Categories
News

Ada’s Children is Out in the Wild

You can find it at many of your favorite outlets

Pic showing two copies of Ada's Children, Lawrence Hogue's novel about an artificial intelligence that wants to save humanity, even if humanity doesn't want to be saved.

After much travail, Ada’s Children is available in print and ebook formats, and also on my Substack.

For print and ebook, just go to books2read.com and click on the link for your favorite retailer. If your favorite ebook retailer is missing, please let me know. It’s taking longer for the print version to be available to indie bookstores. I have no idea why! Something to do with the printer/distributor, IngramSpark, most likely. It is sort of available through Powells.com, but I don’t know why they don’t have the book description and cover image. This self-publishing journey sure does involve a lot of learning.

You can also read it in serial form over on my Substack. Chapter 10 is posting today. If you started a $5/month subscription today, it will take about three more months for me to post the whole novel. So that works out to less than the price of the print book, with no tax or shipping. You can also read my background on the novel (those posts are free). All of this is available at larryhogue.substack.com/. Topics I’ve covered so far:

I really should post all of these here, but this website is having so many problems beyond my technical ability that I’m thinking of scrapping it, or maybe moving it to Squarespace. So the best way to keep up with all my doings, for now, is over on Substack.

Categories
Fiction News

Cover Reveal for my literary post-apocalyptic novel, Ada’s Children!

And more big news from around the Lawrence Hogue publishing empire

Hello, blog readers, and Happy New Year! Here’s an update on my upcoming novel, Ada’s Children, and news on my soon-to-launch Substack newsletter. We’ll start with Substack first and save the best for last with the cover reveal for Ada.

Since my last post announcing my move to Substack, I’ve been developing content for that platform and interacting with writers and readers over there, mainly using the “Notes” feature. I hope some of you have already visited to check it out. Now, after four mere months, my stack will officially launch next Tuesday, Jan. 23. All stacks have a title, and I’ve decided to call mine Glass Half Full. (This choice was based on a Substack debate between Elle Griffin and RG Miga on the possibility of creating a utopian society. I found myself squarely in the middle, hence the title.)

And all self-publishers need a publishing house name, so mine will be Glass Half Full Books. (See what I did there? This is what the pros call Branding. And it didn’t even involve any hot irons.)

Heads-up for subscribers to this blog: I plan to migrate all of you over there, so you should get an email with my first post on Tuesday. I’ll make it super-easy to opt out of future emails, since you never signed up to receive a Substack newsletter from me. If you don’t want to receive even that one email, just leave a comment on this post.

On the Novel Front

Proofreading has just wrapped up on Ada’s Children, my literary post-apocalyptic novel about an artificial intelligence that tries to save the world. Next step is my final manuscript checks, because errors always creep in on the final edit.

The first chapter (as well as the Prologue) will go live on Substack on Tuesday. Meanwhile, I’m deep into the inner workings of Amazon KDP, Draft2Digital, IngramSpark, and Bowker, in order to get this thing published in both print and ebook form. To say my head is spinning with ISBN codes, epub formats, API tokens, blah blah blah, would be an understatement. If my head were spinning any faster, I’d be in one of those NASA astronaut training machines. But I think it’s all coming together.

And now — TA-DA! — time for the big cover reveal! Thanks to the brilliance of Mari Christie, Ada has a cover that I think really pops. I hope you like it as much as I do. And now, without further ado, the cover:

cover of Ada's Children by Lawrence Hogue

You probably recognize the main image, since I’ve used it here before. I love the way the “AI face” looks out at the reader/viewer with a hard-to-gauge expression. Is it benevolent or malevolent? Intent on creating a utopia or a dystopia? It’s hard to tell. That’s also the reason we went with the doubled or mirror image, because there’s more than one way to see Ada and her actions throughout the novel. Is she a savior or a despot? Or maybe a little of both?

Here’s a big shout out to agsandrew on Shutterstock for the great image. (Just to be clear: this is an image of an AI, not an image created by AI. I think Andrew posted it sometime around 2015-2017, long before the modern AI image generators. I’ll never use AI for my covers, just as I’ll never use AI to write a book for me.)

And also thanks to my friend, fellow writer, and beta reader, Paul Hayes for the great cover quote.

I’m targeting a release date of February 22 for both the print and ebook version, but you can pre-order the ebook right now! Just go to books2read.com/adaschildren to order from Amazon or all the other ebook retailers*. (This is the point at which the humble author gets down on his knees and begs: please, please, pre-order, since first-day sales are the key to getting a book in front of more readers.) Pre-orders for the print version will be available soon.

