swan_tower: (natural history)

If you’re in the Bay Area, don’t forget: I’m reading at Borderlands Books tomorrow, at 3 p.m.! (On Independent Bookstore Day, no less.) And I will have some very special news to announce . . .

***

I think one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about writing the Memoirs of Lady Trent is the way it gave me a reason to shore up some of the gaps in my knowledge.

Take African history for example. If all you had to go on was my high school education, you’d think that it consisted of human evolution, Egypt, and the slave trade, with nothing in between. (Nothing after, either, but that wasn’t a regional bias; my history classes bogged down on the Civil War and Reconstruction, so that the twentieth century is as the void to me.) I had the vague osmotic sense that there had been a place called Songhay, and that was it.

I could have fixed that at any time. But I’m much more likely to pursue reading about a topic when I have an immediate use for it — something beyond “man, I really ought to know more about X.” It’s pretty well-documented that we learn things better in context, rather than in isolation, and a writing project gives me context. A globe-trotting protagonist was therefore ideal, because she dragged my thoughts in all kinds of new directions, laying the foundation for future exploration. (Solaike in the upcoming Lightning in the Blood draws a lot of its social structure from Dahomey; that probably wouldn’t have happened without The Tropic of Serpents first.)

Islam is another good example. In college I took classes on early Christianity (which also means you wind up learning a decent bit about Judaism) and Hinduism, and some of my Japanese history classes touched on Buddhism and to a lesser extent Shinto, but Islam? Terra incognita for me. Sending my characters to Akhia was the kick in the pants that I needed to read up on it, to make myself conversant with at least the basics. I could have read a Wikipedia article to learn the difference between Sunni and Shiite, but it was easier to retain details when I had a reason to devote dedicated work time to the question. I wouldn’t call myself deeply well-informed on Islam now, but at least I’m not flat ignorant anymore.

Thanks to this series, I know more about Polynesia and how you can locate a flyspeck of land in a thousand miles of empty sea. I know some of the dynamics behind and resulting from Tibetan polyandry. And as I said on the Tor/Forge blog, I’ve learned piles about different kinds of climates and how people live in them.

This is one of my favorite aspects of my job. It’s constantly giving me reasons to learn new things, and I feel richer as a result.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

I’ve got a post up at Tor.com about what it feels like to say goodbye to Isabella, and there’s an interview with me at Goldilox. Continuing on from yesterday’s post (and this time basically sans spoilers), there’s someone else I’d like to talk about . . .

***

Tom Wilker is the best accidental character I’ve had in a while. Maybe ever.

What do I mean by “accidental”? I mean that I did not, at the outset, plan for him at all. I don’t think he was even in the first thirty thousand words I wrote, before I set the book aside for a few years; I think I added him in when I came back to the story, because I realized Lord Hilford would of course have some kind of assistant or protégé along for the Vystrani expedition. Jacob was too new of an acquaintance to occupy that role; therefore I invented Mr. Thomas Wilker.

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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More than six years ago, in January of 2011, I sent my agent the pitch for the Memoirs of Lady Trent. It consisted of thirty thousand words from the first book and a document approximately three thousand words long describing the setting and the plots of the various novels. Because I am crap at outlining, while those latter synopses bear some resemblance to the final story, it’s very obvious in hindsight that I was just waving my hands in an attempt to make it look like I knew where was going . . . and nowhere is that clearer than in the figure of “Lord Trent,” i.e. Isabella’s husband.

Here there be spoilers. (Up through In the Labyrinth of Drakes, though I’d say the only really bad spoiler is for A Natural History of Dragons. If you haven’t yet read Within the Sanctuary of Wings, you’re in the clear.)

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Tomorrow, y’all. Tomorrow, Within the Sanctuary of Wings will be available from all reputable vendors of books! If you’ve been waiting for the series to be complete before you pick it up, now is your chance to start! If you know someone who has been waiting for the series to be complete before they pick it up, now is your chance to tell them to start!

My upcoming tour schedule is here, with a new item added: a May 11th signing at University Bookstore in Seattle, where I will be joined by the inestimable Todd Lockwood.

