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ISBW #363: Movie Option, plus TWO interviews! Mike Carey and Brenda Cooper!

I announced it a few days ago that Netflix purchased the option for The Shambling Guides, and I talk more about it here. Then I put two interviews in one show since I’m behind, so you get to hear from Mike Carey and Brenda Cooper!


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Bookburners Season 2 Launches!

Creepy Town by Max Gladstone

Creepy Town by Max Gladstone

Last year I was so honored to be part of the amazing team that brought you Serial Box’s first release, BookBurners. I’m very excited to say that last Wednesday, Season Two launched! Be sure to subscribe, and check out Season One if you haven’t already! (Or you could preorder the physical book!)

Magic is real and some books have teeth. Join Detective Sal Brooks, newest recruit to a black-ops magic hunting team, as she travels the world to keep the supernatural in check. Just remember: watch your back and don’t touch anything.

This season we brought in Andrea Phillips and guest writer Amal El-Mohtar to join us!

Just Announced: Netflix acquires rights to THE SHAMBLING GUIDES

Illustrated by Jamie McKelvie

I’ve talked a lot in podcasts about the frustration of having to sit on news, and boy howdy, I’ve been sitting on this one a long time. But it was announced yesterday: Netflix has purchased the option for The Shambling Guide to NYC and Ghost Train to New Orleans!

The Tracking Board had the exclusive and Tor.com did a great post about it this morning. [EDIT- it appeared on BoingBoing this afternoon! Thanks, Cory Doctorow!]

A few FAQs:

  • Does this mean the series will continue?
    Orbit did not wish to continue the series, but I may write some follow-up novellas and self publish them.
  • When will we get to see it?
    This is a movie option, which means Netflix has the rights to make a movie of the story if they so choose. It’s no guarantee that a movie will be made. That said, we had to hold onto the information for a very long time so it’s possible that this announcement means they’re moving forward now. I’ve heard nothing either way, and I’m trying not to get my hopes up; that way lies madness and obsession.
  • Will it be a movie or a TV show like OITNB?
    They indicate they want to make it a movie, but they have the rights to change their minds and make it a TV show if they decide to go that way.
  • daveed 1Are you involved with the writing/casting/key gripping/best boying?
    Alas, no. But if they want to put Daveed Diggs in the movie as Arthur, I wouldn’t say no.

Regardless, I’m so grateful I can finally talk about this! Be ready for the next podcast!
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Ditch Diggers #27: Madeline Ashby talks futurism

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s nature walk with special guest co-host, Madeline Ashby!
  • Matt on how, technically, anywhere you walk outside is Morgan Freeman’s nature walk.
  • Madeline talks about her new futuristic novel COMPANY TOWN, its themes and inspiration.
  • Cannibalism, and the appropriate amount thereof in all things, is discussed.
  • Matt and Mur talk with Madeline about her work as a foresight consultant, and how she utilizes her skills as an SFF author in that field, and vice versa.
  • What it takes to become a professional foresight consultant.
  • Madeline talks about working on transmedia projects and comics.
  • The illiteracy of the film industry.
  • Ditch Diggers Q&A, which covers, among many things, the joys of marrying a union plumber (NOT to be confused with a freelance plumber).

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Ditch Diggers #26: Agent/Author Relations, with Kameron Hurley and Hannah Bowman

Matt and Mur come to you live, connected via Skype, between Morgan Freeman’s haberdashery and Morgan Freeman’s Tomb of the Youngsters, with special guest go-hosts, multi-Hugo Award-winning author Kameron Hurley and her agent, Hannah Bowman!

  • Matt and Mur argue the nature of ad-libs.
  • Matt pronounces Hannah’s name incorrectly (it’s Han-ah, like Han Solo).
  • This fearsome foursome discuss authors, agents, and booze.
  • Hurley discusses how she came to sign with her agent, and Hannah discusses why she chose to sign her client, Hurley.
  • Tips for authors vetting potential agents.
  • Hurley and Hannah talk about their author/agent process when it comes to planning, executing, and editing books (which basically consists of having no set process).
  • Hurley talks about how her new essay collection, THE GEEK FEMINIST REVOLUTION came about, and Hannah’s role in it.
  • Hurley and Hannah field questions from the Ditch Diggers audience, including agenting debut novels, agents editing vs. editors editing, and absolutely nothing about woodchucks chucking wood (you’ll see/hear).

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ISBW #362: Glossary of writing terms and Helen Lowe Interview

What do all those words I’m always saying mean? I go over several terms we discuss in publishing. I loved this idea, so if you have other ideas for terms you’d like discussed in more detail, let me know!

Then I talk to Helen Lowe, author of Daughter of Blood.


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Beyoncé Was Right: Madeline Ashby Guest Blog

Madeline Ashby is one of those people who is so damn smart she kind of intimidates me. Luckily she’s very kind and awesome, so I’m delighted to feature her on a guest blog to talk about an aspect of the writer’s life that many find difficult to navigate: money. Watch for an upcoming interview with Madeline on Ditch Diggers, and hear her previous interview on ISBW #316. And THEN get her new book from Tor, Company Town.


