Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Con-Volution 2016: My Monstrous Schedule

Con-Volution 2016: The Age of Monsters is this weekend, I'm excited to be participating in a whopping five panels. This will be my first time attending Con-Volution, located in San Francisco, California, and I'm looking forward to hopefully meeting a lot of great new people.

If you'll be in attendance, please flag me down and say hi. Here's the schedule of the panels I'll be appearing on. I'm stoked to chat about the making of monsters, and particularly Saturday's panel, "Fear of the Other," which should touch upon some important issues in the genre (and the world) right now.

Worldbuilding: The Monstrous Element

Friday 21:00 - 22:30, Parlor 2021 (Hyatt Regency SFO)

Including monsters and inhuman creatures in your fiction Worldbuilding.

Steven Savage, Juliette Wade (M), ElizaBeth "Lace" Gilligan, Melissa Snark, Garrett Calcaterra, Anne Bishop*
*Convention Guest of Honor

How "Scary" is Science?

Saturday 10:00 - 11:30, Parlor 2036 (Hyatt Regency SFO)

There was a time where things like organ cloning and replacing body parts with plastics were things that fiction writers used to fuel thrills and chills; now we're seeing these medical marvels come true.  Are they still scary, or have we moved on?

Garrett Calcaterra, J. L. (Jim) Doty, Laurel Anne Hill, Kevin Roche (M), Heidi Stauffer

Building a Better Monster: The Nuts & Bolts of Monster Physiology

Saturday 17:00 - 18:30, Boardroom IV (Hyatt Regency SFO)

It may seem like the more tentacles and claws, the scarier the monster, but when it comes to writing a monster worth it's scales, sometimes less is more. Or is it? We'll discuss!

ElizaBeth "Lace" Gilligan, Tyler Hayes, Garrett Calcaterra (M), Pat MacEwen

Fear of The Other

Saturday 20:00 - 21:30, SandPebble B (Hyatt Regency SFO)

 Horror from previous generations draws much of its power from the fear of the Other. In some cases the other is an unknowable being, a cosmic terror, but just as often it's not, referencing instead more mundane distinctions between us and them. How problematic is the use of the Other to engender fear? Has fear of the Other led to some of the challenges genre faces today relative to inclusiveness and equality?

Lillian Csernica, Juliette Wade (M), Garrett Calcaterra, Gregg Castro t'rowt'raahl Salinan/rumsien Ohlone, Sumiko Saulson

Who Threw Away the Monster Compendium?

Sunday 14:00 - 15:30, SandPebble D (Hyatt Regency SFO)

When was the last time a zeitgeist novel had a bugbear or a cockatrice? How long is it since someone fought giant, flesh-eating beasts instead of pikemen? Where did all the monsters go? With quest plots out of fashion, deus ex machina ditched, treasure-hunting too economically dull, and stories about ethics instead of enemies, is the monster still relevant in today’s fiction?

Mark Gelineau, Garrett Calcaterra (M), M. Todd Gallowglas

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Celebrating Seven Years: Best of The Machine Stops

Saying goodbye to the old Machine Stops logo
August 8, 2016 was the seven-year anniversary for this blog, and I finally got around to giving the site a facelift. Hopefully, the new layout will make reading easier on they eyes. I'm also going through and updating broken links, including making sure all the book titles and images now have active links.

The Machine Stops started out with me intermittently rambling on about what I was working on in the infancy of my writing career, but as I became more involved in the SF/F community as a professional (sometime around 2011), the blog become infinitely more interesting, featuring interviews with other authors and the occasional SF/F lists.

Looking forward, I'll still be blogging about my own writing updates (about once a month), but you can expect to see a lot more interviews with other authors and fun features like top-10 lists and whatever other strange ideas pop into my head.