Also, don’t forget that the illustrated edition of Lies and Prophecy is currently 30% off at Kobo. Just enter “APR30” as a coupon code at checkout to get the discount. The sale ends today!

Finally, I’ve contributed a number of items to this year’s Con or Bust auction. There are three lots:

Bidding is open now, and will continue until May 7th. It’s a great organization and a great cause, so go forth and bid!

. . . see you all tomorrow!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

In the never-ending attempt to keep my stock of author copies under control, I’m offering up three copies apiece of Voyage of the Basilisk and In the Labyrinth of Drakes. You’ve got about three days left to enter!

Also, I’m still looking for icons! Renewing the call not because I haven’t been offered a good selection, but because I want to give more people a chance to win the two Advance Reader Copies of Within the Sanctuary of Wings. Get your image manipulating on and maybe get a book!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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I realized recently that not only do I not have an icon for Within the Sanctuary of Wings, I don’t have one for In the Labyrinth of Drakes, either.

So! I have two ARCs of Sanctuary to offer in exchange for people making me pretty icons out of the cover art for those books. You can find the full images for Labyrinth here and Sanctuary here. The icons need to be 100×100 pixels and contain the titles of the books; beyond that, arrange ’em however you like. I’ll pick two recips out of everyone who sends me an icon — so if you want the book early, fire up your mouse!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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I’ve recently been reminded that the Hugo Awards are test-driving a new category, this one for “Best Series”:

…a multi-volume science fiction or fantasy story, unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation, which has appeared in at least three volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the calendar year 2016, at least one volume of which was published in 2016.

Because I’d forgotten about this, I didn’t think to mention explicitly in my eligibility post that The Memoirs of Lady Trent qualify: the series is now four books long and roughly 370,000 words, and In the Labyrinth of Drakes came out in 2016.

Although I understand protests about the proliferation of award categories, I have to admit I’m glad to see this one added. A lot of SF/F work is done in series format, and delivering a good series is its own kind of challenge. I can read a bunch of books that aren’t individually the best books of their years, but the work in aggregate winds up being really memorable and satisfying, so I like the notion of having a way to recognize that fact. But I hope the final wording of the category, if it stays in, includes something about how a series that wins becomes ineligible for nomination thereafter; otherwise we may end up with a revolving-door situation where a small number of popular series win over and over again as their new installments come out.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Many thanks to everyone who has picked up items from the Great Swan Tower Moving Day Sale! It has been a great benefit to me, cleaning out the various boxes I keep my author copies in.

In the course of packing up, I found a stash of the US trade paperbacks of Voyage of the Basilisk squirreled away in a corner. (I’d been wondering where they’d gone.) So here’s an updated list of what’s available. Same drill applies: all you have to do is email me or leave a message here calling dibs on something and giving me your mailing address; I’ll respond to let you know whether it’s still available, and we’ll arrange payment. Shipping is included for orders within the U.S. Inscriptions on request.

You have one more week to order anything that strikes your fancy!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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A whole bunch of audio links have piled up in my inbox lately, so here — have things to listen to!

I’ve raved before about how awesome a narrator I have for the Memoir audiobooks. But if you haven’t checked them out, and need to hear just how fabulous Kate Reading is, here’s an excerpt from In the Labyrinth of Drakes. It’s spoiler-free, so if you haven’t caught up with the story yet, don’t worry about hearing anything you shouldn’t.

If you’d like to hear me reading from Cold-Forged Flame, the Varekai novella coming out this September, here’s a recording from SF in SF. My reading starts around 36:30, after M. Thomas Gammarino, and then there’s a Q&A after.

While I was in San Diego for Mysterious Galaxy’s birthday bash, I recorded with the Geekitude podcast, which is posted here. My segment starts at the hour and twenty-two minute mark, and we discuss a host of things, ranging from what it’s like to wrap up the Memoirs, to hitting your thirties and not being made of rubber anymore, to RPGs and my experiences with them.

