November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving, you calendar-minded people

 

And BE SURE to keep scrolling down to read Black Bear’s PEGASUS AND CAKE updates, and especially to applaud the Urbana, Illinois PRC’s poster.

I’ve been, as Niall likes to say (but he has better teeth than I do), dented.  Two hours in the tortu—I mean the dentist’s chair this afternoon.  I’m thinking, hey, McKinley, it’s only two hours—the day has twenty four of ’em.  Yes, but not all hours are created equal.  Hours spent in the dentist’s chair count for quadrillion.*  I’m now officially shattered till 2251.**  Then I had to, ahem, hurtle home and pelt out with hellhounds again*** because Thursday is handbell evening.  Gaaaaaaah.  A sane woman would CANCEL for pity’s sake† . . . but I left sanity behind long ago. ††

            It was not one of our more glorious evenings.  When it was just Colin, Niall and I, Niall was thirty three percent of us, bob minor on six bells is some really impressive algorithm easier than bob major on eight, and I’m actually not too bad at bob minor myself.†††  Bob major . . . Niall is only twenty-five percent of us, Colin and Fernanda are still thinking like tower ringers‡ . . . and I can’t ring the damn thing to save my life.‡‡  The only thing that is saving us, to the extent that we are being saved, and we’re talking a broken spar in a gale halfway between South Africa and Tasmania and I’m sure there are sharks in the vicinity, is my peculiar small gift for ringing the lines of the method as I’m reading them off a piece of paper.  If I were a magician, while everybody else was saving the world and creating Taj Mahals and Hanging Gardens of Babylon with a wand-wave and a few muttered words, I’d be cleaning shoes.  Well, sometimes you really need clean shoes.‡‡‡  Sigh.  But I think I may be reading the lines off a piece of paper for the rest of my semi-saved life.  I’m not sure Niall was best advised to say brightly at the end of the evening, as we were all preparing to crawl away and drown our sorrows in our respective liquids of choice,§ John Paternoster told me that it took them a year to get bob major right!  The Paternosters are handbell royalty.  There are about eight of them—some brothers, some cousins, and at least one dad§§—I’ve even rung with John.  Think Gary Cooper in HIGH NOON.  I didn’t like ringing with John:  he makes me feel like one of the townsfolk hiding behind a door and listening for the noon train.  And it took them a year to get bob major right?  Whimper.§§§

            Meanwhile, for the majority of Days in the Life’s readers, it’s Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving.  I hope you’re having a better time than I am.  The anaesthetic has worn off.  It’s time to apply chocolate. . . . 

* * *

* Which, assuming a conventional professional hourly rate, would explain the cost.  AAAAAIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE.  You’re all planning on buying multiple copies of PEGASUS for Christmas presents, right?  I really need the money.  And I have to go back to R’lyeh in three weeks and do it all again.  Including the writing-the-cheque-afterward part.

            My dentist looked a little tired himself.  The flush of chartreuse across his sharp cheekbones was muted, the slender writhing coils of his hair were looser than usual, even his long yellow talons seemed blunted.  But his eyes still glittered when he started the drill, and the front eighty-four of his teeth that you can see when he smiles^ gleam in their own horripilant light. 

^ AAAAAAAAAUGH

**Hey!  Maybe I’ll meet Mr Spock! 

*** I’ve realised that I love sports afternoons at the local comprehensive [school].  This means that there are kids everywhere on the big open grounds and morons walking their aggressive, mannerless dogs keep them on lead.   

Or possibly Shub-Niggurath’s. 

†† Occasionally I send it a postcard. 

††† At least some of the time, and particularly on the trebles. 

What is this second frelling clinky thing in my other hand.  Make it go away. 

‡‡ At least the other three of them have rung it in the tower (she says sullenly).  I have not.  I think I’ve fudged a plain course or two on the treble.  I wouldn’t have a clue about inside. 

‡‡‡ I’d be extremely glad for a wand-wave and a charm that would clean my All Stars without recourse to such low and inefficient options as laundry soap and washing machines. 

