I almost wrote ‘slash’ and remembered that this could be misinterpreted in Today’s Internet . . . I just now had a last crash, then, through last night’s reddit AMA, answering most of the latecomers and adding a few twirly bits to earlier conversations. If anyone’s interested. The Nice Man sent me some figures today and said that it was a good AMA and I’m glad he thought so because it seemed pretty good to me but then most of the posters wanted to tell me how great my books are and that does kind of sway a writer’s attitude. . . . Thanks again to everyone who posted, I enjoyed it too. But I’m also glad to be back to my footnotes.* The reddit formatting didn’t ALLOW footnotes. It’s about the only complaint I have.
I did say once or twice, questions I wasn’t answering during the AMA because my brain was melting under the strain, feel free to post them to the forum here–or for that matter Twitter or Facebook although I’m even less reliable** on both of those virtual-social real-timewasters than I am here. But if anyone reading this has a BURNING question, whether or not they’ve asked it 1,000,000 times before in a wide variety of media, you can try asking it again saying ‘the reddit AMA reminded me that I’ve always wondered blah blah blah’ or thereabouts and I’ll try to pay attention. Of course it’s always possible that I keep blowing you off because I don’t want to–or can’t–answer your question, but you might finally get that much out of me.*** Maybe. I’m really world class in the disorganised and absent-minded**** stakes.
Anyway. So long. And THANKS for all the fish. . . .
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** I realise this is slightly mind-boggling. My unreliability pretty much starts in the negative numbers and approaches absolute zero with breathtaking speed.
*** I don’t know! You don’t want to know! Mercury is in retrograde! Please go away!
**** And whimsical. Or you could say cranky, but that would be unkind after I’ve just spent ALL THAT TIME answering questions.
Anyone in England who doesn’t stay up late, or anyone in America who has other plans for the evening, or anyone in [insert other part of the world] who can’t make the official AMA live time for whatever reason good and significant to you, you can post questions NOW.
Niall has convinced me I really need to go bell ringing tonight, but as the AMA intro says I’ll be back later to answer questions. Having a look at the ones already up . . . I may have blog material for the next several years . . . .
THANKS, ALL YOU ASKERS.
PS: And for those of you unaccustomed to internet society wailing brokenly about the need to create a reddit account to post a question–and I am totally with you on this: I only joined up because I’d agreed to the gig–the Nice Man says:
There is a link towards the upper-right corner of the page that says “login or register.” All they need to do is pick a username and password, and fill in the text thing to prove they’re not a robot. No personal information is needed; even an email address is optional.
Italics mine. Hey, I did the register thing. You can too.
I’m doing one of reddit fantasy’s Ask Me Anything, AMA, sessions this Thursday, the day after tomorrow [as I write during what is to me still Tuesday night]. The poor suck—the nice man who originally invited me and is attempting to shepherd me through the technical aspects of this gig** says that if you go here: http://www.reddit.com/r/fantasy
. . . while you’re waiting you can poke around*** and when the AMA session goes ‘live’ at approximately noon (American) Central Time on Thursday the link will go up on that page. The game plan seems to be that I (or rather the Nice Man, which means I have to have written it in advance for him to deal with) post(s) a brief introductory doodah at noon as part of the going-live process, and people post questions then if they feel like it. Perhaps I drift in during reddit’s idea of afternoon (my idea of evening) and answer any of these there are and maybe I don’t, but I do show up for live-ish keyboard interaction around 6 pm Central time which I think is midnight mine, and respond—I do not say answer—any and all questions then. I admit midnight is not particularly late by my standards [hey it's past 4 am where I'm sitting] but it is late to be articulate to/with a bunch of strangers.† If I were living in the same part of the galaxy as the reddit fantasy admin the AMAs usually go live at about 8 pm—as some of you, who’ve been to talk to other authors, already know—but it’s going to be early with me. If the conversation suddenly heats up at 2 am I’ll stay on, but the alternative, if people are absent-mindedly expecting it to have begun at 8 pm reddit time and show up after I’ve left to give the hellmob its final hurtle††, is to post questions anyway and I’ll come back on the far side of sleep and caffeine and answer them then.
