Category Archives: Writing

21 Oct

Proofing Xenowealth: A Collection (slow and steady)

So I have files for Xenowealth: A Collection and have been creating the physical book. This has been trickier than normal b/c the print on demand service I’m using is a little spotty about getting graphics on the spine quite right (the templates they give suggest it should print a certain way, but I get extra bumped space and am learning how to adapt) though I’m happy about everything else (I settled on CreateSpace as I like the interior cream paper best and I really like the distribution possibilities).

But, here’s a close-but-not-quite picture of a copy of the trade paperback which will be up for general sale after I ship to Kickstarter backers.

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I keep bumping the spine text this way and then that and seeing how it comes back. Annoying, because every other little thing is perfect. I’m happy with the interior, outside, etc. The matte cover, if you have greasy fingers, collects prints a bit more than I’d like, but there you go.

Today another proof arrives, I’m hoping it’s the last. I really want to start shipping ASAP and get this baby out in the hands of folks. It’s well overdue.

That said, I’ve unintentionally learned a lot about POD, printing books, designing them myself through this process. Things I wanted to learn, just not while writing and freelancing more this year than ever before in my life, remodeling a part of my home, and making some life changes.

It’s been a wild ride, this year.

20 Oct

Today’s passive aggressive fan mail: reader will not read more of my books because I don’t speak English English as my first language

In today’s email:

I am reading Arctic Rising.
I am enjoying the plot and think the ideas are brilliant.
However i will not read another of your books as I am finding it hard to read.
I speak English English as my first language and am not over keen on American writers as their language is different.

I am finding it hard to read this translation of your book and am having to reread the sentences to get their meaning.

I feel your book may have been translated by the wrong person.

I wanted to let your know that I feel you are being let down by your publisher. Your ideas are very good and I am sure if I could read this book in your first language it would be a better read.

Hello reader:

Well, my mum was born in Middlesex, I’m not American, and I had an RP accent until I was 12 along with a Caribbean accent sometimes with friends.

That being said, you absolutely, definitely shouldn’t read my other books like Crystal Rain, Ragamuffin, and Sly Mongoose. They include Caribbean dialects and people who speak in all manner of different ways. They would be far more challenging for you.

Thanks for writing!

On a side note:

Americans, you’ve been warned! There’s a reader who thinks books translated over to the UK are being poorly done!

I want to make so much more fun of this because, so many different fun ways to examine this, but alas, I actually need to get back to writing more poorly translated non-English English fiction.

14 Oct

Xenowealth: A Collection timelines for pre-orders and wider availability

I’m waiting for some more physical proofs of the Xenowealth collection so that I can trigger the final big order and get the physical books shipped for Kickstarter backers as I undo the logjam of this project. But several people have emailed asking how to get their hands on a copy if they didn’t back the Kickstarter.

Fear not Fans of the Xenowealth, for once I have delivered unto the backers their physical copies this month, I will then make pre-orders available.

Xenowealth: A Collection will go on sale sometime in December. A trade paperback and eBook will be shipping sometime in December.

But first, Kickstarter backers get their versions and for an exclusive period.

Then I’ll open up.

So stay tuned, and if you want a reminder, definitely sign up for my newsletter (look to the right, or just scroll down a bunch and it pops up) where I will post details.

14 Oct

Man Booker winner Marlon James!

Hey, Caribbean writer wins one of the biggest literary prizes. Fuck yeah!

Also, his whole story gives me all the feels:

“There was a time I actually thought I was writing the kind of stories people didn’t want to read,” he told Today. Asked if he had considered giving up writing, the 44-year-old writer said: “I did give it up. I actually destroyed the manuscript, I even went on my friends computers and erased it.” He said he retrieved the text by searching in the email outbox of an old iMac computer.

James is the first Jamaican writer to win the Man Booker prize, taking the award for an uncompromising fictional history of the attempted murder of Bob Marley in 1976.

(Via Man Booker winner’s debut novel rejected nearly 80 times | Books | The Guardian.)

Represent, Marlon!

When I was down at the Bocas Lit Fest I was disappointed because he was unable to get down there due to last minute travel issues. I’d been hoping to hear him speak, live and direct.

Very cool stuff.

09 Oct

Xenowealth: A Collection Kickstarter backers should see the eBook in their inboxes now

I’ve finally managed to get the copy edited and ready to go final of the Xenowealth collection uploaded and sent out to backers. If you backed this, check your inbox. There should be a Backerkit email shortly with links.

This version includes the story “Ratcatcher.”

I think it might be the bloodiest Pepper story yet. And not being able to share it for the last 5 or 6 months has been torture as I had a blast writing it.

For the physical copies, I’m still proofing. This has been my big hold up. I am nothing mea culpas on this. Not so much a blast on this front.

At the end of the Kickstarter I’ll be writing up a little ‘how this kickstarter kicked my ass’ post. Sometimes life hands you fun lessons.

