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Patricia Bray
Date: 2015-09-14 09:11
Subject: Submissions: ALIEN ARTIFACTS and WERE- anthologies
Security: Public
Tags:anthologies, weregoats, znb

ZNB LLC is currently accepting submissions for these two anthologies, guidelines can be found here.

Here are the authors who have agreed to be part of these anthologies: Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Phyllis Ames, Jacey Bedford, Patricia Bray, David B. Coe, David Farland/Dave Wolverton, C.S. Friedman, Walter H. Hunt, Faith Hunter, Katharine Kerr, Gini Koch, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, Gail Z. Martin, Larry N. Martin, Seanan McGuire, Juliet E. McKenna, and Jean Marie Ward. Stories selected from the open call will be used to fill the remaining slots.

Submissions must be received by October 31st 2015.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2015-08-11 15:39
Subject: Science fiction? Fantasy? Why not both
Security: Public
Tags:anthologies, znb

Zombies Need Brains publishing has just launched their new Kickstarter looking to create not one but two original anthologies featuring an outstanding lineup of authors.

This project will fund TWO science fiction and fantasy anthologies, titled ALIEN ARTIFACTS and WERE-, each containing approximately 14 all-original (no reprint) short stories from established SF&F authors in the field—including Phyllis Ames, Jacey Bedford, Patricia Bray, David B. Coe, Walter H. Hunt, Faith Hunter, Gini Koch, Gail Z. Martin, Seanan McGuire, Juliet E. McKenna, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Sharon Lee & Steve Miller, and Jean Marie Ward. The books will be edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray, both editors of the DAW Books anthologies “After Hours: Tales from the Ur-bar” and “The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity," and the Zombies Need Brains LLC anthologies "Clockwork Universe: Steampunk vs. Aliens" and “Temporally Out of Order.”

Follow the link here to learn more and see all the great rewards that have been lined up, including a Tuckerization in my WereGoat story.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2015-05-30 06:41
Subject: FBI admits errors in DNA match calculations
Security: Public

In the latest news from the FBI crime labs, an admission that they've been overstating the likelihood of DNA matches, a problem that dates back to at least 1999.

This is part of a series of reviews that have revealed systemic problems with forensic evidence provided by the FBI. Back in 2012 they revealed similar issues with hair & fiber evidence, these dating back to the 1980s. Not to mention the earlier well-publicized problems with gunfire residue evidence and fingerprint analysis.

Back in 2009 the National Academy of Sciences went before Congress with a scathing indictment of the state of forensic science at all levels of law enforcement in the US, pointing out that the lack of standards and scientific rigor meant that junk science was routinely being presented, unchallenged, at criminal trials. In an optimistic view, one could say the latest report from the FBI shows that they've committed themselves to reform, and are being open about the past.

Or you could say that they are just as likely to learn from this as they learned from the FBI lab scandals in the 1990s...which is to say, not at all. Bad FBI science.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2015-02-17 10:07
Subject: Release Day
Security: Public
Tags:e-books, regencies

Thrilled to announce that Diversion Books has just released e-book editions of five of my Regency romances. Check out the links below for more information.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2015-02-05 07:43
Subject: The absolutely true story of how I broke my first agent
Security: Public

Once upon the time there was an attorney who wanted a job where she could set her own hours and work from home. The agent began attending RWA conferences and making connections. Soon she'd signed on a promising crop of unpublished romance authors, including yours truly. With great enthusiasm she began sending their submissions out.

After several rejections, a publisher made an offer on my book. They sent along their boilerplate contract, which we reviewed and asked for a few minor changes. And then the negotiations started. While the changes we'd asked for were straightforward, the byzantine ways of publishing meant that even the simplest of changes required time and jumping through hoops. I remember a phone call where the agent vented her frustrations over the difficulties involved, and how the entire process bore little resemblance to her previous experience negotiating business contracts.

At last the agent presented the final contract for my signature, then informed me that she quit. After spending over a year trying to launch her career, the big bucks had yet to roll in, and she'd realized she was making far less than minimum wage. She set her clients free and returned to the legal world.

In fact she disappeared so quickly and thoroughly that this caused a series of problems, since my publisher kept sending snail mail to her old business address which was no longer valid, and of course the business phone had been shut off. Eventually I tracked her down, not an easy thing to do in the 90s, and managed to get her signature on a document authorizing all correspondence for this title to be sent directly to me.

