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.)


Sep 4 2017

News about people who are not me

Rosemary

Geary Gravel’s Fading Worlds books are coming back into print, starting with A Key for the Nonesuch.

Aside from being a pal, Geary is a writer whose work I really enjoy (these two facts are possibly not unrelated).  His Fading Worlds books answer the question: What if a regular, normal person was dropped into an Edgar Rice Burroughs-ish adventure?

Well.  Howard Bell does rise to the occasion.

And I happen to know for a fact that the second book, Return of the Breakneck Boys, is also in the pipeline for republication Real Soon Now.  And that subsequent volumes of the series are in the works.  (True fact.  I have had the pleasure of reading bits of them.)

Why there’s the famous author right now, chuckling in a worldly-wise manner over his aperitif.

Looks like at the moment only the paperback version is out, but I know that an ebook is soon to come.

Which I shall instantly snatch up.

ETA: Here’s the paperback version on Amazon.com.

(Inexplicably, the paperback and Kindle versions aren’t linked to each other… if you go to one and click on “see all formats” it does not show you the other format!  But it does exist in both formats. )


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


Apr 7 2016

The dreaded chores of officialdom, federal edition. Plus: Night Vale!

Rosemary

Yep, finished my taxes.   I had assumed it was going to be insane and overwhelming and stress-inducing, and had scheduled extra time to be freaked out about it all.

I had eight different 1099’s for writing income, and another one for unemployment income, and W-2’s for both the day job and about a month of disability pay that I got at the beginning of the year.  And I had started an HSA account.   And I had to do the Schedule C for my business, and self-employment tax, and all the deductions relating to having an office dedicated entirely to my writing work, thus office expenses, not to mention (she mentions, as she mentions it) travel and hotels for business-related events.

Amazingly, it was actually pretty easy.

I had saved most of my receipts.  Good habits win!   Plus, I ran almost everything through my Amex, so my year-end statement helped.   Also, some stuff was bought on Amazon for my business, and for each of those I could reprint all the receipts I hadn’t saved at the time.

Then I ran it all through TurboTax.    Twenty-first century, I love you.

I do remember the Dark Ages, when I (and most people, for that matter) did not even possess a computer.  I was a self-employed programmer consultant, and aspiring singer/songwriter.  Tax time was a nightmare!   Lordy, not even Excel spreadsheets to help me calculate.   And I did not make enough to afford an accountant to do it all for me.   Just me and the forms and sheets of paper and a calculator, and sweat and anguish.

This time, just a few hours on two separate days to sort it all, enter it all, print it out .  I owed the government slightly less than I thought I was going to.   All is well.

In other news: Yes! Sabine and I saw the latest Welcome to Night Vale live show, Ghost Stories.  I did love it.  It went by much too quickly.

No spoilers here.  I’ll just say that Cecil Baldwin (as the Voice of Night Vale, Cecil Palmer) is a treasure.   There were moments when I was completely enthralled, just by this  guy  all alone on a stage, saying words.  I’m still amazed that that can happen.  A lovely script (Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, the creators of Night Vale), all eerie and funny and heartbreakingly poignant.

Their live shows change a bit from city to city, traditionally.  They usually have alternate versions so that the different cast members from the podcast can step in for a show or two, and not have to be present for the entire tour.   This time we had Hal Lublin doing his usual great delivery as the much-maligned Steve Carlsberg.   And Meg Bashwiner as Deb the Sentient Patch of Haze.   Meg also does the intro and credits, and is a delight.   The two other walk-on roles were handled by Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink themselves, and they were really quite good.   You don’t expect writers to be good actors too, but these guys are pros.

This was only the third time the show had been performed… so, maybe a little rough in spots?  I did not mind.  Also, the Academy of Music, while a lovely venue, is also a small venue.   Sabine and I later wondered if seeing it in a big city at a bigger theater might allow the show to have more guests.  Because, bigger theater=more income?  More $$ to spread around?   Maybe.

If so, what we missed in spectacular-spectacular was made up for with intimacy.  Cecil was right there. He was also right here:

Yo, there , behind the pole. Tall guy with the blue wool cap.

Yo, there , behind the pole. Tall guy with the blue wool cap.

Yeah, okay you can’t tell it’s him unless you saw him walk up to that intersection.

By the way, that snow on the ground?  Yes, it was the horrible snow/sleet/freezing rain event that we had on Monday.  And I was at the wheel.  White-knuckle driving all the way to Massachusetts!   Ten miles an hour, sometimes increasing to a terrifying thirty miles an hour! But I was not going to miss the show.  And once we hit Mass, it all calmed down, amazingly.   Past Springfield, it was a breeze.

