Log in

Astreaint's Lunar Zodiac

Sep. 26th, 2015 | 11:18 am

The lunar zodiac is older than the solar zodiac, and the names of the moons and of the actual signs vary from place to place. Within Chenedolle itself, there is a certain amount of (largely unintended) cultural pressure to adopt the Astreianter versions of both calendars, and the regional versions are falling into disuse. The League cities have widely varying lunar calendars, including one that has months of varying lengths, but in practice they use the solar calendar. Chadron has its own solar calendar, which it reluctantly reconciles with the Astreianter version; they largely ignore the lunar calendar because of its associations with necromancy. In general, the lunar calendar is more closely attuned to the seasons rather than strictly to the positions of the planets, and is used primarily by farmers, gardeners, people whose work ties them closely to the land — and by necromancers, as the buried dead are strongly influenced by the land. The asterisked signs are ones that are unique to Astreiant, and I’ve added some notes below.
Read more...Collapse )

Link | Leave a comment {3} | Share

And the Winners Are....

Sep. 26th, 2015 | 09:59 am

I'll send you the download codes via LJ unless you PM me with a preferred/different email.  Thanks to everyone for entering!

(As always, numbers generated by random.org.)

Link | Leave a comment {3} | Share

More on Astrology in Astreiant!

Sep. 20th, 2015 | 02:51 pm

As requested yesterday, a quick list of the planets and signs of the solar zodiac. This is a binary solar system, with the Winter-Sun orbiting the main sun in the outermost orbit. The Winter-Sun has 3 visible planets of its own, Sofia, Tyrseis, and Oriane (listed from inner to outer orbits). The other zodiacal planets orbit the primary sun, and are listed below in order of distance from the Sun. Astreiant’s world has a single moon, and it and the Sun are conventionally listed first because their influence is stronger than that of the other planets. I’ve listed the signs of the zodiac in traditional order — originally, the new year began at the spring equinox, the day the Sun entered the Hare or the first day of Lepidas — and the division of the signs into “day” and “night” signs is based on that older reading.

Astrology revealed...Collapse )

Link | Leave a comment {12} | Share

Casting Horoscopes, and a Giveaway!

Sep. 19th, 2015 | 04:59 pm

As I continue to work on the plot for Point of Sighs, I thought I’d share the horoscope I cast for this book — in the Chenedolliste system, of course. This story isn’t as tightly dependent on the stars as some of the others — there’s no Ghost Tide here, and no folly stars at work — but this does offer some hints about the shape of the mystery to come….

A reading for Stateion 30, the 12th day of the Wine Moon...Collapse )

Also! If you are into audio books, I have three copies of the new audio version of Point of Hopes to give away. Add your name in comments, and I’ll pick winners on Thursday.

Link | Leave a comment {39} | Share

Well, THAT Was A Month!

Aug. 29th, 2015 | 12:25 pm

I have been at conventions or a writing retreat for the last three weekends, and am finally coming up for air. It has been fun and busy and potentially profitable, but I am also looking forward to a weekend in which I can take things a little more easily.

Shore Leave!Collapse )

Stargate CreationCon!Collapse )

Writing retreatCollapse )

So! A busy and productive month, definitely, and I am looking forward to spending some of this weekend sitting on my balcony watching the snapping turtles and drinking Crabbie’s Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer. I’ll let you know how it is.

Link | Leave a comment {5} | Share

A Thought from Shore Leave

Aug. 12th, 2015 | 04:28 pm

An odd thing happened at last weekend’s Shore Leave convention, one that’s left me feeling I need to clarify something I said. I was on a panel on LGBT characters in SF, which — like many of the panels at this year’s Shore Leave — clearly involved some confusion among the panelists and audience as to what the panel was supposed to be about. The panelists included 4 authors and an editor from Tor, and at one point one of the authors — who had just written his first gay characters, though the book was not yet out — had expressed concern that he would lose some of his audience by including a gay relationship at the center of his story. (He came from, and had a strong readership among, a fairly conservative and religious community.) In responding to this, I said that there was one great advantage in being with a small press, as the author was, and that was that one did not need to meet the same sales numbers in order to be successful. Smaller houses were often able to pick up books that the NY houses weren’t able to buy, books that the larger publishers believed would not reach a large enough audience because of their content.

The Tor editor asked who I thought was putting pressure on the NY houses. I answered, “the parent corporations, the conglomerates that own the NY houses.” The Tor editor replied that he could certainly say that there was no pressure placed on the Tor editorial staff to buy anything but the best books they could find regardless of subject. I was considerably taken aback, and the acting moderator intervened.

And then I realized that we had been talking entirely at cross purposes. I had not said, and not meant to say, that the big NY houses don’t buy LGBT (or any other non-mainstream) books because the editors don’t want to buy them or are pressured not to buy them, though that was certainly what the editor heard. What I had meant to say, and what I thought I was saying, was that NY houses can’t afford to buy books that don’t reach a certain sales threshold. Smaller presses can afford to buy books with a niche audience, and "niche audience" often includes readers of LGBT books.

No malice is involved here, and I certainly wouldn’t claim that there is. But it is demonstrably true that the NY houses no longer buy midlist books — notice how many midlist authors who used to be with major NY houses are now either with small presses or self-publishing both back- and frontlist titles. There are hard sales numbers that books from the NY houses have to meet, those numbers are higher than books from smaller presses, and the old midlist titles, once the standby of the NY houses, no longer meet those criteria.

