Orren’s news

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

O Princess My Princess

December 27, 2016

Just when we hoped 2016 was done taking so much, it proves that it’s not done yet. Carrie Fisher, who suffered a heart attack on a plane home from London on Friday, died today. She was an author, screenwriter, script doctor, and actress—and of course her most famous role was, and will always be, Princess Leia. These days, with more female superheroes and action stars, it might get lost just how groundbreaking Princess Leia was as a character in the mid-70s, the days in which princess was synonymous with Disney princess.

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Merry Happy Chanukah Christmas and other Holidays!

December 24, 2016

It’s very rare that Chanukah and Christmas begin together. Sometimes they overlap, but this is one of those rare occasions that the first candle of the Chanukiah is lit on Christmas Eve. The reason for this is that it happens to be a confluence of different calendars, but I’d like to read it as a cosmic message to us that no matter what our beliefs, we’re all one, deep down.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2016

The holidays can be tough on people. Some don’t have families they get on well with. Others don’t have families. Some people feel thankful and blessed; others less so.  But I hope that you can look back and find things that you are thankful for. 2016 has been one hell of a tumultuous year. I hope that you have some glorious things in your life to be thankful for. If nothing else, you’re alive to read this, which beats the alternative.

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Leonard Cohen—Post-punk’s Dylan—dead at 82

November 11, 2016

Canadian singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen has died. He was 82. Beginning as another acoustic/folk tinged singer in the 60s, Leonard Cohen was never a household name like Bob Dylan, but to the post-punk generation, he was our Dylan. Deep mediations on life, death, sex, drugs, despair, darkness, healing, and redemption. I first heard of him when I learned in an interview that goth band The Sisters of Mercy was named after a Leonard Cohen song:

read more about: Leonard Cohen—Post-punk’s Dylan—dead at 82

Watcher and Firebird blog tour: new post with excerpt!

November 3, 2016

Today’s stop on the Watcher and Firebird blog tour is hosted by A Page To Turn Reviews, and features an excerpt from the novel—chapter 6 to be precise. It’s a very short chapter (around 500 words) and pretty exciting. My thanks to A Page To Turn Reviews, and be sure to check it out!

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Watcher and Firebird blog tour: Deborah Jay’s Review

November 1, 2016

The Watcher and Firebird blog tour rolls along, this time with a review written by author Deborah Jay. It’s very comprehensive, which makes it even more satisfying that it’s positive. My thanks to Deborah for taking the time to read the book and hosting a blog on the tour, and please check it out!

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Happy Halloween—and a Watcher and Firebird blog tour!

October 31, 2016

It’s Halloween, and what could be spookier than a new blog tour for Watcher and Firebird! It’s being organized by EFC Promotions who have the basic information and their review rating for the novel as well. EFC will host a list of tour stops as they happen, and of course there’s a giveaway as well if you’re interested. I’ve always enjoyed blog tours, not just for the reviews and attention but because various book bloggers ask me fun questions, ask me to write on interesting topics, or have unique takes on my novels that I appreciate reading.

read more about: Happy Halloween—and a Watcher and Firebird blog tour!

My Watcher and Firebird Playlist

October 17, 2016

Whenever I write a novel, I always assemble a playlist of songs to listen to while I’m writing. The songs follow the mood, and sometimes, the narrative of the book. The playlist for Watcher and Firebird is pretty dark, because it’s a dark story. I note in a few (three, I believe) of the novels that Alex went through a goth phase, and this playlist tends towards the goth/industrial/electronic side of things.

read more about: My Watcher and Firebird Playlist

Voting, the direction of the country, and those left behind

October 14, 2016

This is my one political post about the 2016 election in the United States. I used to write a lot more about politics on my blog. Part of the reason I don’t is they way that our online lives have changed—I now share and talk more politics on social media. Part of it is that my blog is a more “permanent” home to thoughts and ideas, and elections are more ephemeral, they come and go. But starting today, there’s a run of states with deadlines to register to vote, so I wanted to weigh in.

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Happy New Year 5777!

October 2, 2016

It’s that time again: the Jewish High Holy Days, beginning with Rosh Hashanah or Jewish New Year, begins tonight. As I wrote on this blog years ago: Unlike January 1st, which is a party, Rosh Hashanah is supposed to be sweet…but contemplative. It begins the “days of awe” which are supposed to be for looking back at how you behaved and what you did over the last year, and taking stock of it.

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Author’s copies have arrived!

September 26, 2016

I sell more eBooks than print books, but I always love getting author’s copies. Somehow that’s when having a new novel out feels most ”real” to me—when I can hold it in my hands. If you were curious how Dusan Markovic’s cover illustration looks in print, now you know. Isn’t it pretty? So anyway, yeah. Watcher and Firebird is available both as an eBook and in print. Sales links at the dedicated book page above.

