Orren’s news

News and postings relating to my writing life, and sometimes just life.

Goodnight Reilly: 2014-2023

July 8, 2023

If you’ve been reading my blogs for any length of time (does anyone read blogs anymore?) You know that I’ve got an Irish wolfhound named Reilly. Not only is he featured in my author bio pic but I’ve blogged about him several times. This is the hardest blog to write about Reilly…because it’s the final one. Irish wolfhounds generally are considered to have a lifespan of 6-8 years. I’d always hoped I’d get 10 years or more with Reilly.

read more about: Goodnight Reilly: 2014-2023

So how was your week?

September 28, 2022

When this week began, we had no inkling it would end the way it did. Let me back up a little. Obviously we knew that we had a child on the way. The c-section to welcome him into the world was scheduled for October 27th. Of course, if you read my blog about my daughter’s birth, you know that my wife is considered high risk, because we’re over 40, and she deals with gestational diabetes and hypertension.

read more about: So how was your week?

It would have been easier if the patio didn’t collapse

February 3, 2021

This blog is about three weeks late. I’ve been busy. Three weeks ago, I was overseeing reconstruction of our collapsed patio cover. You see, there was a major hailstorm that blew through Southern California in early January, and the aged, rusted, not-well-secured patio cover attached to our 1931 home collapsed in the storm. So about a week after that, reconstruction of our patio cover commenced. But that’s not what this blog is about.

read more about: It would have been easier if the patio didn’t collapse

Thoughts on a half century

February 21, 2020

The other day, I had officially reached a “milestone” age: half a century–an age at which young people officially consider you old, but older people still consider you young. This is in contrast to being, say, 70, which is an age at which someone older than that will certainly consider you younger, but not young. You hear older people say “age is just a number” and in a very real sense, that is true.

read more about: Thoughts on a half century

Happy 4th Birthday Drax!

April 18, 2019

So here’s the truth: At first, I didn’t want Drax. There were already two large dogs (Luna the giant schnauzer and Reilly the Irish wolfhound) and a cat (Shadow) in a two bedroom condo, and adding a crazy, rambunctious giant schnauzer puppy–especially one from true German working dog lines–didn’t seem like the smartest idea. Drax was a livewire of energy, a full-tilt diva, bouncing off the walls, ceiling, and everything in between.

read more about: Happy 4th Birthday Drax!

The War Under - First Draft Finished!

April 15, 2019

For those of you who have been regularly reading my Grimoire, you know that I’ve been writing a novel involving the same characters and world I introduced in my short story A House Off The Road. The novel will be named The War Under. And this weekend, I finally finished the first draft. This initial draft comes in at about 92,000 words. To put that number in perspective, the minimum number of words for a novel is generally considered to be 40,000 words; the average novel in The Seduman Chronicles is around 80,000 words, but the average literary novel is about 100,000 words.

read more about: The War Under - First Draft Finished!

Happy 5th Birthday Reilly!

February 22, 2019

Ignore the human staring into the middle distance sitting at the messy desk; Reilly is smiling right into the camera because he knows that he’s turning five years old! He’s still the happy, curious, loving and lovable oaf that he’s always been soulful and sappy. He loves sticking close to his humans and his little brother, Drax, and he has a heart (and tongue) full of affection for everyone. Five isn’t old in absolute terms, but large dogs have much shorter lifespans than smaller dogs, and some breed descriptions list 5-8 or 6-8 years as all you can expect from Irish Wolfhounds.

read more about: Happy 5th Birthday Reilly!

Scourge of the Nephilim Out Now!

December 11, 2018

Just in time to stuff your Kindle, iPad, phone, or tablet for the holidays, Scourge of the Nephilim, the “boxed set” compiling books 4-6 of the Sedumen Chronicles is available, with a brand new amazing cover from Dusan Markovic! This collection includes: Stinger and Bow: Thirteen-year-old Rachel, known as the Seduman Stinger, needs a new crossbow. After the shock and trauma she’s suffered, she also needs a vacation from being a heroine, so she can just be a teenager.

read more about: Scourge of the Nephilim Out Now!

Excelsior, Stan (Stan Lee: 1922-2018)

November 12, 2018

You may have already read: Stanley Martin Leiber, known by his professional name Stan Lee, died today at 95. I wrote about how Stan Lee’s writing influenced me as a writer. You can find that article here.

read more about: Excelsior, Stan (Stan Lee: 1922-2018)

Shadow (2001-2018)

October 22, 2018

I am a dog person. I would never have chosen a cat. But back in 2001, my roommate and I lived in an apartment that didn’t allow dogs, and when my then-girlfriend, Michelle, moved in, she wanted a pet. She sold me on the Maine Coon (so named for their lion-like maine when adults) as a breed because of their dog-like nature. So reluctantly I agreed, and we ended up with a few-month old kitten who came from show cats but was the runt of the litter we named Shadow (then later “Viking Shadow,” because we thought the Maine Coon resembled the Norwegian Forest Cat).

read more about: Shadow (2001-2018)

But other than that, how was the churro?

