Bundle, and the next Montague Portal novel

Those of you who stalk me on social media know that I was working to write a novel in ten days. It took two weeks, a serious failure on my part. I can only plead 2020. And now I can say why.

There’s this thing called Storybundle. For one low, low price you get a big heap of ebooks. And if you look at the Big Time bundle that came out last night, you’ll see at least one familiar name.

For $15, you don’t just get ten books. You get ten good books.

And part of your money goes to support folks devastated by the wildfires in Oregon. The Oregon Food Bank does good work, and they desperately need our support.

I’ve read most of these authors. Rusch and Smith have been spec fic powerhouses for decades. Lisa Silverthorne regularly rips my heart out, only to hand it back to me on a silver platter. Stefon Mears is the good sort of deranged, and so are his books. DeAnna Kippling is a sure thing when I want a few delightful hours on my couch. Robert J Sawyer? I ain’t worthy to sit on the same couch as him.

I have to admit that I haven’t read Kim Antieau or Ryan M Williams. I’ll be fixing that, soon. With this bundle.

I’m biased against my own work, so I’ll let bundle curator Kris Rusch tell you what she thinks.

Inventive minds. Maybe that’s what we should have called this StoryBundle. Because most of the writers here have the most inventive minds I’ve ever encountered. Michael Warren Lucas is one of those writers. He makes his living as a writer of nonfiction and fiction. His nonfiction is so specialized that when he tells me about it, I think he’s talking in a foreign language. His fiction is as clear as daylight, and filled with quirky ethical characters who somehow make the most inexplicable situation clear. Here, Michael takes us to the days when our universe was young, and time was just beginning. – Kristine Kathryn Rusch

I now have this urge to make up a technology with bogus buzzwords, so the next time I get to see Kris I can string her along. While that’d be easy, I could perhaps leverage Kris’ belief in my acumen to achieve a real prize: bamboozling other computer geeks in the room. (Yes, I am a bad person. I’ve told you that.) Fortunately for everyone, I’ll probably forget about this by the time the Zoompocalypse ends, in favor of an even worse idea.

Between this StoryBundle and my Name Your Own Price sale on git commit murder and PAM Mastery, I’m going cheap.

And there’s other news. Related news.

One of an author’s goals of a StoryBundle is to bring in new readers. The money’s nice, sure, but the idea is to gather books that share sensibility and flavor. “If you like my book, you’ll probably like these.” I know I like many of the authors here, so I’ll probably enjoy Williams and Antieu. Hurrah, more authors to devour!

But if someone reads Hydrogen Sleets and wants more Montague Portal, there’s a novella and a couple shorts. That’s it. They can go on to my other fiction, sure, but if I want to keep them? If I really want to hook them?

I need a sequel novel.

I’ve wanted to write another Aidan Redding/Montague Portal novel since… well, since I wrote The End on Hydrogen Sleets. The last few years have been ugly for my productivity. But when Kris poked me a couple weeks ago about putting Hydrogen Sleets in this bundle, it gave me a ticking clock. So I got to work, and:

Drinking Heavy Water, the next Montague Portal novel, escapes in December.

SECOND CONTACT
Aidan Redding’s one goal for her time in this universe: behave. For once. Discovering seafaring aliens trashes that plan.

The aliens raise questions. Her co-workers raise more.

The answers explain it all. And ruin everything.

On a world where gravity changes every second, Redding finds herself involuntarily allied with a mathematician from Soviet Texas as she races to save not just herself but civilization.

Forget aliens. Nothing threatens Earth’s golden age so much as ordinary human beings.

Drinking Heavy Water cover

This also gives me enough material for a hardcover Montague Portal omnibus, tentatively titled Aidan Redding Against the Universes. As much as I’d like to have that out for Christmas, it ain’t happening.

So: there are books. They’re going cheap. There will be more books, going not so cheap.

Another orc story, and more fiction stuff!

The “Face The Strange” anthology has escaped, including my Prohibition Orcs tale “Woolen Torment.”

I sold this story to this traditionally-published anthology back at the beginning of 2018. It was due to come out this fall, but the publisher cancelled the anthology this spring because of the plague. Thankfully, the editors chose to release it themselves on a royalty share basis. That’s less than ideal, sure, but after waiting so long I’m glad to see it happen.

The important thing about “Woolen Torment” is that every word is absolutely, 100% fact. It is an entirely true story. Other than what I made up, of course.

