Aug 9 2010

On the air, everywhere…

Blood of Dead Gods went live today, at Fantasy.

Go ahead, check it out.  I’ll wait.

It’s my first online pub that’s on an open site, so I can flog the link around and people might actually check it out.  Very cool.  Unfortunately for me, it’s being posted while I’m in the middle of an interstate move, surrounded by cardboard and chaos, with only spotty internet capability.

Which is why my picture looks so goofy.


Jun 7 2010

Oh yeah, progress…

Of a sort.  Amongst all the moving, I did manage to finish Little Dutch Girl.

Well, the first draft.  That’s the hard part for me though, grinding out those words on the page.  The revision/polishing up part is much more enjoyable, mostly.  So it should be all buffed and shiny by the end of the summer, in time for its fall cotillion at World Fantasy.

Wish it the best.

Anyway, it took 8 months instead of the hoped for four.  I’ll give myself a mulligan of a couple of months for the move, but that still leaves a couple of months of laziness in there.  Must-write-more!

Where there’s a whip, there’s a way, the orcs sing softly in the background.

Jun 4 2010

So what’s the latest excuse?


I.E. why haven’t I paid any attention to this site, and why has the writing been slow. The Genius Wife got sick of her job eating her life, so time for a new one, in a new state. Back to Illinois for us, land of corn, tornadoes and grandparents. (Grandparents only available in limited quantities)

Between the job stuff, selling one house, packing, buying another, etc., a large hole got knocked in my writing schedule. But I’m slowly clawing my way back onto the horse. At least a thousand words a day! Every day!


Mar 22 2010

New! Improved! Updated Infrequently!

Life is busy lately. So not much posting lately. But the site does have a shiny new look, courtesy of Gra Linnaea. He was one of the other WOTF winners with me, who also designs web sites. So I had him help spiff mine up a bit.

Spiff in a urban grungy sort of way.

It’s not quite done yet. The plan is that eventually the image on the splash page will change each time people come back to it, to either a cover or illustration that relates to one of my stories. But Gra had to run off to Europe before that could get finished. Something about zombies, I think. It was hard to hear over the screaming.

Feb 2 2010

First sale of the decade!

Yeah, yeah, the decade starts in 2011, blah, blah.  It sounds better this way.

“Mayfly,” a SF story of mine will be appearing in the Warrior Wisewoman anthology.  Out sometime later this year.  I think.  I’ll let you know.

So you can buy, buy, buy!

It’s not for me.  It’s for the economy.  And because those trees had it coming.

Jan 5 2010

Out with the old, in with the new

So 2009 has been shoved out the door, disheveled and stammering, and we won’t see it again until someone combines a time machine with an unholy craving for Transformer sequels.  So here’s my writing year in review–yeah, other crap happened, but I’m trying to focus here.

Two stories sold- Adam, Unwilling and The Blood of Dead Gods will Mark the Score.

Two stories published- Adam, Unwilling and The Farthest Born.

One award ceremony/workshop attended- Writers of the Future 25.

A few agents poked, with little reaction.

One book mostly finished.

Joined SFWA.

Summation- progress made, but improvement’s needed.  Time to buckle down.

So the goals for 2010, just so I have something to feel guilty about next year…

Novels- Finish ‘Little Dutch Girl’ by the end of January (currently at 75K), then start its rewrite after I’ve let some readers tear it apart.  Do a rewrite lite on ‘Chosen Wings’, polishing it up.  Start 2010 novel–currently lacking a title (and plot)–toward the end of the year.  Get serious about badgering agents, editors, and whatever hapless civilians that get in the way about Chosen and Dutch.

Shorts- Keep shopping around what’s done.  When done with the current book, plow through the ideas I have for new stories and get a new batch out there.

Work-1000 words a day, 20000 a month (I’m not that bad at math, I’m building in flexibility).  At least.

Other- More publish, more awards, more money, more minions.

Dec 16 2009

And then there were three…

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything.  Short synopsis of life– diaper changes.  Keeping the baby from killing herself.  Doing as little housework as possible without giving older daughter cause to call social services.  Same old, same old.

Writing has been squeezing in there.  I started a new novel in September, hoping to have it done by the end of the year.  That seems pretty unlikely now, as I just hit sixty thousand words, but January should be doable.

Because of the book, I haven’t let myself mess around with short stories.  Much.  I did revise the twenty four hour story that I did at the WOTF workshop.  Got it critiqued a few times, polished up, and then I sent it off to Fantasy Magazine.

And they bought it.

My third sale.  Now, this means something more to me than just another check.  First of all, at this stage of my pitiful, crawling blob of a career, any success is a major milestone.  But three is special because of a somewhat arbitrary goal I set for myself.  I wanted to be able to join SFWA (Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of America–like a writers union, but it’s not, go read the web site if you really care).  To join, you need to have sold one novel or published 3 short stories in professional markets.  This makes three, so now, according to their by-laws, I’m considered a pro writer and can join.  Well, once I pay the membership fee, of course.

