Where my co-author is going to be, tomorrow. (I’ll be in the audience, in my role as Magician’s Spouse.) If you’re in Merrimack and interested in stage magic, come on around!
Over on Jim Macdonald’s blog, a Doyle&Macdonald short story for the amusement of our readers:
First on the Moon!
by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald
Beatrice lay back on her bed and looked at the starscape painted on her bedroom ceiling. Two days into the latest educational hiatus and already she and Regina had run out of things to do. The hiatus was supposed to be used for processing and incorporating the facts they’d learned during the previous study unit, but she wasn’t sure how they were supposed to process and incorporate a history unit on the 20th and 21st centuries. Everything had been so messy back then.
The stars over her bed glowed in the dark. In daylight, they looked like pale yellow dots. Beatrice’s mother had put them up when Beatrice was in pre-school and in love with the night sky. Her mother had offered to take them down and replace them with something more grown-up, now that Beatrice was halfway…
View original post 3,813 more words
Jim Macdonald, with more recommendations on the art of stage magic:
So there you are, trying to memorize a deck of cards. Not just any deck, a stacked deck. Not so easy as it looks, eh?
Help is on the way! A flashcard program for some of the more common stacks: Stack Trainer
Stacked cards; perfect for dealing off the bottom….
What kinds of things can you do with a stacked deck? Here’s Brian Brushwood at Scam Schooldemonstrating. And here’s Si Stebbins, famous for inventing (or at least popularizing) the stack Brian used, in Stebbins’ pamphlet Card Tricks and the Way They Are Performed. He goes way beyond the single trick Brian did.
As long as we’re on card tricks, from our friends at the International Brotherhood of Magicians, a free (shareware: pay what you think it’s worth) e-book, Roberto Giobbi’s Introduction to Card Magic. What’s the neatest thing in this book? Card Trick Katas. Yep, practice…
View original post 23 more words
At least, with regards to labor disputes in the state of Maine, where delivery drivers for Oakhurst Dairies have won their case for overtime pay, based on the absence of a serial comma in part of the state’s overtime law.
The crucial clause, detailing activities that are exempt from overtime:
The canning, processing, preserving,
freezing, drying, marketing, storing,
packing for shipment or distribution of:
(1) Agricultural produce;
(2) Meat and fish products; and
(3) Perishable foods.
The dairy company maintained that “distribution” was a separate exempt activity; the drivers maintained that the exempt activity in question was “packaging for shipment or distribution,” and didn’t refer to their job at all. The court agreed with the drivers.
Style note: Also cited by the drivers (or their lawyers, at any rate) was the fact that all of the preceding exempt activities listed are gerunds – “canning” and so on – while “distribution” is a noun. Under the principle that parallel ideas require parallel constructions, this implies that “distribution” is not meant to be a noun in parallel with the ones preceding it, but part of the prepositional phrase “for shipment or distribution.”
These things do matter, folks.
Available wherever fine e-books are sold: Vampires & Shapeshifters by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.
- Bad Blood (short story)
- Nobody Has to Know
- Up the Airy Mountain
- Philologos; or, A Murder in Bistrita
“Bad Blood” is the short story that started it all; our first professional sale in the fantasy/SF genre. Werewolves in high school and a camping trip gone horribly wrong. “Bad Blood” eventually turned into a series of three YA novels.
“Nobody Has to Know” is a very short vampire story. Its unique style got it featured in an English textbook in Australia.
“Up the Airy Mountain” is another short story in the Bad Blood continuity. Werewolves vs. elves. Features Val Sherwood, teen werewolf, and her best friend, Freddy Hanger AKA “Van Helsing in High School.”
“Ecdysis,” a shapeshifter story, introduces Orville Nesbit, a psychic detective, who I’m planning to have star…
View original post 88 more words
Over at his blog, Jim Macdonald discusses how to put together a basic introductory magic kit for a young magician. (Magicians, like poets and mathematicians and ballet dancers, tend to start young.)
Consider the Little Box of Magic Tricks from Barron’s. I’ve seen the Ideal 100-Trick Spectacular Magic Show Suitcase well spoken-of. Consider too Joshua Jay’s The Complete Magician Kit. The Klutz Book of Magic includes props can be considered a magic set all by itself.
In my opinion, the best magic sets are ones you make yourself. Hand assembled with love. You know your own child the best.
Props: a set of cups and balls (you know your budget best — these range from inexpensive plastic ones (and some big-name pros use the three-color inexpensive ones in their pro acts; e.g. David Regal) up to OMG three-figure prices.
View original post 303 more words
This is one of those questions, like “Where do you get your ideas?”, that people will keep asking writers – and like the question about ideas, it’s one that doesn’t have an answer, or at least not the kind of answer the questioner is looking for.
Even before I was a novelist, people used to ask me how long it took me to write my dissertation. The only answer that I could give them – “Well, if you look at it one way, it took me three years. If you look at it another way, it took me about three very intense months. But I needed the three years first.” – somehow never really satisfied them, even though it was true.
The short story I finished just this past weekend is much the same. In terms of actual putting-words-on-screen writing time, it took me about a week. But this was a story for which I’d had the title and the central conceit rumbling around in my head for a lot longer than the three years it took me to write my dissertation back in the day – and not until last week did it take on enough shape that I could make a narrative of it.
(Why then, after all that time? I have no idea. But when the Muse shows up with a plot and a theme in hand, only a foolish writer turns down the gift.)
Self-publishers and cover designers take note: The Metropolitan Museum of Art has placed “more than 375,000 images” from its online collection into the public domain for free and unrestricted use.
Which is a bit of good news to brighten up what is – at least up here in far northern New Hampshire – a grey and snowy day, in a generally grey and dispiriting season.
Over at his blog, Jim Macdonald re-posts an appeal to stage magicians and illusionists on behalf of a Baltimore magic shop:
To all my terrific customers!
Just got this note from our pal David Oliver. I am asking every one of you as a favor to one who has always been a friend and mentor to all magicians, Denny Haney, to please do what you can to help one of the few truly great magic stores in this country.
From David Oliver:
I have known Denny Haney, of Denny & Lee’s Magic Studio in Baltimore for over twenty-five years. Denny is one of the most knowledgable magicians I have ever known, as well as being one of the most giving. He always helps young magicians starting out, and older magicians looking for information or tips. His background in magic is astounding, and he is one of the few who is universally respected in the industry. He’s just a GREAT guy. He’s run into a bit of financial trouble, and…
View original post 344 more words
Jim Macdonald waxes political again, over in his blog.
…I live there. It’s where I keep my stuff.
Now comes the news that Trump pressured Park Service to find proof for his claims about inauguration crowd
On the morning after Donald Trump’s inauguration, acting National Park Service director Michael T. Reynolds received an extraordinary summons: The new president wanted to talk to him.
In a Saturday phone call, Trump personally ordered Reynolds to produce additional photographs of the previous day’s crowds on the Mall, according to three individuals who have knowledge of the conversation. The president believed that the photos might prove that the media had lied in reporting that attendance had been no better than average.
“No better than average” is being kind: by all available metrics the crowd at Trump’s inauguration was smaller than that for not only Obama (only about a third of the size) but for George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
View original post 146 more words