Thursday, December 18, 2008

Snow Day

In honor of the snow day we're having in much of the Seattle area today, I found a great poem on the topic:

Snow Day by Billy Collins

Today we woke up to a revolution of snow,
its white flag waving over everything,
the landscape vanished,
not a single mouse to punctuate the blankness,
and beyond these windows

the government buildings smothered,
schools and libraries buried, the post office lost
under the noiseless drift,
the paths of trains softly blocked,
the world fallen under this falling.

In a while I will put on some boots
and step out like someone walking in water,
and the dog will porpoise through the drifts,
and I will shake a laden branch,
sending a cold shower down on us both.

But for now I am a willing prisoner in this house,
a sympathizer with the anarchic cause of snow.
I will make a pot of tea
and listen to the plastic radio on the counter,
as glad as anyone to hear the news

that the Kiddie Corner School is closed,
the Ding-Dong School, closed,
the All Aboard Children's School, closed,
the Hi-Ho Nursery School, closed,
along with -- some will be delighted to hear --

the Toadstool School, the Little School,
Little Sparrows Nursery School,
Little Stars Pre-School, Peas-and-Carrots Day School,
the Tom Thumb Child Center, all closed,
and -- clap your hands -- the Peanuts Play School.

So this is where the children hide all day,
These are the nests where they letter and draw,
where they put on their bright miniature jackets,
all darting and climbing and sliding,
all but the few girls whispering by the fence.

And now I am listening hard
in the grandiose silence of the snow,
trying to hear what those three girls are plotting,
what riot is afoot,
which small queen is about to be brought down.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Your Computer May Be Infected

I got the following letter in my email today. Scary stuff. I'm glad one more time I use the Apple operating system. I'm sort of hoping Apple stops gaining market share, otherwise I'll become susceptible to this stuff just like all you Windows users ;-)

Dear BRUCE CORDELL,

We take great care to keep your personal information secure. As part of these ongoing efforts, we are notifying you that the computer you use for online bill payment may have been exposed to software that puts the security of your computer's contents at risk. This letter will help you determine if your computer is actually infected and advise you how to fix the problem and protect yourself against future risk.

The malicious software affects some but not all customers who accessed online bill payment on Tuesday, December 2, 2008. For a limited period of time, some customers were redirected from the authentic bill payment service to another site that may have installed malicious software. Your computer may be infected if all of the following are true:

* You attempted to access online bill payment between 12:30 a.m. and 10:10 a.m. Eastern time (GMT -5) on Tuesday, December 2, 2008, and
* You were using a computer with the Windows operating system, and
* You reached a blank screen rather than the usual bill payment screen when you attempted to navigate to online bill payment, and
* After reaching the blank screen, your computer's virus protection program did not tell you via pop-up or other messaging that malicious software was detected and quarantined.

If all four of the conditions above are true, your computer may be infected. We have partnered with McAfee®, the world's largest dedicated security technology company, to provide you with a complimentary copy of its VirusScan® Plus software which, when installed, will detect, block and remove any malicious software from your computer hard drive. Please contact us at 877-800-4864 for further instructions or 800-564-9184 (Option 1) for further instructions. We will also offer you both advice and free services that can help you mitigate any risk you may face as a result of this incident or other everyday exposures you may encounter.

CheckFree will never ask for your password via email or via phone. If you ever receive an email requesting your password, do not respond and delete the email immediately.

We value your business and your trust, and we apologize for any inconvenience this incident has caused.

Thank you,

Art D'Angelo
Vice President, CheckFree Customer Operations

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Plague of Spells Reviews


In the spirit of book promotion,I sent out my author copies of Plague of Spells to online sites that review fantasy novels about four weeks ago. Now, the reviews are coming in! Take a look:

Grasping For the Wind


The Beezer Review

Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

Take a look at what the reviewers are saying!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Plague of Spells: Ruins of Starmantle

Another bit of Plague of Spells novel promotion, this time in the form of a fragment of the narrative turned into a D&D encounter you can add to your game!

In this scene, Raidon Kane comes upon the city of Starmantle, but finds it has changed much since his last visit . . .
Starmantle was gone.

In its place was a madman’s fancy. Translucent emerald
spires reached from the earth in wild abandon. Each hummed
a single flutelike note. In their thousands, the spires produced an
atonal melody that clawed at sanity.

If you're a subscriber to DDi (and Dragon and Dungeon magazine), download the PDF.

If you're not a subscriber . . . I apologize. As the author, I'd hoped to make this a purely promotional piece for Plague of Spells, but Dungeon saw it as premium content that its subscribers should have the benefit of, which I understand. So, if you really want to see this scene of the book come alive as a D&D encounter, consider it another reason to take the plunge and subscribe to DDi.

Find it here at:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/duad/20081203

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Plague of Spells Released Today!


Guess what? The novel Plague of Spells is officially released today. (In good Shadowrealm company.)

For a taste, download the free first chapter here.

If you'd like to talk about the book, you can do so in the comments here, in the comments at plagueofspells.com, or on other online forums I'll find links for.

Reviews are pending, but please provide your own, I'd love to hear it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Plague of Spells Chapter 1 (and author interview)


Download a free copy of the first chapter of Plague of Spells here!

If you want, you can also read my answers to several interview questions regarding the novel.

It's all right here: http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/4spot/20081201