Back from the nearly dead

Tiberius Kane is coming for you, punk.

It’s been, hell, I don’t even want to think about how long it’s been. What am I working on? Shit. Pull up a chair. This will take a while. Grab a beer while you’re at it. And fetch one for me too. You don’t drink Miller High Life? It’s the champagne of beers! Says so right on the can! The girl in the moon would not lie to you! Anyway, this is hardly the Ritz-Carlton, fucko. Drink water, then. I keep it in the tap. Saves on space.

So you no doubt are wondering about that totally amazing piece of art to the right with the shit MS Paint text slapped over it. Don’t try that at home, kids. The art is from the obscenely talented Jean Sebastien Rossbach and maybe someday our paths will cross and we’ll work on something together. This is not it. This is me doing a quick cover mockup for the novel I’m going to be writing in November.

Wait, a novel in November…are you one of those *shudder* NaNoWriMo people? Isn’t that, like a cult or something? One, yes, and I’ve been doing it most years since 2005 and have “won” most of those years. Two, blow me. NaNoWiMo, or National Novel Writing Month to the initiates…I mean, um, people who haven’t heard of it, is a weird little phenomenon.

For all those people who say, “Writing a book isn’t that hard. I could write a book!” I present NaNoWriMo. Because it’s incredibly hard. But anybody CAN write a book. I sincerely believe that everyone SHOULD write a book at least once in their life. I think everyone has at least one story in them somewhere, and they only need some way to get it out.

Now writing a good book, like doing anything well, requires some combination of skill and practice and, some would argue, inspiration. And NaNo won’t teach anyone how to write a good book, exactly. But as a long-time piano player, I liken it to doing scales. NaNo is great training on how to handle your shit, how to set schedules and priorities, to increase your speed and efficiency when you find the time to write. And sometimes you’ll even get great sections out of your book. You might even get a whole, gosh darn good book. But honestly, don’t expect it. Because that’s not what it’s about. People who finish the Boston Marathon aren’t graded on a curve for form. They finish, they get celebrated.

So yes, I’m going NaNo this year. I’m writing a hard-boiled sci-fi story called No Escape from Planet Motherfucker, which was described in a twitter conversation earlier today as John Carpenter directing a Quentin Tarantino script. Put the somewhat desperate, violent crew of a low-end cargo ship on a planet where their two tickets off-planet are taken from them–the captain who has been arrested for war crimes, and the pilot who was arrested on a whim to serve the sadistic ruler. The captain has to defend himself in a series of increasingly brutal gladiator games while the crew looks for escape from a planet where the lucky die fast. It’s going to be bloody mayhem. I can hardly wait.

In the rear-view (and side) mirror, we have the very busy world of Timid Pirate Publishing. We had a perfect storm of plague and technical issues that forced the first significant delay we’ve ever had as a company. Even now, we’re trying to clear one final hurdle with Cobalt City Dark Carnival, a book that we planned to have out a month ago. Frustrating does not do it justice. I want to build a time machine and slap everyone involved with Adobe software to the fourth generation. What’s even worse is that I love this book. The stories are excellent! Plus, we mark the fiction debut of a few authors in this volume, and I love introducing new authors to the world! But it’s just one more hurdle. That’s what the stress ball and pink elephants tell me. The journey is almost over. Then I’ll be pushing it like earplugs at a Clutch show.

Also coming up, the outstanding Finding Home: Community in Apocalyptic Worlds is coming out in time for Christmas. Timid Pirate’s outstanding Editor in Chief Caroline Dombrowski has put together a stellar selection of stories from international authors, most of whom I’m thrilled to be working with for the first time. If you want a different, more hopeful take on the end of the world and what comes after, you NEED to check this book out when it’s released. If you don’t, I’ll tell the Differently-Abled Owl Bears where you live. (And before you flip out about the owl bear thing, I’m referring to a pair of pewter owl bear D&D minis owned by a friend which have sadly lost their arms. Don’t panic. They’ve been given a good home and meaningful employment.)

Oh, and for audio drama fans, the next Cobalt City Adventures Unlimited podcast script is turned in and has started with recording. Expect new episodes soon. I can’t say when. Spend this time introducing friends and family members to the award winning audio drama tales of Cobalt City’s super-heroes–the first two stories are complete and ready for listening now. We even have readings from some of our favorite stories from this year’s Growing Dread anthology–a perfect Holiday gift for the biology-inclined. And Talking with the producer soon to find out exactly when they’ll air. And I’m already looking to get things rolling for next year’s podcasts by bringing in a stable of talented writers to keep the adventures flowing through 2012.

And that’s not even mentioning the stuff I can’t talk about.

National Novel Writing Month is crazy for most people. The coming month is actually going to be relaxing for me. Like a spa.

Happy Diwali and Happy Halloween if I don’t talk to you before then!

Oh, and recycle that Miller can on your way out. Thanks!

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