Tuesday, July 30, 2013

On the dotted line

Always nice to sign another contract. Esigned today with Bruce Bethke for "Riders of the Red Shift" to be published in the upcoming special themed issue of Stupefying Stories, "Tales from the Weird, Wild West".

Sunday, July 28, 2013

What we have here...

You know, with the proliferation of media, it's almost impossible for me to get a hold of anyone any more. Because I have carpal tunnel syndrome, I hate to text - and besides, you really can't have an intelligent exchange through texting.

But, if you use Facebook, you never know when the people will see your message. Same thing if you use a Facebook message. Nobody seems to read their email anymore, I suppose, because of all the spam. And NOBODY answers the phone any more.

On average, maybe one out ten times when I use email, Facebook or the phone to get a hold of someone, I get a reply in any kind of timely manner. Many times, by the time someone gets back to me, I forgot what it was about.

I think because of sensory overload everyone is slowly becoming autistic and starting to ignore the outside world.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

No, but nice

One thing you learn in fiction writing - if you're at least a decent writer - is that many stories are rejected simply because they don't meet the needs of the publishing venue, which may be overstocked, or overstocked on the kind of story you write. Your story may simply not be a good fit with what they have or have on the publishing conveyor belt at the time.

This will lead to rejections which are actually pleasant to receive, such as this comment I got in the mail yesterday: "I'm going to pass on this one, but I enjoyed reading it and hope to see future submissions from you."

This was the first time I had submitted to this particular publication, so that was a pleasant first experience.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Draft schedule for World Con

I've received my preliminary program for Lone Star Con. A good selection of panels, and the topics are very appropriate for me. My first reaction is that someone read my biography and used that in doing the scheduling. Here are the panels (two came with descriptions):

Steampunk: Trend or Genre: Friday 1-2 p.m. - Steampunk emerged from SF, quietly at first, and then gathering momentum and breadth. It now spans written fiction, graphic, costuming, and other areas. It's become large enough that it's recognized by the world at large. Is Steampunk its own genre? Can you define it? What works in a story? Is it a trend that spans genres? Or does it matter?

How to Build a Successful Book Launch Campaign: Friday 10-11 p.m.

Fiction about Real Politics and How Writers Get It Wrong:  Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 12:00

Philosophy and Science Fiction Sunday 4-5 p.m.  -  Science, from warp drives to lasers, is an important element in the genre but Science Fiction has also been a place to examine philosophical viewpoints. From the use of Star Trek to raise questions of racial equality to Asimov's laws of robotics and ethical questions about machines, philosophical issues are intrinsic to science fiction and fantasy. Our panelists look at some of the more interesting philosophical questions in the genre.

The programming is considered preliminary until at least July 26, while concerns and requests are considered. But I'm fine with me and had no comments or requests.
In addition to the panels, I will be at the Sidewise Awards Saturday at noon.
Signings and reading will be scheduled later.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Worlds of Wonder

I had to take a day off Monday to take my wife, Patricia, to see a specialist in Dallas - an orthopedic surgeon. Before returning home, we had some lunch and did some shopping in Cedar Hill, the suburb where we both lived when we met and married.

We ate at The Cotton Patch Cafe, which makes a super chicken fried steak. We were joined by Patricia's mother - who used in Dallas but now loves in Wood County - and her aunt, who lives in another Dallas suburb, DeSoto, which is next to Cedar Hill. We were joined by Ken Mayfield, an old friend who still lives in Cedar Hill.

Ken served on the Cedar Hill school board from 1988 to 1994, when he was elected a Dallas County Commissioner. I served on the Cedar Hill school board from 1992 to 1995. There were two years there when he served as board president and I served as secretary.

I didn't win reelection to the board, while he served as county commissioner until 2010. He in responsible in a way for Patricia and I getting married. He had appointed Patricia as the precinct's representative on the Dallas County Historical Commission, and that's why we met in 1998 - when she came with a news release to the weekly newspaper editor. Which was me.

We had a long lunch, with a lot of anecdotes. A good example was from 1995, when we both were guests at the Cotton Patch's pre-opening. Ken was eating a piece of pie, when he gagged, and reached across the aisle. "Omigod, this is terrible!" he gasped. "What is wrong with this pie!"

I took a bite, and knew immediately what had gone wrong. They were, indeed, making their food from scratch, and in the process made one of the classic kitchen mistakes (which, if you recall, also features in a crucial scene in the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter).

"Holy crapola," I muttered. "They used salt instead of sugar!" Which they had.

