Archive for May, 2008

5/20/08: Signing in Milwaukee

Word count: 6053 | Since last entry: 633


From left to right: Kate, Dave the owner of the Safe House, my dad, me, my mom

We’re in Milwaukee. Sold and signed 11 copies of Space Magic at Panther Books this afternoon, mostly to friends of my parents’, followed by a wonderful dinner at Kincaid’s. We’re staying at the Art-Deco-styled Hotel Metro. Having a great time and looking forward to Wiscon in a few days.

I finished and submitted the story I’d been working on and I’ve been doing my novel crits for Wiscon. Once I finish those I must immediately begin work on another short story for Taos Toolbox, which is due June 1. It’s going to be a challenge for me…

5/15/08: Another sale!

Last night’s reading at Powell’s went very well: just about every chair was filled, with people from all my various communities (fandom, writing, work, square dancing, Clarion, neighbors, and even a few people I don’t know). I read my story “Nucleon,” an old favorite I haven’t read in a while, and signed bunches of books. The 36 attendees bought 27 copies of Space Magic, out of 32 in stock, plus 4-5 other books of mine (um, by which I mean anthologies containing one story of mine each). Peter from the bookstore says that’s some kind of record for proportion of attendees buying the book. I’ll post some pictures when I get them.

And then today I got an email indicating that Esther Friesner is buying my story “Midnight at the Center Court” for her anthology Witch Way to the Mall. Two sales and a book launch in one week, not too shabby.

Other things are happening, though, some good, some not so good (maybe very not-so-good). More news as the information becomes available.

5/13/08: Sale!

I mentioned a while ago I had some good news I couldn’t yet share. Well, it’s official now: I sold short story “Joy is the Serious Business of Heaven” to Realms of Fantasy (my third sale there).

This is my “bureaucracy in Heaven” story, which I originally wrote at Clarion West (2000). It was the best-received of the lot and I knew it wouldn’t take very much to make it publishable. And indeed I didn’t make a lot of changes to it… it just took me until 2006 to get around to them. And then it took two years and eight rejections before it finally sold. Just another overnight success.

This story is the bookend to “The Curse of Beazoel”, my “bureaucracy in Hell” story, which appeared in the anthology All Hell Breaking Loose (2005). However, although “Beazoel” appeared first, “Joy” was written much earlier.

One last reminder for Portland folks: I have a Space Magic reading tomorrow (Wednesday May 14) at Powell’s in Cedar Hills at 7pm. Hope to see you there! And if you aren’t in Portland, after tomorrow you should be able to order a signed copy from powells.com. Or you can order an unsigned copy from wheatlandpress.com and get it in front of me somehow, and I’ll be happy to sign it.

Whee!

5/11/08: Spaaaace Magic!

Word count: 5420 | Since last entry: 4436

My first collection, Space Magic, can now be ordered from http://www.wheatlandpress.com! Also, don’t forget that I have a reading and signing at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton, Oregon this Wednesday, May 14, at 7pm.

Yesterday I finished the first draft of the story I was working on, and it’s now in the hands of my crit group. This was an interesting and difficult story, for some reason. I just couldn’t get motivated to start work on it until a week before the deadline (actual deadline is June 1, but I had to have it done by yesterday in order to get it critiqued before then), and once I did start it just refused to take off. On Wednesday I realized that I’d written 3500 words, out of a maximum 5000, and the conflict hadn’t started yet. My protagonist wasn’t protagging — it was all exposition and backstory. I spent the day cutting exposition and got it down to 2500 words, but it still wasn’t going anywhere. Thursday I cut some more, but I couldn’t see how I could get all the necessary information in before the reader got bored.

I thought hard about the problem for a day or so and decided to use a trick: I would cut the climax into pieces and distribute them throughout the story, starting at the beginning, so that all that exposition becomes flashback. I started doing that Friday, and also cut more exposition as it became clear which pieces I could do without. Then I spent basically the whole day Saturday pounding away at it — about 2600 words in one day (hard to say for sure, because I took out a lot I’d already written as well). The result is satisfying — a real pulse-pounding adventure, I think. We’ll see what my critters think of it.