To celebrate the first seven years and kickoff a new chapter for The Machine Stops, here are the

Top 10 Most Popular SF/F Posts

10. Interview with Misty Massey, author of Mad Kestrel and weird wild west anthology editor

9. The History of Modern Fantasy (sort of)

8. A Brief History of Eä, the World of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit

7. Interview with steampunk progenitor James P. Blaylock

6.  20 Albums for Sci-Fi and Fantasy Geeks

5.  An Annotated Bibliography for Science Fiction and Climate Change

4. Interview with Author David B. Coe (a.k.a. D.B. Jackson)

3. Welcome to the World of Transgressive Fiction

2. Interview with author and podcaster Patrick Hester

1. 20 Obscure SF/F/H Books Recommended by the Pros

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dreamwielder Ebook Sale and Writing Updates

Good News. Diversion Books has put the ebook version of Dreamwielder on sale for only 99 cents through September 13, so if you've been holding out for a good deal, now's the time to go for it. That price should be valid at all ebook retailers. For your convenience here are some quick links:


Even if you've already read Dreamwielder, please help spread the word. Sales like these are a great way to lure new readers to the works of emerging authors like myself. Low risk, high reward, I like to say. On top of that, 99 cent sales are a great way to climb the rankings on ebook retailer websites, which in turn attracts even more readers in a snowball effect. So yes, please share, share, and share some more. I'll be happy to return the favor, even if it means coming to your house to do a live reading or whipping up something for you in the kitchen!

It's been a while since my last post, so here are a few more miscellaneous updates:

  • Souldrifter got a great write-up in the Mountain Democrat, here, with some original quotes from me and a little biographical info about where I grew up and went to high school.
  • Dreamrush got a great, story-by-story review from According2Robyn. (By the way: Keep an eye on Robyn Bennis. She's an author with her debut novel coming out from Tor books next year.)
  • I've started work on a new stand-alone novel tentatively titled The Beasts of Qaza. The book will be a mashup of fantasy, steampunk, and lost world adventures.
  • Prior to starting in on the new novel, I wrote a tie-in short story called "Twelve Generations of Woolies for a Mine." I'll have publication information for that in the coming months.
  • I'm also in the process of planning book 3 in The Dreamwielder Chronicles. I could say that means I'm writing two novels at once, but unless I discover a way to clone myself, realistically that means I'll need to finish the first draft of The Beasts of Qaza before starting in on Dreamwielder 3
  • Lastly, a bit of very sad news. I lost one of my furry muses last week. Jager dog was my stalwart companion for the last twelve years. He was there as I finished up my MFA and my very first novel. He was there when I wrote my first short story to ever get published. He was there when I wrote Dreamwielder and Souldrifter, and while he enjoyed a good nap in my office while I wrote, he was equally eager to drag me out of the house to go on hikes and other great adventures. He will be sorely missed, and never forgotten. 
RIP Jager dog...

-Garrett Calcaterra

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Introducing DREAMRUSH

I'm very excited to announce the release of DREAMRUSH, my first collection of short fiction. The collection includes several stories that were previous only available in ebook format, including the Dreamwielder prequel "Wulfram," as well the never-before-published story "Deus ex Aurum," which is set during an alternate California gold rush.

The book is available in trade paperback and ebook formats at Amazon and all major online book retailers.

Here's the full book jacket blurb:

"Calcaterra's stories, long and short, are well-crafted, innately readable, and thoroughly kick-ass." –Ahimsa Kerp, author of Cthulhu Kaiju

From the author of The Dreamwielder Chronicles comes 5 tales of fantasy, future past, and gaslamp frontierism, including...

"The Knight's Dog" – The gritty fantasy that's been read over 80k times and is oft compared to The Game of Thrones.

"Page Fault" – A thrilling mashup of cyberpunk, fantasy, noir, and post-apocalyptic fiction.

"Deus ex Aurum" and "Gold Comes Out" – Groundbreaking tales of gaslamp frontierism, set during the California gold rush.

"Wulfram" – The prequel to Dreamwielder, chronicling the story of the mysterious sorcerer Wulfram.

