I had originally planned to make some anouncements about changes to the web site. I’m still going to do that, but a little less so. Sorry to be cryptic, but I had a plan, as so many of us do, and then the plan got changed. You know the old saying, “You want to make God laugh? Tell God your plans.” Even a former Southern Baptist, agnostic Buddhist-curious animist like me can get behind that one.
Ahem. Where was I? Right. Changes. Well, one change. It’ll be a little one. I plan (there we go again) to add a page which will probably be called “Things I Like” since I believe in truth in advertising. I even believe in truth in politics, though it’s only revealed by accident, and usually with dire consequences for the one who so trips up. Regardless, reviews and such will still appear in the main blog, but I’m going to create a separate page, probably mostly books and authors that have been significant to me over the years, with links to their work when there are links available. Maybe some comment as to why it’s there. I’m still figuring that part out. Oh, well. It’s my blog and I’ll put whatever occurs to me at that moment. One thing I do promise is that I will be consistently inconsistent.
And a final note–The ebook sale will be ending today. Thanks to all who participated.
The new Story Time page is “The Last Romantic” (MYTHIC #1, 2006) a first-person account of the dragon and the sleeping princess from the dragon’s point of view. Which, now that I think about it, is something I did once before, with “A Thing or Two About Love” (Wizard Fantastic, 1997). This one is just a tad different. You’ll see what I mean if you read both.
I do remember where this story came from. It was back when we were living in north Alabama and some of my co-workers were arrowhead hunters (not, I hasten to add, pot-hunters. No one was robbing graves or digging pristine sites). It’s just that, every spring during plowing, it was pretty common for arrowheads to turn up in the fields, and the farmers usually didn’t mind people looking so long as they asked first. I tagged along on one such trip. Didn’t find a lot, but saw the places where the native tribes had naturally settled, started thinking about what it must have been like, being pushed out from the places your families had lived for generations. What sort of hope one might look for, and so the story.
It’s just the way my mind works. Or at least how it worked back then.
You’ve heard the old saw, “Good things come to those who wait.” And of course, bad things as well. “Good” and “Bad” are matters of perspective. Something happened late last month that I consider very bad. However, it may lead to good things eventually, perhaps even better than matters would otherwise be. I just don’t know. Time and perspective are required, so I’ll wait for both, in the sense that I’m paying attention for when they arrive. In the meantime, I’m not waiting for anything. I’m doing my job and trying to accomplish things I consider important, so perhaps when more time and perspective have arrived, I’ll be ready for them.
That’s the key, of course—it’s not about waiting. It’s about being prepared. Doing your work, no matter what else may be going on in your life. Sowing the fields. And while you’re busy not waiting, crops can suddenly appear. Within the last week I’ve sold one new story and given permission for two reprints: one for production as a podcast and another for reprint in a new Mammoth anthology. More details when everything is set and ironed out. The new story is called “The Manor of Lost Time,” and, pending editorial approval of some relatively small revisions, it’ll be published by Beneath Ceaseless Skies, probably in late spring.
None of which would have happened if the work hadn’t already been done. I’ve told this before but it certainly applies here–I remember when one of our old writing group comrades, then still unpublished, was marveling at those of us who were selling—sporadically, sure, but selling—“Any day you check your email or go to the post office, something good might come to you.” When I pointed out that, on any given day, it was more likely that nothing at all would happen, she rightly dismissed that. “But it might. I can’t imagine what that’s like.” I understood what she meant, since I’d been on the other side too for a lot of years. Yet even then you’re laying the foundation, plowing the fields. Preparing for what may yet arrive.
Now and then, you get a sprout. But not if all you do is wait.
There’s a chance we’ll be moving either late this year or early next. Nothing’s decided or settled yet, but at the moment all signs are pointing to a change. These days I find myself taking long hard looks around my library, trying to decide what things I merely like and what things I actually need. There’s usually a disconnect there, when you really do look. Sure, you may like having a complete set of the old Encyclopedia Brittanica, but do you really want to lug it to another state in the back of a car that’s already too small? If taking it means leaving something else, what then?
It’s a little hard to think of it in terms of revision when it’s your life you’re talking about, but the process is pretty much the same–decide what matters. Get rid of what doesn’t. Sure, you may have thought that was a cute scene and it was fun to write, but does it really serve the book/story? If you took it out, would the reader notice? More importantly, would the reader (if they ever found out) appreciate the fact that you didn’t bring the pace to a halt while your characters become pointlessly witty with one another? Do you really need to lug all those words to the next draft where you know you’ll be asking yourself this question again?
As with the clutter of accumulation, personally I find revision empowering, as in “Sure, the story is good. I can make it better.” We can make our workspaces and our lives less cluttered, too. All it takes is to consider what you like, and what actually matters, and knowing the difference.
The book sale continues, probably through April but no guarantees. I am nothing if not capricious. I have, however, added my ebook releases for the Kobo and Nook as well as the Kindle. This doesn’t, of course, include anything released by TOR or Prime. Those are under their publishers’ purview. You do what you can.
They have arrived. The signing sheets for the PS Publishing edition of To Break the Demon Gate, that is. There will actually be two PS editions: a 100 copy signed edition, and an unsigned edition of maybe 3-5 hundred. I will have to sign more than 100 copies of the sheet, of course. They always allow a little for spoilage and the fact that people can get really sloppy with their signatures. They’ll pick the 100 best ones and use those for the books. So if you get one and are shocked by my horrible handwriting, just consider–this is the best I could do.
To acknowledge this festive (for me, anyway) occasion, I’ve decided to put a few of my Kindle(r) books on sale. For the time being, All The Gates of Hell, The Heavenly Fox, and The Ghost War are now at $0.99, down from $2.99 and $3.99. I’m not sure how long I’ll keep them there. Probably not long–I feel so cheap when I do this, so if you’re going to take advantage of me, now’s the time.
Edited to add: And I’ve thrown in a few more, what the heck. You can see which ones by going to the Kindle List.