World Fantasy convention & Audio Book News

I will be attending the World Fantasy Convention in San Diego this year. It’s a slightly different convention than the norm, and while I’ll be participating in the big Author Signing (it’s usually Friday night), I won’t be on panels. I will be wandering around the convention, though.

I will also, the day before WFC starts, be attending an informal meet-and-greet with a number of other authors at Mysterious Galaxy, on Wednesday the 26th of October. Since WFC has been sold out for months and months (Neil Gaiman is the Guest of Honor), if you are in and about San Diego, come say hello :).

And the Audio Book News

When I was at the Word on the Street (and knocking over pizza boxes – it was an accident because I’m clumsy when slightly excited. Oh, who am I kidding. I’m clumsy, period), I met Tara, who, among many things, is one of the people at HLQ who deals with Audible.

She just sent me email to let me know what the current Audible release schedule for the Cast audio books looks like. The list didn’t come with list prices, so I’m not certain how things are priced at Audible–whether individually or as part of an audible subscription. I confess I don’t listen to audio books because, among other things, I don’t have a driver’s license, so I am not taking long drives in cars (a place that seems absolutely ideal for listening to them).

On October 1st:

Cast in Moonlight.

This surprised me because I hadn’t heard about this, but I’m happy to see it done. It’s still technically a novella, at 39.6k words (official break point being 40k).

On November 1st:

  • Cast in Shadow
  • Cast in Courlight
  • Cast in Secret
  • Cast in Fury

On December 1st:

  • Cast in Silence
  • Cast in Chaos
  • Cast in Ruin

So, by year end, all of the Cast books will be available as audiobooks. (ETA: This was actually also the first time I’d heard about Chaos and Ruin in audio book format as well, which is why this is the first time I’m mentioning them. For some reason, this seemed less surprising to me.)

Word on the Street 2011

This is, of course, short notice, but:

For those of you who live in Toronto, or alternately, for those of you who are attending the annual Word on the Street, I will be signing books at the Harlequin booth at 2:00 p.m., this Sunday, which is the 27th of September.

Oddly enough, I think I’m signing Cast in Shadow, because the I last time I did a signing, there were so many curious people roaming Queen’s Park that almost no one had read the first one. So…

Even if you don’t want to lug things with you, come say hello!

Cast in Ruin is Live – and this is the discussion thread

This is a New Idea (which I stole from Kate Elliott): This is the blog post on which discussions of Cast in Ruin, with spoilers, should take place. If you have questions that I can answer without spoiling future books, I’ll try to answer them here as well.

And now: two things.

First, I have to say that I have no idea what the actual on-sale date of the book is, and have been using Amazon’s, as reported to me by various people. In my mind, it’s an October 2011 title, and in my experience, new titles tend to ship and arrive the month before the publication month. Sometime. (It’s my suspicion that the release week is actually the week in which October 1st lands, because that’s the on-sale date for the ebook.)

September 20th – today! – is the day Amazon listed as release day. Some people’s books have already arrived, and I have even seen picture proof of its external existence.

Second: I know that the internet savvy among you will be aware that some authors are very concerned about when sales occur. They aim for ‘release week’, because they hope that sales during that week will land the book on the NYT lists, as the NYT numbers are compiled weekly.

I am not one of these authors. It’s my (possibly erroneous) belief that the momentum for a book has to be large enough on its own to achieve list status (any list), and also my certainty that many more people read these books than read my various on-line ramblings.

Also: I have two sons. They were once two small sons, and in the case of the elder one, I could not remain on the inside of any store for longer than ten minutes before he melted down. Going to a bookstore was a luxury, and remaining in the bookstore while he started to ratchet up the volume was…not a courtesy to anyone else who happened to be trying to browse. I love books. I want their authors to sell well, and continue to be able to write them. But being practical? I had no idea when the release date/week was, and there was no way, if I saw a book I wanted to read — while bouncing restive baby and praying for another thirty seconds of silence — that I was going to put the book back and come in a week later.

