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?


Sep 15 2016

News about people who are not me.

Rosemary

When we last left Our Intrepid Heroine, she had just got back from weeks away from home (including a cross-country drive accomplished while she and her stalwart Big Sister were both sick as dogs), and had endured an extra, post-trip week of massive cold/flu/whatever, and was finally attempting to get back in the groove by locking herself away from the entire rest of the world…

This lasted about two days, as the entire rest of the world had different plans.

Stuff had to be dealt with! Stuff that could be neither ignored nor postponed.  They existed on their own timelines.   They overlapped timelines!   They wrapped their timelines around each other into mutual strangleholds and battled each other like snakes!  It would have been exciting if it wasn’t exhausting.   Wait, no it wouldn’t.

I’d tell you more, but while I’m free to natter about my own life, I’m reluctant to provide details of other people’s lives.  So, we stay metaphorical and hypothetical.   More fun that way, anyway.  Feel free to insert assumptions of your own imagining, as a creative exercise.

Anyway, I have, like, a day and a half to catch my breath before diving into the cleanup and recovery phase of the events in question.

I could recap my trip, and Worldcon, and the wonderfulness of that (before the cross-country-plaguemobile part); but I only have a little bit of time available to write this blog post, so… I’ll eke that out over a few posts in a week or so from now.

But in the meantime, fortunately, I know cool people, who do cool things that I can tell you about.  Which helps both you and them.

Like:

Eternity's End (Star Rigger Universe) by [Carver, Jeffrey A.]

The ebook version of Jeff Carver’s Eternity’s End is currently on sale for 99 cents.   This is a great way to step into Jeff’s Starrigger Universe, and there’s plenty more where that came from.  Seriously, if you love SF that roams the wild space-ways, this is for you.  It’s available pretty much everywhere: Amazon,  NookiBooks,  Kobo,  and Google Play.

Also, there’s this delightful thing:

The trailer only mentions Downpour, but the audiobook also available from Audible (free with trial membership, too) and iTunes.  The guy doing the narration, Stephan Rudnicki, is actually one of my favorite narrators.  I know his voice so well — it’s nice to see his face.

Other non-me news:

The Evil Wizard Smallbone by [Sherman, Delia]

Delia Sherman’s new Young Adult book The Evil Wizard Smallbone is out!  My sister has the hardcover, which has this brilliant wrap-around cover, and I got the Kindle version (for convenience, plus instant gratification)  and I do love it.  Come on, you know you read YA.  Admit it.  Okay, pretend you’re getting it for your nephew or niece or whatever.  But I see through you.

And finally:

The Sirens literary conference (October 20-23) has Laurie J. Marks as a Guest of Honor this year.   Laurie is the author of the acclaimed Elemental Logics series (among other works), and like Delia, is a member of my writing group.  The Sirens website has even  posted an interview with Laurie, which you can read here.

Must go now.   I have all day tomorrow free from snake-battling events.  Must grab it while I can.

 

UPDATED to include link to two battling snakes.


Jul 30 2016

I keep doing this!

Rosemary

I keep waiting until the end of my day to write a blog post…

La-di-da, I say to myself, about time to go home, oh, I think I’ll just knock off a quick blog post...

Hours later:

Well, hours later it’s hours later.

Because there I am, tweaking the pics, checking on the links I’m using, looking up cool things, researching that last snappy bit of wisdom, to make sure I don’t make a total idiot of myself as I impart it. (You cannot make a paper airplane hover between two fans.  Can Not.)

Let’s see if I can do this in under an hour, shall we?

General news: I got my preliminary schedule for the panels at MidAmeriCon, this year’s Worldcon:

Writing Major Minor Characters

Do you ever read a book and come across a character that is so wonderful you want to know everything about them, yet you know you never will because they aren’t the main character? Such characters add immeasurably to our reading experience and yet they are very hard to write. This session discusses how to do just that.

Time – Wednesday 16.00

 

Hard Fantasy – Does it Exist?

“I’m going to write about what Tove Jansson called “the lonely and the rum,” the unschoolable and ungroupable, those strange and shaggy literary creatures that have no ilk or kin and that mathematically can be contained in no set smaller than the set of all sets contained in no other sets’.  (Micheal Swanwick).  Does Hard Fantasy have a place in fantasy literature, and how should we approach it?

Friday, 19.00. 2206

 

“Transcending” the Genre

Critics still use the term “transcending the genre,” but what does that really mean? And what does that mean for fandom – have we gone mainstream? Or are we experiencing snobbish reactions rooted in fannish history? What happens to the discourse when Zadie Smith talks about reading Octavia Butler, or Marlon James says his next novel will be “an African Game of Thrones”? At the end of the day, do we really want all the genre walls to disappear? Do we want to completely transcend genre?

Time – Sunday 13.00

Of the above, I think I’ll have the most to say about the Major Minor characters.  It’s something I love doing.

