Dec 25 2017

Hoping your Christmas was merry…

Rosemary

… or the seasonal holiday of your choice, in the mood appropriate to it.

Personally, I like the idea of Solstice as a good thing to celebrate, being based in actual  scientific fact! But the weight of tradition is against me. It’s just nice to have a holiday where you get together with family and friends, and express your appreciation.

 

Merry whichever, y’all.

Prezzies!

 


Dec 20 2017

Cover for the Paperback of The Lost Steersman

Rosemary

What do you think, too much green? (You may embiggen.)

Well.  It’s now in the hands of Createspace, waiting for them to tell me whether or not it’s acceptable.  The issue will probably be alignment, with this book being more than a hundred pages longer than The Outskirter’s Secret.  They give you a template sized to the size of your book, but many a slip ‘twixt the cup and the lip, as they say.  If there’s a problem, I’ll have to adjust, resubmit, wait for review again.

I’m almost certain I got all the typos.  Almost.  Because, damn, there’s always one or two that just slip through…

Already on the task of creating the paperback for The Language of Power.  But there’s certainly no way I’ll finish that before Christmas.  In fact, the time needed for the vetting process and final proofing on The Lost Steersman makes it not likely that even that will be on sale in time to arrive before the holiday.  It’s possible, but not certain.  Rats.

On the other hand, having done three now, I do have a better sense of the range of time needed.  Good to know for the future.

You know, the more I look at this cover, the more I like it…

 

 

 

 

 


Dec 19 2017

In Brief

Rosemary

Yeah, still no time for a decent blog post.  I’m still working on the release of the paperback version of The Lost Steersman, which, as it turns out, is even longer than The Outskirter’s Secret and has required many more iterations of proofing.   Having finally got the innards to my satisfaction, I’m on the last legs of the cover, and swore I won’t stop tonight until at least my first try at it is uploaded to Creatspace, for them to review and reject or accept.  If so, I’ll be done with this one in a day or so.

But other news in brief: I visited Action Boxborough Regional High School, and had a lovely time talking to some of their students.  I want to talk about this more in detail later, but I can’t let a whole week go by without saying how glad I was of the opportunity,  and how much I enjoyed it.  Sure, a couple of the students were sighing and glancing at the clock (yeah, there are some in every crowd), but the rest  were engaged, and engaging.  They had cogent questions!  They were thoughtful and enthusiastic.   I was charmed — and inspired.  There’s something about connecting with smart  young people that renews one’s faith in art, ideas, and literature.  There’s hope for the future, folks.

Plus: swag!

ABRHS branded hat and umbrella.

 


Dec 12 2017

No time to blog!

Rosemary

I’m in a major time-crunch this week, and have zero time to blog.

Here’s a thing:

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Dec 7 2017

Outskirter Paperback is live!

Rosemary

I hit the switch a couple of days ago, but there was a delay on their end, as they suddenly required me to prove, absolutely prove that I really had the rights to this book.   Which I was able to do to their satisfaction.  So all is well.

No typos left. In theory. Probably.

Typically, Amazon.ca in Canada is lagging,  and if you buy it through them, you’ll really be buying from someone who bought from a supplier in the States, and who will charge you about double the actual cost.  Alas, Canada, I have no control over this.  It might be as much as a month before the real price comes through.  I suggest that you buy it from Amazon.com, ship it to a pal in the States, and then visit them for the holidays!  You know you owe them a visit.

While sloping around Amazon, checking on the status of the listing, I stumbled upon this:

Nah. Really.

There is no universe in which it makes sense for a copy of the first edition of The Outskirter’s Secret to cost $691.   Even less so $860.   Even autographed.  It’s got to be a cover for some illicit activity, like a kilo of cocaine or something.  Those in the know will know what they’re buying, wink-wink.

Okay, I’m getting punchy now.  Must go back to working on the cover and maps for the paperback of The Lost Steersman.  It’s really quite a long book, I’m discovering.

 

 


Dec 4 2017

One more round of proofing

Rosemary

Yep. Due to there being far too many errors to let go.

Aside from the typos on the back  cover, to which you my faithful correspondents alerted me, there were a whole bunch on the inside.

Some of those were pointed out by the extremely helpful Evelyn Park in an email; the rest were discovered by me.

Red tags of trouble!

I had hoped to get this paperback live and for sale in time for John Scalzi’s annual Holiday Shopping Guide.    Every year, Scalzi invites fellow creative persons to engage in shameless self-promotion in the comments stream of his blog posts.  Scalzi’s blog readership is huge, and getting listed helped me with ebook sales last year.

But that’s happening on Tuesday (for self-published works), and I won’t have had time to receive, review, and approve an updated version of the physical proof copy yet.  Still, the paperback of The Steerswoman is available, and all the ebooks, so it’s worth it to submit my self-promo bit.

