Escape Pod and beyond!

What’s this? I narrated a very fun story for Escape Pod: Captain Drake Learns His Lines by Amy Sisson and Kate Suratt. Give it a listen. This is my first foray into narration, and why not? Thanks to EP for the opportunity.

Much has been happening, though you couldn’t tell from this site. I’ve been devoting a lion’s share of my time to Unreliable Narrators, and the results have been rewarding to say the least. Today is our one-year anniversary, in fact, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how that’s progressed. Oh, and did I mention that I wrote and am in the middle of producing an eight-episode audio drama for UN? E’ville episode one is up now, with a new episode each Monday through the end of January. A ton of work, but I can’t say it hasn’t been an absolute blast, combining my interests in writing, music and audio engineering. Methinks more of this will happen at some point.

And then there’s matter of the recent election. Perhaps you’ve heard about it? I thought about posting an epic screed and decided others have covered most of those bases. Suffice it to say, I’m disappointed in humanity right now. Still formulating my response, though if you’re interested in specifics they’re covered pretty well in my interview with Desiree Burch–which you should listen to regardless, as she’s highly entertaining.

So yeah, I’ve been heard more than seen–or read–lately. I’m fixing to change that, however, for it’s back to the grindstone on my work in progress. Stay tuned for details.

Three tomatoes (ketchup), Part XXXVII

Lots going on in these here parts as of late. I just received word of a story acceptance for an upcoming anthology about cities of the future. The contract is still in progress, so I’ll leave it at that for now. Meanwhile, over in Unreliable Narrators land, we’ve been on a tear with workshop reviews and author interviews with the likes of Walter Jon Williams and Elizabeth Bear. Turns out podcasting is immense fun. What’s more, we’re preparing to hoist the sail on our first joint writing and performing venture, a serial audio drama called E’ville. I’ll have lots more to say on that once the first episode arrives in early March. And I continue work on the new book even as I become distracted by new shinies. Mush!

And hey, congrats to all the newly-minted Nebula Award nominees. A solid list that includes many friends and personal favorites. Not bad, genre bunnies.

Ketchup

I’ve been quite busy over the last few weeks with a little thing called a final draft. Good for my novel, not so much for this poor blog! I have the best of intentions, honestly. How about a random smattering of tidbits that have caught my attention lately, to match my current frame of mind?

-Ten days left on writer/Director Sharon Lewis’ Indiegogo campaign for Brown Girl in the Ring – The Prequel. The film will serve as a prequel to Nalo Hopkinson’s terrific novel. I, for one, am intrigued.

– Writer pal Miranda Suri has fired up a new blog (because one isn’t enough, except for me, apparently) called Gluten Free, No Substitutes. She’s a dynamite cook and has dedicated her site to good food that avoids gluten without reaching for scary, faux-food ingredients. (I’ve tried cheese substitutes. Trust me, no bueno.)

– Comics scribe Brian K. Vaughan has announced The Private Eye will be coming to Image Comics. In exchange, he’ll be penning a Walking Dead story for Panel Syndicate! I’ve waxed rhapsodic about both Panel Syndicate and The Private Eye on this very blog, so this is good news all around. We need more independent sources for comics!

– The 2015 World Fantasy Awards finalists have been announced! This on the heels of the Locus Award finalists. Congratulations to two great slate of nominees, including former teachers John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear and Nancy Kress. Almost makes up for all the Hugo/Puppy BS. Almost.

I’m off to Vegas this weekend! Perhaps next week I can scrounge up some news that involves, you know, me. ‘Til then, kids!

Point Sur Light Station

One of the best things about writing fiction is that research is often required. This does not always mean burrowing through the library stacks or sequestering yourself in a basement filled with musty tomes. Counterintuitive, I know. But sometimes it requires getting out into the world and experiencing some of the most beautiful places to be found. Case in point: a few weeks back I hopped in the car and headed down the coast to the Point Sur Lighthouse, part of a state historic park in California’s Central Coast.

