Love Your Indie Bookstore, Apply for a Grant, Promote Something NOW

But enough about me. Let me tell you about some cool stuff other people are doing.

* Joe Hill, aside from someone whose writing is a slice of awesome generously slathered with awesome sauce with a sprig of awesome as a garnish (and that’s a lot of awesome, friends), strongly believes that you should support your local indie book store. He believes it so much that he’s running a contest: Between now and the end of March, buy a book (or two, or seven) from your local indie book store, e-mail Joe a picture of the receipt, and he’ll enter you to win cool and valuable and rare stuff from him and other authors (including me, as it happens). So you’ll be a) getting books you want, b) supporting local indie bookstores, and c) having a chance to win stuff that will make all your friends jealous. There is no downside.

Here are the details. Good luck and happy reading.

* The Speculative Literature Foundation wants me to help them get the word out on their Older Writer’s Grant, so here’s the word:

The deadline for the Speculative Literature Foundation’s Older Writers’ Grant is fast approaching! The grant of $750 is available to any writer of speculative literature of 50 years or older at the time of application who is just beginning to work professionally in the field. There are no restrictions on the use of the grant money.

Applicants are asked to submit a brief autobiographical statement, a writing sample, and a bibliography. For full details on how to apply for the grant, please see the SLF web site:, or email Applications must be received by March 31st 2009. The successful applicant will be announced on June 1st 2009.

This is a really great opportunity for newer older writers — and proof it’s never too late to start writing speculative fiction.

* As I haven’t done it in a while — and as I have to travel today to Millennicon and then be at Millennicon and thus will probably not be around here a lot for the rest of the day — this is an excellent time to hereby declare this an open pimp thread, in which you (yes, you! You, there!) share with the rest of the class something you think is worth promoting to others. It can be something you are doing, if you’re one of them there creativey types, or it can be something one of your creativey type friends is doing, or it can just be something you think is cool. Share! Share!

The usual reminder: One link per post is generally best; put too many links in and you might get sent to the moderation queue on an automatic basis. If this happens, relax: I’ll come through at some point and release the moderated posts.

Now: Promote!

67 Comments on “Love Your Indie Bookstore, Apply for a Grant, Promote Something NOW”

  1. I’ll promote the Pittsburgh Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Convention, Confluence. Where John Scalzi is Guest of Honor and the Featured Filk Guest is More Difficulties. If you can’t make it to Millennicon, then consider planning a trip to Confluence. And stop by the Art Show and wave high to me, too.

  2. Just a quick pimp out for the forthcoming Angry Robot range of books, launching in the UK at the end of July, and the US and rest-of-world 2 months later.

    Launch titles include 2 debut novels, as well as some by more established writers. for SF&F&WTF!

  3. I, at long last, have a little corner of these webz to call — and promote as — my own. My graphic design portfolio is linked behind my name.

    Also, I have a hand in a CafePress shop just starting up. T-Shirt designs are like the school of fish in the net at the end of Finding Nemo, I know, but those with a left-of-center social sensibility might find something of interest there.

    Thank you!

  4. Being busy with school I’m not doing much these days, but there are some interesting things going on at The Friday Challenge

    If you’re a writer, or simply like to read new writers and learn a little something new, it’s a good place to check out.

    And this is a good day for it.

  5. A handful of writers and I write weekly comedy sketches on a provided theme or prompt and we recently moved off our own blogs and onto a single location – Sketch War.

    This week we wrote sketches for SNL characters past and present; some of the recent weeks’ sketches have been on time travel, game shows, and social networking.

    There are some real gems in the mix, of course with the occasional clunker, but on net we’re producing high quality comedy week in and week out.

  6. Interestingly, I can’t think of any independent bookstores in the DFW area that aren’t either used bookstores (most of them) or highly specialized boutiques in areas that don’t really interest me.

    Well, there is for technical books, their warehouse would sort-of count.

    That doesn’t mean I don’t spend hours at Half Price Books (which is sort-of an indie, in a chain-ish way), but I’m not sure that used books really fit the spirit of the contest.

  7. Nothing worth pimping yet. But I made law review at my law school, and will be writing my student note this summer (probably on some aspect of gun regulation after D.C. v. Heller). Stay tuned.

    As an aside, I’ve noticed there isn’t a lot of sci-fi fandom among lawyers, nor are there many lawyers among sci-fi fans. This makes me a saaaad panda.

  8. I found this really awesome blog recently. It’s written by this Salczi dude or however he spells it. Amazing stuff. I guess he wrote some books too? Not like some crummy e-book either, an actual dead-tree scroll with covers and ink and everything!
    Anyway, he’s at Tell your friends!