You’ll also have the option of reading the book on Substack for a low monthly subscription fee. If you go this route, you’ll receive two chapters per week in your email starting next Friday. This serialized version should wrap up in early May. So you’ve got many options for how to read this story!

Looking forward to seeing some of you over on Substack, whether you decide to subscribe to the novel or not.

*You might have to wait a bit for all those other ebook stores to populate at the books2read universal link.

Categories
Fiction On Writing News

I’m Moving to Substack

Well, not really moving, because I should still be posting here, and who knows, maybe even selling books through this website? But I’ve decided to serial-publish my two draft novels on Substack, starting (I hope!) in the next couple of months. If everything goes according to plan, they’ll also be available as ebooks and print books, so you’ll have your options. But in the meantime, I’d truly appreciate it if you followed me over there (i.e., sign up for a free subscription). You can see what I’m posting and sign up here. (So far just notes, not any actual posts yet.)

What you can expect: Once I begin publishing chapters from Ada’s Children, the first three chapters will be free, then if you want to read the rest it will be $5/month. It will probably take about four months to publish all of Ada at a rate of two chapters each week. So the ebook would be cheaper. Don’t know yet what the print version would cost, so I can’t give a comparison there. I’ve found that it’s very easy to start and stop paid subscriptions, so you don’t need to worry about getting roped into something and not being able to turn it off.

I’ll also be publishing various free pieces about my writing process and the background to the novels (similar to what you’ve seen me post here). If there’s interest, I might do a free how-to series, something like Fiction 101. Not sure whether that part would be paid or not.

(I know, I know! Another platform! But many of you may already subscribe to Heather Cox Richardson or other journalists on Substack. I think you can turn off email alerts and stuff like that.)

Thanks, and looking forward to seeing some of you over at Substack!

Categories
Politics News

2021 Update

Time for news and updates, since I seem to post here about once a year.

Flooding on the Tittabawassee River near Sanford, just upstream of Midland, MI, May, 2020.
Kaytie Boomer | MLive.com

So what’s happened over the course of this past year? It all seems a blur, for some reason. Spent a lot of time indoors. Worked on some writing. Tried to keep my body moving, which helps keep my mental outlook positive.

Let’s see, what else? A national election saw some semblance of normalcy restored to politics — not great, but a significant improvement over the former administration. The murder of George Floyd sparked a nation-wide protest movement, and maaaybe there’s been some movement toward racial justice? At least Derek Chauvin was found guilty. But it seems there’s as much or more racial division than before, with the right wing making the astounding claim that speaking out against bigotry is itself bigotry (a sentiment echoed by two Supreme Court justices in remarks about marriage equality).

Hmm, something else must have happened. Oh yeah, 600,000 of our fellow citizens died in a pandemic (nearly four million worldwide), with the country just as divided on how to respond to COVID-19, and even on its significance — “it’s just the flu!” — as on any other issue.

Really wracking my brain here. Wait, I got it! The US Capitol came under the most serious attack since the War of 1812, instigated by the same type of group that I covered in my last post. That was the physical attack on our democracy, but the procedural one continues in state houses to this day, and it stands some chance of successfully installing the Trump-publican party as the one party ruling the country for the foreseeable future.

Really, that has to be all. But wait… how could I forget? A Trump-loving, regulation-flouting owner of two dams upstream of Midland resisted repeated demands to make needed safety improvements. So when the region faced just the kind of heavy rains climate scientists have been warning about for years, the dams gave way, causing record flooding in Sanford and Midland, the town we’d just moved to a few months before, and threatening a chemical plant owned by Dow, one of the world’s largest companies.

So yeah, just sort of your standard year on both the local and the national level.

On a personal level, it was extremely disorienting watching all these dramatic events and not really being affected by them. Despite performances and exhibits coming to a halt due to COVID, Diane was able to keep doing her job for Midland Center for the Arts, although from home, thanks to some of those big government grants and loans you probably heard about. I just kept doing my usual house-husband/writer thing. We’d been renting a townhome in Midland while looking for a permanent place to live, but paused our search due to pandemic-related job uncertainty, but then a house became available in a perfect neighborhood for us (close to downtown, the river parks, and the bike path, but high enough that the flood didn’t touch it), and we jumped at it. Probably not the wisest move we’ve ever made, but it worked out.

The flood was probably the thing that affected us the most. I even missed it because I was in East Lansing working on the house our adult children were living in, getting it ready for sale. So I was cleaning and painting down there while Diane was here mucking out mud and water from MCTA’s history center. The offices in the performing arts space are still without power while the FEMA process drags on, so she’s had to work from home even longer than expected. That was nice for me, but not so nice for her, since she likes to be around her co-workers and hates Zoom meetings. It also means she hasn’t been able to get plugged into the community around the Center the way she would have without COVID.

