Oct 15 2016

Well, that’s starting to bite, isn’t it?

Rosemary

Generally, I don’t closely follow global economics — as well as distracting me from my actual work at hand, it tends to interfere with my mystique as an unworldly artist-type…

But I do watch my sales figures pretty closely, because a) I can, now that I don’t have to wait for my publisher to impart the data at their leisure, usually six months down the line; and b) I am now responsible for my own sales, and it’s actually possible to relate increase in sales to something that happens in the outside world (like a review, or even a tweet); and c) forewarned is forearmed, and if things start trailing, it’s best to know about it.

So, I watch my sales. And dammit, the British pound has lost 25 cents against the dollar since June! 

A certain portion of my ebook sales come from Amazon.co.uk, and I’ve always enjoyed doing the conversion, because it makes my income projections look pretty.  79.99 GPB of British book sales in June?  Heck, that’s a whole $117.59 in real American money!

Except, not now.  It’s $97.59.  I feel very hard done by, I must say.

Well.  Can’t do much about it, can I?  If an entire nation wants to mess with my bottom line, that’s their prerogative, I suppose.

In other news:

 

My mighty steed.

My mighty steed.

Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman had their 20th wedding anniversary party last weekend, held at the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round to the delight of young and old.  Except, there seemed to be no actual “old,” since once you climb on to a carousel horse, you immediately become nine years old for the duration of the ride.  This I have discovered to be true.

Delia herself, in a flowing silken dress. Don't you wish you could ride a carousel hose in an flowing silken dress?

Delia herself, in motion, in a flowing silken dress. Don’t you wish you could ride a carousel horse in a flowing silken dress?

The merry-go-round was authentic, lovingly restored, dating from (I seem to remember) 1927.   As well as being open to the public, you can book it for private parties, as Ellen and Delia did.

 

The lovely couple, twenty years in.

The lovely couple, twenty years in.

And the party itself was wonderful, filled with wonderful people, many of whom I actually knew (including Genrettes!).  (If you were there, and I didn’t say hi, I do apologize — there was so much to see, and so many to talk to.   I’m sure you had as great a time as I did.)

And meanwhile, back at the ranch: Kitchen painting.  Those of you who have painted kitchens know what this entails.  Those of you who haven’t, you’ll find out.  It seems to be one of life’s milestones.  Sometime in your life, you will paint a kitchen.  No, having painted the living room does not give you a free pass.

It helps to have help.  In this case, I’m the help.

And in other news: I’m still hunkered down in the times that are available for hunkering.   More than that cannot be said without spoilers, I suppose.

This whiteboard needed to be much longer, so I split it.

This whiteboard needed to be much longer, so I split it longitudinally.

 


Jul 18 2016

Winding down, gearing up.

Rosemary

Well, Readercon is over, and my annual hang-out-with-pals-after-Readercon is also over…

Cool things from Readercon:

A reading by Ellen Kushner, from the next season of the serialized multi-author novel, Tremontaine.

Here’s a nifty trailer for the series:

The reading was followed by Ellen’s  Kaffeeklatsch — which included as a treat, a guest appearence by Ada Palmer, singing her famous (in fandom) song, “Somebody Will,” which always makes me cry.

But in a good way.  (Here’s a link to a duet version of the song, with Ada singing with Lauren Schiller.)

Also, I attended a reading by Delia Sherman, from her upcoming YA novel, The Evil Wizard Smallbone.  I’ve heard bits of the book before, and it’s always a delight.  Delia has such a graceful hand with tales of magic.

Comes out in September, but you could pre-order it now. Yes, you could.

Also: a reading by Jo Walton, from her work in progress, Poor Relations, which I enjoyed immensely.  By laughing a lot.  It was that kind of book, and she read it with vim!   (You can’t buy it yet — but the final volume of her Thessaly series, Necessity, is just out this week. )

And finally, a reading by one of Readercon’s guests of honor, Catherynne Valente,  whose writing you know I love.  I can’t recall the title — it was a work in progress, I think —  but it was dark and rich and grim and lovely.  (There’s an excerpt from it in the Readercon program, which I have at home where I am not, and not in my office, where I am.)

Hm.  I seem only to have attended readings by women this time!  Not by intention: Daryl Gregory was listed on the original program, but left off of the updated one.  Apparently he could not attend after all.  Alas.  I do love hearing him read.

