May 14 2018

Upcoming Reddit Ask Me Anything on June 14th

Rosemary

Some of you, on reading the title above, are going, “Excellent!”

Others are going, “Say what now?”

For people in the second group: Ask Me Anything (aka AMA) is a question and answer session conducted via the Reddit website.  Check out their Wikipedia entry for a more exhaustive background on Reddit’s history and mission, but here are some of the more  cogent aspects:

  1. Reddit is huge.
  2. It’s a discussion and aggregation website.
  3. It’s basically structured as a good ol’ online bulletin board.  Remember them?  No fancy graphics, no slick interface!  It’s what you say that counts, not how pretty your post looks.
  4.  It’s very wide-ranging.   It covers a lot of subjects, and they branch off into “subreddits.” (I’ll be on the /r/fantasy subreddit. )
  5. It’s the fourth most visited website on the Internet.  Yes, I said the fourth.

A lot of cool people have done AMA’s.  Here’s the raw list of previous /r/fantasy AMA’s. Pick a name, click on it — and it’s like you were right there when it was happening.  (Here’s a somewhat prettier list with upfront come-on blub, courtesy of Tor.com.)

I’m really excited about this.  It’s an honor to be invited!

I’m also a bit nervous.  It’s live, answer-as-it’s-asked.

Still I have a pretty good idea of what some of the questions will be, so I can prep myself beforehand.

On the day the AMA goes live, I’ll post the link here, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  You should stop by!  I’m planning to do it in the evening when most people in North America are home from work.  People in other hemispheres: alas, the world is round.  You’ll just  have to stay up late, if you’re in Europe, or get up early if you’re in India.

Random photo of a nice corner of my office. Just because.

 

 


Apr 29 2018

April, the month of multiple random events

Rosemary

In May, some necessary house repairs are going to happen,  so in preparation I’ve been hunkering down on the book and other writing-related tasks, to get as much done as I can before devoting my time to physical labor.

I managed to squeeze in some  traveling to visit friends who I’ve been neglecting.  Including writer Laurie J. Marks and her wife Deb Mensinger (who you may remember from discussions of her liver transplant a few years ago).  Laurie, by the way,  has handed in to her publisher, Small Beer Press, the last volume of her Elemental Logics series, Air Logic.  Despite having a very demanding day job at UMass, Laurie’s hard at work on her next novel, and we found some time to discuss  both her new work and Book 5 of the Steerswoman series.  We were both pleased with what the other had come up with, which is  a splended thing about talking to fellow writers.

By the sidewalk outside L&D’s little bungalow.

By the way, Book 5 is  now offically called The Changes of the Dark, a name I’ve gone back and forth on a few times.  But when I released the paperback of The Language of Power, I wanted to include a sample chapter of the next book at the end, as I did with the other volumes, and I finally needed some damn thing to call it!  I decided that there was nothing wrong with The Changes of the Dark as a name after all, so I’m goin’ with it.

The title comes from Einar’s “The Ghost Lover,” a song that keeps showing up in fragments in the series — and will continue to do so until eventually we see all of it.

The relevant section goes:

“Until my own hands meet once,
And fleeting, learn her place among
The empty spaces, I will arrange myself
Among the changes of the dark…”

My sister and I also visited our pals in New Hampshire, of whom I’ve spoken before — they of the lovely house on the pond with many blue herons and a very decorative cat.

What do you mean, you want to wash your face?

Mary Ann Eldred, owner of the cat above, is a painter, by the way, specializing in pastels:

The Other Golden Hour

Yes that’s pastel.  Pastel gets a bad rap from the general public, who tend to associate it with pretty little portraits.   Pastel artists can do anything with the medium.  You should check out her website.  (Her work can be purchased.  Just saying.)

Meanwhile annoying minor medical crap continues.  (Minor as in not life-threatening.)  That business I mentioned about my hands last time?  Still going on. Saw a doctor, got some meds, zero discernible effect.  They’ll be getting a querilous call from me on Monday, you bet.

I want to play guitar!  But I cannot.  Today I binged on listening to music, streaming albums from my youth, singing along at the top of my lungs, trying to satisfy my need to make music.  It helped a bit.

