Well, well, it’s been a while. . .
Aside from little forays here and there — some interviews, commenting on other folks’ blogs — I’ve been “off the net” for a few years now. My original website, erected in 2003 to coincide with the publication of my first book, Fat White Vampire Blues, died three years later in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. My webmaster owned a beautiful, historic home in the Bywater neighborhood, which ended up covered in seven feet of flood waters after the levees broke. He vanished, and I, distracted by a bazillion post-disaster concerns, allowed my website to languish, failing even to pay the renewal fee on my domain name.
Gentle readers, here’s a hint — don’t let your domain name expire. It will be immediately colonized by a porn site. I began receiving emails from dismayed or bemused readers and friends: “Hey, what’s the deal? Did you go into the porn business???” No, I did not. However, my former domain name, which I will not list here because I have no desire to send more business to the rascals who took over my abandoned property, is now forever associated with bad photography, plain paper wrappings, and men living in their mother’s basements (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I know this for certain because, during my recent exertions putting together this new site, I went to the Internet Wayback Machine in an effort to salvage materials from my old site. I attempted to do this at the office (not wise, but I’ve been eager to get this site up and running). Taxpayers, rest easy — your government has very secure filters to block employees from viewing porn. Even when I directed the Internet Wayback Machine to take me back to 2003, to years before I abandoned my domain name, still the electronic nanny blocked my access and informed me that I had attempted to view porn. There I was, trying to salvage old articles about George Alec Effinger and my obsession of collecting vintage laptop computers, and the censor built into my network was berating me for trying to view porn, porn, PORN. Let that be a lesson to you. Pay your bills in a timely fashion, particularly for your domain name.
After the pornification of my website, I took to blogging at the Night Shades Books message boards, which, in the middle years of the last decade, were a thriving community of hundreds of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers and fans. I used their boards as an emergency communication tool to reach friends and family during the months my immediate family and I were trapped away from our home in Katrina’s wake, first in Albuquerque and later in Miami, and my posts evolved into an ongoing commentary on being exiled, returning home, and participating in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Unfortunately, an invasion of spambots utterly infested the message boards sometime in 2007, driving out the majority of participants, and eventually Night Shade shut their boards down. The demise of that community was a real shame. Lucius Shepherd, all by himself, had nearly 30,000 posts on his boards and sub-boards by the time the end came. Maybe this August, when the next anniversary of Katrina approaches, I’ll try to salvage some of those old disaster-related posts and provide a sampling here.
Anyway, over the next few weeks, I’ll be unboxing my old knicknacks, touching up their paint, and displaying them on the freshly dusted shelves of my new den here, along with lots of new stuff. Among the new stuff will be an article called “A New Hope, A New Tack,” which explains where I’ve been these past few years, what I’ve been up to, and why I’ve chosen now to get back into the swing of blogging.
Meanwhile, I’ll be doing my darndest to get the hang of WordPress. I’m liking it so far. A lot. Putting up my own site is a much different experience than paying someone to do it for me. Rather than having it updated three or four times a year, I’ll be fiddling with this den of mine constantly, moving the furniture, adjusting the pictures on the walls, and patching drafty spots around the windows. I expect it’ll be a lot of fun.