Given this experience, I am happy that people are buying the books at all. I have no idea what the right week even is. I don’t care if you buy the paper book or the ebook; I do ask that you buy a legal copy of some sort, where at all possible, because any other venue doesn’t reach the publisher, and if the numbers aren’t there – publishing being a business – it makes it harder for them to justify continuing to publish the books. Plus, they give me covers I love, and editing.

And while yes, the opportunity or possibility exists to now write the books and put them out on my own, it’s not really possible to get the paper versions down to a reasonable price at their length in PoD; in order to get it into any stores/Amazon at all, a book the length of Cast in Ruin would cost a minimum of 20.95, as opposed to the 14.95 retail Luna charges.

Ebooks are a growing market, it’s true – but as of Cast in Chaos, they’re just over 20% of my readership. Which means, in order to self-publish, I would be walking away from 70% of my readers (I’m assuming that 10% of the paper readers would find the PoD on-line, and buy it there).

Wow, long again. I’m sure this will surprise no one.

ETA (because it is late and I have had no coffee): If circumstances are such that you can’t buy a copy, I understand that; books are luxuries. But in that case, can you find a copy in your local library? Libraries do buy a copy, and the more people that pass through the doors, the greater the likelihood that their funding won’t be nuked to zero in the coming years.

Shadow of a Change, For the Love of God, and Hunger

I have finally managed the last little bits and pieces of associated formatting & ISBN retrieval and back-cover blurb writing (which I am not terribly good at, sadly), and have finalized three short stories. As decided by general consensus, the shorts are being released in chronological order.

One of the things that really strikes me, rereading them, is how much technology has changed, because two of the three are set in the theoretical now, which would really be the now of the early ‘90s. Honestly, sometimes it is very hard not to revise everything.

Shadow of A Change is the first of the three (or the 9th of the sixty, depending on how we’re counting). It was originally published in Dinosaur Fantastic, edited by Mike Resnick and Martin H. Greenberg, and then reprinted later in Dinosaurs!, a reprint anthology edited by Martin H. Greenberg.

It’s contemporary. (This is me trying not to say very much else about it).

It’s in the queue at Amazon and iBooks, and is now available at Smashwords.

For the Love of God is my first attempt at alternate history. It’s not my last attempt. Originally published in Alternate Warriors, which was edited by Mike Resnick (in the early years, you’ll see his name frequently), it’s the story of Thomas Beket and Henry; in this short, Henry does not have Thomas killed (or, Thomas is not killed by outraged followers of Henry, depending on how you choose to read history).

It’s in the queue at Amazon and the iBookstore, and up at Smashwords, where it is also in the queue for eventual B&N, Kobo, Diesel and Sony stores.

Hunger is the last of the three. It’s told in first person, and was originally published in Christmas Ghosts, edited by — surprise! — Mike Resnick & Marthin H. Greenberg. Not surprisingly, it is about a Christmas Ghost, sort of. I still really like this one.

It’s also in the Amazon and iBookstore queues, up at Smashwords, and from Smashwords, in the queue to reach the other etailers.

News!

Wendy Good, in the comments to the previous post, asked: How many more Cast books are you currently contracted for with Luna? Will you seek contracts for further Cast books or is that too far reaching of a question? I dare to ask because I don’t want them to end. I know all good things must eventually, but would love some reassurance regarding the next few years, if at all possible. : )

The answer was: The one I’m working on now (which is Cast in Peril).

The answer is now: The one I’m working on now (which is, oddly enough, still Cast in Peril) and three more Cast novels, none of which have titles.

Some of the questions about various elements of possible future books – the Dragon Court – are affected by events in the almost available Cast in Ruin. Which is all I’ll say for the next few months, because anything else is so heavily into spoiler territory I will get hate mail at the very least.

I try very hard, with the Cast novels, to start with a very, very simple statement about the book before I begin writing. Cast in Silence was: Kaylin confronts and finally accepts her past. No, really. Cast in Chaos was: An influx of refugees causes panic and fear in Elantra. No, really. Cast in Fury was: In the aftermath of the panic caused by the tidal wave Kaylin must deal with an artiste — while Marcus Kassan is relieved of his duties on charges of murder.

