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I will be lurking about most of the weekend, but will be reading from new work at 4:30 PM on Friday in the Santa Rosa room.  See you there.

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Checking out the ACC award longlist and shortlist (as well as the award itself, of course) is a great way to get yourself provisioned with interesting reading material.

From Award Director, Tom Hunter:

“It’s important to remember that prizes like the Clarke Award are first and foremost celebrations. We celebrate new books and new writers, but most of all we celebrate alongside all the readers and lovers of stories who are given a unique invitation to encounter something new, something strange and something wonderful whenever a new shortlist is announced. The love of books and the sharing of stories is the true legacy we should aim to create.”

2015 Winner  Station Eleven, also a National Book Award Finalist.  This was a great read, and I’m delighted to see it getting the recognition it deserves.

2015 Shortlist. Man, The Girl With All The Gifts made it onto the shortlist.  If you haven’t read this yet, check it out. Possibly my favorite SF book of 2014.

2015 Longlist. No guarantee that everything on this list will kick ass, but there are some really fine titles and authors represented here.

 

As of this year, The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy has been added to the Houghton Mifflin annual roster of “Best Of” titles (Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, etc.  My story, Albion Upon The Rock (Fantasy and Science Fiction, Mar/Apr 2014) made the short list for this inaugural anthology and is listed in the “Other Notable Stories of 2014” section in the back.  Although I didn’t make the final cut, I am still pleased as all get-out.

I’m pleased to announce that my novel, Burn Rate, is now available on Kindle.

Fat City

Leonard Gardner’s proto-Cali-noir masterpiece.  I read this as a young man, loved it, and haven’t thought much about it since (along with the many other authors I read in my misspent youth that have slipped into my brain’s archival storage – Celine, Donleavy, Crews, others …).  Just stumbled across it paging through post-purchase Amazon recs, sucked it down, and was immediately immersed in its bleak poetry.  Highly recommended.

I’m always looking for good writing warmups.  They’re like scales and arpeggios for musicians.  They get me in the zone before diving into serious work and they’re fun just for standalone word play.  Lately, I’ve been doing 20 lines a day of iambic pentameter.  Not poetry, not even poultry, just setting to cadence the random-ass stream of muttering bullshit that passes for thought in my addled brain.  For those who have somehow missed a standard issue liberal arts education, iambic pentameter is (basically) just a 5-beat line:  DUM-ba-DUM-ba-DUM-ba-DUM-ba-DUM. That’s it!  Kind of.  A bit like saying learning the hook to The Standells’ “Dirty Water” makes you a badass post-proto-punk. It does!  But it also doesn’t.   Regardless, jamming all your thoughts into this template can make you crazy almost immediately, and has a kind of Neil-Diamond-lyrics brainworm effect — you can’t fucking get it out of your head.  No, you can’t get it out of your head.

Some ‘xamples:

Pass the salt; these eggs are really bland.

I’m going to the store; you still need milk?

The cat puked on the rug – I’ll get a rag.

The London data center just went down.
I didn’t get a fucking page — did you?
The customers will make a lot of noise
Until we fix it like we always do.
And something something something rhymes with clown.

I missed the fucking bus again today!
I’ll go back home and have another cup
Of coffee, maybe half a bagel, too.
My team will wonder where the hell I am.

I’m watching Season One of Game of Thrones
Again.  You’re dead.  You’re dead.  And so are you.

Discouraged after an unusually long string of short story rejections, bouncing “good” stories off of the usual markets, then the unusual ones, then the really unusual ones.  After receiving the last “send more stuff, just not this” email this morning, I thought, rather petulantly, What do I have to do to sell a goddamn story?  The answer came immediately, with almost comical clarity:  Write better ones.