Cheeseburger Gothic

A Girl in Time. Chapter Two

Posted December 1 into Book Extract by John Birmingham

Georgia had argued that sushi was not a great choice on a cold, wet night in November. She wanted Greek, of course; her last name was Eliadis. But Cady loved sushi. They had hot dishes, too. And BuzzFeed Guy was paying.

“Matt. His name is Matt, not BuzzFeed Guy,” Georgia stage-whispered. He was away from the table when Cady arrived. “And you're going to give him a great interview, because he's going to be my new boyfriend, and he's going to give it to me six ways from Tuesday.”

The restaurant was about ten minutes from being crowded. The seats at the sushi train were all taken, and all but a couple of booths were full. They were in one of the booths, because you never ate from the train unless you wanted to catch an express ride to food poisoning. Four empty beer bottles on their table spoke to how well Georgia and BuzzFeed Guy—Matt—were getting along.

Cady made herself say his name five times so that she wouldn't forget. She would make herself say it at least twice in the first couple of minutes, just to fix it in her memory.

“Stop saying his name,” said Georgia, digging a knuckle into her ribs. “He's mine. You were too late. So don't think you can come in here with your sad little Jessica Jones look and steal my future husband away from me.”

Cady squealed and laughed and tried to slide away from her friend, and completely forgot the name of BuzzFeed Guy when she looked up and found him smiling at the pair of them from the end of the table. He was good-looking. Movie star good-looking. And even though she had promised herself she would remember his name, because that's what grown-ups did, one look at this guy and all rational thought climbed aboard the sushi train and choofed away, possibly never to return.

“Hi, BuzzFeed Guy,” she said.

“Hi, Murder Girl,” he volleyed back, sliding into the booth across from them, carrying three beers.

“Matt,” said Georgia, emphasizing his name, “this is Cadence McCall. Cady, this is Matt Aleveda. He will be your BuzzFeed journalist tonight.”

They shook hands while Cady struggled to think of something to say other than, "Oh my, you're cute." She could see why Georgia wanted to rush him out the door and into bed. All of her strategies for this interview, all of the carefully prepared little pull quotes she had already imagined featuring on the front page of the site between “Tay Tay and Beyonce’s Cage Match” and “37 Pictures of Dogs Who Just Can't Even Anymore” … they all flew right out of her head.

“You want to order?” he asked, saving her from the vast embarrassment of staring at him and saying nothing, just grinning like an idiot.

She nodded and swigged at her beer, mostly to hide behind the bottle for a couple of seconds to regain her balance. She felt Georgia kicking her under the table as if to say, "See, see, I said he was cute."

“I like the hot ones,” she said, before hurrying on. “The hot dishes, I mean.”

A bright hot flush bloomed somewhere beneath her tee shirt and spread to her face. She knew it was coming. Knew it was going to be bad. And that just made it worse.

“That's why we should’ve had Greek,” said Georgia. “Do you like Greek food, Matt?” she asked.

“My grandmother was Greek,” he said, his smile completely authentic. “She was a cook on a big cattle ranch down in Arizona. That's where she met my granddad. He was a vaquero, a cowboy from Mexico. So yes, I do like Greek food.”

“Then next time we go to Lola, and moneybags here pays.”

“Hey, I don't get paid for another month, you know,” said Cady.

“Okay then. Yanni's, and then Lola.”

“So you haven't made any money off the app yet?” Matt asked. “That seems almost weird. It's been number one for weeks now.”

“It takes a while to confirm the sales,” she said. “Sixty days, usually.”

Talking about her game, Cady started to recover her poise. It was as though the earthquake which had threatened to knock her on her ass stopped, leaving her shaken, but suddenly surefooted. The restaurant was getting noisy as more people came in to take the last seats, and the patrons who were already there raised their voices to talk over each other.

“Do you mind if I ask what sort of a payday you're looking at?”

She didn't mind at all.

“Four and a half million dollars initially. It'll fall away after that, after Murder City drops off the front page and then the best seller lists. But I can probably make do.”

She felt Georgia's foot tapping her ankle again.

What? Was she being a jerk? This was why her friend had come along with her. Cady wasn't always the best judge of what to say in these situations.

“Sweet,” said Matt, clearly impressed. “Explains all the clones.”

“They're garbage apps,” said Cady, and Georgia kicked her. Hard. Matt noticed.

