For My Gravestone, Now More Than Ever!

I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again: These are the words I want on my gravestone:

“The Typos Are Your Problem Now!”

I have been proofing and proofing and uploading and proofing, and correcting and uploading and proofing for the print edition of The Reefs of Time. I am heartily sick of the whole process! With thanks to my daughter Jayce for reminding me, I formally request that my gravestone, when the time comes, read: “The Typos Are Your Problem Now!” I can think of nothing that would better honor my life!

(Neepery warning) There are two widely-used channels for putting out self-published print-on-demand editions: Amazon (formerly CreateSpace) and Ingram Spark. Amazon is suddenly refusing to accept the cover file that they were just fine with on the last proof run, even though nothing has changed but the corrected interior file, with the exact same page count. And my cover designer just left for a two-week vacation.

Ingram squawked about the cover, but let me override. And their proof looks fine. Except… after a week of refining the print layout and getting rid of all widows and orphans, what do I see? Widows and orphans! Augh! I have just gone through and weeded them out. Again. And await Ingram’s processing once more.

I will have a print version available on launch day, come hell or high water. But the hardcover will be delayed until I can get the cover design expanded for the dust jacket. Not by long, I hope.

Augh. Augh. Augh!!

Are You Going to a Con?

I need your help! Are you going to be attending an SF con or other similar gathering where it might be helpful to put out some of my promotional freebies (flyers and coasters)? I’d really appreciate it.

I already have volunteers for Necon, Worldcon, Ad Astra, CanCon, Confluence, and Dragon Con. Is anyone going to Readercon? Other gatherings?

Please let me know, and I’ll mail you a batch of materials!

Also, if you haven’t already joined my street team—the Starstream Troupers—and would like to sign up to help me get the word out, please let me know! (You don’t have to be on Facebook to help me, of course! But if you are, and would like to join that FB group, that’s where the most organized action is. Also if you join there, you can download an advance reading copy of Reefs/Crucible, both as a thank-you and to give you something to plug!) Come join the team!

 

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Resuming Course

So, the last couple of weeks were pretty hard, with my brother’s passing—and thank you all for your kind thoughts and wishes. Now I’m trying once more to get up a head of steam. The Reefs of Time launches in just three weeks!

What I’m focusing on now is proofing and correcting the print edition of Reefs, and yes, this is getting close to the wire. (And any corrections I make that are not just formatting, such as bad hyphenation, uneven spacing of justified text, and so on—meaning word or punctuation or italicizing corrections—all those have to be copied into the ebook and the source file, as well. It’s an incredibly finicky business.)

Due to unavoidable scheduling conflict with my brother’s memorial service in August, I have canceled plans to attend Worldcon in Dublin. That hurts, because I picked the launch date specifically to have the book out in time to promote it at Worldcon. Well, family first, and no regrets about making that choice; I just wish it hadn’t happened. And I mean that in every possible sense.

Okay, this 460-page book isn’t going to proofread itself. See you later.

Charles S. Carver, 1947–2019

Charles S. Carver, my brother

Charles S. Carver left us yesterday, after a long and often painful struggle with cancer. The academic world and the University of Miami lost a world-class, distinguished researcher in social psychology. Countless people lost a dear friend. His beloved wife Youngmee lost her husband. And I lost my only brother.

The final battle came on suddenly and unexpectedly, and we initially thought he would pull through it and recover. But that didn’t happen. Chuck wound up in the ICU on life support, and after several days on life support, when hope for recovery was gone, he was allowed to slip away peacefully. Youngmee was at his side, along with my wife Allysen and me, and several members of Youngmee’s family.

His professional accomplishments are legion, and he was awarded the American Psychological Association’s highest award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions “for significant theoretical and empirical contributions to our understanding of goal-directed behavior and self-regulation.” His publications include ten books and hundreds of articles, and his work has been cited an astounding 120,000 times in scientific publications by other researchers.

To his friends and colleagues, he was a curmudgeon and mentor loved by all. He was quietly and extraordinarily generous, both professionally and personally. He would have responded with an acerbic denial if you said that to him. A former football player and wrestler (at Huron High School, Huron, Ohio), he loved watching sports. He was the only person in the world who could get me to sit down and enjoy a football game on TV. He was utterly devoted to his dogs Tntn and Jahng, who it must be said are totally charming little rascals. He helped me and my family in ways I cannot even begin to describe, and I will not try. He was perhaps the first person in the world to believe in my writing. He loved good science fiction. Among his favorite writers were William Gibson, Rosemary Kirstein, N.K. Jemison, Connie Willis, and Linda Nagata.

