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Two recent publications

I have recently received author copies of two books containing works of mine. The Best Science Fiction of the Year, edited by Neil Clarke, has my story “Damage,” and The Usual Path to Publication, edited by Shannon Page, has my essay “How to Sell a Novel in Only Fifteen Years.” Both are full of good stuff, and are available wherever books are sold. Enjoy!

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My Westercon schedule

Westercon 69 will be held this coming weekend in Portland, Oregon. I am the Fan Guest of Honor and will be appearing on a ton of programming. Please note that my reading will be very early in the con — on Friday at 3pm — so if you can attend I would really appreciate it!

  • Fri Jul 1 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm in Ross Island: GOH Fan Guest David D Levine Reading.
  • Fri Jul 1 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm in Mult/Holl: Opening Ceremony. With Bobak Ferdowsi, Charlie Stross, David D. Levine, Lea Rush
  • Fri Jul 1 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm in Hawthorne: Going to Mars: What’s the Point?. With the release of the hit movie “The Martian” and the release of the latest NASA plan for the journey to Mars, a fundamental question needs to be asked, and answered concerning the “Why.” The panel will discuss the pros and cons of a Mars mission and how it can be presented in the non-science world in order to justify the endeavor. With Bobak Ferdowsi, David D. Levine, Gerald D. Nordley, Kristin Landon
  • Fri Jul 1 9:00 pm – 12:00 am in Jeff/Adams: Match Game SF. Get ready to match the fannish stars! In this re-creation of the classic 1970s game show, contestants are selected randomly from the audience to attempt to match the panelists’ answers to fill-in-the-blank questions like “Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet!” All contestants will receive prizes. With Andrew Fuller, David D. Levine, Debra Stansbury, Jim Doty, Kevin Standlee (m), Lisa Hayes, Lynn Gold, Manny Frishberg
  • Sat Jul 2 10:00 am – 11:00 am in Multnomah: Saturday 10am Kaffeeklatsch. Small group discussions with authors, artists, and other interesting personalities (referred to as “hosts”). Sessions are limited to the host and a small group of attendees.
  • Sat Jul 2 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm in Lincoln: Contract Pitfalls to Avoid. Join the Chair of SFWA’s Contracts Committee and other panelists in discussing contract clauses writers need to avoid or modify. With David D. Levine, James Fiscus (m), John Lovett
  • Sat Jul 2 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm in Mult/Holl: The Scientist vs The Authors: Intellectual Brawl of the Century. 3 of our GoH’s having a free form discussion. With Bobak Ferdowsi, Charlie Stross, David D. Levine (m), John Scalzi
  • Sat Jul 2 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm in Mult/Holl: Masquerade. The Masquerade is an event where members of the convention have the opportunity to present their costumes on stage for the entertainment of the other members. With David D. Levine (MC)
  • Sun Jul 3 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm in Autographs: Guest of Honor Autograph: David Levine.
  • Sun Jul 3 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm in Ross Island: Toxic Masculinity as Villain. Fighting demons is clearly easier than fighting the cultural narrative of men as arrogant, emotionally repressed aggressors who refuse to accept advice or reconsider poor decisions. What would it look like if a male character became aware of that narrative and decided to take a stand against it? Instead of toxic masculinity traits being used to generate repetitive conflict, how can authors build the tension between what the culture wants a man to be and who he wants himself to be? With David D. Levine, Sara Stamey, Sienna Saint-Cyr
  • Sun Jul 3 9:00 pm – 12:00 am in Jeff/Adams: Match Game SF. Get ready to match the fannish stars! In this re-creation of the classic 1970s game show, contestants are selected randomly from the audience to attempt to match the panelists’ answers to fill-in-the-blank questions like “Captain Kirk has the biggest ___ in Starfleet!” All contestants will receive prizes. With Andy Trembley, David D. Levine, Jonnalyhn Wolfcat Prill, Kevin Roche, Kevin Standlee (m), Lee Moyer, Lisa Hayes, Lynn Gold
  • Mon Jul 4 11:00 am – 12:00 pm in Jeff/Adams: GoH presentation: Science Tourism Experiences. A slide show presentation by GoH David Levine showing a zeppelin ride, a NASA satellite launch, a short trip on a sailing ship, and a stay at a simulated Mars base.
  • Mon Jul 4 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm in Broadway: How the Hugo Awards Work. There have been millions of words tossed around for the past few years about the Hugo Awards, much of it uninformed, inaccurate, or simply wrong. Come listen to people who have actually administered the Awards and know the rules to hear some facts about the process. With Ben Yalow, David D. Levine, Kevin Standlee (m)

Arabella paper doll giveaway!

