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W2P GUEST SPEAKERS

Alastair Mayer

Alastair is a writer of hard science fiction.


[Technical note: from 2011 onward the chat logs appear different, because our W2P guest sessions were held in an IRC-based chat room, rather than via an AOL chat room.]

11/28/11 18:58:25 Opening "Chat Log 11-28-11"

* Deluge5 has joined #write2publish
Deluge5: Here I am in Write to Publish on QuakeNet, looking forward to a good chat session.
thejuliechris: :-)
* thejuliechris has changed the topic to: Welcome to Write to Publish
Deluge5: You added a topic! Wow, that's progress.
Deluge5: What is our speaker going to talk about tonight?
* Deluge7 has joined #write2publish
Deluge7: Now I'm really here.
thejuliechris: lol, we may be the only ones so far.
thejuliechris: I'm applying for jobs while waiting. :-)
Deluge5: What kind of jobs do you apply for?
thejuliechris: I'm a computer geek by paycheck
Deluge5: Computer geek ... is that a job description?
thejuliechris: Windows Server mostly...web applications primarily
Deluge5: Windows, the system you don't use at home.
thejuliechris: Yup
thejuliechris: Windows Systems administrator is the official title
thejuliechris: But I also do Linux at work....but most of the applications that people are interested in run on Windows.
Deluge7: I'm trying to decide whether to tell folks that Deluge5 is my younger brother or my alternate personality.
thejuliechris: lol, that would be a pretty Zjar thing to do. :-)
thejuliechris: Have him speak French or something.
Deluge5: Grus Gott.
thejuliechris: German?
Deluge5: Ja. The only language I ever formally studied. Besides English.
thejuliechris: Je parl francais un petit per, y habo espaniol un poquito
thejuliechris: My German is relegated to a few cuss words that a friend of mine taught me in high school. He was an army brat that spent a great deal of time in Germany
Deluge7: The only thing I know about French is that you don't pronounce any letters that are there, just a bunch of letters that aren't there.
thejuliechris: lol
Deluge7: I guess that doesn't
Deluge7: I guess that doesn't make the expert in French.
thejuliechris: My plan was to run for the presidency in 2024, so Spanish and French were the best options for additional languages.
thejuliechris: :-)
thejuliechris: I wonder if anyone else is coming tonight
Deluge7: We are a smidgen early. Neither Paul nor the Guest Speaker has showed yet.
thejuliechris: Yup, but I show only 2 minutes left
thejuliechris: Now 2 minutes late
thejuliechris: Alastair was here last week, so I know he can get in.
* AlastairMayer has joined #write2publish
thejuliechris: Welcome Alastair! Were your ears ringing?
Deluge5: Welcome!
AlastairMayer: Hello, sorry I'm a few minutes late, I mistyped the channel.
thejuliechris: No worries, we are still waiting for quorum.
Deluge7: Adam was in the Den on AOL. I told him we're in IRC. Deluge5: Julie, what's the web address for this room? Adam needs it. I'm here by other methods.
thejuliechris: One sec
* Josie has joined #write2publish
Josie: sorry I am late
Deluge7: Adam says he will be here in a minute.
* MorenoHill has joined #write2publish
thejuliechris: Hi Moreno
Deluge7: Hi, Adam! Glad you made it.
MorenoHill: Hey
thejuliechris: :-)
MorenoHill: Glad to be here, folks.
MorenoHill: I have something for you, Julie.
thejuliechris: Glad to have you
thejuliechris: Oh no! Is it good?
MorenoHill: ((((((((((((((((((((( Julie Chris )))))))))))))))))))))
thejuliechris: :-D (((((((((((((((Adam))))))))))))))
Josie: I am also on aol so I hope I do not get booted
Josie: Hi Adam:)
MorenoHill: Got one for you too, Josie! ((((((((((((((((((( Josie )))))))))))))))))
Josie: {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Adam, and everyone}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}
thejuliechris: (((((((((((((((Josie))))))))))))))
Josie: ty all
Deluge5: Why would you be booted on IRC? I thought AOL was the one that did that to us.
thejuliechris: Well all, it is 9:15 by my clock. Alastair, I would like to call quorum...and stragglers can get the rest from the log. Agreed everyone?
