On Facing West

I am finishing up The Auto Motive tonight and tomorrow, and as I write, I face west.
Whenever possible, I always write facing West. Facing the sunset. Looking out at the sun dipping behind the ocean, behind the horizon.
Literature, stories, fiction, they’re the business illusion. Like the sunset. The view of the sun sinking into the sea is looking off the back of a thousand-mile-an-hour railway coach.
Looking at the past–and at the future. My sunset here is the sunrise in Asia. A new morning for another part of the world. It’s a glimpse into the future I will see tomorrow in full force.
Looking East? It may be looking forward, but it’s looking forward into the past. Into days already bent low with decay. Into blinding lights that illuminate the land but do little to shed light on tomorrow.
Science Fiction, Mystery, Gothic fantasy, suspense–all the genres I write in–have one thing in common: They are about unfolding. They’re a peek behind the curtain, over the horizon.
It’s a personal affectation.
And it’s why, whenever I have a choice, I write facing west.

The Resurrection Junket

Happy New Year, everyone!
I’m back in the game with a new book, and several more scheduled right after this (I’ve been writing a LOT over the last year. You can see the current release schedule here). This first book takes place in the Antithesis Universe, about a hundred years after the events in Free Will, and gives you a small window into the future of that world (it is not, however, part of the series, so it won’t spoil you for Antithesis, nor does it feature the same characters).

“…a gut-twisting adventure I couldn’t put down.”–Nathan Lowell, author of Owner’s Share

She has everything to die for…

The Milky Way. Sixty thousand light years across. A hundred billion planets to explore. Most of them out of reach, even of the Mannix-Alcubierre Warp Drive. In 2235, Earth’s few well-worn neighbors brim with colonists and terraformers. Humanity now faces the final limits of its growth.

 
When Chan Xiyi Aya’s dream of life beyond the rim lands her in hot water with the Foundation who employs her, she gets her shot at the job she’s aching for: chronicling the history of a planet she’d kill to protect, three hundred light years beyond the rim of human space.

The catch?
Only the dead can go.

Read the first chapter in your browser.
Or in epub.
Or in PDF.

Now available in paperback, or as an ebook from Smashwords, Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Noble.

2015, And Worlds Now Gone

There Are Some Things You Can’t Change
It’s the New Year again, well, almost. You can’t begrudge me a couple of days late (I had to do a bit of research for this one). 2015 is opening up in front of us like the maw of a giant sarlacc that WILL swallow us all whether we want it to or not.

And, with 2015, we’re looking down the barrel at things that you can’t change.

Who’s “we”?

The biggest possible “we” there is. All of the human race. As a species, we’re like a BASE jumper that’s just taken his first half-step off of Half Dome and having that moment of “maybe I shouldn’t” just after it’s too late to do anything about it. We’re committed to the ride we signed up for–and that means there are some things we can’t change anymore.

We’ve had moments like this before. Once upon a time, one of the quadrupedal fish that crawled out of the pond to find food or escape from being food actually decided to make a habit of it, and found it could survive better on land. From that point forward, the land–every square inch of it, everywhere–was going to be populated. Nothing within the control of those creatures (or their descendants) could change that, ever. No matter what happens, until the universe takes this planet out, there will be life on the land. The era of empty land was over.
Continue reading ‘2015, And Worlds Now Gone’

State-Of-The Podcast — Audio Update

It’s been a while since anything hit the podcast feed, so a lot of you probably think it’s about bloody time–and I can’t say I blame you. So, for your Christmas, here’s a brief peek behind the curtain at where I’ve been and where things are going.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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A Choir of New Voices

Think of this for a moment:
Everything you know–your science, your technology, your popular art and culture, and your politics–are the result of thousands of years of technological failure. That failure? The fact that only a few people could read and write and communicate. Books were expensive to produce and own, so only a relative few could afford them. People who couldn’t read and write couldn’t send letters. And the same thing holds true with all modes of communication and culture–radio, film, telegraph, phone, email, video conference, etc. Only a few people could be in the know, so only a few people could have ideas that affected everything.

