If you like science fiction and fantasy, and you have an ereader (or app), then fire up those pixels because there are two anthologies you’ll want to grab. Clarkesworld Year Three is only 99 cents for both Nook and Kindle right now! This is a collection from the third year of Clarkesworld magazine and it is excellent! Also, the big free “best of” anthology from tor.com is now available for Nook and Kindle: Some of the Best of Tor.com 2015. I’ve got five years of this free anthology and look forward to it every year, even though I read the stories as tor.com publishes them. (If your personal fav isn’t included, short stories are available as ebook singles.) I don’t know how long these ebooks will be cheap/free, so get Clarkesworld Year Three and Some of the Best of Tor.com 2015 as soon as you can!
Squeeeee! Cover art for my upcoming book If Wishes Were Spaceships! Release date will be set soon. We’re looking at an early spring release. Donna Murillo did an excellent job with the design based upon my input; she was both thoughtful and intuitive. She really captured Jazlyn’s face!
I had blogged here about problems using stock photography in cover art. This design is digital artwork, and is a combination of reused elements and original elements, used in an original design. It seems like a good compromise to me. I got to work with the artist and it was a very pleasant creative process. The artwork vividly conveys the setup of the book and general situation, which is what good cover art should do. But what’s just as important to me is that I got a character on the cover who looks like Jazlyn, the main character of the book. A lot of my joy in this cover comes simply from the artist doing that character so well.
When Jazlyn is forced to make an emergency landing on a quarantine planet, the worst she expects to find are a bunch of irate scientists complaining because she messed up the pristine conditions of some experiment. But the buildings look like works of art and the inhabitants are a wealthy scion of a galactic dynasty and an anxious techie. While the compound has all the comforts of home, it has none of the basic hospitality she expects. Cut off from all communication, surrounded by a thicket of dangerous carnivorous plants, Jazlyn must find a way to repair her ship — if possible — or hope that her friends find her distress beacon before Sterneworth, the planet’s resident tyrant, does something drastic. Can she trust Blaine, the techie who is completely under Sterneworth’s thumb, and who desperately wants off the planet by any means? Jazlyn has never been one to knuckle under or buckle under pressure. Nor is finesse is one of her skills. She will tackle the problems — the ship repair, the bizarre plants, and the duplicitous inhabitants of the planet — head on. Has the sassy spacer who’s used to getting her way met her match in the power and might of the Sterneworth dynasty? Everyone on the planet has a secret agenda. She has a ship to repair…
The book will be released in the spring, probably early spring. I’m hoping to line up a blog tour for the release, so if you think this little sci-fi adventure novel would be a good fit for your blog, let me know!
“Gathering string” is a phrase I picked up a while back. As I understand it, it has its roots in journalism. Reporters collect little bits of information about assorted things in the hope that eventually some of those bits will grow into stories. Writers of all sorts gather string. We compulsively bookmark things — now that we’re past the era of snipping articles out of newspapers. Not everything I bookmark is “string”, but I do have a set of bookmarks I’ve labelled “plot bunny” because there’s something there that might could end up in a story. I also collect recipes. And other odd links. You can see what I’m reading online, what’s caught my interest at least, by following me on Delicious.com. This is a social bookmarking site. Though bookmarks can be made private, it’s primarily used to share bookmarks. My bookmarks are tagged and searchable. (So far I’ve got 186 tags, so yes, my interests are broad.) Since many of the people who follow me here are bookworms, writers, and foodies, I’ve made some tag bundles for related tags. For Writers, For Bookworms, Food. (There’s a Del.icio.us widget in the sidebar, but so far it doesn’t work. You can click through to my bookmarks from there, though.)
I suppose I could just post the video, but I think Marie Brennan’s brief remarks on it and writing are also worth reading so I’m sending you to her blog post: An Invocation For Beginnings. But, oh heck, some people hate posts that send you elsewhere so I guess I’ll just go ahead and embed the video for those of you who are too impatient to read a few incisive paragraphs by a terrific author. (If you like fantasy AND natural history, you must read her ongoing series which begins with The Natural History of Dragons. And if she comes to a bookstore near you, GO! I did.)
Not Safe For Work!
I’m almost caught up on podcasts I let hang fire while I did NaNoWriMo. Below is a small sampling of some science fiction and fantasy stories I liked from November. For most you have the option to read or listen. I like to binge-listen to podcasts while doing holiday baking. If you’re not already familiar with these podcasts, there are many good stories to choose from — and some podcasts will do holiday stories later this month.
Rocket Talk “Selfies” If you missed it when it was first published on the tor.com site or loved it and want to hear it, this is a dark modern tale with a classic feel.
“Shared Faces” If you liked the post “Robots, androids & cyborgs, oh my!” on my author blog, add this one to that list.
“The Transdimensional Horsemaster Rabbis of Mpumalanga Province” A wonderful NatGeo feel to this story of a photojournalist and a lost tribe.
“Law of Gravity” Gamers will especially appreciate this story of online life and loss.
“Why I Bought Satan Two Cokes on the Day I Graduated High School” First line: “When I came out of the coffee shop with my latte and my fresh walnut brownie, the Archangel Michael was beating the ever-loving shit out of Satan down on the corner.” Dave Thompson’s reading is excellent!
Clarkesworld “The Vorkuta Event” Very classic type story both in style and substance, excellently read by Alasdair Stuart.
BONUS: Interview with Kameron Hurley on the Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast.
I’m trying to catch up on podcasts, but one I never fall behind on is Writing Excuses. It’s fun and helpful. The most recent podcast is one that may be of interest to readers and bookworms as well as writers. It’s an interesting discussion about why we get so attached to books and more specifically, characters. The Writing Excuses authors are joined by Cory Doctorow for the discussion. Writing Excuses: Neurobolics of Characters
As I continue to play catch up on podcasts, I may post a few more podcasts. Some good stuff in my podcatcher. 🙂