October 9, 2018

So as not to bury the lede: Golden and I are engaged. And yes, in the selfie quickly snapped after I proposed she’s showing off her novelty engagement ring, and I’m showing off…a churro. Like all good things, there’s a story there: For those of you who’ve been listening to my podcast, The Omega Beam you know that Golden and I have been together for some time now–long enough that we knew we wanted to make it official.

read more about: But other than that, how was the churro?

A New Site Design and a New Cover

September 24, 2018

I’ve got a new cover and a new site design to share with you! First, this beautiful cover, illustrated by Dusan Markovic (whom I’ve been lucky enough to have create my last three covers), announces the future arrival of Scourge of the Nephilim, a boxed set combining the novels in The Sedumen Chronicles that comprise the complete Nephilim storyline: Stinger and Bow (Book 4), Watcher and Firebird (Book 5), and Firebird Champion (Book 6).

read more about: A New Site Design and a New Cover

Comic-Con bound!

July 18, 2018

Last year, I only got to attend San Diego Comic-Con (or Comic-Con International, or SDCC, take your pick) briefly, because Luna was sick and getting worse. This year, pets are healthy, we’ve got pet sitters staying for the entire length of the show, so we get to leave today and stay as long as we want! I’ll be posting to my various social media accounts over the con, so if you want to keep up with my adventures in geek mecca (and hopefully see some awesome cosplayers), Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are the places to follow me.

read more about: Comic-Con bound!

And Shadow turns 17

May 30, 2018

If you would have told me 18 years ago that I’d have a 17 year old cat at this point in my life, I would have given it a good chuckle. I’ve always been a dog person, and while I find cats to be perfectly fine and sometimes adorable, they never fill my soul the way dogs do. And yet, here I am, with a 17-year old Maine Coon. I read that their lifespan can be “over 15 years” on the breed page, so I’m not sure how much longer I’ve got with him.

read more about: And Shadow turns 17

Margo Kidder will always be my Lois Lane

May 14, 2018

Margo Kidder died today, but her portrayal of Lois Lane will always live on, not just to me, but as arguably the most iconic performance of that iconic character. I wrote about how much her Lois Lane meant to me here.

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And then Drax turned three…

April 19, 2018

Happy third birthday Drax the Destroyer! I will admit, when Drax first came into the picture, I was dubious. We already had two dogs, one a giant schnauzer as well. And Drax definitely lived up to his “destroyer” moniker, being a crazy hellion. But as manic as he was, he was also extremely affectionate, moreso than our elderly giant schnauzer, Luna. Well, three years in, he’s still a crazy hellion, but he’s also mellowed, and is more accepting of new people and dogs without losing any of his natural protectiveness or affectionate nature.

read more about: And then Drax turned three…

Happy Birthday 4th Birthday Reilly!

February 22, 2018

One look at that face and the first thing you notice (well, after the size) is how happy he looks. He’s an incredibly easy keeper, which isn’t to say that he couldn’t be a rambunctious puppy; all dogs can. He’s got kindness and warmth for everyone. He’ll bark, sure, and any dog of his size has a bark that can rumble the earth, but to know him is to love his sweet nature.

read more about: Happy Birthday 4th Birthday Reilly!

And that’s a wrap on NAMM 2018

January 30, 2018

By the time I left the Anaheim Convention Center Saturday night, my voice sounded like I’d drunk a case of whiskey while gargling nails, my feet were sore from miles of walking from end to end of the convention center for meetings, my ears were nearly bleeding from so much loud cacophony, and I wondered why the hell I put myself through all this. In other words, it was another successful NAMM show.

read more about: And that’s a wrap on NAMM 2018

The NAMM show cometh (again)

January 24, 2018

Like clockwork, January of a new year brings a new NAMM show, where those who build and develop musical instruments and music software and related materials show their upcoming wares to retailers, buyers, and the music instrument (MI) industry press. I’ve been either in or on the periphery of the MI industry for going on 20 years now, and I’ve attended the NAMM show every year but one. And through it all, I’ve still managed to retain my enthusiasm for it.

read more about: The NAMM show cometh (again)

Lionheart’s Moonage Daydream (2002-2017)

December 26, 2017

Giant schnauzers live 10-12 years. I’m on enough GS groups to know how rare it is for a GS to make 13, let alone 14, let alone over 14. And sometimes you see the “happy birthday” picture of those 13+ year old giant schnauzers, and they look ratty and miserable, and you wonder, they’re not dead, but are they truly alive? We agreed we’d never let that happen to Luna.

read more about: Lionheart’s Moonage Daydream (2002-2017)

New Novel: Firebird Champion Released Today!

