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Story Starter

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

A pre-nanowrimo warmup for you . . .

At the last minute on a Friday afternoon, you and a few friends decide to go camping in the nearby lake district. You throw together a few sleeping bags, one tent, some food, and a few extra clothes. Sure, you’re not the most experienced campers, but you’re going to have fun anyway.

The drive is longer than you think, thanks to some bad navigation and car trouble, so it’s almost midnight when you arrive at the campsite. You eat a cold meal, erect a somewhat shambolic tent, and then all crawl in together for a good night’s sleep. Not a brilliant start to your mini-vacation, but tomorrow is going to be awesome.

The problem is, you’ve managed to pitch your tent right over a rather large rock, which you somehow didn’t notice in the darkness. And now it’s in the middle of your back. The tent’s a bit too crowded to avoid this rock. So finally you climb out, ignoring the protests of your friends, and reach beneath the tent to retrieve it.

And here’s the weird thing: trapped beneath the rock was a piece of paper.

You take this paper back into the tent, where you all crowd around it with a flashlight. It’s a hand-scrawled note that says . . .

a) “I’ll be back just after midnight.”

b) “Here lies Rusty, who asked too many questions.”

c) “This place is plagued with midges.”

d) Put your own story-starting note in the comments thread below!

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Don’t forget the meet-up over at the Westerforum. I’ll be there to answer all your questions (within human limits).

Here are the details:

MEET-UP
Saturday
October 20, 2012

7PM Eastern US/4PM US West Coast
Sunday morning at 10AM in Sydney

The Manual Is OUT!

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

The full-color, slightly larger format, all-singing and all-dancing art book to the Leviathan series, also known as The Manual of Aeronautics, is OUT NOW. Actually, several people have found them on store shelves over the weekend, but today is the official release date. (Well, tomorrow morning in the United States. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN . . . )

You can go buy the Manual with your monies! Or ask your librarians for it, or get it online at Powell’s, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, or IndieBound.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, the paperback of Goliath also came out today!

One of my favorite features of the Leviathan series is that each of the books has a splendid color endpapers by Keith, and the Manual is no exception. Which means I get to follow my tradition of revealing the endpapers on publication day.

As a wrap up of the series, Keith and I wanted to do something that encapsulated the whole series, with pretty much all of the characters in it. Also there was a certain piece of fan art about Deryn and Alek posing for the cover photo on Goliath. So we thought it would be cool for Keith to create the photo shoot for the Clanker/Darwninist Co-Existence Treaty signing!

Most likely, the image below wouldn’t really happen in the world of the Leviathan. I mean, all these characters wouldn’t all get credit for what they did to end the Great War (and all of those machines and beasties in the background would be a bit of a mess). But think of this as a visual confection, a collage that reveals the themes of the book (not unlike the frontispiece of that OTHER Leviathan).

So this is what we went with, and from this humble idea Keith created this awesome image:

Click here for the HUGE and zoomable version. And then see if you can find all the amusing (or sad) details.

Feel free to comment on the Manual in this comment thread, given that there aren’t really spoilers for an art book. (Or are there? Hmm.)

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So I guess this is KIND OF THE END. You know? I mean, I’ll certainly post about the Leviathan series again, and people will go on talking about it and cosplaying it, and as new people are born and taught to read, they’ll discover it for the first time. Also, it’s completely possible that someone will make graphic novels or movies or interpretive dances of it, or that I will do more work in that universe someday.

But that doesn’t change the fact that with the Manual finally out, the Leviathan series is kind of . . . over now, at least in its original flavor version. *MAKES SAD FACE WITH TINY TEAR*

It’s been a great five years of working with the awesome Keith Thompson, who really threw his genius into this project, making it much better and bigger and realer than I could ever have hoped it would be. (I’m pretty sure I’ll be working with him again. Steampunk card game!)

