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Praising Stony Mayhall [Jul. 15th, 2011|07:06 am]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

(I know, I know. Everyone and his mother is going to use that as the title for their review, including the marketing department of Del Rey when they come out with the ninth printing, but I’m tired because I was up all night finishing the damn book, so this is the best you’re going to get.)

I joke a lot about my massive reach on the internet, even though I know it’s mostly my friends, my mom, and disappointed South Korean who think they’re going to a billpay site but wind up here instead. It’s a small circle, but I’m a big believer in using the internet to spread ideas. Yesterday, Jamie showed me a video of a dubbed dog, and I thought it was so damn funny that I sent it to Anne and my mom, who will quite likely share it their friends, and on and on until everyone has seen this video. You’ll see it, too, because you’ll want to see the deal is. You’ll become another vector.

I want you to become vectors for Daryl Gregory’s Raising Stony Mayhall, because it is so goddamned good. It is keep-me-awake-to-see-what-happens-next good. It is I-want-to-eat-Daryl’s-brains-just-so-I-can-gain-his-writing-skills good (though that bit is just between you and me. I’m going to see Daryl in a few weeks, and I don’t want him to get wise to me and show up wearing a helmet). It is a zombie novel told from the zombies’ point of view, and it will break your heart and make you laugh and do all the great things that Daryl’s writing does.

I remember talking with him about this in Montreal, when he was busy trying to talk himself out of writing Stony. The Zombie Glut was approaching maximum saturation, and Daryl was convinced that his book would be lost in a wave of po-mo zombie stories that took the genre apart and sewed it back together. I am so glad Daryl kept at it, because I think he’s scored another winner.

Go buy this book. Buy two copies so you can lend one to your friends, and watch it spread. Give in to the Big Bite. Be the vector.

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One Of The Things I Don’t Understand About Twitter (Or: Why I Probably Need To Turn In My Geek [Jun. 19th, 2011|07:56 pm]
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

Something weird happened today: I got trolled on Twitter.

This isn’t weird in the grand scheme of things: any time you’ve got an appliance with a network connection on one end and a keyboard on the other, you’re going to get a stream of data from jerks. It’s all part of John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory, and I shouldn’t be weirded out by it. But I am, simply because I am one tiny, tiny person in vast ocean of information, and whenever someone pinpoints me to tell me off, it feels weird.

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Pimping Stony Mayhall [Jun. 6th, 2011|09:37 am]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

Hello. It’s been a while. I have been nurturing and writing, sometimes at the same time. The results haven’t been pretty, but the kid sure is.

I have nothing interesting to say right now, which is why I am down on my knees thanking the Flying Spaghetti Monster that my friend, Daryl Gregory, does have something interesting to say. Here it is:

Hi, I’m Daryl Gregory. My third novel, Raising Stony Mayhall, will be out in stores on June 28. The book is my skewed take on the zombie genre, featuring a kid who thinks he’s the last living dead boy in the world. Publisher’s Weekly just gave it a starred review and named it their Pick of the Week — which is nice. You can also read the prologue and the first chapter on my website, at http://www.darylgregory.com/stony/

If you pre-order Stony, I’ like to thank you by sending you a signed bookplate. (Which is just a fancy sticker with my actual, not-scanned, handwritten signature and a nice thank-you message that you can paste into your book.) And if you do so right away, I’ll throw in these lovely Ginsu knives. Okay, that last part’s a lie. Sorry about that.

Just pre-order from anywhere (some possible links below), then, before June 28, send me an email with your mailing address. That’s it. No proof of purchase necessary, though if you send me box tops from your favorite cereal, that’s cool.

I’ll mail you the bookplate, with of course an inscription. Make sure to let me know if you’d like me to mention something specific — like, say, that this a gift for your beloved spouse, ex-girlfriend, or dog. However, I will not participate in gifts for beloved ex-dogs.

Some places to order, in alphabetical order:
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Borders
Flights of Fantasy Books (a great
indie bookstore)
Powell’s Books

Feel free to pass this around. Any friend of yours is a friend of mine!

