NFL GeekPicks: Week 9 and mid-season review

It’s the unofficial half-way mark in the NFL season — unofficial because, really, it’s a 17-week season. What are we supposed to do analyze everything through the third quarter of the 1 p.m. games on Sunday? Of course not.

Anyway, raise your hand if you thought Dallas would lead the NFC East. *crickets* Thought so. In fact, if you had any doubt as to my prognostication abilities, just look at my Week 1 picks, where I attempt to predict all the playoff contenders. Let’s review!

Right now, Denver and New England look like locks, along with Indy because of the division in which they play. The AFC North looks like a dogfight, but my original call regarding Pittsburgh is still possible. I still feel good about San Diego in a wild card spot, but the other is up for grabs between Baltimore, Cincy and Buffalo. Heck, throw in KC, Houston and Cleveland while you’re at it.

As for the NFC, I said Philly and Green Bay would win their respective divisions — again, still a good shot — but New Orleans looks anemic and Seattle is tripping over themselves. Those two still might win the division, but they have work to do. As for wild cards, I don’t think anybody is putting Chicago in a wild card slot now, and San Francisco has a tough road ahead.

Mid-season adjustments? Dallas is in, either with the division title or as a wild card, with Philly on the other end of that either-or. I think Detroit and someone from the NFC West duke it out for the other wild card slot, and I can’t see Arizona not getting in somehow, either as division leader or wild card. I think Seattle gets in as well, but they still have to right the ship. I still see New Orleans winning the division, but only because someone has to. I think the other AFC wild card will still go to Baltimore but, frankly, that’s a very low-confidence pick.

Anyway, good luck with doing anything meaningful with that, because I’m probably wrong. Now, on to this week’s picks! (Winners in italics.)  Continue reading

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An update on The Venusian Gambit

gambit

So it’s not the best image, but it’s proof that The Venusian Gambit is a real thing that’s happening. The image you see up on IndieBound, BAMAmazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, etc. (or not, depending on the vendor) is a placeholder, and doesn’t at all reflect what we have in mind for the cover, aside from this header.

What, then, will the cover look like? It’s not done, but Lauren Saint Onge is once again knocking the ball way out of the park. I’ve seen sketches and I’ve had input, which has been fun. I can’t wait to show it to you guys. It’s insanely awesome.

In other news, the editors are now busy looking at the manuscript, and we should have it whipped into shape in short order. I like the way this one turned out, not only as a book, but also as the capstone to a series I’ve been writing since 2010. I’m already a little sad about leaving Shaila and Weatherby behind, but I think the book is a fitting conclusion. I told the story I wanted to tell, and that’s a really good feeling.

The Venusian Gambit is due out May 5.

#SFWApro

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NFL GeekPicks: Week 8

Seattle — what’s up? Not in terms of a “hey, how are you?” but more like “What the hell happened with you losing to the Rams?”

Those wacky trick plays were spot on and perfect, as if the Eleventh Doctor popped by in the TARDIS and whispered into Jeff Fisher’s ear. “Fake them out on the return. Give it to the other fellow. And remember, bow ties are cool. So are mustaches. Yours is lovely.”

So with the Seahawks now at 3-3 and sans Percy Harvin, we get to see what they’re really made of. They’ve cruised over the past two seasons, after all. They’re the defending Super Bowl champs. Are they like the scrappy crews of the Milano or Serenity? Or are they going to fold like the Chitauri at the end of Avengers?

Onward to the picks, to be used solely for entertainment and non-wagering purposes. Winners are in italics. Let’s go:  Continue reading

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How to respond to bad reviews (Hint: Don’t.)

I spent this past weekend up in the Catskills with family and friends, where we hiked and made food and drank good beer and let the kids experience some honest-to-goodness natural settings. It was awesome. Turns out, though, I missed something that set my Twitter feed aflame.

Author Kathleen Hale wrote a piece in The Guardian about confronting an influential book blogger/reviewer who gave her book one star on Goodreads. And by confronting, I mean seriously going to extreme lengths to find this particular blogger. Hale divined the pseudonymous blogger’s real identity through Internet searches, paid for a background check and showed up at her house.

