Thursday, February 25, 2010

For Duotrope users...

If you're a writer and use Duotrope to find and follow markets for your stories, writer Glenn Gillette has a new app that you may be interested in. He says:
Diligent writers working markets ask, "1. What's changed since I last looked? 2. How do I skip a market I've already decided about?" Duotrope's RSS feed helps with #1 (as far as I know, the only market clearing house that does), but not #2.   I've written a desktop app that 1) reads Duotrope's RSS feed since the last time I ran it, 2) looks in my existing buckets for each market mentioned, 3) pops up a dismissal when it finds it already labeled, or 4) lets me work new ones (look at Duotrope's web-page & make a decision). I use these buckets: not pay enough, closed or cancelled, no story matches, and follow-up. Is anybody else interested in using this desktop app, called "siftMarkets", as a free download?  If you're interested, Glenn may be be contacted here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

M-BRANE #14 RELEASED; comments on e-books and the print edition

A few days early, I have released the PDF edition of the March issue. Also, a print version is available here.

This issue is grade-A super-fine. With new stories from Cat Rambo, Rick Novy, Derek J. Goodman, and Michael Andre-Driussi, it will amaze and delight. We also have first-rate entries from Michael C. Lea and Scott H. Andrews, as well as the fine sf debut of Ben Phenicie. Subscriptions to M-Brane and single copies of the issue #14 PDF can be ordered here.

As with the last issue, #13, there is not yet a mobi or other non-PDF ebook format ready to go. Long story short: I am suspending at least temporarily most of my involvement with the Kindle store save for some current and upcoming book titles. This is due to a couple of annoying facts about the Kindle store, and I'm also trying to not wear out my friend Dan Tannenbaum with constant requests for help with ebook formatting. But I am in the process right now of reworking the ebook format situation for M-Brane and will have news of that shortly. I'm still learning how to do it, but I believe I will soon have the in-house ability to generate epub-formatted books and then render those into other formats as well. When that process is mastered, I will be able to offer electronic subscriptions to M-Brane in more formats than just the PDF, including getting it available for the Kindle again (though possibly not sold through Amazon...we'll see).

I've gotten a couple of queries in recent months about the likelihood of there ever being a print subscription to M-Brane rather than having to buy it issue-by-issue as it has been so far. The problem with that is that there is no "print run" as such. There aren't copies sitting around here or anywhere waiting for buyers. I offer it by way of a print-on-demand service, and those per-copy prices that one sees there are literally as cheap as they can get doing it that way (I think my royalty on #14 is maybe fifty cents). I may switch fully over to a different service in the next few months, and that will probably bring the per copy cost down. But still, it's never going to get much cheaper than 5 or 6 bucks/copy...PLUS shipping. If I believed that there were even a handful of people that actually want to spend something like a hundred dollars or more per year to get M-Brane in print, I'd consider setting it up. But I don't think there is even one person who wants to do that. But let me know if I'm mistaken!

Monday, February 22, 2010

12 BURNING WHEELS Release Day! And listen to the author's playlist!

Today is the official publication date for Cesar Torres' The 12 Burning Wheels. Order info is on the books page and on this page a couple posts down. We are extending all the pre-order deals indefinitely. Cesar has placed a fun extra on his site: his music playlist, 12 songs to accompany to the stories. So go check that out, too. If you would rather buy it from Amazon than avail yourself of one of my direct offers (maybe you're buying other stuff on Amazon anyway), the print version is available there, but there has been a delay with Kindle version going live (we have it here, however, as well as an .epub edition). I won't rain on this great day by complaining about Amazon, however, so I will save my gripes about dealing with Kindle store for another time. The image is of the author and his fine book. Get a copy now!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Cesar Torres' The 12 Burning Wheels releases officially tomorrow. I am extending indefinitely the pre-order specials. Details are on the books page and on this page a couple posts down. Also, there was evidently some kind of glitch with one of the Pay Pal links last night, but it all appears to be in good order now.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Writers links updated

I've been neglecting updates to the list of M-Brane writers links (located on the right hand side of the page, a few meters down). So I just added a whole bunch of people to it. If you are a writer who has been published or is scheduled to be published in M-Brane and have a web presence and wish to have a link to it, and do not see your name here, let me know by email at mbranesf at gmail or here in comments, and I will add you. Writers are listed alphabetically by first name. Also, if you are listed there, you might check to see if your link is still going to the right place. Sometimes people change their locations and I may not be aware of it.

12 BURNING WHEELS about to go live in all formats

UPDATED 5/5/2010:
To order The 12 Burning Wheels, go to Amazon to order it in print, or click here to order electronic versions directly from M-Brane (scroll down to section "3" of that post). These links supersede the ones posted below in the original version of this post.

