Nature's Reset Button
And now I head home, with hopes that I can keep some of this lodged in my forebrain for a while.
(and other metaphors for life)
The New England Young Writers Conference at Bread Loaf was a tremendous success. It always is, but I'd been away from it for five years, and felt pretty rusty going in. Though I arrived frazzled, and was exhausted most of the time (we had a very busy workshop schedule), it was an enormously rewarding experience. This conference selects over two hundred talented and motivated high school-aged writers, and they were a wonderful bunch of kids. One of my students came all the way from Paris for the workshop—a half-French girl with an Aussie accent and a great sense of humor. Another turned out to be the son of a horror writer I once did a bunch of book signings with. As always in the past, I enjoyed getting to know the other writer-teachers (there were about twenty of us), who were of all stripes and genres, but all very friendly. And my reading of an excerpt from Neptune Crossing to the whole conference was very well received.
Allysen, meanwhile, put her foot down and said she wasn't letting me come home until I'd taken a few days for myself. Thanks to her diligent research, I am now holed up at an inn near Woodstock, Vermont and Quechee Gorge. First goal, to rest and decompress. Second goal: start wrapping my head around The Reefs of Time again, and start finishing that sucker.
I'm leaving shortly for Vermont and the New England Young Writers Conference, where I'll be one of a couple dozen writers of all types and genres working with high-school student writers. I'm returning after a five-year hiatus, and I'm hoping for it to be a good time.
We finished moving everything out of Allysen's mother's condo this week, and the closing for the sale went off yesterday. So that big job is behind us. Fay herself will arrive while I'm at the conference, and should be moved into her new place at the retirement village by the time I'm back.
See you next week!
Labels: personal news
With a new Star Trek movie about to open, why not sharpen our critical faculties with a look back at the last movie, in Everything Wrong With Star Trek (2009) In 5 Minutes Or Less:
This came to my attention from SyFy's Blastr site.
A new car ad from Audi features dueling Spock actors. Zachary Quinto (new Spock) challenges Leonard Nimoy (old Spock) to a little competition in "The Challenge":
Lots of interesting stuff has passed across my desktop since I got back from P.R., but the contrast of these stories really struck me:
Actually, I've been back for about a week—from Puerto Rico, that is. I flew down a few weeks ago (my last post was actually from P.R.) to help Allysen's mom with the final packing, and—I thought—her move up to her new place here in Massachusetts. Well, the schedule was optimistic, so I returned, not with my mother-in-law, but with my dog-in-law, Diego. (Seen here meeting a Roomba for the first time.)
Diego and Captain Jack don't get along too well (both see themselves very much as alpha dogs), but they've settled into an uneasy truce. Diego's ward Fay now plans to move up in another week or so, which is how much longer Diego and Jack must get along. Meanwhile, Fay's little condo here in Arlington sold quickly, so a more or less essential piece of this move has fallen into place. And we and the Landshark have been kept very busy moving stuff!
Labels: personal news
I was just sitting down to write an update—really to let everyone know that my own family is safe and well following the Boston Marathon bombing and the following manhunt, just a few miles from my house—when I saw on the TV, "Suspect in custody." Well done and thanks, Boston area police! What a tremendous, professional job. As I write this, we still don't know any of the details, just that they took the suspect alive, a nineteen-year-old kid who somehow got drawn into being part of this atrocity of terrorism and murder. And we still have the unanswered question: Were the two brothers acting alone? The story is far from over, but God willing, the day of fear has come to an end.
Labels: public affairs
I was miles from the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded yesterday. Busy with mundane tasks, I didn't hear much about what had happened until hours later, when I started getting text messages from out of state, people checking to see if my family and I were all right. (We are.) When I finally got caught up, I realized I was learning about something just a few miles away that was breaking news around the world. Unlike September 11, 2001, when I saw the TV images minutes after the attack, this came to me as a slow-building shock. I think it's still building.
