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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in tim_pratt's LiveJournal:

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    Monday, March 10th, 2014
    10:08 am
    Lady of Misrule Kickstarter
    I'm running a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for my next Marla Mason novel, Lady of Misrule. A $10 donation gets you the e-book, and when you give more, you get... more!

    There are nine days left on the campaign as I write this, and it's already funded, so the book's definitely going to happen. I'm so close to hitting the stretch goal that will allow me to hire Lindsey Look to paint original cover art!

    If you can give, or spread the word, I'd appreciate it greatly. It's going to be a fun book, full of monsters and violence and banter.
    Friday, August 16th, 2013
    10:30 am
    Big Book Sale 2013

    Won't somebody rid me of these troublesome books? --King Henry II, probably


    The time has come for my more-or-less annual book sale. I just got another box of author copies, and books are filling up my house and tottering in dangerous piles. I also have quarterly estimated taxes due in September so money is welcome.

    Here’s where you come in: Buy my books! (They make great gifts. Even if just for yourself.)

    You can get signed and/or inscribed copies for cover price (I’ll round up to destroy any stray pennies), plus $5 shipping per book for mass market paperbacks and $7 each for trade paperbacks/hardcovers. The listed price includes shipping costs for the US.

    For shipping outside the US, add an extra $10 to the listed price. (Overseas shipping has gone way up this year. Sorry about that. It costs nearly $20 to send a one-pound package to, say, Spain.)

    Write to timpratt@gmail.com or post in the comments here saying what you want and telling me if you want them signed and/or personalized. I’ll do the math and tell you what you owe me and where to send the PayPal money.

    First-come, first-served, which is why you should comment or e-mail instead of just sending money — I’d hate for you to pay for something I already sold. (First-time comments are moderated here, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up immediately.)

    I’ll run the sale for a week and a bit, from now until midnight PST on Friday, August 23.

    Here’s what’s available. First editions, unless otherwise noted.

    Marla Mason series:


    Mass-market paperback of Blood Engines, $12 (16 14 copies available)

    Mass-market paperback of Dead Reign, $12 (6 copies)

    Mass-market paperback of Spell Games, $12 (5 copies)

    Trade Paperback of Bone Shop, $20 (This is the pretty edition with the Dan Dos Santos cover art) (2 1 copy) Sold out!

    Trade Paperback of Broken Mirrors, $21 (2 1 copy) Sold out!

    Trade Paperback of Grim Tides, $21 (3 1 copy)

    Standalone novels:


    Limited edition hardcover of Briarpatch (These are unnumbered author copies) $55 (3 1 copy)

    Hardcover of The Constantine Affliction (as by T. Aaron Payton), $34 (15 14 copies)

    Trade paperback of The Constantine Affliction (as by T. Aaron Payton), $20 (15 14 copies)

    Trade paperback of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, $19 (7 copies)

    Trade paperback of The Nex, $20 (1 copy)

    Mass-market paperback of Forgotten Realms: Venom In Her Veins, $13 (20 16 copies)

    Mass-market paperback of Pathfinder Tales: City of the Fallen Sky, $15 (12 11 copies)

    Mass-market paperback of Pathfinder Tales: Liar's Blade, $15 (12 11 copies)

    I'll do an RPG bundle, too: Venom In Her Veins, City of the Fallen Sky, and Liar's Blade for $40 if ordered all together.

    Collections


    Paperback of poetry collection If There Were Wolves, $15 (2 1 copy)

    Trade paperback of collection Little Gods, $21 (Not the first edition that includes the poems, but the more attractive offset edition) (4 copies)

    Trade paperback of collection Antiquities and Tangibles and Other Stories, $21 (4 1 copy) Sold out!

    Anthologies I edited or have a story in


    Trade paperback of Sympathy for the Devil (edited by me, Tim Pratt!), $23 (5 4 copies)

    Trade paperback of Robots: The Recent A.I. edited by Rich Horton, $22 (1 copy)

    Trade paperback of Witches: Wicked, Wild & Wonderful edited by Paula Guran, $23 (1 copy)

    Trade paperback of New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, edited by Paula Guran, $23 (1 copy)

    Hardcover of Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron, edited by Jonathan Strahan, $24 (1 copy)

    Inspired by Elizabeth Bear's book sale, I'll throw in a bonus chapbook or 'zine from my hoard with each order.

