mer: (if I were me)
I have read not much this year that was not for an awards jury, and it to me seems like spoiling the pool to say what I liked juuuuust yet. Of the things that are unrelated to awards juries, I prooooobably need some recommendations. And also, I don't have time to read much else right now.

SO if you have a short story recommendation--short stories only at this point--here is the place to make it! Please make it?

(I will note for the audience that I have published a whopping 2 things this year which I would like to remind you exist, regardless of awards, because I like my work to be read: Handbook for Dragon Slayers and "Zebulon Vance Sings the Alphabet Songs of Love" (audio version here).)


Apr. 6th, 2010 05:41 pm
mer: (Default)
My turn on the PodCastle merry-go-round has come again: Sun's East, Moon's West, read by MK Hobson!

The best comment on the forums so far--indeed, the only comment--I think helps sell the tale better than I could:
I think one of the things I enjoyed most about this story was the sense of wit underlying the tale. While it wasn't overtly humorous aka 'Another End of the Empire,' there were amusing details here and there that made me grin. Like Pheasant, the fire-breathing dragonsparrow. Best pet ever - I want one! :p

I do think its the underlying wit that makes this more than just a mishmash of various tales. Rather, its a mishmash, but one that's tongue-in-cheek. A fun listen!


In other news, my writing group buddy C.L. Anderson has won the Philip K. Dick award. AWESOME SAUCE.

435 days until my next book is due. It seems important that I keep on that metric.

And I have to go back to work tomorrow...
mer: (Regency Woman)
So, if you happen to have $1.08 left over on your Discretionary Regency Romance Budget Line, you may be interested in purchasing the MP3 of my story, "The Roman and the Regency" at Sniplits.

The reading is absolutely top-notch, from the snippet I've heard of it (I need to sit down with the longer version, and stifle my absurd nervousness whenever I see/hear my stuff performed). There is a sample available at

That is partially directed at you, [ profile] _earthshine_; I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a whole slew of my stuff that can be listened to, rather than read. If you click through to my bio, there's a list of audio stuff, complete with links. Most of it is free from donation-supported podcast magazines--in fact, everything except this most recent story is!

Oh, other news: The cute robot book, AKA, Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy - 2008 Download (which contains my story "The Girl-Prince") has received a starred review at Publisher's Weekly. I did not get the named shout-out that several of my esteemed colleagues did (yay [ profile] beth_bernobich and [ profile] tinaconnolly! For example!), but that's okay, there's enough glory from that star to go around.
mer: (Book (holding))
'cause there're are other people, publishers and products at stake in most cases...

I've been slightly remiss in pointing out recent publications. I wondered briefly if I should get a newsletter, since that would be entirely opt-in, but the fact is, I don't really generate enough material of newsletterly import to go that route, and frankly, I don't really like newsletters terribly much, so... I'd certainly not do it right.


cover of Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy - 2008 Download Cute Robot available for preorder, or rather, your own paper copy of Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy - 2008 Download with the aforementioned cute robot on the cover, and a copy of my story "The Girl-Prince" in attendance, as well as many other fine, fine stories by many other smart, smart writers, some of whom are on this very friendslist such as [ profile] beth_bernobich.

cover of electric velocipede 17/18
Hugo-winning Electric Velocipede has put out their most recent edition, with my story "Sun's East, Moon's West" inside, which is the story I took to Milford back in the day...

cover of Sep 3 2009 Nature And "Fine-tuning the Universe" came out in Nature on September 3rd. That's my "Robots debating evolution" story.
mer: (Default)
Well, now that we've gotten the 3 AM kid-throwing-up, us-cleaning-vomit out of the way for the year, I hope to have no interrupted sleep again until next February at the earliest.

It does make a body sleepy, though, the day after.

In other news, I managed to hang my Christmas shelves in the laundry room, in a semi-grand, 2-day clean-out and reorg, and I'm pretty freaking happy about that. Only... seven months late. And change.

