What DongWon Song, Anne Lesley Groell, and Nick Mamatas Have in Common. Also DragonCon.

Tim Ward Interviews moi

Did you know that I stole an idea from George RR Martin’s editor, Anne Lesley Groell? Did you know that DongWon Song is a steely eyed missile man with balls of cast iron? Did you know that Alexander Field thought he was getting a WINNER when he signed me? Did you know that Nick Mamatas is super nice when you pay him? Learn the answers to these and other questions (like what really happened at Roswell) in Tim Ward‘s interview of me over at SF Signal. Wait. THat’s HUGO NOMINATED SF SIGNAL!!! Oh Ye-uh-yeah!!! (and don’t worry – once we get past the Chimera launch week I’ll shut the hell up).  Here’s the freakin’ link, you animals.

Flyleaf Books Makes a Mistake…

They booked me for a reading. Come one, come all! Here’s the link, you filthy animals.

DragonCon Beware; I AM Coming…

I just got my panel schedule and yes. It Rocks. I’m trying to get a bunch of free giveaways together with the help of my Orbit Overlords so stay tuned, and even if Orbit can’t help I’ll be bringing a bunch of my own free stuff. Everyone likes free stuff, right? RIGHT???? Anyway, look for me on these panels and yes, I do like having undergarments thrown at me whilst I speak. I’m also trying to schedule some readings, so stay tuned for details as they emerge…

Rejectomancy: Hear tales of the best rejection letters sent or recieved; Fri 01:00 pm at the Regency V – Hyatt

Science Fiction–The Real Thing How to break into the future world of Near future, Hard, Space Opera (pick your poison) Sat 01:00 pm at Embassy D-F – Hyatt

Good War/Bad War How have recent conflicts shaped or influenced today’s sf? Sat 02:30 pm at the Greenbriar – Hyatt

Transhumanist Open Discussion Better living through technology! The directed evolution and transformation of the human race via emerging technologies – pros and cons. Mon 02:30 pm at 202 – Hilton

And now a video of a very young Neil Young, because…well…because he’s Neil Young. So here’s the freakin’ link, you filthy animals.

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Chimera: 10 Days and You Better Pre-Order

My final installment in the Subterrene Trilogy is being released on 31 July 2012, and stores are not allowed to stock their shelves or sell it before then. This is called “strict on sale.” I’ve learned a lot about this term over the last week and there are a number of different reasons for publishers to this, but it is an increased cost since booksellers have to sign legally binding affadavits that they won’t sell prior to the official release date. I think. I’m probably getting the details wrong, but the point is that publishers do this for a number of different reasons (e.g., a super popular book by Janet Evanovich might be on the list so that smaller indie stores aren’t put at a disadvantage, or they might do it to prevent spoilers in a popular series). I have no idea why Orbit did it but it shows that they care deeply about Germline and the trilogy so I’m grateful, but I also suspect this is part of a grander non-T.C.-focused business strategy – which means I’m not special. 🙁 So pre-order or you might have to wait if stores sell out!

And now a little DIY action…

Today I spent 4 hours installing a new car stereo. There were three options: (1) get a crap stereo and have it pro-installed, (2) get a nice stereo and do it myself, or (3) get nothing and save the money. I chose 2; saving is a sucker’s play. So if you’ve ever wondered if you could do it, here are some pictures of the ordeal, but first some data:

  • Car: 2011 Nissan Xterra S
  • Stereo: Kenwood DDX319
  • Accesories Added: Sirius/XM Tuner, AV/IN, Video in (for reverse camera – to be installed later), and AV/OUT to rear seat (for monitors for rear passengers – to be installed later).

This doesn’t look like a lot at first glance, but look again; here are all the things I used/needed:

Not much - but this job nearly killed me

Taking apart a car that you’ve just bought is a scary thing, and I was sweating bullets. First I pulled off a small panel/tray from the dash and then unscrewed the main console before popping it off. The thing just came free and it scared the hell out of me. Here is the dashboard afterward, disconnected from the ocean of wires it vomited with the stereo. (Note: do not use this as a guide to replace your own stereo; there are steps I’m omitting, like disconnecting the car battery).

