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[Guest Post] The Best Perk in the Business

Alethea & David, 2013Once Upon a Time, after being hired on as Assistant Manager of a local Hastings store, I was asked to take a test. The test included statements like, “It is more WHO you know than WHAT you know that gets you ahead in this world.” There was a five bubble spread, from Very Likely to Not At All Likely. To this statement I chose: Very Likely.

Despite having already hired me, the results of that and other answers flagged me as “high risk of drug usage” and the offer of employment was rescinded.

That’s right. ME.

Sorry, boys, but I only write like I’m on drugs.

It’s been over a decade since I took that ridiculous test, but I still maintain that success is far more about WHO you know than WHAT you know. Moreover, the WHOs that I have known in this world have not only gotten me farther than my Chemistry degree and my perfect grades in Physics and Vector Calculus, they have also saved my life on many occasions.

David B. Coe was one of the first authors I met in the World of Publishing, during the Southern Festival of Books back in 2002. We’ve survived countless conventions and festivals, publishing and traveling adventures since that time, and I count him among my very best friends (in the sense of “I could show up at his house uninvited and he’d offer me a place to crash for the night”).

It is in that spirit that I invited David to guest post here on my blog today and talk about Author Friendships–both ours, and the one he has with Faith Hunter that facilitated their special collaboration: Water Witch, on sale now.

Pick up Dead Man’s Reach next week (I *love* the Thieftaker novels!), and keep an eye out for His Father’s Eyes, releasing this August. And if you’re attending Dragon Con this year, be sure to catch David’s musical performance in Princess Alethea’s Traveling Sideshow!

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The Best Perk in the Business

David B. Coe aka D.B. JacksonAsk any professional writer about the perks of this career path and you’ll hear a lot about the freedom of being one’s own boss, the joy of being creative for a living, the sense of discovery that comes from thinking up new characters, new plot lines, new worlds. And all of that is true.

I love this job, which is also something you’ll hear a lot from writers. We have to love it, because for the vast majority of us, the pay is minimal. Writing is hard work, and because our ability to sell our next book idea is usually contingent on the critical and, far more importantly, the commercial success of the previous book, it can be dispiriting. Much of the time, we work in isolation, alone with our thoughts and imaginations. Most of us, to varying degrees, are responsible for our own promotion, our own marketing. Some writers are responsible for every aspect of their publishing lives. Completing a novel is no small accomplishment. Making a living as a writer? Really, really difficult.

And yet, for those reasons I mentioned earlier — freedom, creativity, discovery — none of us would trade this career path for any other. At its best, a writing career — and really, any professional creative endeavor — is a constant adventure. Sure, we live vicariously through our characters, but they wouldn’t exist without us, so it’s as intimate a vicarious relationship as I can imagine.

But there’s another perk of writing for a living that I don’t often hear authors mention, one of which I’m reminded forcefully right now, as I tour the web, touting my newest novels. I have been fortunate over the nearly twenty years I’ve been writing, to develop some truly amazing friendships with my fellow authors, including the wonderful Alethea Kontis. (I’ll get to that in a moment, but first, those newest novels: DEAD MAN’S REACH, the fourth volume of the Thieftaker Chronicles, which I write as D.B. Jackson, comes out July 21; and HIS FATHER’S EYES, the second book in The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, by David B. Coe, comes out August 4.)

Lee and I met years ago, when she was still working for Ingram Books, and I was a fairly new author, appearing at the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tennessee. We hit it off right away, but didn’t have much chance to get acquainted. That opportunity came a year or two later when we found each other in the Austin Airport after a World Fantasy Convention. We spent a lengthy plane delay chatting, laughing, and finding, as both of us had previously with others of our ilk, that writers are a unique breed, possessing a distinctive blend of humor, passion, and geekiness. We’ve been buddies ever since, and we share so many friends it’s almost funny.

Dead Man's ReachAgain and again, I have met writers at conventions or conferences, only to discover yet another kindred spirit, another sibling from whom I was obviously separated at birth. These friendships are their own reward. Yes, Lee and I help each other out with promotional cross posts at our respective blogs, and we recommend each other’s work to others we meet, readers and writers alike. But that’s icing on the friendship cake. We’d be friends even without that stuff.

