Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May Links & Things

My May links and such are not as numerous as in months past as this has been a busy month for me, which left little time for twitter- and blog-gazing. And yet, I had more blog posts in May than in any other previous month, with the release in their entirety of two stories (so far) from my anthology Is Anybody Out There? co-edited with Nick Gevers, and released today -- June 1 -- by Daw Books. I also attended BayCon this past Memorial Day weekend, and as anyone knows who has attended a panel on which I participated, I always try to prepare ahead of time for my convention panels, with reference material, visual aids, etc. This weekend I participated in three excellent panels -- one being the Iron Editors panel, in which I (along with 3 others) edited/copyedited and commented upon manuscript pages from the audience for two straight hours. On another panel, on books and cover art, I had the opportunity to meet artist guest of honor Lee Moyer -- a knowledgeable and personable individual; and here's hoping I have an opportunity in the very near future to meet up with Lee once again.

Here are my links and such for the month of May. I've listed them here, with additional detail and comment. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern.

  • Booklist Online: Book Reviews from the American Library Association has named The Good Humor Man (Tachyon Publications, 2009) by Andrew Fox one of the Top 10 SF/Fantasy books of 2010. Congrats to Andy Fox, and to Tachyon for their willingness to publish an over-the-top book such as this. I've written about my involvement in the publication of The Good Humor Man; and I'm extremely pleased to see the book recognized by the ALA. But let me tell you, the two-sentence blurb that you'll find on the Booklist Online page truly does not do this book justice. Read my previous blog post, and then read the io9 review of The Good Humor Man by Chris Braak; it's always a thrill ride to read a solid review such as this!

  • Don Sakers reviews Judith Moffett's novel Pennterra in his column "The Reference Library" in the July/August issue of Analog magazine (you'll need to scroll down the page to find the review). Sakers concludes his review with: "Pennterra packs a thousand pages of first-rate science fiction into its scant 288. The hrossa are finely drawn aliens with their own language, culture, philosophy, and even sexuality (all of which figure into the story). The clash between the Sixers and the Quakers, with the still-largely-unknown hrossa taking their own side, is compelling. If you think you hear distant echoes of Le Guin, you're right: Moffett is a stylist as well as a good storyteller." [Note: I acquired the reprint rights for Pennterra for Fantastic Books in 2009; and in a previous blog post, I wrote about Judith Moffett, Pennterra, and her Holy Ground Trilogy.]

  • With great sadness I note the passing on May 10 of artist Frank Frazetta, whose iconic work graced book covers, movie posters, magazines, comics, record albums, and more. In an homage to the artist, Unreality Magazine (@un_reality) showcases 20 of Frazetta's best known works.

  • Writer, blogger, and book reviewer Maud Newton (@maudnewton) shares with her readers "Notes on eight years of book blogging" -- "If you'd told me in 2002 that I would keep at it for so long or that so many people would know about this site or care what I had to say, I probably would've reacted the way I did to two boys in elementary school who said I was pretty: decided you were mocking me and head-butted you to the ground, shouting, "Why do you have to be such a jerk?" Eight years... Whew!...

  • And speaking of Ms. Newton, she was named one of "40 bloggers who really count" by the UK's TimesOnline. Whether it be Celebrities, Fashion, Feminism, Food, Health, Law, Politics, Pop Culture, Sex, Technology, War, and more, you'll find the top bloggers on this list.

  • Author Mark Chadbourn (@chadbourn) contemplates life as a new writer then (before the mass explosion of the internet) and now, in a blog post entitled "I Pity New Writers." Chadbourn writes: "It takes a while to build up the thick skin you need. I've been pretty fortunate on the review front, but I was also lucky to grow up in an environment -- a working class mining community -- where you needed a thick skin just to get through the day. Even so, in the pre-mass-web days, you got the chance to grow a hide. You got time to breathe and learn and make your mistakes in public. New writers don't have that opportunity. They're flung into the torrent of opinions from day one...." The author goes on to cite some good advice to survive the web as a new writer; if you're a new writer, you'll want to read this blog post. (via @SpecHorizons @nextread)