Are my loved ones okay? Thankfully, yes. A number of people where Allysen works were running in the marathon. They're all okay. The soon-to-be-incoming pastor at our church was running. He's okay. The son and daughter of someone I know made a last-minute decision not to go see the finish of the race. To the best of my knowledge, no one I know personally, or even second-hand, was physically harmed in the attack.
Emotionally is another matter. People are sad and shaky and angry and depressed. Our hearts and prayers go out to the families whose lives are shattered. I find myself wondering what kind of vicious and demonized thinking can lead someone to murder and maim innocent strangers, and presumably rejoice in it. (Yes, I know, this sort of thing goes on every day, somewhere in the world. But this time it happened in my city.) I don't propose to answer the question, because I have no answers. It's been going on for thousands of years. But only in the recent past has it become so easy to commit acts like this with relative impunity.
I've never gotten personally involved in the running of the marathon, despite knowing some people who have participated. But to me, the marathon is like the Olympics: it's a place where people from all over the world come together to compete as friends and equals. It's a stage that brings out the best in us as people. A stage where money doesn't matter, nationality doesn't matter, religion and politics don't matter. It's a time for coming together, and celebrating the winners and almost-winners alike.
Was that why the marathon became a target? Because it celebrated the best? Because there are those who don't like celebration, don't like seeing people of all nations and colors running together? I don't suppose we'll ever know for sure. But I'm pretty sure of this: It wasn't an attack just on America; it was an attack on humanity.
Here's a photo posted to Facebook by Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield, from the International Space Station, titled A somber Spring night in Boston.
Labels: public affairs
checking reviews of movies I might be interested in (especially movies that show up on cable), the first reviewer I check is always Roger Ebert. I've trusted his reviewer's eye and sensibility ever since I first encountered him with Gene Siskel, on Sneak Previews, on PBS. He died yesterday at age 70, after a long struggle with cancer. The Sun-Times has a detailed obituary, and Blastr has one that focuses more on his interest in science fiction. He was a lifelong SF fan, as well as a perceptive reviewer of movies of all genres.
By now, most people interested in books and publishing have heard of Hugh Howey, a self-published SF writer whose eighth (I think) book Wool hit gold and became a runaway bestseller in ebook. It made a millionaire of the author, and led in the course of time to an extraordinary print contract with a major New York publisher, in which the publisher offered a large six-figure advance for print rights only, allowing the author to continue to mine his own ebook rights to the tune of six figures monthly.
[Deep breath, and expel the envy. All together, now...]
Anyway, Hugh Howey writes on Salon.com about his views of traditional versus self-publishing. It's pretty interesting, although I don't necessarily agree with everything he says. (For one thing, he doesn't mention the role that traditional publishers play in helping writers, especially new writers, improve their craft and produce better books. Some say that that role is diminishing these days, but I think it really depends on the publisher and the editor.) Still, it's hard to argue with Howey's success.
I write this as I'm taking a break from working on my taxes, wherein I discover that I sort of seriously underestimated the effect my own improved ebook sales would have on my tax bottom line. Ow. I'm not remotely in the same universe as Howey, sales-wise. Nevertheless, last year was one of the best years I've had in my modest career in terms of book income, and it was all from my backlist. The paradigms, they are a-shiftin'.
Wishing everyone a happy and peaceful Easter, if you celebrate it, and a happy and peaceful Sunday regardless!
Labels: personal news
In this promo for a Star Trek video game, William Shatner and his old friend the Gorn (from the Classic Trek episode "The Arena") mix it up in Shatner's living room. I've always had a soft spot for the Gorn. It's good to see him back.
Once again, I was surprised to discover that more of my books are up on Audible.com! Five Star Rigger books were released in February. That's Panglor, Dragons in the Stars, Dragon Rigger, Star Rigger's Way, and Seas of Ernathe—all of the Star Rigger books except Eternity's End.
You can see the lot of them on my author page, or go straight to the individual titles. I'm still working with the Audible people to get the descriptions corrected (Panglor has the wrong plot description altogether), and not all of the sample buttons are working. But the books are all available. They're also for sale in the iTunes store.