The Con or Bust auction is complete, and a lovely person in New Jersey now has autographed copies of all four books.   Someone else will be getting the Del Rey version of The Lost Steersman, as soon as Con or Bust tells me they’ve received the payment.

And the Feminist Futures storybundle was a success!   I didn’t make a ton of money, but I did make a bunch, and it was nice to be able to hit some bills with solid cash. Also, I bought an Ikea cabinet for my office, because I had some stuff just shoved into a corner and it was driving me nuts.  I’m not a neat person as a rule, but I can’t bear to have my office messy.  Visual chaos is just too distracting.  I’m terribly distractable — one reason I prefer to write in the dead of the night.

It being springtime, I find that when I come home in the early morning, the front lawn is leaping with bunnies.

Daytime photo. Also, back lawn.

Some of them seem oddly unafraid of my headlights, and of me trying to sneak up for a good photo.  Alas, night photos only result in eerie laser-eye shadow-bunnies, rather ominous-looking.

And now — again! — I’ve run out of time, by leaving my blogging until the end of my day.   I must get home and get some sleep.  I have to shift to a daytime schedule in order to do the home repairs with Sabine for next two weeks.  We’ve finally made up a schedule. Yes!  Clean that, paint this, remove that and paint it too.  Shift the furniture!  Spread the plastic, get out the brushes and painting paraphernalia.

I plan to watch TV in the evenings, out of sheer exhaustion.  By the way, if you stream Amazon Prime, I can recommend The Durrells in Corfu, based on the memoirs of naturalist Gerald Durrell (brother of the more-famous Serious Literary author, Lawrence Durrell).  It’s charming.  I enjoyed it so much I went and bought the books, which are even more charming, and have a lot more about young Gerry’s fascination with the native wildlife.  I was reminded strongly of my own wanderings in the woods as a kid, every leaf and caterpillar a source of amazement.

The Corfu Trilogy: My Family and Other Animals; Birds, Beasts and Relatives; and The Garden of the Gods

 


Apr 9 2018

It’s Con or Bust auction time again…

Rosemary

Yes, it’s that time of year, and the Con or Bust fundraising auction starts tomorrow.

As usual, I’ve contributed some items to the auction; not as usual, the items do not include my lovely and artistically handbound blank journals.

Because, alas, I’ve developed this wicked case of eczema on all the working surfaces of my hands — and that’s all the detail I’m going to give you on that because trust me, you do not want to know more.  It’s both creepy and gross.  I see a doctor on Tuesday.

So, I can’t actually use a needle and thread, which I need to make the journal insides; and the fine paper that I use for the covers and endpapers would suffer by being handled by me in my current state.  Also, messing around with glue would be a very bad idea.

Fortunately, I have other things I can contribute to the auction:

That’s a full set, autographed. Plus map.  You may embiggen for better detail.

All four books, and a separate map of Rowan’s world as of Volume 4.

It’s not obvious from the photo, but The Steerswoman is indeed somewhat smaller in size than the other three books.  So, if you desperately only want to have perfectly-matching copies, this is is not the set for you.  Or, you could get it anyway (proceeds go to Con or Bust, a very good cause indeed ), and when the larger-format version is released, pick up one of those to complete your set!

(I do plan to correct the size in the future, but it’s not yet high on my list of things to do that do not involve writing.   I really do need, for the next few months, to focus on generating actual art.)

Also available from me:

Wait, is that a first edition?

The Lost Steersman, autographed, in its original version published by Ballantine/Del Rey.   Hey,  now that new trade paperback versions of all the books exist, this has become a collectors item!   And I do so love the cover of this book…

There are plenty of other cool, rare, fascinating, helpful, peculiar, lovely and/or neccessary things you can get at the auction.

Let’s just pick a few examples at random:

Memorabilia from the Farscape TV show, consisting of an actual signed script, and a piece of the living spaceship, Moya.

Personal consultation on your podcast idea, with an actual podcasting professional.

Wait — a balcony stateroom for two on the 2019 JoCo Cuise?  Seriously? Holy  crap.  Well, minimum bid for that is $2000.  But if I had the bucks to spare, that’s what I’d go for.  The JoCo music/SFF/Nerd-dom cruises are legendary.

