Monday, November 29, 2021

Cyber Monday IX: The Consumering

I’m not that big on Cyber Monday anymore because it really tends to just direct a lot of traffic toward Amazon. But it’s that time of year where people have too much eggnog and all the skeletons come out of the closet. Uncle Jack hates to admit it, but artists only get to make art because they get paid.  Artists get paid when people buy their art.

So I’m going to ask you to buy some books. And for two or three of them, I may have to direct you to Amazon. For everything else, you should just be going to your local bookstore and asking for a copy. They’re very cool, they could use the business, and this way you’re not one of those conformists sheeple falling for that Cyber Monday capitalist nonsense. You’ll get to brag about that until Valentine’s Day, easy.

So here’s a list of my books and a few short story collections. Please put them on your wish list or get them as gifts for friends and family members.

First up, you could pre-order The Broken Room at your favorite local bookstore, in hardcover or paperback. It comes out in early March, so really this is a gift for yourself. And kind of for me, because those preorders really impress publishers and help out a lot. I think we’re going to be having a cover reveal any day now...

Terminus is part of the Threshold universe of stories. It’s about a bunch of people who end up at a strange, uncharted island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Chase is running away from things, Anne is running towards them, and Murdoch is slowly coming to realize he probably shouldn’t’ve stopped running. They all start to explore said strange island, their paths begin to cross, and the end of the world begins to unfold around them. It’s currently available in ebook and audiobook (read by the always-fantastic Ray Porter). No paper, I’m afraid, but I may have news about this next year...

Dead Moon is about a woman who runs away to the Moon and finds... well, zombies on the Moon. And some other things, too. It’s spooky and fun and I’m quite proud of it. It’s another one that’s in ebook and audio, but no paper (sorry)

Paradox Bound is my New York Times-bestselling story about infatuation, road trips, American history, a pretty cool train and some pretty creepy antagonists. F.Paul Wilson said it was like Doctor Who crossed with National Treasure, and if that doesn’t get you interested I don’t know what will. There’s an audiobook, ebook, paperbacks, and you might even find a hardcover here or there if you’re lucky. Call your local bookstore and ask if they’ve got one.

Somebody once described The Fold as a horror-suspense novel disguised as a sci-fi-mystery, and I’ve always liked that. It’s available in pretty much every format you can imagine, and it’s also part of the unconnected "series” of Threshold books.

Several of you found your way here because of my odd little sci-fi-urban-horror-mystery novel--14. Alas, the paperback has lone since gone out of print, but there’s still an ebook and a phenomenal audiobook narrated by Ray Porter (the first project we did together). And there might be more versions in the year to come, but we’ll talk about those when we can... 

Another big bunch of you are here because of the Ex-Heroes series. Superheroes fighting zombies in post-apocalyptic Los Angeles (and a few other places).  Ex-Heroes, Ex-Patriots, Ex-Communication, Ex-Purgatory, and Ex-Isle. All of these are available in a number of formats and a number of languages.

My mashup novel, The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe, is finally available as an audiobook. Bad news... it also only has audio and ebook versions at the moment. Sorry. Hoping to fix that soon, but I really think the audiobook might be a better format for this one.

I also have a short story collection called Dead Men Can’t Complain.  It’s got a bunch of stories I’ve had published over the years in various anthologies and journals, plus a few original ones.  It’s an Audible exclusive, and it’s read by Ray Porter and Ralph Lister.

You can pick up The Junkie Quatrain as either an ebook or an audiobook (still no paper, sorry). It’s my attempt at a “fast zombies” tale, a short series of interconnected stories I’ve described as Rashomon meets 28 Days Later. It also features a recurring character of mine, Quilt, who keeps showing up in different stories in one way or another... 

Thus ends my shameless Cyber Monday appeal to you.  Again, so very sorry we had to do this, but it really does make the marketing folks happy and they’ve always been really good to me. Also, please check out this year's list of some of the great books I’ve read by other, much better authors.

And please don’t forget my Black Friday offer if you happen to be one of the folks who may need it.

We now resume your regular internet shopping. Browse responsibly. Clear your history on a regular basis. Especially you, Doug. No, sweet jebus, don’t click on that—that’s not really from PayPal.

