Archive for August, 2008

I’m a MINER

Friday, August 29th, 2008

I’m incredibly excited to announce that I’m now an official contributor to MINE. MINE, a pop-culture blog that digs a bit deeper, is the brain child of author/podcaster JC Hutchins, and I’m honored to listed amongst all the other great folks on board.

MINE is your one-stop shop for entertainment news, crazy rumors, Internet memes, whimsical news bites, music, gossip … you name it. We’ve amassed a small army of savvy, slightly-snarky writers — we call them “MINERS” — dedicated to extracting the most fun and interesting stuff from the webscape.

We dig bubblegum pop, video games, TV, podcasts and vidcasts, rock ‘n roll and R&B, movies (if they’ve got fireballs and giant robots, we’re so there), celeb gossip, nutty YouTube videos, the list goes on. Like you, our interests are all over the place, and we’re gunning to be the first online place you visit for the fantastical, fascinating and frivolous.

So far I’ve MINED up something truly evil, and truly awesome, and some incredible new software that will let you walk through your photos. I hope you’ll enjoy my contributions, and be sure to check out all the great content MINE has to offer.

Available August 25th: Mur Lafferty’s Playing for Keeps in Print

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

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Next Monday, August 25, Mur Lafferty‘s Playing for Keeps will be available in print1 from Swarm Press. I’m really psyched about this one.

Welcome to Seventh City, the birthplace of super powers. The First Wave heroes are jerks, but they have the best gifts: flight, super strength, telepathy, genius, fire. The Third Wavers, like bar-owner Keepsie Branson and her friends, are stuck with the leftovers: the ability to instantly make someone sober, the power to smell the past, absolute control… over elevators. They just aren’t powerful enough to make a difference… at least that’s what they’ve always been told. But when the villain Doodad slips Keepsie a mysterious metal sphere, the Third Wavers become caught in the middle of a battle between egotistical heroes and manipulative villains.

Playing for Keeps does a great job of showing what it might really be like to live it a world where some people have super powers. It does this not by focusing on the heroes and villains, but on the folks with lesser powers. But it’s not all “I wish I had a cooler power and people liked me” angst (although there is some of that). It’s about friendship, about the dangers of seeing things as black and white. It’s also an action packed romp that’s a whole lot of fun.

But wait, there’s more!

The Podcast

Playing for Keeps was first release as a serialized podcast (in both audio and PDF form). The unabridged audio version is available from Podiobooks.com where it currently has five star ratings across the boards. This is how I consumed the book, and I recommend you check it out.

The Theme Song (now with video)

The audio version also featured the books theme song, written and performed by Beatnik Turtle. Mur recently held a contest where fans sent in video clips of themselves dancing, or lip syncing, or acting out a scene, or whatever to make a music video for the song. The results can be seen here.

Stories of the Third Wave

One of the most interesting thing that was done to promote the original podcast, was Stories of the Third Wave, a companion podcast featuring fan created content2 . For the print release Mur has started a new season of Stories of the Third Wave featuring short fiction and in-universe radio programs. You can get them all by subscribing to the feed at PlayingForKeepsNovel.com. So far it’s quite the line up:

  1. Easter Egg Commentary 1 — featuring the Easter Eggs originally hidden in the PDF version of the podcast
  2. Manic Mondays #169 — a PfK themed episode of Tom Rockwell’s Manic Mondays
  3. Super 107! — featuring Casey Shultz of SciFi Surplus and Natalie Metzger of Radio Isopod
  4. Geek Survival Guide — a PfK themed episode of Zach Ricks’ Geek Survival Guide
  5. Political Heroes — from Christopher Lester and Bryan Watson
  6. The News from Bewilder Pond — from Matthew Wayne Selznick
  7. Faith Matters — from Dr. John Cmar
  8. The Cockroach’s Bite — fiction from DK Thompson
  9. Conversations About Things With Wheels — from Joe Mieczkowski of On The Podcast
  10. LoveLines — a full cast program, produced by Kimi Alexandre
  11. Knit Spirit — a PfK themed episode of Ivy Reisner’s Knit Sprit
  12. Gestalt — fiction from JC Hutchins
  13. Block Party! — a PfK themed episode of Jason Block’s Block Party
  14. This Seventh City Life — from Christiana Ellis
  15. A Klamath Home Companion — from Grant Baciocco

The PDF

Want to give the book a read right now? Then head on over and download the entire book in PDF, including a all new short story Parasite Awakens, not currently available anywhere else3 .

