Thursday, December 20, 2012

Dreamwielder: From Inception to Publication

I am very happy to announce that I’ve signed a publishing contract with Diversion Books to publish my epic fantasy novel, Dreamwielder. Diversion publishes e-books only, and at first I was a little down on the idea of going with them, still being hung-up on the notion that I wanted to go with a traditional print publisher. However, after researching Diversion and taking a look at the publishers who were still potentially interested in the book, I quickly had a change of heart. Diversion is the real deal. I feel that they’re going to be able to reach a huge audience with my novel, and that’s what it’s all about. I don’t have a specific release date yet, but we’re tentatively due to launch the book in the Spring of 2013. Needless to say, I’m thrilled.

Now that the ink is dry on the contract and copyediting is underway, I thought I’d take a look back and see how long the process took, from the first inception of Makarria, the main protagonist of the novel, to the moment of signing the contract. Yikes! Once again, I’m reminded that writing isn’t a business for impatient people. Here’s how it played out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Roads to Baldairn Motte Art Contest

Calling all Fantasy Artists! The Roads to Baldairn Motte Art Contest 

$50 Prize for winner! All eligible entrants will be included in The Roads to Baldairn Motte promotional trailer to be released in early 2013.

Contest Entry Rules: 
Step 1: send an e-mail to with “B Motte Art Contest” in the subject line. You will be sent a free promotional copy of the acclaimed mosaic fantasy novel, The Roads to Baldairn Motte, in e-book format.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

3 Weeks of Awesomeness: George R.R. Martin, The Big Orange Book Festival, and Conjecture Con

Just a quick post on 3 events I'm stoked to attend in the next 3 weeks. First up is the first ever Big Orange Book Festival, hosted by Chapman University. It's happening this Friday and Saturday (Sept 21-22). I'll be giving 2 readings as part of the 10 at the Top series (one on Friday at 4PM outside the Fish Interfaith Center, and another on Saturday at noon outside the Leatherby Library), and I will also be participating in the Chapman MFA alum panel where fellow MFA grads and I will discuss what it's like to be a working writer these days, whether having a degree in writing is worth a hill of beans, etc. The panel is on Friday at 5:30PM, and will be followed by a book signing. Word is that a vendor will be there with books to purchase for anyone interested.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Summer of Bleh

I can hardly believe it, but my summer is nearly over and it's back to teaching next week. I wish I could say I got a lot of writing done, but not so much. Hell, I didn't even get any reading done (I'm only half way through George R.R. Martin's Fevre Dream, which I started back in June!). The summer was marred with the mundane and exhausting task of scraping together enough work to make ends meet. A lucrative ghost writing job fell through in June, leaving me scrambling, and eventually I ended up teaching local summer camps for kids and picking up a lot of random labor jobs from Craigslist. The summer camps were oftentimes fun, but I definitely learned I don't have the patience to work with little kids every day. I'll stick with high school and college age students, thank you very much. The summer was hardly a waste, though. I did a lot of work with my band, Wheel House, both gigging and getting into the studio to record our first EP, plus, the summer camps had some really cool aspects.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Steampunk, Pirates, and George R.R. Martin, Amongst Other Things...

Yikes, it’s been over two months since my last post, and I do apologize. It’s been a busy Spring , as you might imagine, so here’s a quick recap—news of what’s been going on, and what’s to come.

Steampunk – I’m finally done teaching for the academic year. It was a busy term with lots of lesson planning and grading, but for all my squawking and complaining I did have a great time with several of my classes, particularly the steampunk class I taught. It  gave me a proper excuse to read a lot of steampunk cannon, including Morlock Night, K.W. Jeter’s seminal steampunk novel, which is now back in print thanks to Angry Robot Books. It’s a fun, romping adventure with time travel, Merlin and King Arthur, and all kinds of steampunk milieu. In addition to Jeter’s novel, I also got a chance to delve into the past issues of Steampunk Magazine. It’s a very cool mag, especially considering the electronic version is free, though I found myself mostly drawn toward their non-fiction articles. Most of the fiction was a little too dense for my liking, and I can’t help but feel that a lot of the people caught up in the Steampunk sub-culture the magazine caters to probably take themselves too seriously (I mean, come on, you can’t take yourself that seriously when a big part of your subculture is playing dress-up), but there’s a lot to like about their philosophy in that it values a self-reliant, do it yourself ethos.