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A little backstory. I discovered this place while driving near Monterey and wondered WTF was up with that volcanic rock just off the shore with a little settlement on top of it. Turns out it houses one of the key lighthouse stations that keeps ships from wrecking in the fog and darkness of the Central Coast. Oh yeah, and it’s a beautiful spot. But you wouldn’t know it from the foreboding sign along the highway, as shown.

Of course a Keep Out sign for a crazy place like that means a protagonist somewhere must inevitably flaunt those rules. Voila, a major location for PCH Roadkill.

Day tours last for three hours, and are well worth the trek. They include a thorough exploration of the lighthouse itself and the grounds where operators and their families lived in previous decades. Here some snaps from the top of the lighthouse:

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The diamond-shaped glass pieces are prism lights, similar to those used to light basements below sidewalks in large cities during earlier times.

I heartily recommend the tour to anyone driving the Pacific Coast Highway between Monterey and San Luis Obispo. If further incentive is needed, how about a view of the lovely Central Coast from the widow’s walk, looking Northeast toward Carmel:

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Beware the ides of February

Hey, remember me? Yeah, I’m still around. Though you wouldn’t know from this blog. Happily, I have not been making updates because I’ve been busy at work on other projects. I finished a rough draft of my latest novel, polished up my last one (last time, honest) and completed about a half dozen short stories. Not bad after the post-Taos slump of late 2014. This new year shows promise.

Beginning with the San Francisco Writers Conference a week from now! I’m all signed up and looking forward to meeting up with several other writer pals at the fancy-schmancy Mark Hopkins International. I’m even signed up for the Agent Speed Dating Session on Saturday. This will be my first face to face encounter with the fabled literary agent. Wish me luck.

Interestingly, 2015 is shaping up to be the Year of the West Coast. I’ll be hanging out at a writers’ retreat in Portland this spring, then heading to Spokane for Sasquan (aka the 73rd Worldcon) during the summer. Too bad the Nebula Awards Weekend moves this year from San Jose to Chicago.

So, yeah. Lots going on. Just not here, so much.

The Road to Taos

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Last night I returned home from the brain-melting, life-changing experience that is Taos Toolbox. Now that I have returned to Home Sweet Sea Level, my oxygen levels are returning to normal and I’m just about caught up on normal sleep. So it’s finally time to start weighing in on the experience.

I chose to drive to the workshop. 2,500 miles round trip, 36 hours on the road. I questioned my sanity a few times before loading up the car, but it turned out to be a great choice. Didn’t hurt that my current work in progress revolves around a road trip, so hey, research.

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A good chunk of the route fell on Interstate 40, which closely follows the historic Route 66 across the Western U.S. Route 66 kitsch abounded: flags, road signs, abandoned motels of the neon-and-stucco variety. And then there was the 66 Roadkill Diner in Seligman, AZ. I pity the traveler who hit a buffalo on their way through town.

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Speaking of Seligman, the heightened stakes arrived when I found myself thirty miles out from said town, experiencing a precipitous plunge in the fuel gauge while winding through an isolated mountain range. So sue me, I’m a city driver. We don’t have 100-plus-mile stretches of road without basic services. I coasted into town on nails chewed to nubs, and an estimated zero miles left on the tank over the last few miles.  Lesson learned: a half gallon remains when the mileage zeroes out. Hooray for hybrids!

Needless to say I refueled at every town thereafter. Onward.

 

The Southwest seems to love dinosaur statues, scattered at random along roadways. Can’t say I disapprove.

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I made it in plenty of time, richer for the experience. Little did I know what adventures awaited at 10,000 feet. Some thoughts on the workshop itself once I figure them out.

 

Random Access

Just finished one last edit on my latest novel and my writing self feels a bit scattered.So, in the interest of keeping dust from settling on this site again… Here, have a few random thoughts. No relevance intended by order.

–  I tried something a bit different with my editing process this time and I believe it reaped some pretty sweet rewards. I want to prepare a post on that, but am still tossing around post mortem thoughts in my head.  Hopefully I can get that posted before leaving for Philly later this week.

