Nov 17

Goodbye, Hello…Paksenarrion Editions Switching Around

Posted: under Deed of Paksenarrion, Editions, the writing life.
Tags: ,  November 17th, 2017

I found out only this afternoon that the omnibus edition of THE DEED OF PAKSENARRION is out of stock, and being retired (after 25 very successful years in print!!)  so that the debut of the 30th anniversary of  edition of Sheepfarmer’s Daughter (to be followed at intervals by Divided Allegiance and Oath of Gold) can step onto the stage without the venerable edition sniping any sales.   It’s unfortunate (in my eyes) that the stock ran out right before the holidays, when (as all authors hope) Christmas stockings are filled with our books (OK, my books are what I’m hoping people get as gifts…<G>)   There are still a few copies at Amazon, and may be a few at some stores.   If you hurry.  But it’s not going to be reprinted.   At least, not until the 30th anniversary books have had their run.   I may have a box or two in the storage unit, and will look, but it’s not going to be hundreds of books.  Right now, with Thanksgiving coming on, I don’t have time to look for them.

So what will be coming in the 30th Anniversary editions?  Well, for one thing I wrote an essay for each book, which you’ll have to read to find out what it says.   Trade paperback size, new covers, all that.  And the omnibus is still available as an e-book, just not as an in-the-hand monster.  Guess I should get busy and see if I can finish the BIG map and get it ready to print out as a poster.  Someone might want to buy one, maybe?   (The irony would be if, after I finished that map, painted it, and printed it up all prettified…I found the long-lost original map and they didn’t look anything at all alike.  But as in real life, what one map-maker maketh, another map-maker re-maketh, only…differently.

 

 

Comments (9)

Nov 12

Recognition

Posted: under Craft, the writing life.
Tags: ,  November 12th, 2017

When I was in that stage of adolescence when you may (if not in angsty despair) daydream longingly about being famous someday so people will admire you and you’ll have tons of friends and all the people who think are being nasty to you now will be stricken with either remorse or envy (or maybe both)….yeah, I did that.   Never mind that I wasn’t about to DO anything to prepare for such a situation (like, maybe, consider how to deal with it if it happened, or pick some likely scenario for achieving said “fame”) but I was sure that *someday* my light would shine and all those people (like her, and her, and him, and them…) would realize they’d missed their chance to get in on the ground floor.

Another thing is that when you are in that stage of adolescence, filled with awareness of your own pain and looking for a place to dump it, you don’t realize that the people you’re daydreaming about playing “if they could see me now” with are also playing the same set of fantasy games using you as one of the people they want to impress someday.   “She thinks she’s so smart, well, *I* will have my doctorate!”  or “He thinks he’s so great because his daddy has a car agency–I will have a whole corporation and sit at the top of the tower with windows bigger than anybody’s.”   In a few years you realize that everyone is the protagonist of their own story, and you’re not as wildly different as you thought (and maybe they thought too) and the intensity of the desire for fame as fame erodes (or doesn’t) as you reach adulthood and Real Life (tm.)

By the time I had written some books and gotten published, I was over that.  I thought.  It had been years–decades–since I expected any recognition for anything I did.  I was a middling alto in a good alto section–strong, reliable, but not exceptional in any way.  I was a decent graduate student but not a standout.  Then we moved here, and I joined the local EMS and became, by stages, an EMT-paramedic, and I was good at it, but again, not the best.  I knew the odds in publishing long before I had publishing credits; I looked at my skills and thought I was good enough to get published, but no longer expected the daydream of world acclaim, great reviews, major prizes like the writers we studied in English class,  that I’d clung to in junior high and part of high school.   I was a plodder, a workhorse, someone who could get the job done, but without the glam and glitter that takes someone from “Oh, yeah, I remember her/him…they wrote books or something didn’t they?  Or was it they invented something?”

Like most writers, I passed some other writers who had less success, as measured by reviews, the advances on contracts, and so on, and was passed by other writers who had more.   Like most writers, I faced the green-eyed monster of WriterEnvy, who points out that so-and-so who just got a seven figure contract or a movie deal or whatever is really no better at the *craft* of writing than you are, and wants to make you dislike/hate/waste time muttering about that person instead of just doing your own work and making it better as you can.

But then I discovered the thing that no one told me about, but that’s shriveled that green-eyed monster all the way to dust.  The recognition that’s not fame, not glitzy or glamorous or involved with headlines or interviews on TV or movie deals…a different kind, that feeds the writer’s soul and instead of inflating the ego, inflates gratitude.   And that’s the recognition that comes from someone who has no intent to flatter, but just wants to tell you how your work affected them, how it made a bad day, or experience, or situation better…how they held onto that story or book, coming to it again and again for refreshment, for courage, for inspiration.  And there is nothing–no amount of money, no prize–that will both build up and bring down a writer like that.  It’s the ultimate proof that you got it right that time.  It makes the days in front of the keyboard (or however you write), the aching back, the sore butt, the stiff neck, the burning eyes, all worth it because someone, somewhere found a hand that pulled them out of a sucking mudhole of despair.

