Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


* * * Early Warning * * *

January 1st, 2017

COMING IN JUNE 2017
FROM MYTHIC ISLAND PRESS LLC

Scarred by war. In pursuit of truth.

THE LAST GOOD MAN

A near-future thriller

This is not the cover art! It’s just a placeholder until cover art is acquired.

Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost.

THE LAST GOOD MAN is a powerful, complex, and very human tale.

Uh, the last line of that description was supplied by my agent. 🙂

The “cover art” I’ve posted above is just a placeholder. The back-cover description and taglines are preliminary and subject to revision. But the novel is real. It exists. It’s complete as is, though I plan to do one more draft before I send out review copies.

If you’re a book reviewer and you’d like a copy please send me an email at linda at mythicisland dot com, letting me know who you are, where you review, and whether you prefer an epub or mobi (Kindle) ebook file.

There’s no preorder option yet, but PLEASE DO signup for my newsletter. You’ll not only get news about The Last Good Man as the publication date approaches, but you’ll also get news about DEALS on my other books — including one that’s coming up very soon.

Writing Goals For 2017

January 1st, 2017

I wish everyone a Happy New Year. Let’s do the best we can, okay? Given the president we here in America are about to be encumbered with, I suspect 2017 will prove to be a bitter, divisive year. I hope I am wrong and that we are, by some grace, better off at the end of it.

In the meantime, there is the work.

Here’s what I hope to accomplish in 2017:

1. Write a NEW NOVEL. It may or may not be the one I’ve already started, but I want to have a new novel, either in my agent’s hands or ready to publish myself, by the end of the year.

2. Write a SHORT STORY. I’m only going to require one. Science fiction or fantasy, but unrelated to any existing work. If any additional short fiction happens, that will be a bonus.

3. Write a NOVELLA set in an existing story world. This is an unmet goal carried over into a third year. I still want to write it. There is a chance it will turn into a novel. So it goes.

4. PUBLISH the novel I finished writing in 2016. (More on that in the next post.) It’s going to be a complex process, but I’m looking forward to it.

That’s it! This list gets shorter every year, either because I’m getting older, or I’m becoming more realistic about what I can do.

What are YOUR writing goals for 2017? What are your reading goals? Share them here!

