Hey, look, a review!

During my previous life as a short fiction author, I seemed to have a review curse. Every time I had a story coming out–oops–it was the reviewer’s month off. Or something! Or if I did get a review, it was a very brief mention. So it’s nice to find this review of the Jan/Feb 2012 Analog by Sam Tomaino at SFRevu.

Tomaino called the story “amusing” and “a little hard to swallow but fun.” Fair enough, Tomaino. Fair enough. And thanks!

Long Winter’s Nap on Smashwords and Kindle

My Christmas story from the December, 2006 edition of Analog is available for free now on Smashwords, and for 99 cents on Kindle if you, say, have a credit card balance of $99.01 and want to make it an even $100. Note that Smashwords has .mobi formatted files for viewing on Kindle, and I’m told there’s a way to get that file from your computer to your Kindle, so if that kind of manipulation is easy for you, there’s no reason to pay for it from the Kindle site.

NewWintersNapCover

I am working on getting it up at Barnes and Noble. The Pubit system seems to work slowly on the weekend. Again, properly formatted .epub files are available on Smashwords, and it is pretty easy to sideload those onto the nook straight from your computer (no helper application or emailing required), so the only reason you might want to pay $1 for the story there is if you wanted me to have the 30 cents. Which, if you do, is very kind.

I’ve also posted Improving Slay Times in the Common Dragon on Smashwords for free, so if you haven’t read that yet and are inclined for something silly and cynical, check it out. (People who have been to grad school seem to appreciate it quite a lot.)

I’m finding the self-publishing process to be interesting and fun. For me, at this point, it’s not going to be my primary publishing path, particularly not for longer works, but I can definitely see how it can complement traditional publishing. I also don’t think it would be that hard to launch an original novel using self-publishing outlets. I’ve spent some time “slush reading” at Smashwords, and I’m convinced that well-written, well-produced works would stand out like a sore thumb.

You can filter quite a bit just by reading the descriptions of the stories. They typically start with some kind of genuinely interesting McGuffin, and then deteriorate to uninteresting vagueness.

“Bob Smith is a bounty hunter for fairies gone bad in a futuristic New Orleans. When he falls in love with one of his targets, he is faced with the greatest challenge of his life, and must do a hard thing in order to prevail against evil. Please check out my book you will love it.”

And there are actual readers at Smashwords and in the Kindle community, so books that stand out get discovered, and get read.

That said, I’m still looking for a traditional publisher for my novel, and am still marketing my short stories to pro magazines, because the exposure I can get through those outlets is still much greater than the 100-200 word footprint I currently have in the self-publishing channels. That may change in the future.

Women and Blogging: In Which I Listen

Well, it looks like the white males are finally going to shut up and listen to women bloggers talk about their own issues, rather than explaining it to them. They are shutting up any time now. Shutting up in 3, 2, 1… Okay, they are definitely going to shut up, but after they make one more very important point. And then just connect it back to their original point, and wrap it up with a funnel paragraph. And respond to this one semi-tangential objection. Shutting up now. Quiet! Not saying anything! Ok, well, let’s hear them out, then.

John Scalzi and Jim C. Hines have both been talking about harassment of women bloggers, inspired by food blogger Shawna James Ahern’s post about the hate mail she receives. John’s post, The Sort of Crap I Don’t Get, points out that as a moderately highly trafficked male blogger, he’s never had the kind of hateful comments that Shawna has. Jim speculates about how his career might have been different, and harder, if he were a woman in Jane C. Hines. John follows up with Shut Up and Listen in which he opines that men should do exactly that (and I couldn’t resist a bit of teasing, above).

As astute as those posts are, I couldn’t help noting the irony that, at least from my perspective, men seem to be leading the conversation. Those crafty devils! Do they distract us with cookies or what? At this point, I don’t have anything insightful to add to the discussion, but I thought I’d go into shut up and listen mode myself and offer some of the women I am listening to on this and related subjects right now.

Seanan McGuireBeing a Female in the Age of the Internet

This is a very thought-provoking post, much in the same vein as Ahern’s. I begin to wonder if that particular brand of vitriol has as much to do with society’s body image issues as it does with gender issues, since a lot of the abuse she describes is, again, weight related.

Nnedi OkoraforNnedi’s Definition of Feminism

In her blog post, Nnedi lays it out for you. What is a feminist? To her, feminism involves equality and partnership between the sexes. If you check out her Twitter feed, @Nnedi, you can find some quality righteous indignation as Nnedi deals with, dare I say, even crazier attacks than have been described heretofore among her Nigerian readership.

Nalo Hopkinson 

A writer and a blogger worth reading, in general. Nalo has an interest in food and feminism. If you watch her, she might have something interesting to say about hate and abuse of women bloggers.

Mary Anne Mohanraj 

Likewise another smart blogger and writer to watch on feminism and other cultural issues.

Sandra TaylerTraditional Roles for Women

The business brain of the Schlock Mercenary franchise and a writer herself, Sandra wrestles with women’s roles and identities. Is it really so easy to shed things you care about and upon which you’ve built your identity for the sake of fairness?

Marissa Lingen 

Marissa chimes in on the Jane C. Hines post with some good points about how gender-based challenges may have non-linear, non-proportionate, or non-expected effects on people.

My First Story Now on Amazon

Slaycover

I’m really thrilled to have “reprinted” my first published story on Amazon. The story, “Improving Slay Times in the Common Dragon,” garnered enthusiastically positive comments from classmates and instructors at Clarion in 1997. I had written it shortly before Clarion and used it as one of my entrance submissions. I then sold the story immediately after the workshop to Liz Holliday, who was editing the magazine Odyssey, at the time. My first professional sale! I’ve had it up on my web site in a rather rough PDF form for years, and have appreicated occasional positive comments, so it’s very nice to present the story in Kindle form. I splurged on the artwork I used for the cover (isn’t it cute, and, like, so PERFECT?), and I’ll need to sell about 150 copies to break even, so if you’ve read the story, please consider giving it a review. (I kind of figure most people reading my blog who might have wanted to read the story have already done so at some point since 1997.)

Going through the story to prepare it for publication was an interesting exercise. I’ve developed as a person and as a writer since then. I was in a deeply, deeply cynical place in my life at that time, hence the deeply, deeply cynical ending. And I think that’s what ultimately appealed to people the most.

It should be turning up at Barnes and Noble, soon, too. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll try to do Sony/iPad, etc. Those are somewhat more complicated.

Here’s the listing. Improving Slay Times in the Common Dragon.

 

Now that I know how to do it, I’m planning to publish a bunch of older stories and articles that I have rights to. Much of my freelance stuff is work-for-hire, but I’ve got designs to expand and rewrite some of those concepts for a different audience.