The world was organized around that basic fact. There was nothing anyone could do to change it, so they did as best they could. Monarchy, representative democracy, election cycles, corporate conglomorates, distribution networks–all of them exist in the forms they do (or did) because they were the best ways anyone could think of to overcome the difficulty presented by the fact that not everybody could read, write, travel, and communicate.

But this post isn’t about power. At least, not in that sense. Political power comes and goes, and changes hands, based on the contingencies of history.

Instead, this post is about power. The power to change history, remake how people think, create technologies that change what it means to be human. Two hundred years ago, only the aristocracy could have those ideas–they were the only ones who knew enough to have the raw intellectual materials hanging around. One hundred years ago, only the educated could have those ideas, and only ten percent of the people in the world were educated. Twenty years ago, the situation was still pretty much the same, although more people were educated.

Every institution you know, everything you grew up with, was built by a tiny tiny minority to cope with the problems of a world filled with uneducated people. Not unintelligent people, just people without access to information and communication.

And that world, increasingly, does not exist. As the final 2/3rds of the human race comes online, with the communications and information and immediacy at their fingertips that, thirty years ago, was only available to the five most powerful people on the planet, the entire world we take for granted is changing under our feet.

In the next twenty years, the human race will finally be a conversation in which everyone can participate. If one-to-ten percent brought us horrors like the holocaust and wonders like genetic engineering…
…what will all that new creativity bring?

State of the Onion

Ladies and gentlemen, the state of our onion is strong. Like any good onion, when you cut it it makes you cry, but when you cook with it, it makes you happy. And our onion is a happy onion.

I’m taking it as read that you, whoever you are, are either a fan, someone with an unhealthy interest in me, or a future archaeologist who is doing a doctoral thesis on the blogosphere, so basically we’re all among friends here–except that one of you who’s got the unhealthy interest thing, but that’s the Internet, right–so I’ve got some quickie updates for you.

By the way, if you ARE a far future archaeologist, the first thing you need to know is that, even by the standards of my po-dunk time, I am misspelling the word “archaeologist.” Sometime in the last century, my language dropped the second “a” from the word, but since I spend most of my words writing about what might happen in YOUR time period, I humbly submit I’m allowed a few anachronisms in the other direction.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way…
I’ve got new books coming out, finally. They will be accompanied by blog posts with samples, and probably audio samples too. We’ve got new offices at AWP, and a new structure that lets me write and record a LOT more, and it’s paying off. So, you’ll hear more about that pretty soon here. You might even hear about more podcasts–which means more Free Will, and also more of The Next 10k Hours–but I’m not quite prepared to commit to a re-launch date yet.

Crudrat’s just about wrapped up. Thank you all who backed us–your last story is on its way pretty damn quick here.

Some new website work is coming soon–things have gotten a little difficult to navigate around here, so we’re going to streamline it yet again.

Penultimately, stay tuned for a couple surprise announcements around Christmastime.

And, finally, books. Anyone wanting to buy books for friends (or for yourselves) for Christmas, use the coupon code christmastimeishere when checking out, and you’ll get 20% off any order from the store here on the website. Caveat: If you want signed books, they’ll be late. I’ve just moved house and haven’t got new inventory stocked locally yet. But direct-shipped books will arrive easily in time for Christmas.

See you around again soon!
-Dan

Balticon, Suave Rob, Crudrat, and Free Will

Contrary to rumors that have been floating around, I did not, in fact, get swallowed by a giant monster crab under the streets of Baltimore at Balticon. I did, however, have a brilliant time, and the summer has flown by so fast and so packed that I haven’t even posted my post-mortem. This’ll be brief, cause there’s news on all the other fronts, too:

Balticon
So much fun this year. Got to meet Pamela Gay and Mark Jeffry in person, had a blast talking business with new writers and podcasters, catching up with Sigler and Morris and Ballantine, and falling on my face attempting to live-narrate a new Antithesis short story called Colombian Dark. Thanks everyone for the fabulous time–and a special thanks to Dave Robison and Doc Coleman, who bought headshots and helped finance the trip!

