So, remember a year ago when I said my wife was going to Mars?
Well, she’s on her way back. Tomorrow morning, she steps out of the dome, back to Earth; still the red-rock slopes of Mauna Loa, but with no spacesuit on, and the breeze in her face for the first time in a year.
I am excited beyond words. So far beyond words that I’ve had no brainspan to update this blog, not even after the amazing time I had at my first Worldcon. No promises that I’ll have a monthly update this week, either. I may have some downtime on Hawaii while she spends her days in debriefing, but I rather expect some internet scarcity!
If you want to read more about her mission, check out her blog or the mission webpage. I’d also love to point you toward the kickstarter for “Red Heaven,” an upcoming documentary about the mission. Both my wife and I have already worked with the creators & crew, and they’re amazing people, excited about the science and project. Consider supporting them – or just enjoy the trailer!
How was your July? Was it amazing? Mine was!
- My story “Sweeter than Lead” came out at PodCastle. Neo-Lovecraftian dark fantasy about addiction, succession and malevolent timelines!
- My story “The Time Cookie Wars” came out at Flash Fiction Online. Black comedy about time travel and delicious cookies!
- I finished the first draft of the Conquistador Dragon novel: 106,000 words of Age of Exploration epic fantasy, now titled The Cannon and the Coin!
- I got my Worldcon panel schedule!
- I attended Mary Robinette Kowal‘s short story intensive workshop. Folks this class is fantastic. My favorite parts were the tools for expanding ideas into stories at turbo speed, and especially the methods for plot structuring. And in the process I wrote up the openings to two super exciting new stories.
I think that’s it? It sure feels like enough! This coming month will bring yet more of the joyful chaos. Two weeks until Worldcon! And after that, only one week until my wife returns from Mars!
Heyyyy, it’s monthly update time! Everyone’s favorite time.
Maybe someone’s favorite time?
Either way, it’s been a good month! Chock-full of exclamation points:
- My story “The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R.” came out in Strange Horizons! I’m super proud of this one!
- I sold two stories! “The Time Cookie Wars” to Flash Fiction Online, and “Shiplight” to Metaphorosis.
- I returned to the Fourth Street Fantasy convention. I got to speak on a panel! I learned tons of things (including 45 specific action items for my novel)! I got to talk to lots of amazing people!
- I revised 2 short stories, and drafted one new piece of flash!
- The novel is on track! Currently at 76,000 words, and I’m hoping to finish the first draft at the end of July, if it doesn’t end up running long.
Why, who is that on the MidAmeriCon 2 guests page?
Well, lots of awesome people, frankly.
I may be up there for my experience with neuroscience and sMars as for my writing – I applied for a guest slot back in December before I’d made my first pro sale. But that does not abate my excitement in the least!
One month of 2016 already down! Goodbye, time. I scarcely new you.
- I’ve been spending a bunch of my creative energy working on a historical fantasy live-action roleplaying game set at the 1815 Congress of Vienna, which will run at Intercon P in Massachusetts in two and a half weeks. 38 characters! Swathes of system! Politics, intrigue, secret societies, guest appearances by Edmund Blackadder, even a totally shoehorned reference to Aaron Burr! I’m very excited to see this thing go live. Doubly so now that the work is all done.
- My other major timesink this month has been the Weekend Warrior contest on Codex. Every weekend, 51 hours to produce a 750-word story. After 4 stories, I can conclude that I’m not great at flash fiction; but it’s still a great productive experience, since at least 3 of these will be worth expanding into a real story.
- I’ve also been touching up the Conquistador Dragons story. It’s in “final read-aloud” stage and should go off to beta readers before the weekend. I’ve spent so long staring at this story, my eyes have lost all objectivity.
- This year I’ll be going to my first Worldcon. More excitingly yet, I’ll be a panelist! Probably more for my science and Mars-spouse status than for my writing, but it’ll be a few months before I have the specifics.
- Current submission count: 13 live ones; at least one on shortlist.
Finally, this morning I just got some awesome news — but that’s February news, so y’all will have to wait!
I am pleased to announce my first appearance as an official convention panelist!
I will be at Archon 39, in Colinsville IL (near St. Louis MO) on the weekend of October 2-4, 2015.
My panel schedule:
- Technical Tall Tales: Strange and Frightening Tales of the Lab, Friday 7pm, Great Rivers A
- Big Things on the Horizon: New Tech and Scientific Discoveries, Saturday 10am, Great Rivers A
- The Martian: Could YOU Survive the Red Planet? Saturday 12pm, Great Rivers A
- Beginning Writing and the Creative Process, Saturday 6pm, Marquette A
I’m very pleased with this lineup! Two panels where I can talk about neuroscience, one where I can share expertise gleaned from Mars, and one where I can share the pleasures and horrors of life as a newbie SFF writer.
Panel #3 leads to some amusing logistical problems. I doubt I’ll be able to catch the movie version of The Martian before the panel, since the movie comes out right when Archon opens. I’ll try to arrange a special video message from my family Martian, but that may not work out for a host of reasons.
August was another month of chaos and travel, not to mention my day job finally spinning up. But I still got a fair bit of writing done!
- Ten stories currently out on submission, of which at least 3 have made it onto a shortlist. I’m pretty enthusiastic for all three, but at this point I just need to think of them as dice-throws.
- Currently juggling two revisions: Evil Prophecies and Fairy Gentrification.
- Long-term plans currently center around one smaller-scale revision (Banker Priestesses) and one deep rewrite (Conquistador Dragons).
- Apparently I like two-word Compound Nouns for my working titles. I do have actual/tentative titles for all these stories, but those have much less descriptive power for my blog-readers.
- As of this past Friday, I can officially start my “The Martian’s Husband” autobiography. Being married to a Martian is an amazing and terrifying thing, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.
Part of me wants to post something about the Hugo results. However, I haven’t been active in fandom since ~college; I’ve never been to Worldcon or had a friend go to Worldcon. So while I have opinions, I’d rather clear the airspace for people more invested in the struggle.
But speaking of engagement in fandom:
6. With luck, I should be participating in Archon as a guest! I can’t be 100% sure until the panel schedule comes out, but I’ve gotten a “first time guest/panelist” questionnaire, so things are looking likely. I’ll be doing mostly/entirely science panels, since my writing credentials are still fairly meager (unless #1 above turns out real lucky real soon). I’m very excited about this: I’m slow to engage in communities because I’m a hermit at heart, and this will help toward my goal of pushing myself out there and joining in.