Thursday, May 28, 2009

May Links & Things

These links are from my previous tweets for the month. I've listed them here, all in one post, and with additional detail (and occasional editorial comment, since I am an editor!). This allows me to have a somewhat permanent file of all these links. And hopefully you'll find something of interest here, especially if you're not following me on Twitter.

  • Author Jeremiah Tolbert writes about "5 Books on Writing and Science Fiction That Made Me a Better Writer." The books are by Damon Knight, James Gunn, Donald Maas, Robert McKee, and an anthology edited by Robert Silverberg. The "comments" include additional books by Nancy Kress, Stephen King, and Michael Shurtleff (and probably many more by now). (via @charlesatan)

  • From the Book Publicity Blog: "Sending Review Copies of Books to Bloggers." This piece answers some of the most frequently asked questions bloggers have about receiving review copies of books; there is also a list of considerations that publishing houses use to determine whether a blog is worthy enough of receiving a review copy. Some excellent comments, too, from other publicists, agents, etc. (via @thecreativepenn)

    And the follow-up on sending review copies of books to bloggers:
    Part II. A list of critical information that book publicists/publishers will need from bloggers.

    And here's
    Part III: Not all book reviews blogs are created equal; publicists look to specific blog statistics when determining which blogs will receive review copies.

  • What Sundance does for indie films and filmmakers, hopes to do for indie (re: self-published) books and authors: "Making what's outside the mainstream cool." There is a fee, of course! You can read their initial PR notice on the web site along with the details of the author agreement and corresponding payment. (via POD People)

    Editor Unleashed blog has an
    interview with Amy Edelman, found of

  • Self-Publishing Review has a guest post from Kent Anderson, who works in scholarly publishing (and has, in fact, worked in some aspect of publishing his entire working life) and runs The Scholarly Kitchen blog. Kent has self-published his first novel: Spam & Eggs: A Johnny Denovo Mystery under the pen name Andrew Kent. Read what Anderson has to say on his reasons for, and the process of, self-publishing.

  • Write to Done blog has a great piece entitled "Writer's Block... A Thing of the Past" in which the author tells of her experiences with writer's block and how to avoid it. She presents a great quote by Hemingway on the subject: "The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every will never be stuck.... That way your subconscious will work on it all the time. But if you think about it consciously or worry about it you will kill it and your brain will be tired before you start." As of this point there are thirty-seven worthwhile "comments" as well. (via @thecreativepenn)

  • Author Kristine Kathryn Rusch posted another entry to her online Freelancer's Survival Guide: this latest topic is "When To Give Up Your Day Job." And Kris's answer to the question, When do you quit your day job? "You quit your day job whenever you damn well feel like it." (Ah, but what if you're literally forced into freelancing because you lost your day job?)

    New entry to The Freelancer's Survival Guide:
    "Staying Positive." Kris writes: "As freelancers, we have to keep track of the good and the bad.... My first and best tool for this is my calendar. I have a New Yorker desk calendar, encased in leather and embossed with my name, at my right hand, just past my computer's mouse. I write every single good thing that happens to me in a day on that calendar. I keep track of fan mail, covers, publications, awards, and the amount of money I receive.... I also keep track of good comments, even from people who have rejected my work."

    And the next entry on
    "Insurance." Kris talks about insurance for health, home, business, etc. Kris writes: "Think you're relatively healthy? Good for you. Exercise a lot? Eat right? Take vitamins? Even better. Never been sick a day in your life? Wonderful. Get the damn insurance."

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Perfect Sentence

For twenty-seven years, BayCon has been the mainstay of Bay Area (that's the San Francisco Bay Area for those not familiar with the area) Fandom. I had hoped to post here my BayCon guest participation schedule, and then follow that up with some form of convention report. But, alas, family responsibilities have necessitated my cancelling out of BayCon, renting a car (my own car is nearly sixteen years old, and I don't like to push my luck), and making the nearly 400-mile trip to Southern Cal. A helluva trip when it's only for a total of three days! And with no net access during those three days, it will feel like a cosmic return to the age of stone knives and bear claws!

Regardless, my sincere apologies to BayCon for having to bail with only two days notice. But I did check the programming schedule, and the panels to which I had been assigned will still be well-represented. And, I suspect, I will not really be missed. Though I will miss seeing author
Kage Baker (and sister Kathleen), with whom I always meet, for lunch or dinner, whenever we attend the same convention. Kage and I go back a handful of years: I sent her an email on May 5, 2001, in which I introduced myself, sharing with her some of the books I had worked on for Golden Gryphon Press, and then expressed my enthusiasm for a collection of her Company stories. Much to my delight, that collection, Black Projects, White Knights: The Company Dossiers, was published in hardcover in the fall of 2002. The book sold out its first print run of 3,000 copies in one month -- that's right, four weeks! -- had a second print run that same year, and was then released in a trade paperback edition in 2004. Working on this book was a pure joy, and I couldn't have asked for a more gracious, more knowledgeable author to work with. Thank you, Kage!