§ No, actually.  Cider—British brewed cider.  I don’t drink champagne every night.^  And good cider is lovely. 

^ See:  writing cheques to dentists from R’lyeh.  Even most of our champagne nights aren’t champagne, they’re just fizzy.  Fortunately cheap fizz has got a lot better lately. 

§§ Yep.  All blokes.  I’m not going there. 

§§§ And speaking of whimper . . . have I told you that Beltower arrived?  The ringing ap that Tilda recommended, because it has little cartoon people ringing the bells on your screen so in theory it looks more like the real situation in the tower, when you’re looking around at big real people ringing the bells?  I loaded it yesterday.  AAAAAAAAAAUGH.^  All right, maybe I’ll get accustomed to it.  Maybe I’ll learn to use it and it will teach me Cambridge minor and Grandsire triples and Spliced Doolally Surprise Maximus.  Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow morning and PEG II will be finished, and I can read the ending and find out what happens.    

^ There sure is a lot of screaming tonight.  Okay, I have no reason to give you this link except that it was in today’s GUARDIAN and I like Stephen Sondheim.  The article is excerpted from his FINISHING THE HAT which regular blog readers will remember Peter gave me for my birthday last week.  Sondheim does not suffer from any nonsense about Pollyanna or not speaking ill of the dead, which is only what you’d expect from the man responsible for SWEENEY TODD.  It’s a thought-provoking article for anyone at least remotely interested in classic music theatre:  which would include me. 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2010/nov/24/stephen-sondheim-on-lyrics

But this is the bit I want to draw your attention to, even if you’re not interested in music theatre, classic, Sondheim, or otherwise:

The pencils I write with are Blackwings, a brand formerly made by Eberhard Faber but alas no longer. Their motto, printed proudly on the shaft, is “Half the pressure, twice the speed” and they live up to that promise. They utilise very soft lead, which makes them not only easy to write with (although extremely smudgy) but also encourages the user to waste time repeatedly sharpening them, since they wear out in minutes. They also have removable erasers which, when they have dried out, can be reversed to resume their softness.

I write on a yellow legal pad with 32 lines, allowing alternate words to be written above one another without either crowding or wasting the space. These pads are hard to find, as most come with fewer or more lined spaces. Having been warned that stationery supplies are frequently discontinued, I had the good sense to stock up on them, as well as the Blackwings, before they disappeared, and now have a life-time supply. 

Emphasis mine.  I love this.  I am so there.  You find a system that you like and you want to keep it, and progress and innovation be damned.  The problem is that you couldn’t do it with typewriter ribbons, because eventually they dry out, and then the moving parts of your typewriter wear out and suddenly you find yourself with a computer.  Screaming. . . . I wonder if Sondheim had to put in a weight-bearing attic floor anywhere—?

PRC Weekly Update – Black Bear

PRC UPDATES

Thursday, November 25, 5 pm EST


We had a great weekend of parties last week (reports on Indianapolis and NYC are forthcoming) and we’ve got more great ones coming up. Check out this awesome* flyer put together by the folks at the Urbana Free Library!

Wow. Just... wow.

This totally knocked my socks off.  Click here for a direct link to the library’s website.  I swear, librarians are a force of nature.  :)

****Happening THIS WEEKEND (and early next week)!*****

Burbank/LA — Saturday, November 27, 8:30 am at the Porto’s in Burbank. All are welcome!  We don’t have a thread for this–please contact the organizer via email at winterois [at] hotmail [dot] com if you’re interested. Organizer: Alex C., via email.

Anchorage, Alaska – Saturday November 28,  4-6 pm at Title Wave Books. Book club meeting, but others are welcome!  Organizer: Corrie

Invercargill, New Zealand–November 28, 7:30 pm. 181 Tay St., Invercargill.  This is a writers group meeting, but other book lovers are welcome! Organizer: Zerlina.

