Randomness for 4/30


We’re game-heavy this time. Must be some sort of sign.

1) This sort of thing makes me miss gaming.

2) Father takes crazier, funnier pictures of his kids than I ever could of mine.

3) A water slide so dangerous it was shut down immediately.

4) Should I check email? A flowchart.

5) How to escape from zip tie “handcuffs”.

6) A fantastic D&D blog. I’ve added this one to my reading list. I especially liked “Items of Moderate Interest in the Ogre-King’s Hoard.”

7) What’s it going to take for the Don’t Read This Book anthology (which I am in) to turn a profit? A little publishing transparency from Fred Hicks.

Trying to fix the store


The tech support guy who has been who has been helping me tells me that my online store should be fixed. For the past few weeks, the store has processed payments but the response from PayPal that says “This person has paid. Let them download the story.” has not been getting through. That should be fixed now.

Is there anyone out there who would mind buying a story to make sure it works? “Lord of Reavers” is an original novelette for only a buck, and it’s never been published anywhere but online.

Okay! Not working at all, still. Thanks for trying, folks.

For the time being, when someone buys a story from the store, I’ll be emailing the file as soon as I can. Sorry for the problems.

Don’t Read This Book


So! You can now pre-order the anthology Don’t Read This Book in softcover. If you do, you’ll get the electronic version immediately. As in, right now.

If all you want to buy is the ebook, you’ll have to wait for the release date. (Thems the rules, apparently.)

Find out more.

For those who haven’t been following along, the stories take place in the setting of the rpg Don’t Rest Your Head, about ordinary people who find themselves trapped in a world of literal nightmares, and risk losing their lives if they fall asleep.

It’s edited by Chuck Wendig, and here’s a list of contributors:

Stephen Blackmoore
Harry Connolly
Rich Dansky
Matt Forbeck
Laura Anne Gilman
Will Hindmarch
Mur Lafferty
Robin D. Laws
Ryan Macklin
C. E. Murphy
Josh Roby
Greg Stolze
Monica Valentinelli

They were nice enough to place my story at the very end; I guess they liked it. Me, I’m just pleased to be included with all those terrific writers.

I’ve been meaning to write a full post about my short fiction: what I’ve done, what I’m selling and where it’s available. Putting that together has been on the list of super-important things for months.

Anyway. Check it out. It’s a terrific book.

Second temporary return of This Week’s Hypothetical!


A friend comes to you with a question. They know a science fiction/fantasy author who has just won a tidy sum in a lottery–enough that they can quit their day job and write full time in any place in the world. They won’t be rich, but they can be comfortable. However, this FOAF writer has no idea where they should settle; they turned to their friend for advice, and the friend is turning to you.

Now, because the writer is sorta paranoid about how dangerous a sudden influx of money can be, your friend has promised not to reveal anything personal about this author: Their age, ethnicity, political leanings, gender, nothing. They have a family. They speak English. They’re American. Also, they’re open to living anywhere, not just the U.S.A.

Knowing so little about the person, where do you think is the best place in the world for an sf/f writer to live (low-Earth orbit is too pricy, but little else would be)? What factors should they consider? Community? Research materials? Government benefits/no government benefits? Food and healthy lifestyles? Proximity to conventions/NYC? Or doesn’t it really matter?

What advice would you give?

(Quick note because I think I should: I’m not planning to move in the near future and if I were I wouldn’t gather information through a hypothetical post. This is really just a hypothetical.)

Tor and Forge drop DRM


So, yeah, it’s a big deal. Tor/Forge aren’t the first publishers to sell their ebooks without DRM–Baen and Angry Robot have already been doing it for a while–but Tor/Forge is absolutely the biggest. Tor is part of Macmillan, one of the “Big Six” out of New York, and what’s more they’re privately-held. No shareholders to worry about.

If you’ve been reading Charlie Stross on the subject (and you should have been) you know that removing DRM is the best way to prevent online ebook sellers from establishing a stranglehold on the market. If readers can buy books from any store and read them on their preferred device, they will. What’s more, they won’t lose their entire libraries (or be forced to torrent them) once their personal devices become obsolete.

Anyway, Stross had an opportunity to write an essay to the CEO of Macmillan about the benefits of dropping DRM, and he’s posted it on his blog. I realize that there have been many voices within the Big Six publishers who have longed for an end to DRM, and there has been years of work moving the Overton Window on this subject.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if history remembered Stross as the decisive force for change, whatever he says in his post.

At first I was all “It’s Pixel-Stained Techno-Peasant Wretch Day again?”


Because I didn’t have free fiction set to give away. What can I say? My son’s “novel” isn’t finished yet and most of my short fiction is already for sale as ebooks, either on my online store (which is still not working ten days after I asked for help from Shopp tech support) or B&N/Amazon.

Then I realized I’m still giving away free chapter of my novels. Chapter one of Child of Fire is here.

Okay, maybe that doesn’t really count. Go easy on me here, I’m behind on my current book.

Blame yourself, shame yourself


Yesterday on Twitter I was talking about the importance of taking the blame for every failure and rejection. Today I feel like talking about the shame of revisiting work.

There’s not a lot to say, though. After I send something off, I hate to revisit it because I know I’ll see things I want to change. Not little tweaks, either, but places where I use a pronoun with an unclear (to me) antecedent, or text that seems too rushed, or a scene without enough description of the setting.

I just did it last night. Nothing big, you understand. Just a quick little nothing. But looking at it now just makes me feel sad and useless[1]. (Not that I have time to redo it.)

Which is the perfect way to start a writing day! Actually, yesterday was pretty good if a bit tough. Today will be even harder, but I’m hoping to surpass myself. I really really need to finish this book.

[1] Usually when I post something like this, I get people dropping me notes of encouragement or whatever. Thanks, but it’s not necessary.