Wednesday, October 27, 2010

E-book sale

Now through the end of November, Smashwords has two of my e-books on sale for 25% off the usual cover price. This deal is being made available only through my blog.

Seedlings on the Solar Winds use coupon code JM58Q at checkout

The Opium of the People use coupon code BK29K at checkout

My short fiction muse

I'm trying to find my short fiction muse. Over the last year, I've spent most of my writing time finishing up two novels and writing material for the Ephemeris RPG. I've actually only written one short story in that time, but I obviously need to write more.

While I was at MileHiCon, I was approached by an editor who wants me to contribute to an anthology that she's working on. In addition, I had another editor (who was not at the Con) tell me that he's holding a spot open for me in a very special issue of his magazine. This means that I need to write two short stories and soon. Most non-writers don't realize that there's actually a big difference in how you go about writing short fiction as opposed to novels, but there really is, and now I need to get that part of my brain back into shape and get it working.

I would love to make an appearance in this anthology and in this zine, so I'd better get to work. Of course, there's also the matter of the baby who should be making an appearance any time now...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

MileHiCon Day 3

Sunday came up on quicker than any of us could have expected. We didn't really have much going on in the early part of the day, so we decided to do some of the kids stuff.

We started out with "Carving with the Pumpkin King." The girls got to do some great relief pumpkins (even thought it was really the adults doing all of the hard work). I've never really been a big Halloween person, but I have to admit that this was kind of fun. After carving, the girls had a "Ranger" meeting. This is kind of like a LARP game just for the kids. They go on missions throughout the con trying to solve problems in the hopes of protecting their kingdoms. I think it's a great little thing for the kids to do, and I'd love to see it expanded, although that could be hard on the parents.

My final panel was "Villains: An Author's Best Friend." We had some great panelists on this one: Hilari Bell, Rachel Caine, Gary Jonas, and Katherine Kurtz. Since there were two of the Guests of Honor on this one, we drew a pretty big crowd, and I think we all had a really good time...and hopefully we imparted a bit of wisdom along the way. We bounced around in the discussion from Hannibal Lecter to Lando Molari, and on to Hitler. We were kind of all over the place, but it was one of the best panels I've ever done.

After this was the closing ceremonies, and it was time to say "So long, and thanks for all the fish!"

Rebecca didn't feel all that well through the whole con, but we still had a great time. I think the ConCom outdid themselves this year, and this was one of the best MileHiCons I've ever been to. And I'm not just saying this because I know that Rose sometimes reads my blogs, but Rose really did a phenomenal job with the scheduling this year and deserves several hearty rounds of applause. Thanks, Rose!

I can't wait for MileHiCon 43, but for now, I'll just be waiting for the birth of our baby...

Monday, October 25, 2010

MileHiCon Day 2

Saturday was to be the crazy day for me, but unfortunately, it didn't turn out to be as crazy as I'd hoped it would be.

I had a 10 am reading with Dan Hoyt. Readings in the morning are always hard to get people to come to. A lot of people party late into the night (or is it early into the morning), and they're not ready for readings at 10 am. Nevertheless, we had about 8-10 people, and I read the first chapter of Red Moon Rising, and the whole time I was wishing that the book had been released so that I would have had copies.

After the reading, I had a signing, which didn't draw much of a crowd. Last year they moved the signings out of the dealer's room and into the atrium. I'm guessing that the logic was that people were more likely to see the writers in the atrium, but I've noticed a definite drop in sales since we've moved to the atrium. I think more people might see the authors, but in the dealers room, more people who want to spend money will see the writers, and I think that works better.

After that I did something called "Speed Date an Author," and no, I was not cheating on Rebecca. The idea behind this was that there was a room full of authors and readers or author-wannabes could come in and talk to us. They had three minutes to talk to us, then a bell went off, and they moved on to the next author. I think it was a great idea, and I had some great (but very short) conversations with a lot of people. I'm hoping that I was able to pass on some good advice to a few of the author wannabes, and I'm hoping I gained a few new readers. I think if they do this next year, they need to lengthen the time to five minutes and have better organization of the movement of the readers.

Later in the day I was on a panel called "DM Bootcamp." This was a panel with Doris Beetem, Laura Givens, and Daniel Peak. As you can probably guess from the title, this was a panel about running RPGs. We had a lot of fun on this panel, and I think we gave out some good information to a rather large crowd. There seems to be one token gaming panel every year, and this is the second year that I've been on it. One thing the large crowd made me realize is that there seems to be a lot of interest in gaming at the Con. I noticed a lot of people playing games throughout the Con, and maybe they need to embrace the gaming aspect a little more...maybe even bring in a gaming guest of honor...if money allows.

After this panel was what I'd really been looking forward to...I was going to run a new adventure of Ephemeris. Unfortunately, a lot of people were grabbing dinner before the masquerade started, and the belly dancers next to the gaming tables seemed to draw a lot of people's attention away from the games, and I couldn't get enough players, so we couldn't debut the new adventure. Since we couldn't play, I was able to watch my oldest in a sword fighting contest. She'd never done anything like this before, but she made it to the third round...where she was knocked out by an adult who teaches sword fighting. Still, we were all very proud of her!

