Changes Are Afoot!

Hello hello hello, it’s three posts in 2 days coming out of SheanHQ. This time with 2 big news items!

Big News Item the First

Last week, when I announced I had a second story coming out, I mentioned that my career was taking another turn coming up soon. It’s time to fill you in!

After years of toiling away in molecular biology labs doing bench science, I quit that life two and a half years ago to write full time. Since then, I’ve have some success with my writing. Some publications, some encouraging rejections, public appearances, and a remarkable turn at a prestigious writing workshop. But as I said in that earlier post, the first rule everyone says about writing is don’t quit your day job.

Well, I did quit the day job, but apparently the day job hasn’t quit me. I stumbled across a job opening recently that sounded too good to pass up. And with practically no commute at that. So, I applied for the job, and miracle of miracles, I got it!

So, as of this past week, I am working at a prestigious private scientific research laboratory here on Long Island. I’m not doing bench science (thank goodness!), but I am combining my science background with my passion for writing. And that’s amazing to me. I’m working in the laboratory’s library division as a science writer/science historian/science history researcher. The job’s a bit of a hodge-podge, which is great because it means constant new things and no boredom. And the co-workers so far have been amazing. I’m still getting settled in, but things are feeling great.

But what does this all mean for Matthew Shean, author, you ask? I’m still writing. It’s still my passion, and it’s still what drives me day in and day out. But now it’s been relegated to those times outside of 9a.m. to 5p.m. weekdays. So, my output will be slower. It’s already moving at a snail’s pace, and now it’s likely to me more akin to a snail trying to get through a streak of peanut butter. But forward progress, no matter how slow, is still progress. And I am still writing. That’s the key here. And I’m happy with my choice to go back to a position of external employment.

Big News Item the Second

SheanHQ is moving!

Alas, it remains in Long Island and not nestled on the side of an imposing volcanic rock face on a deserted Pacific island or sheltered among the faceless tracts of evergreens of the Pacific Northwest, obscured by low-lying cloud cover and a persistent, foggy drizzle. No, we remain among the overcrowded LIRR-bound throngs, just this time transposed about 15 miles in an East-Northeast direction

We are, however, moving into a much more fitting lair. A lair with views of geese and a pond. And a writing loft. Not only is SheanHQ moving in the xy direction, but it is also climbing in the z-direction, up from its basement depths to an above ground, above-garage loft. Di and the kidlets will be much less cramped than previously, we’ll have the kitchen we finally deserve, and the kidlets will have access to amazing opportunities in the new school system. All major plusses.

So rejoice, for things are going very well here! Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s getting late on a Sunday night, and I need to be up early in the morning to head to work. So I need to get to bed.

Here I Go…

Matt

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I wasn’t ready for my close-up yet, Mr. Demille!

More news from SheanHQ, nestled firmly in the desolate wiles of Long Island.  This time, I’m a YouTube star*!I come with more news, and this time, I’m a YouTube star*!

*for varying definitions of ‘star.’  Your mileage may vary.  Offer not valid in AK and HI.

This year’s crop of students from Odyssey Writing Workshop feature in a video just released on YouTube discussing the merits of Odyssey, the amazing quality of the workshop, Jeanne Cavelos’ encyclopaedic knowledge, and the strong bond developed between the students.  I get a fair amount of screen time, but I believe my classmates were far more eloquent and I implore you to listen to what they have to say.  Watch the video, below:

I can’t stress enough how pivotal Odyssey has been in my developmental as a writer.  Hands down applying to go was the best decision of my writing career.  I highly recommend that any of you readers who are currently writers, or are considering becoming a genre writers, owe it to yourselves to try to attend.  Or at the very least to take one of Jeanne Cavelos’ online writing courses.  I’m thinking in particular of two of you (*cough* *cough* Jessica and Chris *cough* cough*).

I knew this video was coming, but watching it, what I was not expecting was the flood of overwhelming emotion I was hit with seeing my friends again for the first time since last summer.  Though we keep in touch in various forms of social media, tics and body language, vocal inflections and odd turns of phrase are more powerful than any tweets or status updates.  Everything came flooding back to me in an instant, and I felt thrust back into New Hampshire as if not a day had gone by.  Every one of them put a smile on my face as they came on, one after the other.  These people are a second family to me, and the intensity of Odyssey brought us together in a way I’ve rarely experienced before.I miss my friends, and I can’t wait until I get a chance to see them again in real life.  (Jeremy and Wendy – I am so sorry I wasn’t able to get away to meet up with you two in the city last week!)

So there you have it – high praise for Odyssey from those that know it best, and a little moment in the spotlight for yours truly.  What do you think, can we make this baby go viral?  You should all go watch it, I know I’m about to queue it up again.

Here I Go…

Matt

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Lunacon and another Public Reading

Greetings in Sheanland!

Much to report from SheanHQ today and tomorrow, so expect two or three posts from me this weekend.