IMG 0007Clothing is a big thing in Arabella of Mars. At the beginning of the book, Arabella is a wild child, running around the desert in a warm, protective, and thoroughly scandalous Martian garment called a thukhong. When her mother finds out, she hauls her back to Earth and makes her dress like a proper English lady — which she hates. Later on she winds up running across the English countryside in her nightdress, and eventually she dresses as a boy and signs on to the crew of an interplanetary clipper ship.

To celebrate Arabella and her outfits, I commissioned a paper doll set from Rachel Cohen of paperthinpersonas.com. It’s done, it looks fabulous (printed in full color on heavy paper), and now, thanks to Tor, you can get one for yourself — free! Here’s how:

  1. Pre-order Arabella of Mars from Powell’s, University Book Store, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, or even Amazon.
  2. Submit your proof of purchase to torpublicity@tor.com with the subject line “ARABELLA PRE-ORDER PROMOTION.”
  3. Don’t forget to include your mailing address.

That’s all! But hurry — quantities are limited. Offer expires July 12, 2016.

If you want a paper doll but can’t pre-order the book, you might have another chance. I will be giving away paper dolls (and other goodies) at my readings to people who dress up, ask questions, or otherwise earn them. :-)

Join Arabella Ashby on her space adventures with this paper doll set. In this alternate history Arabella has grown up on the flourishing British colony on Mars and loves her wild frontier home. Packed off to the stiflingly civilized Earth, Arabella soon discovers that her family is in danger so she runs away and dresses as a boy to join the crew of the flying ship Diana. She must learn to sail the skies, weather the naval war raging between Britain and France, and deal with a mutinous crew if she hopes to save the day. From her Martian hunting clothes to her proper lady’s gown this paper doll features outfits from all of her adventures in Arabella of Mars, on sale from Tor Books July 12, 2016.

“Take the Air” with Arabella of Mars!

Last year at OryCon I saw a performance by the PDX Broadsides, who describe themselves as “a trio of nerd enthusiasts who sing about science, piracy, superheroes, robots, and other geeky topics with great vigor and harmony.” I knew that they had composed a custom sea chantey* for Portland cartoonist Lucy Bellwood’s Baggywrinkles, and I asked them if they were interested in a commission for Arabella of Mars. Well, they were, and it’s now complete! I’m just thrilled with how it came out.

You can listen to it using the gadget below, or click “download” to download the MP3 from BandCamp for a “pay what you will” price (which includes free!).

Here are the lyrics, if you’d like to memorize them. You may have an opportunity to sing along if you see me at Westercon or any of my other personal appearances this summer!

CHORUS:
Take the air, take the air
The wind is fine and fair
‘Tween the stars and stones I roam
Oh the sun feels fine
Up above the falling line
And I never want to see my Earthly home

Well I reef and hand and steer
Like the hardest privateer
And I never like my feet to touch the land
For if England’s shore I see
It’s the sponging-house for me
So I’d rather I was buried where I stand

CHORUS

Give the pedals all you’ve got
Till you’ve fin’lly earned your tot
Strike the spankers and sheet home the mains’ls now
We are sons of Kidd
So give thanks for what he did
From the moment the Adventure left the ground

CHORUS

John Company’s man am I
And I sail across the sky
In a Marsman of the finest honey-blond
We are skyward bound
So pass the rum around
We’ll drink his health to Venus and beyond

CHORUS

Now the rising’s underway
We won’t see the break of day
Til we walk upon the crimson Martian sand
And the bell’s struck eight
So for god’s sake don’t be late
For the cosmic tide she waits for no man

CHORUS

Oh the sun feels fine
Up above the falling line
And I never want to see my Earthly home

* I use the spelling “chantey” rather than the equally valid “shanty” because I want to clarify that we are talking about a sailors’ song here, rather than a shack.

Two chances to win a copy of Arabella!

Residents of the US and Canada have two ways to win a copy of Arabella of Mars this month!

  • Tor.com is giving away four galley copies through noon Eastern time on June 5. Just comment at this blog post to enter.
  • Goodreads is giving away nine copies of the final hardback through June 17. Go here to enter.

