K.D. Wentworth, 1951–2012

Rookhouse author Lee Allred asked us if he could write this week’s Wednesday News.

Kathy Diane (“K.D.”) Wentworth, 1951–2012

Last week, science fiction lost one of its leading lights, and I lost one of my best friends. SF Author K.D. Wentworth passed away last Wednesday (18 Apr 2012).

Kathy was not only a very talented writer in her own right (three Nebula nominations) and dozens of published stories and novels), but she put as much energy, devotion, and talent into helping other writers as she did building her own career.

She was the human dynamo behind much of the Tulsa Oklahoma writers’ scene, organizing and transforming the small local Tulsa sf con, Conestoga, into a very well respected convention that top names in the business went out of their way to attend. For around a decade now, she served as a judge, coordinating judge, and lecturer for the international Writers of the Future contest for new writers. She also served twice as secretary for the Science Fiction Writers of America, the professional sf writers’ organization.

She was a tireless advocate of writing and science fiction who lectured at libraries, public schools, and Oklahoma writing workshops.

Above all, Kathy was fun. She performed with (and I suspect wrote the scripts for) a local amateur theatrical troupe, the Penguin Playhouse, and also participated in a number of dinner theatre mysteries. She was an avid fan of Firefly and Sherlock Holmes.

I first met Kathy back in 1995 when she attended the Salt Lake City sf convention CONduit to promote her then newest book, House of Moons. Almost on sight, Kathy took me in and made me part of her circle of friends.

We spent many long distance hours on the phone gabbing away about nothing, palling around various science fiction conventions together. We were both morning people (extremely rare at science fiction conventions) and had many an early morning Hotel breakfast buffet together waiting for the rest of the con to wake up.

We had an epic Disneyland adventure on Labor Day during LA Con III, the 1996 Worldcon in Anaheim, where the heavens aligned just right and during that busy Labor Day holiday, the two of us (and fellow author Steven J. York, another of Kathy’s friends) managed to hit every ride just right with no waiting lines. We just walked up, ride after ride, and hopped on.

I attended the Tulsa Conestoga convention whenever my schedule permitted, and stayed overnight at Kathy’s house once or twice on those visits, visiting with her and her longsuffering husband, Richard, always so bemused by the wackiness of us science fiction types, even us sedate ones. When I deployed to Iraq, Kathy sent treats and boxes of DVDs that proved a godsend both for me and the rest of my team. We called the cardboard box her DVDs shipped over in our Blockbuster rental store.

The sweetest thing she ever did for me came in 2000 when she phoned around Christmas to tell me of her Christmas gift to me that year: she had dedicated her upcoming book Stars Over Stars to me.

I am deeply, deeply saddened for the loss of her leaving us so earlier. Sad for myself, but not for her, for I’m sure at this very moment she’s romping with her beloved Akita dogs, Sammi and Bear, who preceded her in leaving us.

Godspeed, Kathy.

Lee Allred
25 Apr 2012

A Taste of Honey

The winter season’s slowly subsiding here on the Oregon Coast, and we’ve had a few sunny afternoons here at the Rookhouse recently. Birds are chirping, crows cawing, tree branches blossoming. It actually might be spring.

Of course, for our facilities manager Tess, spring means one thing: spring cleaning! Tess has been bopping around the office building, cranking up the Bose speakers, just a cleaning and maintenancing all the things that took a beating during the winter storm season.

The thing you have to realize about Tess, however, is that over in the AOR (that’s military acronym speak for Iraq and the support operations in nearby countries) Tess wore a hardhat to work and is certified in trackhoe (and other heavy equipment) operation.

So when she’s bopping around the office just a cleaning and maintenancing, she’s usually bopping and hopping and bopping with a pipe wrench in her hand.

She’s also suffered some hearing loss due working on and around all that equipment, too. When she cranks up the Bose, she really cranks up the Bose. The whole office knows it when she’s in her cleaning/fixing groove. (And none of us non-pipe wrench wielders dare tell her to turn it down, Rudolph!)

With that mental picture of multi-tour grizzled Iraq vet Tess firmly in your mind now, imagine the surprise to our wondering ears just what Tess has been cranking through the Bose speakers:

Holy Helium Voice! What in the Land of Goshen is that?!?! you ask. (We sure did.)

It’s called “Honey” and it’s sung by a young Taiwanese pop star named Cyndi Wang. From what Tess says, it was a huge hit. In fact, it’s its own internet meme, at least in Asia and among the usual anime/manga fan suspects, with special dance video versions and even mirrored and slowed down so fans can practice the dance and post their performances on YouTube.

Well, it is kind of catchy in a helium voice way the first couple times. (Tess has been cleaning for a week and a half and playing Honey non-stop.)

Except, the above version is not quite what Tess has been playing. The above is the original Chinese language version. Seems Ms. Wang also recorded in Japanese and English. One mix track is a hat trick triple language Chinese-English-Japanese version.