    That’s it. Make your wishes known.
    Friday, June 21st, 2013
    9:59 am
    Letter to an Aspiring Novelist
    I've been corresponding a bit with an aspiring novelist who finished his first novel and is likely going to self publish it, after some frustration with trying to find an agent and publisher. He wants to be a professional writer and is very eager to get published; it's a feeling I remember well. He also feels a bit remote from the scene because he doesn't live in an English-speaking country.

    I gave him some advice. I don't claim to be an expert, but this is based on my experience with traditional publishing, self publishing, working for an industry trade magazine, etc. This is pretty much practical publishing stuff, which is actually my least favorite kind of advice to give; I'd rather talk about writing better stories, but this stuff is important too.

    Here's what I wrote him, with the identifying info stripped out (and some typos corrected and bits clarified):

    Well, sure it could take several books until you write one good enough to sell. Some people sell the first book they write, but it's not common. You wouldn't open a restaurant the first time you cooked a recipe. You wouldn't buy a shiny new scalpel and declare yourself ready to perform brain surgery after perusing an anatomy textbook. Writing novels isn't easy. (That thing about how it takes 10,000 hours of dedicated practice to attain mastery of any subject is probably more or less correct. Writers also talk about the "million words of crap" -- until you've written a million words or so of fiction, you probably still have a lot of the basics left to master.)

    What's your hurry? You want this to be your career, so do the work. I started writing seriously when I was 14 -- I mean, I was writing from age 7 or so, but I was submitting and revising and researching markets from age 14 on. I sold my first small-press stories when I was 19 or 20, and had my first pro sales in my early twenties. When I was 30, I won a Hugo and got reprinted in the Best American Short Stories and after that I could sell pretty much any story I finished (if I thought it was good enough to send out). Only took me 16 years of steady effort. And that's stories -- I'm still figuring out how to write novels, after selling about 20 of them, and writing about 25.

    If you write in English and have a reliable internet connection, it doesn't matter if you live in [land far away from the US]. (I've met my agent maybe twice in person in the ten years we've been working together. I've met very few of my editors and publishers in person.) Everything is done via e-mail.

    Since just looking at lists of agents can be intimidating, I recommend trying to find agents who've sold books similar to the ones you write. Find the websites of authors who are in the same genre you are and see if they mention who represents them. Look in the acknowledgments of books broadly similar to yours and see if the authors mention their agents. Or subscribe to Publishers Marketplace for a month and search in their deals database, to see which agents are selling novels in your genres -- especially first novels. (If they just sold a first novel, odds are good they're open to new clients.)

    Then google their websites, which will almost always have submission guidelines. Some want a query and thirty pages, some want a query and two pages, some just want a query, some want attachments, some will reject submissions with attachments unread -- just follow the individual guidelines. A lot of people are lazy and send out mass e-mails that ignore individual guidelines and agents will mostly ignore those e-mails; who wants a client who can't follow even basic instructions? (A sufficiently brilliant book can trump everything else, of course... but I've never written a book so brilliant I could ignore the standards of professionalism.)

    Yes, it's a lot of work. If it were easy, everyone would do it. The odds are probably better for a high school basketball player to be drafted to play professionally than for an aspiring writer to get signed by a major publisher. (There are a LOT of aspiring writers.) But then, most aspiring writers are not good enough to be published professionally, just as most high school basketball players aren't good enough to play professionally. If you're good, you're not competing with every writer that submits to an agent or a publisher -- because 90% of those submissions are simply not good enough. If you're good, you're competing with the 10% that are also good. And if you're in that 10%, you will eventually get a deal.

    Your first novel is, frankly, probably not in that 10%. I know nothing at all about your work, and maybe you're the exception, but statistically, probably not. I was sure my first novel was brilliant when I wrote it, and looking back, I'm so glad the e-book/self-publishing revolution hadn't happened in 1996, or I would have published that disaster of a novel, because I truly believed the publishers who rejected me just weren't capable of understanding my genius. Nope. Turns out I was just suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect, and radically overestimating my own competence.