–Daryl

Now, Daryl, being the polite Midwesterner that he is, wanted people to pass this around to people they knew via email. I, of course, having the world’s greatest internet fan base, mostly based in South Korea and my imagination, wanted to spread it to all of you. Why? Because Daryl tells a hell of a good story and you will enjoy this book and want to buy his previous books and enjoy them, too. And because the evil, sleep-deprived part of my brain that sounds like Andy Dick on a Sudefed bender wants Daryl to have to sign and mail eleventy-jillion bookplates. Of course, if Raising Stony Mayhall becomes an eleventy-jillion copy best-seller, Daryl can afford to get himself one of those robo-clone hands I hear they’re growing in China. Totally ethically raised, too.

So, spread the word, people! Pre-order Raising Stony Mayahall and make Daryl Gregory happy! Or suffer, depending on how you look at it.

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The Zazzle Emails [Mar. 1st, 2011|03:26 pm]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

Just to put a cap on these events, here are the emails that Zazzle.com sent me, presented in chronological order. Actual email addresses have been redacted so as not to feed the spam crawlers. Formatting probably looks sloppy because I’m cutting and pasting directly from Gmail and am too tired and lazy to make it look pretty.

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UPDATED: Zazzle.com (and a little bit of the JRR Tolkien Estate) Can Go Fuck Themselves [Feb. 23rd, 2011|03:59 pm]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

Back in late 2009, I got into a Twitter conversation with Madeline Ashby about geek culture, fandom, and a bunch of stuff like that. Madeline wrote, “While you were reading Tolkien, I was watching Evangelion.” I thought this was an excellent encapsulation of the divide in SF/F/Whatever fandom, and thus took to Zazzle to make little buttons with her quote. I bought a bunch, handed them out at a few conventions, then I had a kid and promptly forgot all about it.

Until today, when Zazzle emailed me to say they were pulling the buttons for intellectual property right infringement.

And guess who complained about their rights being infringed?

I’ve tried to come up with something more to say about this, but I’m too angry and confused and tired to say anything more than I did in the title of this post. Have fun milking your dad’s stuff, Christopher Tolkien!

Photo on 2009-09-29 at 10.50

UPDATE 2/28/11: Zazzle just sent me this email:

Dear Adam,

This email is in regards to the deletion of your button entitled “While you were reading Tolkien,I was watching Eva”. After corresponding with representatives from the Tolkien Estate, it’s been brought to our attention that the design was removed inadvertently due to a miscommunication on our part. We are happy to inform you that your product has been restored and located here: [URL of old button].

We sincerely apologize for this error. If you would like for us to restore your account simply reply to this email so that we can send you a temporary password to access your account.

Again we apologize for any inconvenience, and thank you for being a seller at Zazzle.

Best,
Mike
Content Management,
Zazzle, Inc

So, everything’s as it was, right? We defeated the bad guys, threw The Ring into the fire without getting any digits bitten off, and we’re back in the Shire for a nice cuppa and sweet Hobbit lovin’ with Rosie, right?

Well, no. I’m going to remove the button from Zazzle; I realize they’re a business, and they have to protect themselves, but the way they handled this whole affair pissed me off. I had to dig to find out who had complained, and when I asked to see the actual complaint, Zazzle told me:

With regards to details of the infringement, all legal documents are confidential therefore I cannot release this undisclosed information. But we ask that you do acknowledge the fact that we were contacted by The J.R.R. Tolkien Estate, and at their request to prevent and remove any unauthorized and infringing third-party uses of their copyrights, trademarks and intellectual properties.

Oh, I’ll acknowledge nothing of the sort, bucko. And I’m also not going to do any business with you guys from now on. If I want this kind of shabby treatment, I’ll go to Fry’s.

I hope to make more of these buttons, and maybe a few others, too, though it’ll be a while before I attend another convention (the primary venue for buttons with zippy sayings), so it’ll be a while before I make more buttons.

