IOTD

Perlan 2 soaring to the edge of the atmosphere

In my book The Big Red Buckle, I image an endurance race of people soaring mountain waves at the edge of the Martian atmosphere. Humanity seems infinitely adaptable and well beyond our petty and violent squabbles sports are wonderful aspirational motivation. The thing is people don’t fight one another if there is a framework in place for them to constructively compete with one another.

Whether it’s pushing a body as fast as possible along the edge of aerodynamic science, figuring out how to travel across Austrailia on a tank of sunshine, or soaring a sailplane to the edge of space on a poorly understood atmospheric phenomenon I see these endeavours as critical elements in the continuing development of our collective capability. More needs to be done here, and more should be written about these sorts of ideas.

Today’s inspiration is the Perlan Project, which intends to soar a sailplane to 90,000 km above the surface of the Earth on a mountain wave.

News

First, the good news. This weekend I received a letter from the DetCon1 Programming folks and I quickly shot off a reply. I’m headed, once again, to Detroit, Michigan for a summer convention.

I don’t know what it is about that part of the world, but man you “Yoopers” sure have a thing for SFF. I’m not complaining. Not even a little bit. In fact, I’m sort of ecstatic to visit Michigan in the middle of the summer. I’ll get to hang out with the mucky-mucks for a couple of days. Meet new friends and share with colleagues. I’m currently planning on driving so if you’re interested you’ll get to experience my overlander first hand.

Yesterday I nailed down my reservation at the hotel, and there is even the possibility that my beautiful and talented wife might join me on this excursion into intense geekery.  And for that I am even more excited than I have the words to express. I might have to bump up the reservation and get a room with a view.

In other news I have lined up a couple more author interviews for FROM THE INDIE SIDE. Be excited, you’re going to get buckets of new author blood really soon. Peter Cawdron is due this upcoming Friday. Followed by Ernie Lindsey, Susan May, and Mel Hearse.

In the mean time, if you’re looking for something to read you won’t be disappointed with this anthology. The diversity of voices and tales means that you can pick and chose what you’d rather read based on your mood in the moment. And, even though it is thicker than a Chilton’s Auto Repair manual, it won’t break your budget at $4.99 (kindle price).

While you’re supporting independent authors you should give me a try. I’ve just put out a short story of my own which is turning into something of a series. ON THE LEFT FOOT: A TALE OF THE LONG EARTH is only $0.99 on Amazon and it will transport you from that dull, slightly musty bus seat into an otherworldly back country filled with the rich scents of waking pine trees and fresh trout.

Also, last weekend I added another couple of thousand words to the next in the “sports in space” series UP SLOPE. It is on target for spring release and I’m pretty happy with how the story is coming along. You don’t need to read the first in the series to understand the story, but if you gave THE BIG RED BUCKLE a gander you would not be disappointed.

Next up, this morning I was browsing through your many, many Facebook posts when I came across a real gem from Jacqueline Carey, who is a formidable presence in the the world of wordsmiths to say the least, and she has something really poignant to say about our professional organization.

I don’t mean to imply that the blame for all that ails SFWA lies with its most senior members.  I’m sure it doesn’t, but I can only speak to what I’ve observed, which is that there’s an undeniable generational push-back against changing mores that’s a significant part of the problem.  I don’t want SFWA to lose its identity or its sense of history, but if it’s going to remain relevant, it needs to adapt.  Honor the past, but celebrate the present and look toward the future, too.

I can thank my wife Tess for getting me hooked on Carey’s Kusiel series, late night readings from Kushiel’s Dart were something of a treat back in the early days of our relationship. It is sexy stuff, but with careful and complete construction, deep plots that make it difficult to sleep (even though you have work in the morning).

At ConFusion I had only the briefest of encounters with Carey, but her opinion, and the action (or inaction) she is willing to undertake in order to achieve a clear and unmistakable expression, is admirable. And she has done a wonderful job of laying out all the things SFWA might be missing its maddening rush to cling to BS and drama.

