Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

Saturday Brain Flash!

No Comments » Written on February 25th, 2012 by
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On the drive home from my weekly observance of Chinese food, I suddenly knew how the entire Amazing Conroy saga (the start of which is only hinted at at the very end of the last novel) gets resolved.

Or, to put it another way, I know what happens to tie off all of the pieces in an incredibly satisfying way a bit over half a million words from now.

Of course, that’s five or six Conroyverse books away (five in the series, and a related side book, or maybe two), so, you probably won’t get to see the result until around the year 2020.

Which, now that I think about it, makes Buffalito Hindsight a decent working title for the final book.

What I can tell you right here and now though is that everything that’s ever happened to Conroy feeds into that final book. All the supporting characters come back, all the old plot points factor in, and of course, Conroy saves the galaxy!


I’ve been writing lately

No Comments » Written on December 6th, 2011 by
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November was pretty good to me, from a writing perspective. I finally got myself back in gear after what has been quite the roller coaster ride in my personal life and things are finally settling down.

This meant I wrote most every day in November, yes even while I was away in Toronto at SFContario, and yes, even during Thanksgiving. As much better and more experienced writers have told me, writers write. It’s as simple as that, folks. I hope you’ll accept my lapse; somehow I managed to lose sight of this simple fact.

While lots of folk engaged in the annual headrush that is NaNoWriMo, I took a different direction this year. Instead of working on a novel in November, I wanted to write a novella. More specifically, I wanted to draft, edit, rewrite, and polish a novella within the span of the month. And I did. “Barry’s Tale” clocked in at a bit over twenty-thousand words. It’s been sent out to the handful of writers I’ve bandied critiques with for the last many years, and I’ll be receiving their careful considerations later in the month. I’m very much looking forward to it.

But that was November, and because writers write, I can’t just sit around congratulating myself for doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Nope, I need to move on to the next project. In this case, it’s another Amazing Conroy story, “Trial of the Century.” This is something of a necessary story, because it fills in some missing pieces that need to have happened somewhere between the end of the first novel, Buffalito Destiny, and the start of the second novel, Buffalito Contingency. It also features the return of the Arconi, the alien race from the very first Conroy story, the ones who can look you in the eye and know whether or not your telling the truth. The people that Conroy stole his original, fertile buffalito from, and they still don’t know how he did it. In “Trial of the Century” all this will be revealed, and more!

Like “Barry’s Tale,” “Trial” is intended to be one of the new, never-before-seen stories to go in my next book, a compilation of all the short stories about Conroy, so that readers will have them all in one place (which is especially good as several of the original sources are now out of print). The plan is to launch this book with much fanfare at the Worldcon in Chicago.

And now that I’ve brought you up to date, please excuse me, I need to get back to work.

Odd Monday for Writing

No Comments » Written on September 19th, 2011 by
Categories: News

Less than two weeks ago, I received an email that an anthology editor was trying to reach me but without success. He’d been emailing to a little used email address and I’d been preoccupied with things like my wife’s surgery and wasn’t checking my older, more obscure accounts. Ooops all around.

Turned out he’d been pulled in as the new editor on a project that I’d sent a story into some years ago, only to have the funding for that project wither and die. Then there’d been some talk about the story appearing in a magazine that the original editor was involved with, but never quite gelled.

I quickly got in touch with the new editor, sent off the requested bio and such, and asked to take another pass at the original story (now years old), because I felt certain that I’d want to clean up some of the language and style, my writing having improved over the intervening time. I was told a contract would be coming out in a week, but the rough terms were mentioned.

Yesterday, that week having passed and no sign of a contract, I queried, mentioned some concerns I had about the contract as described, and again asked for a copy of the current version of the story they were working from, so I could add some polish.

This morning I received a contract. It lacked some of the basics of contracts that I’m used to (both as a writer and a publisher), and asked for things that I don’t normally sign away. I was informed that all of this was “industry standard” and that if I wasn’t willing to sign then my story would be dropped from the anthology. Also, that I’d have a chance to make “minor changes” of the proof of my story, which I would receive in another week or so.

I replied that I’ve been in the industry a little bit now, and that while such things might be standard on boiler plate contracts, only the unwary or the unwise signed such things, that every contract was negotiable, and that I couldn’t and wouldn’t sign such a thing, and I still wanted to be able to review the story and perhaps make changes, and clearly that wasn’t an option.

So I bowed out.

I don’t like doing that. I don’t like pulling out of an anthology that’s expecting to have my work because it feels like I’m leaving them in the lurch (even if it’s a lurch of their own making).

I don’t like killing a sale and having another piece of my work out there for people to read, but on the other hand, I want it to be work that I’m proud of and that reflects where I am as an author. A story that I’d originally written five years ago doesn’t do that.