Here’s a brief video interview I did with ActuSF during Imaginales. The questions are entirely in French — my interpreter, Hélène Bury, was translating them for me, but too quietly for the camera to pick up — but I answer in English, before Hélène translates it for the camera.

I don’t have a fifth thing. Curse the internet for establishing that five things make a post! We’ll have to be satisfied with 80% of a post instead.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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First of all, my friend Mike Underwood’s Genrenauts Kickstarter campaign is already nearly funded, because I’ve been crazy busy in the last week and a half (house-buying drama; turned out okay, thank god), but you’ve still got eighteen days left to back it. This is the “Season One” collection of Genrenauts, comprising six novellas (two already published, four to come), plus a bunch of extras. If you’re not familiar with the series, it involves a group of highly-trained agents parachuting into alternate realities governed by the laws of different genres, seeking to right imbalances that threaten the stability of our own world. Basically, catnip for anybody who likes thinking about and playing around with the tropes of narrative — which of course is why Mike started writing them, and why you all should read them!

Second, I’ve put up two items for auction via Con or Bust, a nonprofit that helps fans of color attend conventions they wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford. The first is a signed hardcover of In the Labyrinth of Drakes, and the second is a 9-CD edition of the audiobook for A Natural History of Dragons, narrated by the amazing Kate Reading. It’s for a good cause, so please, bid high!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

It’s been just two days since the release of In the Labyrinth of Drakes, and already I have stuff I should link to!

First of all, I’m up at Tor.com with a nonfiction post titled “Learning to See Through Photography”, where I talk about how I went from taking really crappy pictures of my camp friends to displaying selling prints at Borderlands.

I also set a land-speed record for time elapsed from drafting a post to it going live on someone else’s site: around midnight I started writing a requested post about dragons (riffing off the panel I was on this past FOGcon) and sent it off to my UK publicist at about 1:30 in the morning. By the time I went to bed at 3, it had already been posted to SFF World! Talk about quick turnaround . . . .

And I know I linked to this before, but I should mention again that “From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review” went live on Tuesday. You don’t need to have read the Memoirs to understand the story, nor does it contain any real spoilers.

But! Speaking of Borderlands!

This Saturday, at 3 p.m., I will be doing a reading and signing. It will be lonely without Mary Robinette Kowal — come keep me company! :-) (And come see my pretty photos on the wall!) After that, I’m doing two other tour stops in the immediate future:

Monday, April 11th, at 7 p.m., I will be at the Powell’s Bookstore in Beaverton, in the Cedar Hills Crossing mall.

Tuesday, April 12th, also at 7 p.m., I will be at the University Bookstore in Seattle — in company with a certain artist. So if you want to get your books signed not only by me, but by Todd Lockwood, this is your chance to do both at once!

Further plans include Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego for their “birthday bash” on May 7th, the Bay Area Festival of Books in June, and in between those things, my Very First International (Non-Convention) Appearance at Les Imaginales in France. I don’t know whether any of my European readers will be able to make it there, but if so, I’d love to see you!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

Ladies and gentlemen and other courteous people, it’s finally here, the day you’ve been waiting for —

— the day Clockwork Phoenix 5 goes on sale!

What? That’s not the day you’ve been waiting for? But it has my short story “The Mirror-City”! Oh, wait, I know, short stories —

— today is the day you can read “From the Editorial Page of the Falchester Weekly Review”!

What? Not what you were thinking of, either? But it’s a Lady Trent short story! Surely you want to read her infamous dispute with Benjamin Talbot, about his —

— oh. Ohhhhhhhh.

You’ve been waiting for the publication of In the Labyrinth of Drakes.

Well, I have good news for you, ladies and gentlemen and other courteous people. Today it goes on sale in both the U.S. and the U.K. A part of me does not quite believe this; surely you had it in your hot little hands ages ago? I mean, I finished writing the thing more than a year ago — how is it possible that it hasn’t hit the street before now? But such is the way of the publishing world. It’s out at very long last, and I heartily encourage you all to run out and buy it from your nearest respectable bookseller.

With this, we conclude our Five Days of Fiction. But of course I have one more question for you all . . . and one more prize to give.