I mean… seriously?  The publishing industry is undergoing seismic changes, changes that affect every single author in (and out of) the genre.  E-book pricing and royalty rates, the antitrust lawsuit, DRM, the rise of indie publishing, Amazon’s slow-burning bid for a monopoly, dwindling brick-and-mortar stores, the commodification of fan fiction, promotion in the age of social networking, the Google Books lawsuit, the consolidation of the Big Six into the Big Five, etc.  There’s a lot to talk about!  And yet when it comes to SFWA, it seems all the oxygen in the room was—and still is—being sucked up by a discussion that has no business taking place in this day and age.

When I first started to accumulate rejection letters one of my primary motivations to be a writer was SFWA membership. I wanted to be included in the group and run along side others doing the same thing. In my past life as an engineer I belonged to a variety of professional organizations, and for the most part, this was a useful and even necessary requirement for inclusion within the network of people working in the field. They kept me appraised of the major currents in my industry and helped me make good decisions that ultimately made me a better engineer.

The realization that SFWA membership might be beyond my reach, even with the growing collection of SFF bearing my name, gave me pause. I started to ask myself, “What could I get out of this relationship if I take the time to jump through their hoops?” The answer that I reached basically amounted to not much that I couldn’t find on my own. I’ve got KBoardsGoodreads, and conventions for community, inspiration, and to keep me appraised of what is and isn’t happening in the writing world. The organization’s Writer Beware blog tends to be far behind the 8-ball when it comes to breaking news and new predatory practices that harm creatives, and its contributors spend at least half their time tooting their own horn. The organization has become, in many respects, just a breading ground for drama and discontent.

So, with that in mind, I’m going to extend some kudos to Jacqueline Carey, I think she is doing a good thing and I hope the best for her and wish her luck. Yes, she has lost her nomination privileges for the Nebula, but her opinions are already well respected. I’d happily read anything she recommended, her cogent and considered opinion has lot more weight than an award.

And finally, I wanted to take a moment to pass along the announcement that Michael J. Sullivan‘s next book is available for pre-order. And if you order now, you’ll get a pile of extras and bonus stuff … early. This is a series I’ve had on my W2R list for a while and Mr. Sullivan is an excellent dude.

So, I will round out today’s news and announcements with one more place for you to spend your hard earned dough on books. Click on through to this announcement for all the details and goodies.

Admittedly a Long Shot

The title of this post says it all, but that won’t keep me from trying. John Green of vlogbrothers youtube channel recently posted this video.

His book THE FAULT IN OUR STARS is currently number one on the USA Today and New York Times best sellers lists which is not only “bananas”, but some much deserved success.

And this success has made him wonder, “about all the books [he’s] loved that aren’t best sellers.” And better, he is basically offering the temporary use of his nerdfighter platform to help other struggling authors gain some much needed exposure.

Call to Action!

Want to help? Here is my call to action. We’re already a little behind, but I need your help to get THE BIG RED BUCKLE trending in the comments section of this video. If you’ve read it, you know this story is innovative, cutting-edge science fiction. No one else comes even close to this part of the SF pie. “Sports in space” is a small, but growing sub-genre.

If you have yet to read my book I understand. Consider bumping my book a personal favor. Feel free to call something of equal magnitude in the future (and then buy my book and read it).

Getting just that 10 seconds of nerdfighter time could make all the difference for me. It would mean that my $0.99 masterpiece would get eyeball time on a scale I can only dream of. All it costs you is a click and a comment (which you can cut and past from below). Literally, seconds of your time.

The Big Red Buckle by Matthew Alan Thyer:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HC5JWH8/

A Few, Public Words to John Green

Oh, oh, oh. Pick me! Pick me! Yeah, I know, you’re thinking, “who is this guy?” Just another dude trying to make it as a writer, that’s who I am. I’ve written a book, the first in a series, which needs some love.

