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Sandra McDonald
love, duty and really big spaceships
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20th-Jun-2013 09:24 am - My desk, and summer reading too!
sunflower

This is my desk. This is my summer.

I am woefully behind on many things.

messy-desk1-300x300

However!  I really want to get back into a routine of reading and commenting on short fiction and long fiction and non-fiction, so I've started 90 days of Summer tweeting at twitter: sandramcdonald.com

Day 1: Clarkesworld 81, loved Paul McAuley's Dead Men Walking (Uranus moon, clones, assassins, mystery, death) and Graham Templeton's Free Fall  (student debt! Space elevators!)

Day 2: Asimov's August issue, Kris Rusch's The Application of Hope. Female space captain. I really don't need to say more, because, female space captain!

Day 3: 14 hour school day, so no post

Day 4: Lightspeed June issue, Chris Barzak's story Paranormal Romance story was wonderful. Chris is a great writer and I loved the vegan love witch on a bad date.

sunflower
This is Fred the alligator. He was in the bushes at the Castle Hotel last weekend for OASIS, the nifty little con each Memorial Day in Orlando. will_ludwigsen and I went down for the day and had a great time. Met Ben Bova and Adam-Troy Castro, plus Ruth the 95 year old poet, and chatted with Jacob Weisman and Rina Weisman, and bought some beautiful hand made jewelry from the dealer's room, and ate unhealthily at IHOP. Because, you know, road trips require IHOP.

Fred the alligator

Meanwhile, I'm swamped with email, to-do lists, schoolwork and writing plans (but little actual writing). Things have been extraordinarily hectic since April and it takes a concerted effort every day to just look at the computer, because I dread it. A swamp of anxiety and family illness has been sucking me down and choking off any serious productivity. On the other hand, I'm having fun with drawing apps on the iPad, and galley proofs are now done on my latest novel, and I can't exclaim enough about how much I love my new (to me) Dyson vacuum cleaner. No, really, I can't.

The internet is going off at noon so I can tackle some long-overdue writing.

Fred the alligator will eat me if I don't write 3000 words.
20th-May-2013 10:02 am - Best short story award - very happy
sunflower
Very happy that my story "Sexy Robot Mom" won the Asimov Readers' Award (tie) - very nice!  I was delighted when Sheila Williams told me and then I couldn't share the news until it was announced at Nebula weekends yesterday.  The story is a favorite of mine not because it continues on in the same universe as "Seven Sexy Cowboy Robots," but because it explores gender roles from a robot's point of view. And there's an intersex character. And the apocalypse. So all my favorite stuff, rolled into one.

I was especially pleased to tie with Megan Arkenberg's story "Final Exam," which is one of my very favorites from last year. It too has an apocalypse, but also feminism and wit and such a lovely structure (multiple choice exam). Inventive and smart.

The whole list is here.  Congrats to all and thank you, Asimov's readers.
5th-May-2013 09:28 am - Here is my pirated book
sunflower
Recently I've started asking for the reversion rights to The Outback Stars series, because they're out of print (as far as I can tell). The answer from Tor has been utter silence. Meanwhile, however, you can download this pirated copy!  Here's a screencap, not an actual link. Who knows what the actual file be full of.

I will note, however, that the cover by Donato Giancola is still fabulous.

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 9.21.53 AM

My favorite part is the mishmash of comments underneath it.


Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 9.25.56 AM
28th-Apr-2013 11:44 am - I am the baby veteran on io9
sunflower
io9 ran an article about sf and f writers who were in the military. Nice to be included!  Way at the bottom.  Way way at the bottom.  Because I'm the youngest  . . .

serving in the military, at io9

You know who didn't serve in the military? David Weber. Who is one of the absolute best military sf writers around. I sat with him on a panel at Oasis Con last year (the small, fun con run in Orlando each Memorial Day weekend). Weber wanted to join, and made valiant attempts to join, but was turned away for medical reasons. So he went on to become one of the smartest experts there is on military history.

Speaking of Oasis, I'll be there on Saturday this year on two panels. Other guests include Jacob Weisman, Seanan Maguire, Will Ludwigsen, and Nick DiChario. You should come. 
26th-Apr-2013 01:03 pm - Last day of Blue Heaven
sunflower
Last day of the Blue Heaven writer's retreat, and we're in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina.  This is the biggest, most tricked out house I've ever stayed at - 14 bedrooms, 14 bathrooms, a Thermidor chef's stove, a zillion TV panels with surround audio, oh my goodness. It rents for $15,000 week during the high season.  You can buy it for $3 million. It comes with an ocean, too. Here's the view from our deck.



I had many lofty plans for the week, many of which did not come to fruition, but that's okay. Last year I was incredibly prolific and this year not so much, for example. I wanted to get some running in, but the weather was nasty. I hoped to stay vegan, but that was quickly derailed and that's okay, too.

Mostly I worked on my catalog - updating covers on Smashwords and Amazon and fixing files that had some errors in them. Thinking up new covers and getting great tips from our resident designers. I did finish and post some fanfic, and worked on a new story I want to send to Asimov's, and did a lot of reading.  I soaked up conversations. Made plans. Plotted. And slept.

