A Haiku for Difficult Times

posted in: creativity, haiku, writing 1

When the leader of a small group I am in suggested that we each write a haiku about our relationship with creativity, I had to look up what the pattern is for a haiku. (I am not a poet.) I stared for a while at the screen, muttering. Because, frankly, my relationship with creativity has been highly contentious of late, a lot of circling and snarling. Here’s what I settled on:

 

I chip at granite
Hoping to spark ideas
Ow ow ow—what’s this?

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Autographed Books for the Holidays?

Chaos Chronicles setEveryone loves autographed books! Especially sets of books. I know just where to start: The Star Rigger Bookstore

…where you can buy complete, autographed sets of the entire Chaos Chronicles (to date) in evocative Starstream Publications trade paperback editions… or the first four books in first-edition Tor hardcovers. Or signed hardcover sets of The Reefs of Time and Crucible of Time. Or autographed copies of Eternity’s End, in the shiny new trade paperback, or the first-edition Tor hardcover. And much, much more. All (most?) at amazing, mark-down prices. (Truly amazing—that they are marked down, I mean.)

Don’t see what you want? Shoot me an email. There’s a good chance I’ve got it and just haven’t listed it yet.

In case you’re wondering, StarRiggerBooks is me, using Etsy as a platform. So you’ll get the same personal service, satisfaction almost guaranteed, by using the Etsy order form. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t know how to give impersonal service. I am my only underpaid employee. And I defy you to find a marketing algorithm anywhere in this store. Go ahead and look! Seriously. Look.

To all you USians traveling for Thanksgiving, travel safely and enjoy your holiday, I hope with family and treasured friends.

Shipworld Outpost Nano-Retreat

I have been seriously in need of a writing retreat for a while. Unfortunately, it’s too late in the season to go off camping in the Mothership. For one thing, the campgrounds are all closed for the year; for another, I’ve drained and winterized the plumbing on board, so as not to get frozen pipes when the temperature drops. But does that mean I can’t use the ship at all? NO! Just the other day, I realized I could drive to scenic nearby locations, park, walk around to clear my head, and then retreat to the back of ship to write. I’ve got good lighting, heat if I need it, a decent place to sit, a small table, and a nice sound system. (The navigation of MP3 files on my thumb drive is primitive, though. I can view the list of tracks on the TV screen, sort of, and use arcane combinations of button presses in an effort to choose what to listen to.)

Anyway. The first time out, I went to Minuteman National Park in Lexington. I called that a mini-retreat, because it got me out of my neighborhood. On my way home, wouldn’t you know, the infernal Check Engine came on, so now I’ve got to get that sorted out. But in the meantime, I figured, what’s wrong with retreating to the ship right in my driveway? Nothing. And so, I hereby designate this as a nano-retreat.

The results may not be spectacular, but I’ve done more writing in three of these little sessions than I have in the three weeks preceding, sitting in my office surrounded by distractions. Whatever works.

Also, the house kitchen is nearby. Hoo-ahh!

Shapers of Worlds, Vol. 2!

The Shapers of Worlds anthologies, edited by Edward Willett, are collections of science fiction and fantasy short stories written by authors who have been guests on Ed’s excellent podcast. The lineup of authors on these books is impressive. And the second volume has just been published: in ebook, paperback, and hardcover! I’ve added it to my own to-read list. (Yes, I have a story in it, a reprint of one of my favorites. But I don’t need to reread that one. I want to read the others. But by all means, read them all.)

Please check it out at your favorite bookstore! Tell ’em I sent you.

Audiobook Featured Deal: Sunborn!

Sunborn audiobook cover

I’m not sure launching an audiobook special on the same day the new Dune movie releases is the best timing, but there you have it. In a great deal from Chirpbooks, Sunborn in audiobook is just $1.99 for a limited time! (Normally it’s $14.99 at Chirp, which is already way less than the price at Audible.) Grab it while you can! It’s a book I’m especially proud of, with a wonderful narration by Stefan Rudnicki.

Neptune Crossing is also deeply discounted. The rest of the Chaos series is supposed to be marked down, but I haven’t seen the prices drop yet, so check back. I may need to shake a few branches.

Edit: They came through for me! All the volumes of The Chaos Chronicles are marked way down. There will never be a more economical way to stock up on the whole series!

 

From the Galactic Archives: Science Fiction on “The Connection”

Over the last mumblety years, I’ve done a number of interviews in various media, or written essays for other publications or blogs. I always link to them, but mostly I’ve not gotten around to putting them on my own site (after a decent interval), as I’ve meant to do. Well, it’s never too late. I start with one of my favorites.

On November 21, 1997, I was a guest along with author Joe Haldeman on a remarkable public radio series called The Connection, hosted by Christopher Lydon on Boston’s WBUR public radio station. The Connection was a highly respected show on public affairs and the arts. It wasn’t the kind of show where you normally expected any mention of SF literature. But this time it was, and the discussion was lively, with lots of input from callers. I had a great time. I recently found a tape recording of the show, and have digitized it for the modern age. (Edit: I realized the tape reproduction was a little fast, so I have adjusted the recording to what seems to me to be the correct pitch and tempo.)