    I've got nothing against self publishing, of course. I've done it, and it's great for some projects. But traditional publishers still have distribution on their side, and all the "e-book revolution!" stuff to the contrary, most people who buy books still buy actual printed books, and many of them buy those books in actual bookstores. (Hard to believe, I know. And in some genres, especially romance and thrillers, e-books are making up as much of half of sales -- but for most genres print still wins handily.) That may change, but for now, there are definite advantages to signing with a real publisher. Real editing. Good covers. Advances. And it's far easier to sell foreign and sub rights if you were published traditionally, and for many writers, that's where you make your real money.

    Anyway. Do whatever feels right to you, of course. But that's what I think on the subject.
    Monday, June 3rd, 2013
    11:20 am
    More Flies with Money
    The headline is: my wife and co-editor Heather Shaw and I are hoping to revive our 'zine Flytrap, this time paying professional rates, and are running a Kickstarter to raise money.

    We're 41% funded with 24 days to go, so signs are promising, but we'd really love help spreading the word -- and, of course, if you'd like to give, we'd appreciate it (and you get magazines! and other goodies). We loved doing the 'zine, and published a lot of current and rising stars in our previous incarnation, so please help us do it again, and do it right.

    Other things: my gonzo SF cross-dimensional story "The Retgun" sold to Unidentified Funny Objects 2. It was exactly the kind of sale I love: I submitted the story Sunday afternoon; it was accepted 50 minutes later; I signed and returned the contract by e-mail that evening; and got payment within minutes after that. (If we manage to revive Flytrap, I hope to pay on acceptance in the same way. I love markets that do that.)

    I've had a couple of foreign sales finalized, which is always a treat. Feder & Schwert will be publishing a German edition of The Constantine Affliction at some point, and a Spanish language collection of my stories is coming from Fata Libelli. My slow and idiosyncratic plot for world domination continues.

    Sold a couple of reprints to the good people at Podcastle, too -- they'll be doing audio versions of my stories "Right Turns" and "Ill Met in Ulthar."

    Otherwise, life is pretty great, thanks. I mean, the IRS sent a letter saying we owe them many thousands of dollars,which is a trifle stressful (since we don't even have many hundreds of dollars to spare at the moment), but we're pretty sure we can straighten that out. (The revenuers seem to have misplaced a very large check, but our bank assures us the feds cashed it, so with luck we can explain that easily and they won't send agents to snatch our paychecks from our hands and confiscate our shoes.)
    Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
    10:11 am
    Things! Of! Note!
    First, there is now an audiobook of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl available for your listenings! Narrated by Marguerite Croft, and with a great cover by Jenn Reese. Go, download, listen, enjoy. (And go ahead and get some of my other audiobooks while you're at it.)

    I have begun a Tumblr to collect all the various Officebaby/Officeboy quotes that have appeared in scattered places online for years: The Officeboy Dialogues. I'll update it somewhat regularly with new and classic utterances until he stops saying cute things or gets old enough to be annoyed by the site, whichever comes first.

    My Pathfinder Tales novel City of the Fallen Sky is a finalist for the Scribe Awards in the Original Novel category. Very cool, especially since I'm writing another book about those characters this summer.

    In other news: I'm 65,000 words into Bride of Death, and expect to have a complete first draft by the end of the month. It's going really well now; I'd rather be writing it than doing most other things, including those actions necessary to maintain life. In June some other deadlines will begin racing rapidly toward me, so it will likely be September before I can revise the novel. Then there's copyediting and proofreading to do, so I'm planning for publication in November, most likely. The e-book at least will be out by year's end for sure, barring unforeseen catastrophes. Onward, ever onward!
    Monday, March 11th, 2013
    11:43 am
    Kickstarter Wrap-Up and FreemadeSF
    Well. That Kickstarter I did went pretty okay, didn't it?

    Back in the day, Random House paid me $20K for each of the first four Marla Mason books. So... getting pretty close to that here. (Though not as close as it looks, once I deduct my costs for commissioning cover art and illustrations, shipping books to people, etc.) Plus, my single biggest backer (with a pledge that amounted to about 10% of my total) didn't actually fulfill their pledge, unfortunately, so my actual total is only a bit over $16,000 -- which doesn't change much, really. It just means I'll have a couple fewer interior illustrations than I'd expected. (The backer is apologetic and says they may be able to pay as promised in the near future; if that happens I'll add back the illos, but it's uncertain.) Still, though -- I've only sold one novel in the past few years that paid me more than this. It is a strange new world and I am living right in the middle of it.

