Thursday, May 22, 2008

Houston, we have t-shirts!

So… because my mother-in-law is completely awesome AND because the people at Custom Ink do such a good job AND because Go Daddy's Quick Cart is so reasonable… we have T-shirts, and we can sell and ship them!

Those of you wanting WELCOME TO THE VOID t-shirts of your very own can go to my home page and click on “shop” or you can just click here.

If you haven’t read Staked yet, then you might be interested be wondering what in the world these WELCOME TO THE VOID t-shirts are about.

Staked is set in Void City, a place where average folks are kept from discovering the supernatural by a fragile artifact called the Veil of Scrythax kept in a vault in the depths of the Highland Towers building – one of the most exclusive vampire residences in the area. In Void City, the police and local government are in on the cover-up. If vampires or other supernatural beasties don't do a good enough job cleaning up after themselves, the city does it for them with the help of the police and the Mage Guild.

The Void City Music Festival happens every summer in Void City. It’s a huge party and it is also the only time of year that the supernatural residents are not allowed to prey on the unsuspecting portion of the populace. For that weekend and that weekend alone, all the norms are safe and the supernatural residents do their best to make sure no one gets hurt – even in mundane on mundane violence.

Like so many music festivals aroung the world, the Void City Music Festival had annual t-shirts... but one year... “WELCOME TO THE VOID CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL” was supposed to be printed on the front and the year and the list of band names was supposed to be printed on the back, and when the shirts were delivered from the printer “WELCOME TO THE VOID” was printed on the front and the words “CITY MUSIC FESTIVAL” plus the year and the band list were printed on the back. The festival attendees loved it, and bought so many shirts that the festival head honchos dropped the correct version altogether in favor of the misprint and there was much rejoicing. There's a new Welcome to the VOID shirt every year.

In Staked, Eric, my male co-tagonist, loves the t-shirts and wears them all the time, even though he generally only remembers half the story behind what they mean.

In the real world, my wife surprised me with a prototype one day made with a printable iron-on. I loved it so much that she found a company that could actually screen print replicas of the t-shirts and we did an order for all the members of the WTF as well as folks who had helped out in major ways… you know like my agent and my editor, plus about six for me. I tend to wear one every Friday for casual day at my corporate day job.

Look for me in my WELCOME TO THE VOID T-shirt at upcoming conventions like ConCarolinas, HyperiCon, WorldCon, ComiCon, and DragonCon... At conventions I tend to wear a WELCOME TO THE VOID t-shirt on Friday and Saturday (not the same one, a different clean shirt each day) and either a GET STAKED t-shirt on Sunday or something non-related like one of my Amber t-shirts or my Mesopotamians t-shirt from the They Might Be Giants concert that the WTF attended here in Birmingham.

Anyway, we have the shirts in stock from an Adult M through a XXXXL, and we'd be happy to ship you one, two, ten... whatever. Also, we are working on having prizes for non WTF-members caught wearing their shirts at conventions I am attending.

Now you know.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The News from Lake MobiCon...

(Note: A friend of mine suggested that I call this blog “Jim Butcher hit on me.” Obviously Mr. Butcher did no such thing, but it was too funny not to mention.)

In short, Mobicon was great. The con was well organized and thirty-five more copies of Staked were adopted into loving homes. My only complaint about the dealers room isn’t a complaint with Kim who was running the dealer’s room (Kim rocks!) but of utter shock at the lack of book dealers. I mean… Jim Butcher was there and there was no way short of a quick trip to Books-A-Million or Barnes & Noble to get a copy of his books if didn’t already own them (or if you happened to leave them at home… like I did.)

This is another con where we cut things a bit too close to the con date for me to get onto many panels, which was solved by the other guests (and the mighty Kathy who made sure things ran smoothly for the panelists) just inviting me to show up to their panels if they thought I should be on them. Sharon Green in particular (after we’d been on a few panels together) told me to show up to the “Hangovers: Bad Con Experiences” panel- which was great, because though I only had a few stories (as authors go, I’m so new that I still have my price tag on the back), the panel was a blast… and Jim Butcher was on it.

