T. REX vs. TRICERATOPS
Look closely at the three indentations to the left of my hand. They are tooth marks in this leg bone of a triceratops. Ouch! If you’re wondering, this is a cast, not the real fossil, thus intended to be touched.
WRITERS AND PANELS AND RAPTORS, OH MY!
Ever since my corner of the world shut down in March, 2020, I’ve taken to writing fiction on Zoom in thirty-minute sessions with a bunch of other authors. I knew almost none of them when I began. Today, I am thrilled to call them my friends. I met a bunch of these good folks (you know who you are!) in person for the first time last weekend. It all happened over the course of three days at Multiverse Convention on the outskirts of Atlanta. I had great fun being on panels about writing.
Better yet, my writer friends were every bit as kind and smart and clever as I had suspected. Just look at the little wooden dinosaur one of them gave me! Now I simply must write a story featuring this plucky little horn-headed raptor. It will be my second story based on one of the gang.
HAPPY NATIONAL DINOSAUR DAY!
Some calendars say it’s yesterday (May 15) and others put it on June 1. But hey, we can celebrate twice, right? Truth be told, for me most days are dinosaur days.
Do dinosaurs still exist today? Who better to ask than 6- to 10-year-old children? In advance of National Dinosaur Day, Mattel surveyed a bunch of kids in Great Britain. A third answered yes, they still roam the Earth right now. Well naturally, lots of these kids want a T. rex as a pet. I kinda wish they’d asked those kids how many wanted to be a T. rex. How about the kids in your family? How many of them think that one day it will be possible to own or be a dinosaur?
Reminder: My monthly newsletter focused on this dinosaur survey and other topics. Please feel free to subscribe if you’d like to get the inside scoop before I blog about events. (You can always unsubscribe.)
MID-WINTER BLUES AND SUMMER FROLICS
With the recent cold snap and pandemic seemingly everywhere, I’ve been huddling indoors making plans for all the places I maybe could visit when warmer weather hits. I’m mostly planning trips around science fiction and fantasy conventions, so my first task is looking at where I might be going: LA, Chicago, Atlanta, and New Orleans, if the universe cooperates. This led to updating my bio, which means figuring out who I am as a writer.
Don’t worry, the dinosaurs will always tromp through a fair number of my stories and essays. Nonetheless, I am branching out. Recently, I took a stab (pun intended) at writing a murder mystery as well as a screenplay. Sure didn’t see either of those coming. I’m also looking into a collection of my short fiction, some of which is out of print. Stay tuned!
SIX WAYS TO CELEBRATE NATIONAL FOSSIL DAY
October 13 is National Fossil Day, according to the U.S. National Park Service. It’s an under-celebrated event, IMO. Want to join the fun? Here’s how:
- Put together a dinosaur Halloween costume. I mean really, who doesn’t want to be a T. rex? Don’t forget to wave your hands and practice your roar.
- Go local with this interactive database and map to find out what ancient creatures lived near you. I bet it’s something totally cool.
- Take a for-real or virtual trip to a natural history museum or other attraction. Here’s a few.
- Gawk at sketches of fabulous discoveries like:
- Carnotaurus: a horned relative of T. rex that hung out in Patagonia.
- Australotitan cooperensis, the biggest dinosaur ever found in…well, I think you figured out where.
- Everybody’s favorite armored ankylosaurs including this “newcomer” from prehistoric Morocco.
- Do some bird watching. Yes, birds are avian theropods and thus the descendants of one line of dinosaurs.
- Find still more fun ways to celebrate the day with paleontologists, educators and students.
- Bonus idea: Read about the hunt for dinosaur DNA remnants in wonderfully preserved fossils from China dating to 125 million years ago.
WRITING ABOUT WRITING ABOUT DINOSAURS
Dear Readers, The marvelous Catherine Schaff-Stump prodded me into revealing a few of my tricks for bringing dinosaurs to life in your imaginations. Hears hoping the writers among you may find something useful in creating wonders of your own. Oh, and hey, if you’ve never checked out Cath’s Abigail Rath series, you are in for a treat!
Amazing Con is Almost Virtually Upon Us!
I’m super excited to be invited to be a guest star at Amazing Con June 12 – 14! Want to hear me talk about new developments in old dinosaurs? Or how to go about designing a fantasy or science fiction world? Or read a new story before it’s even published?
Come one, come all! Registration is free.
Check out all the Amazing Guest Stars.
Unreliable Narrators Interview!
Cath, Chris, George & Chia (a/k/a the Unreliable Narrators) interviewed me about T-Rex Time Machine for their podcast! It was great fun talking to these talented writers about dinosaurs, creating an interactive fiction adventure, and much else. Have a listen.
While you’re at it, have a look at my game. It’s your chance to take your best friend back millions of years to see living dinosaurs.
SAUROPODS, AND RAPTORS, AND T. REX, OH MY!
Yes, this is a reminder that now is the time to read my story, Not with a Bang, in the July/Aug. Analog. It’s about sauropods, triceratops, hadrosaurs, and everyone’s favorite — T. rex. And it also gives me a chance to talk about reviews. Both SF Revu and Tangent Online had good things to say about the story. Believe me, my pulse was racing when I knew they’d covered my story, but before I’d actually read those reviews. What’s a writer to do? Two things:
1. Develop the hide of an armor-plated stegosaur. In this endeavor, it might help to dip into Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections, edited by Bill Henderson and Andre Bernard. There, you can read the myopic, nasty, and wrongheaded claptrap written about Lewis Carroll, Mark Twain, Sylvia Plath, Flannery O’Connor, and so many others. You’ll almost certainly find some of your favorite authors skewered. But admittedly, I don’t have the stegosaurus thing going on. Or at least not yet. That leads to my second suggestion.
2. Give the task of reading EVERY review to a spouse, close relative or trusted friend. That person must be instructed, in no uncertain terms, to share only the positive reviews with the writer. Does this amount to little more than a vain attempt to look at the writer’s portion of the world through rose-colored glasses? Well, so what if it does? The morning after I read the reviews in Tangent and SF Revu, I cranked out 2000 words of a novel. That would never have happened if the reviews had been crummy.