  9. I’ll pimp my friend’s book: The First Vampire: A Novel of Samson & Delilah, by Alicia Benson.

    It’s a good read – an interesting alternate-history premise, with vampires, romance, and action. I enjoyed it, and not just because she’s a friend!

    n.b. Unfortunately, not a big fan of the cover art. (She doesn’t have the cool artist connections like John S., apparently.) But don’t let that put you off. How important is the cover art, anyway? ;)-

  10. We had a great independent bookstore in my town for many years. The Borders that moved in a few blocks away didn’t particularly dent its customer base. Unfortunately, the idiots who owned the building saw dollar signs and doubled the rent. The owner decided it was time to retire.

    To complete the idiocy, two years on, the owners still haven’t found a tenant to replace it.

  11. Me and a few friends have been working on a site called Project Lafiel (still a work in progress), which is a fansite based on the Japanese science fiction light novel series by Hiroyuki Morioka called Crest of the Stars. In my opinion, Crest is one of the most underrated science fiction series out there, mainly because Japanese science fiction doesn’t get enough exposure in the United States. Crest is known for its intricately crafted universe and compelling characters, leading many to dub it “the Star Trek of Japan”. The series consists of 7 light novels (the first three of which have been published in the US by Tokyopop), three anime series (released in the US by Bandai) and one OVA. For anyone who is interested in checking out the series, I recommend watching the first series on DVD, preferably in Japanese with subtitles since the English dub is pretty bad. Remember, check out our site if you’re interested!

  12. Does anybody actually read through pimp threads?

    Anyway. I’d like to plug HERO (, a graphic novel summarized by the author as “a story about a perfectly ordinary boy with no memory of the past and no urgency for the future; who one day accepts a most extraordinary offer to travel to distant places and invisible cities.” It’s beautiful (visually and otherwise) and thoughtful (but unpretentious) and y’know, way too few people know about it.

    Go read.

  13. I recently finished (mostly) the first-cut of my first novel-length fiction, and I’m going to post it online, all serial-like. It’s called (for now) Bonds and Consequences, an epic fantasy writ small, set in a world that’s been rattling about in the drafty confines of my skull for the better part of two decades. It’s the story of a queen, her husband, and a soldier, whose lives intersect on one fateful night and are changed forever by the bonds, both real and ephemeral, placed upon them.

    There’s dueling magic systems, swords and crossbows and attendant violence, and all that good fantasy stuff. The first chapter is up now; I’ll be posting at least one new chapter a week until it’s fully serialized.

    I’d be much obliged if you would read it, and even sign up for the newsletter (note: there is no newsletter):

    Thanks for the open-pimpage, John!

  14. My best friend lost her job before Christmas. She’s been out there looking, and could use some work. She’s an awesome technical writer, but that’s not all she’s good at. She’s a great personal chef, as well! @ginbeatty on Twitter, and email her at to contact her yourself! You know you want to!

  15. Crest is known for its intricately crafted universe and compelling characters, leading many to dub it “the Star Trek of Japan”

    If you dig Crest… check out the “Japanese Babylon 5”, Legend of the Galactic Heroes.

    Unfortunately there are no official English translations of the novels, manga or anime, but there are fansubs out there of the anime.

  16. If you live in New England, I’m working on — a blog keeping track of science fiction and fantasy events — and I could especially use help from folks NOT in Boston (which I have pretty well covered) to alert me to local happenings.

  17. If you can’t wait for Pittsburgh Science Fiction Convention to see Scalzi or live near the Kansas City area and want to see Scalzi. Then you can meet him at Conquest 40 where he is Guest of Honor. This is a long running science Fiction convention being held Memorial Day weekend in Kansas City, MO. Other guests of honor include Ellen Datlow (another hugo nominee), Oberon Zell, Jerry Gleb and Ed deGruy. There will also be many more. So please come enjoy what Kansas City has to offer.

  18. If you like audio science fiction, I’ve been narrating for both Clarkesworld Magazing (which incidentally is up for a HUGO this year) and StarshipSofa .

    Come take a listen!

    My blog is currently down at the moment, however, once it’s back up, you can find all my narrations on there under the podcast menu. ;)

  19. I’m blogging about the process of revising (and eventually submitting) my first proper novel for publication. It occurs to me that if more than five people are reading the thing, it’ll probably motivate me to keep it updated and to keep working on the thing so I’ll have something to update.

    So I figured I’d plug it here, on the off chance that I could get up to six or seven people looking at it.