This nearly made me sick; "what have I done to my baby?"

And here is the factory installed stereo:

I hope I never see you again, you filthy animal

At this point, the fact hit me that I could still turn back, which is really not so weird because pulling your car apart sucks. Not only do you have to take apart the console section (that you just yanked from the dash) to pull off the old stereo, but you have to transfer climate control sections to a replacement piece that comes in a kit. Also, the instructions (you need 2-3 different sets, btw) are only “kind of accurate.” At many points, I had to bootleg it and figure things out for myself because they can’t write a set of instructions for every single specific car model? Bastards. Anyway, Once I’d put together the console piece it looked like this.

Come here, you little beauty...

Now the fun really began: wiring. Here are the two sections that I had to put together so that I could connect the Xterra wiring harness to the new stereo:

So simple, so simple...

Easy, right? Uh, no? It took me over an hour to get this right and involved all sorts of new skills (crimping, taping, etc.). This is it, halfway through:

It was getting hot and ugly in that car.

And this is it with all the wires connected, the antenna connected, the Sirius stuff connected, and the AV cables connected.

This looked AWESOME.

And that was that. The next step was attaching all the grounds that I needed to, and I had to leave one wire unconnected because I couldn’t find the reverse lamp harness (it’s a wire that switches my screen to the backup camera’s view (if I ever get one) when I put the car in reverse), which apparently is hidden in an alternate universe in the new Nissan Xterras. On the bright side, I can now listen to Ozzy on my car stereo using my iphone, and the kids can almost watch movies (see pic below). Stay tuned for the next project: installing headrest monitors for my rear seat passengers.

I bet "Germline: The Movie" would look great on this!

So don’t forget: pre-order Chimera and you’ll be able to install car stereos.

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Nick Mamatas on Germline

There is this cool webzine called Clarkesworld, and a few years ago I submitted a story to them but then withdrew it because of one name: Nick Mamatas. His rejections were legendary. I have no idea why I was so scared to hear the truth (although Nick’s rejections were legend, they were also truthful and often very helpful) but that’s me, a coward, and so withdraw I did.

A year or two later. I had a novelette and today I can’t remember what I called it but it was an SF homage to Michael Herr that involved genetically engineered female soldiers and a drug-addicted reporter on the front lines. Nick Mamatas had left Clarkesworld to work in the Bay Area and I had followed his blog on LiveJournal so I knew that he ran a critique service: two bucks a page and he would read your manuscript and give an honest assessment with suggestions for improvement. I paid the dough. Nick took the manuscript. A short time later I received my marked up version with plenty of red ink and it took some time for me to muster the courage to read it, but read it I did, and eventually I had to read it over and over to make sure I understood everything.

By the time I finished making changes and re-writing, the novelette grew into three novellas, which I sandwiched together as a fix up. Subterrene was born. DongWon Song at Orbit bought it on one condition: I break up the book and further expand each novella into a full novel. So began the creation of Germline

Fast forward. Last year at WorldCon I gave Nick a copy of the book and of the audiobook (he was credited in the acknowledgements) and when I got home noticed that he had posted something about having to deal with some stinky crap he got at WorldCon. Was he talking about Germline? I thought the worst and shrugged, but man that got me down because I assumed that mine was the only “stinky crap” available at WorldCon and sooner or later I’d hear about how much he hated Germline. So what happened? Today I get in the car after work and grab my phone to see if there’s anything going on Twitter. I find this:

Yes, I got all man-teary. I don’t have many idols in this business but if you’ve read Move Underground or You Might Sleep or Under My Roof, or if you’ve ever known the fear of a Nick Mamatas Clarkeworld rejection, you know what this means. Sure. He didn’t say “I loved it, you are the best!” or “I will leave my wife for you.” HE SAID I MADE MILITARY SF RELEVANT AGAIN!!!! And besides, even if he’d said “meh” you know what they say: a handshake is as good as a hug.

Thanks Nick!

