What if you were a famous scientist and had studied astronomy and ancient culture for years? What if the one time period that drove your career was December, 2012? And worse, what if on December 14, your only daughter disappeared into the past in the Mayan jungle?
What do an ancient shaman, a modern-day scientist, a computer nerd in dreadlocks, and an eleven-year-old girl have in common? Join these adventurers as they traverse the Yucatan peninsula – and time itself – in a search for the meaning of life. Oh, and for jaguars.
I’m very pleased that Mayan December is now available in at Audible.com. I like the narrator, too. I’m only through about a chapter, but she sounds really good and easy to listen to, like a nice match of voice to book.
The release tickles me. Mayan December is one of my favorite books, and it’s set in the Yucatan Peninsula, which is a favorite place of mine. It’s also set right now – in December, 2012. And no, it’s not about the end of the world. It is about magic and mystery, about family and fear, and a bit about a jaguar.
Partly historical fantasy and partly contemporary family fiction, it is different than my usual science fiction. But sometimes a girl needs to play in new sandboxes….
Well, it’s December 2012. If you order Mayan December this week, you should have it in time to start reading along with the days as they count down to the end of the Mayan calendar. A few of my friends are planning to do this, and I’m hoping it might be fun.
It’s NOT like the movie. The entire world does not blow up in any spectacular way.
But if you like a little Mayan magic, a little mystery, and a little time travel, consider going for it.
Either way, have a fun December 2012.
NOTE for those who have loved The Creative Fire. They are not very similar. I love both books. The Creative Fire is all science fiction, and Mayan December is all about the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula and about possibilities and a strange friendship.
The lovely art is by Scott Grimando.
I’m right in the middle of the release activity for The Creative Fire, but I also noticed that it’s getting to be late in 2012. This is a great time to read Mayan December, which tracks the world from December 10th through December 21st 2012. It’s available from Prime Books (Sean Wallace) and from the usual other online venues. Mayan December is set in one of the most beautiful places in the world (the Yucatan Peninsula), and it was one of the most fun books I’ve ever written. It’s not my usual SF…there was a dinner discussion last night where we were trying to decide if it was historical fantasy, contemporary soft adventure/romance, or time travel. We decided on time travel.
If you’ve read it, or you do read it, let me know if you think time travel is the right answer!
Friday August 31st: (Updated to add Pyr panel!)
1:30 – 3:00 PM Pyr Rising: Columbus Hall, Rooms A&B. A shared panel between Dragon Con and Worldcon. This will be extra fun because I have been in a writing workshop all week with one of the other Pyr authors, E.C. Myers. He will be on the Dragon Con side while I will be at Worldcon. Pretty fun. And by the way, Mr. Myers is a fine writer. Which I would expect from Pyr. But just saying. We are sworn to secrecy about what other people share of their work here, but I think we are allowed to say it’s good.
3:00 PM. Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading. I’ll join a number of great female writers for very short readings. I will read from Mayan December (this is, after all, 2012!) and I will give away a few copies. These are always a lot of fun – drop by and hear great snippets from interesting readers. Laugh a lot. This will be in Grand Suite 3.
5:00 PM to 5:30, I’ll be the “Writer under glass” where I get to work on a collaborative story, and have people watch me while I do it! I’ve never done such a thing, and I have no idea if I’ll like it. But the resulting manuscript will go into the charity auction….I hear this is in the Fan Lounge.
Saturday, September 1st
12:00 – 1:30: The Art of Worldbuilding – Crystal C Physical geography, economics and politics, religions, conflicts.
2:30 – 3:00 Reading. I’ll read from my next novel, “The Creative Fire,” which will be out from Pyr in November, 2012. This is in the Gold Coast room.
4:30 – 6:00 Creating formidable women protagonists. Buckingham.
Sunday, September 2nd
9:00 – 10:30 World Building Workshop 3: The Eco System (builds on two other workshops). Buckingham.
12:00 – 1:30 Kaffeklatsche! Come by and visit. Help me fill my table. Kaffeeklatsche 1. I will give away at least one book, maybe more.
3:00 – 4:30 Autograph session
I’ll be reading from Mayan December in Olympia on Thursday night at the Timberland Regional Library in Olympia. Love to see some of you there! The snowpocalypse appears to have quieted, but it is still a cold and snowy landscape, at least around out house. So if you do come, drive carefully!
Mayan December is different than my other work. That doesn’t mean readers of The Silver Ship and the Sea might not like it, some clearly do. But – very different than my other work — every unsolicited email or review or comment has been from a women. A lot of my science fictions readers are male, but clearly this book attracts women. At any rate, I thought I’d share the things I’ve tried for marketing and what I thought of them. So here goes:
I’ve done all of the usual readings and signings. And they have been just as successful as usual. Meaning fun (I really like them), but a slow way to gather sales since it’s really book by book by book. The best I’ve done that I know of is 18 books at one reading. I have two more formal signing events – one at World Fantasy and one at Orycon (at Beaverton Powell’s). At any rate, the return for personal appearances seems pretty low. To be honest, I think I like them because they are so much more personal than social media, and because I am convinced that having good relationships with booksellers at stores remains useful in spite of spiking Kindle sales.
