Aug 28 2014

Poll reports. Plus: Ow.

Rosemary

Poll results are in!

Actually, poll results are still slowly trickling in, but I have to call a halt at some point.

I had 77 responders, including comments here, on Facebook and  via Twitter.

Yes, this is not a good statistical sample.   But it’s what we’ve got.

It’s clear that most people who read my books don’t read the blog, or follow me in social media.   That’s fine!   Reading books is much more important than reading about writers.   And according to Amazon’s cool reporting features, I know that since December 24th when I first released it,   I’ve sold 2,618 copies of The Steerswoman alone just on Amazon (setting aside for the moment the sales of the other books — because they are the same readers who bought The Steerswoman). So… no complaints.

Here’s the breakdown:

19.48% Recommended by a friend : 15

19.48% Found in a bookstore (either randomly, or because you worked there): 15

12.99% Because of Jo Walton’s review: 10

10.39% Because of James Nicoll’s review: 8

10.39% Found in the library: 8

10.39% Found via some other website: 8

10.39% Found by searching specifically for feminist or non-stereotypical treatment of female characters: 8

3.9% Recommended by Amazon’s algorithm: 3

2.6% Random or uncategorizable: 2

So, let’s play a math game.  Let’s assume that this distribution holds across the board, and apply it to my Amazon numbers for The Steerswoman.

There’s no reason to assume the distribution would be the same!  (For example, people who were influenced by James and Jo are self-selected as people who are tapped in to the SF/F fandom grapevine, and go online regularly for news and reviews — whereas most people who purchase on Amazon probably don’t do that.) But let’s try it and see what comes up, out of curiosity.

19.48% Recommended by a friend: 510

19.48% Found in a bookstore (and then, we assume, subsequently bought in ebook form from Amazon): 510

12.99% Because of Jo Walton’s review: 340

10.39% Because of James Nicoll’s review: 272

10.39% Found in the library (and then, we assume, subsequently bought in ebook form from Amazon): 272

10.39% Found via some other website: 272

10.39% Found by searching specifically for feminist or non-stereotypical treatment of female characters: 272

3.9% Recommended by Amazon’s algorithm: 102

2.6% Random or uncategorizable: 68

Yeah, that was a mostly useless exercise.

Because the Amazon info is purely for ebook sales, and  the “bookstore” and “library” categories don’t directly translate to ebooks.  And I’m only using sales numbers from Amazon, because Smashwords alone is a  much smaller number, and the other retailer’s reports are delayed by months.

Hm.

My actual gut feeling is that, for sales on Amazon, the recommendation algorithm is responsible for a lot.    This is where people who read a lot of SF/F, but who don’t participate in fandom or follow the biz news, are likely to hear about me.   As in: If you like X, you’ll like The Steerswoman plus it’s only $2.99, what have you got to lose?  They click on the link, and see the many very positive reader reviews — and hey, worth a try, right?

After that, recommendations from friends, probably.

And for people who follow SF/F in general, I’m betting that James Nicoll and Jo Walton have a lot of clout.  Walton’s review was back in 2008, but people are still talking about it; and when James’ new reviews came out recently, it did look like my daily sales increased in response.

Well that was interesting.   To me, anyway!

In other news: Ow.

My radiation therapy ended on the 18th.  I had some side-effects, a lot of redness and discomfort, and was deeply grateful that it was no worse.  Considering how bad some other people had it, I got off comparatively easy, thought I!

However, as part of my final visit, the nurse reviewed a few things.  And at one point:

Nurse: And you realize that your side-effects will continue for a while.

Perky Chipper Me: Oh, yes, I’ve been told about that.  (Thinks: Been told that over and over.  But, no problem, I can put up with it, piece of cake!)

Nurse: Good. So, for the next ten days or so, things will get worse…

Slightly Less Perky Chipper Me: Wait, what?

Nurse: Oh, yes.  It’ll continue.

Dubious Me: Well, yes, continue … but, worse?  Even though we’re done now?  No more radiation?

Nurse:  It’s cumulative.  And delayed, like a sunburn.  You know how in the morning you don’t think you got that much sun?  But by the evening you’re going “Ouch, what did I do to myself?”  It’s like that.

