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Well, let’s just get this posted right now.

Paradisi Cover

Yes, that’s me, second line from the bottom, far right.  This is the final cover.  paradise will be the 18th anthology from Samuel Peralta, one of the most prolific and high-quality anthology creators today.  His Future Chronicles anthos are always in the top-20 in Amazon’s Best Sellers in Science Fiction Anthologies.  His previous anthology, ShapeShifter Chronicles, at the instant of this posting, is #20.

So, when does this come out?  Samuel says “Early September”.  I say, sign up for my newsletter, and be the first to know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember, way, way back, when I said that I was going to really push for traditional publishing?  Well, I still am.   Most of the reason was marketing.  I’m an author, not a salesman, I say.  And to an extent, that is still the case.  However, when I stumbled into the world of the Future Chronicles and Chronicle Worlds:Paradisi, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to launch an indie career as well.  After all, every single FC anthology that Samuel Peralta has launched has hit #1 in the Amazon SFF Anthology ratings.  With that many eyes getting the anthology, and perhaps even reading my work, it would be a tremendous waste not to have something else of mine for the readers to sink their teeth into.  And it has to be ready before the anthology launches.

Thus, this list.  Here’s a number of things I have to do before the end of August, which is when Paradisi is scheduled to launch.  I am posting this as a public checklist for my benefit as well as a guideline for others who might wish to follow me.

  1. Set up a mailing list via MailChimp (cheap for now.  Might have to move to AWeber later)
  2. Using the link for my newsletter, complete my blurb and Author Notes for that story and get the list to Samuel Peralta, the anthologist.
  3. Put the link on this blog (in case someone is moved to sign up)
  4. Write a newsletter (what a concept!)
  5. Set up a BookFunnel account, so I can send out the freebie stories that I am promising my subscribers.
  6. Format the freebie stories.
  7. Get a cover for the freebies!
  8. Convince someone from here to sign up for my newsletter, so I can test the whole thing out. (I’ll test it out first, I need a second tester)
  9. Format the next paying story (God’s Sandbox)
  10. Create a Amazon KDP account.
  11. Panic because I forgot something.

If anyone notices something I’ve forgotten, please let me know.

In August of 2015, while wandering around in one of Facebook’s Open Call groups, I discovered The Future Chronicles, a collection of anthologies curated by Samuel Peralta. He had some pretty prestigious folks either writing for him, or praising him. Within FC, I noticed an Open Call for something called Chronicle Worlds: Paradisi. Simply put, a group of authors had collaborated in creating a future history with timelines, events, and characters. They had written seven novels, and Samuel wanted to anthologize a series of short stories set in that universe. Did I want in? Heck, yeah!

The process involved understanding a timeline, understanding the settings (it involves the migration of ten plutocrats and 100,000 of their closest friends through a wormhole to Andromeda and the Paradisi star system), and coming up with something compelling. It was, in a sense, a competition, but one unlike the usual markets that I haunted.

First off, it was indie run. Samuel publishes these anthologies via Amazon, and not through a press. CW:P is something like his seventeenth, so funding like author compensation is already baked in. He hires professional editors, cover artists, and such. This is the big time. His anthologies hit the Top Ten in the SFF category in Amazon within a few days of launch, so yeah, it’s a big viable market.

I wrote a story, “Nuking the Noomies”. There is a large back-story behind that, but you’ll have to get the anthology to read about it, as I put it in the Author Notes. I finished the story on October 16th and sent it off to the Canon Keepers. This step was required to ensure that my story didn’t violate any of the novels that have already been published, and any of the stories that were planned for the anthology.

Then my younger brother, John, died suddenly, two days later. I got comments back the next week, but I was in no state to work on the piece. However, I did manage to address the Canon Keeper’s concerns and in before the December 15th deadline. There was a LOT of editing at this phase, so by the time the story ended up on Samuel’s desk, it was pretty polished. Sam sent it off to the anthology editor, so I was happy that he accepted it.

By this time, I had befriended a few of the other authors in the anthology. They all got comments from the editor on their work. For me, nothing. I didn’t know what to think. Finally, I got the email. There was exactly one question, some stray punctuation adjustments, and the editor seemed to like contractions. I was happy that I didn’t have a lot to do, but it felt a lot like I was trying to climb a step that wasn’t there.

I got a call from my mother that evening, and raced down to her place (~200 miles south of me) to get her to the emergency room, then to rehab. I let the editor know about the family emergency, and she reassured me that a small delay was OK. Five days later, I was able to get back to Noomies, perform the changes, and send it back. Then the weird stuff started happening. OK, weirder stuff.

The editor told me how much she liked the story. Then Samuel sent me this: “Bill Patterson – I kid you not, I am already getting fan mail about YOUR upcoming story from readers.” What readers? Maybe Samuel has a bunch of beta readers he sends stuff to. Then, last night, I got this: https://www.facebook.com/groups/futurechronicles/permalink/1111605112267390/?comment_id=1115231275238107

Translated: based solely on the strength of Noomies, the anthologist has invited me to write a story in a new anthology!  The only requirement is that history has changed from what we know. I have already sent him two ideas. Samuel has 175 authors on his list, yet he reached out to me. I’m (obviously) fit to burst. Then I look around at all of the other authors who have been invited. Oh, dayam–now I’ve got to deliver!

Lesson: You never know when your big break is going to come. Just keep pounding the keys, going to events, exploring those Open Calls. Someday, something’s going to give you that big break you’re seeking.  It’s The Thin Edge in practice.  If I had blown off Facebook as mere fluff, I’d never be where I am now.

