Jul 13 2018

Quick post before Readercon

Rosemary

Damn, I’m never ready ahead of time!

Well.  It’s the wee hours of the morning, and I have to hit the road at a reasonable time, given that traffic around Boston is never smooth sailing.  My first event (Kaffeeklatsch) isn’t until 6PM, but I want to be settled and rested.  I’m slightly under the weather, possibly from fighting some sort of cold slowly creeping up on me…

Or possibly from a side effect of the meds for that unpleasant skin problem I mentioned a while back.  Which turned out to what TV commercials used to call “The heartbreak of psoriasis.”  More frustration than heartbreak on my part, actually, since it’s on the working surfaces of my hands, which I use daily for — oh, say, typing prose on a keyboard, or playing the guitar.  Both of which are necessary to keep me mentally stable.

I hope to arrive at the convention early enough to be non-frazzled, well-rested, and lightly fed before diving into my events.  And meeting and greeting!

Well, I really must get moving.  There’s plenty I want to say, now that I’m here saying things – but I’ve run out of time.

Hm, what can I say quickly?

How about another excerpt from the AMA Session?

“MikeOfThePalace” said: Hi Rosemary, and thanks for joining us!

First: something I particularly enjoyed was reading your books not only as a science guy, but as a science fiction guy. I felt like I could peer behind the curtain in a way that Rowan and Bel and company could not, saying to myself “the redgrass must have been generically engineered to do this” and “oh, the Face People have very high rates of stillbirth and infant mortality? Well, that makes perfect sense.” I suppose I don’t have a specific question about this topic, but take this as a general opportunity to comment.

Second question: you’re trapped on a deserted island with three books. Knowing that you will be reading them over and over and over again, what three do you bring?

ME: What’s interesting to me is that I’ve never considered the desert island question before, given that it’s a perennial question one asks of people.

Geez, what book? Thing is, the books that I love, I’ve already read them multiple times! I’d want a book that I wouldn’t otherwise read, and would take a long time to get through, and I’d have to puzzle it out, so I’d get a lot of mileage…

Aha! In Search of Lost Time by Proust. (Formerly known as Remembrance of Things Past) Yeah. That’ll keep me going for a while.

“JamesLatimer” commented: I’m glad they fixed the translation there. I’ve known the French title since hearing it in a Monty Python sketch and never got why it wasn’t the same in English!

ME: Much later: I just realized that I only named one book, and you asked for three!

So, on the same principle as In Search of Lost Time (something I wouldn’t normally have time to do, and would take work to understand, and would keep me busy for a while), I’d take .. Hm…

Well, I don’t have a specific title, but it would be a big fat textbook on mathematics, starting with algebra and going all the way to calculus. Because I would love to get really good at that.

And the third would be the book that professional musicians call the “official” Fake Book, which has lyrics and music for hundreds of songs, from the 40’s to the present. I would work out fascinating arrangements for songs I’ve never played before. You said nothing about me having a guitar along, but that’s okay. Like Gilligan’s Professor,  I can make do. I’ll use a stick, a coconut, and some fish guts to make a ukulele.

 

 

 

 


Jun 30 2018

Readercon looms

Rosemary

Yes, I’ll be at Readercon this year.

This despite the fact that many of the pals I usually look forward to hanging out with will be absent, due to the great Readercon disinvitation sweep.  (See Jeff Carver’s post about it, which is pretty representative of the  experience of most of the disinvited.)

Given all that, why am I going?  Well.  I think it’s  because I want to find out if the infamous letter  really was misinterpreted, as is claimed by Readercon, or if it actually represents a real shift in Readercon’s attitude.  And one way to find that out is to see what sort of convention results.  I shall decide about future participation based on that.

Anyway, here’s my schedule:

Friday, 6PM Kaffeeklatsch.  Sign up to hang out with me over coffee and discuss whatever comes up!

Friday, 7:30  Reading.  Yes!  I shall be reading from The Changes of the Dark AKA Book 5.

Friday, 9PM Radical Elders, with Barbara Krasnoff (moderator), Sabrina Vourvoulias, Elizabeth Hand and James Patrick Kelly.     Here’s the verbatim description from the official schedule: “On the page, as in GOH Nisi Shawl’s Everfair, and in real life, as in the careers of authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, elders are speaking their minds and upsetting the status quo. How can age intersect with radicalism and pioneering thought? How is the cognitive estrangement of aging relevant to speculative fiction and fannish communities, and what’s the best way of acknowledging that relevance?

Yeah, the thing that made me want to sign up for that was the sentence: How is the cognitive estrangement of aging relevant to speculative fiction and fannish communities, and what’s the best way of acknowledging that relevance?

I cannot adequately express (she said in that quiet  and overly-calm voice she uses when she is struggling to be polite while actually seething in fury) how much I dislike that sentence.

