Posts Tagged ‘Fiction’

Cover Reveal – BARSK: THE ELEPHANTS’ GRAVEYARD

1 Comment » Written on February 5th, 2015 by
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Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Internet, may I present for your anticipation, gradual build-up of ultimately brain-wrenching desire, and immediate viewing pleasure, the cover of my forthcoming novel, Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard.

My editor informs me that the release doesn’t happen until December, but the way I choose to spin that is it creates an opportunity for a solid ten months of buzz, and a cover reveal is an awesome beginning.

The cover art is by Victo Ngai, a Society of Illustrators NY Gold Medalist (she actually has a stack of gold and silver medals), and depicts her conception of one of the artificial “vents” that occur within the rainforests of the islands of Barsk. Specifically, a shaft visited by Pizlo, a young boy whose very existence is outside the strictures of Barsk culture.

He hung in open air, ruminating, suspended upside down in a well-tended shaft walled on all sides with living green. Seven such chimneys existed on the island of Keslo; every island on Barsk boasted at least one. Fant society created the insubstantial monuments as part memorial and part warning. Few reached all the way to the uppermost limits of the forest, or ran all the way down to its roots.

Barskg is a world of almost constant rain and breaks in the cloud cover are infrequent. Rarer still are the times when the clouds happen to part and allow a glimpse of any of the planet’s moons. In the scene Victo Ngai referenced for the cover, Pizlo has gone to a specific chimney at a specific time, following the urging of the voices in his head, to see his third of Barsk’s seven moons. Pizlo is a weird little kid, and he’s convinced the moon not only speaks to him, but tells him secrets.

So, now that you’ve seen the cover and read a snippet, it’s time to tease you a bit more. How am I going to do that, you ask? Why, by sharing with you some of the remarks from other folks, Big Name Authors all, who have already read the finished book:

“The second you encounter the arboreal uplifted elephants who speak with the dead, you know you’re reading a work of singular imaginative power.  It’s a delight from beginning to end.”

Walter Jon Williams, Nebula Award-winning author of The Green Leopard Plague

“Weird, wise, and worldly, Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard is a triumph.”

—Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues

“Grand in scope, yet deeply intimate. Schoen gives anthropomorphism some serious spirituality. It got inside my head in the way that only an exciting new idea can.”

Howard Tayler, Hugo Award-winning creator of Schlock Mercenary

“Combines excellent characters and a fascinating world.  What really makes it work is how he deftly weaves together startling SFnal ideas with character-based intrigue.  You’ll really care for these characters, even as you find them believably alien.”

Karl Schroeder, author of Lockstep

“A heartfelt and wonderfully weird book: a space opera about kindness and memory. Read it. Meet these people. Listen to their dreams, and to their moons.”

Max Gladstone, author of the Craft Sequence

And that’s going to have to hold you for a while, but I promise, there’ll be more hooplah in the weeks and months to come.

Boskone 52 Schedule (more than a month out!)

No Comments » Written on January 11th, 2015 by
Categories: News
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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!

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

No Comments » Written on January 2nd, 2015 by
Categories: Freebies
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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.

Solstice 2014: Celebrate Short Fiction Day

No Comments » Written on December 21st, 2014 by
Categories: Freebies
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Author, Photographer, and all-around selfless person, Sally Wiener Grotta, brought this to my attention, and now I’m bringing it to yours:

Please join us in marking today, December 21st (or as it’s known in the northern hemisphere, the Winter Solstice), as Celebrate Short Fiction Day.

Nancy Christie, the founder of Celebrate Short Fiction Day, says, “The winter solstice marks both the start of winter and the shortest day of the year. So why not take advantage of the long winter night to curl up with a good short story?”

Seriously, like you needed an excuse?

All over the Internet, authors and small presses are making samples of their short fiction available to you for free today. Here’s a link to the freebies from Sally’s Pixel Hall Press, and here’s a link to an updated (i.e., better ebook code than the last version) of a short story over on my Freebie Page.

Please help spread the word, and the fiction!

International Polar Bear Day 2014

No Comments » Written on February 27th, 2014 by
Categories: News
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Mars Needs Baby Seals

As exciting as the past couple of days have been, what with all the announcement of this year’s Nebula Award Nominees, all of that has to take a backseat to today. Why?

Because today is INTERNATIONAL POLAR BEAR DAY!!!

It’s not my place to tell you how to observe such a splendid day, but I hope you find something that works for you. Maybe you’ll make a charitable donation Polar Bears International. Maybe you’ll eat a Klondike bar. As for me, I’m giving away copies of my short story, “Mars Needs Baby Seals,” because I originally wrote it as part of a contest involving less common holidays and I chose this one.