The panels…

Well.

I didn’t go to many, but it seemed to me that each one I attended (and the one I was on),  rather quickly turned away from books, and toward TV shows and movies as examples of whatever subject was on hand for discussion.

And I found this disappointing.  The thing about Readercon, the blessed thing about it, is that it has traditionally been focused on books.  There’s no film track, no gaming, the dealer’s room sells nothing but books.  In theory it’s supposed to stand in opposition other conventions, which more and more deal with movies, TV, gaming, and the fandom that surrounds them.  Not that those aren’t wonderful things, and sources of real art — But Readercon has always been the exception to  the trend.   That was its charm, and its attraction.

But this time, not so much.  I don’t know what to make of that.

As well as official convention events, there was plenty of meeting and re-meeting of friends, always a glad thing.  (I’d detail more but… this is running rather long, and getting late.  Perhaps I’ll expand on events in a later post?)

And after Readercon, as is traditional, I spent a few days with fellow authors Ann Tonsor Zeddies (aka Toni Anzetti, but not any more), and Geary Gravel.   A splendid time was had by all, including much deep talk far into the night on the front porch, one reading of a work in progress, the inevitable champagne, many delicious meals, and walks around interesting places.

A denizen of the forest.

A denizen of the forest.

 

The Bridge of Flowers, in Shelburne Falls, MA.

The Bridge of Flowers, in Shelburne Falls, MA.

 

Authors!

Authors!

So.  All that is over, I’m back home and unpacked, and my laundry is done, and I’m tucked into my office.

Next on the agenda: Ack! Worldcon in August.  Preceded by a week in Chicago… Yikes, only two and a half weeks before all that.

Better get back to wrestling with the Muse.  Who is a slippery gal, but I do believe I have a weight advantage, there.

 

IMG_1281


Dec 20 2015

Yes, the dreaded chores of officaldom ate my week…

Rosemary

… but only because I was still fighting that dratted cold/flu thing.    Not at my sharpest, I’m afraid, and yet still had to do all those official-type things previously mentioned, plus one more that I had not even known about.

Apparently, on acquiring an off-site office for my writing, I became an Actual Business in the eyes of my town’s tax code.   And the other day I got a call from the Town Assessor’s office about property tax on the contents of my office.   I had not filed a thing I was supposed to file but never knew about, involving money that I should have paid them!   They were not angry, just concerned.

Much discussion, with two different people at the Assessor’s office.   They did not know quite what to make of me… I don’t manufacture anything, I have no clients, I’m not a service nor a consultant.  And yet, I have a location, and objects in it, used in the course of plying my trade.  It seems that I’m the only actual real author they ever had to deal with!   I guess all the other authors have offices in their home or in their attics.

I had sad visions of getting hit with a bill that would make it impossible for me to afford maintaining my beloved workspace… But not to fear.   After the complex detailed form was completed (carefully confirming that I did not have any horses or ponies, did not store farm equipment, did not have any manufacturing equipment, etc), it looks like my tax bill will be a whopping $35, or thereabouts.

I’m pretty sure I can handle that.

Eight pages of this.

Eight pages of this.

So, all is well.   Plus, I am now known at Town Hall, which is always a good idea.

And the cold is almost gone, just in time for Christmas.  And all my really important shopping is done.   Well, urgent shopping, anyway.  There are people I don’t see until well after the holidays, which means that I can snag prezzies at sale prices.  Heh.

News about people who are not me:

nec

Jo Walton has revealed the cover of her next book, following on The Just City and The Philosopher Kings.   This will be coming out in June, which is a long away away, alas…

But if you want something Right! Now! , and you loved Ellen Kushner’s  Riverside (from Swordspoint, The Privilege of the Sword, and The Fall of the Kings — her collaboration with Delia Sherman), do check out the Riverside-inspired stories being released in serial form by Serial Box.   You can have ebook versions or audio versions, and I’m going to get one set, but I haven’t decided which yet.  And I do believe that there are more on the way.  (Also, check out the cool hand-cut silhouette art that illustrates the “covers.”)

And sad news: the famous Emmy, co-star of Chad Orzel’s How to Teach (Quantum) Physics to Your Dog and How to Teach Relativity to Your Dog has passed away.  I’m sad I never got to meet her. In my mind,  she will live forever, trying to chase quantum bunnies around both sides of trees.

