Posts Tagged ‘Doorways to Extra Time’

Clockwork Alchemy Schedule

Friday, May 27th, 2016

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Ahoy, fellow adventurers, if you’re interested in tales from a traveler who’s voyaged far and wide across the sea of unending stories, yet somehow returned to the shores we know, you can come listen to me talk at Clockwork Alchemy this year – I’m on four panels!

Saturday
4PM: Overcoming Writer’s Block
Scheduled Presentation Time: Saturday 4pm – 4:50pm
Location: Author’s Salon (Monterey Room)

Sunday
10AM: Writing Victorian Sci-Fi
Scheduled Presentation Time: Sunday 10am – 10:50am
Location: Author’s Salon (Monterey Room)

12 Noon: The Science of Airships
Scheduled Presentation Time: Sunday Noon – 12:50pm
Location: The Academy (San Martin Room)

2PM: Organizing an Anthology
Scheduled Presentation Time: Sunday 2pm-2:50pm
Location: Author’s Salon (Monterey Room)

I’ve given the “Science of Airships” before, and have done panels similar to “Writing Victorian Sci-Fi” and “Organizing an Anthology”, but “Overcoming Writer’s Block” I’ve not presented before to a public audience, so it should be interesting!

Come check it out!

-the Centaur

DOORWAYS is on sale!

Friday, November 21st, 2014

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DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME, the anthology I edited with Trisha Wooldridge, is now on sale for 99 cents on Kindle! What a deal! If you ever wanted to know what would happen if you got an extra hour in the day, now’s your chance! And apparently this has done well enough for the anthology that it’s bubbled up in the Kindle lists:

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Any day where something I wrote or edited is running neck and neck with Ray Bradbury is a good day.

-the Centaur

It was a good weekend …

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

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… and not just because I sold 22 copies of my books at Clockwork Alchemy. Though that was a big part of it, the sales themselves aren’t what really mattered to me; it was that 22 copies of my books are in people’s hands, and they were in people’s hands because for the very first time, I had an author’s table.

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For the four days that I sat behind that author’s table, behind a fort of my books and my postcards and my wife’s steampunk gears and shelves and even a small tiger, I became part of a community of people – and not just even the wonderful people at the Clockwork Alchemy author’s alley, whom I hope to see again for years and years to come.

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No, I became a part of the broader community of science fiction authors, connecting with their readers through science fiction conventions, the way I myself first really connected with the science fiction community, after many years of reading alone. I’ve been a published author for years, and written in a small community for longer, but now I feel connected as never before.

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This is a new level of interaction, a new level of connection, a new opportunity for a whole family to create an author’s delight by buying their books and holding them over their heads like mouse ears. Somehow, everything feels more real to me, and I am more inspired than ever before to keep writing and to get the ideas in my head out … and into yours.

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I hope we both enjoy it! God bless,

-the Centaur

I Have Landed at Clockwork Alchemy

Saturday, May 24th, 2014

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I have landed at Clockwork Alchemy. (Technically, I arrived yesterday). In 11 minutes, I am appearing on a panel on Real Women in the Victorian Era, even though it is not listed on my personal schedule.

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Oh, and I almost forgot: this is my very first booth of my own!

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More in a bit…

-the Centaur

The Weird Experience of Marketing Yourself

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

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This Memorial Day weekend, I will be at the Clockwork Alchemy conference, appearing on three panels (Real Women in Victorian Times Saturday at noon, Avoiding Historical Mistakes Sunday at noon, and Victorian Technology, Sunday at 1) and giving one talk (my old standby, The Science of Airships, Sunday at 4).

Since I won’t be at my table the whole time, I decided to print up a series of postcards for all of my books using the service at Moo.com, which I and my wife have found to be great for printing customized business cards with a variety of artwork on the cover. I decided to do one for each book, showing the cover on one side and a blurb on the back.

But then I discovered that, just like for the business cards themselves, while you can have many different covers on the front, you get only one choice for the back. So what should go on that single back cover? What should it market? Then I realized: I don’t have a book coming out right away. These cards actually have to market … me.

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Ulp.

More precisely, the cards have to market my work. But I’m not a single-series author; I can’t (yet) pull a George R. R. Martin and just say “author of Game of Thrones,” especially not at a steampunk convention when my most prominent series, Dakota Frost, is actually urban fantasy. “Anthony Francis, author of Dakota Frost – who? Author of what? Ok, fine … but why is he here?”

So I have to list not just one series, but all of them, and not just list them, but say what they’re about.

After some thought, I decided to use some of my own comic art that I’d previously used on my business cards as a backdrop, but to focus the content of the cards on my writing, not my comics (sorry, f@nu fiku and Blitz Comics … there just wasn’t enough room on the cards or poster), unifying all of my books under a theme of “The Worlds of Anthony Francis”. I feel like breaking out in hives when I write that. It sounds so damn aggrandized and pompous. But strictly speaking … it’s accurate.