And we had a lovely pre-show dinner with Geary Gravel, whom we see all too rarely.  Discussions of Life and writing.  Discussions about self-publication of works now out of print.   How to do it, etc.   And family!  And Life, did I mention that?   I love hanging with Geary.

Sabine was at the wheel on the way home.  When the weather was all done being weather.

 

 


Aug 11 2015

You know how you get back from an SF convention, and you feel kind of blue?

Rosemary

Because it was so great, and now you’re not there any more?

Yeah, I got that after Readercon.

Reason for Readercon.

Random person at Readercon doing what the convention is all about.

— except that it was delayed by my usual post-con hangout with Ann Zeddies and Geary Gravel.  During which, by the way, we did not do our usual arts&crafts with collages and/or collaged book-boxes, because  we were reading to each other!

Yes!  New stuff, from all three of us.  This is an unusual circumstance.  Generally, it has been observed that only one of us at a time seems to be productive, and we swap it around between the three of us.  But not this year!  Each of us had new stuff to read to the other two.  And then — we did it again! Two sessions of readings.  So happy.

And then when I got home: postcon blues.

But!  No time for that, because the Schrodinger sessions were just around the corner!  And what a blast that was.  Kind of like a convention only better because of real, actual science!   I was in heaven.

400

This is what science looks like.

 

Taking place here.

Taking place here.

And… then, back home, and the day job…  squeezing in the writing at night and on weekends…

So, that would create sort of a double-dose of post-con blues?

But no time for the blues, because next, very soon: Worldcon!  I haven’t been to a Worldcon in years and years.   It’s gonna be great.

Yeah.  And after that… triple post-con blues?

Like, this comic by Abby Howard.

Ah, hell.  It’s worth it.

Plus: extra motivation to shed this day job.   ‘Cause, then I’d never have to go back to it!  I like that idea.

Let’s think long and hard about that, shall we?

 

 

 


Jul 30 2013

Peripheral writing biz tasks. Plus: collage book-boxes

Rosemary

I’ve been wrapped up in tons of writerly tasks that, while not actually generating prose, support and enable the future generation of prose.  Ate up my entire weekend plus day off. But necessary.

About which, more Real Soon Now.  But I finally found a few moments in which to blog!

People have asked for more on the collaged book-boxes Ann and Geary and I made at this year’s post-Readercon gathering. Alas: nearly all the photos came out horribly blurry! I think I was wearing my wrong glasses at the time.

(Annoyingly, I now have three sets: 225’s that I use to read print, 150’s that I use to read computer screens, and a graduated focus pair that are mostly plano with a 225 reading area — which I hate, because the area is about the size of one word on a printed page, requiring me to read by moving my head as if I were watching a ping-pong match.)

I’ve pulled out the least blurry of the photos.   (Hey, Ann & Geary: if you want, take some new pictures of your own books, and email them — I’ll replace these with your better ones.)

We each made two book-boxes this time: one large and one small.

This was mine:

Cover of my big book

cover of my big book

 

The Spine...

The Spine

 

The back...

The back.

 

 

...inside...

And the smaller book:

The cover...

The cover

Spine

Spine

 

Inside cover.

inside cover

 

Inside

Inside

Back cover

Back cover

Geary’s:

 

Front

Front of the big book

spine

 

Back

Back

inside cover

inside cover

inside...

inside

Here’s his second:

cover

cover

100_1783

back

back

 

inside cover

inside cover

inside

inside

And Ann’s:

Cover of Ann's big book

Cover of Ann’s big book.

 

and the back

and the back.

inside

inside

inside

Her smaller book:

cover

cover

100_1806

100_1805

 

inside cover

inside cover

100_1807

100_1808

And finally: The cake (courtesy of Geary), and party favors (from me).

100_1774

 

(PS: Always read the hovertext. )


Apr 21 2012

While I am otherwise occupied

Rosemary

Still here. And still in the process of sorting out life without all the DayJob overtime.

So far, I’m liking it! But you knew that.

Many things to catch up on, as you might guess.

While I’m otherwise occupied, here’s something that author & pal Geary Gravel brought to my attention.

The song’s by Gotye, but I prefer this version by Walk Off the Earth.

(Be sure to click on the red word-balloon icon on the bottom of the vid, so you’re not overwhelmed with concert dates and annotations.)

More later….