 


Dec 20 2014

Next: you knew I was going to mention Ellen Kushner, right?

Rosemary

Of course you knew.

kushner thomas

 

Back in September I posted about the Audible audiobook The Swords of Riverside, which combined Ellen’s Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword with The Fall of the Kings (written in collaboration with Delia Sherman). I’m reminding you of it again, because besides each of these books being excellent in its own right, the combination is a particularly great deal, very frugal for gift-giving.  ( Over 45 hours immersed in the city of Riverside!)

But I also want to remind you of Ellen’s Thomas the Rhymer, and that’s my official recommendation today.  I feel that the Swordspoint books get all the attention — but Thomas the Rhymer  won both the World Fantasy Award, and the Mythopoeic Award, and should not be overlooked.  It’s a lovely book, transforming the famous ballad into an absorbing  tale.   Magic, music, great prose, great characters, romance — what’s not to love?

You’ve heard me enthuse about Ellen Kushner before (lots), and Thomas the Rhymer is a good place to start reading her; it’s where I started, having read it well before I read Swordspoint.  And it’s currently out in mass-market paperback.  Perfect size for a stocking-stuffer.

(Oh, and did you know about Sound and Spirit, the radio show Ellen wrote and hosted on public radio?  It’s over now, but thanks to our pal the Internet, there are lots of episodes available to  hear for free.  At this very moment, I’m revisiting the episode on bells. I thought it might feel Christmassy, and I was right.)

Ellen Kushner’s books on Amazon

Ellen’s own website

And here’s an episode of the Diana Rehm Show, where Ellen, Maria Tatar and Marina Warner discuss the history and modern relevance of fairy tales.

The Sound and Spirit archive

 


Sep 24 2014

News about writers who are not me.

Rosemary

Remember me saying how much I enjoyed the audiobook of Ellen Kushner’s and Delia Sherman’s The Fall of the Kings?  Here’s something cool: Audible has combined all three of the Riverside audiobooks —  Kushner’s Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword, and Kushner & Sherman’s The Fall of the Kings — into one big omnibus audiobook called The Swords of Riverside.  

If you already have an Audible account, please notice you can get this omnibus for just one credit.   This is a fantastic bargain.  And if you don’t have an Audible account, they love to tempt you by offering you your first book free when you sign up, and that’s even more of a bargain.  And if you’re not interested in committing to a membership you can always buy the audiobook at the non-member price which is still a bargain, as you’re getting all three for the price of one audiobook.

It’s over 45 hours of pure immersion in the wonderful, mysterious city of Riverside and its denizens.  You can lose yourself in a whole other world for days on end!  If I didn’t already have all three audiobooks, I’d be doing this immediately.

(Please note: The Riverside books contain same-sex romance, so if that puts you off — then heck, why not try something else by Ellen and/or  Delia, like Ellen’s Thomas the Rhymer — sadly, only in print version and not audiobook — or the excellent audiobook of Delia’s YA novel, The Freedom Maze?)

Other news: Jo Walton’s The Just City is available for pre-order at Amazon — and likely also at your favorite non-Amazonian book-buying site, not to mention pre-ordering  from actual bookstores.  Release date is January, but that’s not as far away as it looks, trust me.  And I know she’s finished writing the sequel, The Philosopher Kings, so I can see there won’t be much of a wait between volumes.

I pre-ordered it in the Kindle version, so that when it comes out it will instantly show up on my Kindle.  I love pre-ordering.   I order, then basically forget about it, so it’s like buying a surprise present for myself.  I’m always surprised!

Other other news, being actually about me:  Still worn down, and hauling myself to three days a week of the Day Job.  My boss is deeply happy to have me back. Much has gotten tangled there which now I am laboriously untangling.

And I actually braved New Haven one day, and stopped off  at Hull’s Art Supply to buy a bunch of bookbinding supplies, since I suddenly realized that the supplies I had on hand were Not Right, Not Right At All, and that I wanted a new journal/workbook Immediately If Not Sooner, and that to accomplish this Steps Must Be Taken.  And so I took them.  (Quite soon I must make a trek to Boston to visit the Paper Source in Somerville MA.    Hull’s just doesn’t have the hand-marbled one-of-a-kind papers that the Paper Source carries, although it has everything else I need. )

Simple cover, classy innards.

