Slight Change to the Blog

“Engineers! Always changing things!”  So said Dr. McCoy, in the first Star Trek movie.  Generally speaking, you can’t accuse me of doing too much of that with my website or my blog. But if you look to the right (if you’re reading this on the actual blog, and not on Facebook or through a feed), you’ll see one overdue change. That’s right—an ad for my books! I’ve got books in the Kindle store now, and lots of other stores, and it’s high time people knew about it. What a concept. Click through! Give it a try! 

My website has been due for a makeover for, oh, maybe ten years or so. Its appearance is pretty last century. I have lots of ideas (including switching to WordPress, maybe, and merging this blog into it), but little time. Several people have offered to help. But the problem is that it’s a big project that I need to oversee myself, and can’t just hand off to someone. So that’s going to wait a little longer.

I raised the question earlier of whether blogging was a good use of my time. I guess my answer is, I’ll continue to do it as the impulse seizes me, as I always have. So, yeah, you’ll still have this blog to kick around for a while. Think of it as a beat-up old glow-in-the-dark soccer ball. (I sort of like that image.)

To Blog or Not to Blog

A little while ago, I was wondering aloud to my wife Allysen whether keeping this blog going was a smart use of my time. After all, I don’t post to it nearly as frequently as I should to keep up an audience, and it does take up writing time that arguably I should be spending on my next book. Still, it’s a connection to you folks that I might not otherwise have. (Yeah, I could post to Facebook instead—but really, what’s the diff?)

And so, with perfect timing, along comes a very funny column in today’s Boston Globe:  “Not Blogging,” by James Parker, a contributing editor to The Atlantic. After the first two lines, I knew I had to read it aloud to Allysen. Says Parker:

I should have one, of course. I mean, shouldn’t I? I’ve been urged to get one. A confused middle-aged literatus like me, trying to keep himself afloat while the old industry paradigms, the old machineries of reputation and reward, shiver into fragments around him? I need a blog. A place to consolidate my brand. A forum for my views, untrammelled, unedited. A one-stop shop for all my “stuff.”

That established, he goes on to offer the opposing view:

So allow me then to dissent — to offer, if I may, a small and fading valentine to not-blogging. Or, as it used to be called, “living.”

Let’s start with the most obvious point against blogging: the labor. A blog must be fed several times a day, like a weight lifter or a Great Dane. Are you ready for that kind of commitment? Update, update, keep the posts coming… We all know the tiny electronic swat of dismay that one experiences upon checking a favorite blog and finding it unchanged or unrefreshed. Do that too often to your readers and they’ll ditch you, and your blog will die…

It’s not that I won’t blog — I just can’t. I’m a slow writer, for one thing. I write ve-ery slowly, in a soft mist of incomprehension, like a garden gnome coming to life on an English hillside. This is no good for a blogger. Bloggers write fast. They react.

I do sometimes wonder if that describes me. Though certainly there are some days when, if I didn’t write a little on my blog, I wouldn’t get any writing done at all.  Hmm…

Excuse me while I go make sure that this isn’t one of those days.

Read an Ebook Week / Nebula Reading

Guess what! This is Read an E-book Week! Visit the Ebookweek website and check out all the stores, publishers, and authors who are offering deals and freebies of ebooks in celebration of the growing popularity of ebooks. (Yes, you’ll see me in the list, along with Cory Doctorow and Steve Jordan and an array of writers from a variety of genres.) If you haven’t given ebooks a try yet, this is the perfect time to download some books for free and give it a try. And here’s a shoutout to Rita Toews, who put the whole thing together.

This is also the month in which members of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) are reading the works on the final ballot for the Nebula Awards, the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult SF, and the Bradbury Award for outstanding screen-writing. Congratulations to all the finalists! I’m hoping to attend the awards ceremony this year, as it’s going to be held near the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, and the attendees will have a grand time visiting the space complex and—very long shot—maybe even seeing a shuttle launch.

Here’s the connection to ebooks: Many of the authors have made their works available to SFWA members for download, so that there’ll be a fighting chance for people to actually read the nominated pieces before the voting deadline. I’ve grabbed all that are available and put them on my Sony Reader, so that I will have a fighting chance of reading them. The free software Calibre even made it easy for me—tagging each piece with the appropriate designation (Nebula 2009 Novella, for example) so that I can see them neatly organized on my reader. This is compared to years past, when I compiled a huge stack of magazines and printouts and books borrowed from the library, and struggled mostly without success to get through them. I still may not get through them, but the odds are a lot better! Read on!