In the end everything worked out for the best. Since I was orphaned, I was free to look for a new agent, and this time I got my top pick, Jennifer Jackson, an experienced pro with the power of an established literary agency to back her up. The contract negotiations that had mystified my first agent were well known (if arcane) rituals to Jennifer. And when the time came, she had the knowledge and contacts to help me make the leap from romance to SF&F.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2015-01-12 12:56
Subject: Coming to an e-reader near you
Security: Public
Tags:diversionbooks, e-books, regencies

I'm thrilled to announce that in February Diversion Books will be releasing e-book editions of five of my Regencies: AN UNLIKELY ALLIANCE, LORD FREDDIE'S FIRST LOVE, THE IRISH EARL, A MOST SUITABLE DUCHESS and THE WRONG MR. WRIGHT.

Over the years I've had to disappoint fans who asked where they could find e-book editions of my backlist. I'm delighted that they'll finally be available, and that new readers will be able to discover and enjoy these stories.

I'll post here and on my website patriciabray.com when the covers are available, and when the titles go live.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-11-26 09:06
Subject: Small acts of kindness
Security: Public

Thanksgiving is a time to focus on what's most important to me--friends, family, and community.

So tonight I'm hosting a friend, so she doesn't have to make a long commute in the worst of the storm. Tomorrow I'll be cooking the turkey for David's House, help making the day a bit brighter for families whose children are at the hospital. Then I'll come home, and make a non-turkey dinner for friends. Friday I'll be baking desserts, then heading over to their house for our customary Tday+1 turkey feast.

At no point will I be participating in the Black Friday shopping rituals of megastores, malls, and competitive bargain hunting. There's nothing these stores could sell me that's as important as spending time with friends.

There are so many reasons to be angry, depressed, outraged or sad. And it's easy to feel overwhelmed. I don't have answers for everyone, but for me, the solution is to do what I can in this corner of the world, and to take the time to appreciate the people who make my life better.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-11-24 09:48
Subject: Tis the season
Security: Public

Feeling overwhelmed, as I often do as the Christmas season approaches. Lots of stuff going on, and like many women I am conditioned to feel bad whenever I have to say No. Even when saying No is key to maintaining mental health.

So here it is. No. With the following explanation: "You have a great crowdfunding project/I love that you're raising money for a charity/I share your outrage about X and want to help. But between bailing out a family member in a financial crisis and supporting charities in my community, I am completely tapped out."

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-11-20 18:04
Subject: Honing your craft, online classes from the Odyssey Writing Workshops
Security: Public

If you've ever thought about taking an online writing class, you can't do better than starting with one of these: Winter classes from the Odyssey Writing Workshop.

Three classes are available starting in January:

Showing versus Telling in Fantastic Fiction
Course Meets: January 1 - January 29, 2015
Instructor: Jeanne Cavelos
Application Deadline: December 6, 2014

One Brick at a Time: Crafting Compelling Scenes
Course Meets: January 5 - February 2, 2015
Instructor: Barbara Ashford
Application Deadline: December 9, 2014

Effective Endings in Speculative Fiction
Course Meets: January 22 - February 19, 2015
Instructor: C. C. Finlay
Application Deadline: December 26, 2014

Click on the link above to learn more.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-09-13 17:25
Subject: Book review: THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN by Sylvia Izzo Hunter
Security: Public

For those of my friends who enjoy clever Regencies, and/or fantasy novels with sophisticated worldbuilding and well-thought out magic systems, this is a book not to be missed.

Regency + magic = win. Sylvia Izzo Hunter's first novel THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN combines two of my favorite things-- the intelligence and witty dialogue of a classic Regency romance woven into a fantasy world where Oxford's colleges are the center of magical studies. I loved all the details that made up this alternate Regency Britain, from the cleverly designed magic system, to the seamless integration of the regional languages and local customs. Sophie and Gray's romance is charming, sharing equal time with their quest to foil the sinister conspiracy they've uncovered. The ending is suitably satisfying, while leaving room for more novels in this universe. Both fantasy readers and romance readers will enjoy this book, highly recommended!

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-09-02 07:42
Subject: Signal Boost: THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN by Sylvia Izzo Hunter
Security: Public

Today is the official publication date for THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN, a debut novel from Sylvia Izzo Hunter.

Published authors reading my blog will remember how we felt the day our first novel hit the stores. After months (or years) of telling our family, friends, coworkers, strangers on the street that "I'm an author, Yes, I've sold a book, No, it wasn't out yet, but would be soon," the day had finally come when the book could be found in stores, and ordered online. Looking back I'm surprised that I didn't float away, like an untethered helium balloon.

I'm thrilled that this day has finally come for Sylvia, and hoping it's the first of many successful book launches for her. And I can't wait to read my copy of THE MIDNIGHT QUEEN--a fantasy novel set in an alternate version of Regency England, it's two of my favorite things together, like she wrote it just for me.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-08-24 08:03
Subject: Why can't every day be like this?
Security: Public

This month was the (nearly) annual bike vacation, and our trip took us to Mount Desert Island, Maine, and Acadia National Park. We had a fabulous time, biking, hiking and even a morning spent kayaking. There's something about a bike trip that disconnects you from your daily life--your focus narrows into the day's mileage and enjoying the sights, rather than the latest horrors in the news, or controversies on social media. I did occasionally log on my tablet, but in our downtime I was much more likely to pick up a book.