I'm reposting here all the order specials for The 12 Burning Wheels, which releases officially on 12/22. I have updated it with e-book options. While we are making this available on Amazon for the Kindle, I'd really rather prefer that e-book buyers get it directly from M-Brane. Why? So that Cesar can actually earn some royalties and so that M-Brane can get some kind of cut from the sale. Our royalties from Amazon on Kindle books is very small and it may never happen that we get paid, because they hold back a rather large amount  before paying us. But it will be there in a couple days if one does wish to go that route. I'll update later with the Amazon links for the print version when those go live, too (we do not have the same issue with the print edition and Amazon as we do with the Kindle edition, by the way. They are handled in a totally different way by Amazon as far as paying royalties for some unknown reason). 

[UPDATED 2/20 with E-BOOK OPTIONS--see paragraph 4 below]

Writer of weird and spectacular fiction Cesar Torres has created an astounding 12-item cycle of stories that he calls The 12 Burning Wheels, and somehow it has happened that I have the great privilege of bring these stories into print under a single cover. This beautiful book's official publication date is February 22, but I am offering some pre-order specials on it starting immediately:

1) The print edition of The 12 Burning Wheels will sell for on Amazon for $7.99 plus shipping, but order it now from M-Brane SF for only $7.99, shipping included. Purchase includes a free subscription to the PDF edition of M-Brane SF.

2) Buy the print editions of The 12 Burning Wheels and the queer anthology Things We Are Not (TWAN) for only $18.99, shipping included. This is a serious deal, since TWAN by itself sells for almost that. This option, too, includes a free subscription to the M-Brane PDF.

3) Buy The 12 Burning Wheels and the print edition of Ergosphere (aka M-Brane #12, edited by Rick Novy) for only $15.99.  The M-Brane subscription is included with this option as well.

These offers will likely expire before the publication date for The 12 Burning Wheels, so act soon.  Here is the Pay Pal link for them (a drop-down menu accommodates the three options). One does not need a Pay Pal account to use Pay Pal: one may use credit and debit cards, and checks by way of their e-check system.
Choose an option...

Choose an option...

4) This book is also available in these electronic formats: .prc/MOBI (readable on the Kindle), PDF (readable and printable on a computer and many other devices), and EPUB (readable on most devices, including the Nook). Purchase of these formats also includes a complimentary subscription to the PDF edition of M-Brane SF. Here is the Pay Pal link for them (a drop-down menu accommodates the three options). Only $3.99!
Select format

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

M-BRANE 14 cover and TOC

The fourteenth issue, due out March 1, is a must-not-miss collection of astounding stories. Writers include frequent M-Brane contributors Rick Novy and Derek J. Goodman, each with fascinating new offerings. Cat Rambo and Michael Andre-Driussi make spectacular second appearances in these pages, while Ben Phenicie appears with his first published story. M-Brane first-timers include a couple of my fellow editors: Scott H. Andrews runs the well-regarded fantasy zine Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Michael C. Lea recently edited the acclaimed superhero fiction anthology POW!erful Tales.

Here's the table of contents:

Cat Rambo "Fire on the Water's Heart"

Michael Andre-Driussi  "I, Mombot"

Derek J. Goodman "Have You Seen Me?"

Scott H. Andrews "Picking up the Spin"

Michael C. Lea "GPS"

Ben Phenicie "The Estate of Muishi Konimuri"

Rick Novy "Throwing a Haymaker"

Thursday, February 11, 2010

About the queer zombie affair

I've been sorting through this foofaraw over Library of the Living Dead Press dropping plans to publish a GLBT-themed anthology of zombie stories. Evidently such a book was in the works, then it was cancelled and early word on it was from its editor indicating that a homophobic backlash from writers of other LLDP titles was the cause of it. Later, the publisher himself, who says that he is a big supporter of the queer community, put up what struck me as an honest if rather lame explanation that he became concerned the project would upset people. I learned of it from the Outer Alliance, and have been clicking through some web pages trying to glean more info. Charles Tan has on his page a compilation of most of the relevant info in the form of links to posts by Jim Hines and Lee Thomas and others, if you are interested in looking further into it. But here are my off-the-cuff thoughts on it, in no particular order:

1) How weird that a homophobic backlash against a FUCKING HORROR ANTHOLOGY would A) exist, and B) actually make a publisher change his mind about doing it.  So is this really how it went down? I published the ultra-queer Things We Are Not a few months ago with nary a backlash, nor did it ever cross my mind that there was even a potential for one. Nor would I have cared either. It makes me wonder if I have lost the respect of writers who have written for M-Brane by doing gay shit like TWAN. If so, they haven't told me about it. And if they did, I'd tell them to piss off straight away.

2) Some people posting about this out on the interwebs seem to be assuming that Library of the Living Dead Press is a much bigger operation than it is. I've caught remarks here and there suggesting that some people observing this situation think that there is some kind of major money or Big Name Authors or some kind of shadowy interests working the levers of power under the direction of an Old Boys Network. Well, I don't know much about this press, have never communicated with its publisher, but I can assure you that none of this is true. LLDP is a small operation. So any kind of embargo on their books, as has been suggested in some web chatter, is not going to Stick It To The Man in any kind of serious way.