Assimilating New Information Me: … Okay…. (Thinks: Yes, everyone said it would continue, but I assumed that “continue” meant persist.  Not continue to increase in severity.)… so, if my skin starts peeling and stuff –

Nurse: Oh, you’re already peeling, right there.

Adjusting to Situation Me:  Oh, yeah, look at that!

Nurse: So, that’s going to get worse.   And probably over here, too.

Fully Adjusted to the New Normal Me: Okay… so, what if [describes really gross situation, of which I will spare you the details and trust me, you'd thank me if you knew] happens?

Nurse: Well, yes, you’ll probably get some of that.

Plain Old Me:   Good to know.  So, what do we do?

At which point she provided me with more instructions, and some special gel-type wound dressings, and I thanked her, shook her hand, shook everyone’s hand, gave a few techs some hugs, and walked out the door, done with my radiation therapy.

Later: yep.  Ow. WOW ow.

It got worse pretty fast, and I’ll tell you, those hydrogel dressings are From Heaven.  Fortunately, I had no commitments, and did not even need to leave the house (a good thing because Ladies Foundational Garments were NOT an option).  I plied all my ointments, unguents and dressings, took a lot of Tylenol, and did not do much at all for the better part of a week.  I am now fully informed on all things having to do with Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Much improved now, thanks.   As I say to medical personnel (whenever they jab me with something, and I automatically jump and make a noise): That wasn’t a complaint, that was just a report.

Because, you know: Still on the plus side of things, where the plus side is labeled: YOU GET TO LIVE.

So, basically… I’m fine!

Other other news: I want to talk about the Casting Call comments, but this post has become too long, so I’ll do it separately later…

Even more other news: Yes, I am working on Book 5.


Aug 23 2014

Quick informal poll

Rosemary

Just curious…  Where did you first hear about my books?

I’ve asked this question on Twitter, so if you answered it there, don’t feel you have to answer again… but if you did, and want to elaborate beyond Twitter’s character limit, feel free!

I’m just trying to get a sense of what is my most effective method of reaching new readers.  You were once a new reader, so you’ve got the scoop!

I’ve set the website so that you can answer with complete anonymity.  The reply form will ask you for your name and email, but you can leave those spaces blank, and your reply will get posted regardless.

Or you can make up an entirely new name!  My website will not judge you.

Just click below, where it says “# comments” or “Leave a reply”.


Aug 17 2014

They’re streaming the Hugo Ceremony

Rosemary

So I’ll be watching!  3PM Eastern time in the US; 8PM in the UK.  Go here for info on how to watch the ceremony.

Reports from the Worldcon front say that my contacts are having a great time both at the con and touring around the city.

Okay, I'm also thinking about Night Vale because: new episode yesterday!

I should not be surprised to see that this guy is at LonCon.  Everybody from Welcome to Night Vale is already in the UK, because they’re touring with a live show throughout Europe this Fall!

 

Looking for more pics to post, if anyone sends them my way.

And a special shout-out to the Oxford/Cambridge fans! (Do people still say “shout-out”?  Am I dating myself? Or just being charmingly retro?)

In other news: my clever marketing ploy seems to have worked — I got a big jump in Kindle sales — those being the sales that are easiest to track in real-time.  It looks like sales in other outlets are also up, although it’s hard to tell by how much until all the reports come in.

So… it’s all so very encouraging.

My radiation therapy ends on Monday, but they tell me that my side-effects should actually get worse for a week or so, since they’re a delayed effect, and trail the treatments.   I’ll just take it as easy as need be, whilst thinking deep thoughts about Book 5, which is my main focus at the moment.    As I said to Kay in the comment stream of the last post:

“I’ve got the house to myself for the rest of the month, and I won’t be going back to the dreaded DayJob until September. I feel pretty good, if I don’t try to do too many physical things in a day. I’m no longer worried about my prognosis, so I don’t feel like the Grim Reaper is breathing down my neck… So it’s a good time to clear out the mental cobwebs, and go through Book 5 and see how I can sort out all the stuff I wrote in bits and pieces at odd moments, and make it make sense.”