In case you are wondering why you might like to read this book, I recommend you check out this video trailer:

If that isn’t enough to convince you, Bookish.com named Arabella of Mars one of Summer 2016’s Must-Read Science Fiction & Fantasy Books, calling it “ideal for readers who want a good ol’ fashioned high seas (er, air?) adventure story,” and RT Book Reviews gave it a four-star review (subscription required), saying “Excellent, entertaining, humorous scenarios make up Levine’s latest. His storytelling will keep readers turning the pages with its slight edginess, light-hearted tone and clear, crisp dialogue. Arabella is strong, sassy and clever, and her journey, as she makes her way back to Mars on an airship, makes this story an engaging read.”

Kate’s progress: May

Not a lot of change to report, which is good! Kate continues on the same dose of steroids, 1.5mg per day; her aphasia and memory issues continue to be frustrating but not incapacitating, and her endurance, speed, strength, and balance are still much better than they were. She hasn’t used the walker in over a month and is getting around well with a cane. Sometimes she even forgets the cane and doesn’t notice for a while, which is a good sign although she should still use it for balance when walking outdoors. Her blood sugar is also well under control.

We have done a lot of travel this month, with both of us attending the Nebulas in Chicago and Wiscon in Madison, followed by a few days in Milwaukee with my dad. There was a lot of napping (for both of us!) on the trip, but otherwise she coped with the stress of travel quite well. I also spent a weekend in Seattle without her, and this time we did not have anyone stay with her while I was gone. This went well, so we’ll be doing the same for my solo travel going forward.

I’ll be contacting local people with more information about helping Kate while I’m out of town, but if you are planning a visit to Portland during June or July you should let us know — she (or we, if I’m in town) would love to see you.

I’m very glad Kate is doing so well now, because my first novel “Arabella of Mars” releases on July 12 and there’s a lot to do to promote that (plus finishing up book 2 at about the same time). I will be one of the Guests of Honor at the Westercon in Portland over the Fourth of July weekend, and I’ll be reading at Powell’s Cedar Hills on July 13 and the University Book Store in Seattle on July 29.

Other book tour stops include San Diego, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and beautiful Bainbridge Island. My full book tour schedule is here. Kate will be accompanying me on most of this travel.

Thanks to Mary, Mark, Melissa, Michelle, Sara, Geri, Rick, Marc & Patty, Bo, Anne, Ariel & Phil, and everyone else who helped out or shared a meal in May. We couldn’t do this without you.

Wiscon Ho!

I’m at the airport again (there is going to be a lot of this over the next few months), heading for Wiscon. Here’s where you can find me at the con:

  • Fri, 9:00 am–12:00 pm: Writers’ Workshop (advance registration required)
  • Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm: Polyamory Won’t Fix Your Love Triangle in Conference 5
    Debbie Notkin, W. L. Bolm, Ariel Franklin-Hudson, David D. Levine. We all get sick of love triangles in our fiction. We often find ourselves wishing the characters in these triangles, and other assorted shapes, would just go poly and love each other freely. But we also know that poly just doesn’t always work like that in reality. Not everyone has the propensity towards polyamory. Sometimes the genders and orientations just don’t match up. And very often, some of the characters who are in love with the same person couldn’t stand to be in the same room together even before they fell for the same person—much less attempt an honest and intimate relationship together. Are there good dramatic (or comedic) reasons to employ love triangles? What other ways could we attempt to fix them? Do they need fixing? How would making them poly change them?
  • Sun, 10:00–11:15 am: Dispatches from the GlitterShip! in Conference 2
    Claire Humphrey, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Gary Kloster, David D. Levine, Gabriel Murray, Gabriela Santiago. GlitterShip is a podcast and magazine of LGBTQIA+ short fiction. Come listen to a selection of works by authors whose stories have appeared on GlitterShip!
  • Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm: Exposition in SF/F in Conference 5
    Ellen Kushner, Eleanor A. Arnason, Eugene Fischer, Colleen Booker Halverson, David D. Levine. From “infodump” to “the edges of ideas,” readers and writers of science fiction and fantasy have a number of ways to describe exposition. But how do we actually write it? What’s the difference between an “infodump” and a well-written description? What does “show, don’t tell” actually mean? What are the specific exposition challenges that we face as writers of speculative fiction–and how do we solve them?
  • Mon, 11:30 am–12:45 pm: The SignOut in Capitol/Wisconsin
    Come and sign your works, come and get things signed, come and hang out and wind down before you leave.

