January 31, 2009

Okay, yesterday’s post title really was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, and the post itself was intended as a commentary on the economic situation and NOT an actual plea for people to buy my book.  It certainly wasn’t meant to imply that if people didn’t buy my book that I’d never publish anything again.  I’m grateful to all who have responded on both my blogs, but I fear that I sent the wrong message and I apologize for that.  Things are fine here in my writing world, and though I’m grateful for every sale, I did not mean to sound like I was begging people to go out and buy The Horsemen’s Gambit.  Sorry if that’s how it sounded.

Yeah, that’s kind of a hard pitch to make right now. In the midst of an economic crisis it’s not easy to get people to worry too much about book sales, because in the midst of an economic crisis there are far more important things to worry about. Like everyone else, though, authors feel the pinch of a bad economy. Our ability to contract future books for publication is tied directly to the sales performances of our most recent releases. So, if the economy keeps people from spending money on books, then we suffer as well. This is not a complaint — lots of people out there have it far worse than my fellow authors and I do. But I do offer it as an explanation for the title of today’s post.

Sure, I’m worried. I love what I do, and I don’t want to stop. But this is a hard way to make a living in the best of times. In a severe recession… well, let’s just say that it’s not getting any easier. Publishing companies are cutting back on planned releases, booksellers are ordering fewer books, and people going into stores have less disposable income.

None of us is immune.

So if you happen to be one of the lucky ones — if you’re not hurting right now — go out and spend some money. Buy my book. Buy someone else’s book. Get yourself a new toy — a phone or a camera or a computer (and be certain to recycle that old one!). Take someone you love out to dinner tonight.

And if you’re not one of the lucky ones — if you are hurting right now, if you or someone you care about has lost a job or health coverage — you’re in my thoughts. It seems trite to say this, but we really are in this together (the 177 Republicans in the House of Representatives notwithstanding). We’re going to be hunkered down together for a while. And then we’re going to emerge from these troubled times together. Some people get by on faith in God, others get by on faith in themselves. Some of us get by on faith in each other.

None of us is immune. But none of us is truly alone, either.

Today I post a quick interview with David J. Williams, another of my SFNovelists buddies.  David has a new book coming out this week — the paperback edition of Mirrored Heavens.  Enjoy the interview!

A tale of 22nd century espionage, David J. Williams’ MIRRORED HEAVENS has been described by Stephen Baxter as “Tom Clancy interfacing Bruce Sterling,” and is in bookstores now.

Tell us a little about MIRRORED HEAVENS.

My agent sold it as “John LeCarre on SF crack”; I’ve never managed to get my hands on any such drug, but I suspect if one took it one would see visions of spaceplane hijacks and maglev train chases while various spies, handlers, and agents ran desperate missions and double-crossed/triple-crossed each other.

Who are your antagonists?

The mysterious terrorist group Autumn Rain. They blow up the world’s space elevator about ten minutes into the book, and vow that further strikes are imminent. It becomes evident pretty quickly that their real goal is to infiltrate the U.S. government, replace the president, and give orders in his name: i.e., they’re takeover artists. Someone’s gotta stop them, and that leads us to…

Who are your protagonists?

It’s complicated:

  • Claire Haskell, the data-thief who gets reunited with wet-ops specialist Jason Marlowe, her first love—even as both of them start to suspect that their spymasters are manipulating their memories for reasons unknown…
  • Strom Carson, the operative assigned to hunt down his onetime mentor, Leo Sarmax, a legendary assassin believed to be in league with Autumn Rain and last seen on the Moon, deep in the wastelands of the lunar South Pole mountains.
  • Lyle Spencer, the mercenary who escapes from the ultimate prison with the secret of the Rain and a price on his head.

Who’s your biggest inspiration?

That’s easy. Judge Dredd. I grew up on him: not the lame-ass Sylvester Stallone version, but the original, cool-as-hell British comic icon. Dredd took on everybody from aliens to the mafia, dispensing deadpan witticisms while he was doing it. Little did I know, but he was also teaching me how to write SF the whole time…

What are you working on right now?

Well, I’ve been finetuning my website at www.autumnrain2110.com, which features all sorts of cool geopolitical and military data about the world of the early 22nd century. And I’ve turned in the sequel THE BURNING SKIES to Bantam, so now it’s on to the last book of the trilogy. Which is a very weird feeling…

As always, my Monday post is all about writing and can be found at http://magicalwords.net, the group blog I share with fellow fantasy writers Faith Hunter, Misty Massey, and C.E. Murphy.  Today’s post is called “Artistic Choices and the Market.”  Please visit MagicalWords, and enjoy the post.