You have followers, (1.7 million pairs of eyeballs at last count) and you’ve already said you’d share. Contact me in the comments below, and I will gladly furnish you with a signed copy of my first book in the standard format of your choice. Read THE BIG RED BUCKLE at your leisure, mark it up, dog-ear as many pages as you’d care to, and when you’re done, let others know what you think.

Little Red on Big Red Buckle

Let me tell you, as an author, this moment feels a lot like being made. Andrea Johnson, over at Little Red Reviewer, just reviewed my first book THE BIG RED BUCKLE. There is a lot in here that makes me happy with the book, especially bits like this.

THE BIG RED BUCKLE certainly has a lot that’s endurance sports related, but I saw it first as an underdog story, a story of honest teamwork and intelligence vs who can spend the most money on high tech equipment.”

Andrea isn’t a sports enthusiast. She probably had never heard of paragliding before reading THE BIG RED BUCKLE so it’s a special sort of glee I’m soaking in right now. She got my story. A full on grok, fully.

Despite the all the lingo, the weather geekery, and the story’s endurance sport roots it is still just a story about people. That made me a very happy author.

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Buy The Big Red Buckle

Mutual Appreciation Society

Hey sweet, the amazing and talented Andrea Johnson, over at Little Red Reviewer, interviewed me recently. She just published my answers, and THE BIG RED BUCKLE is on sale too boot! Only $0.99 until I regain network access later in the week. It is starting to feel a whole lot like a mutual appreciation society around here. Happy circumstance or evil plot to take over the world? You’re going to have to read them both and decide for yourself.

Later today, Aral and I hop back on an airplane, fly over half a continent, and then scramble like mad to remove the last bit of residue of our habitation from the old townhouse in Boulder. As you can imagine, I may be difficult to reach for a bit.

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Buy The Big Red Buckle

 

 

Quiet in the Wilderness: Signal Boost THE BIG RED BUCKLE

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Buy The Big Red Buckle

Humanity has survived environmental and atmospheric calamity and begun to move out into the stars. Sport still plays a vital role in our day-to-day affairs. The Big Red Buckle recounts an episode of a single-stage endurance race held between two shield volcanoes on a Mars that is slowly being terraformed. Participants must run and soar over 1,500 kilometers while the solar system watches.

For Marco Aguilar, just being at the starting line represents the culmination of two years of careful preparation and training. He aims to win the Grand Martian Traverse, and take home The Big Red Buckle for himself and for native Martians.

The more I read about it the more I understand that an author can expect a slump in sales some time around the middle of January. That is when the Holiday bills start showing up. When people have less money because they have new gym memberships to pay down. The list of reasons why this happens are extensive, but it happens.

But, here we are, just over a month after The Big Red Buckle released the book has flatlined on all the Amazon lists. What is an author to do? You got it, signal boost.

Here are the details

Welcome to my Twitter signal boost. I want you to tweet about The Big Red Buckle.

To be eligible for the contest your tweet must include these two things.

  • the hashtag: #dancingonlift
  • a link to this blog post

Your tweet can contain anything else you would like. Crazy paragliding photos or trail running images are a bonus, so be entertaining. Boost my signal as well as your own.

The contest will run all day long January 31st, 2014 (MST) – that’s midnight to midnight.

February 1st I will pick three random winners (you’ll need to follow me on twitter @feetforbrains, to get your prize).

The first winner will receive a signed, printed version of The Big Red Buckle and Joulupukki as well as two limited edition cards of the cover work.

The remaining two will receive signed copies of the first run of the book.

I’ll pay shipping unless you’re outside the US, in which case, shipping is on you.

You can tweet as many times as you’d like, but only the first one will count.

And that is how it is done. The idea is to get the book in front of new eyeballs, and break the January slump. Marco needs new sponsorship money to afford a fancy new photobioreactor suit. I’d like to see Marco climb back up the “Paid In Kindle Store” and meet a few new readers.

