Sandra McDonald

writing all the time

Sandra's newest book is born!
Very proud to see my latest book hit the shelves!  It's a gay-asexual thriller featuring disabled veterans, Occupy Philly, and a smidgen of the supernatural. I took a lot of risks with it. I lost a lot of sleep over it. Dreamspinner Press bought it, and did a kick-ass job with the cover and production process. It's already got great reviews on Amazon (though I can't read them) and I'm just happy, happy, happy.


This is my second book this year, with a third on the way.  My first book this year was another project I had a lot of fun with -- seriously, lots of fun, and thank you to Bold Stroke Books for bringing that into the world.  It's got fast cars, country western music, some nifty little robots and two boys falling in love. One of my favorite books ever (although they are all my favorites, in different ways).
Kings of Ruin 300 DPI

2103 has been a stressful and challenging year, but when I look at these two books I am reminded how great it is to write and share stories.

90 in 90 update
My 90 days of 90 short stories continues!  Although my color Nook died, taking all of my issues of Asimov's. Not sure if I'll go get another one. I like the Nook but I have the very cheap Kindle and an iPad, so perhaps don't need it except I did like the media capabilities and my Angry Birds app,

The 90 in 90 is on my twitter account sandramcdonald. It's helping me condense down my thought to a pithy 140 characters including the hashtags and such. I see a gender imbalance here that will be corrected next week. Except for Hauntings, the Ellen Datlow anthology, it's also skewing online, because that's what I have the easiest access to when I'm dashing about my day.

Just in terms of style, my favorites so far are Lucius Shepard's Delta Sly Honey and Steven Millhauser's Thirteen Wives: both stories are elegant, descriptive, lyrical, sensuous to the brain.

Day Date Author Title Publication
5 6/21/13 Bowes Transfigured Night Hauntings
6 6/22/13 Shepard Delta Sly Honey Hauntings
7 6/23/13 Hand The Have-Nots Hauntings
8 6/24/13 Pinsker Twenty Ways DailySF
9 6/25/13 Burch The Apartment The Collagist
10 6/26/13 Millhauser Thirteen Ways The New Yorker
11 6/27/13 Bennardo The Pentitent Beneath Ceaseless Skies
12 6/28/13 Tidhar Titanic Apex
13 6/29/13 Penn Jawbreaker Bourbon Penn

My desk, and summer reading too!

This is my desk. This is my summer.

I am woefully behind on many things.


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:

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.

On swamps, and being swamped, and Fred the alligator
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.

Best short story award - very happy
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.

Here is my pirated book
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

I am the baby veteran on io9
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. 

Last day of Blue Heaven
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. 

Hugo short fiction short shrift
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.


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."

AWP! And audio deal excitement for Kings of Ruin.
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


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