Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.
Wednesday, December 31, 2014
Friday, December 26, 2014
My novel WE LEAVE TOGETHER, the conclusion to the critically-acclaimed Dogsland Trilogy that began at Night Shade Books (who imploded in the middle of it, and all over WHEN WE WERE EXECUTIONERS) and moved on to WordHorde, was selected in some fine company for ForeWord Reviews' Year's Best SF/F of 2014.
Friday, December 19, 2014
I don't know how long this lasts, but I know it won't be very long, at all. Hop in while you still can, if you haven't already!
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
STRAGGLETAGGLE is currently live at Barnes and Noble's website, Amazon, and Weightless Books.
Everyone should go pick up a copy. https://weightlessbooks.com/genre/fiction/novel/straggletaggle/
Little, independent books with failed kickstarters are going to have an uphill climb. Everything that helps the little book along, whether a review or a retweet, is much appreciated.
I don't plan to be strictly indie from now on. I plan on being protean, and following my muse. Some project are more fun alone. Some are more fun with a team. I know I have been submitting my next book to publishers and agents. And, if I ever finish the book about post-apocalyptic squirrels, I will likely stay indie with it.
For now, for this little book, any signal boost in is appreciated.
I am going to try and do something nice for the people who aided the kickstarter, but it isn't ready yet.
Thank you, everyone!
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Copies showed up in the mail, and already have a destination when I get to the post office Tuesday. Honey didn't think it was worth waking up over. I mean, it isn't like this is my first novel, or anything. It should be old hat by now.
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
We were close for a while, but we did finally get things in order for a puppy from a local no-kill shelter. Her story is true shelter dog: She was found as a stray and was infected with demodectic mange. Most shelters would not have kept her long enough to heal her. Fortunately, this sweet pup was at a no kill shelter where she received treatment and is quite nearly completely healed from a common ailment that is noncommunicable and easily treated. Every city should strive to be a no kill city. This dog adopted means another dog can be saved by the organization.
We have a shoe-requirements for all visitors at the house, for a while, naturally. Keep your shoes on. There is a puppy here who is still learning. Watch your step while we are training her!
Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Appearing at stores, then, a little earlier than planned, and the eBook coming out on the 17th, and hopefully spreading out all over, my new novel, Straggletaggle, is here.
Inspired by anime, other steampunk novels, and the horror of corpocracy, a sheen of genre rides over the top of my great fears, and I hope it is enjoyable and inspires others to create and to fight against the forces of unchecked organization.
Thursday, December 4, 2014
I have been working on a year's best list and it isnt done.
Overlooked books of the year, though:
Spider in a Tree by Susan Stinson is absolutely beautiful and it hasn't been mentioned enough around about town.
Revolutions by Felix Gilman is another reminder why he is some kind of monster, here to reshape and invent the literary duology. If duologies ever truly become a "thing" it will be because Gilman keeps writing such fantastic duologies and people will point and say, "That is how they should be done! See! Like that!". Each book is distinct, yet clearly related. Each world seen twice, is seen fully and left for other worlds.
Elysium by Jenn Brissett is out from a small press and could easily be overlooked. Please, don't. It is fabulous, and makes me feel like I am not alone in genre with my fractured and fragmented impulses. People who like my books will love Jenn's.
No links, yet, but you know how to find books in stores, right?
Monday, December 1, 2014
1. Every Father Will Protect his ChickensHigh growing season is no time for running around in the dark. Going out after dark, there are wild dogs, badgers, all kinds of hungry things. The bugs alone can drink a quart of red liquor and leave welts all over. The ticks lounge in the grass, just waiting, bobbing like divers on a board, for all us walking by.High country, when darkness comes, we stay inside. We watch TV, if we must remain awake. I clean my rifle once a week by the flickering television screen. The moths flitter against the mosquito netting, and the girls are in bed by eight, before even the bats come out.We got in the habit of locking them in, too. They were such restless horses in the dark, wandering to the kitchen, flipping on lights, and seeking out their toys when they should be in bed. My wife had a sister that did that and got killed back in England when a wild animal took her in the night and she was wandering around late and no one knew. She instituted the rule. We tuck the girls in. We close the door. We lock it from the outside. The screen is unchanged. There isn’t a way to get the screen out without pulling them off the nails that hold them down.So, how did their shoes get so dirty at night?
