Archive for January, 2011

Jan 30 2011

Amazon updates

Published by under Writing

Amazon announced recently that Kindle e-book sales have now surpassed paperback book sales (they did that to hardcover books late last year). That’s faster than anyone expected, no doubt propelled by many new Kindle owners who received readers for Christmas.
Light Conversation cover
As it happens, I’ve just made my story Light Conversation, which appeared last year in Analog, available for the Kindle. I hope to make it available for other e-readers soon, but I used a typography trick in the story that makes it a little harder, at least from my experimenting so far. Note that this is flash fiction, only a thousand words, so I almost feel guilty putting it up for sale as a standalone. On the other hand, it’s about the same price as a candy bar, has zero calories, and won’t rot your teeth. 😉

I’ve also overhauled the covers of the two Jason Curtis (early T-Space) stories, Into the Fire and Renee (the full title is now Renee and the Space Raiders, to give a better feel for the story). I think they look much better and hope they’ll attract more readers. (Old saying notwithstanding, almost everyone judges a book by its cover.)
I’ll be updating the cover of my collection Starfire & Snowball too, but I may add a story (probably “Light Conversation”) first, to round it up to five.
Into the Fire cover Renee cover
Finally, the Colorado court recently granted an injunction suspending the Colorado law that requires internet businesses to report sales for the purpose of collecting sales taxes. That law prompted Amazon to end their affiliate program with anyone in Colorado (so that they could claim no physical sales presence, a tactic they’ve pulled elsewhere), meaning no referral bonus if you buy through one of the links on this site (although if it’s one of my books, I’ll get a royalty). If that law gets overturned, perhaps Amazon will resurrect affiliate status for Coloradans. Here’s hoping.

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Jan 26 2011

YAPZ – yet another Probability Zero

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I got the happy news the other day that Analog bought another story, “The Sock Problem”, for Probability Zero. That’s my third PZ sale, and my fourth overall to Analog. It’s in the same vein as my first sale to them, “Light Conversation”, this time with a dryer not a refrigerator, and no slime mold. You can probably guess the theme, but Stan Schmidt, Analog‘s editor, said of it: “a neat variation on the theme that I haven’t seen before, so I’m buying it.” Music to my ears 😉

Hugo Nomination Updates
A reminder that there are only a few days left to register for a supporting or attending membership for this years World SF Convention in Reno (Renovation) in time to be allowed to nominate for the Hugo and Campbell awards (see below). Deadline is January 31.
I’m nominating Howard Taylor’s Shlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel for “Best Graphic Story”. Schlock Mercenary is a fun SF daily webcomic, it is literally the first thing I browse to in the morning. I’m also nominating the podcast Writing Excuses (Season 4) in the “Best Related Work” category. Howard, along with Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells, is co-host of Excuses. I’ve mentioned WE before, it’s an excellent resource for writers or even just hard-core fans of the science fiction and fantasy genres. (At fifteen minutes long, I like to listen to the podcasts when I’m getting my daily walk in — alas, they don’t do a daily ‘cast, only weekly.)

More to come, and I’ll post my complete list of nomination when I have it. Fortunately we can nominate up to five candidates in each category, because deciding between some of the excellent choices this year is going to be a bear.

Update: While I’m thinking about it, I want to add Vylar Kaftan’s “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno” as one of my faves for Best Short Story. It’s a rare combination of an emotionally powerful story with hard science and some great physics metaphors.

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Jan 21 2011

Friday fragments

Published by under Uncategorized,Writing

It’s been an interesting week.

This weekend is the CoSine SF convention in Colorado Springs, which I’m currently missing, but I’ll be there tomorrow. GOH is Sharon Shinn. Several well known Colorado writers will also be there: Connie Willis, Ed Bryant, Wil McCarthy, Sarah Hoyt, and Kevin J Anderson, among others. CoSine always seems to be at a chaotic time for me (two years ago I ended up in the hospital that weekend) but always fun … when I can get there.

Award nomination season
As I mentioned a couple of days ago, it’s nomination season for various SF awards. I found out this week that I have at least one nomination (no, not by me) for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. It takes more than that to get on the final ballot, of course. I discovered Campbell’s Analog when I was thirteen, and it had a profound influence on me (and now I’m selling to Analog, how cool is that?). It’s cliche, but it really would be an honor to make it to the ballot.