But none of this is really the purpose of this particular blog entry. What I want to do is share with you some articles I had written, but to do so requires a bit of history. (Those familiar with my previous blog posts/essays know that you're always going to get a "bit of history" -- but not a history lesson! -- in my blog entries.)

In early 2004, when I realized that I would most likely be freelancing for the foreseeable future, I began investigating additional resources and opportunities. This is when I learned about the
California Writers Club ("The nation's oldest professional club for writers"), and discovered that the organization had a chapter in my area: South Bay Writers. I began attending the monthly meetings beginning in March 2004. The group met once a month at Harry's Hofbrau in San Jose. The club actually had a nice setup: the meetings were held in a large auditorium-like room at the rear of the restaurant. You checked in, paid your fee, and the registration person handed you a chit good for a set amount in the restaurant. Harry's is buffet style, so you would move through the food line, selecting your items, which would be served by a restaurant staff person; at the cash register, you turned in your chit and paid any difference (typically not more than two or three dollars, and that's only if you were a big eater and selected a dessert).

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

George Alec Effinger - Part Two

My apologies for such a long delay since my previous blog post. I enjoy this enough that I would love to do it full time, but it doesn't pay the bills, unfortunately. I've had two very big projects that I've been working on that have occupied these past two weeks. I've just completed copyediting The Best of Joe R. Lansdale (approximately 152,000 words) for Tachyon Publications, scheduled to be published in 2010. I also completed my copyediting review of novel Pennterra (approximately 135,000 words) by Judith Moffett; this is the first reprint title I acquired for Fantastic Books (an imprint of Warren Lapine's Wilder Publications). The book had to be scanned from the original hardcover, and there was a huge amount of copyediting work, plus the author has made some text changes to update the book from the mid-'80s to 2009. I'm now waiting on Judy to finish her review of the last portion of the book. My next project will be copyediting vampire anthology By Blood We Live (this one's a monster 245,000 words!) edited by John Joseph Adams for Night Shade Books. Now, on to the purpose of this blog post...

This is the second of three essays on author George Alec Effinger -- one for each of the three collections of his work that I acquired and edited for Golden Gryphon Press, between 2001 and 2007. Part One of this series focused on Budayeen Nights.

Once Budayeen Nights was complete and in the hands of the typesetter, I began thinking about the next collection of Effinger's work. But now that George had passed away, I didn't have his input on this second book as I did for BN. All I had was my commitment to him to help bring his work back into print, and his email of August 30, 2001, in which he suggested a collection featuring "a hefty selection of my 200 stories, with introductions to each one, and calling it GAE: The White Album or GAE Live! At the Village Gate or . . . GAE: The Prairie Years." When George and I were communicating by email (albeit sporadically, due to his health and domicile issues) between 2001 and 2002, I had asked him to put together a list of the stories he would like to include in a "best of" collection, but time just wasn't on his side. And George wasn't kidding when he referred to his "200 stories" -- I know, as I've tried to track down a goodly portion of them! In fact, I probably have the largest "collection" of George Alec Effinger short fiction, only second to Barbara Hambly, who now has all of George's files and books in her possession.

The Concept
I'm a bit fuzzy on the details, considering it was six years ago, but if ye olde memory still serves me, I came up with the basic idea for the second collection during a telephone conversation with author George Zebrowski. Unlike archived email, I'm not able to replay and quote six-year-old telephone conversations, so memory will have to do. (Maybe AT&T has the conversation archived in some illegal-wiretapping file? GeorgeZ and I may have mentioned the words "Budayeen" or "Islamic" or "Arab" in the course of our conversations about GAE!)

I had worked with GeorgeZ on his short story collection entitled Swift Thoughts (Golden Gryphon Press, 2002). During that project, and for some time afterward, we spoke quite often on the telephone. George had unlimited long distance at the time and enjoyed calling and chatting with his many author friends and editors. It was the "author friends and editors" that gave me the idea. Since GAE was no longer with us, to select the stories for his next collection, I decided that I would ask his peers -- friends and fellow authors, and editors -- to select their favorite GAE story. And then, once they told me their favorite story, I would ask them -- as a tribute to GAE -- to write a mini introduction to the story. I wanted to first hook them on the story suggestion, and then seek their cooperation to write an intro. GeorgeZ wholeheartedly agreed to contribute, as did many others.