3) I saw some comments on one of the LJ posts about this topic where some of the commenters were slamming Library of the Living Dead for using print-on-demand through Create Space to print its books, and suggesting that this in itself somehow means that this publisher is a lousy piece of shit. Let me disabuse everyone of that antiquated notion right now: print-on-demand is a totally legitimate way, and the only sensible way, for a small publisher to produce physical copies of books like a gay zombie anthology which (let's just face it, folks) almost no one was going to buy anyway. It makes it possible for some really cool projects to get out there in book form which would be impossible if the publisher had to front tons of money for an old-style print run. While the book may not make a lot of money if it doesn't sell well, it won't lose a whole bunch for a small publisher either. So let me say this in another way, just to make sure that I am making myself absolutely clear: a small publisher using a print-on-demand service is not the same thing as a vanity press nor the same thing as an individual author self-publishing a sloppy  unedited book. So poo-pooing print-on-demand is dumb and real old media. It's the method I use for the print edition of M-Brane and for my book projects, none of which would have ever existed without it.

4) And since I think the market for queer zombie fiction is scaled quite well for print-on-demand, I will be happy to look at submissions of such stories for M-Brane SF if they are sfnal somehow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Delany interviewed on Dragon Page

As I mentioned a few days ago, I've been reading Samuel Delany's About Writing which includes a few interviews with him. I was thinking about trying to hunt up some interviews with him online and, almost as the thought formed, someone Tweeted the link to this interview with him, a segment of the "Cover to Cover" podcast series on the Dragon Page.

During the discussion, Delany talks about his new novel Through the Valley of the Nest of Spiders which forthcoming later this year (huzzah!). Wikipedia has an article about it. He says that he is trying with this novel to straddle a space between literary fiction, science fiction and pornography. That's exactly the sort of thing I'm looking forward to reading soon.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Order page for books started/ Thoughts about "Doubles"

I cobbled together another page today in an attempt to get the far-flung information about our stand-alone books in one place. It's under construction, and I will eventually need something designed more like a proper "store," but this will do for now. The highlight right now is the pre-order information for Cesar Torres' The 12 Burning Wheels, due out later this month. It also contains the info for Ergosphere and Things We Are Not. News about Machina and Aether Age is not there yet, but will come soon. Machina will, in fact, be going up for pre-order sometime around 3/1.

Recent Twitter chatter suggests that I may be thinking about a future book or books designed in in the manner of the old Ace Doubles. As you probably recall, those were books containing two short novels, each with their own front covers and designed in such a manner that the two stories were presented back to back and upside down in relation to one another. You'd finish one story, then turn the book over and open the "back" cover and start reading the other story. Ace stopped this format back in the early 1970s, but more recently Vintage put out an edition of Samuel Delany's Babel-17 and Empire Star in a similar style. The author had always wanted those two items to appear together as one of the Ace series, but it never happened.  When I prepare a book for print-on-demand, the entire interior of the thing needs to be a single document, so to do two stories together in that tete-beche style, one of the two stories needs to be laid out upside down and start on the last page of the book and proceed from there toward the middle of it. Making a page go upside down was eluding me and my software for a long time. But it seems that I may have figured out a way. So, who knows, maybe there will be an "M-Brane Double" forthcoming!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New stuff on the book shelf

As a sort of Christmas gift to myself, I recently ordered a few new books that needed to have been on my shelves all along and which were conspicuous in their absence.  Shiny new copies, y'all, not even from the used shop. Currently, I am browsing through Samuel R. Delany's book of essays, interviews and letters About Writing. While I haven't read all of it yet and have been skipping around in it, I have been finding it very thought provoking. Aside from being one of the great spec fic authors, Delany is an English professor and this book occasionally takes me back to my days as an English major and the kind of reading that I did a lot more of back then, but it's generally a lot livelier than some of that was.

Also from Delany, I got this nice "deluxe edition" of Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand. This novel I have read a couple times before but was lacking a copy in the permanent collection. I first read it when I was a teenager and I know I didn't fully appreciate it back then. I got it from the library just last year and was blown away by it. This is an awesome, star-spanning sf novel of many worlds and civilizations and races. If anyone ever wants to know what I think is a great sf novel, then this is a good one to which to point.

I also scored these collections by Jack Vance and James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon). Most of the content of these I have encountered elsewhere before, but my own shelves were sadly missing these authors. Indeed, there is a sad and shameful paucity of Tiptree titles in print currently. She wasn't necessarily the most prolific writer ever, but she has a lot more out there than this one single title. But if there's only to be one, then this is probably the one to have. The Vance book collects the four Dying Earth books under one cover, and I am looking forward to returning to that soon.

I had also planned to get, at long last, my own copy of another long-time favorite, Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination.  It's a classic and a really special, spectacular book and it appears to be entirely out of print! Crazy!


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