“It's true,” Cady insisted. “They are. And I feel really strongly about this. I spent a long time working on that game. I maxed out my credit cards. Ate grungy rice and fish heads. I slept in a cot in front of my computer. I did the work. It paid off. I'm not going to be modest about it.”

“No reason to be,” Matt said as a waitress appeared to take their order. “If you were a guy, it wouldn't be an issue.”

Georgia dug her fingers into Cady's arm.

“Mine,” she whispered.

Matt reminded them he was picking up the tab, and they over-ordered. Cady doubled up on the tempura seafood platter with an extra serve of Dungeness crab.

“Rice and grungy fish heads, remember?” she said when Georgia gave her The Look.
They discussed the games industry: “Nintendo should just give up on hardware.”
Sushi trains: “Most of the time they're like, “This is what comes back on the train line from the toxic waste factory.”

And the latest superhero movie, another failed Green Lantern reboot. A particular hate-favorite of Cady's.

“The love interest dragged. Again. The super villain was more sentient smog bank than relatable nemesis. Again. And while you have to love the idea of the green man's powers—your flight, your mad awesome combat skills, a workable indestructibility, and that whole of energy-into-mass conversion thing—they just didn't sell me on the Lantern having any chance at kicking Superman's ass, which is the gold standard in these matters. One star. Would not even torrent.”
Matt was recording the conversation by then.

“So, you guys. You're besties, right? Where'd you meet?”

“College. At a self-defense workshop,” said Georgia.

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. Have you seen the data on campus rape?” said Cady, using a pair of chopsticks to awkwardly move a large piece of fried crab meat into her bowl.

“So you're like unstoppable killing machines of death?” he asked, with poker-faced sincerity.

“Worse,” Georgia answered. “Female game devs.”

“Our superpower is ruining everything,” said Cady.

“So, Georgia, did you help Cady on Murder City?”

“Nope. It's all her own work. She doesn't play well with others.”

“It's true,” said Cady. “I'm just a girl with mad coding skills, but no people skills.”

“And your diagnosis,” Georgia prodded. “Don't be modest. You're a high functioning sociopath too.”

“According to 4Chan.”

Matt took out a Field Notes reporter’s notebook. It looked to be about half full already.

“According to Reddit,” he said, flipping through the pages, “you're an insufferable lesbian, and every boy you ever dated died mysteriously after placing five-star reviews of Murder City in the gaming press.”

“The technical term is ‘corrupt gaming press’.”

“I stand corrected.”

“You're actually sitting down,” Georgia teased. “This is why nobody trusts the media anymore.”

More food arrived. More food than they needed.

The restaurant was uncomfortably hot and noisy with the crowd by then. A family moved into the booth behind Matt, a single dad and three daughters. They looked young, the oldest possibly not even in school yet, and they were hideously excited. Their father looked pained as the girls launched themselves at the moving buffet.

“Choose careful, girls. I only got thirty bucks to get us through. Maybe some avocado rolls?”

Cady was looking directly at him when he spoke, and his eyes locked on hers, his voice trailing away at the end, the three hungry children ignoring him completely. She felt herself blushing again. Without asking Georgia or Matt, she grabbed the plate of hand rolls which had just arrived at their table, stood up, and walked them back to the next booth.

“We over-ordered,” she said. “You should have these.”

The girls fell on the food.

“Rocket ships!” the oldest one cried out.

Their dad started to say, “That won't be necessary—”

But Cady spoke over him.

“Yeah it will. We ordered too much. Chill. It's all good.”

She spotted their waitress a few tables over, and before anyone could stop her, she marched over, pointed out her booth and the family next to it, and explained she would be paying for the little girls and their dad. Satisfied, she returned to Georgia and Matt. He was smiling crookedly at her. Georgia was not smiling at all.

“What?” she asked, slipping back into her booth.

“Nothing,” said Georgia, in a tone of voice that said everything.

“I'm gonna just … go the bathroom,” said Matt.

“What are you doing?” Georgia whispered fiercely when he had excused himself.

The embarrassment Cady felt when the girl's father had caught her looking at him returned, doubled in strength. She dared not look in his direction.

“Shut up,” she said, in as low a voice as she could and still be heard. “I was just helping.”

“You're not,” said Georgia. She flicked her eyes over the back of Matt's seat. The guy was still sitting in the booth, his daughters oblivious to any disturbance in the Force.