In honor of the day, the question is this: if you could spend the rest of your life studying one type of creature (be it mythical or real), what would you choose?

I’d probably go for faeries — which is a bit of a cheat, since that’s a flexible enough term that it encompasses a huge variety of creatures. But it’s the folklorist in me; I’d love to see the entities behind all those legends. A part of me wants to say dragons (if mythical) or cats (if real) . . . but I know the truth; I don’t deal well enough with the biological realities of an obligate carnivore to really want to follow them in person. On the page is good enough for me. :-) Faeries, though: that’s more of an anthropologist’s job. That, I can do. (Assuming I don’t accidentally step wrong and find a hundred years have vanished or I’ve turned into a tree.)

And yes: one lucky respondent will receive a signed copy of In the Labyrinth of Drakes. :-) Let us see what menagerie our guests have assembled for us!

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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One day left until the release of In the Labyrinth of Drakes! And so we move into the fourth of Five Days of Fiction, celebrating the ten-year anniversary of my first novel being published.

Today we turn our thoughts to the worlds in which the stories take place. Your question, should you choose to answer it, is: which fictional world would you most want to live in? With the stipulation that you get to choose what type of person you’ll be in that world; you won’t be J. Random Starving Peasant. (Because let’s face it, most fictional worlds would really suck if we were J. Random Starving Peasant there.)

This might not make the top of my actual list of Fantasy Retirement Destinations, but I have a very deep fondness for the World of Two Moons, aka Abode, which is the setting for the Elfquest graphic novels. Being an elf there doesn’t guarantee you a happy life — you only get to live forever if nothing kills you first, and since the time period for the main story is pretty much the Neolithic, there are quite a lot of hazards that might get you — but even a nasty, brutish, and short life as an elf tends to be at least a century long, and in the meanwhile, you’re my favorite type of elf in pretty much any story, anywhere. I love the different tribes, their different perspectives on the world . . . all of it.

Which is why one lucky respondent will receive a copy of the first Elfquest graphic novel! Let us know your favorite world in the comments, and in the meanwhile, here’s the guest answers!

***

~ I want to live in Iain M. Banks’ Culture. A space-faring utopian society that actually works? Bring it on! — Jaine Fenn, author of the Hidden Empire series

~ Iain Banks’ Culture, because no one is a starving peasant there, unless they want to be. — Sean Williams, author of Hollowgirl

[editorial note: okay, we’ve got a little theme here . . .]

~ That’s a tough one. Overall, I think it’ll have to be the Discworld. — Juliet McKenna, author of The Tales of Einarinn and The Aldabreshin Compass

~ The Discworld. I’d live in Ankh-Morpork. Daughter of a minor merchant, teaching herself witchcraft and sometimes making a muddle, which she would then need to clean up while attracting as little attention as possible. — Alex Gordon, author of Jericho (coming out tomorrow!)

[editorial note: aaaaaaaand another theme . . .]

~ Middle Earth, if I could be an Elf. Amber, if I could be one of Oberon’s children. — Alma Alexander, author of Empress

~ Well, damn. Struggle as I might, I can’t find anywhere I’d rather live than Middle Earth. I am a cliche, apparently. — Chaz Brenchley, author of Bitter Waters

[editorial note: theme number three!]

~ I’m going with the standard boring answer of the Star Trek universe, because it’s basically a post-scarcity paradise for writer slackers like me. I wouldn’t be one of those high-achieving Starfleet assholes, either. I’d write books (or holodeck adventures or whatever) during the day, and replicate myself some world cuisine at night, and live easy. — Harry Connolly, author of The Great Way

~ Also impossible to answer, but let me pick Cat Valente’s Fairyland for the moment. — Pamela Dean, author of Owlswater (due out later this month!)

~ Pern. But only if I can impress a dragon and completely overhaul the rampant sexism. Which I will do. With my dragon.

