Huh. Did you know I have a blog?

Because I done completely forgot about it.  Sorry for the extended absence and lack of new content!  Been working on LITL, attending Cons (plural – Con-Carolinas, LibertyCon, and Con-Gregate), working on day job stuff, dealing with . . . issues (the people at the Facility had to get the dimensions of my rubber-room just right), and absorbing a great deal of pop culture for BLUFing (which you shall see presently).

To catch up on all matters and restore the faith of my dwindling readership, a few tweet-worthy summaries:

Con-Carolinas – AWESOME Con, with some of the best cosplay, great panels, & best format of all for putting readers with authors. Mucho books sold.

Liberty-Con – LOOOONG drive, but damn worth it. No cosplay to speak of, but much sci-fi goodness, new writer friends, enthusiastic panels.  Mucho books sold.

Con-Gregate – 2nd year, very earnest and well run, smallish but fun. Facebook friended a ton of folk I’ve met.  Fantastic folks, but few books sold.  😦

Chris Kennedy – THE MOST PROLIFIC AUTHOR IN HAMPTON ROADS LAUNCHES A NEW TRILOGY WITH THE SEARCH FOR GRAM.  Go. Read. It. NOW!

“The Keeper and the Kept” – New short story, begun w/the 100 Word Hook exercise with Alan Wold is finished, ready for submission!

“Clicker” – my weird wild west story canters along, still looking for a home.  😦

Lancers Into The Light – 4 chapters in, 1/4 – 1/5 done, progressing, much editing will be needed.

BLUF – Bottom Line Up Front reviews for “The Last Ship” and various movies will be up soon!

And now, a bunch of recent pics, mostly from Con-Carolinas, but LibertyCon and Con-Gregate too!

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And now you’re all caught up!

New Fiction! (And My RavenCon Report)

Ready for something NEW to read from moi, The Improbable Author, as well as his Amazing Friends?  (use of the phrase “Amazing Friends” does not necessarily imply I’m Spider-Man, but, yeah . . . I am)

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“THE COMMUTER”:  A new, absurd short fantasy by the author of A Sword Into Darkness and REMO! Jack is a regular sort of fellow — a father, a husband, an office drone, and a daily commuter — living in a fantastical, changed world. Jack lives in the Fractured Lands, our Earth intermixed with the realm of Faerie after the Great Stumbling of 1888. But Jack lives his life as non-fantastically as he can, sticking to the human areas and Never Getting Off The Damned Train. However, when Faerie intrudes upon his life and endangers his daughter, everyone is going to find out that he stayed away from the Fae for THEIR benefit, not his own. Because Jack is not just a dad and an office drone. Jack is a former Marine, trained to fight the Fae, and fight them he will . . . .

It’s already garnered three awesome 5-star reviews and ranks #45 on Amazon’s short story SF&F list, but it needs more and it needs to go higher!  If you are a reviewer and would like a complimentary review copy, just message me at any of my links.  If you’d like to patron me and check it out for yourself (THANK YOU), it’s only 99¢ for your Kindle or Kindle app.  If you are a Prime member with a Kindle device or a member of Kindle Unlimited, you can even read it for free!!!  And, please, if you can, post a review on Amazon or the site of your choice.

Also from the Stealth Books authors this weekend:

Postcards From The Moon

“POSTCARDS FROM THE MOON”:  An offbeat short story by award-winning author Jeff Edwards

Once upon a time, mankind dreamed of the stars. Somewhere along the way, that glorious vision got lost…

Hank Rollins is old, tired, and thoroughly regretting the missed opportunities of his youth. More than a half century ago, he passed up the chance to do something wonderfully foolish, and utterly impossible. A chance to reach for a different kind of future.

But the door may not be completely closed, because Hank is getting postcards from a boy who no longer exists, and a world that never came to pass.

I’ve read Jeff’s short (and will be posting my review later today on Amazon — I’ve already rated it a VERY deserved five stars), and it is AMAZING.  It is a literal love letter to a lost future, full of finely wrought nostalgia and such a sense of wonder that it may well buoy your spirit for the rest of the day.  The images and possibilities within are going to populate many a delightful dream.  I can’t wait for the movie Tomorrowland, but I hardly need to — this short story offers all that I could expect out of that film and more.  The ONLY thing wrong with the story is that it did not come with a forwarding address to where I could write Papa Hank back.  Because I would send that letter and go TODAY if I could!  Like mine, it is for sale on Amazon for a mere 99¢, and that is a steal for what I got back from it.

