Max Barry and how it’s done

Continuing my well-established tradition of promoting the work of other writers – here’s a book trailer by Max Barry, author of Machine Man and Jennifer Government. Which I have on my bookshelf right…there.

This is how you create a memorable impression despite a nonexistent budget. (Am I jealous? Absolutely.)

Now go and buy his book. I will.

New novelette (also known as constructive procrastination)

travelmonamourOne of my many parallel projects while working on the next novel is to stay sane. And as the novel-to-be decides to have opinions of its own, and the #sadpuppies debate threatens to distract me at every turn, sanity turns out to be a precious and precarious thing.

Hence: short stories.

To break up the long stretches of novel-length marches, sprints, and trudges, I write (or finish up) various short stories. It’s that or another rerun of Firefly*.

And indulging in shorter stories also means that I can play with covers, which always is a little too much fun and keeps me up far too late.

My most recent semi-coherent effort is a novelette about the love of travel, as experienced in more than one way. Expect a hunt, lots of dialogue, and (non-delayed) flights of fantasy.

*) Which I’m currently finding time for anyway.

Now on Amazon: Southbound, a dystopian science fiction thriller

cover SouthboundOr, possibly, a Scandinavian-British, dystopian romantic science fiction near-future thriller. Descriptions are hard sometimes. Especially when a book is a bucket-shaped SF story with all kinds of genres thrown into the carefully stirred mix.

But it’s out! And available here! Which was cause for a release party that featured vintage cider and licorice. To each his own, I suppose.

The book went through several revisions – including a complete rewrite – before I unearthed the story I really wanted to tell.

Or the story that wanted to be told. I can never say for sure.

Immense thanks and loud applauds go out to:

  • Tove Jorgensen, for always being there – even when she’s not
  • Class of ‘11, whose advice always rings true
  • Pauline Nolet, proofreader, for determinedly weeding my garden of typos
  • Jake Wallis Simons, tutor and author, for early pointers and motivation
  • Charles Brotherstone, for extensive and crucial feedback

Terry Pratchett and a smouldering anger

10949742_10152710616712747_8262270726485118938_nTerry Pratchett passed away yesterday. He was 66 years old. If fairness had had a say, Terry would be alive and gunning for three times that age.

We needed him.

Thankfully, there are others who adventure on the same playground and burn to tell the similar truths. But there was only one Terry.

I discovered Discworld at some point circa 1991. A friend gave me a copy and said ‘read’, which goes to show that invaluable advice can be concise as nothing else.

Terry’s stories made me return to Discworld some thirty times. What pulled me in was not the humor or the pace: I was hooked on the underlying dilemmas and discussions. That, and the temper I sensed farther below.

Because Terry’s tales and frenetic production seemed to me an indication of a seething, fuming irritation over all things unjust and wrong. His writing was both funny and serious and grim. This resonated with my own take on the world. And, unsurprisingly, I was not alone.

In the wake of Terry’s passing, I found this piece by Neil Gaiman. It’s great, and it points to what I have suspected for so long: Rincewind et al weren’t subjected to endless weird situations only for laughs.

They are guides in a landscape filled reality’s flaws, contradictions and dead ends, re-imagined as fantastic and often quirky monsters, locations, and scenarios.

And by making us smile, Terry’s protagonists reach around the barriers of disbelief and fatigue we erect to cope with an incessant onslaught of terrible news.

Weatherwax and Vimes poke our hearts. They make us lower our guards and listen. They stand out, linger, and leave angry notes behind on our mental kitchen tables.

And that is how you nudge the rudder of someone’s life. I am forever grateful for the pointers he gave me.

Upcoming novel (and cover angst)

cover SouthboundOK, not quite angst – I’m pretty happy with it! For now. Give me a few days and I’ll be editing it again (someone stop me).

Southbound, a SF thriller, will be on Amazon around March 20. It’s been four years in the making. That’s about three years longer than I expected, but then I revised the original three times, after which I re-wrote the entire text completely and revised it again. As you do.

I dare not think back on the amounts of coffee I’ve consumed during the process. Or the hours of sleep I’ve missed. But it was worth it, because the story is now what I felt it could (and should) be.

Right now it’s being prepared for the print version. Which is ridiculously fun work. No sarcasm.

More information to follow soon.

Valentine’s Day and a New Short Story.

Valentine’s Day means it’s my birthday. I am now forty-two and thus omniscient. All answers are mine. (Any minute now…no?)

91AWrTdstjL._SL1500_And I celebrated by uploading a new short story. As always, this makes me nervous, but this time I’m especially so, because it’s a story about time travel.

In other words, there’s plenty of room for logical loops and philosophical car crashes. The story was sparked by a news piece, which often makes for lots of inspiration and furious typing, but not necessarily great abundances of logic.

So now I have my fingers crossed and seek comfort in my birthday cake.

 

Matches, Dodgers, and short stories

Charles, pending is live and doing its best to confuse unfortunate readers in its path. It’s by far – I think – the most whimsical story I’ve ever penned. But it was fun, so more will follow.*

Meanwhile, I shall plug the works of other extraordinary writers. And yes, I know them, but that doesn’t make them any less spectacular.

 Matchbook Stories #2

 01_matchbookstories_2

Beautiful in execution, elegant on any shelf or table, and features minute narratives by Pat Cash, Marc Cinanni, and me. But also Pat Cash and Marc Cinanni. Go here for a closer look (at the book, not us). Did I mention Pat and Marc?

 Dodger of the Dials

dodger

By James Benmore – gifted writer, source of Dickens lore, and overall very nice man. If you liked your Oliver Twist, go get this book after you’ve enjoyed the first in the series.

* There’s a tale about imaginary dragons (and possibly less imaginary real life persons) brewing in the back of my mind and it won’t stay quiet. It also features very serious dialogue, love, despair, and experience points. I am inclined to believe that this happens only to me.