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Monthly Archives: January 2010

&$%#@!

book better watch out, is all i'm sayin'.

ok, so the stupid book is almost done. I shouldn’t call it names. It really isn’t the book’s fault. It actually told me how to write it a couple of months ago and it’s been pretty good with providing the occasional pleasant surprise along the way. The problem is, it’s been ALMOST done for a month now, and I just can’t seem to get it to actual done.

There’s no problem. I feel like with this book I finally learned how to actually plot, which has been a whole thing in the past. And I still like the characters and am pretty excited to write what’s coming next. We have just one final thing before the actual final thing, a heartfelt denoument, and … roll credits.

so why isn’t it done? Dunno. Life has been kicking my ass a little the last few weeks, but it’s been nothing major (though this whole “death of a thousand cuts” is getting really old).

I’ve just got to knuckle down, reset my 2000 a day goal and stick to it. And I think the book is tired as well. It’s probably sick of me cursing at it undeservedly, I’m sure.

So, what do you say, book? You want to get this thing over with?

raging waterfall?
sharp rocks at the bottom?
bring it on.
(there’s probably only one person who will understand why that is here, and I hope she’s laughing right now).

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Posted by on January 29, 2010 in writing

 

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Publishers Weekly starred review!

Destination: Future, the new science fiction anthology from Hadley-Rille books, edited by Eric Reynolds and Z.S. Adani, has recieved a starred review from Publishers Weekly!

did I mention it contains my short story, Jadeflower? No? well consider it mentioned.

I’m incredibly excited about this, not only because it’s a &!#@-ing Publisher’s Weekly starred review, but also because they also reviewed Footprints, and, well, weren’t so kind, which only makes this one mean so much more.

my favorite bit from the review: “The strengths of this 21-story anthology are its diversity, cerebral speculation, and stellar storytelling, which breathe new life into well-worn themes.”

Couldn’t be happier with the review, or more proud to be in such company. Congrats to all, but especially to Eric and Sophy, who worked so hard putting it together. As I’ve mentioned before, I can attest to the fine work and long man-hours Z.S. Adani, especially, put into this project.

Destination: Future, I’m told, will be out in a couple of weeks. It should be available for online pre-order soon, and will definitely be in the following bookstores, which consistently carry Hadley-Rille’s list:

Borderlands Books – San Francisco
Dark Carnival – Berkeley
Powell’s – Portland, OR
Mystery & Imagination – Glendale, CA
Barnes & Noble – Corona, CA
Ziesing Books – Shingletown, CA
Rediscovered Bookshop – Boise, ID
Book People – Moscow, ID
Who Else? – Denver, CO
Univ of Kansas Bookstore – Lawrence, KS
Borders Books – Overland Park, KS
Barnes & Noble – Overland Park, KS
Books & Crannies – Terrell, TX
Parkside Books – Blue Springs, MO
Barnes & Noble – New Orleans
Univ of Chicago – Oriental Museum Bookstore – Chicago
Pandemonium Books – Cambridge, MA
Between Books – Claymont, DE

This one is likely to be in scattered BN’s and Borders across the country, as well, especially in they are requested.
Once again, this is a huge deal and I couldn’t be happier.

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2010 in writing

 

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Jesus Take Carrie Underwood, or How I learned to Stop worrying, and love American Idol

Ok, FINE. I was a conscientious objector to the whole thing for years and years. I refused to watch, even, and made fun of people who were fans (sorry, Kim) and couldn’t stand the sight of Clay Aiken and Carrie Underwood and their ilk. But the whole time, I had a dirty, shameful, secret.

I thought Kelly Clarkson was totally awesome. (I’m sorry, I’m sorry).

I made myself feel a little better about it because “Since U Been Gone” is TOTALLY the best treadmill song EVAH (there may have been too much time spent on Icanhazcheeseburger lately). And decided that it was totally ok, I could like one person and it didn’t make me a traitor to the cause.

And Clay Aiken and Carrie Underwood totally got under my skin in a way that made me want to tear it off and flap it at them to make them go away, so THAT was a good sign.

And then came David Cook and there’s a part of me buried deep, deep down that welled up in tears every time I head “Time of my Life” and I went ahead and downloaded that whole album and was ready to declare “Lie to Me” as the best tragic breakup song of all time.

But it was still ok because I’d never watched an episode of the show.

Then came another little reality show called Dancing with the Stars. And we were watching that, and I thought, well, we’re watching that, so maybe if I bring in AI I can maybe move our family reality obsession to that instead of DWTS. So it was TOTALLY a distraction move.

Started watching for realz halfway through the 2009 edition. Enjoyed it, but we hadn’t seen the entire thing so found I could take it or leave it.

Fast forward to this week. A wife home sick with the flu, looking for something to watch, discovering the AI 2009 marathon on Fox reality, and now we’ve watched the entire thing in one week. And now i’m a little hooked and can’t wait for next season.

Seriously, I just went on itunes and downloaded a bunch of stuff from Kris Allen and Alison Iraheta, and Daughtry, and Josh Gracin, and … well, let’s not go into it. I already had the Kelly Clarkson and David Cook covered.

In May, when this is all over again, I am going to feel really bad about this.

But not yet. Quick, someone email me a link to some Ramones or the Clash or something.

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Works in Progress

In the interest of making these things public so as not be be distracted by new ideas I keep coming up with, I am stealing an idea from Elizabeth Bear and listing current projects in progress. Not because anyone is interested, but because this way it will be out there and certain of you can call me on it if I (inevitably) get distracted.