The titles that went up in October are all listed now as being enabled for "Whispersync for voice," which means if you have a Kindle edition you can switch back and forth between reading the ebook and listening to the audiobook without losing your place.
|Dragons in the Stars audiobook|
|Dragon Rigger audiobook|
|Star Rigger's Way audiobook|
|Seas of Ernathe audiobook|
Allysen's back from Puerto Rico, and here's how she looked soon after her arrival. The little fellow is Crunch, who hung out with us for a few hours before going to her home. The big guy, of course, is Captain Jack. They look like they could be related. But they're not.
I've been back home for about a week now, but Allysen and Julia are still in Ponce, packing and seeing to the adoption of puppies. It turns out all the reliable rescue groups in Puerto Rico were already overwhelmed with abandoned dogs, and the shelter in Ponce was having an outbreak of parvovirus. So we got the puppies vaccinated ourselves, and a friend of Allysen's mom helped us find some new homes. Three of the seven have been placed, and homes lined up for at least three more. The puppies are wonderful, but what a job!
Here's the one we call Foremost. (Hindmost was the last to leave the crate; Foremost was first.)
Labels: personal news
I've been in Puerto Rico for the last week, working away at the Herculean task of packing up Allysen's mother's house for her move to the Boston area. A couple of evenings ago, her dogs Diego and Sixta ran howling up to the gate to see what insidious deed was afoot. It turns out their instincts were spot on. A family of—I can only call them lowlifes—had just dropped a litter of seven puppies in front of our house and hightailed it down the hill. (Allysen got there in time to see them and ran after them yelling, but they fled. We are the last house at the top of a hillside road, and for years, people have been abandoning animals at our gate.)
We really needed this, while trying to pack up a lifetime of books, papers, artwork, and other possessions. But like it or not, the puppies were suddenly in our hands. And so now, we have fed them and bathed them (they were crawling with fleas), and have been trying to find a local rescue group who can take them. If we don't hear from Save a Sato or one of the other groups by tomorrow, we'll take them to the Ponce Animal Rescue and hope for the best. We could bring a couple of them back to the States, if we knew there were homes waiting for them. So how about it? Would you like to take in a heartstoppingly lovable puppy?
You can see six of the seven in this picture. In back is an adorable one I immediately named the Hindmost, a reference that any reader of Larry Niven's stories will recognize.
Is just as rusty. That was how it seemed for a while, as we were searching for a replacement vehicle for our beloved but aging Mazda, Thoth. (Named after an Egyptian god associated with writing and philosophy.) And then, last week, our fortunes turned, when I found a gray 2006 Ford Ranger (small pickup) in very good condition, at a good price. With a cap, no less. (Which will have to come off for some of the furniture moving ahead of us, but for routine use seems like a great feature.) Last week, our mechanic checked it over, and yesterday I picked it up from the dealer, Auto Country of Abington, MA. Good-bye, Thoth! You were faithful and a great car to drive. Not your fault you got old and started falling apart.
Hello, Star Rigger Land Shark! Welcome to the family!
Labels: personal news
President Obama gave his State of the Union speech last night, and it was a great speech. But for any serious people watcher, at least half the game was watching Speaker of the House John Boehner, sitting right behind the president.
Let me preface by saying that Congressman John Boehner is from my home state, the Great State of Ohio. I'm guess I'm not that much of an Ohioan anymore, having lived in Massachusetts for far longer than the years I spent growing up in Ohio. But still. You can take the boy out of Ohio, but you can't (entirely) take Ohio out of the boy.
And so it made me wince to see Ohio's most powerful member of Congress look like he'd eaten a bad Brazil nut for a solid hour, while listening to the president's State of the Union address. Okay, sure, Boehner doesn't agree with all of Obama's policies. Hell, I don't agree with all of Obama's policies. (What's up with the drone strikes, Mr. President? And why, after the Gulf oil disaster, are you so eager to fast-track oil exploration?) But most of what he said was, in my opinion, good common Midwestern sense, mixed with a healthy dose of much-needed inspiration.
So why did our most prominent Republican look as if he were receiving an hour-long prostate exam? Was it the bitterness of a vanquished foe? Or was it just a visible symptom of our still deeply divided country?