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2012: A Heck of a Ride So Far and Chimera is on the Way…

Awards, Reviews, and Overall Kick-Assedness

This has been a great year, although I could do without the heat. Then again, we all have complaints so I’ll stop mine right there and get to the point: 2012 is shaping up to be a great year. Germline (my debut novel) won the Compton Crook Award. Exogene and Chimera – the other two novels in the same trilogy as Germline – both received rave reviews, including stars from Publishers Weekly. Germline went into its second printing, which everyone says is a GOOD thing, right? The Guardian did a write-up on Exogene, someone at Wikipedia decided I was worth an entry, and Bill Fawcett invited me to DragonCon (thanks again Bill!!)! Anyway, below are the links to the 2012 reviews of my trilogy and everything else. I hope everyone else is having as good a year as (or better than) me.

That’s a lot of action. I’m especially grateful to the wonderful people in the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, for voting Germline into the Compton Crook Award. This is going to take up an entire post (that I’m working on now) so more on it later (with photos) but I will say this: awards matter – especially to this debut author. Germline didn’t catch the attention of the Hugo, Nebula (i.e., SFWA), PKD, or Campbell crowds, but clearly folks in Baltimore are much more intelligent, well-read in the literary tradition of the war memoir, and all around geniuses! 🙂 Either that or the SFF social activists and butt-kissers don’t have ready access to the BSFS. 😛

Chimera is on the way!!!

Book III in the Subterrene Trilogy: Chimera

Chimera, the final book in the Subterrene trilogy is coming on 31 July 2012 and my fans will love it. It’s just as gritty as Germline. Stan Resnick is a guy with problems – someone who is more at home in war and with killing than he is in a peacetime US that consumes itself and its citizens within the cogs of a futuristic police state – so the only way he can maintain his sanity is by hunting down and killing escaped Germline units. Now that’s some old-timey dystopian fun!

And one last thing: does anyone know how to edit wikipedia pages? My headshot is uploaded to wikipedia commons and yet nobody has added it to my page so it feels kind of…well…headless. If someone out there could add it to my page, that would be awesome! Here’s the link to my headshot  (caution: don’t let the size of my noggin scare you) and look above for the link to the T.C. McCarthy wiki entry.

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In the Press

My local paper interviews me about Germline, Exogene, Chimera, writing, and oh yeah: DragonCon!

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When Two Whales Collide, I Publish Fiction for 99 Cents (or However Much it Costs in Europe/Can/Aus/NZ)

Someone once told me there was a Korean proverb that went something like this: “when two whales collide, the shrimp get crushed.” Well in the world of publishing, the whales are colliding. Who are they? Amazon, for one, the classic publishing world, for the other, and it’s the kind of competition that will benefit the consumer with lower prices. So who are the shrimp? I am – along with every other author out there. One can almost hear the corporate types in New York thinking about how, having lost much of their influence on e-book pricing, they can recoup their losses by reducing the author’s percentage on e-book revenue. No I have no knowledge of anyone actually thinking about doing (or actually doing) this; I’m a cynic. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that someone is going to have to pay for lower prices and usually the weakest are the ones who pay: authors.

So I’m hedging my bets; I’m teaching myself the ins and outs of electronic publishing, and putting out my own content – just in case the author’s standard percentage for e-books gets ridiculously low. Without further ado, from the blurb for my latest short story, “Somewhere it Snows”:

“Lev Sandakchiev is old and worn out. An indentured servant to a warrior alien race, he wonders if he’ll survive his last assignment. If he does, Lev has a choice: return to Ukraine – on Earth – or stay in space as the master of his own indentured servants, forever tied to the commerce of destruction…”

Buy “Somewhere it Snows” at the following places (also available for Kindle in Europe and CAN/AUS/NZ at Amazon):

Barnes & Noble

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Contest for US Kindle Readers!!!!

Beware the ides of March. Yeah – it’s March 27th, I know (not the 15th) but I’m way behind on putting my publicity ideas into action so here goes a contest I wanted to run two weeks ago. I am conducting a random drawing so that 10 of my US readers will receive a free kindle copy of my new short story, “A People’s Army.” To enter, just complete the following simple tasks:

1. Tweet this (just click the twitter button at the bottom of this post)

2. “Like” this post (just click the Facebook button at the bottom of this post)

3. Enter your name and email address in the comments section. I will not publish your comments and your email address will not appear in my blog, so don’t worry. As soon as the contest is over I will delete the entries and will never post your information.

