I love hearing from folks who read my DIY books, because they are always up to something that I never imagined, and yet love on first sight. Case in point:
Last December I got an email from Hamish Trolove, a Junkyard Jam Band reader who mentioned he was building his own riff on aShane Speal 2×4 lap steel with a build-in Mud-n-Sizzle pre-amp (project 12 in Junkyard Jam Band) and dual LFO box (translation: It’s a junkyard lap steel electric guitar with a built in pre-amp—so things might get loud—and an automated modulator, allowing him to dial in anything from a little honky-tonk tremelo shimmer to a big pulsing metal wobble).
As Hamish explained:
The instrument uses waste cargo palette wood, and TIG welding wire to mark the “fret” spacings. I find that old palettes often have extraordinarily hard wood with some amazing colours when planed down, sanded and varnished. Hopefully by the end of the project I’ll have something that looks fairly tidy-ish in a hobo/steampunky kind of way.
“Fairly tidy-ish” is such an understantement. Check this thing out:
Oh daaaaaaamn! I love everything about this! He also included a schematic of his expansion of my old Universal LFO (Junkyard Jam Band project 13), for folks interested in doing something similar:
Hamish also put me on to Frescobaldi, a powerful, pretty, and free sheet music text editor that looks amazing. (For every 100 of you who are wondering why you’d ever need such a thing, there is one musical geek who is gonna click that link and weep with joy. Trust me, for I have been that very geek.)
SHORT VERSION: pay what you want, support excellent charities, get up to 21 awesome DIY/maker books from No Starch Press (including both my musical instruments book and hella-rad geeky craft projects book).
The Humble “Makerspace” Book Bundle from No Starch Press is live an insanely good deal!Pay a buck, and get six rad DIY-ish books (including my first book—Snip, Burn, Solder, Shred—as well as a few of my No Starch favorites). Pay $8, and get another six books (including my second DIY book, Junkyard Jam Band).Pay a bit more…well, you get the picture.All in, you can drop $20 and get more than $400 worth of DIY while supporting excellent charities.
There are so many books I love in this one! Yoshihito Isogawa’s LEGO Technic books are both amazing and agelessly inspiring, Carlos Bueno’s Lauren Ipsum has been huge for my son (he read it twice in a row when it first came out, and still hits it again a few times a year now—it’s like the Information Age’s Phantom Tollbooth), No Starch’s Scratch and Arduino books are rock solid, and Jason R. Briggs’s Python for Kids is an excellent intro to Python for everyone (i.e., it’s how I learned enough Python to work on a documentation project with a U-M roboticist last year).
Also, I’ll level with you: These bundles (and book/game bundles in general) are a huge boost to authors/creators, both in getting our names and ideas out there, and in getting money into our pockets. When you buy a bundle like this, you’re doing a Good Thing™ for the dissemination of new art and human knowledge, in addition to getting a good deal.
Price drop on my novelette “The Traveling Salesman Solution.” A time portal story, and also a grim moral koan. If I’ve ever written a story I think everyone in America should read, it’s this one. For a limited time this lil fella—my first sale to The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and only true hard-SF tale—is just 99-cents!
I know a goodly portion of you have already read one or more of these stories; all are woeful shy on Amazon/Goodread reviews. If you wanted to swing by and leave your thoughts, it’d be much appreciated. Thanks in advance for helping nudge the wheel!
There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House (coming soon?!)
My latest horror story, the novelete “Whatever Comes After Calcutta,” is in the current issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction—and it’s a helluvan issue: New stories by Kate Wilhelm, Larry Niven, and Marc Laidlaw, and more. If you’re interested in the intersection of witches, lawyers, sovereign citizens, highway travel, and rural Ohio, then this is the novelete for you!
F&SF is stocked at Barnes & Noble and lots of indie stores—or you can get the thing as an ebook. Plenty of options; links below.
If you read the story and have thoughts or feels, I’d love to hear them: Tweet at me or email. Thanks!
Wanna Buy a Copy?
The Nov/Dec F&SF is now in bookstores throughout the US, including most Barnes & Noble locations.
Nebula Awards: F&SF makes every story they publish available to SFWA members on the password-protected Nebula Forums. If you’re an SFWA member (or know some), feel free to hit them with that link and they can download and read “Whatever Comes After Calcutta” (and tons of other great stories) for free.
The final chapter of my latest novella, Expiration Date, is now available—which means the whole thing is up and ready for you to “binge read” (aka “read.”) I’m not gonna say that it’s the perfect beach read, but for a certain sort of mind (and a certain sort of beach) it is the perfect beach read.
The good folks at Arbor Teas have also gone out of their way to furnish book group support, and teamed up with the Ann Arbor District Library for special Expiration DateSummer Games badges and prizes.