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Wiscon Ho!

I’m at the airport again (there is going to be a lot of this over the next few months), heading for Wiscon. Here’s where you can find me at the con:

  • Fri, 9:00 am–12:00 pm: Writers’ Workshop (advance registration required)
  • Sat, 4:00–5:15 pm: Polyamory Won’t Fix Your Love Triangle in Conference 5
    Debbie Notkin, W. L. Bolm, Ariel Franklin-Hudson, David D. Levine. We all get sick of love triangles in our fiction. We often find ourselves wishing the characters in these triangles, and other assorted shapes, would just go poly and love each other freely. But we also know that poly just doesn’t always work like that in reality. Not everyone has the propensity towards polyamory. Sometimes the genders and orientations just don’t match up. And very often, some of the characters who are in love with the same person couldn’t stand to be in the same room together even before they fell for the same person—much less attempt an honest and intimate relationship together. Are there good dramatic (or comedic) reasons to employ love triangles? What other ways could we attempt to fix them? Do they need fixing? How would making them poly change them?
  • Sun, 10:00–11:15 am: Dispatches from the GlitterShip! in Conference 2
    Claire Humphrey, Keffy R. M. Kehrli, Gary Kloster, David D. Levine, Gabriel Murray, Gabriela Santiago. GlitterShip is a podcast and magazine of LGBTQIA+ short fiction. Come listen to a selection of works by authors whose stories have appeared on GlitterShip!
  • Sun, 2:30–3:45 pm: Exposition in SF/F in Conference 5
    Ellen Kushner, Eleanor A. Arnason, Eugene Fischer, Colleen Booker Halverson, David D. Levine. From “infodump” to “the edges of ideas,” readers and writers of science fiction and fantasy have a number of ways to describe exposition. But how do we actually write it? What’s the difference between an “infodump” and a well-written description? What does “show, don’t tell” actually mean? What are the specific exposition challenges that we face as writers of speculative fiction–and how do we solve them?
  • Mon, 11:30 am–12:45 pm: The SignOut in Capitol/Wisconsin
    Come and sign your works, come and get things signed, come and hang out and wind down before you leave.

Arabella publicity news!

Daviddlevine 2016 May 20 bHoly cow, things are really heating up for Arabella of Mars!

I just got back from the Nebula Awards weekend and Book Expo America in Chicago. Although I did not win a Nebula, everything else went great. Between the two conferences I gave out nearly 100 signed ARCs of Arabella to booksellers, librarians, educators, bloggers, writers, and readers, many of whom were very enthusiastic about the book. Best moment of the weekend was when a girl of about 12 came to the SFWA table at BEA looking for an age-appropriate book. None of the books on the table were appropriate for her, but I pulled one of my two remaining copies of Arabella out of my bag and asked if the cover appealed to her. She said it did, very much so, and when I inscribed and signed it and gave it to her she literally squee’d and clutched it to her chest. There was also much excellent programming and hanging out with writer-folk.

Arabella was just named one of “Summer’s Hottest Beach Reads” by supermarket tabloid Woman’s World, circulation 1.6 million. It’s in the current (May 30) issue, available at a check-out stand near you. Arabella was one of 14 titles listed and only two SF/Fantasy! I’ll have to try that Japanese hair breakthrough, just as soon as I’ve beaten stress with a burger.

Tor is also doing a Goodreads Giveaway of nine copies of the book. You can enter here until June 17.

I have also added six new appearances to my Upcoming Appearances page just in the last week: the Locus Awards; a Reddit AMA; readings at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, Eagle Harbor Books on Bainbridge Island, and SF in SF in San Francisco; and a one-day workshop for Clarion West in Seattle.

Here’s my current list of upcoming appearances for the year:

And there might even be a few more! I just had to turn down an invitation to a library conference in Arkansas due to a conflict.

There are also three more cool things in progress which I cannot yet share with you, but I have seen early drafts of all of them in the past day and they just give me chills.

Arabella of Mars launches July 12! You can pre-order it now from Amazon, Powell’s, or the University Book Store.