And, and... An Almanac for the Alien Invaders, my "colonialism is not for fun and profit" story (or my "anthropologists in space" story, if you prefer) is up at the grand ol' Escape Pod. The 20% of the commenters have thus far sussed out that this is really part of a larger work, though it seems to be that this realization is to their annoyance... Ah, well. I really should know better than to read comments, since my sensibilities are so tender. (Like young asparagus.)

In other podcast news, Adventures in SciFi Publishing is back, to my delight, and the first(?) episode back included a charming interview with this friendslist's own [ profile] gregvaneekhout. I think it was the first. I listened to it almost two weeks ago, and for serious, the memory has been like a sieve in these parts.

In yet other podcast--well, news is perhaps the wrong word--information? I downloaded The Immortals by Tracy Hickman. The annoying thing is that I think I paid to download it from (as part of my monthly subscription--but still, it weren't free), when it is available for free from I was really looking forward to this because the Dragonpage podcast folks were saying how great it was (I think it was them, anyway), but then I got about ten chapters in and had to quit, because it was just too depressing.

I occasionally enjoy being in the choir and getting preached to, but for a mutated AIDS virus story that starts with US deathcamps in the desert and a reversal of all the last 20 years' efforts for gay and lesbian rights? I couldn't take it. Plus, the original book had been written in the 90s and took place in 2010; in the podcast, they move everything forward 10 years, and the book takes place in 2020, but I just felt totally unconvinced, somehow. So. No. I have abandoned a lot of books over the years out of boredom, always with the intention of picking them back up when I grow a new attention span, and I have abandoned a few outright because they've been badly written; this is the first book I've abandoned not because of boredom or bad writing, but because it was too upsetting, basically. Not just the premise, but the combo of the premise and the "but, wait" jolt of being told we were in 2020 and not feeling convinced about it.

So. Yeah. I'm deleting this off my hard-drive. I feel like a wimp. But I just couldn't take it.

And, in final podcast news, Jordan Castillo Price on her Packing Heat podcast, had a really interesting suggestion an episode or two ago, about how to go gangbusters on a really big daily wordcount. The goal is 800 words before work, 800 after, and 400 just before bed. (I think her plan was a little different--morning, afternoon and evening--but that's how it would work out for me.) Cut up that way, a 2000-word day seems sort of trivial. I'm going to try it this week and see what happens--if I have 14,000 words at the end of the week or just a puddle of mush I used to call my brain. Updates forthcoming.
mer: (Cool (Jim))

cover of Unplugged anthology

Unplugged: The Web's Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy: 2008 Download

Is it always shameless self-promotion if the robot is that cute?

Here, let me promote the whole darn TOC:
  • Beth Bernobich, “Air and Angels” (Subterranean, Spring)
  • Mercurio D Rivera, “Snatch Me Another” (Abyss and Apex, First Quarter)
  • Nancy Kress, “First Rites” (Baen’s Universe, October)
  • Tina Connolly, “The Bitrunners” (Helix, Summer)
  • Rebecce Epstein, “When We Were Stardust” (Fantasy, February)
  • Jason Stoddard, “Willpower” (Futurismic, December)
  • Peter S Beagle, “The Tale of Junko and Sayiri” (IGMS, July)
  • David Dumitru, “Little Moon, Too, Goes Round” (Aeon Thirteen)
  • Hal Duncan, “The Behold of the Eye” (Lone Star, August)
  • Will McIntosh, “Linkworlds” (Strange Horizons, March 17-24)
  • Merrie Haskell, “The Girl-Prince” (Coyote Wild, August)
  • Brendan DuBois, “Not Enough Stars in the Night” (Cosmos)
  • Catherynne M Valente, “A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica” (Clarkesworld, May)
  • Cory Doctorow, “The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away” (
mer: (Default)
Rampion in the Belltower is now up as a podcast over at Dunesteef! After dreams of being chased by evil robots all night, it was refreshing to revisit medieval zombies--mostly because they aren't on-screen too much. Phew.