Quebec, Canada – November 29, 1 pm, at a private home; more people are welcome!!  ***NOTE Email Address for details has changed!****   Please email Bonnie at bonnielynnholmes [at] hotmail [dot] com Organizer: Holmes44

****NEW!!!****

Manhattan, Kansas — November 30, 7pm at the Waldenbooks in Town Center Mall.  I am told there will be dense chocolate cookies, hot tea, lemon punch, and all manner of goodies–the store is making this part of their holiday shopping push!  Organizer: Victoria L. via email.  If you need further info, email me at whiteape [at] whiteape [dot] net and I’ll put you in touch with her.

Upcoming Worldwide

Toronto ONT, Canada — December 3, 7 pm at the Select Bakery, 405 Donlands Ave. Organizer: Manga

Denver Metro area – December 4, 2:30 pm at the downtown Tattered Cover.  Meet at the entrance on the 16th St. mall side.  Organizer: Catlady

Birmingham, England — the Birmingham Waterstones, December 5 at 11 am.  Meet, eat, talk books, and then go to the German Market!  Organizer: Southdowner

Central NY/Northern PA/Toronto — Proposed for December 5 at the Borders in Syracuse. Organizer: Cmarschner

East-Central Illinois – Saturday, December 11, 1 – 4 pm.  Urbana Free Library, Urbana Illinois.  Cupcakes will be provided!  For more info on the event, you can click here. Organizer: Rhymeswithcarrot

San Francisco Bay area – Saturday, December 11, 3:30 pm at  Crixa Cakes in Berkeley. Organizer: Equus_Pedus

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia —December 11, a picnic in Kamesburgh Gardens at 3 pm. There will be loads of delicious food, blankets, chairs, a card table, and there’s a service ring in the nearby bell tower at 5:30. Organizer: B-Twin_1

Sacramento — Saturday, December 18. 3pm at the Borders Books on Fair Oaks Blvd. in Sacramento. Organizer: Sarahkp

Chicagoland – probably at a location in Schaumburg, date/time is under discussion.  Organizer: Apple

Los Angeles/Orange Co – proposed for late December, no location/time as yet.  Organizer: Peanut

Dallas – Proposed in forum for late December, several responses but no firm date/time yet. Organizer: livvispatula

Oslo, Norway — proposed in forum, one response suggesting late December.  Organizer: Re Williams

Proposed PRCs

If you’re interested in one of these locations, please post in the forum threads or email me and I’ll put you in touch!

Edinburgh/St. Andrews, Scotland
Baton Rouge
Phoenix
Boston/Brookline
Florida Panhandle
Rexburg, Idaho
Kent, England
Christchurch, NZ
Barcelona, Spain

* Awesome!  AAAAAAAAAWESOME!!!!!

Guest blog by Jeanne Marie – Kansas City PRC

Kansas City PRC

Saturday, November 20th, Jeanne Marie, Emory, Rachel and Christin got together at the Country Club Plaza Barnes and Noble in Kansas City to celebrate Pegasus!

right to left: Rachel, Emory, Jeanne Marie, and Christin

 The bookstore was amazingly helpful – they had purchased REAMS of copies of Pegasus, and set up two tables, one for books and one for cookies (freshly baked, yum!) and a thermos of hot chocolate. 

Look at all the yummy books and yummy cookies!

This particular Barnes and Noble is four stories high, rather than sprawling horizontally over the landscape, and we were set up on the top floor, in the entryway of the Children’s Section, around the corner from Fantasy/SciFi, and along the traffic path from the escalator – perfect!!  A kind staffer did announcements for us every 20 minutes, inviting folks to come up and have cookies and talk with us, learn more about Robin McKinley and hear some readings from Pegasus. If was really fun to introduce people to Robin’s books!  We had all brought various personal copies, and also made a point of swiping bookstore copies from the shelves, for easier access.  We were able to make suggestions for folks and their kids based on what they already enjoyed, read excerpts, and hand them purchasable copies! 

This is Rachel, pitching Pegasus and Sunshine to this couple - they went home with both!