Upcoming appearances

I’m at the airport again, heading for the Nebula Conference in Chicago, where I will learn whether or not “Damage” won the Nebula Award. I will also appear on programming:

  • Thursday May 12, 2:00-3:00 pm: Interfacing with Conventions in LaSalle 2 with Lynne Thomas, Dave McCarty, Michael Damian Thomas, and Michi Trota
  • Friday May 13, 8:00-9:30 pm: Mass Autographing in Red Lacquer Room. Free and open to the public. I will have ARCs of Arabella of Mars to give away!
  • Saturday May 14, 8:30-10:00 pm: Nebula Award Ceremony in Empire Room.
  • Saturday May 14, 10:00-11:00 pm: Nebula Alternate Universe Speeches in Empire Room.
  • Sunday May 15, 10:00-11:00 am: When Is It Time for a New Agent? in LaSalle 2 with Kameron Hurley.

As long as I am in Chicago, I will also be appearing at Book Expo America, signing ARCs of Arabella of Mars Friday May 13, 1:00-2:00 pm at autograph table 7.

This trip kicks off a busy, busy summer of travel and appearances. More items are still being added, but you can mark your calendars now for these:

Hope to see you at one or more of these!

Starred review for Arabella!

I had a colonoscopy yesterday. The prep was pretty miserable, but the procedure itself was nothing (literally — I slept through it). Four small polyps were found and removed. I’m awaiting lab results on those, but the doctor said they were of no concern whatsoever.

The other piece of good news I received when I got out of the recovery room was this: Publishers Weekly gave a starred review to Arabella of Mars!

Arabella, a human teenager born on Mars, is catapulted into adventure in a tale that cleverly combines some of the most intriguing elements of steampunk and classic science fiction. In an alternate 1812, Arabella’s mother moves her three daughters to Earth and away from the wild influences of the Martian colony. When the family gets news that Arabella’s father has died on Mars, the headstrong 17-year-old girl disguises herself as a boy and hires on with one of the great ships that sail the solar winds between the planets, planning to protect her brother, who’s still on Mars, from treachery. Along the way, she faces privateers and mutiny, but Arabella is resourceful and courageous, gamely enduring hardship to accomplish her mission. Arabella is a fully realized character, daring and willing to risk everything to protect the brother she loves and the legacy that her father has left them. Her wits and cleverness save the ship and crew more than once in this rousing swashbuckler.

I don’t know what percentage of books get a starred review, but it’s not very large — this was the only one for a Tor book this week.

Yay!

Kate’s progress: April

Not a lot to report this month, which is good.

Kate just had another MRI and it continues stable, so we have cranked the steroids down another notch. She is now taking 2mg/1mg on alternate days, down from 8mg a day all last year. With luck we will eventually be able to get her off of the steroids and their nasty side effects completely. There is still some aphasia, and memory and cognitive issues, but they vary a lot depending on time of day, energy level, and who she’s talking to, so it’s hard to say whether they are improving or staying the same. I think there’s some improvement, but it’s slow.

Her strength and balance continue to improve; she is now getting around using only a cane, and hasn’t used the walker in over a month. She is now rated as an “independent community ambulator” by the physical therapist and has gone on a few walks by herself. Things are going well enough that she is now only seeing the PT every other week, and the naturopath every other month. As for me, I’m now on a “call me if you need to see me” schedule with my psychologist.

We haven’t had any travel in the last month, but we did see some live theatre (I particularly enjoyed “The Pianist of Willesden Lane” and the lumberjack circus “Timber!”). May will be a busy month, though: we are going to Chicago next week for the Nebula Awards weekend and Book Expo America, then to Madison two weeks after that for Wiscon, followed by a few days in Milwaukee with my dad.

Thanks to Melissa, Teresa, Joyce, Geri, Will, Patty & Sean, John, Shannon, Chip & John, Karen, Robin & Dave, Bo & Don, Marti, Sara, and everyone else who came by for a walk or a visit or shared a meal.

Me on Grimm again

Back in January, I got a call to be an extra on Grimm and, for a wonder, I was able to make it. I worked all day — and when I say “worked” I mean mostly sitting around waiting for stuff to happen — and when the episode, “The Believer,” finally aired two weeks ago I was in about one second of footage. But it was a critical second.

PREACHER: Do you feel the love in your hearts?
CROWD: Yes!

David Believer 1

PREACHER: Well, I don’t.

David Believer 2

The job of extras is to make a scene feel real. In this case it was a huge group — over 100 people — and I did my tiny part of contributing to that energy, that noise, and that “feeling” of a tent revival, even if I personally didn’t appear on camera very much, so I am satisfied with my work. I had a good time, I got paid for it, and I would do it again.

