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July 30th, 2014

02:11 am - Behind The Words - Carnegie Mellon University | CMU
Got quoted on the CMU homepage today. Go me. Wish I has spoken slowly, carefully, with correct grammar.

Behind The Words - Carnegie Mellon University | CMU

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October 16th, 2013

07:17 pm - 2014 Author Guests: Tobias Buckell, Bruce Coville, and Tamora Pierce
Originally posted by alphasffh at 2014 Author Guests: Tobias Buckell, Bruce Coville, and Tamora Pierce



Alpha is pleased to announce that authors Tobias BuckellBruce Coville, and Tamora Pierce will teach at the 2014 workshop.

Tobias Buckell

Tobias S. Buckell is a New York Times bestselling author. His novels and over 50 short stories have been translated into 17 languages and he has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, Prometheus and John W. Campbell Award for Best New Science Fiction Author. He was born in the Caribbean and currently lives in Ohio.


Bruce Coville

Bruce Coville has published over 100 books, which have appeared in over a dozen countries around the world and sold more than sixteen million copies. Among his most popular titles are MY TEACHER IS AN ALIEN, INTO THE LAND OF THE UNICORNS, and THE MONSTER’S RING. In 2001 he founded Full Cast Audio, an audiobook company dedicated to creating unabridged, full cast recordings of the best in children’s and young adult literature.


Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce has been publishing since the mid-eighties. Known for her powerful female heroes and her career as a writer for teens, it might be surprising for some to learn that her first quartet was originally one book written for an adult audience. The advice of her employer Claire Smith, soon to be her agent, led her to re-write The Song of the Lioness into four smaller books for teens, and the rest is literary history. Before she made a living as a writer, Pierce did everything from temp work to reviews of martial arts movies. She met her husband, Tim Liebe, while the two of them were working at a radio production company that wrote comedy and drama for NPR and some big city stations.

With almost thirty books in print, including the anthologies she’s both participated in and written herself, it’s no wonder she has a following all over world; her books have been translated into Japanese, Danish, German, Thai, Swedish, and Italian. Her latest book, Battle Magic, was released in September 2013.

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03:42 pm - Here's what I'll be doing Saturday.
Saturday, October 19 at 1 pm, please join us in welcoming the first author from Raw Dog Screaming Press (RDSP) at the CMU bookstore for a reading and signing. Michael A. Arnzen is an English professor from Seton Hill University and the winner of four Bram Stoker Awards (the highest honor for horror writing). From 1 to 2 pm, all trade books upstairs will be on sale for 25% off, including the authors' books.


At 2, Stephanie Wytovich will read at the Big Idea Bookstore in Lawrenceville; at 3, Matthew Betts will read a few stores down at The Muse Stand; at 4, Heidi Ruby Miller will read at the Bradley's Books at Station Square; at 5, Jason Jack Miller will read at Rickert and Beagle Books on West Liberty Ave (formerly Eljay's).

All these RDSP authors will be at all the signings, as well as their editors. RDSP has been publishing high quality literature from the fringe for over a decade.


Sponsored by PARSEC, Pittsburgh's literary science fiction club.


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March 28th, 2013

04:47 am - sold!
Sold a story to Leodegraunce. Yeah! "Dear Son" -- very hard deciding where to send that one. Flash, fantasy erotica . . . sorta . . . and horror/humor. I'm so glad it found a great home. The anthology of high-end flash fiction will be out later in 2013. I really needed this piece to be in print and not online for free for anyone to read since it's pretty embarrassing. I hope people won't think I am my character. I blush every time I think about it.


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March 5th, 2013

07:59 pm - Alpha applications are in.
16 guys and a bunch of girls--almost 100 applicants in all. That's a record for us. Most heard of the workshop through Scott Westerfeld's blog, Tammy's website or a google search. They asked for all kinds of scholarship money and that's sad, since we don't have much to give out this year. So far, anyway. Donations are still gratefully being accepted here

Our four judges will read the stories (with the names removed) and return a verdict by April 15, scores that translate to yea, nay or wait list. Sometimes the wait list moves through 6 people, sometimes it sits on its hands.

In May, the lucky, talented 20 will get added to a googlegroup where they can get to know each other and await the summer crit of their application story. The workshop is a week earlier than usual this year, July 10 to the 19th, then Confluence until the 21st.

Hey, and I sold a story to Drabblecast! A reprint of an Analog story from 2001. Happy, happy--I can't wait to hear "Hullabaloo" being read out loud.

My interview with Barbara Boylan on KDKA radio keeps getting pushed back because of the "scandal" about the Mayor leaving. She asked me about realistic trips to Mars. I don't even have a 4-hour window anymore. And here I was complaining about that. She was very nice. I hope we can keep the dialog open.

Anthony set up the Kinect, so I can use Dance Central. I love him. We're going to a fancy dress ball later in March.

Finished Discord's Apple by Carrie Vaugn, the Westerfeld trilogy: Leviathan, Behemoth, Goliath and now I'm reading (again?) Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. I will pick up 20 free copies of this book and give them out April 23rd. Probably to 8th graders at Colfax (in Squirrel Hill). World Book Night giver--that's me. (But I have to reread the book so I can answer questions.)

Doing a home school network talk on the 26th. Gotta get ready soon--it's a complicated one with the students in both the classroom in Wean Hall and all over the place physically. Mar, Mars, Mars and more Mars. Who ever thought I'd become an expert on MARS! Ha!

