Pixel Scroll 3/6/17 Holy Pixels, Scrollman!

(1) FAME AND FORTUNE. Mark Lawrence, who contends there is a close correlation between the number of Goodreads reviews a book has and sales, has created a series of graphs that illustrate the number of GR reviews received by various segments of top-selling fantasy books.

The level to which A Game of Thrones outsells the rest of the field is quite staggering, particularly when the publication date means this difference will *increase* significantly when converting figures to a sales estimate.

But when we widen the field of that fantasy lens still further to include urban fantasy, paranormal romance fantasy, YA fantasy, literary fantasy and fantasy written for children… even the mighty GRRM is dwarfed.

(2) BAD NEIGHBORS. In The Australian, James Bradley reviews Stephen Baxter’s Massacre of Mankind, where H.G. Wells’s Martians come again.

As before, the attack begins in England. This time the Martians arrive in greater numbers, establishing a beachhead and overwhelming Britain’s armed forces. But this is only the first phase. With England secured, a second wave arrives, attacking cities around the world with ruthless and terrifying efficiency.

At his best Baxter produces big-picture Clarkean science fiction of a very high order. And while he could never be accused of being a high stylist, novels such as his Xeelee sequence or his recent Flood/Ark and Proxima/Ultima duologies are exhilaratingly accomplished exercises in hard science fiction. The Massacre of Mankind is a more intimate creation, and perhaps because of that takes obvious pleasure not just in pastiching Wells’s style, but the science and technology of the original novel’s setting.

Baxter has huge fun imagining a solar system informed by the theories of the “discoverer” of the Martian canals, Percival Lowell, and others about planetary evolution.

The narrative structure of the original, in particular the extended prelude to the actual attack, lends it a gorgeous elegiac power. While the decision to reproduce that here makes The Massacre of Mankind overlong, the intertextuality is frequently surprisingly entertaining. This is most evident in flourishes such as the complaints of several characters about the inaccuracy of Walter’s original account (and the almost-cameos by the “man of the future”, Wells himself), but it has its serious side as well.

(3) REBOOT. Dean Wesley Smith says Pulphouse Fiction Magazine is coming back.

As you can see from the pictures, we are doing an Issue Zero again this time that will be limited and part of a Kickstarter later in the summer. First issue comes out in January 2018 and the magazine will be quarterly, with about 70,000 words of short fiction every issue. It will be the size and shape of Smith’s Monthly.

I will be mixing some of the stories from the old Pulphouse days along with brand new fiction. I figured most of those older stories have long been forgotten and they need a new life. For each story we will push the author information and be clear to the reader if the story is new or if a reprint, where the story was originally published.

The magazine will have an attitude, as did the first run. No genre limitations, but high quality writing and strangeness.

(3) THE BOOK IS CLOSED. I reported yesterday that three actors are leading the wagering as favorites to become the next Doctor Who. Now Den of Geek says one has become such a popular choice that one UK bookmaker has stopped taking bets on him.

Peter Capaldi is leaving Doctor Who at the end of the year, and incoming showrunner Chris Chibnall is the man tasked with finding his replacement in the TARDIS.

As ever, it’s tough to put much stock in what bookies say on the matter. But, nonetheless, the latest story to emerge from Ladbrokes is an interesting one: they’ve stopped taking bets on Kris Marshall landing the gig.

The My Family, BT adverts and Death In Paradise star, who recently left his role in the latter, has become such a favourite with punters that Ladbrokes have decided to pull the plug and stop accepting bets.

“A surge of punters have backed Marshall so we’ve had no choice but to close the book,” Ladbrokes’ Alex Donohue told the – sigh – Daily Mail. (You really don’t have to click that link and show them any support.)

“If he does get the gig,” Donohue added, “the bookies will be exterminated first.”

…The bets-being-suspended-on-Kris-Marshall story in no way confirms that he, or anyone, has got the part.

(4) DATLOW BOUND FOR ANTIPODES. Every year Canberra-based SFF fans “get together to celebrate everything creepy, geeky and fantastical” at Conflux, and the lucky International Guest of Honour at Conflux 13 will be Ellen Datlow.

We have to keep pinching ourselves to make sure this is real, but (deep breath) Conflux 13 is bringing none other than Ellen Datlow to Australia!!!

