My Shiny New Vehicle

No, not the Mini Cooper Countryman. That’s currently on a boat in the Atlantic (seriously, it is; I know because the nice saleslady who sold us the car calls us every now and again to give us an update. The last update: “It’s on a boat!”). This is the other new ride, a Toro Titan MX4880 Zero Turn Mower. We got this because the previous lawn tractor, a Craftsman that we got the year we arrived in Ohio, was in its last legs; ten years of mowing five acres of lawn every week for eight months out of the year will do that to a machine. Our local lawn tractor folks (who are Amish, as all genuinely excellent lawn tractor folks are) suggested that a zero-turn mower would cut not only grass but huge amounts of time off our mowing session. That’s what Krissy wanted to hear. This is the zero-turn Krissy liked the most. This our new mower.

It’s very nice, but I have to admit I was taken aback when I looked at the sticker and realized something, which I then related to my wife:

Me: This thing costs more than that Escort I bought when I got out of college.

Wife: Of course it does. It has a bigger engine.

It’s hard to argue with that.


Where I Will Be, April/May ’11 Edition

Now that it’s a work day in April that’s not April Fool’s Day, I can tell you things without being immediately doubted. So today I will remind you about my appearances over the next couple of months.

April 14-15: Texas Library Association Annual Conference, Austin, Texas: Are you a librarian in Texas? And going to the TLA Annual Conference? Then it is a good chance that you shall see me there, as I will be there to a) hang out at the Tor booth on the 14th, signing stuff, b) do a panel on the 15th with Patrick Rothfuss and other authors. THERE WILL BE STEW (note: there will not be stew).

As I will be in Austin specifically for the TLA, it’s unlikely I’ll slip into the real world and do much of anything else. Sorry, Austin. I know you’re awesome; I’ve been there before. But I’ll try to get into Texas again soon.

April 22-24: Minicon 46, Bloomington, MN: I’m the substitute Guest of Honor here, filling in for my pal Charlie Stross. I’ll be doing all the things Guests of Honor do, including panels, a reading, Q&A and signing. This is my only scheduled appearance in the Upper Midwest for 2011, so if you want to see me, this is the place to do it.

April 29 – May 1: Penguicon 9.0, Troy, MI: As far as I know at the moment, I’m just hanging out this year, although I may have signed up for a panel or two; really, I can’t remember, I was so high when I registered. Point is, I’ll be about.

May 10-18: The Fuzzy Tour, Various Cities. Here are the dates, cities and places I’ll appear. Won’t you come? I’ll be pining for you specifically. Yes, you.

May 19-22: The Nebula Awards Weekend, Washington DC: At which as SFWA President I’ll preside over the handing out of awards, and the SFWA business meeting and all other sorts of stuff. Although a SFWA event, fans can also attend; click that link for registration information. There will also be a signing event that will feature many of your favorite science fiction and fantasy authors — and me! More information on that as we get closer to the date.

And that’s what I have at the moment. It’s possible I may add another event or two at the end of May, but that’s still being worked on. Naturally I will let you know if anything else gets added to the schedule.

This is the schedule, incidentally, that makes me glad I actually finished that novel I was working on.


Some New Things to Think About re: Electronic Books

Namely, whether they will turn out to be a gold mine for content scammers in the short run, poisoning the well for actual authors of any sort in the long run. Jim Macdonald covers it all, with relevant links, over at Making Light, and rather than duplicate efforts, I’ll just commend that link to you and tell you to follow it.

I will specially highlight one thing Jim calls out there, which is that some assbite has taken an entire novel by author S.K.S. Perry and put it up on Amazon’s Kindle store without his permission, and Perry’s currently wrangling with the store to have the pirated version taken down. He’s in the unfortunate position of being a pioneer in this particular case. He’s unlikely to be the last.

This is where a DMCA take down notice does come in handy; when presented with one, Amazon (and most other legitimate commerce sites) is legally obliged to deal with it, and stuff like this is what a DMCA notice was made for. If you’re an author and you’ve not seen a DMCA notice before and/or need an idea of how to put one together, SFWA just happens to have a sample DMCA notice generator for your informational purposes.

This is where I note that DMCA notices have to come from an author or his/her duly-appointed representatives (agents and publishers), so you shouldn’t be sending them for a pal or as a pre-emptive nerd strike in defense of your favorite authors. You can get in a fair amount of legal trouble for that. But if you are the author (or his/her duly-appointed representatives), then it’s a useful tool.

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