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The Writer's Notebook

Mar. 8th, 2014 | 04:19 pm

A while back, somebody asked me if I kept a notebook or its electronic equivalent with me at all times, and would I recommend that as a general practice. That’s a piece of advice that one often hears — the idea is that you’ll always be ready to jot down a new idea or a reference or some useful piece of information, rather than ending up with a handful of notes on the backs of receipts or someone else’s business cards.  The short answer is yes, I keep a notebook on me all the time. I use it pretty much every day, and I’d certainly recommend keeping one handy.

But of course I have a longer answer too.Collapse )

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Lammy Finalists!

Mar. 7th, 2014 | 01:48 pm

Amy and I are delighted to announce that Death By Silver has been short-listed for the 26th Annual Lambda Literary Awards, in the LGBT SF/F/Horror category!  It's a particularly good year, too, so it's an honor to be nominated. Congratulations to all the nominees!

Collaborators, Deborah Wheeler, Dragon Moon Press
Death by Silver, Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold, Lethe Press
Deprivation; or, Benedetto furioso: an oneiromancy, Alex Jeffers, Lethe Press
Dragon Slayer, Isabella Carter, Less Than Three Press
Dust Devil on a Quiet Street, Richard Bowes, Lethe Press
Hell's Belle, Marie Castle, Bella Books
Invisible Soft Return :\, Roberta Degnore, Digital Fabulists
Light, Nathan Burgoryne, Bold Strokes Books
Like Light for Flies, Lee Thomas, Lethe Press
The Stars Change, Mary Anne Mohanraj, Circlet Press, Inc.

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Feb. 27th, 2014 | 08:40 am

Silver Bullet is out in ebook (and at Amazon and B&N), and will soon be available in print - I'll post the exact date as soon as I have it.  Steel Blues is no longer on Kindle exclusive, and can be found in all formats through Crossroad or at your favorite online dealers.  And if you haven't tried the series, or if you want to start at the beginning with Lost Things — well, on March 2 we're dropping the price to .99 for a one-week sale to celebrate the Silver Bullet release.

1930s aviation and occult adventure and a team of WWI veterans bound by friendship and Lodge oaths.  You won't find a better time to check out the Order of the Air.

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Why I want an Amtrak residency

Feb. 24th, 2014 | 10:56 am

There’s a new plan out there, started apparently by happenstance and Twitter, to create “writers’ residencies” on long-distance Amtrak trains.  And, oh, I would so very much love to get one!  When I was living in Boston, I took the train on a regular basis, most often to New York, but also Baltimore and DC — it was so much easier than any other way of getting there, and I was guaranteed a fabulous view and plenty of time to read and write.  When I sold my first Star Trek tie-in for an unexpectedly generous advance, Lisa and I decided to take some of the bounty and travel to the 1993 WorldCon by train — Boston to San Francisco, with an overnight in Chicago. Twenty-one years later, that trip remains one of the best I’ve ever taken, and one I would do again in a heartbeat.

Read more...Collapse )

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Silver Bullet!

Feb. 12th, 2014 | 02:48 pm

Silver Bullet, the third Order of the Air novel after Lost Things and Steel Blues, is now available in ebook direct from Crossroad (all formats available) and from Amazon!  The print version should be available shortly, but there didn't seem to be any reason to hold off on the ebook.  It's another lovely Bob Eggleton cover, and the blurb tells you all you need to know...

The enticing blurb!Collapse )

Fabulous cover!Collapse )

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Call for Submissions - Lethe Press

Jan. 18th, 2014 | 10:02 am

Just a quick heads-up for the writers among you.  Steve Berman at Lethe has announced that he is extending the deadline for Daughters of Frankenstein:  Lesbian Mad Scientists another six months from the original January 31, 2014 deadline.  Here’s the original description:

"Lethe Press is seeking short stories and novellettes for its forthcoming anthology, Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists! We're looking for more cinematic-style "mad science"--over-the-top vs. textbook--so everything from alchemy to steampunk to cloning in tanks is fine. The protagonist must be lesbian and her sexuality cannot be a stigma. While the mad scientist need not be the protagonist, she must be a three-dimensional character and her interest in (mad) science should have a natural rationale as in real life (though her desired ends to whatever experiment takes place as one of the story arcs need not be natural at all!). Our preference is stories that take place in 19th and 20th centuries, but we are open to other time periods and contemporary tales.