Ellen Datlow has been editing science fiction, fantasy, and horror short fiction for over thirty-five years as fiction editor of OMNI Magazine and editor of Event Horizon and SCIFICTION. She currently acquires short fiction for Tor.com. In addition, she has edited more than ninety science fiction, fantasy, and horror anthologies, including the annual The Best Horror of the Year, Lovecraft’s Monsters, Fearful Symmetries, The Doll Collection, The Monstrous, Children of Lovecraft, Nightmares: A New Decade of Modern Horror, and Black Feathers.  Forthcoming are, Hallows’ Eve (with Lisa Morton), and Mad Hatters and March Hares (stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There).

Conflux 13 will be held September 29-Ocober 2 in Canberra.

(5) FIGHT TO THE FINISH. Unbound Worlds brings back Cage Match. Mark-kitteh comments: “SF character cage matches. I think the Dune sandworm is a bit of a ringer though – how would they even get it in the cage?”

What the hell is Cage Match?

Great question. A long time ago, on an internet far, far away, there was a website called Suvudu, which had been founded by some editors at Del Rey as a place to nerd out about sci-fi and fantasy. In the barely remembered year 2010, those editors decided it’d be a real kick to pit their favorite SF/F characters against each other in a fight to the death, and it’d be even MORE of a kick if they brought in some authors to write short scenes illustrating how they thought those fights might play out. And on top of that, they invited users to come vote on the outcome of those fights.

And apparently you all liked it, because we’re still doing it seven years later.

(6) OSBORNE OBIT. TCM’s Robert Osborne is mourned by Steve Vertlieb:

Robert Osborne passed away this morning at age 84. He’d been in ill health for some time. Robert was the face of Turner Classic Movies since its inception, and was a wonderful fountain of enthusiasm, sincerity, and palpable adoration of classic cinema. Those of us who watched the cable movie channel these countless years came to look upon Robert as a friend, a tireless champion of the arts, and as the very definition of integrity. We all knew that he’d been ill, but were afraid to ask about his telling absence of late from the network. A true motion picture historian, Osborne’s warmth and passion for films and their creators will be sorely missed by movie lovers everywhere. Rest In Peace, Robert. Your own star shall shine ever brightly among a luminescent galaxy of stars.

(7) TODAY’S BIRTHDAY BOY

  • March 6, 1928 — William F. Nolan

(8) CREATED IN 7 DAYS. Skyboat Media wants to raise $7,000 via Kickstarter to create an 11-hour audiobook of Queers Destroy Science Fiction.

With your help, if we can fund in 7 days, Skyboat will be able to produce an 11 hour digital audiobook for you of the short story and flash fiction portions of Lightspeed Magazine‘s QUEERS DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION! It will be a glorious vocal celebration of inclusivity, diversity and all things science fiction-y!

KICKSTARTER’S ALL in 1: We are doing this for only one week. Our project is aligned with Kickstarter’s theme of 1s and 0s; this means we are offering only digital rewards.

The book was published by Hugo winning anthologist John Joseph Adams and guest edited by Seanan McGuire.

So far they have raised $1,263 of the $7,000 goal.

(9) CASTING CLASH. At ComicsBeat Heidi MacDonald tracks the issue — “Finn Jones leaves Twitter after trying to explain why a white Iron Fist isn’t problematic to an Asian person”.

Don’t get me wrong, Jones has a right to talk about his show, but when he explained to an Asian person, Geeks of Color’s Creative Director, Asyiqin Haron, how to feel about race…he got busted whitesplaining. Then, when the heat got too much for him, Jones just deleted his twitter account.

Pretty much the same thing happened when Tilda Swinton and Margaret Cho had a tense email exchange over the Ancient One

(10) FAUX-MEN COMICS. Trae Dorn at Nerd & Tie says “The Fake X-Men Comics From ‘Logan’ Are Incredible”.

When Logan director James Mangold asked Marvel comics if he could include X-Men comics in the final Hugh Jackman Wolverine installment, he was told he could as long as they weren’t any real comic books. To create the old-school style books for the movie then, Mangold reached out to Joe Quesada and Dan Panosian to create the pages of the books for the movie….

They’re all, frankly, fantastic, and really capture the feel of the X-Men books from the 1980s. I love the way they look just close enough while retaining a slightly off aesthetic letting you know this is another world. It just adds to the fabric of a world which just feels lived in.

There’s a gallery with the post.