Suave Rob
A little over two years ago, I released a short novel called Suave Rob’s Double-X Derring Do, about a far-future transsexual Evel Kenevel who longs to surf a supernova. It’s done fairly well in print and ebook, but I got to thinking that the audience that would REALLY love it are the kinds of people who listen to Escape Pod, where I sold Chicken Noodle Gravity a few years back. So, a little over a year ago, I sent it off. This past February I heard back from Norm Sherman, saying they’d love to buy it, and since then we’ve been trading paperwork during our copious free time (note the sarcasm–the world seems intent on eating every spare second). Well, he finally has his contract, and I finally have my check, so I can now happily announce:
Suave Rob will be on Escape Pod as a special extra-long episode (or series) sometime…in the future. I’ll let you know when I get the air date. I don’t know who’ll be reading it yet, though I’ve made a recommendation I hope they take, cause it’d be a perfect match. Either way, I’ll keep you posted!

Crudrat
The Gail Carriger Kickstarter project is still going. One of the ways the world eats time is by making hard drives crash. A lot. We’ve lost three hard drives on this project–in each case, we managed to not lose any data, but the recovery time and headache in replacing the hardware, restoring from backups, etc. has been a killer.
We’re now finally doing post production on the last two short stories. One is with Schadey at his place in Peru, where he’s working his magic with the music. The other is waiting in the queue right behind it. In the meantime, we’re powering ahead here with the video features and blooper reels, because this project really needs to wrap soon.

Free Will
Which brings me to Free Will (and The Next 10k Hours). The podcast wound up in the back seat with all this crowdfunding stuff, because (simply put) the crowdfunded project is a debt, and the podcast is a gift, and I’ve got a thing about paying debts off. So, Free Will will return late this year after everything is wrapped on the Crudrat project. I’ve wrestled with this for a long time, but I just can’t think of a way to put time into Free Will without shortchanging both it and the Crudrat stories–and I’d rather arrive late than arrive with sub-par quality. It’s a personality quirk.

Last Update
We’re finally getting our distribution in order at AWP, which means that by year’s end you’ll be able to find Predestination, Down From Ten, Crudrat, The Gail Carriger Short Story Bundle, and maybe also some of my short stories in audio format at Audible, Audiobooks.com, and several other fashionable marketplaces.

Building an empire is a slow process, but we’re getting there. Thanks for bearing with us!

Antithesis Live!!!

So, the illustrious Chris Lester of The Metamor City Podcast has graciously invited me to piggyback on his novel’s launch party to do a full-cast reading of a brand new Antithesis short story, Colombian Dark.

Join us from 8pm to 10pm in Parlor 1026 for the fun. Chris will do his book launch reading first, and then we’ll run Colombian Dark afterwards–probably actually going live at around 9pm or a little thereafter.

–UPDATE—
Doh! I forgot the day. That would be Sunday, 8pm to 10pm in Parlor 1026

Balticon Photo Session Booking

Since I am going to be at Balticon, with my camera kit in tow, I am available for photo bookings.

 

What I Can Do
I can shoot:

    Groups
    Families
    Personal/couples portraits
    Professional headshots
    Pregnancy portraits
    Fantasy Art, Theatrical, Science Fiction/horror scenes (these requires nontrivial planning, expect an extended phone/email preproduction consultation)
    Glamor/Boudoir/Fetish/Avant-Garde/Fine Art/Erotic/etc.

 

If what you want is not on this list, and not on the “won’t” list below, ask. We can probably swing it.

