Archive for August, 2013

In better news… novel draft complete!

I see that I also have some good news to share which I have not yet blogged. I’m going to a one-week novel critique workshop on the Oregon coast immediately after the Worldcon, for which I just recently finished the first draft of my YA Regency interplanetary airship adventure, currently titled Arabella and the Marsman. This is my fourth completed novel and I feel really, really good about it, though there’s still at least one more edit pass to go before I start submitting it. I’ve already received some very positive feedback on the draft.

This draft took almost two years to write (11/11/11 – 8/4/13, counting from the beginning of the outlining phase) and I have been SO CLOSE to the end for a long time now. When I hit the end of what I thought would be the penultimate chapter, I wrote one perfect, summarizing sentence and I realized that was the end of the book. I had a whole denouement planned out, but it wasn’t necessary. I cried. This was in a coffeeshop in Seattle and I’m pleased to say that Kate and Janna were both there for it.

Sometimes an ending sneaks up on you. This happened to me once before, with the All-Star Zeppelin Adventures story “Love in the Balance,” and I think that’s one of my more powerful endings. We’ll see if people find this one satisfying.

Heading to the airport, en route to Texas for the Worldcon, in just a few minutes! See some of you there.

Kidney stone :-(

On the treadmill at the gym yesterday morning, after working out with my trainer, I had what I thought was a stitch in my side. But it rapidly got worse — a LOT worse, to the point that I had to stop and lie down on the floor, and I also had chills and cold sweats, plus I felt like I really needed to urinate but there was nothing coming out. It was bad enough that I went straight from there to the ER (our nearest ER is, as it happens, less than a mile from the gym) without even showering. Kate met me there.

THIS is what all the fuss was about?The doctor, when he saw me, said “You have that kidney stone look. I can diagnose that from twenty feet away.” They gave me IV saline and morphine, and the pain declined from a 6 to a 3-4 pretty quickly. By the time they wheeled me down to get a CAT scan it had fallen to a dull ache, and I spent the rest of the afternoon half-dozing in the ER bed. After a couple of hours the CAT scan results came back: it was indeed a kidney stone, about 3mm, and it had already passed into my bladder (that, not the morphine, is why the pain went away so completely). They sent me home with a prescription for oxycodone if I needed it, a little strainer, and instructions to drink a heck of a lot of water and strain my pee for the next 24 hours in hopes of catching the stone. The stone came out in my very first pee and it didn’t hurt a bit. I’m going to continue to filter my pee until tomorrow, though, in case there are any other bits to catch.

This all happened instead of a planned lunch date with my friend Shannon. I texted her about it as I was waiting for Kate to pick me up outside the ER, and when I said “This too shall pass,” she replied “Okay you are feeling fine. ;-)”

So the bottom line is that I’m fine now, if a bit achy and woozy, and clear to travel to Texas. The doctor did see some “nodules” in my lungs on the CAT scan and recommended I see my primary doctor for a more thorough lung screen as soon as I get back, but they are very likely nothing to worry about. I also need to take the kidney stone to a urologist for an analysis — knowing the stone’s composition may help me avoid future such experiences, through changes in diet or some such. (The CAT scan showed a second, smaller stone in the kidney, but it might never cause any problems.)

Whee. Also ow.

My Worldcon schedule

I can’t believe the Worldcon is almost here! We leave for San Antonio on Wednesday.

Here’s my “final” program schedule (subject to change, of course):

Writers Workshop E
Friday 13:00 – 15:00
(Closed workshop.)
David D. Levine, Amy Sundberg

Truly Alien
Friday 19:00 – 20:00
What kinds of life forms might exist in our own solar system that aren’t based on carbon and liquid water? For starters, how about Chris McKay’s cryogenic creature, which might breathe nitrogen, eat aldehydes, and hang out on Titan? What about life forms that rely on radically different energy sources?
Karen Burnham (M), David D. Levine, Patricia MacEwen, Jack McDevitt