Seriously, though. There are many worlds I might want to visit, but the idea of having a psychic link with another sentient being such that I would always have that shared, unconditional love? Yeah. Sign me up. — Alyc Helms, author of The Dragons of Heaven

~ Does any writer not name their own world? Probably a few. But I would take a manor overlooking Veridon any day of the week. — Tim Akers, author of The Pagan Night

~ I think it would give me great joy to live in one of Patricia McKillip’s nested worlds, the ones that are full of music and riddles, secret libraries and ancient manuscripts, ink-stains and books, books, books. — Leah Bobet, author of An Inheritance of Ashes

~ Harry Potter, as long as I could be a wizard. — John Pitts, author of Night Terrors (due out on April 11th!)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Day three of the Five Days of Fiction! We’re halfway through the celebration of ten years since the publication of my first novel. And In the Labyrinth of Drakes comes out in just two days!

Today’s question is: what’s a favorite book or series of yours? Note that I say a favorite, not the favorite; I couldn’t single out one above all others if you paid me. So just pick whichever one you most feel like squeeing about right now. :-)

Me, I’ll go with Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond Chronicles, and especially the first book, The Game of Kings. (Not to be confused with A Game of Thrones.) It’s brilliant historical fantasy with amazing characters and complex plotting and holy crap her prose and THAT DUEL and I could keep raving but I won’t.

Instead, I will give away a copy! Tell me a favorite book or series of yours, and you may be the lucky respondent who wins a lovely trade paperback of The Game of Kings.

Let’s see what our guest bloggers had to say . . . .

***

~ Iain M Banks’ Culture novels. They’re beautifully realised, fun, and witty. — Jaine Fenn, author of the Hidden Empire series

~ The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. Its impact reminded me of what fiction can be. Many authors say they are inspired by a bad book to think “I could do better than that.” The Sparrow gives me something to aspire to instead. — E. C. Ambrose, author of Elisha Barber

~ The Discworld books. If I had to pick, I’d go with the Watch books. But it’s a difficult choice. I love the Witches and Death books almost as much. — Alex Gordon, author of Jericho (coming out on Tuesday!)

~ God, so many, but if I have to pick just one, I would say that Tanith Lee’s The Silver-Metal Lover is perhaps one of my ‘just about perfect’ books. It hits pretty much everything I love: an unconventional romance, philosophical complexity presented in a stunningly clear and simple way, gorgeous prose, an ending that is ‘right’ for the story being told. Just… unf. I love that book. It destroys me every time I read it.

A close runner up would be Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice. Everyone focuses on the gender pronoun thing, which is an interesting bit of culture-building, and yet that completely overlooks what I think of as the meaty brilliance of that book, which gives the reader the experience of a multi-perspective non-human consciousness in a way that the reader can still relate with and connect to. Fucking genius. She manages to balance multiple high-concept themes – colonialism/post-colonialsm, diffused consciousness, artificial consciousness, gender identity, sub-altern identity – without skimping on any of them, and unlike a lot of high concept books that can be plodding, she does it via a ripping action tale with some really fun ‘tagonists. — Alyc Helms, author of The Dragons of Heaven

~ The Long Price Quartet, by Daniel Abraham — Tim Akers, author of The Pagan Night

~ That’s tough, but I have to go with Lord of the Rings, which changed my life when I was 10. It shifted my brain in ways I had never imagined. — John Pitts, author of Night Terrors (due out on April 11th!)

~ Ah, the impossible question. Sorry, I can never come up with an answer to that. I can offer you two excellent recent reads – Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, and Down Station by Simon Morden. Both offer me things that I’ve loved in books ever since I started reading – vivid, believable characters and compelling narrative with twists and surprises. — Juliet McKenna, author of The Tales of Einarinn and The Aldabreshin Compass

~ There’s a level on which that changes from month to month, but the book that is my soul, the book that’s woven into my bones, is Peter Beagle’s The Last Unicorn. I read it the first time when I was exceptionally young, and reread it about once a year; every time I open it, it feels like a wild, beautiful, terrible wind blowing in. — Leah Bobet, author of An Inheritance of Ashes

~ I’m not one for picking a single favorite above all others, but The Chronicles of Prydain and Red Harvest were pretty influential for me. — Harry Connolly, author of The Great Way

~ This is utterly impossible to answer, but I will just randomly say Jo Walton’s Thessaly books, because Plato’s Republic meets the real world is just such a rich concept and she does it with so much style, grace, humor, and pure weirdness. — Pamela Dean, author of Owlswater (due out later this month!)

