Post-vacation roundup of fun stuff

I’ve been away for a bit, busy with day-job work, some very good flashes of creative writing and, well…vacation. We were originally heading for the Bahamas, but winter weather here and stormy, rainy, cool weather there made us rethink the trip at the last minute.

So we went to Vermont, which is always lovely. (For a post on the last time I visited, click here.) We did some skiing, caught up with family and friends, ate and drank exceptionally well, and wistfully plotted our retirement to the Green Mountains at some point. For a nifty take on our adventure, head over to Kate’s blog for some great pictures and thoughts.

When I returned, I found a care package from Night Shade Books waiting for me:

gambitARCs

Aw, yeah. The Venusian Gambit is looking pretty sweet. In addition to these ARCs, I just signed off on the front-and-back cover copy — including a new blurb from an outstanding author that I can’t wait to tell you about, along with a really nice review, too.

At some point soon, I’ll likely do an exclusive blog-and-Twitter giveaway for one of these bad boys. I’m also saving one or two for charity as well — the Con or Bust auctions are coming in April, after all. So stay tuned for opportunities to win and/or donate to get an early copy. And I’ll note that the Goodreads giveaway of The Daedalus Incident goes until March 10, and there are 10 copies up for grabs there — signed, no less! Sign up to grab one.

On another note, it looks like there may be a chance to save Borderlands Books in San Francisco! This is great news — it’s such an awesome store, and San Francisco will be poorer for its absence. They’ve decided to see if they can sell paid sponsorships to people to keep the store going, and it seems to have worked really well. They needed to sell 300 sponsorships, at $100 each, to keep their doors open. As of yesterday, they sold 230. I’m just getting up to speed on this now, but the sponsorship seems like a great idea. So if you’re in the area, or really just want to support a great institution, get a sponsorship! Click here for how to do it.

UPDATE: 

You should still get a sponsorship, though. Every bit helps!

That’s about it for now. I’ll be traveling again in the coming week — this time to Los Angeles for day job stuff — so I probably won’t be blogging a heap. But when the May 5 release date for Gambit gets closer, you’ll be inundated with stuff, no doubt. We have a lot of great, cool things planned to celebrate.

And as for Vermont, well…I’ll be back for the Vermont SF Writer’s Series in June up in Burlington. If you’re around, hope to see you there!

#SFWApro

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Goodreads giveaway! Enter to win one of 10 signed copies of The Daedalus Incident!

With The Venusian Gambit coming out in less than three months, it’s time to get caught up on the Daedalus trilogy if you haven’t already. And what better way to do that than to get the first book for free?

Starting today and running through March 10, you can enter to win one of 10 signed copies of The Daedalus Incident via Goodreads. All you have to do is go to this page and click the “Enter to Win” button. Seriously, it could not be easier.

Of course, you have to become a Goodreads member to do that, but Goodreads is cool. If you like books, you should totally join. Keep track of what you’ve read, join any number of excellent online communities, enter to win other books, you name it. It’s worth the 30 seconds it takes to sign up.

Now, this won’t be the last time you can enter to win my books; we have a number of nifty things planned leading up to the May 5 launch of Gambit. But this ain’t a bad way to kick it off, so get clicking!

 #SFWApro

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Author FAQ: On ideas for new stuff

Welcome to the latest in the occasional Author FAQ series of posts, in which I answer questions I tend to get from time to time, both online and off, about this whole published-author thing. Check out the link for past entries in this little series. I have a few more in me that will likely come out over the next day or two.

How do you come up with ideas? How do you manage them?

With The Venusian Gambit, and thus the entire Daedalus series, officially written and done, I’ve begun focusing on what’s next, which makes this a good time to answer the above question, as I’m starting fresh once more. While I’m still not ready to talk about my next book(s), primarily because they’ve not been sold yet, I can certainly talk about how I do what I do.

First off, I have a lot of ideas. I tend to jot them down when they occur to me, whether in a notebook or on my phone. I have a running list of stuff I’d like to do, and I doubt I will ever get around to doing all of them. This is, of course, not a bad problem to have. It really isn’t a question of having ideas — if you’re an author, those ideas should be popping out of your brain matter all the time — it’s a question of finding the ones that have the best combination of passion and feasibility.

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Author appearances and indie bookstores

First, a few housekeeping items. I’m confirmed as a guest at Phoenix Comicon and as an attending professional again at DragonCon in Atlanta. (I even have my very own Phoenix Comicon guest page, which is very awesome.) This will be my first time at the Phoenix event, but I know many of the authors going and they recommend it highly, so I’m quite looking forward to it. And I had a most excellent time at DragonCon last year, and can’t wait to go back.

