Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for March, 2013

The Wild: Chapter 12

Friday, March 29th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Chapter 12

Bennek woke abruptly, overcome by a sense of alarm. Lanyon still lay beside him and the fire still burned with ruddy coals, but beyond the sheltering boughs of the stunted evergreens the sky was lightening, and he had not served his turn at the watch.
He rolled out from under the blanket and sat up, looking for his bow and some evidence of disaster. But both Kit and Pantheren slept quietly by the fire, while at the edge of the grove Marshal kept the watch, his tall figure silhouetted against the pale sky. Kina sat beside him, her sharp gaze following something in the pass beyond.

Bennek found his bow, and silently, he ran to join Marshal. As he reached the edge of the trees the pass spread out before him. He was startled to see a pale figure walking there. At first he took it for a ghost. “That is Tayeraisa,” Marshal said softly. “She has been walking under starlight for many hours. Her beauty has returned, and the wind has combed her hair into long tresses of gold.”

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The Wild: Chapter 11

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Chapter 11

Marshal drew his sword. “Stand back,” he commanded. They retreated. Bennek looked for the snow leopard, but she had disappeared.
Marshal swung his sword, striking the ice hard, twisting the blade as it hit. A few chips fell away. He struck again, but the ice was as hard as time and the Snow Chanter lay deep. Days would be required to chip her free.

Bennek turned to Lanyon. “You have the fire spell.”

“There is nothing here to burn!”

“Do you have some other spell?” Marshal asked. “Something to shatter the ice?”

“No! I don’t know any—” Her hand went to her mouth.

(more…)

New Print Edition of Memory

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

Memory by Linda NagataAbout a month ago, artist Emily Irwin finished work on a new cover for my novel Memory. I replaced the cover on the ebook immediately, and then set about finalizing the print book. I already had the interior layout done, and Emily had already assembled the final cover art on a template provided by Lightning Source, my print-on-demand company. So it should have been easy. Right?

After carefully re-checking everything, I uploaded the files late on February 20th, and waited for my proof to arrive. There was a weekend in the way, and overnight to Maui is never overnight, so it wasn’t until the 26th that I had my proof, and it wasn’t good. The colors on the cover were much darker than they appeared onscreen and away from bright sunlight it was hard to make out what was going on, a situation that wasn’t helped by the matte finish I had ordered instead of the usual glossy finish. The light-colored text was actually hard to read. So after thinking it over for a couple of days, I contacted Emily and asked if she’d be willing to use a brighter color for the text, to lighten the image overall, and to place it on a glossy template.

Emily did all of this, sending me three new versions with different levels of brightness. I decided to use the brightest of all, resubmitted the file, and waited for my new proof. It arrived, and it was good! Quite lovely. But it still had a matte finish, instead of the glossy finish I thought I’d requested. I queried Lightning Source, and it turns out I’d misunderstood the process. The template does not determine the finish. That’s decided by the metadata.

By this point I was not feeling remotely competent. So instead of deciding for myself, I solicited opinions, and the unanimous decision was to keep the matte finish. So a couple days ago I approved the proof “as is”–and already Amazon has listed the print book as available to purchase. This surprised me, because the last time I did a print book through Lightning Source, Barnes & Noble had it up almost overnight while Amazon took two or three weeks–proving once again that in this business things change all the time.

Click here to see the print edition on Amazon.

Right now, if you click “See Inside the Book” you will not see the new edition. I still have to submit the file for that–one of the tasks on my list for today.

The Term is “Ma’am”

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Occasionally I hear women complaining about being called “Ma’am.” It makes them feel old. Or something. Personally, I like it. If you don’t know who I am, if you don’t know my name, “ma’am” is a perfectly respectful way of addressing me. There are far worse alternatives.

This afternoon I was flying from Honolulu back to Maui. I had an aisle seat and got up to allow the window-seat passenger to sit down. He changed his mind at the last second, and went forward to trade seats with someone else. I was left standing in the aisle. Hawaiian Airlines takes their “on time” reputation very seriously and a flight attendant immediately appeared behind me, asking if something was wrong.