One of the many things I liked about the speech was the stories that Obama wove into it. I like stories. They humanize discussions that can otherwise become abstract and cold, and turn into endless confrontation between entrenched positions. Stories move us, and help us listen to each other. Who could fail to be moved to grief by the story of the young woman who, one week, was participating in the Presidential Inauguration, and the next, was struck down by gunfire near her home in Chicago? Or heartened by the cop who took twelve bullets while performing his job, and lived to inspire others? We can't make national decisions based just on stories. We need hard facts to help us decide what to do about global climate change, for example. But stories have their place. Sometimes they can soften a hardened heart, and help us pay attention to what the other is saying. They might not change our minds. But they help us listen.
And listening is something we need a lot more of in American political life today.
Labels: public affairs
Winter Storm Nemo, they're calling it. I think of Nemo as a cute little clownfish, but Jules Verne's Nemo is probably a more apt referent. I'm writing this at about 1 a.m. Saturday morning, which should put us a third or halfway through the snowy Nor'easter. They're already calling it the Blizzard of 2013, and snow accumulation for the Boston area could break previous records. Looked like about a foot so far, the last time I was out, which was a few hours ago. Hard to tell, with all the drifting. I can hear the wind gusting out my office window right now. Oddly, the weather bug on my computer desktop says "Fog" for current conditions in my area!
We lost power at around 10 p.m., and I was just starting to wonder how cold the house would get without heat (or how fast it would get cold), when I saw utility truck lights out in the street. They had us back up in about half an hour. (They were on site so fast I'm guessing maybe they shut us off while they corrected some hazardous condition, maybe a tree branch on a line or something.) Hats off to those guys out there working on lines in these conditions! I had to take Captain Jack out, so I walked over and asked the nearest worker if I could bring him anything. Nope, he said. A neighbor had already brought him hot chocolate.
A glance at the power outages chart for Nstar in Massachusetts shows a lot of people hurting, especially down on the south shore and Cape Cod. Here's hoping they get taken care of fast.
It's supposed to end late this morning, so I'll try to remember to take some pictures before I fire up the snow blower to tunnel us out.
If you don't hear from me again in the next day, that'll probably mean the power went out again. Either that, or I'm too sore from shoveling to sit down and write another post.
Yes we do, here at the Starrigger Ranch. Good thing, too. I wrote earlier, in brief, about what the first quarter of 2013 looks like for the Carver family. Allysen's mom, Fay, is moving from her long-time residence in Puerto Rico to live closer to us—not with us, but in a continuing care community not too far away. This is sad, because she loves it where she is. But it's necessary. She's in her 80s, and at several thousand miles distance, we have been her closest family since Allysen's dad passed away two years ago. This means not just moving, but closing down, fixing up, and preparing for sale two separate properties—and finding suitable disposition for a lifetime's worth of stuff, much of it very nice stuff gathered from work and travel all over the world.
To this end, Allysen has taken a leave of absence from her job, and she's already down there working on the Puerto Rico end. The rest of us will be going down at various times to contribute to the effort. Meanwhile, at this end, we're still finishing the job of getting her charming little condo here near us ready to put on the market. (To a large degree, that means boxing everything up and moving it into our basement for interim storage.) I've been putting up a lot of shelves in our basement.
Just to keep it interesting, at the same time, we've been looking to replace our aging '98 Mazda. We decided a while back that a small pickup truck would make a handy replacement, because even before all this started, we always seemed to be facing situations where we wished we had one, but something smallish, like a Ranger. So we've been looking. It's amazing how much time and energy you can put into shopping for a used truck. Especially when all the dealers who sell them seem to be an hour's drive away. I believe, hope, and pray that I have now found one. Tomorrow it's to be checked over by our trusty mechanic. If all goes well, we'll have our new (to us) truck by next week.
Meanwhile, just to keep it more interesting, I was in the basement knocking together shelves when I turned around and saw water leaking out of our hot water tank, a tank which had just passed out of its ten-year warranty. Thank God for good plumbers who come when you need them. (Thanks, Pat!) Then, the day our hot water heater was replaced, our brand-new washer went on the fritz! What is this, a conspiracy?
