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Archive for March, 2019

The Troubleshooters return — in TWO new stories!

I have some excellent news, which I hinted at back in December but took longer than expected to fall into place. I’m finally able to announce that I have sold not just one, but two new works of short fiction featuring the Troubleshooters of Only Superhuman and fleshing out new facets of their world.

Footprints in the StarsThe first is my previously announced short story in eSpec Books’ upcoming anthology Footprints in the Stars, the next (second, I think) installment in their Beyond the Cradle anthology series. The theme of this particular anthology is “Stories of the discovery of evidence of ancient aliens and how humanity reacts to those discoveries.” At first blush, that may not sound like the sort of book where you’d expect to find a superhero story, but as it happens, I already had a Troubleshooter idea that fit the premise perfectly. It’s called “The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of,” and it’s the first Troubleshooter story that doesn’t star Emerald Blair/Green Blaze. Indeed, it’s a prequel set a couple of years before her birth and even before the founding of the Troubleshooter Corps, an early adventure of the Corps’s founder Yukio Villareal in his heroic prime. “What’s that,” you say? “Evidence of aliens was discovered decades before Only Superhuman? How does that work?” But don’t worry — this is an idea I originally came up with before OS was published, so it’s consistent. Indeed, I did mention in passing in OS that life in other star systems was already known to exist, and the historical appendix in Among the Wild Cybers confirms that as well.

Only Superhuman cover art by Raymond SwanlandThe second new story is a novelette titled “Conventional Powers,” which will be my 12th work of fiction to appear in Analog Science Fiction and Fact but my first Troubleshooter story therein (and the fifth Analog story to be set in that overall universe). This one is a Green Blaze story, and I’m happy to say it’s not a prequel. It took me 7 years, but I finally get to move Emry’s adventures forward beyond Only Superhuman, albeit in a standalone story that should be accessible to new readers, though readers familiar with the novel will see continuity between them. It’s a fairly light, offbeat story that examines the question: What would a superhero convention be like in a world with actual professional superheroes? Writing “Conventional Powers” was a fun opportunity to flesh out new facets of the Asteroid Belt’s transhuman culture and the broader workings of the Troubleshooter Corps.

Added to Only Superhuman and “Aspiring to Be Angels,” these stories will double the size of my Troubleshooter bibliography (in number though not in word count), and I can now say that every completed Troubleshooter story I’ve written and marketed has been successfully sold — though that will only be true until I complete the next one or two. But it gives me the encouragement to go ahead with those.

It’s too early to know when either of these stories will be published, or which one will come out first. I will, of course, announce that information once I have it.

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Checking in, belatedly

Hi, folks. I just realized I’ve been neglecting the blog again. I’ve been working on an original fiction project the past couple of weeks, something I’ve been wanting to write for a long time now and finally had a window to get started on, and it’s been taking up a lot of my attention. I don’t want to go into specifics yet, but it’s a return to a familiar setting in a new way.

Anyway, to those of you who’ve made donations and book orders in response to my last post, thank you very much. You’ve been extremely generous once again, and your contributions have helped me pay a slightly overdue health insurance bill and stay afloat for the month. Luckily, I’ve had a new book contract come in recently and will hopefully be seeing a substantial advance check any day now, but just in case it’s a bit late, your generosity has ensured I’ll be able to cover my rent for next month.

Indeed, I don’t think I’ve ever sold so many books in one sale, though that’s largely thanks to one person who ordered one of everything. I’ve run out of a lot of my stock — I still have 19 copies of Only Superhuman, but only one left of Among the Wild Cybers, and in Star Trek I’ve only got a few copies left of Rise of the Federation Books 2-5, five copies of Mirror Universe: Shards and Shadows, and one each of Mere Anarchy and The Sky’s the Limit. See the previous post for the updated list and ordering instructions if anyone’s still interested.

As for shipping, don’t worry, I’ll begin mailing out the books once I get my advance check, which hopefully will be within the week. And I’m keeping a list of the Tuckerization requests, of course. Surprisingly, only one of you has asked to be killed off horribly in the book. Well, maybe you know that’s more up David Mack’s alley than mine.

Let’s see, what else has been going on with me? Nothing great, I’m afraid. I’ve been dealing with a persistent throat irritation of some sort that feels at its worst like something’s stuck in my throat or choking me, which is pretty nasty. (My breathing is unaffected, though.) The doctor thought it was from sinus irritation and prescribed something that didn’t help. I eventually figured out that the best thing to relieve it was deep breathing and focusing on relaxing the throat and neck area, so I suspect it’s mainly an anxiety symptom — probably an initially mild irritation that I made worse by repeatedly clenching my throat in response to it and by being mentally preoccupied with the discomfort. (Even writing about it right now is making my throat uncomfortable. I’m so suggestible.) Relaxation exercises have been the one pretty reliable way to ease the symptoms. But it still hasn’t entirely gone away, and I’m still not sure what might trigger a recurrence; some of the things I’ve thought were causative factors turned out not to be correlated with it at all. (I thought coffee, orange juice, and acidic foods might be doing it, but fortunately they don’t seem to have been.) I think it’s become closer to the exception than the norm, at least, and it’s usually milder and shorter-lived when it does happen.