Still, there are times when the friendships we forge with other writers lead directly or indirectly to significant professional opportunities. I’ve been invited to conventions because of such friendships. I’ve been asked to submit stories to anthologies because of them. I’ve met editors, publishers, and agents through friends in the business. I’m not at all unusual in this regard.

Recently, though, a project grew out of a friendship in a very cool and utterly unique way. My dear friend Faith Hunter is the author of the New York Times bestselling Jane Yellowrock series. I love the Yellowrock books, and Faith is a huge fan of my Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston. In the fifth Jane Yellowrock book, DEATH’S RIVAL (or maybe the sixth, BLOOD TRADE), Faith mentions an ancient vampire who “terrorized Boston for a few years before the Tea Party of 1773.” She wrote the line with me in mind, thinking that if I noticed it and said something to her, we’d talk about it, and if I didn’t, no harm done. Well, I did notice, and it made me start thinking about cross-over collaboration possibilities combining the Jane Yellowrock world with my Thieftaker universe. Which was just what Faith intended. The conversations that followed eventually led to the publication earlier this summer of “Water Witch,” an original piece of short fiction set in 1770s Boston and featuring Ethan Kaille, the hero of the Thieftaker novels, and Hannah Everhart, an ancestor of Jane Yellowrock’s best friend. The story is available from several vendors as an electronic download. It may well prove to be the first of several collaborative efforts.

His Father's EyesThat mention of Colonial Boston in Faith’s book remains to this day one of the nicest, coolest things anyone has ever done for me. I love that it led to a story, but even if it hadn’t, it would have been an unbelievably generous gesture. And it points to the power of creative friendships. I have lots of friends outside of writing, and many have honored me with gifts and acts of kindness I will never forget. But this gift has already allowed us to reach thousands of readers with a new work of fiction, and there’s no telling where further mash-ups of our two worlds might lead. Of course, my writer friendships don’t have to produce new stories to be rewarding. It’s nice knowing, though, that they can.

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David B. Coe/D.B. Jackson is the award-winning author of eighteen fantasy novels. Under the name D.B. Jackson, he writes the Thieftaker Chronicles, a historical urban fantasy from Tor Books that includes Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, A Plunder of Souls, and, the newest volume, Dead Man’s Reach, which will be released on July 21. Under his own name, he writes The Case Files of Justis Fearsson, a contemporary urban fantasy from Baen Books. The first volume, Spell Blind, debuted in January 2015. The newest book in the series, His Father’s Eyes, comes out on August 4. He lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

http://www.DavidBCoe.com
http://www.davidbcoe.com/blog/
http://www.dbjackson-author.com
http://www.facebook.com/david.b.coe
http://twitter.com/DavidBCoe
https://www.amazon.com/author/davidbcoe

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*DeLorean not included

I didn’t see The Princess Bride when it came out in theatres.

A rare thing, I know, especially for a kid like me who literally grew up in a theatre. It was my first job at sixteen. I have family in Vermont who own several theatres—every summer when we went to visit, I spent hours theatre hopping (when I wasn’t tearing tickets or scooping popcorn).

But The Princess Bride released in September of 1987, and summer was over. Seventh grade had already started. I still remember looking through the paper at the film ads and seeing the listings for The Princess Bride. “What a stupid title,” I thought, and so I didn’t bother to see it.

(Remember, I thought princesses—and girls who tried to be them—were stupid until I was almost thirty. By that time, I was well aware of the responsibility that came with the title, and was ready to step up and accept the tiara. But that’s a different blog post for another day.)

So my first exposure to The Princess Bride was in 1988 or 1989, when it was out on VHS. I fell in love with it. And then my ninth grade English teacher gave us an assignment where we had to read a book that had a movie based on it (the book had to come first). I chose The Princess Bride. I don’t recall if I read it all in one day—it’s a safe bet that I didn’t sleep much, if there was sleep. I do remember, however, that upon reading the last line I closed the book, took a deep breath, opened the cover and immediately started reading from the beginning again.