First off – I’ll be attending Lunacon 2017 in Tarrytown, NY in two weeks (April 7-9).  I’m not typically much of a con-goer, but the BSFW (Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers, my writing group) is putting forth a concerted effort to maintain a high profile presence at local cons, and being a loyal member I am thrilled to be a part of their efforts.

This will be my first time going to Lunacon, and I am looking forward to it with great excitement.  If for no other reason than as a show of appreciation to the Lunarian Society, who host the con every year, for their generosity in awarding me a scholarship to attend Odyssey Writing Workshop this past summer.

In addition to meeting great new people at the con, and hopefully making some new friends, I am thrilled to announce that I will be doing a reading at the con, along with several other BSFW members.  The schedule is not yet announced, but a little birdie has told me that the BSFW crew will be reading on Friday evening starting at 8.  I’ll pass along more info when I have it.

But wait – there’s more!

I am also excited to announce that I’ll be a panelist on a handful of science-related panels.  It’s my first time paneling, and I’ve wrapped the warm, cozy quilt of Imposter Syndrome tight around my person.  It looks like on one of the panels I’ll be featured squarely in the shadow of con Guest of Honor, science fiction luminary Ben Bova.  This is a man who has written over 100 books, was editor of Analog for something close to 30 years, and has learned, forgotten, relearned, and reforgotten more about science fiction than I could ever dream.  And I’ll be on a panel with him, discussing how science fiction can and does shape the future of society.  No pressure, Matt.

So, if you’re interested, register for the con, come on out to Tarrytown and say ‘Hello!’  Come for the reading, stay for my mortal shame and embarrassment as I insert both of my feet firmly into my speaking organ on several occasions!

Here I Go…

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Another Sale! Salamanders! Door-Amputations!

I’ve been sitting on the details of this news since December 2nd – but I can finally announce that I’ve sold a second story!

The story, coming out next month in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, is titled “Super Action Excite Team Go!”  It’s a heartwarming story about limb regeneration and a boy who might just be having the worst summer ever.  This story is very close to my heart, and my history.

My career has had a long and winding path (with another turn coming up this week – news post to come!)  But in many ways, I was set on my path at 18 months old, when my right pinky finger was partially amputated in a slamming door.

Thanks to some quick thinking and fast driving on the part of my parents, ER doctors were able to reattach the finger.  But the incident never truly left my mind.  Especially growing up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, when ABC’s Six Millions Dollar Man was all the rage.  For years, my mother referred to my bionic finger.

In college, I majored in BioEngineering, thinking that the highest calling in the world would be to design and develop prosthetic limbs that could respond to the brain’s signals, and feed back sensory input as well – true bionic limbs. My days (and many stress-filled nights) were crammed with courses on Materials Strength, Human Physiology, Applied Physics,Biomechanics, and 4 semesters of P-Chem (the horror!).  But that all changed when I took my first college Biology course not given by the School of Engineering, and I saw this image in my textbook:

LimbRegenTimeLapse

It’s a time lapse series of a newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) regenerating limbs.

From that day on, I realized I didn’t want to bother with man-made artificial limbs that could only imitate the body’s natural processes, and that badly.  No, my truest aim was to find out how newts and salamanders went about regenerating their limbs – and why we mammals didn’t – and then bridge the gap.  If I could figure out how to get humans to regenerate lost limbs, then all would be right with the world.

Readers of Here I Go… will no doubt realize that things didn’t quite go according to that plan.  But the passion has never left me, nor the interest in regeneration as a topic. So in hindsight, it was really no surprise to me that one of the first stories I wrote when I turned my primary attention to writing was one where a little boy lost a limb, and went about getting it regenerated.  In many ways, it’s a story I’ve been writing my whole life.  I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide if there’s more of me in Jesse, the boy growing back his arm, or in Dr. Look, the slightly crazy scientist talking about ‘arm seeds’ and ‘super secret special sauce.’  I’m not certain even I know for sure…

I hope you’ll purchase a subscription to InterGalactic Medicine Show, I hope you’ll read my story, and I hope you’ll think of me and enjoy.*

Here I Go,

Matt

*This post would end much more poignantly is I could embed a jpeg of the Polaroid my mother took of the 2 year old me, hand bandaged up to the elbow, standing in the foyer of our New Jersey home.  It would be the perfect capper.  But, alas, I have no scan of the photo and not the faintest idea where the original lies.  So you’ll just have to content yourself with my assurances that I was–truly–very cute.

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Rewriting

Writing is hard. It’s not tarring-a-roof-in-a-Georgia-summer hard, not digging-ditches-and-shifting-concrete hard, but doing it right isn’t exactly easy, either.  But it’s also fun and incredibly rewarding.  There is no better feeling than Having Written.  That’s right, I said no better feeling.  I stand by that.

But Rewriting? Editing?

That’s where an author shows their skill, that’s where the work is. That’s the hard part, where the money is earned. It’s the part that makes me start crying like a little kid lost in a mall. Makes me want to run back to a lab bench saying, “I’ll never leave you again, I didn’t mean it baby.  I’m so sorry, give me another chance.”  Rainin pipettes and Eppendorf tubes are calling, and I know they’d take me back.