Kindle Count Down Deal

For a limited time only $0.99

For a limited time only $0.99

That’s right, for a limited time, “The Big Red Buckle” will be available via Amazon for the low, low price of  only $0.99. Now is your time to own the first in the series. Top quality cover work by Jeffrey Witty. Excellent words arranged artfully in interesting patterns by Matthew Thyer. You too can be part of the phenomenon. Hang out with the cool kids. Buy “The Big Red Buckle“.

Who I Pictured in my Mind When I Wrote Pet

This is the latest from Jean-Baptiste Chandelier. The video has some sick Acro in it. Check out the helicopter at 2:22, low altitude endless flips (near Mont Blanc Massif), and, near the end, a SAT par excellence over some impressive white.

There are aspects of this guy’s public image that I held close in my mind when I was writing Petrus Mandel in “The Big Red Buckle“. He is a real artist in the air and seems to have a fun-loving attitude that, while not unique in the sport, is outstanding because of its intensity.

Packing for Detroit

Good grief! I’ve got to pack my bag for Legendary ConFusion this afternoon. The cards look awesome, I’ve already given out a couple and they seem well received. I ended up choosing to go with the Luxe stock from Moo and they color matched the middle layer of red with the cover colors so the whole thing has heft and looks really sweet. You could frame these cards and mount them on your wall they are that nice. Again, a huge thanks and plenty of kudos to Jeffrey Witty, the incomparable artist who did the amazing cover work.

After a little prompting from friends at the Rec Center and elsewhere, yesterday, I started writing a mémoire ostensibly about the rescue of Jim Nee and some of my trail running experiences. My intent is to submit this work to Amazon’s Kindle Singles program when it is done. My intent is to weave together a number of story threads that I have blogged about or talked about in the past, but never really given the treatment they deserved. The outline is coming along, and I knocked off the first 1,000 words yesterday. I need to wind up my time machine and start finding the news articles that aired about that particular event, but much of the research is already done (because I lived that whole thing).

Finally, I have a gear review for BackpackingLight that I need to start working on. The good news is that this is not a long piece, but it is due in April. I need to get these shoes out and up a number of trails so that I can objectively provide some insight into the performance characteristics of these Keens. Right now I’m actually very happy with them, they are waterproof and comfortable.

So one last time, if you’re going to be Legendary ConFusion and want to hook up let me know so that I can keep an eye open for you. I’m planning on learning a lot while I’m there, but none of that should get in the way of meeting new people and having a great time.

 

Paperback: The Big Red Buckle

The paperback includes Joulupukki short story bonus

This afternoon, when Aral and I returned from our dailies, there was a box on the step. Wow! I sure am excited about the results. I ordered twenty copies of my own book because reasons. The first of which is to send a copy to those who have helped and encouraged me along the way. Second, because I’m at least a little vain and I wanted to see it in print all on its own. And third, because I want to exchange a free read for reviews.

So here is the deal, I will mail you a free copy of my book “The Big Red Buckle” in exchange for the following.

  • A blog review of my book: so you need to have a blog. It would be better if you wrote regularly and even had a few followers. Make sure to include a link to your blog and the current number of subscribers you have when you send me your email. Hoping to see some critical reviews here and you’re welcome to link back to http://feetforbrains.com as long as you don’t mind me linking to your blog.
  • A summary review of “The Big Red Buckle” at Amazon.com: just asking for a paragraph or two on Amazon.
  • Optional – Cross post Review on Goodreads: You don’t have to write anything new, but if you choose to post your Amazon review on Goodreads, you’d be helping me out.

What do you need to do to get your signed copy of “The Big Red Buckle” for free? That’s easy. Send me an email with the following information in it, by next Monday, the 13th of January.

  • Your name and physical address (I need this to mail you a copy)
  • Your blog DNS, and approximate subscription numbers
  • Your Amazon alias (so I can follow up)

I will collect names and send copies out on Tuesday the 14th. My supply of free-for-review copies is limited, but apparently so is my fan base. Good luck my friends.