Monday, November 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo Victory

New posts are up at the Region Between about my victory in the National Novel Writing Month and a preview of the cover for the electronic gift edition of it that donors to the successfully completed fund drive will receive by Annual Gift Day (12/25). I'm a big fan of the NaNoWriMo method now, and I will likely do it again next year.

Some more TWAN promo

It's not like me to miss a chance at some self-promotion, but I don't think I managed to link every possible person in the world to my guest post on fantasy author Lynn Flewelling's Live Journal on November 16 in which I flog Things We Are Not.  Seriously, more people need to be buying Things We Are Not.


The new issue is out today. It is so full of such great stories that I believe it may be the best issue yet. I want to thank publicly the great writers who contributed to it, and welcome a bunch of new subscribers to the readership this month.

Subscription info for the PDF edition and the link to order print copies of all issues is found on Page 2.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Still alive and well...

I feel like when I've let this blog sit here for a few days without an update that it will seem as though M-Brane has gone out of business. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth, but I have been very busy with end-of-month action this week. Issue #11 will be ready for release on Monday. I should have some more info about the special edition of #12 by then...and my NaNoWriMo book should be done! I want to say thanks one more time to those who threw in on my fundraiser. I can't wait to send you your PDFs of the NaNo book (annotated and illustrated edition!) in time for Annual Gift Day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks, y'all

As Kirk said in the Star Trek episode "Charlie X" : "On Earth today, it's Thanksgiving..." etc. I guess in Kirk's timeframe, Thanksgiving had either expanded to a pan-Earth holiday or everyone on the Enterprise was American (except for Spock and Scotty, duh!  (and don't bother mentioning Pavel "Red Menace" Chekov--he didn't join the ship until second season)).

I haven't had the greatest year of my life, but it's not been the shittiest either. I want to make a point of saying that I am thankful this year for all of my new friends and colleagues that I have found by way of M-Brane SF, Things We Are Not, the Outer Alliance and new projects like The Aether Age. You are so many that I am afraid to try to list all of you because I would screw it up and forget someone. I am delighted, gratified, thrilled and even validated as a person that so many great people have done things like subscribed to my zine, written mindbogglingly astounding stories for it, and done so much else to help me promote and keep alive the zine and my other projects. Like any new project, M-Brane has had its hits and misses in content and execution...but it's had a lot more hits than misses, and I know that everyone will agree when Year One's final two issues release in December and January.

I want to also mention my Twitter friends and Facebook friends, many of whom have had little direct association with my M-Brane activities but just decided for some reason to be my friends anyway. Yeah, everyone above: I love you all.

Enter the CAPTCHA

I hate to do it, but this blog has been drawing so much spam in comments lately that I have decided to add word verification for posting comments. I find this to be a quite annoying protocol, but I am even more annoyed by the daily notifications that I have received comments on ancient posts that either say something weird like "Did not know how to become moderator for this forum. If needed" or contain crazy gibberish with links for drugs like Viagra and Cialis. While I am pleased to report to the spammers that I do not at this time have any difficulty with either achieving or maintaining an erection, I am also perfectly capable of researching my own solution to that inconvenience should it one day arise (so to speak).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A song for November

John Anealio, the sf/f songwriter and musician, has released a terrific song for all of you doing NaNoWriMo.  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Arkham Tales folds

Brandon Bell has a very worth-reading post at his blog about the demise of Arkham Tales and about the challenges that face the zine biz nowadays. Arkham Tales was a zine that I paid some attention to because it launched just shortly before M-Brane and used basically the same format, a PDF zine. Quality of content was always good, and a lot of the same writers that have appeared in my zine also appeared there. It was always nice-looking, too, which goes a long way with me. There are a lot of crappy-looking publications around, particularly within the website-only category. M-Brane is nothing too terribly special to look at, but it's not an affront to decent design either. Same for Arkham Tales. It's a decent zine and it's too bad that it's closing.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Some signal boost: Crossed Genres needs some word of mouth

Here's a link to a post at the Outer Alliance blog about the somewhat stressed situation for Bart Leib and Kay Holt's zine Crossed Genres. Please read it and consider helping them get the word out about what they do and buying some copies if you can. As a publisher in an almost identical situation (with an ambitious, awesome monthly zine, that is sadly underfunded), I feel both sympathy for and deep solidarity with Bart and Kay.