But even Cady could tell now there was a great disturbance in the Force. The man was concentrating fiercely on his food, staring at the hand rolls—“rocket ships!”—as if defusing a time bomb. The three girls feasted merrily, but he did not eat at all.

“We'll talk about this later,” said Georgia, “but promise me you won't do anything stupid to look good for Matt again. Anything else,” she added.

Embarrassment threatened to flare into anger then, but Cady got a hold of her temper before it broke free.

“I don't know what you mean,” she said.

“Yes, you do,” Georgia shot back. “You were being selfish in that very special way you have, Cady. When you don't think about anyone else. Just yourself and what's best for you. But I said we'd talk about it later.”

“No, we'll talk about it now.”

Her anger was returning, like a wrestler who had been pinned suddenly finding a way out of the hold down.

“I wasn't being selfish. I was thinking about—”

Georgia leaned right into her personal space.

“You were thinking about how it would look when Matt wrote you up as the most generous girl in the world. But that's not how it will turn out, trust me, because that's not how it is.”

She almost left then.

Almost stormed out into the cold.

She could even see herself slamming her last sixty-three dollars down on the table of the booth next door. And it was only that image, of a crazy woman throwing money and shade at three little girls and their poor single dad which brought her up short.

Maybe she had been a jerk?

Maybe she was insufferable?

Considering the possibility was enough to drain her foul temper. It was like losing herself in the effort of solving a really complex coding problem.

She took a sip of her beer.

“Okay,” she said, quietly, being even more careful not to catch the eye of anyone in the next booth.

Not the children, and certainly not the father she'd probably embarrassed.

Humiliated, even.

“But now I gotta pay for their dinner, too,” she said quietly, knowing Georgia would understand what she meant. Georgia knew her better than she knew herself. “Can I borrow some money? Or do you think we can hit up BuzzFeed Guy for it?”

11 Responses to ‘A Girl in Time. Chapter Two’

Peter Bradley mutters...

Posted December 1
Again with the strong female characters! Outstanding work!

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insomniac asserts...

Posted December 1
What if I spot an error?

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted December 1
Let me know.

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insomniac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 1
Top of page 9 Matt's line... go to the bathroom

John Birmingham mutters...

Posted December 1
Ta

John Birmingham puts forth...

Posted December 2
Actually, now I look at it, I did that on purpose. Some people do speak like that. But I might change it, since it obviously brought you up short.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted December 2
I thought it might have been deliberate, but yes it did stand out a bit, but then I'm the type of person who writes out texts in full. You're the master, I'm the slave I mean alpha.

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balri mumbles...

Posted December 1
So...ah...chapter 3 tomorrow? I'm hooked

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted December 1
Oh all right then.

GhostSwirv puts forth...

Posted December 2

No keep it as is ... Matt's a reporter, he's picked up on something and he's given Cady and Georgia a moment.

I heard it right in my head - saw it too!

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Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted December 2
I don't now what the hell to expect with this book. I'm now figuring what I need to finish on the Kindle before you get all PETA on this thing and free it from its cage.

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A Girl in Time. Chapter One

Posted November 30 into Book Extract by John Birmingham

In twenty-nine days, she would be rich.

Cady was almost dizzy with the thought, although it might have been sleep deprivation, too. And maybe a little hunger. That was her own fault, she knew, as she leaned forward into the glow of the iMac.

But it didn't matter.

Because in twenty-nine days, she would be rich.

She shivered in the cold. The tiny studio apartment was unheated except for the valiant efforts of a cheap, Chinese fan heater plugged into one of three power boards under her desk. It was also dark, except for the computer screen and the small constellation of status lights on various pieces of equipment.

Cable modem. Power boards. Macbook Pro. Mister Coffee. A big ass Beoplay A9 kicking out The Funkoars “What's Your Malfunction?” at half volume.

Still loud enough to shake the building.

It was a gift, the A9. Or maybe a bribe, or some sort of enticement. She wasn't quite sure. But she did know she couldn't afford that level of awesome. Some guy from Electronic Arts had sent it over when the game hit number one on the paid App Store.

And stayed there.

And stayed there.

She rubbed at the gooseflesh on her upper arms, warming herself with the friction and the satisfaction of staring at her Sales and Payments pages on iTunes Connect.

Murder City was still number one.

“Suck on that, Pikachu.” She smiled, and her mouth formed an attractive bow, but there was nobody else in the one-room apartment to see it and smile back.