October 31, 2017

I’m proud to announce the availability of the latest novel in The Sedumen Chronicles: The opposite of life isn’t death; it is lifelessness. Firebird Alex died. When she was brought back to life, Alex discovered that she could communicate with all living things–the very life force itself. But with resurrection, comes responsibility–Life compels Alex to fight it’s enemies. And Life’s biggest enemy is the Cult of the Watchers. They destroy everything, leaving only lifelessness.

read more about: New Novel: Firebird Champion Released Today!

Don’t Be A Sucker

August 13, 2017

It’s hard for me to concentrate on anything today besides the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and how happy the neo-Nazis are that President Trump refuses to condemn them. Other essays and articles already address how deeply this affects those of us who aren’t Nazis (I particularly recommend John Scalzi’s essay) and I don’t want to just virtue signal or contribute to the noise with a long post restating what others are saying.

read more about: Don’t Be A Sucker

Southbound to Comic-Con (for a while)

July 19, 2017

And here I go again (on my own): it’s time for Comic-Con International, aka SDCC. Regular readers know that I have tried to make it every year since about 2010, and usually I do. This year has been particularly touch-and-go. As I mentioned in a recent podcast, Luna, our 14-year old giant schnauzer, is in quite fragile health, and leaving her alone isn’t an option, and handing her off to someone else to take care of isn’t a very palatable option.

read more about: Southbound to Comic-Con (for a while)

New short story: Yes/No

June 29, 2017

I’ve written a new short story! I’ve already presented it to my mailing list (and you did sign up for my newsletter, didn’t you? If you haven’t, you can here) but I wanted to give it away to everyone else too. As the cover image above should suggest, it’s called “Yes / No,” it’s science fiction, and it takes place in Earth’s orbit in the near future. Here’s the short description of the story:

read more about: New short story: Yes/No

Batman Has Left The Building Goodbye Adam West

June 10, 2017

Adam West, TV’s Batman, has died at 88 after a short fight with leukemia. I wrote about how influential he had been on my creativity and imagination over here.

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And Shadow Turns 16!

May 29, 2017

Shadow is a hard cat to photograph. He’s usually sleeping, getting into trouble, or grooming himself. When he’s not, he’s on my lap–which is sweet, but not conducive to me taking his picture. And that, in a nutshell, is Shadow. At sixteen he probably spends most of the day asleep. Which I guess he always did, but now even more so. When he’s up, he still likes to put himself exactly where he’s not supposed to be, and generally be a nuisance, but then snuggle and be affectionate with me.

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Happy 14th Birthday Luna!

May 24, 2017

Happy Birthday to Lionheart’s Moonage Daydream, whom we call Luna. At 14 years old, she’s two years past the average lifespan of her breed (giant schnauzers live for 10-12 years), so I’m extremely happy she’s still here. Age is definitely taking it’s toll. Her hearing is going. Her vision isn’t what it used to be. Her hips are fragile, and sometimes she can’t rise if she’s laying down. She moves slower.

read more about: Happy 14th Birthday Luna!

Fell on Black Days–Goodbye Chris Cornell

May 18, 2017

Like many of us, I was stunned to read that Chris Cornell was found dead in his Detroit hotel room, after a show. It is being investigated as a suicide. Everyone is shocked, everyone says what a sweet guy he was. And he was undeniably talented. I started playing live in the Orange County clubs in the early 90s, when grunge ruled. I remember reading an LA Times interview from that era, where Chris Cornell said he saw Soundgarden as a bridge between classic bands like Zeppelin, Floyd, and Sabbath, and post-punk/goth bands like bauhaus, Joy Division, and The Cure.

read more about: Fell on Black Days–Goodbye Chris Cornell

Happy 2nd Birthday Drax!

April 18, 2017

Almost in spite of himself, our youngest dog, Drax the Destroyer, has reached his second birthday. It’s particularly tough to get pictures of Drax, because he acts as if pointing a phone at him is an invitation to leap on you. So enjoy the one above with Reilly, who turned three not long ago. I like the size comparison, because so many people think a dog that’s 26-inches tall at the shoulder and about 75 pounds is a “big” dog.

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Happy St. Paddy’s Day and other stories

March 17, 2017

I’m not Irish. Not even distantly. I don’t drink much. I also can’t say I feel the need to celebrate St. Patrick converting the pagans (“driving the snakes”) out of Ireland. I do, however, think Ireland is absolutely gorgeous. We have an Irish wolfhound. I have Irish friends, and love Irish contributions to art and music: You thought I’d pick a U2 video, didn’t you? Not this gothboy. But the Virgin Prunes came out of a “gang” of friends founded by Bono and Gavin Friday (Gavin is one of the Virgin Prunes singers), and the guitarist is The Edge’s older brother, so it’s not that far removed from U2, socially and geographically at least.

read more about: Happy St. Paddy’s Day and other stories