I’m still on track to get all four paperbacks available for sale by Christmas.  But I do have to dig in.

And on that subject….

If any of you happen to have noticed, during your previous readings, any typos in the ebook versions of The Lost Steersman or The Language of Power, feel free to mention them to me!  Either in email, or in the comments….

I don’t want you to actually go to any trouble — I’ll be combing the pages myself with propper assiduousness — but if you happen to have noticed something during your previous readings, and can recall where it is in the book, and feel like dropping a note…. well, I’d be grateful.   I’m aiming for Friday as the day to be finished with proofing.

Now: must get sleep.  It is very late.  Even for me.


Nov 28 2017

Radio silence due to scrambling to get the rest of the paperbacks done.

Rosemary

Delays!  Due to the fact that The Outskirter’s Secret is significantly longer than The Steerswoman.  Thought I could use the same format, and just paste in the different text and cover, but nope.  Had to move to a larger size.

Requiring lots of other adjustments.  And errors. And fixes. And more adjustments.  And now I am behind schedule, and so must scramble.

 

Yeah, there are no typos on this, are there? You’d tell me if there were, right? (You can click to embiggen.)

Ah, remember the good ol’ days when I was traditionally published (by Random House/Ballantine/Del Rey)?  They had people to do all this!

Oh, right.  The books went out of print.  That’s why it’s all in my hands now.

Well, y0u know, I actually do enjoy it. I’m arty, I’m nerdy, I’m tech-savvy — this taps my other skills.  And when the current story itself is being recalcitrant, at least here’s a task that succumbs to dogged determination.

But if I want them available by Christmas, I’d better get going!

 


Nov 8 2017

The Return of the Return of

Rosemary

My pal Geary Gravel is continuing the re-release of his early novels, so you can keep catching up on what you’ve missed of his ourvre so far.

The latest title to return is Return of the Breakneck Boys, Book 2 of the Fading Worlds series.  The tale picks up where A Key for the Nonesuch left off, with our  protagonist, unheroic normal-guy  Howard Bell (previously dropped willy-nilly into the middle of deadly alien war-games), now the leader of his very own battle-gang, and planning an insurrection against the mysterious organizers of the forced wars.  And in pursuit of that end, Howard and his warrior-woman partner Alaya must leave the Burroughs-esque enviroments of the Fading Worlds wars, and head to —

Um. Earth.

The Fading Worlds series is a lot of fun, and a good turnaround of genre tropes about mighty Earthmen battling foes on barbaric alien worlds.  Things are not quite what they seem, and Geary handles it all with wit and grace. And  I really do enjoy Howard Bell as a character — I always sort of envision him played by Tom Hanks.

Return of the Breakneck Boys: Book Two of the Fading Worlds by [Gravel, Geary]

Cover by illustrator Cortney Skinner, who has known Geary for nearly as long as they’ve both been alive.

In other news not about me…

The World Fantasy Awards were announced last week.

Check out the newly redesigned award!

The winners were:

Novel: The Sudden Appearance of Hope, Claire North (Redhook; Orbit UK)

Long fiction: The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)

Short Fiction: Das Steingeschöpf,” G.V. Anderson (Strange Horizons 12/12/16)

Anthology:  Dreaming in the Dark, Jack Dann, ed. (PS Australia)

Collection: A Natural History of Hell, Jeffrey Ford (Small Beer)

For the full list, pop over to Tor.com (an excellent source for SF/F news, info and free reads).  Or go right to the World Fantasy Convention website.

(I’ll get to the post about my local library next — but I wanted to get the news out about Geary’s book ASAP.  To allow you that much more time before Christmas to buy it.  You’re welcome.)


Nov 1 2017

I am now the proud possessor of:

Rosemary

— a coffee-stained copy of Mary Oliver’s Upstream.

 

Oh, and a cool tote from the Wallingford Library.

The library itself is now the proud possessor of a check from me for a brand-new copy of Mary Oliver’s Upstream. And a tote.

Yep.  There was a book, a cup of coffee, a slightly rickety table in the woods, and my elbow.  All four met in unfortunate circumstance.  I have to blame the elbow; there’s just no other explanation.

I bought the tote because I felt that the library was not charging me enough for replacing the book.  I wanted to give them more money, to assuage my vast guilt.

On the upside, I now own the book. Plus: hey, tote!

In other news:

Now that the third floor is nearly as deserted in the day as it is at night, I’ve taken to pacing the hall as I think.  Last night, as I paced past the conference room, I once again admired their gigantic dry-erase whiteboard.  And by “admired” I mean “seethed with envy over.”