Some books pulled me through hard times.  Some passages in those books still echo inside.  They weren’t all great books.  They weren’t all good all the way through.  But from them I got nourishment, strength, that I needed right then and wasn’t getting anywhere else.  And no, I didn’t write those authors because I was too timid.  I didn’t want to bother them.  (I’m sorry, I think to their memories…I’d been taught not to bother people. and figured I’d be a bother to you, too.)

So here’s the thing, if you’re an early -career writer, or someone who hasn’t started submitting yet and wonders if it’s worthwhile to write if you don’t find recognition from reviewers, critics, juries for the big prizes, and your publishers in the form of very large checks with many zeros.  That’s not all the reward there is.  That’s not even the best, not even the BIG checks and the fame that means total strangers recognize your face as you walk through an airport.   There’s still recognition you may treasure when someone tells you (in person, or email, or snail-mail) that something you wrote pulled them through a hard time.  It may be a minor part of your book–one incident, one phrase even–or it may be a character, or a setting.  You cannot know when you’re writing what will be the handhold someone needs.   It’s scary to start off on the long journey of writing not knowing if you’re going to save a life (as we did not know, opening the door for the ambulance to come out, if we would save a life that time or not.)   It seems, I’m sure, such a tiny little hope to balance the amount of work you’ve come to realize is needed.

But it’s there.  And it’s a treasure that doesn’t fade like the review, or the critic’s assessment, or vanish into bread and electricity and taxes like the amount on a check.   It’s the true gold, imperishable, and once you’ve had one…you know it’s worth it.   Oh, you may still be seduced by other measures of success, if you can get them, but if you get another…and another…of those golden nuggets, you’ll begin to realize how valuable they are, compared to the rest.   Years later, when your income drops again (and writers’ incomes go up and down like badly played yo-yos)  and your editor and your agent are sighing when they talk to you and far less interested than they used to be (if that happens)…that golden recognition will still be there.  Your work helped someone you didn’t know. That’s on your celestial resume.

(crossposted to Universes)

Comments (4)

Sep 07

The Good News & The Good News

Posted: under Conventions, Editing, Good News, Life beyond writing.
Tags: , ,  September 7th, 2017

Editor has accepted the manuscript of INTO THE FIRE (after the second rewrite) and it’s now in production.  Once the copy edits have come and gone, I’m off the contractual hook, so to speak, with the time to arrange for the medical and dental procedures I need.   Whew!   Because an eye with a cataract in it does not get better on its own, nor does a dental situation.

DragonCon was fun but challenging, as the throat injury was still causing discomfort and some loss of voice strength, and the knee injury didn’t allow the kind of fast, steady walking that going from hotel to hotel makes much easier.  OTOH, I made it, so there.

Renovation on the house next door that we bought to rent has gone well, and it’s now time for the flooring crew to put in the new floors.  Then installation of appliances, final plumber visits and electrical visits, and it’ll be about ready to go.  In the meantime I need to have a talk with our lawyer about “being a landlord of residential property.”  The basics; I’ve never done this before.

Comments (8)

Aug 28

And Now….

Posted: under Conventions, Life beyond writing.
Tags: ,  August 28th, 2017

Shifting attention from hurricane (since it’s moving away from us) without shifting attention from needs of those still being affected, and soon to be affected, by its continuing capacity for destruction, I’m starting the final prep for DragonCon.  I won’t be online as much; I have a lot to do each day I have left.  Thanks for all your good wishes and prayers; please keep those really suffering in this mess in the same good wishes and prayers.   (And the sun just came out–actual sun on the ground and real shadows for the first time since, um…late last week.)

Gotta run.  There’s a bit longer post over on Universes.

Comments (1)

Aug 26

Harvey: Not an Invisible Rabbit or My Childhood Friend

Posted: under Life beyond writing.
Tags:  August 26th, 2017

Hurricane Harvey’s outside edge reached us about an hour and a half ago: rain and a slowly but steadily increasing wind (not overly strong–about 15 mph, says the weather, with gusts to 23.)    We are in a good place for having a hurricane coming over us, and much luckier than those closer to the coast or, inland, closer to the eye.   We have supplies, we’re over a hundred miles from the eye, we have both distance from, and elevation above, the nearest watercourse.

Comments (6)

Aug 11

Finally? Maybe?

Posted: under Good News, Life beyond writing.
Tags: ,  August 11th, 2017

Yesterday I finished the second rewrite requested by Editor.  Summer has been full of long, long days at the computer and short-short nights of too little sleep.  (In between the two rewrites was something else that came up and required the same crunch approach.)

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (14)

Jul 09

When Is Food a Feast?

