Forward to January, 2005...
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If you want to help the victims of the tsunami disaster, Amazon makes it easy with the One-Click. Go do it right now. I just contributed $25 bucks. The contribution goes to the American Red Cross.
In more cheerful news, joyful congratulations to Lisa Silverthorne who has rescued another kitten, Trinity! :-)
I came up with the perfect title for the new Compass Rose book -- GODS OF THE COMPASS ROSE. I am definitely pleased. :-) What, you didn't know there was gonna be another Compass Rose book? This ancient world milieu has become too much ingrained in my psyche for me to let go just yet.
SUMMARY OF 2004
Here is the obligatory summation of 2004.
In general, 2004 has been an odd year for me in terms of writing, because it went in a completely different direction than I originally expected it to go. In retrospect I will refer to it as the Year of Meticulous Editing.
WHAT I WORKED ON:
1) The Undisclosed Project (TM) . :-)
I started out the year with the shiny expectation of starting and beginning a new SF novel, AIREALM....
I was going along fine and dandy, making decent daily wordage, and had written 3 chapters when, out of the blue, at the end of January I was contacted via e-mail by a very nice editor from a major NY publisher (which will remain undisclosed for now) who -- in an unheard of example of serendipity -- had seen my Publishers Marketplace website and was interested in one of my projects, namely the Margot Phoenix one.
So of course I called New York, discussed the project, and dropped
AIREALM and got to work on MARGOT PHOENIX RISING which I had originally started the fall of 2003, and then just sort of set aside to let it stew, because other life stuff took precedence.
I finished the first 3 chapters of MARGOT and the synopsis and outline and other stuff for the proposal and snail-mailed it in to the editor in NY in the beginning of June.
Within a week (less than three days, actually!) I heard back via e-mail (something I didn't mention anywhere, so as not to jinx it, so the rest of it you are all hearing me say for the first time in public) -- the editor loved it and was forwarding the proposal to the senior editor. The editor meanwhile asked me for more materials including author bio to be forwarded to the senior editor, which I did.
So I waited a month and a half and then in early August, I finally e-mailed the editor to touch bases.
At which point I got back a huge long e-mail revision request -- in short, the senior editor loved it less than the other editor, and had a whole bunch of things for me to fix. *grin*
I agreed with the criticisms for the most part, and most of the proposed changes. So I replied that I will begin working on the revision.
And that's when you have seen me agonize, for months and months, while conventions came and went and other urgent projects came up (such as SALT OF THE AIR, etc).
And so finally, right as I got home from WFC, there was an email from that NY editor, basically nudging me and touching bases to see how I was doing. I had just completed the insane marathon-edit of the stories for the collection SALT OF THE AIR which I had to send off to Gene Wolfe for his Introduction, so I was pretty much in a crazed state. However I told the editor that I was very near completion, and that I will have the revision to New York by the end of November.
Well, I didn't quite make the end of November but managed the first week of December, and sent off the revision package then.
It was a very intricate and painstaking rewrite, and I do think that this version is much stronger and cleaner, and I am glad they made me do all this work on it. Now of course it is up to the editors to let me know if they agree or not. Hopefully I will not have much longer to wait to hear back. I am guessing I should know for a fact whether they like it, in January of 2005.
*crossing all appendages*
So, because of this unusual project, I haven't been as single-minded and directed on other projects. If I sell this one, it will be an excellent situation, because it is a 4-book series.
2) SALT OF THE AIR project.
Some time in the fall of 2004, I sold my first short fiction collection SALT OF THE AIR to Sean Wallace at Prime / Wildside, with the amazing honor of an Introduction by Gene Wolfe.
The stores, 16 of them, include two previously unpublished pieces, one of which is a prequel to LORDS OF RAINBOW (it tells the story of how the world without color came to be thus), and the other is the first of the new Compass Rose stories. The other 14 have all been published in various anthos and magazines, and range from my first sale in 1985 to the present.
Also, the stories are all fantasy. I am not including any SF pieces in this particular collection.
3) Various short fiction and non-fiction projects.
