Huge Ads With My Books In Them Make Me Happy

People keep sending me copies of the ad that features Redshirts in it, and I have to admit that I think it’s pretty damn cool that Audible using the book as an example of the genre in their advertising. Yes, it’s advertising Audible primarily, but it’s advertising me and my book as well, and every time the ad goes up somewhere, I get to be there too. For example:

Hey, you know how often a science fiction writer gets a big-ass billboard in New York City advertising his latest book? The answer is: Infrequently! At best! So thanks, You know how to make at least one of your writers feel all nice and shiny.

While we’re on the subject of Audible and Redshirts, hey, look! Redshirts was listed as one of’s best science fiction works of 2012. Can’t complain about that, either.

The Albee Agency Using Testimonials From Authors the Authors Did Not Give

The Albee Agency purports to be a book publicity agency that will get you and your book in and on all manner of media outlets, including TV, magazines and newspapers. To bolster those claims, it includes testimonials from authors, like these:

The problem? Chuck Wendig didn’t give that testimonial. Neither did Myke Cole. Neither did Maureen Johnson.

There’s a word for falsely attributing words to someone else in order to convince people to use your business: It’s called “fraud.”

I think if you’re a writer looking for a publicist, you might want to avoid the Albee Agency.

Update, 4:30pm: The quotes from Myke and Maureen and Chuck have magically disappeared from the Albee Agency site! Good thing I took screenshots!

Update, 8pm: Promoting this comment from Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware:

More detail on this mess at Writer Beware:

One important point to make: even if there had been no testimonial fakery, this would still be an outfit to beware of. Red flags aplenty.


Whatever Careens Wildly Down the Streets of Social Media, Scaring the Cats

In an attempt to curry favor from those of you who live in the shiny new high-rises of Facebook or Tumble more than you visit the decrepit husk of the blogosphere, I have in the last week created accounts for Whatever on Facebook and Tumblr, which will alert you when new entries have been posted here for you to peruse.

Here is Whatever: The Blog on Facebook. Like it!

Here is Whatever Tumblr on Tumblr. Tumble it!

Both of these join Whatever’s Twitter feed, BlogWhatever. Follow it!

Or, you know, you can just show up here on the actual blog if you want to. Hey, I want you to be happy. Pop in however you like, I’ll be doing my thing regardless.

The Big Idea: Martha Wells

Martha Wells’ richly imagined Books of the Raksura series reaches a climax in the latest installment, The Siren Depths. And while the adventure takes place on a fantastic world far away, many of the themes in the book are rooted back here in the real world, and with Wells’ own personal history. She’s here to look back, and forward.


The Siren Depths is the third novel in the Books of the Raksura series, adventure fantasies set in the Three Worlds.  It ties together and ends the story begun in the first two books, The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea.

Like a lot of my books, The Cloud Roads dealt with themes of isolation and loneliness.  The main character, Moon, had to pretend to be something else in order to survive and was afraid to show who and what he really was.  In that book, he finds his people, and despite fears that he has been alone too long to fit in anywhere, he manages to find a place among them.

The next two books, The Serpent Sea and to a larger extent The Siren Depths, deal with what happens after the happy-ever-after ending.

Like a lot of people, I did not have a Hallmark card childhood, and even now I can tell that it still affects the way I think and react to people.  So in these books I wanted to explore the ways that the past affects the characters’ perception of the present.  And I wanted to show how Moon, who saw his whole world destroyed and lived for years in isolation, and who survived by a talent for deception and pretending to be something he wasn’t, would cope in what was supposed to be his normal environment. He has to learn how to trust his new, large, and somewhat dysfunctional family.  His place in Raksuran society is also a tricky one, since he is a consort, the only fertile male Raksura capable of breeding with the queens.  He’s gone from being an isolated loner to someone with a high position in a matriarchal society, who has some difficult and sometimes violent political waters to navigate.  He has to face the fact that it may take him a long time to learn how to trust, and that he may never entirely fit in because of it.

There were times in my own life where anger and resentment is about the only thing I had to keep me company.  It can be very hard to give up, even when the source of it is long gone.  To a large extent, The Siren Depths is really about confronting your past.

Moon has found his footing in the court of Indigo Cloud, when another court claims him and he has to leave the only place that ever felt like home.  His queen, Jade, swears she will come after him and bring him back, but is he really capable of trusting her to keep her word?  He also has to face the people who he believes abandoned him to die as a child.  But Moon has been living off his anger and resentment for a long time; even after he hears the real story, it’s still hard for him to give it up and face what really happened.  Especially when he discovers that he’s not the only one scarred by those events who is still living in the past.  And the Three Worlds are a pretty dangerous place in the present, too.