Thanks to everyone who commented, especially if it was constructive. Thanks to everyone who posted this far and wide. And thanks to Studio Gainax for not being a bunch of dicks.

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It is November 1st [Nov. 1st, 2010|01:04 pm]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

Some milestones, for your consideration:

Grace’s tooth count: five, with number six announcing itself at four in the morning with a wailing we haven’t heard since tooth number three. I am not looking forward to the arrival of her molars.

Time it takes Grace to crawl from one end of the house to the other: about thirty seconds, provided she doesn’t get distracted en route.

Solid foods Grace now eats: peas, green beans, chicken, carne asada, rice, salmon, furikake, sweet potato, yam, squash, carrots.

Word count on the novel revision: 15,344.

Word count I was supposed to hit by today: 90,000.

Chances of making that by the end of the day: Ha. Ha. Ha.

Cost of back waxing: forty bucks, apparently.

Video will be forthcoming. Happy November.

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This is a mobile post [Sep. 21st, 2010|06:40 pm]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

This post was written on my phone. That is all.

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A quick one, while I was away [Jun. 28th, 2010|10:10 am]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

Man, I am lucky.

That’s the only way I can figure out how I got to spend last week the way I did. If I hadn’t gone to last year’s World Fantasy Convention, if I hadn’t wound up sharing a room with Daryl Gregory, if I hadn’t gone room-hopping with everyone, I would have been at home, watching the kid practice her back-to-front rolls and not get enough sleep.

Instead, all those things happened, so I got to kick around Flagstaff, Arizona with ten talented, funny people, watching Charlie The Unicorn and not getting enough sleep.

I met Sarah K. Castle at WFC, and we got to talking about writing and what we were working on (me, Windswept; her, a science fiction thriller about a world-spanning EPA with teeth, which I said she should market as SCIENCE NINJAS. She demurred). I made a friend, which is always a nice thing to do at conventions, and I also wound up getting invited to Starry Heaven, a novel-writing workshop based on the Blue Heaven workshop that Charles Coleman Finlay created.

The format works like this: every participant submits the first fifty pages of the novel they want to workshop. Everyone reads every first fifty, then chooses two full novels to read. Then everyone goes to Flagstaff (Sarah’s stomping grounds), where you eat, drink, and critique. The first three days are group sessions where we deliver critiques of the first fifties, four a day. The rest of the workshop, we split into groups of three to deliver the full critiques. It was a lot of work, but when you’ve got good material and good people, it doesn’t feel like it.

Sarah’s invite came at a real low point in my writing career (though that doesn’t feel like the right word. Writing apprenticeship? Writing gestation? Writing sitting-on-my-can-trying-to-fill-the-page-with-text time?), and the workshop was just the kick in the ass I needed. I got to read YA, horror (both urban and smaller urban), fantasy, SF, all of it great. There will be some excellent books coming out of this workshop, and I hope that mine will be one of them (or, at least, it’ll be better than it has been before). Fortunately, I got a lot of excellent input from everyone, especially my two full readers,

[Error: Irreparable invalid markup ('<http:>') in entry. Owner must fix manually. Raw contents below.]