    The writing of the book is going well, too, and that's the best part of this, for me -- getting to continue developing this world and these characters at length, in a way that would have been impossible for financial reasons under other circumstances.

    My hybrid approach to the business of writing -- small presses, big presses, weird passion projects, practical commercial projects, anthologies, short stories, crowdfunding, whatever else seems feasible and fun -- is working out. It keeps me busy, and I am seldom bored.

    And if you want to stave off your own boredom: I'll be reading at the FreemadeSF Launch Party tonight in San Francisco, along with Nick Mamatas and Mark Pantoja and Cliff Winnig. There will be music and other delights as well. Should be fun. Come on out.

    Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
    11:19 am
    Take It As Read
    We're deep into the last day of my Kickstarter for Bride of Death, so if you were thinking of becoming a backer, now is the time. Every time I look at the Kickstarter page I am filled with joy and delight at the generosity of my readers -- and the power of crowdfunding to make art compatible with financial necessities. What I'm trying to say is, thank you, and hurray.

    The new issue of Apex Magazine is out today, with my looong story "The Fairy Library" free to read, and an interview with me (mostly about my new collection), and also many good things by people who are not me, like the awesome Rachel Swirsky and the equally but differently awesome Will Alexander.

    I am doing another Ask Me Anything at Reddit Fantasy this Thursday, with Richard Lee Byers -- we both write Pathfinder Tales fantasy novels, so I imagine there'll be a lot of questions and answers about those, but as the name implies, we can be Asked Anything. Do drop by. Speaking of Pathfinder Tales, here's a sample chapter for my new novel Liar's Blade, with a fantastic illustration of one of my favorite characters from the book.

    Life is very very busy, with readings to do and stories to write (with deadlines that are nearly upon me) and Life Stuff and a very full calendar... but it's good. I am happy and productive.
    Tuesday, February 26th, 2013
    8:54 am
    A Month of Marla: A Cloak of Many Worlds
    Each Tuesday for the month of February I'm posting a different story about my character Marla Mason. This week we have "A Cloak of Many Worlds," written as a Kickstarter reward for one of my previous crowdfunded projects. This one's a bit unusual, in that Marla doesn't actually appear in the story, apart from a couple of mentions -- but it's about an old friend of hers dealing with a dangerous entity that used to belong to her.

    (This is a transparent attempt to tempt people into supporting my Kickstarter for the new Marla novel Bride of Death.)

    A Cloak of Many WorldsCollapse )
    Tuesday, February 19th, 2013
    7:06 am
    A Month of Marla: Little Better than a Beast
    Each Tuesday for the month of February I'm going to post a different story about my character Marla Mason. This week we have "Little Better than a Beast." It first appeared in anthology Those Who Fight Monsters in 2011, and is available in audio form at Podcastle.

    (This is a transparent attempt to tempt people into supporting my Kickstarter for the new Marla novel Bride of Death.)

    Here's the story! (Some people don't like this one because they find Marla too vicious and mean and unsympathetic. Which is... exactly the reason I like it.)

    Little Better than a BeastCollapse )
    Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
    9:58 am
    Regarding Certain Fictions
    Here are some things:

    I sold a story! "Ghostreaper, or, Life after Revenge" will appear in a future issue of Eclipse Online. I've admired the stories editor Jonathan Strahan has published in the magazine (and in the anthology series before that), so I'm pleased to be part of it. The story is a novelette about a modern guy who gets a magical spear from a trickster figure of uncertain intentions and proceeds to mess up his life in interesting ways.

    I also sold a story, "Secret Storage," co-written with Greg van Eekhout, to a Lovecraftian anthology. About five years ago Greg wrote an opening and asked me if I could do anything with it. I added a bit, and we batted it back and forth, but it stalled out and never came to anything, sitting unloved and unread for years. Then, when I was asked to do a Lovecraftian story, I realize how Greg's opening could be a launching point for just such a piece, and dragged it out of cold storage, worked on it, made Greg make it better, and sent it off. A dead story, resurrected (but, of course, that is not dead which can eternal lie; that goes for old story fragments as well as elder gods).