But that’s not where I belong.

I’m sitting on half a dozen short stories that I  know have a good core.  They have promise, and with some rewriting, spit and polish, and hard effort, they could be publishable.  One or two might even be great.

But they need that effort, and there’s so much else that easy and near to hand and mindless that I could turn to instead, telling myself that my brain just needs to process it for a while, it needs back-burner time to parallel process as a background application.  And I’ve been turning to that for far too much of the last three months.

I’ve been quiet on here and not writing much since getting back from Odyssey.  There’s a lot of life stuff getting in the way.  No after school care for the kids, a lot of shuttling to music lessons and such. Some health issues.  So I haven’t been putting in the hours.

I have been getting some writing and submitting done, though.  In the last week, I’ve gotten a very sweet personalized rejection from one big name magazine editor, and a rewrite request from a second.

It’s time to shift that balance.  To spend more of my time leaning hard against the grindstone, and less of it warming the bench.

This week is Thanksgiving, and there’s much to do.  But I am making it a point to finish the requested rewrite this week before all the relatives and wife’s co-workers come over.  Mixed in with all the house cleaning and food shopping and cooking, I am going to finish this story and send it back.

And next week?  I am finishing editing another one.  In among the leftovers and feeling bloated and cleaning up from the frollicking, I am going to finish editing another story.  I’ve had the text document open on my desktop -untouched- nonstop for over six weeks.  And next week I am going to finish it.

Hold me to that.  I beg you.  Call me out here, on Facebook, Twitter.  Ask me if I’ve finished and submitted.  If I dither, press me on why.  I’ve got work to do.

Here I Go,

Matt

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My Very First Review!

Greetings!

It’s been quiet here at Here I Go since I had the honor to attend Odyssey – just one post since to announce the publication of my first story.

Today we have another first!  My first review!

Black Gate has posted a review of Lazarus Risen on their website, and they had some very positive things to say about my story:

It’s very rare that I find an anthology where I thought every single story was a winner, but this is one of them. Here are some of my favourites: […] Matthew Shean’s “Sylvia and Larry,” where a woman needs a new body before her husband’s Alzeimers makes it impossible for him to recognize her new self, is vaguely reminiscent of Spider Robinson’s “Antimony” but hits harder, I think.

I can’t say that I’ve read “Antimony” yet, but I’ll take that praise happily!

If you haven’t yet picked up a copy of “Lazarus Risen”, you can grab the Kindle version on Amazon, or the paperback through the Bundoran Press website.

This was welcome news today of all days, as I had just gotten a rejection last night on a story I thought had a real chance at a high profile magazine after a month of consideration.  But that’s the gig, and I am, as I have said before, a guy who takes rejection well.

I’ve got to get busy making sure this is just the first review among many, and not the only one I get.  So, I’m off back to finishing up my works-in-progress and sending that story off to find a home.

Here I Go,

Matt

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Now Available: Lazarus Risen (and me!)

Hello everyone in Shean-land!

I greet you today with momentous news!  If you recall, back in March, I sold my first story.  I’m still giddy about it, some six months later.  And I’m even more excited to tell you that, today, you can read it!

My story, “Sylvia and Larry,” is now available in the Lazarus Risen anthology, just out from Bundoran Press.  Here’s the publisher synopsis:

Dreams of immortality and eternal youth are almost as old as human culture itself. But what would the world look like if everyone could live and be young forever? What would it look like if only some of us had that privilege? Lazarus Risen presents sixteen stories from around the world that explore the economic, political, social and psychological consequences of life extension, human cloning, the hard upload and other forms of the biological singularity.

Stories by Brent Nichols, Sean McMullen, Teri Babcock, Nancy SM Waldman, Brad C. Anderson, Fiona Moore, Felice Picano, Matthew Shean, Matt Moore, Suzanne Church, Peter Wendt, Holly Schofield, Deborah Walker, Kevin Edwin Stadt, Leigh Kimmel, and Andrew Barton

That’s 16 fantastic tales of immortality, brain-to-computer-uploading, life-extension, and brain transplants.  Including one by yours truly.  And there’s some great authors in that list.  Award winners, best sellers, workshop grads, old salts and fresh meat alike.

You can get your hands on a copy* at the publisher’s website, here:

http://www.bundoranpress.com/product/1/Lazarus-Risen

Or, if dead-tree hard copies aren’t your thing, and you like your reading on tablets, then the Amazon Kindle version can be purchased* here:

https://www.amazon.com/Lazarus-Risen-Hayden-Trenholm-ebook/dp/B01M1G4KMG#nav-subnav

And while you’re at it, please feel free to show some support for Bundoran Press in general, and browse their growing list of Science Fiction and Fantasy titles.

And let’s all celebrate and do a happy dance today, shall we?

Here I Go,

Matt

*Please note that all prices are in Canadian dollars

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