The official Blade cover art. I like the title lettering, and according to my editor, everyone who passes by it stops and stares. We'll assume this is the good
kind of staring.
And yeah, I kinda sit here staring at it myself. I write the books, but I can never seem to brace myself for the shock of seeing them turn into print. Doesn't matter how many books you have out there, I think the writer's brain just automatically goes, "Geez, did I do that
This is so cool -- Allison Starkweather, one of the writers from my Forward Motion clan, told me a while back she was going to use one of my characters in a project for her ceramics class. Here she is with the finished sculpture of Squilyp, the Omorr surgeon from StarDoc:
Thanks to Allison for sending me the pics, this made my whole month. :)
Five in a Row:
Everybody break out the M&Ms; Eternity Row just hit
the Locus bestseller list, coming in at an extremely respectable #6. This officially makes all five books in the series bestsellers. Seeing my name ranked with the likes of Brooks, Gaiman and Tolkien is a bit surreal, though. I'll have to start wearing nicer clothes when I carry out the garbage or clean the litter boxes.
Most authors think it's their writing that gets them on the bestseller list, but it's really the loyalty of their readers who put them there. Thanks to all of you who consistently spend your hard-earned cash for my novels -- you're the ones who made this happen.
My outline for the first of my Christian fiction books was accepted today, so I'm good to go on that novel. I have two editors on this series, so I have to pass inspection twice, but they're very enthusiastic about my ideas. Because I have to write these books so fast, and the original series concept belongs to someone else, communication and a certain amount of direction is imperative. I was worried about that -- I've never written a book this way before -- but with these ladies it looks like it'll be a breeze. I could get used to that, real quick.
Almost finished with the first draft of Illumination, which is good because I'm running out of month and free time to work on it. I'm dragging it out a little more so I can enjoy another week in the universe -- I know, bad writer discipline, but I really miss working on the series. I've also been making notes as some threads in Illumination will affect the series plot line more than I anticipated (blame the Psyorans and the Binders, they got interesting on me.)
The temptation to just say eff it and go ahead and write them is really strong. Reever has me all Hsktsktized and book seven takes place mainly on their homeworld. They also have a big part in book eight. Also, some of what Duncan goes through has me eyeing certain threads in the offshoot Gamers novel, which I've been sneaking off to work on when I have a few minutes here and there. But no matter how much I want to play, the contract work has to come first, and I gave myself a nice dose of reality by sitting down and writing the bills last night.
I've decided what I want to do for the second SD novella, though. Another prequel, with Cherijo as a young medical student on her one and only trip to Luna Colony, where she meets Holly Noriko from Selene's Dagger and Shadow Zone. Should be fun to put those two together in the same story.
Four years ago today, I signed my first novel contract for StarDoc and Beyond Varallan. StarDoc, my first book, wasn't published until January 2000, but I still celebrate this date as the official kick off of my career. So I decided to put together a little anniversary graphic in honor of people I'm very glad I ignored:
Never let anyone tell you that you can't have your dream. If you want it bad enough, you'll get it. :)
Since Lee went back to college, I've been handling my own reader snail mail. Usually I enjoy reading the letters, but around the holidays the amount of mail from incarcerated prisoners picks up. I go from getting one now and then to about 5-10 letters a week (StarDoc is very popular in prisons, as are my romances.) After the post office checks the envelopes, I have to read the letters to make sure there aren't any kidnapping/death threats (if there are, I turn them over to the police), then I make a copy for my attorney and file them away under Mail from Prisoners. This is a grim kind of insurance. If I'm ever kidnapped or murdered, my lawyer and the police will know which convicts made contact with me.
I never write back to prisoners, of course. When you turn pro, that should be one of your most golden of rules.