In between schmoozing with bookstore patrons and talking about Robin’s books, the four of us chatted about what we did during the day, library science, other favorite authors, and of course, munched the cookies and gulped the hot chocolate! 

Emory, first year violin performance major!

Christin moderates a blog on teen literature, among other fun things!

Rachel works as a Children's Librarian!

Around 8:00pm, we held the drawing for the two posters, won by Emory and Skye, respectively, and the Pegasus copy, won by Luxy.

Emory, proud poster winner!

Skye with her mom, our other proud poster winner!

Lucky Luxy, winner of a copy of Pegasus!

It was a really enjoyable evening , and we were delighted to get together and celebrate Robin and Pegasus!

Thanksgiving

 

Crossing the Atlantic involves the double international date line, didn’t you know?  So we’re forty-eight hours ahead of you Americans really, not five or six or eight.  So today is Thanksgiving.

            No?

            Well, we’re having Thanksgiving.  Sigh.  We’re having Thanksgiving today because Peter, who remains somewhat Thanksgiving-challenged, despite twenty years with me, by having been raised in a Thanksgiving-deficient culture, got the duck out to warm up to room temperature before he roasted it, and I said, why have you got the duck out so early?  And he said, we’re eating it tonight, aren’t we?  And I said NO, NO, NO, YOU THANKSGIVING-CHALLENGED BRITISH PERSON, THANKSGIVING IS ALWAYS ON A THURSDAY. 

            So we looked at the duck and we looked at each other, and Peter put the duck back in the refrigerator, and we each surreptitiously counted out on our fingers our best guesses as to the likelihood that a dead duck that had been sitting around at room temperature would then last two more days back in the refrigerator without having gone whiffy by the time it was room temperatured again in prospect of being immediately roasted.  Hmmm.

            I occupied myself (still slightly distracted by the awful thought of our beautiful duck developing undesirable features by Thursday) foraging for journey routes with the assistance of both the world-wide web and crackly ordnance mappage*.  I have to drive somewhere two days in a row.  Usually weeks go by and I haven’t driven any farther than Ditherington for favourite hellhound hurtles.**  Tonight I had to drive to Rumbelow for the tower reps meeting that Vicky managed to manoeuvre me into like prodding a sheep into a squeeze-stall and slamming the gate.  Arrgh.  All right, a tower rep meeting is to be preferred to a plunge into sheep dip*** but one would have preferred to have been gambolling at the other end of the frelling field. 

            Tonight’s adventure was going to be easy.†  I had gaily and carelessly moved on from notating tonight’s journey and was staring dubiously at conflicting reports about tomorrow’s when my general sense of impending disaster shook itself and settled out into clear separate components, to wit, not only do I have to penetrate deepest Whortleberry tomorrow to take Peter and me to an opera†† but . . . I have a three-hour dentist’s appointment on Thursday.  My British diary doesn’t take note of irrelevancies like foreign holidays, and you seize appointments with the dentist from R’lyeh, who is inexplicably popular, when you can get them.  I had to wait two months for this one.

            So.  We could have the duck tonight, after my frelling meeting, which is not very festive.†††

            Tomorrow night we’re at the opera.  Peter is going to take a sandwich.  I’m not sure what I’m doing.  I think roasting a duck is probably superfluous.

            Or we could have the duck on Thursday, when I can’t chew, and it might have gone pathogenically interesting by then anyway.  Which is not very festive either.

            We had the duck tonight.  It was delicious‡. 