(11) THE FLAW IN THE OINTMENT. It’s a hell of a lot more entertaining when somebody else is on the receiving end of these pleonasms. Jonathan McCalmont unleashes “Rabid Cuddlers” at Ruthless Culture.

…Unfortunately for the puppies, while it must have been comically easy to convince a bunch of teenaged nihilists to troll the Hugo awards, it was never going to be easy to convince basement-dwelling trolls to set aside their Japanese pornography long enough to read a bunch of over-written Catholic fantasy novels. The fact that Gamergaters turned up to harass liberals but didn’t stick around to spend money explains why prominent puppies have  downplayed their involvement, decreased their ambitions, and failed to step back from the movement in time and wound up being forced to repeatedly beg for financial support from their dwindling fanbase…

…The puppies’ experiences as nerd-fuhrers may well come to define their adult lives but their flirtations with moral entrepreneurship failed to secure them the kind of following that might provide access to the lucrative world of conservative cultural commentary. Even worse, their attempts to cultivate a right-wing alternative to the stuttering multiculturalism of mainstream genre spaces appears to have resulted in little more than a handful of underwhelming blogs supporting the work of a few self-publishing authors….

…The social and ideological instabilities of the puppy movement should come as no surprise once you realise the gulf that separates adolescent edge-lords  from a bunch of stupid old men who want fandom to go back to the way it was in 1953. What is surprising is the speed at which a movement whose ruthlessness once made international news has been reduced to bleating about politeness and passing out internet hugs. Liberal genre culture may be ponderous, self-serving, and morally confused but it was never quite that pathetic….

(12) ABOUT. Who doesn’t enjoy a flash of humor at the end of an author bio? Here’s the last line of Kendare Blake’s

She lives and writes in Kent, Washington, with her husband, their two cat sons (Tybalt and Tyrion Cattister) and their red Doberman dog son, Obi Dog Kenobi.

[Thanks to JJ, Mark-kitteh, Cat Eldridge, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Steve Davidson.]

Dean Wesley Smith Interview

Dean Wesley Smith

Dean Wesley Smith

By Carl Slaughter: Dean Wesley Smith is a busy guy. He publishes, he writes, he teaches workshops, he operates a collectables bookstore chain. He writes 80,000 words a month for his own magazine. And he’s training for a marathon.

CARL SLAUGHTER: Why launch your own magazine?

DEAN WESLEY SMITH: I suppose it just seemed like a good idea at the time. In reality, as I was getting started firing back up my writing after making a many-year transition from media and ghost writing, I needed some sort of really crazy goal. I tend to work well with crazy goals.

So one day I was glancing through my digest collection (I have pretty much every digest in science fiction, mystery, and western put out from 1943 until 2000 or so) and I noticed the Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine. Then I picked up a copy of the Zane Gray Western Magazine. For some reason, the thought hit me that wouldn’t it be fun to fill entire issues of magazines as some of the pulp writers did at times with pen names in the 1940s and 1950s.

And from there the crazy idea started. My magazine would be the same size as the monthly Asimov’s magazine, only I would write it all. A full new novel, four or five short stories, a novel serial, and other stuff, all written by me. My wife, Kristine Kathryn Rusch was the one who came up with the name Smith’s Monthly.

Now, 36 issues later, I haven’t missed a month. 36 novels, about 140 short stories, and numbers of nonfiction projects as well, including a golf-humor book.

CS: Are your stories all speculative? If not, what other genres?

DWS: My roots are in speculative fiction, but I write across the board. That comes from my ghosting days for New York publishers. They would call me and ask me to write a book because some famous author was sick and I needed to write that. I figured I could write anything with a little study, but I must admit Cozy mysteries are tough and I might have to slash my wrists if forced to write Regency Romance.

But in Smith’s Monthly most stories (except the mystery stories) have an element of speculative fiction or Twilight Zone elements to them.

CS: Any ongoing series?

DWS: I have a bunch of series.

Poker Boy is a goofy superhero series that has only had one novel but about thirty-five short stories.

I also have a time travel western series called Thunder Mountain with a dozen books in it and a space opera series called The Seeders Universe series. Plus there is a mystery detective series where a bunch of retired Las Vegas detectives play poker and solve really twisted cold cases. That’s called the Cold Poker Gang series. Plus there are other series.

CS: I see a lot of cowboy covers. Are these traditional westerns? Alternate history? Steampunk?