And we’ll be back to regular writing stuff on Thursday.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Small Business Saturday

Hey there! As I have several times in the past, I thought I’d take a moment at the holidays to mention some of the books I’ve read and enjoyed this year by much more talented authors. If you’re still wondering about what to get that certain someone, you could go hit your local bookstore, browse around a bit, and maybe find a few things from this list they might enjoy.

Or maybe you’ll just find something on your own. That’s the fun of browsing in real-world bookstores.

So, in no real order...

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – we’ll start with an easy one. If you haven’t somehow heard, Andy’s latest is (surprise) just fantastic. The tale of an (accidentally) lone astronaut’s desperate attempt to save the Earth. It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s incredibly smart while being ridiculously accessible. Absolutely anyone will enjoy it. Yeah, even that grouchy uncle who doesn' tlike sci-fi stuff.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab—I’m a sucker for stories about memory and identity, and this book approaches it from the opposite side. What if it wasn't your memory but everyone else's. What if no one could ever remember you? What if they forgot you the moment they couldn’t see you? What kind of life would this be? And what if that life never, ever ended... ?

Bottle Demon by Stephen Blackmoore---every year Stephen writes a new book about necromancer Eric Carter and every year it ends up on this list. This most recent one is, hands down, his most amazing, and probably the most emotional, too, as Carter deals with an army of golems, an irate djinn, and the completely mysterious and unexpected resurrection of... well, himself.

King Bullet by Richard Kadrey—if you’re one of those people who waits for the end of a series to start reading, well, I guess this is a good day. Kadrey brings the Sandman Slim books to a close with one last Stark adventure and a truly magnificent ending that feels perfectly fitting while also being somehow completely unexpected.

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland—I’ve read a lot of zombie books out of a very broad genre, but this book manages to be fresh and very fun, picturing an alternate world where the American Civil War is disrupted by a mass zombie outbreak, and young women of color are trained to be bodyguards against the undead for “proper” women. I liked it so much I recommended this one for our Last Bookstore dystopian book club.

The History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel—a wonderful tale about aliens and their very long-game plan to shape the Earth’s assorted space programs to prepare us for... something. It’s one of those books that’ll teach you a lot of history even as it entertains you.

Madi by Duncan Jones, Alex deCampi, and too many fantastic artists to list here—this graphic novel is set in the same world as Jones’s films Moon and Mute, and asks what happens when a government super-cyborg decides to retire, especially when their body’s loaded up with proprietary software and hardware that requires ongoing maintenance and updates. It’s kind of like the weirdly fun baby that came out of a threeway between The Transporter, Crank, and The Bionic Woman.

Hard Reboot by Django Wexler—it’s a love story about a pair of women trying to rebuild a giant robot so it can compete on the giant robot pit-fighting circuit. Seriously, what more do you need to know?

Reclaimed by Madeleine Roux—remember what I said about memory and identity? Seriously, it’s like Madeleine wrote this book just for me. A group of people agree to be test subjects for a procedure that can erase traumatic experiences from your memory. But how much of who you are is defined by those experiences? What kind of person are you changed into once they’re gone? And how would you go about fixing that change...?

The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig—this is a beautiful, brutal book, and it’s almost tough to recommend because it hit a lot of nerves for me, personally, that are probably going to be raw forever. That said, it’s a wonderful book about choices and consequences and how they make us who we are.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells– people have been telling me about the Murderbot books for ages, so I’m really late to this party. You may already know this but if you somehow didn’t... wow, what a fun read. The story of a security android that figures out how to hack its own code, inadvertently becoming an independent being and now stuck guarding a group of scientists on a survey mission.

Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle –another one I’m really late on but goddamn. This was one of the first books I read in 2021 and it’s still hands down the best. There just aren’t enough adjectives to describe how fantastic this book is and on how many levels. Lovecraftian horror grounded in real-world horror and it’s just brutally beautiful.

And those are my personal favorites for the year. I may add to this list over the next week or two, depending on how my current reads go. Please feel free to add any of your own must-reads down in the comments. I’d also shamelessly remind you that you can find a lot of my own books at your favorite local bookstore, like The Fold, Paradox Bound, or the Ex-Heroes books.

I’ll also take this moment to remind you of my Black Friday offer, just in case you missed it earlier. Please feel free to get in touch if you think it might help you out. And please—it’s not about if someone needs it more than you. It’s just about if you need some help.

