Haven’t been to a convention in a few months, so I think I’ll break that streak with a big one. Dragon*Con is one of three cons on my 101 Things in 1001 Days list, so I’ve scraped together the funds to make a shoestring trip down to Atlanta. I will move silently among you, watching…waiting…
New novel progress, delayed slightly by the need to do a bunch of paid writing: 64,000 words.
Still don’t have a copy of the first book? Rectify that.
This weekend I’ll be at Penguicon, in Dearborn, MI, to do a few panels and make a few friends. Drop on by to say hello! There will be an Empty Cradle-themed table in the dealer’s room too, kitted out like a traveling merchant’s table and complete with a felid to give you a massage if you’d like.
It’s been a busy few months, what with getting the second Empty Cradle book underway and balancing promoting the first one and keeping a day job to pay the bills. The second Empty Cradle story is currently clocking in at a healthy 41,000 words and rising.
Meanwhile, illustrator Fred Grenier has offered up a fantastic bit of fan art, in the form of Ivy’s rig. He read the story and we chatted a bit about the background of her home and most important tool (though not stated in the book, Ivy’s rig started life as a ’69 Cadillac hearse; the pickup chassis and mutant diesel engine assembled from a collection of mostly Ford and Isuzu parts came later), and he sent me a fantastically accurate imagining of it, book cover-style:
Fred’s an awesome illustrator. You can (and should) check out his blog, Van Full of Monkeys.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt asked me to do a guest post at his blog, and I got to say a few words about my writing process. Check it out!
Also, I’ll be attending a few conventions in the next few months. Watch this space; if you catch me at a signing, make sure you get a city-sigil.
One last thing; the book’s cover has been updated, so there’ll be a version 1.5 available before too long. What do you think?
Empty Cradle is now available through just about every online retailer, and as an eBook from Amazon as well. Now that it’s out there and for real, I’m headed out to tell people about it. I am planning some home-town events some time in late September or early October, once I’m sure my local stores have EC in stock, but in the meantime I’ll be attending Con*Stellation XXX in Huntsville, AL, on September 16-18. It’ll be my first convention as a participant rather than a costumed spectator. I wonder if I should dress like a scav? In any case, please stop by my table in the dealer room (yes, there should be a real live Empty Cradle; TUDoCS selling table!) and say hello. Don’t worry; I am probably more afraid of you than you are of me.
As a point of pride, I said I was going to publish a book before a certain age, and I managed to do it literally two days before that particular birthday. It wasn’t a serious goal, more of a personal challenge. Maybe it was a present to myself. Maybe it was a present to everyone else. I haven’t decided yet, but I’m pretty happy about, all things considered.
Want to read it? It’s available here, and soon via Amazon.com as well.
So…after a long march, I stand on the brink of actually publishing a book. Of course, since it’s self-published, some folks would say that it’s not really publishing, but I’m not going to let that make me any less happy. The fact that the industry has shifted and changed to the point that it’s possible (depending on your goals for your book) to bypass the gristmill of agents and publishing houses and produce a book that’s yours and yours alone, unaffected by concerns of market positioning or mass demographic appeal is a good thing.
And my goals are quite modest. If I manage to eke out a hundred book sales, I’ll consider it a success.
I think it’s that certainty which has made me contemplate the labor-of-love aspect of self-publishing. There have been endless re-reads and re-writes, dozens of beta readers and careful editing to create as polished a product as possible (without spending $1600 for a professional editing job, that is. Maybe next time.), followed by the hunt for artists to create a cover, and a few months of back-and-forth work making that perfect as well. Things that I, as a distracted writer, never considered, like interior fonts, cover bleed and proper margins, all came into play. It was like planning a wedding. It was, for all intents and purposes, a part-time job. (Note: as an unpublished author, I already have three of those.) Fame and fortune are highly unlikely. I’ll consider myself lucky if I make back the money I’ve spent on the project so far, to be honest. Ten years ago, this would’ve cost me more than a new car, so I’m just grateful that the self-publishing process has gotten more affordable, as well as a bit more respectable.
But, hey, here I am, on the cusp of having an actual, physical book that I wrote, sitting on the bookshelf.
Yeah, that’s pretty cool.
Artwork by Kevin Steele
No more than ten minutes after they let Kroni out, Ivy came around a tight bend and slammed on the brakes, because there was a man standing in the middle of the road. He wore a kilt like Kroni’s, and had antlers on his head. In one hand, he carried a rifle with a long blade strapped to the barrel. The butt was a single carved piece of wood almost three feet long, so the weapon could be used as a walking stick as well. As the rig came to a stop, he began walking slowly toward them.
“Is that the cervie?” Swan asked. “He’s making us stop?”
Why was she asking about what was obvious? Corey had to bite his tongue before making a sarcastic comment; thankfully Ivy answered before he could ask if she was blind. “He’s in the road. Armed. And it looks as though he’s strapped a pair of antlers to his head.”
“Arrogant bambi,” Swan said. “You ever dealt with a woodsy cervid before?”
“No,” Ivy replied.
“He’s probably going to paw at you. At both of us. He won’t try to fight Pinkie or the Puppy as long as they’re not bigger than he is, and they keep their mouths shut. Pinkie, don’t ask him any questions because he’s gonna be lookin’ for an excuse to fight you.”
“Thank you for the warning,” Marcus said.
“Should I shut down?” Ivy asked. “He’s approaching.”
“Yeh, go quiet. He wants us to be scared, but if he knows you are it’s worse. He might want to see your tits. Best just to show him. If he goes after your snevvie, kill him.”
“My what?” Read more…
Lex Machina photo
Coming in the summer of 2011, this post-apocalyptic urban fantasy novel is the first of three. Empty Cradle: The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson introduces readers to a richly imagined vision of the future after a slow-motion cataclysm that puts an end to modern society. Read more…
When Clover excused herself to go and call Matt, to tell him to make his own dinner, Dori realized that it was her first moment alone with Nikki all day. She half-expected a big outburst from Nikki, but there was only a sigh, once Clover was out of earshot.
She still recognized the sigh, even though she hadn’t seen Nikki much in the past two years. “Sorry,” Dori said. “I know she can be kind of annoying. But she means well. Sometimes she’s pretty helpful.”
Nikki shook her head slightly. “I can deal,” she said. She picked up a piece of pasta on the end of her fork and looked at it without really concentrating on it. “We should talk later about furniture, though.”
“Do you still want to go look for that girl? Taylor?”
Dori nodded. “I was hoping Clover wouldn’t piss you off so much you’d want to leave, because I wanted your help.”
“She’s coming,” Nikki said. It wasn’t a question. “Fucking great.”
“Sorry,” Dori said again.
Nikki responded with a ghostly smile. “I’ve suffered worse,” she said. T Read more…