Also this weekend, I got to go to RavenCon up in Richmond, VA.  This was a GREAT con, as it was last year.  Hopefully, I can guest at it next year when they move to Williamsburg.  I was worried about Pro/Anti-Sad Puppy divisiveness, but while it was mentioned and referred to, there was no controversy that I saw.  The folks there who were nominated for Hugos — whether on a slate or not — were all treated like the honored elites of the industry they were.  That gives me hope that fandom will find a happy middle-ground and move on from this teapot tempest.

Allen Steele was guest of honor, along with Frank Wu as artist/scientist, and a whole passel of people that I met last year.  Allen Steele told a number of great stories about coming up in the industry and breaking rules you REALLY should not break.  I also sat in and participated in a number of Indie Publishing panels with the prolifically awesome Chris Kennedy.  I hung out in Baen’s Barfly Central and chatted with Jim Minz, Steve White, Jim Beall, Warren Lapine, and Lou Antonelli (forgive me if I left out your name, honored luminary, there were just so many fantastic folks).  I also ran into John C. Wright, Lawrence M. Schoen, Michael Z. Williamson, David Walton, Bud Sparhawk, Jennifer R. Povey, Christopher FREAKIN’ Nuttall, Karen McCullough, Gail Z. Martin, Stuart Jaffe, Chris A. Jackson, and Danielle Ackley-Mcphail.

My favorite Con moment was participating in Allen Wold’s Short Story Writer’s Workshop.  In it you had to write the 100 word “hook” that should open every selling short story.  It had to include character, action, setting, set up questions, and indeed HOOK the editor/reader.  I made a couple of new buddies in Isaac and Gene, and got to here some great openings and even more valuable advice.  Here’s the second-draft of my 100 words:

Bill Garner leaned forward in the darkness as the safe’s door popped open at last.  Electronic dance music thumped up at him from the floor below, but not loudly enough to drown out the unexpected squelch of something within.

Bill jumped back.  He felt certain that cash and jewels were fairly silent in most circumstances.  Something else lay concealed in the safe’s shadowed interior.

He looked around him.  He was still alone, still undiscovered.  Deciding to risk it, Bill flipped on his flashlight and shone it inside.

A glistening, mottled tentacle curled tighter about a golden urn within the safe.

The panel agreed that I’d appropriately barbed my hook.  🙂  I’m intrigued enough that I may extend it into a full story.  The best advice from the panel was from the GREAT Jack McDevitt:  “Don’t try to tell a story . . . instead, craft an experience for the reader.”  It’s one of those seemingly simplistic bits of advice that looks not-very-noteworthy in the first analysis, but once you think about it more, it is pretty damn important.  It really does change the way I look at stories.

Anyway, a great time and a great Con.  Here’s the obligatory picture gallery.  Let me know if I captured any of your souls inadvertently:

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Con-stitutional Liberties

First, “me” business:  I finished the second half of Chapter 4 on Demi-God / Dattoo, which was a tough one because it’s a lot of technobabble justification for what comes before and after.  I may end up re-vamping or cutting most of it, but it’s on paper/pixels at least.

Finishing up the files for my launch of “The Commuter” — COMING SOOOOON!

I have finally started writing Chapter 1 of Lancers Into the Light, the sequel to A Sword Into Darkness!  If you would like to be Tuckerized/Red-Shirted/Die in a gloriously fictional manner, hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, or in the comments below!  And you guys are gonna love Huli.

And, I hit on a couple of very nice posts about my writing!  First, there’s a nice mention for my story “Within This Horizon” from Riding the Red Horse over on Takimag.  And, pleasantly surprising, Mark Ciocco of the Kaedrin Weblog has put me among his nominees for this year’s Best Novel Hugo Award!  Thank you, Mark!  And you would all be wise to go check out his excellent blog over there.

Now, convention stuff.  Here are the updates!