Arabella publicity news!

Daviddlevine 2016 May 20 bHoly cow, things are really heating up for Arabella of Mars!

I just got back from the Nebula Awards weekend and Book Expo America in Chicago. Although I did not win a Nebula, everything else went great. Between the two conferences I gave out nearly 100 signed ARCs of Arabella to booksellers, librarians, educators, bloggers, writers, and readers, many of whom were very enthusiastic about the book. Best moment of the weekend was when a girl of about 12 came to the SFWA table at BEA looking for an age-appropriate book. None of the books on the table were appropriate for her, but I pulled one of my two remaining copies of Arabella out of my bag and asked if the cover appealed to her. She said it did, very much so, and when I inscribed and signed it and gave it to her she literally squee’d and clutched it to her chest. There was also much excellent programming and hanging out with writer-folk.

Arabella was just named one of “Summer’s Hottest Beach Reads” by supermarket tabloid Woman’s World, circulation 1.6 million. It’s in the current (May 30) issue, available at a check-out stand near you. Arabella was one of 14 titles listed and only two SF/Fantasy! I’ll have to try that Japanese hair breakthrough, just as soon as I’ve beaten stress with a burger.

Tor is also doing a Goodreads Giveaway of nine copies of the book. You can enter here until June 17.

I have also added six new appearances to my Upcoming Appearances page just in the last week: the Locus Awards; a Reddit AMA; readings at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island, and SF in SF in San Francisco; and a one-day workshop for Clarion West in Seattle.

Here’s my current list of upcoming appearances for the year:

And there might even be a few more! I just had to turn down an invitation to a library conference in Arkansas due to a conflict.

There are also three more cool things in progress which I cannot yet share with you, but I have seen early drafts of all of them in the past day and they just give me chills.

Arabella of Mars launches July 12! You can pre-order it now from Amazon, Powell’s, or the University Book Store.

Upcoming appearances

I’m at the airport again, heading for the Nebula Conference in Chicago, where I will learn whether or not “Damage” won the Nebula Award. I will also appear on programming:

  • Thursday May 12, 2:00-3:00 pm: Interfacing with Conventions in LaSalle 2 with Lynne Thomas, Dave McCarty, Michael Damian Thomas, and Michi Trota
  • Friday May 13, 8:00-9:30 pm: Mass Autographing in Red Lacquer Room. Free and open to the public. I will have ARCs of Arabella of Mars to give away!
  • Saturday May 14, 8:30-10:00 pm: Nebula Award Ceremony in Empire Room.
  • Saturday May 14, 10:00-11:00 pm: Nebula Alternate Universe Speeches in Empire Room.
  • Sunday May 15, 10:00-11:00 am: When Is It Time for a New Agent? in LaSalle 2 with Kameron Hurley.

As long as I am in Chicago, I will also be appearing at Book Expo America, signing ARCs of Arabella of Mars Friday May 13, 1:00-2:00 pm at autograph table 7.

This trip kicks off a busy, busy summer of travel and appearances. More items are still being added, but you can mark your calendars now for these:

Hope to see you at one or more of these!

Starred review for Arabella!

I had a colonoscopy yesterday. The prep was pretty miserable, but the procedure itself was nothing (literally — I slept through it). Four small polyps were found and removed. I’m awaiting lab results on those, but the doctor said they were of no concern whatsoever.

The other piece of good news I received when I got out of the recovery room was this: Publishers Weekly gave a starred review to Arabella of Mars!

Arabella, a human teenager born on Mars, is catapulted into adventure in a tale that cleverly combines some of the most intriguing elements of steampunk and classic science fiction. In an alternate 1812, Arabella’s mother moves her three daughters to Earth and away from the wild influences of the Martian colony. When the family gets news that Arabella’s father has died on Mars, the headstrong 17-year-old girl disguises herself as a boy and hires on with one of the great ships that sail the solar winds between the planets, planning to protect her brother, who’s still on Mars, from treachery. Along the way, she faces privateers and mutiny, but Arabella is resourceful and courageous, gamely enduring hardship to accomplish her mission. Arabella is a fully realized character, daring and willing to risk everything to protect the brother she loves and the legacy that her father has left them. Her wits and cleverness save the ship and crew more than once in this rousing swashbuckler.

I don’t know what percentage of books get a starred review, but it’s not very large — this was the only one for a Tor book this week.

Yay!