The cognitive estrangement of aging?

The cognitive estrangement of aging ?

Which cognitive estrangement is that, now?  The one of  aging?

That cognitive estrangement?   Oh, yes, everybody gets that ol’ cognitive estrangement, we’d better address that one.  We should definitely endeavor to adequately acknowledge its social relevance to the community and some stuff.

Really, it sounds like exactly the sort of sentence you’d use when trying to bullshit your thesis advisor.    A phony, faked-up concept, insultingly applied — and obviously designed as a sop for any people who think that Readercon just might not be sensitive to, and inclusive of, the issues of elders.

Yeah. I’m gonna be on that panel.

And also:

Saturday 1PM: Autographing.

That’s it — but I am looking forward to attending panels as well. Here’s the full program listing.

In other news… Lost many hours and significant portions of several days dealing with my computer finally breaking down.  New computer successfully purchased and updated with the wisely-backed-up files, at the cost of much annoyance and angst.

It’s a laptop, and rather larger than I would have liked.  But, unlike other items you might purchase in your life (house, car, boat, furniture, plot of land) the smaller ones are much more expensive.

The smallest I could afford.

 


Jun 23 2018

More AMA Q’s

Rosemary

I’m currently hitting Book 5 as hard as I can, and will continue to do so up until Readercon.  At which point I’ll either take a break, or do Readercon in a sort of daze…

Meanwhile, more questions from the Ask Me Anything session:

“pqln” asks: Hi! I’m a big fan and have shoved my shiny new physical copy of the Steerswoman at several people so they can discover your world, too. What a breath of fresh air to have a hero focused on truth and a willingness to look past the status quo despite the discomfort of finding that her previous beliefs about the world are not correct.

What authors inspired you to delve into this place between sci fi and fantasy?

Do you follow any specific scientific journals?

Do you listen to music while you write? Of so, to whom?

A: Thanks for the signal-boost!

What inspired me to delve into this particular place between SF and Fantasy was not any particular author or authors. It was a) sick of not having a female protagonist interested in anything but romance and b) a desire to identify and subvert every single fantasy cliche possible.

I read Scientific American… That’s the only regular one, but I dip into lots via the Internet.

I can’t listen to music when I write! I’m a former professional singer/guitarist, and whenever there’s music in the background, I can’t avoid paying close attention to it. So I listen to, um, random classical, and ambient so-called music. Seriously.

Journals: I do look at Nature every now and again, although I’m just as likely to see something interesting on the Internet, follow the link, and find myself at Nature anyway.  And there are scientist/bloggers these days: you can follow physicist Chad Orzel’s science posts for the online version of Forbes, or Sabine Hossenfelder’s blog, Backreaction.

But I also get my science from books.  There’s a lot of science-journalism going on these days, and there’s just no way I can keep up on everything I want to read!  It might well be a golden age of science popularizing (at the same time that other forces are busy trying to undermine and dismiss scientific fact and the whole great undertaking of scientific progress itself; go figure).

These are the books I’ve bought but have not yet read:

The End of Time, Julian Barbour.  Actually, that’s been on my shelf for over 15 years now!  Probably out of date…

Time Reborn, Lee Smolin.  (Well, that’s good news! Not the end after all, apparently.)  I actually started listening to this in audiobook form, but became so interested that I wanted it in print form so I could consider it more carefully.  So I stopped listening and got the physical book… which I then did not finish reading.  Yet.  I found his Trouble with Physics really interesting (not about physics, but about how string theory is undeservedly taking over physics research) ,  and saw him on stage at a panel during the World Science Festival in New York one year, and wanted to read more by him.

The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli.  I sense a theme here. I buy books about time, then don’t find the time to finish reading them… Rovelli seems to be getting a lot of press lately, which doesn’t neccessarily indicate anything.  But as he’s the hot new thing, I thought I ought to check him out.

Descarte’s Error, Antonio Damasio.  I was fascinated by The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness.  This book actually precedes that one.

And by the way, while we’re talking science,  let’s not forget Chad Orzel’s books  — And hey, look!  There’s a new one due out in December. Well, I’ll  just go ahead and pre-order it:

Breakfast with Einstein: The Exotic Physics of Everyday Objects by [Orzel, Chad]

I’m also currently eyeing Sabine Hossenfelder’s book, just out recently:

Maybe I’ll just download the free sample first?  — Oh, what the heck.  Just bought it.

And the other half of the question above: the music I listen to while writing.  It really is true, I have trouble listening to music while I write, because the musician in me becomes too engaged!  It’s sort of embarassing, but  I do end up listening to ambient or environmental music instead.  General moody music-like sounds… It’s a sad, sad thing, in a way.

But in that vein, I really must endorse this website: Mynoise.net.  It’s a customizable set of ambient sound generators, with a large number of excellent pre-set configurations (I’m especially fond of “Northern Lights” lately).   I like these guys so much that I threw some money at them.  But you can listen for free.