Making that sequence even weirder, I called Allysen down in PR to tell her the news. Her reply? "The hot water heater here just quit, too." And the next day, the new washer there broke, locking their wet clothes inside.
It's really got to make you wonder.
But as I say, we eat problems for breakfast. Nutritious and full of fiber!
Labels: personal news
I'm heading off shortly to Boston's Westin Hotel on the waterfront to spend some time at Arisia, currently New England's largest regional SF/F convention. I'll be on a bunch of panels related to writing and ebook publishing. Tonight at 10, the subject is "Self-editing your SF/F Novel" —self-editing being the first step in rewriting a manuscript, to be combined (preferably) with critique from trusted readers, followed by more revision as needed. I happen to have a self-edit checklist just for the purpose! (If you don't catch the panel, you can always read my checklist at writesf.com—click the link for Rewriting.)
Tomorrow, I'll be talking about "Punching Up the Action," "Self-publishing" (particularly, from my point of view, as it relates to self-publishing one's backlist), and "Plot and Structure." If you're in the area, come on down!
I'm also eagerly looking forward to seeing the art show. The artist Guest of Honor is Roger Dean, creator of all those wonderful Yes album covers (which were in fact one inspiration for my novel Panglor)!
A young, German filmmaker named Kaleb Lechowski, 22, has released an all-CGI short film called R'ha that's pretty impressive, especially for an amateur effort. Okay, the story's nothing new, but the visual (and audio) representation are startlingly good. Reportedly, he spent seven months on the computer creating this film with a running time of 6:26. If you're not at work or in a house with people sleeping, turn up the sound a little.
Think they can't have a little fun at the White House? How about this Official White House Response to a citizens petition "to Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016"?
The rest of it is pretty good, too. Why not give it a read?This Isn't the Petition Response You're Looking For
The Administration shares your desire for job creation and a strong national defense, but a Death Star isn't on the horizon. Here are a few reasons:
- The construction of the Death Star has been estimated to cost more than $850,000,000,000,000,000. We're working hard to reduce the deficit, not expand it.
- The Administration does not support blowing up planets.
- Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?
It was just like the Lord of the Rings movies, only more so. Allysen and I went to see it in 3D for New Year's Day evening, and came away agreeing: "The parts that were good were great, and the parts that were bad were really bad." Basically, it was about an hour too long for the story it told, and if you edited out some of the endless battle scenes and Indiana Jones-like theatrics, you'd have a really good movie.
Labels: theater and movies
Yes, we've made another turn around Sol, and congratulations to all of us! I hope you have all had a terrific holiday season, and are in good form for the start of another circle. Here in the Carver household, we had a great Christmas with my brother and his wife visiting from Florida, and several other good friends on hand. My sister-in-law Youngmee didn't exactly get her wish for snow while visiting, though. Oh, we had a little dusting, but the real snow waited until a day after they'd left. Next year!
Show us your Nook! Or your pretend-Nook, if you don't have a Nook. From now through Dec. 31, a bunch of authors, including the one attached to my fingers, are giving away a free ebook from Book View Café. All you have to do is visit Katharine Eliska Kimbriel's Live Journal page at http://alfreda89.livejournal.com/. She has the instructions there. The idea is you post a picture of yourself with your Nook to Cat's Livejournal or Facebook page, and in return you get some coupon codes for free books. Just go to Book View Café to collect. Nothing to register—just use the coupon codes to download epub editions of the books.
I'm giving away Eternity's End, a Nebula finalist. You'll also get Cat's Fires of Nuala, Vonda N. McIntyre's Starfarers, and Jennifer Stevenson's King of Hearts, all in DRM-free epub editions. (Which means, among other things, that if you have a Kindle pretending to be a Nook, you can easily convert the epub to mobi-Kindle format with Calibre, a free program.) See Cat's page for a list of other participating authors.
Here’s where you can go to collect your epub copy of Eternity's End once you have your coupon code: http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/bvc-author/jeffrey-a-carver/.