Jul 23 2011

Plus: masks

Rosemary

I’ve successfully accomplished Readercon, or at least my part of it. The panel discussion on the phenomenon of the book size inflation was seriously excellent, with me,the lovely and talented Walter H. Hunt; the always-edifying Tom Easton; the multiply-skilled teacher/writer/reviewer Leigh Grossman; and the ever-remarkable and estimable Howard Waldrop.

Upshot? It’s caused by:

a) the fact that overworked editors rarely have the time to do much real editing these days, and do not always encourage authors to choose the one right word when a paragraph or two will accomplish the same thing
b) the phenomenon of the author who is so successful that whatever they write will sell, so why edit it at all?
c) changes in technology that make it easier and cheaper to print big fat books, so there’s little pressure not to do so
e) other changes in technology that make it easier for the author to get the words on the page quickly and painlessly (I’m talking word processors, here), so there’s more impulse to just keep on writing
f) still other changes in technology (talking E-books here), that make it just as easy to lug around a 1,000 page tome as it is to carry around a magazine,

And my personal favorite:

g) the desire or the reader to immerse in the imagined world, and stay there as long as possible, and return in subsequent volumes as often as possible, because it’s fun there and we like it.

All of these things operating simultaneously, see.

Other highlights:

My signing, where actual persons actually asked for my autograph, with entertaining conversation during the slow times with Alex Jablokov and the perennial Walter H Hunt, who were sharing the autograph table with me.

My Kaffeeklatsch, where two small klatsches were merged into one reasonable sized one, and I ended up sharing space, fans, and quips with some guy named — what was it again? Oh, yeah, Walter Hunt

After Readercon, it was off to my usual post-con gathering with Ann Tonsor Zeddies and Geary Gravel, where we discuss and examine art, life, humanity, technology, science, truth, beauty, fate, love, longing, literature, dogs, two-sided sticky tape, champagne, local restaurants, and the heat death of the universe. Plus: arts and crafts

Usually, we do collages. Like this one:

From last time

From last time

This time Ann had the brilliant idea of doing masks instead! After much struggling with the materials (we now know how to do it so it’ll be better next time) we came up with these:

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

Here they are closer, but not as clear as I hoped they’d come out. The titles (in hovertext) are my own, and if Ann & Geary disagree, they are free to correct me. If They Dare!

Ann’s:

the jewel-eyed moth finds light

and

aztec queen

These are Geary’s:

in demonstration of the quantum nature of consciousness

and

some guys just have great hair

And my two:

the abyss looks back but does not speak

and

birds of the world

It was fun. Messy, but fun — I mean: Messy PLUS fun.

Many thanks to Geary (and Berry) for hosting the event.


Jul 14 2011

Ack!

Rosemary

No time, ZERO! Working overtime at the DayJob so as to pre-catch up for being away all next week. Strained my back a bit, as sometimes happens when I forget to take breaks, so I now move more slowly exactly when I need to be moving faster.

Trying to prepare for a trip that includes: attending a convention where I must dress not like a slob, and be able to speak intelligently on a writerly subject; hanging out with writer pals, where I can wear any ol’ thing, but must read stuff out loud, provide beverages, and prepare to do arts & crafts; and day-hiking in the White Mountains, where I must somehow also appear with at least 3 cakes in hand.

I am NOT baking those cakes. I will buy pre-baked.

I managed to squeeze in some good writing time on Monday, plus the gym — then it was bye-bye to all that, and hello prep-chaos.

Although, on Monday I did drive all the way to the Funky Monkey and only remembered when I got there that it’s closed on Mondays. Had to do Panera’s instead.

Where I wanted to be vs. where I was

Where I wanted to be vs. where I was

Time’s up! Hit the ground running!


Jul 25 2010

A blog and a movie

Rosemary

Young Gabriel Gill, son of my pal and fellow author Geary Gravel, has started up a blog, festooned with his remarkable illustrations.

gabriel's front page

I’m hoping he’ll add some of his prose work as well.

But I must admit to being jealous that he has recently been to both Animation Camp and Graphic Novel Camp.  They did not have any such things when I was 13!

Of course, if they had, I doubt my parents would have understood the extreme importance of my attending them.

Come to think of it…. there were no graphic novels when I was 13.  Only comics. Yes, I’m that old.

In other news: Go see Inception.  I won’t post any spoilers (yet).  But I will say that it was brilliantly written, brilliantly executed.   I’ll say more at a slightly later date.

Sigh.  Must turn in soon, to be awake for the DayJob tomorrow.

But I will play some guitar first, so as not to forget that I’m capable of doing so.

not a 1971 gibson hummingbird custom.  just not.