February Spec-fic-fetti

BetweenTwoThorns-COVER1-e1355137730189Welcome to a new monthly column I’m going to start here at timothycward.com, Spec-fic-fetti. Yes, it looks like spa-ghetti, but it represents the combination of Speculative Fiction and celebration associated with confetti to identify what will be a long post about all the cool people, websites, books, and podcasts that I found in that month. If you follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook, you’ll see these throughout the month, but even then I’m usually restraining myself from telling people about all that I think deserve mentioned because I don’t want to look like a spammer. My wife’s favorite kind of cake is white with funfetti frosting, so this may be an excuse to make a cake for my blog image. This is a last minute idea inspired by the Hugo Award winning SF Squeecast and Emma Newman’s free short stories, both of whom were recently interviewed on the SF Signal Podcast, so no cool image yet. For today’s main image, I’ll pick Emma’s upcoming release through Angry Robot Books because it sounds awesome, and I’m most recently charmed with her after her SF Signal Podcast interview–her perfect British accent (definitely going to buy the audiobook of Between Two Thorns, which she narrated), the sweet shyness I totally empathize with, and consistent dedication to her craft (54 short stories last year as part of her Split Worlds Project).

I’m loving this idea already. Completely unabashed squeeage. Who’s next?

Neal Stephenson, step on up. You’re making quite the splash over at Amazon with your Kindle deals this week as promotion for the recently released, The Mongoliad: Book Three (The Foreworld Saga). I snatched all three on sale for $2.99 (The Foreworld Saga 1, 2, 3) *free for Amazon Prime members*, and this morning broke down and bought Anathem for $1.99.

I have a confession, Neal–I know you’re taking time out from writing these lizard killing sized tomes–I stopped reading both Snow Crash and Cryptonomicon. I know, I’m sorry. Looking back, I’d like to try them again, and maybe if I owned them on Kindle instead of paperback, they would have been more convenient to stick to.

Stefan over at Far Beyond Reality blogged about this deal, and how part of the inspiration for The Mongoliad was you researching sword fighting from pros, and since I could use help in that area for my book, I thought I’d give yours a try. Thank you Stefan for all of your book reviews and recommendations.

My friend, John Anealio, indie musician and cohost of The Functional Nerds Podcast, has a “23 in ’13 Challenge” going on, where he is challenging himself to write 23 songs in 2013, and has built quite the community of artists each week sharing what their goal and progress is for “23 in ’13”. Here’s one of my favorites of his songs to listen to while you read:

My personal challenge is to read 23 four star or above books in 2013. So far, I’ve only read three: First Shift and Second Shift by Hugh Howey, and Hot Sinatra by Axel Howerton. That ratio is less than half of what I’ve bought and made it 1/3 through, which is frustrating, but props to those two authors for giving me great books to read.

Axel, his editor Lane Diamond (of Evolved Publishing), and I recorded the next episode of AudioTim, which will release Monday, March 11. It was fun hearing about hard-boiled detective stories and his modern interpretation in Hot Sinatra. There will be a signed paperback giveaway as part of that show, so stay tuned. Lane has a killer giveaway on his site this month, including signed books and the chance to get killed in his next book!

Whiteredlogo75pixelsEvolved Publishing has started a Street Team on Facebook, and is offering lots of giveaways this week (more than usual) as part of their grand opening celebration. Axel will be one of the feature authors this Saturday.

I’ve recently been blessed with some Amazon gift cards, and have used some of it on music on sale. Muse is one of my favorite, pump-me-up-to-get-creative bands, and almost all of their albums are on sale, including their newest, The 2nd Law [Explicit], which rocks.

It’s getting close to time for me to shut the internet down and edit my book, so here’s a few more quick links to outstanding podcasts:

SF Signal 174 with Seanan McGuire – she is hilarious, one of the funniest podcasts I’ve listened to, though not “office friendly” with the bit of language.

Functional Nerds interview of Myke Cole about Dungeons and Dragons. Myke is guest hosting all month. Every podcast he joins is incredibly inspirational. He and Peter V. Brett were on Speculate! podcast for two episodes (66 and 67). Both of these guys released books this month, Myke with Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier and Peter with The Daylight War: Book Three of The Demon Cycle.

Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast continues pushing out lots of content each week. Their last episode, #199 with Sean Williams, had a great rerecording of Sean’s Writers of the Future speech. I dig his 10.5 Commandments for Authors. Commandment four: “Define your version of success and take concrete steps towards achieving it” is very thought provoking. I can’t wait for the special Episode 200!

Bonus link: Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box ebook is on sale for $1.99.

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