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New Novel Watcher and Firebird Released Today!

September 20, 2016

Exciting news! The fifth novel in The Sedumen Chronicles, Watcher and Firebird, is now available! This is perhaps the most action packed and “mature” of all the novels, with the stakes extremely personal for Alex. Here’s the description: Firebird Alex didn’t know much about the Nephilim until they assassinated her friend in the United States government, kidnapped the man she considers her uncle, and tried to murder her—twice. Now she’s learned that they, and their leader “the Watcher,” will stop at nothing to kill her, everyone she loves, and every Seduman on Earth.

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Firebird Alex eBook free through September 5th!

September 1, 2016

As I’ve stated, the next book in _The Sedumen Chronicles_ is due imminently. I’ll be talking more about that on my mailing list, which you can sign up for using the mailing list field either on the sidebar (desktop) or below (mobile). Now, I’ve written that book, Watcher and Firebird, with enough backstory for people to hopefully be able to start there and make sense of it all. However, for those who want the full, rich world building, I wanted to offer them an opportunity to jump into the series cheaply.

read more about: Firebird Alex eBook free through September 5th!

I wrote a free short story for you: A House off the Road

August 10, 2016

Watcher and Firebird, book 5 of The Sedumen Chronicles, is currently being proofread. While you wait for that to come out later this year (and you are waiting, aren’t you?) I’ve written a short story that you might enjoy. It’s called A House off the Road. Unlike The Sedumen Chronicles which is a YA series, A House off the Road is aimed at grown ups. That mostly means the language is saltier.

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Comic Con 2016 Wrap-up

July 25, 2016

For those of you who follow me on social media you’ve already seen some snaps, gotten some updates, and generally got an idea of our experience at San Diego Comic Con. So this is going to be more a wrap up of impressions than a day-by-day itinerary of what we did. As ever, SDCC always has more fun and interesting stuff than we can take in. Sometimes, we can’t take it in because there are multiple things we’d want to see at the exact same time—I would have loved to see the Supergirl panel, but it was the same time as the Wonder Woman 75th Anniversary panel.

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When lines are beyond crazy long

July 23, 2016

The above may look like a bunch of people, but that’s Wednesday afternoon—the lightest and least trafficked time. I’ll have a report in detail after we return, but as I wait for Saturday’s Con Fun to begin, I thought I’d share the tale of what we’re not going to be doing and why. Hall H holds over 7,000 people and is where the most popular panels and events are held. To get into any of them you have to wait in long lines.

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We’re off to see the wizard…at Comic Con!

July 20, 2016

That’s right, it’s time again for Comic Con, aka Comic Con International, aka San Diego Comic Con, aka nerd mecca. Regular readers know that for the last six years or so, we’ve tried to make it every year. We didn’t get there last year because we were in the process of moving to our current house, but this year we’re back on track! This is a good year to be going: it’s the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, along with the premiere of the third rebooted Star Trek movie; the 75th anniversary of Wonder Woman; the 75th anniversary of Captain America; and in general, a fantastic year for genre television.

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Free fiction giveaway on my mailing list soon!

July 14, 2016

The next novel in The Sedumen Chronicles, Watcher and Bow, is currently in the hands of the editor. During my down time, I got an idea for a story outside the series, and decided to write it. I’m going to be giving it away in a couple of days on my mailing list. If you’re not a member of my mailing list already, you can join by following this link here.

read more about: Free fiction giveaway on my mailing list soon!

Reilly at the Fair

June 17, 2016

I’ve mentioned on this blog, Michelle is a professional dog trainer. Yesterday, my wife and her training director represented their facility, Wags & Wiggles, at a local health/business fair. Our Irish wolfhound, Reilly, served as half of the welcoming committee (Erica also brought one of her dogs). Reilly gets nervous around people he doesn’t know, but he was in top form, his contagious good nature and strikingly large size drawing people in.

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Happy 15th Birthday to Shadow!

May 29, 2016

Shadow has a special place with us, not simply as our only cat in a house full of dogs, but because we got the little kitten shortly after we got together. He’s been with us through four moves now, and he’s still going strong. Like most cats, Shadow is an often infuriating mix of wanting to be part of everything and not giving a toss. He’s more or less on his own schedule, although he still wants to be fed on time.

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Happy Thirteenth Birthday Luna!

May 24, 2016

When you look up the expected lifespan of giant schnauzers, most list 10 years. Some list 10-12 years. That makes it particularly special to us that our Lionheart’s Moonage Daydream, whom we call Luna, has reached her thirteenth birthday. She’s definitely slowed down over the years. She eats slower and responds slower. Her hips don’t let her leap on our bed the way she used to, her hind legs are stiffer and slide out from under her every now and again.