Porch Time

I live in the Northeast US.  This means that Spring is usually around April.  Thanks to El Nino, we’ve been blessed with an early Spring (or at least a week of spring-like temps)  Thus, I’ve repaired to The Porch.

The Porch is a rather vast area, screened in decades ago by my late father and brother-in-law.  We never really took advantage of it…until I started two things: writing, and making wine.  The Wonderful Wife cannot be in the same room as a glass of wine, else asthma sets in.  No, I don’t understand it, but I adjust.

Enter The Porch.  The perfect place to enjoy wine without concern, as well as the perfect place to write.  All of my Three Day Novels were written on The Porch.  I love The Porch so much that The Retirement Home will be constructed with one.  Second floor, or first?  Hmmmm…

Tonight was the first time this year that I have been able to use The Porch.  I finished that story I referenced earlier–the one dating from 2007.

The bottle is empty now, the bladder full, the story finished.  Tomorrow is work, and the weekend is more John-estate stuff.  But for now, the night is quiet, dark, and deep, as Frost said.  The crickets chirp, the cheddar is warm and soft, the wine in the glass is the best pour of the night.  I will sip the wine and think of all that might have been, had John lived.

Entropy is the king of all.  Friends die, we age, wine warms, cheese decays.  This laptop will become non-functional at some point.  But Spring is soon, and rebirth and renewal is right around the corner.  We will all fall victim to The Big Rip at some unfathomable time in the future.  None of that matters.

What matters now is life, and memory, and story.  Have you written yours?

 

So, I have been looking at a couple of story contests while the Alpha readers are spilling red ink on THT.  Cool one: SF with a strong element of medicine, health, illness.  You can submit TWO stories!  Woot–very nice!

I read the contest rules, and they are giving examples of stories that they would like.  All the classics.  Cyborgs, new drugs, bad vaccines.  The gamut.  Then it hit me.  What if I took one of those examples, inverted the story question, and wrote that?  (sorry to be coy, but they’re pretty strict on the judges not knowing the author, so I won’t say what I wrote).

Example:  Star Trek’s premise is to visit strange new worlds, boldly go, and such.  The inverse of that is ‘what is life like for the technologically hyper-advanced world of Earth?  Pretty sure there aren’t oil workers, mechanics, or paper-pushers.  So….what do people do all day?’

Wrote the work in about four days, three beta readers gave me feedback, I buffed it to about 300 grit, and sent it in.  Now it’s the 24th, and the contest ends on the 29th, and I have found a treasure.  From 2007–an unfinished short story left on my hard drive.  It’s so old that it isn’t even written in Standard Manuscript Format.  So I get to work on it, re-reading what I had written, way back in the dawn of my career.  And wouldn’t you know, it can be a great story when I finish it!

Spent last night and this morning thinking about it.  I had been dumping text, and re-reading cringe-inducing lines from the old days.  The MC is a columnist, and the BSF is a nurse.  I hover over these introductions, wondering if I should change them.  I decide not to, and move on.  I come to a line from the nurse, something like “I could use this my research paper topic.”  Wow, that’s got to go.  Except, I never really get around to deleting it.

Fast forward to this morning’s commute.  I realize that these two characters have exactly the right jobs to solve the medical issue in the story.  Even the research paper is the most plausible reason for the nurse to involve herself in the issue.  Good thing I hadn’t erased the lines!

Lesson: Don’t be too quick to slash and burn aspects to a partial story.  Your brain has been working on that story ever since you abandoned it.  Maybe it has a great reveal in the wings for you.

Keep writing!

 

I did an update on the THT blog.  Yes, there’s a blog for the book.

 

Some Happenings

As promised, here are some Happenings since July.

Agent Search:  Still going on.  No new queries since October, of course.  I should restart this.

Three Day Novel:  Yes, I took part in this one.  We’re still waiting on the results.

Paradisi Chronicles:  This one deserves its own post.  An open universe, tied to a Future Chronicles anthology by the incomparable Samuel Peralta.  I was invited to write a short story and submit it.  The story has survived canonical review, and is awaiting Sam’s approval.

National Novel Writing Month:  As previously reported, I am one of two Municipal Liaisons for this fantastic organization.  In November, one is challenged to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  That I did, despite being out of state for about half the month.  Although the novel degenerated badly, at the end, I did write two very nice treatments of hard SF topics which I will extract and polish.  So it was worthwhile.

StarShipSofa:  I was offered the chance to narrate one of their stories, which I jumped on.  SSSofa is a Hugo-Award winning weekly podcast heard by thousands.  I recorded the narration before my brother passed away, did most of the editing, and then John died.  I couldn’t focus enough to revoice the MC, but they liked the product anyway.  They also added a nice tribute to my brother in the intro, which I found very touching.  Click the link and listen.

Princeton Writing Group:  Every Tuesday, I lead the meetings at the local Panera Bread.  This is where I got most of my writing and editing done.

Speaking of editing, I have finished the First Flensing of The Honorable Thing.  I cut it down from 221,000 words to just under 106,000.  The Second Flensing will whittle that down further to 85,000 or less.  It’s now out to Alpha Readers, so that I know it is at least somewhat readable before I invest more time in it.

Oh, and I’ve submitted stories in a few spots.

And…that’s about it.  Sorry it seems like I’ve been dogging it.  John’s Estate sucks up a lot of time.  I really miss him.