Right now I’m working on the copy edits for ATTACK THE GEEK, the Ree Reyes Side-Quest (coming April 7th of next year!). It’s a shorter story, weighing in at about 1/2 the size of a normal Ree Reyes novel, so it’s making the revision steps go quite a bit faster.
When working through copy edits, the copy editor, usually a freelancer, will suggest changes to the manuscript based on house style, the series’ style sheet, and continuity. Copy editors are awesome. They do the kind of editing that I’m weakest at, the super-granular nitty-gritty stuff, and for that, they have my eternal thanks.
But since the series is so pop-culture-tastic, sometimes the copy editor doesn’t know what I’m up to, and they make changes based on Normal World grammar and style as opposed to Geek Word style (TM). Which means that when I go through the copy edits, I end up using STET (a typography term for ‘leave it be,’ and rolling back their changes.
Here are some of the funnier STETs from ATTACK THE GEEK:
- “STET capitalization of X-Man’s name” (Gambit)
- “STET use of gaming terminology” (Willpower check)
- “STET capitalization of Dungeons & Dragons spell name” (Explosive Runes)
- “STET omission of ‘friendly’ in 2nd sentence to match the military saying, ‘Friendly fire isn’t.’”
- “STET capitalization of World of Warcraft Race/Class combination.” (Troll Hunter)
- “STET for the comparison to the band.” (Violently-inclined Femmes)
My friend Jack Norris is running a Kickstarter for a wuxia RPG called Tianxia: Blood, Silk, and Jade. Jack and I go way back in gaming, and I had the fortune of testing an early early version of what would become Tianxia, and even then it was awesome. The game is 99% done and printer-ready, and the Kickstarter has hit its initial goal and several stretch goals.
But there’s one more stretch goal, and this one is particularly important to me: If we get a total of 1000 backers (48 more at the time of this writing) or hit $35,000 ($2,692 more at this time), then Vigilance Press will produce a fiction anthology called Tianxia: Year of the Snake. I’ve committed to writing for the anthology if it happens, and I’d be in the company of gaming luminaries such as Robin D. Laws, Gareth Skarka, Allen Turner, T.S. Luikar, and John “Leverage” Rogers, a personal writing idol of mine.
So if you’re a gamer or you like wuxia stories, kung fu action, or cool fiction anthologies, please go take a look at the Kickstarter page and consider pledging to help us reach this last goal.
This exciting news hit my Twitter feed today, courtesy of Publishers’ Weekly.
I’d been wondering why S&S didn’t have a dedicated SF&F imprint, since it’s a genre that’s adapted well to digital distribution, and is continuing to garner a ton of buzz and an avid fanbase in the reading world.
Congrats and good luck to all involved. I’ll be watching this news with great interest.
Today I have a special bit of funny for you all. Mary Robinette Kowal, who narrated CELEBROMANCY, snuck out of the recording studio with a blooper reel from the sessions, and has provided that reel for me to share with you all.
My favorite bit? “Patently paternal…that’s just mean.” And it was. Not intentionally mean, but funny nonetheless. Despite my failings in producing (just a few) audio clunkers like that line, Mary did a fantastic job on the audiobook, and I recommend it as a great way of engaging with the story.
What these bloopers remind me of is how important it is to bring in your ear when doing revisions. Since I can now ambitiously assume that I’ll either sell audio rights or want to exploit them myself on all of my major works, I think it’s especially important to consider the aurality when doing revision. Sometimes, I don’t do enough, as we can hear from the bloopers, but I’ve tried to incorporate a read-aloud stage to my revisions whenever possible.
On the one hand, having bloopers is funny, but on the other hand, I’d rather have narrators who love performing my work extra because I manage to avoid such aurally preposterous phrases.
Sometimes, a line that plays really well in text will cause a headache for an audio narrator, and you have to choose which audience you’re primarily serving, or figure out if there’s a way to re-phrase or re-approach that works both ways. It’s a balance I’m still working on, and will beg forgiveness from my audio narrators in the meantime while I try to figure things out.
I’m leaving now for New York Comic-Con, and I’ll be there all weekend, discovering new comics creators, findingout about everything new and awesome in geekdom, chatting with my amazing publishing teams at Simon & Schuster and 47North, as well as catching up with writer-friends who have come in from all across the country for a weekend of awesomeness.
As a reminder, you can find me at the “Ode to Nerds” panel on Saturday at 1:30 PM, where I and other fabulous nerdy authors will be talking with one another in what I imagine will be an all-out geekfest. Bring your questions for us and/or your books to be signed, since we’ll proceed from the panel to the signing area.
Info about the panel: http://nycc13.mapyourshow.com/5_0/sessions/sessiondetails.cfm?ScheduledSessionID=10ADCC.
See you there!
Dear all, I’m incredibly thrilled to finally be able to share the news that I’ve inked a new book deal for what will be my print debut(!).