  • The Type M for Murder group blog has a post by Donis Casey on "How to Write a 250-Word Summary," which every author needs to know how to do prior to submitting a book to an agent or editor. The secret? Cut, and cut, and cut some more (until the paper or the computer screen bleeds). But you'll need to read the blog post to learn how best to do that cutting. (via @inkyelbows)

  • Stephen King, known for his oft-repeated quote on adverbs ("The road to hell is paved with adverbs.") has a reprinted essay on the Great Writing blog entitled "Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully: in Ten Minutes." The essay is broken down into four groups, the last group being "Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully"; and this last group is broken down into a dozen subgroups. The last subgroup is "If it's bad, kill it," about which King writers: "When it comes to people, mercy killing is against the law. When it comes to fiction, it is the law." He concludes the essay with the following: "That's everything you need to know. And if you listened, you can write everything and anything you want. Now I believe I will wish you a pleasant day and sign off. My ten minutes are up."

  • Jeff VanderMeer's (@jeffvandermeer) Booklife website has a special guest post by Jeremy L. C. Jones, who asks a group of editors their opinion on what type of agent is most effective; the goal being to provide writers with some insight when it comes time to seek out an agent (or a new agent). The blog post is entitled "Personable, Passionate, and Polite: Editors on Agents" and features commentary from Gabrielle Harbowy (Dragon Moon Press), Lou Anders (Pyr Books), Philip Athans (Wizards of the Coast), Paula Guran (Juno Books), James Lowder (New York Times bestselling shared-world novels), Susan J. Morris (Forgotten Realms), Simon Spanton (Orion/Gollancz Books), Deb Taber (Apex Book Company), Jacob Weisman (Tachyon Publications), and Chris Schluep (Ballantine/Villard/Del Rey). (via @DeanWesleySmith)

  • So, we've heard from Mark Chadbourn on being a new writer; Donis Casey on writing a 250-word summary; Stephen King on how to be successful (in 10 minutes, no less); and lastly, from Booklife, the attributes/skills of a good agent. Now you're ready for Graham Storrs, guest posting on the Creative Penn (@thecreativepenn) blog, who provides us with "Marketing Your First Book: 9 Tips for Authors." Graham's 9 tips: 1) Get an audience before the release; 2) Create a brand; 3) Know what you are going to say; 4) Understand where your interests lie; 5) Keep it rolling; 6) Engage; 7) Keep your pipeline filled; 8) Prepare to work your socks off; and 9) Don’t forget to have some fun, or you’ll go nuts. For the details behind these 9 tips, follow the link above.

  • Author Charles Stross in part 9 of his continuing series on "Common Misconceptions about Publishing" (CMAP) details the truth behind eBooks: pricing, Digital Rights Management (DRM), who's really in control, etc. "There is no topic in the publishing industry this decade that is the source of as many misconceptions, superstitions, lies, plausible untruths, and idiocies as ebooks. Ebooks generate more email to my from my readers than just about any other topic. And the situation is only going to get worse over the next few years, so strap your safety helmet on tight..." This is a lengthy discussion, and with impressive detail, too. At this time, there are more than 130 Comments.

  • If you're into podcasts, then you need to be aware of Edward Champion's Reluctant Habits blog. His May 11 post features his updated list of Literary Podcasts. And be sure to read the Comments, as readers have added a few podcasts that were overlooked on the list. Great stuff! (via @dsawyer)

  • I'd like to close with this piece from BoingBoing.net: "Canadian recording artist Jane Siberry has made all of her recordings (16 complete albums) available for free download, with the words: 'DOWNLOAD ALL SIBERRY MUSIC HERE. IT IS FREE, A GIFT FROM JANE. TAKE GOOD CARE OF IT. AND "PAY IT FORWARD" TO OTHERS.'" BoingBoing has a bit of history on Siberry and, of course, the link to her site where the music is available. So, enjoy the tunes -- and pay it forward.

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