I need to figure out how to do this now that I'm back in my daily life. I enjoy being able to connect with friends on social media, and follow interesting people, but at the same time it can be a tremendous time suck and source of negative energy. There has to be a better balance.

For those following along, here's the tally of bike tours so far. And yes, we're already talking about which tour we want to take next year.

2014 Coast of Maine (Acadia), Discovery Bike Tours
2013 *no trip*
2012 Big Sur--Monterey to Santa Barbara, California, Backroads
2011 Santa Fe/Taos, New Mexico, Bicycle Adventures
2010 Outer Banks North Carolina, Carolina Tailwinds
2009 Black Hills South Dakota, Timberline
2008 Northern Shenandoah VA, Carolina Tailwinds
2007 Crater Lake Oregon, Bicycle Adventures
2006 Canadian Rockies Alpiner, Timberline
2005 Historic Quebec, Classic Adventures
2004 Bryce/Zion Alpiner, Timberline
2003 Finger Lakes, Classic Adventures
2002 Blue Ridge NC, Carolina Tailwinds
2001 Nova Scotia, VBT
2000 Mid-coast Maine (Camden, Castine), VBT
1999 Nantucket weekend, Easy Riders
1998 Middlebury VT weekend, VBT

Trips before Stacey became my personal trainer :-)
1996 Kerry Ireland (9 day), Easy Riders
1995 Maryland Eastern Shore, VBT

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-07-11 09:57
Subject: Miles per crisp
Security: Public
Tags:a good cause

Tomorrow is the annual Prouty Ride to raise money for cancer research, treatment and patient services. I've been riding in the Prouty since 2008, graduating from the 50 mile course to the 77 mile course last year, and doing the 77 again this year. It's a great cause, and if you feel so inclined you can sponsor me here.

Over the years I've done charity bike ride events both large and small, and the Prouty is both the largest and the best organized. But there's a special challenge when you have food allergies--because I'm allergic to peanuts and most nuts, much of the food provided at the well-stocked SAG stops is off limits. I can't eat most brands of granola bars, and likewise the pb&j sandwiches are a no-go. So while I can snag water, Gatorade, a banana or the occasional chocolate bar, for the most part I need to bring my own food. Not the easiest thing to do on a road bike, but for short rides I bring my own Patricia-safe snack bars, and for long rides I've mastered the science of packing sandwiches and keeping them cold with mini ice cubes.

And Pringles. Ah Pringles, my secret addiction, something far too dangerous to have in the house because an open can of Pringles is an empty can of Pringles. But for Prouty day I'll bring a small can of them, because they pack really well, and around mile 50 I'm going to need a treat.

Then of course at the finish line they'll have post-ride bbq. And ice cream, because I can always bike for ice cream.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-06-04 10:41
Subject: It's all about the Lizards
Security: Public
Tags:lizards, the first betrayal

As an author, it's always difficult to tell which pieces of promotional swag are helpful, and which ones are a waste of money. The strongest reaction I ever received was for the lizard keychains/bottle openers I gave out for THE FIRST BETRAYAL. The lizards were both fun & useful, and were remembered by Elizabeth Bear when it came time for authors to list their favorite book swag in the essay Love It or Leave It.

One lizard to rule them all....

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-02-18 10:27
Subject: Being a geek
Security: Public

Means that you believe there's no age limit for getting an Avengers sticker as a reward for a good dental checkup.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-02-15 09:49
Subject: Three month countdown
Security: Public
Tags:craft, writing

I tweeted the other day that I feel like a badly written timeslice algorithm--there's never enough cycles to go around. Whatever I choose to do, there are multiple other things that aren't getting done, and I never seem to catch up.

Of late my writing has been the thing shortchanged. I don't have a deadline I'm working to, and thus it's easy to focus on the other parts of my life that do come with pressing deadlines.

A while back I was invited to attend a writers retreat, and at first I was enthusiastic. Then the realities of trying to schedule this around the day job started creeping in. But in the end, I realized this was something I needed to do, for myself and for my sanity. With a little schedule juggling, I crossed my fingers and said yes. Then I went ahead and booked the plane tickets, so I'm committed.

So now I have a deadline. Three months from now I'll be hanging out with other writers, discussing our works. So I damn well better have something that I'm enthusiastic about working on and sharing.