One or two guidelines: I can’t tell you when PEG II or III will be out because I don’t know. I said pretty much all I have to say on that burdensome topic in the ebook-announcement post: I’m working on the rest of the PEGASUS story, sure, and believe me I’d finish it yesterday if I could. But I can’t. I am finding the writing experience lately like cleaning the Houses of Parliament with a toothbrush or watering the Sahara with a teacup. I’d rather prune Souvenir de la Malmaison††† without full body armour and a face mask than face the PEG II file. I’m getting calluses and tendonitis from clutching my forehead/chair/nearest hellcritter. So you can ask when PEG II and III will be out, but don’t expect a useful answer.
And, speaking of useful answers, there’s still no sequel to SUNSHINE. And there are at last count approximately three hundred and twelve Third Damar Novels, but I haven’t written any of them.‡
Some authors are more perverse than others. You might want to embroider that on a sampler. But do come round on Thursday at whatever o’clock and ask me about roses or dogs or bell ringing or life as an American expat in England or knitting (badly) or singing (worse) or even about suddenly and involuntarily converting to Christianity two years ago and coming all over social-welfare volunteering like a bad case of measles.‡‡ I’m still cranky though.
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* . . . answers not guaranteed. But then you blog readers know that already.
*** It’s frelling HUGE. I keep getting lost.
† So, you know, please come hang out so it’s not all strangers.
†† And wave at passing patrol cars
††† Which in my tiny garden is presently about twenty feet by twenty feet and putting on a rather amazing autumn show for a rose known for not repeating in this climate. She is also implicated in the disappearance of several annoying small children and neighbourhood cats which insist on crapping in Third House’s flowerbeds, but we don’t know anything about that, except to say that a rose responds well to generous feeding and I’m delighted she has settled in so happily.
‡ Please try to remember that I can only write what I am given to write. The Damar stories are there—like PEG II and III are there—like the frelling sequel to SUNSHINE is there—but I can’t write them because they haven’t come to me in writable form. It’s like one of those scenes out of Dickens—or Frances Hodgson Burnett—when the main character is standing on the wrong side of a window watching other people having a good time. You can see what everybody is wearing and eating, you can see the champagne sparkling in the glasses, you can see who’s flirting with whom, you can maybe even hear a faint echo of the live music. But you can’t go in because you weren’t invited. And besides there doesn’t seem to be a door.
‡‡ Which also makes a change occasionally from staring at the frelling blank page . The eleventh commandment: Do what you can.
I’ve just spent my blog-writing time hacking at an interview with http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/ which is reprinting Hellhound—which I will attempt to remember to link to when it comes on line. Although all of you have OF COURSE already read Hellhound in Peter’s and my FIRE stories a few years ago . . . and the truth of the matter is that you’ll also have read everything I have to say in any possible interview some time in the last six years on this blog, in most cases several times, if you’re one of the stoics that have either been here from the beginning or, on insomniac nights, read back to the beginning. But it might amuse you to reread some of it. I think I’m getting harder to interview as I get older. I HAVE NO CLUE WHERE MY INSPIRATION FOR A STORY COMES FROM. I HAVE NEVER HAD ANY CLUE WHERE STORY INSPIRATION COMES FROM. But the frantic desire to say something remotely responsive to some nice person who is paying you money* to reprint an old story may result in some rather strange non-answers.