Patrick Harris, Jim Butcher, Davey Beauchamp, and Colin Cunningham (plus one of the panel attendees with a story about a first-time con goer who was injured by one guest and wound up marrying another) really stole the panel. They were all hysterical!

The Sexuality in Sci-Fi panel turned largely into a discussion about the differences between the way men and women handle relationships, followed by a debate on the existence of love at first sight. You know… I’ve yet to be on one a panel where the discussion has actually been about sex in writing... usually we wind up talking about the dynamics of relationships.

All in all, it was a great con and I met tons of great people!

Next stop: Con Carolinas!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

MobiCon and the Drunken Round Table

I’ll be at MobiCon this weekend (where, if I’m lucky I’ll get to meet Jim Butcher!) so I wanted to make sure to post this before I hit the road.

Jason over at The Drunken Round Table internet radio show has been nice enough to ask me for an interview.

You can listen to the Drunken Round Table Friday nights at 9PM EST. I’ll be on Friday, May 23, 2008 around 9:30 PM Eastern/8:30 PM Central/7:30 Mountain/ 6:30 Pacific - and for those of you overseas, that's 01:30 GMT. Make sure to tune in for the wackiness that will undoubtedly ensue.

Listen here:

Visit their website here:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Waiting Game

So… for a while now I’ve written largely about stuff not so much related to the writing process as things I’ve been doing and people I’ve met. So I thought I’d take a look at the writing side of things again. Mainly the waiting. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the publishing process takes a long looooong time. I’m not talking about the writing process, although I’ve had some personal stuff that has slowed that down recently. I won’t get into it here, but let’s just say that it’s a bit overwhelming when folks take the step from saying that they prefer not to read something to declaring it evil and sinful and casting aspersions on the writer personally. It’s Fiction, folks.

But enough about that.

Back to waiting.

And waiting.

And waiting.

So far, it hasn’t gotten any easier. Sending off the second manuscript evoked the same feelings and fears that the first one did. Will they like it? Will they want to change it? And so on and so forth. At least now that I've been published, there is a reasonable assumption that the second book will at least be opened and read.

I'm a trifle obsessive and I stress about everything... What if the first book isn’t selling well enough for a second book? Even if I had the sales numbers, I wouldn’t know whether they were good or not. What if they want a second book, but they want it to be about cross-dressing penguins? I’d do my best, but I don’t have any cross-dressing penguins plots lying around waiting… (okay, so maybe I have one *now*, but it’s not a necessarily good one).

And I always wonder what I should do while I wait.

Should I keep working on book three? Should I write something else? Both?

Patience appears to be the only answer… patience and perseverance. Which is why I just finished a chapter of the third Void City novel last night in which I give away half of the secret behind Talbot’s parentage and what he really is. By the end of book three, most of the cat will be out of the bag on that one. (Ack! Bad pun!) My other projects are still proceeding as well- because in the end, if you’re a writer, that means you have to write.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Who Sank my Dragonlance?

Listeners to the DragonPage Cover to Cover Podcast and constant visitors to the Dragonlance Nexus or Dragonlance Forums won’t need me to tell them this, but I’ve just heard some rather disheartening news. According to a press release posted back in March, Wizards of the Coast is NOT going to be publishing the third book in The Lost Chronicles trilogy: Dragons of the Hourglass Mage. (My wife, who has read the first two books of Lost Chronicles at least three times each, is going ballistic over this... Raistlin is her favorite. He's mine, too.)

Folks over in the Dragonlance forums have suggested that those who want to see this book released send a polite email to WotC expressing how much you’d like to read the book. I’ve just done so, myself. They have a customer service form you can fill out, or you can try sending snail mail to:
Wizards of the Coast
Attn: Customer Service
PO Box 707
Renton, WA 98057-0707

For more information, check out,, or listen to Cover to Cover #308A to hear Tracy Hickman talk about it.