 

What I Can’t Do
Though I would love to drive, I suspect I’ll have to fly instead. Thus, the gear I can bring is pretty limited. I can’t, for example, bring much in the way of lighting equipment (though I’ll have my light painting brushes, my flash unit, and some gels). This means we’ll have to shoot with available light, or with lights that you bring. Fortunately, there’s a lot of good light around the hotel at Balticon, and (if memory serves) the lights in the rooms are pretty easy to reconfigure. I have some fast lenses for shooting in low-light conditions, which I’ll be bringing.

Similarly, I can’t bring much in the way of props, costuming, or my FX makeup kit. If your shoot requires these things, consult with me in advance, and I can help you put together the kit we’ll need.

 

What I Won’t Do
Although I’m a pretty open-minded guy, I have a few limits. Here they are:

  • I won’t do a shoot with any subject who does not consent (so if your husband really doesn’t want to be photographed and you buy him a session, that’s your problem. Grudging consent is okay).
  • I won’t shoot anything that might get me arrested. Security-restricted government installations and underage nudes are high on this list. Crime scenes that the cops haven’t arrived at are another one. Fortunately, because of the first amendment, this isn’t a long list.
  • Unless we already have an established personal or professional (i.e. as model and photographer) relationship that involves a high degree of trust, I will insist that you bring an escort/chaperone to any shoot involving nudity.

 

Credibility
I’ve done professional photography and cinematography for over 13 years. In that time, I’ve done stage plays, behind-the-scenes photography on movies, a lot of concert photography, headshots, portraits (family and individual), weddings, fine art nudes, book covers, movie posters, botannicals, wildlife, astronomicals, and pretty much pointed my camera at anything I can pull focus on fast enough to capture.

My work has appeared in Jeff Vandermeer’s The Steampunk Bible and Gearhearts Steampunk Glamor Review, and it headlines Gail Carriger’s Retro Rack site. Nobilis Reed’s professional headshot is one that I shot last time I was at Balticon.

Basically, I’ve been around. If you still doubt my awesome powers, you can take a gander at this work-safe gallery and this not-so-work-safe gallery.

 

The Deal
I’ve got two packages on offer–if you want to do something these don’t cover, talk to me and we’ll work something out.
The first is a straightforward Headshots package, which I’m offering at $100. If you’re an actor or an author or just someone who wants some smart-looking portraits, this is the one for you. Headshot sessions run 15-20 minutes, and there are six or seven locations around the Balticon hotel that make excellent backdrops for them.

The second is the “anything goes” package, at $300/ea. For this you get me for 1-2hrs, for a group, a couple, a family, or a single, at any location in/around the hotel or easily accessible by car in the time slot.

In either case, we will confer in advance on the nature of the shoot, your desired setting, etc., take care of the photo releases, and schedule a time slot.

At the con, at the scheduled time, we’ll do the shoot.

A week after my return home, I’ll provide you a private online proof sheet, and from that you can choose up to six shots to have retouched/otherwise enhanced. I will then deliver to you all the shots, and, once they’re finished (anywhere from a day to a week later), I will deliver to you the package of retouched photos.

 

One Final Note

  • If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want either of these packages, I am perfectly happy to shoot locally and throw in all my other equipment, props, etc.

 

Join Me
Order your photo session here:
 

Headshot Session
 
 
Full Photo Session
 
Let’s make some art together!

Remember, if you want autographed books, I’m bringing those too.

Balticon Preorders

Hi, everyone!
Dan is hard at work putting the finishing touches on Crudrat and prepping for Balticon.

If you will be at Balticon, and would like a signed J. Daniel Sawyer book hand delivered to you, please order through our online store by 6:00 PM PDT, Wednesday, May 14 (we to order by that evening to ensure our order ships to the event in time)

Select the “Regular” option instead of “Autograph” (we won’t need the extra charge as we are only shipping once) and “Balticon 2014″ as the shipping option.

Order the short story collections here
Order the Clarke Lantham Mysteries here
Order a stand-alone novel here
Order nonfiction here

Thanks!
Kitty