And cross my fingers that the day job doesn't get any more insane.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-01-14 07:50
Subject: Clockwork Universe - the editor's life
Security: Public
Tags:anthologies, clockwork universe

Putting together an anthology is like building one of those fiendishly complicated jigsaw puzzles where they throw in extra pieces that don't quite fit. For CLOCKWORK UNIVERSE: STEAMPUNK vs ALIENS, we received far more stories than we could possibly use, and thus this past weekend Joshua drove up from Binghamton so we could work on making our (almost) final selections.

We were in agreement on which stories were our favorites, and which ones had missed the mark. The arguments were all over the stories that fell into the middle, and we agonized over the selections.

After narrowing down the list of candidates, we started thinking about the structure of the anthology. We cut out strips of paper with the titles of each story, then arranged and rearranged them until we were satisfied. We need to start and end on our strongest stories, which are generally from our anchors. In the middle we try to separate stories by theme, tone, setting, etc. A humorous story will be followed by one with a darker tone, a story set in Europe may be followed by one set in North America, a longer piece will be offset by two shorter stories. As we starting building the table of contents, stories that had been on our list of potentials started to fall off, because they didn't fit with our other selections.

Here's a picture from when we were pondering. .

So are we ready to tell the submitting authors if they've made it in? Not quite yet. We're still waiting on one of the anchor stories. Once we have it, we'll make one more pass through the proposed lineup to make sure that everything works together, and then we'll start sending out the notifications. Then it's revisions, formatting, and finally the best part--releasing the book into the wild.

I can't wait.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2014-01-07 14:03
Subject: Public service announcement for authors
Security: Public
Tags:anthologies, clockwork universe, craft, writing

You'd think this would be obvious, but recent evidence suggests not.

First, never assume that your cover letter is going to stay attached to your manuscript. This is especially true for electronic submissions, where your attached file may be downloaded and stored separately from the email. Always include your contact info on page 1 of the submission.

Second, always include page headers with the page number and either your name or the story title, preferably both. I received multiple submissions without page headers of any kind, and it was a freaking pain in the butt when the printer spit pages on the floor and two of those stories got mixed up. Not to mention that later I'll wind up adding page numbers to make it easier to discuss the story with my co-editor, e.g. "The scene that starts on page 4 is..." What makes it even more inexplicable is that these stories were submitted in Microsoft Word where adding page headers is a basic function.

Even stranger was the story where the author had forgotten to put their name anywhere in the manuscript. Just a bare title, no name, no contact info, presumably they assumed that I'd be happy to hunt back thru the emails to figure out who had sent it in.

Finally spell check is your friend. Proofreading is your friend. Take that extra hour for one last pass before you send your story in. And if you know you're terrible at catching your own mistakes, have someone else take a look at your work.

Remember, first impressions count. A poorly formatted story sends the signal that you can't be bothered with the details, and will be difficult to work with. Don't give the editor a reason to be cranky before she reads a single line of your story. Because if it comes down to a choice between two stories that are equally good, the editor is going to pick the one that didn't make her sigh with annoyance. Trust me on this one.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2013-12-28 14:08
Subject: A belated Xmas gift to myself
Security: Public

Back in 2012 when my beloved ASUS netbook died right before I was leaving on vacation, I replaced it with an ASUS Transformer, a tablet with optional keyboard attachment. The tablet works fine for websurfing and typing short bits of text. But it's always been a pain to use when you have the keyboard attached. The cursor has a habit of jumping unexpectedly as you type, and it's incredibly easy to hit the send key by accident. All my friends know that any email from me that unexpectedly ends in the middle of a sentence will be followed by another with the missing text and a string of curses directed at the ASUS. Googling revealed that I'm not the only one who has these issues--it's apparently a design problem.

And the Android operating system can be a pain--many websites assume that I'm on a mobile phone and don't give me the option to click thru to a full featured version of their website.

I've put up with this for about a year and a half, but I've finally lost my patience. So I'm looking at possible replacements, and the Microsoft Surface is at the top of the list. I don't want to join the church of Apple so an iPad is out, and I've heard good things about the Surface from friends. Though I can't help feeling guilty at the idea of replacing a tablet that is still perfectly functional--normally I only replace electronics after they have catastrophically failed.

Think tomorrow I'll head over to the store and take a look at what's available in the post-Xmas sales.

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Patricia Bray
Date: 2013-12-11 07:00
Subject: My next career move will have sharks
Security: Public

Turns out the Yellowstone supervolcano is 2.5 times larger than previously thought (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25312674). mizkit and I agree this calls for a new Syfy movie, in the tradition of Supervolcano, Super Eruption, etc. All we need is to file the serial numbers off an old script, throw in a handful of sharks a la Sharknado, and we're good to go. We could probably write the whole thing in an afternoon.

This post started as a joke, but now I'm halfway convinced that we could do this, and get Syfy to buy the movie rights.

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