(A quick note about) Reviewing for Publishers Weekly

It’s starting to get out that I’m now reviewing for Publishers Weekly, so, guess what? I’m working as a reviewer/contributor for Publishers Weekly. (Yay!)

The reviews are mostly anonymous, which means that for the most part, I’m not going to be talking about which books I’ve reviewed or the work itself. Anonymous reviews are part of what helps to keep reviewers honest: there’s nothing to be gained by bragging about giving a good review, and less to fear about being truthful, even if parts of your review are negative. I won’t talk at all about what books I’m reading this week, and even after the reviews are published, I’m not sure I (personally) feel free to say much about those.

I don’t choose which books I’m assigned, so please don’t ask me to select yours in particular. I will turn down assignments where I feel I’m biased for or against the author, and that includes anything an author/publisher/publicist/fan tries to influence me about. If you think I’m likely to give your project a better review because you know I like that author, that series, that type of thing… your best bet is to not mention it to me at all. And, if I review a book here on this site, it’ll be one I didn’t review for PW.

I took this job because I wanted a consistent reading schedule, and access to books that I might not have read on my own. It’s very part time and the checks aren’t great if you want to be paid for the time it takes to read, but the books are free, I read quickly, and the per-word rate on writing the reviews themselves is good. By reading outside of my tbr pile, and then thinking about that work critically, I’ll learn more about the craft of writing. (That’s been true whenever I’ve done reviews in the past.) I’m interested in other genres that I don’t currently write in–like romance–and other areas of SFF that I don’t currently write in. I’m hopeful I’ll discover authors who are new to me, with original stories, diverse perspectives, and new ways to tell a tale.

I think, if I do my job correctly, I’ll get a lot more than a paycheck out of this experience, and you’ll see that reflected in my own writing, somewhere down the line.

Are you 62+ and live in the US? Get a National Parks pass now!

Image courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.

Dear US friends age 62 and over: Do you already have a National Parks pass? If not, now’s the time to get one! It gives you access to 2,000+ national parks for the rest of your life. (The lifetime pass will not need to be renewed.)

August 28 2017, the price goes up to $80, but right now it’s still only $10 if you can get it onsite, or $20 if you do it online/by mail.

This is a list of all the sites, so you can see if there’s one close to you: https://store.usgs.gov/s…/default/files/PassIssuanceList.pdf

And here’s where to order it online: https://yourpassnow.com/Park…/…/senior/SeniorPassInfoCollect

The pass admits you and everyone in your car (or 3 other adults) so you can use it with your friends, grandkids, etc. This is one of those things where you might not use it right away, but it’s better to have and not spend another $70 later.

El Capitan in spring by Chris Migeon, via http://www.yosemite.com

Please tell your friends! Our National Parks are a tremendous resource, which our current administration is trying to dismantle and sell off to private companies. The more we use these parks, and show our support for public spaces, the better chance we have to protect at least some of them. I grew up near Yosemite, CA, and made some of my best memories there. I want everyone else to have that same opportunity.

Have you read my short fiction collection, WOMEN AND OTHER CONSTRUCTS? It’s free!

Published in 2013, Women and Other Constructs includes six previously published tales, plus two new ones, and–just for fun–a sonnet about a murderous robot. The “Introduction” talks about the broader themes behind the book, and “About the Stories” gives a quick look at what inspired each of them. I assembled the books myself: print layout, ebook creation, and designing the cover. It’s not long, just over 20,000 words, but it best represents my work to that point, and though I’ve evolved a bit as a writer since, I still love these pieces.

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • “Mrs. Henderson’s Cemetery Dance”
  • “Letter From A Murderous Construct and His Robot Fish”
  • “Annabelle Tree”
  • “A Cage, Her Arms”
  • “Call Center Blues”
  • “Mitch’s Girl”
  • “All The Right Words”
  • “Monsters, Monsters, Everywhere”
  • “About the Mirror and its Pieces”
  • About the Stories

You can see what other folks thought at the Goodreads page for the book. (Liked it? Please leave me a review.)

Download a bundle of all 3 ebook formats, here, or individually: ePubMobi, or PDF. You’ll have to “check out” but there’s no charge, and no financial information required.

Good news/bad news: 2 root canals next week (& 4 ways you can help)

A couple of years ago, I found out I needed a root canal. My insurance didn’t cover it, and the charge out of pocket was over $1600, so I didn’t get a root canal. The tooth hurt, and I had to avoid eating or drinking certain things on that side of my face, but there was no way for me to get it fixed. So, to me, that meant no point in complaining about it. Just deal with it and move on.

Ow.

Last year, a second tooth started to go bad, on the other side of my jaw. Still, my insurance denied coverage, and still, I couldn’t afford it on my own, so… I didn’t get two root canals. I told myself to deal with it, and move on.

Ow. Ow. (Sigh.)

Suddenly, this month, my insurance company changed their minds. I was approved! I’m getting both root canals done next week, on different days, plus crowns. Healthy teeth ahead, yay!

I can’t wait to wake up every morning without a headache, or to eat hot soup. Drink coffee without waiting 20 or 30 minutes for it to cool down enough for my poor teeth to handle. I’m thrilled.

The only problem is that my (paid) freelance work has been slow lately. I was already behind on my bills this month, and taking several days off to recover from dental surgery on both sides of my face will mean several days more of not working. I need to get caught up about $150 worth of bills before the end of the month, and of course, rent will be due on the 1st. If you can help with any of that, at all, I’d be grateful.

There’s four ways you can support me:

  1. You can send a one-time donation via PayPal. I’ll get the funds immediately, can use the money to pay bills online, and you don’t need a PayPal account to use that link. Any amount is helpful, so please don’t worry that you can’t send “enough”. It all adds up. Plus, if you contribute this way, I’ll write a flash fiction story from your prompts!
  2. Subscribe to my Patreon. Your pledge will only be billed once a month, on the 1st, which helps me to take care of things like rent and food. In exchange, you’ll get private access to excerpts from my fiction, notes on writing process, and other writing-related goodies you can’t find anywhere else.
  3. You can also contact me if you want to hire me to write for your paying gig, or visit my freelance editing site if you need any level of editing, content creation, or publishing support services. I am always looking for new opportunities, and I’m happy to provide you with quote and samples of my work.
  4. Tell your friends. Share my writing. (Share this post.) Help me get new Twitter followers, or post reviews of my work to Goodreads, or like my Facebook page. Recommend me as an editor. Follow the Twitter feed I have just for editing advice and news. Spread the word. The more people who know about my work, the more likely I am to get clients and sales.

And then I can rest easy, let my jaw heal up, and get back to work.

Thank you.

Out Now: Redshift’s radio drama adaptation of my story “That Lucky Old Sun”

Earlier this year, Redshift contacted me about my Apex Magazine story, “That Lucky Old Sun“. They’re a monthly science fiction audio drama anthology series produced by Fancy Pants Gangsters, in their third season. Redshift bought the audio rights to my story, and their cast recorded it like a old-school radio show!

Their current season includes work by  and , so I’m in great company. (All of their recordings are free to listen to — check them out!) Though I didn’t write “That Lucky Old Sun” specifically to be performed in this way, I always think about the audio quality of my work as I write, so I’m grateful other readers were able to “hear” it in the same way.

You can find Redshift’s performance of my story here.