    We're down to the last few days for the Glitter and Madness Kickstarter. Take a look! It would be a fun anthology. My story will be set in the abandoned ice skating rink in Berkeley, a bit of decaying real estate called Iceland (which is also a portal to a Hell of ice, a la The Inferno), at a monster skate party, of sorts. Give 'em a little if you can. They're still a bit short of hitting their goal.

    My own Kickstarter, for novel Bride of Death, is going beautifully -- it's nearly 150% funded with 20 days to go. Another $665 and we unlock original cover art by the great Lindsey Look, who did the cover for Grim Tides. And if it goes over that level, I'll come up with additional incentives. (And, you know, buy my kid extra souvenirs at Disneyland when we go for his spring break.)

    I'm reading Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic: The Thirteenth Rib by David J. Schwartz (one of my favorite writers; hell, one of my favorite people). It's a serialized novel, and you get all the installments for a mere one-time $1.99 payment. Pretty sweet deal.

    Lately I've ripped through the Spellman Files series by Lisa Lutz -- quirky mysteries (sort of) set in contemporary San Francisco. They're charming books, driven by a great narrative voice, that of thirtyish former juvenile delinquent Izzy Spellman, who works for the family business as a private investigator. The PI details are pretty realistic, which means the stakes are way lower than you find in most mysteries -- in reality, PIs don't investigate murders; mostly they follow cheating spouses and do background checks. So most of the drama comes from the interpersonal relationships, among a group of chronically nosy, secretive, suspicious people with boundary issues and a willingness to use blackmail and other means to achieve their goals -- but who nonetheless love one another very much. Not the sort of thing I usually read (I prefer my mysteries bleak and violent and hardboiled), but great comfort reading.
    Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
    8:12 am
    A Month of Marla: Ill Met in Ulthar
    Each Tuesday for the next month I'm going to post a different story about my character Marla Mason. This week we have "Ill Met in Ulthar," my personal favorite of all the Marla stories (so far). It first appeared in anthology Witches in Spring 2012.

    (This is a transparent attempt to tempt people into supporting my Kickstarter for the new Marla novel Bride of Death.) Here's the story (and an author's note at the end)!
    Ill Met in UltharCollapse )
    Tuesday, February 5th, 2013
    9:04 am
    A Month of Marla: Grander than the Sea
    Each Tuesday for the next month I'm going to post a different story about my character Marla Mason. I'm starting with "Grander than the Sea," which first appeared in The Solaris Book of New Fantasy (2007) and was reprinted in Year’s Best Fantasy 8.

    (This is indeed a transparent attempt to tempt people into supporting my Kickstarter for the new Marla novel Bride of Death. But, hey, free stuff.) Here's the story!

    Grander than the SeaCollapse )
    Monday, February 4th, 2013
    9:50 am
    Bride of Death Kickstarter

    The time has come! I have launched a Kickstarter for my new Marla Mason novel, Bride of Death. Please support it if you can, or spread the word, or both. All the details are at the link below. (Short form: a book of monsters, heads in birdcages, motorcycles, violence, botched redemption, etc.)

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/timpratt/bride-of-death-a-marla-mason-novel

    I really want to write this one. (In fact I've already written about 10,000 words, because I couldn't help myself. I hope I get to finish it.)

    Monday, December 31st, 2012
    11:20 am
    2012 Was
    The turning of the year has a lot of personal significance for me. I'm not what you'd call a spiritual person, but I do acknowledge and adore the power of ritual: looking back over the past year and contemplating what I'd like to change for the next one is an important part of how I organize my life.

    So: in terms of writing, last year was just fine. I produced about 320,000 words of fiction and non-fiction. (50K fewer than last year! I'm slipping! But that's okay.)

    For novels, I started the year finishing off The Constantine Affliction (writing the last 16K or so), then wrote a work-for-hire middle-grade spy novel (about 80K total) and my Pathfinder Tales novel Liar's Blade (about 90K). All that was in the first six months of the year -- and there were editorial revisions to do on novels during those months, too.

    The first half of 2012 was so brutal in terms of work that I took it easy for the rest of the year. (Of that 320K written? 230K were written by the end of June.)

