Saturday, February 16, 2008

Viva, Las Vegas, day 1

Today was a travel day that culminated in a dinner that ended with the best banana cream pie I've ever tasted. (Can you spot my priorities?) Believe it or not, that wonderful treat comes from the Emeril's Fish House in the MGM Grand. Jennie's BCP is a very close second, but in this one area, Emeril's rules the roost.

I worked a good chunk of the day, then played rat in the maze, airport style. The kids took the travel well, and they didn't even gripe when I lost ten minutes dealing with the TSA agent at RDU who didn't want to believe one person might be carrying two notebooks, a spare battery, and an external DVD drive.

The goal of this winter-break trip is to show Sarah and Scott all four normal (i.e., not R-rated) Cirque du Soleil shows--and in four nights! I've seen them all before, but I'm as excited as always to get to see them again. Cirque comes as close as any organization I've ever known to creating magic night in and night out on stages all over the world. I'd love to collaborate with them on something, though on what I have no clue.

Oh, yeah: remind me sometime soon, and I'll announce two new projects.

Hey, a guy can tease from time to time!

Friday, February 15, 2008

My Cafepress store is now live

Enough folks asked about getting their hands on some One Jump Ahead swag that we (okay, mostly the Web Weasel) set up a Cafe Press store where you can do just that. Click that link, and you'll find all sorts of goodies, each of which is sporting the fine Steve Hickman cover. (Steve was kind enough to let us use the image on these items.) If you see any items in other Cafe Press shops that you wish we were offering, let me know, and we will add them to our store.

If you buy any of these things, you'll also be contributing, albeit indirectly, to charity. Here's the deal. The bulk of the price of each item is what charges us. We mark up each item a flat two bucks. We then donate that two bucks to Wake Literacy.

So, check out the swag, be the first person you know to own one of these cool items, and help people in the process.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bill Hicks

Bill Hicks, the comedian, not the musician, died quite some years ago. I still listen to his work from time to time, and I recall fondly the one evening I had the privilege of seeing him perform live. While checking for another book on, I noticed that an expanded edition of Hicks' Love All the People was available there. This volume provides transcripts of many of his bits and shows. Also available there was Agent of Evolution, a Hicks biography by his good friend, Kevin Booth. I recommend both of these if you have any interest in Hicks.

If you don't know his work, pick up one of his DVDs or CDs on Amazon--provided you're okay with adult content and language. If you're a kid, give this stuff a pass until your parents say it's okay. If dirty words or sexual topics bother you, also give it a pass.

The night I saw him live, I was with a group of 15 writers at a writers' conference. We were all blown away by how bright, thoughtful, and, of course, funny Hicks was. Even those who didn't generally go for his brand of humor had to concede his writing talent.

Check out his work.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Slanted Jack is available for online purchase!

WARNING: Some Baen- and self-pimpage ahead.

Baen Books operates a cool ebook program, Webscriptions. With Webscriptions, you can buy online copies of books--and those copies have no digital rights management crap that restricts what you do with them. None. Nada. Baen Books trusts you, and so do I. So, come summer, you'll be able to buy Slanted Jack as part of a Webscriptions package.

If you can't wait, however, you can actually buy Slanted Jack now--or, more precisely, you can buy an eARC of the book. An eARC, or electronic Advance Reading Copy, is the book exactly as the author submitted it to Baen. A typical final hardback book includes the results of an editing pass, a copyediting job, the author checking the copyedited manuscript, typesetting, and the author checking the nearly final typeset book. You basically never see the book the author submitted.

With Baen's eARC program, however, you can. If you want to see the original Slanted Jack version exactly as I wrote it, you can buy it here--and read it months ahead of your friends.

Did I mention this book is almost 20% longer than One Jump Ahead? We're talking a lot more value for the money, because I didn't pad--I never pad; the story needed the space.

Of course, then you might want to see the final, polished result, so you can order the hardback when it appears. The folks at Baen--and I--certainly hope you'll buy both.

Hey, I never said the program wasn't out to make a buck.

Now, about this no-DRM business: doesn't it mean you could pass the book around to all your friends and thus deprive Baen and me of revenue? Yup. You could. It's easy; just email the file to them. You can rip us off. We just don't think you will. We're back to that trust thing: we trust you to behave responsibly.

All other considerations aside, I'm psyched that the book is now available for purchase. I've lived with Slanted Jack in my head for a very long time, so it's nice that others will get to join me (in the book, not in my head; that would be messy for all of us). If you choose to buy it, I hope you enjoy it.

Now, back to the third Jon & Lobo book, Overthrowing Heaven. The more I work on the outline, the cooler the story gets. I can't wait to start writing it. Excellent.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The outline beckons

so today's entry will be short. The morning walk took us into the cold but beautiful day. After the first half mile, only my face was cold, but it stayed frigid the entire way. So it goes, I suppose, though perhaps I could wear a balaclava and pretend I'm on a night mission to free hostages...or not.

By the way, Sarah's RPS streak ended tonight, as I won a close match. Whew; she had beaten me seven times in a row, and I was growing nervous.

One of these days, I'll actually start writing Overthrowing Heaven. Until then, I'll charge ahead on the outline.


When I lose focus, I try to remind myself of these basics, which I think every writer should keep in mind.


The work has to be enough reason enough to do it.


If you can possibly not be a writer, do something else. Otherwise...


No matter how much you want to win this or that award, ignore them to the best of your ability.


It's not a competition. The world has plenty of room for many wonderful writers.


You'll never stop wanting everyone to love your work.


Most folks won't.


Time to take my own advice.


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