  1. MystiCon, Roanoke, VA – February 27-March 1; Rejected, all full up.
  2. RavenCon, Richmond, VA – April 24-26; Rejected, but on the waiting list.  I’m probably still going.  Oughta be fun.
  3. DragonCon, Atlanta, Georgia – September 4-7 (Yeah, right, this is like San Diego Comicon East); Rejected! Their form rejection email even had .midi file of a donkey laughing at me.
  4. Capclave, Washington DC – October 9-11; Application still under review
  5. HonorCon, Raleigh, North Carolina – TBD – October 31-November 2; No response
  6. AtomaCon, Charleston, South Carolina – November 13-15; Accepted as a guest!  Waiting on a response from me as to what panels I wanna be on.  This is a long drive, but, hey, that’s what meth is for.

So, the latest travel plan/list is:

  1. ROFCon, Virginia Beach, VA – February 27-March 1; Attending just to see all the costuming and cuz it’s local.
  2. MadiCon, Harrisonburg, VA – March 13-15; Guesting!  Super small college con.  Still still thinking on it.
  3. RavenCon, Richmond, VA – April 24-26; Attending cuz it was fun last year.
  4. BaltiCon, Baltimore, MD – May 22-25; Acceptance pending, but they urged me to enter for the Compton Crook Award.  And I did! No confirmation of award eligibility yet.
  5. ConCarolinas, Concord, North Carolina – May 29-31; Guesting!
  6. LibertyCon, Chattanooga, Tennessee – June 26-28; Guesting!  I’ll be taking trucker meth to reach this one too.
  7. Con-Gregate, High Point – North Carolina, July 10-12; Guesting!
  8. Capclave, Washington DC – October 9-11; Application under review
  9. HonorCon, Raleigh, North Carolina – TBD – October 31-November 2; No response
  10. AtomaCon, Charleston, South Carolina – November 13-15; Guesting!  At this point in the year, I’ll be a full-blown trucker meth-head.

Plus / PS:  I now have a supporting membership to this year’s Worldcon, so I am free to nominate stuff for the Hugo this year.  What should I be nominating?  Make your Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Related Work, Graphic Story, Dramatic Presentation (Long Form/Movie), Dramatic Presentation (Short Form/TV ep or short film), Editor (Long Form), Editor (Short Form), Pro Artist, Semi-Prozine, Fanzine, Fancast, or Fan Writer.  I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!!  So, hit me up, y’all.

Toodles!

Con-tinuous Updates

Ha, ha.  I wonder how many of these I can make before even am sick of them.  Looks like Con-Carolinas is on board, though they have accepted me as a Military/Science guest vice as an author.  I’ll take it!

  1. MystiCon, Roanoke, VA – February 27-March 1; No response
  2. ROFCon, Virginia Beach, VA – February 27-March 1; No response, but I’ll probably go to this one due to proximity.  Or I’ll sleep in.  I dunno.
  3. MadiCon, Harrisonburg, VA – March 13-15; Accepted as a guest!  Super small college con.  Still thinking on it.
  4. RavenCon, Richmond, VA – April 24-26; No response (Damn it)
  5. BaltiCon, Baltimore, MD – May 22-25; Acceptance pending, but they urged me to enter for the Compton Crook Award.  And I did! No confirmation of award eligibility yet.
  6. ConCarolinas, Concord, North Carolina – May 29-31; Accepted as a guest!
  7. LibertyCon, Chattanooga, Tennessee – June 26-28; Accepted as a guest!  Long drive, I may look at car-pooling.  Very excited!
  8. Con-Gregate, High Point – North Carolina, July 10-12; Accepted as a guest!
  9. DragonCon, Atlanta, Georgia – September 4-7 (Yeah, right, this is like San Diego Comicon East); Application under review
  10. Capclave, Washington DC – October 9-11; Application under review
  11. HonorCon, Raleigh, North Carolina – TBD – October 31-November 2; No response
  12. AtomaCon, Charleston, South Carolina – November 13-15; No response

So, my travel sked is shaping up.  Stay local in February, travel to Harrisonburg March 13-15, Richmond April 24-26, Baltimore (if acceptance comes through) May 22-25, Concord the very next week May 29-31, chill for a month, then LibertyCon in Chattanooga June 25-29, High Point July 10-12, and then FREEDOM!