And I firmly believe that the inability to buy books that don’t make those numbers means that the NY houses have to buy books that they believe will resonate with a largely mainstream, demographically majority audience. Any book that deals with “minority” characters and issues of any kind, whatever they are, has to take the mainstream audience into account, and be appealing to that audience as well as to an audience already predisposed to read books about those subjects. A LGBT press (almost by definition small) can afford to sell primarily to an LGBT audience, and a specialty press can afford to sell primarily to readers who already know and love their subgenre: they don’t need to sell as many copies to make a profit. I will repeat, because I truly mean this: no prejudice or malice is involved here. But if a book seems unlikely to sell a certain (fairly high) number of copies in the first few months of its shelf life, the NY houses can’t buy it, no matter how well-written, important, or good it actually is. And many of the books that fall into that category are ones with non-mainstream viewpoints.

This is why I think that the proliferation of small, indie, and micro presses and the rise of self-publishing options is going to be good for the genre, and for authors in general. There is room in those worlds for books that have a different point of view, that don’t take the mainstream into account, and room, too, for books that take a while to find an audience, and for the sort of books that used to be called “cult classics,” the ones that attract a small but passionate readership. And that, I think, means more voices, and that is good for everyone.

Link | Leave a comment {8} | Share

Legacy - Third Path Is Out

Jul. 18th, 2015 | 10:10 am

Another quick announcement - Stargate Atlantis: Third Path, the eighth book in the Legacy series, is now avaiable on Amazon. Paperback and other formats should follow, paperbacks in a couple of weeks, as it takes time to print the physical copies.

Link | Leave a comment {3} | Share

Another Sale!

Jul. 15th, 2015 | 06:53 pm

This time, it's the Kindle edition of A Death at the Dionysus Club, on sale tomorrow at a ridiculously low price. A gay Victorian murder mystery with magic!

Link | Leave a comment {2} | Share

Astreiant on sale!

Jul. 10th, 2015 | 01:24 pm

If you've been thinking about trying the Astreiant novels (Point of Hopes, Point of Knives, Point of Dreams, and Fairs' Point), Lethe has created a package deal - all four books, three novels and one novella, for $30, less than half the cover price. And we will certainly be able to work out autographing for US buyers - just let Lethe know when you make your purchase.

I have been poking at the next Astreiant novel, Point of Sighs, and woke up this morning with a new sense of the overall plot that pleases me enormously. (I tend to think of plotting at this stage as a kind of jigsaw, or maybe a tangram would be a better analogy: a lot of oddly shaped pieces that need to be sorted into the best configuration. And I think this time I may have found exactly the shape I was looking for.)

Link | Leave a comment {13} | Share

Marriage Equality

Jun. 26th, 2015 | 03:54 pm

In February 2001 — on Valentine’s Day, in point of fact — Lisa and I and two of our dearest friends drove from Portsmouth, NH to Burlingon, Vermont, where we had an appointment with a minister (a former Catholic priest and a friend of friends) to sign a license of civil union. It was flurrying a bit as we found the Burlington courthouse and began filling out the paperwork for the license. This involved my remembering my parents’ years of birth, and about halfway through the process, Lisa put down her pen.

“I’m not sure I actually want to do this,” she said.

I refrained from pointing out that not only was this my best chance to get on her health insurance, saving us about $500 a month plus the cost of my asthma medications, but that we’d just driven through the fringes of a snowstorm to get here. “Well, if you really hate the idea, we don’t have to. We can just stand witness for Don and Thomas.”

“I hate the idea of marriage. It’s like a virgin sacrifice, and it’s a horrible institution.”

“I’m not fond of it either, but this is a civil union. We can make that mean something different.”

“It’s the same damn thing.”

“Like I said, we don’t have to do this. Oh, look, isn’t that an adorable puppy!”

Someone had brought in their 3 or 4 month-old shaggy mixed-breed puppy to get its license, and most of the courthouse staff had come out from behind the tall counters to pet it and make much of it. The puppy was clearly loving the attention, and Lisa took a deep breath.

“All right. I’m going to go say hi to that puppy and think about it.”

I finished filling out the paperwork, and after a few minutes she came back and said, “All right. I’m ok with this. Let’s do it.”
I remain sorry that I didn’t have a whole fistful of treats to offer that puppy.

At that point we’d been together 22 years, and the plan was that we would have a celebratory party at some later date — we didn’t want it to feel as though our newly-legal status trumped the 21 years we’d already been together. What with one thing and another, we never had the party, and five years later Lisa was dead. It was unclear at her death whether I was a legal spouse or not, and there was no real reason (and no money) to take anything to court to find out. To the COBRA people, I was a spouse, and had 6 more years of her insurance, though they had no code for same-sex partner, and had to list me as a child, adding a note to the file; to the pension administrators and the bank that held her IRA, Lisa’s death came before New Hampshire recognized civil unions, so I was not a spouse. At the funeral home, I made the arrangements, and was acknowledge as the proper party to do so by nice Mr. Gagne, but Lisa’s sister signed the authorization as next of kin. My parents loaned me the money to cover the expenses because the life insurance hadn’t come through, and after 3 years of dealing with cancer, we had no savings left. We owned the house jointly, so it was automatically mine, but I couldn’t pay her debts until we went through probate, because I wasn’t a spouse.

This used to be normal. I heard a hundred stories like this — and worse, so much worse — as we lost friends during the AIDS crisis, and I’ll be the first to say that we were tremendously lucky, as we did all the correct paperwork and had supportive families. And while we have a lot of work still to do (employment discrimination, for one big thing — what’s the point of getting married if coming out will get you fired), at least there is something better available than the weird patchwork of yeses and noes that followed Lisa’s death.

And that for me is another thing that marriage is about, along with the familiar talk of joy and happiness, dignity and acknowledgement. It’s the right, when things are at their worst, to take care of the person you love. That is also why this matters.

Link | Leave a comment {24} | Share