A pro!  I should have a t-shirt made, with PRO written across it.

Or might that be misunderstood?

Sep 30 2009

Day 7- And the ash falls like snow…

I woke Sunday morning, after a few hours sleep, and stared down from my window at this.


Ah, Hollywood.  How quickly your luster fades in the hard light of morning.

Anyway, it was the last day.  Time for book signings!  We rolled out from the hotel in a very special short bus of success, cruising over to our first meeting with our adoring public.  Well, the pros had adoring public.  We had people who were willing to give us a shot at not boring them.


First stop was at Vromans, an independent bookstore in Pasadena.  The trip was fun, with Tim Powers pointing out various landmarks, and I talked writing with some of the others.  I had the joy of trying to explain what my first book was about to Schon, realizing as I did so that I was making it sound fairly incoherent and goofy.  Time to work on that pitch.  In the background, out the bus windows, great black columns of smoke were rising up.  The hills above LA, in the heat of the previous week, had decided to spend the weekend exploding in to flame.  Thousands were fleeing for their lives.  In Pasadena though, we bravely pressed on.  There were books that needed signing.


Vromans is a nice place, and the signing was well organized and went fast.  We put a lot of ink in a lot of books, and then we headed out…  Actually, no.  Turns out the very special short bus had gone missing.  After an hour or so–had I mentioned this was around lunch–it finally turned up.  We piled on and went to the next stop, a Barnes & Nobles.  Originally, the plan was to get food, then go to the signing.  After the mysterious missing bus caper, we had time to get there and run through the restaurant next door where most of the pros were finishing their lunch (they had a very special van, which hadn’t gone missing).  We grabbed caffeine and finished their leftover nachos (already the hedonistic lifestyle of an author was leaving me dizzy), and then went to the signing.

It went well too, although the layout this time wasn’t quite so good.  I was back somewhere in the cooking section.  But it was fun talking to people, and the GW and Kid 1 showed up and I got my copy of the anthology signed by everyone.  Then I drove back to the hotel with the family, and actually managed to talk to them for a little while

Then the wrap up.  Back to Author Services, where first we were fed (yay!).  After, there was a Chick Corea concert.  He’s a grammy winning Jazz pianist.  I have to admit, I don’t listen to Jazz.  But it’s always incredible to watch someone who is a genius work.  Finally there was a dramatic reading of an old Hubbard pulp story, then dessert.

After all that, there was the last hang out.  The pool was closed, so we all settled in to the lobby and talked.  It had been such a long, hectic week, there was that strange sense of time having both stretched and skipped.  It had lasted forever, and was over far too fast.  Eventually, the body gave up, and early Monday morning I staggered off to bed.

Sep 22 2009

Day 6- Hollywood

Saturday, the big day.  I managed to sleep in until 7.

At 9:30 we had a sort-of meeting, in which we sacrificed Jordan to the publicity gods.  He had it coming.  Galaxy press was doing some sort of documentary on the pulps, so they asked if any of us were fans.  Guessing what was coming next, we all stayed silent.  Except poor Jordan.  So he got to go do an interview.

There was nothing else scheduled for the day, except a chance to go do a soundcheck, then get make up.  Yep, make up.  They were filming this, so we got to be prettified for the lights.  I had lunch with Don, and then I met up with Cheryl and gave her a bag full of quarters.  Her mom was collecting state quarters.  To pay me back, I made her rank the severity of British swear words.  Did you know that bollocks ranks higher than bastard?  Now you do.  And knowing is half the battle!

So, laying around and being nervous.  Finally I cracked and went down for my make up.  I went an hour and a half early, and guess what, huge line.  I stood there, dithering, wondering if I should run back up and put on my tux, but I hung out.  Eventually, they were ready and dragged me over.  I told the woman working on me that I wanted the absolute minimal amount of make up possible.  I was going to dinner before the ceremony, and figured I would be smearing it everywhere.  Plus, y’know, makeup, and I’m so manly.  She nodded, the grabbed a trowel and slapped the stuff on.  Then she asked what I wanted done with my hair.  I said just try to make it orderly.  She grabbed a handful of gel from a bucket (totally serious about this bit), and larded it in.  About this time my wife showed up and I passed her my key to the room so she could go change.

When I escaped the stylist, I went upstairs to change.  GW was there, almost ready.  She didn’t have any makeup to put on.  I looked at my hair in the mirror, decided I hated it, and quickly undid the stylists hard work. It still looked bad, but at least now it was my fault.  I quickly put on the tux, with the GW’s help, and off we went.  The six year old was staying with the relatives that night- no way were we subjecting her to this.

First, dinner.  We got to sit with Matt and his family, Gra, Rob Sawyer and Carolyn Clink.  Rob was very nice, talking with us about writing and the biz.  Dinner went pretty well– the food was good, even though I only ate about half.  Nerves.  Then on to the ceremony.

