24 Jun

After six years, I’ve decided to reopen comments. So, say hello or something

Six years ago, overwhelmed by moderation duties to keep the comments a safe place and facing health issues that left me with very little energy, I shut down comments.

People predicted doom! Well, I kept blogging and the blog grew.

Then I stopped blogging, basically. I retreated to social media. But then, slowly, I stopped feeling like that was home as well. Social media impact grew, but blogging tailed off hard, and the readership on the site as well.

So, now this year I’ve experimented a little with video. Last year I took a six month hiatus from social media. All of these experiments to see where I was headed.

And they took me back to this direction. Opening comments.

So if you missed them, say hello!

Tell me what you’re up to.

And hopefully I can keep this rolling…

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24 Jun

A Reaction to the #Brexit Vote

Many of you probably don’t realize this, but I’m not American. It’s always a shock, and some folks in essays have continually flubbed it, but I’m actually a Brit in technicality.

Truth is, my mom’s the real Brit. Born in Middlesex, time spent in London, then sailed with her family around the Mediterranean and ended up in New Zealand for her equivalent of high school before rejoining the family who had sailed to Grenada. Grenada then, being a part of the last bits of British Empire.

Grenada achieved independence the year I was born, and mom was still a Brit, so she opted for the UK passport for me. My understanding is that I’m eligible to apply for a Grenadian passport if I visit. I’m also eligible for a US passport and citizenship after classes and tests.

I have kept hanging onto the UK passport all along as it is one of two things that I have from my childhood. As a kid who grew up always moving, it was one of a few roots that I got to hang onto.

The first time I visited the UK, despite being a subject of Her Majesty the Queen, was a few years ago. We went to visit some of mum’s family and see Wales, where her family originally hailed from. And the third time I visited, I used the passport to easily enter the EU and move about France and Spain.

It was one of the reasons I valued the passport. The knowledge that it gave me the ability to plug in to a larger community of 300 million.

This has been one of the biggest cutting off a nose to spite a face scenarios I think I’ve seen. It’s stunning. I’m still sorting through my reactions.

Basically, when Donald Trump, Iran, Moscow, and right-wing racist groups are all totally psyched, you fucked up.

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23 Jun

Tumblr crossposting test post

Okay, so I don’t have a Facebook page (I don’t know why, I hate Facebook, I grudgingly use an account for local and family stuff, but that’s it), but I have set up a Tumblr account and am testing cross posting from this site.

That is all this is.

update: The Tumblr is here. Testing what happens when I update a post after the fact!

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23 Jun

Ratcatcher a Best Science Fiction of the Year: Recommended Reading List

Neil Clarke at Clarkesworld posted a short list of 2015 short stories recommended for reading, and that included my short story Ratcatcher:

All of those stories are represented in the anthology, either as a reprints or in the recommended reading list at the end of the book. They were all great stories that deserve attention, so with my publisher’s permission, I share that list with you now:

(Via Best Science Fiction of the Year: Recommended Reading List – Neil Clarke.)

Rat catcher is the original story available in Xenowealth: A Collection.

Not bad for a story that Kickstarter backers helped usher into the world.

Thank you to both Neil and to everyone who helped Xenowealth: A Collection become real.

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20 Jun

I’ll have a story in Fractures: Extraordinary Tales from the Halo Canon

This may have been dropped between the cracks as I was in the middle of another deadline when news dropped. But one of the more frequent questions I get is, is anything more Halo coming out from me? Well, I can reveal that on September 20th, I have a novelette coming out in a collection of Halo stories called Fractures:

Launch once more into galaxy-spanning conflict and legendary heroism…shards of an ever-expanding journey where human and alien alike find their finest hours in facing their greatest challenges. These scattered stories span untold millennia, from the age of the ancient custodial race known as the Forerunners…to the aftermath of the Covenant’s bloody war against humanity…and even the shocking events surrounding the resurrection of the mysterious Guardians. Halo: Fractures explores mythic tales of bravery and sacrifice that blaze brightly at the very heart of the Halo universe.

(Via Fractures: Extraordinary Tales from the Halo Canon: Various: 9781501140679: Amazon.com: Books.)

The short story I have in it will be called ‘Oasis.’