It’s also been great having so many voluble, passionate, opinionated, and ridiculously creative fans. Thank you for coming along for the ride, and especially for all the amazing fan art. You are the best.

Seriously. Barking spiders to all of you.

Events, Online and Off

Monday, June 25th, 2012

I won’t be formally touring this year, because I don’t have a novel out. But I might get to see some of you, thanks to several events I’ll be doing over the next month.

The first of these is an online chat with Figment.com.

Sunday July 8
8PM US-ET (5PM Pacific Time, 10AM Monday AUS-ET)

I’ll be chatting with Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan, co-authors of the upcoming book, Team Human. Mostly we’ll be discussing what it’s like to collaborate on a novel.

Click here to find out more.

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I’ll also be at San Diego Comic Con

I have three events in San Diego, two signings and a panel.

Thursday July 12
noon-1PM
Mysterious Galaxy Booth
I’ll be signing and chatting to anyone who drops by. Mysterious Galaxy will have plenty of my books for sale.

Sunday July 15th
12:00PM – 1:00PM
Room 25ABC
Panel: What’s Hot in YA
1. Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures series)
2. Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me)
3. Lish McBride (Necromancing The Stone)
4. Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone)
5. Melina Marchetta (The Lumatere Chronicles)
6. Myra McEntire (Hourglass series)
7. James Dashner (The Maze Runner series)
8. Scott Westerfeld (Uglies)
9. Moderator: Nathan Bransford (Jacob Wonderbar series)
Note: Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky) is not appearing on the panel, but will appear at the post-panel signing in the autographing area.

Sunday July 15th
1:30-2:30pm
Autograph area AA09 in the Sails Pavilion
Signing with me will be Nathan Bransford (Jacob Wonderbar for President of the Universe), and featuring Leigh Bardugo (Shadow and Bone), James Dashner (Maze Runner), Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures), Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me), Melina Marchetta (Froi of the Exiles), Lish McBride (Hold Me Closer, Necromancer), Myra McEntire (Hourglass).

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Dalek Week!!!

And finally, those of you who create fan art might want to check out Dalek Week over at Deviant Art, which runs from July 8 to 14. Here’s the scoop:

Dalek week is a seven day challenge where you upload one deviation per day for seven days. Each day has a certain theme that you will need to centre your entry around. . . . After Dalek week, myself and the judges will decide on our favourite entries from each day. There will be one winner per day/theme.

That sounds fun, and I can’t wait to feature some of the winners here.

Click here for more details about Dalek Week.

Russian Behemoth Cover

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

So the voting on my last post seems to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Leviathan bridge as the first art reveal. Well, it turns out I don’t have a hi-res file for anything in the Manual!

HAH!

So yes, I’ve sent off to Keith, and it should be here soon. In the meantime, please enjoy the Russian cover of Behemoth:

That’s pretty bad-ass. I love the giant Sahmeran sneaking up on Alek from behind.

Okay the BRIDGE ART WILL BE HERE SOON.

Also, don’t forget that tomorrow is my thing at the Sydney Writers Festival:

A Neverending Story: Fantasy Worlds
Sunday, May 20
11:30AM-12:30PM

Scott Westerfeld, Isobelle Carmody, Justine Larbalestier, and Joy Lawn (facilitator)
Sydney Dance 4, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

Here are the details.

First Aeronautics Art Reveal—A Vote!

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Okay, the Manual of Aeronautics comes out August 21, a mere three months and a bit from now, so it’s time to start the art reveals!

In keeping with tradition, let’s have us a vote. I’ve chosen three possible pieces of art to reveal, so choose wisely.

Which would you rather see in glorious color?

1) The bridge of the Leviathan

2) A Sultan’s elephant walker

3) A fléchette bat!

Use the comments thread below to vote (by number makes it easier), or simply to cajole, convince and coerce your fellow commenters about how they should vote.

Sydneysiders! Don’t forget that Justine, Isobelle Carmody and I will be at the Sydney Writers Festival this Sunday. Come see us talk. It’s free!