On Friday I was the guest of the Immaculate Novelists’ Kult writing group in Vancouver, WA. They made me very welcome, let me talk about myself for four and a half hours, and gave me a lovely parting gift (a basket of fruit, chocolate, cheese, crackers, pens, a notebook, and a Powell’s gift card). I’m overwhelmed.

Saturday I attended the Diet Soap issue 2 launch party at the Writers’ Dojo. Interesting space, great people, and I got to participate in the reading even though I’m not in the magazine (I read an excerpt from “Falling Off the Unicorn”, the Space Magic bonus track). Fun stuff.

Also, we went to Ikea and bought shelves. Two assembled, two more to go. Whee!

5/5/08: Upcoming author appearances

Word count: 984 | Since last entry: 360

Wednesday, May 14: I will be reading from and signing Space Magic, my first collection of short stories, at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton, Oregon at 7:00 PM.

Tuesday, May 20: Another Space Magic signing, at Panther Bookstore in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 12:00-2:00 PM.

Friday-Sunday, May 23-15: Wiscon, at which I will be appearing on the following panels:

  • Saturday at 4:00 PM: “The ‘Real City’ of Urban Fantasy” with Ellen Kushner, Richard Bowes, Karen Healey, and Julia Starkey.

  • Sunday at 1:00 PM: “Get Out Your Secret Decoder Ring” with Catherynne M. Valente, Lesley Hall, Janine Young, and Tisha Turk.

  • Sunday at 2:30 PM: “Like Quills upon the Fretful Porcupine” (Reading) with Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette, and Ellen Kushner.

There will also be a Space Magic launch party at Wiscon, Friday night at 9:30-ish in Suite 611. Wheatland Press is sharing a party with Electric Velocipede and Scribe Agency and Farago’s Wainscot, ’cause the more the merrier!

If you can’t make it to any of the above, Space Magic can now be pre-ordered from Amazon.com and should be available from Wheatland Press shortly.

5/2/08: I’m back

Word count: 624 | Since last entry: 624

Apparently if I’m not writing, I’m not blogging either. But I’m back on the horse, producing words for a theme anthology with a deadline that seemed luxurious when I got it but has shrunk to only a couple of weeks. More deadlines loom meyond that. Aiee!

I’m back from the Nebulas, as well. I did not win, alas, but it really is an honor to be nominated, and I can’t fault the voters for selecting Karen Joy Fowler’s “Always.” But even if I didn’t win the shiny, I was the best-dressed guy at the banquet in my new vintage tux (which I inherited from a recently-deceased writer known to many of you). Unfortunately, my camera died just before the trip and no one else has posted a picture of the tux online yet. But I hope that it will be in the next Locus and Jayme Lynn Blaschke has posted a fine photo of me and Kate. You can also see me accepting my nomination certificate and a group shot of the nominees. We had a good time in Austin hanging out with such notables as Jennifer Pelland and Mary Robinette Kowal and eating, well, like Texans on vacation (I gained about five pounds over the long weekend).

The sting of losing the Nebula has also been lessened somewhat by the arrival of a contract from Ellen Datlow: “Titanium Mike Saves the Day” will be reprinted in the anthology Nebula Awards Showcase 2009. I also have some other good news that I hope to be able to share with you shortly.

While we were in Austin, Kate sprang a very accurate faux Amazing Race clue envelope on me, directing Team Bento to drive 30 miles to the town of Spicewood, Texas. We soon found ourselves at Cypress Valley Canopy Tours, where we were fitted out with harnesses and helmets for a trek through the treetops by zipline! (Technically it was neither a Roadblock nor a Detour, since we didn’t have any choice and both of us did the same thing, but what the hell.) I hadn’t expected to find so many large trees in Texas, but the tour was fun and educational (zipping from tree to tree as we float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia) and too short. Again, camera died so no pictures. I love my sweetie.

One last thing before I fall over: my friend Katy King pointed out a strong coincidental similarity between this XKCD strip and my story “Fear of Widths” (saying “I like your version better”). I am amused.