    I wrote a few stories: "A Tomb of Winter's Plunder," "Right Turns," "Wishflowers," "The Cold Corner," "Snake and Mongoose," "A Cloak of Many Worlds," "The Fairy Library," "Cages," "Care and Feeding," and "Ghostreaper," and co-wrote (with Heather Shaw) "Postapocalypsmas" and "Catching the Spirit." All sold except "Care and Feeding" (which is in circulation) and "Ghostreaper" (which I just finished).

    I ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for my story collection Antiquities and Tangibles. Crowdfunding continues to be an interesting and exciting part of my writing life.

    In the back half of the year I put together that collection, and compiled and wrote story notes for the Kickstarter backer reward e-book of my Complete Stories (So Far). I also worked on the Rags and Bones anthology with Melissa Marr, wrote a novel outline (and sold it), and did a few book reviews.

    I published a gonzo-historical novel, The Constantine Affliction, and two roleplaying game tie-in novels, and the latest Marla Mason novel -- a record year for me in terms of book publications. I published an audiobook of Briarpatch via Audible's ACX program, with the narration assistance of Dave Thompson, and put the wheels in motion to produce an audiobook of my first novel Rangergirl. I sold a few other books, ensuring that my name will be on books appearing through 2014 at least. Did a couple of screenings of the short film based on my story "Impossible Dreams." It was a busy, cool year.

    I read somewhere upwards of 100 books (my record keeping got spotty in the last few months). Favorites include Kate Atkinson's Jackson Brody series (beginning with Case Histories), Bullettime by Nick Mamatas, Stephen King's The Wind Through the Keyhole (mostly for the standalone short novel at its heart), K.J. Parker's Purple and Black, N0S4A2 by Joe Hill, the Milkweed trilogy by Ian Tregillis (beginning with Bitter Seeds), Suddenly, A Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret, The Writing Class by Jincy Willett, We Learn Nothing by Tim Krieder, Every Day by David Levithan, and The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman.

    I didn't keep track of all the stories I read, but I really liked a couple of K.J. Parker's, especially "Let Maps to Others" and "One Little Room an Everywhere."

    Otherwise? I played a lot of video games (mostly Skyrim, though Dishonored and Arkham City were also good fun). I hung out with my kid (who is awesome -- he's five years old now! He's in public school! We play roleplaying games and video games and card games and board games together!). I drank many beers. I went down to Los Angeles for a week to stay with my friends Jenn and Chris, where I wrote most of one of those aforementioned books. Our dear friend D came out and stayed with us for a while in the summer. I went to a truly great party at poet Dana Gioia's place in Sonoma. I had a few dates (but not enough) with my wife. Hung out with some local friends pretty regularly, making this a more social year than I've had lately.

    All in all? I wouldn't mind if 2013 was more of the same.
    Monday, October 29th, 2012
    8:02 am
    Big! Book! Sale!
    Now's your chance to get signed books by me. Details over at my website (to keep comments all in one place):

    http://www.timpratt.org/?p=1458
    Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
    8:17 am
    Words and Pictures (Note: No Pictures Included)

    After a month of being lazy — er, that is, recharging creatively and refilling the wells of inspiration and suchlike — I have been writing again. Mostly working on a story called “The Fairy Library” which recently informed me it would like to be the start of a novel, please. I will finish a novelette version of it, though, for inclusion in my upcoming collection Antiquities and Tangibles. It’s about 10,000 words long already, and will need another five or six thousand words to be finished. It’s a rambling romantic oddball fantasy; basically the kind of story I most like to write, and do best.

    I also wrote a review of Neal Barrett, Jr.’s Other Seasons for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Short form: Barrett’s an awesome short story writer with a crazy range, you oughta read him.

    An interview with me will run in the November issue of Locus. I talk about The Constantine Affliction and Briarpatch and a bit about crowdfunding/self-publishing and a bit about other assorted things. I even got to do the traditional author photo shoot, which entailed standing on wobbly collapsing steps, leaning on a tree near some raccoon poop, falling off a wall (the scratches on my arm are nearly healed, thanks), getting spiderwebs in my hair, etc. The things I do for my art. Or, uh, the promotion of my art.

    Originally published at Tim Pratt. You can comment here or there.

