Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Now Twittering

I'm trying out the Twittering even though I don't have a smart phone. Look at the Twitter sidebar to the right.

Paperback release

The del Rey paperback edition of my story collection, Getting to Know You, is officially released today! It's a handsome little book. Great for reading on trains and planes. It even comes in a Kindle version. This is my first outing with del Rey, an imprint of Random House, and I'm curious what kind of job they do selling it. Let me know in the comments if you see this book on shelves and where (indy or chain book store, airport, grocery/convenience store, and so on). I like the cover art even though it's not especially sci-fi-ish. Perhaps they are angling for a broader readership? Lots of cool jacket blurbing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Open auction--Pet Cameo

It has belatedly occurred to me to inform y'all that I have a Pet Cameo auction still going on for one more day. It's over at the Help Vera site on LiveJournal.
Welcome to the HelpVera fundraiser and charity auction. We are trying to help Vera Nazarian, a speculative writer, publisher, and all-around wonderful person to save her house from foreclosure.
Vera's a friend and colleague of mine who has fallen on some rough times and apparently some good friends of hers took it upon themselves to do an online auction fundraiser. Hundreds of people have participated, and the target goal of $11,000 has been met and exceeded.

That's very cool and I'm very pleased for Vera. But let's not forget that many of the auctions are still going on! including mine! SF treasures are being sold right now for a good cause. If you're interested in some eclectic SF-themed goods and services, you've got only a day or two to place bids.
The things being offered and bid upon are mind-blowing. I was expecting a lot of books in this auction, but custom poems, cookies, custom jewelery, tarot readings, handbooks, pet cameos, copyediting... it goes on and on.

My own lot is the pet cameo, and it has only a day or so to go. It closes on Sat. Dec. 13 at 11:47 am, one week from its timestamp. I am selling one pet cameo in an upcoming story or novel. Here's how I described it for the auction:
You can immortalize your pet in a literary work!

For awhile now I've been offering pet cameos at auction for local non-profits. My novel, Mind Over Ship (Tor, Jan. 20 2009) includes two dogs who each fetched over $100 for the Fairbanks Symphony Association auction. The auction winner sends me a photo and a little bio sketch of their pet, and I'll fit the pet by name and description into an upcoming story or novel. In the past some of these animals have taken part at critical plot points!

For Vera's auction I'll donate one pet cameo. Can be pretty much any kind of animal. If it lives with you I should be able to fit it in. (Alternatively, I can do a cameo of your favorite boat, car, country estate, etc. No living people please).

A story I'm currently working on has a pivotal role played by a dog, and it's available for bidding. Other animals may have to wait a story or book or two to fit in. If a story or novel goes unpublished, I'll include your pet in the next until it is published. Minimum bid is $35.00.

As of today, Thurs, the high bid is $70, which frankly is a steal. If you're interested in casting your pet into literary history, you can make a bid until Saturday, Dec. 13 at 11:47 am, 2008. Sorry I didn't alert you sooner. I need an assistant around here.

Here's how you make a bid. Just go here.

I don't know if they make you join LJ or not in order to bid, but if you have any difficulty contact the auction manager Josh Guppiecat.

All pets are immortal, but sometimes it's nice to make it official.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting to Know You--Again!

In the windup to the release of Mind Over Ship, and the subsidiary afterlife of Counting Heads, I have been all too forgetful of my other child, the collection of stories Getting To Know You, which comes out from del Rey on December 30. Others have not, including the preeminent SF writer, reviewer, and encyclopedia editor, John Clute. He published a review of GTKY in yesterday's Sci-Fi Weekly that blows me away. He actually makes me sound like someone who knows what he's doing (when the fact is I have to read reviews to discover that). Anyway, it's humbling. Check it out.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Counting Heads in Romania

I am excited to see this come out, the Romanian edition of my first novel. I can't speak a word of Romanian, but I'm confident that this is a good translation because the translators, Cristina and Stefan Guidoveanu, sent me lists of questions to clarify terms and ideas. I usually inform foreign publishers that I'm available for such inquiries, but the Guidoveanus are the first to take me up on it.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Second Starred Review for MOS

The current issue of Publisher's Weekly has a starred review for Mind Over Ship. (If you go there to read it, scroll halfway down the page to the SF/Fantasy/Horror section.) Since my first published stories, I have tried to take the moderating attitude of not getting too excited over good reviews or too bummed over bad ones. This review is very good, but what pleases me most in it is the mention of my--ahem--moments of "perfect prose." Hell yes! I labor long polishing those sentences and paragraphs. It's probably the most fun part of the process for me.

The review also makes this observation: "While newcomers might wish for a short prologue or a glossary, those omissions don't significantly detract." It's a relief to hear this from a reviewer, but I'm still anxious to provide some kind of synopsis of Counting Heads here and elsewhere (see the previous posting to this blog). So, if you've read CH and would like to take a stab at writing a summary, please do so. Email it to me. Don't make me write one myself, please, because my head is so full of early drafts, revisions, deleted scenes, alternate scenes, and abandoned threads and characters, that I have a hard time remembering how the final book came out. No joke.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Can you assist?