Some self-promotion

Just a quick plug for Julia Rios's current "Spotlight" interview on the Outer Alliance blog. The subject: me! Topics of discussion include M-Brane, Things We Are Not and The Aether Age.

Monday, November 16, 2009

M-Brane #11 TOC and new book announced

The December issue of M-Brane SF may be the fanciest yet, with truly amazing new stories by a very, very fine group of writers. Here's the line-up:

DEREK J. GOODMAN: The Christmas Machine
JEREMY KELLY: Swallowing Stars
PAULA R. STILES: Kali's Light
C.G. WARD: Dark Becoming
DAVID CURTIS: The Wigner Effect
BRANDON BELL: Broken Vessels

Regular readers remember Derek Goodman from his stories in issues #4 and #6. Brandon Bell appeared in #1 and #5. Both writers have stories in the recently published anthology Things We Are Not. I have recently announced the April publication of Goodman's book Machina, while Bell will co-edit next year's anthology The Aether Age.

Gustavo Bondoni previously appeared in M-Brane SF in issue #8, and the remaining writers will make their first appearances in this zine in the upcoming issue.

SPECIAL:  Cesar Torres's story "Victoria," was added to the line-up last week and it is something quite special. "Victoria" is one of a cycle of twelve very short stories which will appear together in a lovely book titled The Twelve Burning Wheels to be published by M-Brane SF in the very near future. The exact date of publication will be announced sometime during the coming weeks, and I am delighted to offer this taste of it in the December issue of the zine. Cesar is a writer of vast, expansive imagination and enthralling style, and I know everyone will enjoy this story in the December issue and its eleven companions when the full collection is released.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

GreenPunk update

I put up a short new post at the GreenPunk site (that has been a bit neglected of late) which may be of interest to writers. It also links to an article that effectively rebuts the idea put forth recently in SuperFreakonomics that we ought to solve global warming by undertaking a giant geo-engineering project involving pumping the stratosphere full of sulfur dioxide.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A few quick news items...

A new post is at Region Between about some developments in my NaNoWriMo novel which may or may not be of interest to anyone.  [The related fund drive for J is going well, by the way...thanks again, y'all!]

GUD Magazine has begun offering their PDF edition for sale under a "pay what you want" scheme. Readers may order issues for a price of their own choosing, as low as one cent. I will be very interested in hearing how this works out.

Brandon Bell has been named co-editor of The Aether Age. See more details at the Aether Age blog. Aside from submissions opening for the anthology soon, we have some cool stuff in mind for content on that blog as well.

Brain Harvest editors (and M-Brane writers) Caren Gussoff and Eden Robins both have guest posts of interest on November 11 on Jeff VanderMeer's blog.

Gotta get back to work on NaNo.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A new subscription offer...and fund drive

Yeah, I'm setting out the tip jar again, for a campaign that ends November 30. Visit this page and learn the details. This one is very important to me on a personal level, and so I am making it a new way to subscribe to the zine at a hella deal. So anyone considering newly subscribing ought to look there first. Also, there is a chance to get hold of electronic copies of Things We Are Not and also my NaNoWriMo novel!  Take a minute to see what's up, and help me spread the word.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

M-Brane SF Presents...MACHINA

M-Brane SF is proud to announce a new story collection by author Derek J. Goodman.  Machina will contain four short stories and novellas centered around machines and the way they affect the people around them.  Sometimes they are part of the background, sometimes they are heroes and villians, but they always have a bigger impact than it would initially appear.