In addition to those, I’ll also be on an panel about living with cancer (if you’re just joining us, I spent 2014 and most of 2015 being treated for breast cancer, with great success).   I don’t know yet what time that will take place.

I think I also requested a Kaffeeklatsch, but I can’t recall if I requested a reading!  Ack!  It would be good to know, as I have to decide what to read!

Although Worldcon itself is over two weeks away, I’ll be traveling or otherwise occupied for much of the run-up to it, so I’m already having little stress-fits about the prep.  Well.  All will work out, in the end, I’m sure.

Last weekend I spent some time visiting pal and fellow Genrette Laurie J. Marks and her wife Deb Mensinger, in their vintage bungalow, which they are in the process of lovingly restoring to its early-20th-century glory.  Deb knows what she’s about, being a professionally trained preservation carpenter.

Ravens figure largely in Laurie's Elemental Logic series.

Ravens figure largely in Laurie’s Elemental Logic series.

Laurie also knows what she’s about, as couple of hours of conversation about our respective current projects resulted in me helping her solve one of her plot problems, and her helping to solve the basic major problem I was wrestling with in Book 5 –  so that now I am currently mostly wrapped up in solidifying that central fix, and setting the book onto the path of righteousness, AMEN.    After which will merely remain the writing of it.   Which sounds like the hard part, but trust me, it’s not.

Other news:

Hey, look, Ada Palmer was interviewed by Scientific Amercian about her novel, Too Like the Lightning.  Holy smokes.

Meanwhile, I’m in the middle of reading Jo Walton’s, Necessity, which takes some unexpected and rather fun turns.   But I do occasionally want to kick certain gods in their butts.  Not namin’ any names, here.

 

Oh, look, I found some orange roses.

Oh, look, I found some orange roses.

See that guitar?  Been practicing.

 


Dec 6 2014

Laurie J. Marks : Elemental Logic and more

Rosemary

 

firelogiccover

The new world of ebooks has benefitted a lot of writers.  I’m one, as you know.   (My ebook sales this year will exceed my writing income from any previous year.)

It looks like Laurie J. Marks might turn out be another.

Laurie is best known for her Elemental Logic series (originally from Tor Books).   The first two volumes are out of print… But now all three books have been released as ebooks by her current publisher, Small Beer Press.

This makes me glad.  I just now went and bought them.  (I now have them in two forms…)

Also making me glad:  I know there won’t be a long wait for the fourth volume.   In fact, I have a pre-final-edit copy right here…

Well, I won’t gloat too much.  But it helps to know the author.

I especially like the design of Laurie’s magical system, and how it operates through the citizens of the land of Shaftal.  You can (sometimes) work magic. But more often magic is working you — and not at your convenience.   The land has its own plans and needs.

Years and years ago, I wrote a review of the first book in the Elemental Logic series, Fire Logic.   I actually can’t now recall where it was published (online somewhere).   I thought I’d just link to it, but after searching the Internet assiduously, I find I can’t locate it anywhere…

Fortunately, I have a copy,  and I’ve put it here for you to read in its original oddly stilted and slightly turgid entirety. 

Well, I wrote it ages ago, as I said.. but I still stand by it!

Here are some cogent quotes from it:

“Marks delivers her story in prose that is rich, graceful, and often stunning.   I have far too often read authors whose prose merely gets the job done, gets the character from point A to point B by relating the events between: prose so colorless that it is often referred to as “invisible”, as if that were a virtue.   But life itself is not like that; events vibrate with connection and connotation. Marks’ skill with the language allows her to gift us with a fuller experience. Her characters feel deeply, think fiercely, love sharply.”

And:

“In designing her system of magic, Marks displays both literary skill and psychological wisdom. The traits of each element are personality traits that we recognize, representing categories of people that we can identify in our own world. We know these people; we’ve met them all our lives.   Marks gives us a name for them and their ways, and this real-world link makes it easy and natural for us to take one more step and accept, for the story’s sake, the possibilities of Shaftali magic.”

Oh, and you know who else wrote a glowing review?  James Davis Nicoll, who has titled it his review: “Someone whose books I need to obsessively collect”

(One thing you should note: if you are a person who is put off by same-sex romance in a novel, this is not a book for you.)

Laurie’s other books are also hard to find, and out of print — but she has plans to put them up as ebooks, too.  So, you might soon have a lot of Laurie J. Marks books to add to your ebook library.

Laurie J. Marks’ ebooks from Small Beer Press (epub and mobi)

Laurie J. Marks’ Water Logic trade paperback from Small Beer Press

Laurie J. Marks’ books and ebooks on Amazon

The audiobook version of Fire Logic

And here’s where you can hear me sing “The Loyal General”,  a song from Shaftal, with words by Laurie and music by me (contains spoilers for Water Logic)

James Davis Nicoll’s review of Fire Logic

Laurie’s own website, (including Elemental Profile Quiz)

 


May 29 2011

Three days off!