We all had a great time at lunch. Later, we went shopping. Not to totally neglect genre work, we stopped in the Cedar Hill Half Price Books. I bought a copy of "Robert Silverberg's World of Wonder", which strikes me in format as a lot like the book I'm working on now. It's a pristine first edition. I also bought a little mass market paperback version of "Lest Darkness Fall" by L. Sprague DeCamp, which has a cute cover. It's the 1963 Pyramid edition.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Contract signed

Just signed and sent off contract to Every Day Publishing Ltd. for “The Silver Dollar Saucer" to be reprinted in the anthology "Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera for a New Age".

"Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera for a New Age" is the first-ever crowdfunded project for Every Day Publishing, an ambitious anthology of space opera stories from some of the finest voices in science fiction writing today; 23 contemporary stories capturing the classic golden age feel of space opera past.

Editor Bryan Thomas Schmidt secured commitments from some amazing authors: Mike Resnick, A.C. Crispin, Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Sarah A. Hoyt, Robin Wayne Bailey, Brenda Cooper, Allen Steele, Seanan McGuire, Peter J. Wacks, Keanan Brand, Milo James Fowler, Michael S. Roberts, Michael Merriam, T.M. Hunter, Robert Mancebo, Alice M. Roelke, Lou Antonelli, Paula R. Stiles, Jenny Schwartz, A.M. Stickel, Shaun Farrell, Jennifer Campbell-Hicks.

I'm proud to be a part of it. "The Silver Dollar Saucer" was originally published in Ray Gun Revival in 2009.

There will be three editions of "Raygun Chronicles" -a clothbound hardcover gift edition with glossy full-colo
r dust jacket for book lovers and collectors, a trade paperback edition with glossy full-color perfect bound cover for those who prefer something more economical and lighter in hand, and of course an e-book edition for e-readers and mobile devices.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Humbled

Garrett
I'm honored to be a finalist for the Sidewise Award this year, and humbled when I realize that Randall Garrett received the Special Achievement Award from the Sidewise judges in 1999.

That was 12 years after he died (he's buried in Waco, here in Texas). He was cited for his Lord Darcy stories, including the collection "Murder and Magic", the novel "Too Many Magicians", and the collection "Lord Darcy Investigates."

I bought all three books in the 1980s and read them until they fell apart. I loved these stories.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

More on the Sidewise Awards

Since I'm a finalist for the Sidewise Award, I've read up more on the award and its history. Here are some other pertinent facts:

The Sidewise Award is another designated by the calendar year of eligibility rather than the year in which the award is presented. That's why the 2012 winners will be announced at LoneStarCon 3, the 71st Annual World Science Fiction Convention the weekend of August 30, 2013, in San Antonio.

The Short-Form Award is presented for the best work of less than 60,000 words. This includes short stories, novelettes and novellas, and poems. One past winner was a three-issue comic book series.

The Long-Form Award is presented for the best work longer than 60,000 words. This category includes individual novels and longer works.

Nominees were selected by a panel of judges: Stephen Baxter, Evelyn Leeper, Jim Rittenhouse, Stu Shiffman, Kurt Sidaway, and Steven H Silver. This is an international award; Baxter and Sidaway live in the U.K., while the others are American.

Four of the finalists are also from the U.K. - Sales, Hodder, Brennan and Sansom.

Monday, July 01, 2013

"Great White Ship" nominated for the Sidewise Award

Well, the news has been announced, so I can go public.

The judges for the Sidewise Awards for Alternate History have announced the short list of finalists for the 2012 Sidewise Awards.

I'm proud and grateful that my short story, "Great White Ship", has been named a finalist for the Best Short Form category.

This was the news I referred to in my post last week when I said I was gonna plotz.. I got the email about the nomination last Tuesday. This was the first time I've bee nominated for an award of this kind, and it was a new experience.

The winners will be announced at LoneStarCon 3, the 71st Annual World Science Fiction Convention the weekend of August 30, 2013, in San Antonio.

This year's panel of judges was made up of Stephen Baxter, Evelyn Leeper, Jim Rittenhouse, Stu Shiffman, Kurt Sidaway, and Steven H Silver.

The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were conceived in late 1995 to honor the best allohistorical genre publications of the year. The first awards were announced in summer 1996 and honored works from 1995. The award takes its name from Murray Leinster's 1934 short story "Sidewise in Time," in which a strange storm causes portions of Earth to swap places with their analogs from other timelines.

Thanks to Daily Science Fiction and the Sidewise judges, as well as everyone who has enjoyed the story.

The time I stepped on Brian Aldiss

Word has come that the great British science fiction author Brian Aldiss has passed away at the age of 92. After such a long and distingui...