And speaking of how totally hopeless I am as a self-publicist, and of links . . . the UK ebook of SHADOWS became available over a week ago. Have I . . . erm . . . mentioned this? Maybe I did and I’ve just forgotten. I can’t give you a link—you’ll have to go strive with amazon.co.uk yourselves—first because I do not go near my own pages on amazon, Goodreads or any other site where readers congregate and talk about books and never will, unless someone holds a gun to my head, which I would be very, very grateful if they did not. Secondly because I do use amazon, cautiously and guardedly, and I haven’t had any trouble with its denying my existence and cancelling my credit card lately and I would like this happy conjunction to continue. It’s one of those oppressively clever sites that recognises you the minute you sign on however—so far as I can tell wherever you sign on from: it took your virtual fingerprints with your name and address back in the day—so if I send you a link, I’ll be linking you to my account. I don’t want to log out to do it because I guarantee we would go through the you-do-not-exist-your-password-does-not-exist-and-your-credit-card-is-a-hellterror-chewtoy experience when I tried to log back in again—I’ve been through this—and I would find this wearisome. Just as I found it wearisome the last time it happened.
But the SHADOWS UK ebook came out on 5 December. So any of you foolish enough to be waiting for me to tell you it’s there waiting for you—this is how I keep eating: you would be forgiven for assuming I would tell you in an expeditious manner that a book of mine is available for purchase—IT’S WAITING FOR YOU. Go and buy several copies. Good Christmas present.**
And now for the piece de resistance:
Some splendid person on Twitter posted this and because I am a moron I forgot to write down who it was. If it is someone who reads this blog THANK YOU SPLENDID PERSON. I laughed and laughed and laughed . . . and then I went and punched a few holes in the wall because it is so true. It is so true it’s almost not funny.
For example, there’s a variation to number two, where the person the author is talking to says, oh, have you read X? You must read it! It’s just like your book Y, ONLY BETTER!!! —I still cannot begin to imagine what this person was thinking of. Since it happened to me***, and the person who told me to read X because it was like my Y only better, was a bookseller in a bookstore. Quite a large and famous bookstore in fact. And . . . I have as a result never read ANY of the novels of the author of X. Because I am a cow, and an easily traumatised, unfair-grudge-holding cow. Mooo.†
Number four also includes that the person is going to offer to split with you sixty/forty if you write up their great idea because the idea is the important thing (which is why they’re retaining the sixty percent) and you already know how the writing thing works so they don’t have to bother. There are advantages to living in a small unidentified town.††
And number seven: ARRRGLE ARRRRRRRRRRGH ARRRRRRRRGLE. Possibly my pet peeve of pet peeves: readers that do your book down because it isn’t the book they wanted to read.
Number fourteen: I came in from trying to answer an interview question about my writing process. . . .
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* Sure it’s a modest sum. The point is it’s any sum.
** There is a way to send ebooks as Christmas presents, right?
Oh. Cool. I might even be able to do this.
^ I have NO IDEA why this isn’t appearing within my account. Amazon just likes yanking me around. I knew that.
*** And this is one of those stories long-term blog readers have read before. It haunts me. Well it would.
† Also, you know, life is short and there are a lot of books I’m never going to read. I judge books by their covers too. Do I want to have to look at this cover in my house? No? Great. Don’t buy it. I have too many frelling books already.
†† And yes, it would take you about thirty seconds to break my alias, if you really wanted to. But that I alias everything does suggest that I don’t want to be found, doesn’t it?^ So don’t bother to email me and suggest coffee. No. I don’t drink coffee anyway.
^ It’s also fun. How else would I get to invent town names like Sagging Dormouse or Smedley-on-Cucumber? They’d never let me put it in my fiction.
What a good thing I have a link for you tonight.
This is me at my maunderiest—well, she kept asking me writery questions—so if you need to shampoo the cat tonight, that’s okay. But there’s also a drawing to win a copy of PEGASUS so get over there long enough to leave a comment (please).
But it’s a good thing I have a link for you tonight because we’ve been here:
And it was FIVE HOURS. Cheez. And I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.*** So you may want to borrow someone else’s cat to shampoo tomorrow night. Although I promise to be rude, if that helps. Also there’s the story of trying to find a PARKING SPACE on a Saturday evening a fortnight before Christmas.
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* And I have to get up to ring bells tomorrow morning
** Which makes two links. —And opera in the cinema better not starting getting so popular that us faithful start having trouble getting tickets.
*** Probably. You know me, I can never stay on a subject.