“Redshirts” Auction Update

First: Gaze upon the Redshirts manuscript, returned to me by the copy editor and full of red marks. Full! Which is to be expected; while I am not a copy editor’s worst nightmare, neither are my manuscripts complete cakewalks. I will be spending the next few days going through the changes and making sure I don’t have any problem with them. I forgot again to note that I am not a fan of the serial comma (this is my journalism background coming to the fore again), so I’m sure I’ll have some STETs there. That said, I’m a fan of a good copy edit — it makes me look smarter — so I don’t imagine I’ll have too many arguments.

Second: The “Redshirts” auction is going swimmingly: In one day, the bid is up $4,700, so that’s at least $4,700 the Bradford Public Library will have coming its way. Naturally, I am thrilled, and would be even more thrilled to see the bid go up higher from there.

I’ll admit that what I really want is for someone to bid $10,000, so I have an excuse to commission a black velvet painting. So if you have ten grand burning a hole in your pocket, you just let me know. I’m sure my local library could find a use for it, and then you would have the most magnificent work of art since the Velvet Wesley. I’m just saying.

German October Tour Itinerary

I promised folks I would post dates on my German tour when I had them, and here they are — most of them in any event. I do not have all the details regarding time/cost of event for some of these things, so if you’re in Germany and want to see me and I don’t have all the information here, please contact the venue at which I will be for more details. I’ll also post updates and information when I am in Germany on my Twitter feed.

October 15: Frankfurt: I’ll be doing a reading as part of the Frankfurt Book Fair’s “Open Books” event. Not sure of the time yet; I’ll update when I know. Update: The appearance information is here.

October 16: Frankfurt: I’ll be in the Book Fair itself, likely hanging out at my publisher’s table. If you’ll be attending, swing by the Heyne booth.

October 17: Saarbrücken: I’ll be doing an event at the Deutsch-Americanisches Institut Saarbrücken. Please contact them for the details. I assume it will be in the evening.

October 18: Stuttgart: My event will be at the Deutsch Americkanisches Zentrum, at 19:00. Details are here.

October 19: Tübingen: I’ll be at the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut Tübingen, at 20:15. Details are here.

October 20: Freiburg: I’ll be doing something in association with the Carl-Schruz-Haus here. My understanding is that it might be at the local planetarium, which would be interesting. Please contact them for the details.

October 21: Munich: I’ll be at Amerika Haus here, at 19:30. Details here. Admission will be free.

October 22: Munich: I believe there is to be another event on this day, with Conrad Tribble, the head of the US Consulate in Munich. But I don’t know yet if it’s open to the public. Let me find out and update when I have more details.

As to why I am going to these cities and not other cities in Germany, the answer is that my itinerary was chosen by the US State Department and I’m going where they want me to go. This is not to say that I would not be delighted to see other parts of Germany at some point in the future. But for this trip, this is where I’ll be. Hey, take a road trip. Heck, you can get from Hamburg to Munich in seven hours! That’s a snap.

So that’s my itinerary. As noted I will update when I get more information, particularly for Saarbrücken, Freiburg and the second day in Munich.

See you there!

(PS: As of this writing, Der Wilde Planet has been the #1 science fiction book on Amazon.de for a full week. Dear Germany: I totally love you so much. See you soon, folks.)

The Big Idea: Jennifer K. Chung

Quick — you have to write a novel in three days. What do you do? What do you do? Jennifer K. Chung knows: She wrote her novel Terroryaki! for the 3-Day Novel Contest that takes place each year — and won the contest. Along the way Chung learned what writing under intense pressure can do to your story (and to your brain). What does it do? And what does it mean for the tale you’re trying to tell? Come find out!


The International 3-Day Novel Contest has been called many things, and it probably deserves all of them — “bizarre”, “the world’s most notorious literary marathon”, “a fad”. Held annually over Labor Day weekend, it’s exactly what it sounds like — you write a novel in three days. It’s like National Novel Writing Month, without the month.

Going into the weekend, I knew two things: I wanted to write about family, and I wanted to write about chicken teriyaki.

Coming out of the weekend, I learned that three days and no outline may produce unexpected results.

Chicken teriyaki is near-ubiquitous in Seattle. It’s still got nothing on coffee, but there’s more teriyaki than Italian. There’s more teriyaki than seafood. There’s more teriyaki than sushi. In Seattle, chicken teriyaki is unavoidable, but few people have written about it. Yet, its omnipresence can make one… obsessive. Noticing. Wondering, “How can that intersection possibly support three teriyaki joints?” They’re as bad as Starbuckses.

Minor detail: I’m a vegetarian. Perhaps it’s its forbidden nature that consumed me. So I puked it out of my system — I wrote a character who could obsess about chicken teriyaki on my behalf. Teriyaki by proxy, I suppose.

She’s a sister with a sister, like me. It’s a relationship I know quite well, though we’re on opposite sides of the dynamic (Daisy is a younger sister; I’m an older sister). I’ve lived with my own sister for most of my life, and I wanted Daisy to feel that mixture of affection and baggage that you get from growing up with someone so closely.

She’s Taiwanese-American, like me. She didn’t have to be, but it made the family easier — not because Daisy’s parents are my parents, nor Daisy’s sister my sister, but so I could start with a cultural baseline for experiences. Besides, it’s not like the literary world has a glut of Taiwanese-American protagonists.

She’s obsessive (like me..?). When she’s not slinging chicken at her part-time teriyaki gig, Daisy is on the lookout for new restaurants to try. Daisy’s eaten at most of the teriyaki joints in Seattle, and she has an opinion on every single one. She’s a teriyaki specialist with a blog full of detailed restaurant reviews. After a chance meeting in a suburban parking lot, Daisy is obsessed with finding a certain teriyaki truck — a ghostly truck, operated by a cursed soul. Think the Flying Dutchman, except he’s running a Seattle food truck staffed by the damned. It’s not so outlandish; food trucks are gaining traction in the city, and everyone knows Jesus Christ made Seattle under protest (as the street mnemonic goes).

Okay, maybe a little outlandish. Daisy reacts the only way she can, the same way any other young female slacker would — by asking out loud, “Is this guy for real?” And, of course, by trying to visit the truck enough times to write a thorough review.

Sometime during the contest, I also discovered a plot about Daisy’s sister getting married — much to my chagrin. I’m an unmarried, ambitious, thirtysomething woman, and that wasn’t the story I’d meant to write. Still, it kept the sisters busy when they weren’t chasing down a damned (but tasty) food truck which had been forsaken by God, and it let me explore the family relationships further. So it goes.

But let this be a lesson about writing freely under intense pressure — you might be dismayed by what you find. Or maybe you’ll just make yourself hungry.


Terroryaki!: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Learn more about the 3-Day Novel Contest.

Why Ellen Ripley is a Problem for Science Fiction Film

Over at FilmCritic.com today, I talk about who is the best female science fiction film character in history (you should be able to guess from the picture and headline) and why that’s actually a problem for science fiction film — not for the character herself, but what it means for the genre. Check it out and as always feel free to leave your thoughts and comments there.