New Montague Portal novel: “Drinking Heavy Water”

I’m pleased to announce the next Montague Portal novel, Drinking Heavy Water. Take five hundred breaths and never go home again.

Drinking Heavy Water cover


Aidan Redding’s entire 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.

Available in ebook and paperback, at all the usual suspects. Lots of links at the book entry on my site.

Grab it at any bookstore, including these.

More on Print Orders

A couple notes on the direct print orders I’m offering for the next couple weeks.

For the love of Rat, don’t send money before I give you a quote and confirm your book is still available. First-come first-serve means exactly that.

Here’s how I’m processing orders:

piles of books

Each morning, I get up and read the emails with the subject BOOKS. I collect the books each person wants, put them in the correct size envelope, weigh them, and make a quote with shipping. Each envelope gets a sticky note with the person’s name and the weight.

The next morning, I see who paid. I sign those books and ship those people. Any unpaid books go back on the shelves. One of these envelopes contains my last copy of the Networknomicon, but if it’s not bought someone else can have it.

I then pack & quote new requests.

Last, I check my email for people who have paid since I started.

No, I sit corrected. That’s not last. Last is when I realize that people are buying first edition Absolute BSD or, weirder, first edition Gatecrasher and wonder “what the heck?” But it’s a good bafflement. One I appreciate.

Direct Print Book Sale


I write too dang much. And every time I have a new book out, I grab a few extra copies. An author always has a use for extra copies. He can sell them to avid readers at conferences. He can hand them to reviewers. He can level furniture and clog the plumbing. When a reader asks if I’ll sign a book, I say “catch me at a conference.” It’s all good.

Provided that said author ever leaves the house. Which is not the case for 2020.

Every single one of my 2020 events was cancelled. No AsiaBSDCon, no Penguicon, no BSDCan. I’m all home, all the time. I don’t expect any of these events to take place in 2021, either. Which means that I have extra books. So I’m doing something I swore I would never do. For the next two weeks I’m selling them, direct to readers, by mail order. Yes, I’ll sign them.

No, you can’t order via the web. This sale only runs through 9 December. It’s about getting rid of the books in my house. I’m not restocking; once they’re gone, they’re gone. So I won’t reconfigure my bookstore to handle direct print sales. Undoing such changes would burn up my time and threaten the stability of my site.

Go check the list of books I have on hand. Decide what you want. The numbers give my current inventory of not-yet-paid-for books and the price. If it is not on the list, I do not have it. If the cell is blank, I ran out of it.

Send an email to me at REDACTED, SALE IS OVER with:

  • The titles you want
  • Your shipping address
  • A recipient phone number
  • The subject BOOKS

I will send you a quote for shipping, using whatever goshippo says is cheapest. Assuming you’ve given a phone number, that is. (Cheap shippers all want a recipient phone number, while the pricey USPS doesn’t.)

Pay me. Use the tip jar for credit cards, or my business PayPal accounts at using the same email address you used to get your quote.

If you ask for a quote, I’ll hold the books until the next day. The books are sent first paid, first serve. This means I might need a day or two to get back to you with a quote; if someone asks for a quote but doesn’t pay, it’ll go to the next person.

Yes, it’s possible this could go horribly wrong. I could get flooded with demands for print books. I doubt it. I don’t have that many fans. But I am dedicated to clearing out this crap these magnificent tomes, and will work through everything as quickly as possible.

translationsI even have some extra copies of translations. When you’ve written close to forty books and have been translated into nine languages, and you get two copies of each translation, well… it gets ugly. If anything in here tickles your fancy, drop me a line. Going cheap.

If you’re a completist, there’s some rarities in here. First edition Absolute BSD, Absolute OpenBSD, and Cisco Routers for the Desperate. The PGP book. They’re half off, and I could be talked down further.

If you’re a true hard-core completist, I unearthed a few copies of the Gatecrasher books. Those I can’t be talked down on, mind you, but the fact that they exist at all is nearly a miracle.

I do not anticipate doing this again. I’m not saying I never will, but it’s gonna take me being stuck with extra books and being unable to leave the house. Perhaps during COVID-25 or COVID-33; I’ll have a bunch of new clutter books built up by then.

Temporally Shifting Bundles

A few days ago I wrote about the Big Time Bundle. It was supposed to expire last week.

I’m not saying that the US election broke space and time, forcing us to reset the end date. But the election definitely squeezed all of the air out of the world, and disrupted much of our publicity.

So we reset time.

The Big Time bundle is available for three more days. Ten books, by award-winning authors like Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Robert J Sawyer. And one by yours truly. All DRM-free. Dirt cheap. Part of the proceeds go to the Oregon Food Bank to help folks recover from the wildfires.

I’ve been reading these to take my mind off… well, everything. And they serve that purpose admirably.

In the meantime, I’m back to working on TLS Mastery.

Last-Minute Public Reading, on Halloween

On 31 October 2020, Halloween, I’ll be giving a last-minute online reading at Privacy Week. You’ll get snippets of $ git commit murder and a sneak peek at “TLS Mastery.” We’ll have time for a Q&A afterwards, and then a breakout session for those who for some reason want yet more time with me.

This is a last minute event; I’m filling in for someone who cannot make it. The time isn’t yet set, but it’ll be either 15:30 or 16:30 EDT. I’ll find out tomorrow. It will also appear on the Privacy Week schedule. I’ll also have streaming links tomorrow. I’ll update this post with those links, rather than spam y’all with yet another post.