    Link is in my name, as always, or here:

  20. I’d like to pimp my friend Oisin, who is a stained glass artist specializing in Celtic designs. If his stuff looks familiar, it might be because one of his glass panels was used as the cover for the first issue of GUD magazine. He takes commissions, and his gallery is amazing.

  21. I’d just like to pimp this German band called The Notwist, whose “Neon Golden” was one of the best records of the last five years (and is noted as such on Metacritic!) but who are about as famous as my dog. And I don’t even have a dog.

    You can check out Pick Up The Phone and The Pilot from said record on YouTube. The music videos are super keen and the songs themselves are absolutely gorgeous. And they sound pretty science-fictiony, with a wonderful blend of chiming guitars, intimate breathy vocals, and chugging and bleeping electronics.

  22. I’m not a gamer, and I pretty much suck at all video games, but Kingdom of Loathing is the most amazing thing I have ever played. It combines nerdery with humor into the most perfect hybrid organism every created.

    Also, I liveblog Battlestar Galactica. You can just click on my name to see that. I have been told it is funny, although I personally find this to be a dubious statement.

  23. I’m happy to pimp my brand-new book — my 38th — Styling Web Pages with CSS: Visual QuickProject Guide, written with my lovely and talented wife, Dori Smith, and published by the fine folks at Peachpit Press.

    My blurb for the book:

    “There are many books out there that teach CSS, but most of them are not meant for absolute beginners. This book is. If you’ve never used CSS before, ths book will get you up and running fast. We don’t pretend (or even try; the book is only 150 pages) to teach you everything you need to know about CSS. Instead, we show you how to create a clean, standards-compliant Web site using CSS from start to finish.”

    The example site that we create in the book is called Alpaca Repo, purporting to be a service site for banks with customers who don’t make payments on their alpacas. “When they don’t pay, we’ll tow ’em away!”

    Our promise to you: No alpacas were harmed in the making of this book.

  24. Yay pimp threads!

    It’s a tragedy for any self-respecting SF fan to have to leave their trusty ray gun at home. Now you don’t have to. Zap your friends with an awesome ray gun on your iPhone! Great graphics (with many to choose from) and fun sounds – and they won’t take it away from you at the airport. Oh, and if you like cats shooting lasers, check it out!

    Pew!Pew! for iPhone.

  25. I’d like to pimp Bubonicon, New Mexico’s annual local SF con, held in Albuquerque. It’s a wonderful con, and benefits from New Mexico’s strangely high population density of professional SF writers.

    Also, it’s named after the bubonic plague.

  26. Yay for Vroman’s! Pasadena’s best bookstore, for sure.

    I spent $70 at Mysterious Galaxy bookstore this weekend. Great selection — and I picked up the Matthew Stover Caine book that was posted a few months ago on this site. Not sure that qualifies for the contest, though.

    It was my first time there, and they were very nice to the noob, when they didn’t have to be. Also, they gave me an approving comment re: my T-Shirt, which was a bonus.

    One last pimp comment — next time you see a service person in uniform, please remember to say “Thanks for the service.”

    Earlier this week I toured the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 (EOD MU3) facility (including a visit to the MK6 Marine Mammal System holding pens) and it was both humbling and inspiring to see the young men working to defend other service men (and women) from IEDs and other nasty stuff. Nihil Obstat!

  27. Well, if you’re interested I did a liveblog today where I wrote a short story and posted it one page at a time as I went through it.

    It’s a rough draft but I’m fairly pleased. After I run it through my writer’s groups and do some revisions I’ll be using it in my submission to Viable Paradise. If I make it in, guess who I’ll be meeting…

    Anyway, here’s the story.

    And if you’re interested in seeing some of the background behind the work…

  28. I am going to pimp the con or bust fundraising auction, set up to help some POC get to the cons where they might have those face-to-face conversations that some people think are better than internet ones. I snark, I snark, I apologise!

    Lots of fannish things, lots of baked goods– I’ve offered my skinning services for blog, commerce or whatever site, with an emphasis on over-the-top visual content.

  29. Please aid me in my quest and join the “Campaign To Get Hugo Nominated Author John Scalzi on The Colbert Report”

    Go to ColbertNation and add your plea to the thread at:


    It is my belief that together we the people of the Internet can make totally ludicrous things happen, so please add your weight to my silly request and lets get Scalzi to explain this whole fart joke thing on National Cable T.V.

    Thank you,

    p.s. I don’t know Scalzi either personally or professionally, and he is no relation to me, nor has he any idea who I am. This is entirely my own silly idea.