4. You must be willing to review the book on any online outlet of your choosing (Amazon, etc.) and do your best to give it a review. Negative, positive, short, long – whatever – just give me an indication that you intend to write some kind of review.

5. This is a requirement, not a task: you must be a US person (sorry, my short fiction is not available in UK, etc., yet) and must be able to read on kindle.

Get going already!!!!! Contest ends on April 20th, 2012. Also, don’t forget about the worldwide Exogene contest over at Goodreads, which ends on March 31.

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Women in Military Science Fiction (cont) – What About Genetically Engineered Homosexual Women? What About North Korean Women?

My previous blog posts covered work I’ve done regarding female characters, partially in response to oversights by Liz Bourke’s discussion about the lack of women in military SF, and partially just to get the word out about my novels and novelette. Along the same lines, Orbit just launched book 2 of the Subterrene series, Exogene.  One irony of Exogene’s publication is that it comes on the heels of someone (I can’t remember who) pointing out that I hadn’t considered the possibility of homosexual genetically engineered girls in book 1, Germline. Well, I had. And they appear in Exogene (as was crystal clear from the teaser in the back of Germline! 🙂 ).

Here’s what critics have to say about Exogene – but decide for yourself:

“Former CIA analyst McCarthy delivers a stark and wrenching sequel to Germline. The conclusion is simultaneously heartbreaking and triumphant, and utterly appropriate for the brutal, bloody, and magnificent story. One of the ten best SFF novels for Spring 2012.” -Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“McCarthy does an excellent job of building and presenting Catherine [the protagonist]. The gritty realities of the futuristic conflict Catherine participates in, leads, and navigates may shock readers…getting to know Catherine is worth your time.” -Victoria Frerichs, RT Book Reviews

“McCarthy captures a fascinating mix of naïveté and ruthlessness…this exciting and thoughtful story marks McCarthy as one of sci-fi’s most promising new talents.” -Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

In addition to exploring the psyche of female genetically engineered soldiers, Exogene takes a close look at North Korean women and culture, a theme I partially reprise in the short story “A People’s Army.” Take a look. I wrote this long before the death of Kim Jong Il, so the timing of its release is entirely coincidental, but in this case – unlike in Exogene – the characters are all male.

Oh – and click here to enter for a chance to win a free signed copy of Exogene!


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Sensored News Footage from the Subterrene War…

Doctor Jennifer Parson, PhD, MD serving in the maintenance unit for the Germline forces:

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Women in Military Science Fiction (cont) – What About Moms?

At WorldCon in Montreal (2009), there was a panel discussing the question of why we rarely/never see middle aged women as the protagonists/heroines in any science fiction – let alone in the military subgenre. At least I think that was the discussion. I had the session marked as one I wanted to attend because until then I’d never considered the question, but circumstances got in the way of my attendance (if you’ve ever been to a WorldCon, they sometimes schedule the best panels all at once!).

Confession: I have no idea how rare middle aged women are in science fiction. But I do know that off the top of my head, I can’t think of any mom heroines except for Sarah Connor.

In 2011 I wrote a novelette that has a middle aged mother as the heroine, because I figured I’d try to start filling that gap even though I’m a middle aged father who hasn’t a clue what it’s like to be a woman. The novellette has gone largely unnoticed. So it was time to post about it here since there has been much discussion about the lack of women in military SF. Besides, I think it’s gauche to cry out from someone else’s blog and say “wait a minute, I write with women as main characters in my military SF! Buy my story/book at Amazon!” but since this is my blog, I can do whatever the hell I want. In fact, book II of the Subterrene series is an all woman cast – almost – so I look forward to future discussions and reviews, assuming bloggers choose to include the book as a data point in women-relevant topics.

Anyway, here’s the link to “The Legionnaires” – a novelette that examines what would motivate a middle aged mother to join the French Foreign Legion, an institution that as of today, does not allow women to serve.

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