School For Sidekicks: Launch Day

August 4, 2015 in Books, Science, Sidekicks, Silly

My newest book, SCHOOL FOR SIDEKICKS, launches today. Both figuratively and literally…

ETA: The extended rocket launch below the other videos:

More silly launch videos are on the way as soon as we can get them edited, so watch this space. In the meantime, here are a couple of notable reviews for the novel: Kirkus. Publisher’s Weekly, and an excerpt.

If you order before the weekend, you can get a signed and customized copy from Uncle Hugo’s where I will be signing on Saturday, and, of course, the book may be purchased at all the usual venues: Amazon, Barnes And Noble, Indiebound, BAM Powells

Launch Events:

On August 4th at 7pm at the Har Mar Barnes and Noble in Roseville MN, I will be reading and signing.

On August 6th at 3pm EST (2pm CST) I will be doing a reddit Ask Me Anything

On August 8th at 1pm I will be signing books at Uncle Hugo’s in Minneapolis MN. You can order in advance and have me custom sign things and then they will ship them to you, if you’re so inclined.

Also my short story The Totally Secret Origin of Foxman: Excerpts from an EPIC Autobiography, is up at where you can read it for FREE! 

Hanny and the Voorwerp Comic (reblogging)

February 9, 2015 in Cons, Reblogging Project, Science, Writing

So, in addition to the new fantasy series I had started writing for Ace—Fallen Blade—I was working on a project for Galaxy Zoo and the Hubble Space Telescope with my astronomer friend Dr. Pamela Gay and a number of other fantastic folks back summer 2010. The project was a comic illustrating an amazingly nifty discovery in astronomy called Hanny’s Voorwerp. It’s all kinds of cool: scientific, artistic, literary, collaborative, and really worth checking out. For the broad stroke details you can look below but I’ll blog about the experience in some detail in the coming days as we get closer to the official launch.

2015 update: This below is from Pamela’s launch announcement (I’ve swapped in images from later in the project because they’re cooler, though, of course, you can follow the link at the bottom to my original post on the Wyrdsmiths blog where the other images appear): 
“This past Monday, at about 8pm Central (GMT -4), a Voorwerpish webcomic was delivered to Sips Comics for printing. Tuesday morning we got the page proofs, and now, one by one, they are being made into full color reality.
Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 2.06.17 PM
We could say a lot of things right now: We could tell you about playing round robin with the script, digitally passing it from person to person under the guidance of Kelly, sometimes into the wee hours of the night. We could tell you about watching the art come to life; transforming from line drawings to fully rendered pages in the hand of our artists Elea and Chris. We could tell you how many pencil tips were broken, and how many digital files grew so big our computers crawled.

We could talk a lot, but instead, let us invite you to join us for the World Premier and share with you a few images.

You’re Invited to a World Premier


    • Time: 3 September, 10pm Eastern (GMT -5)



    • In Person: At Dragon*Con
      Crystal Ballroom
      Hilton Atlanta
      255 Courtland Street NE
      Atlanta, GA

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Come meet the artists, hear a brief talk by Bill, and generally revel in the Voorwerp’s awesomeness.

And come dressed as a Voorwerp for a chance to win a prize for best costume!

See you in Atlanta?

Pamela, Hanny, Bill, Kelly, Elea and Chris

Oh, and let me also give a big old thank you to CONvergence for hosting the Hanny and the Voorwerp workshop this past July where much of the initial writing for this project happened.”

2014 edited to add this image from the comic below which depicts many of the people involved in its creation, including yours truly—topish row, left. Also, this link to download a PDF of the comic for free.

Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 2.08.12 PM

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog August 21 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Long Ago and Far Away

November 5, 2014 in About Kelly, Science

Back when I was a baby writer, I was involved in writing a bunch of science fiction context and short stories for a middle school science project funded by the NSF. The project ultimately went on to be published in a different format and context, orphaning the science fiction. This was a bit sad, but it was work for hire, I got paid for my time and efforts and such things happen. But before the context shift, there was a test version that included an illustrated book of my short stories written for the project. The antecedents are weird, and the stories are all crafted to illustrate specific principles in physical science as supplemental material to go along with the main lessons, but this was the first book I ever had a byline on, and I still have a warm place for it in my heart. It’s recently come to my attention that there aren’t any pictures of the cover up anywhere, so here’s a snapshot of one of my author copies. Time and circumstances allowing, I may add some more images for posterity’s sake.

The Chronicles of the Wandering Star:


Written by Kelly McCullough, with illustrations by Carlos Lopez.


Science and Science Fiction

December 10, 2013 in About Kelly, Reblogging Project, Science, Writing

So, in response to Steph’s ScienceOnline09 post which I linked earlier and with some trepidation, my responses:

Questions for Science Fiction Writers

* Why are you writing science fiction in particular? What does the science add?

I actually write very little science fiction these days. I am much more an author of fantasy. This is despite the fact that I am an occasional science educator married to a physicist…or is it? I truly love science and I work to make sure all the non-supernatural stuff in my books is as accurate to the real world as it can possibly be. I read several science magazines on an ongoing basis and keep a close eye on the world of science. And that in combination with quirks from my own personality, is in large part, why I write mostly fantasy.

The interstices where a non-scientist can write scientifically accurate, broad-scope, science fiction have contracted enormously in the past twenty years.

Many of the areas that I find most interesting in terms of story have reached a point where I don’t find much that is written in them genuinely scientifically plausible. I’m not at all sold on the singularity. I find the idea of faster than light travel ever more implausible. Ditto serious extra-solar system travel. I still like aliens, but I don’t see us interacting with them anytime soon, not physically at least. I’ve never bought time travel as a science trope, though I love magical time travel. Psionics? Nope. Etc.

Now, many writers can and do write perfectly reasonable workarounds for these issues, and I still enjoy reading them, but my ability to suspend disbelief doesn’t extend far enough to actually write them. Certainly not at novel length, which is what I prefer to write. I don’t know that that will hold forever, and if I find a fabulous SF idea that I can really buy into, I might well write an SF novel.

Yet another group of writers have found things in SF that really interest them that are fully scientifically plausible but that don’t really hit my sweet spots in terms of what I want to write, and I must note that the ones who are doing this often have extensive science backgrounds.

I love science. I love science fiction. But for me as a writer they are sadly not two great tastes that taste great together.

On the other hand, I can and do try to make my fantasy as rigorous as possible and I very much approach creating worlds and magic systems from the point of view of someone who wants an internally consistent and theoretically robust system. My studies and work in science and science education have made me a much better writer of fantasy.

* What is your relationship to science? Have you studied or worked in it, or do you just find it cool? Do you have a favorite field?

I married into the family. At this point in time my wife is the chair of a physics department. When we met, she was a senior in high school planning on becoming a physics professor and I was a theater major in college who had always had an interest in science. We are very close and in many ways I shadowed her through grad school, helping to write papers, design research studies, and work on curricula.

My involvement was strong enough that I developed a close friendship and intellectual bond with her adviser that led to my own work in science education, writing and editing various curriculum projects in physical science. I have a broad field interest in science though my work in science education is most deeply rooted in basic physical science.

* How important is it to you that the science be right? What kind of resources do you use for accuracy?

For my own science fiction work, paralyzingly so. For what I get out of others, not so much. When I need to check accuracy I tap the rather large academic network of scientists that I’ve developed through my wife and my own work in science education as well as various online resources and an extensive personal science library.

* Are there any specific science or science fiction blogs you would recommend to interested readers or writers

I don’t know that I have recommendations. The vast majority of science and science fiction blogs that have found their way onto my list got picked up because I know and like the people writing them rather than because of content. I think all of them have great content as well, but it’s nothing like an objective judgment. Thinking in terms of science and science fiction as a crossover point I will say that you could do worse than to read Jay Lake’s blog. He does a great job of aggregating cool links from both fields among other things.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog November 19 2008, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)