Forward to June, 2003...
Comments: SFF Net newsgroup | Rumor Mill Topic | Night Shade Books Topic |
Day 1 of the Book Expo America yesterday was mostly staffing the Wildside booth, handing out catalogs and raffling off books (photos of this will be forthcoming later). It is today that I really got a chance to get away and do some wandering on my own through the giant convention center (not implying that this is a convention of giants, which you might say it is, but that the area is giant) -- at about 3:00 PM, just as Neil Gaiman was finishing up (or starting -- I forget now) his autographing about fifty feet down the hall from me, since the huge autographng area with the long sausage lines is just next to the small press area.
Day 2 is lots of fun. Some impressions of the first two days of the humongous trade show follow....
I'd be riding the escalator to get from the nether regions of Kentia Hall (small press city) to the upstairs section past the food court and huge line to the Starbucks kiosk that takes at least 30 minutes, and the main floor and everywhere you look, the flashing industry bigwig names on the badges. Sea of badges everywhere -- yellow for "exhibitor" (like mine, it says Wildside Press), blue for "bookseller," "buyer," "librarian," "press" (also green), purple for "author," orange for "publisher" and other random "industry professional." There are some white ones and some gold level ones, and lord knows what other funky ones I may have missed. People are no-nonsense, all-business, everyone carrying freebie shoulder and tote bags full of books and handouts.
Up, up the escalator I ride and woah! -- there goes that main reviewer dude from Publishers Weekly, looking sharp in his dark suit, floating up the escalator in the other direction (if I tried I could've reached out and grabbed his nose, but thankfully the insanity passed before my arms could move). I turn around and there's another dude in casual shorts, but my god, his badge says he is some top dude with Bertelsmann. Oover my shoulder I overhear "...prepublished writers..." and wonder momentarily how that term has really caught on.
I make it into the West Hall and my heart goes pitter patter as the overwhelming rows of luxury booths line up -- Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, St. Martin's and Tor/Forge, couple of booths down, Baen. Tons of other names all dancing in the bright lights and sleek freebies. So many that only the most familiar (SF genre ones) stick.
I've hit the publishing industry motherlode.
Died and gone to heaven....
More of this tomorrow. Now, to bed. Last day of the expo will involve lots of Wildside freebie handouts, which means wacky and fun hawker-like work! So if you are reading this and you are at the trade show too, be sure to come by our booth and get some great free books all day Sunday! :-)
I got back from Baycon on Monday night to extremely happy cats and dogs and parents, but Tuesday was home appraisal day for the mortgage refinance, and so that is over (it involved insane housecleaning for about two weeks inbetween all the other regular crapola that had to get done -- such as sawing off a huge tree limb -- don't even ask), and only now am I able to breathe a little easier.
The con was wonderful, and I should have a report in a couple of days or so. It was so good to see all the usual folks, and I only regret there was not enough time to go more in-depth with everyone. Just one cryptic comment -- the next time they offer you and your dinner party a Doubletree courtesy shuttle driven by Carlos, just say "Nooooooo!" and then give them a big slap upside the head just for suggesting it.
I came home to a great birthday present -- Library Journal reviewed LORDS OF RAINBOW in the May 15th issue, and here is the snippet that can be seen on the Barnes & Noble Online site next to my book:
"In a world devoid of color, the woman warrior Rahne swears herself to a mysterious nobleman traveling to the exotic city of Tronaelend-Lis, the City of Dreams, where a decadent brother and sister rule as co-regents in the absence of the land's true ruler. When an evil being representing true Darkness threatens the safety of the colorless world, Rahne is drawn into a spiritual journey in search of a legendary phenomenon known as Rainbow in an attempt to find a way to defeat the dark. The author of Dreams of the Compass Rose brings to life a unique fantasy world in which lost colors hold the key to salvation. Nazarian's fluid storytelling and vividly drawn characters make this unusual fantasy a good choice for most libraries. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information."
Weeeee!!!!!!!!! :-) My first review ever from Library Journal!
