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August turned out to be a busy month. Far busier than I had expected.
On August 17th, I found out that my story for Tom Kratman‘s upcoming Carreraverse anthology (Terra Nova: The Wars of Liberation) made the cover. Call me whacky, but the donkeys are my favorite. When I was researching mule trains for “Bellona’s Gift” (my story) I learned that mule trains actually consist of a bell mare (who leads the train, because all mules have a horse as a mother and will instinctively follow her), the mules, and a donkey. Unlike mules, donkeys stand and fight. They are the equine version of a guard dog and I just couldn’t resist having one, not just for the sake of realism, but because any animal with strong protective instincts has a special place in my heart.
Also on the cover, several elements from the Carreraverse–a trixie chasing a moonbat, and progressivines. What a fun universe to play in. It was such a great honor to be included.
It was an even greater honor–and shock–to find out that I will be making my Baen debut with my name on the cover. I found this out at the Baen Roadshow at DragonCon. Even with a photographic evidence (snapped in haste) it’s still hard to believe. Terra Nova: The Wars of Liberation is set for release in August 2019.
Shortly after releasing Promethea Invicta I got a request for an audiobook version of it. One of my writer friends (and a great sci-fi author), Karl K. Gallagher, who had recorded his own audiobooks, was kind enough to point me in the right direction. I devoured Making Tracks: A Writer’s Guide to Audiobooks (and How to Produce Them): Second Edition in a day and started experimenting with Audacity (software) via some YouTube tutorials. I found out that the best place to read was my closet.
And you guys thoughts that writers just wrote, didn’t you? I wish that were true. We wear many hats. Thinking back, I had to learn how to do layouts for my manuscripts, write ad copy, sales copy, blurbs, and use several platforms to sell my books. So there are definitely times when marketing eats up a lot of your precious writing time. Then there’s self-promotion and the introvert’s kryptonite–networking.
On August 28th, a wonderful writer’s milestone happened: I got another rejection for my novelette-length female space samurai story, called Featherlight. The reason this is a milestone is because I didn’t even blink. In fact, I’d even forgotten I’d sent it out or where. Rather than feel disappointed, I was looking at it as an opportunity to expand it past the constraints of most pro-rate magazines which tend to limit the word count to between 15K and 17K words.
Then as I was preparing for DragonCon I found out that eight outfits was nowhere near enough and packed another. Or two. This was my very first DragonCon and while I had a vague idea for what it was, it turned out to be far more intense. Only 80K people. No problem. My goal for next year is to attend as a pro.
Several other wonderful things happened at DragonCon, but I can’t yet tell you what they were. Not yet.
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“The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.” – Norman Vincent Peale
One-point-two million words.
Why sign up to write six stories in six weeks without knowing a single thing about what you were going to be asked to write? Well, one answer is, to see if I could do it. The other answer—the real answer—was that what I really, really, really, wanted was the feedback.
I went into this expecting to sell nothing. As a first-timer, I knew that the likelihood that any of my stories would make the buy pile was going to be extremely low. And I was fine with that. What I wanted was an insight into the editorial process of some real pros, people who have been doing this for decades.
When you want to learn, learn from the best.
Read the rest here: Rejection 101: A Writer’s Guide
Two of my short stories are included:
- Dolus Magnus: The Great Hoax
Edited by Jason Rennie, the anthology includes an intro by Milo Yiannopoulos, essays by John C. Wright, Ivan Throne, Dawn Witzke, and Alfred Genneson, as well as fiction by Scott Bell, Jon Del Arroz, L. Jagi Lamplighter, Marina Fontaine, Brad Torgersen, Arlan Andrews Sr., Alfred Genneson, Chris Donahue, Christine Chase, David Harr, Daniel Humphreys, Dawn Witzke, Elaine Arias, Justin Robinson, Molly Pitcher, P.A. Piatt, Richard B. Atkinson, Tamara Wilhite, and Sandor Novak. I also wrote the afterword.
The first time I heard the term, GIGO, was in my machine language class—no, we weren’t using abaci or slide rules (we’d given those up the year before).
It’s an acronym that stands for “garbage in, garbage out” and it’s meant to convey the simple idea, that no matter how good your algorithm, if the data you enter is garbage, your output is also going to be garbage. For someone that works with data, GIGO becomes part of everyday life. It’s one of those axioms that you should never forget, but one that, unfortunately, many do.
Sometimes human beings get caught up in all that they think they can do and forget to stop and ask if it should be done at all—some would call this hubris. Scientists are just as vulnerable to hubris, and greed, as anyone else. There is nothing remotely Vulcan about them, despite portrayals to the contrary. We all have ego. We also all have mortgages and the desire to live well. We all have a desire to be relevant, to have our words and ideas given the respect we think they deserve. We are all, in essence, human beings first. And as such, we are prone to human frailties and while we may tell ourselves that we serve the better angels of our nature, we rarely do just that. There’s always a little bit more to it—like Pygmalion, we fall in love with our creation, be it a sculpture, a theory, or a computer model.
I have seen science corrupted by a strident belief as strong as any religious fervor, a type of mania that says that anyone who disagrees with the “official” interpretation of the future must be destroyed. Reputations must be ruined, jail and prison time served, voices silenced. There’s even a label for these terrible, terrible people—deniers.
The end of the world is big business. Fear is big business. But neither of these even begin to rival the grandeur that is power and control over people’s lives. Control of what they can eat, what they can drink, what they can see, hear, and think. No matter what the problem—whether real or imagined—the solution is always the same: Give us power over you and we will make it all better.
“After all, our ideas are so good that they must be made mandatory,” they tell us.
From global cooling, to global warming, to climate change (all catastrophic of course, all man-made don’t-you-know) the solution is always the same. More power to the government and the global elites that know better, all for the price of your freedom and prosperity. The song –acid rain, holes in the ozone layer, global cooling, global warming, climate change, shifting weather patterns–morphs as reality intrudes and proves the faithful wrong, but, not unlike the snake-oil salesman who has the same magical cure for all, the solution is always the same. Unlike the snake-oil salesmen, however, the oracles of freedom- and prosperity-destroying ideas, global power grabs, and bad science, don’t get run out of town. They don’t get tarred and feathered. They get tenure and fame and success. They get political backing. They become essential tools (yes, that’s a double entendre) wielded by the powerful.
It is with these thoughts churning in my head, that I wrote a short story called “Dolus Magnus: The Great Hoax” for Superversive Press’s upcoming anthology, MAGA: 2020 & Beyond. It is the story of a young scientist’s crisis of faith, about the price and cost of speaking out against consensus, about…
“Purgamentum init, exit purgamentum—garbage in, garbage out.”
MAGA: 2020 & Beyond will be released on Nov. 8th, 2017, exactly one year after Donald Trump’s election. It is available now for pre-order HERE.
While we were in Lost Wages–I mean, Las Vegas–last week, I got a publication offer. I signed the contract today AND I’m putting the finishing touches on an urban fantasy short story. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, aimed at UF tropes, and courtesy of a few half-days stuck in a hotel room.