“Woolen Torment” will be available on its own in a couple months, once the exclusivity period expires. Patronizers will get their copy then.

You can get the ebook of FTS on Amazon, Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble.

On a related note:

My short story Drums with Delusions of Godhood is now available on its own. Originally published in Boundary Shock Quarterly: Apocalypse Descending, it’s full of euchre and Front Line Assembly and genetic engineering for supremacy in Dungeons & Dragons. Plus, loss of innocence and the meaning of life and all that serious stuff.

“git sync murder” status

TLDR: git sync murder will be out this year.

Slightly longer: it won’t be early this year.

In February I started writing git sync murder, a sequel to git commit murder. I’ve run at this book before, but the world put a 22-centimeter cyst on my thyroid to stop me. This time, it’s pulled out a pandemic.

The book is going slow right now. The git murder books, like all cozy mysteries, are about community. Our communities are going through the Cuisinart right now. My two primary community gatherings, Penguicon and BSDCan, have both been virtualized. I might discard the story I have and write about murder over YouTube and Zoom, but that’s not the direction I want to go right now.

As a bonus my wife is a nurse practitioner. I hear all sorts of inside information about how the pandemic is doing, and its impact on health care workers. The pandemic is doing just fine, thank you very much. The health care workers, not so much. Anything I write now will be extremely dark.

One of three things will happen (plus infinite variations on and gradiations between them, of course).

  • The pandemic will pass. Life will establish a new, sociable normal. All manner of things will be well.
  • The pandemic will hang around for a couple years, but we will fairly soon establish a new normal to cope with it.
  • Civilization collapses.

In two of these scenarios, things stabilize in a few months and I write the book. In the third, I’m grateful that I have all of my books printed on soft, absorbent paper.

I’m therefore focusing my attention on TLS Mastery and a different novel. Not saying what that novel is, because it might implode, but I’ll give the curious an extremely feeble hint. (If you figure it out: good for you! Now hush.)

New “Prohibition Orcs” today

People ask me why there haven’t been any more Prohibition Orcs tales.

They exist, but you haven’t seen them. Traditional publishers have bought them. And traditional publishers are sloooow. They pay, though, and they get me exposure. (How do you know getting paid in exposure is real? Authentic exposure comes with a paycheck. Anything else is a knock-off.)

But today witnesses the escape of a new Prohibition Orcs story.

I’m this issue’s guest author on Uncollected Anthology.

You can pick up the entire anthology, or grab just my story. But really: less than five bucks? Get the whole thing.

This story will come out in print on October 1st 2020. For those of you collecting in print, it’ll be branded like the other print titles. The ebook version is branded like an Uncollected Anthology project.

And no, this is not an April Fool’s joke. April Fool’s has been cancelled this year.

Sponsoring a “git commit murder” sequel

With my travels over the next couple of months, I’m not getting much done on my next tech book. I haven’t even definitively chosen what’s next; writing SNMP Mastery burned out a few critical nonfiction brain cells, and who knows when I’ll find fresh replacements at Dollar General. (I shoulda sprung for an IKEA brain.)

So I’m writing a sequel to git commit murder.

After some highly informal and scientifically bogus polling, I’ve decided to offer sponsorships on this book.

The first time I tried a sponsorship for a nonfiction book, I thought it was a daft idea. It worked. I’m still shocked, but it seems that the financial bucket I call “Give Lucas Money For No Good Reason” is now a substantial part of my income.

I think sponsoring a novel is a daft idea. It’ll probably be pointless. But what the heck, it’s no more absurcd than writing a book about the Standard Unix Text Editor.

If you are so inclined, you can sponsor git sync murder in print or ebook.

My stretch goal is to have this book ready for Penguicon 2020. If that fails, it’ll be a month or two after. I know what the book is; all I need to do is sit down like a proper pulp author and type the blasted thing out.

The MWL 2020 Asia Tour

Yep, I’m a big star now, touring Asia and everything! Sort of. Two countries. Two cities. The world’s most minimal tour. I’m a big star, in a really really tiny universe.

19-22 March 2020, I’ll be at AsiaBSDCon. I’m presenting a four hour tutorial on FreeBSD jails, as well as attending the conference.