At the center of Machina  is Derek's story "Dea Ex Machina," the story of a man who has sold himself to a factory and been turned into a mindless drone through magic.  But as the magic begins to wear off, he questions the reasons he ended up in the factory to begin with, and starts to wonder if there might be some truth to the stories that, among the magic of the factory, there really is a goddess in the machines.  This story is currently being adapted as an opera, and will be performed by the Crucible in Oakland in January 2011.

We will release this book in April 2010 with an introduction by Mark Streshinsky, the producer and librettist for Machine, the opera adapted from "Dea Ex Machina."

The accompanying image is not necessarily the real cover art. I would be interested in having something more directly inspired by "Dea Ex Machina" as described above. Interested artists should email me at mbranesf at gmail dot com. The gig doesn't really pay much of anything, but I might be able to come up with a modest honorarium or perhaps a royalties share.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Take a look at VanderMeer's FINCH

Take a minute to visit this site and learn more about Jeff VanderMeer's new novel Finch. This is the coolest promotional site for a novel that I have seen in a long time. You will find info about the author's book tour, a bunch of review excerpts and some fine treats like a PDF excerpt and--coolest of all--the instrumental soundtrack created for this book by the band Murder by Death.  I am listening to it as I write this post, and it is wonderful.

At the bottom of that page, there is a link to a reader's kit where you can find posters, icons and links to order your own copy of the book. I have not read the novel myself yet, but I will be soon (probably while listening to the soundtrack!).

I wish I would have thought of having some of these kinds of goodies for Things We Are Not. But I'll have some new inspiration for promotion of future books published by M-Brane.  Oh, did I say that out loud that there will be future books from M-Brane? Well, I guess readers of this blog already know that Aether Age is coming next year. There might be some others as well. You'll learn about them here first.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I did a Mind Meld

I enjoyed being able to participate in this week's "Mind Meld" segment at the SF Signal blog. The question was about what genre fiction we might select for a high school lit course, if limited to fiction published within the last ten years. The Mind Meld is regular reading for me anyway and I recommend everyone check it out. It was an interesting and not very easy question to answer because of the time frame. There is so much great writing going on in recent times that I feel we are in a new golden age of it, but it's hard to evaluate the lasting significance of some of the books that seem very important to me right now.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Interesting interviews with Atwood

Margaret Atwood appeared a few days ago on The Diane Rehm Show,  discussing her new novel The Year of the Flood (11:00 segment).  She was also interviewed by Rick Kleffel at The Agony Column on October 12 (you'll need to scroll down that page to find it). I wanted to suggest that readers interested in any of the recent chatter about the merits of sf as "literature" listen to Atwood's thoughts. I was quite surprised by much of what she had to say, because previously I had only seen brief remarks which seemed to suggest that she might have a dismissive attitude toward the genre. This is not as much the case as I thought, and she has an excellent perspective on the history of the genre. During the Diane Rehm Show interview, she discusses it in terms of two threads that developed from Verne and Wells, and how she considers her own work to be more in the former.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween report

Last night's trick-or-treat event was a smashing success. We had available to us about a thousand pieces of candy, but still managed to run out before it was quite done. Halloween is the biggest deal of the year on our street, the mysterious and legend-shrouded Carey Place. Only about four blocks long, from NW 17th to NW 21st street, it is a narrow street that is really as much a pedestrian path as a street for cars, and even more so on Halloween when the ends of the street are barricaded to car traffic and the children are allowed to roam free. That link above goes to an article about the street, explaining the legend of its haunting. Other versions of the story include such frightful details as this: Supposedly attempts have been made over the years to replace the "Hatchet House's" shutters to get rid of the ax designs in them. Also, attempts have been made to repaint the house's blood red porch. But the axes always reappear...and the red always returns.  Boo!

This cool kid in the picture is Ewan. He is the son of our good friends Brian and Hayden, and he is sitting in our library (the M-Brane office itself) with  the enigmatic Tommy and his pet Flat Cat.


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