A Neverending Story: Fantasy Worlds
Sunday, May 20
11:30AM-12:30PM

Scott Westerfeld, Isobelle Carmody, Justine Larbalestier, and Joy Lawn (facilitator)
Sydney Dance 4, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

From steampunk to the supernatural, from urban fantasies to dystopian futures, our love affair with speculative fiction is all-consuming.

Three authors who create imagined worlds explore our enduring fascination with fantasy and unpick the complexities of the genre. Isobelle Carmody, Scott Westerfeld and Justine Larbalestier talk to Joy Lawn.

Here are the online details for this event.

FAF (Mostly Monochromatic Edition)

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

Here’s a round up of fan art from the last two weeks, mostly in a black and white mode, with some BONUS NEWS at the end.

Let’s start with the art that was handed to me at my Free Comic Book Day event at Kinokuniya in Sydney. Thanks again to everyone who came and said nice things to me on my birthday, and especially to those who handed me art and cake.

First there was some Midnighters art from (appropriately) Melissa:

Yes, that’s Rex looking pretty cool, and I like how Melissa seems a bit annoyed at having to pose for the drawing.

And from Christina, a triptych of Tallys:

The hot air balloons are a cool touch, as are the necklace, interface cuff, and knife for each Tallyversion.

And finally, from Meshell, I got Alek and Deryn as lovebirds:

It’s cool that I got fan art from every trilogy at that event. You’re all doing a good job of coordinating! Plus: OBLIGATORY LORIS WITH MUSTACHE.

And now return to the regular mode of art delivery, these were all sent to me via the internets.

Here from Laura is a bit of Darwinist fashion design!

One of the coolest thing about Keith’s art is how it hints that there would be a whole different Darwinist culture out there, with clothes, furniture, and whatnot all influenced by the Victorian biotechnology at the base of Darwinist society. This hat is a great example of what all that might look like, complete with bee and nautilus-shell motifs.

And here’s a very a spunky-looking Deryn from Lilly.

I like her haircut, and the way she’s leaning forward, ready to go.

And briefly leaving the monochrome, here’s some Deryn cosplay from Alexa, showing before and after:

Pretty amazing difference. According to Alexa, this transformation required “two rolls of athletic tape, half a can of hairspray, and many uncountable bobby pins.” Just remember that the next time you’re cross-dressing: Never say die!

And finally, here’s a lovely still life in the stack-of-books mode, which for some reason I have lost all attribution to except the letter “g”:

Please identify yourself, G!

And now for the NEWS . . .

Given that the Manual of Aeronautics, the all-color large-format guide to the world of Leviathan, will be appearing on August 21, it’s almost time to start THE OBLIGATORY ART REVEALS. I’ve decided to do one twice a month, on the 1st and 15th. (I hope that’s not too much for you guys.)

May 15 will be the first of these, or maybe that’s when we’ll do some voting for the first reveal. BUT SOON.

And finally, Sydneysiders can see me tonight at:

The Aurealis Awards
Saturday, May 12
7:30 for an 8PM start
Independent Theatre
269 Miller Street
North Sydney NSW 2060

The Aurealis Awards celebrate the achievements of Australian science fiction, fantasy and horror writers every year. Kate Forsyth with be mistress of ceremonies, and I’ll be presenting the award for Best Illustrated Book or Graphic Novel.

You can get tickets here.

Willful Impropriety

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Just finished my forward for an anthology called Willful Impropriety: 13 Tales of Society, Scandal, and Romance. As you can tell from the subtitle, it’s a set of stories about people young people flouting Victorian-era convention in various ways. There are a few girls-dressed-as-boys tales in the bunch, which is perhaps why I got the chance to read it early and write a forward.

