Monday, December 5, 2011

November Links & Things

I've been rather quiet here of late, as I just completed work on a project for Penguin/Ace Books that I had been anticipating for a couple months. I'll provide a bit of a teaser here by saying that I've just finished "the laundry" -- neatly pressed. So, now that this project is behind me (and I hope to do a blog post about it soon), I plan on being a bit more visible here. Or, at least I hope to be a bit more visible here. One can never tell, especially these days. Regardless, please don't give up on me.

Onward: This is my monthly wrap-up of November's Links & Things. You can receive these links in real time by following me on Twitter: @martyhalpern. Note, however, that not all of my tweeted links make it into these month-end posts. Previous month-end posts are accessible via the "Links and Things" tag in the right column. 
  • Ernest Hogan (@NestoHogan), a contributing author to the Alien Contact anthology ["Guerrilla Mural of a Siren's Song"], has recently written a blog post on La Bloga, entitled "Chicanonautica: The Lone Sci-Fi Chicano?" in which he wonders if he may just be the only Chicano science fiction writer. If you are a Chicano SF/Fantasy author, or know of an author, please let Ernesto know by posting a comment to his blog post.
  • Author Andrew Fox has informed me that his novel, The Good Humor Man, or Calorie 3501 (which I edited for Tachyon Publications) has been released in a variety of ebook formats. The link here is to the Kindle edition, but you'll find the ebook at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and other online sellers. The novel was described by Kage Baker as "a Fahrenheit 451 for the post-millennium, told with Fox's magnificent evocation of place and twisted humor..." For more details, here's a link to my blog post from 19 February 2009 on the novel, and Tachyon Publications.
  • If you are a book reader and/or a book collector, then you undoubtedly are familiar with (@AbeBooks), which recently posted a concise history of Amazing Stories magazine. You can find lengthier, more detailed histories elsewhere online, but what makes this article special are the more than 25 full-color covers, including the first Amazing Stories Annual from 1927. The article falls short, however, by not mentioning that the "Amazing Stories" name has recently been acquired by Steve Davidson, who has formed an editorial board and commissioned cover art. Check out my September and October Links & Things posts for details.
  • Looking for fellow gamers for your game group? wants to help by being a registry for all flavors of gamer. (via @ProfBeard)
  • On November 7 I purchased the new Stephen King novel, 11/22/63. How could I not purchase a book in which time travel is used to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination? The week before the book was released, Wired Magazine featured an interview with King in which he set forth his "Rules for Time Travel." King and Wired discuss the "butterfly effect," alternate timelines, and more. At the end of the interview, when asked if he'll write about time travel again, King responds: "No, this is it. Absolutely not. No, that's done. It's like Apollo Creed says, 'Ain't gonna be no rematch.'" (via @io9)
  • Did you write your 50,000 words in November as a participant in the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? In support of NaNoWriMo, Susan J. Morris posted an entry on Amazon's Omnivoracious blog entitled "The Quick and Dirty Outline." Ms. Morris begins: "I have a love-hate relationship with outlines." After a few pros and cons, she writes: "There are as many different methods for outlining as there are authors out there. That being said here is one method I’ve used and recommend for quickly and efficiently turning your idea into an outline." Step 1: Find the Heart of Your Idea; Step 2: Expand on Your Idea; and Step 3: Put the Pieces In Order. Follow the link for the details behind the steps.
  • Deborah J. Ross (@DeborahJRoss) tackles "Critiquing Vs. Editing" in a November blog post: "The most useful things I find in critiques are reader reactions, comments like, 'I'm confused,' or 'This doesn't make sense,' or 'I don't believe this character would act this way.' Or, simply, 'Huh? You've got to be kidding!'...such comments tell me where there is a problem. The reader may be right about what the problem is, or what they object to may be the tip of an iceberg and the true problem lies elsewhere. In critique format, I really, really don't want to be told how to fix those problems, and I don't know any writers who do."
  • "What Inspires Sara Zarr" -- a blog post by, you guessed it, Sara Zarr (@sarazarr) in which she begins: "I'm inspired by failure. Which is a good thing, because right now I've got a first draft of a new book in front of me, and it feels like a massive pile of FAIL. (I should note: this is my book.)" You'll also want to check out the 70 comments. (via Deborah J. Ross's Facebook page)
  • At Broad Universe, Morgan Dempsey (@geardrops) discusses the subject: "What Makes YA?" If you are writing (or planning to write) a YA novel, you'll want to consider these points that Dempsey covers, in detail: 1) How Old? Old Enough (And then maybe a teensy bit older); 2) Subject Matters (But maybe not in the way you'd think...); 3) The Voice; 4) Take It to the Slushpile; 5) Are You Sure You're Writing YA?; 6) Do You Remember What It's Like to be Fifteen?; and 7) Stories Can, and Should, Be Simple. (via @ScapeZine)
  • A new blog, ePubSecrets (@ePUBSecrets), has been launched to, as the blog says, "help you with all things ePUB." This new site is the brainchild of David Blatner and Anne-Marie Concepcion, the people behind InDesignSecrets. If you are into DIY ePub, you'll find some worthwhile resources here. (via @ebooknewser)
  • Speaking of ebooks (and POD): Book buyers must now watch out for bogus, stolen material being sold as ebooks or POD -- this, according to a blog post from noted SF author Jerry Pournelle. The bogus publisher of note is Hephaestus Books (though the publisher could easily change names); what these guys do is scrape together information from, say Wikipedia, on hot or noteworthy authors, and then publish it under some bogus title on, B&, etc. You, the reader, look for some new material by said author, and the next thing you know, you've been scammed, and at a very high price, too. Author John Scalzi (@scalzi) brought this to the attention of his army of followers in a blog post entitled "Beware the Wikipedia Scrapers"; Scalzi includes a link to Pournelle's post as well. (via @Pixelfish)
  • Unless you've been hiding out in a hobbit hole, you know that the current economy has resulted in a depressed job market. However, if you have the right stuff, there is hope: NASA is accepting applications for astronaut positions. You can apply here. Look for the heading "Astronaut Selection Resources," and then click on the link "Apply to be an Astronaut." And watch the cool one-and-a-half-minute vid. (via @boingboing)

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