Saturday, May 3, 2008

The Weekly J: Podcasts

Some of you may know that I recently got my first iPod. I’d been using a Creative Labs Nomad Zen USB 2.0 for my portable music needs, but the iPod has made me a total convert. It’s how I discovered New Amsterdam (free download of the pilot episode via iTunes). But the biggest change the iPod has made for me has been Podcasts.

I tended to listen to NPR on the way in to work each morning, but lately, I’ve been catching up on some cool podcasts, so I thought I’d mention the ones to which I subscribe. Some of them are just for fun and some of them are for research

1) Dragon Page Cover to Cover. Of the podcasts out there, this is the only one to which I was listening long before owning my iPod. It’s part of the FarPoint Media group of podcasts as are several others in my list and if you like books, I really can’t recommend it enough. I particularly recommend it if you’re a big Michael Stackpole fan (I know I am) because he is one of the hosts, along with Summer Brooks, and Michael R. Mennenga. They talk about new books coming out, have interviews with authors (last week’s was Jim Butcher!) and talk about cool things happening in the industry.

2) Mur Lafferty’s I Should Be Writing Podcast. Mur describes this podcast as “a podcast for wannabe fiction writers by a wannabe fiction writer.” She’s been sick for a few weeks, but there is a glut of great info available here. I’ve been slowly going through old shows, particularly through the interviews. Speaking of which, I think everyone who uses a web browser should go listen to her Neil Gaiman interview.

3) Slice of Sci-Fi. Done by some of the same folks from Dragon Page Cover to Cover, Slice of Sci-Fi is something that I listen to so that I don’t have to spend hours cruising the internet to know what new and cool things sci-fi shows are coming out. They have cool interviews too.

4) Orson Welles: On The Air. This one is a pure guilty pleasure for me. I’m the only one I know who has tracked down every episode of Orson Welles’s The Many Lives of Harry Lime radio show, which details the adventures of the con man from the black & white classic The Third Man. Orson Welles: On The Air showcases a new episode of Orson Welles’s vast collection of radio work each week… ranging from The Mercury Theater, to The Black Museum, to the afore mentioned Many Lives of Harry Lime. It’s radio gold and a must listen for fans of yesteryear.

5) PodCastle. A relatively new podcast, PodCastle (like it’s sister shows EscapePod and PseudoPod) is focused on fiction. PodCastle’s focus is on fantasy. I’ve only listened to the first two episodes: “Come Lady Death” by Peter S. Beagle and “For Fear of Dragons” by Carrie Vaughn. These folks have great taste in short fiction!

6) Tale Chasing. If you ‘re reading this blog, odds are that you like Urban Fantasy. Tale Chasing is all about Urban Fantasy, both tips on writing it and interviewing authors who do. Check out Kimi’s interviews with Stacia Kane and Rachel Vincent and sometime in the near future… yours truly.

7) The Guild. Okay, so this video podcast has absolutely nothing to do with furthering my writing, but it has everything to do with poking fun at folks who let their MMORPG gaming play way too big a role in their lives. If you’ve never played an MMORPG, you might not “get it”, but if you have, then hilarity will ensue.

8) NPR: Fresh Air Podcast. One of the main reasons I used listen to NPR on the way home from work is to make sure that I heard as many of Terry Gross’s weekly interviews as possible. Now I don’t have to miss a thing. If you haven’t ever heard Terry Gross do an interview then you are missing out.

9) Rick Kieffel: The Agony Column. I really have a love/hate relationship with this podcast. Rick either has me engrossed for the entire podcast (the norm) or loses me in the first minute and a half. You’ll note that I’m still subscribed. The show is often excellent! I particularly recommend the stint he did (last month?) about the term Machiavellian and where it came from, how it evolved, and a bit about the man whose name gives us the term.

10) Japancast. I’m a big anime geek, so the idea of learning Japanese appeals to me… particularly now that we are in the same region with Japan for Blu-ray.

I’ve yet to find a SuperRobot-centric podcast, though…

If you know of another podcast that you think is a must listen, please comment about it and let me know.