I’m still not ready to return to the full-length BOW (Buffoon Of the Week) Award entries I was posting during the political campaign.  But I did want to give out this special Inauguration Week BOW Award, because it seems so richly deserved.

No, I’m not giving it to Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, John Roberts, for his mangling of the Presidential Oath on Tuesday, though I could.  Nor am I giving it to Vice President Joe Biden, for his ill-advised joke about the Chief Justice which seemed to annoy President Barack Obama (first time I’ve typed that — I like it!) so much the following day, though I could.

Instead, this BOW Award goes to America’s number one talk radio clown, Rush Limbaugh, for announcing to the world that he hopes Obama fails as President.  Limbaugh was asked by “a major American print publication” for a 400 word essay on his “hopes for an Obama Presidency.”

Here’s his exact reply:

So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” … See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

First off, who knew that liberalism was responsible for all that’s gone wrong in the last eight years?   And here I thought George Bush and the Republican leaders of Congress for most of the last decade were conservatives.  Silly me.  Second, this is the same guy who just two years ago said, with respect to people on the left who he perceived as rooting for George Bush’s failure, “I’m getting so sick and tired of people rooting for the defeat of the good guys.”  For the record, I never wished for George Bush to fail.  I never wanted American soldiers to die in Iraq because of his misguided policies.  I never rooted for the economy to tank, costing millions of Americans their homes and their jobs.  Mr. Bush managed to preside over all these things without encouragement from me, without any of us rooting for him to fail.  Was I an enthusiastic supporter?  Never.  Did I support him in the aftermath of 9/11, when for one brief, shining moment he actually expressed the mood of the nation and seemed to be responding responsibly?  Yes, I did.  Then he attacked Iraq.

If Rush wants to root for Obama’s failure, that’s fine.  Right-wing ideologues have been marginalized already.  By publicly calling for the failure of a new President with 75% approval ratings, in a time when people are truly suffering, Rush furthers that process, and makes it clear to all just what a buffoon he is.  And so this week, he wins the BOW Award.  Take a BOW there Rush; you’ve earned it.  And then see if you can get the other foot in your mouth, too.  Maybe that will shut you up for a while….

Today’s a special day over at http://magicalwords.net :  Best-selling author Kim Harrison is guest blogging for us with a great post about self-promotion that you won’t want to miss.  Stop by and enjoy the fun!

Interview with Alan Baxter

January 22, 2009

Alan Baxter is a friend of mine from Australia who has recently published his second book, MageSign. I first met Alan at the Magic Casements Speculative Fiction Book Festival in Sydney, Australia back in early 2006, and we hit it off from the start. He has a great sense of humor and a thoughtful approach to his craft. He also has followed an interesting career path thus far that should be of interest to new writers everywhere. Recently I asked Alan a few questions about his approach to writing, his novels, and his life:


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Inauguration Day!

January 20, 2009

Just adding my voice to the chorus….

What a joyous day!  What a magnificent speech!  Now let’s roll up our sleeves and help him get this country back on track.  Yes, we can.

Oh, and who forgot to give the Chief Justice his Ritalin?  How long do you think it will be before the wingnuts in the blogosphere start saying that Obama isn’t really President because he didn’t recite the oath properly?

A Post About Self-Promotion

January 19, 2009

Today’s post, “Publicizing my New Release,” which is both a shameless plug for my new book and a discussion of self-promotion steps I’ve taken with the releae approaching, can be found at http://magicalwords.net.  Please check out the site and enjoy the post.

New Interview With Me!

January 18, 2009

With my newest book, THE HORSEMEN’S GAMBIT, book II of Blood of the Southlands, due out this coming week, I’ve posted a new interview on my web page.  In the interview I discuss the new book, the series, and other writing-related issues.  I hope you’ll take the time to read the interview, which can be found here.

This is my tenth published novel, and I can safely say that the excitement of a new release never entirely goes away.  I’m not off the wall nuts with anticipation the way I was with my first book, CHILDREN OF AMARID, which came out twelve years ago this coming May, but I am every bit as excited, and every bit as nervous, as I have been with just about every subsequent book.

For those of you who have already read the first book in the series, THE SORCERERS’ PLAGUE, I hope that you’ll enjoy this one as much if not more.  For those of you who have yet to start the Blood of the Southlands books, now is a great time to jump in!