<p style="border: 1px solid black; padding: 3px;"><strong>Originally published at <a href="http://www.giro.org/2010/06/28/a-quick-one-while-i-was-away/">Giro.org</a>. Please leave any <a href="http://www.giro.org/2010/06/28/a-quick-one-while-i-was-away/#comments">comments</a> there.</strong></p><p>Man, I am lucky.</p> <p>That&#8217;s the only way I can figure out how I got to spend last week the way I did. If I hadn&#8217;t gone to last year&#8217;s World Fantasy Convention, if I hadn&#8217;t wound up sharing a room with Daryl Gregory, if I hadn&#8217;t gone room-hopping with everyone, I would have been at home, watching the kid practice her back-to-front rolls and not get enough sleep.</p> <p>Instead, all those things happened, so I got to kick around Flagstaff, Arizona with ten talented, funny people, watching Charlie The Unicorn and not getting enough sleep.</p> <p>I met <a href="http://www.skcastle.com/">Sarah K. Castle</a> at WFC, and we got to talking about writing and what we were working on (me, <i>Windswept</i>; her, a science fiction thriller about a world-spanning EPA with teeth, which I said she should market as SCIENCE NINJAS. She demurred). I made a friend, which is always a nice thing to do at conventions, and I also wound up getting invited to Starry Heaven, a novel-writing workshop based on the Blue Heaven workshop that <a href="http://www.ccfinlay.com/">Charles Coleman Finlay</a> created.</p> <p>The format works like this: every participant submits the first fifty pages of the novel they want to workshop. Everyone reads every first fifty, then chooses two full novels to read. Then everyone goes to Flagstaff (Sarah&#8217;s stomping grounds), where you eat, drink, and critique. The first three days are group sessions where we deliver critiques of the first fifties, four a day. The rest of the workshop, we split into groups of three to deliver the full critiques. It was a lot of work, but when you&#8217;ve got good material and good people, it doesn&#8217;t feel like it.</p> <p>Sarah&#8217;s invite came at a real low point in my writing career (though that doesn&#8217;t feel like the right word. Writing apprenticeship? Writing gestation? Writing sitting-on-my-can-trying-to-fill-the-page-with-text time?), and the workshop was just the kick in the ass I needed. I got to read YA, horror (both urban and smaller urban), fantasy, SF, all of it great. There will be some excellent books coming out of this workshop, and I hope that mine will be one of them (or, at least, it&#8217;ll be better than it has been before). Fortunately, I got a lot of excellent input from everyone, especially my two full readers, <http: //quillings.com/>Brad Beaulieu and <a href="http://www.shunn.net/">William Shunn</a>. This next draft won&#8217;t be a breeze, but the path to completion looks a lot brighter, thanks to Brad and Bill&#8217;s signposts.</p> <p>So, time to get back to work. But first, I have to go change a diaper. Ah, the glorious writer&#8217;s life&#8230;</p>
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Because I Want Things To Be Better [Feb. 12th, 2010|09:52 pm]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

I have to write this down because I need a place to put it. The problem with Twitter is that things move quickly, and it’s a bitch to nail down something I find funny or poignant or important. This is Twitter’s curse and its triumph: it’s a snapshot of what’s going on, a place to collect mental warmups and the ephemera of our lives.

It’s also a place for clueless asshats to gather and steal time. If you’ve gotten a link to this through a reply from me on Twitter, it’s because I think you’re one of them, and I want you to know how much what I think you’re doing is wasteful and wrongheaded and it requires me to sit you down and point out the mess you made on the carpet.

It’s like this: I like that random people follow me. It’s just like the early days of the web, when a comment was like finding a nugget of gold in the pile of sand someone had dumped on my desk. That spark of recognition, that light that goes off in my soul when I know another human being has read what I’ve written and it’s meant something to them: that’s a marvelous thing, and it makes a tool like Twitter that much more special. It brings a little warmth to a world that is always growing colder.

And you ruined it.

That’s right, you ruined it, because I got an email saying that you followed me on Twitter, and I clicked on your profile, and I found out that you call yourself a social media maven, an online marketing guru, a SEO expert.

You are none of those things.

You are a murderer.

You have killed a few of my precious seconds, and all because you think your link farm or your blog or whatever twaddle you’re pushing is worth my time, my limited time, my never-going-to-get-it-back time, my time that I could spend with my family or writing or on my bike or connecting with another human being or making the world’s greatest sandwich, and for what?

You follow me, because you hope I’ll follow you back so I can hang on your every word.

Don’t lie to me. You follow a few thousand people. You think I’m going to believe that you really pay attention to all of them?

No, you follow them in the hopes they’ll follow you back. You’re preying on the protocols of Twitter. You are a parasite, a leech, a tumor on the Body Internet, and I feel sorry for you.

Why? Because you are that most awful thing: you’re boring.