* * *

* Well, it should be a word

**Especially lately, when I haven’t got voice lessons to go to in Mauncester.  Whimper.

*** Actually it was pretty interesting, even if there were nine of us out of thirty-odd district towers, and even if I would never have found the place at all if I hadn’t stopped at a random house with a light on and asked for directions.  KILL GOOGLE MAPS.  The woman who answered the door was friendly, and her three dogs loved me, but she didn’t know the house I was looking for.  What’s their name? she asked, reasonably.  Uh, I said, staring at the Tower Meeting Agenda.  It was signed ‘Albert’.  Not helpful.  It’s about bell ringing, I said desperately.  Oh! she said, and made a steam-whistle-tooting gesture with one hand.  Yes, that’s right! I said.  Whereupon she gave me excellent directions . . . which included turning down a very long dark driveway which is completely invisible from the main road unless one of the neighbours has told you it’s there, and even so you’ve driven about ten seconds into utter darkness before the hedgerows part and lo, there is a house.  Do you know how long ten seconds is when driving into utter darkness down a road you aren’t sure is there?   Maybe the nice woman is actually procurer for the local evil enchanter and was keeping me talking long enough for her three hairy familiars to check out if I was suitable.  Yes!  Yes!  Yes! they were saying.  Yes!  This one!

            I believe I have blogged about my fearful plan to find some other tower that can teach me Grandsire Triples since we so rarely have a steady Grandsire Triples band at New Arcadia any more.  I’ve already zeroed in on Monkshoodholme as the likeliest candidate.  To begin with, this area is overpopulated with six-bell towers, and you need eight to ring triples.  Then you need the band to do it with.  Then you need a friendly band and an accommodating ringing master to go along with the plan.  You need all this within driving distance, in my case after suitable adjustments for hellhounds and ME have been made.^  Monkshoodholme probably meets all these criteria.  I’ve even been telling myself, since Vicky let me out of the squeeze stall on a promise of good behaviour, that I could perhaps further my scheme by chatting up the Monkshoodholme rep at tonight’s meeting.  I’d be dripping with committed-to-the-future-of-the-Exercise pheromones merely by being at the meeting, how could I not be a desirable pupil?

            Of the four hot flashy towers in more or less this end of the district, the ones with lots of bells and more than enough hot flashy ringers to ring them, three of said towers, Rumbelow, Mauncester and Fustian, had sent reps to our meeting tonight.  The fourth, Monkshoodholme, did not.  ARRGH.  Virtue is its own punishment.

            However.  The fellow from Rumbelow—whose tower I have heard cracking out splendid Grandsire Triples, but I’ve also been warned off Rumbelow as having evil bells and a band with little patience for ringers not up to their exacting standard—mentioned that they are always desperate for ringers for their second Sunday service ring.  Desperate.  Hmmmm.  The indirect approach would be to accumulate some brownie points and then off-handedly ask about practise nights. . . . Dependent on just how evil the bells are.

            Like I have time for a regular second Sunday service ring. 

^ I want to learn to ring Grandsire Triples, but not badly enough to pay for a dogminder every week, and the ME wouldn’t let me drive that far anyway, especially not if I was planning on ringing too.  Also, I still need time to earn a living.  

† HA HA HA HAVE I SAID KILL GOOGLE MAPS?  KILL GOOGLE MAPS.  It doesn’t look anything like that on the ground, guys, and there’s no symbol for ‘long invisible driveway’.  I was tweeting forlornly about route-finding this morning and had several people tweet back that I should get satnav.  Maybe.  The main thing is that I really don’t drive enough to make it worth the money.  But even in my very limited exposure to other people’s they get mixed reviews from me.  My latest experience with one involved getting significantly lost in Outer West Purgatoria with Fiona, despite Billy Connolly’s voice telling us repeatedly where to go.

            I’m not feeling at all sanguine about tomorrow night’s campaign.

†† Do I really love opera this much?  To drive across continents for it?  Well, to drive across a bit of large unpredictable offshore island for it?

††† It was also supposed to last an hour, hour and a half, tops, and was still going strong when I left after two and a half.  I got home at 10:15. 

‡ Even at 10:30^, and cold.

^ I had to feed hellhounds first, didn’t I?