Still Not Convinced?

Look, Playing for Keeps is an awesome book. You should buy it, next Monday, August 25th, from Amazon.com. But you don’t have to take my word for it…

  1. Technically the book is available right now due to the fact that Amazon listed the books when they arrived, but just ignore that. You can also ignore it if Amazon says “Out of Stock” because it’s practically meaningless. []
  2. I contributed to Episode 6 []
  3. This story is intended to bridge Playing for Keeps with it’s planned sequel []

Links of Interest (July 18th 2008 Through August 21st 2008)

Thursday, August 21st, 2008
Tor’s e-book giveaway: Someone is WRONG on the Internet
Tor books recently gave away a batch of free e-books as publicity for the new Tor.com. Many of the books were of the “first in series” variety. Some folks expected to be able to buy the sequels at Tor.com when it launched, and weren’t happy to find they could not. A representative from Tor responded, and it seems thing got a bit heated. An interesting look at an unintended side effect of “free” (be sure to read the comments).
Zombies attack musician, everyone laughs (including musician)
JoCo attacked by Zombies an the 2008 New Media Expo
It’s a tasty thing
J. Dack posits “Scalzi’s Law”. I doubt this will be disproved any time soon.
Ballantine Books to Publish Book Inspired by the Webcomic Garfield Minus Garfield
I enjoy the heck out of “Garfield Minus Garfield”, but I assumed it would go the way of “Dylan Hears a Who”. I applaud Jim Davis and Ballantine Books for embracing the comic strip remix rather than issuing the standard cease and desist notice.
PDTool
A sliderule to help determine copyright status.
A Talk with JoCo
Five part interview with Jonathan Coulton (both mp3s and transcripts are available).

Double Trouble: Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris Rush Amazon.com

Friday, August 8th, 2008

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Double Trouble

Authors Philippa Ballantine and Tee Morris are attempting to make a splash on Amazon.com with their new novels, both sequels to award nominated novel. You can help by buying their new books today (08/08/08) at 8am PDT1 . An event they are referring to as Double Trouble.

Digital Magic by Phillipa Ballentine

The Fey are gone… and with them, magic. At least, that is how things seem at the conclusion of the award-nominated novel Chasing the Bard. ~ Lord what fools these mortals be. ~ Penherem is a quaint, sleepy English village where people go to escape the 21st Century. Hiding from the world of laptop computers, the Internet, and wireless communication, is Ella. A writer, now barren of ideas and drive, she resigns herself to a quiet life of solitude. Everything changes with the arrival of a shapeshifting thief. Suddenly, everyone begins to change–from the local librarian to the lady of the manor–revealing their true natures and dangerous secrets. Something in this sleepy English village is awakening… something that might be better left alone.

Digital Magic is the sequel to Chasing the Bard, which is available in paperback, or as a free audiobook.

The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant by Tee Morris

Chicago, 1930, and following the financial calamity of Black Thursday, Billi is doing everything he can to keep his business afloat. The change in seasons, though, brings him a case that appears to be a true blessing from The Fates. Chicago Cubs Manager Joe McCarthy suspects something fishy with the Baltimore Mariners, a new team in the league, and he’s hiring Billi to look into it.

What appears to be the dream job – being paid to research and attend baseball games – turns out to be a nightmare as he discovers one of the Nine Talismans of Acryonis somewhere in play at Wrigley.

And wouldn’t you know it – with two outs and bases loaded, the heavy hitter of the Underworld “Big Al” gets early parole from The Big Dugout and is swinging two in the Batter’s Circle.

The Case of the Pitcher’s Pendant is the sequel to Billibub Baddings and the Case of the Singing Sword available in paperback and as a free audiobook.

  1. I checked with Tee and no matter what’s been said, he meant Pacific Daylight Time []