One of my worlds is the fantastic space of the Allied universe, where genetically engineered centaurs hop from world to world like skipping stones in the river (collected in the anthology STRANDED). Another is the hyper-feminist alternate history steampunk adventures of Jeremiah Willstone (collected in the anthologies UnCONventional and DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME). And yet another is the world of Dakota Frost, Skindancer, and the magic tattoos she can bring to life (FROST MOON, BLOOD ROCK, and the forthcoming LIQUID FIRE). And I hope you choose to read all of them! Enter the worlds, indeed.

But if I want people to read them, I need to tell people about them, in terms that make people, I dunno, actually want to read the books. Normally it’s a publisher who writes that copy, but they’re generally marketing a book, not me. I don’t yet have a publicist, and even if I did, the entire point of me is to do as many of the tasks of creative production myself as is practical, so I can speak at least quasi-intelligently about the process – case in point, the graphic design of the postcard above, which will be a blog post in its own right. But this isn’t about that part of the process; it’s about the feeling.

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One thing I’ve learned is that no-one knows that you write unless you actually tell them about it, and no-one buys what you write unless they know it can be bought. SO I have to do at least the first stab at this all by myself (not counting help from cats). I have to try to summarize my work, to bite the bullet and actually sell it, and to package that sales language up in ways that get it out to people – starting with a series of postcards to put on my table. And oh, yes, to blog it: to finally lift my head far enough above the waters to shout, yes, world, I am here, and no, I don’t need a life preserver: I need you to buy some of my books.

It still feels weird saying that.

I guess I’ll have to get over it.

-the Centaur

Pictured: the back of the postcards I printed for my table, featuring my own art; me, in a potential author publicity picture; and Gabby, helping me organize my book files and promotional materials.

Jeremiah Willstone Is on Her Way

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

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At long last, I have sent to the publisher my fourth completed novel, JEREMIAH WILLSTONE AND THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE: A Story of Love, Corsets, Rayguns, and the Conquest of the Galactic Habitable Zone.

This has been a long time in coming – in part because I had the not-so-bright idea of doing a related anthology, DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME, which has put me a solid year behind on my other writing projects – and in part because I had a lot of work to do. Lots of authors put their manuscripts through heavy revision, but the way I track changes gives a pretty clear view of my process:

Draft History
Started: September 7, 2009
Rough Draft: July 13, 2011
First Draft: March 10, 2012
Beta Draft: March 25, 2012
Beta Read: December 1, 2013
Gamma Edit: December 12, 2013
Gamma Draft: February 1, 2014

What’s less clear is the amount of research that goes into these books. For the story “The Doorway to Extra Time” I read parts of over 20 books on time travel. For THE CLOCKWORK TIME MACHINE, with its alternate histories and their intricate relationships, I read far more – dozens and dozens of books and hundreds and hundreds of web pages.

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Now all that’s done, and the book is off to Debra Dixon at Bell Bridge Books. Hopefully I’ve learned from previous edits what it takes to make a great book; if not, I’m sure she’ll tell me.

As always, I leave you with an excerpt:

Lightning gouged a chunk of the wainscoting an inch from Jeremiah Willstone’s head and she hurled herself back, bumping down the stairs on her tailcoat, firing both Kathodenstrahls again and again until the oak doorpanels were blasted into sparks and splinters.

Her shoulders hit the landing hard enough to rattle her teeth, but Jeremiah didn’t lose her grip: she just kept both guns trained on the cracked door, watching foxfire shimmer off its hinges and knobs. The crackling green tracers crept around the frame, and with horror she realized the door was reinforced with newly-added iron bands. She’d intended to blast the thing apart and deny her enemy cover, but had just created more arrowholes for him-or-her to shoot through.

Jeremiah muttered a curse: the doors weren’t supposed to be reinforced! The Newfoundland Airship Conservatory was a relic, near sixty years old—and electric pistols had barely been invented when it was built in the 1850’s, much less Faraday armor. Yet this lot of miscreants had managed to erect in a few days barriers proof to the most modern thermionic blasters. In over nine years as an Expeditionary fighting the mad men and women who sought to let Foreign monsters onto the Earth, she’d never encountered a force as well-prepared as Lord Christopherson’s.

It made sense—the man had been in the Victoriana Defense League, and had their full playbook—yet there were dark rumors that he’d been bankrolled by Restorationist forces who threatened not just the Crown, but the Liberation Jeremiah held so dear. Given her history with the man, she hadn’t found the rumors surprising—but the complete lack of women soldiers among his ‘footmen’ practically confirmed them. Lord Christopherson wasn’t just in love with the monsters: he wanted to upend the whole Victorianan order. The man had to be stopped.

