midweek music: “Baby I Love You”

Wrenn and I went shopping today, and “Baby I Love You” by the Yayhoos came on the iPod. I first heard this song over the closing credits of Slither, a James Gunn film starring Nathan Fillion from 2006. I fell in love with it and immediately downloaded it off iTunes as soon as the movie was done.

Anyhow, as Wrenn and I are driving down the road, we’re singing the refrain of this song together, very loudly. That’s true love right there…………………

Ghost Town Writers Retreat was excellent

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Meant to post this sooner, but I got sick the last day I was in Colorado, and I’m awash a combination of 1) feeling better, 2) GISHWHES, and 3) revisions of a project, but I wanted to say that I had a superb time at the first-ever Ghost Town Writers Retreat. Organizers Mike Hance, J.L. Benet, and my friend Jhonette Perdue did a superb job of putting together a good weekend for aspiring writers, with authors, agents, and editors dispensing wisdom and having chats and generally participating in an atmosphere of bettering ourselves and our careers.

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It all took place in Georgetown, Colorado, about an hour west of Denver — and also 3000 miles higher. Denver is called the mile-high city for a reason, as it’s 5000 feet above sea level. Well, Georgetown is nestled in the Rockies at 8000 feet above. This would explain why I was woozy on Sunday…………

Georgetown is an old silver mining town, and these days it’s a tourist attraction, mainly for its rustic qualities. You go there and it’s like the 21st century never happened. (Well, except for having wifi….) It’s charming as all heck, and full of nifty history. Possibly my favorite part of the weekend was being able to test the first run of Tesla’s Alternating Ale from the local brewery, which they debuted for us. (Tesla built the power station that still services Georgetown to this day.)

Anyhow, I did talks on career management, navigating the submissions minefield, professionalism, time management, and writing in other people’s universes, plus I got to join Mario Acevedo for an informal chat in one of the local bars.

All in all, it was an excellent weekend, and one I’d gladly do again. If you’re an aspiring or starting writer, I’d recommend trying the retreat next year.

 

I’ve never won an award, and I’m okay with that

I’ve never won an award for my writing in my life. I’ve won an award for a body of work — the Faust (Lifetime Achievement Award) from the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers — but that’s it. Nobody has ever nominated me for a Hugo or Nebula or Stoker or LOCUS Award or any other damn thing. I’ve never even been considered. I’ve received several Scribe noms from the IAMTW, but no victories.

And I’m fine with that. Because with each passing year, I am less and less impressed by a) the entire process by which awards are given and b) the things it does to people who have inexplicably tied up their self-worth in whether or not they get one.

I get e-mails from fans on a regular basis who say they love my work. One person actually pursued a career in politics because of my Star Trek novel Articles of the Federation.

That’s the only award I give an airborne intercourse about. The rest of it is nonsense that distracts from the actual creation of art that’s supposed to be what we’re fucking about.

from the archives: movin’

A year ago, we signed the lease on our current home, the end result of a whirlwind search after an unexpected termination of the lease on our previous home. Here’s the whole saga from my LiveJournal a year ago today:

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So, as those of you who’ve been following me on Facebook know, a couple weeks ago, we were notified by our landlords that our lease was being terminated as of 31 August 2016.

Now, we don’t have a formal lease in place, which under New York State law means we’re on what’s called a “month to month” lease. The advantages of this are that we don’t have to do a new lease every year, and it also means our rent hasn’t gone up in all the time I’ve been here. It also means that we can break the lease and are only obligated to give 30 days’ notice. The disadvantage is that the landlord has that same privilege — and our landlord actually gave us 40 days. Now, our apartment hasn’t been remodeled in, um, a while, and it rather desperately needs it. Our landlord can do those renovations (which would of necessity include an overhaul of the kitchen) and charge about $800/month more than we’re paying right now. I can’t really blame them for wanting to make more money off the place, especially since the apartments around us (we’re in a row of identical townhouses, so there are about a dozen apartments exactly like ours on either side) are charging that much.

As a result, the last couple of weeks have been one big stress-ball of apartment hunting. We’ve been looking both in our neighborhood and in my parents’ neighborhood, and we have looked at a lot of places.

Our first choice was in our neighborhood, through a broker. It was a bit small, but it had a huge kitchen (seriously, I’ve never seen a kitchen this big in an NYC apartment), on a ground floor, laundry in the building, a parking space, and back yard access. We thought everything was good, we gave our financials over to the broker, and we just had to meet with the owner, which we were told would just be a formality. And then the owner kept putting off the meeting, and nothing was happening, and then the broker admitted that the owner hadn’t even looked at our financials yet, and then we were told — a week later! — that the owner decided to give the apartment to a friend of his, thus screwing not only us, but the broker.