From the Publishers Marketplace announcement:
FICTION: SCIENCE FICTION/ FANTASY
Author of GEEKOMANCY, Michael R. Underwood’s SHIELD AND CROCUS about an aging revolutionary and a haunted city, to David Pomerico at 47North, in a nice deal, for publication in 2014 in print and graphic novel by Sara Megibow at Nelson Literary Agency. (World)
My Hollywood-style pitch for SHIELD is “Mistborn meets China Mieville,” since it combines high action with a New Weird-style setting.
SHIELD AND CROCUS is a novel that began its life as a short story critiqued at the Clarion West Writers Workshop in 2007, with Graham Joyce as the instructor for the week. I was inspired by a story written by Jon Christian Allison, one of my classmates, and wrote a tale that combined a setting drawing upon the New Weird with the action of heroic fantasy that I’ve loved all my life.
Graham and my classmates encouraged me to take the story and expand it into a novel, and years later, after several revisions and a lot of growth on my part as a writer, I’m over the moon that David Pomerico has acquired it for 47North. David has a laser-focused plan for positioning and supporting the novel, including providing the truly exciting opportunity of having the story adapted as a graphic novel. More on that later.
I’ve had an impressive amount of feedback and support along the way, so the acknowledgements for this novel are going to be substantial. I cannot promise that I will not cry when I finally get around to writing them, since this novel has been a big part of my life for several years (from mid-2007 through 2010, most specifically), and represents the work that put me over the top from being an apprentice writer to a new professional. Without the skills at character voice and revision I developed working on SHIELD, I would not have been able to write GEEKOMANCY at the level that allowed it to be sold to Pocket Star.
I also want to take the time to give a huge shout-out to Sara Megibow, my agent, who has now helped me sign three book deals for a total of five novels and a novella, within the first two years of working together. Thanks to her support and cunning skills, I am going to have an amazingly busy 2014, and I couldn’t be more excited.
One of my absolute favorite memories of WorldCon 2013 is that during the convention, I joined the Skiffy & Fanty team to record a very special Torture Cinema podcast episode about SHARKNADO.
This is the episode in which I declared SHARKNADO to be “the apotheosis of the bad SyFy channel Sci-Fi movie.”
Notice: the recording is filled with total ridiculousness, profanity, and a drunkenly-acted skit.
2 months ago
The latest bit of Whedonverse comic buzz has me tremendously excited:
Also, if anyone knows anyone at Dark Horse, please let them know that I’m available to write as this series continues.
When I moved to Baltimore, one of the first cool things I heard about was the Baltimore Book Festival. So I was incredibly excited when I got an email via SFWA inviting me to attend and participate in programming for this year’s festival, which will be held September 27-29th.
The website for the Baltimore Book Festival is here, for those interested (don’t worry, I’ll wait).
Cool, right? The SFWA has a full track of programming, and I’ll be there all weekend, soaking in the literary awesome, plus participating in a few panels.
You’ll find me at the following:
Friday, September 27:
1:00PM A Look at the Fiction Industry From the Publishing Side
Hear what authors who have also been editors have to say about the publishing side of the business. The industry has undergone dramatic changes in recent years, with genre blending, new technologies, and multi-media projects. What are editors and publishers looking for? How does the industry look from their side of the table? Find out what’s new and what’s tried and true.
Panelists: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Michael Underwood
Moderator: Catherine Asaro
Saturday, September 28:
6:30-8:00 SFWA Reception
Come party with the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America at our annual Baltimore Book Festival Reception. We have an exciting event planned, combining this year with Dark Quest Books in their launch of the YA novel, The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, by L.Jagi Lamplighter. Meet the authors, enjoy quiet jazz by The Greg Adams Trio, and partake of our delectable (and free) snacks. The party is free and open tothe public, and all are welcome.
Sunday, September 29:
12:00 How to Come Across Like a Professional Writer When You’re Starting Out
Talk to our expert panelists on how to get a good start in the writing industry. What to do and what not to do.
Panelists: Michael R. Underwood, Laura Anne Gilman
Moderator: Catherine Asaro
I hope to see you there!
A while back, I made some noise about a new 3-book deal with Pocket Star – 2 of the books being in a new series titled YOUNGER GODS, and the other being a novella in the Ree Reyes universe, set after CELEBROMANCY.
Now that I have edits back on the novella, we’ve settled on a title for the novella: ATTACK THE GEEK. This book will be about half the size of a Ree Reyes novel, and focuses on one Incredibly Bad Night (TM) at Grognard’s, featuring Geekomancers new and old, magic curses, whacky monsters, more romantic tension between Ree and Drake, and the on-screen return of everyone’s favorite Grizzled Geekomantic Mentor, Eastwood!
ATTACK THE GEEK will be available on April 7th, 2014. Set your calendars now!