As for writing, almost finished with the short for the Weird Wild West project, and honestly it is turning out awesome. I’m channeling my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder, as interpreted by Sergio Leone and George Lucas.  It is not steampunk, though.  It is more . . . clock-punk?  It involves a young girl on the frontier and a Babbage horse.  That’s all I can say right now.

As for novel manuscript, it’s . . . going well?  Yeah, it is definitely a thing on which some measure of progress is being made.  Honestly, my failing here is entirely David Weber’s fault.  I met my local idol briefly at a one-day stop in to MarsCon in Williamsburg, so I’ve been reading Weber again (my signed copy) and playing waaaayyy too much of the actually very good mobile game Tales of Honor:  The Secret Fleet.

So, totally not my fault.  🙂

Con-Sequential

(Warning:  I fully intend to keep making conference puns in these titles.  Run now if you can’t handle that.)

Well, THAT certainly escalated quickly.  So, as briefed yesterday, I sent off e-mails to about a dozen regional science fiction and literary conventions, trying to garner more industry contacts since the day-job insisted on kicking me in the ass.  And unlike I imagined, they responded!  Already!  In a positive direction!

Here’s my current schedule, with status updates:

  1. MystiCon, Roanoke, VA – February 27-March 1; No response
  2. ROFCon, Virginia Beach, VA – February 27-March 1; No response, but I’ll probably go to this one due to proximity.  Or I’ll sleep in.  I dunno.
  3. MadiCon, Harrisonburg, VA – March 13-15; Accepted as a guest!  Super small college con.  I’ll have to think on it.
  4. RavenCon, Richmond, VA – April 24-26; No response
  5. BaltiCon, Baltimore, MD – May 22-25; Acceptance pending, but they urged me to enter for the Compton Crook Award.  And I did!
  6. ConCarolinas, Concord, North Carolina – May 29-31; Application under review
  7. LibertyCon, Chattanooga, Tennessee – June 26-28; Accepted as a guest!  Long drive, I may look at car-pooling.  Very excited!
  8. Con-Gregate, High Point – North Carolina, July 10-12; Accepted as a guest!
  9. DragonCon, Atlanta, Georgia – September 4-7 (Yeah, right, this is like San Diego Comicon East); Application under review
  10. Capclave, Washington DC – October 9-11; Application under review
  11. HonorCon, Raleigh, North Carolina – TBD – October 31-November 2; No response
  12. AtomaCon, Charleston, South Carolina – November 13-15; No response

Sooo, Madicon, Balticon, Libertycon, and Con-gregate all look solid.  Along with Ravencon, that gives me travel plans for March, April, May, June, and July.  Better start saving my pennies now.  If I was a smart man, I’d have a finished manuscript to bring with me . . . .

Well, back to writing!

Con-ventional Warfare

Sometimes life just kicks you in the balls.

The guys reading this know what I’m talking about, and I’m fairly certain that most of the ladies will know what I’m talking about with a fair degree of empathy, even if I don’t know what the female equivalent would be.

I don’t talk about my day job much here (and I will stick to the usual doing-something-for-the-Navy-somewhere-on-the-East-coast) but I will expand on it a bit to let you know that I’ve essentially been biding my time at one job, awaiting the opening of another one:  the DREAM job for one in my line of work, the gold-or-silver ring you wait for your whole career to bring you to.  Well, after doing everything the job asks for the last two years, and getting ready to go to the DREAM job . . . it was, of course, snatched all away.  Now I have essentially a year more to wait, hoping it will come through this time, and being promised a variety of things to assuage me.  I hold no animosity for my current job or the folks that had to give me the bad news, but DAMN IT.  Just damn it.

So, I was feeling pretty low.  I made vague plans to hit the water in my new kayak, stymied only somewhat by the fact that it was due to be rainy and freezing all weekend.  Whatever.  It fit my mood.  But theeeennnnnnn . . . .

Super-Indie Author Chris Kennedy sent me a note saying “Forget all that reality stuff!  Come and kick back with me at IllogiCon in Raleigh, NC!”  And wouldn’t you know it, I did and it was awesome!