Finishing first draft of: Kicksplodey Space Opera novel
plotting: Fantasy short story for Anthalogy submission
researching/thinking about: supernatural mystery novel next in queue for first drafting
playing idea whack-a-mole with: weird steampunk mash-up novel I hope to start after the
mystery (aiming to begin during Nano 2010)

And that’s what’s kicking around. Sometimes I kick them, most of the time they kick me. But it’s all good.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

In the interest of not being a sarcastic jackass ALL the time …

Don't ask me what the lolcats are about all of a sudden. Just cuz, I guess.

Some things I am happy about as a new year begins

I sold a story last year, Jadeflower, coming out in the Destination Future anthology from Hadley-Rille books. I am really happy with this one, still. It’s not just that I still like the story, but I had a great experience working with editor Z.S. Adani, who took the thing in its raw form and really helped me form it into something I’m proud of. It was my first heavy editing experience, and she set the bar a little high for me. She made suggestions (all of them excellent), but let me be the one to decide how best to implement them, and I appreciate all her hard work and, let’s be honest here, her hand-holding.

I won Nano (yes, I already wrote about this)m and found a great group of online writer friends through both the Nano sight, The Night of Writing Dangerously, and Twitter. I feel much more connected to that world now, which can only help me fine-tune my skills. The Night of Writing dangerously also taught me how much the people in my life care about me and really do want me to succeed. I’ve always been a little embarrassed about my aspirations, not being the kid of person who talked a big game and never made it happen. This year I realized I could be all about the work, but still share my goals with others, and it was a good feeling. Maybe I just needed to get over myself a little bit (I know!)

And the Calculus of Hope is almost, almost done. Hope to have the first draft in the can by Jan. 16th so I can start attacking it with a scalpel and some spackle.

I got myself to the point where I am ready to get my tech certifications and start seriously looking for a job, and at the same time have a little bit of an opportunity to do some freelance tech support here in my area for actual money. Had my first real “service call”, solved the problem, and got paid, which felt really weird.

And probably the most important thing has been realizing what an awesome woman I am married to. Seriously, any right-thinking person would have gotten tired of my act a long time ago and totally booted me out the door. This might not do much to recommend her reasoning skills, but I’m happy about that anyway. Coming off a mixed episode at the end of last year, she very literally probably saved my life. She doesn’t get a lot of credit for the things she does, supporting my ass being just one of them. She was totally the reason % had success at Nano, not only being my fundraising director for NOWD, but making sure I had the time and space to do the actual work. To be honest, I wasn’t even going to participate in NOWD, but she could tell I wanted to and insisted that it happen, making a lot of sacrifices over the course of that very long month to insure that it WOULD happen. She’s a person of strong will, and I tease her about being a type A, but without her, I would probably just bounce off one wall after another before offing myself in some bizarre, accidental face plant. She should totally list spazz-wrangling as one of her skills on her resume. Lost in my own head most of the time, I don’t do a very good job noticing these things, let alone expressing my appreciation, but for some reason she still loves me, and I really, really love her even though I don’t express that in any way that approaches adequacy. Changing that is my only New Year’s resolution.

So, happy New Year, everyone. As I said before, the bar is low, but I really do expect better days ahead.

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2010 in life

 

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Ringing in the new year with legos and vomit


For Christmas this year, my wife and I made the executive decision that instead of presents, we would take a family vacation. And since the kids are really into them right now, we chose lego-land. Long car trips are doubleplus unfun with the various personalities involved (yes, mine too), so we flew down from Sacramento to San Diego. Somewhere through the years I forgot my son hadn’t flown on a plane in his own memory (he was 2 the last time), and some child in his class had him freaked out about plane crashes and whatnot, but he pulled through like a trooper. The return flight, he even wanted the window seat.

But Lego-land was fun, if a lot less lego-y than I had expected. It’s not like I expected the rides to actually be made out of legos, but still. There were some cool things there, and the kids had a lot of fun. My favorite thing was the place where you could build lego vehicles and then race them against each other on this cool sloping racetrack. I immediately started making plans to build one and install it in the living room, but this was voted down, so I contented myself with the lesson that winning at lego car racing is all about weight and balance. Maybe the ramp will go in the backyard, but then you have wind resistance to deal with.

ok, so maybe it’s not just the kids that are into legos. I am getting to make a corner where we can take all the legos and put them in the middle of a big table so we can keep them there all the time, because as you all know, it’s frustrating to get started on a big lego project and have to move it, because the sections always come apart and by the time you’re done getting it back together, you’ve lost a couple of crucial pieces and maybe even the entire design plan anyway. so …. win!

We’d planned to hit the SD Zoo as well, but on New Year’s eve, the drewnami got really sick (all over the rental car too) so we took it easy and just went to the beach. And once he was done being sick, it hit my poor wife at the exact worst possible moment. We can wholeheartedly recommend the kindness and helpfulness of Southwest Airlines flight attendants.

So that was how the West Coast branch of the Grayson family spent New Year’s. And I feel sorry for my poor wife and son who had to endure it, even as I kind of don’t even mind. It’s a longstanding family tradition for there be at least one hospital visit per holiday. We stayed out of the hospital this time, but I already had New Year’s covered from an incident ten years ago. My son helpfully launched himself over a barbecue grill last year (freak not, it was off) on Groundhog’s day.

And during all this, while standing in a stealth long-ass line at the Bionicle roller coaster, a story I’ve been knocking around inside my head sort of woke up and told me what it was and how to write it. And it was then I realized that if I’d only had my phone with me (it was in the backpack) I would have been able to jot it all down right there. Turns out Kate is right, I SHOULD have my cell phone on me at all times. Who knew?

So happy New Year to you all. 2009 sucked. There were like, one or two good things that happened, but the rest of 2009 can go do unnatural things to itself. 2010 — the bar’s pretty low, so no pressure, m’kay?

 
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Posted by on January 3, 2010 in life

 

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