Boskone 52 Schedule (more than a month out!)

No Comments » Written on January 11th, 2015 by
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Bucking the trend of recent conventions, this morning I received an email from the programming people at Boskone revealing what they referred to as my “final schedule,” and including a note that the full schedule is up on their website

I am agog!

Not just because lately it’s been much more common to get my schedule in the final week before the con (and often much less), but because of the incredible array of authors who will be showing up at the convention, folks like Elizabeth Bear, Charlie Stross, Karl Schroeder, Allen Steele, Carrie Vaugh, Walter Jon Williams, and many more. And, it certainly doesn’t hurt that Steven Brust is their GoH, as I am a long time fan and collector of his work.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s my schedule:

Friday, February 13th
3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m. | Burroughs | Food in Fiction
Stories that make you go, “Yum!” How do you describe food to convey mood or set the scene? Join our panelists as they dish on the culinary delights that tantalize us in fiction, from regional teas to kingly feasts. What works? What doesn’t? And what should you know about a food-centric scene?
with Carrie Cuinn (M), Steven Brust, James Cambias, Fran Wilde, and me!

4:00 p.m. – 4:50 p.m. | Galleria-Kaffeeklatsch 2 | Kaffeeklatsch
Let’s talk about psychology, linguistics, Klingon, hypnosis, small press publishing, award nominations, my forthcoming book from Tor, or whatever else you want to ask me about as we enjoy coffee, tea, or in my case a Diet Coke™. Sign-up is required at Program Ops in the Galleria, but I’m sure we can fit you in.

Saturday, February 14th
10:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. | Independence | – Reading
I’ll likely read from my new novel, Barsk: The Elephants Graveyard, unless people would rather hear a bit from my recent Amazing Conroy novella, Calendrical Regression. Either way, come on by, show me some love, on this cold Valentine’s Day morning (sniffle, cuz my wife is back in Philadelphia).

2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m. | Galleria-Autographing | – Autographing
This is your chance to bring stuff for me to sign! I know, it’s exciting!
with M.L. Brennan, Daniel M. Kimmel, and me!

5:00 p.m. – 5:50 p.m. | Burroughs | – Rejectomancy
Is there really a blue sheet of death? Does an encouraging form letter mean less or more than a generic personalized response? These are just a few of the questions that new writers ponder as they try to read between the lines of the rejection letters they receive. Every new writer goes through this dreaded stage (better known as “rejectomancy”) as they try to glean some hidden meaning within the text. Writers who have been there share their own rejectomancy stories and give some helpful advice on ways to avoid the “rejectomancy” trap.
with Stephen P. Kelner (M), Craig Shaw Gardner, James Patrick Kelly, Margaret Ronald, and me!

And of course, Barry will be on hand to pose for photos with you. See you in Boston!

My Awards Pitch for 2015

2 comments Written on January 11th, 2015 by
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Calendrical Regression

It’s that time of year where authors flock to the internet to blatantly proclaim all that is mighty and good of their works from the previous year. Some people consider this a tad unsavory, while others have pointed out that if the author cannot stand proudly for his/her own stuff, then who can?

Speaking as someone who is published by small presses, I tend to err on the side of pragmatism: the odds are good that most people haven’t seen my work and anything that helps them to encounter my fiction is a “good thing.”

And that includes an annual bit of blog-inspired self-promotion, so let’s get to it.

For your reading pleasure and award consideration, I present my novella, Calendrical Regression, published by the fine folks at NobleFusion Press as a slender trade paperback, but also available from their site as a free ebook (both ePub and mobi formats).

This is the third novella in the past three years that I’ve written in the Amazing Conroy series of tales. It came out late in the year (November 6th, 2014) and from an even tinier small press than ever before, which basically means despite the thing being an utter delight (hey, would I lie?), most people simply haven’t seen it.

So let me tell you a bit about it.

Calendrical Regression features Conroy, my stage-hypnotist-turned-wealthy-CEO protagonist as he attempts to slip away for a little downtime performing for conventioneers in the midwest. Some well-meaning aliens show up, intent on luring him down to Mexico with the promise of gourmet cuisine. They want him to hypnotically regress the descendant of a Mayan priest, with the intention of unraveling the mystery behind the ancient calendar that apparently predicted Earth’s contact with the rest of the galaxy when its grand tun ended in December of 2012. I could tell you more, but, spoilers! Suffice to say that complications ensue, some amusing and some dire, and the whole wraps up at under 20K words.

This is probably a good place for a bit of the ol’ “full disclosure.”

I mentioned above that this is my third Conroy novella in as many years. I should add that the previous two efforts both landed on their respective Nebula Award ballots. I’m not sure if that’s happened before, consecutive novella nominations from the same universe, but I feel confident that if SFWA members decide to put me on the ballot again this year, the resulting “hat trick” will be something of a record. And that’s kind of cool.