This is mostly me rewriting old stories and getting them in shape for the collection. It is also an unusual year in the sense that I was editing and then selling "refurbished" trunk stories. Have not written a single *new* story yet this year! Weird.... Edit, edit, edit! But, I admit the results of the edit have been very nice and sharp, so that old stories that stunk are now things I can be proud of. :-) I edited at least 20 stories this year!
4) AIREALM project.
I started this science fantasy novel about a world with no land, only sky, and "magic" and technology all based upon the power of gravity, in early 2004, inspired by the Zeppelin anthology, and I think it has a great premise and characters, although there isn't exactly a zeppelin. It does have flying ships -- but then, since everything in the novel is pretty much afloat, it is a little hard to explain. ;-) In any case, this novel is presently stewing in the back of my mind, and is book one of a trilogy.
Book one is AIREALM. The other books will probably be called FLUCTUATION and STABILITY, named after two of the main characters, brother and sister, Fluctuation Clo and Stability Clo, who go by "Tion" and "Bili" throughout the novels.
This book is a whole lot of fun to write, but I think I will let it steep on the backburner for now. It seems like there is a weird publishing industry trend for airship-related stories and books nowadays (blame it on David Moles and Jay Lake's Zeppelin antho?), so I want to wait it out a bit, and then try to sell this one.
- Sold first short fiction collection SALT OF THE AIR. Gene Wolfe provided the Introduction to SALT OF THE AIR. (Can you say I am impossibly honored?) The book is forthcoming from Prime Books in the middle of 2005.
- Story "The Slaying of Winter" sold to LORDS OF SWORDS anthology from Pitch-Black Books. The anthology premiered in December 2004. For the first time I am sharing a TOC with Tanith Lee. :-)
- Story "Revulsion and the Beast" sold to new magazine Jabberwocky edited by Sean Wallace. It is expected to premiere in 2005.
- Non-fiction media essay sold to anthology that I will not mention yet until I have the contract for it. The essay is based on a TV show. More details are forthcoming.
- My two novels LORDS OF RAINBOW and DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE premiered in trade paperback at Worldcon in Boston, in September 2004.
- MARGOT PHOENIX proposal in all its stages took up most of my
writing year, and is still pending.
- Completed the signing sheets and bio materials and author photo for the PS Publishing limited edition novella "The Clock King And The Queen Of The Hourglass" and forwarded to Charles de Lint for his own signing portion. The release date has been moved down to February 2005 (or so).
- Attended more conventions in one year than I have ever done before.
Will probably not repeat this feat unless I am doing some kind of funky author tour. In 2005, I plan to mostly stay home. :-)
- Refinanced my mortgage loan again, allowing me once more to continue as a fulltime writer for the next several years. Finally, time to get my life in balance and to WRITE! Thank you for this opportunity to rest and recuperate and work hard on my own stuff, God, Universe, and Everything. :-)
1) Colleen Cahil at SF Revu did a nice review of DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE:
2) Daniel James Wood at The Green Man Review positively reviewed
LORDS OF RAINBOW.
3) John Grant at Crescent Blues positively reviewed LORDS OF
Donna Jones of SF Crowsnest did a fun interview of me.
These are taken in part from this journal's left-hand sidebar chart:
Book Sales: 1
Short Fiction Sales: 2
Non-Fiction Sales: 1
Words Edited: 100,000 approximately
New Words Written: 10,000 approximately
Since I have been lousy at keeping track, these stats may be off by one or two items. Hope to improve my tracking accuracy next year.
Well, this about sums it up. As always, I may be forgetting something -- what else is new, me and my rotten sieve memory. *grin*
2005 should be very interesting! :-)
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate!
And to all, Happy Holidays! :-)
Congratulations to my dad who turned 87 on Solstice. :-)
Congratulations to new dad Mike Jasper!
In the NAW, welcome back to journalling to Terry Kanago who has an excellent new blog I see Invisible People. Be sure to check it out!
Hey, there's still several days left until the end of the year to take me up on the holiday offer for a free copy of either LORDS OF RAINBOW or DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE in exchange for a review on your blog or online journal. Just e-mail me to request your copy.
On Tuesday December 21st, the second story came back from Glimmer Train with a ding. Meanwhile I just subbed another story to a new antho market.
And just saw this on the news, a good source for various retailer coupons for your post holiday shopping.