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07 Jun

SpaceX plans first launch of a reused first stage rocket in a few months

This is the next big milestone, now that SpaceX is regularly re-landing first stage boosters, that SpaceX relaunch a booster and begin testing how that lifecycle works.

This article I’m linking talks about SpaceX talking to insurers about how the system is working so they can basically certify a used booster for launch in the new few months, and how much that will bring down their cost (to the $40 millions a launch range. Compared to $225 mil for their competition.

Pretty amazing stuff:

lists its starting price for the Falcon 9 rocket at $62 million. The average price of a launch with United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp. that competes with SpaceX for national security satellite launch contracts, is $225 million.

SpaceX executives say prices could go down even further — potentially by 30% — if the company is able to make good on its plans to offer reusable rockets for launch.

(Via SpaceX and Insurance Underwriters Will Discuss Risks of Reusing Rockets – Business Briefing on CIO Today.)

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04 Jun

Whole villages are abandoned/depopulated in rural Europe at the same time refugees are held at border…

I just said this in an interview off the cuff, but I thought I wanted to snag it and post it here:

Right now I’m reading stories about how whole villages are going up for sale for a few bucks in rural Europe because the countryside is being depopulated as generations move into the city and abandon the country. Meanwhile, at the border, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are being brutalized, starved, whole generations of minds deprived.

We are failing at connecting dots due to horrible narratives. We have to tell better stories.

Allow me to expand. From NPR, In Spain, Entire Villages Are Up For Sale — And They’re Going Cheap

Even villages in the country’s most fertile northwest region, Galicia, are being depopulated. The lush Galician landscape once supported Spain’s highest population density, and half of all Spanish villages — some 3,500 hamlets — are located there.

Now nearly half of these villages are abandoned.

Enter Mark Adkinson, a British-born real estate agent who scours the countryside for abandoned properties, and tries to match them up with foreign buyers.

Meanwhile people are dying while being held at borders.

We’re really fucking bad at being humane.

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09 May

Today I’m celebrating 10 years of being a freelancer

Ten years, man! Ten years! I’ve been freelancer/writer/whatever for 10 years now, sailing my own ship:

Ten years ago I had just published my very first novel. It had been out a few months. But I never got to enjoy or dwell on my first novel experience because I learned just a couple days before my book was to launch that I was going to be out of a job by the end of summer.

I spent that February, March and April:

-finishing the manuscript of my second novel, Ragamuffin, in a panic. I didn’t know if I would be working a McDonald’s or what later in the year. I wanted to have written two novels, so that no matter what mess came next I would have at least done that.

-looking for a new day job. Turned out there were no tech jobs within a decent commute at the time. I was underwater on my mortgage in a house I’d just moved into and had to stretch to afford.

-working freelance gigs that appeared as I announced my availability and impending job loss. I still remember that my boss read my blog post announcing that I was being laid off and ‘encouraged’ me to take it down and I was like ‘I don’t even understand what you mean’ because my focus was on letting the world know I needed to start something new.

By May it had become clear that I had enough lined up that I could take the leap into just working as a freelancer and author.

Ten years. Wow.

There have been a lot of ups and downs. I became a New York Times bestseller thanks to the Halo novel. I went on to write book 3 of what became the Xenowealth series. Agreed to put #4 and #5 on hold after the Halo book and wrote Arctic Rising and Hurricane Fever. The freelance gigs have shifted and churned around a bit in the background. I’ve had some banner years in terms of fiction earnings, but not enough I would stop freelancing.

My wife, Emily, has joined me to help out with the freelancing. So the business has grown. We haven’t killed each other yet being home all the time.

I almost died just a few years into freelancing. Found out I had a heart defect. Spent years recovering and learning how to manage a whole new life.

Had twins. Still trying to figure out this dad thing. Very much a learn as you go.

I have published 9 novels in that 10 years, 2 under a pseudonym. There are two more written as of yet unsold as well. I’ve also done 4 collections, 5 novellas, and sold 36 short stories.

My income streams shift and change, but overall everything is growing.

I’m looking out over the next ten and thinking very hard about how I want it to look. I’m in the middle of a great deal of change right now. But… if there’s one thing I’ve learned from 10 years of being a freelancer you have to be comfortable with a great deal of variability.

Does it ever become normal?

I wouldn’t want it to.

What’s next on the horizon?

I’m hoping to nail all that down here soon. You’ll know as soon as I do.

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