~ *rolls mental dice* A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin, another fave from my youth. — Sean Williams, author of Hollowgirl

~ How about the whole Tolkien oeuvre? The Amber series? The Lyonesse series by Vance? And how about something like Guy Gavriel Kay’s “Tigana” which is not part of a series but which tears my heart out and gives it back into my hands still trembling like a bird?… — Alma Alexander, author of Empress

~ If “favourite” means “read most often over a lifetime”, that would be Tolkien again, LotR: how predictable is that? But actually now my favourite series for revisiting is Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin books, which I can read on a yearly basis. — Chaz Brenchley, author of Bitter Waters

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (*writing)

It’s day two of the Five Days of Fiction, my celebration of ten years since the publication of my first novel! The winner of yesterday’s giveaway is @lauracwhitney on Twitter, with her lonely cloud being befriended by a unicorn. :-)

With only three days left to the release of In the Labyrinth of Drakes, my next question is: what writer would you say has had the biggest influence on your life?

This one’s a no-brainer for me: Diana Wynne Jones. Specifically, her book Fire and Hemlock, because I distinctly remember putting it down and thinking, “I want to be a writer.” I’d made up stories before then (see yesterday’s post), but that was the first time I really thought about telling stories for other people to read. My career rests on that foundation; it’s hard to imagine a bigger influence than that.

As you might expect, the winner for this giveaway will receive a copy of Fire and Hemlock; I’m going to try to track down the library edition I read when I was nine or ten, but no promises. You may wind up with a different cover.

On to the guest responses! (I specifically asked my guests who influenced them as a writer, but for the purposes of the giveaway, any kind of influence is fair game.)

***

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Ten years ago today, my first novel came out.

This isn’t an April Fool’s joke, nor was it then. In fact, I’m happy to say that my less-than-entirely-auspicious debut date turned out just fine for me: ten years on, the book is still in print (though it likely won’t be for much longer). In the interim, I’ve published ten other novels, with twelfth due out on Tuesday, which ain’t a bad run for that span of time.

In celebration of that anniversary, and as a lead-up to the publication of In the Labyrinth of Drakes, we’re going to have Five Days of Fiction! Each day will feature a question, with guest answers from various authors of my acquaintance, and a chance for others to weigh in via comments or Twitter. Anybody who responds to the question will be eligible for a book giveaway: some days it will be one of my books, while others will be books that have had a big influence on me. You have until the next day’s question gets posted to answer; after that I’ll pick a winner.

***

To start us off, let me ask: what’s the earliest story you remember ever writing? Pretty much all of us made up stories at some point, even if we didn’t wind up pursuing it as a more serious hobby or career. How old were you? What kind of story was it? Did you ever show it to anybody?

One lucky respondent will receive a copy of Doppelganger — not Witch; I’m scouring the wilds of the internet to find the original edition, the one that came out on April 1st, 2006.

For me, the answer is a little mystery story I wrote when I was (I think) eight. The woman babysitting me and several other kids that summer taught us out to make little bound books with cardboard and cloth; mine was red, and I wrote a story about a girl named Jessica whose cat was stolen. I felt obliged to fill all the pages of the little book, so as I went along in the story, my handwriting got larger and larger . . . and then in desperation, when Jessica was going to get on a plane after rescuing her cat, I listed everything she packed, because I didn’t want any blank pages left. Yeah. Not exactly proof of future genius, that. :-P

And now for the guest responses! Find out what ~fabulous~ ideas the pros had when they were six . . . .

***

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Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Not that you can really make out the details in this picture (I took it with my phone), but: you are looking at the very first public exhibition of my photography.