Good Lord.

Hale justifies this rather unjustifiable action by stating that the review was oddly biased and factually in error and that she was being “catfished.” In reading her piece, I got the sense that she wanted to gain some measure of justice, or at least convince herself that the blogger who may have “sabotaged” her book wasn’t really credible, even though the damage was already done.

So I’m going to put something out here that, I think, should be something every author should take to heart: This is not OK.

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My schedule for the World Fantasy Convention

It was around mid-September, after a tough summer and exhausting travel schedule, when I came home from a work conference and said, “Phew! No more travel for two months!”

How time flies. But I’m rested and ready and looking forward to the World Fantasy Convention in Washington, D.C., next month. And since I’ve started to get my schedule in order, I thought I’d share. The con is Nov. 6-9 at the Hyatt Crystal City in Arlington, Va.

I’m very excited to be moderating the “World War I Alternate Histories” panel on Friday, Nov. 7, at 4 p.m. at the Regency E room. If you know anything about my work, alt-history and historical fantasy are my jam, and I’m looking forward to exploring this era. Thankfully, I’m joined by writers smarter and wiser than myself: Charles E. Gannon, Kay Kenyon and Devin Poore. Ought to be a great time. You should be there.

Later that Friday, at 8 p.m. in the Independence Center at the Hyatt, I’ll be participating in the mass autograph session for WFC authors. If you have my books, bring ‘em. If you don’t, my understanding is they’ll be on sale right at the convention. Convenient, no?

I’m also working with Night Shade Books to do a little something with them as well. Details to come, but I imagine it might involve at least a few chances at landing free books and other swag. Everyone loves swag. Also, I plan to help at the SFWA booth from time to time, likely on Friday and Sunday, and I don’t think anyone should miss the WFC ice cream social Thursday night at 6 p.m.

Other than that, I’ll be around the convention and dropping in on interesting stuff as time and tide allow. I may spend at least part of that Saturday in D.C. itself, as I’ll have my 10-year-old daughter Anna with me and there’s some sights in town we’d love to see, particularly the International Spy Museum. If you catch Anna and I at the convention, she’ll be willing (and pleased) to sign the author head-shot photo credit in the back of each of my books, making said books instantly rare and collectible.

As with all these sorts of events, the best way to find me is via Twitter, since I tend to tweet a lot whenever I travel. If you’re going to WFC, I’d love to see you!

#SFWApro

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NFL GeekPicks: Week 7

A point of pride: Who picked Cleveland to beat Pittsburgh last week? Yeah, that was me. Of course, I also thought the Giants could take Philly, and they got completely shut out. Some times you hit the Ewok with a rock, sometimes the Ewok hits you.

No, I don’t hit Ewoks. Who does that? Sheesh.

Jerry Jones, he of the MiB mirrorshades and Star Trek: Insurrection visage, is feeling pretty good about his Cowboys right now, and rightfully so. I’m going to find it hard to pick against America’s (alleged) Team going forward. On the flip side, at least the Jags and Raiders are predictably as bad as Roger Moore-era Bond.

Anyway, last week was road team awesomeness. This week, I think the home teams have the edge. As always, my picks are for entertainment only and you shouldn’t bet on them. All right? All right. Winners in italics. Here we go:  Continue reading

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Thank you, New York Comic Con!

So this was the scene this morning at Night Shade Books’ booth at New York Comic Con.

Yes, that is a line. And no, the bathrooms were nowhere near the booth.

I signed at least 150 books this morning, and we ran out before my hour was up. Many thanks to the Night Shade crew for rustling up all that interest, and a huge thank-you to everyone who waited in line for copies of The Daedalus Incident and The Enceladus Crisis. You are all lovely human beings, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

And remember, The Venusian Gambit is out in May! Here’s the Barnes & Noble pre-order page. You can also get it from Mysterious GalaxyBooks-A-MillionAmazon or Amazon UK and Chapters in Canada. (E-book and audiobook pre-orders will be available closer to launch.)

#SFWApro

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