First of all, I need help picking the winning cover for REMO from all the outstanding final entries. So click on the picture below, VOTE, and then come back here, because you ain’t gonna want to miss this.
Don’t you just LOVE proportional voting? Now, to task!
Today was a pretty awesome day. It started off with an e-mail at the crack of dawn, from the editors of Daily Science Fiction, who told me that they’re buying my flash (under 1000 words) soft-SF short story “The Rememberists.” It’s a weird little tale, but thought provoking, and they’re buying first serial rights to it! While the money off a 1000 word tale isn’t life-changing, even at professional rates, it does mark my third sale to a paying, professional science fiction market. That — technically — makes me a pro-science fiction author, at least according to the Science Fiction Writers’ Association, the SFWA, our professional guild. Folks have a lot of mixed feelings about the SFWA, which is currently undergoing an ideological purge of sorts, but I like writers on both sides of the divide. Will I join? I dunno. But its still damn nice to be able to.
Matter two, which was why I had been thinking about the SFWA and professionalism, is the fact that I now have sold over 10,000 copies of A Sword Into Darkness (and at a royalty rate that does NOT suck). Though it is self/indie published, selling 10,000 copies allows you to classify yourself as a pro, and as a new pro, begins your two-year countdown clock for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in Science Fiction. It would be AMAZING to get a Campbell nod, like one of my favorites, Larry Correia. Of course, there’s a few hiccups to getting that nomination and attending the Hugo Awards: namely, the Best New Writers get nominated by the attendees of the past and current WorldCon, where the awards are handed out. Thing is, I don’t know any WorldCon attendees, and i really doubt they just happened to be browsing Amazon, saw my cover, and said THAT is my next read! And then there’s the matter that I may be ineligible. “Dreams for Sale — Two Bits!” was published in Jim Baen’s Universe, a pro-level magazine, in 2009. Since you have only two years in which to be eligible, I could sell 1,000,000 sales, and not be eligible as the Best New Writer (though I think I could handle the pain). JBU is now defunct, and I’m not sure if the records will support there being sufficient subscribers to hit the size necessary to start my two-year clock. Am I eligible? I dunno. But I’d really like to be afforded the opportunity to turn down the nomination.
And finally, after working in the yard all day, putting in a stone firepit and landscaping, I got another e-mail. This one was from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, or ABNA 2014, announcing that A Sword Into Darkness had made it through the second round and is now a quarter-finalist. In the first two rounds, they start off reading a 300 word pitch, choosing 2000 out of 10,000 entries on that alone. Then in the third round, 2000 are whittled down to 500, 100 of which are Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, by reading a 3000 word excerpt from the beginning. In the fourth round, the editors of Publisher’s Weekly write an actual reveiw of your entire manuscript, and then pick 25 books out of 500 to go to the semi-finals, and so on. Why? Well, in the offering is a $ 50,000 publishing contract through Amazon Publishing, and five $10,000 contracts, putting real books in real physical bookstores. What are my chances of winning? About 1 in 500 against, but as contests go, it’s one of the best out there. I’m amazed to still be in competition!
So, very, very cool. And to close out the day in an appropriately badass way, we christened the fire pit by burning our Christmas tree, which has been drying outside since January, and is thus — essentially — explosive. And semi explode it did! I stacked paper and bone-dry, needle-filled branches high (too high). When I lit it, people inside the house could actually hear it as it sucked in all the available oxygen and shot up with 30 foot flames. My neighbors were un-pleased. Thank goodness I hadn’t just lit the entire tree at once like the Pyro within me wanted to. I then ripped off my clothes and danced around my fire spirit while I fed in the rest of the tree (it made for some very awkward smores with the kids afterward). Now the stones of my firepit are fused together and I truly understand why natural trees end up burning down homes.
Goooooooodnight, loyal readers! . . .