Hurry! Before we run out of ebooks!
One of the hardest things for many writers—beyond, you know, actually writing—is trying to describe your book in just a few words. Here's a funny book trailer that tackles the question head on.The author in this trailer reminds me of my sister-in-law, Suzanne.
This is the best day since 11-11-11. And as my friend Crystal pointed out, the fast-approaching 12-21-12 will be almost as good. Alas, we may never see a 13-13-13, and not because of the end of the world.
Say Twelve-Twelve-Twelve fast a few times, and then check out my earlier 12-12-12 post (right below, if you're reading this directly in the blog) about works in progress and the great Blog Hop.
Today I'm diving into an author meme that's circulating around the net this month. It's called a Blog Hop. The idea is to post some tantalizing information about your work in progress, to get folks (that's you) psyched about what's coming down the pike—and then to link to some of your writer friends and colleagues, and encourage the same folk (you, again) to go check out what they're doing.
Here goes. First question, please:
1) What is the title of your next work?
The Reefs of Time.
It's Volume Five of The Chaos Chronicles. Or, to put it another way, it's the long-awaited sequel to Sunborn. It's also still very much a work in progress, and I don't have a publication date for you, unfortunately. Some of you have been waiting a long time for this book, and I very much appreciate your patience.
2) Where did the idea come from?
It continues a story inspired by chaos theory, which began years ago with Neptune Crossing, the opening volume of The Chaos Chronicles. The series chronicles the adventures of one John Bandicut from Earth, a survey pilot out on Triton (moon of Neptune), whose journey starts with a search for relics of life from outside the solar system. He finds it, in the form of a quarx—a noncorporeal alien who takes up residence in his head—and the translator, a powerful machine or being of equally alien origin. A lot happens after that—four books' worth, in fact. Worlds in danger, starting with Earth. Reluctant heroes. New friendships and loves where least expected.
In The Reefs of Time, we are hundreds of years further into the future, out at the edge of our galaxy. There's a calamity in the making, of truly galactic proportions. Li-Jared's homeworld is involved. The starstream is involved (see From a Changeling Star and Down the Stream of Stars). The Mindaru are involved (see Sunborn). The inspiration for this volume came not just from chaos theory, but time theory, as well. The human element was inspired by... well, I'm not really sure, to be honest. My own feelings of awe in the face of a seemingly chaotic universe, perhaps.
Each of the books is a story complete, while building a much larger story arc.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Sounds sort of like science fiction, doesn't it?
4) What actors should play your characters in the movie?
I'd never thought about that until now. Well, okay, this sounds nutty, but actually Tom Cruise, toned down, might not be bad as John Bandicut. Chris Pike could be good, too. Or Jeremy Renner, or Mark Ruffalo. He has to be smart and capable, but also a little crazy. He's got actual, alien voices in his head, and he's loyal to those he loves, and when pushed, he's willing to take some enormous risks.
Most of the characters in this book are aliens, and that's a tough casting challenge. Willem Dafoe was great as Tar Tarkas, and he might be a pretty good Ik (an alien). Lynn Collins (Deja Thoris in John Carter) could be the beautiful, four-breasted humanoid, Antares. Or Lena Heady. For Julie Stone, human... not sure. Someone smart, competent, cute, reminiscent of Allison Mack (Chloe in Smallville); but I'm not sure she's quite right. Someone similar, though. Summer Glau? Too exotic. Piper Perabo? Too adorable. I think this part is still open. Li-Jared and the robots, I really have no idea.
5) Give us a one-sentence synopsis. (Go ahead, try!)
When a time distortion opens a channel from the center of the galaxy in the deep past, to the outer galaxy of now, it also opens a path for a malevolent group of cyber-entities to come forward in time, threatening thousands of civilized worlds. It falls to John Bandicut and his alien companions to find a way to close the timestream. And if Bandicut survives, he might just learn that Julie Stone has made it to Shipworld, out at the edge of the galaxy, and that she has played a part in the mission.