Here’s the rather awesome cover:

And the cover copy:

The Season has finally arrived, filled with the magnificent balls, scandalous gossip, and clandestine romances that every lord and lady in good society has come to expect. But far within the walls of lavish estates and in the dark corners of the city lies a world that the aristocracy dares not touch, with rules and risks that glamour cannot overpower. Yet true love has no boundaries, and heiresses and street thieves alike must use their savvy and strength to create new beginnings and happily-ever-afters. Sometimes luck is enough, but every once in a while, a touch of magic may be needed.

Deliciously alluring, these thirteen historical romances from a talented array of YA authors will make even the most cynical heart swoon.

How can you resist it?

Edited by Ekaterina Sedia, Willful Impropriety comes out September 4, 2012.

Oh, and here’s the full roster of writers:

AT WILL by Leanna Renee Hieber
THE UNLADYLIKE EDUCATION OF AGATHA TREMAIN by Stephanie Burgis
NUSSBAUM’S GOLDEN FORTUNE by M. K. Hobson
THE COLONEL’S DAUGHTER by Barbara Roden
MERCURY RETROGRADE by Mary Robinette Kowal
FALSE COLOURS by Marie Brennan
MRS BEETON’S BOOK OF MAGICKAL MANAGEMENT by Karen Healey
THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS by Caroline Stevermer
THE DANCING MASTER by Genevieve Valentine
THE GARDEN OF ENGLAND by Sandra McDonald
RESURRECTION by Tiffany Trent
OUTSIDE THE ABSOLUTE by Seth Cadin
STEEPED IN DEBT TO THE CHIMNEY POTS by Steve Berman

Shay’s Story Trailer

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

I had a great time at the Somerset Festival, and met lots of cool writers and students. My thanks to everyone for showing me such a great time, and congratulations on another successful festival.

While I was gone, what should appear in my inbox but the REAL TRAILER for Shay’s Story! (Not to be confused with the humble home-made trailer of a couple of weeks ago.)

Check it out:

If you want to see it bigger or embed it on your own site, head on over to YouTube. You can also see it super-big on my video page.

And finally, I’m doing a meet-up over at the WesterForum this Tuesday night, March 20, at 8PM US Eastern. Note that with the time change in the US, that means 11AM here Wednesday morning here in Australia, and midnight Tuesday in Britain.

Anything else? I would think not.

Fan Art Friday (SOPA Edition)

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

In celebration of the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) currently being considered by the US Congress, this week’s Fan Art Friday will be 100% copyright compliant!

All SOPA-offending elements, such as the remixing and recasting of copyrighted characters and situations, have been censored for your viewing pleasure.

Let’s start with this lovely image by CatieKay:

Pretty sweet, huh? How about those two random people having a possibly intimate moment atop an entirely generic (and thus non-copyrightable) flying whale-beast! Sure, we can’t SEE what they’re doing as the lightning flashes, but at least no one’s interfering with my ability to generate income from this touching narrative moment.

And here’s a lovely piece of fan art from Unforgiven-Unloved:

This one’s very sweet, but of course it would be WRONG to let you see these characters drawn by anyone but Keith Thompson, the only registered and approved artist for the Leviathan series. The dialog is pretty cute too. But let’s face it, only I may legally put words into the mouths of Deryn and Alek.

And here’s some cool Xmas ornaments from AvistheArtistGeek:

Aww. Tiny Deryn and Alek getting ready to climb the ratlines of Avis’s Christmas tree! Too bad that these characters belong to me, and thus her entire Xmas is non-SOPA-compliant! I just hope she takes her decorations down before my lawyers get there.

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Ahem.

Most of you have probably seen that Wikipedia is dark today, and that Google’s banner page is sad. In fact, a ton of sites on the interwebs are shrouded in various ways. This is, of course, to protest the SOPA and PIPA legislation being considered in the US Congress.

“But wait!” you may be asking. “Is SOPA really so evil?”