“I don’t know,” I said, waving my hand to indicate the young man. “He was going to sit here.”

“If you’re going to switch seats,” the flight attendant called to him, “you need to do so right now.”

The group sent someone back to take the window seat, and the flight attendant told me, “There you go, sweetie.”

There you go, sweetie? Seriously?

The term is “Ma’am.”

“Sweetie” is an infantilizing term. You can probably safely use it with young children, or with your sweetheart (if this isn’t safe, you’ll hear about it), but do not use this form of address with strangers. I don’t mind “sweetie” quite so much if an older woman uses the term in a very general way, but when a younger person uses it, the implication is they are addressing someone in their “dotage”–childlike and infantilized. Sorry, sweetie, I’m not quite there yet, and even if I was, you should still address me respectfully, and save the intimacies for intimate relationships.

The term is “Ma’am.”

Kawaii-Kon: Writer Links

Saturday, March 16th, 2013

On March 15 I gave a presentation at Kawaii-Kon 2013, Honolulu’s annual anime and cosplay convention. My topic: From Initial Idea to Printed Book: One Path to Writing and Publishing a Sci-Fi Novel.

Rather wide-ranging, wasn’t it?

As a follow up, I’m publishing a list of links that might be helpful to someone getting started in writing and publishing. As with everything, use your own judgment and your mileage may vary. Your career is in your own hands. Take care of it.

Advice for writers & indie publishers:
Dean Wesley Smith
Kristine Kathryn Rusch
John Scalzi’s “Whatever”
Writer Beware (general info)
Writer Beware Blog
The Passive Voice
David Gaughran

Short story market listings
Duotrope — nominal fee
Ralan.com

Professional Freelance Editors I’ve used
Judith Tarr
Laura Anne Gilman

Example of a flat-rate book prep company
Lucky Bat Books (I have not done business with them, but have seen them recommended.)

Because you need to know
Striking a Pose: Women & Fantasy Covers
Pose-off, round 1
Pose-off with John Scalzi

Ebook prep
Sigil — code/edit your ebook
Calibre — convert your epub file to mobi

Where to get ISBNs (USA only)
Bowker

Where to sell your ebooks
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo Books
Smashwords (I don’t sell here, but a lot of writers do.)

Print-on-demand companies
Lightning Source (an Ingram company)
Createspace (an Amazon company)

The Wild: Chapter 10

Friday, March 15th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Chapter 10

Marshal had shared the same dream as Kit, and all were eager to seek the path to the summit, so on the next morning they set out early. They hiked first to the back of the valley. There they were met by a great gray cliff like a second palisade, rising a thousand feet or more before disappearing into gray, swirling clouds.

Goats lived on this cliff. They were the same charcoal gray as the stone and they did not bleat, for such sounds would summon the arowl. At the approach of the people they retreated up the cliff. Pantheren watched them. Then he turned a doubtful eye on Kit. “You are sure this is the way?”

Kit grinned. “War Father, do you hesitate?”

(more…)

Launch Pad 2013–Apply Now

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Last summer I was lucky enough to attend Launch Pad 2012, a week-long, wide-ranging crash course on current astronomy put on by Mike Brotherton, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Wyoming. Launch Pad was created for writers, editors, and people in film and other media, with the goal of improving the scientific accuracy of our stories, and promoting a culture of science.

The sessions are a whole lot of fun!

Along with Mike, Christian Ready will be there this summer as guest lecturer. Christian was part of the 2012 staff, and he’s terrific.

The bad news is that funding was unobtainable this year, so tuition will be charged for the first time, at a cost of $500 which includes lodging and meals except for dinner. Still not a bad deal for a week in beautiful Laramie! (And Laramie really is a very nice town.)

More on Launch Pad can be found here. The application period begins March 15 and ends April 15, so the time is now.

The Red: First Light — go get it!

Monday, March 11th, 2013

The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata

The ebook vendors have gotten really efficient, and The Red: First Light is already available in ebook form at all the usual places. So now is the time! Go grab a sample from your favorite vendor, or buy the book!

