Support Worldbuilders! And let’s talk about beer at r/Fantasy today!

I’ve been involved with Worldbuilders now for…four years? Something like that. It’s an incredible charity that’s raised millions of dollars for Heifer International. And each year I offer up, among other things, a critique of your writing. This year, my critique is part of the Worldbuilders lottery, which means your $10 donation gives you a chance to win said critique, along with many other fantastic prizes.

Here’s the details on what I’m offering. Just click on the nice big DONATE button at the top right of the page to enter. And don’t be afraid to go for it — I’ve seen just about everything over the past four years, including a couple stories that pleasantly surprised me with their craft. Whether you’re starting out or just want another set of eyes, I’d be happy to help. And again, it goes to a great cause.

To help celebrate Worldbuilders, I’m participating in a “Ask You Anything” event over at Reddit’s r/Fantasy subreddit today. This is an opportunity for authors to ask YOU, the readers, what’s on your mind. And since this is me, I’m asking about beer and books. Here’s the thread — come say hello!

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Less than 24 hours to go to get the Night Shade Books Humble Bundle with The Daedalus Incident

Really excited to see that the Night Shade Books Humble Bundle has sold more than 8,000 bundles — that’s a lot of money for charity. And if you haven’t gotten it yet, you have less than a day to do so.

The premise is simple — for at least $1, you get six books, including The Daedalus Incident. Pay $8 or more to unlock another seven titles. Pay $15 in total (or more) and you get another seven — a total of 23 ebooks, including works by John Hornor Jacobs, Nick Mamatas, Martha Wells and Paolo Bacigalupi and me, along with anthologies edited by Paula Guran, John Joseph Adams, Neil Clarke and Ellen Datlow.

That’s a serious bunch of books. And not only does the money go to charity, but you get to choose which charity when you make your purchase. Good stuff all around.

It looks like this bundle closes down at 2 p.m. EDT tomorrow, so click here to get started. And if you’ve already taken the plunge — thank you!

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Hello from World Fantasy 2017 in San Antonio!

A nice big Lone Star howdy to everyone at the World Fantasy Convention 2017 here in San Antonio! Got in yesterday, and have been playing tourist for much of today. But I have some things coming up that I want to get out there, so here goes:

  • I will be at the mass autograph session tonight at 8 p.m. in the Fiesta Paviliion here at the Wyndham Riverwalk. I know the good folks at Night Shade Books sent over a bunch of paperback copies of MJ-12: Inception to put in the swag bags, so I’ll happily sign them there.
  • Tomorrow at 8 p.m. in  Executive Salon 3 on the third floor, I’ll be doing a reading, most likely from MJ-12: ShadowsI also have a couple extra copies to give away for those attending.

Also worth noting: Larry Smith Booksellers now has signed paperbacks of all my books. They have the entire Daedalus trilogy as well as MJ-12: Inception and MJ-12: Shadows. So if you’ve not gotten a copy in your swag bag and miss out on freebies, please go visit them and pick ’em up. Larry himself is no longer with us, having passed away in January, but his legacy lives on in one of the finest booksellers on the conventions circuit. Please support this excellent seller!

Finally, I’m pleased as punch to report that the Night Shade Books Bundle over at Humble Bundle is doing really well — more than 3,000 bundles sold since Wednesday afternoon, roughly 48 hours. This is amazing and, dare I say it, humbling. The Daedalus Incident is one of the books available in the bundles, and the proceeds to go charity, so if you want a whole heap of great books, go check it out.

And if you’re at World Fantasy and have picked up a Humble Bundle, come find me at one of the events above and show me the receipts, so to speak. I have something special for the first person to do so. First come, first served.

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Get The Daedalus Incident in the latest Humble Bundle!

The good folks at Night Shade Books are the sponsors of the latest Humble Bundle Book Bundle, and The Daedalus Incident is one of six titles you can get for just…

…wait for it…

one dollar. That’s a pretty sweet price, y’all. With that single buck, you also get Jeff Salyards’ Scourge of the Betrayer, Pete Rawlik’s Reanimatrix, Will McIntosh’s Hitchers, and anthologies edited by two of the best editors around, John Joseph Adams and Ellen Datlow.

But wait there’s more. 

A measly $8 gets you seven more titles, including the most excellent Book of Cthulhu II edited by the incomparable Ross Lockhart, and more anthologies edited by Adams, Paula Guran and Neil Clarke.

And yet there’s still more. 

For just $15 — and you’ve spent more on less, let’s face it — you get a collection of Paolo Baciagalupi’s short stories, Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs, I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas, and four more books on top of that.

Seriously, $15 can feed your brain for months, y’all.