Okay, I made it in three sentences. But it's a whole lot more complicated than that, really.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is slated to be published by Tor Books, who have been waiting patiently for the long-overdue manuscript.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Ouch. Five years or more in, I'm nearly finished with the massive first draft. I expect the rewrite to go a lot faster, though it will be a huge job, involving a lot of weaving and a lot of cutting and tightening.
8) What other books would you compare this story to?
That's a hard one. It has some of the epic proportions of Vernor Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep, and A Deepness in the Sky. Maybe some kinship with Gregory Benford's galactic core books. Or Jack McDevitt's The Engines of God. Or Samuel R. Delany's Nova. Or Niven's Ringworld. A bit of Heinlein, a bit of Clarke. It's character driven, but probably comes in somewhere between hard science fiction and galactic space opera.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
James Gleick's book, Chaos. An article in The Planetary Report about chaos in the solar system. An image of a man, a pilot, driven a little mad by the loss of his cybernetic implants, as the first human to encounter an alien.
10) What else might pique the reader’s interest?
It's a great, sprawling adventure with characters I find very interesting (humans, aliens, robots), a complex plot spanning half the galaxy, and—oh yes—time travel! I can't wait to read it. And I really can't wait to finish writing it. The Reefs of Time. When it's done, the readers of this blog will be the first to know.
All six books that connect to it, by the way, are readily available as ebooks. (That includes four books of The Chaos Chronicles, plus the two Starstream novels mentioned above. Paper books are also available, though you might have to go to the used market for some of them.)
If there are no more questions, why don't you check out what some of my fellow authors have to say about their works in progress? (Some might be posting over the course of the day, so if you don't see anything, check back.)
Richard Bowker http://richardbowker.com/
Ann Tonsor Zeddies http://pointoforigin.livejournal.com/
Lois Gresh http://loisgresh.blogspot.com
The next bunch of writers are all colleagues of mine at Book View Café:
Patricia Burroughs http://planetpooks.com/the-blog/
Katharine Eliska "Cat" Kimbriel http://alfreda89.livejournal.com/
Pati Nagle http://patinagle.livejournal.com/
Steven Harper Piziks http://spiziks.livejournal.com
Deborah J. Ross http://www.deborahjross.blogspot.com/
Others will be posting on December 19. I'll try to get some more links for you then.
If you're a writer and have posted your own "Next Big Thing" (or want to do so right now), please go ahead and post your link under Comments!
Before this gets away from me and I forget to promote it (What good are specials if you keep them to yourself?), I have a few book specials lined up for the holiday season.
Ebooks first. At Book View Café, you can pick up my two short story collections, Going Alien and Reality and Other Fictions, for just $1.99 each through December 31. (That's a dollar off the regular low, low price of $2.99!) Epub or mobi (Kindle) format, your choice, DRM-free.
In the Kindle store, the price of my spaceship-racing thriller, Clypsis (Book One of the Roger Zelazny's Alien Speedway trilogy) has been marked down by the publisher, at my request, from $9.99 to $5.97. That's a 40% markdown! Gentlebeings, start your engines! A rousing collaboration with the late, great Roger Zelazny, for young adults of all ages! (Plus, when you compare the ebook price to $89.56 for a new, vintage paperback, it's a no-brainer. Never mind the $.01 used paperbacks. I'm sure they're not as good.)
Here's hoping that you all have a wonderful day, and that you have much to be grateful for. If you're outside the U.S., you might not have the day off, but I hope you'll join us in spirit. Think of something to be thankful for, and share it with someone you love!
Oh, and if you happen to run a large retail corporation, and you're thinking of starting "Black Friday" on Thanksgiving Day, how about thinking again? Why not treat your employees (and your customers) with dignity and respect, and let everyone enjoy their holiday before you throw open the doors with your sales? We can wait. Really, we can.
Labels: theater and movies
Quite accidentally, I've discovered that four of my novels recently became available as audiobooks from Audible! News to me! But good news.