Posted: under Background, Craft.
Tags: ,  July 9th, 2017

Recently, in another venue,  a writer posted a link to her blog post on feasts in epic fantasy, considered in a sociological way–her point being the feasts were always expressions of power, and that fantasy (and actually any genre) often/always failed to consider the power differentials, the role of a feast in showing off the giver’s wealth and power, and so on.  Some feasts certainly are exactly that–overt demonstrations to the attendees that the giver is richer, more powerful, than the guests, deserving of adulation and (even more) obedience, submission.   Feasts can be competitive in that way: “Prince A gave us as much beef as we could choke down, and distributed the rest to the castle servants…”  “Well, Prince B gave us beef AND venison AND ham AND stuffed peacocks!  And the leftovers fed the whole castle and village for a week!!!”  But–always the c0ntrarian in the details–I didn’t agree that feasts in epic fantasy were always like that, or that epic fantasy always ignored the kitchen workers, the woodcutters, the shepherds, etc.   In fact, I don’t think all feasts (as experienced) are like that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Comments (14)

Jul 07

Rewrite Is Done!

Posted: under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: ,  July 7th, 2017

And that means I have more time for other things, many of which (including my posts here) have languished in the intense two-plus months of getting it done.

When I’ve recovered a bit, I’ll be going back to a more frequent posting schedule on all the blogs.   The next publishing thing (without a deadline, though) will be the second collection of Paksworld stories.   I need my head clearer to do the final editing on that, without bleed-over from science fiction & Vatta stuff.  I don’t know quite how long it will take; I may not get to it until after DragonCon.  Right now I’m working on health issues and all the stuff that didn’t get done that needs to get done (like washing and packing stuff to be given away.  I don’t have a daughter, and our son is now willing to say what he doesn’t care about inheriting.   So some of the china my mother had stays (because I still use it,) and some will find a new home.  Books and toys our son had–that he’s willing to part with–will go.  Clothes I don’t want anymore–some have already gone, but more will.   Papers need sorting.  And so on.   It will be a long process, because right now I can’t work on anything very long at a time.  But that will change.

I’m now back to riding the bike for exercise, making bread for better nutrition (if you’re going to eat bread, making it yourself means you know *exactly* what went into it), growing herbs (and will re-start the vegetable garden) again for better eating, and when I get the energy will start knitting again (it’s been more than a year.)  The priority is health, right now, including mental health (so having time to spend with friends, and time to spend outside with plants and animals, and time for enough sleep is part of it.)   I write better when I’m not exhausted, stressed, short of sleep, etc.

So–I hope within the year to have the next Paksworld fiction collection out, and maybe a collection on the science fiction side as well.    When I’ve reached whatever level of health & energy is possible,  then I can start a regular writing schedule and find out how much I can do without losing ground health-wise.  Until then,  I won’t be pushing myself to start another novel.

Thank you all for your support, and I will be posting more about ideas, about the writing process, and about Paksworld in particular.   I will be at DragonCon this year,  God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, or my widely-expressed opinions about our current political situation don’t land me on a no-fly list.  If you’ll be there, look me up.  I signed up to be one of the mentors in the writing track this year, so someone will be getting a one-on-one discussion about their work.  I don’t know the schedule at all, or how that program is set up.

 

Comments (6)

Apr 27

Link Checks

Posted: under Uncategorized.
 April 27th, 2017

Computers never cease to amaze me, not always in good ways.  This morning I found a comment on an old post in this blog (so old, that comments to it won’t be posted)  and pulled up the post to check its original date.  It was on horsemanship with respect to fighting on horseback.  While reading back through it, I checked the links…one of which led not to a slow-motion video of a horse doing a flying a change of leads, but to a steamy sex site.  OOPS.  That link has been removed.  I checked the other links.  One was dead as concrete, so I hunted up another example of what needed to be shown, just in case anyone else stumbled across that post.

You’ve heard the saying, that nothing ever on the Internet really disappears…your worst errors can always be pulled up to haunt you…but clearly links can turn into links to somewhere else, or just go 404-page-not-found on you.

If any of you find bad links, defined as “not showing what I intended the link to show” please let me know so I can remove or replace them.

Comments (3)

Apr 25

Found Bloopers in Deed of Paksenarrion?

Posted: under Editing, Errata.
Tags:  April 25th, 2017

Richard Simpkin asked over on the Universes blog if it would be possible to fix the various typos, etc. in the first-original mass market paperbacks of the Deed.   He could think of one off the top of his head.  So could I (but I don’t know yet if we had the same one in mind.)   So I’m opening up a topic where you can post the ones you’ve noticed, and meanwhile I’ll ask Baen Books if they’re prepared to fix a few things that slid through.  Please reference the mistakes to the title (since the anniversary edition will be in three separate ones) and if possible the page 3 of the original paperback.   At this point I don’t know how many, if any, of the errors they’re going to have time to fix.  My guess is that they’ll be willing to fix typos & misspellings, but not change the places where it was my research or analysis that went wrong, because that would falsify the “new edition” thing.  Or maybe not.  We’ll see.

 

 

Comments (19)