Geek Mountain State has an interview up with some weirdo who wrote some novels about spaceships and flechette rifles and stuff blowing up. Seems shifty to me, but if that’s your kind of thing, head on over there and read what the nerd had to say.
A reader on Amazon.com caught a detail about the jacket text for LINES OF DEPARTURE and wondered why Andrew is referred to as an officer when he was merely an acting petty officer at the end of TERMS OF ENLISTMENT, and the Kindle sample of LINES gives his new rank as Staff Sergeant. (Hey! Navies don’t use that rank!)
Here’s the explanation I provided just in case someone else starts reading LINES and gets confused as to why Mr. Grayson now has an Army rank:
In the almost five years between TERMS and LINES, the NAC Defense Corps was reorganized into a unified service structure similar to the current Canadian model. Navy, Marines, and Territorial Army were all rolled into one big happy family. The new service structure is organized into Fleet Arm, HD (Homeworld Defense), and SI (Spaceborne Infantry). (As Andrew points out in LINES: “We needed new guns and starships to fight the new threat. What we got instead were new beret colors and shoulderboards.”)
Andrew is an acting Petty Officer at the end of TERMS and (briefly) a proper PO before the rank structures change. In the reorganized NAC Defense Corps, all the ranks are Army style ranks, whether you fly a drop ship, command a starship, or trudge around as infantry. Throughout LINES, Andrew is an E-6 (Staff Sergeant).
The jacket copy got this particular detail slightly wrong (Andrew is a non-com, not an officer). I pointed it out to the copyeditor, but they didn’t correct it in time.
I trimmed a bunch of stuff from the prologue, and as a result it may not be entirely clear at first that this reorganization happened, so if you’re at all wondering what the deal is with the NAC ranks, there you have it.
The unabridged audiobooks of TERMS OF ENLISTMENT and LINES OF DEPARTURE are up on Audible for pre-order. The release date is January 28, same as the print and ebook versions. The narrator for both books is Luke Daniels, who also narrated the Iron Druid series (among many, many other books.) Both books clock in at a little over nine hours.
This is some pretty cool stuff, I must say. Audio versions of my books, professionally produced and read by a pro. Robin is particularly looking forward to getting her hands on the audiobooks because that’s how she does most of her reading, on account of her having a physical commute. When I still drove around a lot, I listened to audiobooks on CD (ask your parents, kids!), and I got hooked on them quite fast. We’d both find it amusing to see the other pull into the parking spot in front of the old house in Knoxville and take another 5-10 minutes to get out of the car because the chapter wasn’t quite over yet.
Three of the most dangerous words in the English language: “Legitimate tax write-off.”
We took some time to redo the office in the back of the house last weekend.
I’ve been using the standing desk I got at the Borders going-out-of-business fire sale two and a half years ago, and it works just fine as a computer workstation, but it’s not the best work desk, at least not for my purposes. I write longhand a lot and then transcribe into the computer, so I need quite a bit of elbow room. In the past, that meant I had to do a lot of moving around between two different desks, one for handwriting and one for computer stuff.
Well, thanks to amazing Danish office technology, now I can do both at the same desk. I got an adjustable standing desk from ErgoDepot. It has a lot of working surface (it’s an L-shaped table top that’s roughly six by four feet on the long sides), and it moves up and down at the push of a button via electric motor. You can move it as low as 25″ and as high as 47″. Now I can set the desk to fit the task at hand, not the other way around.
And man, just look at that thing, with the spotlights above lighting up the work surface. It looks like it’s straight out of a goddamn IKEA catalog*. It looks like the space of a hip, professional writer dude who totally knows what he’s doing. In other words, the space of someone who isn’t me. But think about how much easier it will be for me to fake competence now.
*It’s not Ikea. I know this because the instructions were crystal-clear and it only took me twenty minutes to put the thing together.
Reason.com has a nice little bit of snark on Rolling Stone Magazine’s insipid “Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For” article. For those of you who don’t want to drive up the click counter at Rolling Stone: one Jesse A. Myerson basically repackages the main pillars of the Communist Manifesto to appeal to modern-day ultra-progressive hipster sensibilities and advocates guaranteed public-sector jobs, a basic living stipend, and, oh yeah, abolishing private property. It reads like something a bunch of 19-year-old sociology students cooked up at Starbucks in an hour and a half over MacBooks and $5 lattes.
Look, I grew up in a divided country. Half of us had to live under the tyrannical yoke of capitalism, with private property and landlords and greedy bankers and stuff. The other half got to live in a place where every single item on Jesse A. Myerson’s economic reform wish list was in place. Guaranteed employment and basic living stipend from the state? Check. Communal ownership of everything (“take back the land”)? Check. Social security for all? Check. Public banking system? Check. On top of that, free education, free child care, free healthcare, and the strictest gun control imaginable.
Guess which half of the country had to put up barbed wire and minefields after a few years to keep its population from fleeing to the other half? Guess which half of the country ran its economy and environment into the ground?
Holy balls, that article is so chock-full of starry-eyed, self-righteous coffeehouse Trotzkyism, it practically vibrates with revolutionary fervor. Did you know that landlords, for example, don’t really do anything for their rent money? That they just “claim ownership” of some property and then sit there and collect cash from the working class? It’s true. This is amazing news to this landlord and his wife, who have been diligently paying off two mortgages all these years, and hired a property management company to maintain the place and make sure our tenants’ needs are met. Why, just last month we oppressed our poor working-class tenants by buying a new range and dishwasher to replace the old appliances that were starting to go all wonky on them. But yeah, other than paying the mortgage on the place every month, paying the management company, and making sure anything that breaks is fixed promptly, we do pretty much nothing but collect rent checks and sit on our asses.
