MY YEAR IN REVIEW

To my surprise, several people have asked if I intend to blog about what I’ve had published in 2016. Well, alrighty then, since a few of you asked …

Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs– This novelette (3rd in the series) appeared in the April issue of Analog. Not only am I rather fond of it, but I’m also totally in love with the Bob Eggleton dinosaur cover on the magazine.

Not With A Bang-My first time travel story featuring Marty and Julianna was reprinted in the anthology Time Travel Tales.

Dino Mate – The sequel to Not With a Bang was reprinted in Ctrl Alt Delight.

Zombie Limbo Master – My sole zombie story was reprinted in Quickfic Anthology 1.

Our Right, Our Duty, Our Privilege was the March Analog guest editorial.

On the Money: Scientist of Inventor Wanted – This guest editorial appeared in the November issue of Analog.

 

All in all, this hasn’t been a bad year by any means. In fact, it’s been a better year for me than this list might lead one to suppose. The reason I say this has to do with several things I’ve written that will be unveiled next year.

Time Travel Tales Anthology

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Calling all lovers of stories about slipping into the past, seeing living dinosaurs, getting a do-over for a crucial event, saving the future, and wrestling with the paradoxes of time travel: Check out this wonderful anthology of 20 time travel tales. Editor Zach Chapman has done a terrific job of assembling an entertaining collection of remarkable stories by Robert Silverberg among others.

It includes my very first story of the time travel adventures of Marty Zuber, “Not with a Bang,” which was first published in Analog. You’ll learn the real reason the dinosaurs went extinct.

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MY AWARD-ELIGIBLE FICTION

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It’s that time of year, once again, when writers set out to gently remind our faithful–but perhaps forgetful–readers as to what we published that is eligible for the Hugo and Nebula awards, as well as for the plethora of other literary awards.

For me, it’s simple: most of my work was either nonfiction, like my 2 Analog guest editorials, or reprints of previously published stories. However, I did have one novelette published in the April 2016 issue of Analog. It’s title is, “Diamond Jim and the Dinosaurs.” I’d be honored if you’d give it a look-see because who doesn’t need to read about dinosaurs roaming around Antarctica?

As for next year, I’ve got a passel of new dinosaurs, with extra ferocity, ready to serve up to my readers!

OH PARADISE!

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Are you a newish professional SF & fantasy writer? ‘Tis the season to contemplate taking your fiction writing to a new level via a terrific writers’ workshop. What’s that I hear you muttering—you’ll give it some thought after the holidays? That may well be a mistake. You see, one of the premier workshops, Paradise Lost, accepts memberships on a rolling basis. It has a limited number left for both its critique track and its retreat track. There aren’t many left. I’ve been to Paradise Lost three years running and must say that I’ve learned wonderful new things every year. Plus it’s a four-day event set in beautiful San Antonio, Texas at a perfect time of year: April 27 – 3o, 2017.

Paradise Lost isn’t for beginners as you must have a pro sale, or have attended Viable Paradise, Taos Toolbox, or be a member of Codex. But it is way less intensive than those other workshops. At Paradise Lost, you’ll have a few weeks in advance to critique roughly four works of 5000 words apiece.  20,000 words total is doable even if you’re not a fast critiquer, and I’m definitely not. There will also be time to work on your own stories, attend class, and socialize with other writers. What invariably gets shorted is sleep, but yeah you already knew that, right?

In a supportive environment, Paradise Lost really shines at:

1) Providing top-notch classroom instruction by some of the best writers in our field, and for the first time this year, by an agent.
2) Teaching you how to identify what’s working well and what could be improved in others’ stories, which translates into improving your own fiction.
3) Having experienced professionals give you thoughtful critiques of your stories.
4) Removing the preponderance of day-to-day distractions from writing, such as your day job, your family, etc.
5) Fostering genuine friendships with other newish pro writers who know what you’re going through, who can provide moral support and be there for you for years to come.

Nonetheless, a workshop is not a magic potion and cannot:

1) Make sure you keep on writing daily, weekly, monthly, or ever,
2) Force you to finish all – or any – of the stories or novels you began in a burst of enthusiasm,
3) See that you press the ‘submit’ button, and keep doing so each time a rejection comes back.

So back to the question – should you sign up? Keep in mind that-
1) It’s less time away from family, job, friends, and your day-to-day life than other writers’ workshops.
2) There is financial aid, as well as the possibility of sharing a hotel room with another attendee to reduce costs.
3) It can sure give you an injection of determination that can be vital to getting established in the tough field of writing science fiction and fantasy.

One last thought, Paradise Lost stands head and shoulders above trying to muddle through by perfecting your craft in isolation. Anything that can reduce the fundamentally isolating nature of the writer’s job is a remarkably good thing.