Barnes & Noble reviews PEGASUS

 

Diane in MN sent me this link (thank you!), which I hadn’t seen: 

http://bnreview.barnesandnoble.com/t5/The-Speculator/Of-Cosmos-and-Crinolines-Three-New-Fantasies/ba-p/3687 

If you scroll down to the bottom you will find a good, interesting and thoughtful review of PEGASUS.  But before we get there . . . okay, the web and the use of the web are still new and evolving, headlines aren’t what they used to be and Google is a thing that didn’t use to be at all.  So maybe glancing over the pages for anything that catches your eye isn’t the way people read for web content—maybe most people just subscribe to bnreview.com, or to Paul Di Filippo, or search for ‘Robin McKinley’ or ‘PEGASUS reviews’ on Google, and this isn’t as confusing to most people as it is to me.  But why doesn’t B&N, or Di Filippo himself, have a subheading to the piece that says ‘Galen Beckett, THE HOUSE ON DURROW STREET, Patricia McKillip, THE BARDS OF BONE PLAIN, Robin McKinley, PEGASUS’?   Or am I hopelessly stuck in an ancient paper technology mindset?*

            However.  I’ve now given all of you the link, so please read it.  And while Pat McKillip is a buy-on-sight with me and I’m delighted she’s got a new book, I don’t know Galen Beckett—but after reading about HOUSE and its predecessor I will certainly hunt them out.

            And now to PEGASUS.  In the first place it’s just such a pleasure to be reviewed thoughtfully.  I acknowledge that taking time to muse over something is a colossal luxury which most reviewers don’t have—reviewing at best pays diddly, and most web reviewers do it for love of reading, and still have to fit that annoying day job in somehow.  I’m grateful for every READ THIS BOOK tweet or one-paragraph shout for attention . . . but something like what Di Filippo has done here makes me very happy.

            I’m also thrilled that he pretty well leads off with the paragraph in which I describe the pegasi in terms that make it very clear that they are not flying horses.  In fact, I’m going to reprint it—yes, again—because this is another of those things that keeps coming up and coming up and coming up and while I’m doubtless preaching to the saved, still it makes me feel better:**

Pegasi looked almost like four-legged birds, standing next to horses. Their necks were longer and their bodies shorter in comparison, their ribs tremendously widesprung for lung space and their shoulders broad for wing muscles, but tapering away behind to almost nothing; their bellies tucked up like sighthounds’, although there were deep lines of muscles on their hindquarters. Their legs seemed as slender as grass stems, and the place where the head met the neck was so delicate a child’s hands could ring it…

Yep.  Got that?  Memorised it?  Tattooed it on the back of your hand so you can refer to it at need?  Great.  Splendid.  And then Di Filippo says:  ‘Definitely alien, a bit creepy, and almost insectile. Not your off-the-shelf wish-fulfillment cousins to unicorns.’  Italics mine. 

            I’m drily amused that he can see my world-building as SF-y.  I see exactly what he means, and I consider it a compliment;  I’ve said many times that for me fantasy only works—as reader as well as writer—when it’s grounded in a world that feels solid, and SF is the nuts-and-bolts, how-and-what-then branch of the imaginary real.***  And I probably approach it in a somewhat SF-y way, which I’ve talked about in recent interviews:  I look around the story-world I’m in and take notes–like a lab tech, if you will.  And the stuff I can’t see or don’t hear the characters talk about, I’ll try to triangulate from things I do know. †

            Di Filippo says:  ‘One gets the sense almost that Sylvi is a mutant, the first of her kind in eight centuries, another SF riff.’  Huh.  A perfectly valid observation, but mutant is such an SF word;  as I write Sylvi’s story, I’m just thinking about the 800 years of the two species bumping into each other—it has to have an effect.  Someone like Sylvi was going to have to happen some day, or the Alliance would eventually break down—although an 800-year treaty is pretty good going by human standards—I’d say it would have splintered at the point that either side stopped hoping for or believing in the moment or the person (human or pegasus) when they could talk to each other directly.  But there’s always someone who’s found a way to take advantage of a situation, especially an unsatisfactory, unbalanced situation—and that would be Fthoom and his coterie in this instance.  Which is why there’s a story.