Most of all though, and this was the big trump, I don’t like contracts that are presented as written in stone with no room for changes, even if those changes actually protect the publisher (and I’ve added such things to contracts in the past).

I don’t know what, if anything, will become of this story now, but I think I did the right thing. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the best one I could make given the choices.


No Comments » Written on July 26th, 2011 by
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I need to find a Webmaster familiar with WordPress to upgrade my website (current webmaster having gone AWOL due to “life”).

Skills should include setting up Conroyverse wiki and bibliography pages within WordPress.

The ideal candidate should be willing to work in exchange for Klingon lessons, free books (not necessarily limited to mine, as I’m thinking of purging much of my personal library), tuckerizations, long-winded pontifications, and/or gourmet meals (assuming I can convince my wife to produce same).

Morning Dose of OOOPS!

No Comments » Written on July 5th, 2011 by
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I’m finalizing the contracts for an anthology that I’m editing/publishing, and I got to thinking that I hadn’t heard back from another publisher regarding the contracts that I’d had some questions about.

So I go looking at the correspondence thread in my email account and discover that instead of “sending” my reply to them a month ago, I’d only “saved” it, and the damn thing has been sitting in “draft” mode in my account.

Which goes a long way to explaining why I hadn’t heard back from them in the intervening weeks, as they’d still been waiting to hear back from me.

Nothing like a big face full of egg to start the day.

On the other hand, this is why Klingon has Replacement Proverbs. HIvqa’ veqlargh. Okay, now I feel much better.

What I’m Doing This Weekend – Memorial Day 2011 Edition

No Comments » Written on May 27th, 2011 by
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Usually, I’d be at a convention right about now, settling in with every intention to linger with friends for the next several days. I’d do a few panels, sign a few books, maybe do a reading. It would be high energy fun.

This year is different. I’m still here at home, and I’m working on a novel. It’s a YA novel that I’ve had kicking around in my head for a few years. It’s been sitting in a box for a while, and it’s time to apply some of the tools that I acquired last summer while up in Taos. I’ve spent the morning re-reading what I’ve got, deciding what I like, what needs to be thrown out, what needs to be added. I’m feeling very encouraged, though I won’t be doing any of the heavy lifting on it until Sunday.

Instead, tomorrow (Saturday) I’ll be driving down to Baltimore and meet up with a friend for dinner. I’ve been wanting to have a long chat with him for months and months, and we keep missing one another. He’s at Balticon, so that’s where I’m going to meet up with him, but I’m not actually doing Balticon this year. Still, if you want to see me, I’ll likely be arriving in mid-afternon. My plan is to drop off some of my new postcards on the Freebie Table, and then hole up in the bar until dinner time. After dinner I’ll probably return and hang in the bar a while. Then, as long as I’ve made the trip, hit some of the evening parties. After that, I’ll drive home.

Sunday and Monday I’ll be going back to work on the YA novel.

I’m probably just as curious as you (okay, maybe more) to see what I have come Tuesday morning.

Something New Among the Postcards

No Comments » Written on May 27th, 2011 by
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Buffalito Contingency Postcard

Memorial Day Weekend is a major convention weekend, and while I’m not actually attending any this year, I have helpers who are at several of them doing me the great favor of putting out my new postcards on the respective conventions’ Freebie Tables.

On one side, the card displays the cover of my second novel, Buffalito Contingency, in all its glory. Nice.

But it’s on the other side where the novelty lives. The middle of the card has a reduced image of the book cover. Above it is a QR code that owners of smart devices (e.g., iPad2s, Droids, iPhones) can use to instantly order the book from Amazon. We’re talking immediate gratification! But wait, there’s more! The QR code at the bottom of the card will automagically download a complimentary epub of “Buffalo Dogs,” the very first story from the Amazing Conroy series. It’s yours, whether you buy the novel or not.

As the technology continues to proliferate, I think we’re going to see more and more of this kind of self-promotion. SF readers are among the earliest of adopters, and when we find a book we want, we want it right then and there. QR codes allow authors and publishers to feed that ID. It’s a nice example of a win-win situation (which is the only game I want to play nowadays).

If you’re at Batlicon, Wiscon, MarCon, CONduit, or ConQuesT this weekend, pick up a postcard and try it yourself.

Barbecue and Hypnosis

2 comments Written on April 23rd, 2011 by
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I’m researching barbecue for a new novella I’m writing about my stage hypnotist protagonist, the Amazing Conroy.

At this stage we’re looking at barbecue made using bison (yes, that’s buffalo*, but not buffalito!) and quite possibly thoats as well.

If any of you have thoughts and experiences involving barbecue — in any of its many forms — I’d welcome a comment. Thanks.

*I will probably taking a tour of a bison ranch some time next month, as additional research.