The other nice thing to come home to was a program participant reimbursement check from the Millennuim Philcon Worldcon. :-) Extremely timely for a broke individual like me.
The third nice thing was the nice review of DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE up on Suite101.com which went up on Friday. Check it out!
The fourth nice thing was -- criminy, what is the world coming to, with so many nice things crammed into one 24 hour period? -- the invitation to Conjecture II in San Diego this October.
Okay, so I think May was just an insane month. But the hectic times are not over yet, because there is the Book Expo America to deal with, and I am staffing the Wildside Press Booth # SP6014 this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Even had to take time off from my night shift job this coming Friday so that I can do this. However, no regrets, since it is all for a good cause. :-) If you plant to attend BEA, please be sure to stop by the booth and say "hi."
Oh, and before I forget, the Prime Books trade paperback anthology STRANGE PLEASURES #2 is now available! :-) This one is edited by Paul Barnett and Dave Hutchinson, and includes my novelette "The Young Woman in a House of Old."
This entry is being uploaded from the Doubletree in San Jose, the official Baycon hotel. It's like traffic fines being doubled in a construction zone -- every electron is costing me twice the usual transmission rate. So hope you are all appreciating this herculean effort and reading each word with great care, knowing how precious they all are, each and every one... ahem. :-)
First, can I scream please? Just saw, in Neil Gaiman's blog a reference to the phenomenon of water flowing uphill -- never mind that it's an optical illusion or sorts -- which happens to be one of the main neato things in my current SF novella-in-progress, "The Clock King and the Queen of the Hourglass." I am sorry, but I am really ticked off. Now everyone is going to write about this, and it was my idea first! My, MY, I say!!! ARGH!!! I even have proof -- my editor who is waiting for this novella has a snippet from me about the "water flowing uphill" bit which I e-mailed him long before this article showed up. Indeed, life must stop immitating my art, this very minute.
*starts to pound her head against the keyboard like a monkey attempting to type Shakespeare*
Ok, not feeling better, but on to other subjects anyway.
My Baycon program schedule is:
1) Saturday 1:00 PM Cedar "The Future of Sex"
Gay, straight, bi -- we already have a lot of sexual choices, but not always the freedom to express them. What sexual options may become more accepted in the future? Will technology play a part in any of them?
Nazarian (moderator) Jane Mailander Andy Trembley Kristina Theriot
2) Saturday 4:00 PM San Carlos "Fantasy That Breaks the Mold"
No castles, no evil wizards, no mightily thewed heroes.
Vera Nazarian (moderator) Deirdre Saoirse Moen Dorothy Heydt Lori White Karen Anderson
3) Saturday 5:30 PM Monterey "Yes, I Did Just Have My First Novel Published"
What is it like to see your first novel in print?
Cory Doctorow ElizaBeth Gilligan Vera Nazarian (moderator) Mark Ferrari
4) Sunday 12:30 PM San Jose Reading: Vera Nazarian
5) Sunday 1:00 PM Monterey Foyer Autographs: Vera Nazarian
6) Sunday 4:00 PM San Carlos "Self-Promotion and Publicity for Writers"
Hey, over here! Fine words for sale.
Vera Nazarian (NOT moderator, criminy, thank Gawd) Tracy Blackstone Lizzy Shannon Kevin Andrew Murphy
7) Monday 1:00 PM San Carlos "Publishing Credit: What Counts and Why"
Does self-publishing lead to paid publishing? Do E-zine sales lead to hardcover publishing? Are you wasting your time submitting to small press publishers? What does help you get credit?
Vera Nazarian (moderator) Kent Brewster Marty Halpern
8) Monday 11:30 AM Klatch Room Klatch: Vera Nazarian
And here is the main Baycon Program Schedule page.
Unless something momentous happens, this will be my last entry for the weekend until I get back home -- hotel dialup being e-traffic construction zones and all that.
