Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Battling Up the Mountain...

My ebooks (most of them) have finally appeared in the Kindle store.  They were released to all of the other outlets last May, but some weird fubar snafu kept them from getting into the store until now.  It took lots of extra effort on the part of the folks at ereads to get it all straightened out.  And we're still not quite there.  Dragons in the Stars is still the old version, and From a Changeling Star and Down the Stream of Stars have had the old ones taken down but not the new ones put up.  But the others are there.  At last!  Here's the link. 

Most of them are missing the cover art, I hope just temporarily.  Here are some cover images to replace those that are missing.  And speaking of fubar snafus, I can't seem to make the images come down here to the bottom, so that's why they're up on top.  Ah well.

I decided I'd been mad at Amazon long enough about the Seven Day War, so I've put my Amazon links back on my web site.

For other formats (and DRM-free versions), check my ebooks page.

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Quick Trip to Puerto Rico

Last week, Julia and I joined Allysen for a few days at her parents' house in Puerto Rico (their residence, not a vacation home).  The time went fast.  There was a lot to do.  Her folks are at the age where they need a lot of help.  Internet problems, computer problems, plumbing problems, the run of homeowner problems, and a serious veterinary crisis.  (I even got it at both ends.  The morning after I arrived down there, my cell phone rang and it was Jill, who rents our first floor apartment up here.  The hot water heater just let go!  The basement is flooding!  Can you call the plumber?  What fun!)  Some days, it pays better to stay in bed.  Still, it was great to escape winter for even a little while. 

I needed to come back a day early for the memorial service for my friend Victoria (see earlier post).  It was a beautiful service, filled mostly with singing, with many members of her Sacred Harp singing community present.  I'm sure she enjoyed it, from her new vantage point.  Those of us in the writing group tried gamely to keep up with the shaped note singing.  Fortunately, we were assured that wrong notes add to the character of the music.  That's my kind of singing. 


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Boskone Cut Short

My participation at Boskone this weekend was cut short by the flu.  I was there Friday evening and gradually realized I wasn't feeling well, so headed home.  By the time I got home on the subway, I knew I'd caught something.  So I canceled my Saturday things, and stayed in, eating soup and toast and drinking green tea.  Doing a little better now.  Apologies to anyone who'd hoped to catch up with me or attend my reading, etc. 

I'm going to be away for the coming week, and may not have reliable internet access.  So if I seem unusually silent, that'll be why. 


Sunday, February 07, 2010

Books Back Up at Amazon

The Seven Day War between Amazon and my publisher's parent company Macmillan seems to be over.  Amazon restored the Buy buttons to my books last night, and by all reports to the rest of the Macmillan catalogue as well. 

Am I going to restore the Amazon links that I took down from my website?  (I didn't go through my site methodically removing all links, but I did take down the most prominent ones.)  Let me get back to you on that.  It potentially costs me money in the form of referral fees—not a lot of money, but every little bit helps—to keep them down.  But Amazon has been behaving badly of late, and I want to think before I jump right back into bed with them. 

The tide seems to be turning in the publishing industry.  Two other giants have announced their intention to seek similar changes in the way ebooks are priced and divvied up. 

Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  I wish I knew.  I really do.

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Interview Here, Appearance There

ScifiBookshelf.com has just posted an interview with me.

I'll be appearing at a fundraiser at my town library, Robbins Library of Arlington, Mass., tomorrow evening from 6 - 9. They've got a bunch of local authors coming, all bringing books to sign. Should be a fun event.

I'll also be at Boskone, the annual convention sponsored by the New England Science Fiction Association, on Feb. 12 -13 (but not on Sunday).

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Amazon Continues to Hit Authors in the Wallet

Although Amazon staff publicly stated they were conceding to Macmillan in the big battle over ebook pricing, they still have not restored Macmillan/Tor titles to their listings. Is this a continued tantrum against Macmillan, to punish them for their negotiating position? Does Amazon care how many authors they're harming? (I think we know the answer to that one.) I am a longtime Amazon customer and Amazon Associate, but I don't plan to send them any more of my dollars as long as they continue this senseless war.

Since Amazon is no longer selling new copies of Sunborn, let me post some purchase links here to stores that will sell it to you. (Betterworldbooks.com is a retailer I only just became aware of. Part of their mission is to actively support literacy programs around the world. Worth checking out.)

And let me join John Scalzi in urging you to support other Macmillan authors by buying their books from other outlets!  

[Edit] Here's a new message from Macmillan CEO John Sargent, who seems to feel that the situation may be nearing resolution. (I'm not sure I agree with his reasoning on the changes coming to publishing, but there you have it.)  Meanwhile...

Sunborn is available from:

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Has Chuck Jumped the Shark?

Chuck is one of my favorite TV shows, and one that Allysen and I most eagerly awaited the return of. But...but...what have they done with our show?

In the first five episodes, the writing has taken a seriously wrong turn, for my tastes. Much of the charm and wit are missing, or at best labored. The plotting makes Chuck seem stupid, rather than endearingly innocent. They brought back Morgan and Big Mike in a ham-handed fashion—and rather nastily, with the summary execution of the Tony Hale character with a bullet through the head. They've fallen in love with the famous guest star gimmick (two from the Superman world). They seem to feel that Yvonne Strahovski has to be shown semi-naked even more often than in the past, as if any hotblooded male needs that gimmick to maintain an interest in Yvonne Strahovski. (I enjoy attractive, semi-clad women as much as the next guy, but here it just seems blatantly exploitative.) Chuck summons impossible skills at the drop of a script-writer's pen. In short...bah! I'm waiting for the show I love to return. But I'm not sure if it's going to.

To be fair, they pretty well painted themselves into a corner at the end of last season. It was clear things had to change; they couldn't continue with the same-old same-old. He had the new Intersect, the plot arc with his father was finished, and things with Sarah were at a make-or-break point. They clearly didn't want Chuck and Sarah to get together, because there would go all of the sexual tension. And yet...how did they deal with this? By having Chuck throw away a chance for a life with Sarah, so that he could become a real (bumbling) spy? Ssssss...

We haven't given up yet. Maybe they just need time to shake things out. But we're well into the season now, and we're very afraid that it's going to go the way of Andromeda after its chief writer left the show. Which is to say, down the tubes.

But I surely hope not.


Monday, February 01, 2010

Amazon Blinks First

The war, or at least the battle, between Amazon.com and Macmillan publishers (corporate parent of my publisher, Tor Books) ended Sunday night when Amazon conceded that it would have to accept the new terms for selling ebooks.  Last I checked, my own book still wasn't back up for direct sale, but I trust it will be soon.

One of the best (short) commentaries on the matter is on E-reads.com, by Richard Curtis, literary agent and ebook publisher.  (He happens to be my agent and ebook publisher, but that's not why I'm recommending his column.)  He's been in this business for a long time, and has a pretty reliable nose for what's happening.

Author Tobias Buckell outlines the situation pretty well from the author's point of view. That's a long post, but if you're interested in learning more about how this crazy business works, it's a good one.

And another excellent author's view from Scott Westerfeld.

Me, I'm still annoyed at Amazon for using bombs as a negotiating ploy, especially when I'm close to one of the targets.  Actually, I'm annoyed with Amazon on several counts, including their continued failure to get my books into the Kindle store.  The hell of it is, though--I actually agree with them that cheaper ebooks will make more money for everyone, or at least for most of us.

It'll be interesting to watch what happens when Apple truly enters the ebook business, and then there will be two gorillas in the ring. 

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