io9′s Book Club To Discuss ‘Majesty’s Dragon’

This is just a quick reminder post for anyone looking for a good online sci-fi and fantasy book club, io9′s book club will be meeting at the end of the month (4/24) to discuss Naomi Novik’s book, His Majesty’s Dragon. You have almost three full weeks to read this reasonably sized 384 page alternate history Napoleonic dragon tale if you would like to participate. Here is the synopsis for those who are curious:

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors rise to Britain’s defense by taking to the skies . . . not aboard aircraft but atop the mighty backs of fighting dragons.

When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes its precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Capt. Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future–and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature. Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

via io9.

This Week’s Writing Links

This week’s writing links feature the finalists for the 2012 Arthur C. Clark awards, the return of Game of Thrones this weekend on HBO, new agents on the literary scene, a kickstarter project that could use your help and tips on how to create great secondary characters.

Game of Thrones will start up its second season this Sunday (4/1) on HBO and for those of you that have read ‘A Clash of Kings‘, you know that it should be a good season of television. There is plenty of madness and surprise in store for the poor inhabitants of Westeros. The first season was brutal (poor little Arry) but really well done, so hopefully that trend will continue (not the brutality part, although that will continue, but the relative quality of the show). I’m really hoping that this series will continue to set the standard for literary adaptations and elevate what is expected of them in the future.

In other news, after a long hiatus from John Steinbeck, I started reading ‘East of Eden‘ for the first time and was quickly reminded how much I enjoy his writing. Sure, some people can find his stuff a little dry and all his author photos may look like cigarette ads from the 1930s, but there’s a reason that people still read his books today. His work was just that good. If you forgotten his body of work, why not go back and revisit some of it today? Or if not Steinbeck, one of your favorite authors that you haven’t revisited in awhile. If it’s truly great work, you will quickly remember why you liked it in the first place and what it brings out of you either as a reader or writer.

Links:

- Game of Thrones: Introduction to Season 2′s New Characters (io9)

- Five (spoilerish) Things I Can’t Wait To See In Game of Thrones Season 2 (tor)

- Flavorpill’s March Staff Reading Picks (flavorpill)

- Everything The Hunger Games Movie Left Out (io9)

- Kickstarter Projects That Need Help: Best Friends Forever (kickstarter)

- AV Club Reviews Heidi Julavits’ The Vanishers (avclub)

- Why Literary Fiction Isn’t Boring (writersdigest)

- Creating Great Secondary Characters (io9)

- New Agent Alert: Paula Munier Of Talcott Notch Literary (guidetoliteraryagents)

- How To Find Rather Than Make Time To Write (writersdigest)

- 3 Worst Blog Writing Blunders (makealivingwriting)

- Universal Pictures Acquire Rights For E.L. James’ 50 Shades (usatoday)

This Week’s Writing Links

This Week’s Writing Links chronicle life being breathed back into the stalled Y:The Last Man movie project, how to end a novel with a punch, a literary map of the US and Jeff Bridges’ soon-to-come book of Zen musings.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a Y:The Last Man movie, if not just for the possibility that it would expose the graphic novel to a new audience. I feel like that would be worth the price of a movie adaptation, even a bad one, if it exposes the book to new people. I certainly know there will be some people who disagree with me on that, especially since the early rumor was that Indy ruiner Shia LaBeouf would star in the lead role as Y. Ultimately, I think Y is a very difficult book to adapt to the screen, but if done correctly, it could be a really good film with the source material they have at their disposal. Although I would argue that it stands a better chance at succeeding if it maintained its serialized form ala The Walking Dead in a tv adaptation, a couple of movies could probably do it justice. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

Otherwise, I hope everyone’s writing is going well and expect that goals are being met, revisions being made confidently and new chapters being spawned as we speak. I am personally achieving none of the previously mentioned things this week, but I am taking a break to read more, watch lots of college basketball and enjoy the unusually (and somewhat suspicious) nice March weather in Chicago. And truthfully, I do not feel bad at all for taking this time off. Sometimes you just have to take a break. And now, as promised, links!

Links:

- Screenwriters Close To Signing On For Y:The Last Man Adaptation (comingsoon)

- How To End A Novel With A Punch (writersdigest)

- 12 Great Articles That Inspired Films (tetw)

- Neil DeGrasse Tyson ‘We Stopped Dreaming’ (liveleak)

- Literary Map Of The United States (petchmo)

- SAT Vocabulary From The Hunger Games (dictionary)

- Teacher’s Job In Jeopardy For Reading To Kids From Enders Game (io9)

- Star Wars Craft Book On Amazon (amazon)

- Short Film: Robots Of Brixton (sfsignal)

- AV Club Reviews Josh Bazell’s Wild Thing (avclub)

- Author Friday: Barry Eisler (catherineryanhyde)

- Jeff Bridges To Publish Book Of Zen Teachings (flavorwire)

‘The Exiles Of The New World’ Release Update

So, my book finally received a launch date for April 20th, with the release/signing happening here in Chicago at Open Books from 6:30pm-8pm that day. Stop by if you’re in the city and free. Despite the release date being over a month away, as part of a staggered release schedule, the kindle version is actually available now on Amazon. It will be on sale for a couple of days before reverting to its normal price. There is also a listing up for the book on Goodreads.