    Tuesday, October 9th, 2012
    11:57 am
    Six Strange Thursdays

    My son has been in public school for about six weeks now. He likes it a lot, and is doing really well. His teacher seems great, and he’s even got electives (or “enrichment”) classes in his after-school program — science, tee-ball, art. (He loves science.)

    The weirdest part for me has been having my Thursdays free.

    Many years ago I went to four days a week at my day job so I could get more writing done. Then, after my son was born, that day off became our “River-Daddy day,” which we spent together every week. We’d go to playgrounds, run errands, hit the library, museums, day trips into San Francisco, and just generally have various adventures.

    Now, of course, he’s in school on Thursdays, and it’s left a weird emptiness in my life and disrupted all my routines. Running errands alone is way easier, but also more boring. Some Thursdays Heather takes him to school and I don’t even have to get out of bed at any particular time. (Sleeping in until I feel like getting up is quite bizarre. To think, before I was a parent, I used to do it every weekend. Incredible.)

    I have no real new routine yet. I spent a couple of those days off just doing absolutely nothing of note (in my defense, I was sick one week, and beating Arkham City was an epic accomplishment). I just wandered aimlessly in my house and yard, then went to pick River up from school early and went to the library and got ice cream, trying to claw back some of our old fun activities.

    One week, there was a rare convergence of schedules that allowed me to have lunch with my wife (we ate at 900 Grayson, and I had the Demon Lover, which is fried chicken on top of a buttermilk waffle smothered in gravy; yum). Then I went over to a cafe we like, Uncommon Grounds, and did some writing.

    One week I went into San Francisco and worked at the Borderlands Cafe (Yes, there are perfectly nice cafes walking distance from my house, and a 20-minute train ride into the city was hardly necessary. What can I say? I was drunk with freedom).

    Last week I did a writing day with my friend Maggie, which helped overcome my general aimlessness; I was productive! And had someone to talk to other than the cats!

    I have no idea what I’m doing this Thursday, beyond the fact that I should get a story revised.

    So, there’s still no routine in sight, but I seem to be trending toward a day devoted to writing (and grocery shopping and maybe some housework), topped off with an ice cream cone with the kid. The upside of losing the day off with my son is that I can, in theory, get a lot of work done that day instead, freeing up my weekends to spend with him (instead of making his mom entertain him while I write for hours and hours). This may even work out to be a net win. If I can just find the right groove to settle into.

    At least the boy is having epic weekends. Saturday he had swim class, then I took him to the Habitot children’s museum/playspace. Sunday we went down to Santa Cruz and hit the beach boardwalk (Santa Cruz in the month after Labor Day is so glorious; perfect weather, way less crowded than summer), had lunch at Cafe Brasil, and dinner at Saturn Cafe. Yesterday (being Indigenous People’s Day in Berkeley, and thus a school holiday), he went to a day camp and had a field trip to a pumpkin patch/petting zoo/hay maze in Half Moon Bay. So we’re making up for the lost time.

    Originally published at Tim Pratt. You can comment here or there.

    Thursday, October 4th, 2012
    9:44 am
    In Our Stars

    It’s National Poetry Day! (I mean, not in the nation I live in, but when it comes to poetry, I’m not picky.) The theme is stars, so here’s a poem with stars in it, previously published only in a small zine called Dark Illuminati, about ten years ago.

    
    Holly Grove
    
    She told me it was the oldest grove
    of holly trees in the world, or
    maybe just the country, I forget
    which. "It's two days after midsummer,"
    she said, "But close enough for a celebration."
    
    All the mythic elements were there -- history
    in the fiber of ancient live trees (like that poor girl
    who ran from Apollo and, transformed into a laurel,
    had to stand still forever just to get away), the stars
    pinwheeling slowly through their elaborate
    ballroom-dance courses, nude-girl naiads
    splashing in the shallow water, and somewhere
    a snorting bull roaming the darkness,
    deep-chested and archetypal.
    
    There aren't a lot of happily-ever-afters
    in those old stories; the gods of the
    Mediterranean were too human for those,
    too firmly planted in the middle of the world,
    for all their Olympian posturing. Love
    affairs often ended with people turned
    into trees or flowers or lonesome sounds.
    