– Just saw X-Men: Days of Future Past. Not bad, not bad at all. It’s slightly marred by the persistent trend– in Hollywood as well as at Marvel– of centering Every. Single. X-Men story around Wolverine. Hey, I get that he’s popular. But you know what? This wasn’t his story, and his agency ended about 20-30 minutes into the film. Bitching aside, it was pretty enjoyable. The story was interesting and somewhat thoughtful, possessed less wonk than the standard superhero flick. At least Fox seemed interested in more than just keeping the characters from reverting to Marvel. Unlike with some *other* franchise I could mention. But don’t need to. Ahem.

– The Nebula Awards were handed out last week. All major writing awards went to women for the first time in eight years. Given the back-and-forth rancor over all the recent SFWA kerfuffles, this was a welcome outcome that helps restore some faith in an org that often struggles to earn the “professional” adjective. I haven’t read everything on the roster, but I do know that Ann Leckie, Nalo Hopkinson and Alette deBodard kicked some literary posterior last year.

– Just received my PIN for the Hugo Awards site, with final ballots approaching. At least I’ll get to read some books and cast some votes despite the fact that I am likely bailing on London for Taos this summer. Looking forward to it.

That’s all for now. Killswitch on.

No news is not bad news

Well. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Let me clear some cobwebs and blow enough dust away to find a spot for a new post. A hiatus from posting generally means either a lot is happening, or nothing is happening. I’m happy to report it’s the former.

Had a great time at Boskone with my VPeeps, wading through slush both literal and figurative. In two days I leave for San Antonio, for what promises to be more of the same good times (minus the ice and snow). And less than a month later I’m off to a writing retreat in Philly. I’m hoping to wedge in a few days in NYC on that trip, because why pass up an opportunity to hang out in the Big Apple.

On the writing front, I’m knee deep in the bloodletting process known as the final draft of In Cahoots. I’m not being gentle. And I’m trying to ignore the other shiny long-form projects until I can start sending this one out. Progress is being made. I’ve managed to throw in a couple of shorts, one of which I’ve had to shelve as it seems to be morphing into another Long Thing. I’m hoping to dive into that one again once I’ve controlled the bleeding of its predecessor.

So, things are happening. Just nothing terribly exciting to report these days. Hopefully I’ll have some tidbits from Paradise Lost 4 after this weekend. See you on the other side!

Denouement

Seems fitting to wrap up the draft of a novel in the final hours of the year, and I’ve done just that. Time to put this one to bed, or more accurately, send it all over creation in the hopes of finding an audience.

It’s a good feeling, the perfect culmination of a year that energized my love of writing and the will to make it happen. Many, many thanks to the other writers who have supported me and my work this year, and shared their work with me. Y’all know who you are, and it made a difference.

So. Next year comes the hard part. Submissions, more writing, more reading, more traveling. Did I say hard? I meant fun.

Bring it, ’14.

The long con

Whoa, where did December come from?  Here we are with a scant three weeks remaining in 2013.  Honestly not sure how this happened, but bring it on.

For my part, I’ll be holed up during the holiday tightening the screws on my latest novel, with some reading for friends and colleagues thrown in for fun. I’ll emerge from hibernation early next year with a full slate of places to go and people to see.  In fact, I’ve been firming up plans to stay busy throughout the next year. Here’s my in-progess list of confirmed travel plans for 2014:

01/09 – Image Expo, San Francisco CA

02/14-16 – Boskone 51, Boston MA

05/01-04 – Paradise Lost IV, San Antonio TX

05/15-18 – Nebula Awards Weekend

05/30 – 06/01 – Writers retreat, Philadelphia PA

08/14-18 – LonCon III, London UK (Woohoo!)

10/04-05 – Alternative Press Expo, San Francisco CA

And that’s just for starters!  There are several other cons and workshops I’d like to attend as scheduling and funding permit, once details are released. Here’s to a busy, busy 2k14!

So what will you be up to?