The Siren Depths: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s LiveJournal. Follow her on Twitter.

Whatever Holiday Shopping Guide, Day Four: Fan Favorites!

For the first three days of the Whatever Shopping Guide 2012, I’ve let authors and creators tell you about their work. Today is different: Today is Fan Favorites day, in which fans, admirers and satisfied customers share with you a few of their favorite things — andyou can share some of your favorite things as well. This is a way to discover some cool stuff from folks like you, and to spread the word about some of the things you love.

Fans: Here’s how to post in this thread. Please follow these directions!

1. Fans only: That means that authors and creators may not post about their own work in this thread (they may post about other people’s work, if they are fans). There are already existing threads for traditionally-published authorsnon-traditionally published authorsand for other creators. Those are the places to post about your own work, not here.

2. Individually created and completed works only, please. Which is to say, don’t promote things like a piece of hardware you can find at Sears, shoes from Foot Locker, or a TV you got at Wal-Mart. Focus on things created by one person or a small group: Music CDs, books, crafts and such. Things that you’ve discovered and think other people should know about, basically. Do not post about works in progress, even if they’re posted publicly elsewhere. Remember that this is supposed to be a gift guide, and that these are things meant to be given to other people. So focus on things that are completed and able to be sold of shared.

3. One post per fan. In that post, you can list whatever creations you like, from more than one person if you like, but allow me to suggest you focus on newer stuff. Note also that the majority of Whatever’s readership is in the US/Canada, so I suggest focusing on things available in North America.

4. Keep your description of the work brief (there will be a lot of posts, I’m guessing) and entertaining. Imagine the person is in front of you as you tell them about the work and is interested but easily distracted.

5. You may include a link to a sales site if you like by using standard HTML link scripting. Be warned that if you include too many links (typically three or more) your post may get sent to the moderating queue. If this happens, don’t panic: I’ll be going in through the day to release moderated posts. Note that posts will occasionally go into the moderation queue semi-randomly; Don’t panic about that either.

6. Comment posts that are not about fans promoting work they like will be deleted, in order to keep the comment thread useful for people looking to find interesting gifts.

Got it? Excellent. Now: Geek out and tell us about cool stuff you love — and where we can get it too.

The Human Division Episode Release Dates + Cover Art Reveals + More!

Lots of news about The Human Division to get to today, so let’s just dive in:

One: The Human Division begins its eBook episodic run on Tuesday, January 15, 2013, with the release of “The Human Division, Episode One: The B-Team” in DRM-free eBook form at most major eBook retailers, including Apple, Amazon and Barnes and Noble (all of whom right now have the entire episode run available for pre-order). A new episode will be released every Tuesday through April 9th. Tor was worldwide rights to the English-language version, so wherever you are on the planet, you should be able to get the episodes as they are released: I see them on the local versions of Amazon in the UK, France and Germany, for example. Each episode is priced at 99 cents in the US (69 pence in the UK, EUR .79 in France and Germany, etc).

Two: Each episode, in addition to my words and stories, will feature new, original, fantastic cover art by John Harris. You see the art for Episode Two (“Walk the Plank”) above. If you would like to see even more incredible John Harris episode cover art, visit, io9, GeekDad,, and at some point in your day. And be prepared for awesome.

Three: When each episode is released, writer and Internet raconteur Ron Hogan of will lead a discussion of the episode over at, which will include mini-interviews with me, THD editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and others involved in the production. It’ll be a great way of getting a behind-the-scenes look at The Human Division as well as a way to connect with other fans of the episodes.

Four: For those of you with an audiobook preference, yes, there will be audiobook episodes as well, from Audible, which I believe will be released simultaneously with the eBook episodes. More details on those to come.

Five: Want to know more about each individual episode? Here’s the (spoiler-free) write up on each, along with their release dates:

Episode One: The B-Team (1/15/13): Colonial Union Ambassador Ode Abumwe and her team are used to life on the lower end of the diplomatic ladder. But when a high-profile diplomat goes missing, Abumwe and her team are last minute replacements on a mission critical to the Colonial Union’s future. As the team works to pull off their task, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson discovers there’s more to the story of the missing diplomats than anyone expected… a secret that could spell war for humanity.

Episode Two: Walk the Plank (1/22/13): Wildcat colonies are illegal, unauthorized and secret — so when an injured stranger shows up at the wildcat colony New Seattle, the colony leaders are understandably suspicious of who he is and what he represents. His story of how he’s come to their colony is shocking, surprising, and might have bigger consequences than anyone could have expected.

