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New Storybundle - And What a Deal It Is!

Dec. 11th, 2015 | 03:04 pm

If you’re looking for a treat to get you through the shortest days of winter, or a gift for a fan (including for yourself), Steven Savile has come up with an amazing Storybundle. To begin with, it’s huge — 12 basic titles (at a base cost of $7), or 30 titles total at the bonus price of $15. More than that, those 30 books include complete trilogies, novels, and collections by both new and familiar authors — the theme is “New Worlds,” and that’s exactly what you’ll find. My own Silence Leigh trilogy, The Roads of Heaven, is part of it, and so is Jody Lynn Nye’s Mythology trilogy, Craig Shaw Gardner’s Ebenezum trilogy, Bradley Beaulieu’s Lays of Anuskaya (yep, a trilogy), 3 books of DJ Butler’s Rock Band Fights Evil series (how can anyone resist that?), plus many, many more. I’ve included the cover banner behind a cut because it’s big, but, seriously, you could take this bundle into hibernation with you, and emerge satisfied sometime around spring.
(Cover images - all of them)Collapse )

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Spectrum Awards 2014/2015

Dec. 5th, 2015 | 04:37 pm

Some nice news from this year’s Chessiecon! The Spectrum Awards for 2014/2015 (for books published in 2013 and 2014) were announced there: Death By Silver won for 2013 and Fairs’ Point for 2014. I’ve linked to the official handouts because not only were A Death at the Dionysus Club and Wind Raker also short-listed, but there are a lot of very good books on the lists for both years. In fact, I’m very proud to claim Jill Shultz as a former student; Angel on the Ropes is twisty, complicated SF with a strong romantic subplot — and circuses! Daughter of Mystery (Heather Rose Jones) is a fascinating take on both magic and the Ruritanian novel; I devoured Charm of Magpies, A Case of Possession, and Flight of Magpies (KJ Charles) over Thanksgiving last year, and would love to read more of both the characters and the weird neo-Victorian magic system. Jordan L. Hawke (Widdershins, Threshold, Stormhaven, Necropolis, and Bloodline) blends Lovecraftian horror and a complicated gay relationship in a magic-touched America. There’s The Mercury Waltz, the sequel to Kathy Koja’s Under the Poppy, and Lynn Flewelling has another Nightrunners novel, Shards of Time.

And those are just the books I’ve read. A lot of good queer-themed SF/F has been published over the last two years! I’ve already gone on a buying binge — I suspect some of you will, too.

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Mighty Good Road

Nov. 15th, 2015 | 10:55 am

Working through my backlist with the folks at Crossroad, I’ve had the very weird experience of reading — in quick succession — my first published novel, my last novel for Baen Books, and my last novel for Tor Books. They were published roughly 10 years apart (1984, 1990, and 2000), and so they provide an interesting snapshot of my career. I’m relieved to see that I’ve gotten better, particularly since each of these three novels are stories in which I tried to do something new to me, and was never sure if I’d succeeded.

Mighty Good Road is probably the book about which I felt most uncertain: I was writing explicitly lesbian protagonists in a novel that had nothing to do with sexuality (more on that later, but it was a Big Deal at the time), I inadvertently touched on some questions of kinship and family that I didn’t know how to handle, and I was on a tight deadline and determined to deliver as close to on time as possible. Add to that the stress of knowing that my much-loved editor was moving to another publisher, and I ended up with very mixed feelings about the whole project. I may have gone so far as to tell people that it wasn’t my favorite book, and that I hadn’t been terribly successful with it.

I really think I was wrong...Collapse )

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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 )

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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.)

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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 )

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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