Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Two eBooks, Three Dollars...


It came to my attention that the publisher is running a price drop promotion on the eBook of NEVER KNEW ANOTHER for $1.99 for I don't even know how long.

I noticed this promotion does not extend to non-US eBook buyers. Ergo, I dropped the price of STRAGGLETAGGLE down to just 0.99 all over the world.

That's two critically-acclaimed eBooks for less than three bucks. Tell the people.

Monday, April 4, 2016

My Next Novel is Coming from in January

Announcing A New Novel from J. M. McDermott

We are thrilled to announce the acquisition of a great new science fiction novel from Joe McDermott—The Fortress at the End of Time.
J.M. McDermott is best known for the novelsLast Dragon, Never Knew Another, andMaze. His work has appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, and Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet. He holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program. He lives in Texas.
In The Fortress at the End of Time, humanity has expanded across the galaxy by use of ansible and clone technology, but an enemy stands in their way—an enemy alien in concept as much as physiology. Ronaldo Aldo is a clone stationed in the back-end of nowhere—a watch station with a glorious military past, but no future. He’s desperate to prove himself worthy of ascension—of having his consciousness broadcast to a newer clone, far away from his current post at the Citadel.
Joe had this to say:
I was surprised that Justin and, saw great potential in this little novel, a novel not about adventure, but about the way stories of adventure intersect with a soul-crushing bureaucracy in space. I am surprised and delighted to be working with such an amazing team, and see my little book in such fine company as Nnedi Okorafor, Fran Wilde, K.J. Parker, and Mary Robinette-Kowal!
Joe’s editor, Justin Landon, said:
I could have almost been convinced to buy Joe McDermott’s novel based on the title alone. Thankfully, with its high concept ideas and authentic portrayal of life in the military, the book lives up to its title and then some. McDermott’s work has always been beautiful and insightful, but with Fortress he’s written something that makes you sit up and take notice. I sure did and I think’s readers will too.
The Fortress at the End of Time was acquired by senior editor Lee Harris from Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, and will be published in January 2017.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Everything is awake and trying to bloom

Some of my favorite things in the garden, from a  papaya to peach to sweet almond verbena. The pear and the grapevines were the slowest to wake up.

We have a lot of fruiting trees, vines, and canes.

Friday, February 19, 2016

An experiment in new composting methods

Okay, so I am sure someone out there has done this already, but here's the concept and maybe others can improve upon it.

It begins with a 4'*4' cedar raised bed, and four food grade buckets, with two lids. I drilled two different sizes of holes in the buckets. Two had very large, inch holes. Two had very small drainage holes. The big holed buckets go inside the small holed buckets. I put holes around the sides and bottom where the soil line inside the raised bed would cover the holes. Two small bricks go inside and at the bottom of the small-holed bucket, to keep the larger bucket from getting stuck inside, and to promote drainage out of the upper bucket.

Does this make sense?

The raised bed went out with a cardboard weed barrier, and hugulkultur style logs and sticks, manure, composed at various stages of decay, and other organic bits and bobs such that the buckets are surrounded by hugulkultur-style garden bed. The soil goes on top of all this, and a light mulch on top of that.

So... The buckets will have bokashi composting going in them. It is an activated composting method that happens much faster than others.

The compost buckets can be picked up and pulled out and the compost can be easily placed elsewhere in the garden. As well, the buckets can be washed as needed.

To water the raised bed around the buckets, just fill the buckets with water. They will leak out through the compost, which should, in theory, always be leaking out into the hugulkultur sponge-like organic matter layer.

I put pansies in just to start, to let the dirt and sticks and things settle down. Soon, I will plant actual vegetables in there, and we shall see what happens, if this idea works. It is sort of a hybrid of ideas of hugulkuktur, clay oalla pots, keyhole gardening, and bokashi, along with a compost system that is easy to maneuver to a different location than just the one raised bed.

I hope I am a genius, but I am sure that I woll discover challenges as I go that I could not have anticipated. We shall see.

Anybody have any ideas of what I can do to improve the design?

Friday, January 22, 2016

A series of photos and some news

My story "Farmer" was in the January/February Analog SF, and now, in March, my story "Snowbirds" is featured with my name on the cover and everything.

Here are photos of various things I have been puttering with while writing and working...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Awards Eligibility

So, this time of year people post what stories and fictions they wrote that are eligible for awards this year. I believe there are only two from me, this year, currently eligible.

My short story "Paul and his Son" was in Asimov's April/May 2015 edition.
My short story "Everything is Haunted" was in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet June 2015.

It's been a crowded year in short fiction, with lots of great stories, so I doubt this is more than just a tallying for my own, personal records, but...

There it is, for those who are interested.

I expect to have a more exciting year ahead, beginning with a short story called "Farmers" in the January/February issue of Analog Magazine!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Stay Frosty...

So, there's this infamous organization out of Maryland, that for years caused a lot of pain and suffering in the world of books. I'll refrain from mentioning them directly, because I know they're suing people. Anyway, whether you love them or hate them, I know that lots of people are critical of the organization's business practices, and I certainly don't feel any love for their business models in the past. I don't know what they're doing these days, but the random e-mail I got left a pretty bad taste in my eyeballs.

I discovered that a very well known operation out of Maryland have actually changed their name into something new, and seem to be sending out lots of e-mails into the world offering to do free promotion at library bookseller events. Personally, free promotion sounds too good to be true. What is in it for the promoter? I suspect that this now renamed organization is trying to build a list of potential clients to milk for promotions that actually cost something. And, since it is coming from a fairly notorious organization, I can't imagine their promotional activities will be any more effective than the soulless and clueless form letter that seems to be populating itself across the many comment sections and e-mail inboxes of the world of independent publishing. This operation does not have a reputation for effective promotion. Free promotion, done poorly, is worse than no promotion at all. It would attach one's name and reputation to that organization.

So, let's review: 1) Is it too good to be true? 2) Why is it free? 3) Does the address or name of anyone or anyplace involved smell fishy, for instance, like the same area that a notorious operation has their roots and lawsuits?

Maryland is an interesting place in the recent history of potentially exploitive, generally widely unliked publishing operations. I am immediately suspicious of anything out of Maryland, period.

I'm certain there are some people who are happy with this organization, and I'm happy for you if you are. But, wow, I don't see how what I saw meets anyone's professional needs, and you will not be able to convince me to change my mind on that.

Check everything that you aren't 100% certain about over at the forums of, with Victoria Strauss of WriterBeware, and any number of watchdog groups. People who sue watchdog groups seem to misunderstand how to have a good reputation with watchdog groups: Be fair and just and non-exploitive in such a manner that people can find no fault in what you do.

It's much easier to do that than lawsuits.

Consider yourself warned.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fancy Tea and Fantasy Authors at the Twig Book Shop on November 7th!

Fancy Tea and Fantasy Authors

Join award-winning and critically-acclaimed fantasy authors Martha Wells, Stina Leicht, Amanda Downum, Patrice Sarath, and J. M. McDermott at the Twig Book Shop on November 7th, for a lovely, little gathering with tea for drinking, and books for signing. Fancy dress encouraged, but not required.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cornbread the hard way

O axacan Green crossed with all sorts of things in the garden was harvested and allowed to dry out. Shucked, plucked, milled by hand, and turned into a rustic cornbread, i have frozen all that is left for future stews and bean chilis. Doing things the hard way is actually quite rewarding and fun.