Whew. Thesis written, formatted, bibliographied.
I am going to go over to the print shop in a few moments to print up the requisite copies of my thesis and arrange the prepaid postal shenanigans necessary to get the both copies of the thesis to both of the two thesis readers, one in San Diego and one in Maine, to physically receive and (I hope) sign off on the thesii to fulfill graduation requirements for my MFA from the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Program. I didn't expect it to take this long to go from finishing the writing of the thing to the completed artifact. It was shocking to me how much effort was required over days and weeks to try and format the bloody thing, even with a template. I had to track down all the absurd blips and drabbles of information required for a bibliography of all the things I read in graduate school, and many of the things I read did not come to me with bibliographic information attached. I get so used to having a publisher fill in all those silly gaps and layout concerns for me. And, I have a new appreciation for them. (Once again, self-publishing seems like a terrible idea because I'd have to do all the layout myself! No thanks!)
After this, I have some clerical stuff to attend to, like filling out the form that officially requests graduation from the dean of zombies, or someone... I don't know. I have lots of forms. Some of the wedding forms are all mixed up in there, too. It's a pile of paperwork. Lots of paperwork.
Basically, what's left is flying to Maine to give a power-point presentation about mosaic texts, which will be more fun than anything, because power point is just the sort of silly thing I like, and blathering endlessly about stuff is something that you sort of have to convince me NOT to do.
So, I'm, like, about done. I'm so close to an MFA I almost have to do something crazy and illegal to fail at this point. Never say never, but one needs time to plan shenanigans, and I don't really have any!
To celebrate, I drank half a bottle of red wine, left a voicemail whilst slightly tipsy on my fiance's voicemail, and then I cooked up some celebratory artichokes in red wine and garlic, to be turned into a pasta sauce as soon as they cool enough to handle.
So, the job hunt will take up much of my attention, next. I'm more interested in teaching and freelance work than I am in moving boxes of widgets from a store to your automobile, but I do what I must to be the artiste I apparently can't help but being. I mean, why aren't I cranking out adventure fantasy with bright-eyed young heroes coming of age over ten long tomes of epic epicness? If I did that, I'd be bathing in cash. Seriously, and not to name names, but I've been to the bookshop and perused the shelves and found some positively odious things being sold there that are perfectly fine for other people to read but definitely not for me in the slightest. I simply must be an artiste with a distinctive aesthetic. I just cannot bring myself to rewrite Tolkein or Moorcock. (I would rather rewrite Vonnegut, anyway, if I was in the rewriting game. So it goes.)
Hm. Job hunting. Snipe hunting. Same thing, in this economy, I reckon.
If anyone around these parts is affiliated with a college or university in need of an author of literary fantasy to come be part of your teaching team in some capacity, let me know. For honorariums I could do a flyby lecture. For a monthly fee, I could even teach a whole class of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young writers all the way through a semester!
If one is interested in hiring a freelancer for something, for instance video game writing or editing manuscripts, do drop me a line. I know my way around in either capacity.
Other things I could do, too, but I think those are the big three: teaching, video game writing, and manuscript editing of the developmental variety.
I'm actually doing okay just writing books, so I have the luxury of being picky for at least a few months, still.
In the mean time, I've got these books to promote, and these books to write, and a deadline coming soon on the sequel that, (much of which, I just turned in as a thesis)! And, I've got a pile of books to read piling up since from when I was going to school full time and working full time and I had little time to spare to dig into the pile.
Also, I'm looking for a programmer of websites with some savvy. I've run into a wall in my dreamweaver capabilities on this side project (not my personal website, something game-related) and I need someone who can aid me with the technical side of a cool creative endeavor. So, if you know anybody, drop me a line.
And, I wonder if blogging will pick up around here, since I'm pretty much done with all the urgent, pressing things... Maybe. Who knows? Could there be a book review imminent of Phosphor in Dreamland by Rikki Ducornet? Could I be about to go on endlessly about the awesomeness of Spoon River Anthology and Winesburg, Ohio viewed side-by-side? Could I be about to make some lovely mead with my lovely soon-to-be-wife? Perhaps, my friends, perhaps.
Regardless, I know there will be some mention of one Jesse Bullington who sent me an interesting package the other day, whose books have been languishing far too long in my blob-like TBR pile... I should get to these sooner rather than later, I think.
Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Whew. Thesis written, formatted, bibliographied.
Monday, March 28, 2011
...I'm writing stuff. Lots of stuff. So, be cool internets while I try to finish all the things.
If we are lucky and hardworking we will have time to return to the blogs and social stuff from time to time. In drips and drabs.
Friday, March 25, 2011
So, there was supposed to be a signing tomorrow.
There was supposed to be a bunch of books handy and ready to sign, and etc. Alas, there was an ordering error on the part of the store and the truck that came in today whiffed the order of copies of my book, leaving them back at the warehouse.