In my own office, I’ve tacked up huge  sheets of dry-erase-style contact paper, to allow me to scrawl deep thoughts and work through twisty structural problems in multiple colors.  At least, in theory that’s why it’s there.  But alas, the contact paper does not work as well as an actual whiteboard.   While it’s true that I can write on it, and erase it,  I can only dry-erase in a 10-second window.  After that, I have to spray on an ammonia-based solvent and use a sponge.  This puts a crimp in one’s spontaneity.

And as I grumbled to myself, pacing back toward my office, it suddenly hit me:

I work at night.  There’s nobody here!

So, I made a big pot of tea, grabbed my laptop and my dry-erase markers and:

 

As long as I erase before I leave, I’m cool.

The billboard company never technically had exclusive use of the conference room. But it was next to their offices, and they were often gathered in it.  So, I simply got it in my head that I don’t use the conference room.  Plus, there’s a whole fishbowl aspect to it, with one glass wall, and its location among all the offices of the sales force.

But now, they are gone.  It’s just Dave and me.  And that one programmer dude who’s never around.

Plus — I work at night.  Mostly.

Strategically blurred to prevent spoilers.

That was the night of the crazy rain and wind.   There’s something particularly lovely about drinking strong tea after midnight, rain and wind banging on the windows, dreaming up crazy solutions to near-intractable problems, while scrawling wildly on 6 by 4 whiteboard.

Of course, lest I take myself too seriously, there was this guy:

Left over from one of their charity promotions… I do hope they find him a good home.

Hope you enjoyed your Hallowe’en! I did — although I never did make it to the town’s justifiably famous Trail of Terror.  I’ve always wanted to try it just once… too late now.

 

Next up: More about the local library, about which not enough good things can be said.


Oct 14 2017

October is crunch time

Rosemary

I’ve been mostly offline, trying to hit Book 5 as hard as possible for the month of October… Thus, mostly radio silence.

If you sent me an email and have had no reply, I’ll probably be catching up on Wednesday October 18th.

Here’s some quickie random news:

Amazon.ca (that’s Canada for those of you who don’t know your URL extensions) now has  the paperback of The Steerswoman at a newly non-exorbitant price.  Excellent!

My plan is to release the  paperback versions of the rest of the series around December 1.   Why no sooner?  Because there’s a lot of front-work and grunt-work involved in redesigning the covers to look good on a physical book, to sort out the map files, to set up the appearance of the insides of the books —  and to proofread, proofread, proofread.  I figure that a couple of weeks at the end of November should cover it.

Today my pal and fellow member of the Fabulous Genrettes, Laurie J. Marks, is hanging with me at my office, working on her next book as I’m working on mine.  I’ve got the desk, she’s got the rocking chair, and we’re both typing away.

Of course, we can’t actually see each others’ screens.   For all either of us knows, the other might be doing online crosswords, posting political screeds on Facebook, or composing limericks.

Or writing blog posts.

Oh, right: that would be me.

Shake-up at the billboard company that shares this floor of the building with me:  I came in on Wednesday, only to find the doors to their offices open, and the desks cleared of all computers and personal possessions!  They are gone — except for the actual owner of the company, who will be hanging on through the transition to the new owners.   Apparently the company was so successful that they became a target for takeover, which speaks well of the current guy’s  business skills.  He’s assured me that all the employees have found other work (some with the new company), and have landed on their feet.  Plus, he now has pots of money.

Upside for me: I no longer have to listen to Bob the Salesman’s conversations on the other side of our shared and very thin wall.  Seriously, that wall is so thin that words spoken in a normal tone of voice sound pretty much as if the other person was actually in the same room with you.

Former home of Bob the Salesman.

When I first took an office in this building, fully half the third floor was completely empty… which got me some lovely solitude!  And then, as the billboard business started doing so very well, they began hiring more salespeople.  And putting them in the other offices, one by one.  Eventually I was surrounded by the sales force.  They started having impromptu meetings in the hallway.

Fortunately, I mostly work in the evening and on weekends, by preference —  but there was a 3-hour overlap with the sales force, during the week.

And now: it’s very, very quiet.  So quiet.

Also: Our town seems to have acquired a few of those little free library boxes.

This one’s right outside the dog park.

I think these are a great idea!  And I’ll be adding a few books — naturally including my own, but also others that I’d like to share.

Later: Just got back from a bit of a walk with Laurie, down to the river and back again.  We’ve both been tearing our hair out on our respective projects, and needed some fresh air and a break.  We strolled down to the river and back again.

 

interesting patterns in the flow over the dam

Turns out it was exactly what was needed.

cat-tails

Then back to the office, and back to the grindstone.

This little guy was also hard at work. Can you spot him?