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend, everyone! See you next when I am 37. :-)
Got my Fictionwise royalties last week, on Thursday, I believe -- not a large check but I am not complaining. :-) My new motto, as of five seconds ago -- never look a gift royalty in the mouth. *grin*
And yesterday, a nice double header -- a programming invitation to Loscon 30 and a nice e-mail from a reviewer, Debbie Ledesma, contributing editor of Fantasy Worlds at Suite101.com who really enjoyed my novel DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE and will be reviewing it for this Friday's feature. I took a look around the site which has some interesting stuff, and saw that DREAMS was already favorably mentioned elsewhere on the site, in an article about Mythic Fantasy.
This kind of thing really is balm for a response-starved writer's heart, especially when times are tough. :-) Made my day!
A doze of good news:
First, happy birthday, Lisa Silverthorne! Looking forward to seeing you very soon in San Jose, my friend! :-)
And now, it turns out that most of the contents of Iraq's National Library were safely hidden -- "not stolen by thieves last month but were removed for safe keeping by self-appointed guardians of Iraq's cultural heritage," according to the Boston Globe.
Thanks to Gabe Chouinard for the link to a wonderful discussion about Weird Fiction. I am still wading through the long thread, because it is so rich with thought-provoking definitions and concepts of the "new weird" or "New Wave Fabulist" or whatever it is that some people refer to as the genre spearheaded by the energy and subversive passion of China Miéville.
One of the several notions discussed, and one that really made me think, is the idea that the real world perception of SF by the non-SF readers -- whether mainstream or literary -- is ghettoized and confounded by the very traditions of the genre, the so-called presentation and layering of SFnal details, one upon another, building up from and upon those that came before in the venerable tradition, like logs in a pile. It's the stuff that genre readers take for granted and are steeped in, while to an outsider it becomes off-putting semantic gibberish.
In a nutshell, it is what makes SF so alien to the mainstream readers. It is what makes them stop reading, dumbfounded by the assumptions the writer forces them to make -- alien assumptions that need to be first explained and made familiar, before the reader can become embroiled in the necessary comfort of the reading "zone" and becomes addicted. (This is different from the complacent comfort that China Miéville despises, the state of the imagination slow-cooking in a familiar rut. I refer to the comfort of receptivity as opposed to the closing up of comprehension when faced with certain unfamiliar things.)
The SF reading insiders are not faced by such a hurdle. But -- and here is where the discussion gets really interesting -- some writers such as William Gibson, appear to transcend that genre comprehension barrier and they are the ones breaking down the Berlin Walls of Genre and inviting in -- nay, seducing -- all those "others," the readers from the other side.
And this got me thinking further about my own writing, and how it is that I too am guilty as hell of maintaining the Assumption Walls and building higher upon them. It's the easy thing to do, after all. Read and write enough in the genre, and you pick up the "lingo" and the structure and the way. It becomes a sophisticated pseudo-original and insidiously derivative hybrid I'll call metafanfic where the Shared World we writers play in is the whole fucking genre!
So, I tried to read my current work-in-progress -- an ambitious far-SF novella -- with a critical and detached eye of the mainstream reader, an eye to which alien concepts in themselves are alien. And I was terrified suddenly, terrified that I was writing the easy way, the copout way of not making that extra effort of clarity and understanding and communication that is necessary to make my work accessible to Every Reader, the Everyman.
I am writing metafanfic.
I will be doing a lot of re-writing to bring this novella up to my new standards of what is accessible.
I suppose I owe the discussion mongers a debt of writerly gratitude for the insight.
Is it just me, or is there an uncanny physical resemblance between the Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf , and operatic tenor Placido Domingo?
Seems like there is a positive change on the horizon, after months and months of tedious horrible overworked monotony and financial hell. I am really looking forward to the end of May -- seeing friends and a great Baycon, not to mention the end of some very intense working projects and life situations. I will be partying in San Jose with Lisa Silverthorne, Erin Cashier Denton, Deirdre Saoirse Moen, Denise Lee, John Savage (a.k.a. Charlie E. Petit), and a bunch of other great folks, too many to mention. I will also be celebrating my *gulp* 37th birthday on the 25th.
