Saturday, December 19, 2015

They’ve Moved!


Don't panic! 

Pushing a Snake Up a Hill has moved! 
Come visit us at: 

and sign up to follow us there!

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Friday, December 18, 2015

New Website—It’s Aliiive!

My new, completely revamped website has gone live, replacing the old one at the same address:

Please visit and check it out. Most of the previous content is still there, but presented in a much more readable way, especially information about my books. It’s a Wordpress site, and fully responsive, which means it’s friendly for viewing on smartphones and tablets, as well as regular computers. I hope you like it! If you have any problems, please let me know.

Thanks and kudos to Abigail and Brian McMurray for their expert work in setting it up!

My blog will be moving there, as well. In fact, this will likely be my last regular post here at Blogspot. (Sniff. G'bye, Blogspot!) I’ll be keeping this alive as a backup archive, but all my posts from this site have been ported over there, as well.

At the moment, the Subscribe to Posts function on the new site is acting a little wonky, but I hope to get that straightened out quickly. (The RSS feed should be fine.) I hope you’ll all come over and subscribe! (But give it a day or two.)

See you there!

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Neptune Crossing Back in Print!

A long time ago in a publishing house far, far away, my novel Neptune Crossing, Volume One of The Chaos Chronicles, was published by Tor Books. (Okay, Tor, now part of Macmillan USA, is in New York, which isn’t that far away.) The book has been out of print in paper for not quite as long, but long enough.

Now it’s back—in a nice trade paperback—from my Starstream Publications imprint, in association with Book View Café! You can order it! You can buy it! You can give it away!

For the moment, it’s available direct from CreateSpace, an Amazon company. Edit: And now it is available at Can you get it in time for Christmas? I honestly don’t know. I ordered copies from my publisher account, and they will not be here in time for Christmas, but it might be different for regular customers. If you find out, let me know! Edit: I think it's possible, if you order from Amazon. 

In the fullness of time, it will be available through other stores, as well, including (perhaps) your local bookstore. But that may take a while, and possibly a second printer/distributor.

Buy from CreateSpace
And now at

Time to get started on Strange Attractors. Maybe after New Years. 

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Life Imitates Art Imitating Life

This is nuts. On Thursday, an MBTA Red Line train in Boston took off without its driver (who had stepped out of the cab to throw a switch under the car). The train ran through three stations inbound from Braintree, with no one at the controls, until dispatchers cut the power to the third rail and brought it to a coasting stop.

Reports emerging from the investigation indicate that the driver had not properly set the brakes before exiting the car, and further had tied off the “dead man” lever that controls the train’s movements. (This has not yet been officially confirmed, so we’re going here by reports from The Boston Globe.)

This could be a remarkable instance of life imitating art, said art having already imitated life.

In the 2010 movie Unstoppable, a runaway freight train endangers an entire city, due to its load of toxic chemicals and the sharp curve it is thundering toward. Only the heroic actions of engineer Denzel Washington and conductor Chris Pine save the day. The cause of the runaway: a dunderhead engineer* getting out of his locomotive to throw a switch without properly setting the brakes, and (I forget exactly how) leaving the controls in such a position that they start the train rolling under power.

That movie, in turn, was inspired by a real-life incident in which a freight train in Ohio, carrying dangerous cargo, rumbled along without anyone in the cab for 66 miles before finally being brought under control in much the same way as in Unstoppable.

It would be very hard to make this stuff up and have anyone believe you.

*In the film, the engineer was clearly a dunderhead. I'm not suggesting that the driver of the T train was. That's for the investigation to decide.

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Friday, December 11, 2015

Watching a Writer Work

Here’s Moonlight and Captain Jack keeping me company in my office while I work. I’m pretty sure they think watching me write is a lot less interesting than watching paint dry. At least with paint, you can walk across it and then track it around in artistic ways. Watching a writer work?


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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Woodpecker on Site!

Here’s a fellow I found pecking away at a mulberry tree stump at the corner of our garage. He let me get pretty close. I’m wondering if he’s carving out a home for the winter. I hope so! It’d be fun to see him stick around.

Based on pictures on the Mass Audubon site, I'm guessing he's a Downy Woodpecker.

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Optimism Makes Us More Adaptable, Says Carver

No, that's not me I quoted in the title. But Prevention magazine, in an article titled, 9 Traits Optimists Have In Common, quotes extensively from noted University of Miami psychologist Charles S. Carver, who says that optimists, compared to pessimists, tend to be:
  • More resilient
  • Less likely to quit
  • Quicker to forgive
  • Less stressed
and five other more or lesses than. Yay! (I tend to be pretty optimistic. Although I can’t vouch for the “sounder sleepers” item; I don’t sleep soundly at all. But I think a lot of the other traits quoted in the article fit.)

And now maybe I should read the linked article, 7 Reasons You're Tired All The Time. (I wonder if optimists are more tolerant of listicles. Hm. Nah.)

Charles S. Carver, by the way, is my big brother. Ironically, I think he’d probably call himself a pessimist, but that may just be my view as the younger sib.

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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

A New Personal Best

Is “best” the right word here? I used to feel like a laggard when I didn’t get the window aircons out and stowed for the winter before October. Then, I think one year it slipped to November. Well, now it’s December and I’ve raced ahead and gotten two of the six units out of the windows! Hurray for me! Will I get the rest out before the snow?

I’ve never liked this task, but I swear those things get heavier and more awkward to handle every year.

On the plus side, the outside tree lights are up!


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Capt. Kirk Commands Cutting Edge Vessel!

Captain James Kirk left port today—for real—on the bridge of the brand-new U.S.S. Zumwalt, the first of a new class of starsh-... er... Navy destroyer. It’s true. Capt. James A. Kirk really is skipper of the Zumwalt, according to the Associate Press, which reported it without so much as a blink.

The Zumwalt, named after the admiral with the memorable eyebrows and serious credits as a reformer in the Navy, is a controversial, super-high-tech prototype of a new kind of destroyer, which has a hull design more suggestive of a vessel from the 1890s crossed with the Civil War era Merrimack. This design, with the bow extended forward and down to slice into the water, and a superstructure totally enclosed in a box, reportedly makes it more efficient in the water and stealthier when it comes to radar avoidance. It’s turbine-electric powered, and has the latest in long-range weaponry. It’s also hideously expensive, so much so that the Navy cut its initial order from 32 ships to 3. Proponents say it will serve as a valuable test platform for ships of the future. Skeptics call it a boondoggle. I call it a great reason for Capt. Kirk to get back into his game. (Even if this Capt. Kirk went to Annapolis rather than Star Fleet Academy.)

Time will bring us answers to those questions of usefulness, no doubt. But right now, what I want to know is, why didn’t Capt. Kirk’s parents have the foresight to give him Tiberius for a middle name?

I suppose they must have had their reasons. Meanwhile, congratulations on your new command, Cap'n Kirk!

P.S. You can read a pretty interesting interview with Capt. Kirk here.