  30. Fort Collins, Colorado is about to get an awesome indie bookstore in an awesome historic building in its awesome downtown!
    My bookstore, as it happens.

    We were the Book Rack, but are changing our name to the far more awesome Old Firehouse Books.

    And our science fiction section? Just awesome.

  31. We’re having a sales drive for issue #1 (available until 7 May 2009) and then for issue #2 (after 8 May).

    Our pdf zine, Speculative Mystery Iconoclast, contains mystery short stories with Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Supernatural Horror flavours.

  32. I’m teaching two online writing classes (Intermediate Fiction, and Speculative Fiction, i.e. SF/F) over my spring break, which starts tomorrow. There are a few slots left, if you register by Sunday 3/22 (that’s tomorrow)! Details are here:

    They’re not specifically focused on writing identity, but for anyone in the class who’s interested, I’m happy to give you some additional exercises to help develop that aspect of your character-building.

  33. I’m going to be greedy. I’d like to pimp the so-called “Xenowealth” books (Crystal Rain, Sly Mongoose, Ragamuffin) by Tobias Buckell.

    Why? He’s posted a note that the next two books in the series are on hold and he’ll be writing a near-future book. Now, I’ll buy it, just as I bought The Cole Protocol, but dang it, any universe with blimps AND space zombies is just too cool to let sit.

    So, folks, clamor at your big box for copies of these books. Buy, buy, buy! Let’s keep those installments coming!

  34. Non-self-promoting plug: Check out the anthology: Black Dragon, White Dragon.

    The editor did a phenomenal job. A lot of variety in content and style.

  35. I love the pimp threads, John, and yes, I read every comment!

    My friend Eric Garcia — he wrote the Anonymous Rex books, Matchstick Men (which became a movie starring Nicholas Cage), and a few other twisted stories — is releasing his next book, The Repossession Mambo, on March 31. It’s a dark science fiction thriller about two men who repossess artificial organs.

    My favorite part? The antagonist is named “Jake Freivald”. No kidding. Fun, huh?

    My second favorite part? The movie version will be out shortly, starring Jude Law and Forest Whitaker. (Forest will be Jake.)

  36. I’d like to offer two pimp-outs (one presumes that a pimp-out is a shout out in gaudier attire):

    The first is for my favorite indie bookstore ‘Between Books’ in Claymont Delaware. For the last 19 years Greg (the proprietor), has been relieving me of excess cash via the diabolical device of remembering the kinds of things I like and bringing likely candidates to my attention.

    The second is for Richard K. Morgan, specifically Steel Remains, a harsh, thoughtfully provocative, thud & blunder epic. Reading it was like snorting a line of Jack Vance in one nostril and a line of Matt Stover in the other.


    Not me and I don’t know the guy, but you must check out his AudioVile CD. It is a whole new way to listen to fiction. It’s horror and humor; Def Poetry Jam meets Spoken Word; soundtrack and performance art. Funny, gory and sometimes just plain ewwww.

    Screw Audacity of Hope–this should have won a Grammy.

  38. Yay Support Support Support…

    Actually I just thought I’d say that there is a bookstore in claymont DE called Between Books that is simply marvelous. Greg the owner is an amazing guy who after only a few minutes can see into your soul and pluck 10 things off his shelves that you will simply adore. Trust me it;s dangerous to the bank account.

    So a few years ago I walk into the store because well I was between books; and without a word Greg tosses a book at me. I look skeptically at the cover (I was on a fantasy kick at the time) of this military SF by an author that I hadn’t heard of. But I thought hey it’s Greg what the heck! I took it home and read from “I did two things on my seventy-fifth birthday” to “I haven’t seen her again, but I know I will. Soon. Soon enough.” in pretty much one sitting. The next day I was back trying to make soon enough, now.

  39. I’ve been keeping up with a weekly webcomic called Family Man by Dylan Meconis. Yesterday, Dylan lost her job and has declared this the beginning of her serious comics and art-storytelling career. She’s starting to get a bunch of stuff together to pull herself up by her bootstraps into Paid Comics Work. Family Man has been an amazing, solidly written comic; it’s set in an historically-accurate 18th-century Catholic German university, following our dude Luthor who was born to lecture but fucked up his dissertation by supporting an atheist and getting tossed out for insufficient faith. There will also be werewolves later on. The characterization is fun and solid, the pencils and coloring just look fantastic, and every ten pages Dylan puts out her research notes for public consumption, so you can call edify yourself on all the stuff happening around the edges of the scene. Link is:

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