Cady McCall did not much care, because in twenty-nine days, Tim Cook would back a truckload of money up to her front door, and she would be rich.

She checked her watch, her Dad's old Timex, a wind-up piece of analog history. He'd worn it to the factory every day until he retired. Almost time to get going, but she thought she had just a few minutes to check her reviews. Never read the reviews, they said, and they were right. But most of Cady's, like ninety-five percent of them, were four and five stars. Mostly five. And the gimps giving her the one-star write-ups were universally hilarious. Mouth-breathers, all.

She'd made a Tumblr out of them. It was hugely popular, and the affiliate ads linking to her app on iTunes were unexpectedly lucrative.

Suck on that, gimps.

The Funkoars closed out their rap. They gave up the A9 to Tony Bennett getting his groove on with Michael Bublé, a duet of “Don't Get Around Much Anymore”.

That was the good thing about living alone, one of the many excellent things about living alone. She could play whatever the hell music she wanted, as loud as she liked to play it. And she liked it loud. Her studio was on the top floor of a four story warehouse, an old cotton mill.

Solid brick. Bare wooden floors. Big picture windows overlooking Puget Sound.

Cool, right? But apart from a sweatshop on the ground floor, she was the only occupant. The brickwork badly needed repointing with mortar, the wooden floors were scored and dangerously splintered in places, and you couldn't see out of the windows. They'd been painted over sometime in the 90s. The building was marked for demolition, the whole block for redevelopment, which was how she could afford the space. She had no lease, no security of tenure.

Again, didn't matter.

Twenty-nine days.

Her phone chimed. A message from Georgia.

Already here. BuzzFeed guy 2. Where r u?

She quickly sent back a canned response.

On my way!

Cady stood up from the desk, closing the windows on her reviews without bothering to read the new ones, but pausing with her hand hovering over the mouse before logging out of Connect. She couldn't take her eyes off the estimated amount of her first payment.

Georgia responded to her canned reply with an emoji. A skull and a flame.

Die in a fire.

That broke the spell. Cady smiled. She could afford to smile. In twenty-nine days, four and a half million dollars would drop into her bank account. They would probably invite her to WWDC. She might even demo.

The phone rang while she was throwing on a leather jacket and scarf. It was cold outside, and probably wet.

Because Seattle.

The call came in on her landline, giving her the excuse she needed to bust out an epic eye roll. It would be her mom. Only her mom called her on the landline. She only had the landline because of her parents, who were convinced her Uncle Lenny had died of a brain tumor from his cell phone, which he was always yammering on when he was alive, God rest his soul.

Uncle Lenny also smoked two packs of unfiltered cigarettes a day and liked a shot of rum in his coffee.

He drank a lot of coffee.

Cady totally would have answered the call, but she was running late, and Georgia was half way gone to getting pissed at her. And that was why she had an answering machine anyway, because she just didn't have time, and her parents trusted voicemail about as much as they trusted cell phones not to shoot death rays directly into your head.

And the idea that they might just send a text? You know, something efficient?
Forget about it.

“Hi, Cadence, it's your mom.”

The old familiar voice, a little tinny through the cheap speakers. Cady dropped the volume on Tony and the Boob, but did not make the mistake of picking up. That could delay her by up to half an hour, and she had people waiting.

Better to call back in the morning.

“Your dad clipped another couple of stories for you today. He's sending them in the mail tomorrow.”

A pause. Probably waiting to see if Cady picked up. But if she picked up, she'd get in trouble for screening the call, because her mom knew how small the apartment was, and she had no excuse for not answering already. Best to pretend she was already gone.

An almost inaudible sigh.


“You should call your dad, Cadence. He's not been well. I think some days searching the google for stories about you is what gets him out of bed in the mornings. He's very proud of you, darling. You should call.”

She almost picked up then, but Melville started yowling for dinner, and she didn't have time for him either.

“Go catch some rats,” she said, using the toe of her Doc Martens to push the protesting tabby cat out of the front door.

There were always rats. Hence, Melville.

Her mother's voice was lost in the rumble of the heavy steel door sliding in its tracks. The cat looked up at her as if to say, “Well, where's the beef, bitch?”

“Rats,” she said. “I mean it. Earn your keep, pretty boy.”

The landing outside her apartment was dark. The bulb had blown months ago and was too difficult for her to reach. It hung on a wire over the stairwell. She could almost reach it, if she was willing to risk a broken neck. There was no point calling the building owner. They weren't coming out to change a light bulb. She wondered sometimes if they even collected the rent from the account she paid into.

