Monday, April 30, 2012

SpecFic for the E-Masses...

So Mediabistro is running an on-line LitFest this July. The guest of honor is The Orchid Thief herself, Susan Orlean. And guess who's teaching the basics of writing fantasy and science fiction? Yes. Yrs Trly. (Now why didn't I use *that* for my pen name?)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Only in New York-

-my home, would you discover a native bee...that lives on sweat.

A sweat bee.

Yep. It's a wonderful town!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Character Interview - Henry the Rat

You want to get to know the protagonist of TWS a little better, don't you? Of course you do! He's so sunny and optimistic!

Q. We're here with Henry the Rat, one of the protagonists of Ted Mendelssohn's The Wrong Sword. So, Henry, why do you think Ted chose you to represent him?
A. Just lazy, I guess. I do the work while he takes the credit. Writers! Oh. You mean, why did he choose me instead of another character?

Q. Um, yes. For instance, why not the Princess Mathilde? We understand she was very eager to do this interview.
A. I’ll bet. She never met an audience she didn’t like.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Teaching Science Fiction

Now This Is Old School
I'm deep in the middle of writing a Course Proposal.

You see, I might be coming to a writing program near you (if you live in New York) teaching the wonders of writing speculative fiction. If you're lucky enough to be near my classroom, you'll recognize me by my encyclopedic knowledge of F/SF, my incisive intellect, and my overwhelming sexual charisma. (Nothing I can do about that. It's a curse.)

But in the course of looking at New York's dozens and dozens of writing programs, and prepping this syllabus, I've been utterly amazed by two things:

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Oh, Man of Many Names

Sometimes he's Henry. Sometimes it's Henri. At least once it's Aimerick. Just so you know, that's not me being sloppy. That's just the way names went back when. F'rinstance, William Marshall, Henry II's righthand man, was Guillaume le Maréchal on the south side of the English Channel. And in diplomatic missives and official seals, King John was Johannes Rex Anglorum.

And while we're on the subject, it was often more usual to celebrate your "name day" - the day dedicated to the patron saint after whom you were named - than it was to celebrate your birthday.

Monday, April 23, 2012


I forgot to mention one other group that represented at my reading - the New York Science Fiction and Fantasy meetup. Organizer Dan Beath posted my announcement and came to the reading. Respect!

How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth It Is-

-to not be reviewed on Amazon.

You've bought my book. Thank you! I've done my level best to make it an enjoyable morceau of snark and swordplay.

Now, if you agree, and think TWS is the best thing since the rise of Middle English as a literary language (circa 1380) or even three-field crop rotation (circa 800 CE), say so. If you liked it, a review on Amazon, even a short one, will help me boost sales and get things placed for Book Two, Hero's Army.

Have fun storming the castle!

Friday, April 20, 2012

How It Went-

-it went pretty well.
The reading, that is.

We held it at the Way Station, a great nerd bar in Prospect Heights.There was a nice mix of friends, relatives, and prosperous strangers who looked like Kindle owners.

That's the bathroom in the back. Yes, it IS bigger on the inside.
Brad and Cam, the organizers of my writers group, handled the whole thing. We had TWS t-shirts, and postcards with the cover art, synopsis, and Amazon link on them. And so, after a  cocktail that tasted a little like licorice and little like strychnine, I was up onstage with a mic in my face and the first four chapters in my hand. I went for about half an hour. I said hello to everyone I knew, told everyone to tip their waitress, recommended the chicken...

And I got at least one musician to buy the book right there. Hey, if you can sell fantasy to a lead guitar, you're doing okay, I think. Someone else told me I should record the audiobook myself. And the next day I definitely saw a little bump in sales.

Now, if a few of you lovely folks could leave some reviews on Amazon, I would be a happy man...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Unexpected Help

The number of friends and acquaintances who have stepped up to help me - by buying a copy of TWSor helping at the reading - well, it makes me feel a little warm and fuzzy. Shucks.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Classic F/SF Ideas: The Nature of Reality

Epistemology/Hallucination/Enlightenment/The Nature of Reality

Science fiction is the ideal genre to deal with philosophical questions. And we don't think small...

Ubik & A Scanner Darkly, Philip K. Dick
The Futurological Congress, Stanislaw Lem
"An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge," Ambrose Bierce

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Word on Pseudonyms

Okay, gang-

As some of you already know, I am a "Ted," but my legal name is not Mendelssohn. Why then, you may ask, am I not using my family name? Am I ashamed? Of course not.

Here's why:

1. My family name is longer and filled with consonants. More than once, in fact, I've twigged a telemarketer by the way they mispronounced it. So I'm using my dad's dad's. He won't mind.

2. In addition to my efforts to entertain you with Henry's adventures, I'm also a copywriter and (occasionally) a writer in other venues that are much, much different from TWS. So I kind of want to brand this puppy. When you see the Mendelssohn name, you'll know what you're getting-

Lots of fun! That's what you'll be getting!


The Galleys Are Locked

In civilian terms, the book has been assembled and is ready for sale.
This has gotten real, y'all.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Patting Myself on the Back

Where I Read - The Way Station, Brooklyn
So I did a little preliminary reading of the first three chapters of TWS.
Folks were laughing. Seriously laughing.
Afterwards, one of the audience members - a cute audience member - told me that I had a really polished delivery.

So, just so you know - if I come to your town to do a reading, you'll have a good time...if you like readings, anyway.

And there it is.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Street Food à la Bourgeois

You might have heard that my hometown is undergoing something of a street food renaissance. We've left funnel cake and Italian sausage far behind, and food trucks now serve Belgian waffles, Hong Kong dumplings, and pupusas from El Salvador.

That's gotten me to thinking about what street food might have been like back in the old Castle & King days. Was there even street food at all? My gut, which is never wrong, says "yes." Here's a recipe that might have made the grade on the King's High Street.

Take and make a foile of gode past as thynne as paper; 
kerue it out wyt a saucer & frye it in pile;
oþer in grece; 
and þe remnaunt, take hony clarified and flamme þerwith. 
Alye hem vp and serue hem forth.

or, in Modern English:

Take and make a sheet of good pastry as thin as paper;
carve it out with a saucer & fry it in oil;
or in grease;
and to finish them, take clarified honey and baste therewith.
Do them up and serve them forth.

(This one's from the Gode Cookery website, a great resource for medieval cuisine.)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Classic F/SF Ideas: Enigma Tales

We are confronted with artifacts we do not understand, from a race or culture that's not around to tell us what it all means. Sometimes it's a human culture; sometimes it's alien. Enigma tales often involve the promise of great wealth to lure the main characters into action, and the puzzles can be the author's way to illuminate the characters confronting them. Some have argued that, since SF is the literature of "What If?" Enigma Tales represent one of the purest expressions of the genre.

Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
Gateway, Fredrick Pohl
"Ticket to Anywhere," Damon Knight
"By The Waters of Babylon," Stephen Vincent Benét
“Mimsy Were the Borogoves,” Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore (writing as Lewis Padgett)
Forbidden Planet, film, Irving Block, Allen Adler, Cyril Hume, Fred M. Wilcox
Solaris, Stanislaw Lem

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I Think I'm Going to Tear Up

My writers group is throwing me a release party at the Way Station in Brooklyn (683 Washington Ave Prospect Heights, Brooklyn 11238) on April 19th. Those guys!

Come on down, gang. Clarere, audere, gaudere!