Monday, March 26, 2012

20 Albums for Sci-Fi and Fantasy Geeks

When I applied for a position as the sci-fi columnist with LitReactor last month, I had to pitch a whole slew of ideas for articles and top-ten lists. Sadly, I did not get the job, but some of the ideas I came up with were too good to pass up, hence the recent top-ten-list kick I've been on here on my blog. Not that this is really a top-ten list. It's more a list of notable albums for science-fiction and fantasy geeks, and hell, there's not even 20 albums like I said in the title above. It turned out that coming up with the idea for the list was a lot easier than actually compiling the list itself, so I recruited the help of a bunch of other speculative fiction authors and musicians. Here's what we came up with:

Piper at the Gates of Dawn – Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd got pegged as a sci-fi trip-out band early in their career, largely because of their psychedelic live shows and their first album, Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Original singer and songwriter Syd Barrett had a penchant for fantasy and sci-fi lyrics, and Piper features a healthy mix of both. “Astronomy Domine” and “Interstellar Overdrive” are acid-driven space voyages while “Lucifer Sam,” “The Gnome,” and “Scarecrow” are pure fairy-tale fantasy. Pink Floyd continued to explore some vaguely sci-fi and dystopian themes on subsequent albums without Barrett—notably on Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall—but none of their albums were so thoroughly speculative-fiction themed start to finish as Piper.
-Garrett Calcaterra

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Best Sci-Fi Novels of All Time - My Failed Top Ten List

I recently applied for an opening with Lit Reacter as their Sci-Fi columnist. If you haven't heard of the site yet, I definitely encourage you to check it out. It's a newish venture from the creators of Chuck Palahniuk's very popular website, and it offers a great combination of articles, writing classes, and forums for hobnobbing with readers and writers alike. In any case, I made it into the final list of applicants and was asked to come up with a list of my favorite Sci-Fi books with brief annotations as to why I picked them. Sadly, I wasn't chosen for the position, but since I put so much deliberation into creating the list, I thought I'd share it here. I've presented it in chronological order as opposed to ranking the books. Am I crazy? Did I leave out obviously better books? Probabably yes and yes, but such is the way of top ten lists. Let me know what I missed in your comments below.

"The Machine Stops" by E.M. Forster - written in 1909, this novella is amazingly prescient--predicting a slew of technologies from video conferencing to the Internet--and it is arguably the granddaddy of dystopian fiction. (Plus, it's the name sake of my blog!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Curbing the Apocalypse

Back in September of last year I wrote a post on climate change and complained about there being a lack of good speculative fiction dealing with the issue. My friend and frequent collaborator, Ahimsa Kerp, politely suggested I read The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (it only won the Hugo and Nebula awards—how could I possibly have known about it?). The book is set in the near future when the global oil supply is for all intents and purposes gone, and rising temperatures have resulted in higher sea levels and a global food crisis. Huge agricultural corporations hold the world hostage with their genetically altered seed supplies, and combat independent nations with designer pests and blights.

When you consider the mounting evidence of climate change and hear more and more about real-life corporations like Monsanto snuffing out local farmers to gain a monopoly on the world's seed supply, Bacigalupi's vision seems awfully prescient. Reading this great novel, along with having recently read Bill McKibben's Eaarth and State of the World by the non-profit World Watch Institute, I can't help but feel a greater urgency to make changes in how we live—to try and save the world from ecological disaster, or if nothing else, be more prepared when the apocalypse does arrive. So, without further ado, I present to you:

How to be Self-reliant and Environmentally Responsible (without being a pussy or dirty hippy, not that there there's nothing wrong with that...)