If you’d like an electronic copy of the story, simply go to my Contact page and leave me a note with 1) your name, 2) your email address, and 3) an indication of whether you’d prefer ePub or mobi format (sorry, those are the only formats available). And that’s it.

This offer is good through Sunday, March 2nd, 2014. Please allow up to 48 hours for me to email you back with the story.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find an ice floe…

Final (and I really mean it) LoneStarCon3 Schedule

No Comments » Written on August 21st, 2013 by
Categories: News
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I’ve received confirmation from programming with regard to my participation in Strolling with the Stars. I’ll be strolling on both Thursday and Monday mornings. But because someone screwed up, you won’t see my name listed among the “stars” in the pocket program for those days, as this had already gone to press. I’m told the correction will make it into the program app, the online listing, and the pink sheets. And if you’re reading this here, then you know too.

I’m also very pleased to see that the online version now lists locations, which will make actually showing up for events (both panelists and audience members) much easier. And with that now resolved, here at last is my complete schedule for Lone Star Con 3!

Thursday, August 29th:
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. | Rivercenter Lobby| Stroll with the Stars.
Possibly the only exercise many of us will get all weekend. Come walk and talk (it will be just like an episode of “West Wing”).
with Bobbie DuFault, Phil Foglio, Liz Gorinsky, Hagrid, Jason M. Hough, Stina Leicht, C. J. Mills, Steven Silver, and Catherynne M. Valente.

6:00 – 8:00 p.m. | | Private reception for James Gunn and many of his students.
Shhh… it’s private. Seriously, I’m very happy to get to be a part of honoring this fine writer and teacher.

Friday, August 30th
9:00 – 10:00 a.m. | | Annual Codex Breakfast
Several dozen writers “on the hungry edge of speculative fiction” sate their appetites with breakfast as online acquaintances meet face to face for the first time, and old friends reunite. Also pancakes.

10:00 – 11:00 a.m. | Convention Center | Autographing
I’ll sign most anyting (well… not a blank check), so come on by!
alongside Carol Berg, Lillian Stewart Carl, and Ian Tregillis.

2:00 – 3:00 p.m. | 006B Convention Center | Klingon Language Lecture
For more than 20 years I’ve been promoting the warriors’ tongue around the globe. For WorldCon I’ll present an intense (but fun!) whirlwind through the workings of the galaxy’s fastest growing language. Prepare yourself for 90% of Klingon grammar in a mere 50 minutes!
Just me.

Saturday, August 31st
10:00 – 11:00 a.m. | 008B Convention Center | SFWA Meeting
It’s been a wild year for SFWA, and I’m sure this will be a “lively” business meeting. It is also the 1st meeting for new president Steven Gould. Show up on time and maybe we’ll even finish on time.

3:00 – 4:00 p.m.| 007B Convention Center | First Contact in 3..2..1.. (M)
If First Contact were to happen today, and was an open event, how would the human race react? Would we feel inferior, or just try to steal their technology? Might we even attack them? What is the probability of them being hostile, curious, invading, tourists, game hunters, refugees, or would be gods?
with Liz Argall, Cenk Gokce, and Jeffrey Shanks.

5:30 – 6:00 p.m.| 002B Convention Center | Reading
Author readings are one of my favorite bits of programming to attend, and also to perform. I’ll likely read from my new novella, “Trial of the Century” (Conroy fans, take note!)

Sunday, September 1st
11:00 a.m. – 12:00 pm | Exhibit A – Art Show | Art Show Docent Tour for Klingons
A tour through select pieces of the art show which I feel speak to both the warrior’s heart and the poet’s soul of your typical Klingon. Portions of the tour *will* be in Klingon, but translations will be available as needed. Please do not bring your bat’leth, as it tends to upset the art show staff.

1:00 – 3:00 pm | Conference 4 Rivercenter | Writers’ Workshop – Section Q
In the spirit of “paying it forward,” two professional authors serve up insightful critique to three junior writers. Not a spectator sport, but an important part of the my annual Worldcon experience.
I’m privileged to be working with Matthew Johnson. I’m leaving off the names of the three writers we’ve been assigned, to better facilitate their stalking of me.

500 – 6:00 p.m.| 007B Convention Center | First Contact Without a Universal Translator (M)
How do we establish a common conceptual base to communicate with another species? Sure, we have numbers and the hydrogen atom in common, but how far would that get us in a world of beings who share none of our sensory apparatus?
with Paige E. Ewing and Karl Schroeder.

8:00 p.m. – ??? | | Hugo Awards Ceremony
The voting members of the Worldcon hand out shiny golden rocket ships in a ceremony that’s almost guaranteed to run long. Place your bets early for who will win.