Sure hope I’ll see you there.

WORLD FANTASY CONVENTION 2016

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Goodbye Columbus: At the end of World Fantasy Convention 2016, I came back from Ohio and my city was NOT gone. So how was the convention, you might ask?

Well, as this photo of me shows, the mass autographing session was a lot of fun. You can see a few of the recent Analogs featuring my stories and guest editorials.

Another highlight was my panel with David Drake, S.M. Sterling, Eric Flint, & Rhiannon Held on how new archaeological findings influence SF and fantasy. Our panel was both well attended and well received.

Then too, I got to attend several author’s readings–always a treat! Thank you Camille Griep, David D. Levine, Lawrence Schoen, Rajan Khanna, Kathleen Goonan, and Max Gladstone.

Yet, what really stands out the most is several stimulating conversations I had with long-time and recent friends in the field. Perhaps it’s been a while since I’ve noted how much it lifts my spirits to be part of a community composed of many good people, creative people, witty and insightful people, enormously generous of spirit. As we ply our writer’s craft, each of our individual boats is swept along by currents seen and unseen. We call out warnings to one another of the rapids and shoals that lie before us. We applaud one another’s deft navigation. Our flotilla makes its way into the future.

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National Fossil Day 2016

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Calling all cat lovers: Who doesn’t need a wonderful drawing of a sabertooth in honor of National Fossil Day 2016? Today! The official name is Smilodon fatalis, and it’s not the only feline hunter of the Pleistocene. There were also thoroughly scary prehistoric versions of lions, cougars, jaguars, lynx, and cheetahs in bygone eras. Just look at those seven-inch teeth. This is 600 pounds of predator.

Here’s a Smilodon fossil skull from the famous La Brea Tar Pits.

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For more about National Fossil Day and fossils discovered in the United States, have a look here.

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ON THE MONEY

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I have a new guest editorial in Analog’s latest issue: November 2016. I give some thought to placing a scientist and/or inventor on United States currency. Give it a read and find out who might merit this honor. Do you have suggestions of your own — someone I don’t mention, perhaps? Let me know in the comments.

And hey, look at the other great stuff in this issue. I’m really pleased to be sharing a table of contents with these talented folks.  As always, my thanks go to Trevor Quachri for giving me this opportunity and for unleashing his first-rate editing abilities upon this piece.

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Also, I just gotta say, man-oh-man this guest editorial-writing gig never gets old!

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Best of MIDAMERICON 2 — Part 4

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When I grow up, I still want to be Connie Willis or  Walter Jon Williams or John Kessel or Michael Swanwick (who took this photo of Marianne Porter and the rest of us). You see, I’m still learning from the smart, funny, insightful and elegant works of some of my great friends who were at MidAmeriCon 2 this year. Wish I’d gotten more photos of some of the rest, but here are a couple more. And if any of these names are unfamiliar to you or if you haven’t read their marvelous stuff, are you ever in for a treat.

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Scott Edelman is one of the very few writers of zombie stories that I’ll read. Yes, some of his tales terrify me, but they are so memorable and never run-of-the-mill horror.

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My friend Dave Axler introduced me to the incomparable Pat Cadigan, who MC’d the Hugo ceremony on Saturday evening with her trademark wit and candor, giving us so many laughs. I still remember being blown away by Synners and Mindplayers when she wrote some fabulous cyberpunk stuff back in the 80ies.

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BEST OF MIDAMERICON 2 – Part 3

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Like any good gathering of the clan, one of the great highlights of this WorldCon was spending time with long-time friends. Jim Kelly and John Kessel are both extraordinary writers-separately and as collaborators-whom I am proud to call my friends. They’ve had my back for 20+ years, since they were my instructors at Clarion. Over the years, I’ve brought them various conundrums as to the art, craft, and business of writing SF in long and short forms. They’ve always had sage advice and reassurance. This time was no different. Thanks, you guys!

For any of you who have not read their Hugo or Nebula winning work: Good grief, why not? No time like the present. Plus, dinosaurs!

BEST of MIDAMERICON 2–PART 2

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Hey look–Stan Schmidt (former Analog editor and author), Trevor Quachri (current Analog editor), Alec Nevala-Lee (Analog author) and me at MidAmeriCon 2. Stan, Alec and I read stories from our stories in recent and forthcoming issues of Analog. Also participating but eluding the cameras was long-time Analog writer James Van Pelt. My thanks go to Trevor for moderating the panel and to my fellow writers for such entertaining readings.

I have to say that I was a bit dubious when I saw that those in charge of convention programming had organized several of the author readings by the various magazines in which their stories had been published. Well, I sure changed my mind in this case. The room was packed and people had some interesting questions.

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