June 7, 2010

Ask Robin


So I’m hearing from people who have read the ARC of PEGASUS and really liked it.  Which is great.  Tell all your friends and relatives*.  Leave it lying** around suggestively and when harmless, innocent people pick it up saying, ooh, what a pretty cover, tell them how much you liked it.  And that pub date is 2 November.

            What is not so great is that I’m starting to get the hysterical and panic-stricken emails from people saying, you HAVE to do a sequel!  I know you never do sequels!  YOU HAVE TO DO A SEQUEL! 


            What’s worse is that the three people who emailed me this week to tell me that their lives will be ruined if I don’t write PEG II all claim to be blog readers.  Um.  Well, I do go on a bit*** and I’m not surprised if not everyone remembers everything I say† but this is a writer’s blog, and it exists because I was told that writers have to have blogs, and I’m assuming that people read it because they know my books and while they may find themselves horribly compelled by the details of bell ringing and hellhound wrangling and the blood loss attendant on being a rose gardener, still, if you’re going to retain anything from the quantities of fluff I produce nearly every night, I would expect it to be news about my books.

            Like, for example, that PEG II is in the works—really that PEG II has always been in the works.  That originally PEG I & II were one book, and then it kept going on and on and on so I whacked it in half and shined up the first half and called it PEGASUS.  Then I went back to what had therefore inadvertently become PEG II.  I wouldn’t dream of leaving everyone, most particularly Sylvi and Ebon, in the mess they’re in at the end of PEGASUS.  And while all of you who know that I am somewhat vitriolic on the subject of compulsory sequels will snigger and accuse me of face-saving semantics, no, I honestly do not see PEG II as a sequel.  It’s all the same story.  P-Z of the Compact Oxford English Dictionary isn’t the sequel to A-O;  it’s the second volume of the dictionaryIt’s like THE LORD OF THE RINGS.  It’s all the same story.  THE TWO TOWERS isn’t the sequel to FELLOWSHIP;  it’s books three and four of six.††  Tolkien himself wanted LOTR published as a single physical book and resisted having it chopped up into three, till his publisher told him it’s three or nothing.

            So.  Anyway.  Relax.  PEG II is coming. †††

 Why aren’t there e-versions of your books?

            Another popular query and another heavy-sigh producer from me.‡  Well, there are e-versions, a few, and there will be more, eventually, but I don’t know when.  The thing is that the digital revolution has caught everyone on the hop, including those gigantiliths, traditional publishers.  Maybe some of the little publishers are rabbiting more easily, but gigantiliths don’t have much hop in them, and their attempts tend to crack pavements and cause tall buildings to fall over.  My digital existence is further complicated by the fact that I am owned by not one but two gigantiliths, and as I understand it, every publisher has its/their own idea of how electronic-rights packages should go, and they generally don’t play well with others.  And no, I don’t have any idea why lots and lots and lots of other authors have their entire oeuvre readily available on line and I don’t.  But that’s the way it is.  And while it’s always tempting to blame publishers for everything‡‡, they are genuinely not just being contrary Luddite morons.  They’re looking at a situation which suggests that they are going to have to invest huge amounts of money, time and ingenuity into a whole new way of doing what they do and end up earning less money for it.  This is not a prospect to fill anyone’s heart with joy and step with lightness.

Is there some secret about the short story Marsh-magic? It seems to only exist in the anthology Silver Birch, Blood Moon‡‡‡, and it’s rarely included in any lists of what you’ve written. Are there any other hard-to-find short stories you’ve written?

Secret?  Why would it be a secret?  I just rarely write for anthologies—not because I wouldn’t like to, but because I have this little problem about short stories.§  Also I am a slow, slow, slow writer and I’m probably still thinking about whether the heroine’s horse is a bay or a chestnut and still awaiting the arrival of the plot from the terminally laggardly Story Council when the deadline whistles past my ear.§§

            Some day I’ll do another collection§§§, and I’ll put Marsh-magic in it, the way The Healer, Touk’s House and The Stagman were scooped up and put in A KNOT IN THE GRAIN.  And no, I don’t off hand remember any other low-profile short stories that need to be brushed off and brought back into daylight, but I don’t always remember the things I really ought to remember:  birthdays, dental appointments, the belt I left at the cobbler’s two months ago (only recalled at 3 am), due dates of library books. . . . 

* * *

* especially the ones who work in the ordering departments of bookstores, libraries, schools, etc.  

** Note:  LYING.  Not LAYING.  Grrrrrr. 

*** A bit!  A bit!  Yes, I said a bit!  

I don’t begin to remember everything I say. 

†† Plus appendices.  And, ahem, footnotes.

 ††† I did get a follow up email from one of them saying, Never mind.  I took a few deep breaths and the scales fell from my eyes, and lo!  There was PEG II. 

‡Although not nearly as heavy as for frantic demands for PEG II.  That one’s a real headbanger. 

‡‡ Very very very tempting 

‡‡‡ http://www.amazon.com/Silver-Birch-Blood-Ellen-Datlow/dp/0380786222 

§ See:  over half my novels have started life as short stories.  It makes me a little jumpy about starting a new short thing, in case it isn’t. 

§§ As the sainted Douglas Adams said, I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.^ 

^ Yes, this is one that appears in the quote thingy in the top right-hand corner of the blog.  I’m always very happy to see it.   

§§§ After EARTH and AIR ELEMENTALS have appeared. After.

^ Yes.  Peter reads the blog faithfully.


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