Simple cover, classy innards.

I also treated myself to a late lunch at the Booktrader Cafe, where once in the misty depths of time, the Fabulous Genrettes used to meet.  The main room at Booktrader seems once to have been some sort of greenhouse or solarium, and so is entirely constructed of glass, including the roof, which fact I love beyond all reason.   I’m always happiest when I can see the sky.


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.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Jun 7 2014

Two days later

Rosemary

I feel pretty good, actually.

At this point, I only feel any actual pain when I lift my right arm, or use it for something involving carrying weight.  And I seem to have a bit of a rash on my chest  from the surgical tape, which is something that sometimes happens to me.

It’s hard right now for me to tell how much tissue was removed, because there’s  a certain amount of swelling in the general area, after the surgery.  But I can tell this: not a whole lot.   I’ll probably end up with a dent or divot of some sort, but right now the only visible sign of surgery is the great big incision.   I’ll get the official word on what was what and what it means next week, but it’s clear to see that what was removed was nowhere near as much as I expected.

Also: only one lymph node was removed, under my arm, and that’s great news.   And that’s actually where most of my pain comes from.

And the dreaded needle localization, performed via x-rays this time instead of MRI, was no problem whatsoever!  Other than the usual bizzarro Egyptian-hieroglyph postures that accompany every mammogram.  Those are always at least perplexing.

After the needle loc, they set me up for a sentinel node biopsy, which is a very clever procedure indeed.  What they do is inject a brightly-colored radioactive dye into the tumor area (that was actually pretty painful, but was over quickly), wait a bit, and take some x-rays.  The dye heads over to the lymph nodes that drain the area of the tumor, which then show up clearly on the images.  So, what the surgeon does later is remove the first lymph node in line (the “sentinel”), and quickly send that out to be tested, while-u-wait.   If there’s any cancer in that lymph node, then they know they have to remove a bunch of nodes, all along the area; but if not, then no more lymph nodes are removed.

And I clearly do remember, later, being told that the sentinel node had zero cancer.   So nice to hear.  Thus: only one lymph node removed.

They didn’t use general anesthesia, just a deep version of local, plus a sedative.  I remember them wheeling me out of the prep room, and I think I remember arriving in the operating room.  I’m pretty sure the usual words were exchanged (where they ask you to describe the procedure you’re about to undergo, so everyone’s on the same page), but I can’t clearly recall it.   And then they applied their drugs, and I slept, and it was all sentinel node biopsy, and the lumpectomy, while I was in la-la land.

I don’t recall arriving back in prep room post-op.  Sabine tells me that my first words to her when she saw me were “Piece of cake,” but I’ll have to take her word on that.   But it does sound like something I’d say.

So, right now: well, I don’t feel 100%, that’s sure.  I’m tired, I get exhausted easily and often.  What I do about it: nap.  Works for me.

I took pain pills religiously for two days, then forgot and find I don’t need them.  I might take one at bedtime, to help me sleep.   I’d heard that it’s not uncommon to not need much in the way of pain meds for this type of surgery.

So… all is well.  Now I just have to heal up so that they can start the radiation therapy.

Oh, and at some point I’ll be going back to the dreaded day job… darn it.

Oh, and Welcome to Night Vale’s live show the night before surgery?  Totally worth it!  I’ll tell you more about it later, but now I’m getting worn down.

But I do have to say that what made it possible for me to even consider going to that show was having a place to crash for a while after the train trip in to New York, before the show itself.  For that I thank Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman, who kindly lent me their guest room for the afternoon.   Lovely and peaceful.  Plus: wifi!

(And by the way:  Ellen and Delia are involved in the Interstitial Arts Foundation, and are currently raising money for Interfictions, the online interstitial arts magazine.  You want to know what “interstitial” means now, don’t you?  Of course you do. Click to check it out.)

I’ll fill you in on the Night Vale details later (for those of you who are interested).  Right now: time for zz’s.

 

 

 


Dec 15 2013

Always the last to join the pack…

Rosemary

After being told many times, by many sources, that I should be listening to the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” I finally decided that I wanted something new, interesting and amusing to listen to, and thought to myself, Hey, what about that Night Vale thing people keep mentioning?