I believe The Princess Bride is the only book I’ve ever done that with.

I memorized every line of the film, as well as a good chunk of the book. I wrote to the publisher, as requested, to find out what happened during the reunion scene before the Fire Swamp. I ended up getting into an argument with my English teacher, who thought I should have tried harder to track down the unabridged, unexpurgated Morgenstern classic. Every time I went into a used bookstore, I bought extra copies to keep on my shelves and give to friends at random.

I’ve always had a tough time choosing a favorite film, but after a few years of this, my favorite book was pretty obvious. There was just one thing missing. I had never seen The Princess Bride on the big screen.

Until Saturday.

Awesome Costumed Movie-goers!Cinema World, the theatre down in Melbourne, has a Cult Series where they show classic films late on Friday and Saturday nights (next week’s is Akira). I had been invited months ago by Ashlynn and Sarah, my besties from the B&N down there. I bought my ticket early: a combo that came with a drink and popcorn…a true splurge. I stopped buying concessions when I started paying for tickets. After so many years, movie theatre popcorn really doesn’t hold the same romance for me as it does for you.

But this night, it did. Which was good, because I needed it to. I sat in my comfy seat, eagerly awaiting the moment when the lights went down and I got to live the magic all over again. It was beautiful and perfect and funny and brilliant and over far too soon.

But the magic didn’t fade when the lights went up. There was still a softness around the edges of my mind the whole drive home. Like opening a time capsule, but so much more. I was twelve again, at the beginning of everything. A budding writer, a hardcore bibliophile, a genius outcast collecting misfits on the playground. I could step through time and erase all those annoying mistakes I made, all those horrible relationships I fell for in the search for my own Wesley, only to be disappointed every time and insane enough to pick myself up and fail all over again. There were no regrets for things I hadn’t done. The depression was gone, no one had died, and my heart—though still overly big and emotional—was largely unbroken.

Vizzini said that if anything went wrong on the job, or they had to split up for any reason, they would meet back at the beginning, where he had first hired Inigo and Fezzik. Inigo even made up a rhyme for Fezzik to remember: “Fool, fool, back to the beginning is the rule.” Fezzik, of course, forgot.

I forgot too, it seems.

Life gives us no do-overs, that’s true. And life isn’t fair, as the Goldman Rule taught us. But no one says that we can’t mentally take ourselves back to the beginning and look around a while. Remember why we’re here, and the paths we took. Give ourselves a break from the burdens of guilt and grief we carry, the ones that only gets heavier as the years go by.

I may not be a girl on a farm anymore, but I am a princess now (with a Brute Squad, even!). I choose my own adventures. Fair or not, I have no life at all unless I live them.

So, here I go…

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The Princess of Many Half-Completed Movements

“She eased closer to him, studying his face. As if he might be someone she knew but didn’t fully recognize. She shifted to one side and checked his profile, reached out like she might ruffle his hair. He was hoping, but she didn’t. She was a girl of many half-completed movements.”
–Tom Piccirilli, November Mourns

Pic & Lee, MoCon IVNovember Mourns was the first thing of Tom Picirilli’s I ever read. The publisher had given me an advance reading copy, which I’d had him sign when we met at Hypericon in Nashville in the summer of 2005. “Met” in the sense of “bonded like relatives from a past life.” I read the book as soon as I got back that weekend, deep in the throes of missing all my new friends…friends that, ten years down the line, have changed my life in so many ways that I’m not sure who I’d be without them.

I rolled my eyes several times while reading, but that last line from the above quote is when I had to shut the book and walk away for a while. My newest bestest friend, whom I’d begun to refer to as “Unca Pic” in all our emails, was a goddamned poet. I had to put the book down because I was actually pissed that he was such a good writer. All poets—even we lapsed ones—have the ability to recognize brilliance in a single line of text.

Unca Pic was fucking brilliant.