Our second choice was in our parents’ neighborhood, and it was truly magnificent. If it had been in our neighborhood, had a parking spot, and was on the ground floor, it would’ve been perfect, honestly. But the owner looked at our financials and was not impressed — we’re both freelance, and our nontraditional and inconsistent income stream made him nervous, so he turned us down.

Our third choice was actually the first place we looked at, and the one we actually got. It has several disadvantages: no parking spot, no laundry in the building, and the kitchen is not great (then again, so’s our current kitchen). It’s a duplex, taking up part of a house that’s been subdivided into three units. We have half the second floor, which has the kitchen and living room, then you go upstairs to the three bedrooms and the bathroom.

There’s a lot to like about the place, including a landlord we like very much (and who likes us — he pretty much held the place for us while we got dicked around by our first choice), and enough space for our stuff. And the cats will love it. In particular, the largest bedroom will make a great home office/guest room. Wrenn and I will set up our desktops there and we’ll put a sofa bed and the bean bag in there for guests.

Our lease starts on the 15th, which gives us a two-week overlap between the two apartments, which will make moving much less stressful.

This mishegoss forced us to postpone the wedding and for me to cancel Dragon Con, which is horrible, but at least we’ll be settled in a new place by the end of Labor Day weekend. Wheeeeeee!

Meanwhile, the deadlines don’t care about moving stress. I’m jamming to finish one project today and tomorrow, then it’s the next Super City Cops novella, then back to the thriller…..

announcing Kingdoms Fall

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Cohesion Press is launching a new imprint called SoulBlade Books, and their first title will be a Jonathan Maberry-edited anthology called Kingdoms Fall, to be released in 2018. here’s how they described it in the release:

“Imagine Forgotten Realms/Dungeons & Dragons combined with Game of Thrones, and some Lord of the Rings thrown in for good measure. Sword & sorcery, magical might, monsters, thieves, assassins, and kings. All must fight and some must die. A star-studded lineup of writers, featuring many New York Times best-sellers.”

Here’s that star-studded lineup:

Kevin J. Anderson, New York Times bestselling author: the Dune series, Star Wars, Hell Hole, X-Files, and many more.

David Annandale: Warhammer 40,000, The Horus Heresy, and Warhammer: Age of Sigma.

Keith R.A. DeCandidoStar Trek, Supernatural, Orphan Black, Marvel, and many more.

Jacopo della Quercia: The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy and its sequel License to Quill, contributor to the New York Times best-selling You Might Be A Zombie and Other Bad News.

David Farland, New York Times best-selling author: Star Wars, The Mummy, the Runelords series.

David Fitzgerald, award-winning fiction and nonfiction author and editor: Nailed, The Complete Heretic’s Guide to Western Religion, Demon Lovers (co-edited with Dana Fredsti), Under the Kilt, and the upcoming TimeShards trilogy (with Fredsti).

Dana Fredsti: the Ashley Parker “Plague” trilogy, the upcoming trilogies Spawn of Lilith and TimeShards (with David Fitzgerald), stories in V-Wars: Shockwaves and Joe Ledger: Unstoppable.

Paul Kupperberg: the GLAAD Media Award nominated and 2014 IAMTW Scribe Award-winning young adult novel Kevin, writer of the Harvey and Eisner Award nominated Life With Archie series (including the controversial “Death of Archie” storyline), executive editor of Charlton Neo Comics.

Seanan McGuire: New York Times award-winning author of urban fantasy and (as Mira Grant) biomedical science fiction.

Victor Milán: founding member of George R. R. Martin’s Wild Cards, author of The Dinosaur Princess.

John Jackson Miller, New York Times bestselling author and comics writer: Star Wars, Star Trek, HALO, Mass Effect, Conan.

James A. Moore: Aliens, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, World Of Darkness, and his own Seven Forges series.

Lee Murray: award-winning writer of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, multiple recipient of New Zealand’s coveted Sir Julius Vogel Award.

Weston Ochse, Bram Stoker Award winning author: SEAL Team 666 and Grunt Life.

James Ray Tuck Jr.: the Deacon Chalk series, co-author of the Robin Hood: Demon’s Bane series, and (as Levi Black) the Red Right Hand trilogy

 

My own contribution is called “The Fall of Iaron,” and it’s sorta-kinda a Dragon Precinct story — that is to say, it takes place in the same general setting of the world of Flingaria, but the Cliff’s End Castle Guard isn’t part of it. You won’t need to have read any of the “Precinct” tales to follow it, but those who have should recognize many of the places and appreciate the history I’m providing in it.

I had a lot of fun with it and between that, and “Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty,” I think there’s definite possibilities for more Flingaria stories that aren’t police procedurals……..