But that can’t happen if people don’t read it, which, again, is why we have posts like this one. I encourage you to follow the link, download a free copy of the ebook, and give it a read.

If you’re a SFWA member and you’d prefer a different format, this URL ( will take you to my page in the SFWA 2014 Fiction archive where “Calendrical Regression” is available as a downoad in not just ePub and mobi, but in PDF and DOC formats as well.


creative commons licencse

This novella is released under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.
Follow the link if you’re not sure what that means.

Eating Authors: James Morrow

No Comments » Written on January 5th, 2015 by
Categories: Plugs
James Morrow

Welcome to a new year. 2015 looks like it’s going to be freaking glorious (and not just because I have a novel coming out from Tor Books in December) and so it’s only appropriate to begin another 52 weeks of EATING AUTHORS by setting a very high bar. We’re accomplishing that by having none other than James Morrow as the year’s first guest (and not just because he’s a native son of Philadelphia).

Along with multiple nominations, Jim’s fiction has won numerous awards including the Nebula (twice!), the World Fantasy (twice!), the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, and the Sturgeon. And if you’re not acquainted with his Godhead Trilogy (Towing Jehovah, Blameless in Abaddon, and The Eternal Footman) then now’s time to crawl out from under that rock and put these books at the front of your reading list. And don’t even get me started on his other novels, short story collections, or the various award anthologies he’s edited.

His latest book, Galapagos Regained, comes out from St. Martin’s Press tomorrow and promises another compelling venture into the existence (or not) of a supreme being, presented as a riotous romp around the world with Darwin’s personal zookeeper as a protagonist. Seriously. Can you think of a better way to start a great year of reading?

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Freebie Friday – January 2, 2015 – “Cat Futures”

No Comments » Written on January 2nd, 2015 by
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Cat Futures

I’m not sure if I’ll remember (or have the time) to do this every month, but if it happens that I do, I’ll make available a new ebook short on the first Friday of each month. It will show up on my website’s Freebies Page.

I’m starting the year with “Cat Futures,” originally published back in 2005 in the long gone online zine, The Town Drunk. As I mention in the story’s introduction, every author has to write a cat story sooner or later, and this was mine. I hope you like it.

health and social media updates – January 1, 2015

3 comments Written on January 1st, 2015 by
Categories: News

I’ve never been the type to make New Year’s Resolutions, but the first of the year is a good time for backstory and benchmarks. In particular, I’ve been working on my physical health somewhat more aggressively over the past four months, and I’m long overdue for sharing some of the results. So here we go:

Some history: I think my all-time high weight was about 315 lbs. That was about fifteen years ago. In 2000 my father died, and around a year later I was diagnosed with the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. I was already hypertensive, victim to chronic and crippling back pain, and in such poor physical condition that walking a block would leave me breathless and exhausted for the rest of the day. I was also mostly unemployed. I spent the next year making changes in my life. I began walking for exercise, which in turn led to joining a gym as I developed some stamina and working out more strenuously. I lost some 65 lbs. My creative powers took a huge jump forward as well, and I got a part time consulting gig working for the medical center where a former graduate student of mine was CEO. All in all, it was a damn fine year but it had a surprise ending.

After ten years of marriage, my wife asked me for a divorce. I moved out of our house (which we eventually sold for a modest profit). I paid off all of my credit card debt, and I was suddenly single. Despite an amicable divorce, it’s clear in hindsight that the dissolution took an emotional toll on me, which I dealt with at the time by falling back into old patterns. Within a couple years my weight was back up 275 lbs, and slowly climbing. I dated a bit, and in time remarried. Valerie and I have been together now for nine and a half years, and during that span I managed to bump my weight back up to 300 lbs.

A few years ago she lured me to Pilates classes which over time have done tremendous things for my stamina and flexibility, and more importantly rid me of the debilitating back problems that previously would leave me bed-ridden for weeks at a time. The downside of this though was that I had the illusion of feeling great, all the while not realizing that my Diabetes had gotten out of control. My A1c score (a measure of glucose in the blood) was nearing 8.0, and that was with medication. Not good.

Near the end of August of 2014 (let’s call in a month after my 55th birthday), I made some changes again, aided in part though some self-hypnosis work. My weight at that time was fluctuating a bit. For months I’d kept in the 290s, but it could creep up across 300. For purposes of personal logs, beginning the morning I began tracking things I weighhed in at 293-ish. Now, let’s look at where we currently are:

WEIGHT: I weigh-in every morning and while many sources say this is less than an ideal thing to do, I find it works well for me. Today the scale read 266.2, or more than 25 lbs. from where I was last August. In pragmatic terms, I’ve shifted two notches up on my belt (I could do a third, but I thought I’d hold off on that until I hit 265 or less for a few days in a row) and shifted to smaller waist-size in slacks. Shirts are fitting much better. I have more energy.