As the foxfire dissipated, the crackling continued, and Jeremiah’s eyes flicked aside to see sparks escaping the broken glass of her left Kathodenstrahl’s vacuum tubes. Its thermionics were shot, so she tossed the electric gun aside with a curse and checked the charge canister on her remaining Kathodenstrahl. The little brass bead was hovering between three and four notches. Briefly she thought of swapping canisters, but a slight creak upstairs refocused her attention.

No. You only need three shots. Keep them pinned, wait for reinforcements.

Now that Jeremiah is on her way, I’m returning my attention to LIQUID FIRE, which has a due date of April 1st, with a hopeful publication date in August. Wish me well, and hope that I have a picture like the following for LIQUID FIRE ready in the next month or so…

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-the Centaur

On Their Way…

Monday, November 18th, 2013

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In only tangentially related Nano news, the beta copies of LIQUID FIRE are on their way to beta readers, and signed copies of DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME are on their way to the winners! Huzzah. I hope you enjoy them!

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Not that things are going poorly. They’re actually going quite well… UPDATE:

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Quite well indeed.

-the Centaur

The DOORWAY opens at last…

Monday, August 26th, 2013

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At long last, DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME is released! (Well, tomorrow morning, anyway):

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In our busy world of meetings and microwaves, car radios and cellphones, people always wish they could get an extra hour in the day. But what if they could? Doorways to Extra Time is an anthology that explores ways to get extra time (be it an hour, a day, or a decade) and the impact it would have–whether upon a single life, a family or an entire world.

I’m very proud of this anthology and all the great stories and authors: the proactive Erica Cameron, the across-the-pond Martin Feekins, lil ol me, pastcracker L.M. Graham, timekeeper R.E. Gofstein, catwizard Melina Gunnett, the learned Walter H. Hunt, my friend Betsy Miller, Susan “In the nick of time” Mittmann, timemaster Brenda Moguez, mysterian Jenny Moore, demonkeeper Ira Nayman, time twister Errick A. Nunnally, the estimable Jody Lynn Nye, the not-photoshopped Kate Saturday, my other good friend Gayle Schultz, Rich “The Closer” Storrs, gameplayer Keshia Swaim, not-for-sale Aimee Weinstein, and my coeditor and friend Trisha J. Wooldridge … whew!

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Trisha, my coeditor, commissioned the above awesome piece of stained glass from Renee Goodwin at Stained Glass Creations and Beyond … isn’t it beautiful? We’ll be raffling it off at the DOORWAYS release party, Sunday, September 1 at 1pm at Ray’s in the City in Atlanta … just up the road from the Hyatt, one of the main hotels of Dragon Con!

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After Dragon Con, we’re having a panel reading by our Bay Area authors at Books Inc in Mountain View:

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I’m sure there will be more events, giveaways, and so forth in the coming weeks and months. Like or share our Facebook and Google+ pages for more information, or just go to Amazon and get a copy.

Phew. 2 years of work, and 2 minutes to the cafe closes. So … enjoy!

-the Centaur

Um … it’s not out yet, gang

Monday, August 5th, 2013

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I appreciate the reviews … but the book’s not out yet. Only the editors, copyeditors, closer, formatter and publisher have seen it yet, and I’m pretty sure that none of them jumped the gun. ;-) Hang on a bit… DOORWAYS will be out at the end of August from Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble, and will have its premiere during Dragon Con.

Unless, of course … you have your own doorway to extra time. In that case … review away.

-the Centaur

The Doorway opens wider

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

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The proof copy of DOORWAYS TO EXTRA TIME has arrived. I will be reviewing it on the plane and, God willing, we’ll have it in time for the premiere at Dragon Con.

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I almost didn’t get this. By an odd coincidence, I was heading to the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, one of the Dragon Con hotels, right when the proof arrived at the publisher, so they sent it to the hotel, hoping that I could review it over the weekend.

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I got off the red eye, scouted locations for LIQUID FIRE, HEX CODE and another Edgeworld project, then checked in to the hotel. No book. I went to the rehearsal dinner. No book. The next day came and went, a good friend got married, but still, no book.

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Even when I checked out Sunday, still, no book. I and my friends had a great time at the post wedding brunch, visited the Georgia Aquarium, and ate an awesome meal at Legal Seafood, and then started ferrying friends to the airport … then a friend suggested I call the hotel.

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The proof had been accidentally sent to hotel security.

So at the last minute, I swung by, hung out with the concierge until the guard showed up, then showed my ID to security. Moments later, DOORWAYS was in my hands.

Sometimes, it all works out.

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Time to check out the DOORWAYS and make sure they’re safe to open. Wish me luck!

-the Centaur