Also: any number of books, including rare and signed, but also including random and quirky.  Story critiques by actual professionals.  And bunches of handicrafts.  Chocolate!

Or just browse through all the available items at the  Con or Bust auction site.

This is why I support Con or Bust:

a) Everyone should read science fiction and fantasy.  SF/F is actually good for you!   It increases your intellectual and imaginative skills, deepens your understanding of the world, and can be a great source of joy.

b) Everyone who likes SF/F should go to a convention at some point in their life, multiple times if possible.  At conventions, you meet other like-minded people, people who take delight in the same things you do — and you learn that you are not alone.  There are lots of us.  And we want you.

c) People of color, and especially African-Americans, are very often actively discouraged by educators and American society in general from pursuing intellectual goals, or seeking intellectual values.  I view this as a crime, and a tragedy.  And it also means that many potential readers — and potential writers — of SF/F are directed away from our field, away from all its delights and benefits.   But by helping people of color get to conventions, Con or Bust is acting directly against those negative messages.  It says, explicitly: you do belong here.

Someday, Con or Bust won’t need to exist.  This is not that day.

Meanwhile, I  want more: I want more readers, more writers, more voices telling me tales of wonder.  Con or Bust helps that happen.  So, I help Con or Bust.


Mar 22 2018

Nicole Kimberling lays it on the line! (And quotes the StoryBundle authors)

Rosemary

In a nifty article in The Mary Sue, Nicole Kimberling reminds us why we still need feminist science fiction — and the different forms it can take.

 

“Happy Snak is about a woman who owns a dinky snack bar in space. She fraternizes with aliens and refuses to comply with arbitrary regulations but is otherwise largely apolitical. Why, I wondered, would anybody consider this feminist? Then, thinking further, I realized that for many women, just being themselves and making (and spending) their own money is still considered a threatening and subversive act. (I’ve got my eye you, Quiverfull.)”

Nicole goes on to explore the whole question of  how a non-political story can be “feminist,” with lots of quotes from the other authors in the bundle.

The books in the Feminist Futures bundle really do show a wide range of styles, points of view, content — but what I see common among them is that they show women being themselves, and not a sidekick in someone else’s adventure.  Western society at large formally accepts the idea of women’s autonomy, but when it comes down to some of the folks you meet in life — well, let’s just say that there are significant holdouts.

We need lots more good examples, lots more engaging tales to be read and loved for their own sake.  And when they also promote the idea that a woman as protagonist is perfectly acceptable, even normal — well, that’s helping us create the future, right?

The Feminist Futures StoryBundle is still available for one more week — and then it will be gone!

It includes:

Starfarers Quartet Omnibus – Books 1-4 by Vonda N. McIntyre
The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
Happy Snak by Nicole Kimberling
Spots the Space Marine by M.C.A. Hogarth
The Terrorists of Irustan by Louise Marley
Alanya to Alanya by L. Timmel Duchamp
Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith
Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard
The Birthday Problem by Caren Gussoff
To Shape the Dark by Athena Andreadis

 

I am a bonus.


Mar 19 2018

Nicole Kimberling and Happy Snak

Rosemary

Ten days left on the Feminist Futures Storybundle (which includes The Steerswoman), and curator Cat Rambo has uploaded another interview.  This one is with Nicole Kimblerling, talking about her novel Happy Snak, and how research can lead you to a whole unexpected second career…

 

Don’t forget that you can sample the books in the bundle by clicking on the cover images to read an excerpt. And that the bundle includes 10 authors.

In non-bundle news: My plan of keeping my non-writing commitments to a minimum for the month of March is paying off.  My brain seems to have much more room in it!  This is especially useful when the structure of the plot on hand can only be visualized as a multilevel, three-dimensional, construct.  This sounds more complicated than it actually is, as I realized when I got enough of the thing in place to enable me to infer the rest.