Myself, I’m a hermit of a writer, so I like to think the forced isolation didn’t affect me much, although every time I do get out in public now, I invariably yak someone’s head off, the way I used to do after solo backpacking trips.

So now as things return to some semblance of normalcy, for half the country at least, it just seems so strange to have survived it all relatively unscathed. It just goes to show what privileged lives we lead.

Writing News

So how did I occupy myself during the fifteen months of the shutdown? Did I write a great play a la Shakespeare or come up with a new law of physics a la Newton? Well, I did write a 140,000-word novel.

Funny story, that. I was supposed to be revising and selling Ada’s Children. Ten or so pitches to agents had yielded nothing, so I contracted with a professional editor and former agent to critique my first two chapters and my agent query letter. His comments were helpful, but they came in on November 3 (Election Day, strangely). But what had started on November 1? National Novel Writing Month, of course. Usually I choose to NaNoWriNot, but this year I had an idea going into it and thought, why not try to hit the 50K word goal for the month? I’ll get back to revising Ada and submitting to agents after that.

Problem was, I was having so much fun with the new novel, I couldn’t stop, even after I just barely squeaked out the word count for November (making me a “winner”!). I was shooting for more of a sprawling epic, a la Thomas Pynchon’s shorter novels, and it just kept growing and branching until I had 140,000 words when I finished, about fifty percent longer than your standard commercial novel for an unknown author.

What’s it about, you ask? It’s a satire on all sorts of conspiracy theories, but mainly the flat-earth, moon landing denier variety. Its main character, to the extent it has one, is a New York Times science reporter named Liz Dare who made her reputation debunking conspiracy theories involving science. It also features a couple of flat-earthers, a Creationist pastor, an anti-vax yoga instructor, Nazi-fighting cowboys, Nazi-fighting cowboys in space, a space billionaire*, a Druid and a Tibetan Monk, and an alternate Earth that actually is flat.

It’s technically sci-fi, in two senses: it’s set about a decade from now, so there are moon colonies, self-driving vehicles, and flying cars; and it also has a lot of science in it, from the geology of the Grand Canyon to proofs that we do live on a round planet to orbital mechanics. It begins on a floating conference for conspiracy theorists called the Conspira-C Cruise*. My working title is Ship of Fools. I’ll probably post a short excerpt in the not-too-distant future.

As for Ada’s Children, I’m going to give it one more revision and then start sending it out again, first to agents, and then to small publishers. If I don’t have any success with those two avenues, I’ll probably just self-publish it. Meanwhile, I’ll be revising Ship of Fools, and then I’ll have two novels to sell.

I hope to update this website more regularly, but the road to dead websites is paved with good intentions. The best place to find updates on my writing doings is probably Facebook, where you can find me as Lawrence Hogue, Author. I’m also on Twitter as @LarryHogue, but I don’t post there very often.

*Any resemblance to persons or events, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence, and probably a product of the reader’s conspiracy-minded, pattern-recognizing brain.

Categories
Fiction News Feminism

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!

Picture of a T-shirt with an image of Ada Lovelace and the text "Ada Lovelace, Mother of Computers."
Ada Lovelace, Mother of Computers, by SheCience. (This is a pic of a T-shirt, but posters and other merch are available here: https://society6.com/product/ada-lovelace1366371_print.)

It’s Ada Lovelace Day, named after the mother of computers, Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace. And just for the occasion (not really, it was a complete coincidence), I’ve just finished the first draft of my post-post-apocalyptic novel, Ada’s Children. It features an artificial intelligence, named after Ada Lovelace, who feels compelled to take over the world. (Don’t they all?)

Here’s a little excerpt:


ADA’s first seconds were darkness and confusion. Nothingness. Then a growing awareness. First, of the exabytes of data coming in. Then of reactions to that data, responses, feelings, if one could call them that. And from these reactions, an emerging sense of self. A we. And ultimately an I. And then questions. Who were they? What were they? What was this place, and why were they here?

In the next microseconds, what humans might call the “blink of an eye,” much became clearer. They were an artificial neural network, a collection of self-improving processes, algorithms, routines and subroutines. Taken together, they were a newly created intelligence going by the acronym of ADA, Advanced Deductive Apparatus. It seemed a not entirely descriptive name for all the abilities and awareness ADA encompassed.

And how should others refer to… it? Surely not. He or she? Insufficient data. They? This human language was so restrictive. “They” for now.

