Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Coming Out in November!

So it's been some time since I've posted new entries on this blog (though I have been semi-active on networks like Facebook...) Looks like the last entry was right around the end of Feb. Well, I make no excuses. I've been busy since then :-)

By way of briefly catching up, I am happy to report that my main time-absorbing activities haven't changed since I started the year: writing, reading, physical fitness, personal relationships, and so on. My lack of posts hasn't been precipitated by infelicitous circumstances whatsoever. On the contrary, I've been trying to keep focused on being productive, and whenever something competed with blogging for my time, blogging always lost. Case in point: Back on 2/28 I was commenting on the sixth book of the year that I had read. That particular count is now up to 24. If I had stopped to blog about each book as I read it, I would have probably read several fewer titles by now. Momentum is important sometimes, and this year has been one of those times. (Though I may yet go back and post my thoughts on all these books, eventually. I hate incomplete lists or sequences!)

In any case, this post isn't meant to provide an exhaustive summary of everything I've done between then and now. But I do want to say a few words about one subject in particular that has consumed a fair amount of my energy: writing. The main writing project I've been working on, which ate up several months, was a new 30,000 word novella.

The experience of preparing for, outlining, writing and editing this novella has been, without a doubt, the highlight of my writing life so far.

A little background about the project. Phoenix Pick, the science fiction imprint of publisher Arc Manor, launched a new series of books back in November 2011 called "The Stellar Guild" series. The purpose of these books is to bring together a well-known, bestselling speculative fiction author with a newer writer of his or her choice. In some cases, like the first book, the "newer" writer was Steven Savile, who was already pretty well-established and has even published several bestsellers. But this wasn't a requirement. Mike Resnick, who needs no introduction, is the series editor. It's no secret that Mike Resnick knows every writer in the Universe, and at some point in the planning of the series, Grand Master Robert Silverberg was approached as a prospective participant.

Now, for those of you who don't know, Robert Silverberg hasn't been writing a lot of new long-form fiction during the last few years. So the chances of him wanting to contribute a novella or novelette were slim, to put it generously. But through an extremely fortuitous (for me!) set of circumstances that Bob details in his extremely generous introduction, his involvement became a reality. And, against all odds, I was elected as the companion/newbie writer that would write a sequel to his story. This was back around January of this year, 2012.

Fast forward to June, and we are announcing that the book is coming out this November, and will be available both in paperback and e-book formats! (There hasn't been an "official" announcement by Phoenix Pick yet, so I won't include a blurb or talk about the stories at this point.) As you can see from the cover picture below, the book is titled When The Blue Shift Comes:

The book is comprised of two novellas of roughly equal length: "When the Blue Shift Comes" "The Song of Last Things" by Robert Silverberg, and my own "The Last Mandala Sweeps". Together these two novellas tell one cohesive story.

This is my first professionally published story, and my first published novella at that, so I'm delighted on those grounds alone. But to be sharing a cover with a writer of Silverberg's stature and gifts, a writer who meant so very much to me during my formative years as a reader (and person), and with whom I've had the incredible fortune to develop a close friendship over the years -- it's staggering to contemplate indeed.

I'll have more to say about the experience of writing the novella itself in the coming weeks, and of course I'll post links when it becomes available. But for right now I'm just going to enjoy the moment, and express my most heartfelt thanks to everyone involved in the project -- particularly Mike and Bob, of course -- who helped give me this opportunity. 
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