The cold I complained about last week is in the rearview, mostly, though I’ve been using it as an excuse to baby myself a bit this week. Summer, too, is almost out the door. It’s dark when I wake up at five-ish, and I’m finding that strangely welcome. I love everything about autumn here on the West Coast: the rainstorms and the gusting wind, the way the rain pounds the color out of fallen leaves, stamping their images onto the pavement. I love the way the orb weaver spiders kick into high gear… even though it means sometimes watching where you walk if you don’t want an arachnid on your face. At this time of year, we can play ‘count the spiders’ on our walk along the Cut, and marvel at how enormous some of them get.
I’m less enchanted with the big honking moths of fall, but as long as they’re on the other side of a thick pane of glass, I can appreciate how marvelously they’re put together.
Another sign of autumn is Vancouver’s SF convention, VCon, and I will be reading with DD Barant, Mary Choo, and Julie McGalliardon on Friday September 30th, as well as doing the writers workshop on Saturday. Are any of you going to be there? Look me up.
Turning to TV: Kelly and I managed to watch ten minutes of the Charlie’s Angels reboot before it became obvious that not even the promise of a taste of childhood could offset the bad writing, acting, and directing. We tried Revenge instead, and that seemed promising. We thought we’d recognized the lead as Haley Bennett, who played Cora Corman on Music and Lyrics. It turns out, though, that she’s Emily Van Camp and we’ve never seen her in anything.
SF Novelists has this week published our first book of sample chapters for e-book readers: it’s called Opening Acts, 25 Science Fiction and Fantasy First Chapters.
So what’s the deal? Here’s our cover copy:
Every reader knows that the trouble is not finding something to read, but finding something you want to read. Sometimes, it’s something familiar, something known. Sometimes it’s something new, something unexpected.
SF Novelists proudly offers you twenty-five teasers, twenty-give first chapters across the spectrum of SF and fantasy. Twenty-five tastes, to tempt your appetite for adventure… to lure you into unknown worlds…
And give you something new to read.
In other words, the book is intended as a free taste of novels you can get online (and of course in bookstores too). The first chapter of my novel Indigo Springs is in it, as are works by Janni Lee Simner, Louise Marley, T.A. Pratt, Stephen Gould, and so many more! It’s a zero-risk ‘try before you buy’ proposition, and a chance to fall in love with some new SF and fantasy novels.
The book is available for free download right now courtesy authors Simon Haynes, here, and Steven Gould, here. It will also be up on B&N, Smashwords and other fine distributors very soon.
Thumping Great Crimes is the next in the intermittent crime series on Tor.com: as the title implies, it’s about writing about violence. The violence in this case is the type that falls short of murder: assault, fight scenes… thumping.
I will probably move on (or up?) to murder itself in the next article.
Meanwhile, here’s an assault on your senses: I’m still playing with the iPad and the Paper Camera app, with the resulting beeyooteeful self-portrait:
*Stubby the Rocket appears with the permission of the kind permission of the Tor peeps
Two new articles on TOR in the past week. One is the second in my sporadically-recurring series on writing about crime: it’s about thievery, the lure of the caper, and it’s called Imperfect Crimes.
The other, Tales out of School, is an essay about what it was like to start teaching SF and fantasy writing at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in 2005, at the height of the Harry Potter craze.
Enjoy! And let me know what you like, or don’t, or maybe even disagree with.
I’m up to about 10,000 words on my Clarion West Write-A-Thon commitment. Here are a few of them:
The babble in her head continued on, but the words got increasingly hard to make out, as if her own voice was moving away from her, something about froglets with tails, and then she was dreaming about one, about chasing it, extending her hand to catch the froglets and finding ducklings under a leaf, ordinary ducklings from home, reaching out, trying to catch it as it scrabbled and fled, and somebody sliced her wrist, cut off her hand and no, that was her, she was holding a severed hand… Gale’s severed hand? There was so much blood and all the choking noises.