Mensa Appearances

I’ll be at back-to-back Mensa Regional Gatherings this weekend and next, and hope to see many of you at one (both?) of them.

This weekend is Boston Mensa’s Wicked Good in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. On Saturday, I’ll be speaking about “Publishing and Getting Paid in the Era of DIY and Kickstarter.” I’ll also be leading the RVC chat (Mensa business discussion).

Next weekend is Chicago Area Mensa’s HalloweeM (which I’ve never been to before). On Friday at 1pm, I’ll be talking about “A Centennial of Asimov” (celebrating Isaac Asimov’s life and career). On Saturday (at 9:30 in the morning), I’ll again be giving the publishing and Kickstarter talk. Then, at 1pm on Saturday, I’ll be participating in a round table discussion about American Mensa’s national organization.

After last weekend’s Capclave, these will be my second and third straight weekends on the road. I’ll follow them up with Philcon the following weekend (of which, more anon).

Convention Weekend: Capclave 2019

capclave_wordI’ve probably mentioned that I’ll be in Rockville, Maryland, this weekend for Capclave, but I don’t think I listed my schedule. After leaving home absurdly early Friday morning, I’ll be there, in the dealers’ room at the Fantastic Books table (open on Friday from 3 to 6pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 10am-2pm).

My panel assignments look to be:

Friday at 8pm in the Eisenhower room: “Before the Beginning” with Sunny Moraine, Jamie Todd Rubin, Ted Weber, and Allen L. Wold

Friday at 11pm in the Washington Theater room: The triumphal return of “The Eye of Argon” with Keith DeCandido, Hildy Silverman, and Michael A. Ventrella. With a multimedia presentation.

Saturday at 2pm in the Washington Theater: “Biggest Mistakes New Writers Make” with Larry Hodges, Dina Leacock, Jamie Todd Rubin, and Sherri Cook Woosley

Saturday at 5pm in the Monroe room: “Is There Still a Self-publishing Stigma?” with Gordon Linzner, Shahid Mahmud, Alison McBain, and Will McIntosh

Sunday at 12n in the Eisenhower room: “Dealing with Rejection” with Leah Cypess, Dina Leacock, and Karlo Yeager Rodriguez

Hope to see many of you there!

Visiting Open Studios; could writers do it, too?

Today, I wandered through a bunch of artists’ studios during Red Hook Open Studios 2019. A lot of creative people doing some interesting work.

My problem is the same as every time I’m looking at art, and especially at its means of creation: it looks like so much fun, I want to do that! And that! And try that! But… time, space, money… And then I’d want to do a little of each, not repeat the same thing over and over. And of course I’d want everyone walking in to my studio to go “Oooh! I need that!”

I have no idea how all these artists can afford to do what they do. They can’t all be making a living at this, can they? But the intellectual fertility of these old warehouses, subdivided into multiple little studios all haphazardly built in next to each other is so appealing.

And then the writer part of my brain said, “Hmm, wouldn’t this be interesting if, instead of visual artists, these were all writers? Imagine walking in to each writer’s studio to see what he’s working on: pile of manuscript pages strewn across a table; red, blue, black, green ink nearly obscuring the neat type-written or computer-printed pages; computer screen open on a word processing program, or quill pen lying atop a lined yellow legal pad; tufts of torn-out hair on the floor, drops of blood sweat onto the screen.… And for the more successful writers, books hanging on the walls, maybe one standing on an easel.…

Anyway, if you’re interested in visiting the real artists, the Open Studios is on tomorrow, too.

Dropping the Price on The Biggest Bounty

1515410153Presaging the publication of its sequel, The Double Bounty, on November 12, Fantastic Books has slashed the price of the ebook versions of The Biggest Bounty!

In this madcap science fictional adventure by Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano, Fiore is the (chemically enhanced) muscle; Zeus is the (super-genius) brains. Together, they’re out to become the greatest interstellar bounty hunters ever. But along the path to fame and fortune, they’ll accumulate contacts, partners, and enemies without even meaning to. It’s all part of the job, when you’re chasing the biggest bounty ever, and picking up the strangest milks in the galaxy.

So grab your copy of The Biggest Bounty today, at the low, low price of only 99 cents! After you read it, you’ll be waiting with bated breath for The Double Bounty, publishing in trade paperback on November 12, 2019 ($14.99 trade paperback, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1-5154-2400-0). That same day, we’ll release The Double Bounty as an ebook, for a limited time at $2.99.

Reviews of The Biggest Bounty:

“Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano are mad geniuses.… The Biggest Bounty is… something of a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Grand Theft Auto, with a good helping of crazy humor thrown in. The best comparison I can think of is some of the wackier works of Ron Goulart or Christopher Moore.… If you’re in the mood for a madcap ride through the galaxy’s seamy underworld, this is the book for you.” —Analog Science Fiction and Fact

“Like two mad scientists sharing a single beautiful mind, Brian Koscienski and Chris Pisano continue the legacy of comedic giants like Abbott and Costello… Martin and Lewis… Wilder and Pryor… Cagney and Lacey.… In The Biggest Bounty, Pisano and Koscienski deliver a tongue-in-cheek-de force that will take you to new worlds and leave you either clawing out your eyes or coming back for more. Either way, you surely won’t forget this magical mystery tour of farce and ingenuity.” —Jon Sprunk, author of The Shadow Saga series

Constitution Day

1515423973Today is Constitution Day, the 232nd anniversary of the day that the delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia signed the Constitution, setting the guidelines for our still-current form of government.

