May 26 2016

It’s that time of year again…


Once again, Con or Bust is holding its fundraiser auction; and once again, I’ve donated some items to be auctioned off.

Con or Bust is a non-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend science fiction and fantasy conventions.   You can read more about them here.

I submitted three items to the auction.   To bid, you have to go to the Con or Bust site, and post your bid as a comment on that item’s post.

Here’s what I submitted:

First:  A copy of the paperback British edition of The Steerswoman

Kirstein Steersw

Sure, we love our e-readers — but we love physical books even better.  But alas, the Steerswoman series only exists as a ebooks.

But wait — that was not always true!   Once they were all real objects existing in the real world — books you could hold, handle, page through at will.   Oh, if only you could have one of those…

Well, you can. And I’ll autograph it.

When the Brit publisher let the book go out of print, they offered to sell me a bunch of copies for a good price; and so I do have a number of these mass-market paperbacks of the first book.

Click here to head over to the Con or Bust auction site to bid.

Second item: a trade paperback of The Lost Steersman

Kirstein Steersman


A similar thing happened with Del Rey Books and The Lost Steersman :  “Do you want these copies that we are going to throw out?   If so, give us some money,” they said.  “Yes, I do,” I replied.  “And here’s some money.”

So I have a whole bunch of these… alas, they did not do the same with the other books in the series.  I don’t know why.

But here it is.  It can be yours. Autographed.  Existing in actual physical reality

Click here to go to the auction site to bid on this book.


Okay, now: Item Three is special.

“Lost Steersman” handmade blank journal

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

Back when I was writing The Lost Steersman,” I generated a lot of printouts.  My writer’s group, the Fabulous Genrettes, was in full swing, and I needed to give the ladies actual manuscripts to read and comment on, and scribble on, and return to me…

But I felt odd just throwing the manuscripts away afterwards.  That was my book!

Now, at that time I was also experimenting with paper-making, and it occurred to me that it might be especially cool to recycle the manuscripts into new paper.  So, I shredded the printouts, re-shredded them even finer, and did exactly that.

I like the way the paper came out.   And as a decorative effect, I included some less-shredded shreds, so that random words from the story would appear within the paper itself.

kirstein inner paper

closer view, if you click

I had been making hand-bound blank books as a hobby for years.  Having handmade paper brought it to a whole other level.

The journal measures 6.5 x 4.75 inches (16.51 x 12.06cm).   The endpaper is bark-paper,


and the cover is marble paper (hand-marbled, although not by me).   It closes with an old silk ribbon (Alemeth being a center of silk-making, of course).

And the front is decorated with a little snail, in honor of the little snails in the book…

Little Snail

Little snail guaranteed not to eat the book.

The internal paper does not work well with ball-point pen, but is good with ink, felt-tip, and colored pencils. I provide one loose sheet of the same paper, so you can test your art materials beforehand.


Kirstein cover

click for more detail

Oh, and I include a paperback copy of The Lost Steersman, too.

If you’re interested, head over to Con or Bust to bid on this.

And be sure to look through the entire Con or Bust auction site for some really amazing things you can get.    Such as: naming rights to a character in a novel by John Scalzi, and a copy of a real Farscape script with an actual piece of the spaceship Moya.


I like the whole idea of Con or Bust, and here’s why I support it:

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 weird, are not a misfit, and 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.  Which 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 belong here.

So, there you are.  Some steerswoman-related objects for you, if you want them. Plus, a multitude of other items available, at all price ranges.

In other, unrelated news: Dammit, my printer died.