Saturday, May 14, 2011

Want to vote in a book poll?
Children No More is nominated

The good folks at Fourth Day Universe contacted me the other day to let me know that they were hosting a poll-driven awards process for a bunch of different genre titles and that they had nominated Children No More for the Best Military SF of 2010. You can see the poll and the many different award categories, which run the gamut from YA to graphic novel to fantasy to SF, by going here.

I mention this for several reasons. First, it's great to see folks who care enough about books that they are reading and reviewing a great many of them and even starting awards for them. It's also neat, of course, to be nominated--as is, by the way, my friend David Drake's What Distant Deeps for the Best Space Opera. Finally, if you were in the mood to vote--for my book or any other title there--I wanted to be sure to let you know about this opportunity.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The first public info about No Going Back

The path to a novel's publication is long and complex. Even as I am still several months from finishing No Going Back, Publisher Toni and the fine folks at Baen are busy doing all the behind-the-scenes work necessary to bring the book to market.

One of the items they create is what's known as the promo copy. This is a short bit of text that they use to tell both the sales force and ultimately readers about the book. As you might expect, the copy is supposed to interest and intrigue buyers, but it also has to help the understand within seconds what kind of book it is.

This copy goes on to form the basis for the material on the book that goes into a sales catalog. It appears in the online database of Simon & Schuster, the distributor. From there, it goes to booksellers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It gets around.

With Publisher Toni's kind permission, I'm going to show it to you here. I am going with my latest version, which differs in a key way from the last one I saw. If the online one differs from this one, trust me, mine is right. (Publisher Toni's version, though, will appear in far more places.) This text tells more about the novel than I've ever told anyone publicly.


Promo copy for
No Going Back

Jon and Lobo are back–
and enemies on all sides are out to get them.

Haunted by memories of children he could not save, Jon Moore becomes so increasingly self-destructive that even his best friend, the hyper-intelligent Predator-Class Assault Vehicle, Lobo, is worried. So when Jon receives both a job offer and a message from a woman from his distant past, he and Lobo leap at the welcome diversions.

That the job is illegal is the least of their problems. They’re happy to retrieve stolen artifacts from Jon’s quarantined home world, and their fee is high even for a job so highly illegal.

The forces protecting their targets are formidable, and the assault team that’s chasing them is even more dangerous–but Jon and Lobo are used to that.

The scientist Jon and Lobo need for the mission has an agenda of her own, but they’ve faced that problem before.

This time, though, the knowledge that they and the others seek spells doom for Jon.

Racing from planet to planet, Jon and Lobo come at last to a world so inhospitable that its statues and monuments outnumber its living inhabitants. Desperate and out of options, they encounter their deadliest challenges yet and must make life-changing decisions from which there truly is

No Going Back

Thursday, May 12, 2011

What's been happening with my blog

Quite a few folks have written me this week to express their concern because of the odd things that have been happening with my blog. I wanted to let everyone know that I'm fine and to explain what's been going on.

Monday, no blog entry appeared. The culprit here was me: I just forgot to publish an entry I'd written. To remove the goof from the pages of history, I set that piece's date to Monday when I published it. It's handy to be able to control time!

Then, the weirdness started. Tuesday night, I ran into a Blogger maintenance period. Eventually, though, I was able to publish the entry I had written. Wednesday night, the same thing happened, and again I was finally able to get an entry to appear.

Thursday, Blogger went to hell. My Wednesday installment disappeared. Blogger was unavailable for many hours, and when it let me back into my blog this afternoon, I still couldn't change entries. You can read more about the outages all over the place, including here.

As best I can tell, this problem is now behind us. It certainly has me thinking, however, about moving to another platform. We'll see.

Meanwhile, you're getting this entry, which I started Thursday night, for that day. Friday's will follow almost immediately.

I think you'll like it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Forthcoming fiction from me

A few folks have asked me to run down the fiction I've got coming, so here's the scoop on the next year.

July - the paperback of Children No More. Buy the book, and I'll donate my royalties from it to Falling Whistles to help rehabilitate and reintegrate children affected by war. Pop for the hardback, and I'll donate even more money to help those kids.

August - The Wild Side! This trade paperback original anthology features ten cool tales, including one of mine that introduces a new character, Diego Chan. I think you'll find him interesting.

April, 2012 - A new, never-before-published Jon and Lobo short story will appear for free--that's right, for the low low price of absolutely nothing--on Publisher Toni has sent me the contracts--you may get it for free, but she's paying me--and I will shortly sign and return them. No, I won't tell you what the story is about, but I will say that it's going to fit into the chronology of the J&L stories and it's going to be awesome!

May, 2012 - After almost two years, the fifth Jon and Lobo book, No Going Back, will appear in hardback. As usual, I won't tell you much of anything about it, but I will share with you the promo copy that Baen will be using. Not tonight, of course, but soon. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe.

What I will say now is that in this book's case, the title is not an exaggeration. The events of this book rock Jon and Lobo's worlds.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jeeves & Wooster

For no good reason, until recently I had never watched an episode of this wonderful 1990 to 1993 BBC show. I recently began viewing them, and I am pleased to report that they are simply marvelous.

That the Wodehouse source material is glorious is clear. The lead actors, Stephen Fry (as the amazing valet, Jeeves) and Hugh Laurie (as Upper Class Twit of the Year candidate Bertie Wooster), are great talents and even better than I expected them to be, utter joys to watch.

What keeps pleasantly surprising me are the excellent adaptations by Clive Exton. Well-paced, funny, and frequently touching, they do good service to the original stories.

I am particularly fond of the frequent amazing turns of language in the show. You can find many fine examples on this Wikiquote page. One of my favorites is this exchange between Wooster and his Aunt Dahlia:

Wooster: Tut!
Aunt Dahlia: What did you say?
Wooster: I said "tut!"
Dahlia: Say it again and I'll biff you where you stand.
If you have not seen these shows, I prescribe a quick visit to the video source of your choice and repeated viewings of the episodes. They are sure to cure any gloominess afflicting you.

Sunday, May 8, 2011


My reactions to this movie changed as I gained distance from it.

As the credits were rolling, I loved it. Grand and cheesy and pompous and working with a broad brush at every level--from characterization to plotting to special effects--its tone felt appropriate to its subject matter. The Thor comics were among the first I read, and I've been a fan of the character since I was very young.

As we were walking out of the theater and others were noting points at which the film dragged for them, my analytical self started coming online again. What had seemed fine for a broad play began to feel inadequate for a movie that could have featured more motivation for Thor to fall for Natalie Portman's entirely disposable character, better special effects, and so on.

Hours later, I had to avoid thinking too hard about it lest I see only those holes. If I have to hold it up to the same scale I would use to assess a more serious work, it will fail, fail badly.

In the end, though, I come back to this: As when in LA Story, Steve Martin's weatherman character says, "A kiss may not be the truth, but it is what we wish were true," I will always give my heart to a good but seriously flawed superhero movie like Thor that tells stories of heroism and nobility and struggle and sacrifice that may not be true but that are what the little boy inside me wishes were true.

I want to believe we can all rise to noble heights.

I want to believe we can unite with a small group of friends to overcome incredible odds and carry the day.

I want to believe we can overcome our own limitations and become greater versions of ourselves.

I know that those things rarely happen, that people often do suck, as Kyle likes to note, but I don't care.

I want to believe we can all, each of us, be better, be more, be greater.

Any time a movie reminds me to nurture that small romantic flame, I will forgive it many sins and ultimately like it, as I did Thor.


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