DWS: The western cowboy covers are all the Thunder Mountain novels. Alternate history time travel, set mostly in the west. Great fun to write, very complex since I have come up with a mathematical way of making it all work.

CS: I also see a lot of mystery. Are you active in the mystery genre? Do you sell to mystery markets? Won any mystery awards?

DWS: I have had one story published in Ellery Queen, won no awards in mystery. But I have written a bunch of thrillers. One thriller that I never really mailed out was the only book I had rights to coming into indie publishing besides my first sf novel out of Warner from 1989. So I put that one thriller in and also serialized my first novel in Smith’s Monthly, without one word changed from the Warner Questar edition.

The mystery covers are for the Cold Poker Gang novels.

CS: I also see a lot of what looks like erotica/romance? How much relationship versus how much speculative? How do you integrate one into the other?

DWS: Nope, don’t do any erotica. I did that back in the day, meaning way back in the 1980s, writing letters for Penthouse for money. No interest in writing that anymore. But most of my novels have a light romantic element to it.

CS: I also see a lot of ghost stories. What, no zombies, no vampires, no superheroes?

DWS: The ghosts are an offshoot of my Poker Boy series. Basically they are ghosts that are recruited after they die to join a team to help people.

I have all the rest of that in my Poker Boy series. Almost every issue leads off with a Poker Boy story. He and his team, which includes Front Desk Girl, Stan, the God of Poker, and Lady Luck herself save the world regularly from all sorts of fun things.

CS: How do you build a series around poker?

DWS: I wrote a thriller called Dead Money about a major professional poker player setting up a team and solving the death of his father. Never written another book in that series, but the hero of that thriller shows up at times in my Cold Poker Gang novels.

Not really around poker, just a way for a bunch of retired detectives to get together to work on cold cases.

CS: Are all the stories written exclusively for the magazine or are there also reprints?

DWS: At first I wrote exclusively for the magazine, then decided that stories that had been in DAW and Baen anthologies over the years should be brought forward. Readers didn’t see most of those stories twenty and thirty years ago. Now I have used Smith’s Monthly to gather most of my main published fiction together, including stories published originally in F&SF.

I do not put in any of the horror stories I published way back in the 1980s and early 1990s. I was nominated twice, I think, for a Stoker Award, but don’t feel those stories fit in Smith’s Monthly, so they are vanishing into the dust of time.

All novels are written originally except for the two I mentioned. I don’t have any others I own rights to out of the hundred plus novels I wrote for traditional publishers over the years.

CS: Are you still selling to speculative markets or are all your speculative stories going into your magazine?

DWS: At the moment everything is just going into my own magazine except for two or three a year that are for invite anthologies. I keep threatening to start sending out other stories. But I have my own magazine, so can’t figure out why I should.

CS: How many stories go into each issue?

DWS: Four or five short stories. If the novel is very short, down around 45,000 words, I will put in six short stories. Also a serial novel or serial nonfiction book most issues as well.

CS: How many total words?

DWS: Every issue ranges from 65,000 words to 80,000 words. A few have been larger. About the same size as an Analog Magazine.

CS: Any plans to accept submissions?

DWS: Nope, just my stuff. I read slush for a lot of years with Pulphouse and with Star Trek: Strange New Worlds anthology series. Never again will I read slush.

CS: What’s the business model?

DWS: I sort of look at every issue of Smith’s Monthly as a stand-alone collection of my work. So I have 36 of them out now. No repeats of any stories from any issue.

So they are all available in paper and in electronic format from any sales place in the world. And they sell regularly. Not many copies per issue, but when you add up sales from around the world and 36 issues, it’s a pretty good amount of money every month. Surprises me at times, actually.

Also, we do subscriptions to the magazine in either paper or electronic format.

And I have a Patreon page that supports my blog and every person there gets a copy of Smith’s Monthly as well when it comes out.

Then two months after the issue comes out, WMG Publishing Inc. publishes the novel from the issue as a stand-alone novel. Those do pretty well.

And I will be putting short story collections together starting this next year with stories from the magazine.

So lots and lots of cash streams from the magazine.

CS: What’s the marketing strategy?

DWS: I really don’t have one to speak of. I get it out everywhere and then we publish the novel.

CS: How do you crank out this kind of volume while still working on Fiction River and other fiction projects, plus workshops?