Read the rest? (http://www.3lobedmag.com/)
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Starbucks, I call shenanigans. You are supposed to be ethical. You push yourself as the just and ethical alternative. You brag about one thing... And of course there would be so few calories in the drink if it had absolutely no meaningful quantity of milk in it... You do realize, Starbucks, that obesity is a crisis in this country and sugar turns into calories in the system almost instantly without any nutritive elements to slow down the insulin rush, right?
Thursday, November 6, 2014
It is a dream of many a reader to be paid to sit in a room and read books. Professors sometimes pull it off when they get close to the end of their career, and they can coast through committees and coast through minimal classes and focus solely on their own interests of research. Naturally, it is quite rare, because it is no small task to be a tenured professor on copious, copious committees. Some literary critics are able to pull it off, as well, but they have to be working for major publications, and they have to be very, very lucky. Most reviewers are not able to do it full-time. I can think of no one able to make their living from reading things except for a certain breed of editor. They put together a little literary magazine or two - which is, itself, no small feat - but they raise revenue on two fronts. They sell the literary magazine, absolutely. They also sell the opportunity to be considered in that literary magazine to aspirants.
Do not pay reading fees. Do not pay contest fees. Do not bother reading magazines that charge those fees.
We are already entering a world where the bar for entry for those of us who come from marginalized communities, and working communities, face a series of stiff barriers. And, one of the many ways that the bar for entry is increased is the rise of reading fees, for the magazines that exist in some genres cannot maintain their lights and electricity without the very artists inside of their pages kicking in a few dollars every time a story is submitted. It has been touted as a way to weed out the flood of stories. The few times I've been involved with the editorial side of things, the simple way to handle that problem was not to be open to submissions, at all, and to solicit stories and writers, instead. Ultimately, my responsibility in all I do is to readers. I would sooner flip the submission switch off (as many publications do) than to consider charging a penalty for submissions from people who probably don't have a lot of money.
Also, I've heard editors state that they also need to be paid for their time for reading those stories that they read, and they say they offer feedback. This does not pass the smell test. Your time, as an editor, is paid for by selling magazines and advertising and possibly a kickstarter. Your time is not best spent formulating feedback on stories you don't like, either. That is a giant waste of everyone's time. I could offer feedback all day on clean romance stories about Mormons, and it would be completely useless to the people writing them because I am not the audience for that kind of story. (Which is fine! Not everything is for everybody, nor should it be construed as a snipe about these sorts of stories other people like quite a lot! But, don't ask me to offer feedback on your technical manuals, either! I'm not the guy for that! Nor is Harper's!)
Anyway, to stay on target: I am not a rich writer. I actually do count on my writing work to pay some bills and bump up our meager retirement portfolio. Telling me I could submit to three magazines, one of which requires a reading fee, and two of which do not, is telling me that I can submit to only those two magazines and the other one doesn't even exist.
If you charge a reading fee for your magazine, to me, it doesn't exist. I don't even read these sorts of magazines. I don't read them not only because I would never submit to them, but because experience tells me that the stories of marginalized communities will not be present inside of them.The bar for entry, no matter how small, will strike the poorest first and hardest.
I have friends who run reading fee magazines, and I'm sorry, but we did talk about this and you know my feelings very well. I think you're very nice, very smart people, but you are not engaged in your work in a way that will lead to the outcomes we all desire.
One of the things that keeps me writing SF, also, when I do ponder changing genres, is how I know I can sell short stories to good-paying, high-impact markets without reading fees. There are some bad things about being slow to change, but this, at least, is a positive. We have yet to swallow that pill that mainstream publications have long ago devoured. So, hooray for us?
Saturday, October 11, 2014
I wrote a thing for a site called GrumpTroll.
I don't think we have anything else up there, yet. Presumably, we will be doing weekly stuff?
Anyway... It's a bit of a rehash of ideas from previous blogposts that were the firstdrafteryfodder of some longer stuff.
