The Wrong Stars is a finalist for the Philip K. Dick Award, honoring the best paperback original science fiction of the previous year! I could not be more pleased. The other finalists are:
I’d be honored to lose to any of them, honestly. The award and any special citations will be presented up in Seattle at Norwescon on March 30, and I’ll be there at the ceremony to be either gracious in defeat or rather surprised in victory. I went down the street to Berkeley High (where Dick went to high school; Ursula K. Le Guin went there too, and Thornton Wilder) and took a picture with his mural.
The book is doing well; it popped up on the Barnes and Noble bestseller list last month, and is at the top of the Locus Bestseller list in February. Thanks to everyone who’s read it, told their friends, or otherwise supported my journey into space (opera)!
I’m at Westercon in San Diego! (Actually we arrived Wednesday, but Thursday was largely devoted to Legoland and the associated water park.)
I’m doing some panels and things! The schedule is here. Short form: Friday I’m on a panel about shared-world writing at 11, and a panel about writing irredeemably villainous protagonists at 2. Saturday I’m on a panel about fairies (or faery) at noon, and doing a reading at 2 (come to that, I’m good at readings), and doing an autograph session at 3. Otherwise I’ll just be wandering around and talking to people and avoiding talking to people. Hope to see those of you I hope to see!
April is a busy month, with no fewer than THREE opportunities to see me sign books and/or read things out loud in public.
On Sunday, April 13 from 2-3 p.m. I’ll be signing and chatting with people at game store Endgame in Oakland, as part of their “Intro to Adventuring” one-day gaming mini-con devoted to the Pathfinder roleplaying game. (I will, I imagine, mostly be signing my Pathfinder Tales books, though who knows, surprise me.) I’ll likely be loitering in the vicinity a bit before and after, too — the event starts at 10:30 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m. There are a couple of great beer bars in that neighborhood, so I’ll probably wander off for beer sometime if anyone’s interested in joining for that.
On Saturday, April 26 at 3 p.m. there’s a (somewhat belated) Flytrap launch party at Borderlands Books in San Francisco. I will be there with my co-editor and wife Heather Shaw and quite a few of our contributors, so I won’t be talking too much there, but you should come, it’ll be awesome, I’m gonna bring cookies. Confirmed contributors attending include Jessica May Lin, Nick Mamatas, Dominica Phetteplace, and Sarah Grey (we’re hoping some others can make it, too). We’ll be selling copies of the ‘zine, and even a few copies of the illustrated bonus story chapbook that’s otherwise available only to Kickstarter backers.
On Sunday, April 27 at 6 p.m., I will be taking part in a FreemadeSF Launch Party at Brick & Mortar Music Hall in San Francisco, with food, live music, and readings from people like Vylar Kaftan, Mike E. G., Mark Pantoja, and… Nick Mamatas and Dominica Phetteplace again. I’ll be seeing a lot of them that weekend. I did their first event last year and it was one of the most interesting and fun and delicious events I’ve ever done. I’m excited to be invited back.
I’m going to be hermit in terms of public appearances for a while after this, so come gaze upon the author while you can.
Back in the day, Random House paid me $20K for each of the first four Marla Mason books. So… getting pretty close to that here. (Though not as close as it looks, once I deduct my costs for commissioning cover art and illustrations, shipping books to people, etc.) Plus, my single biggest backer (with a pledge that amounted to about 10% of my total) didn’t actually fulfill their pledge, unfortunately, so my actual total is only a bit over $16,000 — which doesn’t change much, really. It just means I’ll have a couple fewer interior illustrations than I’d expected. (The backer is apologetic and says they may be able to pay as promised in the near future; if that happens I’ll add back the illos, but it’s uncertain.) Still, though — I’ve only sold one novel in the past few years that paid me more than this. It is a strange new world and I am living right in the middle of it.
The writing of the book is going well, too, and that’s the best part of this, for me — getting to continue developing this world and these characters at length, in a way that would have been impossible for financial reasons under other circumstances.
My hybrid approach to the business of writing — small presses, big presses, weird passion projects, practical commercial projects, anthologies, short stories, crowdfunding, whatever else seems feasible and fun — is working out. It keeps me busy, and I am seldom bored.
And if you want to stave off your own boredom: I’ll be reading at the FreemadeSF Launch Party tonight in San Francisco, along with Nick Mamatas and Mark Pantoja and Cliff Winnig. There will be music and other delights as well. Should be fun. Come on out.
How is it already mid-to-late September? This mystery is impenetrable.
I have not been doing much, apart from playing with my kid and generally hanging out and recovering from the previous eight months of endless work. Though because I’m terrible at not writing I started a novelette last week — I think it’s called “The Fairy Library” — and it’s going quite well, up to about 4,000 words now. It’ll be one of the originals in the new collection.