But as for real music — who do I like? Well, Richard Thompson is god.   Start there.


Jun 20 2018

Did I mention how well the AMA went?

Rosemary

Pretty well, as it turns out.  Michael DePalatis, the instigator and moderator of the Ask Me Anything event, tells me that I we had over 3700 page views, and assures me that this is “a pretty decent number.”  I just know that I enjoyed it completely.

And for those of you who don’t care to pop over to the fantasy subreddit of Reddit, where the transcript resides, preserved forever  in Internet amber, I’ll quote a few of the questions here, for the next few blog posts.

“diegroblers” asked:  I’ll go with the obvious one that I’m sure everyone wants to know – when will the next Steerswoman be published?

A:  The question of when the next book will be published is actually a couple of questions: Q1: Have you finished writing the next book? A: Nope. Not yet. Q2: Well, when will it be finished? A: I wish I knew for aboslute certain… But I’m aiming for January 2019. Q3:So, once it’s done, when will it be published? A: Depends on which route I end up taking: Self published, or tradition publishing.

If go self-pub, maybe 6 months after it’s done? If I go Trad, could be more than a year afterward.

Yes, I am aiming for January 2019 — Whether I manage to hit that mark remains to be seen, but I’ll give it my all.  It’s no secret that this Book 5 has turned out to be much harder than I anticipated.   I had to throw out thousands words previously written on it, dead-end prose that I accumulated during the last few years — and that was after I had already started Book 6, thinking it was Book 5, and discovering that some of the stuff I thought was going into Book 7 needed to be presented much sooner, and be a book of its own..  So, things have been a bit of a tangle.  I do believe I’ve got the structure sorted out now, but it will still be a difficult book for me to write.

I had a similar problem with The Lost Steersman… and I’m pretty pleased with how that one turned out.

(And yes, I know that I said “actually a couple of questions” in my answer, and then identified three, not two.  This is because I was answering on the fly, so to speak.  My answers often had that sort of error, in the heat of the moment.)

 

“Megan_Dawn” asked: How long would it take you to get into serious trouble if you had to answer every question with the truth?

A: I’m already in trouble! It took so long to type out the previous answer that my sister called me up and asked why I wasn’t online yet!

True fact.  I was typing away, and got a phone call from Sabine, house-sitting up in Salem.   The answers didn’t show on the page until I hit “enter,” and I had paused in thought.  Too long, apparently!

But possibly Megan was really asking how long it would take for me to get into serious trouble in real life if I had to answer every question with the truth.  Thing is, I basically do… except that unlike Rowan, I can always refuse to answer if I feel like it!   Also, I can nimbly deflect. While I do believe that there are times where it’s all right to lie, the circumstances where I’m actually willing to do so are rare and extreme.   I can get very frustrated at how easily some other people lie — easily, casually, in some cases constantly.

“arundelo” asked: Judging from the plot points that are set up in earlier Steerswoman books and pay off in later ones, it seems like you outlined the entire series before you started writing (or at least before you finished the first book). Have there been cases where, when you got to a part (in book four or wherever), you changed your mind and had something different happen than originally planned?

A: Yes! Here’s an example: Steffie, in The Lost Steersman.

I knew that very far up in the series, during the Steerswoman’s Academy, I wanted to drive home the point that you don’t have to be a teenager to join up. So, I had planned an older character who would show up, and confound the automatic expectations the readers and the non-steerswoman characters. I had that person planned out…

But then once I had Steffie walking and talking, and moving through the tale, I realized that he was perfect for that slot. I eliminated that other character.

In fact, Steffie was one of those fortuitous developments that can pop up from time to time — I character I had not planned on at all, who grew into his role and became indispensible.

Each book begins with a description of a map, and a description of Rowan.  I had placed the viewpoint in what I thought would be a minor character, so as to present Rowan as an outsider sees her.  Steffie was intended to be  just a “spear-carrier” as we call it: someone needed briefly, but otherwise incidental.

But from his first appearance, he was so clear a character, and his voice was so particular.  It was largely through him that I was able to understand the entire town of Alemeth, and he made the perfect foil for Rowan.   She needed a sidekick —  and he was smarter than he looked, and so full of heart. Every scene of his that I wrote, I discovered another dimension to him.  I love the guy.

I couldn’t just create him, and then let him vanish!  So, when I write about the Academy, he will be there.

 


Jun 14 2018

Ask Me Anything link is now live!

Rosemary

Yep.  This is it: Rosemary Kirstein Answers Your Questions.

I’ll be on hand at 7PM EST, but you can post questions starting right now.   I’ll hang around as long as I possibly can.   Also, if there are any questions that I don’t have time to get to during that session, I’ll see if I can answer them at a later time.  Or answer them here!