After November Mourns, I read my first novel written by the other Guest of Honor at Hypericon that year. I had to put that one down too, because I couldn’t see from crying. The author was Brian Keene. The book was Terminal. And I had just been diagnosed with a tumor.

My tumor turned out to be a congenital birth defect. When Pic was diagnosed with a tumor, it was a tennis ball-sized gob of brain cancer. Pic never did anything small.

Hypericon 2005, well before anyone referred to me as “Princess,” was also the first convention where I got to sit on panels. Sherrilyn Kenyon and I were roommates. When she was struck down with a migraine halfway through the con, I took care of her before stealing her magic platform corset boots and stomping about the place like the confident superstar I was pretending to be.

I was under strict orders not to become friends with Brian Keene—the sworn enemy of my boyfriend at the time. (Pic was okay, though.) Unfortunately for everyone involved, we all fell in love with each other that weekend. “In love” in the sense of “friendships that would span more than a decade.” The boyfriend—who was already cheating on me at the time—didn’t last half that long.

When the boyfriend discovered my new association—a friendship I boldly defended—he punished me with silence. I shattered. Pic was there, on the other end of every email, to pick up the pieces. And when the depression got bad enough, Pic hunted down my phone number and called my house.

I never answered my phone back in those days (things haven’t changed much—I barely answer it now) and no caller ID meant that I screened every call. So imagine my surprise when the machine beeped and a thick New York accent said, “Are you off bein’ stoopid? You don’t return the emails, you don’t answer the phone…who da hell knows what kind of crisis of faith—” At which point, laughing, I picked up the phone.

I never erased that message. I listened to it for years, because it always seemed to apply. I was always having one crisis of faith or another, and Pic was always there for me. When I finally ran away from home in 2009 (in the sense of “quit my abusive job with no notice and skipped town”), the answering machine was packed up with everything else. I became caught up in the drama of moving my life and settling for another dream I thought I wanted, and the emails to Pic stopped. I mean, we kept in touch on Facebook and whatnot, but the therapy sessions had ended.

With Love, Unca PicThat dream burst like a firework, and then took almost four years to sizzle and fade. I sent Pic another email last November (hello, irony, my old friend), catching him up on my latest bit of craziness. He emailed me back as if it had been five days instead of five years—even remembering to call me “Mimou” (my Dad’s nickname for me as a kid—it’s Greek for “monkey”).

He’d been in remission for two years at that point—he was about to go on vacation to San Diego with Michelle, and he was looking forward to being Guest of Honor at World Horror in 2015. I, too, had been invited to be on panels at World Horror, and I had said yes because I’d seen Pic’s name on the postcards. I couldn’t wait to see him again.

Pic didn’t make it to World Horror. By then, his health was back in a steady decline. Michelle was posting for him on Facebook all the time now, updating us on his progress. I sent him another email, but he didn’t respond. I think I knew then that he never would.

Which sort of sucks because I could really use Pic right now. I’ve been in a horrible slump all summer—ever since I got back from the Atlanta/Nashville trip. I’m in my new place here in Florida, and I know it’s where I’m supposed to be because I feel at home here. But I still have a living room and garage full of boxes. I’m still trying to get myself untangled from this most recent ex. I pared everything down so that I could work on two projects this summer and I suddenly find myself in the middle of five. One of those projects is recording and editing the audiobook for Beauty & Dynamite. The only voice I have 100% down—other than my own, of course—is Pic’s.

My house stalled in the midst of renovation. I feel like there’s a missing piece in the puzzle of my career but I can’t put my finger on it. I realized this morning, when I slid to the floor and cried for two hours after hearing the news, that I had become the girl of many half-completed movements. And as much as I wanted to send an email that said, “Help me, Unca Pic, you’re my only hope,” I knew it would be a futile gesture.

He’s still with me, though, out there in a box in the garage, a faded recording on the twenty-first century equivalent of an outdated R2 unit. I don’t need to play it to hear his voice, loud and clear, asking me if I’m being stoopid. Asking me if I’m having another crisis of faith. The answer is yes. The answer is always yes.