DWS: For three years now on my blog, as I have been doing this magazine, I have been doing a daily blog (haven’t missed a day) about the writing. Scares people because I basically do other things all day long and only write about three hours a day late at night. It doesn’t feel like I am doing much volume at all, but people find it encouraging. And I’m not a fast writer. I do about a thousand words an hour. It just adds up.

CS: Besides Fiction River and Smith’s Magazine, what other fiction projects are you involved in?

DWS; I am the CFO of WMG Publishing Inc, so that takes time and we do a great deal of things there. WMG has over 600 titles now. I do the workshops for free for them because I love teaching and learning. Also, we have a new magazine project planned that we will announce in the middle of this coming year. I will be the editor. Great fun.

One thing that takes a large amount of my time is WMG has two brick-and-mortar stores here on the coast. Collectable stores and one has a bookstore inside the collectable store. Comics, a few hundred thousand comics, plus toys, games, you name it. All my hobby and passion. I don’t run the stores, but I am around them all the time.

And both stories have a major eBay store. All kinds of great stuff on the eBay stores. For example, I just found something very neat we are putting on one store. It is the program book from the 4th World SF Convention in LA. 1946-47. It has 40 signatures in it of members who attended that convention. In other words, 40 signatures of first fandom fans. Amazing.

CS: Speaking of workshops, what’s going on on the workshop front?

DWS: I am doing ten, online, six-week workshops every month. They rotate through a bunch choices every other month or so. I love doing them still. The moment I start getting bored, we’ll shut them down. Full schedule is at www.wmgpublishingworkshops.com.

We also do four workshops every year here on the Oregon Coast for professional writers only. Those have writers coming in from all over the world and are fantastic fun. That schedule is up under Coast Workshops at the top of my web site.

CS: You’re approaching 70. Any plans to retire?

DWS: I suppose I am approaching 70, but actually only 66. Stuns me when I say that number and I have no idea what retirement even might be. So nope, just doing my magazine and playing in collectables.

CS: What’s on the horizon for Dean Wesley Smith?

DWS: Besides continuing to write, do my own magazine, edit a new magazine project this coming year, play and work around my two collectable stores, and help keep WMG Publishing on track, I’ve set a running goal.

That’s right, running. In the last number of years I have dropped about 70 pounds from my heaviest weight. When my friend book-collector Bill Trojan died suddenly at Worldcon in Reno, I sort of woke up. He was only a couple years older than me, but heavier.

So I still have about fifteen pounds to go, but I hope to run a half-marathon (13 plus miles) every month of 2017 until November when I will run a marathon.

I figure that if I can do 36 issues in 36 months of my own magazine, I can run a measly 26 miles.

So that’s what is in the future for me. Thanks for having me.

Pixel Scroll 10/11 Slaughterhouse Hive

(1) C. E. Murphy is “home from Octocon” with several good stories.

I brought about eight pounds of fudge to the con, and passed it out to the attendees of the Golden Blasters film festival on Friday night. Probably the best two bits of that were saying to people, “If you’re allergic to anything except gluten you can’t eat this, but it’s gluten-free,” and having one woman LIGHT UP when she was told it was gluten-free and safe for her to eat. (Eggs, dairy, corn, nuts: basically all those things go into my fudge unless I’m making Special Batches.) The other best bit was handing a box of vanilla-and-cranberry fudge over to my friend (and guest of honour!) Maura McHugh, who doesn’t like chocolate and who put on an expression of Noble Acceptance of Not Getting Fudge when I came through waving the batch of chocolate fudge. But I was prepared for her, and she shrieked and leapt up and hugged me. 🙂

(2) A six-part Frankenstein horror series starring Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean has been acquired by A&E for broadcast in the U.S., according to Variety.

The Frankenstein Chronicles was created by British production house ITV, and features six hour-long episodes set in 1827 London. Bean plays inspector John Marlott, on a search for a murderer who leaves behind a trail of mutilated body parts which have been assembled into complete human forms.

Set in 19th century London, the show will include plenty of gas lamps, horses, and opium — a bust of an opium den is reportedly how Bean’s character stumbles upon the trail of Dr. Frankenstein, and or his monster, in the first place.

But does Sean Bean survive the first season?

(3) The other day I ran a news item about Dean Wesley Smith, and in his latest post, “Writing workshops: caveat emptor”, Brad R. Torgersen says how much he learned at the Rusch/Smith workshop he attended.