Episode Three: We Only Need the Heads (1/29/13): CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson has been loaned out to a CDF platoon tasked with secretly removing an unauthorized colony of humans on an alien world. Colonial Ambassador Abumwe has been ordered to participate in final negotiations with an alien race the Union hopes to make allies. Wilson and Abumwe’s missions are fated to cross — and in doing so, place both missions at risk of failure.

Episode Four: A Voice in the Wilderness (2/5/13): Albert Birnbaum was once one of the biggest political talk show hosts around, but these days he’s watching his career enter a death spiral. A stranger offers a solution to his woes, promising to put him back on top. It’s everything Birnbaum wants, but is there a catch? And does Birnbaum actually care if there is?

Episode Five: Tales From the Clarke (2/12/13): Captain Sophia Coloma of the Clarke has a simple task: Ferry around representatives from Earth in an aging spaceship that the Colonial Union hopes to sell to them. But nothing is as simple as it seems, and Coloma discovers the ship she’s showing off holds suprises of its own… and it’s not the only one with secrets.

Episode Six: The Back Channel (2/19/13): The Conclave is a confederation of four hundred alien races — many of whom would like to see the Colonial Union, and the humans inside of it, blasted to extinction. To avoid a conflict that neither side can afford, Conclave leader General Tarsem Gau appoints Hafte Sorvalh to resolve an emerging diplomatic crisis with the humans, before the only acceptable solution is war.

Episode Seven: The Dog King (2/26/13): CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson has one simple task: Watch an ambassador’s dog while the diplomat is conducting sensitive negotiations with an alien race. But you know dogs — always getting into something. And when this dog gets into something that could launch an alien civil war, Wilson has to find a way to solve the conflict, fast, or be the one in the Colonial Union’s doghouse.

Episode Eight: The Sound of Rebellion (3/5/13): The Colonial Defense Forces usually protect humanity from alien attack, but now the stability of the Colonial Union has been threatened, and Lieutenant Heather Lee and her squad are called to squash a rebellion on a colony world. It seems simple enough — but there’s a second act to the rebellion that finds Lee captive, alone, and armed with only her brains to survive.

Episode Nine: The Observers (3/12/13): In an effort to improve relations with the Earth, the Colonial Union has invited a contingent of diplomats from that planet to observe Ambassador Abumwe negotiate a trade deal with an alien species. Then something very bad happens to one of the Earthings, and with that, the relationship between humanity’s two factions is on the cusp of disruption once more. It’s a race to find out what really happened, and who is to blame.

Episode Ten: This Must Be the Place (3/19/13): Colonial Union diplomat Hart Schmidt is back home for Harvest Day celebrations — to a family whose members wonder whether its youngest son isn’t wasting his life clinging to the lowest rung of the CU’s diplomatic ladder. When his father, a legendarily powerful politician, presents him with a compelling offer, Schmidt has to take stock of his life and career.

Episode Eleven: A Problem of Proportion (3/26/13): A secret backdoor meeting between Ambassador Ode Abumwe and the Conclave’s Hafte Sorvalh turns out to be less than secret as both of their ships are attacked. It’s a surprise to both teams — but it’s the identity of the attacker that is the real surprise, and suggests a threat to both humanity and The Conclave.

Episode Twelve: The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads (4/2/13): United States Diplomat Danielle Lowen was there when one of her fellow diplomats committed an unthinkable act, which had consequences for the entire planet. Now she’s trying to figure out how it happened before it can happen again. Putting the puzzle pieces together could solve the mystery — or it could threaten her own life.

Episode Thirteen: Earth Below, Sky Above (4/9/13): At last, the Earth and the Colonial Union have begun formal discussions about their relationship in the future — a chance for the divisions in humanity to be repaired. The diplomats and crew of the Clarke are on hand to help with the process, including Ambassador Ode Abumwe and CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson, both of whom were born on Earth. But not everyone wants the human division to be repaired… and they will go to great length to make sure it isn’t…

Six: For those of you who prefer print, the hardcover edition of The Human Division will arrive May 14, 2013. And yes, at this point we are planning a tour to support its release. No more details than that, as we’re in the very early planning stages.

Seven: What? You want to see more cool John Harris episode covers? Well, I don’t blame you. Okay, a couple more for you.

Seriously, how spectacular are these? Super spectacular. If I do say so myself.

And those are your update for The Human Division for today.