Company Town

Company Town

Beyoncé Was Right
When I asked if I could write up a blog post in support of my new novel Company Town, our dear hostess asked for a guestblog about the business of writing. So I thought I would tell you all a juicy story about a time that I didn’t get paid, and how I resolved the situation.

First, some background: I’m a science fiction writer and a futurist. What that means is that I write science fiction prototypes for clients who want to know how humans will use their products, platforms, or technologies. Or, alternatively, I write stories about the future of a given thing: like a world without antibiotics, or urban warfare in a smart city, or disaster management, or what have you. It was on the strength of this career that I was asked to write for a publication that was expanding its subject area, and adding a technology vertical to its existing masthead.

Right away, something seemed off. I had to fight for a byline, despite already having my own bylines elsewhere. And, as so often happens, that first impression was dead on. My pitches went ignored. My content management software license took forever to appear. When it did, it was bloatware that crashed my computer — but the editors knew the developers, so there was no other alternative. One simple 350-word assignment was turned back nine separate times, with nine different contradictory edits. After a week without answering any of my emails, they fired me.

Then, for months, they refused to pay me.

Now, I have been very lucky in my career, to work with wonderful clients who value my work. I am truly privileged in that regard. I’ve been invited to board rooms and hard lofts, by startups and industry leaders. With my clients I’ve collated sticky notes, appeared at day zero events, and even taken part in group meditation sessions, and I’ve had great fun doing it. And then I’ve gotten paid. Promptly. So this was a new situation for me. I asked other freelancers how they had handled similar issues, and they told me I should probably wait at least three months before seriously raising the issue.

So, I waited. And waited. And waited. And then I raised the issue with one of my contacts at the company. I raised it again. And again. And again. When emails didn’t work, I called. Week in, week out, I called. When it was clear that my calls weren’t providing the proper motivation, I realized I had to get creative.

With that in mind, I called the publisher’s main office. I explained my situation as plainly and politely as possible. The young woman on the other end of the line was very pleasant, and very sympathetic, and had no idea how to help. “Do you have a payroll department?” I asked.

“Not really,” she said. “We all just get paid by Mr. ______.”

“Mr. ______?”

“Yeah. I think so. It’s his name on the checks, anyway.”

“….Can you spell that for me, please? Thanks so much.”

Mr. ______ turned out to be very accomodating, once I found him on LinkedIn. I explained the situation, and named the people I had dealt with, and the fact that I hadn’t been paid for months. The next day, my money arrived.

Best Revenge

What is the moral of this story? First, trust your instincts. The gig was never a good fit for me, and I should have bailed earlier to save myself the stress and to give myself the opportunity move on to something better. Second, you can always go another level higher on the food chain to resolve a problem. Anyone who’s ever worked a service job knows this — “Let me find my manager,” is the most magic phrase there is, aside from “Let me buy you a drink.” Third, and most basic, don’t talk to editors or administratives about missing money. It’s literally not their department. That’s a job for finance, or accounting, or payroll. They’re the ones who process checks. Your editor doesn’t know where your check is. Your editor will ask someone in payroll. So, save yourself and your editor some hassle and ask payroll. That will help preserve your relationship with the editor and it’ll get you your money faster. When in doubt, trust in the wisdom of Beyoncé: Always stay gracious; the best revenge is your paper.

ISBW #361: Feedback | Elizabeth Bonesteel Interview

Covering feedback this time, including the importance of race in a story, ideas during depression, and more! Then we talk to Elizabeth Bonesteel, author of the excellent SF novel The Cold Between.


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Ditch Diggers #25: The Absolute Guide to Failure 2, Electric Boogaloo

  • Mur and Matt come to you live from Morgan Freeman’s doll hospital, and spend way too much time talking about doll hospitals in general and Morgan’s doll hospital in particular.
  • The Ditch Diggers bring you up-to-date on their professional lives. Mur starts over. Matt needs to write faster.
  • Mur experiments with delayed segues.
  • Neither Matt nor Mur have touched best-selling authors in inappropriate ways, they swear.
  • The Ditch Diggers’ Guide to Absolute Failure returns!
  • Matt and Mur read Guide contributions from listeners, including a former literary agent intern.
  • Matt doesn’t know how to use “shutes” properly, and a certain percentage of the food you eat is bugs and plastic.
  • Mur on “negging” in author interactions, and her new best friend.
  • Writing is easy, and the internet doesn’t really exist.
  • The second installment of The DD Guide to Absolute Failure concludes.
  • Email/Twitter questions and answers!
  • Guide to Literary Agents 2016: http://amzn.com/1599639408

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Brain Crack

Back in January I was talking about a lost Ze Frank video, and lamenting it because it’s one of my favorite arguments against people who are afraid to write their great idea. Luckily Michael Kohne found it for me! Thanks Michael!

This of course reminds me of the project I want to do in the vein of my Tea Party with Failure. I need to get on that. Else it will be brain crack.

(NSFW Language)