We’ve all seen the little crosses and corsages left standing, undisturbed, along the highways and byways of the world. One of the great miseries and mysteries of humanity is the automobile. We climb into our little, mobile living pods, and rev powerful engines, take to the roads for absolutely everything. We go to the store, go to work, take our kids our school – everything, everything – driving – driving – driving. Car sales are up. Warren Buffet is buying car dealerships. The planet is choking on our exhaust fumes, and we’re driving, driving, driving. In all the talk of the dangers of socialized health insurance, and the mandate to maintain health insurance, the little niggling tidbit underneath the headline was the necessary distinction between car insurance and human insurance. Apparently, cars are a luxury, not a necessity. I challenge anyone to live in any city in America west of the New England states without an automobile. Have fun on those 3 hour bus rides, those endless, endless bus rides that swallow every waking moment between work and home into a commute. No, my friend, we all need cars, too. We all need private insurance for our cars. It would be cheaper and safer if there was universal car insurance, but no one wishes to even have that discussion when the idea of socialized medicine is apparently too contentious for polite society. It would also be cheaper and safer to reconsider how we build our cities.continue?
Friday, October 10, 2014
The consequences for failure - in this case a failed kickstarter - is very slight. No one died. No one lost anything.
The book still comes out, except without pre-orders and without bonus extras, in December/January.
Thanks to everyone who pitched in a little. I love you all, and I am very grateful to know that you're out there and you have my back.
Monday, September 29, 2014
Kickstarting is exciting. One more week left, and already so much closer to the goal, I turn to the interwebs and request assistance both with donations, and with spreading the word. My backers who have already participated, I thank you and promise you that your rewards will be swift if and when the time comes for them.
Still, with over a thousand dollars left to go, the difficulty is real. Overcoming this large amount in such a small time will require courage and tenacity and luck and money and...
Well, mostly money.
If you were waiting to see what would happen, please don't wait much longer. The clock is ticking, and ticking down, and I am not so famous that every little whisper on the web is tracked deep. I am a humble writer, with humble goals, and I hope I can count on you to help me in my time of need.
FIVE DAYS TO GO AND SO FAR TO CLIMB! WILL I REACH THE GOALPOST!?
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Jesus, what just happened? She was only 42!
I knew her a bit. We did things as authors together at conventions and panels. She was way too nice to die so young, with so many stories unwritten. She was extremely good. She was the kind of person that you wish you were smart enough, cool enough, to hang with. She was brilliant, sharp, and erudite. She was glamorous. She gave off an aura of leading a cooler life than most people dared to dream about. She was the kind of person whom you could imagine discovering at a secret party, somewhere, where the beasts of the city ran wild in the dark. She was such good people.
In such a short, way too short time, she produced brilliant short stories, numinous and numerous short stories.
Go read some of them, today.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
As you all know, I am kickstarting.
J. R. Vogt was kind enough to let me borrow his megaphone for a day, and I thank him for it.
Please, do consider passing the link around, and letting everyone know. I am kickstarting. The clock is ticking, and we're not even 50% of the way!
Friday, September 19, 2014
It is a movie based on a book, and I haven't seen the movie, nor have I read the book. Another movie has arrived, apparently, where deadly competition is a metaphor for high school matriculation. I would prefer not to see that, again. Frankly, once you see these projects as all part of the same metrically-calculated metaphoric moneymaker, it's hard to appreciate them, at all.
My own MAZE is not about competition, but cooperation against the darkness and the unknown.
Adulthood has been very confusing. I think I lost my way a few times, and losing my way became the right path to follow. There is no center, no solution. There is only a long walk through these halls, and what we find there will always surprise us with both its potential horror, and the potential wonder of encountering such a thing.
I went for a walk in a park near here and saw a Nopales cactus growing like a mistletoe at the top of a damaged oak tree. I have stood in the dark at the wee hours on Easter morning in a foreign country, finding my way home on foot after missing the last bus, walking for kilometers and kilometers and seeing the night city in all its mystery and darkness. Looking up into the night sky over North Carolina, I saw more stars in an empty football stadium than I think I'd ever seen before, out in the middle of nowhere. This is not all that I have seen. I have seen wondrous things And, there was no narrative to them except this: I walked; It was my path that I was on.
I have not read the book or film, but I think my version of the MAZE might be a little more interesting to people who prefer not to run blindly after everything that shines in the dark. Walk with me. We will fight to the death, there, and we will face our confusions and fears, but we will do so at our own gentle pace.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
I got this email from a company that claims to boost kickstarters by 1300%. They send a super special press release to Reuters, The AP, and "10 hand-picked high traffic blogs".