Tomorrow - 10 hour drive back to family, Florida and kitties. Thank goodness for podcasts. 
1st-Apr-2013 10:00 am - Hugo short fiction short shrift
sunflower
Congratulations to the Hugo nominees, including editors Sheila Williams, John Joseph Adams, Neil Clarke and Jonathan Strahan!  I'm delighted to have worked with all of them and it's great to see their work get recognized.

I am deeply disappointed that the Hugo administrators could not figure out how to get 5 short stories into the short fiction category, however.  Our field is rich with short fiction. Short fiction has been the gateway to wonder for millions of readers since the first magazines in the 1920's. It continues to be a great playground for ideas and entertainment. 662 ballots were cast. Due to the way votes are counted, however, only 3 stories are on the final category.  Representing 2 publications.

So, basically, hundreds of people wasted their time voting on short fiction because of the way votes are tallied.

There should be a solution to that.

I'm also alarmed at the lack of diversity and the repetition of names, but alarmed only in the sense of sadness for our field. I'm glad hard-working editors such as Sheila, John, Neil, Stanley and Jonathan are being recognized for their excellence and wish they could all win.

Updated:

Cheryl Morgan talks about the 5% rule

Jason Sanford calls for change

Another update:

A very lively discussion on Staffers Book Reviews including the best comment I've seen on this.

And another update:

A Drabble of Ink notes "There is enough content out there — novels, films, writers (professional and fan), publications, artists and everything else — that we shouldn’t be seeing the same names recycled again and again."
sunflower
I blinked and now it's March.  Next week is the national AWP conference (Association of Writers and Writers Programs) and I'll be going for the very first time ever. Thousands of people!  Boston!  I'm going because (a) the fabulous Erin Underwood organized a panel of MFA graduates and (b) she also organized a Stonecoast reading at the Boston Public Library and (c) Boston!  Hello, Boston!  I haven't been there since last summer's Readercon, and even then, that was Burlington.

I fly in Wednesday night.  The panel is Thursday night. The panel is Friday.  And then I'm back Saturday night.  Fast, but hotels in Boston ain't cheap and I don't want to make Mom and Dad feed the cats too long.

Meanwhile I've gotten two rejections this week - two!  Such despair and angst. But I also got to work on the cover yesterday for my ninth novel, and there's some audio deal excitement for my new release in March - delighted on that.

And speaking of March releases, here it is!  It's my head it's a secret homage of sorts to Buckaroo Banzai. I love the cover.

AWP next week!

Kings of Ruin 300 DPI
Kings of Ruin at BSB | Amazon
21st-Feb-2013 12:55 pm - Love is a blog. Er, verb.
sunflower
Brief update as I crawl out from under novel revisions and get ready to write the next novel:

- Over at Savvy Authors, I talk about loving writing. Loving rejections. Love is a verb. And all that.

- I'm sitting on some nice writing news I can't share for awhile. In the meantime, I distracted myself with updating my bibliography. 10 novels and 60+ published short stories in 10 years. That's pretty good, I think :-)

- Julia Rios had some nice things to say about me over at the Apex Publications blog. Thanks, Julia!

Meanwhile, there's a leak under my front lawn and plumbers are rotating in and out with estimates. I just want to throw money at it and fix it.

Also, I've been listening to Darshan Ambient on loop for a solid week now. Very chill.

1st-Feb-2013 10:43 pm - January Reading and Writing Report
sunflower

In January I did a poor job of tracking my reading, mostly because I was consumed with finishing the next Fisher Key novel, The Missing Juliet.  Plus the new terms started at all my schools, there's been family illness, I had some pollen-related migraines, and I had to spend a lot of time getting a big refund check that was promised to me 3 months ago by the roofer who never fixed my roof. Let's not talk about how infrequently I've made it to the gym. Anyway, 55,000 words later I'm just about done with Juliet  (and very happy with it), and other things are settling down.

I did get to Chamblins Bookmine, my favorite used book store.  Traded in $60 worth of books and spent $32.  Here's the haul, plus my own contrib copies of Willful Impropriety that came in the mail that day:

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Some of what I did read and found memorable:

- The book Don't Let Die in a Motel 6, which is by turns funny, poignant, and infuriating, as one woman loses her home, job and health.  You can see some wrong choices she's making along the way but at its heart the story is about a fallible woman in the chaos of the American recession.

- The Believer article But Never A Lovely So Real, about mostly forgotten writer Nelson Arngren - fascinating.

- In the New Yorker, John McPhee wrote well about story structure

- The YA book Secrets of my Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita, fun and fast.  My niece loves her Belles books and I picked this one up for fun. The A-list book in the picture was also about Hollywood teens, but I liked the Calonita book much more. 

- Also, for a week I also fell into a black hole of Avengers fanfic, because I heart Jeremy Renner. Some really amazing stuff out there, including very long and complex AU's. 

So far this year I have one new book coming out in March, another tbd but later in the year sometime, I'm not sure about Juliet's actual publication date, and 3 original or reprint short stories scheduled in different anthologies.  I'd say 5, but two anthologies seem to have fallen into black holes and I'm not optimistic. I have 5 other short stories on submission at various markets and 3 upcoming deadlines for short fiction markets that I'd like to get into, plus a story I'm writing for Glimmer Train's next open submission period in May. 

Onward into February!  

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