04 Oct

Surprise, Amazon is not a neutral marketplace

I was reading an article on Seeking Alpha, a popular stocks and investment site that I use to track general info about my stocks, when I spotted this article about Amazon banning sales of rival video streaming devices:

There is no such thing as store neutrality. Amazon has all the right to forbid rival products on its online marketplace.

(Via Dear Tim Cook, Amazon Just Banned Your Apple TV 4 – Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) | Seeking Alpha.)

The Verge says Amazon’s decision is a baffling question, but it is so easy to understand. Apple’s decision to release a console gaming iOS TV device and its ambition to become a streaming video service provider are seen as threats by Amazon. Bezos, therefore, promptly exercised his prerogative to eliminate current and upcoming threats to Amazon.

I get a lot of flack for pointing out that Amazon is used as a ‘marketplace’ by authors and assumed to be a neutral marketplace by many (not all, lots of smart people out there).

But it isn’t a neutral marketplace. A lot of the Kindle Unlimited moves are really clever from a selling to readers and corporate standpoint (the monthly pot guarantees a cap on author earnings/payouts) [limiting royalties for some countries unless you sign up, limiting percentage Amazon pays you unless you do certain things just the way you want, people keep saying you get total control, but unless you sell on your own site, you get total control, but not total control of the portion you receive). Amazon is the biggest marketplace, hard not to make a living without it.

But no so much neutral.

They’re very careful to not step too far over. The Amazon brand is one of the most trusted by consumers in the world.

But I am always working hard to make sure I stay well diversified, even as I use the marketplace. As a good little author cockroach I’m always curious to see what gets the biggest marketplace to stir and change the rules.

02 Oct

New review of The Apocalypse Ocean

Hey, cool, a new review of The Apocalypse Ocean via SFF World:

Having just finished a read-through of all four Xenowealth novels I can recommend them in a heartbeat. This is science fiction at its most enjoyable, offering plenty to marvel at, while still giving food for thought.

(Via The Apocalypse Ocean by Tobias Buckell – Official Reviews – Science Fiction and Fantasy World | SFFWorld.)

02 Oct

This is still my favorite one star review of Arctic Rising

First of all, the protagonist, Anika, is a 5’11” Nigerian lesbian former mercenary. The sheer amount of suspension of disbelief with respect to this character is too much to ask from genre readers. There is a scene in the book where she lectures someone on the nature of “sexual orientation.” I would have liked to hear that lecture, because “sexual orientation” is a PC buzz word that no one really understands in the context of individuals’ multifarious sexual impulses, desires, and behaviors. Clearly this protagonist exists to further the political fantasies of the author.

(Via J. Dooley’s review of Arctic Rising.)

I just adore this.

It goes on from there.

This post appears to you courtesy of my trading ‘best of one star reviews’ with another author via email.

Pertinent, I love Casey Neistat’s videos. His feelings about haters are very similar to my own.

28 Sep

Baltimore Book Festival Recap

I got back late last night from Baltimore where I was the SFWA Guest of Honor. This year Sarah Pinsker took over running what I’m told is a constantly growing tent with what I saw was a great list of running panels and interviews.

Fran Wilde, the author the recently launched and great read Updraft, interviewed me about writing, sailing in fiction and much more.

The panels were a great deal of fun. I got to meet YA author Justina Ireland and catch up with Rosarium’s Bill Campbell, who’ll be turning Arctic Rising into a graphic novel series.

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Bill and I also snuck off next door to Baltimore Comic Con which was going down to walk around and check stuff out, as well as catch up on what was going on.

One of the panels I was really impressed by was Mike Underwood and Sarah Pinsker’s show ‘Dangerous Voices Variety Hour’ where they gave away prizes for audience members who guessed the right answer to science fictional and fantasy trivia, let the guest authors read some quick fragments of their work, and also got the authors to try and guess answers to win the audience members prizes. It was fun.

Double fun because I got to do the panel with Diana Peterfreund who is a great writer I’ve followed online for a while and enjoy reading. I wish we’d had more time to catch up, but the panel was fun.

Another fun moment was sneaking out with Scott Edelman Saturday night to go to Vacarro’s Italian Pastry Shop in Little Italy, where we caught up with each other. Scott was the editor guest instructor at Clarion in 1999 when I attended.

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I got to meet a number of new folks like Emmie Mears, Anna Kashina, KM Szpara, catch up with others like Keffy, Annalee Flower Horne, Bud Sparhawk Michael Underwood, Tom Doyle, Karen Burnham and Anne Gray. Met Anatoly Belilovsky again, who I met at Nebula but had forgotten (so sorry, man). I grabbed some interesting dinners, and hopefully didn’t say anything too silly.

John Appel gifted me with some locally made dark rum for the trip home, and helped me get to the airport after I was only able to spend 15 minutes at the last panel:

My thanks to Sarah Pinsker for all her organizational work and making sure I got to where I need to, Summer Cullen of the festival for travel arrangements, and all the sponsors and organizers of the Baltimore Book Festival for bringing me in.