Meanwhile: must get to bed, it’s late even for me!

Desk fleurs.

 

 


Jun 5 2018

News about people who are not me

Rosemary

Sundry events have kept me offline and intermittently out of the loop.  I have some serious catching-up to do.

I just got back from a couple of days hanging with author Laurie J. Marks and her wife Deb Mensinger, after spending  several days at her place the previous week.  I was there to help out, because Laurie suddenly had some major surgery.

But not to worry!  All is well.  A large but fortunately benign tumor was discovered, and had to be removed ASAP.  And a hyserectomy was performed  along with it.   So, rather a lot of surgery.   Deb’s own health is not great, and she does not drive at all — so my job was to chauffeur from the hospital, go shopping, bring casseroles from Sabine, and clean whatever needed more scrubbing than the others could manage.

Laurie is recovering with amazing swiftness!  By Sunday, I drove her and Deb out to a local nursery, where they spent a good long time in the fresh air and sunshine, walking around and picking out a variety of plants.  Then we hauled ’em all home, and they potted them (Laurie working cautiously from the comfort of a big Adirondack chair), and Deb arranged the result on their front steps.

Other news of others:

Remember that storybundle I took part in a couple of months ago?  Well, if you decided that you like the whole storybundle idea (a bunch of ebooks for one combined very low price), there’s one going on right now called “Myths and Legends.”   No, I’m not in it —  but Cat Rambo  is.

I tell you this because there are only a couple of days left to grab the storybundle, and Cat’s contribution is Beasts of Tabat, the first book in her Tabat Quartet series.  And I tell you that because the second book of the series, Hearts of Tabat, has just come out.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61un83Hh2zL.jpg

Cat is the person who curated the Feminist Futures storybundle that included The SteerswomanAlso, our current SFWA president.  Also, a nominee for both the Nebula and World Fantasy awards.  Just sayin’.

And here’s a thing of which you might not be aware: If you are a Kindle owner, you actually can download short samples of books you’re thinking of buying, totally free.  So, if you’re on the fence, or too reluctant to commit bucks to something you might not like, just try a sample.   Both Beasts of Tabat and Hearts of Tabat can be sampled this way through Amazon.

(Possibly the other ebook sellers and platforms also allow samples — but I only know about Kindle’s policy, that being the platform I use for my own reading.)

And that brings me to another thing I like about the whole ebook phenomenon in general: it encourages you to try unfamiliar authors.  Back when I first started reading  SF & Fantasy (approximately one million years ago), a paperback cost about the same as a bag of potato chips.  A book by someone you never heard of  before did not set you back, didn’t eat up your disposable income.  Even a kid like me could buy both a paperback book and a bag of potato chips.

The price-point on ebooks is often so much lower than the paperback or hardback versions, it’s once again worthwhile to take a chance on something totally new  — and with that sampling option, you can even try before you buy.

And some short news about people who are me:

Sabine and I did manage to get some of our planned improvements done, but others were postponed for various legitimate reasons.

We had some seriously nasty weather roll through our part of the state, including what were later identified as three small tornadoes!  They did not hit our town, but one of the towns affected was quite nearby.  The biggest damage in our condo complex resulted from a very tall, narrow, but lovely old oak crashing down on the ranks of mailboxes by the road.  But this caused us to push back some of the tasks that needed sunshine.

And then, we pushed back more tasks, since I found I had to schedule physical therapy twice a week for both my shoulders. I’ve been having some pain for a while, and finally admitted that it was not going to go away without real help.  I blame bad author ergonomics.

In aid of which I purchased this:

 

Kinesis Freestyle 2

We’ll see if it helps.  Too soon to tell.  But it’s already nice to be able to type without always keeping my hands front-and-center.

Finally: that AMA looms a mere nine days away.  Line up your Q’s and I’ll do my best to A.


May 27 2018

Gardner Dozois

Rosemary

Just moments ago, I got the news that Gardner Dozois has passed away.

I’m so saddened by this.  The work he did as an editor has helped shape our field.  When he took over editor of Asimov’s Magazine, he widened the stylistic scope of the stories published, and helped the magazine transform from an Analog/Astounding clone into its own distinct and important publication.   And the annual Year’s Best Science Fiction   anthologies were treasure troves; once the field of SF became so large one could no longer read everything published, it was Dozois who helped us find the best, the new directions and new voices.

The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fourth Annual Collection by [Dozois, Gardner]

As usual, Twitter was the swiftest disseminator of the news.

He took over at Asimov’s just after they published my first short story.  For as long as he remained there, I kept hoping I’d sell a story to him.  Or later, that I’d be selected for inclusion in Year’s Best.

Now, I never will.

There are testimonials all over the internet, by people who knew him personally.   Look to them, for a real sense of his personality.

I know him only by his works.  And those works touched us all.


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.