Denvention, Day 3

Would have posted earlier, but I only just today got Internet.

I’m very much enjoying Denvention. Sessions have been interesting and informative with lots of big name authors, agents and editors providing advice. One thing about advice is that once you hear it, it often makes so much sense you think, “Why didn’t I realize that before? It’s so simple!” John Scalzi, Michael Kabongo (agent) and Mary Robinette Kowal (Nebula nominee) gave a really funny panel on schmoozing that included, “What is a great elevator pitch?” Mary’s pitch for one of her current novels is “Jane Austin — with magic!” Just having a couple of examples like that is really helpful. So instead of the one I thought of earlier for my novel (“an adventure fantasy in which a journeyman thief is politically manipulated into. . . “) I’m thinking of, “adventure fantasy with thieves and con men.” Maybe I can still work on it (my daughter, Heather — a wonderful writer in her own right — could probably make it better), but at least it’s shorter and hopefully gets to the cool part sooner. Let’s hope I get a chance to try it out.

As for shmoozing, I’ve done a little. I had dinner last night with Edge Press publisher Brian Hades, and up-and-coming authors Ed Willett and Adrian (KA) Bedford. The day before, our table included L.E. Modesitt. Yesterday, I was on hand when friend, writer and OnSpec editor, Barb Galler-Smith learned that her first book has been picked up by Edge Press and will likely see its launch at Anticipation World Con in Montreal next summer. Very exciting news!! I also touched base with Analog editor Stanley Schmidt (who suggested I sit on a few panels — which I will be doing tomorrow), good friend Rob Sawyer, and generous mentor, Mike Resnick. Today, I signed copies of Tesseracts Ten and Tesseracts Eleven with Randy McCharles, a wonderful SF humorist whose stories appear in Tess Eleven and upcoming in Tesseracts Twelve. Afterwards, I volunteered at the SFWA table.

Tomorrow I sit on a panel on “Writing in Spite of Your Environment,” followed, of course, by the Hugo Awards (keeping fingers crossed for Rob’s book, Rollback). Looking forward to it!

Sale to Analog!

Sometimes the news comes thick and fast. I was thrilled a week ago to receive a letter from Stan Schmidt, editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, telling me he was buying my latest short story. I had the good fortune to meet Stan a year ago at Worldcon in Los Angeles when I was invited to the Analog / Asimov party as one of the new contributors to Asimov’s. Asked if I had a story for him, I was able to say it was in the mail. Alas, “Tomorrow and Tomorrow” was too “bleak” for Stan–hey, I’m Canadian!–but it was subsequently picked up by Holly Phillips for Tesseracts Eleven, which will be out later this month.

So, I sent Stan “The Right Chemistry,” a short, funny piece that made him laugh out loud, but wasn’t what his readers expect science fiction to be. I had been reading Analog all along, of course, but I got out all my old copies and re-read the short stories, trying to analyze what the commonalities might be. Then I wrote “Back” specifically for Stan, and put it in the mail.

Months passed.

One night I came home from work and checked the mail. There was an envelope in my own handwriting, and I thought, “Oh, which one rejected me?” I only had two stories out in circulation at the time. I opened the flap and saw the “Analog” letterhead and thought, “Stan had that story a long time; I really was hoping he was going to buy it.” Oh, well. Then I read the letter. His first three words were “I’m buying BACK!” Needless to say, I had to jump up and down a few times before reading
the rest of the letter. He had a couple of edits for me, which I sent off within the week.

Ahh. Good times.

Sale to Tesseracts Eleven!

“Tomorrow and Tomorrow” is a post-apocalyptic story about a family that finds themselves self-sufficient in terms of their energy and food needs, yet facing their ultimate demise. A mother and her children struggle with, and face, their own cultural prejudices to create hope for the future.


I’ve just sold my second story to Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine.

“Paid in Full” is a look at the relationship between humans and the insects that feed off of them. More details to follow.