Just noticed that Locus Online listed my novel LORDS OF RAINBOW in the "Notable new SF, Fantasy, and Horror books seen, 16 - 30 April" page. Neat! Finally, LORDS OF RAINBOW publicity is beginning to trickle in....
Somehow, you are intimately familiar with it.
Human Growth Hormone. Viagra. Penis size and breast growth and drugs without a prescription. H.A.R.D.C.O.R.E slut action and a debt-free work-from-home routine. Refinancing your home and obtaining an unsecured Visa at the lowest interest rate. All of that interspersed with all-caps shouted pleas for URGENT ASSISTANCE and promises of 1.26 billion from Nigeria or subscriptions to Gevalia Coffee (which, as a temptation, I dare say, is beginning to grow on me -- and I don't even drink coffee). I am not particularly tempted by the Iraq's most wanted deck, on the other hand. Now, if they were offering Harry Potter, volume 5, I might be more likely to feel pangs of immedate acquisition lust. Oh, and always there is that semantic value-added incoherent bit of "2kfojg'sssdlul" or "cnvv vpsail kja" or maybe "vkjfsaai" for a doze of your daily defeat-those-anti-spam-filters randomness in the Subject line. But --
WHY??? In the name of any and all sweet gods, why? Why must we be subjected to this.. this... monotony, at the dawn of every one of our working e-mail days, at the dawn of the 21st century, in a glorious high-tech society?
And what is it with these spammers? Why only those specific products? Why is it never sewing supplies, or lightbulbs, or fabric softener, or maybe furniture covers? If this is based in any way on real supply and demand, on the economic reality of this planet of ours, then above all else we appear to be a species that collectively wants to increase the size of our genitals and get a lower fixed rate! What about our much more pressing need for underarm deodorant (for the self) or pine-based litter (for the resident felines)? And then there's soap, shampoo, ear swabs, microwave popcorn, socks, ballpoint pens?
I can see Linda J. Dunn's frustration, and yes, I feel your pain, Linda, every effing day. First thing every morning -- like you and every other e-mail user out there -- I sit down at a computer and hit "delete," having perfected my ability to mind-sort spam to a split-second fire-breathing rate of milliseconds per item. Who needs an anti-spam software when I've got me? Yes, I admit, I don't trust the software not to miss an important e-mail, since I get so much mail from so many different people in the publishing industry -- as most of us writers do.
Delete, delete, delete.
Ahh, and yes, now and then I see that tempting glimpse of Gevalia spam. The imaginary mocha aroma rises in my mind's nostrils, and I am almost there, sniffing the pungent caffeinated richness of a cozy coffee shop. Almost pleasant. And then I think to myself, what kind of a flaming baboon red-assed moron that marketing goon must be, to have chosen spam methods to promote their product repeatedly?
I will NEVER buy Gevalia, you mongoose. That's a promise. Why? Just because you spam me with it. All. The. Time. And that just makes me want to go to Starbucks. Besides, you can't beat tea. :-)
There, Linda, hope that makes you feel a little better.
In other news, Margaret Atwood claims that her latest book ORYX AND CRAKE is not science fiction but speculative fiction because "science fiction has monsters and spaceships; speculative fiction could really happen." With all due respect, why not investigate the genre further before making such an uninformed statement? *sigh*
And in better news, the number of Fictionwise downloads of the free extended excerpt of my novel DREAMS OF THE COMPASS ROSE is not showing any signs of slowing down, and has now reached, 2,331 copies! :-) Now, how about buying the hardcover, guys? ;-) Make this starving writer some badly needed royalties.
Oh, and before I forget, I have created a fun "antique" map of the wheel-shaped city Tronaelend-Lis, City of Dreams, where much of the action in my novel LORDS OF RAINBOW takes place. It is rendered in absolute colorless monochrome, of course, just like the rest of the colorless world. If you like fake maps of imaginary realms, take a look! This one is hand-drawn by yours truly and slightly spiffed up in PhotoImpact8 for that highly desirable aged look. :-)
Happy Cinco de Mayo, those of you who fiesta!