Hunting the day job
Earlier this week I was called about a follow-up interview for a systems administrator position, a technical interview that apparently includes hands-on work to see how much I know my stuff. I’ve been brushing up on obscure corners of Solaris and Linux, the kind of stuff that fades from surface memory if you’re not doing it on a regular basis. Thank goodness for VMware, it let me set up a bunch of virtual Solaris computers on my Linux desktop; Solaris has outgrown all the spare physical computers I have sitting around. (By the way Sun/Oracle: if the minimum install memory is 539 MB please don’t say that it’s only 512 MB — it’s most annoying to go all the way through the install only to have the kernel panic on first boot because it can’t lock a (non-existent) memory page.) The interview is Monday, should be interesting and even fun.

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Jan 19 2011

The envelope, please

Published by under Writing

With the new year comes nomination season for various SF/F awards for stories, books, movies and other works that first appeared in 2010.

The Hugo awards and the Campbell award nominations can be made by anyone who has registered as an attending or supporting member of Renovation, the 2011 Worldcon, by January 31st , or who was a member of Aussiecon 4, the 2010 Worldcon. You can always update a supporting membership to full membership later (I believe you need a full membership for the final voting), but that deadline is coming up. (Much as I like the two short stories I’ve had published in 2010 — “Light Conversation” and “Poetic Justice” — I realize that they’re competing against hundreds if not thousands of other new short stories, many by very well known writers. It really would be an honor just to be nominated.)

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is open to anyone whose first professional sf/f story was published in 2009 or 2010. The nomination is for the writer, not for any specific work. My publications this year put me in qualification. (Note that there’s another Campbell award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel. This is not that.)

Nebula nominations are also open, and is limited to SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) members. Associate members can nominate but only active (full) members can vote. If you’re a member, you’re probably getting the reminder emails.

Nomination suggestions
I’ll be posting my nomination suggestions when I’ve had more chance to consider them. Meanwhile, Codexian author Jason Sanford has posted his list of suggested nominations for the 2010 Hugos, Nebula, Locus and other awards. I’m particularly pleased to be included among his choices for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Thanks, Jason! Of course, it takes more than one nomination to get onto the final ballot. If you’re a member of this year’s Worldcon and you like my writing (or, hey, even if you don’t 😉 ), please consider me when putting your nomination list together. Thanks.

Reading copies
If you’re eligible to nominate and you’d like to read any of my published stories, just ask and I’ll be glad to email you a copy. Contracts won’t let me just post them publicly here yet.

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Jan 14 2011

“Small Penalties” in April Analog

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The April 2011 issue of Analog Science Fiction & Fact just arrived in my mailbox, and I was pleased (well, that’s an understatement) to see my story “Small Penalties” in it as the Probability Zero piece. I’d been expecting it, but I just didn’t know when. I’m sharing the table of contents with several Big Name authors, including Larry Niven. His story “The Flare Weed” (another in his Draco Tavern series) is in the magazine immediately before mine. I think that’s neat.
April 2011 Analog
“Small Penalties” is a suggestion as to what to do with spammers. It’s unlikely to ever be implemented, hence its designation as Probability Zero, but it’s such a small penalty . . . per piece of spam. It should be on the stands soon, keep an eye out for it.

There’s more in the works. A longer story will be out in another month or two, and I have a couple of submissions in the queue. And now I need to get back to writing more.

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Jan 09 2011

A belated happy new year!

Published by under Uncategorized,Writing

I hope you all had enjoyable solstice festivities of whatever sort you celebrate, and that the new year is starting off well for you. My usual year-end chaos ran long this time around, aside from the usual (Christmas, my birthday, New Years, Jill and my anniversary). I had two separate job interviews this past week (which went well, but competition is tough; we’ll see) and a deadline for galleys to be proofread. Also a couple of doctor appointments (family and eye) — just routine checkups, although my eyeglass prescription is changing a little. All of which means I’m behind where I wanted to be on new writing and overhauling this website. (Although the more observant of you might have already noticed a minor change to the banner above.)

The writing/publishing industry is abuzz with the news of how well e-book readers sold over the holiday, vastly exceeding expectations. This (and the precarious fiscal position of Borders Bookstores) has a lot of writers, including yours truly, excited because all those new e-readers are going to need e-books (and e-short-stories) to fill them up. I’ve been prepping a couple more of my previously published stores to go up Amazon (here’s what’s available so far. I also mentioned them in an earlier post). I want to change a couple of the covers and also make the stories available for other e-readers like the Nook.

Among other resolutions, I’ve committed to finishing and submitting forty short stories and three novels this year. That’s not quite as daunting as it sounds, as some are in progress already (and is nothing to Dean Wesley Smith’s challenge of 100 stories on top of his usual novel writing schedule). I’m tempted to add a couple of Young Adult novels to my project list — they’re shorter, my kids are in the target age range, and I have a few ideas. But first I need to finish what’s in progress.

How about you? Taking on any interesting challenges in 2011?

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