Monday, September 2nd
9:00 – 10:00 p.m. | Rivercenter Lobby| Stroll with the Stars.
The con is almost over, but let’s take one more stroll together, shall we?
with David Boop, James L. Cambias, Bobbie DuFault, Gini Koch, Trina Marie Phillips, Jessica Reisman, Shanna Swendson, Howard Tayler, Toni Weisskopf, and Mel White.

12:00 – 1:00 pm | Exhb A Convention Center | Literary Beer
You have to buy your own beer (and I’ll be drinking Diet Coke), but sign up and come by. We can rehash the convention and I’ll tell you all sorts of lies.

That ought to be enough to keep me busy, especially when you add in the evening parties, the dinners that Valerie is planning, and the handful of panels and readings I’m hoping to attend. There should even be room for a couple business meetings (what you call “lunch”).

Barry will be with me throughout the convention, and there will also be at least two (maybe more?) skilled and beautiful buffalito wranglers wandering around with their own plush buffalitos. Feel free to stop any of us for a postcard that will allow you to download a free copy of the latest Conroy story, “Trial of the Century,” a novella which takes place between the end of the first novel and the start of the second. Did I mention it was free?

That’s it. You’ve got a week to pack. Get to it!

Now It Can Be Told!

No Comments » Written on August 3rd, 2013 by
Categories: News
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Down around Baltimore, MD this weekend is the S.F. Media convention known as Shore Leave. It’s a particularly rambunctious event this time around as they have both William Shatner and Brent Spiner appearing.

I went down yesterday to be part of the mass signing and book release of the third volume in the ReDeus shared universe series (ReDeus: Native Lands), which I posted about yesterday. That bit ran from 10:00 pm to midnight, and then we all adjourned to the bar for a couple hours until closing time. I drove home and managed to crawl into bed at about 4:00 a.m. today.

But that’s not what today’s post is about.

Prior to the 10:00 signing, there was a program item at 9:00 featuring Marco Palmieri and Greg Cox, two editors at Tor Books. They did a presentation of some recent and upcoming titles from Tor. Near the end, Marco made a little announcement. I had planned to hold off sharing this news publicly until such time as the ink on all the paperwork had dried, but apparently my editor and my agent agreed it was fine. So…

*** insert trumpets here ***

I am very pleased to announce that Tor Books is buying a novel from me. Despite my having published four books through Hadley Rille Books, a small press out of Kansas City, Tor considers me a “debut author.” That’s fine. And while I’ve been very pleased with the my relationship with Eric Reynolds of HRB, going from a small press to the largest publisher of SF in the country is a jump of one or more orders of magnitude in nearly all ways.

And because I’m now finishing up a book for a major publisher, I needed to have a proper agent to handle all the pesky details of contracts that weren’t based on a simple handshake. After far more choices than I probably deserve, I’m delighted to say I am now represented by John Silbersack of the Trident Media Group.

Or to put it another way: this changes everything in my life. It’s the opportunity I’ve been working toward for about two decades, and I’m grabbing hold of it with both hands!

The rest of 2013 is going to be a wild ride. The finished manuscript is due in New York at the beginning of February, and personally I’d like to get it in a month early. Other plans are being reviewed, reorganized, re-evaluated (and in some instances, rejected) as my priorities shift to put this front and center. So if I seem even busier and harder to get ahold of for the rest of the year, this is why.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go and put my ass back in the chair and hammer out some more words.

Heading to Shore Leave 2013 Tomorrow

No Comments » Written on August 1st, 2013 by
Categories: Plugs
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ReDeus: Native Lands

The car’s all gassed up and I just had the oil changed and the tire pressure checked, so I guess I’m ready for a trip. Tomorrow (Friday) morning I’ll be heading down toward Baltimore to spend the day at Shore Leave. As noted on my schedule page, although the convention runs through Sunday, I’ll only be present on Friday.

I have meetings planned for both lunch and dinner, and I’ve even managed to find myself on a panel this year at 8pm, but the main reason for my being there is the big Meet the Pros / Autograph Session that runs from 10:00 pm through midnight. That’s when I’ll be joining nine other authors for the debut of volume three of the ReDeus shared universe series, ReDeus: Native Lands (which by no mere coincidence includes my story “The Fourth Person”). This is my third appearance in ReDeus, and continues the adventures of retired professor Matlal Alejandro Garcia y Fuentes as he promotes the indigenous languages of Mexico and the history of the Aztec gods by writing pop songs for a teen superstar. The current story is set in Minnesota and focuses on the mythology of the Ojibwe’s spirits (with a bit of Norse mythology thrown in because, hey, it’s Minnesota!). There’s even a minor Ojibwe grammar lesson thrown in, just because.

So if you’re planning being at Shore Leave, I hope you’ll stop by my table during the signing. I’ll be happy to autograph anything you put in front of me. And naturally, I’ll have copies of my own books and some books from Paper Golem available as well. See you there!