One of the best things my wife and I ever did, was pony up some cash for my first writing workshop. Having endured years and years of rejection letters, by 2008 I was hoping to bust out of a serious slump. My wife asked the question, “What else can we do?” I’d never done workshops before. They were too expensive, and they required too much time away from work and home — especially the king of all science fiction and fantasy workshops, Clarion. But it was precisely because I’d never done a workshop before, that my wife and I determined to get me to one. She asked me which workshop looked best, for a “get your feet wet” event, and I chose the weekend-long Kris and Dean Show being put on in Lincoln City, Oregon, at the eclectic Anchor Inn — by Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith. This was June of 2009. It turned out to be something of a watershed event, for me as an aspiring professional. In two delightfully exhausting days, Kris and Dean ran the table: from matters of craft, to matters of publishing, as well as self-promotion, book-keeping, personal writerly habits, known pitfalls, and of course myths and conventional (false) wisdoms.

I walked away feeling like I’d learned more in one weekend than in all the many hundreds of hours I’d spent reading “How to write books” books.

Torgersen, noting that most people need to be cost-conscious, offers practical advice about how a beginning writer can decide what workshops will meet his or her needs.

(4) Where better to make revelations about Gotham than at this weekend’s New York Comic Con?

Paul Reubens, the actor best known for his iconic role as Pee-Wee Herman, will play The Penguin/Oswald Cobblepot’s father in “Gotham” season two, star Robin Lord Taylor revealed during the show’s panel at New York Comic Con.

“He will be showing up very soon,” Taylor teased, before letting his fan enthusiasm out. “Pee-Wee Herman is playing my dad! What the hell? Oh my god!”

Fittingly, Reubens has already played the role of the Batman villain’s father before — he appeared as Tucker Cobblepot in 1992’s “Batman Returns.”

(5) Another George R.R. Martin work has been optioned for television – “Cinemax Orders SKIN TRADE Script”.

I am very excited to announce the Cinemax (HBO’s sister company) has optioned the television rights to “The Skin Trade,” the offbeat “werewolf noir” novella I penned back in the late 80s. The deal is closed, and Cinemax has ordered the pilot script. This being Hollywood, of course, you never know where things will end… but if they like the script, we’ll shoot a pilot, and if they like that, hey, who knows, maybe we’ll get a series on the air. Which would be very cool. I have always thought there was a TV series (or maybe a feature film) in Willie Flambeaux and Randi Wade….

“The Skin Trade” has had a storied, and complex, publishing history. It was originally written for NIGHT VISION 5, the fifth volume of the prestigious annual horror anthology from the late lamented small press Dark Harvest, where it appeared together with original contributions from Dan Simmons and Stephen King, some stellar company. The novella was very well received, and went on to win that year’s World Fantasy Award.

More recently, the novella was purchased by Mike the Pike Productions, who played a big part in taking the project to Cinemax. To handle the adaptation, script the pilot, and produce the show (should we get a greenlight), we’ve tapped a terrific talented young scriptwriter named KALINDA VAZQUEZ, whose previous credits include work on PRISON BREAK and ONCE UPON A TIME….

(6) Europa SF profiles Science Fiction Studies Special issue On Italian Science Fiction.

Here is the direct link — Science Fiction Studies #126 – Volume 42, Part 2 – July 2015, SPECIAL ISSUE ON ITALIAN SCIENCE FICTION, Edited by Umberto Rossi, Arielle Saiber, and Salvatore Proietti.

(7) Science fiction writer Patrick S. Tomlinson is quoted in the recent Washington Post article “Most gun owners support restrictions. Why aren’t their voices heard?”

Once again, their voices are missing from the debate.

Gun owners who favor tighter restrictions on firearms say they are in the same position after the mass shooting in Oregon as they have been following other rampages — shut out of the argument.

The pattern, they say, is frustrating and familiar: The what-should-be-done discussion pits anti-gun groups against the National Rifle Association and its allies, who are adamantly opposed to any new restrictions on weapons…..

“There’s this perception that people are neatly divided into folks who want an M1A1 Abrams battle tank to drive to work and those who want to melt every last gun and bullet into doorstops,” said Patrick Tomlinson, a science-fiction writer and gun owner in Milwaukee who favors universal background checks and longer waiting periods for gun purchases. “There seems to be no middle there, but I know there is. I’m in it.”

Tomlinson has two novels out with a third on the way, and his short fiction has appeared in anthologies.

