Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I Am Not Any of These Other People

I recently finished listening to Judy Greer's audiobook of her memoir I Don't Know What You Know Me From (which is delightful, by the way: my favorite chapter is "My Stupid Trip (Alone) to Spain" but they're all great).

Now, I'm nowhere near as well-known as Judy Greer, but I also get the "where do I know you from" thing quite a bit. I also don't know why this happens. (Remind me to tell you sometime about the first time I met Kim Stanley Robinson.)

Anyway, here is a brief list of people I have been told I look like.

1. Ted Chiang

Photo © 2014 by Folly Blaine

We are not the same person, as you can see... I'M THE ONE ON THE RIGHT OKAY.

That said, if someone mistakenly invites me onto a movie set and wants to introduce me to Amy Adams, I'm not going to say no.

2. A Native American

(That's Chief Joseph)

This according to a homeless man in San Francisco. He was perhaps not an authority on comparative phenotypic analysis.

3. The character shown on the cover of China Mountain Zhang (Tor, 1992)

Cover art by Wayne Barlowe

Okay, that's actually a fair cop. Here's a close-up from the 1997 Orbit edition, which remixes the original artwork:

And here's a picture of me from this year's Readercon:

Photo by Christopher M. Cevasco

You win this round, Dan Trefethen!

Anyway. I won't be offended if you come up to me and insist that you know me from somewhere else, even if it's the first time we've ever met. Just don't turn it into a weird interminable guessing game and we'll be cool.


Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I'm writing for Clarion West

I've been pretty bad about promoting my Clarion West Write-a-thon participation this year, but I'm starting up the marketing machine now. If you're not sick of hearing about it by the time August rolls around, well, I'm doing something wrong.

In a nutshell: this is the time for you, genre fiction lover, to make a fully tax-deductible donation to support Clarion West, a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation which runs a six-week workshop every summer, often described as "boot camp for writers." I attended CW last year, and it was an amazing experience with wonderful people.

I'm donating this year to support all my classmates (listed previously). You can also sponsor me as I finish revising my novel Waypoint Kangaroo for my editor at Thomas Dunne Books, who plan to publish it next summer! And then I'm moving on to short stories, and the second Kangaroo novel (also under contract to Thomas Dunne).

Here's my page (use the "Sponsor" link to donate via PayPal):

To sweeten the pot, here are some rewards I'm offering for my supporters:
  • Donate $64 and you'll get a sneak peek at more of "Ten Days Up" (the writing sample on my Write-a-thon profile), which will be published this November in the Mission: Tomorrow anthology.
  • Donate $128 and you'll get a signed paperback copy of Thursday's Children: Flash Fiction from 512 Words or Fewer (free shipping to continental US).
  • Donate $256 and I'll share a "mix tape" of some of my favorite film scores which I use as background music when writing.
  • Donate $512 and I will put together a fiction-themed Puzzled Pint "party pack" (4 puzzles + 1 meta) for you to share with your friends!
  • Donate $1,024 and you can name a minor character in the second Kangaroo novel (subject to editorial approval).
That's all for now. Have a safe and happy Fourth of July weekend!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I volunteered at Open Source Bridge today

And sat in on these great talks:
...which actually represent a pretty good cross-section of my personal interests.

In related news, there's nothing like talking to a seventeen-year-old high school student who's coding his own distributed database system to make a prehistoric Perl hacker feel old. HASHTAG BASED ON A TRUE STORY.

That is all.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I am on a black highway at night

This week, some good news: Stepto has come out of his coma and seems to be recovering well. If you're feeling charitable, you can donate to help the family with medical and travel expenses.

At times like this, I think of this dialogue from Terminator 2:

"Every day from this day on is a gift. Use it well."

If you've never heard that before, that's because it only exists in an alternate ending which was (wisely, IMHO) excised from both the theatrical and special-edition releases. It's totally the wrong note after what's come before, but the sentiment is solid. See for yourself:

We don't choose when we're born. Most of us won't get to choose when or how we die. All we get to decide is how to use the precious little time we have in the world. And being able to experience this weird, wonderful planet at all means you've already won the lottery.

Every day of my life is a gift. And I'm doing my best to use each day well.

Speaking of being charitable, this year's Clarion West Write-a-thon starts on Sunday. I'm participating, as are several of my CW2014 classmates. You can support any or all of us by following the links below:

If I've failed to include anyone in the list above, please let me know! Here's the complete list of participating writers.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I can't even

UPDATE (11 JUN 2015) - A friend of Stepto's family has created a compassionate fundraiser and provided more details: "The cause was initially uncertain but it has since been determined he has a severe infection that likely contributed. His infection is responding somewhat to treatment, and he has begun responding to our voices and following commands for the first time this morning. While we are excited for this small stride, he is still in critical condition." Donate here.

UPDATE (11 Jun 2015): added link to tweet from Stepto's family.

Portland Puzzled Pint and DASH regular Tom Gazzola ("Maso" to his fellow NPLers) died today. He was 55 years old.

And I just learned that Stephen Toulouse ("Stepto" to XBoxers and JoCo Cruisers) is in a coma and not expected to recover. He's 42 years old.

This has not been a super great week so far.


Wednesday, June 03, 2015

I Did Not Understand This Metaphor in 1982

But I'm, y'know, older now. And when McCoy says "It never rains but it pours" to Kirk in Wrath of Khan, I know exactly what he means.

Skip to 1:11 for the relevant dialogue:

It's also appropriate for this week, since I now have no fewer than four different editors waiting for my revisions to various fiction pieces. Which means I need to prioritize my work schedule for the next few weeks. Meta-work!

As Lawrence Kasdan once said: "Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life."

Meanwhile, somewhere in America...


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I'm Leaving, on a Jet Plane

But I do know when I'll be back again, so don't worry about that.

Meanwhile, in orbit around Alpha Omicron VII...