The night ended with us attending the masquerade. There were a few good costumes this year, but not as many as usual.

Rebecca was having a lot of problems during the Con. She wasn't feeling good, and being 38 weeks pregnant, she was very uncomfortable. Still, we did manage to get a few photos taken, which I've posted on my Facebook page. I noticed a lot more cameras flashing around me this year than in years past, so I'm sure more horrible pics of me will show up somewhere in the near future.

I'll post about day 3 tomorrow...


This is my 666th blog post...just thought I'd point that out.

MileHiCon Day 1

Friday was the start of MileHiCon. We spent the first few hours getting checked into our room, and then the Con. After that we just hung around for a while talking to old friends we hadn't seen in a year or so.

My first panel was titled "Small Press & Ezines: Finding the new Markets." There's always at least one small press panel at MileHiCon, and I seem to almost always be on it, but that's ok. It's a fun topic. On this panel we had Betsy Dornbusch, Ron Sering, David Lee Summers, and James Van Pelt. It was a good panel, and we talked about a lot of different things, but like many panels, we only had 50 minutes, so we couldn't go into as much detail as we would have wanted. On James Van Pelt's blog, he mentioned that he thought we may have glossed over the e-book versus print book numbers, and I would tend to agree with him. A lot of times for a small press author, a shift of 30 or 40% in either direction is actually only a few books. Looking back, I agree with Jim that I wish we would have gotten into that more.

Immediately after my panel were the opening ceremonies, which were lead by toastmaster Paolo Bacigalupi, and with a theme like Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy (this was MileHiCon 42, after all) we were in for a great time. The Con was set to be demolished in 48 hours by a Vogon Destructor Fleet.

We closed out the night by going to the Floatilla, which is handmade boats raced in the pool. Not the most exciting part of the weekend, but the kids seemed to enjoy least until they got too tired to keep their eyes open.

I'll report on days two and three later...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ready for the con

The oldest's fever has broken, and we also went to the Dr. for Rebecca today, and she said that it's not likely that she will go into labor this weekend, so it looks like we're ready for MileHiCon.

This will be the first year that we stay in the hotel, and the girls are really excited about it. I think it will be a good thing for Rebecca too, so she can retreat to the room if she gets too tired...which she usually is.

Hope to see some of you at the things I'm doing. Of course, if you see me Saturday night, I will probably be pretty worn out as I have quite the schedule for Saturday...but I'm happy with it. I think we've figured things out well enough that it shouldn't stress Rebecca too least we're hoping...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book orders

I've had a few people e-mail me about where to get my books before MileHiCon starts. I will be bringing a few copies of most of my works with me, but if you wanted to order something ahead of time, here are some links for you...

Seedlings on the Solar Winds

The Ephemeris Science Fiction Role Playing Game

The Opium of the People

Lowering One's Self Before Fate

A Problem in Translation an illustrated short story book

Future Syndicate an anthology that I edited

The Martian Wave Issue 1 a magazine that I edit

Wondrous Web Worlds Vol. 9 The best of Sam's Dot's webzine anthology that I also edit

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Everywhere I look on the internet today people are talking about 10/10/10 and how significant it could be. It seems like over the last few years, I've been seeing a lot more of this, and the answer to 10/10/10 is the same as it was for all of the other significant dates we've seen of, it has no significance. Numerology is just mumbo jumbo like most other mystical ideas.
First of all, not everyone on this little planet of ours uses the same calendar, so the date is actually different in some parts of the world.
Second of all, the calendar we currently use is pretty arbitrary. It was started on a certain day, which actually is not all that important in the orbit of the Earth around the sun.
There seems to be this growing need to believe that our lives are somehow connected to something mystical, and I really don't understand it. The simple fact that humanity evolved is pretty amazing in and of itself, and we don't need to attach mystical meanings to everything that happens. As a society, we should have evolved beyond that need long ago. That sort of need is based in the "reptilian" parts of our brain, and it's these parts of the brain that teach us to fear the "other," and also leads us blindly following leaders, even if they may be bad for us.
It's time for humanity to put mysticism aside, and actually move towards the future instead of tying ourselves to the past, a past that we should really not be taking pride in...

Friday, October 08, 2010

My MileHiCon schedule

Don't Panic! The MileHiCon 42 schedule is now out, and I'm going to be a busy boy. So, make sure you know where your towel is, grab yourself a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster, and join me at any or all of the following:

Fri. 6 pm: Small Press & Ezines: Finding & Dealing with New Markets

Sat. 10 am: A reading of the 1st chapter of Red Moon Rising

Sat. 11 am: Book Signing

Sat. 12:30 pm: Speed Date an Author

Sat. 4 pm: DM Bootcamp

Sat. 5 pm: A game of Ephemeris in the gaming area

Sun. 4 pm: Villains: An Author's Best Friend

This looks like it will be a great con, so hope you can all make it!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Diplomat's and Explorer's Sourcebook

For those of you playing the Ephemeris RPG, the Diplomat's and Explorer's Sourcebook is now available...

And remember to stop by our discussion board to talk about the game...we are very interested in hearing from other players...

The link for the board is towards the bottom of the page.