            Di Filippo says:  ‘McKinley is explicit that her tale is a parable of race relations. (Did I mention that Ebon is a rare black pegasus?)’  Depends on what you mean by explicit:  Ebon arrived very much a complete package, and black was part of the package.  I didn’t mean to do this, and in fact worried about it, worried that Ebon’s blackness could be interpreted as a thumping great piece of moralising twaddle—but, those of you who have read PEGASUS, can you imagine trying to convince Ebon to disguise himself as  brown or grey or flaxen?  Not on.  So black he remained.  At the same time, De Filippo’s point is again valid and while as I keep saying the story is the story and I’m just†† writing it down, I’m aware of the parallels between one mixed lot of folks in Sylvi’s world having trouble communicating across a complicated barrier and another mixed lot of folks in our world having similar problems.

            And finally he says:  ‘Another subtext that is acknowledged glancingly, but is just as vital, is that of Sylvi’s adolescent sexual awakening—and interracial sexual awakening at that.’   Yes.  Well.  Ahem.  Yes, I do think Sylvi and Ebon’s relationship is hellishly sexually charged . . . and a week or something ago THE FRELLING ENDING OF PEG II JUST BLEW UP IN MY FACE AGAIN so I am right back to not being sure what happens.†††  Di Filippo is not the first person to comment on the romantic subtext, although he may be the first to do it without snickering and suggesting I’ve painted myself into a corner.  I keep telling you it’s not up to me.  The story’s not worried.  So I’m not worried either.  Much.

* * *

* And while I’m complaining, why is there only a single featured title from the essay in the right-hand column?  Why aren’t BARDS and PEGASUS included?

** I was at least half-resigned to fighting the PEGASI ARE NOT FLYING HORSES battle, but I was—and am—not at all resigned to the continuing tide of will there be a PEG II queries.  Every time I get another clutch of them I ask Blogmom, who is also my webperson, to hang yet another banner saying PEGASUS II COMING IN 2012 somewhere.  Anywhere.  Everywhere.  The queries are still coming in.  WTF?  There’s now one of those banners immediately above the contact email button on the web site . . . but the emails are still coming.  It would take less time to look around either the blog or the web site than it takes to write me the email.  Arrgh.  And I’m still amazed that so many people don’t recognise a broken-off story when they see one.  Of course that’s not the end!  Good grief.  However, there will be a line or a paragraph in reprints of PEG I that PEG II is on its way which should finally stem that tide. 

            But for those of you who want to abuse and berate me for doing something so inexpressibly horrible as to write a cliffhanger and inflict it upon my audience . . . pffft.  I’m not impressed.  Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.  Stories are what happen when the writer loses control.  You want safe and predictable, there are plenty of cereal-box backs out there. 

*** When I was a mere slip of a young thing—and still went to SF&F cons regularly—there was often a fair amount of needle between the SF camp and the F:  they thought we were fey and feckless, and we thought they were dour and dull.  Perhaps this is inevitable, and rivalry is supposed to be healthy and inspirational and all, but I’d personally much rather it went away.  There are better things to strive over—and certainly some of the old boundaries are blurring;  there’s a lot of urban ‘fantasy’ that could just as well be urban SF, alternate history, eh, it’s often both, and the steampunk I like usually has some fantasy feel to it. 

† Mind you I have a slight sense of ‘what other way is there?’ but I’m probably suffering tunnel vision. 

†† ‘JUST.’  AAAAAAAAUGH.  

††† You guys don’t really have to worry.  This is not the first time this has happened to me.  It won’t be the last.  I may be dangling from the ceiling and throwing oatmeal at the walls by the time I turn PEG II in, but I will turn it in, and it will have the ending it’s supposed to have.  Gah.  Be glad for your nice job as a bricklayer or maths tutor or microbiologist.  You don’t want to be a writer.  There’s way too much screaming involved in being a writer. 

            Postscript:  If, however, you’re hanging on for the graphic interspecies love scene, don’t bother.  While the nearest I’ve got to graphic sex was some pretty kinky semi-trans-species^ stuff in SUNSHINE, thus clearly indicating that I’m a deviant, it’s not going to happen this time, okay?  Please leave quietly.

 ^ Okay, what’s a vampire?  Homo sanguinis potor?

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