<adjusts monocle, twirls handlebar mustache>
Anyway, that’s what you get when you run articles on economics written by professional Occupy Reality folks who have never had to make a payroll. Bet you that article is getting lots of clicks and views, though, which was probably the entire point. It sure as shit has nothing to do with progressivism or upsetting the current order, because Rolling Stone is about as hip and counter-culture as Citibank these days.
Libertarian/conservative small-government fruitcake New Hampshire doesn’t have a mandatory seatbelt law for adults. The New Hampshire seatbelt use rate is 75%.*
Neighboring Massachusetts, the Northeastern bastion of progressivism and Laws-Will-Fix-It-ism, has a mandatory seatbelt law. The Massachusetts seatbelt use rate is 73.20%.*
Is it that we New Hampshirites have enough common sense that we don’t need the threat of a fine to think buckling up is a pretty good idea, or is it that our Massachusetts neighbors are so much less responsible that they do need that threat to have a seatbelt use rate that’s almost as good as ours?
Of course, you can’t argue this with a fan of mandatory seatbelt laws. They’d take one look at the numbers and claim that a.) NH’s rate would be even better with a mandatory seatbelt law, and that b.) MA’s would be ever so much worse without it, thereby proving the need for it.
*Source for the compliance rate data: NHTSA data for 2011, the most recent year available.
Happy New Year, friends and neighbors!
The kids got to stay up until midnight last night to jump into the new year. I was worried about them even making it to midnight, but it turns out they were just fine. The adults, on the other hand, were dragging just a little, especially me. I was good and ready for bed at 10:30pm already. THIS IS WHAT OLD AGE FEELS LIKE.
Back to work, I suppose. There are novels and novellas waiting to be started/continued/finished. Let’s see if I can best my own record for Most Things Finished In A Calendar Year. I’m shooting for two novels, a novella, and maybe a short story or three. I also want to be more diligent about updating this here Interblogs page on a regular basis.
May you all have a great 2014!
How do you glue a first-grader to the couch? You give her a Nintendo 2DS for Christmas:
She hasn’t moved from that spot since yesterday morning.
We had a low-key Christmas here at Castle Frostbite. No house guests, just the four of us and the doggens. We had our traditional Christmas feast of Surf & Turf (lobster and venison steaks), and pretty much fritzed the day away with eating, drinking, playing computer games, and listening to Christmas music. It was perfectly relaxing.
With the kids at home until the new year, I’m taking the week mostly off from work to tackle Mount Unfolded Laundry and tend various overdue projects around the house. We’ll see if I can keep myself from any serious writing productivity until the end of next week.
Speaking of writing, here’s another Buzzfeed list I’m in:
I’m pretty excited about LINES OF DEPARTURE, which has turned out extremely well (and which has been rather effusively praised by just about everyone who has read it already.) I can’t wait until you can all get your hands on it—and this time in paperback and audio. MY NOVEL HAS ASSUMED PHYSICAL FORM. <insert sinister, semi-hysterical laughter>
TERMS OF ENLISTMENT will see a new release at that time as well, with a matching new cover and in the same formats. If you’re asking yourself whether to drop the money on the new version: it has a rewritten Chapter 23, new cover art, and numerous smaller edits, corrections, and improvements. Because it’s a 47North book now, I wasn’t able to roll all those changes into the old version that people purchased already, as my publisher considers the new version a Director’s Cut, so to speak. But hey—they paid a lot of people to make a lot of improvements to the book, so I think it’s a justified position. Rest assured that if you choose not to buy the new version of TERMS OF ENLISTMENT, you won’t miss anything essential.
Anyway, enough post-Christmas self-promotion. I’m just really excited about this new “making a living by making up stuff” thing, and I want to keep that racket going for as long as I can. Hope you all had a great Christmas and happy holidays, and stay tuned for all the stuff coming out of the Castle Frostbite Magic Daycare & Novel Factory in 2014.
With all the pre-holiday busywork around the house, I totally forgot that this month is our six-year anniversary as the liege lords here at Castle Frostbite. We came up here in December of 2007, in the middle of the first big snow storm of the season. I got the moving truck stuck at the bottom of the driveway, where it remained for two days. Good times!
2013 was a really good year, easily the best we’ve had since we moved to New Hampshire. We went to Germany in February for a long overdue visit with the family. And then I put the little Space Kablooie novel out in March, and everything else just kind of snowballed from there. A month later, I got a literary agent (the most excellent Evan Gregory at the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency), and a few weeks after that I signed a two-book contract with 47North. I got to see a bunch of my VPXII and other writer friends again at Readercon in July, and the rest of the year was pretty packed with edits and edits and more edits for the two books for 47North. As 2013 careens to a close, I’m busier than ever when it comes to writing, which is awesome.
Like I said on Twitter the other day—I don’t really have anything else left to wish for this year. For 2014, I hope that LINES OF DEPARTURE (out on January 28) does as well as TERMS OF ENLISTMENT, and that I manage to finish the draft of the third novel (called ANGLES OF ATTACK) before the end of spring. And after that? With my schedule free for writing pretty much full-time now, two novels a year sound entirely manageable.
So yeah—2013 kicked ass. I’ll always remember it fondly. Lucky Thirteen, indeed.