Borderlands exhibit

That’s the café at Borderlands Books, with eight of my photos on the wall. Last year it occurred to me that, hey, they regularly have local artists hanging their work in the café — and I count as a local artist. I talked to the store’s owners, and we agreed that it would make sense for me to do a small exhibition that coincides with the release of In the Labyrinth of Drakes. I hung the pictures on Monday night; they’ll be there through the end of May.

There’s no thematic connection between the photos and the book; I haven’t traveled enough in the Middle East to put together a decent collection of Labyrinth-appropriate shots. (Israel and Turkey are the closest I’ve gotten, and most of my Israeli pictures are of Neolithic archaeological sites. Which is to say: dirt. And the occasional rock.) Instead it’s just eight photos I happen to really like, grouped in four pairs. If you’re curious which ones I chose, I’ve made a Flickr set of them here — or you can go to Borderlands and see them in person. :-) In fact, why not come to Borderlands on April 9th? I’m doing a reading and signing there at 3 p.m. that Saturday. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then between the photos and the reading, that’s like ten thousand words for your effort. It’s a bargain, I’m tellin’ ya.

And should you happen to like one or more of the pictures especially well, they’re for sale! The precise size varies depending on the proportions of the photo in question, but they’re all in the ballpark of a sheet of paper (U.S. 8.5″x11″/U.K. A4), printed full-frame on acrylic panels, with French cleats. Individual prices also vary, but they’re less than a hundred dollars, plus shipping costs. The photos will all remain on display at Borderlands until the show ends, but I’ll mail them out as soon as I can when that’s done.

It feels a little odd, doing this. I think that publicly displaying my pictures and putting them up for sale means I can officially refer to myself not just as a writer, but as a photographer. Somehow, when I wasn’t looking, I acquired a second artistic pastime. But seeing them hanging on the wall of the café . . . it feels a little odd, but also cool. :-)

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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Totally irrelevant to the actual choosing of a winner, but relevant to my curiosity: here’s how the “favorite character” voting fell out.

Natalie had an early lead and never lost it. Though for a brief time in the middle the second-place contender drew near, she wound up with twice as many votes as her closest competitor, making her the clear victor. Yay, Natalie!

Second place was . . . . Suhail! And behind him, Jake. Other candidates included Tom, Jacob, Heali’i, the dragons en masse, and the sparklings in specific. :-) If I count secondary votes, though — the respondents who said “Character A, but I also really love character B,” then Greenie got a vote, Heali’i got more support, and Jake pulls up to be tied with Suhail for second place. Natalie also got a secondary vote, though, so she remains ahead of even Suhail + Jake + Jake’s secondary votes combined. So I guess y’all like her. ;-)

But I’ve made you wait long enough. According to my highly scientific random number generation method*, the winner is . . .

. . . beccastareyes, on Livejournal!

Send me your address, and I’ll get the ARC out to you as soon as I can!

Thanks to everybody who sent in their votes. Keep an eye on this space for more giveaways in the upcoming weeks!

.

*i.e. dice

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

I neglected to mention this on the release date, but: A Natural History of Dragons is out in French! (Or rather, Une histoire naturelle des dragons.) That makes the first translation to hit the shelves, though there are others in progress.

As it is now four weeks to the release of In the Labyrinth of Drakes, it seems a prime time for an ARC giveaway! All you have to do is tell me — in comments, by email, or on Twitter — who your favorite character from the series is, OTHER than Isabella. (Ruling her out because, judging by the fanmail I get, she’d be 90% of the answers.) Deadline is noon PST tomorrow; I’ll pick a winner at random and ship out the ARC.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

swan_tower: (natural history)

Just a quick notice to say that, unsurprisingly, the end of the month brought in a mini-flood of letters. I’m working diligently to get through them, and should have replies out the door by the end of next week at the latest. But I figure you all would prefer that I prioritize finishing the draft of the final book — not to mention that if I don’t take frequent and lengthy breaks, my cursive gets even worse than it usually is. :-P So it’s one letter here, one letter there, in between other things. And of course a few more may yet come in, things that were mailed before the end of February but took a while to reach Lady Trent’s mailbox.

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

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