Yeah, how do you prove that number in a crowdfunding business model? Comparing different projects? Ones where some are deep social networks and others aren't? Some where some on is deeply professional and others aren't?
And... uh... Reuters isnt exactly in the business of covering weird art projects on the internet. That is not their business. The AP, also, is a little busy with real world tragedies for weird art projects on the internet.
Folks, stay frosty out there. If it smells fishy, and it comes at you unsolicited, best to step back and remember that the internet is full of spammers. If they dont mal easy money, they won't be kicking that can of spam at doorways and windows much longer.
A real challenge moving forward is going to be separating wheat from chaff. (And, honestly, whilst freelancing, I have been paid to churn some of that particular brand of butter. I know it when I see it, now.)
And, somebody tell Reuters that I am kickstarting. See if they notice the email Lon enough to delete it, or if their is just a semisentient killfile slowly waking up to digital life.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Go there. Pledge support. Receive rewards.
It isn't potato salad, and I don't think my books will ever be as popular as potato salad, but it is a book, and it is written, and it is edited, and it is sitting in a file folder, ready to be released into the world. In the past, with publishers, preordering has been a bit of a fiasco. People who pre-ordered often got their books weeks later than people who just waited until the official release date and bought it then. As a guy in my house with two jobs, I don't actually have a complex organizational structure prepared to manage an elaborate system of preordering, and kickstarting looks like the most viable solution to creating that system. It looks like an exciting community, as well, that has made things together, and been excited about things. It looks like a positive place to be creating things, now and then.
I believe in putting a foot in every viable method of production available. I am not abandoning publishers, or abandoning strictly independent books, for some new method of funding the art. I just believe that I am remiss not to spread out across viable means of reaching an audience. I do not believe any method of production should be seen as the only one, when the complex ecosystem that is evolving is only making everything more confusing and hard to predict. I spread myself out, then, and after this project, I will return to publishers, and also do things independently. I may kickstart again, or build another dedicated WordPress site. Who knows? I don't know what tomorrow will bring!
I believe that there are at least two-hundred people in the whole world who wouldn't mind an early eBook of my next novel. Some of them might even want a little more.
I also believe I could fall flat on my face.
I keep reminding myself that it is okay to fail.
I also tell myself that I will never, ever make another video of myself if I can avoid it, ever, because I am incredibly uncomfortable on camera, and prefer only to be a human, not an icon of one.
I tell myself that words matter, and good words are important, and there is room in this world for one more little book.
Hopefully, I am not wrong about that.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Deep in the business of working and writing and seasonal cleaning and yardworkery, I have only a moment to spare for this announcement.
"Paul and His Son," which is part of the same novel that "Dolores, Big and Strong" came out of, is going to be in Asimov's someday soon. It is about buying illegal drugs to medicate a child who technically needs no medication a few short steps into the future. Paul, Jr will run away again. He always does.
Also, I have received approval from the folks at Kickstarter for my little campaign for Straggletaggle. I am not ready to bang all the drums, but that day is coming. It is coming soon. I will need help banging drums.
Monday, September 1, 2014
How many people can live here, on earth? There is a finite number, even if every patch was turned to production, and we lived in tiny tree houses in our cultivated orchards. This number would not include the wondrous complexity of wildlife and non-human creatures. I do not seek the argument of Malthus. I seek instead to create a new dialog about how we build.
Zoning, itself, is only about a hundred years old.
Grocery stores, as we know them, are far less than a hundred.
Cars as mass transportation tools are not centenarians.
Our cities as we are designing them currently are so young.
We still have time to save ourselves from the worst of our imaginary constructions, our collective inability to see beyond what is delivered to us by tax revenue and corporate shells.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Friday, August 29, 2014
Anyway, revenge comes in the form of commuting times. Rich people often commute greater distances, eat terrible junk food as a result of long commutes, and face many of the same conditions as those who spend an hour on a bus will face.
Driving is the most dangerous thing we do, and we do it every day. We move out into the hills to escape minor likelihoods of criminal attempts, and we extend our commute, increasing the likelihood of accidents, which are a leading cause of death. And, this drive feeds into our gnawing addiction of terrible fast food, and this leads to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, which are all leading killers of men and women.
Move out into the suburbs if you must. But do so with your eyes open. Time and health are the only two things you truly have. Everything else is a cultural affectation.