This morning I received a letter from a young man who wrote that he was convicted of first degree murder and is serving life without the possibility of parole. I'm cautious with all prisoner mail but murderers are the worst; they scare the hell out of me. This prisoner was quite polite, but in the process of trying to convince me to write back to him and become his penpal, he divulged specific details about his crimes which he claimed the authorities don't know. There is no confidentiality clause between a reader and a writer; I have no choice but to report things like this. I called the police and read the details to them. They're going to take the letter and a statement from me, then contact the prosecuting attorney handling this prisoner's case, to see if it's needed as evidence to keep this man in prison.
Deadline, Before Its Time:
Butchered the revisions on the BioRescue synopsis -- guess I was in a synopsis writing mood today -- and have finished two weeks under deadline. Something I can actually send via regular snail mail and still make it on time. I'm taking the night off to sew, read, and otherwise be a satisfied writer slug.
Begone with Ye:
I finished revising the Jax proposal -- which is to say, I finally pried it out of my hands and packed it in a shipping envelope for the agent. Never have I dragged my butt for so long on one book but I think it was worth it. Anyway, I'm glad to see it go, I haven't obsessed this much over a novel since Blade. And now I can return to writing new material, finishing the next deadline, and obsessing over Blade promo.
But first, a meeting at school over the Christmas program in . . . four hours, no less. Guess I'd better obsess horizontally for a bit.
Clever Marketing Ploy:
Now that I have a color printer that actually works, I'm starting to put together the promo for Blade Dancer. What I need now is a catch phrase -- fifteen words or less to associate with the book and the cover art, that I can slap on flyers, bookmarks, reading group booklets, etc. Here's the cover, sans titling:
What I've come up with so far, catch-phrase wise:
When she asks you to dance, refuse.
This is not a little girl fight.
Mess with my clan, mess with me.
Will be working on it until I hit the right combo of words. Any suggestions? If I use yours, I'll send you a signed copy of the book as soon as it comes out (September 2003, so it'll be a bit of a wait) or a signed copy of Eternity Row (got those now.)
Warms my heart to see the new Harry Potter movie making megabucks
at the box office this weekend. Of course all that lovely success is accompanied by grinding of teeth from certain quarters, so much so that you could almost hear that faint sounds of enamel chipping from the direction of Kansas City. J.K. Rowling is supposed to be pregnant, so her chunk of the movie will definitely buy her and baby plenty of pickles and ice cream.
Found an Island for Sale:
You thought I was kidding, right? Check out this little beauty,
about five square miles, comes with the standard turquoise seas, white beaches, rain forests, and native islanders as accessories. It's exotic, remote, right smack in the middle of Fiji and Forbes used to own it so you know there won't be any beer cans or trash around. Nice asking price, too, considering. :)
Too many of my writer friends around the globe are going through tough times, so I've come up with a solution: Let's start our own colony. All we need is a remote tropical island, a huge old mansion with plenty of rooms, and lots of computers, paper, and other writer stuff. Stop laughing, I'm serious. It would be like Forward Motion,
only with palm trees and beaches.
Imagine it for a second -- all the peace and quiet we could want, no day jobs, no distractions. You could say to someone, "I'm editing my WIP, go away" or "I'm stuck on a plot twist, leave me alone" and they'd totally respect that. People could gather around a bonfire of rejection slips at night to roast marshmallows and read from their new work.
We could have a Minister of Correspondence to handle contact with the rest of the publishing world. Someone who sounds official and mean -- Caleb Carr, maybe. Agents to patrol the beaches so they can work on their tans and keep us safe from attacking editors. We invite some nonfic writers to live with us, and they can handle the cooking and handyman work (doubles as research for the cookbooks and home repair manuals.) I'll run the infirmary as long as you guys don't mind showing up in a few StarDoc novels. Dr. Moreau pulled it off, so why shouldn't we? Plus our colony would have the benefit in that no one has to crossbreed with snarling mindless animals unless that's their thing (or they're married to a reviewer, as the case may be.)
(Deleted image. Was creating havoc with the weblog page for some reason.)
Up far too late playing with the new scanner, but finally got it to work. Now I can save images like this one of my grandmother (the only one in existence) from 1929. Worth a little lost sleep. :)