First news: There is a Goodreads giveaway of Queen of the Pirates happening, for those of you that would like a paper copy that you can track me down and have sign, sometime.
Additionally, Book Three, Last of the Immortals, is now in the hands of first readers and editors. Expected publication date is roughly November 17th, just in time for OryCon 37 in Portland, OR. I won’t be on any panels, but will be hanging out and generally having fun with a tribe of writers and other silly folks.
As cons go, Ory is much quieter than ECCC or Pax. Partly, that’s because it is a writer’s con, rather than for gamers or comic nerds (of which I am also both). There will be a lot of panels on how to write, how to become a writer, how to be successful, and how to enjoy it. And yes, those are four different tasks we all face. There will be a small dealers room, and a reasonable art show. But the core is writers.
There will also be a fantastic costumed element. Costumers from up and down the west coast come to OryCon and show off. Plus there is an amazing steampunk guild in the Pacific NW that goes all in. And it shows.
Afterwards, there will be a mass book-signing event at one of the Powell’s books satellite locations (the one out west, I don’t have the address or city in front of me, but over the ridge from downtown). Lots of people come up for it (like 20-30 authors signing kind of thing) and Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) will be there signing her books and is friends with the folks running it, so they invited me.
Immortals will be my fourth novel, so I at least look like a professional, even if last year, Fabulous Publisher Babe was seated between Todd McCaffery on one side and Dean Wesley Smith and Kris Rusch on the other, with me running errands for Irene Radford. But this is your chance to get a signed copy. And OryCon is about as close as we’ll get to a book release party.
Thank you for everyone who bought and enjoyed Auberon and Queen of the Pirates. The reviews have been generally very good, but better has been that people liked it enough to leave a comment and a good rating. I write for me. I can do that, as a true independent writer not beholden to Manhattan editors. But it’s nice when other people read and like it, and even get it.
By now, hopefully, you’ve read Queen, and come to that lovely cliff-hanger ending. Your wait won’t be too long. Immortals turned out to be almost as long as Queen (81k before editors, probably 85k after, compared to 91k for Queen), because I ended up with a much broader and deeper story than I expected going in.
But we do resolve the three books as a trilogy. And there will be more Jessica Keller books, just not immediately. She’s finally happy to let me get back to some of the other things I originally had planned for 2015. I will let everyone know when I start the next trilogy, as I expect to write those back to back to back once she tells me what I need to know.
Before that, I need to write a short piece for an anthology (the annual camp-con piece, of which Tales From An Alien Campfire was this year’s issue). I have another Science Officer story planned. A few secret projects that I can’t tell anyone about until probably the middle of next year. You know, stuff.
Went to World Con this year. That’s why there was no blog last week. In between exhaustion and other things, I felt it would be a good idea to keep myself to myself. There are some ugly trends out there that are slowly resolving themselves, and a few people caught on the wrong side of history, and few trapped in the middle.
One particular jackass has made it a point, over the last few years, to try to stack the slate of stories nominated for the Hugo awards, which are the Oscars of science fiction and fantasy. His general position is that women and minorities don’t belong in science fiction, and certainly shouldn’t be nominated for any awards. The Hugos should only be for white European men. Like I said, jackass. Racist, misogynistic, homophobic jackass.
So this year, he managed to dominate the nomination process in ways that will probably get it changed next year. And he appears to have burned so many bridges that you’ll never see him in anything major again, as big publishers are allergic to bad publicity. (Bad boy is one thing, neo-nazi punk is something entirely else, especially at a time when more and more women are buying and reading science fiction. Did you see the article recently where the single largest demographic of gamers right now out there are adult women? Warms my heart.) Enough voters chose “No award given” that there were literally no names for something like five of the categories. It was brutal, and rude, and probably necessary.
Anyway, those of you who have read my stuff will note that I don’t generally have a socio-political axe to grind. (Okay, not many, but still.) I just want to tell a really good story, with interesting characters doing believable things in the face of incredible odds. If I happen to have characters who are black, or brown, or female, or alien, or whatever, it is because I believe that in the future, we will have moved away from the current lens of race and gender politics. (Hopefully, some researcher in the distant future is reading my ancient historical works and giggling at the concept of only having one gender. I’ll keep banging the rocks together, just in case.)
I had this conversation yesterday with someone. Science fiction, at its best, is about what it means to be human. To explore where we are right now, and where we are going. To go back to some past point and change a single thing and see where it lands us. To move past our present and engage our future. The very best episodes of Star Trek (TOS or NextGen) did that. (“There are FOUR lights!”)
There are important works in science fiction that explore all the strange corners of human civilization. Past, present, or future. While I may not be the right reader for some of them, it really does warm my heart to see so many new voices, so many new cultures, so many new genders exploring these things. Doubly so when the old white dinosaurs of publishing culture are finally dying. It gives me more things to read, more things to talk about, more ideas to think. And while I might prefer Doc Smith or Isaac Asimov, I do some for their exploration of the future, not their horribly-dated social consciousness. I can laugh at the Lensman books, or Skylark, or Robots, while not losing the core of the idea they wanted to convey.
That being said, modern space opera tends to be a very Euro-centric affair. Can someone recommend me a writer from that geographical span of cultures we call “Middle East” for some good space opera? I would like to see how they would do it different, and what I can learn from them.
Shade and sweet water,