Be well.
Current Music: The Seventh Wonder

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February 9th, 2013

06:51 pm - Things happening!
Forgive the scattershot.

We got a request for a full manuscript from a great editor. I'm thrilled. HD is a book that fits nowhere. It's not quite any one thing, but a beautiful genre blend. It is the book it was supposed to be, but there's not really a market for it. Fingers crossed.

I might be teaching a "How to Write SF" class this summer at CMU. I'll know this coming week if it could be fit in or it was too late (if so, we might do it in the fall). I'm hoping CMU staff members like Barb Carlson (who could take it for free) would like this.

Another article came out about our trip to the Mars Desert Research Station, this time in the faculty staff newsletter, The PIPER --

I'll be heading to see my dad in FL during CMU's spring break. So busy. I'll probably study physics the whole time I'm there. I'm currently teaching Experimental Physics Lab (for the first time).

I have a couple of stories shortlisted and I am so nervous about this. I've been jumpy for days.

Yeah, Alpha students taking winning spot and first runner up. Amazing. Congrats Lara Donnelly! Congrats Aleka Gürel! Congrats to you all.
From the Dell Facebook page:

We are very proud to announce the winner, runners-up and honorable mentions for the 2013 Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellent in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing.

Winner: "To the Dogs," by Lara Donnelly, Wright State University

First Runner-up: "Fantasmas Maravilhosas," by Alexandra Gurel, Princeton University

Second Runner-up: "Atrophy,” by Rich Larson, University of Alberta

Third Runner-up: "The Changeling,” by Caitlin Higgins, Cornell University

Honorable Mentions:

“The Boundary Wall,” by Rachel Lister, High Point University

“The Boy in the Bell Tower,” by Alissa Hartenbaum, Georgia Tech University

“The Astrologer’s Telling,” by Therese Arkenberg, Carroll University

“Pig and Plume,” by William Tarnell, Vanderbilt University

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January 27th, 2013

08:36 pm - press
Another MDRS article--this time in the CMU Tartan:


“Mars might be looking for a few good men and women, but those who go will be counting on us to have their backs. It takes a planet to send a colony to Mars,” Turnshek said.


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December 31st, 2012

06:03 pm - 365 Days of Astronomy podcast
Our Internet crapped out--i could not record and send a podcast to 365 Das of Astronomy, even though I was signed up and they are shutting down at the end of the year. I was so disappointed. I sent out a plea to my loved ones and Matt took up the challenge. His recording it flawless. Wow, does my baby actually have that deep a voice? Missing him so much after listening to the short podcast about the Mars Desert Research Station. I'm so pleased, Enjoy!

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December 24th, 2012

03:37 pm - Reddit AMA going on now--come'on by!
Our Reddit AMA is here: http://redd.it/15e63c
Please come by and talk to us--it's just Erick and me in the hab right now while the others are out on an EVA and neither of us has ever done this before.

Derek got hold of my iPod last night and wrote his journalist's report to my music!

The film crew is coming for dinner tomorrow . . . a rehydrated dinner.

I got the coolest rocks ever--can I fill my suitcase with them?

Missing my guys . . . Thanksgiving

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12:21 am - MDRS EVA Report 005

EVA 5 Report, Sunday, December 23, 2012

Derek Pelland, Erick Tijerino, April Davis, me

Left the Hab at 12:44, returned at 16:45. We headed for Teetering Rock, went around to the right and circled it, then headed back straight across the muddy flats. Our first stop at 1:55 was directly in a line between Factory Ridge to the east and Teetering Rock to the west in order look at a petrified log pinned upright in white sandstone. (GPS coordinates: UTM 12S 518609N/4250464E) Lots of mud, ice and snow, but going slow made for easy walking. Just beyond the curve of the Teetering Rock hill going counterclockwise, we came across a flat expanse with pieces of petrified wood strewn around. At this point, all our cameras stopped working.

Erick and Derek climbed up onto Teetering Rock, planted a couple of flags (US and Guatemala) temporarily and scouted the best route for us to proceed. (GPS UTM 12S 519380N/4350174E) Meanwhile, still in visual contact, April and I found a burrowing beetle pink/gray rock that looked like a brain that was too heavy to take back with us. Erick’s faceplate started to fog up at this point and didn’t quit the whole way back. I saw signs of an animal burrow (front and back door) inside an upright rock. I found a mound of dirt and what looked to be pellet feces outside the back door.

We continued around Teetering Rock—came across multitudinous layerings and rockslides of different materials that stood out dark against the rest of the light-colored hillside. Translucent red rocks were everywhere. At one place, bright yellow soil blended side-by-side with the red soil.

We spotted cows. They spotted us. I should have counted them. Later when asked, the cow tally was 8, 10, 10 or 11-12 black cows. We headed for home at 15:30.

The moon was visible as a waxing crescent high in the East. At one point a con trail from a plane high in the atmosphere cruised past the moon.

We walked past peculiar rock formations of standing stones with the bases eroded away; flat tops and smaller vertical bases looking like café tables or Alice’s giant mushrooms. At this point, in sight of the Hab, we started picking up heavier rocks.

Five minutes in the airlock, then half an hour wiping mud off our boots. Supper was waiting, then report time. We’re weary, but happy.

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