I’m trying to set things up so that I can write useful stuff even after I go back to the DayJob…  The key thing will be to sort out the structure.

Well.  Back to it.

More later, as they say.

 

The Dog Park will not harm you.

The Dog Park will not harm you.

 


Aug 14 2014

LonCon begins without me. Plus: I drop the price of The Outskirter’s Secret

Rosemary

The World Science Fiction Convention begins today!  In London!  Without me.

Instead, I’m getting daily radiation therapy.  Which is way more important, as it will, you know, possibly save my life.  So, I’m okay with that particular trade-off.

But in honor of WorldCon (or actually,  to shamelessly take advantage of WorldCon), I’ve dropped the price on The Outskirter’s Secret ebook.   Which means that both Book 1 and Book 2 are currently bargain-priced.

This, to tempt any persons at WorldCon who might hear my name, hear others speak well of my books, and then look me up on their cellphones (or mobiles, or handies, as they are called in the UK and on the continent) — and discover that The Steerswoman is a mere  1.86 GBP, and The Outskirter’s Secret just  2.44 GBP!

Low enough to take a chance on.

And once they buy those two, I figure  I’ve got ‘em.  Ha, as Bel would say.

Ack! Must run off to radiation therapy now!

 


Aug 8 2014

Casting call

Rosemary

An anonymous commenter recently asked:

This is sort of a random question, because I had no idea where to ask it, but…if the Steerswoman series were ever made into a movie, who would you want playing the characters?

This is an interesting question.   Mainly because I am largely clueless on this.

There’s only one role and only one actor that immediately springs to mind: Emma Watson

Click here for an image of her that really makes me think “Rowan”.

(I’m not posting the image directly, because I’m not all that sure about the copyright issues. But when I see this photo, I just go: Wow.)

I know she can deliver a good performance of an intelligent woman… but Hermione was quite a different character than Rowan.   Could she project the degree of self-confidence and authority that Rowan has?  I don’t know, having only seen her in all the Harry Potters, and (of all things) the Bling Ring.   But I think this would be a great role for her, if she’s up to it!  A good, rich, deep role.  And she’d be the central character, the focus, and the hero of the tale.  And it’s right in line with her beliefs about promoting women’s rights.

Seems like a good fit to me…  But I’m sure you know of other actors who could carry the role… tell me in the comments, and I’ll turn all the pertinent info from the comment stream into its own post!

As for Bel, well…

One of my thoughts about casting Bel is that it would be great to use someone who really can do all the fighting, and won’t need a stunt double.   Ideally, I’d love someone who, perhaps, wanted to be an actor, but whose appearance didn’t fit the Hollywood narrowly-acceptable range, and turned to stunt work out of sheer love of film.  Someone who really has all the acting chops, but was never allowed a major role.   Because Bel can be short, muscular, and not perfect-pretty.

But the key thing would be that the actress have really good “buddy” chemistry with whoever ends up playing Rowan.  That trumps all of the above.   The two need to come across on the screen well together.

Casting Willam would be tricky indeed.   I’d love to have the same actor play Willam at 14 and at 20!   If we do a miniseries (please, please) instead of movies (oh, but perfectly happy with movies, thanks!), this might be more possible.   Given that Will at 14 was big for his age, we could use an actor somewhat older, and by the time we get back to him, he would be able to carry off 20.

I have very few ideas at all about the rest of the cast… because, really, there’s lots of leeway.  I’d rather have a really brilliant actor who perhaps doesn’t quite look the role, rather than one who looks perfect but can’t act his or her way out of a paper bag!

How about some suggestions?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jul 31 2014

Arts & Crafts. Plus: sundry unrelated but interesting items

Rosemary

Doing a bit of catch-up here — two weekends in a row chock-full of running around apparently requires at least one full weekend of Not Much of Anything Except Naps and Leisurely Walks.