But my Obi-Wan has left the building and now I have to face the dark forces of this universe all on my own. Fortunately, his faith in me is the one thing I don’t have doubts about.

Thanks, Unca Pic.
Dear gods, I miss you.

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Time for Tea…MOVE DOWN ONE

"How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” This year is the 150th anniversary of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

I have long since discovered that I can’t be friends with anyone who doesn’t like Alice.

Two days ago, Lisa Mantchev and I spontaneously broke out into a dialogue on FB that would have been appropriate at a certain mad tea party. Which reminded me that TODAY IS MY UNBIRTHDAY.

Now, by Mad Hatter standards, a person has 364 unbirthdays (and a stopped watch is correct twice a day). But today–this day right here–is a very extra special unbirthday, and I’ll tell you why.

As most of you know, my *actual* birthday is January 11th. A fortuitous birthday to be sure — easy to remember, no matter which side of the pond you’re from, and pretty darn lucky from a numerological standpoint.

However, as any good Capricorn (and a few Saggitarians) will tell you, any birthday within two weeks of Christmas is just too darned close to Christmas. Everyone is  exhausted–mentally, physically, and monetarily–from the slew of holidays, and your birthday is just one more thing on the to-do list that should have been over already.

Now, I’m a fan of Christmas, so I’m not one of those folks (*cough*Robin*cough*) who goes ballistic if my birthday present happens to have Santas all over the wrapping paper, and after many years I got over the whole “Birthday-Christmas Combo Present” cop-out that most folks take.

No…what really got to me was the month of June.

Every June, giant boxes would show up at our house from all around the world. My mother’s birthday is in June, as is my little sister’s (yes, I grew up with two Geminis and learned how to be strong and patient because of it).  While my father is a Capricorn like me (he shares a birthday with Elvis and David Bowie), June is also Father’s Day.

That’s right–every June our house was like Christmas all over again.

With nothing for me.

Sometime around my thirteenth birthday, I decided that I’d had enough. I announced that I was changing my birthday to June 11th — my half-birthday of sorts — a day that dovetailed nicely alongside the Kontis Birthday/Father’s Day Summer Extravaganza. Everyone thought this was a great idea.

You guessed it: It totally backfired.

Not only did I not get any presents for my *actual* birthday that year, but by the time June rolled around, everyone had forgotten about it. Everyone, that is, except my Memere, who sent me a card (and other cards, randomly, in summers after that because she never could keep my birthday straight).

As written in Enchanted: Some things are meant to be, and some things are meant to be great stories. “Alethea’s June Birthday” is one of the Kontis Classics.

Which brings us to today.

As a Very Merry Unbirthday present to us all, I am super crazy excited to reveal to you the cover of my fairy tale short story collection TALES OF ARILLAND.

Want it on Kindle right this very second? CLICK THE PICTURE. Happy unbirthday!

Want it on Kindle right this very second? CLICK THE PICTURE. Happy unbirthday!

That’s right — those clever folks have already figured out that by clicking the title or cover photo above, you can purchase Tales on Kindle RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND. (It’s also been uploaded to Nook, Kobo, iBooks & Google Play, but those sites take longer to go live–check back here for links tomorrow.)

These stories are all fairy tales I have written, and every single one–in some way, shape, or form–relates to the world of Arilland.

It’s a nifty thing. Some of them I wrote on purpose based on Arilland mythos (“Hero Worship”) and some I loved so much that I actually found a way to include it in the Arilland mythos (“Unicorn Hunter” and “Blood and Water”).

You don’t have to have read any of the Woodcutter books to enjoy this collection–though you will appreciate the original novelette of “Sunday” and “The Cursed Prince” history of Rumbold a lot more, I suspect…

What am I doing talking? Shoo! Go forth and read! And be sure to share the magic!

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TRIXTER Now Available on EBook!

Hello, everyone–I am pleased to announce today that my fairytale novella TRIXTER is now available in e-book!

Trixter is Book 2.5 of The Books of Arilland (Enchanted is 1, Hero is 2, Dearest is 3) and Volume 1 of The Trix Adventures. The cover was designed by the amazing Rachel Marks.