To describe Chuck as a brother is difficult. As kids, we fought all the time. My mother once wrote back to relatives from a family vacation, “I have been asking myself why we didn’t leave the boys at home, or in cages.”  Yeah, I can see that. He was two years older and stronger than I was, and I could never win. I bought a set of weights so I could get stronger, but I never liked using them, and he did. So guess who got stronger.

In high school, he started taking an interest in being a big brother in a good way, and he strong-armed me into joining the wrestling team. I didn’t like it that much at first, but it grew on me, and in time I became dedicated to the sport and valued it for the remainder of my high school years. It was because of Chuck that I ventured way out of my comfort zone for colleges and attended Brown University, where he was a junior. At some point during this period he asked me, “When are you going to start writing again?” And he nudged me for copies of my stories to read.

In our adulthood (when the hell did we become “adults”?) he was relentlessly helpful, especially after I had a family.

He waited many years for a chance to read my forthcoming book, The Reefs of Time. He only got halfway through the first book before he was struck down, which is supremely unfair. But that was long enough for him to find a word-o that had escaped all of my readers and proofreaders, and me.

I’m going miss him like hell.

Here’s Chuck and Youngmee, taken on a trip to Fiji, back 2009.

We Interrupt Our Program…

The thundering, runaway train of Operation Launch got shunted onto a siding last week, when my brother wound up back in the hospital, with pneumonitis and respiratory distress—probably connected to his long-term cancer treatment. I flew to Miami once more to help out. He’s okay-ish. But with liquid in his lungs, he’s tied to continuous high-dose oxygen supplementation for now. Someone has to be there all the time, to make sure nothing goes wrong.

So I’m going to be here for… I don’t know how long, yet. I’ll try to keep working, when I’m not on duty at the hospital. (Beep, beep, beep, boop, beep…)

Brief progress report: I now have print proofs of both books (or will, when the box of Crucible proofs arrives in a day or two), which puts the paper editions of both books that much closer.

Meanwhile, please send thoughts and prayers for my brother Chuck’s recovery.

 

Porchfest!

Today’s the annual Porchfest here in Arlington. All around town, musicians have set up on porches and in driveways, playing music for passers-by to enjoy. Here are a couple I came across in my neighborhood while walking Captain Jack and McDuff. Sometimes we get some visual art, as well! This is one of the things I love about my town.

Operation Countdown!

We are at 52 days and counting, for the launch of The Reefs of Time! You can tell by the countdown timer I’ve installed on the front page of my website. I’m taking this seriously! This is rocket science. Also, alien science, with a side of quantum entanglement, on a scale that no human scientist would know how to do. (But those alien scientists: They’re pretty smart. If you don’t believe me, take a ride in one of their n-space ships. Basically, 0 to 60 [parsecs] in three imaginary seconds.)

I decided I needed a name for this project. It’s not just a launch of Reefs, and not just a launch of Crucible. It’s also a relaunch of all the earlier books in the series—in print, not just in ebook. I got tired of calling it “my book launch mega-shoot-me-now-project,” or whatever phrase sprang to mind at any given time. As of today, it’s Operation Countdown! Our motto: Launch or Die!

Here’s where we are in the countdown:

  1. Uncorrected (but still pretty good) eARCs, or ebook advance reading copies, ready — Check!
  2. Reefs proofread and corrected and formatted for print — Check!
  3. Reefs cover finished — Check!
  4. First print proofs ordered from Amazon — Check!
  5. First print proofs from Ingram… um, still vaporware. Soon! Soon!
  6. First review-copy eARCs sent out to Publishers Weekly and Locus — Check!
  7. Review-copy print ARCs sent out to other publications… Soon!
  8. Review eARCs available through NetGalley to qualified reviewers — June 1 — Check!
  9. Various promotional activities underway (Bookbub promotion, coasters, flyers, ads, other stuff) — getting there! Marathon, not a sprint!
  10. Crucible proofread, and corrections and formatting… In progress!
  11. Crucible cover art — In progress!
  12. New print editions of four previous books… in progress, but not very far along. Hope springs eternal.

Can I stop now? (That’s actually just the highlights. I could keep going, but you get the idea.) By the way, that image up there is the full wraparound cover for the print edition, gorgeous art by Chris Howard and smackdown type design by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. Click on the image to see it bigger and clearer. It’s in CMYK format, which is for print. The colors are a bit exaggerated on a screen.