Also, I totally failed to reflect on how 2008 was a great year for me, writing-wise, because I increased my flexibility so much. Here are my favorite lessons of the year. Feel free to embrace or ignore them as you find it helpful.

1) When critiquing, a big dose of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is always advisable. i.e., never tell a writer they're doing it wrong if the wrongness works, or does not hinder the rest of the story. <--also applies to own work.

2) Kill all your precious rule-darlings. And everyone else's.

3) It's perfectly okay to switch person if it will get the story finished and out of you. (See #2) (This is how I'm going to rewrite Brook's book, without going insane--someday.)

4) It's not just about giving yourself permission to write badly. It's also about giving yourself permission to write well. To do rolling revisions if you want. To produce a semi-perfect first draft because rewriting kills you.

5) Your procedure can change with the month, week or day, if it needs to. If today you need the lamp on your right on, and the lamp on your left off, turn the lamps on or off, and write. Tomorrow, you can have the lamps how you want, too. Even if it's both off. Likewise, "I have to write at least a thousand words a day" is great for a week, but next week, maybe it needs to be a hundred.

6) If it's not hard, that doesn't mean you're writing crap, just like when it's hard, it doesn't mean you're writing crap. The hardness has no correlation to the crapness for you, thus far.

I feel like there was more, but those are the big ones that come up when I think about this year. Huge break-throughs, each one of them.

Scary that that's what constitutes a break-through for me, hm?
mer: (Default)
On Thursday, I bounced around in my chair at the Brown Jug and explained to [ profile] splash_the_cat how excited I am by the polarized reactions Reparations has been getting. People are angry! People are enthused! Accusations of white liberal guilt are being bandied about! And the questions of paradox--!

Being a writer, for me, is a bit like being a neglected child. ANY attention is GOOD attention.

Plus, I'm really good at paying attention to the comments that are complimentary, and ignoring the ones that aren't.

And then, my story went reallytruly live at Coyote Wild. Check out The Girl-Prince. (Or not. I mean, obviously, based on previous, even if you don't read and then come tell me you hate it, I'll like what you say.) [ profile] sartorias and her crew did a fantastic job picking stories. Some rich financier needs to hire [ profile] sartorias as editor of a YA spec fic magazine and then let me buy a subscription. Anyway, lots of nice comments from folks. It's as good as writing fic.

And then, Surreal Botany got reviewed at io9, and that was extremely cool. (Even cooler is when I realize patrons at my library are buying it, and they don't even know their local ILL circulation supervisor and shipping manager is involved.)

And then, Dunesteef Audio Fiction purchased (or rather, is in the process of purchasing, but I anticipate seeing the contract soon) "Rampion in the Belltower" for podcasting reprinty goodness. Which makes 3 podcast reprints this year. Fan-awesome-tastic!

Not a bad week.
mer: (Default)
My squee was nigh unto uncontainable when I saw that Mary Robinette Kowal was the reader Steve Eley of Escape Pod picked for "Reparations."

But then I actually listened to the episode.

Mary made it twenty hundred times better than it was on paper. Dude. So awesome. So... bleak.

(Fair warning... it's not a coincidence that this episode aired on September 11th.)

So, anyway, I was both stunned and elated (and a little surprised to find out I'm a research librarian, since I'm... not) while listening and THEN Mary Robinette Kowal herself wrote me this amazing email to say that she was a bit teary while reading my story which is amazing, oh, did I just tap-dance? Because dude. I moved the Campbell Tiara Holder to tears. (Checks list of life goals: ah, yes, number 348, right there. *check* After John Scalzi passed on the tiara, I thought my chances were like, nil, and even then, my big plan was to step on his toe.) I know it's totally shocking to you all to find out that Mary is a class act... But I just can't lie about these things.

Also, [ profile] the_flea_king bought "Reparations" from me back in 2004. I wrote it after reading eyewitness accounts of Hiroshima, which I was putting on reserve at the library. I stayed behind at work after the office closed and wrote the story in one fell swoop. I'm pretty sure it made me late for dinner, and I was in a bit of a fugue state after.

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