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Discouraged writer walks into a bar…

. . . and it was full of other discouraged writers.

OK, lame joke. But sometimes you just have to laugh. It’s that aggravating. Writing, I mean.

The novel being constructed.

The novel being constructed.

What keeps us at it? Naked ambition. Or, more generously: Love. An idiotic addiction to storytelling. Actually, I haven’t figured this out yet. There are a bunch of reasons not to write, certainly: It’s tough to get published, or if you go indie, tough to find readers; it’s tough to keep readers. Also:

  • Annoying, bad reviews,
  • WIPs that won’t catch fire.
  • The doldrums where nothing much gets done despite best intentions.
  • Watching dreck sell like crazy.
  • Getting carpel tunnel from too much keyboarding.
  • People asking “When they’re going to make a move out of your novel.”

But stop me before I head to the bar.

Really, though. There are decent reasons to write, but it’s just a bit elusive to pin them down. This morning my list is:

  • The amazing experience of plumbing your own depths for a story, and miraculously finding one.
  • Membership in a community of other people who find storytelling an important way to spend time (i.e., other writers).
  • Hearing from readers who found your story meaningful, fun, or both!
  • The odd and mystical experience of loving certain characters one has (after all) made up.

    My Summer Vacation, or Existential Dread.

    My Summer Vacation, or Existential Dread.

  • Reprieve from the incessant demands of other options: finding a real job, paying attention to politics, cleaning closets, and using that exercise machine now doing time as a clothes rack.
  • Keeping existential dread at bay. Um. Just threw that in there, though at some level I believe its true.

I’d like to hear your reasons. But please don’t say: “I can’t not write.” Yes you can. There are always choices. Best to try once in a while to articulate why you chose this exasperating, random, and often rewarding life of a writer.  Make a list. It might provide some surprises.

And keep you from griping in the bar at conventions.

A community of writers, e.g., Mike Resnick, Greg Bear, Peter Orullian, Louise Marley, Sharon Shinn, Jay Lake and daughter Bronwyn, J.A. Jance and her dachshund.



Photo credit: Harry Brink

Jay & Bronwyn

When the cover artist nails it

When you get a knock out cover for your novel, great happiness ensues. OK, so we writers are a superficial lot. But after working for a year or longer on a novel and investing your heart and hopes in it, the day your editor sends you the cover, your finger hovers over the keyboard. Um. To open email or wait for supportive spouse to come home?

Of course you’re not going to wait. And ta DA! It’s fabulous. Not only beautiful, but just exactly, maximumiceperfectly right. The artist nailed it. Celebration ensues, with giddy pleasure all out of proportion, kind of like sitting in front of your very own generous wedge of cherry pie. (Well, maybe not That good.)

I have had this experience five times over my career of 13 books. In deference to the cover artists who tried to nail it, I won’t mention which books they were–except for the one shown here,  my PK Dick nominated novel, Maximum Ice.  Cover artist Matt Forsyth captured so much about this story:

  • The wonder of a crystalized world.
  • The mystery of an ancient habitation abandoned and rediscovered.
  • Zoya, my major character, in communion with an unknowable place.
  • The ambiguity of Ice, both natural and designed.

Well, I told you I was giddy when I saw it.

Maximum Ice is one of 11 PK Dick-nominees and winners available for the next nine days. (Ends October 14.) Pay what you want for this extraordinary group of books!  At StoryBundle.

Includes novels by Walter Jon Williams, Liz Hand, K.W. Jeter, William Barton, Sarah Zettel, Lewis Shiner, Kathe Koja, Gwenyth Jones, and Lisa Mason.

All Covers Large

Prices slashed for PK Dick award novels

Ends October 14. . .

This collection of 11 Philip K. Dick Award winners and finalists from StoryBundle. Receive 6 books for any price, but if you choose to pay $15 for six novels, you receive five more books.

All Covers LargeMy novel Maximum Ice is one of the books offered: Zoya Kundara has lived on the space vessel Star Road for 250 years. As Ship Mother, she is awakened from Deep Sleep in times of crisis. Now the ship has returned home, only to discover an Earth blanketed in a pearl-white mantle called Ice–a grand and mysterious ecology of information-bearing crystals. Welcome home.

This offering was curated by Lisa Mason with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust.


On fear of cons

I’m recently back from WorldCon (Sasquan) in Spokane. There were panels on topics related to books, writing, science, fandom, and issues related to futurism and the changing world. Plus gaming, film, costuming, a great writers’ workshop and schmoozing in the bar.

I meet some aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers who have never been to a con. Many beginning writers are oddly reluctant to learn about the industry which they are so keen to be a part of. Here are some of the excuses I hear: Read More…

Tropic of Creation at $.99

Categories: News |

Special offer for one week only – Starts today

tropicOFcreation for web

“Kenyon’s vision of a unique universe ranks with those of such science fiction greats as Frank Herbert and Orson Scott Card.” —  Publishers Weekly, starred review.

It’s the aftermath of a galactic war with the alien Ahtra. Army Captain Eli Dammand, with his ship and crew, is stranded on remote planet–one that is about to undergo a radical seasonal change. It will give birth to  monstrous, rapacious creatures. There are few refuges from the rampaging alternate season. One is in the secret Ahtran habitat. It’s a dread place for a human, as Eli will learn.

The other is in the nests of the monsters themselves. Eli’s 14 year-old passenger Sascha is mistaken for an alien infant. And she’s going to use that misconception to survive.

In ebook. Order here.

This offer ends on Friday, August 21st at midnight.