Also, clearing away the debris of previous attempts helped…


Mar 13 2018

Cat Rambo interviews Athena Andreadis about To Shape the Dark

Rosemary

More on the Feminist Futures StoryBundle (of which I am a part), with StoryBundle curator Cat Rambo talking to Athena Andreadis about the anthology To Shape the Dark.  The theme was women in science, and Andreadis discusses approaching writers whose work she especially likes, hoping they’d contribute a story.  Hearing her reminded me of the stories I particularly liked, myself, and I really must say that this anthology is well worth acquiring!

And you can acquire it easily by acquiring the StoryBundle.  Easy!

 

Also, here’s an especially neat anecdote about Vonda McIntyre’s Starfarer series (also in the bundle) and the unusual way by which it came to existence at all…

In completely unrelated news, the latest snowstorm wasn’t so very bad after all, and the new accumulation around here has already turned into melted water, for the most part, — and treacherously turning into ice on all surfaces.  Luckily, this was one of my at-home days, taking care of my non-creative, general-life chores, so no driving was neccessary.  Back to the office tomorrow…


Mar 8 2018

The Feminist Futures Story Bundle

Rosemary

Last month, much to my surprise, I discovered an email in my inbox from Cat Rambo, the current president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (aka SFWA), of which I am a member.

Oh, says I.  Look at that. Whatever can this mean?  SFWA business?  In arrears on my dues?  Zombie apocolypse? (Because, when that happens, you know we’ll be the first to know.)

Nope.  It turned out to be a request to participate in the Feminist Futures Story Bundle, curated by none other than Cat herself.   I replied, as quickly as possible: “Yes, please.”

Do you not know what a story bundle is?  Here’s how it works.

They take a selection of ebooks, often with a common theme, package them together, and offer them for sale… with these interesting differences:

  • You pay as much as you like (above the minimum of $5) and get four titles.
  • If you decide to pay $15 or more, you get an extra six titles.
  • You, the buyer, decide what proportion of your payment goes to the authors, and what proportion goes to keep StoryBundle.com alive.
  • You can choose to give some of the proceeds to charities that encourage young writers.
  • All the ebooks are DRM-free.

Cat pulled this collection together just in time for Woman’s History Month — and I think it rather neat to celebrate history by looking at the future — as written by women.   All these books are by women, and all of them feature women in the starring roles.

Here’s what you get for a mere $5:

That’s $1.25 apeice, folks…

And if you decide to pay $15 or more, you also get these:

I am a bonus.

Personally, I’m especially looking forward to reading Vonda McIntyre’s Starfarer’s Quartet Omnibus which, I must point out, is actually four books in one.  So really, for $15 you’d get the equivalent of thirteen books.

And you can, if you wish, pay more than $15… which does mean more for the authors.  At a proportion that you choose yourself.

Really, it’s a neat concept.

Here’s what Cat Rambo herself has to say about the bundle.

And yes, you probably already have The Steerswoman.  Possibly in more than one format.  I suspect this, because you’re here!  You must have read something by me.

But here’s a chance to try some new books, new female authors, some of whom you may come to love.

Nervous about taking a chance?  Fortunately, you can check out excerpts from each of these.  Just go to the StoryBundle website. click on any cover, and read the sample.

I think this is amazing fun, and I’m thrilled to be part of it.   You should check it out. The Feminist Futures StoryBundle is only available until March 29th.

(StoryBundle is also currently running a bundle of Sorcery & Steam ebooks, curated by Kristine Kathryn Rusch,  and a variety pack of Young Adult novels, curated by Nick Harlow. Those are ending sooner — March 14, I believe.)

And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last week  — because although I heard about it last month, it wasn’t until last Tuesday that I learned exactly what I had to provide (epub version, mobi version, both with covers attached, a separate cover image, blurbs, exerpts, etc) and I had to hand it all in by the Friday.  Much dashing about ensued.

That done, I shall go back to what I was doing: cooling off from the heated production of the paperback steerswoman books, updating my website links (all out of date, now that the paperbacks exist), cogitating deeply, and writing.

Also, playing some guitar.  Just because.


Mar 5 2018

If it’s not one thing, it’s another…

Rosemary

… which, of course, is a true statement about existence in general, really.  Because if it’s not one thing, it pretty much has to be another.  Those are the only actual alternatives.