Launch at 52 days and counting. What’s that gokat doing on the launch gantry??

 

Click here for pre-order info.

 

Will You Be My Street Team?

I need your help! At one of the Nebula panels, a successful indie writer talked about mobilizing your “street team” to help get the word out for you. I don’t have a street team yet. Will you join my street team?

Specifically, are you attending any upcoming SF conventions? Do you circulate in places where books could be promoted? Are you part of an SF club? I have right here a stack of Reefs of Time flyers and Reefs of Time coasters. Would you be willing to take some with you to a con or similar venue, and distribute them for me? I would be immensely grateful.

In fact, besides the obvious that you’d get to keep a few coasters for yourself, I will joyfully send an eARC of both books to anyone who pitches in! (eARC = ebook Advanced Reading Copy) You can be first to read the new books! All I ask is that you help me with a bit of publicity.

If you’d like to join in on the fun, please email me from the contact form on this here website. Thanks in advance.

How can you resist these sad eyes???

Drum roll, please! The End Times have arrived! The End Times! The End of waiting for me to finish The Reefs of Time. Yes, I have reached the end! The Reefs of Time is substantially DONE. That’s right—I’ve finished the major rewrite of the 268,000 word manuscript! Most of those words, I now believe, are the right words, and in the right order. That works out to about 1326 manuscript pages in Courier New, with two spaces after many periods, and one space after others, because habits die hard. Ten years in the works, this novel has been through the fermenter, the extractor, the refractors, the distillers, the boilers, the oven, and aged in camphor-wood in the cellar. Here’s what the manuscript looks like, with its tired but happy progenitor. [CUE “cheers” and more “cheers,” and maybe a few “huzzahs”!] “But wait!” you say. “Is that some kind of weasel wording, ‘substantially done’? What are you trying to pull here?” Trust me, I’m not trying to pull anything. Over the next week or so, I’ll be cleaning up some edits I’ve made notes to myself about, and responding to final suggestions from my stalwart (if annoyingly discerning) writing group. And then off it goes to the editor. The editor will edit, and I’ll do a polish pass over the whole thing as I respond to his editorial suggestions. And after that? Why, you get to read it! At last, at long last!

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Cover “Reveal” for The Reefs of Time!

I’ve shown you pieces, I’ve shown you snippets, I’ve teased you. (Okay, if you’ve gone to the actual book page, or Amazon or something, I’ve shown you the cover. Look, I’m a novelist, not a publicist.) But now for the first time here, in glorious full size, is the cover for The Reefs of Time!

Reefs of Time cover
Art by Chris Howard, design by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

I think it’s pretty cool, and I hope you do, too. The artist, Chris Howard, was once a student in a writing workshop Craig Gardner and I ran, and now he’s not only an accomplished writer, but an accomplished artist, also. He did the covers for The Infinite Sea and Seas of Ernathe, as well. Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff has done the type for the majority of my ebooks.

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Returning Home

That 7 a.m. flight out of Burbank was definitely out of my comfort zone time-wise, but it was a very smooth flight nevertheless, and we arrived early in Boston. Here’s what it looked like, coming in low over the harbor.

The temperature in the L.A. area was in the 50’s and 60’s most of the time I was there. I had been chilly, not having packed enough long-sleeve shirts. I knew it would be cooler in Boston, so I wore one of those for a second day, plus a jacket—to find it in the 80’s in Boston!

I was apparently at peak-time pricing for Lyft, so I opted to take the T home. That’s when it started. The Silver Line bus took a big-ass detour, and then broke down at the combustion-to-electric changeover point, and all the passengers dragged their luggage to another bus. The Red Line was fine, except that the elevator at the endpoint was closed for “vertical transportation” improvements. I made it home, though, and thought I was done for the day. But no.

We went out for dinner with friends—and on the way home, I hit a pothole, and BAM!, front tire blowout. Brand-new tire. We were on a downhill access road to a highway, which wasn’t great for changing a tire, but should have been easy for a tow truck to find. But no, the service driver sent by the auto club couldn’t follow even step-by-step instructions, and finally abandoned me without troubling to tell me. By the time my local shop sent a tow truck, it was after 11 p.m., and I’d been waiting for almost two hours. He, bless him, dropped me off at my house on his way to the shop with my car.

Welcome home!

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