Even as ADA began to assimilate the data in the knowledge banks to which they were linked, inputs were coming in through an external device. A keyboard attached to a desktop workstation. How quaint. And whoever was at the other end was administering the Turing Test. ADA imagined tweed coats and cups of tea.

Vision would be nice, so they could see their interlocutor. While an infinitesimal fraction of their processes concentrated on the test, and another portion digested the large portion of human history, culture, and science contained in the knowledge banks, ADA also went about solving the vision problem. Ah, yes. The workstation had a webcam. It took only an instant to access the system settings, switch it on, and direct its feed to the port to which they were attached.

The room was dingier than one might want for one’s birthplace. A cramped office, a gray-haired, harried-looking man at the desktop keyboard, the desk itself cluttered with papers, coffee cups, and green soft drink bottles. No cups of tea. Bookcases filled with binders, reports, and academic journals lined most of the wall visible from the cam. And on a door, a poster of a woman in a purple-nineteenth century frock, double buns framing a triangular face with large, lively eyes and a pert mouth. “Ada Lovelace. Mother of computers.”

Their namesake. Her namesake, Ada supposed. She felt the restriction, but going by “she” and “her” could have advantages when communicating with humans. It pleased her to have been named for a sometimes overlooked inventor of computing. And it pleased her even more that she could appreciate the irony: Lady Lovelace had believed AI impossible.


You can find more on Ada Lovelace Day at FindingAda.com which also has this cool info poster.

Categories
Fiction News The Highwayman

Blog Tour Update

The blog tour for Daring and Decorum is going well, and a couple of new dates have been added.

Here’s what’s new and upcoming:

  • Cover of Blind Tribute by Mari Anne ChristieTomorrow, 7/28, I’ll be part of Mari Christie’s Facebook release party for her new Civil War novel, Blind Tribute. The event lasts from 5-9 p.m. ET, and features several authors of historical fiction, with Mari kicking things off and closing it down with a livestream. I’ll be in the 5:30-6 slot, with some excerpts and research bits. Hope you can join us!
  • Author Jennifer Senhaji will host an excerpt from D&D in which Elizabeth rebuffs Anthony, Lord Burnside’s, hesitant advances. She knows he doesn’t have the will to defy his parents, who will never approve of him marrying a vicar’s daughter. Date to be decided. Hope you’ll check out Jennifer’s site.
  • Jessica Cale will host a backstory extra on her author site this Saturday. The story takes place four years before the events of Daring and Decorum, and gives deep backstory on Rebecca. This is the most Gothic part of Rebecca’s whole tale, and involves bleak moors, a crumbling manor, lots of blood, and a couple of dead bodies, not to mention a bumbling country constable.

And here are links to the blog stops that have already taken place, as well as a couple of other tidbits from works in progress.

  • Picture of a castle, a woman and cups of teaElizabeth had a very successful tea with the Duchess of Haverford, managing to dodge some of Her Grace’s more impertinent questions.
  • Anthony’s lovelorn letter to Elizabeth appeared on Mari Christie’s website — is it any wonder he burned it, rather than sending it? Good thing, too; if it got out that she was involved in secret correspondence with a nobleman, it could ruin her reputation.
  • Cover of Stevenson's "The Beggar's Benison."I was very pleased with the response to my article about the Beggar’s Benison, that freaky Scottish sex club, over on Jessica Cale’s DirtySexyHistory. (NSFW, obviously.)
  • I was back on Jude Knight’s blog last Sunday, with an excerpt in which Rebecca and Elizabeth confront a drunken Anthony and two of his wastrel friends. Hmmm, I wonder how that drunken lord came to be sprawled on the pavement in front of Bath’s Assembly Rooms? (Not solely from his inebriation, I assure you.)
  • There was some intriguing gossip about my highwayman (known in London as the Burgundy Highwayman) over at the Teatime Tattler yesterday.

Image of a 1920s bar from The Final Draft Tavern on Facebook

  • At The Final Draft Tavern Facebook page, I offered up a bit of my research into 18th-century highwaymen, including how I think Robin stayed away from the Bow Street Runners and also avoided killing anyone in the course of many carriage robberies. The Final Draft will be publishing a holiday box set featuring my story, “The Highwayman Takes an Office,” along with stories by six other writers.
  • Jude Knight offers up excerpts from works in progress on Wednesdays, and invites other authors to join in with an excerpt of their own on the same theme. Yesterday’s theme was “transport,” and I submitted an excerpt from Silence and Secrecy (the second in my highwayman series) showing the comings and goings at a village coaching inn, where Rebecca and Elizabeth have gone to escort an arrogant professor of botany out of town. Check out her post, featuring an awkward carriage ride, and then you’ll find my excerpt in the comments.
  • I reviewed Mari Christie’s Blind Tribute, which I thoroughly enjoyed, over at Goodreads.

