Lemony Snicket gives Planned Parenthood $1M


Daniel Handler (who wrote the excellent "Series of Unfortunate Events" books under the name Lemony Snicket) and his wife, Lisa Brown, announced the $1 million gift to Planned Parenthood on the eve of a possible Congressional shutdown over funding to the agency. Read the rest

Fabriano EcoQua notebooks


For taking notes, sketches and generally just having paper with me that works well with my fountain pens, I've been using Fabriano's EcoQua notebooks.

The dot-ruled, staple bound sheets of 85gsm off-white paper work fantastically with my my favorite pens and inks. There is nearly zero bleed through or feathering, and ink dries fast. My favorite Noodler's bulletproof black and red-black are both bold and bright, though the red-black becomes distinctively more red.

I really the dot-ruled paper. It is a more subtle version of quad-ruled graphing paper, but helps me sketch and draw out ideas.

There is a lot of marketing hullabaloo over the environmentally friendly nature of these notebooks. I find this ironic, as we start with killing a tree, but appreciate it regardless.

Ecoqua Dot Notebook 5.8X8.25 Navy via Amazon Read the rest

Kurt Vonnegut's 8 rules for writing with style

In the anthology "How To Use The Power of the Printed Word," brilliant author shares eight tips on how to write with style:

Find a Subject You Care About

Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way — although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do. Do Not Ramble, Though

I won’t ramble on about that.

Keep It Simple

As for your use of language: Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. ‘To be or not to be?’ asks Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long. Joyce, when he was frisky, could put together a sentence as intricate and as glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra, but my favorite sentence in his short story ‘Eveline’ is just this one: ‘She was tired.’ At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do.

Simplicity of language is not only reputable, but perhaps even sacred.

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Stephen King on productivity


"There are many unspoken postulates in literary criticism," writes the legendary author, "one being that the more one writes, the less remarkable one’s work is apt to be." And yet… Read the rest

Worldcon attendees: silent auction today at the SFWA booth!

If you're at the World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane today, swing by the SFWA booth (W5 in dealers' room) to bid on tuckerizations from Annie Bellet, Jenn Brozek, Cory Doctorow (!), Greg Bear, Larry Niven, Mike Resnick, John Scalzi, and a critique from Nancy Kress. Read the rest

Anne Rice: political correctness is new form of censorship in the book biz

Anne Rice, of The Vampire Chronicles fame, posted on Facebook her concern that novelists "are facing a new era of censorship, in the name of political correctness." Read the rest

The failed writer who became NSA's in-house "philosopher"

Deep in the Snowden leaks are a series of columns by the "Socrates of SIGINT," an NSA spy who answered an internal help-wanted ad to write about the philosophy of surveillance. Read the rest

How posterity will remember this decade

Warren Ellis: "We saw the best minds of our generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves after an Uber that isn’t actually there because Uber fake most of those little cars you see on the Uber app map." Read the rest

Come see me tonight in Seattle!

I'm reading from the novel I just finished (Utopia) and then being interviewed by Geekwire's Frank Catalano. Read the rest

RIP, EL Doctorow

The author of spectacular novels (my favorite is Book of Daniel, which crosses a fictionalized life of Abbie Hoffman with a fictionalized account of the Rosenbergs) and outstanding critical essays (I still can't get The Creators out of my mind) was 84 (no relation). Read the rest

5 tips for writing science fiction to engage people who don't read it


Back in 2006, I had an epiphany. Stories are empathy engines, regardless of the medium. And for humans, they always have been. We’ve been primed to imagine other’s lives since we sat in a cave, telling the stories of our tribe and making sense of the world around us. I published an academic paper on this in 2008 and have given talks about storytelling and empathy ever since. I’m thrilled that there are now hundreds of researchers around the world searching for the neurological mechanisms that link “theory of mind networks” to empathy and narratives. PJ Manney's (R)evolution is available from Amazon.

In addition, I’ve been a futureholic throughout my life. Whether through science fact or fiction, I’ve wanted to know what was coming and how it might change everything we know. The future is very heady, complex stuff, and difficult to communicate to those who aren’t on your metaphorical wavelength, since change is inherently hard to understand or accept. With my novel, (R)evolution, I felt it was important to share research on nanotechnology and cognitive technologies like brain-computer interfaces, nanomedicine and more with an audience that might not read SF or know what is coming.

My parents are my sample audience. My father is a huge SF fan and the reason I am, too. Future-shorthand is easy with him. But my mother is so ignorant of SF, when we visited Industrial Light and Magic in 1980, she hadn’t seen Star Wars (and still hasn’t) and didn’t recognize the Yoda puppet! Read the rest

Diary by erotica editor who sells her services on Fiverr

Over at On-Demand, journalist and arts critic Kaite Welsh writes about how she uses Fiverr to supplement her income by editing amateur erotica, and shares her most common editorial notes, starting with "That's not where the clitoris is." Read the rest

Doctoral dissertation in graphic novel form


Columbia University awarded a doctorate in education to Nick Sousanis for Unflattening, a graphic novel about the relationship between words and pictures in literature. Read the rest

Man Who Sold the Moon wins the Sturgeon Award!

This weekend, my short story "The Man Who Sold the Moon" won the The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, a juried prize for the best science fiction story of the year. Read the rest

Noodler's Heart of Darkness, super-black ink

I've become a fan of Noodler's Heart of Darkness. This ink is blacker than black. Read the rest

Lessons from Pratchett

A beautiful list, including "[T]he innocent had everything to fear, mostly from the guilty but in the longer term even more from those who say things like 'The innocent have nothing to fear'.” Read the rest

Smooth writing $15 Huashilai fountain pen

Fountain pens have always been my favorite. This Huashilai reminds me an awful lot of my Parker Duofold, and writes just as nice!

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