Whoever was coordinating that thing, kudos.  It started on time, and snapped right along.  First the dance number.  Union rules, must be at all award shows.  It was kinda fun, but I did want a quill fight.  Then intros of all the stars, and all the writers (I have to say this was probably the only awards ceremony in Hollywood where the writers got more applause).  Then us.

Here’s the thing– we gave our speeches in the order in which our stories appear in the book.  My stories last (which everyone assures me is a nice position to be in an anthology), which meant I went last.  Long wait.  Everyone gave a great speech, then finally it was me.  And it seemed to go okay.  Most importantly, I didn’t fall down the stairs.


They announced the grand prize winners, and Emery and Sasha got to go up again and get their biggie size trophies.  Both gave nice speeches, but they disappointed me slightly.  Neither of them said “I’m going on a (explicative deleted) blimp, (explicative deleted)!”  Oh well.

With the terror of the public speaking done, time for the after party.  We went back to the room where we had dinner, and there was a giant pile of books inside– the anthology.  Really there, all printed up.  Nice.  We sat down, and started signing.  Thankfully, Nina Kiriki Hoffman gave out some advice on how to do a signing.  Do they want it personalized?  How do you spell that?  Where would you like it?  No one asked for a body part.  It went pretty well.


The guests were great, and I had one of the best compliments of the week there.  One of the people asked me what my 24 hour story was about.  When I told him (the whole black-market trade in the blood of dead gods thing), he looked at me and said “You guys aren’t from around here, are you?”  No, no we’re not, in a number of different ways.

The signing finally ran down, and we were left in an empty room with a much smaller stack of books.  I kissed the GW goodbye (she had been busy helping my career by providing water for the other writers and pros– the wait staff was overwhelmed), then I joined in with my fellow winners in stuffing our arms with books and running for our rooms.

Still, I was a bit wired, and went to the hospitality suite.  About half of us were there, talking it over, and then Joni ordered burgers for us all.  It was three a.m., but I stuffed myself.  Finally, we all drifted apart as incoherency took over the conversations.  I went back to the room, stared at the book for awhile, and read the first story.  Then I passed out.

Sep 18 2009

Day 5-Send in the Pros!

Enough socializing, back to the workshops.

Friday morning we spent picking on– I mean encouraging three of our class mates.  Schon, Don, and Heather got to be the honored fattened calves, and we spent the morning rotissering their stories.  They were all pretty good, but to be honest they felt a bit rushed.  Like they were rough drafts, cranked out the day before.

Yeah, I laugh now, but we promised to e-mail each other our 24 hour stories after the workshop.  So the pain will be shared.


After that, it was time for the guest lecturers.  First up was Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta who talked about a lot of things, but chiefly professionalism.  They showed theirs by providing us with pizza, which we really needed.  Then Doug Beeson and Yoji Kondo spoke, reminding us that science fiction does involve the word science, and that our stories should probably at least make a stab at scientific accuracy.  Dave Wolverton, Sean Williams and Steve Savile were next, but I was dragged away before I could hear them.

They were having us do radio interviews for Sirus XM Book Radio.  So they pulled us out in pairs all through the lectures.  Me and Cheryl went together, managed to find the place and did our interviews.  I believe I was coherent, but I haven’t heard the interview yet.  I have no idea when those interviews are suppose to air, but if I hear I’ll post the times.

Back to Author Services, where Jerry Pournelle was finishing up.  He was doing some storytelling about the business, and how it’s changed.  He wrapped it up with a good luck, I have no idea how your going to make it nowadays.  Then the folks from Locus came and talked to us about why its important to read Locus (got it covered), and Robert Sawyer came and talked about working with Hollywood.  His book, FlashForward got picked up to be a series on ABC, so he talked about options and other cool Hollywood stuff.  And managed to make it seem like it might be an interesting experience, as opposed to one of utter horror which was the impression I’ve gotten from most other writers.  Then we had a little lesson about PR, and how to sell, sell, sell ourselves to the public.  Good and useful stuff, but again, introverts…

The pros wrapped it up, and then the illustrators came in and showed us the artwork they had done for our stories.  Very cool.  Mark Payton did mine, and I love the concept, the trophy snapshot.


Then we got to go over to the Blossom room in the hotel, where the ceremony would be held.  It was all set up, lights hanging everywhere, a giant flatscreen, a huge stage.  And dancers, spinning around, chasing each other with a giant quill pen.  That was odd.

When the dancers were done, they had us go up on the stage.  They pointed out how to receive the trophies, where we should stand for the pictures, and had us check out the mic.  This was when the whole public speaking reality of the thing crashed in.  I had visions of falling down the stairs and impaling myself on the trophy (they’re kinda pokey).  But I handled it in my usual way– finding someone who was more nervous than me and pretending that it was no big deal, see, I was perfectly calm (Thanks, Cheryl!)

Last thing of the night was a party in Sean Williams room.  Got to hang out and talk some more, which was great, but eventually exhaustion set in and it was off to bed.  The next day was going to be long.