I sponsored the Adventures in Science Fiction Publishing podcast. Mostly because I enjoy the podcast. They also treat the books they accept as sponsors very personally. I have no way to tell how effective that might or might not have been as a marketing tool. Anecdotally, however, I did that for a previous book and I think it did help. I heard from a few people who had heard about it there. I suspect this podcast has a largely male audience, so I tried to balance that by buying some blog ads via Blogads and picking women’s book blogs. That’s running now, so I don’t have any feedback yet. So far, it’s more expensive than Goodreads, and I guess time will tell if its more valuable.
Goodreads does a great job. I did a Goodreads giveaway (and there’s a blog post about that) and I’ve also advertised on Goodreads. I only pay per click and the ads get a lot of impressions and only a few clicks (but within the norms for what Goodreads said they might get). That many impressions seems pretty good. I also kind of like hanging around on Goodreads and I think they do a nice job of supporting their authors (all authors – all the time. Not just when they have an active ad campaign). I can also target my ads there pretty well by gender and even by looking for readers who like particular authors.
I’d love to hear any other marketing ideas any of you have – whether you’re a reader or a writer.
Goodreads does a book giveaway program. This is basically a chance for authors or publicists or publishers to give away copies of the book. I just finished a run through of the program where I gave away 10 copies of Mayan December.
I like the process of autographing copies and sticking them in envelopes and hand-addressing them. It seems personal, like a signing is personal. And so much of this business isn’t actually very personal.
It’s also a small thing that’s not done in cyberspace. It’s physical copies of the book going into physical envelopes and being mailed. Yes, I love technology. But sometimes it’s good to step away from a screen for a few minutes. The top picture in the assembly line for getting the books ready. And below are the books are all ready to be shipped out tomorrow. They are being watched over by the Nixie, the golden retriever…
I came back from the convention to be swept immediately into busy days and a visit from family. So here is a rather belated and short Worldcon report. I’m usually by myself at Worldcon, but my long-time friend Gisele from Florida (I met her over half my life ago!) and my partner Toni joined me this time.
I got to meet Alliette deBodard. I love her writing in the Aztec world. She is gracious and quiet in person. I also got to meet N.K. Jemisin and see Patty Briggs. Even established writers get their fan girl time at Worldcon.
Speaking of fan girl time, I am now lusting after Kim Stanley Robinson’s next book. I heard him read from it, and it’s going to be gorgeous. I don’t know if it has a pub date or even a name, but he is one of my favorite writers, and his next book is a return to science fiction.
I had a lovely dinner with Greg and Astrid Bear, the three of us (me, Toni, and Gisele), and Louise Marley. We got to celebrate Greg’s birthday. The Bear’s are some of the most gracious and brilliant people is the SF community, and I always feel blessed when I get to spend time with them. I also saw many people from the Starry Heaven/Wellspring writing workshop community.
The Hugos were particularly well-done this year. A shout out to Jay Lake and Ken Scholes for that. I know them both, and this was surely not easy for either of them. Jay is busy winning his cancer fight and Ken is more shy than he appears. They did great.
The joint book launch for Mayan December and The Brahm’s Deception went incredibly well, and I needn’t have worried about it at all (I did, lots, but I’d never thrown a party at any con, much less a Worldcon). Food and drink were acquired easily and more passed to us from a Nightshade authors party, which we then passed to a George R.R. Martin fan party. People did come, and they even bought books. Mayan December is apparently hard to find in the wild, so I’m glad I had some there, thanks to my hugo-winning publisher, Sean Wallace (the Hugo was for the excellent work he does over at Clarkesworld). I do have to shout out huge thanks to my partner Toni and my friend Gisele who greeted and shlepped and decorated and organized and kept me functioning even though I was tired by then. Also a big thanks to Kay Kenyon for bartending.
The con was really well run. The communication was great, the volunteers all fabulous, and the programing excellent.
The only bad thing:
The con was very mixed up with casino people (expected, based on location). But twice I saw other casino guests of the young white male variety poking fun at con-goers. They didn’t seem to appreciate the beanies of first-fandom very much, nor really much of the costuming in general. There were a two times I really wanted a handy nearby Klingon.
I am a bit nervous about the book launch party at Worldcon tomorrow. It’s the first time I’ve done a book party of any kind (much less at Worldcon). Louise Marley and I are co-hosting a book launch – for her excellent Brahm’s Deception (Kensington) and for Mayan December (Prime). Since it’s a year for “firsts” I’m also doing a “first” book trailer. Credit for the trailer goes to my son, David Cooper. The party will be in the Atlantis in Reno, in Suite 1552. Wish me luck, and if you’re around, drop by. Louise and I would love to see you.
