Fantasy-Faction interviews me, and I allude to stuff obliquely

TVG-cover-finalThere’s a new interview with me out today from Fantasy-Faction. I talked with the illustrious Dan Hanks — a stand-up guy if there ever was one — about The Venusian Gambit, finishing off the Daedalus series, and what comes next.

I’ve had to kind of tiptoe around that last bit in a number of interviews and such. I can safely say that there’s definitely a something next beyond short stories. In fact, I’m working on it now, and hopefully with out jinxing it, I think it’s some of my best writing. It’s not a continuation of the Daedalus series — that’s a completed story, in my mind, with no pressing need to go back to the setting. It’s new and different.

And that’s all I can say right about now. I’m hopeful there might be more about by September or so. In the interim, I’m gonna write, and you’ll have to hang tight. In the meantime, I do have a story in the Cthulhu Fhtagn! anthology out next month, and it looks like Unidentified Funny Objects 4, which has my “Confessions of an Interplanetary Art Fraud” therein, is due out in the fall.

But that’s all I can say for now. Except for these, which probably doesn’t help unless you do the research to figure out what they are. (Hint!)

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Cthulhu Fhtagn! up for preorder on Kindle

Are you prepared for Cthulhu’s rise? That’s a silly question, because much like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expects Cthulhu…which is funny, since it’s a ginormous octopus-headed, bat-winged, humanoid horror that you really can’t miss.

But I digress.

Cthulhu Fhtagn!, the latest Lovecraft-inspired anthology from uber-editor Ross Lockhart, is now available for preorder on Amazon Kindle. The book of 19 amazing weird tales — from authors such as Laird Barron, Richard Lee Byers, Molly Tanzer and, well, me — comes out August 15. Get in on it! Preorder it! Prepare for the soul-wrenching darkness!

Well, the first two, at least.

If you want it in print, head on over to Word Horde and order direct from the publisher — and get the ebook bundled with it for just $19.99. You’ve spent more on lunch. Heck, I’ve spent more on a single bottle of beer.

As for my story, “On a Kansas Plain,” I won’t say too much except that it’s set in the modern day, and bad things happen. Bad. Things. But you probably already figured that last bit out. As I’ve said before, it’s a bit of a departure for me, but I’m excited to see it among the work of so many other great authors.

August 15. Cthulhu’s coming. Be prepared.

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Thoughts on collaboration

I’ve been pretty quiet on social media this week due to my day-job. I’ve been working on a rather large presentation, and I had the gentleman due to give that presentation in my office this week to help me hash out the content.

Now, collaboration isn’t something I’ve done much of in my career. As a journalist, it was pretty much all on me when it came to researching and writing articles; those few times I’ve worked with other reporters, it was to divide-and-conquer the phone calls and research, then one of us would sit down and pound out the words.

And in my current role in corporate communications, it’s still been me sitting down and writing. Now, I’ve had a lot more folks with input — both before and after the creative process — but rarely during. Usually, there just isn’t the time or the resources to really dive deep into the words with someone.

This project is different, because it’s a really-big-deal presentation. Continue reading

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Author FAQ: Money matters for writers

A few months ago, I did a blog post/ranty-thing tackling the notion that you have to be a starving artist in order to truly be creative. (Spoiler: That’s a load of crap.) Nobody likes starving. If you have the means to avoid it, and most readers here presumably do, I think you have the obligation to, you know, not starve.

As something of a corollary to that, I’m often asked when I’m going to “make the leap” or “cash out” or whatever euphemism is used for leaving my day-job to write fiction full time. While many writers dream of such a thing, this is not a realistic goal for me. I work in the financial services industry, in marketing and communications, and frankly…they pay me quite well. Barring a sudden ascension in sales to the George R.R. Martin level, it ain’t happening.

And it really wasn’t my goal, anyway. In addition to the pay, I get benefits: really good medical/dental/vision insurance for my whole family, retirement savings, and the ability to save for my daughter’s college education. And here’s the kicker…I actually really like my job. I work with great people on projects that are interesting and challenging.

But I get it, that urge to walk away and just write full time. There are days, man, let me tell you, when I’m right there with you. And given that my wife is a freelance writer and aspiring novelist, I have some experience with balancing the desire to leave the office with the realities of cold, hard cash. So I’m expanding the Author FAQ here on the site to incorporate some money matters.

(Note that these opinions are solely my own, and I am not a financial advisor or planner. I’m just a guy who’s seen some stuff and throwing out ideas. If you have questions, talk to someone, you know, qualified.)  Continue reading

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The conclusion of the Pathfinder tale “Crisis of Faith” now live!

It’s been a great run. Today, the final chapter of “Crisis of Faith,” my Pathfinder story about Jeddah Cailean, hapless priest of a drunken god, was posted on Paizo’s site. And this fellow to the right featured prominently.

Seriously. Flaming skeletons. Awesome.

I had a great time playing in Pathfinder‘s sandbox. It was a real throwback to my D&D days, which were instrumental in introducing me to the wide world of science fiction and fantasy literature. I very much enjoyed being able to give my take on some of those classic tropes. With beer, of course.

When I think about writing “straight” fantasy — and by that, I mean the traditional sword-and-sorcery stuff — I always want a different take on it. A brewmaster-priest was a great start, and the Pathfinder world has so much more to offer. It’s a neat setting with a lot of potential for unique stories. If you’re an RPGer and you haven’t checked out Pathfinder already…seriously, what’s up with that?

My thanks again to James and Chris for letting me play, and once again to the Twitter crew for making it possible. I hope you enjoyed my tale.

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What I did this weekend

Well, the most visible and impressive thing was this, which took two hours in the summer heat and was very, very hard. (Actually, it was surprisingly not bad and easier than the instructions made it out to be.)

Yes, we’re going to raise chickens. We have three, in fact: Molly, Diane and Genevieve. They’re a week old and, of course, super-cute.

So now we have a chicken coop, which is really more like a condo and one that’s substantially better than my first apartment. Or my first car, for that matter.

The other cool thing was my chat with the Science Fiction Association of Bergen County at the Hackensack Barnes & Noble. It was a most excellent and engaging crowd — and it was a crowd, which is always heartening. My bit started at 8 p.m., and we didn’t break up until after 10:30. Great questions, great audience.

And by the way, there are signed copies of The Venusian Gambit at that Barnes & Noble now — get ’em while they’re hot!

Finally, I did get some writing done. Writing what, you ask? Something you may hear about soon.

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Reminder: I’m speaking at the Science Fiction Association of Bergen County on Saturday

Just a quick note: I’m the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Science Fiction Association of Bergen County (that’s in New Jersey, yo) this Saturday, July 11. It’s at the Barnes & Noble in Hackensack. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. with a meet and greet, and I start in at 8.

I’ll be talking about The Venusian Gambit and the rest of the Daedalus series, short stories, and maybe even a hint or two about what’s to come. If you’re in the area, come say hi! I promise to be, at the very least, mildly entertaining.

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