Only a brief note this web log, I’m afraid. MBW, the HA, and I were in Washington State this weekend, visiting a couple places we’ve not been to before. A late arrival home, added to necessary chores, squeezed out the time required to scribble my usual nonsense.
The turkey is now a dwindling cache of leftovers. A slice of pie or two remains in the refrigerator. The last, persistent relative has cleared out of the guest room. Thanksgiving is a memory, a blurring collection of noise, arguments, football, arguments about football, and overindulgence.
That about sum it up for you?
Taking a look at the calendar, I noticed that the next couple of months will call frequently on my woefully lacking marketing skills. Oh, joy. Promotion. What’s that rising up within? Heartburn? Acid reflux? Incipient panic?
Some of us prefer to remain unnoticed, to blend, chameleon-like, in the crowd. Deliberately drawing multiple pairs of eyeballs to our existence can be a trifle uncomfortable. But, that’s the gig. I knew it was part of the deal when I signed up.
I enjoyed another signing recently. And I mean enjoyed; beer featured prominently.
The accommodating publicans at Journeys Pub, Bob and Shannon, offered to host a signing of “Reunion.” Not only did they offer the venue, they advertised the event and held all night happy hour. So, to all those who enjoyed the discount on beverages, “You’re welcome.”
A pub provides a different atmosphere for a signing than does a bookstore. Not an improper or unpleasant atmosphere, just different. The sale of books is not the primary purpose of the establishment. Most of the people there are present to consume food and drink. They aren’t thinking foremost about books. But a pub is a convivial place, and what better topic of conversation than books? Especially when you just so happen to have some for sale.
I had a chance to chat with several people, savored a pint of a pretty decent red ale, and sold some copies of my novel. Not a shabby evening, by any stretch. In fact, I’m wondering if there are any other Portland area pubs interested in having me monopolize a table and peddle my papery wares. Drop me an email, I don’t take up much space.
Tip of the hat to Tanasbourne Barnes & Noble bookstore. The store graciously hosted a signing of “Reunion,” even moving me up to the front of the store away from some sort of children’s event going on near the space originally intended for the signing.
So, how did it go? Well enough. Of course as long as any unsold books remain on the table or the store shelves I’ll still complain. I’m like that.
Let me review the steps I took over the previous couple of months to promote the event. There are a couple of on-line author promo sites I posted the event to. The local television stations offer community event listings and I hit up three or four of them. The local newspaper carried a listing the day before in its Arts and Entertainment section. I posted in the events section on Craigslist. I mentioned the signing more than once on Twitter and Facebook. I mentioned it in this web log and sent a notice to those of you on my mailing list. (Hi y’all.) I printed leaflets and distributed over 250 of them among libraries and coffee shops near the bookstore.
May is a busy month for me this year. What is going on, you ask? You’ve come to the right place for answers.
My short story “Brava – or – the Fire Demon” is out, published by the fine folks at Swords and Sorcery Magazine. If you like sword and sorcery fiction, if you like reading your fiction in digital editions, then this one is for you. This is the second of my ‘Cesar the Bravo’ stories. The first one, “Bravo,” is available at whichever on-line book seller you frequent.
Yes, self-serving promotion. How degrading. Let’s stick with it.
No suspense, no buildup. Here’s the deal: I placed my novel Under Strange Suns with Twilight Times Books. http://www.twilighttimesbooks.com/
There, that’s out of the way. Details, then. It is a science fiction story. Or rather, planetary romance written with a twenty-first century audience in mind. That means, pace Burroughs, I cannot simply have my protagonist fall asleep on Earth then wake on an alien planet. While that works well for John Carter, and I’m not knocking ERB’s story-telling at all (perish the thought of such hubris), I don’t think it would go over well with contemporary audiences in a new novel. Meaning reliance on science fiction instead of fantasy. While the science may – from the perspective of today’s physicists – be functionally equivalent to the John Carter dream transit in plausibility, at least it has the scaffolding of science to hang the implausibilities on. Spaceships! FTL!
I held a giveaway contest for “Reunion” recently. Congratulations to the winners. I hope you all enjoy the novel.
I seem to be doing quite a bit of giving recently, mostly money. Real life continues to stick its nose under the tent flap of my world-building, fabulizing, tale-crafting pavilion. Pesky thing, real life. I’m writing this post from a friend’s apartment as my place if barely habitable at the moment. Water heaters, it seems, have a finite useful existence, at the end of which they leak out their life fluid, impregnating the walls and floors. Said walls and floors are unappreciative of this last gift. So currently industrial-size fans, of the type usually found in aerodynamics testing wind-tunnels, are attempting to desiccate the swamp that I usually call home. Money has already passed from my hand to the pocket of the plumber who swapped out the corpse of the previous water-heater with a new, vigorous replacement. More, much more, will follow to various tradesmen.
This website, as you may notice, remains unwell. I really have been in contact with people who can heal it. Top men, top men. So patience, this site will return to its former glory soon.
Meantime, despite the best efforts of real life to thwart me, I continue scribbling away. The second draft of “Thick as Thieves” is nearly complete. Other projects are circulating, or waiting for a polish. You’ll not thwart me, real life. This I swear.
I took the family to Blue Lake Park this afternoon. Blue Lake Park is about a mile east of Portland and a long arrow flight south of the Columbia River. Portland, and especially the east side of Portland, hosts numerous ethnic enclaves. While wandering by picnics, family reunions, or groups clustered about playground equipment I must have heard at least six different languages spoken.
That got me thinking about the problem in fantasy or science fiction of dealing with characters who don’t savvy each others’ mouth noises. If you want characters to communicate important plot information to each other, you’ve got to work through this issue.