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How to Write a Story

Someone asked me today how I write stories, or where I get the ideas for stories. I told them it was quite simple, really, and decided it’d be best if I shared it with you, as well.

The first step is waking up. Your body will take care of this, usually. Sometimes a passing stranger will also help, nudging you with their toe and trying to force you out from underneath the bus bench where you’ve been sleeping. It just depends on the day, really.

Once you are awake, examine the palms of your hands. The tattoos that you have upon them will have changed in the night, as they always do. Don’t worry about the tattoos – they’re very clearly written in Bookman Old Style and are easily readable, and you never feel them changing in the night.

On the left palm will be a time and a date, and upon the right will be an address. I suggest you familiarize yourself with a variety of postal codes so you can identify which state or country the address is in. This will save a lot of time down the road. Read the rest of this entry »

Tart Talk with Alexia and Jane (Vol.1)

Nicole Peeler’s character Jane True thought it might be a good idea to get some pointers on being an urban fantasy heroine from Gail Carriger’s character Alexia Tarabotti.

They met. They talked. See for yourself.

Selkies and the soulless have an awful lot to talk about, don’t you know, so this is but part one — their lively repartee regarding tea, underclothes, those remarks involving “doggies” that tend to leave Alexia baffled etc. will continue, here.

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Faster Than the Speed of Light

In the last blog I wrote, as promised a little while ago, I offered a detailed mathematical explanation of the principles of faster than light space travel, and added an appendix containing blueprints for an FTL vessel that can be built out of computer components, and a 3D map of the hyperburrows of space, including directions to the planet where sexy aliens can be found in abundance. (You see! I really am a man of my word!)

However, in an appalling breach of professional etiquette, my editor DongWon Song intercepted my blog and proceeded to build and then use his own spaceship. He has now departed New York for the Planet of the Sexy Aliens, leaving behind him a virtual avatar who (via a doppelganger connection) will continue to perform his editorial duties for Orbit.

The avatar is indistinguishable from the real DongWon save for one telling feature; when it rains, he does not get wet.

Chastened by this experience, I am now writing a much more general blog, without any maths or blueprints, to explain how you (or rather HE!!!) can travel through space. Read the rest of this entry »

The Week That Was, As It Was

As we here in the US continue to recover from turkey overload, let’s take a quick look at what went up on the Orbit blog while the ingredients were still being prepared.

The sad news arrived only this morning of the passing of World Fantasy Award-winning author Robert Holdstock.

Orbit was happy to announce that international bestseller Kim Stanley Robinson would be doing three books with us, beginning with the novel 2312.

A.Lee Martinez told us why comedy is not only harder than tragedy — it’s a lot harder.

And, Lauren Panepinto, Orbit Creative Director, noted that the odds were good for one of Orbit’s covers winning the latest SFSignal book cover smackdown. Very good.

Robert Holdstock, 1948 – 2009

The very sad news broke over the weekend that Robert Holdstock, much-loved author of the World Fantasy Award-winner Mythago Wood, among many other works, passed away early Sunday morning. The SFF community has lost a wonderful writer and Rob’s family and friends have lost a wonderful man.  The wild wood seems a little less magical this morning.

I Like These Odds…

Print VS. ts1 = good odds for me!

Vote at SFFSIGNAL

Orbit Welcomes Kim Stanley Robinson

Photo Credit: Catriona Sparks

Photo Credit: Catriona Sparks

We are very pleased to announce that Orbit has agreed to a three-book deal with internationally bestselling author Kim Stanley Robinson. The first novel, scheduled for publication in 2012, has the working title 2312.

Tim Holman, Orbit VP and Publisher, says: “Kim Stanley Robinson is a writer who can make the future credible, no matter how incredible it might seem. 2312 will be set in our solar system three hundred years from now; a solar system in which mankind has left Earth and found new habitats. This will be a novel for anyone curious to see what our future looks like – a grand science-fictional adventure in every sense – and I’m thrilled that Orbit will be publishing it in both the US and the UK.”

Robinson, best known for his critically acclaimed Mars Trilogy, is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Locus, Campbell, World Fantasy, and BSFA Awards, and in 2008 was named a Hero of the Environment by Time magazine. He says: “It’s a real pleasure to join Orbit and their ambitious program to extend the reach of science fiction to the entire reading public.”

Stan — welcome aboard!

Author post

Funny

I am a funny guy.  I don’t like admitting this, even if it’s true.  Our society has a dismissive view of comedy.  Comedy is silly.  Comedy is slight.  Certainly, comedy is a frivolous, unimportant thing.  Especially compared to tragedy.  Comedy might make you laugh, but it can’t make you feel.  It can’t make you think.

“Balderdash!!” I shout.  I shout it so loudly that it does indeed require two exclamation marks. Read the rest of this entry »

The Week That Was, As it Was

As holiday preparations begin to overwhelm even the most organized of us, let’s take a quick look back over the past seven days before this week’s news gets rolling.

At The New York Book Show, an annual competition held by the Bookbinders’ Guild of New York, Gail Carriger’s Soulless and Nicole Peeler’s Tempest Rising both won for best mass market paperback cover design.

Philip Palmer (Red Claw) had a not-to-be-missed blog entry on the Meaning of Life, and how he knows what it is; and A. Lee Martinez’s new entry on monsters (specifically, the universality of Godzilla) appeared even as io9.com was recommending his book, Monster.

Our Creative Director Lauren Panepinto allowed us to spy on a cover photoshoot for Jennifer Rardin’s forthcoming Bitten in Two; related that Nicole Peeler is considering getting a tattoo of a fabulous vampire heart that appeared in Tempest Rising, and suggests others who should be inked; and directed our attention to Orbit author Jeff Somers’ site and his fresh new video and presented as well the cover for his upcoming The Terminal State.

And last, but far from least, Devi Pillai alerts us to the publication of Pamela Freeman’s Full Circle.

Would you like to work for Orbit?

The Orbit team in London are looking for a new recruit! We want to employ an ambitious, talented marketer to work on marketing campaigns for Orbit UK books and on the digital marketing of titles published by Orbit’s parent company, Little, Brown Book Group.

The right person will be a big science fiction and fantasy fan, will have a marketing or book trade background, a track record for producing innovative and impactful online content, and will have strong technical skills (ideally including accessible XHTML / CSS / WordPress).

If you think this person could be you, and you’re excited by the possibility of working in London for the UK’s market-leading SFF publisher, then please apply in writing with a full CV, covering letter and current salary details to ann.woodhall@littlebrown.co.uk.

Alternatively, hard copies can be sent to:

Ann Woodhall,
HR Director,
Little, Brown Book Group,
100 Victoria Embankment,
London EC4Y 0DY

The closing date for applications is 13th December

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