    (Orpheus was lucky. His lover died before
    she could abandon him in a more prosaic
    fashion)
    
    (No, that's ridiculously bitter. He wasn't
    lucky. He was smashed apart by grief
    and furies)
    
    I watched my ex-lover swim
    in the moonlight, Psyche to my Cupid,
    Helen to my -- well, say Faust. I thought
    about all the things those long-ago
    folk had to endure just to become
    constellations. 
    
    Let her go, then. I don't want her
    to transform herself to escape me,
    to be a tree in my backyard. I don't
    want her if I have to make bargains
    with the lords of the underworld,
    or even the dark things in my private
    caverns. Let us both live on in the middle
    of this earth, and the middle of our own
    stories. You don't always have to fall
    apart over love
                             falling
                                         apart.
    
    I sat on a log by the fire and looked
    at the flames and the pale shapes
    of the other girls nymphing away in
    the two-days-after-midsummer dark,
    watching night fall on one mythic time,
    but aware always of later chances
    to become part of a beautiful
    future constellation.

    Originally published at Tim Pratt. You can comment here or there.

    Monday, September 17th, 2012
    12:11 pm
    Booze, Bullets, and Books

    How is it already mid-to-late September? This mystery is impenetrable.

    I have not been doing much, apart from playing with my kid and generally hanging out and recovering from the previous eight months of endless work. Though because I’m terrible at not writing I started a novelette last week — I think it’s called “The Fairy Library” — and it’s going quite well, up to about 4,000 words now. It’ll be one of the originals in the new collection.

    I did a reading last Saturday at Other Change of Hobbit with Nick Mamatas (I was his opening act; his book Bullettime is excellent, my favorite of his novels). There was booze that tasted like cough syrup (by design) and brownies and a surprisingly great turnout for a Saturday night. Nick and I have the smartest and most beautiful and discerning fans. Look, Nick posted photographic evidence!

    Otherwise, I have been reading a lot. Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City is fun and adorable; Salvage and Demolition by Tim Powers is as awesome as he always is at novella length; The Mark Inside is entertaining con-artist narrative non-fiction; Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis is dark and good and I’m eager to read the second in the series; Etgar Keret’s stories remind me of Donald Barthelme’s or Aimee Bender’s (which is a good thing).

    I’ve played some Arkham City, and lots of Plants vs. Zombies and other casual games on my Fire. And I’ve been watching Revenge (it’s The O.C. meets The Count of Monte Cristo!). Playing lots of Candyland, War, and Connect Four with my kid, who already shows signs of being bitten by the gaming bug (when he’s a little older we are going to play all the games all the time).

    I have also been eating less and exercising way more, after the horror of seeing my highest-ever weight on a scale back in July. I’m down 15 pounds since then. Let us hope this trend continues for another, oh, fifty pounds or so.

    Autumn is coming. Soon it will be time to make the first chili of the season. Life is good.

    Originally published at Tim Pratt. You can comment here or there.

    Wednesday, August 29th, 2012
    10:28 am
    Kickstarter funded!

    My kickstarter for collection Antiquities and Tangibles has funded! (Not shocking, I know; it hit the goal a while back. But still, reasons for yay!)

    I had 273 backers, plus two more who sent checks, for 275 total. By contrast, my kickstarter for Grim Tides last year had only 182 backers, plus five who sent checks, for a total of 187. Nearly 90 more this time!

    Why? I suspect having a relatively low buy-in to get the e-book helped. For only $10, you actually get something useful and interesting! I personally don’t often have a ton of money to give to kickstarters, usually only $10-$20, so I like projects where I get something cool for not much money.

    Then, once I hit the funding goal to do the Complete Stories e-book, I got a lot more $10 donors, presumably because that sounded like a pretty good deal to people.

    I made more money from the Grim Tides kickstarter, but then, I asked for a lot more, too; I didn’t quite double my funding goal for that project, while this one got 442% funded. I also offered a lot more high-end backer rewards for Grim Tides, which was great — but which was also a lot more work on the fulfillment end. This project, by contrast, will be a lot less work to fulfill, since it doesn’t have limited editions and chapbooks and bookmarks and postcards and artwork and all the other stuff I had to create/commission/send out for Grim Tides: just books! (And a couple poems and one little single-copy story chapbook.)

    So: I’d call this a success. Now I just have to write new stories and put the book(s) together.

    Originally published at Tim Pratt. You can comment here or there.

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