Daily Archives: June 28, 2005

My, it’s hot in here!

Not the blog. I’m actually posting from the road, as part of my fabulous and action-packed professional life as Laurel Halbany, Esq. It’s a hundred freakin’ degrees here, and I’m hiding in my air-conditioned hotel room, smacking myself in the head for having packed a wool suit. Fashion sense, thy name is somebody else’s.

I guess I qualify as a “professional writer” if that means “getting paid for having had something published in a real magazine or book,” to the tune of one (1) short story; lots of bits here and there, some paid and some not, in fanzines and gaming books and on the Web. Most of the writing I get paid to do involves saying things like “hereinbefore” and “triable issues of material fact clearly exist”; but I refuse to assault your tender eyes with such language any further, Gentle Reader.

I hornswoggled Mr. Scalzi into letting me be your Tuesday entertainment by promising to write more stuff like the penis post and not so much with the griping about the asbestos bill. Rumors that I sold my pet cat into an unspeakable fate for the privilege of guest-blogging will be summarily denied.

Dashing in, slightly out of breath…

John seems to be batting a thousand on his daily assignments, as he gave Saturdays to the Jewish guy. Luckily, I’m a bacon cheeseburger kind of Jewish guy (ham and cheese on matzoh for Passover), so this shouldn’t be too much of a stretch.

Hello, everyone, I’m your redundant backup Scalzi for the next few Saturdays. Name’s Jeff, and I’m the token non-professional writer here—which is to say, I’ve written one book and I’m writing another, but there’s been a ten-year stretch in between. Looking around at my fellow guest hosts, that appears to put me in the distinct minority.

And naturally, the email from John asking for introductions came during three concurrent crises with my clients, so my hello will be uncharacteristically brief. A longer introduction forthcoming after a few web servers I could mention stop emitting smoke and setting off the Halon systems.

(And to be serious for just a second—hey, it’s an honor to be here. I respect John and I respect the Republic of Scalzi, and so I’ll be doing my best to keep you entertained. Many thanks to the Grand High Poohbah.)

Testing, testing …

Hey all, Claire here, your Scalzi-July-replacement for Fridays. Very excited. Very excited. I’d give you a more complete intro, but I was planning on making that my first entry in July and frankly, I just don’t have that many ideas, so I’ll still need to do that.

Instead, I’ll talk about Scalzi. Obviously he thinks I’m a loser, since he gave me Friday. Actually, Scalzi, I do have a social life. Just ask my mom. Also, Scalzi seems to be copping to the fact that he needs some sort of affirmative action program on this website. Notice the underrepresentation of women among his July bloggers, and the severe underrepresentation of Asians. Since my other blogging gig is as one of five or six regular bloggers from the staff of Asian American Hyphen Magazine (over there I have Sunday, as befits my active tv watching schedule), and since I spend my weekly blogging space taking advertisers to task for using racist stereotypes, clearly Scalzi thought he could kill two straw men with one stone. We’ve seen this tactic before, Scalzi, and we shall overcome.

More on Friday. Surely one hadn’t planned on allowing me to set the tone?

Misspent Youth

I’ve made a living off of my misspent youth. More about that in a minute.

Scalzi-san’s been kind enough to assign me Mondays, which should get everyone’s week off to a stumbling start. In about three weeks I’ll join the ranks as one of John’s publishers, when we release his novel, Agent to the Stars. I’ve met John twice, and can tell you he’s bright, short, bald, dresses better than most authors, and gestures with his hands when excited. His table manners are excellent. He claims to be able to dance, but, thankfully, I’ve seen no evidence of that.

Back to my youth. Like many a geek, I spent most of my free time buried in one book after another, one magazine or another. Everything from drawing room mysteries to thrillers to SF to my monthy dose of Asimov’s Science Fiction. Naturally enough, I grew up to be a publisher.

I’ve earned my living running Subterranean Press for the past five years, where we’ve published the likes of Joe R. Lansdale, Dan Simmons, Orson Scott Card, Charles de Lint, and many others. We release 25 hardcovers a year, with print runs ranging from 500 to over 5000 copies.

Enough of the backstory. Starting Monday, I aim to talk a little bit about the smaller end of publishing, the things that are important to an outfit such as ours, what we can offer to readers and writers. If you have specific questions you want answered, I’m glad to consider them.

