Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Archive for January, 2011

New Year = New Books

Tuesday, January 4th, 2011

Home today with a sick kid — though it’s my regular day off, not a special sick day. Poor little guy. He just has a persistent cough and a mild fever, though, not another Abominable Pukefest, so that’s some consolation. If he feels better later today we’ll go out, since it’s supposed to be sunny. At the very least we should do some shopping for necessities and mail some letters. (I know — mail! Letters! But some things, like checks and contracts, still require a touch of the ol’ physicality.)

Speaking of contracts: Yesterday I started off 2011 right by signing and sending back not one but two book contracts. They’re both fun work-for-hire things, one pseudonymous, one under my name — I’ll tell you about the latter in more detail when I can. I’m now booked up through August 1, 2011. It’s nice to have work, even if it means writing 200,000 words in 7 months. (Actually, after last year, that doesn’t sound as unreasonable as it once would have.) This will, naturally, delay other books I have planned that aren’t under contract. If I write a sixth Marla novel this year, it likely won’t be until autumn, and may not happen until 2012.

I just finished my serial of The Nex, so if you want to read the whole thing in one gulp for the low low price of free, help yourself. I still need to do the single-page HTML version, but it’ll be along.

It occurs to me that I’ve now written and sold enough books that I can’t remember, offhand, the exact number I have published or pending; I’d have to count. That’s got to be some kind of milestone. (I could count, and without recourse to my bookshelves or any lists online to jog my memory, though. Having written so many books that I can’t even remember some of them is a milestone for another year, I think.)

Nominatory

Monday, January 3rd, 2011

Hugo nominations are open! I’m not gonna do one of those “Here’s my eligible stuff!” lists because, you know, I already got a Hugo, so I don’t really worry about it anymore. (Very liberating.) And the time I got one? I didn’t do a thing to promote my story or encourage people to nominate me or anything. (I cast no aspersions on those who do indulge in such efforts, but they never did me any good, so I excuse myself.)

But because getting a Hugo is awesome, I encourage you (if you’re eligible) to go nominate works you love, so other people can have that awesome feeling too. (But don’t nominate anyone born after 1975; I enjoy my weird distinction of being the only person born after 1975 to win a fiction Hugo. At least, as far as I know I still am. It’s a distinction that’s destined to fall, of course, and soon, I would imagine, looking at some of these amazing new writers coming along…)

Resolutely Speaking

Sunday, January 2nd, 2011

I usually do a whole big New Year’s Resolution post, going over last year’s resolutions — or “course corrections,” as they might be more accurately termed, since I use this time of year to assess and re-direct my efforts — but I think I’ll spare you all that song and dance and Unordered Lists this time in favor of a few simple statements:

I will try to be the best husband and father I can.

I will try to take care of myself, too (whenever, Asimov’s-Law style, that doesn’t conflict with the above).

I will try to write better, and to write joyfully whenever possible.

I really think that covers it.

The Shock of the New

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I got up at 7:30 am with the boy on New Year’s Day. So far: 2011 is rainy.

Yesterday we went to Wal-Mart to spend some gift cards. Not something we do often, and an odd way to spend the end of 2010. The Wal-Mart closest to us in a mall, though — further proof we’re Berkeley People, now, as the Richmond Wal-Mart is closer than the Oakland one — and so there were mall-type things. River got to ride a carousel, and attempted to ride several little cars/jeeps/rocketships/helicopters, but half of ’em were broken, and the other half were “too scary.” He did like the fire truck, once we convinced him to give it a try.

We got a new TV (yay for post-Xmas sales) to replace our old ailing one, which we acquired years ago secondhand on Craigslist, and which only worked right if you wiggled and propped up the various cables, as all the inputs were slowly dying. So now we’re finally living in the Flatscreen Future!

It’s not an objectively gargantuan TV — a 42″ widescreen — but it does constitute an unimaginably vast improvement over our old one. I can actually read the text in video games on screen now. Incroyable. And River is quite enamored of Giant-Sized episodes of Dinosaur Train.

All was not sunshine and roses, though, alas. The TV box was so large it could only fit in the car if I removed the kid’s car seat and wedged it in the back seat, so I drove it home while my wife wandered the mallabyrinth with the boy. She was unthrilled about being stranded at the mall near dinnertime while I drove the 20 minutes home and 20 minutes back, as I’d blithely assured her beforehand that I thought the TV would fit fine. My utter lack of any spatial sense will be a subject of my wife’s mockery for years to come; like it wasn’t already.

(I mean, I thought: “A 42″ TV? Sure, that’ll fit in the trunk.” And the TV itself would, easily… but it comes in a giant padded box, of course. Which I rather failed to account for. And unpacking the TV in the parking lot and driving it home un-padded seemed, um, inadvisable. Anyway, I made it up to her by offering to get up with the kid and letting her sleep in this morning, even though it’s my turn to sleep in.)

Not that we can afford a new TV, really, but there’s a fair bit of fiction money coming in soon, and my wife’s financial situation is stabilizing a bit in the new year, so the expense shouldn’t linger overlong on my credit card. It’s definitely an indulgence… but I have few enough of those that I don’t feel bad.

And if I did feel bad, I would let the light of my new giant TV soothe me.