You’re boring because you only care about trying to sell stuff. I don’t care if it’s your services or your thoughts or a new website about cheese; you are trying to sell me something, and we both know that what you’re peddling is worthless. That’s why marketing was invented: to convince people that the shit sandwich they’re being served is actually tasty roast beef.

I should know, because that was my job.

“Aha!” you cry, “hypocrite! You self-loathing loser!”

Maybe.

But there’s a difference between the stuff I sold and what you sell: I knew my audience. I went out and hunted for them. I used tools to speed up the process, but I knew who I was looking for. I knew what I was selling was something that people would want to know about, if they only knew about it. Nine times out of ten, I was right.

But you? You have a tool that scans Twitter for keywords and follows automatically, and those keywords are boring. “Marketing.” “Social media.” “Online.”

Pathetic.

What’s worse is that they devalue both of us. They turn me into a commodity and your words into so much bland mush. You don’t care about me except that I could be one more number on your Followers list, and that’s a sad, sad thing. You measure your worth in how many people are engaged in the sad game of Pay Attention To Me.

You could be so much more.

That’s why I’m sending you this link before I block you. It’s not that I’m angry at you; it’s that I’m disappointed. You seem to get how Twitter and the web and the online world all work, yet you’re wasting it all by trying to get me to pay attention to you.

What if you spent all that energy into doing something that was worthy of attention on its own? What if you turned off the auto-follow tools, sat down, looked hard at your life and found that brilliant, amazing thing inside you that wants to shine? What if you worked like mad honing, shaping, polishing that thing until it was so fucking bright that people couldn’t take their eyes off it if they tried?

What if you want tried to make things better?

Most of you who get this link won’t get very far. You’ll write me off, continue checking boxes and going about your boring business. That’s fine. Within twenty-four hours, I’ll have blocked you, and you’ll be out of my life.

But some of you will read this, and it’ll gnaw at you. You’ll roll it around, like that bit of corn stuck in your teeth, and you won’t be able to dislodge it. It’ll drive you nuts, and that’s because, deep down, you’ll know I’m right.

An oyster needs a grain of sand to make a pearl. I hope yours turns into something beautiful.

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Six weeks in, and what I’ve learned [Feb. 4th, 2010|07:50 pm]
rakdaddy
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Originally published at Giro.org. Please leave any comments there.

1) Babies are noisy. And I’m not talking about the crying bits; I was totally ready for that. What still throws me is when Grace is asleep and completely calm, she’ll turn her head and honk. How does someone so tiny get so much volume?

2) God, I love putting her in the sling and walking around. If this feeling of peace and contentment as my daughter snoozes against my belly means that I get my Man Card pulled, tell me where to mail it, man. You can keep your card; I wouldn’t trade this time with Grace for anything.

3) You can’t burp out a fart. Yes, I can rub her tummy or bicycle-kick her legs, but, dammit, I want some brilliant pediatrician to find the magical spot on my daughter’s body that I just have to pat a few times to relieve all that gas that’s making her cry like it’s the end of the world. Whoever finds this spot will get the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Probably the Peace Prize, too.

4) For the first three weeks, Grace has had two facial expressions: Asleep and Serious. Then, in week four, when her neck had gotten strong enough to hold up her head, she added a new one: Curious. We’ll get her on one of our shoulders, and she’ll look around with this wide-eyed face that looks like she’s saying, “Hey. I like this. This is cool.” The pots and pans above our sink? Fascinating. The tree outside the living room? Incredible. She’s looking around and drinking it all in, and we love it.

5) I thought my heart was going to burst the night she was born and I first held her. Turns out that feeling was nothing compared to the first time she smiled at me. Oh, man

6) While baby photographers are great and kind and professional, the companies they work for? Pushy.

7) I know every father since time immemorial has felt these things, but I still want to tell everyone I know. I want to stop strangers on the street and say, “Here, you! Look at my daughter! Isn’t she the greatest thing ever?” I have to make sure I don’t babble about the things she does (tummy time! Laughing in her sleep! Grabbing her bottle!) so I don’t become That Kind Of Dad.

8) Actually, I am That Kind Of Dad. I should just admit it.

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