Interview Here, Appearance There

ScifiBookshelf.com has just posted an interview with me.

I’ll be appearing at a fundraiser at my town library, Robbins Library of Arlington, Mass., tomorrow evening from 6 – 9. They’ve got a bunch of local authors coming, all bringing books to sign. Should be a fun event.

I’ll also be at Boskone, the annual convention sponsored by the New England Science Fiction Association, on Feb. 12 -13 (but not on Sunday).

Blogspam on the Rise

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I’m afraid I’m getting an increase in obnoxious comment spam–I just deleted one with about a dozen obnoxo links–so I have reluctantly changed my blog settings to moderate all comments that come in. That means your comments won’t appear immediately, I’m sorry to say. But I’ll try to be faster to moderate comments than I have been to write new posts!

Thanks so much, spammers. May you fall into a snowdrift and freeze for some future generation to find, maybe after they’ve figured out a suitable punishment! An eternity listening to Vogon poetry, perhaps.

Carver SF on Fictionwise—Buy Now and Save! (really)

I’ve been promising for a while now that a whole bunch of my books will be showing up soon in new or revised ebook format. Well, I got word yesterday that some of my new eReads titles are now up for sale on Fictionwise.com, as well as all the older ones that have been reproofed and reformatted. That’s right, you can get ’em now. As new titles on Fictionwise, they’re 40% off for a limited time. These are multiformat, DRM-free—and the formats were recently expanded to include epub.

The new titles are:
Dragon Rigger
The Rapture Effect

Reproofed and reformatted:

Panglor
Dragons in the Stars
Star Rigger’s Way
From a Changeling Star
Down the Stream of Stars

(Several of those gorgeous covers are courtesy of the artists—David Mattingly, Shusei, and Jael—who allowed me to reuse the artwork from the original print editions.)

Still to come, early next week I’m told:
The Infinity Link
Seas of Ernathe

All these titles will appear shortly, as well, in the Kindle and Sony stores (though they will not be DRM-free from those sources). In addition, if I understand this correctly, they will appear soon at Baen Webscriptions, where they will also be multiformat and DRM-free.

Time for a book party!

Thoughts on the Conclusion of BSG

A couple of months ago, SFSignal invited me to contribute my views on the finale of Battlestar Galactica to a special they were running in their Mind Meld section. I couldn’t at the time, because I hadn’t seen the ending. But a few weeks ago, I finally got a chance to watch the last three or four episodes, all in one go. And yesterday, I grabbed a little time to put together my thoughts. They’re online now at sfsignal.com. Let me know what you think!

“Fear not the future, weep not for the past.” —Percy Bysshe Shelley

Brief Catch-up

Last weekend, I spent a day at Vericon, a small but cheerful convention at Harvard University, which had as its guest of honor Kim Stanley Robinson. Stan and I had met once or twice before, but many years ago, and it was good to become reacquainted. Dinner with Stan, Jim Kelly, and Paul Di Filippo was a high point of the day, though it was also good to offer some students from the teen writing workshop I ran with Craig Gardner a chance to see a con on a small scale.

Last night I completed the proofreading and minor edits on the text of The Infinity Link, and sent the RTF file off to the folks at E-reads, who will prepare it for commercial ebook release. Artist David Mattingly graciously assented to my using the original cover art from the Tor and Bluejay print editions on the ebook, so it’s going to look great. Here’s the full wraparound, shrunk way down:

The Infinity Link cover art by David B. Mattingly

I made very small changes in the text, mostly to get rid of anachronisms such as the references to the Soviet Union, and some outdated computer terminology. After all the story takes place in the year 2034, and the future simply isn’t what it once was.

Now I’ve begun similar work on my very first novel, Seas of Ernathe, originally published in 1976. It’s interesting to see how my writing evolved and grew between my first and fourth novels—and how it compares to my work now. I’ve definitely grown more skilled as a writer, but I miss the quick bursts of creativity I had when I was in my twenties.

For a good tongue-in-cheek glimpse of how books get from typewriter to bookstore, check out this video from MacMillan publishing. (With thanks to Richard Curtis in his E-reads blog for bringing it to my attention.)

The Page 69 Test – Sunborn

I was asked by Marshal Zeringue, the owner of a blog called “The Page 69 Test” to write an entry for Sunborn. The inspiration for the blog comes from the “page 69 test” that you can use when you’re browsing a book in a store: open to page 69, and see if you like what you read. Some people use the “page 11 test.” Some the “first and last page” test.

If you’d like to see what I wrote, check out The Page 69 Test: Sunborn.

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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