I hope the producers don’t mind my doing this, since technically I don’t own the copyright. But it’s been over twenty years, so I hope it’s all right. For the record, I’ve stored this recording on my own website, and I’m offering you a chance to plug into my headphone jack. Please don’t distribute this, but if you’ve got a little time and you want to hear our chat with an influential radio personality, just lean over and plug your headphones in right here…

 

Here’s a picture of Joe and me together at a book signing, a few years later. (Photo by Gay Haldeman)

Captain Jack’s Doing Great So Far

posted in: animal friends 2

You’d never know this dog just had major surgery that left him without half of his lower jaw! His energy and desire to do stuff has come roaring back. He doesn’t like his Hat of Healing—who would?—but other than that, he’s raring to go; and by the way, folks, haven’t you noticed that it’s dinner time, already? Yesterday he pawed at the refrigerator door, which is an all-new way for him to ask for food. Today, on his walk, he took a stab at his old favorite game of jumping around and trying to grab his leash. (The hat blocked him, fortunately; he’s not supposed to roughhouse or tug on things for six weeks.) He’s on soft food for a few weeks, and then he can go back to eating whatever he wants.

Unless you look very closely, you don’t even see that half his lower jaw is missing—except for the telltale tongue hanging out on one side. That’s probably going to be part of his new persona going forward.

This is all great, but we anxiously await the biopsy results, which will give us more information on whether the surgery got all the cancer. That will guide us on what, if any, follow-up treatment is needed. Hopefully none, as he follows in the paw prints of Moonlight, his late cat friend—who at a very senior age, smacked down a gloomy diagnosis and wrested a couple more good years of life for herself.

Here, he takes a well-earned rest…

Captain Jack Versus Cancer

posted in: animal friends 5

I hate cancer. It has taken too many people I love. And now it’s threatening our dog, Captain Jack: an aggressive tumor on his lower jawbone and gum. It was ugly, it was nasty, it appeared very suddenly, and it was growing like wildfire. But we just got it taken out.

We were extremely fortunate in one respect. It is nearly impossible to get prompt veterinary care these days, because the vets and vet hospitals are all overwhelmed by the huge increase in dog ownership during the pandemic. But we managed to get him in to see a surgeon, and he had the operation today, a radical surgery of the jaw that involved removing a lot of bone. The surgeon reported that all went well, and he is recovering. We hope he’ll come home tomorrow. The surgery was performed at Boston West Veterinary Specialties and Emergencies, in Natick, outside Boston. We haven’t even been inside the place; it was all handled curbside and by phone. But kudos to their surgical team!

Please continue your prayers and positive thoughts for our buddy!

Here he is (with McDuff) in a happier time.

McDuff and Captain Jack

 

“Oops!” Doesn’t Even Begin to Cover It

Purchasers of Eternity’s End, this is a factory recall! Not quite as bad as airbags that might kill you, but bad enough. Longtime readers of this blog know that I am ferocious about correcting typos, and more than once have howled in frustration at the seeming “whack a mole” quality of trying to stamp them out. But this… this goes way beyond typos.

Thanks to dedicated reader Karen W, I learned today that the Nook version of Eternity’s End had the peculiar flaw of having an entire chapter relocated to a completely different section of the book. And, as it turns out, so did the Kindle version, the Kobo version, the print version, and all the rest. What should have been Chapter 23 somehow became Chapter 33, and in context makes no sense at all.

How could this travesty have occurred? Operator error, probably. As best I can tell, when I was making the final corrections to the new, improved edition in the software tool Vellum, I must have inadvertently dragged and dropped the chapter to a new location, without ever noticing, because the chapter numbering is automatic. And that bollixed-up file is what got converted into the shiny print and all of the ebook editions. This is why I hate drag&drop! I really, really hate it. Except, of course, when I do it deliberately.

What to do? I have uploaded corrected versions of the ebook to all of the stores. If you bought the book in the last year or so, you can simply download a new copy. (It might take a day or so for the revisions to become live.) The correct version has Chapter 23 as “The Maintainers.” Anything different, and you’ve got the wrong copy. (If you bought the book earlier, this shouldn’t affect you. But check.) The audiobook, thankfully, is correct.

If you bought the print version from Amazon, B&N, me directly, or anywhere else, it’s even more embarrassing. Please check Chapter 23 and get in touch via the email link at www.starrigger.net. Show me some proof of purchase, and I’ll send you a replacement, as soon as I have some.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Ai, caramba!

Say Hello in New Hampshire

If you happen to be in the vicinity of West Lebanon, New Hampshire this Saturday, come visit the Upper Valley Comic Expo between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. You’ll find me there as one of the featured authors, along with some of my colleagues, including V.S. Holmes and Jennifer Anne Gordon, fellow members of the Creative Edge publicity group. Also featured is actress Gigi Edgley, of Farscape fame (she played the mischievous Chiana).

This is more of a book/author/artist/actor fair than a con like the ones I usually go to. (No panels, for example.) It might actually be a better opportunity to meet and chat with authors; I think it will be very relaxing and low key. Also, it’s only $5 admission, and it’s a benefit for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock. Brought to you by Sci-fi Saturday Night! Come say hi, and pick up some autographed books while you’re there!

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 136