…And Some Borne…

And so I found Borne–this thing that was not food and yet drew me to it.

Entangled in the coarse brown seaweed of the pelt, near a curled claw the size of my body, I found the sea anemone. At least, that is what it looked like to me: a dark purple, faintly glowing, half-closed sea anemone, captured like any common clot of dirt.

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Some Predator Synopsis…

Somewhere in the South China Sea, between Thailand and Indonesia…

Sukhon Dithakar and her crew of fellow pirates (aboard an old but fast converted fishing vessel, registered to Liberia) can see their target: a product tanker out of Singapore, loaded with computer parts. Sukhon’s younger sister Suchin had gone on ahead the night before in the pirate ship’s heavily-armed speed boat to launch a sneak attack, a tactic that has worked well in the past.

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Critique/Editing Services Available

I haven’t been really emphasizing freelance fiction/nonfiction critique and general writing/editing services because I’ve been inundated with work.

However, I’m now switching over to spending at least the next six to nine months working on various novel and novella projects in the mornings and filling in any small gaps in income with freelance spot-work in the afternoons. Preferably critique/editing work, although I also have a strong technical writing background.

If you’re looking for general and/or specific comments on your story, novella, or novel, drop me a line (vanderworld at hotmail.com). My goal with any critique is to help you with the current manuscript, but also to provide you with the tools to improve your writing generally.

More info here.

Tiki Golf!

My friend Charles Goran has combined three great subcultures: the world of tiki, the world of mini-golf, and the world of video games. The result? Tiki Golf, which you should definitely check out.

And here’s the full press release…

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Steampunk Update

The reprint Steampunk antho Ann and I are editing for Tachyon is coming along smoothly. Although we won’t have the final contents done until much later, we do have commitments from Michael Chabon, Neal Stephenson, Joe Lansdale, Paul Di Filippo, Michael Moorcock, James Blaylock, Ted Chiang, and Stepan Chapman. With more pending. (In addition to original nonfiction from Rick Klaw, Jess Nevins, and Bill Baker.)


New Weird Contest–updated rules

You can take a look at the New Weird excerpt contest here. Since it is actually Very Difficult–and I’m not kidding–let’s do a “re-set”. Still the same deadline, but below find 12 writers who are in the NW anthology. Nine of them are represented in the samples. Anyone who guessed before can now guess again (one time), and if you haven’t guessed, feel free with this new info in hand.


In no particular order:

Leena Krohn
Michael Moorcock
China Mieville
Jeffrey Ford
Alistair Rennie
Sarah Monette
Hal Duncan
K.J. Bishop
Jay Lake
Brian Evenson
Paul Di Filippo
Jeffrey Thomas

Evil Monkey Guide to Creative Writing-#1

The intro to my writing guide, in progress…

More than half of all writing advice you receive over your lifetime will be incorrect, incomplete, or howlingly wrong. You will encounter advice driven by neuroses, bitterness, failure, ego, and arrogance. In books and in writing workshops, you will have instructors who mistake their own path to success as the only path to success. Yet others will try to impose upon you their own writing style, their own list of valid subject matter and approaches. Anecdotal evidence will loom large. Some advice, some instructors, will be actively obstructionist, driven by the belief that “toughening beginners up”–discouragement–is good practice for the real world of writing.

Some of your instructors will be drunk. Some will be fucking some of the students. Some will be going through painful divorces and believe the world is a rotting peach pit of unhappiness and despair. Some will be polyannas who love every word you write and will appeal to your sense of vanity, your ego, your own love of every word you write. Hacks will give you good advice. “Literary” writers will give you crappy advice. Some will exhort you to lie down in the gutter. Others will beseech you to remain in the tower. (Some of your instructors will be wise and happy and playful and wonderful, but it is boring to write about that which does not contain the seed of conflict.)

Amongst writing books, you will find pathetic attempts by almost every writer to give you good advice equally on every aspect of writing, even those aspects the writer has little or no experience with, or is not good at. Some writing books will display a desperate reaching for a different structure–dividing up parts of a story or novel into esoteric or exotic categories, simply to be different.

Beward the instructional books that include information like “your hero must be handsome or attractive in some way so that readers identify with him or her.” Beware the writer who justifies their own hedonistic, experience-is-everything approach by codifying it in their instructional manual as Law. Beware writers who talk in terms of “trends” and “publicists”.

Never seek validation from others. Some people will always think you should not be a writer. Some people will always think you should be a writer. All of these people are fools. There is only one way to determine whether or not you are a writer: you must find the secret tunnel leading to the hidden door. Once there, you must place your hand upon the doorknob. If you are really a writer, the door will open. You will be ushered into a magical palace. Inside of this palace, a beautiful woman (or man, depending on your wont) will take your hand and whisper in your ear, “I’m glad you made it here. I need someone to mop the marble floors. I’ll pay you good money. This will keep you from starving while you write.” Of course, everyone is chosen. The door opens for everyone.

Never sleep with a ghost writer; that person will replace your words with their own and leave your skin covered in strange tattoos. Do not go to a writer’s workshop and wind up in a cult. Do not seek advice from ouija boards or from scientists in lab coats. Never trust writers who not only dress in black but also wear black pajamas and underwear to bed. No one has ever written truly immortal poetry about how good their dog looks in knitted garments. Waist coats and pocket watches are signs of lunacy and therefore lack of authority when it comes to writing advice. Those who must display their bodices incessantly have a hidden agenda. Alcohol is not your friend. Meth is your enemy. Cigars are neutral. Computers are overrated. Haste is overrated. Sloth is just as bad as haste. Ten words are better than ten thousand, if those ten are right and the ten thousand are wrong. Personal experience is useless if you cannot leverage it with imagination. If you have no imagination you are dead to me. If you don’t realize writing is hard work, I keel you with my eye bullets. If a man in a black cape approaches you in the back of a bar and promises to make you a bestseller, beware! For He is either Agent or Devil.

For all of these reasons and more, writing is perilous work. It is more deadly than special ops. It is more boring than selling insurance. It is more exhilarating than jumping out of an airplane without a parachute. You may die from writing, but more probably you will be disappointed. That is okay, too. Disappointment, as we all know, builds character.

As for this book and this writer: everything you read inside this book is true. Everything you read inside this book is a lie. I am the wisest man who has ever lived. I am a fool. Both may be true for you, sometimes on the same page. For a time.

Harry Potter – Some Balance from Jill Roberts

Jill Roberts, publicist for Tachyon and all-around smart cookie, shared a short piece she wrote on the latest Hairy Putter book for a non-public messageboard. When I asked if I could post it, she sent me the revised version below. Just for a bit o’ balance while we’re all on this muggles high. For my part, I stopped reading the books after the fourth one. The beginning of the fifth just seemed like parody. – Jeff

I must admit that I read Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows mostly for closure. Since that bureaucratic slogfest, Order of the Phoenix (Book 5), I’ve been disappointed in the series. Love the charming Potterverse and (many of) the (really too many) delightful characters with their adorable Dickensian monikers. Hate the overwrought, bloated plotting, shameless usage of the deus ex machina, and the overall “magic is free” mindset. More about that shortly.

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