The usual Post-Readercon get-together took place, with fellow authors Ann Zeddies and Geary Gravel. We hung out, talked a lot, did not stint on the wine and other imbibables, ate excellent dinners, enjoyed selected audiovisual entertainments, and shared some work in progress. Also: executed our now-traditional collage art works. The last few years we’ve been covering book-shaped boxes with collages, which has the advantage of resulting in an item that can be put on a shelf, as opposed to yet another thing to hang on one’s wall, when all the wall space has already been used up, so that the new artwork ends up admired for a day and then consigned to the basement for eternity.

 

Mine, Geary's, Ann's

Mine, Geary’s, Ann’s

 

(Because many images follow, I’ll put a page break here, so your browser won’t load them all unless you’re actually interested in seeing them. Alas, this doesn’t work if you come here via facebook or through a feed; you just get all the pictures and it will take FOR. EV. ER.)

Continue reading


Jul 25 2014

Short post

Rosemary

I’ve been trying to do more lately, with the predictable result that I’m getting tired out more (and blogging less)!   I spent last weekend in my annual post-Readercon visit with writer pals Ann Zeddies and Geary Gravel.  Wherein we talk ’til all hours, eat far too much cake, and engage in productive arts & crafts — about which I will blog over the weekend, when I have a bit more time & energy…

But I wanted to share this right away, to which Geary directed my attention yesterday:

When I see things like this, I’m amazed by the fact that I’m here, and privileged to witness such skill and beauty.

Damn, it’s good to be alive.

 

 

 


Jul 16 2014

Readercon weekend

Rosemary

My first actual out-and-about public appearance since — well, since the diagnosis in December.

Everyone was perfectly lovely to me.  Most people had heard about what’s been going on in my life, and were glad to see me, and welcoming.  And those who didn’t know me at all did not look askance at my odd hairdo.  Because that’s how we roll in SF/F.   I’ve given up wearing hats because: hair coming back in!  Plus: summer.  Hats are far too hot.

I did have some trouble with my energy levels.   I seem to have two settings: 1) Perfectly fine, let’s chat! 2) Okay, I go lie down now.  These alternate at apparently random intervals.

I skipped all the usual huge group dinners in favor of room service.    Because, even if I felt good at the start of the dinner, I might suddenly not — so I played it safe.

I only had the one panel, on why schools and the education experience show up so much in SF/F literature (with Greer Gilman, Lev Grossman, Faye Ringel, Delia Sherman, Rick Wilber).   I think I wasn’t my sharpest, having just fought my way through stop-and-go traffic on the Mass Pike, followed by more stop-and-go traffic  on route 95, arriving at the hotel exactly one hour before the panel, and discovering that valet parking was not an option in my case because the valet could not drive a manual shift car!  Which mine is.  Because I like it.  And all the nearby parking spots were taken — but after much explaining on my part, hotel security said that I could leave my car out front until after my panel.  Which was nice of them.

Oh, and my car’s air conditioning is broken.  Did I mention that?  Yeah.

So, I arrived already exhausted, and I feel I could have done much better on that panel…  I could have said quite a lot about the Steerswomen’s Academy, but didn’t quite have the nimbleness of mind to insert my counterpoints at the right moments.   Because, of course, the Steerswomen’s Academy is so very different from other school experiences presented in literature.

At the Meet the Schmoes Pros Party, James Patrick Kelly had the misfortune of being the first person I ran into.  Since I haven’t really seen many people other than Sabine and some close friends  for the last four months, I had to say All the Things!  Right Away!  Non-Stop!  He endured it bravely and graciously.   What a sweetie.    And of course, Ellen, and Delia, and Elaine Isaacs.  Oh, and Yves Meynard, who is such a dear.  And newly married!

And not to forget mad book collector and pal Michael Tallin, who lives on the opposite side of the country, and I only see at conventions.   His book-and-autograph fever often sends him to Readercon, and I get the pleasure of his conversation and company, without actually having to foot the bill for a flight to California!

It was lovely to be out in a social situation again, with people who are of My Tribe.

But it did wear me out.  I did not rush to get up the next day.   And rested often.