I did a reading last Saturday at Other Change of Hobbit with Nick Mamatas (I was his opening act; his book Bullettime is excellent, my favorite of his novels). There was booze that tasted like cough syrup (by design) and brownies and a surprisingly great turnout for a Saturday night. Nick and I have the smartest and most beautiful and discerning fans. Look, Nick posted photographic evidence!
Otherwise, I have been reading a lot. Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City is fun and adorable; Salvage and Demolition by Tim Powers is as awesome as he always is at novella length; The Mark Inside is entertaining con-artist narrative non-fiction; Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis is dark and good and I’m eager to read the second in the series; Etgar Keret’s stories remind me of Donald Barthelme’s or Aimee Bender’s (which is a good thing).
I’ve played some Arkham City, and lots of Plants vs. Zombies and other casual games on my Fire. And I’ve been watching Revenge (it’s The O.C. meets The Count of Monte Cristo!). Playing lots of Candyland, War, and Connect Four with my kid, who already shows signs of being bitten by the gaming bug (when he’s a little older we are going to play all the games all the time).
I have also been eating less and exercising way more, after the horror of seeing my highest-ever weight on a scale back in July. I’m down 15 pounds since then. Let us hope this trend continues for another, oh, fifty pounds or so.
Autumn is coming. Soon it will be time to make the first chili of the season. Life is good.
The Impossible Dreams screening on Saturday was good! Pretty well attended for a mid-afternoon weekend non-kid-related library function (meaning that, counting me and the librarian, there was an attendance into the double digits — nothing like the dozens of attendees the typical children’s program event gets. I should’ve added some basic clowning or magic to my act!). I showed the movie and did a Q&A (a good crowd, with lots of good questions). Pretty fun. Afterward I got a beer with a couple of friends, then came home.
We’d anticipated nice weather, so Heather and I had a few people over for a cook out, but it turned out be cloudy and cool. (Curse you, weather shamans, and your flawed precognition!) Still: great mounds of grilled meat were prepared, and rare beers were consumed, and much conversation was held, lo deep into the evening.
Sunday was mother’s day, so River and I let Heather sleep in, and then gave her gifts, and took her out for lunch. Then I gave Heather the greatest mother’s day gift of all: freedom from being a mother. I took the kid on a train ride into San Francisco to fulfill one of his great dreams: to ride all the curved escalators at the Westfield mall. (I know. One of his favorite things lately is watching youtube videos of people riding the world’s longest escalators.) So we rode a great many escalators numerous times, bought some legos, and played some video games at the arcade. (By which I mean, he sat in front of a video game and pushed buttons and turned the steering wheel. He’s four. He doesn’t care if he’s really playing, at this point.)
A fun weekend… but I’m now even farther behind on my writing. Too much fun. I have to step things up this week. All play and no work makes for a blown deadline.
There’s a screening of the short film version of Impossible Dreams this Saturday, at 3 p.m., at the Temescal branch of the Oakland Public Library. If you are local, please come — it’s a really cool film. (It’s different enough from my story that I can say that without any unsavory arrogance.)
Here are some more details, and the library address, and all that. I’ll introduce the movie, show the movie, and then I’ll take questions, talk a little about writing and other East Bay writers, and so on. It’ll be fun.
Here’s the trailer:
It’s 21 minutes of romantic science-fictional weirdness; with kazoo. Don’t miss it! (And for those who attended the SF in SF screening, where we had technical difficulties: I’m 99% sure we won’t have any such difficulties this time. We are taking steps and having backup plans. It should be good.)
I’ll be reading and blathering at Other Change of Hobbit (my neighborhood bookstore, and one of the great specialty science fiction shops around) this Sunday, from 4-6 p.m., with Claude Lalumière and Camille Alexa. (Other people are reading from 2-4, as you can see if you go to the website — it’s an all-afternoon extravaganza!)
Other Change has had some financial problems lately — they were closed for the past few months — so this event is meant to bring in some traffic and help them keep the doors open. Please come! Tell your friends. They have great books (new and used) and cute cats. What more can you ask?
The Variety Preview Room
582 Market St. @ Montgomery
1st floor of The Hobart Bldg.
Doors Open 6:00PM
Film starts: 7:00PM
Just take BART to Montgomery if you don’t want the hassle of finding parking. I’ll do a ten- or fifteen-minute intro about the story and the movie (which is itself only 20 minutes long). The short film will be followed by the Harlan Ellison documentary Dreams with Sharp Teeth. I hope to see lots of you locals there. (And, you know, anyone farther away who feels like jumping on a plane.) There’s a cash bar. Donations are welcome at the door ($5-$10 suggested), and benefit the Variety Children’s Charity of Northern California.
My wife and I will likely slip out during the Ellison movie to get some dinner, since we won’t have time to eat before the event, so if you want to talk to me, captivate me beforehand!