This is a free event.

The main part of the talk will be recorded and publicly available, once the volunteers finish it. The breakout session will not.


Talk is at 20:30 Berlin time, or 3:30PM EDT.

Streaming link is at

See you there!

Patreon Reorganization, January 2021

When I set up my Patreon, I had no idea how well it would work–or not. My life in information technology has me paranoid, though, so I set up my Patreon through a paranoid lens.

Patreon worked better than I feared. It’s exceeded what I hoped for. Not my wildest dreams, mind you. (My wildest dreams are not financial, mind you, so they’re irrelevant–but still.)

I am therefore changing my Patreon to be more generous.

Creators of greater Patreon savvy than myself were unanimous in telling me to give advance warning of any changes, even if they’re for the Patronizer’s benefit, so I’m making these changes effective January 2021. (They also tell me to stop calling my Patronizers “Patronizers,” but that would make you suspect someone else had taken over this account, so I’m ignoring that advice.)

The $1 level will become “See the Sausage Being Made” (down from $5). You’ll get the monthly post on my progress with current projects, plus the Unix fortune file and a short story.

The $5 level will become “Digital Reader” (previously $10). When I release something that I retain digital rights to, you’ll get a copy. Generally, that means any new pieces published by Tilted Windmill Press, fiction or non. I do not retain the digital rights for No Starch books like “Absolute OpenBSD,” nor do I have ebook rights to third party fiction anthologies like “Face the Strange” or the new “Bloody Christmas.” (Anthology stories get published separately once I get the rights back, usually within a few months of the anthology publication.)

At times I must republish old titles, usually because an ebookstore has done something horrific and I must touch all of the books, but sometimes for omnibus or collections. Such backlist titles are not included.

At $10 and above, I’ll have a new benefit: Monthly Video Chat.

You’ll get a pass to a monthly Patronizer-only live AMA session with yours truly. I’m starting this with Zoom first, as I’m already stuck using it for other meetings and it has a cross-platform web client that works on both OpenBSD and FreeBSD.
If only a couple folks show, I’ll hang around for not less than half an hour. I’ll go at least an hour if we get more folks.
Meets will be scheduled in advance, at different times of the week and different times of day, so Patronizers will get a share of time slots no matter where they live or their work hours.

While this is an “ask me anything” sort of thing, I do retain the right to not answer questions that are a) too personal, or b) would spoil the surprise.

I have no idea what will happen with the video chat, but I’ll commit to working through any issues for twelve meetings, barring personal debacle or US civil war or such. Even if the remaining half of my thyroid implodes, I should be able to sit on video chat.

The technology might be changed. If it’s wildly successful, I might need to add a moderator. If nobody shows up, or it turns into a time sink that interferes with my writing, I’ll stop it.

$20 and greater levels remain unchanged.

As it’s almost Halloween, I’d like to close by reminding you that the $250/month “What is Wrong with You???” level, which has a variety of benefits but includes me introducing you Cryptkeeper-style, is available.

A Very MWL Christmas

As if writing about TLS, filesystems, and apocalypse wasn’t bad enough, I also write Christmas stories. And sell them. To publishers.

Last year the WMG Holiday Spectacular sent subscribers a Christmas story every day for a month. It was a fictional Advent calendar. It included my Beaks short story, Sister Silence Night. It’s unquestionably a Christmas story. It couldn’t happen any other time of the year. And it’s also a Beaks story, so bring bandages.

This had two aftereffects.

One, the stories from the Spectacular have been collected in three anthologies: Bloody Christmas, Joyous Christmas, and Winter Holidays. They’re full of great stories, and I’m proud to be among them. I’ll let you guess which one has my Beaks story.

Two, the 2019 Spectacular was successful enough that they’re doing it again. And it’ll include Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Halloween! If you don’t feel like backing it as a Kickstarter, you can subscribe and get the stories mailed to you over the holidays. I have not one but two Christmas stories in here.

If you want more Christmas from me, here’s how you get it.

Or you can wait until late 2021 and get the collected anthologies. Like you can for Sister Silence Night right now.

Or, you could wait until I publish the stories standalone. Which will happen… later. Whenever I get around to it.

Patience is hard. And I know folks who make a living by standing beneath ladders and breaking mirrors that have better luck than 2020. Bring yourself a little joy. Buy last year’s collection and back this year’s.

Oh, and the Prohibition Orcs tale that was in the Face The Strange? Woolen Torment is now available standalone, for a buck. Because it’s short.

Lots of fiction news lately, because that’s how trad publishing works: everything backed up, and now it’s breaking through and spilling out everywhere. Not to worry, I’m still cranking on TLS Mastery. Well, cranking as hard as 2020 permits. I desperately want a complete first draft as my Christmas present…

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.

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.

Book Sale

(Update: sale is over. Leaving the blog post up for posterity.)

For those interested in such things, I recently posted my 60,000th tweet. This prodded me to try an experiment I’ve been pondering for a while.

Over at my ebookstore, two of my books are now on a “Name Your Own Price” sale. You can get git commit murder and PAM Mastery for any price you wish, with a minimum of $1.

Regular readers of this blog are theoretically already aware that these books exist, and have bought them if they’re so inclined. If you could help spread the word to potential new readers, though, I would appreciate it.