I reported earlier that nine of my books have been picked up for audiobook production, and I knew that three of them were in production. I didn’t know any of them were finished, and the fourth was a complete surprise. I had been asked by a producer to record my preferred pronunciations of names and funny words in From a Changeling Star, Down the Stream of Stars, and The Infinity Link. That's how I knew they were in process. Apparently a different producer was in charge of The Rapture Effect, and on that book I guess I'm at the mercy of the narrator.
Check them out and listen to samples at Audible.com! I notice that three of them have a special offer: Get the audiobook for $1.99 if you buy the Kindle ebook first. That's a great deal! The Kindle ebooks are only $4.39 right now, so that means you'd get ebook and audiobook combined for only $6.38! Makes me want to go get them for myself.
|No, this isn't it. I don't think this one has|
Labels: personal news
With apologies to my Republican readers (if I have any left). It is a parody.
In remarking on the political divisiveness and social unrest of an historically polarizing election and in commenting culturally and metaphorically on Victor Hugo's fictional historic struggle at the barricades of freedom, "One Term More", with deep affection and utmost respect, parodies the inimitable "One Day More!" © Published by Alain Boublil Music Ltd. / ℗ 1985 EXALLSHOW LTD. Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg / Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer from the beloved, internationally acclaimed Cameron Mackintosh Presentation of "Les Misérables" By Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg. Based on the novel by Victor Hugo.
Labels: public affairs
Actually, all of Lucasfilm, including Industrial Light and Magic. They're planning to have a new Star Wars movie for us by 2015. And if that doesn't scare you, I don't know what will. (Well, okay, maybe a hurricane.) In the last few years, Disney has acquired Pixar, Marvel, and now Lucasfilm. That's a lot of heavy lifting, money-wise (over $4 billion for Lucasfilm alone), and gives you some idea of how much gold the Mouse is carrying around.
But is it a bad thing, or a good one? Well, the Disney ownerships doesn't seem to have hurt Pixar too much. And Marvel seems to be doing okay, judging by The Avengers. But Star Wars? Will we be glad to have another episode, and then another? Certainly the empire has been faltering creatively for decades, so it may be that new blood in the driver's seat will be just what we need. But here’s some perspective offered by Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr:
The new “Star Wars” will come in 3D, IMAX, and someday -- who knows? -- holo-vision and jack-in brain cinema. But Disney CEO Iger’s announcement of the Lucasfilm acquisition is telling. “This transaction combines a world-class portfolio of content including ‘Star Wars,’ one of the greatest family entertainment franchises of all time, with Disney’s unique and unparalleled creativity across multiple platforms, businesses and markets to generate sustained growth and drive significant long-term value.”Yeah, there is that.
There are certain things missing from that sentence, words like movie and story and characters.
Like millions of others in the eastern U.S., we're battened down, waiting out Hurricane Sandy. We've got bread and batteries up the wazoo, extra water in the basement and garage (I knew those big plastic cat-litter containers I've been saving would be good for something, someday), gas in the cars, and I even got a couple of the window air conditioners pulled for the winter before it started blowing. Where we are, outside Boston, the main concern is downed trees and wires (and I've already called in one of each from my earlier outings).
Here's what Sandy looks like from space:
Caller to talk show asks to have Deer Xing signs moved to lower traffic areas. School crossings, for example, would be a good place. Now who wouldn't be on board with that?
I'll bet Romney would fix this if he were president! And for Ryan, it just goes without saying.
Woot! It's finally happened! Researchers have announced the discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the star system nearest to ours. Called Alpha Centauri Bb for now (it orbits the star in the Alpha Centauri group called Alpha Centauri B), this planet is roughly 3.6 million miles from its sun, compared to our 93 million miles from our sun. So it's pretty hot, certainly not in the range for most Earthlike life forms. But this discovery suggests the likelihood of other planets in the star system. Most systems have multiple planets, and the ones closest to their suns are the easiest to detect.
This is so insanely, massively cool. We've dreamed of it for years. And now we've learned that our nearest neighboring star system has a planet the size of ours, and may have other planets in the habitable zone.
The news takes me back to memories of one of the first paperback SF novels I ever read as a kid: Robert Silverberg's Revolt on Alpha C.
Who's ready to join me in starting construction of a starship?