Archive for April, 2010

Lots of good stuff happening in May

I just learned that Alembical 2 from Paper Golem Press, which includes my novella “Second Chance,” will be launching at Balticon at the end of May. That’s also Wiscon weekend, and I hope to have some copies there. Here’s the cover:

I’ve also recently learned that May should see the publication of Interzone 228, including my story “A Passion for Art;” the anthology Légendes, including the French translation of “Tale of the Golden Eagle;” and the May issue of Laptop, including a “Burning Question” section with a short essay by me about futuristic technology.

In May I will also be presenting the keynote address at the Nebulas in Florida, and if all goes well we’ll get to see a Shuttle launch while we’re there. ::squee::

And the May issue of Analog (which was of course released at the beginning of March and is off the stands by now) was reviewed in the April Locus, where Rich Horton gave my story “Teaching the Pig to Sing” a Recommended review.

Please donate to Shorewood High School Drama

Probably the single best thing about my high school years was my membership in the Shorewood High School Drama Club. SHS has a fabulous and wildly ambitious theatre program and has taken shows to the International Thespian Convention and the Edinburgh Fringe. Drama Club taught me to sing, dance, paint, do carpentry and electrical work, and sew. I even used my scene shop skills on “Mars.”

Unfortunately, budget cuts now threaten one of SHS Drama’s two remaining part-time staff members. Barbara Gensler, the dynamo who has been the heart and soul of SHS Drama for the last 40 years, is mounting a personal campaign to fund this position through donations. If you care about high school drama I hope that you will be able to contribute something.

See here for more information and to donate: Open Letter to Alumni and Friends from Barbara Gensler

I know that there are other schools that are in even more serious trouble, but the SHS Drama Club was a lifesaver to me personally and I believe that the arts are a vital part of any young person’s life. Drama Club is not a “frill,” it’s part of a well-rounded education.

Sign up now for A Writer’s Weekend — July 22-25, 2010

There’s room for just two more writers at A Writer’s Weekend, July 22-25. “A Writer’s Weekend offers writers an excellent opportunity to make connections with people in the industry, get published, develop their craft and move their work to the next level. This year’s Writer Gurus are Jay Lake and Hugo award winner David Levine. Held at the Ocean Crest Resort on the Washington coast, this Thursday through Sunday workshop allows writers to have their work critiqued by published professionals in addition to plenty of free time for writing or revising. Other craft classes will also be provided.”

The deadline to sign up is May 15. The website is at; you can email the organizers at or call 425-827-1806.

Just about ideal Bay Area visit

We’re at the San Jose airport on the way home. The visit started with a square dance fly-in, which featured good friends, excellent callers, and mostly good dancing. As a bonus, I won the centerpiece (a cute stuffed bunny) at the banquet and we got to visit Allan Hurst’s home and his California Desert Tortoise named Beta.

We then shifted to the lovely home of Karen Schaffer and Mike Ward, who provided an excellent home base for three days of fairly low-impact visiting with our Bay Area fan friends. On Monday we had lunch at Google and dinner with a friend who works for Intel and used to work for Apple (Allen Baum, and his wife Donya White). On Tuesday we had lunch at Apple and dinner with a friend who works for Google (Matt Austern, and his wife Janet Lafler and daughter Alice). The Google campus is amazing, with a life-sized replica of SpaceShipOne and many other cool gadgets on display, not to mention the free food. Apple seemed much more corporate by comparison. At Google I also presented my Mars talk, to about thirty people who paid close attention and asked some great questions. The talk was recorded and I believe it will be posted on YouTube at some point in the future.

We also visited the Intel Museum, toured the demonstration garden of Sunset Magazine and other gardens with Master Gardener Karen, and had an excellent lunch and ice cream with Spike Parsons.

This morning we took a ride on a Zeppelin. It was rather spur-of-the-moment and we snagged the last two tickets on the thirty-minute “taste of Zeppelin” trip from Moffat Field to Stanford and back. It was similar to the small plane trip we took from Seattle to Victoria BC a couple of years ago, only even cooler because the vehicle moved slower (only about 35 MPH), the windows were bigger, and you could move around the cabin. Got lots of great photos of which just one is shown at Very, very cool and we hope we will be able to take a longer trip soon, maybe next year between Potlatch and FOGcon.

So all in all we hit just about all the Bay Area highlights, but it’s time to go home now. I’m giving my Mars talk at Powell’s Technical Books tomorrow night.

It’s like a book tour without the book

I just completed and submitted my first short story this year. After doing no writing at all in January and February due to the Mars thing, I began work on this story in March, but worked only sporadically on it during that month. I finally buckled down this week, as I had a market in mind with an April 1 deadline. I wrote 1530 words on March 31 and 2265 words on April 1, getting the completed story in at 7800 words just before deadline. It’s an un-critiqued second draft, but I feel pretty good about it.

At the moment I’m at the airport, heading for San Jose for the El Camino Reelers’ 25th-anniversary square dance fly-in. After that we’ll be hanging out in the Bay Area for a few days. This begins a summer with insane amounts of travel:

We’re not yet certain about the 4th Street Fantasy convention in June but everything else on there is committed. As I should probably be, for planning this much travel… but we want to do all these things! And as we don’t have day jobs, and we have the money for it, and we’re healthy enough to do it, we’re doing it.

The stars represent days I’ll be presenting my Mars talk. These are:

I’ll probably also be giving the talk at the Worldcon and Potlatch, but those are too far in the future for me to contemplate.

Why am I doing this? I’m not being paid for any of these speaking engagements and they probaby aren’t going to sell many books (I will be signing copies of Space Magic at some of these but it’s not directly connected). But it’s great exposure, and I consider it part of my job as MDRS Crew 88 Journalist to do public outreach in support of the Mars Society and humanity’s future on Mars. And I’m a huge ham.

So what the heck. Allons-y!