Ordering errors happen all the time. Usually the trucks aren't scheduled to arrive with the orders a day or two before the signing, so people have time to correct the error before the event. Alas, the truck's arrival last night does not give us time to figure out an alternate way to fix their whiffed ordering invisibly behind the scenes.
SO ABORT BOOKS-A-MILLION! ABORT TOMORROW!
But, here's what I'm going to do, instead.
Instead of going to Discover Mills Mall, let's go to a nearby Barnes and Noble, where I know they have a couple copies, at least, and if anyone wants to bring something in for me to sign, I'll be there. Anyone wants to hang out, I'll be around.
I won't be there in any official capacity, just hanging out at the store cafe for folks that want to get stuff signed, meet me, and stuff like that. The store's website says they have copies of NEVER KNEW ANOTHER in stock, and I'm all for helping them sell out of that stock. I actually really like this particular store because a writer's group I attend when time permits meets there, and the store has always been very good to the group.
I'll be going to the Lawrenceville Barnes and Noble at 2205 Pleasant Hill Road, in Duluth GA. I'll be there all afternoon, in the cafe. According to the Barnes and Noble website, that location does have copies in stock, and if they run out, I might have a few extra... Also, I've got stuff I could give away that's pretty cool stuff. T-Shirts, for instance, from LAST DRAGON's launch party back on '08... Extra copies of some litmags where I'm in the magazine... Who knows what will be left by the time you get there?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
one day, desiring a larger presence of organization in my life, I walked over to the store and bought the largest white board I could carry home with two hands.
My life spins around it, now. I list progress on projects. I list the household chores I want to accomplish, and important phone numbers and dates. It's like outsourcing the part of my brain that keeps track of all the proverbial things and putting it up on the wall.
The biggest one you can get is what you need. List out your pending projects, and your progress on them. List out the daily to-do list. Put it all up there. Put the board next to the kitchen where you get your coffee. While the coffee is brewing you can look at it, adjust it, and plan your day.
I started doing this while I had a day job and it was an immediate and dramatic improvement to my writing life. Now that I'm just freelancing it is an indispensable tool. It's more than just having a to-do list, because it integrates into your entire list of obligations and projects. It keeps it all out in one spot where you can easily visually digest everything.
If I had J.K. rowling money, I'd line all the walls of the house with whiteboard material, and litter all the walls with magnetic pens. Who decided that our walls were to be wooden and incapable of being writ-upon except in permanence? I don't recall anyone asking me what kind of wall we should make everyone have. If we all had whiteboard walls, we could draw on them. Our kids could draw on them. We could leave notes for each other, and ourselves. We could make lists everywhere. We could throw our confusion onto the walls of our home, so we don't have to carry it with us anymore, in our heads. We can unload it upon a space and review it at the appropriate times to keep the rest of our life on track.
Build me a house out of whiteboard.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
On March 26, I'll be in Lawrenceville, GA, at the Books-A-Million, at 1:00 PM, to give away all the chocolate, and sign books! Come by and say hello, Lawrenceville!
View Larger Map
I will be traveling up to Raleigh, North Carolina next month, in April, to go sign some books at Quail Ridge Books to join the BullSpec Crew, Crossed Genres, David Halperin and more at 7:00 PM-10:00 PM. I hope everyone in the area comes by for books and fine company!
View Larger Map
Hooray for booksignings!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
From the esteemed Erudite Ogre, a thoughtful reflection on his reading experience of my first novel, LAST DRAGON, which -- as we all should know by now -- had just come back into print from Apex books:
J. M. McDermott's Last Dragon starts off by making you worried. After the first several pages you wonder if you have entered into ametafictional puzzle, some sort of stereotypically-postmodern labyrinth that wants you to feel lost, worried, and perplexed. You are drawn into parallel stories of a dying, bitter empress writing to her lost lover and of the woman she was in her youth, tackling a quest that seems simultaneously foolish and impossible to fulfill. Names of characters and scenes from her past life are written in her letters out of sequence, mixed in with longing and regret and guilt. While there are two stories that emerge here, they are not the point of the novel. This is an ambitious work that wants us to reflect on how we make sense out of our lives and constantlystrive to bring all of its disparate elements into a whole that inevitably slips away from us, regardless of desire or intent.
One thing he mentions and celebrates is the interior art, original to this edition, that was done by the amazing and talented Angela Giles of Flying Tangerine Studios! I was very excited to see the gorgeous interior work, and I know I look forward to many collaborations in the future with her. (You see, we're getting married...)
Read the full response?
Visit Flying Tangerine Studios?
Here's a review of NEVER KNEW ANOTHER posted from Fantasy Book Review:
Monday, March 14, 2011
At Black Gate Magazine, i blog a bit about epic fantasy world-building:
"Traveling around the world in eighty days is not only quite possible, but a leisurely journey. One could, on this trip, stop to smell the roses, perhaps do a little sight-seeing on an island or two, and pursue adventure in remote locations. Really, if one were pressed for time, anyone with a passport and a few plane tickets could circumnavigate the globe in about a week or two, depending on the flight paths of the planes."