Josie: lol just got done with Writer's Oasis, so maybe I will be alright if aol does boot me
AlastairMayer: Fine with me.
Josie: I am on AOL also
Deluge5: Yep.
AlastairMayer: Want me to introduce myself or do you have a list of questions?
* Rose1533 has joined #write2publish
thejuliechris: Please introduce yourself and we can move from there. I understood that you had a presentation?
thejuliechris: Welcome Rose
Rose1533: Hi.
MorenoHill: ((((((((((((((((((((((((( Rose of the Lar )))))))))))))))))))))))))))))
Rose1533: Hi, Adam.
AlastairMayer: I'm going to have to wing the presentation -- I've been fighting off the flu all weekend.
Rose1533: Bummer. Hope you feel better.
thejuliechris: That sucks
* thejuliechris sends Alastair some virtual chicken soup
Josie Hi Alistair a pleasure to also meet you. :)
Josie: also
AlastairMayer: Anyway, I'm Alastair Mayer, I write mostly hard-ish SF but I've done a little fantasy and humor. I started getting serious about writing (serious meaning I was submitting stories) about 20 years ago, then got sidetracked by getting married, raising kids, etc. Started again about three or four years ago and had my first story published in an anthology ("Footprints", edited by Jay Lake and Eric Reynolds) in 2009.) d I've had four stories published in Analog magazine (mostly short "Probability Zero" pieces if you're familiar with those) and a couple other stories in anthologies. My first novel, "The Chara Talisman", just came out a couple of weeks ago -- it expands on the story "Stone Age" which was in the June issue of Analog.
AlastairMayer: (And thanks for the virtual chicken soup, Julie.)
thejuliechris: :-)
thejuliechris: What caused you to pick writing back up a few years ago?
AlastairMayer: A couple of things. I heard about NaNoWriMo and decided to give that a try (and finished it). I went to the Denver Worldcon -- first Worldcon I'd been to in quite a few years -- and met some writers I'd known years ago, also chatted with some editors like Stan Schmidt.
thejuliechris: For the newbies, what is NaNoWriMo?
AlastairMayer: Back in the day I'd done some technical writing for Byte Magazine, and got to know Jerry Pournelle through that.
* thejuliechris = newbie:
AlastairMayer: NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. It's pretty intense.
thejuliechris: Wow, I can imagine
AlastairMayer: At least it doesn't have to be a polished novel, just a draft.
Josie: that has to also put some stress on you to make sure its done in the month
Josie: better yet
thejuliechris: That is 1667 words per day, every day
AlastairMayer: It's a bit less than 2000 words a day -- which is still a lot if you have a day job, but do-able.
AlastairMayer: Hah, your math is faster than mine.
Josie: to me you have to be very determined
thejuliechris: Nope, my calculator :-)
thejuliechris: So, you just got sucked back in? Sorta like a planet next to a black hole?
AlastairMayer: Pretty much. I've been reading SF since I was a kid -- I like to joke that it's genetic because my Dad was a fan back in the late 30s. In fact he published a couple of Arthur C. Clarke's first stories in a fanzine called "Amateur Science Stories."
thejuliechris: Cool. A love of words is often genetic
AlastairMayer: It's certainly carried on to my kids.
thejuliechris: Are they writing as well?
AlastairMayer: To a degree. I'm impressed by my daughter's writing (she's 17). I have twin boys named Arthur and Robert -- guess who they're named after.-)
AlastairMayer: Robert did a book review for class of "The Chara Talisman." His idea.
thejuliechris: :-)
thejuliechris: How did you get your book published? Did you self publish, etc?
AlastairMayer: Last year I was at a novel workshop run by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch, so the book had bee professionally reviewed (and, parts of the first few chapters were published as that Analog short story). I got some good feedback from Toni Weisskopf (publisher at Baen Books) but it was 20,000 to 30,000 words
thejuliechris: too short?
AlastairMayer: too short for what Baen usually publishes. I went back and expanded it but it changed the structure in ways I didn't like.
AlastairMayer: Yeah, too short.