I’m pretty happy with the 2011 Worldcon schedule. Lots of Mayan December launch activity, a reading for No Man’s Land, a party, and some great topics to discuss. I hope to see many of you there.
Thu 13:00 – 14:00, The Amish Approach to Changing Technology: The Error of Presumed Neutrality of Technology (Panel), D05 (RSCC)
The Amish do use technology, but they reject the idea that technologies are value-free tools, and they acknowledge that they can change social order, so all technology must be evaluated before being allowed into the community. Would we be wise to adopt this cautious approach?
Thu 16:00 – 17:00, Autographing (RSCC)
Fri 11:00 – 12:00, Social Media for Writers, A03 (RSCC): Writers know the Internet, but not all writers take advantage of its full potential. With the evolution of Social Media, potential readers are only a click away. But what exactly is Social Media? At this panel, you will pick up the vocabulary and background of exactly what Social Media is, what it can do, and what it cannot do.
Fri 12:00 – 13:00, Reading: No Man’s Land, A15 (RSCC) Defending the Future: No Man’s Land is an anthology of military SF, written entirely by women. Come and hear them read.
Friday 8:00 PM: PARTY! Atlantis Suite 1552 Come on by – Dual Launch Party for Mayan December and for Louise Marley’s The Brahm’s Deception.
Sat 11:00 – 11:30, Reading A14 (RSCC) I’ll give away at least one copy of Mayan December….
Sat 16:00 – 17:00, KaffeeKlatsch: KK1 (RSCC)
Sun 11:00 – 12:00, How I Learned the Craft: Three of My Favorite Books on Writing (Panel), D03 (RSCC)
Authors share and discuss three books on the craft of writing that they recommend to aspiring writers and tell why these works are so helpful.
Mayan December is available in trade paperback, and also for Kindle and Nook.
Look here for links to first chapters and related material.
Praise for Mayan December:
“Cooper interweaves past and present in this elegantly understated narrative of the Mayan calendar ending in 2012, a pleasant outlier in a subgenre known for apocalyptic histrionics… Cooper illuminates the colorful Mayan world with imagination-hugging historical and cultural detail.” – Publisher’s Weekly
“Wonderful read! A lively and thought-provoking story that moves between the past and present of the Mayan world, filled with engaging characters, vivid descriptions, and unexpected turns. Kept me up late into the night.”—Barb Hendee co-author of the Noble Dead Saga
“A fresh, inventive look at the 2012 end of the world. Whatever you’re expecting, this will be different, including a rich portrayal of vanished Mayan culture and wonderfully extravagant ending. Journey with Alice and Nixie and Ah Bahlam to places we would all like to go; the journey will repay you tenfold.”—Nancy Kress
“A brilliant mix of culture, history, science fiction and fantasy, Cooper has written a delight for the senses. A fun read with interesting characters, surprising twists, and interesting ideas. A departure for her, it will also carry readers away to a new place and a new time in a fun way they’re sure to enjoy.” – Bryan Thomas Schmidt, Science Fiction And Fantasy Writer’s Chat www.bryanthomasschmidt.net/sffwrtcht and author of the forthcoming novel “The Worker Prince.”
Brenda Cooper’s time-travel adventure novel Mayan December is a colorful, pulse-pounding story of mystery, intrigue and danger.
Praise for Brenda Cooper’s Silver Ship series:
“Fast-paced and full-bodied, “Silver Ship” is character-driven hard SF at its best.”
– The Seattle Times
“Cooper reveals an ambitious literary nature here, with the chops to carry it all off. Not only do we get our main thread about pioneering a planet, we also get … a tour of a cyber-savvy civilized world, a guerrilla-war interlude and the foreshadowings of an interplanetary war…. Her prose has a certain elegance and gravitas that endows the tale with deeper emotional resonance than you might at first expect.”
– Sci Fi Review
“Brenda Cooper’s newest novel is a feast of character and concept. She depicts the devastation of war on microcosmic and macrocosmic levels, and even more so, the driving motives of young men and women caught in deadly conflict. Don’t miss this compelling work by a major new talent.”
— Mary A. Turzillo, An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl.
“Brenda Cooper tells a tale of a powerful brother and sister in a fight for their lives, offering insights along the way into the nature of courage and the hunger for community that burns in every human being.”
–Louise Marley. Multiple award-winning author of The Glass Harmonica and Terrorists of Irustan
I am a writer, public speaker, and a futurist. I’m interested in how new technologies might change us and our world, particularly for the better.
I’m excited about my most recent book series, a duology called “Ruby’s Song” which includes the books The Creative Fire and The Diamond Deep, both published by Pyr. I’m also doing a non-fiction blog series, Backing into Eden, which comes out roughly twice a month and explores ways to care for the world, now and in the future.