"This book would be shelved in SF/Fantasy. So this is not an erotica anthology. Elements of romance are fine and welcome as long as they are natural to the story.

"Stories should be 2,500 to 12,500 words. Payment is 5 cents a word upon publication, which will be in the fall of 2014. Deadline for all submissions is January 31st, 2014. Submissions must be sent as rtf files to with the subject line DAUGHTERS OF FRANKENSTEIN. Feel free to query us."

It looks like enormous fun, and I’d like to read it.  (And, yes, I’ve got a story mostly done, because this is absolutely right up my alley. Though at the moment I’m poking at it looking for ways to make the science bigger and madder…) Steve’s note on Facebook said that he’d gotten too many stories about reanimating a lover rather than the full spectrum of mad science, so - a word to the wise. 

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Happy 2014!

Jan. 1st, 2014 | 11:00 am

It’s the first day of 2014, and I’ve started cooking collard greens for the New Year.  This is a ritual in a lot of the American South: you have to have ham and black-eyed peas and collard greens for dinner to bring luck for the upcoming year, and it’s something I’ve always done.  It’s not exactly superstition, or at least not entirely superstition.  It’s more reaching back while I reach forward, honoring the past as well as what’s to come, Janus the double-faced god of doorways on the first day of his own month.  The story in my family was that the peas were to bring luck and the collards were to bring the folding money; the ham was just good eating. I’ve heard other people say their family ate ham because pigs rooted forward, not scratching backward like a chicken, or that the peas were the coins and the greens the bills, so that your pockets would always be full of what you needed.  Some people just served black-eyed peas for the luck, and left off the collards, or served any old greens.

When I lived in the northeast, it always took a fair amount of effort to get everything.  The store that carried frozen black-eyed peas never had collards; collards might be found fresh at either of two stores, but never at the one I went to first, and if that didn’t work I’d have to cross my fingers that the expensive grocery store that carried all sorts of exotic food might have the canned version.  And I had to shop early, or the other expatriate southerners would have snapped up everything.  I could never afford country-style ham, but New England hams are pretty tasty, too.

Now that I’ve moved back south, I still get a kick out of wandering into the grocery story two days before New Year’s and finding everything I want right there ready for me.  The shelves are piled with bunches of collards, I have my choice of black-eyed peas (fresh, dried, frozen, or canned), the super-easy pre-sliced quarter ham is country-style, sharp and salty, and I’m right there with everyone else looking for the right foods to fit our family traditions.  When I checked out, the young woman bagging said, “oh, that’s right, black-eyed peas for luck,” and the cashier said she had to remember to get her collards before they were all gone, and told me a story about her father sending his Vermont in-laws an entire country ham for Christmas, only they’d never seen such a thing and thought it was spoiled (whole country hams do acquire a certain… patina… as they cure) and fed it to the dogs.

I’m cooking the collards the old-fashioned way, simmered with a ham hock until the meat falls off the bone and the collards are mushy, not stir-fried with onion and garlic and butter and maybe a splash of white wine — that’s delicious, but not for today.  I’ll cook it halfway here at home, and then take the rest to friends’  where it can finish while we make the rest of the dinner and drink champagne and bring in the New Year.

Happy New Year to all, and may you have plenty of luck and folding money all the year long!

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Wind Raker and Serendipity

Dec. 17th, 2013 | 07:02 pm

I talked in Conceiving the Heavens, my book on writing SF and fantasy, about cultivating serendipity — putting yourself in the way of ideas and information and nuggets of fact and research — because you never know what’s available or what you may find useful. Having just had a nicely serendipitous experience as we finished up Wind Raker, the fourth Order of the Air novel, I thought I’d share — particularly since it comes with pictures.
Cut for photos...Collapse )

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Year's Best SF 31

Nov. 23rd, 2013 | 11:03 am

My story "Finders," which first appeared in The Other Half of the Sky, has been accepted to the Year's Best SF 31.  Needless to say, I am over the moon — it's an honor and a pleasure, and doubly so as I write so little short fiction. (And I hear there's at least one more story from the collection that's been accepted, which makes it even better.)

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A Quick SGA Update

Nov. 8th, 2013 | 11:06 am

We've received a memorandum of understanding from Fandemonium, which means that we'll be beginning work on two more books in the Legacy series.  The first, Unascended, will be Jo and Amy's project, and then Jo and I will be working on Endless, but, as always, the plotting has to be done by all three of us to make sure that we get everything set up correctly. I'm really excited, and eager to get the new stories rolling!

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