In honor of this seldom-recognized holiday, Gray Rabbit Publications is thrilled to announce the publication of Michael A. Ventrella’s new book, How to Argue the Constitution with a Conservative (lavishly illustrated by Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Darrin Bell).

The Constitution is the supreme law of the United States. It established our national government and fundamental laws, and guaranteed basic rights for the citizens. When it was written, it acted like a colossal merger, uniting a group of states with different interests, laws, and cultures. It superseded our first national government, the Articles of Confederation, under which the states acted together only for specific purposes, but more often disagreed. The Constitution united the whole, setting the stage for a country of freedom and cooperation. Beginning with the words “We the People…”, the Constitution provided the world with a new way of thinking about people.

Building on that foundation, Michael Ventrella helps a modern audience understand what the Constitution is (and what it isn’t), and shows us how it can relate to our daily lives. With Darrin Bell’s timely illustrations, the book offers both an honest and a snarky view of political debate in the modern world. If you’re going to discuss a topic, it helps to know what you’re talking about first.

For more on the Constitution, check out the United States Constitution Center, which is marking the day with special events and free admission.

Gray Rabbit Publications actually published the book two weeks ago, but today it is widely available, ready for reading. See this page.

I’d pick it

1617209449Publisher’s Pick is once again offering a book published by Fantastic Books at a fantastic discount. This week (and this week, only), it’s Lou Antonelli’s collection The Clock Struck None. Analog called the collection “28 little gems,” while Amazing Stories said it is “logical, believable, and thoroughly enjoyable.” And this week only (until next Tuesday), you can grab an electronic copy for the low, low price of $2.99.

From airships lost between universes, to golems winning the fight against racism, Lou Antonelli explains the many ways the world might have been, with: technology-suppressing magic, ancient civilizations, nuclear holocausts, the North American inland sea, and more. You’ll find Antonelli’s version of Brigadoon, and of the sinking of the Titanic and the Carpathia. You’ll visit alternate realities that have been hiding Neanderthals, and pick up the lost photos of what might have been. With cameo appearances by O. Henry, Robert E. Howard, and Rod Serling.

Also available this week are two classics: Jack Williamson’s The Ultimate Earth, and Leigh Brackett’s Eric John Stark: Outlaw of Mars. Get ’em while they’re hot, at Publisher’s Pick!

Convention Weekend

…because, you know, I don’t travel nearly enough. (ha)

This coming weekend, it’s back to Albany for Albacon: an intimate science fiction convention.

As usual, I’ll be at the Fantastic Books table in the dealers’ room for a bunch of hours (we’re scheduled to be open Friday from 4 to 7pm, Saturday from 11am to 6pm, and Sunday from 11am to 2pm). I’m also scheduled to appear on three panels:

Friday at 3pm (part of their pre-convention Writers’ Workshop): “How much worldbuilding is enough?” with Jim Cambias, Debra Doyle, Elektra Hammond, and Ryk Spoor.

Saturday, 8pm: “Why does bad science lead to good stories?” with Tom Easton, Carl Frederick, Elaine Isaak, and Movie Mike Oshan.

Sunday, 11am: “Asimov Centennial” with Wendy S. Delmater, Tom Easton, Carl Frederick, Vaughne Hansen, Herb Kauderer, and Barry B. Longyear.

I hope to see a lot of you there!

Galleys, ho!

galleys04sep2019Two boxes of galleys have just arrived here at the palatial offices of Fantastic Books. We’ve got The Double Bounty by Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano, and Across the Universe, edited by Michael A. Ventrella & Randee Dawn.

We’re shipping out review copies to our list today (so if you’re on the list, and don’t get yours in a week or so, let us know). And if you think you should be on that list, but aren’t, let us know. We also have electronic versions available.

Three days at home? Too much.

I got home from the Albany RG on Monday, and went to bed really early (it was an exhaustingly good weekend), slept until noon Tuesday, and I’ve been working my fingers to the bone ever since. But now, I’ve been home long enough, so tomorrow at 8:30am, I fly out of JFK to DFW for the American Mensa Committee quarterly meeting (that’s Mensa’s board of directors, for my non-Mensa friends). I’ll be in Arlington (in meetings) Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, but my flight back here leaves Sunday at 5pm. So, anyone in the Arlington area have something interesting to do Sunday morning to early afternoon? Last time I went to that meeting, I spent the Sunday in Dallas at the Sixth Floor Museum (the JFK assassination site), so that one’s done. What’s next?

#mensa

Faithless No More

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals just ruled that faithless electors can’t be punished. For more details, see this article.

To my mind, what this ruling says is that the Electoral College should operate the way it was designed to operate, and that state laws and regulations later adopted to punish faithless electors are wrong. In other words, the Electoral College is charged with electing the best President, rather than blindly following the vote of the people (actually, the Constitution doesn’t mention a popular vote).

I’m enough of a democrat to fret over the E.C. ignoring my vote, and yet I live in New York City, where my vote is completely meaningless anyway.

Actually, most of the discussion I’ve heard of the E.C. in recent years has been grumbling about the E.C. following its rules, and thus electing presidents who did not win the nation-wide popular vote. Those discussions usually come to the conclusion that either we need to make still more rules so the E.C. is not operating as it was designed, but rather carrying out some other plan; or that the E.C. should be disbanded. But if it did go back to the original plan, most of those grumbling the loudest would probably be satisfied. And I think this ruling heads in that direction. (I don’t think the Founders put much trust in the unadulterated will of the people, so they created the E.C. to temper that will with electors who could decide the people have voted for the wrong person.)