Cady didn't care. She used the flashlight on her iPhone. She juggled the phone and the padlock on her front door with practiced ease.

The cat yowled again, suspecting the worst.

It was even colder in the stairwell. Maybe cold enough to freeze the water in the pipes again.
Twenty-nine days.

Four and a half million.

Her boots sounded louder than usual on the concrete steps and she wondered if something about the temperature of near freezing air amplified sound waves. It made sense, but that didn't mean it was right.

She would've made a note to ask Jeremy the next time she saw him. He was a sound engineer at Square Enix. He'd know, and not knowing was bugging her now that she'd thought about it.
She didn't make a note though.

She had the phone in her hand, but only an idiot would hurry down a darkened staircase in an empty building, thumb typing on her phone. For sure she'd trip and break her neck or something and then who’d spend all her money?

The sweatshop was closed up and quiet as she swung around the landing on the first floor. That was unusual. Russians ran that place, and they normally worked those Asian women until late at night, seven days a week. She checked the time on her phone. It was still early, although she was now more than a few minutes late for dinner.

Maybe the Russians had moved on. Maybe Immigration had caught up with the women.
Unlike the question about whether cold air amplified sound waves, the fate of the sweatshop wasn't something likely to keep her up at night. She'd be gone from this dump soon anyway.
Her phone buzzed with another message from Georgia.

BuzzFeed guy is cute! Don't hurry.

That was good then, she thought, as she hit the street and pulled the main door of the building closed behind her. The deadlock engaged with a loud click. She put the phone away and started walking toward the restaurant. It was a couple of blocks away, not long if she hurried. She was trying to kick the habit of staring at a phone while she walked. She'd seen a guy slam into a telephone pole doing that, and in this part of town you needed your wits about you anyway.

“Cady, I don't like you walking the streets at night the way you do,” her mother said pretty much every time they spoke. Another reason for not picking up that call a few minutes earlier. “You live in such a rough part of town, dear.”

And she did, but Cady McCall was not a victim in waiting. She had a can of mace in one pocket of her leather jacket, and she'd packed a small but sturdy LED flashlight in the other. It threw out a wicked bright beam, enough to blind anyone she light-sabered with it. And held in the fist, it made a great improvised weapon. The sort of thing douchebros called a “tactical” piece.

The rain she had feared was less a drizzle than a really heavy mist. She'd be damp, but not soaked, by the time she walked the few blocks to dinner. Cars drove past every minute or so, going in both directions, their headlights lancing into the darkness like searchlights in old war movies.

Some women, and a lot of men, cannot help but look vulnerable when caught on their own. Moving through an empty landscape, they seem to invite threats. Cadence McCall was not like that. She was not overly tall, but long legs and thick hair that fell halfway down her back made her seem taller. She carried herself through the night with a confident stride, her boot heels clicking on the wet sidewalk. It was real confidence, too, not just a show for anybody who might've been watching.

She was somebody who felt at ease on her own.

And anyway, she wasn't worth mugging.

Until her iTunes money dropped, she had sixty-three bucks to her name.

11 Responses to ‘A Girl in Time. Chapter One’

Dave Barnes mutters...

Posted November 30
Appetite whetted. Deal me in.

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted November 30
It looks so different once it's been set out. I wonder if it makes a difference in beta. There is an element of looking easier to read.

John Birmingham reckons...

Posted November 30
I'm doing the final check on my Kindle. It makes a HUGE difference. You see things that your eyes just slid over in a word processor.

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Ceramic reckons...

Posted November 30
Cor, she seems great. I reread the bit about her walking twice. Love the confidence you've depicted.
Looking forward to the book!

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Dave W is gonna tell you...

Posted November 30
Looking forward to it!

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DarrenBloomfield puts forth...

Posted November 30
It looks so cool all tarted up out of DB Paper!

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NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted November 30
A free taste, then jack up the price when the mark is hooked.

Nice.<Br>
C'mon man, a taste, a builder, just a smidge.

You know I'm good for it.

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she_jedi puts forth...

Posted December 1
WANTWANTWANTWANT!! Can't wait for this, the first hit was great, now I'm jonesing for the rest :D

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Bondiboy66 would have you know...

Posted December 1
I await with bated breath

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GhostSwirv asserts...

Posted December 2

I soooooooooooooo want to know what message Mom left on the voicemail - I bet it's important!