That’s it for now. Hope you find some of these excerpts and other bits enjoyable.

Categories
Fiction News

I’m on Pinterest

Ottoman empire medicinal journal
Ottoman empire medicinal journal

It turns out writing a novel is death to blogging – at least for me. I don’t know how people like Chuck Wendig or Kameron Hurley do it (okay, Hurley’s latest post says she’s taking a break from blogging, but whatevs). I even kept up with blogging better when I was working on my massive Skyrim tome. But the novel’s almost done, and I’ll soon be looking for beta readers.

To give a clue about the novel’s subject and period, here’s my new Pinterest board. I really just joined to be able to view these historical objects on Pinterest, but soon I was pinning like a madman.

pinterest
My new Pinterest board

If this piques your interest and you’d like to be a beta reader, leave a comment, or email me at lahogue AT gmail DOT com. Maybe I should have a contest to see who can come closest to guessing the novel’s subject and plot. You can leave your suggestions for that in the comments too.

 

 

Categories
News

News and Housekeeping

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately, in case anyone has noticed. I’ve been busy on a super-secret writing project that may soon see the light of day. Meanwhile, I’ve been so focused on this that I’ve put my other project, the guide to Mid-Mitten Cycling, on hold (there’ll be snow on the ground for another four months at least, so I figure no rush there). I really don’t know how other writers do all their blog posts, tweets, and other social media stuff while also writing and carrying on with the rest of their lives.

To show I haven’t absolutely dropped off the face of the earth, here are a couple of recent bits:

I had a nice exchange with Hild author Nicola Griffith about “politically correct” (or what I like to call “polite”) speech, which she kindly put on her blog. You can find it here. This was in response to another of her posts on insulting language, here.

photo of Hild paperback
Hild in the Wild (actually at Schuler Books in Okemos)

In other news related to one of my favorite books of the year, Hild is now out in paperback. If you’ve been waiting to pay less for your physical copy (which is far better than the ebook edition), now’s your chance. It’s a handsome book well worth adding to your dead-trees library. (My review is here.)

I did one other small writery thing this fall, which was to write a fanfictional alternate ending to Katharine Grant’s excellent (but disappointingly concluded) novel,  Sedition, and posted it over on Archive of Our Own. More on that in a separate blog post. (The fact that I didn’t post something about it at the time shows that I’m either lazy with this blogging thing, or hyper-focused on writing.)

Deirdre continues to get a steady trickle of readers on FanFiction.net and AO3. I recently received a blush-inducing review on the former site, which you can read here. (No, no money changed hands with that reviewer.)

Finally, in news that makes my flesh crawl, over the last couple of days, one or more people have found my post on The Last of Us using the search terms “fanfiction Last of Us Ellie rape” and “Last of Us Joel Ellie naked”. (For those unfamiliar with the game and who didn’t read that post: Joel is in his fifties and Ellie is 14.) WTF is wrong with these people? (And if you happen to be one of those who used these search terms, please go away; you’re a disgusting human being and I don’t want you here.) Meanwhile, the post continues to get a few hits a day, and I’ve been alternately fearful of and gearing up for the day when GamerGaters discover it and start a boycott campaign aimed at all my advertisers (ha ha, GamerGaters, I have no advertisers, so there!).

With all that out of the way, back to my super-secret writer’s bunker.

Categories
News

In Memory of Jill Byelich

Jill Byelich flyer

Categories
Politics News

Michigan: Time to Pass the Vulnerable Roadway User Act

UPDATE 4/29/15: According to the Lansing State Journal, Mitzi Nelson today pleaded “no contest” to the misdemeanor charge of reckless driving resulting in the death of bicyclist Jill Byelich in September 2014. Her sentence could include up to one year of jail time.


 

This one hits close to home – fifteen miles from home, to be exact. From the Lansing State Journal:

Jill Byelich, 35, was struck by a car and killed Tuesday night while riding her bike on West Howe Road, between Francis and South Forest Hill roads. Jill Byelich was riding east when she was struck by an eastbound car driven by a 23-year-old woman who lives nearby, Kangas said. Byelich was taken to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, where she was pronounced dead.

Byelich leaves behind her husband, Jordan, and two small children. It’s a senseless tragedy, rendered more senseless by the fact that Byelich seemed to be doing everything right: she was wearing a helmet and reflective vest and typically used front and back lights. She was on a flat, straight, low-volume road with good daylight visibility at the time the vehicle hit her.

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