TRIXTER by Alethea KontisSome handy-dandy links for you to share:

Amazon

Nook

Kobo

Google Play

iBooks

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Fans who love hard copies, do not despair! Trixter will also be made available in both hardcover and paperback. Sign up for my newsletter and have all the shininess delivered straight to your inbox!

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In Which Alethea Interviews Sharon Shinn for USA Today

I am happy and honored today for two reasons: 1.) that I have the opportunity to interview one of my favorite authors, Sharon Shinn, and 2.) that I get to do it for USA Today’s Happy Ever After blog.

The graphic novel publisher First Second is announcing today a collaborative effort between Sharon Shinn and Molly Ostertag called The Painted Warrior (if you’re not familiar with Molly’s superhero webcomic  Strong Female Protagonist, I highly recommend you to check it out).

Needless to say, I am SUPER EXCITED about this graphic novel, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to ask Sharon a little bit about the project.

Click here to read the full interview!

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In Which Edmund Schubert Withdraws From the Hugos

Edmund Schubert is a dear friend and has been since IGMS was but a twinkle in Orson Scott Card’s eye. For this reason (and because he has no true platform of his own from which to speak), I am posting this on his behalf.

I fully support Edmund in his decision. He continues to have my love and respect.

–Alethea

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Hugo AwardMy name is Edmund R. Schubert, and I am announcing my withdrawal from the Hugo category of Best Editor (Short Form). My withdrawal comes with complications, but if you’ll bear with me, I’ll do my best to explain. I am withdrawing because:

1. I believe that while the Sad Puppies’ stated goal of bringing attention to under-recognized work may have been well-intentioned, their tactics were seriously flawed. While I personally find it challenging that some people won’t read IGMS because they disagree with the publisher’s perceived politics (which have nothing whatsoever to do with what goes into the magazine), I can’t in good conscience complain about the deck being stacked against me, and then feel good about being nominated for an award when the deck gets stacked in my favor. That would make me a hypocrite. I can’t be part of that and still maintain my integrity.

2. Vox Day/Theodore Beale/Rabid Puppies. Good grief. While I firmly believe that free speech is only truly free if everyone is allowed to speak their mind, I believe equally strongly that defending people’s right to free speech comes with responsibilities: in this case, the responsibility to call out unproductive, mean-spirited, inflammatory, and downright hateful speech. I believe that far too many of Vox’s words fall into those categories—and a stand has to be made against it.

3. Ping pong. (Yes, really.) A ping pong ball only ever gets used by people who need something to hit as a way to score points, and I am through being treated like a political ping pong ball—by all sorts of people across the entire spectrum. Done.

Regrettably this situation is complicated by the fact that when I came to this decision, the WorldCon organizers told me the ballot was ‘frozen.’ This is a pity, because in addition to wanting ‘out’ of the ping pong match, I would very much have liked to see someone else who had earned it on their own (without the benefit of a slate) get on the ballot in my place. But the ballots had already been sent off to the printers.

Unfortunately this may reduce my actions to a symbolic gesture, but I can’t let that prevent me from following my conscience.

So it seems that the best I can do at this stage is ask everyone with a Hugo ballot to pretend I’m not there. Ignore my name, because if they call my name at the award ceremony, I won’t accept the chrome rocketship. My name may be on that ballot, but it’s not there the way I’d have preferred.

I will not, however, advocate for an across-the-board No Award vote. That penalizes people who are innocent, for the sake of making a political point. Vox Day chose to put himself and his publishing company, Castalia House, in the crosshairs, which makes him fair game—but not everybody, not unilaterally. I can’t support that.

Here’s what I do want to do, though, to address where I think the Sad Puppies were off-target: I don’t think storming the gates of WorldCon was the right way to bring attention to worthy stories. Whether or not you take the Puppies at their word is beside the matter; it’s what they said they wanted, and I think bringing attention to under-represented work is an excellent idea.

So I want to expand the reading pool.