The best part? Humble Bundle supports charities around the world, so your dollars are going to a good cause. The current Humble Bundle spotlight charity is Special Effect, which is focused on helping people with disabilities enjoy video games. You can also choose your charity, and how much of your purchase price goes to said charity. I believe the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America is one such option, and that would be a lovely choice as well.

Obviously, the world isn’t in best shape, so you may decide to use your dollars for more pressing concerns. In that case, the American Red Cross, World Wildlife Federation and Save the Children are among your other options. It’s totally up to you.

So click here to get started on your Humble Bundle purchase, choose a charity to support, and get reading.  Also, given that it’s now November 1st, I would add that this massive pile of ebooks would make a great Christmas present for someone special. Just saying.

Oh, and you have two weeks to get on this — so don’t delay. Humble Bundle is standing by.

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The Daedalus trilogy’s first translation sale!

Big in Budapest! Huge in Hungary! At least, one hopes, right?

I can now safely tell y’all that some of my books have scored my first international rights sale. The Daedalus trilogy will be translated into Hungarian by publishing house Főnix Könyvműhely.

I don’t really know yet when the books will hit shelves over in Hungary, nor whether they’ll use the same cover art, or how the titles will translate. I know I’m getting paid at some point, which will be lovely indeed, and that the rights to all three books were purchased. Of course, I’m quite happy to visit Hungary to help promote the books. That said, I imagine anybody footing the bill for that would be unlikely. Might make a fun tax write-off, though.

My thanks to superagent Sara Megibow and the good folks at Night Shade Books for reeling this one in. May it be the first of many to come!

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A LGBT shout-out for Maria Diaz in the Daedalus trilogy

A reader flagged this for me on Twitter, and I admit, it really made my day. The Alternate Historian — also known as reviewer and all-around good guy Matt Mitrovich — put up a YouTube video naming his top five LGBT characters in alternate history. And to my surprise and utter delight, the indefatigable Gen. Maria Diaz of the Daedalus trilogy was among them.

If you’ll recall, then-Colonel Diaz was in command of the mining colony on 22nd century Mars in The Daedalus Incident, was promoted to major general to lead Earth’s interdimensional defense in The Enceladus Crisis, then battled Napoleon’s zombies on 19th century Venus in The Venusian Gambit

The fact that Diaz is gay was certainly a conscious decision on my part, but Matt correctly understood that Diaz’ orientation not the primary focus of her character. My portrayal of her was to show the kind of inclusiveness in the future I hope we can all achieve, where one’s orientation is simply accepted for what it is. Matt even quoted me directly from this blog post, which has more details on the character and inclusiveness and why I did what I did.

I’m super grateful for the mention, and doubly grateful to have Maria Diaz placed among other great characters: Capt. Marian Alston from S.M. Stirling’s Nantucket trilogy, Sewer Jack from the George R.R. Martin-edited Wild Cards books, Scholar Wolfe from Rachel Caine’s Great Library series and — my favorite — Fenris from Beth Cato’s Breath of Earth and Call of Fire. (Beth’s books are among my favorites in general, so go buy them.)

For ease of viewing, I’ve embedded the video here. But you should totally subscribe to Matt’s channel on YouTube for all kinds of thoughtful alt-history goodness.

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An ode to the role-playing games of my misspent youth

So, OK, not really an ode. More like a roundup.

The other day I saw that Beth Elderkin over at io9, my all-time favorite geek site, did a nifty retrospective on the role-playing game Call of Cthulhu, which is based, of course, on the works of H.P. Lovecraft. I remember playing it when I was in high school and college, and I credit CoC with introducing me to Lovecraft’s stories.

Yes, that means there’s a direct thread from Call of Cthulhu to my story “On a Kansas Plain” in the Cthulhu Fhtagn! anthology from Word Horde. I sold a story because a role-playing game introduced me to Lovecraft’s work.

And I’ve done a couple of direct tie-in stories for games, too. There’s “Tiger,” in last year’s The Endless Ages Anthology for Vampire: The Masquerade, and “Crisis of Faith” for Paizo’s Pathfinder setting, which uses the d20 rules made famous by the granddaddy of them all, Dungeons & Dragons.

Oh, and I interviewed Gary Gygax and Steve Jackson during my reporting days. I’m never not gonna link to that.

So yeah, games mean a lot to me. They were my very first introduction to the whole idea of worldbuilding, and character. I admit, I wasn’t much of a Dungeon Master/game master/referee/whatever, but I did try my hand a few times. Plot’s hard, of course, especially when you’re, like, ten.

Here’s a fun little list of games that had an influence on me, and a few I simply played and thought were cool.  Continue reading

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