Illogicon is a fun, fan-run science fiction convention about half to a third the size of my only other experience at RavenCon last year.  But since it was smallish, the rules weren’t quite so rigid, and they graciously allowed me to participate as a panelist.  I sat in on “Using the Military in Fantasy,” “Independent Publishing 101,” “Indie Publishing Finances,” and “Worldbuilding,” and I managed not to embarrass myself during a single one.  In fact, it almost appeared that I knew what I was talking about.  I also attended but did not participate in “SF/F for the Younger Generation,” “Using Religion and Spirituality in Science Fiction,” among others.  I talked up A Sword Into Darkness, REMO, and Riding The Red Horse, gave away a few copies and a bunch of postcards and business cards, and made and renewed contacts galore.  Not only did I touch base with Chris, I also met fellow indie superstar Ian J. Malone, Baen Slushmaster Gray Rinehart, Intergalactic Medicine Show Editor Edmund R. Schubert, Baen Editor/Publisher Toni Weisskopf, and authors Clay and Susan Griffith, Gail Z. Martin, Jacqueline Cary, Christopher Garcia, and Misty Massey.  It was a great time, not least of all because my little Gabster came with and impressed everybody with her involvement and her last-minute cosplay.

It was tons of fun and inspired me to hit the keyboard hard so I can finish Demigod, write Lancers Into The Light (ASID 2), and put out even more shorts in 2015 than I did in 2014.  They also inspired me to get my name out there more.  So, even though I’m probably a day late and a dollar short, I’ve sent in queries to guest or panel at a bunch of area conventions this year.  I have no idea how many (if any) will say yes, but here’s what a 100% attendance schedule would look like:

  1. MystiCon, Roanoke, VA – February 27-March 1
  2. ROFCon, Virginia Beach, VA – February 27-March 1
  3. MadiCon, Harrisonburg, VA – March 13-15
  4. RavenCon, Richmond, VA – April 24-26
  5. BaltiCon, Baltimore, MD – May 22-25
  6. ConCarolinas, Concord, North Carolina – May 29-31
  7. LibertyCon, Chattanooga, Tennessee – June 26-28
  8. Con-Gregate, High Point – North Carolina, July 10-12
  9. DragonCon, Atlanta, Georgia – September 4-7 (Yeah, right, this is like San Diego Comicon East)
  10. Capclave, Washington DC – October 9-11
  11. HonorCon, Raleigh, North Carolina – TBD – October 31-November 2
  12. AtomaCon, Charleston, South Carolina – November 13-15

I don’t know if any of these might say yes, but I may attend some of the closer ones regardless.  I’ll definitely be attending RavenCon.  It was just too much fun last year.

All in all, a pretty good weekend after all.  Thanks, Chris!

Quoth the RavenCon, Ever More, Ever More . . . .

Whelp, this outta be good for some kicks.

I have arrived to the lovely Hilton Double Tree hotel in Richmond, VA, just a couple hours north of my usual stomping grounds, ready to attend my first science fiction convention, RavenCon (named in honor of Edgar Allan Poe, who grew up here).  I’ve got a box of books under my arm (give-away, signed promotional copies of A Sword Into Darkness) and a stack of postcards advertising ASID and REMO.  I’m ready to put my name out there and try to drum up more contacts and more business.

But what I’m really here to do is to get my geek on and my nerd out (or is it the other way around?).  This Con is not huge, but it’s got at lot of great writers attending that I’ve really wanted to meet.  The great Elizabeth Bear is guest of honor, but they also have Rob Balder (love his comic), Gray Rinehart (the Baen slushmaster whom I’ve wanted to meet), James Minz, and big names (for me) Sarah Hoyt and Michael Z. Williamson.  That’s a whole lotta Baen, of course, but Baen is my favorite publishing house, so what would you expect?  They’ve published two of my shorts, almost published the novel and workshopped all of the stories that have gone into REMO.  I’m just a Barfly who’s never been to the bar.

There’s a lot of other stuff too like Dealer’s Rooms, panels, movies, and of course the Masquerade.  There’s lot to oogle and goggle about, but I promise pictures after.

And if you happen to be at the Con or in Richmond and want to meet up, just shoot me a comment down below!

Raven Con Richmond Va