Reading: David D. Levine
Saturday 11:00 – 12:00
David D. Levine

The Role of the Companion
Saturday 13:00 – 14:00
The Doctor’s companions are more than just your run-of-the-mill sidekicks. The companions change the Doctor and influence our view of him. This panel will discuss the affect of the Doctor’s companions over the years.
David D. Levine (M), Julie Barrett, Jessica Reisman, Selina Rosen, Lynn Stran, Michael Damian Thomas

Short Stories – What’s Next?
Saturday 15:00 – 16:00
Our panelists discuss the role short stories have and will play in science fiction and fantasy, from proving ground to promotions to the merits of writing and reading short stories. We’ll explore where the form is headed, whether its early popularity is enduring. The panel will also discuss the influence which contests and electronic publishing have had on short stories.
Kij Johnson (M), David D. Levine, Steven Silver, John Joseph Adams, Damien Broderick

Mars and/or Bust!
Sunday 10:00 – 11:00
The colonization of space has long been a trope of SF stories. Enough already! When do we leave? How close are we really to living on other planets? What are the economic, political, and technological considerations?
Michael J. Martinez (M), Karen Burnham, David D. Levine, John K Strickland Jr.

Mad Science
Sunday 12:00 – 13:00
Presenting preposterous theories for world domination and evil conspiracies.
David D. Levine (M), Mary Robinette Kowal, John Joseph Adams, Seanan McGuire

Melding Mind and Machine
Sunday 17:00 – 18:00
Dr. Stephen Hawking is just the beginning. Soon we may be able to relatively inexpensively use brain-machine interfaces to overcome paralysing, debilitatiing infirmities. What is the state of the science, and what is possible? What happens if (when) someone decides to expand normal abilities using this technology — is there anything wrong with that?
Andrew Adams (M), Carol Luckhardt Redfield PhD, Yasser Bahjatt, John M Cmar, David D. Levine

Book View Café signs deal with Audible

Second Chance audiobookAs you may know, I’m a member of Book View Café, an author-owned publishing cooperative. BVC is the publisher of the Space Magic and Second Chance ebooks.

I’m very pleased to announce that BVC has just entered into a deal with to publish audiobooks of over 100 BVC titles, with more titles to be acquired in the future. The press release about the deal is here.

What this means for me is that my novella Second Chance will be coming out, some time in the next year, as an audiobook narrated by James Patrick Cronin. This makes me very happy.

This deal does not include the Space Magic audiobook (which is available from BVC, Audible, Amazon, and iTunes). I started work on my own Space Magic audiobook before the Audible deal was negotiated, so I left it out of the deal.

My feelings about this are mixed. If Space Magic had been included in the deal, I would have gotten a nice advance check rather than paying out the expenses of studio and engineering time. But by doing it myself I did get to narrate my own book, which I would not have if it had been part of this deal. And although I did not get any money up front, my royalty rate is (somewhat) higher — if my Space Magic sells as well as the average BVC audiobook over the term of the contract, I’ll wind up with more total money in the end. Time, as they say, will tell.

In related news, I have recently narrated stories for two podcasts! I’ll tell you more about those when I can.

SFWA Pacific Northwest Reading Series: Seattle area 8/13, Portland 8/14

This is just a quick reminder that SFWA’s Pacific Northwest Reading Series is having our next events in Seattle and Portland in two weeks!

On Tuesday, August 13 in the Seattle area, we’ll have the multitalented Laura Anne Gilman, along with New York Times bestseller Carrie Vaughn and award-winning writer Barbara Caridad Ferrer. The University Bookstore will be on hand again selling books and all the authors will be available to sign.

When: Tuesday, August 13, 2013, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: Wilde Rover Irish Pub & Restaurant, 111 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033

On Wednesday, August 14 in Portland, Laura Anne Gilman will be joined by Phyllis Irene Radford and Diana Pharaoh Francis. Wrigley-Cross Books will be selling books and all the authors will be available to sign.

When: Wednesday, August 14, 2013, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Where: McMenamins Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave. Portland, OR 97211

See for more information on both readings. Tell your friends!

I hope you can join us! It should be a lot of fun.