-Garrett Calcaterra

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Spring Recap and Summer Events

It's been an eventful spring and early summer of 2016. I kicked things off with a book signing at the Book Carnival in Orange back in April, along with steampunk legend James P. Blaylock. The event was well attended and my trip back down to southern California afforded me the opportunity to meet up with family and the crew from my writing group, The Biscuits.

Next, I conducted a sci-fi and fantasy writing workshop for kids here in my new hometown of San Leandro, at the Manor Library. The young attendees were super-attentive and excited to write their own stories. Their enthusiasm reminded me why I enjoyed teaching in the classroom for so long.

Most recently, I returned to the county where I attended high school and did a book signing at Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills. I had a lot of family and friends attend, and met some new fans, which was great. Authors James L'Etoile and M. Todd Gallowglas also stopped by, and it was wonderful getting to catch up with the both of them. A big thanks to Jim also for sharing some photos, two of which I've shared here.

Next up for me is a trip to Portland, Oregon for Westercon. I won't be participating in any panels or readings at this convention, so it'll be nice to just relax and watch other writers talk this time around.

In other news, my collection of short work, Dreamrush, officially releases next week (July 5, 2016). I'll be sure to do a new post on launch day. In the interim of all this, I've slowly continued on with the prep work for my new fantasy novel involving prehistoric creatures, and I'm also tinkering with a rough outline for the third (and final) Dreamwielder book. Once I get back from Westercon, it'll be full-on writing time.

-Garrett Calcaterra

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Dreamwielder ebook: 99 cents all week!

In honor of the Nebula Awards, which happen this week, my publisher, Diversion Books, is running a promotional deal on the ebook edition of Dreamwielder. All week (May 10–17, 2016), you can download the book for 99 cents.

Download a copy if you haven't already, and if you have, well heck, please help spread the word.

I'm also getting in on the Nebula action. No, not by getting nominated for an award (I wish!), but with my article on the Nebulas at The Book Stops Here, "7 Sci-Fi and Fantasy Authors You Won’t Believe Have Never Won a Nebula Award for Best Novel."

To download a copy of Dreamwielder, cheap, click here.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring Doings

Dreary, rainy weather inspires me to read and write, but I somehow always manage to be more productive in the Spring than in the winter. Seems a little cliche, what with all the spring "rebirth" symbolism and what have you, but there you have it. I'm a busy bee when it comes to writing in the spring.

Here's a quick recap of what's going on.

  • FOGcon was great. I read from Souldrifter, participated on two panels, and got to meet all sort of wonderful people. FantasyLiterature.com wrote up a nice recap, if you're interested, and it even includes a picture of me. 
  • I wrote a guest post over at The Book Stops Here called "The Fantasy and Sci-Fi Novels that Inspired The Dreamwielder Chronicles."
  • I have a new novella that will be coming out soon in an anthology from Cold Fusion Media called Redneck Eldritch. My story is called "Lake Town" and is loosely based on the region where I grew up, with a good bit of Lovecraftion horror added to it, of course. You can catch updates on the anthology and sneak peeks from some of the stories in the anthology at the Cold Fusion blog.
  • I'll be participating in a panel discussion on Dashiell Hammett and The Maltese Falcon at the San Leandro Library this coming Friday evening. If you're in the area, stop by to check it out and say hi. Should be a lively discussion. More details here.
  • I've decided to shelve my novel-in-progress, Remember the Future. It's simply not speaking to me like it was a couple of years ago, and I have new project in the early stages of planning that I'm much more excited about...
  • No details yet on the new novel-in-progress, but I can promise it's a high-concept spec-fiction novel that will improve upon the best parts of all my writing thus far. If you have a burning curiosity and just have to know what the book (might) be about, keep an eye on my profile over at Goodreads. My updates and "Currently Reading" list should lend some insights into what I'm researching in this early planning stage. 
That's all for now. I have a full-plate of writing and research to do, and the birds and squirrels making shenanigans out back have me inspired.

-Garrett Calcaterra