Rosemary

How lovely to be in the middle of Sunday and realize that Monday will be free, free!

Spending the entire weekend writing!

Well, plus some laundry.

And cooking a few meals here and there.

Also: Hey, Laurie J. Marks is visiting for the whole weekend! Also writing.

It has not rained yet, although it keeps threatening to do so.

So mostly, I’m tucking myself into my little woody nook and pretending I’m deep in the wilderness (despite Lawnmower Man’s inescapable industriousness), and being All Creative and Stuff.

It's a flower.   But it's green.   It's a green flower.

It's a flower. But it's green. It's a green flower.

These little things are all over the place. Can’t quite figure where they’re coming from….

they're everywhere

they're everywhere

Okay, back to work.

I mean, back to fun.

I mean, back to work…

Oh, that’s right: Writing is work that is actually fun.

Back to it.


Aug 28 2010

And not a moment to spare…

Rosemary

During all last week, that is. It was the first week back on the DayJob after surgery, and so I had to start digging in to the backlog of work undone while I was gone, which is to say, most of it, whilst simultaneously accomplishing my usual weekly cycle of tasks. Whilst also simultaneously trying not to overwork the hand.

Sigh. My plans for brilliant blog posts have been pushed forward, of necessity.

Plus: Visiting Laurie & Deb this weekend, so also no blogging. But I might find time to actually, say, work on writing. Seeing as Laurie (Laurie J. Marks) is also a writer, and not averse to a suggestion of, “Hey, let’s go to a coffeeshop with our laptop and pad and not speak a word for, like, two hours. It’ll be cool!”

In other news: Fingers still a bit tingly, but it’s less every day. So I’m definitely on the mend. I can do everything except hang on to really heavy objects, grip things that I also have to yank really hard, or grab things and then press down on them (like scrub sponges).

More later, promise.


May 30 2010

Quick post….

Rosemary

I’m devoting the 3-day weekend to writing — which means no blog posting (except this).

No sign of the Lawnmower Man yet — perhaps he’s taken his family to the beach. Or to the park for a cookout.

I had feared that everyone would be in their back yards (it’s a condo complex, with one continuous back yard for all), hootin’ and hollerin’ and barbequeing. But no. Nice and quiet. Not too hot. Nice for writing al fresco.

Just to let people know: the auction for Laurie & Deb went swimmingly, and the total has come to more than $10,000. If YOU participated, you are wonderful, and we all love you.

The book, and the book plus artifact, are now winging their way to their respective new owners (Australia? Did you say AUSTRALIA??).

I had tried to make a couple of other things to auction, but the cool tote bag with map of Rowan’s world (as of The Lost Steersman) got burned in the center while I was ironing on the transfer, so: not good enough for the auction.

On the upside, I now have a cool tote bag with a map of Rowan’s world, slightly burned in the center, in which to tote my totables.

Slightly burned but still cool


May 17 2010

Another auction item

Rosemary

There’s some great stuff out there, folks. Remember, this is an auction by SF and Fantasy pros and fans, to raise money to help my friend Deb Mensinger, wife of fantasy author Laurie J Marks. Deb needs a liver transplant, and there are extra expenses not paid by insurance.

SO I put another item up: a copy of the Brit edition of The Steerswoman PLUS an actual example of the jewel (so-called, heh) from the book. The photo here is not so hot, I have no actual digital camera, just a webcam… But trust me, this looks cool.

book map jewel

The “jewel” is in a black frame, against a miniature of the map from the book.

No, you can’t buy it here! Go to the auction! There’s only a week left!


May 8 2010

Help my friend Deb Mensinger get a new liver!

Rosemary

Deb Mensinger, the wife of fantasy author Laurie J Marks needs a new liver, and it looks like the whole fan-and-pro community is jumping in to her out.

You can help, too! There’s an online auction to raise money for the incidental expenses involved. Go, there, buy some cool stuff — there are cookies made by a lawyer, voice lessions from a professional singer, a personal monthly letter from your very own Finnish correspondent! Plus any number of rare and autographed items. Jewelery, books — even someone offering to write a blog post for you!

Am I contributing items? You bet. I’ll be offering two things:

Item Number 1. an autographed copy of the British edition of The Steerswoman,. Ever since Del Rey combined The Steerswoman with The Outskirter’s Secret into one volume (The Steerswoman’s Road) it’s been hard to find a stand-alone copy of just one or the other. But I have some copies of the British edition of the first book. This is good for introducing friends to the series, when they might balk at investing the time to read a double-sized trade paperback. Plus: different cover art, and all exclamation points removed from the back-cover blurb (hey, they’re Brits).

there's a much better image on the auction site, so why not go there?no exlamations please, we're British

Item Number 2. Ha! I’m not telling. Yet. You’ll have to go to the auction site to find out! (In a day or so… it’s not up there yet, but go ahead and look at the other things offered.)

It’s all for a good cause. These are two people who are very dear to me.

Laurie seated, Deb standing