(8) Slate blogger Marissa Visci answers the question, “What Does It Mean When a Book is Stamped With the Words ‘Author’s Preferred Text’?”

Sifting through Slate’s mailroom recently, we found a new edition of Neil Gaiman’s first novel, Neverwhere, with three words printed beneath the title on its glossy cover: “author’s preferred text.” It’s not the first time those words have graced a Gaiman cover—you’ll also find them on the 10th-anniversary edition of American Gods. So we wondered: What does this mean? What is an “author’s preferred text?” And what makes one text more preferred than other texts?

It turns out that the “author’s preferred text” is the director’s cut of the literary world, only far less ubiquitous. The definition is, in part, pretty self-explanatory: It’s the version of a particular work that the writer prefers, editorial interference be damned. The phenomenon is not limited to Gaiman, though he may be its most frequent practioner. Stephen King released a mammoth new edition of The Stand, subtitled Complete and Uncut, in 1990, in which he not only restored gargantuan passages that had been cut in the editing process, but moved the story’s time period ahead by a decade….

For Gaiman, the “author’s preferred text” is, in part, a way of restoring some of the text that was lost in translation during its Americanization. One thing that the new edition reinstates is some of the humor that Gaiman claims was eliminated from the initial U.S. version, as he wrote in his intro:

My editor at Avon Books, Jennifer Hershey, was a terrific and perceptive editor; our major disagreement was the jokes. She didn’t like them and was convinced that American readers would not be able to cope with jokes in a book that wasn’t meant solely to be funny.

(9) And Neil Gaiman will be appearing on stage, unencumbered by editors, at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Center in Long Beach on November 14. Details here.

The bestselling and award-winning author—whose notable works include the comic book series The Sandman as well as novels Coraline, Stardust, American Gods, The Graveyard Book, and extends to screenplays, song lyrics, poetry, journalism and multimedia—appears for one inspiring evening!

(10) Efforts to restore an old B-29 to flightworthiness continue to pay off.

Doc is a B-29 Superfortress and one of 1,644 manufactured in Wichita during World War II. Since 1987 when Tony Mazzolini found Doc on sitting and rotting away in the Mojave Desert, plans have been in the works to restore the historic warbird to flying status to serve as a flying museum.

They now have all four engines running.

(11) Honest Trailers – Aladdin has been created to commemorate the movie’s 25th anniversary.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, David K.M. Klaus, Roger Tener, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Brian Z.]

More Is Better For Dean Wesley Smith

Smiths-Monthly-Cover-13-web COMPDean Wesley Smith is celebrating his second anniversary writing a new novel for every issue of Smith’s Monthly, a magazine that consists only of his own fiction, over 60,000 words per issue.

At the moment he produces novels in four major series, including the time travel Thunder Mountain novels set in the old west, the galaxy-spanning Seeders Universe series, the urban fantasy Ghost of a Chance series, and the superhero series staring Poker Boy.

Smith reflects in his introduction to the 24th issue:

Occasionally, back in the old pulp days, one writer would fill an issue of one magazine or another, often with stories written under pen names.

And a few authors, Lester Dent to name one, wrote a novel a month for years.

But no one had tried filling a monthly magazine before every month.

Yes, I am that crazy.

Smith blogs daily, too, and in today’s post offers a unique metric for indie author sales success.

So what are good sales now? Everyone seems to have some idea, some made-up number in their head that they will be happy with. (And they never hit it, of course.)

Plus that number often has nothing to do with business and real accounting.

So one more time into some basic business numbers. Even if you think you might know this, read it again. Trust me, it will help.

Example:

I write a novel. 40,000 words. It takes me 40 hours at $50.00 per hour (rate I pay myself for sitting and having fun making stuff up. Figure your own time and hourly rate.)

So my time cost is $2,000.00. I have set costs of proofing and cover art of $300.00.  And I have other costs of $200.

So for the sake of this example, I have $2,500.00 investment cost in a novel. That’s my investment in the property. (As if I spent that much to go buy a house on a corner to rent. Yes, copyright is a form of property.)

I want to make a 10% annual rate of return on my investment. By any standards in any business, that’s a damn fine rate of return.

So I need to make $250.00 PER YEAR to get that rate of return.

Or about $21.00 per month in profit from sales.

Needless to say, Dean Wesley Smith is not someone who feels it is detrimental to an indie author’s career to write more than three novels a year…