Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pieces and Bits


Lots going on here at Greengate. Planet Comicon is less than a month away and winter is hopefully winding down. So it's time for some updates.

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There are a bunch of short stories that have been just sitting in a folder on my desktop that needed to go somewhere. As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I've contracted with a professional editor (who's also a friend - a frienditor?) to help me whip a few of those stories into shape. I made a decision to self-publish the stories mostly as an experiment but also because it's been ten years since I self-published anything. Time to dip back into the pool.

The plan is for two stories to debut at the show in paper form, exclusive to that show. Limited editions, as it were. I'll doodle a sketch on the cover and if you purchase both pamphlets I'll get you a link to download an audio version of a third story. I'm still working that part out but it'll happen.

Prospects is the story of a bodyguard at loose ends. Mrak is the sort of person who has to work and the lure of a job he's been warned against is too much to resist.

The Masking Job is an ode to old time radio programs. The main character is a hit man who doesn't just kill people, he removes their existence completely.

What Is Best In Life is a revenge tale. Cold, sweet revenge.

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I don't necessarily identify the race of a character unless they're an alien. I want the reader to project themselves on the characters and I think giving them skin color is limiting. Am I wrong?

You don't need me to tell you that there are an extraordinary amount of characters in science fiction who are white and male. And humanoid. Not that any non-humans are reading my stuff, but this article from i09 kinda makes the same point. Things aren't weird enough in SF, not like some of it used to be anyway. I think there's a comfort in homogenization. Anyway, if my main character is humanoid, I'm not telling the reader what she looks like, except to maybe give some vague physical characteristics, just not skin color or even ancestry.

Trying to create new cultures is difficult.

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I prefer to be barefoot in my home (or in winter with socks on or some very comfortable moccasin house shoes) but working at the desk requires me to put shoes on so my legs don't get too tired. I can live with that. I'm working about 30 - 45 minutes at a time standing and then alternating by sitting for a bit. Eventually I feel like I'll get to standing more for longer times. I like this set up.

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Reading three books at the same time. The only SF anthology I read every year is David Hartwell's Year's Best SF and the current volume is #18. It really is the best of the best. Also reading Wonderbook by Jeff VanderMeer but not in any sort of organized way. If you put it with Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist it makes a good deal of sense. Highly recommended. Also reading The King in Yellow because I'm watching True Detective. Now if someone had hooked me up with Chambers' book twenty-five years ago while I was devouring all the Lovecraft I could find I would have eaten this book up. As it is, I'm balancing it with the other two books but it's so good I could just get lost in it. I can't do that with all the stuff I've got going on but it's amazing.

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Using 4'x4' boxes in the home garden this year and generally gussying up the vegetable space. This year, more flowers too. We're spending some time outside when it's warm and the ground hasn't been covered with snow and that's good. I recommend that for all of you. Put down the book, turn off the TV, close the computer and go outside.

I can't wait for it to warm up more consistently so I can get back to walking on a regular basis.