Monday’s Writing Links (2/27)

Today’s writing links include news about Japan’s proposed space elevator (and a counterpoint to the plan), news about JK Rowling’s next book, new literary agents on the scene and a list of successful adaptations of “unadaptable” books.

I have to admit, although I’m not a huge fan of long elevator rides, Japan’s space elevator plan sounds cool in concept. Although the argument against why it won’t be ready by 2050 includes an incredibly relevant point (the technology to tether the supposed “ribbon” configuration has not been invented yet), it would still be very exciting to see the thing erected during my lifetime, even though I’d be 66 by the time it goes up. I can’t hide a little bit of disappointment that it’s going to take that long, but I guess if I want to get to the moon before then, I’ll have to do it the old fashioned way. With the relative decline of NASA, the old fashioned way seems to have defaulted into hiding in Buzz Aldrin’s luggage or being Richard Branson’s butler.

It’s also nice to hear that J.K. Rowling will be returning to writing soon, with the announcement that she will be publishing a new book in the near future with her newly acquired publisher, Little, Brown. Although the subject matter of her next novel is unknown, it will be interesting to see what she will write her first adult novel about. Are we looking at an adult fantasy book or a David Foster Wallace like entry into her literary cabinet? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

In other news, links!

Links:

- Japan Plans Snail-Paced Space Elevator For 2050 (cnet)

- Why Japan Won’t Have A Space Elevator By 2050 (io9)

- 10 Great Magical Books For Adults (flavorwire)

- New Literary Agent Alert: Kat Salazar Of Larsen Pomada (guidetoliteraryagents)

- J.K. Rowling To Publish First Novel For Adults (flavorwire)

- 17 Successful Adaptations Of “Unadaptable” Books (avclub)

- SF Signal Reviews Hitchers By Will McIntosh (sfsignal)

- The Opportunities Of Self Publishing (writersdigest)

- Flavorwire’s Reading Picks For February (flavorwire)

- Who Controls Your Amazon E-book Price? (sfwa)

- Science Fiction Or Fact: Could a ‘Robopocalypse’ Wipe Out Humans? (yahoo)

Participate In Reddit's Annual Book Exchange

Just to give everyone the heads up, registration for reddit’s second annual book exchange just opened up this week and will run until the end of the month. For those unfamiliar with the program, reddit’s book exchange matches you with another participant at random that you will then exchange a book of your choice (based around interests listed in your match’s profile) with. Last year, the program saw almost 5,000 participants in 58 countries exchanging books. This year the exchange returns with purpose, as they hope to show the world that reading is an undervalued, but essential activity.

In order to do accomplish that, the exchange…

“has been partnered with DonorsChoose.org to put together a donation drive focused on getting books that redditors love into the hands of students eager to read them. We’ve also broken down the teachers’ requests into a few subreddit genres, in case a little friendly competition interests you. Visit DonorsChoose.org/redditgifts to choose a subreddit-specific project to support, or to give to any book-related project you want.”

If you need character witnesses for the program, how about the greatest non-computer based Jeopardy player of all time? Let us hear what Ken Jennings has to say about it.

Make sure to sign up today!

This Week's Writing Links (1/27)

This week’s writing links feature an 80/20 rule for self-promotion, George R.R. Martin’s Hugo recommendations (other than his own book), a potential reunion for the Monty Python cast in a sci-fi film and four techniques for creating believable villains.

There are definitely some good links this week, but how can one not get excited about a possible sci-fi Monty Python movie? It will be interesting to see how this project develops, but if they can coax everyone into showing up, it sounds like ‘Absolutely Anything‘ will be a cool fusion of Monty Python and Douglas Adams elements. It will surely be one to keep an eye on.

Also, just a quick update on the release of my book, ‘The Exiles of the New World.’ In the end, the release date is going to be shuffled a bit. We’re going to get some pre-release copies out in January/February (for reviews and kickstarter backer preorders), but the actual release for the hardcover is probably going to end up being in early spring (April/May). There is a possiblity of seeing the ebook version available a little earlier than that as part of a “soft” release, but the hardcover release in stores is more than likely going to be a spring affair.

I was really hoping that this would make the Christmas/early January release window, but since that was just barely missed, it works out to wait a bit for the Holiday stock to sell before you get things into stores, hence the spring release. I’ll keep people appraised on hardened dates if they get set, but enough nonsense about my own stuff, let’s get to links!

Links:

- Amanda Hocking Is Still An Exception To The Rule: Self-Published Authors And Big Book Deals (io9)

- Debut Author Kerry Schafer Inks Deal With Ace Books After Discovery On ‘Book Country’ (usatoday)

- George R.R. Martin’s Hugo Recommendations (grrm)

- Monty Python Members To Reunite On Sci-fi Flick ‘Absolutely Anything’ (stumbleupon)

- Paula Margulies On The 80/20 Rule For Self-Promotion (paulamargulies)

- 15 Beautiful Homes Of Famous Authors (flavorwire)

- Av Club Reviews ‘A Universe From Nothing’ By Lawrence M. Krauss (avclub)

- 4 Techniques For Creating Believable Villains (writersdigest)

- Agent Advice: Nicole Resciniti From The Seymour Agency (guidetoliteraryagents)

- SF Signal: A John Carter Primer (sfsignal)

- The Cosmic War Between Ancient Starburst Galaxies And Supermassive Black Holes  (io9)

- JA Konrath: The Myth Of The Bestseller (jakonrath)

- ‘Virga’ Book Set Sweepstakes (tor)