See you Monday.

Holy Crap!

Yes, I agreed to sign all 1,500 copies of Agent to the Stars. But Hoppin’ Jesus in a Sequined Vest! I didn’t realize what 1,500 copies meant until a freakin’ huge box appeared at my door today, with 1,500 actual pages to sign. That’s three reams of paper. And I’ve got to do it all in the next several days.

All I can say is this book damn well better sell out. I’m scribbling myself into crippling tendonitis, here. (Buy it from Subterranean Press! Or Amazon! Really, either way).

And now I’m off to find some pens.

Scardown Hits the Shelves

Elizabeth Bear’s Scardown is in the stores today: It’s the followup to her debut novel Hammered, which I liked quite a bit and which has been very popular, as signified by the fact that when we were at Wiscon signing books right next to each other, she signed a lot more copies of Hammered than I did of Old Man’s War. She’s also nominated for the Campbell Award this year for best new writer, so this will probably be your last chance to jump on the Elizabeth Bear bandwagon before it becomes overburdened by all the Johnny-Come-Latelies. And you know how they are.

Winter In July, Film At 11

Hello, I’m Jim Winter. I’m that snarky small press writer who occasionally pops up in the comments section here. I’m not sure how I got picked for this gig, but it may have something to do with Old Man’s War and The Book of the Dumb both being on my recommended reads list for extended periods.

I am a crime fiction writer who holds a mind-numbing day job at an insurance company in Cincinnati. Never mind which one. Aren’t they all mind-numbing? I mean, it’s insurance.

So what am I doing taking up space on a science fiction writer’s blog? Ask anyone I went to high school with (who isn’t dead or in prison.) They’re all shocked, shocked, I tell youse, I’m not trying to become the Second Coming of Gene Roddenberry. It’s all well and good. Everything I wanted to do in science fiction’s been done. I leave it to folks like John to reinvent the genre.

John, in his infinite wisdom, has opted to give me the Sunday slot, which means one of these will fall during a business trip. (During that time, my own blog will have a guest blogger.) I suppose he intends me to post more contemplative posts fitting for a quiet Sunday morning.

I neglected to tell him Sundays are usually when I post lists of people who need to be forced to wear gasoline-soaked underwear during a Tony Robbins firewalk.

Don’t worry, John. I promise to behave myself.

Maybe badly, but I’ll behave myself.

Meet the Guest Bloggers

As I mentioned earlier, I had several dozen applicants for the position of guest bloggers for July, and from those many worthy applicants, I selected seven — one for each day of the week. Ladies and gentlemen, here are your Whatever Guest Bloggers for July (click on each name for their home blog/site):

Jim Winter
William Schafer
Laurel Halbany
Ron Hogan
Eric Magnuson
Claire Light
Jeff Porten

You ask: Why did I pick these folks, and not, say, you? Well, as this is the first time I’ll have guest bloggers here, I tended to go with people I already knew, either in person or through online correspondence, and I also tended to go with people who are active in publishing, either as authors, editors or in some other capacity. Which is not to say that I didn’t pick from outside of these criteria: One guest blogger here I don’t think I corresponded with prior to selecting him; I just thought his personal site was interesting. But overall I went with people who had some track record with which I felt comfortable.

If you were not selected, take comfort in knowing that it was actually fairly difficult to pick folks. There are some people who I didn’t have guest blog this time around who I would love to hand the reins to if I take another break sometime down the road. It was an embarrassment of riches, really it was. So thanks. I am pleased to see that opening up the process did provide such quality results.

I’ve asked the guest bloggers to pop in here over the next couple of days (i.e., prior to July 1) to introduce themselves and tell y’all a little about who they are, etc. And when July 1 rolls around I’ll step out and they’ll step in. The idea is that one guest blogger will “anchor” one day a week (i.e., that’s a day I’ve asked them to post something, so there are no gaps), but any of the guest bloggers is welcome to post at any time, on any subject they like, in any manner they choose fit. Where will I be? Hopefully finishing up a novel.

In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m excited about this. I think this is a great group of writers, and I’m pretty sure by the end of the month you’ll all be formulating ways to bump me off so they can keep on blogging here. Just remember that most of them have their own blogs, so even when they’re not here, you can keep reading them. This will keep you happy and me alive. Everybody wins.