But in this case it’s : just when you think you’re completed some specific task that’s been taking up all your time for, oh, a couple of months, causing you to neglect all sorts of stuff, and you can now catch your breath, catch up on sleep, catch up up on people, relax, reconfigure, settle in and get things  on an even keel —

— just then something else pops up that needs your attention and action Right Now.

Not a bad thing; no, no, quite the opposite.   A nice thing.  And one that needs being done immediately.

Well.  Do the thing, of course.  And glad to do it!

But, it means that the people you want to catch up with, and respond to (and apologize to!) have to wait a bit longer.  Which, fact, of course, merits its own apology…

Anyway, more about the Sudden Thing shortly (she said mysteriously).


Feb 23 2018

Whew.

Rosemary

Okay, just got the latest proof copy of The Language of Power from CreateSpace, and I’m calling it.  DONE!

That dragon looks almost real to me…

That’s it — all four now in paperback.

Createspace said it would take a day or so for it to appear on Amazon.com… but I see that it’s up right now!

However, it’s not yet linked to the reviews made for previous editions.  I’ll have to tell them to do that, again.

I’ve ordered a bunch of copies, including those for my five valiant volunteers, who made proofing this book so much more pleasant than the previous.  Once they get here (in a couple of weeks, looks like) I’ll be asking for your street addresses so I can mail you your copy.  You are angels.

Thing that I’m not going to do (yet): I’m not going to go back and do another version of The Steerswoman in a size to match the other three books.  Because — I’ve sorta had it for now.  Really.   Spent a lot of time doing this, and I have other stuff that needs getting done!

Except, right now, I plan to nap.  ‘Cause, I’m beat.

 


Feb 16 2018

The Lost Steersman is up, but oddly not linked

Rosemary

Apparently Amazon did not recognize that the new paperback version of The Lost Steersman is a new paperback version of the previously-existing Kindle version, and I had to go tell them!  If you’ve been looking for it, you might not have found it merely by asking Amazon to show you all the books by Rosemary Kirstein.   The fix should take in a day or so, but in the meatime, here’s a handy link!

 

Also, searching for “The Lost Steersman” will get you there.  Apparently this linking process is less automatic than I had assumed.   I do believe I had to do that for The Outskirter’s Secret as well.

Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the physical proof copy of The Language of Power.  It should be here on Wednesday, and I’m almost certain that there will be no issues, and I’ll be able to approve it to go live that day!  The assistance of my voluteers has made working on that book far less angst-ridden than on the previous.  Many errors that would have slipped by my bleary eyes were spotted by the volunteers.

Yikes, I’m beat.  That’s way too much time spent publishing and not enough time spent writing!  But it’s done.

In celebration I’m heading to Boskone tomorrow — not as a participant but as a mere attendant, where I shall delight in hearing fascinating panels, and engaging in conversations with intelligent people.  I’ve been sort of locked in a box lately, and I must get out into the world!

I did get out last weekend for a day, when Sabine and I, with our pals Rob and Jan Walker, participated in an escape room adventure at Mystified in Mystic, CT.  It was great fun!  This particular outfit has a real steam-punk mentality that we appreciated.

Also: in between iterations of corrections and cover-creation, I’ve diverted and amused myself with Jo Walton’s latest book, a collection of her short works.

Starlings by [Walton, Jo]

I have written exactly two short stories, but have ambitions to write more of them.  I find Jo’s collection to be a particularly nice set of examples of the different forms that short works can take.  There are linked vingnettes, structured stories, short-shorts, fictional musings, fictional correspondences, and my personal favorite, “Escape to Other Worlds with Science Fiction,” (read it for free on Tor.com) which I have no idea what to call, but which is deeply clever and well-executed.

In the introduction, she does some explaining about what she believes does and does not contsitute an actual story, and when an idea is best for a story rather than an novel — but I’m going to have to have some deep discussions with her when I see her next, because I don’t quite agree, I think…  I love her idea of “mode”, but the “weight” of the ending… ?  Hm.  She might be using “weight” not to mean importance, but something else…

Must go now or I’ll be up too late to get out early to hit the road!