Dear readers –
I'm excited as heck to get started, and so happy you've chosen to join me on this journey of discovery! Thank you for reading and for your patronage. You rock.
As I get started, here's my plan for the month of March - at least until I hear what you would most like to see from me (survey forthcoming):
- Media Mondays.
Want to soothe your way into the new week? I sure do. How about we talk about what's happening in the speculative-fiction media! Here's a chance to share thoughts on what's happening in the popular media, and for us to fan out together. I'll share trailers and commentary for interesting movies, links to great podcasts and articles, and so forth.
I'll also post materials from my popular "Science Fiction & the Popular Media" course so you can follow along at home – have fun autodidacting yourself through a full college course, or just read for fun!
- Astro Tuesdays.
One of my longest-running blog topics has been what I called "Astro-Pr0n of the Day," beautiful photos from the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, our little robots exploring the Solar System, and ground-based images – including my own on occasion!
I'll offer scientific and personal perspectives on the numinous experience of witnessing the grandeur of the universe to help build an understanding of the cosmos and our place in it. Or just sit back and look at the pretty. I've taught astronomy since high school, built dozens of telescopes, offered many public viewings, fun observatories and planetariums, and fallen ever more deeply in love with space the longer our relationship has lasted. One of my greatest pleasures is sharing this joy and wonder with others.
- Writing Workshop Wednesdays.
Many of my social-media followers are aspiring writers (or those looking to improve their writing), so each Wednesday I'll share writing tips, essays, how-tos, references, and links to tons of great material I use in my Speculative Fiction Writing Workshop. Alums enjoy a post-workshop publication rate of about 90%, so I must be doing something right!
Ultimately, I intend to collect much of this into the book on writing that people have been asking me to write for years, which my patrons here will see it first.
- Science, Tech, & Society Thursdays.
One of the most important courses I teach is "Science, Technology, and Society: Examining the Future Through a Science-Fiction Lens," where we use we use a vast set of nonfiction, multimedia, and science fiction as tools to explore and better understand the transformative and revolutionary changes we have experienced in our lifetimes, as well as explore possible utterly reshaped – even transhuman or posthuman – futures to follow.
If you want to write science fiction, it's vital to understand the past, present, and possible future effects of science and tech on society, and how change shapes us. Science and tech offer countless benefits, yet also present new challenges. The only thing certain about our future is that it will be different from today. Or just read along for fun.
- Fiction Fridays.
The day before the weekend seems like the best time to share my fiction! This week, I'll share my AnLab Award finalist novelette, "Ashes of Exploding Suns, Monuments to Dust" (Nov/Dec 2018 Analog Science Fiction & Fact), plus discussion about writing process, what I was trying to do with it, and more.
Starting next week, I'll begin posting portions of new work-in-progress, including novels, stories, or (stretching the "fiction" part) the memoir (see my "Overview" description for details about my various WIPs and to see my Goals). Let me know if you like stuff, your thoughts on how I can improve them, or requests. Once we reach the listed Goals, I'll begin sharing complete, original stories, novels, and more as Patreon exclusives – just for you!
Near the end of the month, I'll post a survey for patrons to help decide what you'd like for April - the weekly schedule as well as prompts for new fiction you'd like me to write. I have other kinds of projects underway, too, which I'm happy to share if you'd like to see them, like my ridiculous Mad Max electric bike, vintage car and motorcycle resto-rods (that'll be green machines as I build a still to fuel them!), home resto work, and more.
Oh, and I take tons of photos of my backyard menagerie of urban wildlife that I feed and water and provide with a safe place to hang out. I'll find ways to share those, too! Maybe replace one of the days' regular features? Maybe make its own feature? Survey to come.
Anyhow, this is what I want to do. I'm a little anxious about being able to provide everything I want to every day. I'll do my best and see how much I can manage to do while also working a demanding day-job, running the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and all the other stuff I do. So please let me know what you like best, want more of, and such so I can keep fine-tuning this place and give you the best experience without running myself ragged working on things you're less enthusiastic about.
After all, as I state in my Overview: My primary goal here is to build an intentional community of readers and creatives, a space to encourage and support one another's creative work. When I'm not writing (or being creative in other ways), I feel hollow, less alive. But when I'm working on projects I'm passionate about – and for an audience – I'm full of fire and life. Like so many creatives, to be happy and healthy, I need to write and create art, and feel I have a lot to share and offer. I see this Patreon as an accountability tool, too, because patrons are depending on what I've promised, just like anthology or magazine editors.
I'm doing this for audience expectations, project deadlines, feedback, and due dates, and to see if enough people will support my work for me to devote more time to creating art! Also to learn new things about contemporary creative modes, reader interaction, and writing careers that I can share with my students – and you.
Mostly I see Patreon as a reason to produce more creative output directly to an audience: Sounds like heaven.
I hope you enjoy!
(PS: That's me in the photo at a Lawrence coffee shop during a University of Kansas news service interview about my novelette in that issue of Analog. I'll always include photos relevant to each post.)