Oh, and if you happen to be at SDCC Special Edition this weekend, I’m going to be hosting the Writer’s Coffeehouse on Sunday at 11:30, room 32AB. Ninety minutes of random tips and facts from me as I try to answer all your questions about publishing, writing, and anywhere those two might overlap.

Happy holidays. Probably back to all our usual stuff next week.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Black Friday XIV — Santa Takes Manhattan

I know I said I wasn’t going to post much this month, but late November is when I do all my books o' the year posts. Plus, it struck me it might not be a bad thing to do my annual Black Friday offer a little early, what with DeJoy stil in office and all that...

So, what’s the Black Friday offer about, ask all the folks who never click links?

It’s about how being poor at the holidays completely, absolutely sucks.

As some of you know, I’d saved up a little film-industry money before I became a full-time writer. Even so, two or three random-but-normal problems—a sick cat, car repairs, a pay cut at the magazine I wrote for—and wham I was poor. I mean... nothing. Below the poverty line, credit cards maxed out, every paycheck stretched until it was less than gauze.

The phone got shut off. No internet. My partner and I didn’t turn the heat on for three winters in a row. We stole toilet paper from the library. Pretty much everything we ate came from the 99 Cent Store. I was working on an article and frikkin’ Shane Black offered to meet up to talk over coffee and I had to turn him down because I couldn’t afford the gas to get me across the city to where he was. Hell, I didn’t have enough money to buy a coffee. We went through three years of feeling constantly sick with despair, just waiting for the inevitable bill or emergency that’d destroy us.

On a normal day, being poor’s a constant, gut-churning feeling of tension.  Of being painfully aware of what you don’t have and what you can’t do. There are some messed up folks who love to bellow about “nanny states” and “entitlements” but the simple truth is that the vast majority of poor people don’t abuse the system. They’re way too busy just trying to survive with their home, their health, and maybe just a shred of dignity.

This deep-in-your-gut feeling’s even worse at the holidays. So much of the holidays is about giving, and when you’re poor you just... you’ve got nothing to give. It doesn’t matter how much you care about that person, it doesn’t matter how much you want to just feel normal and give them something—anything—to express that.  It doesn’t matter because you’ve got nothing.

And again... you can feel people judging you over it.  At every party or gathering or dinner.  You get judged for being trapped and powerless. Hell, even if they're not judging you, you end up judging yourself, and it just becomes this endless cycle of guilt and resentment and desperation. I hope that none of you reading this are there right now, feeling helpless and sick with despair. Because like I said before, it seriously sucks to be in that position

But if this is where you're at right now—maybe I can help.

If you can’t afford gifts for your friends or family, shoot me a note at ye olde PeterClines101@yahoo.com. I’ve got a little over a dozen books here that I’ll autograph to whoever you want and mail out to you. Or to someone else, if you need it shipped. Most of these are paperbacks of Paradox Bound, but there’s a few Ex-Purgatory and Ex-Isle, too. Think I might even have a few audiobook sets (those big cases of CDs) of different things.  If audiobooks would work better, just say so. You can request a specific book, but I can’t promise anything—it’s just what I’ve got saved up here. I can even gift wrap if you need it (I'm fantastic at wrapping presents, really). 

I’ll send them out to whoever needs them for as long as the books last. Or probably until the 15th, just to make sure you get them on time and have something to give.

So if you need some help this season, please just ask

Again, this is for those of you who need some help getting gifts for others. The people who are pulling unemployment, cutting back on everything, and feeling trapped because they can’t afford gifts.  It’s not so you can recommend someone who might like a free book. You could do that for them, too—go get them a book. They’ll love you for it.

On a related note... whenever I do this folks offer to chip in and help out. I’m good, but I’m willing to bet there’s a toy bank or a gift bank or a food bank or some kind of program within ten or fifteen miles of you right now. You could help out with that. You can go be fantastic people all on your own. You don’t need me.

Finally, I’m also doing this on the honor system, so if you’re just trying to score a  free autographed book... well, I can’t stop you. But let’s be clear—if you do this, you suck. You’re a deplorable person who’s taking a moment of peace and relief away from someone who really needs it this holiday season. Don’t act all surprised when karma kicks you hard in the ass over New Year’s.

Anyway, Happy Holidays. Let me know if I can help out