Of course, I always think more reading is a good thing. Reading is awesome. Reading—fiction, specifically—has been proven to make people more empathetic, and God knows we need as much empathy as we can possibly get these days. I also believe that when readers give new works by new authors an honest chance, they’ll find things they appreciate and enjoy.

In that spirit, I am taking the material that would have comprised my part of the Hugo Voters Packet and making it available to everyone, everywhere, for free, whether they have a WorldCon membership or not. Take it. Read it. Share it. It’s yours to do with as you will.

The only thing I ask is that whatever you do, do it honestly.

Don’t like some of these stories? That’s cool; at least I’ll know you don’t like them because you read them, not because you disagree with political ideologies that have nothing to do with the stories.

You do like them? Great; share them with a friend. Come and get some more.

But whatever you decide, decide it honestly, not to score a point.

And let me be clear about this: While I strongly disagree with the way Sad Puppies went about it… when the Puppies say they feel shut out because of their politics, it’s hard for me to not empathize because I’ve seen IGMS’s authors chastised for selling their story to us, simply because of people’s perceptions about the publisher’s personal views. I’ve also seen people refuse to read any of the stories published in IGMS for the same reason.

With regard to that, I want to repeat something I’ve said previously: while Orson Scott Card and I disagree on several social and political subjects, we respect each other and don’t let it get in the way of IGMS’s true goal: supporting writers and artists of all backgrounds and preferences. The truth is that Card is neither devil nor saint; he’s just a man who wants to support writers and artists—and he doesn’t let anything stand in the way of that.

As editor of IGMS, I can, and have, and will continue to be—with the full support of publisher Orson Scott Card—open to publishing stories by and about gay authors and gay characters, stories by and about female authors and female characters, stories by authors and about characters of any and every racial, political, or religious affiliation—as long as I feel like those authors 1) have a story to tell, not a point to score, and 2) tell that story well. And you know what? Orson is happy to have me do so. Because the raison d’etre of IGMS is to support writers and artists. Period.

IGMSOrson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show—is open to everyone. All the way. Always has been, always will be. All I ask, all I have ever asked, is that people’s minds operate in the same fashion.

Consider this the beginning then of the larger reading campaign that should have been. To kick it off, I offer you this sampling from IGMS, which represents the essence of how I see the magazine—a reflection of the kind of stories I want to fill IGMS with, that will help make it the kind of magazine I want IGMS to be—and that I believe it can be if readers and writers alike will give it a fair chance.

If you have reading suggestions of your own, I heartily encourage you help me build and distribute a list.

(Yes, I know, there are already plenty of reading lists out there. But you will never convince me that there is such a thing as too much reading. Never.)

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Princess Alethea, Skype Guinea Pig

Skyping with the Princess!I had the singular honor of being the very first Skype Interview for Fast Forward Contemporary Science Fiction yesterday…and we’re already live!

Please note, I am SUPER ADORABLE in this interview, and I only say “absolutely” once (on purpose).

Also, there is a SUPER SECRET SNEAK PREVIEW of the cover for Trixter…check it out, because you won’t be seeing the final version until the book is released!

And let me tell you….it’s my favorite cover of the series. Hands down.

Thanks again, Mike, and Fast Forward!

#SFWAPro

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Books of Arilland Reading Order

Messenger - Chapter 20By popular demand, here is the correct Reading Order of the complete Books of Arilland.

Note — this is NOT the release order. Chances are, THIEFTESS will come before The Trix Adventures Book #2, because that’s the order in which I feel like writing it…

Books of Arilland

Reading Order
Enchanted
Hero
Trixter
Dearest
Messenger
(Chapter 20 of Dearest)
Trix Adventures #2 (title tk)
Thieftess
Fated
Endless
Countenance

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Tales of Arilland (short stories)

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My “Precious 5-Stars” Essay Now Live at Clarkesworld

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and their own score system. As long as people continue to be unique, diverse individuals, reviews will never be standardized (and thank goodness!). But will Precious Five-Stars ultimately become a matter of pride or a source of punishment for authors today?

Read the rest of the article (and comment) here at Clarkesworld Magazine!

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