Looking Back, and Looking Ahead

December 28th, 2016

Here we are at the end of the year. It’s a good time to take stock of writerly things. This isn’t meant to be a whiny post. More of a looking-reality-straight-in-the-eye post — and looking ahead at what’s to come

~~~~~

Some writers have nicely ascending career paths. There may be a few setbacks, but overall the trend is up. For many of us – dare I say most of us? – that’s not how it goes. Oh sure, we enjoy the occasional triumph, but our careers are mostly a long, lonely slog through tough, soggy, mosquito-filled terrain, with only an occasional glimpse of snow-capped peaks rising in the distance—the Olympian heights! (This being a metaphor for bestseller lists, in case you missed that.)

For a while, it looked like The Red trilogy was going to be my path out of the fens — if not to the magic mountains, then at least to more solid ground. I mean, the critical response was pretty damn encouraging. Check out some of the crazy quotes here.

If you’re new to this blog and you’ve never heard of these books, here’s a brief history:

Back in 2013, I decided to self-publish the first of the trilogy, The Red: First Light, rather than trying to sell it to a traditional publisher. This was my first science fiction novel in ten years, and it went on to become a finalist for the Nebula award and second runner-up for the John W. Campbell Memorial award. It was picked up by Simon & Schuster’s Saga Press, given a gorgeous new cover, and in that incarnation was named as a Publishers Weekly best book of 2015. Saga Press published the second and third books in the trilogy in quick succession. Book 3, Going Dark, tied for first runner up for the Campbell Memorial award.

So I had reasons to get my hopes up, right?

These books had the most commercial potential of anything I’ve written. They are action oriented, and they extrapolate on real-world technology and politics. They are also heroic stories in which the actions of individuals do matter. Yes, they are written in a cynical tone (an amusingly snarky tone, I hope), but this was cynicism wrapped around a core of idealism. In other words, they’re culturally appropriate for a large swath of American readership. As evidence of that, they’ve had multiple inquiries regarding film and TV rights, and in fact were optioned for TV (an agreement now expired).

This was all far more than I’d expected … but the path peters out if potential readers miss those reviews, or if they decide for reasons of their own to skip the books, or if they never hear of the books at all because they don’t read reviews and rely instead on chance, name recognition, or word of mouth to choose their next read.

The trilogy garnered enthusiastic readers — and I’m grateful for every one of you! — but despite all the good omens, it failed to capture the attention of enough readers to make it a success. Sales languished. The books sank out of sight.

Hell, yes, this was disappointing. And I could write a long, disgruntled post speculating on the reasons why it happened — in fact I did — but I’ll spare you that. We’re here at the turn of the year and it’s time to move on, because…

I’VE GOT ANOTHER NOVEL ON THE WAY!

::cheers::

::confetti::

Hey, I’m excited about it. I hope you are too. I really, really hope you’re excited, because I’m going to need you’re support on this.

So what’s it called? What’s it about? That post will go up at the New Year. But here’s a hint:

In these crazy, frightening, rapidly changing times my focus has been captured by the near future. Where are we going? What are some of the implications of our rapidly developing technologies? What impact might they have on the way we see ourselves, and on what we value in ourselves, given that we are still operating under the templates of our ancient tribal minds? These are some of the themes behind a thriller that’s written on a very human scale.

So check back soon. And in the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, sign up for my occasional newsletter (see the form in the upper right column). It’s one more way to keep in touch.

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2016

Writing Goals for 2016:
The Assessment

December 23rd, 2016

Since 2011, I’ve been publishing a list of my writing goals for the year, and at the end of the year I take a look at that list and assess how I did at meeting those goals. So it’s time to assess 2016. What follows is a list of the goals I posted on January 1 2016, and how I did on each one:

1. FINISH the current novel-in-progress, where “finish” means it’s been revised and polished and is in my agent’s hands.

DONE. Done. Totally done.

2. START the next novel, where “start” means figure out the general idea behind it, and develop a rough outline with a list of characters. Bonus points for actually writing the opening.

This is actually DONE too. I’ve outlined a new novel and written the first 5,000 words. Circumstances being what they are, though, I will likely dump this novel… er, I mean, put it aside… and try to come up with something more traditional and possibly more marketable.

3. PUBLISH a second short story collection. This is going to be a round up of all my short fiction published since 2012.

DONE, with the caveat that it doesn’t include all my short fiction — I’ve held back the two Zeke Choy stories. Still, eight short stories! For more details on the new collection, click here.

4. Write a short story in THE RED story world.

DONE. This story was requested for an anthology that I really wanted to participate in, so that gave me the motivation to get it done.

5. Write at least one hard-SF short story unrelated to anything else I’ve done.

NOT done. Other than the story mentioned above, I didn’t even start any new short fiction this year. However, I did rediscover a story I wrote two years ago, but never sent out. It was better than I remembered, so I revised it and am now in the process of marketing it.