Cast in Peril was a small paragraph. Some of which I can’t detail, because it follows from Ruin. Cast in Peril is not the book I planned. Which is to say, it is the book I planned, but in planning, I seem to have forgotten that plot takes words, and the more plot there is, the more words there are, and at some point, there are too many words, because clearly I thought I could fit everything into one room. An apt analogy would be furniture: the fridge is now sitting in the hall and the dining room table is the TV stand, and there’s no room for anything but the couch because you can’t get past the table, and for some reason I thought it would all fit in one room.

In this, I absolutely blame Teela; it is entirely her fault. Well, actually, that’s possibly not fair. It is also the fault of another character I can’t name yet.

What I really want to do is post Chapter One of Cast in Peril. And no, of course I won’t, because it will make no sense if you haven’t read Cast in Ruin.

ETA: I think Cast in Peril will make sense to a reader who hasn’t read the previous books, in as much as that’s possible, but readers who have will immediately say: who the heck is (character name redacted)?

State of the Writing, September 2011

I’ve been revising Silence, the first of the DAW Sagara trilogy now called The Queen of the Dead. It has now returned to my long-suffering editor at DAW.

While working on the revision, however, I have also been writing.

Cast in Peril is almost finished. Which is good, because it is due Soon. I have author copies of Cast in Ruin, and author copies of the mass market of Harvest Moon, which contains my 39,600k word novella, “Cast in Moonlight” (yes, it’s still a novella; it hasn’t broken the 40k word mark which would put it in short novel territory). These go along with the author copies of the mass market versions of Cast in Fury and Cast in Silence, but without toe stubbage.

My husband decided to build a steel shelf in the basement on which to put author’s copies of the various books. He managed to get everything on the shelf, and it all fit perfectly — until Cast in Ruin and Harvest Moon arrived. While he is always happy to see the finished books, because they are totally real, I think over time his enthusiasm for them has waned a bit…

War, the final volume of The House War, is not finished. It is not close to being finished. It is, I think, just under half done. But it does progress. I admit I am dying to know how people feel about Skirmish. Yes, I will post sample chapters, but I’m waiting until we’re closer to the publication date (which is January 2012). Also, waiting for the finished cover, so I can post that.

On my plate now:

1. Redesign the web-site a bit so that it looks more modern. When I say “redesign” what I really mean is find someone who does not have the graphic design acumen of a brick to hire to do it for me. But to do this, I will need to visit a photographer to get an author portrait. And before I do that, I might as well replace the glasses that are slightly broken, and have been for mumble mumble time.

This redesign is supposed to help people who have no idea who I am or what I write find information about both who I am and what I write in one easy page load. Since I demonstrably know who I am and what I write, it’s not always clear to me when things are hard to find, and since I’m the one arranging the links and pages at the moment, I also know where everything is. I have a blind spot. Or more than one.

But…I do frequent some author blogs, and I hate the flash screens that basically pop up a picture which says “click here to enter” or something similar. The things which make a blog useful for people who read and comment on it aren’t always useful for people who just want information – and vice versa. There are one or two which I really, really like, but one is very slow to load (which, being me, I really really dislike).

This will not happen overnight (I can’t even see the optometrist until the 13th), so if you have any comments, suggestions, or requests, I’d be happy to see them.

2. Proof, format, and put out the other fifty-two stories. This is also not going to happen overnight, sadly. It’s the first work-related activity which I set aside when I have writing related work arrive in my inbox. I try to always write new words on a daily basis, but to do things like copy-edits, page-proofs and revisions after that. If there are no copy-edits, page-proofs, or revisions, I use the “after” time to proofread and format. I will be doing that for the next week or so.

3. Continue to write Cast in Peril and War, of course, and this should probably have been number 1, but I take for granted that it’s the high priority of each day.

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