Archive for July, 2009

Jul 23 2009

Books, books, books

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The DASFA meeting was fun, and the signing Sunday at Who Else! Books for Footprints went great! About 25 to 30 people showed up, including Colorado authors Connie Willis, Carrie Vaughn, Mario Acevedo and Ed Bryant. Sure it was mostly for my co-contributer Jim Van Pelt and because they know the bookstore owners, but it was still a thrill to have them in the audience, and to meet with them afterwards. And I finally have a copy of Footprints in my hands.

On Tuesday I finally finished up some requested revisions for a short story and sent that back, and now I’m back to getting a novel in shape to put on the market.

Yesterday and part of today I spent time putting up more bookshelves in the basement and unloading boxes of books (from one and two moves back) onto them. It looks like I’m going to run out of shelves before I run out of books at this point. I love books, but it’s starting to get out of hand.

Oh, and Happy Birthday, Fiona!

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Jul 18 2009

DASFA tonight, Who Else! tomorrow

Published by under Uncategorized,Writing

This evening I’ll be a the monthly DASFA (Denver Area SF Association) meeting (community room of the Whole Foods Market at 1111 South Washington Street in Denver; meeting time is at 7:00 PM), to help launch the Footprints anthology. Better-known author James Van Pelt, who has the lead story in the book, will also be there. It should be fun.
Footprints book cover
Tomorrow, July 19, Jim and I will be at Who Else! Books in Denver, for a signing of Footprints (copies will be available at a discount price). Refreshments and copies of Van Pelt’s other books will be available. This is also a sneak preview of Who Else’s new digs, they are in the process of moving from the old Denver Book Mall to the new Broadway Book Mall, at 200 So Broadway. We’ll be there at 3:00 — it will be the FIRST signing ever at the new book mall. Their number is 303-744-BOOK (2665). Come on out.

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Jul 13 2009

On writing, or, yet another writing how-to

Published by under Writing

No, the world probably doesn’t need yet another writer blogging about how to write, perhaps much less a writer just beginning to selling his fiction. But since the idea popped into my head a couple of days ago, the voices there won’t shut up about it, so I’m going to have to commit pedagogy. (And if you don’t know what that last word means, please look it up. First lesson for writers: expand your vocabulary. You’re reading this in a browser, it’ll be easy.)

Now, I do have some qualifications for this. I’ve been paid for both my fiction and non-fiction writing (the latter pays better, by the way), so even though I don’t do it full-time, I am a professional writer. I’ve also done time (however briefly) as an editor, slush reader, and critiquer. I’ve read literally thousands of books, possibly more than ten thousand, and thousands of short stories. And that’s to say nothing of the perhaps millions of words I’ve read and written on various online forums over the past 25 years (yes, long before the web).

So. Much of what I say, especially in the beginning, will apply both to fiction and non-fiction writing, although my focus is going to lean to the former. My approach is going to be a little different from what I’ve seen elsewhere. The order in which I’m going to present topics will be (as best I can) the order in which an editor notices them when they get your submission. At each stage, if you blow it your manuscript will be rejected, which could mean that they never get to page two, let alone the end of your piece. (Yes, there may be exceptions to this, and people win the lottery too, but you shouldn’t plan on either.)

The first piece, on guidelines and formatting, will be up in a day or so. Stay tuned.

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Jul 10 2009

Moon (the movie)

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I have three words to say about this movie: go see it.

Okay, I have a few more words. Sam Rockwell’s acting (as Sam Bell) is superb, they get the science right (if you give them the basic premise), and the plot turns in ways you might not expect. (I was expecting twists, and knew some of the basic premise from what I’d read about the movie, but I was still surprised — pleasantly so.)

Moon is one of the most intelligent SF movies I’ve seen in a long time, without the largely incomprehensible (if you haven’t read the book) ending of, say, 2001: A Space Odyssey. (There’s an obvious homage to 2001 in Moon‘s set design.) I hope the movie makes a bundle, that might encourage more like it.

If you’re looking for them, there are trivial nits to pick, mostly due to the fact that we still can’t film on location on the Moon. But spending a few tens of millions to fake Lunar gravity wouldn’t have added anything to the story, and in fact they do get the gravity right in a couple of outside scenes and where Sam is comfortably carrying something that would be heavy on Earth.

In the Denver area it’s playing at the Mayan, where you can enjoy an adult beverage while you’re watching, as well as at the Westminster Promenade. As they say, check your local listings. (It’s rated “R”, apparently for language because Sam uses the f-word a few times when he’s understandably stressed out. If they’d wanted a PG-13 rating it wouldn’t have been difficult, but it’s not exactly a “summer action flick”.)

Like I said: go see it.

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Jul 07 2009

Science fiction detective stories

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Reader John Murphy, in a comment to my page on Neutron Star as detective fiction, asks about anthologies of SF detective fiction other than single-author collections. While I can think of several of the former, for multiple authors only Dann and Dozois’s anthology Future Crimes comes immediately to mind.

I’m sure there are others; I vaguely remember at least one collection of science-fictiony Sherlock Holmes stories. Any suggestions?

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Jul 05 2009

FiestaCon winding down

Published by under Uncategorized,Writing

Last day at FiestaCon/Westercon. I’ll be heading to the airport in a few hours, but before that there are still a couple of interesting panels, including one on alien languages with Stan Schmidt and Juliette Wade, and a meeting with Beth Meacham, Executive Editor at Tor.

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July; I did. It’s been a lot of fun. I met a couple of people I hadn’t seen or heard from in years, in one case since the old BIX days (hi Henry! hi Rick!), plus the usual fun of meeting someone for the first time who turns out to have several connections with you that you were both unaware of. Since this is my fourth day of the con I’m feeling a little shell-shocked (but in a good way). I hope this is more or less coherent. I intend to come back through these last two posts and fill in some links. Stay tuned.

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Jul 03 2009

Live from Westercon (FiestaCon)

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As I write this it’s early Friday evening in Tempe, Arizona.  The convention is definitely ramping up from yesterday, as more people arrive for the weekend.

Which is by no means to say that it’s been boring, far from it.  So far I’ve had some great conversations with Stan Schmidt, editor of Analog; author Michael Stackpole; Tor editors Patrick and Theresa Neilson Hayden; and fellow Denver author Dave Boop.   I’ve made a few interesting new contacts and met a fellow participant of the Kris and Dean workshop a couple of weeks ago.   And the weekend is just getting started.

Of course there are also the costumers (and the cosplay), the gamers, the media fans, science panels (I’m heading off to a panel on the Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter in just a minute) and more.  Great con.   Giving me some ideas for MileHiCon this October, too.  (Rose asked me to help out with science programming.)

If you’ve never been to a science fiction con (not to be confused with something like Comic-Con or StarFest), and you have any interest in reading fantasy or science fiction, you should find a local regional con and give it a try.

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