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In praise of the late Darwyn Cooke

May 14, 2016

One of my very favorite comic creators and artists, Darwyn Cooke, died today from cancer. He was only 53 years old. He was probably most famous for the DC New Frontier series, but he did so many amazing graphic novels and comics, Batman: Ego, Catwoman, The Spirt, and recently he brought Richard Stark’s Hunter series to life as graphic novels. Unlike the rock stars who have died recently, while Cooke was a “rock star” of a comic artist, if you’re not already a fan, you’ve never heard of him. So permit me a few paragraphs to explain just why he was such a unique talent.

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Happy Passover 2016

April 23, 2016

This year has been a whirl—between last Passover and this one we added a third dog, sold our condo, bought a house, I released my new novel Stinger and Bow, and I just released a new album World Spins this week. But holidays make a good time to stop and smell the roses, so I’m taking a moment for my traditional Passover blog. Next year, hopefully our puppy and our house will be ready for company, so we’ll have our Passover Seder at our house.

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And now Prince is gone

April 21, 2016

Prince has died at 57. He was one of the very best. I loved his guitar playing, and his songwriting. When I was a teenager and only had AM pop radio in my ancient Plymouth, I used to rejoice every time a Prince song came on to save me from the mediocrity of everything else. We’ve lost Lemmy, Bowie, now Prince—and it’s only April. I’m too numb to write a long remembrance, so here are some Prince videos I’d been watching recently:

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I have a new Ember After album out: World Spins

April 19, 2016

It’s taken a long time to get a new release completed, but we’ve finally put the finishing touches on the latest Ember After release, World Spins: I blog about the album on my Ember After website. You can buy it from the bandcamp widget above, or on iTunes or Google Play. You can stream it on Apple Music or Google Play Music. It will permeate all over in the days and weeks to come, I’ll obviously promote it as it happens.

read more about: I have a new Ember After album out: World Spins

Happy Birthday! Drax the Destroyer turns 1

April 18, 2016

In spite of his best efforts to eat everything toxic that will fit into his muzzle, antagonize bigger and meaner dogs, and wear on our very last nerve, our giant schnauzer Drax the Destroyer has survived his first full year of life. He’s grown from this little bottlenose fuzzball: Into this gangly “teenager:” Some dogs are delightful, easy keepers. Other dogs…are Drax. He’s an exceedingly intelligent dog. This is great for training, but it also means that being a highly energetic working dog, if he’s awake, he needs to be given something somewhat challenging to do, or he’ll get bored and move on to making his own fun, which usually involves trying to get his paws on things we’d rather he didn’t, antagonizing his housemates, and generally finding new and creative ways to be obnoxious.

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Achievement unlocked: first draft of my next novel finished

April 12, 2016

As you know, I released Stinger and Bow, book 4 of The Sedumen Chronicles, not quite two months ago. And I’ve just completed the first draft of book 5, titled Watcher and Firebird. It is the second part of the story arc that began with Stinger and Bow. Completing the first draft is in many ways the most important milestone, because now the novel exists in the world. Until now, it was just an idea, an outline, a “scriptment,” but not a novel.

read more about: Achievement unlocked: first draft of my next novel finished

Supergirl + The Flash: no “v” required

March 31, 2016

I haven’t seen Batman v Superman: The Dawn of Justice yet. I’m sure I will. It’s the basis of the DC Cinematic Universe, after all, and I intend to see the future Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Justice League, etc. But I can’t say that I’m enthused about it. I think Henry Cavil made a wonderful Superman. I’ve read that Gal Gadot is an excellent Wonder Woman, and I’ve no doubt that Ben Affleck makes a fine Batman.

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Happy National Puppy Day!

March 24, 2016

Happy National Puppy Day! And here’s a nice collage Michelle made of our three. Of course, Luna is now nearly 13, Reilly over 2, so only Drax is still a puppy at just over 11 months old. But they’ll always be our pups to us. Sure, a day to highlight puppies and promote puppy adoption is a pretty lightweight thing to focus on, considering the horrors and tragedies taking place in the world today.

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I’m not Irish…

March 17, 2016

…but Reilly is an Irish wolfhound, and that has to count for something, right? We’ve even brought our dog to be one of the “exhibits” at the Irish faire in Long Beach, California. And tonight, Michelle and I are going to see Flogging Molly, a Celtic-rock band with an Irish (as in, born there, not here) singer, play a St. Patrick’s Day show here in Orange County. And one of my favorite urban fantasy series is the Iron Druid series, about an ancient Irish druid and his trusty Irish wolfhound.

read more about: I’m not Irish…