Well. Silly me. I should listen to all those people and sources. Because, see what I’ve been missing?

I spent my entire weekly housecleaning laughing like a loon, with my iPod loaded with Night Vale episodes, and a bluetooth earphone plugged in my ear. I didn’t want to turn on the vacuum cleaner, because I wouldn’t be able to hear over it, and I didn’t want to stop. So I did that part really fast. Then I did some extra housework, just so I could keep listening. Then I cleaned the snow off our cars and shoveled the entrance walk. Still listening.

I finally stopped in order to actually produce some art of my own, instead of merely consuming other people’s art.

If you don’t know about Welcome to Night Vale, you really ought to check it out. Don’t listen to just one episode — stay for the first three (and do them in order). They’re about 20 minutes each, and if you end up liking it you’ll have another glorious 33 episodes waiting for you. One of the advantages of getting to things late — you don’t have to wait 2 weeks for the next episode.

The easiest way to listen is on your computer at SoundCloud’s NightValeRadio page. Or follow the links on their main site to download from various other sources.

For the cautious who want some warning about what they’re getting into, let’s just say it’s a spooky comedy. Here’s their own description:

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
Turn on your radio and hide.

I did so love the episodes I’ve heard so far. I’m up to number 6: History Week.

Meanwhile: Snowstorm not as bad as predicted. Yet.

Also meanwhile: Hey, remember how I mentioned how much I enjoyed the audiobook version of Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman’s The Fall of the Kings ?  Well, it was just selected as one of the top ten best audiobooks, by AudioFile magazine. And so I remind you of it again.   Excellent book, lovely performances, not the least of which was by Ellen herself.  This is yet another wonderful thing to listen to on your iPod, iPad, tablet, mp3 player, music device, or actual computer!


Dec 7 2013

Found.

Rosemary

 

This.

 

 

 

(by Tully Hansen, Found via Ellen Kushner’s   Facebook post, which she reposted from Kashmiri Stec)


Aug 21 2013

Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner need your recipes.

Rosemary

The audiobook version of Ellen & Delia’s collaboration of The Fall of the Kings is going on sale August 27th, but you can get a copy for free!

They’ve come up with a promotional contest that looks like a lot of fun: Swordspoint Cuisine. Deadline is 5PM EST on Friday, August 23rd.

They want recipes.

The Fall of the Kings takes place in Ellen’s “Swordspoint” world, and the city of Riverside, a locale much loved by her readers. If you’ve read any of those books, or the print version of The Fall of The Kings, then you surely have a sense of the deliciousness found in Riverside — so, invent!

Best 10 recipes get a free download of the audiobook. Go to this site for info on how to participate.

And I must say: I’ve already plunked down my monthly Audible 1-book credit in order to pre-order this audiobook for myself. I really like the Swordspoint books, and I’ve especially loved the audiobook versions. Ellen does most of the reading herself, and she’s excellent at it – but there’s more!

These versions are called “illuminated”, which in an audio sense means that selected scenes are rendered with a full cast. It’s a fascinating idea, and works really well. It’s analogous to an illustrated version of a print book, where for most of it you’re picturing things in your own mind — but then, to your delight, you’re gifted with an artist’s vision of the scene, or portrait of a character.

In the same way, Ellen Kushner’s voice is the voice of the story, until suddenly: Everyone’s really there! It’s a lovely effect.

Having Ellen and Delia writing together in one book is a treat, too. And I remember when sections of this book were in their early stages, as Delia was a fellow member of the Fabulous Genrettes, and Ellen was an honorary member for the duration.

So, even if you don’t take part in the contest, check out the audiobook, or the print version, or the previous Riverside audiobooks.

These are all part of the “Neil Gaiman Presents” series. And an extra benefit of that is that Gaiman always has a cameo role. So, if you’re also a wild Neil Gaiman fan, add this to your collection! Who will he play? Don’t know… it’s a mystery.

FAIR WARNING: All the Swordspoint books include same-sex romance, but the guy&guy love scenes in The Fall of the Kings are especially spicy! So, if you’re not up to it, pass this one by.

As for me — I shall be listening to this with nice silk folding fan on hand, to gracefully and fashionably cool myself during those “Oh, my!” moments …