AlastairMayer: I've got a couple of other books in progress in the same universe ("T-space" - terraformed space -- when humans get out to the nearer stars they discover that they'd been terraformed tens of millions of years ago.)
MorenoHill: Sounds to me you were better off going somewhere else with your short in that case.
AlastairMayer: I had a couple of suggestions as to where else to go (small presses -- I'd tried places like Ace and Del Rey and Tor but they were looking more for downbeat SF than upbeat adventure SF.) I finally decided to indie pub it and move on to the other works. When the sequel to "Chara" is done I'll offer both to Baen, perhaps they'll publish it as a thick two-parter.
thejuliechris: In this process, what is one thing that you've learned that you would want to pass on?
* flm3eyes has joined #write2publish
Rose1533: Hi, Frank.
thejuliechris: Wow! HI Frank! :-D
flm3eyes: O Carol. I tried this before, and couldn't do it
AlastairMayer: The first couple of books I did were "seat of the pants", not much outlining. I think an outline can help, although I don't do really detailed outlines.
flm3eyes: Julie, got in with your link. thanks :)
Rose1533: I outlined my first one.
Josie: Hi Frank and Carol
thejuliechris: So, do you recommend outlines or not?
Deluge7: Good to see you, Frank.
thejuliechris: :-)
thejuliechris: So far, I'm not an outliner...more of a situation spelunker
Rose1533: Perhaps I should outline the rest of the second book. I'm rather stymied.
thejuliechris: you are welcome Frank
AlastairMayer: Also, the market is changing drastically. Indie publication doesn't have the stigma it used to -- so long as you're getting it properly edited. Baen and Tor (and perhaps others) have both been picking up indie-pubbed books to published under their own name.
flm3eyes: Hi Josie, dell. Good to be here
thejuliechris: So, for once market change is good!
AlastairMayer: I've done both seat-of-pants and outlines. SoP is fine if you're starting something new, but for a sequel where you have to hit some important plot points, an outline is helpful. Doesn't have to be super detailed, although some people like to do that.
* thejuliechris nods
MorenoHill: Hey, Frank.
AlastairMayer: My short stuff I don't bother outlining really.
thejuliechris: I've been asking all of the questions here...who else has questions for Alastair?
flm3eyes: hey, Adam
AlastairMayer: For things like flash fiction (eg, Probability Zero) I build up the whole story in my mind and then just write it.
AlastairMayer: Any other questions?
thejuliechris: Any other advice?
flm3eyes: Alastair, I came in very late. Do you self-publish?
Rose1533: I have certain points that I do know about. Got several chapters written out of order.
AlastairMayer: Hmm. Remember Heinlein's five rules: 1) Write, 2) Finish what you write, 3) Refrain from rewriting except to editorial order (Harlan Ellison adds, and then only if you agree), 4) put it on the market, 5) keep it on the market until sold. Note that (3) doesn't mean submit first drafts -- you need to polish it, that's part of (2) finishing what you write.
Rose1533: I spent 13 years 'finishing' my novel.
thejuliechris: Any final questions from the peanut gallery? -)
AlastairMayer: Frank, I only self-publish what has passed review by an editor or pro writer. I have a bunch of short stories available for e-book that were originally published elsewhere and the rights have reverted.
Rose1533: where can we find your book?
flm3eyes: e-book? good.
AlastairMayer: Rose, I'm glad you asked.-) "The Chara Talisman" is available in e-book from Amazon, Smashwords, and soon B&N. It's available in trade paperback from Amazon, or you can probably order it through a bookstore.
Rose1533: Mine is the same only you can't get it e-book for the Nook. Only Amazon.
thejuliechris: No epub, huh?
Rose1533: POD--trade paperback and Kindle.
AlastairMayer: Smashwords makes it available for Kindle, Nook, Sony, and a couple of others.
Rose1533: mine was published by Create Space. Printed, I should say. Not published.
flm3eyes: Smashwords--that's good to know
Rose1533: I'll have to check it out. No clue if my book is available there or not.