6. Write at least one novella set in an existing story world.

NOT done. This was an unmet goal from both 2015 and 2016, and it will now roll over into a 2017 goal.

Overall, 2016 was not a good year for my writing career. I’ll admit that my confidence has faded, along with the enthusiasm of a few years ago, and without that confidence and enthusiasm it’s been a lot harder for me to write. Still, I managed to do most of what I’d hoped to do. So I’ll give myself a pat on the back, and try to do better in 2017.

Did you have writing goals for 2016? How did you do?

Christmas Gift Suggestions

December 1st, 2016

Because if I don’t suggest it, who will?

Books make great Christmas gifts, don’t you think? If you’re considering giving books this year, I hope you’ll consider giving some of mine.

The Red Trilogy is available in beautiful hardcover editions from Saga Press/Simon & Schuster. Or for a more budget-friendly gift, look for the paperback editions.

The Red Trilogy by Linda Nagata

Memory by Linda NagataMemory is available in a lovely, matte-finish trade-paperback edition, with cover illustration by Emily Irwin and interior design by yours truly.

This trade paperback, as well as the Nanotech books, are 5.5″ x 8.5″, so they’re not “pocket books.” Instead they’re a size typical of many hardcover editions.

All four books of The Nanotech Succession are available in gloss-finish trade paperback editions, with cover art by the amazing Bruce Jensen.

The Nanotech Succession by Linda Nagata

I’m pretty sure you won’t find Memory or the Nanotech books in your neighborhood bookstore, but all of these titles should be available online.

Light And Shadow: eight short stories

November 30th, 2016

Light And Shadow by Linda NagataBack in January, I posted a list of writing goals for 2016. One of those goals was to publish a second short story collection — and here it is: Light And Shadow: eight short stories.

The collection includes all my short fiction published since 2012, with the exception of the two “Zeke Choy” stories from the Nanotech Succession story world.

Here’s the list of included stories:

Through Your Eyes (Asimov’s 2013)
Halfway Home (Nightmare Magazine 2013)
Codename: Delphi (Lightspeed Magazine 2014)
Attitude (Reach For Infinity 2014)
A Moment Before It Struck (Lightspeed Magazine 2012)
Light and Shadow (War Stories 2014)
Nightside On Callisto (Lightspeed Magazine 2012)
The Way Home (Operation Arcana 2015)

It’s likely that those of you who regularly visit this blog have already read most of these stories, and if you haven’t, I want to let you know that most of them are available to read online. If you’d rather approach them that way, visit my website for links.

On the other hand, an ebook is vastly more convenient, this one contains short introductory notes with each story, and sales of this ebook could give a small but meaningful boost to my rather paltry career.

Further persuasion: I’ll add that half of these stories have appeared in various best-of-the-year anthologies.

So…buy an ebook! And tell your friends! I don’t expect this collection to be a big seller, but I’m hoping it can serve as an introduction to my work, for those vast numbers of readers who have never encountered my stories or novels before.

Here are some vendor links. The first link is to my webstore, which uses PayPal to checkout:

Mythic Island Press LLC
Amazon.com USA
Amazon.com UK
Kobo Books (International)
Barnes & Noble

Okay, back to writing.

Xena-Rose

November 15th, 2016

I finally got a new dog. I was a dog owner for most of my life, but I’ve gone without since my last one died at least six years ago. I’ve been casually looking around for a new dog for a couple of years, and this past weekend I finally took the plunge — even though I wasn’t entirely sure it was the right decision. Wow, was I nervous! It seems that the older I get, the more problems I have with commitment. But on Sunday I brought home a Pomeranian puppy. This will be the smallest dog I’ve ever owned, by far.

Her name is Xena-Rose. She earned the name of a warrior princess after dragging her carrier across the floor.

The settling-in process has been chaotic, but I think we’re starting to figure each other out. I even got some work done today!

xena-rose_day1

Worse & Worse

November 15th, 2016

I’ve been reading a lot of election analysis over the past week and, incredibly, much of it seeks to point fingers of blame for the Republican victory at the Democratic party, or at “social justice warriors,” or at very generalized groups. Today’s guilty party was straight middle-class white women, of which I am one. Blame me if you want to, but it’s bullshit.

The Republican candidate won either because the election was hacked (and no one is talking about it), or because enough people rejected a fully qualified candidate in favor of one who lacks good judgment according to 74% of exit poll respondents.

Granted, we now know that polls are utterly worthless. But it appears that people knew what they were buying, and they bought it anyway. This is mind boggling to me. Honesty, humility, knowledge, and a propensity for public service used to be valued traits in this country. Apparently, no longer.

The Day After

November 9th, 2016

Just a brief post, as a coda to my pessimistic thoughts from a few days ago:

I didn’t sleep much last night and I’m sure many others didn’t either. My feelings on the result of the election are shock, and a real fear for the future. We are embarked on a great experiment and no one can say where it will go. It’s my hope that the Republican administration, when they gain control of all three branches of the federal government in January, will remember to respect the rights of individuals, our personal freedoms, and our shared environment. This is my hope, though I fear for those on the margins, and those who will soon lose their healthcare insurance. I hope my pessimism is misplaced. May it all turn out better than expected.