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Scott mutters...

Posted January 3
Hey there, are you going to bring this book to Audible? I think most of your books would be great there.

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Final edits received for A Girl in Time

Posted November 28 into A Girl In Time by John Birmingham

I received the edited proof copy of A Girl in Time this arvo. I'll do the final check tomorrow and then send it to bonnie Scotland–I think–for typesetting. (My empire is so vast I cannot keep track of every little outpost).
Not sure how long it'll take to get page proofs back, but there's nothing stopping me from getting e-book samples for my alpha beta crew together and sending them out as soon as possible.
I want to try out a software package called Vellum; a very expensive, very sophisticated program for beautifully formatting e-books. I'm not sure yet that I'll use it for the published copies. We'll see what sort of a job it does on the samples first.
I spent five hours today working on my marketing plan, which feels a little like mainlining raw opium at this point. There's always real anxiety before a book launch, but it's much greater when you're the guy in the rumble seat. I can point to some serious flaws in the release of the Dave Hooper novels —C'mon. Seriously? Christmas Eve?— but any mistakes with Girl will all be down to me. There's no one else to blame.
This sort of thing keeps me awake at night. You wouldn't think that it would, not after having published so many books that I've pretty much lost count of them. But it does. Having a plan and methodically grinding my way through it is the best way of blocking out that ghostly little voice whispering of my doom in the early ours of the morning.
Everybody who has signed up for the book club will be getting emails soon, with nice long samples to enjoy. Haven't decided yet how many chapters I'm going to give away as a teaser, but it could end up being a significant e-book all in its own right.

Some cover samples from the tear sheet. The final art will look very different. These were just a couple of concepts we tried out.

12 Responses to ‘Final edits received for A Girl in Time’

Sparty2 is gonna tell you...

Posted November 28
Are you going to effort of getting industry reviews like Kirkus? (and is it worth it?).
I like the rejected covers - and non gender specific, I was never convinced by the Dave covers :-(

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 29
I looked at Kirkus and RT Reviews. They're just too expensive for me at the moment. Maybe as I scale up I'll invest in some.

insomniac mutters...

Posted November 29
Those jerks should be more than pleased to read your work AND pay you for the privilege

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NBlob mutters...

Posted November 28
I'm very much looking forward to an all new BirmoWorld.

I would have guessed 2 weeks before Xmas, optimised for sleigh distribution models would have been premium timing.

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Rhino swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 29
Index finger yoga completed so that I'm completely limber in preparation for FB shares of your release post.

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Turlogh Dubh O'Brien would have you know...

Posted November 29
This one ought to be a hit and I shall do my part in spreading the word of its fame far and wide.

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jl swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 29
Yeah, there's always a feeling of "hold on to my beer and watch this" at book launch. All of us in the peanut gallery are cheering you on, sir.

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DarrenBloomfield mumbles...

Posted November 29
I liked the swirly cover I saw, I think maybe on ya book-of-the-face page?

Good luck JB. I'd say that it is so good that it'll sell itself, but we both know that's crazy talk.

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John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted November 29
Thanks all.

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Dirk is gonna tell you...

Posted November 30
You are welcome, go forth to the stars quickly. We wanna have us some WW3.1 style splosions :)

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Bondiboy66 is gonna tell you...

Posted November 30
LIKE

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GhostSwirv mumbles...

Posted December 2

Why do you leave the bathroom window open so Rhino and Greybeard can alternate over who whispers 'sweet doomsday's' in your ear in the cold grey strands of early morning light?

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Starting to feel like a real book launch

Posted November 24 into A Girl In Time by John Birmingham

Just sent A Girl In Time off to the proof reader. Early next week it'll go a typesetter in Scotland for print layout. I could launch the ebook next week, but I'd like to have both print and digital ready to go together. Once it's sold a few copies and gathered some tasty 5 Star reviews, I'll get my agent to sell the audiobook rights.

Thanks to everyone who helped out in beta. It was great going through the final copy edit, seeing how much the original ms had been improved by your contributions.

I commissioned my old editor and publisher Joel Naoum (now at Critical Mass) to handle the print, and to put together a small press package for the book. I wouldn't normally bother for an indie title, but since this will probably be the first novel published in which Donald Trump is President, it seemed a reasonable outlay.

As soon as I have a final corrected version, I'll run up ebooks for all the betas. I'm using a piece of software called Vellum, which beautifully automates the process, but because this is the first time I've used it, I want to make sure it does the job as advertised.

