I write for a living and, more than that, I write because I love it. I always have: my first coherent story (a taut action-mystery-thriller in the ageless style of Alvin Fernald) is… let’s say “stored for posterity” in an old steamer chest in my garage. Handwritten, hand-bound, and illustrated in pen AND crayon – indisputably the best work I produced, circa 1979.
I’m proud of that little book, and the kid that wrote it. I’m proud of all the stories I’ve written since (even the ones consigned to my “still needs work” folder), the ones I’m working on right now, and (of course) Hidden Things. It’s a hell of a thing, to hold a book in your hands and see your words made solid in the world.
But I’ve never quite felt I was done with Hidden Things. Not quite.
Because for me, part of a story is telling it; actually speaking the words. Putting your characters’ rage and fear and joy into the air. Making listeners laugh, or cry, or groan. It’s simple: I was surrounded by storytellers as a kid, and that was what they did.
Now, I get to do it too.
Thanks to the efforts of my amazing agent and the fine folks at HarperCollins (who returned audio rights to me simply because I asked for them), I now have the opportunity to record the Hidden Things audiobook and make it available exactly the way I wish every audiobook could be.
Things are going to be very crazy around Casa Testerman this week, and rather than just going radio silent, I figured I’d at least let you guys know what’s going on.
So Hidden Things officially releases tomorrow — I’ve gotten a lot of messages from people telling me that they’ve gotten notification their preorders are on the way, which is both very scary and very exciting. There have been quite a few reviews posted already (more on that in another post), but obviously that doesn’t compare to the number of people about to put their eyeballs on the story — I really have no idea what the end result of all that is going to be, so I’m going to focus on what’s going on right now.
“Right Now” Means…
Today, the Once and Future Podcast has a new podcast up, and it’s me, talking about Hidden Things! Well, it’s me and Anton Stout, and we’re talking about Hidden Things, Adrift, writing, City of Heroes, Tolkein, Lord of the Rings, TheSilmarillion, MMOs, fan fiction, lego, Skylanders, tabletop gaming, dice obsessions, and pretty much every other nerdy thing you can pack into an hour and ten minutes.
Wednesday, I will be reading and talking and signing books at the Tattered Cover, a great Colorado indie bookstore. This will be my first public reading, ever, which means I will probably screw it up in some kind of hilarious fashion, and you should totally stop by to point and laugh and post pictures on Facebook.
Thursday, I will be doing an AMA, or “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit’s r/Fantasy, organized by the fine moderators of that subreddit. I will have more about this as we get closer to go-time, but as a pretty rabid redditor I have to say that I’m incredibly geeked-out and excited about this, and I sincerely hope THE ENTIRE INTERNET shows up to ask me questions about… you know… whatever. I mean, it’s supposed to be about writing, and Hidden Things and probably NaNoWriMo and gaming stuff but… whatever.
Thursday will also see me drop by for an interview with Chuck Wendig on terribleminds.com (direct link when it goes up), which will include a short story that I’ll be hosting here. Also, I’ll be countering his baseless slander and accusations with an interview of my own, with Chuck, posted up here on the same day.
Friday, I’ll be doing a reading/signing up at Fireside Books in Fort Collins, another great indie bookseller. I’m excited about this one as well, especially since I really have no idea what to expect from this event, in terms of visitors and audience.
The object of the 2012 Debut Author Challenge is for participants to read at least 12 debut novels during 2012 – one from each month of the year though you may read them anytime between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012.
“Can anyone give me some tips on how to set up Planetary Interaction colonies? I’m hoping my two alts can make enough ISK to pay for my pilot’s license every month.”
Now, normally, I wouldn’t hesitate to give out some advice. I think it’s fair to say I’m generally a pretty helpful guy, but there are few — just a few — things about this particular situation that give me pause.
1. I don’t know the guy asking, and he’s not in my corporation. This isn’t a real deal-breaker, honestly, but it’s first in a series.
2. He’s asking in the /local channel. This is basically like standing in the middle of a park on a Saturday afternoon and speaking in that ‘not quite shouting, but too loud to be ignored’ tone of voice that you most often hear used by the homeless guy arguing with an otherwise innocuous looking lamppost. Again, this is not (strictly speaking) a deal-breaker, until you consider…
3. This is all happening inside our home wormhole system. DING DING DING DING. We have a winner!
That’s right: someone wandered into our wormhole system from high-sec known space, took a look around, decided things looked promising, and started making plans to set up planetary interaction colonies on OUR planets. Then, realizing they knew little about the process, started asking for advice in the /local channel for the wormhole — a channel which is NEVER* used for any* reason, because it gives away your presence. (Unlike known space, the local channel does not populate with the names of the pilots in the system unless they say something, so if you don’t use it and remain stealthy, no one will even know you’re there.)
I didn’t respond immediately.
My first reaction was to try to figure out where the interloper was located. I was already cloaked up and sitting at an out of the way spot in the system, so I spent the next few minutes warping from one corner of the system to the other, checking all points between, and generally scouring the place, looking for my target.
“Hello?” Came the voice again.
“There’s a guy talking in /local,” I said to CB, who was running errands outside the system.
“I thought you were in the wormhole,” he replied.
“What?” CB began, almost interrupting himself with “Kill him.”
“I would, but I can’t find him. He’s cloaked up somewhere.”
“Where are you?”
“Cloaked up somewhere.”
“Well… what’s he want?”
“He wants advice on where he should set up P.I. on our planets, so that he will make enough money to pay for his monthly account.”
There’s a moment of silence at this.
“You’re shitting me.”
“I am not,” I reply.
CB suggests a couple possible options — some get a bit too complicated to sum up here, but I really do believe a picture can be worth a thousand words.
“Nevermind,” says the pilot. “I need to get going. Talk to you later!”
I blink as my watchlist flashes red.
“He just logged off.”
“He just — in the wormhole?” CB asks.
I rub at my temple, sure that this is going to be the start of a long week. “Yeah.”
Those of you coming directly to randomaverage to check up on our misadventures will have noticed that there’s a new image on the left side of the page. That’s the image for my new book, Hidden Things, which is hitting the shelves in September, thanks to the fine folks at Harper Collins.
Anyway, it seems to me that if you happen to like the stuff I put up here, you might enjoy a book full of words I wrote, even if it doesn’t have any spaceships in it (and only a few mentions of aliens). If you’d like to know more, check out my other web site, where I talk about it some more, gush about how cool I think the cover is, and explain how to win a copy before it’s even released.
Now, with that out of the way, tune in tomorrow to for more adventures of Idiot P.I. Guy!