AlastairMayer: The short story "Stone Age" is available free on Smashwords and B&N as a teaser. Amazon should drop the price to match sometime soon.
AlastairMayer: You have to put it up on Smashwords yourself (or have someone do it for you).
Rose1533: Ah, then no.
thejuliechris: Our hour is up. Thank you very much for coming and speaking with us Alastair. You are welcome anytime.
AlastairMayer: It's pretty easy, Smashwords takes a Word .doc file and converts it.
Rose1533: Create Space is the printing/publishing arm of Amazon.
Josie: Hope you feel better Alastair and than you for being our guest tonight:)
thejuliechris: Everyone can stick around and chat as long as you'd like
Josie: thanks
Rose1533: I doubt they'd like it very much if I did that.
AlastairMayer: Thanks all. I'd stick around and chat but I'm fighting off the flu. Cheers.
flm3eyes: I think I'm going to try Kindle Singles
thejuliechris: Feel better Alastair, and thanks again
Rose1533: Thanks Alastair
Josie: take care Alastair
AlastairMayer: Thanks. G'night.
* AlastairMayer has left #write2publish
* Rose1533 has quit (Quit: Page closed)
thejuliechris: Thanks everyone for 'suffering through' IRC tonight. :-)
Josie: Night everyone and to me it was no problem coming in here:)
thejuliechris: :-)
Josie: and thank you also Julie for the link it sure came in handy
flm3eyes: suffering :)
* Josie has quit (Quit: Page closed)
flm3eyes: nite everyone
Deluge5: Goodnight, Frank.
flm3eyes: goodnight
* flm3eyes has quit (Quit: Page closed)
* W2PSushi has joined #write2publish
W2PSushi: Hi all
thejuliechris: An hour late!
Deluge5: Hi, Paul. How are you?
W2PSushi: Drat
thejuliechris: Hi...I got the log for ya. It went well.
W2PSushi: Glad to hear that!!!
W2PSushi: Did Andy Duncan drop by? He confirmed for the 12/19 guest session
W2PSushi: Thanks for keeping the log. I see Adam is here also
Deluge5: Yes, officially he's here. He dropped by the Den and I guided him here into the wilderness of IRC.
MorenoHill: Yep
Deluge5: Ah, you are still at your computer!
W2PSushi: Cool
W2PSushi: I: still need to make sure Frank can access this room. Everyone else has
Deluge7: I told Julie I trying to decide whether to tell people that Deluge5 is my younger brother or my alternate personality.
W2PSushi: LOL
Deluge7: Frank was here earlier. He's in the log.
W2PSushi: I have several sibling-friends on Facebook They can tattle on each other
W2PSushi: Great!
W2PSushi: See, even us old codgers can master IRC
Deluge7: Our chat tonight should be a help in keeping the room open.
W2PSushi: A small children's book, really cute illustrations, nice message
W2PSushi: Tell that Q we mean business
Deluge7: I'm not sure there are any Americans on IRC, at least not on QuakeNet.
W2PSushi: Oh?
Deluge7: I dipped into another room the other day. They were Croatians. I did okay as long as they were talking in English. Then they started talking in Croatian.
W2PSushi In their own words, Croatia is Hrvatska
W2PSushi: Dale, you can write down my phone number too, okay?
Deluge7: Sure, I'll add it to my list of important info.
W2PSushi: Do not hesitate to call me if things run late
Deluge7: I just discovered I can call up a calendar on my cell phone.
W2PSushi: Yes, I have one on mine. I like the Sudoku game
W2PSushi: I figured out a bit of the software, so can usually get a perfect score, these days
Deluge7: On my cell phone, the Sudoku vanishes as soon as you finish it! Frustrating.
W2PSushi: Mine keeps a running score, but does not save old games. I mean, it does save incomplete games, unless I power down the phone
W2PSushi: I want to get a Ken-Ken puzzle book
Deluge7: What does that do?
W2PSushi: Harder than Sudoku, at least its more complex versions. Same number grid, maybe up to 1 - 6, but with math functions. It's pretty new
W2PSushi: Well, thanks for holding down the fort in my absence
Deluge7: Consider it held.
W2PSushi: :)
W2PSushi: Good night, all
Deluge7: I'm going to have to go as well.
* W2PSushi has quit (Quit: Page closed)
* Deluge7 has quit

11/28/11 20:15:05 Closing "Chat Log 11-28-11"


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