isn’t the only entry in the HarpHaven catalog being pirated. Granted, the files on the others may be better formatted, since I suspect they’re copies of the legitimately-available ebook versions. But it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find them serving as carriers for viruses and other malware.

So, as a public service, here’s a breakdown of where readers can find The Real Thing when looking for some of the items from HarpHaven Publishing.


There are currently authorized ebook editions of The Ladies of Trade Town, Bard’s Road, and Prejudice by the Pound. All three are available for the Kindle at Amazon.com, and for the Nook at barnesandnoble.com. As mentioned above, there is no authorized edition, in any format, for Such A Pretty Face.

Physical Books

Such A Pretty Face is available in limited edition hard cover and trade paper editions, while The Ladies of Trade Town, Bard’s Road, and Prejudice by the Pound are all available in trade paperback. All are available directly from HarpHaven.net or from Amazon.com. These are all new, not used, copies. You can also find them from other online and brick-n-mortar book dealers, either new or used, from time to time.

Happy, safe, and honest reading!
Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
06 July 2015 @ 08:08 am

The HarpHaven website has been refreshed. Homefront news, story news, podcast news, travel news, and other tidbits.  Come take a look!


Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: accomplished
02 June 2015 @ 11:09 am
Yes, again. This time to Chicago for the 50th Anniversary Nebula Award Weekend. The host hotel is the historic and beautiful Palmer House, and the weekend promises to be very special, indeed. Here’s my schedule:

Thursday, June 4

8:00am - 5:00pm

While some attendees spend the day touring the Argonne/Fermi Labs, soaking up knowledge in the Self-Publishing Workshop, or enjoying an afternoon of writer-focused programming, I’ll be involved in the SFWA Board Meeting. Although the Board is in electronic session constantly, this is one of two face-to-face meetings held each year.


Welcome Reception: Wherein attendees are welcomed, Larry Niven, SFWA’s newest Grand Master is honored, and Ad Astra: the 50th Anniversary SFWA Cookbook is launched.

Friday, June 5

Another full day of programming focused on SFWA history and information for writers. There are several I hope to be in the audience for. And then this:

2:00pm - 3:00pm

What SFWA Can Do For You: Various programs SFWA has for authors and how you can get the most out of your membership. Panelists: Kate Baker, Lee Martindale, Sarah Pinsker, Bud Sparhawk

8:00pm - 9:30pm

Mass Autographing: One of my favorite events on any Nebula Weekend schedule. A opportunity to see and visit with folks I might not otherwise get a chance to the rest of the weekend, meet some fans, and – ohyeah – sell copies of The Ladies of Trade Town and Bard’s Road. Looking forward to this.

Saturday, June 6

10:00am - Noon

SFWA Business Meeting: All SFWA members encouraged to attend.


Disability and Narrative: The write-up: “Disabled characters are often omitted from science fiction and fantasy. Many of those that do appear are characterized through the use of stereotypes and tropes Panelists will discuss existing representations of disability, both positive and negative, and talk about ways to accurately research and engage with disabled characters.” Panelists: Walt Boyes, Russell Davis, Annalee Flower Horne, Matthew Johnson, Lynne Thomas, Lee Martindale

Beginning at 6:00pm

Awards Reception, The Banquet, and the Awards Ceremony: “And the Nebula goes to....”

Sunday, June 7

Another full day of good programming, and – since I’m not scheduled – I have the chance to sit in the audience and soak up info. Or I may play hooky and head for the Field Museum.

It’s going to be a quite a weekend.
Current Location: Home Sweet HarpHaven
Current Mood: goodgood