The Ides of March

Snow’s melting, and the Ides of March was just a few days ago. Richard Armour once claimed that was tax season in ancient Rome, but I haven’t been able to verify that yet. I do know that it’s tax season now, assuming one doesn’t want to wait until the last minute, and I certainly didn’t.

So yesterday was tax day for me, and I spent the entire afternoon, easily 4+ hours, putting it together. Since both my wife and I are self-employed, that’s a lot of receipts and a couple of Schedule Cs in addition to the normal forms. Of course, as soon as I emerge her comment is “That didn’t take long.” Felt long to me, until she reminded me, without computer assistance, it used to take a couple of days, an entire weekend,  and that was even before it got as complicated as it is. Yes, I’m old enough to remember doing taxes on paper.  Thank heaven for software and electronic filing.

A good reason to remind oneself: it could always be worse. Even if, in the country’s current situation, it’s hard to imagine how.

The Yamada story has been through First Reader and rewrite, and is currently under submission. Which is pretty much the situation with any story you’re not putting out yourself: hurry up and wait.

I should be thinking about another Yamada collection. I don’t have quite enough uncollected Yamada to do it right now, but it wouldn’t take more than a few more. I’ll find out later if I have those in me. Those currently uncollected are the later ones: “Three Little Foxes,” “The Sorrow of Rain,” “The Tiger’s Turn,” and the new one, working title “Dai-Uzumaki.”

FlashCast, Episode 9 Part 3 “Spring”

The new FlashCast is online, available for free from iTunes here, and on Spreaker.com. The theme word was “spring.” If you want to hear my dulcet tones reading one of my own stories, FlashCast is the only place that’s happening, aside from mike night at Canal Place here in town, where a bunch from the local writer’s group will be doing group readings now and then. We did our first one last Thursday and it went rather well. For FlashCast it’s:

“Predator’s Fortune,” by Richard Parks

“Give Me a Break,” by Peggy Scarano,

“All the Lonely People,” by Sally Madison.

Spring seems a bit far away right now. It’s -8F as I write this with about two feet of snow surrounding and on top of the car. I’ve dug a path to it and with luck will get enough snow cleared to get it free by tomorrow, as I have appointments to keep. Technically it only snowed about a foot, but we’ve had high winds during and after the snowfall, so the drifts are the real problem. Next year I think I may have to “spring” for a real snowblower. Sciatica and shoveling snow don’t mix very well.

I’ve finally gotten a little traction on the new project, though I’m still uncertain as to whether it’s going to be a novel or novella. That’s one problem with being a pantser instead of a plotter—you’re never completely (or even slightly) in control. When it works, and it usually does, it’s the best. When it crashes and burns, it tends to do so spectacularly.

The Long Look Redux

The first thing you may or may not notice about the new US paperback edition of The Long Look is that the cover is slightly different from the original hardcover and ebook editions. That’s because the original design was too close to the “bleed” limits of the pod cover specs. The jacket had to be redesigned from scratch, starting with Steve Gilberts’ original artwork. It took four attempts to get it right, and the final cover was just approved yesterday.

Revising the text was a breeze by comparison. And yes, there were changes. Not major, but changes nonetheless. Mostly a few embarrassing usage and context errors. I’ll be updating the ebook edition with the same changes in a few days, or at least I hope I will. It’s shaping up to be a very busy week.

Regardless, the UK edition is available here. If anyone anywhere else is interested, let me know. For now I had to go with limited distribution to keep the price of the book down, but it will be available in a few more countries.

I’ve been reading and loving Jeffrey Ford’s newest, Ahab’s Return. As the title suggests, it’s about what happens after the events of Moby Dick, when Captain Ahab turns up alive. Once I’ve finished I’ll do a review, if I think I have anything worth saying about it. Don’t wait for me, though. The book is already out there.

Flash Cast

Today I wanted to talk about a new project. When I moved to central NY, apparently everyone on the block already knew I was a writer. To this day I have no idea how; I certainly didn’t tell them, nor does anyone seem to recall how they found out. I’m not complaining, but I still think it was a little odd. Regardless, another neighbor told me about a flash fiction group meeting at the library and suggested I join.

I was reluctant. I’ve never been a fan of flash fiction, regarding it, as I know I’ve said before, as a cross between “short attention span theater” and a parlor trick. Yeah, I know, I hear it too: Judgmental much? Still, it’s not the sort of writing I normally did, but I finally gave in and checked it out.

Glad I did. It’s a talented bunch of people and writing flash has its own challenges, so on top of whatever else I have going, I write a complete micro(mini?) flash piece of <= 500 words every week. Then the head of the local theater group found out what we were doing and thought it would be interesting to do as a podcast. So we all read stories for the project, now called FlashCast. I’m including the link for the Spreaker site. In case you’re wondering, my first story up is “The Stowaway,” in episode #2, second story.  Yeah, that’s my own melodic voice. I need to work on my enunciation, but otherwise not horrible. It’s also available on iTunes, though there’s more than one podcast associated with “flashcast,” so look for the logo if you go that route.

I have two more stories recorded, and I’ll note when they’re up.

Paperwork

Quick update. After finally getting the paper version of Power’s Shadow completed and live, I finally realized that, having done that, the series still wasn’t complete (as in, complete up to the final? physical book, yet to be written).  The Long Look exists only as an ebook, and the only paper copies are a few used and leftover hardcovers from its first incarnation as a Five Star Press edition.

So, to make sure the entire series will be available in paper when I finish the series, I’m putting together a new edition of the book in paperback. It’s tedious and time-consuming, but it needs to be done. I’ve made myself a promise that any future editions of anything approaching novel length will get its paper edition at the same time or darn close. Naturally, that only applies to projects I take on myself. Anything done through a trad publisher will be up to them.

There was a time when it was much easier to put together an ebook than a paper book, but with new tools and a little patience you can basically drive both editions off the same text. There’s really no more excuse for not turning both out at once. The only other exception is for books less than novel length, though I’ll have to consider those case by case.

If only writing was all I had to do, but there’s too much else that goes along with it and you can’t ignore that, either. Lord knows I’ve tried and I’m paying for it now.