Read the rest
Saturday, March 12, 2011
I don't have any pictures, yet, but they will come, I'm sure.
Wait... I see two popping up on Facebook...
Yes, the event at Tech went down, and we met lots of awesome booksellers, bookbuyers and students! As usual, the free chocolate was more popular than the books, but this is to be expected on a college campus downtown.
I really like big, huge signs. I think they make everything more awesome.
I have another event lined up at a Books*a*Million in the Atlanta Area.
5900 Sugar Loaf Parkway
I will be the guy sitting next to the gigantic sign.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Atlanta-area, I'm at Georgia Tech at the Barnes & Noble at 5:00 PM to sign copies of NEVER KNEW ANOTHER and anything else you happen to bring by.
Monday, March 7, 2011
From Barnes & Noble's Book Club, and the venerable Paul Goat Allen:
The latest novel from J.M. McDermott (after Last Dragon) – the first installment of his Dogsland trilogy – is one of those “ripple effect” reads, a haunting, sublime story that works on your subconscious long after the reading experience is over. The themes powering Never Knew Anotherare like the concentric circles rippling outward from the locus point of where a pebble has been tossed into a still pond...
Read the whole review:
Also, this is an older review, but one I've never posted here, dedicated to LAST DRAGON, which is back in print! Hooray!
Here's word from "Fantasy With Bite" some time ago, that is now suddenly relevant considering the book is back in print!
It's truly a memorable book, the kind you want to go back and read again because once you get all of the pieces of the puzzle, you want to see if you can glean anything new to make the piece fit together in a new or better way.
Read the whole review:
I want all of my books to succeed. All of them. Along these lines, I want to hold a special contest to celebrate the reprint of LAST DRAGON, involving you! And reprinting!
Details to come soon!
Also, a quick update about the flyers I was determined to put up over at GA Tech. I drove down there, and (hooray for nerves about my first signing in years in a new city and a new book!) forgot to bring anything with me that could be used to attach said flyers to walls and boards and lampposts. Alas, thus trounced, I went home. Yesterday, it was raining, and I thought I would go out after the rain. I fell into writing a new novel so much so that by the time I realized I was supposed to put up flyers, it was late at night, and time for bed.
This morning, I thought about doing it, but the thought of it suddenly scared me too much to imagine actually doing. The thought of walking around Midtown Atlanta on a Monday afternoon, trying to strategically place flyers in some fashion as to impact the arrival of people, on a Thursday, to come to a booksigning, seemed... Well, not quite as useful as working on a new book.
I'm going to need to put a crew together. A crew of people who can help me put flyers up. Left to my own devices, I am a big, late wuss, who feels, frankly, embarrassed to put up flyers and leave them around for people to look at and scoff at and squint at. I mean, it's hard for me to think of my book as remotely as important as a lost dog or cat, and I'd be using up space best reserved for such important things. Club flyers, though, get covered over with impunity.
I have a book signing coming up at a Books-A-Million in a mall in Atlanta a couple weeks, and anyone in the Atlanta area wants to help me put a flyer up somewhere or anywhere, drop me a line. It's been too long since I've worked in sales, and I've let my skillsets crumble. I'm thinking of going to sell cars for a while, just to be surrounded by people who have that crazy, somewhat scary set of skills. Maybe it'll rub off on me. With the evil.
LAST DRAGON is out and reprinted and available. If you read it and liked it, please tell people about the new availability! (Because if it is a successful print run, I can afford to buy a new pair of pants. I need new pants. You do want me to be wearing pants, don't you?)
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I'm not even convinced this will be an effective use of resources. I'm about to go and put up flyers as if a book signing were a punk rock show, as if people find punk rock shows based on flyers, as if people will come to the event who would not otherwise just because they saw a poster for it on their way to work or class or whatever.
When I see flyers around town for lost pets, I think to myself that the cat is probably already gone and this is as much a catharsis for the owner of the pet, to post their longing like this, all over the neighborhood, to feel like the pet-owner has "done" something, however meaningless.
When I see flyers for events, they are generally skanky events that involve half-naked women, or the promise of half-naked women, to urge me to some club or bar or place that wouldn't be out of place on an episode of Jersey Shore. Which is to say, not for me.
There's so much noise in the city, so many things trying to grab my eyes and hold them and slow me down to a pause. Will anyone see the flyer? I doubt it. This is just a catharsis, to walk around the city and put up flyers and hope and hope and hope... It's more for me than you. It's more for me, to find the neighborhood, and see all the people there on a rainy afternoon.
Friday, March 4, 2011
The books started fairly small. A foot high at best, and nothing that needed completion were it dull. But it grew. The couch and desk are now covered in books. The kitchen table. Everything is growing books. They seem to be crawling out of the shelves, breeding and spreading spores all over the apartment. The books are on the computer, ordering family members, and arranging visits from old friends in the library. I expect to be buried beneath them soon if I don't do something drastic.
Like read them all.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
People of the Internet! Are you in Georgia? Atlanta, Georgia?