I also learned last week that someone I knew had passed away suddenly — Frank Johnson, who hosted the same WGUC-FM afternoon radio show that my father hosted for most of his career, and whom I was casually friendly with through occasional social gatherings in recent years. I didn’t know him that well, but he was a nice guy and I felt sort of a connection through my father (we were both inheritors of his in a way) and through WGUC. And I didn’t even know he was battling cancer; apparently he was very private about it. So this came as unexpected news. My condolences to his family and close friends.

There’s also a good news/bad news situation where I’ve nominally sold a story I’ve been trying to sell for a while, yet there’s a surprising delay in seeing the actual contract. Although that’s less worrisome than it was because that much bigger contract has come through, so there’s no longer a rush. Still, I hope that gets resolved soon so I can talk about it. I have a couple of other major original projects that are close to landing as well, but they’re also unexpectedly delayed. Everything in publishing seems to be moving so slowly these last few years, at least for me.

Well, I’ll feel better once that check comes in and my financial worries diminish (at least for now). Then I’ll finally be able to see Captain Marvel and maybe one or two other movies, get out into the world more again. Plus it’s spring now, so the weather will be improving and I can get more outdoor exercise. Although I won’t have too much time for that, since I’ll be very busy writing that new book.

Another autographed book sale and plea for donations (now with a bonus!)

Hi, folks. Once again I’m in a financial pickle similar to the one from last year — I have a couple of new contracts on the way that should sustain me financially for most of 2019, but they’re taking longer than expected, and I’m practically broke at the moment, so I don’t know if I’ll have enough money to pay my bills for the month ahead. So I’m going to try another autographed book sale to raise funds. As always, you can buy the books by clicking on the PayPal “Donate” button on the right-hand side of this page.

Even if you don’t buy a book, I hope you’ll be willing to make a donation to help me over this hump. You guys were very generous to me with donations when I needed them last year, so this time I want to offer a bit of a reward in return (and, yes, an incentive). As with last time, everyone who makes a donation will be given a shout-out in the acknowledgments of the next novel I write, unless you ask to remain anonymous. (Last year’s donors are acknowledged in The Captain’s Oath, due out in May.) But anyone who donates $20 or more (or spends that much on books, not counting postage) will, if they so desire, be Tuckerized (i.e. have a minor character named after them, or possibly a spacecraft, institution, or the like) in the next novel I write! Don’t worry, I’ll do my best to avoid having your namesake character meet a horrible fate or be a horrible person — unless that’s what you ask for. 😉 You can convey your preferences through PayPal with your donation or book order.

Here’s the current list of what I have available (updated 3/24):

Mass-market paperbacks: $8

  • Star Trek: TOS — The Face of the Unknown (2 1 copies)
  • ST: Enterprise — Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel (4 2 copies)
  • ST: ENT — Rise of the Federation: Uncertain Logic (5 3 copies)
  • ST: ENT — Rise of the Federation: Live by the Code (4 1 copy)
  • ST: ENT — Rise of the Federation: Patterns of Interference (7 6 copies)
  • ST:TNG: Greater Than the Sum (1 copy)
  • ST: Titan: Over a Torrent Sea (1 copy)

Hardcovers: $20 (20% off!)

  • Only Superhuman (21 19 copies)

Trade paperbacks: $16

  • Star Trek: Mirror Universe — Shards and Shadows (6 5 copies)
  • ST: Myriad Universes — Infinity’s Prism (2 1 copies)
  • ST: Mere Anarchy (2 1 copies)
  • ST: The Next Generation — The Sky’s the Limit (2 1 copies)

Trade paperbacks: $15

  • Among the Wild Cybers: Tales Beyond the Superhuman (2 1 copies)

Trade paperbacks: $14

  • ST: Deep Space Nine — Prophecy and Change (1 copy)
  • ST: Voyager — Distant Shores (1 copy)

 

I’ll try to keep this list updated with regard to availability, but if you have doubts (particularly with the single copies), query first. For buyers in the US, add $2.50 postage per book for MMPBs, or $4.00 postage for trades/hardcovers.  For buyers outside the US, pay the book price and I’ll bill you for postage separately once I determine the amount.

If you have a PayPal account of your own, please pay through that instead of a credit card.  PayPal charges a fee for credit card use, so if you do use a credit card, I have to ask for an additional $0.25 per mass-market paperback or an additional $0.50 per trade paperback or hardcover.