Now, for some bad news. I missed out on reading at Borderland Books in San Francisco last summer due to the passing of my mom. Jude was, of course, very understanding and completely awesome, and I was able to stop in and sign some stock this past December while in town for day-job work. It’s such a cool store, and I was looking forward to returning this summer to read and sign The Venusian Gambit.

Sadly, Borderlands is closing. Charlie Jane Anders put it best:

I e-mailed Jude and asked if there was anything I could do, or if there was an effort underway to try and save the store. And there yet may be such an effort. However, it seems like the folks who run the place are very much in the acceptance phase of things, whereas many of us are still surfing through anger and denial. So unless the store itself comes up with a new plan — or if someone with deep pockets comes in and offers to buy the joint outright — I’m going to work on the acceptance thing on my end.

If you’re in the San Francisco area, please consider stopping by the store on Thursday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. to learn more and see what they need — and buy as many books as your wallet can manage. They’re also selling shelves and fixtures, too.

If you’re not local, I recommend you to check out the store’s site and, if you can, make some purchases between now and closing time. They’re also going to make some commemorative hoodies, and I certainly plan on buying one if I can.

Finally, I’d simply urge you to support your own local booksellers, whether they’re focused on SF/F or not. Bookstores are great for communities, and indie stores are such amazing places, run by people with passion for the written word. Go buy some books. Become a regular customer. Yeah, it’s a few bucks more per book, but it’s totally worth it.

#SFWApro

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NFL GeekPicks: Super Bowl XLIX

All right, people. It’s been a great season of strange prognostication with bonus geek culture references, and it all comes down to this Sunday in Phoenix — the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, with the One Ring to Rule Them All on the line.

No matter which side you choose, you gotta know this will be a close one. Of course, we said that last year and Seattle surprised everyone by making Denver look like an ineffective squad of Star Wars stormtroopers. (That may have been a redundant adjective.) So anything’s possible, I suppose. Still…gonna be close.

Let’s break it down.  Continue reading

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BeerGeek: Evangelize on Super Bowl Sunday

If you’ve followed this blog or my Twitter account for any period of time, you know I’m something of a beer aficionado. (And if you are too, you can check out my Untappd profile and friend me there.) I think life’s too short to be wasted on thin, yellow, mass produced lagers that advertise based on “lifestyle” and coolness rather than, you know, taste.

This coming Sunday, however, you may find yourself drinking with the unenlightened as you enjoy the Patriots-Seahawks game. Now, it’s not cool to just bring your own six-pack and drink from that all the time — sharing is caring, plus you’ll just look like the beer snob you are. So ideally you’ll bring two six-packs you can share and, in so doing, expose your friends and loved ones to something better than Bud/Coors/Miller.

(Note that this also works for Oscar parties and other non-sportsball events, too.)

So here’s some ideas for good “gateway” beers, brews to use to start weaning folks off the Big Three and introduce them to a wider world of awesome.  Continue reading

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Cultural attitudes toward women and POCs when writing historical fantasy

My sweet spot as a writer seems to be in historical fantasy; it’s the foundation of the Daedalus trilogy, for one, and it’s something I’m working with on another project (as yet undisclosed). I like history for a lot of reasons — in large part because history is often stranger and more interesting than a lot of things I could make up.

Yet in this course of human events, there’s a whole heap of ugly to be found, and it’s often right there with the really good, interesting stuff.

I touched on a bit of ugly briefly in The Daedalus Incident, when a young 18th century Thomas Weatherby had to contend with women persons-of-color in positions of authority and military command. The sight of Shaila Jain and Maria Diaz being in charge and wielding weapons and generally being really darn competent was something he couldn’t immediately believe. Since their 22nd century tech well outmatched his muskets, he went along with them — and only later came to realize they were just as good as any white man he’d served with.

Again, it’s a simple lesson and a brief part of Weatherby’s arc, and Shaila and Diaz faced his anachronistic viewpoint with their very typical no-nonsense approach. Had Weatherby persisted in his views longer than he did, I’m quite certain Shaila would’ve made sure he didn’t make it to The Enceladus Crisis. 

Now I’m looking at writing something much more immersive, and in a time/place in which racism, sexism and a whole heap of other -isms are an ingrained part of life and society. There are women and POCs there — by necessity an integral part of the story and by no means mere tokens — and those characters will be facing the biases of the predominant culture.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a challenge.  Continue reading

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