EXERCISE: I still do Pilates classes, typically twice a week. I also spend several days each week (sometimes six days, sometimes as few as three) putting it at least two miles on the elliptical before I start my day.

DIET: I still eat pretty much whatever I want, but I don’t want the same things I used to, and/or in different quantities and frequencies. I typically limit myself to no more than 1800 net calories (i.e., calories after deducting calories burned through exercise), and usually it’s closer to 1400.

SUGAR: Last summer, the physician I’d had since I first moved to Pennsylvania retired and I went in search of a new doctor. In September, I had my first diabetic check-up with her. My hemoglobin A1c score at that time was 7.6, still way too high in my opinion. A couple weeks ago I had my quarterly follow-up. The new score: 6.4! Technically, that puts me in the “pre-diabetic” range, but that’s also while still being medicated. Moving forward, my intention is to take that down to 6.0 or less, and then begin decreasing my medication. I’ll never stop being diabetic, but through diet and exercise I can get ever more control on the disease and that’s my goal.

That’s the important stuff, healthwise. But as long as I’m here, I’ll update you on the social media stuff too, as I’ve done in the past. Numbers in parentheses are the scores form the last update, back on August 1, 2014:

Followers – 104 (102)
Friends – 2145 (2112)

Tsu (the newcomer on the block):
Friends – 31
Followers – 17

Tweets 4082 (3563)
Follow – 91 (80)
Followers – 590 (547)

Fans – 64 (64)
Friends – 1562 (1558)
2015 Reading Challenge 1 out of 50 (I finished a book this morning)

And that’s where I am on the first day of this glorious new year.

Eating Authors – The Master List – now updated through the end of 2014

No Comments » Written on December 31st, 2014 by
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Eating Authors: The Master List

Back in June of 2011 I started a weekly blog feature, EATING AUTHORS. The plan was simple: showcase a genre novelist — newbie, “big name author,” or anywhere in between — and ask my guest to reminisce about his/her most memorable meal. It’s been a bit of paying it forward, a bit of sneaking a peek at the personality behind the work, and it’s given me an excuse to reach out to friends I don’t correspond with enough and to encounter new authors who had never heard of me. So, pretty much a win-win from Day 1.

After three and a half years, the feature is still going strong. But with coming up on 200 authors it’s easy to lose track as to who’s already been here. And so last summer I began compiling a Master List to help keep track of that information. I’ve just updated that list through the end of 2014, which seems like a good final post for the year.

But know, I’ve got an impressive list of authors and meals already lined up for 2015, and plenty of others that I’ll track down and harangue invite to participate. I hope you’ll join us.

photo credit: “Setting 1″ by Christopher Peplin

Eating Authors: Doranna Durgin

2 comments Written on December 29th, 2014 by
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Doranna Durgin

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted! Despite my expectations and intentions of a relatively easy December, things took a few unanticipated turns this month and more than a few of them went a bit… flooey. Fortunately, we have passed through into what I like to call “Dead Week,” the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day during which most people have slumped into food comas, collapsed following the departure of friends and relatives, and/or otherwise succumbed to celebratory overload. This tends to leave folks disinclined to require or expect much from anyone. At least that’s how I spin it. My big accomplishment for this week is this blog post. So, you know, you’re welcome.

Closing out EATING AUTHORS for 2014 is past Compton Crook Award winner Doranna Durgin. With more than thirty books out, including both multi-volume series (e.g., Sentinels at six books, The Changespell Saga at four books with an omnibus volume on its way) and stand-alone singles in universes of her own creation, as well as popular media tie-in realms including Star Trek and the Buffyverse, if you haven’t discovered her work before now then you’ve got a lot of reading ahead of you.

Animal elements are a standard in her fiction, so it should come as no surprise that Doranna has a strong connection to horses and dogs outside of her writing life. Indeed, she almost has me convinced that beagles are superior canines to mutts. Almost.

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Eating Authors: Amanda Downum

No Comments » Written on December 22nd, 2014 by
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Amanda Downum

Hanukkah is one the wane and many folks are getting fat and/or drunk at the office holiday party (more of the former and none of the latter in my case, as my DayJob™ is in the mental health and addictions domain, so parties are typically dry), to say nothing of sending and receiving delicious gifts and treats, or gearing up for that big holiday meal at home. Some of us are busy with last minute shopping, and others are gleefully finding mysterious packages arriving by post or other carrier.

Meanwhile, amidst the other bits of frenzy that is typically associated with December, it’s the start of another week and on this particular Monday I’m pleased to tell you that Amanda Downum has dropped by to share a tale of a memorable meal. She’s a fantasy author perhaps best known for her Necromancer Chronicles (The Drowning City, The Bone Palace, and Kingdoms of Dust).

Amanda’s been shortlisted for the David Gemmell Morning Star Award, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and nominated for the David Gemmell Legend Award and the Gaylactic Spectrum Award. Her newest book, Dreams of Shreds and Tatters, will be out from Solaris next May.

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