“Damage” is a Sturgeon nominee!

Sturgeon 1975 Marc Zicree 766x600I’m very pleased to announce that my short story “Damage” is a nominee for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award!

http://www.locusmag.com/News/2016/04/2016-sturgeon-award-finalists/

The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for the best short science fiction of the year was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas, and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction.

The award will be presented during the Campbell Conference Awards Banquet as part of MidAmeriCon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, to be held August 17-21, 2016 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kate’s progress: February-March

Things have continued to improve, slowly but noticeably, in the two months since I last wrote. Kate continues on 3mg of steroids and is gaining strength and balance; she is using the walker only part of the time now, and is working with a physical therapist once a week to continue to improve her strength, endurance, and stability. Also weekly: chair yoga and a scheduled walk with a neighbor (a weekly PT session via Skype is on hold due to the other party’s own health issues). She’s also been trying to do her home PT and go for walks every day. If you are in town and able to come over and walk with her, either regularly or one-off, it would be greatly appreciated.

The other steroid symptoms are improving as well: puffiness, tremor, and diabetes are all somewhat better, though she’s still taking insulin once daily and bruises easily. She does have a bit of aphasia, memory problems, and cognitive issues but they are all much better than six months ago. Speaking of which, she had her six-month follow-up appointment from the root canal she had after her fall in August. Everything looks okay, though there’s some discoloration of the tooth and sensitivity to cold.

Kate had another MRI in February and the scan looked very good, continuing to improve from the previous one. There’s no such thing as remission with this type of cancer, but the oncologist is pleased with her progress. The naturopath is also satisfied with how well she’s doing, and we’ve dropped back from monthly meetings with him to once every two months.

In general Kate is much more proactive, energetic, and “present” than before. She’s been cooking, knitting (some), picking out new plants for the garden, and considering new exterior colors for the house (I can’t believe it’s been 22 years since we painted). The weather has been lovely, which makes it easier for her to get out of the house.

In February we saw ten films in the Portland International Film Festival (my faves: “The Wave,” “Liza the Fox-Fairy,” and “April and the Extraordinary World”) and quite a bit of live theatre: “Great Expectations,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Stupid F*cking Bird,” and “We Are Proud to Present…” plus a Springsteen concert.

As for me, I’m doing well. My short story “Damage” is a nominee for the Nebula Award, and is catching a lot of buzz for the Hugo; we will see in a few weeks what the Hugo ballot looks like this year. I am still plugging away on Arabella volume 2, but hope to have a finished draft very soon. I don’t yet have book tour dates, but will be appearing at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle next Friday and the Nebula Awards weekend and Wiscon in May. No reviews of Arabella have appeared yet, but review copies have gone out and there’s already a certain amount of buzz.

Thank you to Shannon & Mark, Bo & Don, Arashi, Camille, Mara, Geri, Ulrika, Kate & Glenn, Fran, Sara, Simone, Janna, Melissa, Moria, Kris, Kurt & Lorna, John, Merillee, Ariel, Cynthia, Allan, Marc & Patty, and everyone else who helped out, came for a visit, or shared a meal.

If you are in town, please feel free to stop by for a visit, or just call and say hi.

“Discards” at tor.com, and other writing news

DiscardsI have been remiss in posting my recent writing news here. Hence, this catch-up post!

  • My new Wild Cards novelette “Discards” has just been published at tor.com! You can read it here.
  • My superhero story “Into the Nth Dimension,” originally published in Human for a Day, has been podcast at GlitterShip — narrated by me!. The full text is also available on the web to read for free. You can read or listen here.
  • I will be appearing at Emerald City Comicon in Seattle next Friday, April 8 (one day only). I’ll be on the panel “Aliens and Airships and Authors, Oh My!”, followed by an autograph session. At other times you can most likely find me at the WordFire Press booth.
  • I’ve sold an essay, “How to Sell a Novel in Only Fifteen Years,” to the nonfiction anthology The Usual Path to Publication. It comes out in June and you can pre-order it here.
  • I’ve sold Polish rights to my Nebula-nominated story “Damage” to Nowa Fantastyka.

Whew! I’ll try to be more attentive to this blog in the future.