I haven't settled on price points yet. The print copy will be the same as any trade published paperback, simply because of the costs involved.

The ebook with be five or six dollars full retail, but half price for bookclub members.

4 Responses to ‘Starting to feel like a real book launch’

Therbs ducks in to say...

Posted November 24
Just in time for some lazy summer reading. Looking forward to it.

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Dave W reckons...

Posted November 25
Definitely a contender for the hardest working person in fiction. Apropos of your fairfax article earlier this week, it seems like a well-deserved beverage is in order.

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Don Bagert is gonna tell you...

Posted November 27
"Once it's sold a few copies and gathered some tasty 5 Star reviews..." That's us, right? LOL

Also, sorry to let you know this but here's an e-book released on May 20 with Trump as President https://www.amazon.com/We-Knew-They-Were-Coming-ebook/dp/B01E6EPAR8/

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted November 27
Damn it.

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Science is horrifying

Posted November 23 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

I'm not sure how I'll use the terriftying details of this New Scientist story about the "dinosaur-killing asteroid that turned planet Earth inside-out", but I suspect they'll turn up somewhere in The Cruel Stars.

How could they not?

By analysing the depths and compositions of the rocks, the team reconstructed a timeline for the impact.

First the asteroid blasted through almost all of Earth’s crust, propelling rocks from the bottom of the crust and lifting them 25 kilometres within 10 minutes. At the rim of the newly forming crater, a mountain range higher than the Himalayas lifted and collapsed within three minutes, leaving a halo of basement rock in a geological feature called a peak ring. At the centre, a massive peak of rock splashed upward, fluid-like, before collapsing again – much like the splash of a sugar cube in a cup of hot tea.

About 10 minutes after that, the rocks stabilised and stopped flowing like a liquid. The titanic forces of impact sent shockwaves through the planet and caused earthquakes that would top the 10-point Richter scale, rattling the ground with greater force than any existing fault is capable of producing.

13 Responses to ‘Science is horrifying’

jl mumbles...

Posted November 23
Harrowing reading. Imagine aliens or future humans doing it with deliberation while parked in orbit.

Nocturnalist is gonna tell you...

Posted November 23
Check out "The Forge of God" by Greg Bear, which concludes with exactly that. There are some pretty harrowing scenes from the PoV of some of the people caught in the middle of it.

(The book as a whole is less catastrophically actiony, but the long slow buildup is worth reading in full because it makes the ending that much more effective.)

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted November 23
Sounds like something Havock or his descendants would be up for

HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted November 24
You know that anything worth doing is best done FROM FKN ORBIT!!

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pitpat asserts...

Posted November 23
Hey John,
Thanks for the link. As a bit of a rock doctor on the other side of the world I'm looking at rocks of similar age which have textural features that are similar but are related to explosive events derived from magmatic or batholithic sources. I would expect some vigorous discussion in the next couple of years. They might even get some more funding to drill another hole ( the hole they drilled probably cost between 1 and 10 mill) but more than likely they won't.

Either way it is a nice story in these times of post-modern science. As for big geology events it probably isn't in the top ten. If you drive from Brisbane through to the Whitsundays you are driving - in large part- across volcanic terranes- extruded during the late Jurassic/early Cretaceous that have volumes measured in millions of cubic kilometres. Probably not a great place for a beach house.

Any hoo Thanks for all your published work so far this year, have bought it all and loved it all even if I disagreed with some of it.

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Spanner has opinions thus...

Posted November 23
Was there an earth shattering kaboom?

(Marvin the Martian reference)

Therbs has opinions thus...

Posted November 25
Oh goodie! My Illidium Q36 explosive space modulator

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MordWa ducks in to say...

Posted November 23
*puts on Sid James leery voice*

"-That's still less 'ard than I'd hit Barbara Windsor give a tuppence chance. Amiright? Hehehurh"

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John Petherick swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 24
Sounds like home!

I live in Sudbury, Ontario. My house is just south of the southern rim of the Sudbury Basin and I work up on the northwest edge of the rim, so I drive across the basin twice a day. The basin, however, has been deformed by tectonic forces so it is now an elliptical / ovoid shape rather than circular, further complicated by a second, smaller impact crater.

Sudbury breccia has different colours but looks very similar to the core in the article. Mind you, the drill only went down 1335 metres, barely scratching the surface (mind you, it was underwater, too).