What Tess has been listening to has been the full Japanese version of the song:

I have no idea what those animated critters dancing about are or how they came to be. Tess says, “It’s MikuMikuDance. MMD. Duh!” like that explains anything. (If it’s something computerish, please dear Besty from Pike, don’t let our computer guy Cheetah take it up as a new hobby!)

We made the mistake of asking Tess for pity’s sake to play something in English. She gave us a barracuda smile and played this version, complete with all the accompanying honest-to-goodness-these-are-the-actual English lyrics you didn’t ask for:

Make it stop! Make it stop! Oh the humanity! At long last, sir, have you no decency?

(Side note: you know you’re getting old when your jaw drops at the mention of “blogs” and “emoticons” in a love song.)

Tess, pipe wrench in hand, has refused all entreaties by fellow Rookhouse staff members to change the channel (as it were). She points out that it’s fun, innocent, and harmless and asks wouldn’t this sorry old world be a better place if it was a little more like “Honey” and a little less like what we saw over there in the sandbox.

She might just have a point. She might just have a point.

Or maybe not.

Kip GrantA Honey of a Publisher

And now a word from our sponsor (sort of)

Here at the Rookhouse, we don’t have a sponsor other than ourselves. But if we did have a sponsor, this would be it:
Postum Jar
Between personal tastes, medical advice, conflicts with VA prescriptions, and religious dietary codes, there isn’t a coffee drinker in the whole Rookhouse bunch. Our hot beverage of choice here at Rookhouse is Postum.

Just one leetle problem…

The coffee substitute product Postum was discontinued in 2007. Yanked off the shelves by its owner one dark day, leaving its fans in mourning and some in flat plain denial. (The last few jars available on eBay fetch as much as a hundred dollars or more.) No explanation, no nothing. Just the Long Goodbye.

Posthumous Postum. RIP.

We’ve tried Pero, Caffix, and even Inka, but those European roasted barley drinks just aren’t the same as wheat-based Postum. Our little Sunbeam electric tea kettle is sitting unloved and unused on the corner of our break room counter, commiserating with the unopened jar of dairy creamer and box of sugar cubes.

But thanks to the miracle of modern science (not to mention pent-up demand by hordes of ravening Mormons), and a passel of IP lawyers, Postum is back!

Eliza’s Quest Foods is brining Postum back winter of 2012!

Their food scientists replicated the formula and Eliza’s Quest subsequently acquired the trademark and “trade secret” (which we take to mean they bought the original Post Cereal recipe).

Postum drinkers around the world are rejoicing! Now those long winter nights can be spent curled up in front of a roaring fireplace with a hot steaming coffee mug of delicious, soothing Postum.

And what goes great with curling up in front of a roaring fireplace with a hot steaming coffee mug of delicious, soothing Postum? Curling up with a mug of Postum and a Rookhouse Book! (All the trendy royalty-free photo art models are doing it!)

Hot Postum, a hot firepace, a cold winter's day, and a Rookhouse Book! aaaaahhhh

Aaaaah. Hurry, Winter 2012, hurry!

Kip GrantPostumized Publisher

Postum™ is a trademark of Eliza’s Quest Foods, LLC

Pizza Panic Attack!

Ever have a Pizza Panic Attack? You know, a sudden craving for a pizza that’s so strong you don’t know if you can make it to the nearest pizza place?

Technology Review has a great article on a fantastic new development in Pizza Tech: a single-click Pizza Panic Button that all you need to do is click to have a pizza delivered right to your door! No more life-threatening “gotta it have now” Pizza Panic Attacks!

Just click, step back for the delivery, and eat!

We eat the occasional pizza here at the Rookhouse Rookery, and we got to thinking: wouldn’t that be great if books were like pizzas?

If only Book Technology wasn’t years behind Pizza Tech! If only there was some sort of button or webpage icon or something that you could click, step back for the delivery, and read! No more life-threatening “gotta have it now” Want-To-Read-A-Book Panic Attacks!

Well, Rookhouse rookies, that day is here!

Our Rookhouse tech guru, Cheetah, has informed your humble Publisher that such a technology exists today. (Why is it I’m always the last to know what’s going on around here at the Rookhouse?)

Panic Button

Introducing the VIP Rookhouse Book Panic Attack panic button. Just one click, and you’re just an additional click or two away from having a book delivered right to your door!

Wait a minute…”an additional click or two away”?!?!

It’s supposed to be one click, Cheetah. One click. Like the fridge magnet. That’s the joke.

Sorry folks, this gag sounded a whole lot funnier in our planning meeting beforehand than it does typing it up just now. Maybe one day, Cheetah or his replacement may actually come up with a REAL just-one-click fridge magnet button.

Until then, click away on the above panic button, folks. Click away. Buy Rookhouse Books! The crows in your neighborhood would want you to, so do it for “the Caws.”


Kip Grant, Publisher with Extra Pepperoni, Hold the Anchovies