Just got finished with another flurry of work, this time Wildside Press website-related. The Wildside December Newsletter has been mailed out, with lots of qool news and new featured titles. Go look!
Meanwhile, got a short story rejection yesterday from Glimmer Train. They still have one more story of mine in their slush queue, but no word on that one yet.
Spent most of Saturday and Sunday signing the gazillion novella signing sheets for PS Publishing, and mailed out the whole completed package to Charles de Lint on Monday 13th.
Rignt how, catching up on other stuff, including a novella crit for a friend (hi, Dayle!), and then two edits for two of my stories that need to be spiffed up and sent out. All of this, while I wait for the response from New York. :-)
Also got a chance to watch the horrible atrocity that was the "The Legend of Earthsea" miniseries on SciFi. See my wrathful comments on it here, and also see what Ursula LeGuin herself had to say on the subject, and then elaborated further.
On the other hand, was pleasantly surprised with the TNT original made-for-TV movie The Librarian: Quest for the Spear which was fun and decently acted, and compared to Earthsea, rather Emmy-worthy.
In much better news for those of us who enjoy heroic fantasy, the anthology LORDS OF SWORDS is out and is shipping! I received my gorgeous contributor copy, and it is very, very nice. The interior illustrations are also a very nice touch. Other contributors include Tanith Lee, Nancy Virginia Varian, and E. E. Knight. :-) You know you want a copy....
Yes, it has been a terribly long time since the last update. But I had my reasons, and there are plenty of fun news.
First, congratulations to Lisa Silverthorne on her new kitten Denali! :-)
Congratulations to Jon Hansen for appearing in this issue of Weird Tales!
Yesterday (the 8th) I finished the Undisclosed Rewrite Edit Project (TM) of many agonized months and mailed it to the New York publisher. Still reeling from the hard sensation that I have to be writing/editing something and that I am on deadline. I thought that when I was going to be done it would be like this instant sensation of relief and I could order pizza to celebrate :-) -- and normally such would be the case. But this project has been haunting me for so long, hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles, that I firmly believe it has just taken permanent hold of my mind and body, and I am simply unable to let go -- hence the "coming down slowly" effect is in motion. For example, I woke up again this morning at the ugly butt crack of dawn (as I have been doing for this project for weeks and days), and could not sleep, as though I had work to do.
In other news, my recent mortgage refinance was the most amazing, painless transaction ever (especially compared to the hell I went through during the last time I refinanced). I signed escrow papers and closed on November 30th, and got the money this week, on Tuesday, December 7th. No hassle at all. Everything went as smooth as butter. So now, the wonderful feeling of security is washing all over me, as it never had before in my life. I am all set for the next two to three years at least, and can continue being a fulltime writer without worrying my poor long-stressed and tortured heart out about how to deal with daily bills. Which means that my mind has just regained a huge portion of its reasoning and creative force, and I can channel all of it into writing! Thank you, God, Universe, and Everything.
Meanwhile, I received a package from PS Publishing earlier this week, and it contained 800 signing sheets for my novella. I get to sign all 800 of them, then forward them to Charles de Lint who will be singing 300 of them. This shall be a task to remember! :-)
More good news -- I will have a story appearing in the premiere issue of Sean Wallace's new editorial brainchild Jabberwocky, a new fiction and poetry bi-annual magazine debuting in July 2005. More news on that as it develops.
Looks like Amazon finally has its act together and is properly listing my two trade paperback editions of LORDS OF RAINBOW and DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE. The prices are cheap and totally affordable, the editions are gorgeous, and if you are still shopping for holiday gifts, grab your copies today. And, spread the news! :-) As I used to say last year, LORDS OF RAINBOW is possibly the most overlooked and neglected book of its release year (2003), which reminds me that it's exactly what Catherynne M. Valente is saying now about her wonderful THE LABYRINTH.
I've decided to do a similar thing to what some of you have been doing, and here is my fun holiday offer:
If you promise to review the book in your blog or online journal entity after reading it, I will send you a free autographed copy, of either DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE or LORDS OF RAINBOW in its lovely trade paperback edition. This offer is limited to the copies I have on hand at the moment, so first come, first served!
Simply e-mail me to get your free copy. This offer expires at midnight on December 31, 2004.