Therbs is gonna tell you...

Posted November 24
Sudbury! Stopped in there whilst on a ratsacking adventure through North America a few lifetimes ago.
Was heading west to east and had stopped at Sault St Marie then Sudbury before hitting Toronto.
Liked it. Had a fun pub, Peddlars? Was good.

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NBlob reckons...

Posted November 24
That neatly describes Greybeard getting into a bath

Gutz would have you know...

Posted November 26
That made the ginger beer i was drinking shoot out my nose!

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Harry is off to Audible

Posted November 22 into Books by John Birmingham

Just signed a deal to give Audible the rights to do the entire Stalin's Hammer series as an audio book next year.

I'm not sure how long it will take them to produce, but I'm very much looking forward to hearing the finished product.

I've been researching print-on-demand options for the collected series. It looks like I'll go with Amazon's CreateSpace in the US, but with IngramSpark everywhere else.

Doing print-on-demand is hella complicated compared to ebooks. And expensive. These things will retail at the same price as any trade published title. And I'll make less on them than I would on a much cheaper ebook. As soon as you start moving atoms around, the costs pile up.

But there are people who prefer print. I guess we'll see whether they're willing to pay for the preference. My guess is mostly not, but it's worth a look.

At the moment I anticipate an early to mid-December launch for A Girl in Time, and if I can ever get my head around the vagaries of IngramSpark, the hard copy should be available for Xmas too.

I'll release this title everywhere. I experimented with Amazon exclusivity this year, and although it does confer some advantages, I don't think they compensate for the lost readers who just won't come at the Beast of Bezos. I seem to have more of them than usual. (Interesting and possibly related data point - over 60% of subscribers to my bookclub are on iOS).

Anyway, I'll let you know when I hear anything about a release date for the audiobooks.

11 Responses to ‘Harry is off to Audible’

DarrenBloomfield would have you know...

Posted November 22
I'm IoS and my preferred platform is ibooks. But I also procure via Amazon for my Kindle app and even Kobo on rare occasions. I'm slutty that way.

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WarDog mumbles...

Posted November 22
"over 60% of subscribers to my bookclub are on iOS"

The zombie hordes are zeroing in on you John.
Oh, wait you're already one of them :-)

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Rob mumbles...

Posted November 22
After moving house I like my kindle even more then I did before. So many books to pack, store and cull.

insomniac would have you know...

Posted November 22
I have to move shortly and I have a stack of books to pack, probably to add to the collection of boxes of books unseen for 5 years. I can never bring myself to cull any books, except in extraordinary circumstances such as when I found out the author of a book I had bought had been sending dick pics to women who had registered their email address on his website.

Rob has opinions thus...

Posted November 22
I didn't realise how prolific I had been with the painting until I stacked and packed the bigger works. They are now stacked in my new studio, I did have a chuck out of some of those too. Weird watching paintings hit the crusher at the tip.

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Therbs would have you know...

Posted November 22
Kindle or iBooks works for me. Prolly use the Kindle more these days.
I was given a David Sedaris book a few months back and only yesterday finished my e-Book backlog so I could start on this thing made of paper and ink. It doesn't backlight nor does it have adjustable font and you need to physically mark where you've just finished reading.
Unbelievably primitive.

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KreepyKrawly would have you know...

Posted November 22
Thakyou, Thakyou, Thakyou, Thakyou, Thakyou, Thakyou, so-on and so-forth... Do not like Bezos, prefer kobo... would have liked microsux to have kept the .lit format, but what do you expect from those numnuts.

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Sparty2 is gonna tell you...

Posted November 22
Well this is timely-

"Harry- get your arse to Tokyo" for
Hirohito's Hammer: Tokyo
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37928806

WarDog has opinions thus...

Posted November 23
Oh dear, the cataclysm from Day of the Triffids has shown up as a toy.

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Peter in the bleachers asserts...

Posted November 22
Kindle app on iOS works every time. iBooks is ok but has less options. Can't wait for A Girl in Time.

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David Kennedy puts forth...

Posted January 10
As a trucker Audible is my friend. So thank God Stalin's Hammer is on the way. Print - in any form - is OK at home but I can load up the iphone with a 100GB of audio and I'm set for the week.

It would be nice to get the next instalment of Dave on audio and, while we're on the subject of wish lists, Here be Monsters shows a lot of promise; more please.

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