In January 2009, when Mind Over Ship is released, more than three years will have passed since the release of Counting Heads. That's a long time to go between two installments of a series, and I expect that even careful readers of CH might need a refresher in order to better enjoy the sequel. I didn't provide a thumbnail recap of CH in MOS, but now I'm thinking I need one. Problem is, I just don't seem to be able to write one. I always have the hardest time doing synopses of my own work. I'm just hopeless at it, really. So, I am making an appeal to anyone who wants to write one for me. If you'd like to give it a shot, try to limit it to about 500 to 1000 words, and don't worry about spoilers. It'll be recommended for people who have already read CH, so spoilers won't matter. Cover all the important characters and events. Email it to me as an attached text file, I'll put the best couple of them up here and on my web site with your attribution.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

COUNTING HEADS to be an audiobook

Recorded Books will be coming out with a slew of SF titles in the next two years, and I'm pleased to announce that Counting Heads will be one of them. As this is my first audiobook, I'm thrilled.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

First Review

And a good one it is. The current issue of Kirkus has a starred review of my upcoming novel. Unfortunately, it's behind a subscription wall, so most of you probably won't be able to read it. Which is probably for the better because it contains spoilers. So don't read it. Anyway, January 20, 2009, is a doubly auspicious date; not only will my book be released on that day, but a new president of the United States will be inaugurated. It's still unknown who that will be, but one thing we know for sure, it won't be Bush.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A visit to NORAD

On the Thursday of the Denvention con, I went on a day trip to the old NORAD command facility in Cheyenne Mountain with about 20 other SF writers. In the official photo above we are standing in front of the iconic entry tunnel. The trip was the inspiration of author Jeff Carlson, who was interested in the site as a setting for scenes in an upcoming novel.

Jeff has the names of those in the photo here as well as a link to a larger version. And here's a story about the visit by Annalee Newitz in the SF ezine Io9. Another visitor, author John Joseph Adams, has another story about the trip for SCI FI.com. Lucky me no havta write anything.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

MOS cover art

I attended the Tor Rollout Panel at Devention last week and got my first glance at the cover art for my second novel, Mind Over Ship. I am very pleased, and I think it's my best cover yet. It's from noted British illustrator Paul Youll, and it depicts the space station, Trailing Earth, and an Oship under construction. It gives an impression of the vast scale of the space yards. It's a beaut!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Launch Pad

This week I'm attending Launch Pad, an amazing workshop for science fiction writers and others involved in bringing astronomy to the public. It's the brainchild of astronomer and SF writer Mike Brotherton and is funded by NASA. Through lectures and labs, we are getting a refresher course in Astronomy (or in my case, my first formal class).

I won't go into greater detail because at least one of the attendees, Mary Robinette Kowal, is doing a great job blogging the experience. In her photo above, the discerning reader can see my shoulders and balding head behind author Nancy Kress and next to David Levine. Jerry Oltien, who is an author and one of our instructors is in the green Hawaiian-print shirt. We are busy exploring Kirchhoff's second law (A low-density gas excited to emit light will do so at specific wavelengths and thus produce an emission spectrum) and comparing our laboratory observations with a spectrometry chart.

Tonight we go to the Wyoming Infrared Observatory to check out the big telescope there.

Next week I continue on to Denver (along with most of the workshop attendees) for Worldcon.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

MOS release date

Tor sent me the copyedited manuscript of Mind Over Ship, and I've spent the last two weeks working on it. It's my last chance to fix problems and do a bit of polishing.

I received word from Tor that MOS will be released January 20, 2009, less than nine months from now.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Novel has new title!

Risking confusion, I've decided to change the title of my new novel. A small change but one that I think will make the title less confusing, especially for people who have not already read Counting Heads.

Old title: Mind Over Oship

New title: Mind Over Ship

Back in Fairbanks

I'm back in Fairbanks for at least the summer. Driving up from Homer, I took a little detour to visit Seward, a town I've never seen. Seward is one of the older towns in Alaska, established in 1903, only a year or two after Fairbanks. It's the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad and an important fishing port. A population of only about 3000 people (of which males outnumber females 150 to 100).

Though Seward and Homer are on the same Kenai Peninsula, they are on opposite sides of the Kenai Mountains and enjoy different climates. While Homer is dry (for a maritime location), Seward is a rain forest, and the mountains drop precipitously into the water of Resurrection Bay. Fjords and glaciers abound.

The photo at the top of this post is a WWII-era quonset hut converted into a residence that I found driving around the compact residential area. At the bottom is a charming houseon a steep hillside probably from the same era.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Today marks the release of the French edition of my first novel. Somehow they translated the title to A PARADISE OF HELL. (Is that a title or a review?) It still gives me a frisson (to use a French word) of self-consciousness to see my name printed so boldly on the cover of a book. Couldn't they make it a little smaller? And put it in the corner? Oh well, here's hoping the French reading public loves me book.

MOO Delivery

Yesterday I delivered the manuscript for my second novel, MIND OVER OSHIP, to my editor at Tor. Two-and-a-half years in the making, 119,000 words, a whole lot of exercising my imagination muscle. I'm glad to complete this project and am literally collapsed on the couch by the effort. I'm going to take a little time off, and in two weeks I drive back to Fairbanks to figure out what comes next.

The photo above is a view of the Homer Spit from my yard. The spit extends halfway across the Kachemak Bay, 4.5 miles.