It’s supporters certainly don’t want you to think so. After all, the purpose of SOPA is to protect copyright laws, by which filmmakers, musicians, and novelists (and the corporations that publish them) make money from their work. And that’s me!

But as you may have noticed, the internet is a place in which copyright is treated in a rough-and-ready fashion. People gank photos without attribution, create fan fiction and art based on others’ work, and make lip-sync music videos without paying for the right to do so.

Gee, how horrible. All those babies dancing to “Single Ladies” FOR FREE.

The problem is that SOPA and PIPA are written only with us copyright owners in mind. The lobbyists who wrote these bills don’t care about the rest of you (us, actually, because we all re-mix culture).

Here’s one example: PIPA allows companies to sue websites for the crime of linking to other websites that infringe copyright. So if I link to Deviant Art, and someone on Deviant Art (say, jett-wolfe98) has ganked a photo and added Deryn and Alek to it, like so:

Then I can be sued! Not for the image of Alek and Deryn, but for the underlying photograph of the room, which is, after all, a copyrightable thing.

In other words, everyone on the web will become responsible for the behavior of all the sites they link to, always and forever. Deviant Art will be totally gone, as will everything else cool and interesting.

(By the way, if your fan art is here, don’t be sad! It will return in its non-censored glory on Friday. Sorry, guys, for using your lovely work to make a point!)

These bills are, of course, absurd at a legal level, and as a practical matter they are nothing less than an attack on the structure of the web, its complex web of links and connections, and upon the content of the web, with its rich culture of re-mixing and re-purposing copyrighted works, like the fan art and fan fiction that appears on this blog. For which, under SOPA, I could sue you guys and everyone who links to you IF I WERE A COLOSSAL ASS-HAT.

But in an effort to fight ass-hattery, I’m joining in this protest today. Not by blocking my site, but by offering you the above edition of Fan Art Friday that meets SOPA’s standards, with all the copyright-offending materials blacked out.*

Do you like this version of Fan Art Friday? Would you like everything on the internet to work this way? I think not.

Now, I will mention that President Obama has come out against SOPA/PIPA in its current form. That’s a good thing, but it never hurts to keep the pressure on. He will be president for, at most, five more years.

And throughout your lifetime, there will always be people who try to turn spaces of sharing and collaboration into places of buying, selling, and lawsuits. Stay ready to fight them, or you will leave your kids a world where most stuff sucks.

Click here to learn more about SOPA, or to contact your representatives in congress.

Non-SOPA/sucky Fan Art Friday will return on Friday, with the art above and more, uncensored. Like the internet should be.

*Yes, the legal status of fan art and fan fictions is complicated, but if SOPA passes, we’re heading toward a world where that status will probably become simpler, and not in a good way.

Alpha Taking Applications

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Are you a young writer? Ever thought of going to writing boot camp?

If so, here’s quick word from my pals at the Alpha Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Worship for Young Writers:

“The Alpha SF/F/H Workshop for Young Writers (ages 14-19) will be held July 18-27, 2012 in Pittsburgh, PA. At Alpha, students can meet others who share their interest in writing science fiction, fantasy, and horror. They can learn about writing and publishing from guest authors, including Tamora Pierce and Kij Johnson. Also, they will write and revise a short story during the workshop. Applications are due March 1, 2012.”

Click here to learn more and apply.

“Also, alumni of the workshop are raising money for the workshop’s scholarship fund, which assists Alpha students who need financial aid in order to attend. We have organized an auction, which begins today at noon, with items donated by authors and editors such as George R. R. Martin, Tamora Pierce, John Joseph Adams, Elizabeth Bear, Ellen Kushner, Theodora Goss, Karen Healey, and more. In addition, an anthology of flash fiction written and illustrated by Alpha alumni is available in return for donations of any amount. The auction will run January 13-20, with other donations welcome anytime.”

Click here for more on the auction.

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The full-color art book for the Leviathan series, The Manual of Aeronautics, is out now!

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