The fine folks at HasGeek are sponsoring me on an accompanying trip to Bangalore, India, for three events. (Cool fact of the day: they’re not conferences in India, they’re events, because a “conference” apparently involves the Indian government and this isn’t a government thing.)

25 March, I’m offering a public lecture on Where is the Sysadmin Today at Juspay’s offices. I have rants thoughts. Oh, do I have rants thoughts.

27 March, I’m attending Netconf. This is an Unconference (Unevent?), so the program won’t be set until it starts. I’ll be proposing my new SNMP talk. I could also give any talk I’ve given before. If you’re attending and want me to give a specific talk, please comment or use the contact form to ask me to submit it.

28 March, I’m doing a reading of git commit murder at Champaca Bookstore, as well as a Q&A with Swapneel Patneka and anyone else who opens their mouth.

Why do this trip, when I loathe travel? Over the last twenty years, I’ve promised several folks that I would one day attend AsiaBSDCon. I keep my promises. I’m looking forward to being there, but not to getting there. The Bangalore trip is serendipitous. Presenting technology is how I built my career. Bangalore is a technology center and obviously a place I should present in. HasGeek asked if I would be interested, I said “if you could put an event by AsiaBSDCon,” and those folks actually went and did it. I’m simultaneously amazed and honored that they’ve gone to such trouble.

Plus, HasGeek opened discussions by promising gelato. They did their research.

I’ll have a couple free days in each place, yes, and I’ll take advantage of them. I’d rather like to attend a few classes at the Hombu Dojo, but… Fly across the world, teach crowds of strangers to whom English is a second language, talk to folks about areas I’m an expert in? Sure. Set foot on Ueshiba’s tatami? I’ve only practiced martial arts for eighteen years, there’s absolutely no way I’m worthy.

And India’s history is thousands of years deep, plus there’s elephants and tigers and… and… everything. I can’t decide what to see.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m cutting down my traveling. This trip will cost me at least a week of writing time before the trip, and probably two weeks of writing time afterwards as I recover. It’s at least a month of proper writing, all told, and probably more. I can’t authoritatively say that this is my final trip to Asia, no matter what. I can say that I’m not planning to travel so far again. If you’re on that side of the world and want to meet me, this is your best opportunity.

I will do Penguicon and BSDCan in 2020, but otherwise, I’ll be home making words.

A different sort of interview, on tabletop RPGs

Obscure MWL historical trivia: I got my start writing tabletop role playing games. It seems they have greater staying power than I ever thought they would.

The Plus Or Minus podcast interviewed me about my TTRPG Gatecrasher, which came out in 1995. A good time was had by all.

Also: 1995 was a quarter of a century ago. Not quite half my lifetime. Dang. I’m old. When did that happen?

Hear Me Read Without Leaving Your Chair

Last winter, I sold a story to a Pulphouse Magazine anthology called Snot-Nosed Aliens. Shortly thereafter, I read the entire story at Penguicon 2019. It was caught on video.

Now that Snot-Nosed Aliens is out, I’ve uploaded the video.

I’m told by a parent that this tale is PG-13; comic violence and a couple of “hells,” but no f-bombs or people being eaten alive by their spleens or whatever. So, consider yourself warned.

Patronizers, I’ll have the rights to the story back in a few months and you’ll get your spiffy ebook.

“FreeBSD Mastery: Jails” and a new novella

The paperback, hardcover, and electronic versions of FreeBSD Mastery: Jails are all available at multiple stores. Not all stores–Powell’s and Waterstones, for example, always seems slow to get my new books. But it’s at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and several others. And the reviews seem positive:

The timing for this book release is perfect; coinciding with my exploration of the use of jails within FreeBSD. I’ve yet to read this book, however, the author being Michael Lucas, I trust it will not disappoint.

Haven’t read it, but trusts me? That’s great, and slightly worrisome. I hope I don’t find one day it’s been revised to a single star. In any event, the jails book took longer to write than any other tech book I’ve written. I hope you find it useful.

And then I have a new novella out–Winner Breaks All. And it already has a review:

Do you ever wonder if you’re a psychopath or just really efficient?
Do you think indecision is the worst possible sin?
Do you really dislike when people talk about curing you of what makes you you?

Then this is the book for you.

A fascinating and insightful exploration of “personality disorders” and what can be done about them and what should be done about them packed into a very tightly plotted story of future corporation intrigue.

Although I’ve published this on 1 April, it’s a very real post.