I managed to catch a couple of panels on Saturday.  When the Other Is You, where the panelists, all members of minorities or marginalized groups,  spoke of the difficulties and pitfalls in writing about their experiences.   (That was Chesya Burke, Samuel Delaney, Peter Dube, Mikki Kendall, Vendana Singh and Sabrina Vourvoulias.)  Later, I caught New Models of Masculinity,(Erik Amundsen, John Benson, Kameron Hurley, Catt Kingsgrave and Bart Leib)  wherein the panelists discussed the fact that SF/F too often uses the default cliche version of the manly man, and what are the other options?  And how does it operate in the real world today?  Fascinating.

I also caught great readings by Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, and Daryl Gregory.

There was no Kirk Poland Memorial Bad Science Fiction and Fantasy Competition — and that’s okay.  Kirk Poland was a brilliant, hilarious idea, and thrived for many years — but it has basically run its course, and is best retired.   We shall remember it fondly.  Time to do something else.

The something else was A Most Readerconnish Miscellany: readings, music, poetry, by all sorts of people, as part of a fundraiser for the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, and Operation   Hammond, which teaches convention runners and volunteers about first aid, both worthy causes.   I arrived late, and left early, later discovering that I’d missed a performance by Ellen Kushner!  but I caught a vivid, rousing poetry recitation by C.S.E. Cooney.   I had heard her do “The Sea King’s Second Bride” in the past and was blown away; this time I arrived partway through her poem, which involved a woman, a double-bass, and the Devil.  It was awesome.

A reading by one of  the guests of honor, Andrea Hairston, also included a banjo-player who had put some of the song lyrics in Hairston’s work to actual music with actual banjo.  Excellent.

And Daniel Jose Older did an excerpt from his work — completely amazing.   A true performer and storyteller, with this brilliant, crazy urban edge. After his bit, I waved over the person collecting the donations and handed over forty bucks, because damn! I now have to run out and get everything available by Older.

Then my Kaffeeklatsch, which I think went well.  We merged the the other person klatsching, one Adrienne J. Odasso, a poet new to me.   I bought one of her chap-books, but haven’t delved into it yet…

Oh, look!  My indicator just flipped over from Perfectly Fine! to I Go Lie Down Now.  I shall do that, soon.

I do regret that I wasn’t able to meet & greet and hang with all the people I’d hoped to… but my on again/off again energy level kept me from being as social as I’d have liked, and from seeing as many panels as I wished I could have seen.  I passed people in the halls who I wanted to talk to, or hang with… but I just couldn’t do all I wanted.

So if I missed you, I do apologize (looking at you, Kate Nepveu!).

But I was so glad to finally get out into the real (as in SF/F fan and writers’) world again.

In other news: Radiation is going well. About which, more later.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jul 8 2014

Hey, I got a tattoo!

Rosemary

Actually… I got four tattoos!

Actually… I didn’t so much get them, as have them given to me, willy-nilly…

Yep, they are the tattooed reference marks that the radiation therapists will use to make sure I’m absolutely correctly aligned when they zap me with their rays.  So they hit only what they want to hit, and not nearby other things like, say, my lungs and my heart.

Nothing cool about them, alas.   Merely four tiny dots, distinguishable from freckles only by the fact that they are a bluish black.  Not in locations that I care to display, generally.

We’re still in the prep phase, with a dry run tomorrow.  I feel like a NASA mission — all these lovely techno-nerds collaborating to get me launched!  It’s kind of cool.

I may be less enthusiastic down the line when the side-effects have built up, and I get the skin irritation and the fatigue.   It’ll be six weeks of daily radiation.  I’m sure the novelty will wear off quickly.

In other news:  Readercon this weekend.  I have exactly one panel, on Friday.   Which is not a bad thing, as I find I still do get suddenly tired, if I have to be out and about.  Oh, and a Kaffeeklatsch on Sunday!  That should be fun.  Other than that, I plan to soak myself in the brilliance and erudition of others, on their various panels.   And schmooze.

In other other news: two freaking hours on the phone with AT&T while they tried to figure out why the heck my new and DEARLY PURCHASED iPhone 5s 32 gig has no service.   With no result.   And then they promised me a callback.  And did not call back. Because eventually it became 10PM, when all AT&T customer service reps say goodnight.

 

 

 


Jul 5 2014

Visitor

Rosemary
No one I know...

No one I know…