The Red: First Light is an original, never-before-published novel, and it’s my first adult science fiction novel in ten years. It’s a near-future thriller, with a boots-on-the-ground military theme. Here’s the back cover copy:

“There Needs To Be A War Going On Somewhere”
Lieutenant James Shelley commands a high-tech squad of soldiers in a rural district within the African Sahel. They hunt insurgents each night on a harrowing patrol, guided by three simple goals: protect civilians, kill the enemy, and stay alive—because in a for-profit war manufactured by the defense industry there can be no cause worth dying for. To keep his soldiers safe, Shelley uses every high-tech asset available to him—but his best weapon is a flawless sense of imminent danger…as if God is with him, whispering warnings in his ear. (Hazard Notice: contains military grade profanity.)

🙂 Some of you have been entertained by my “Hazard Notice.” This is an attempt to ward off potential readers who give books one-star reviews because the book contains the word “fuck.” Seriously. This has happened.

ANYWAY…if you read the book, if you like the book, please consider spreading the word. Recommend it on your favorite social media, consider writing a blog post, or review it at Amazon. Most books are sold through personal recommendations — word of mouth. So if you like The Red: First Light I’d really appreciate it if you could help get the word out. Thank you!

The print book is still in process, but here are links to ebook vendors — and thanks again!

Amazon USA

Amazon UK

Mythic Island Press LLC (worldwide)

Book View Café (worldwide)

Kobo Books (International)

Barnes & Noble (USA)

The King-K Artists

Sunday, March 10th, 2013

King Kekaulike High School is the public high school that serves all of upcountry Maui. It’s named for Kekaulike, ruler of Maui from 1700 –1736. Since “Kekaulike” (kay-cow-lee-kay) isn’t the easiest name to say, the school is popularly known as “King K.”

Both my daughter and son are graduates of King K. When they attended, the art department included two fantastic teachers, Ms. Melanie Seaton and Mr. O’Conner, whose guidance produced an impressive crop of working artists. Three of those artists have now created book covers for me.

And here they are, the King-K artists:

Sarah AdamsSarah Adams did the cover art for both Puzzle Lands books, Skye Object 3270a, and Limit of Vision. Sarah still lives on Maui and does all sorts of art commissions, from graphic design work to digital paintings to oil paintings.

Emily Irwin with MEMORYEmily Irwin created the new cover for Memory. Emily now lives in Montreal**, where she continues to work as a graphic artist.

**Update 5/4/2014: Emily is back in the USA now, but still working as a graphic artist.

Dallas and KodaDallas Nagata White, my daughter, created the cover for The Red: First Light. Dallas is married to Edward A. White, and lives on Oahu now where she works as a professional photographer, specializing in fashion and art photography. The photo in the magazine spread is hers.

All three graduated from King Kekaulike High School within a three-year span. I feel truly lucky to have benefitted from their talents, and to live in a community where art continues to thrive.

The Wild: Chapter 9

Friday, March 8th, 2013

The Wild is my one and only attempt at high fantasy. It’s written in an old-fashioned, formal tone, with old-fashioned heroes, and is quite different from anything else I’ve done. Except for a handful of printed advance-reader-copies (ARCs) created in 2011 to test the market, it’s never been published—until now. I’m serializing it on my blog, one chapter every Friday. I hope you enjoy.

Go to: beginning | prior chapter | next chapter

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Near slopes, far mountains. Artist: Sarah AdamsChapter 9

The next day they set out before dawn and by late morning they were only a few miles from the mountains. The highlands rose abruptly out of the plains, standing up behind a towering palisade of gray rock. The black shapes of birds soared in front of the cliffs, while above them an amber-leaved forest climbed up to meet a high country of evergreens that in its turn gave way to ragged snow fields on the cloud-wrapped summits.
It happened that the wind turned, sweeping down from the north in a strong, steady current. Kina the hound had been dividing her time between Pantheren and Bennek, but when the wind changed she loped ahead, stopping on a slight rise, her nose savoring messages carried on the air.

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