Linda Nagata: the blog at Hahví.net


Archive for June, 2013

Clarion West Write-a-thon:
Week 1 Progress Report

Sunday, June 30th, 2013

This year I’m participating for the first time in the Clarion West Write-a-thon, which runs from June 23 through August 2. The goal of the Write-a-thon is to raise awareness of the Clarion West Writers Workshop, along with money that will go toward funding next year’s workshop. Participating writers set their own writing goals and strive to meet them; supporters provide moral support and a donation if they can. If you’d like to donate, please visit my participant page.

Writing Goal 1: add 20,000 words to the “The Red: Trials,” my novel-in-progress.

Writing Goal 2: Have two short stories in solid draft. Short is a keyword. Novelettes don’t count.

Week 1 Result
On June 22, one day before the official start of the write-a-thon, I finished the draft of a short story. I’m bending the rules a bit, and calling that the first of the two short stories, so I’m already 50% of the way to Goal 2! Wednesday and Thursday mostly went toward polishing this story. I’m going to have one more reader look at it, but hope to send it to market Monday or Tuesday.

And the novel? Well…on June 17 I finished the first major section of the story, and then realized my outline was wildly out of date, and that I had only the fuzziest idea of what would happen next. So progress stopped while I considered everything, and contemplated, and brainstormed, and worked on other projects. That process continued through most of this past week. Then on Friday I put together a new style of outline for the next two sections of the book. This clarified things, and I was suddenly able to start writing again. Friday and Saturday combined produced 3600 new (albeit rough) words, 18% of my goal.

I have a strong suspicion I’ll be cutting a lot of wordage out of this section on second draft. This is rare for me. I tend to underwrite the first draft, not overwrite. But for now the object is to get a complete first draft, so…onward!

The Wild: Chapter 25

Friday, June 28th, 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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Mountains & River. Artist: Sarah AdamsChapter 25

The next morning Lanyon again arose early and went to look out the cliff windows, but she hesitated on the bridge when she saw Zavoy standing watch. He beckoned to her. “You do not need to fear me.”

She approached reluctantly. Zavoy had forced Gonly to stand before the people and confess his violence, and afterward to suffer the stern rebuke of his kin; but in the end it was agreed Gonly had been misled by the ghost Renthian, and after he swore his loyalty to Zavoy, he was forgiven.

Lanyon looked on Zavoy’s haggard face and suspected he had not forgiven himself. She wondered if he had slept at all.

(more…)

Free Short-Story Ebook

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Through Your Eyes by Linda Nagata; cover art by Dallas Nagata White

Cover art for “Through Your Eyes” by
Dallas Nagata White (click image to view large version)

Update: July 19, 2013
This promotion has ended, but the ebook is presently available for purchase at Mythic Island Press LLC for $1.25.

My short story “Through Your Eyes” was published in Asimov’s Science Fiction‘s April/May 2013 issue. It’s never been generally available — until now.

“Through Your Eyes” is a prequel story to my newest novel, The Red: First Light. Right now, I’m offering an ebook copy to everyone who subscribes to my newsletter.***

To get your copy, just fill in your email address and a name in the “New Book Alerts” form at the top of the righthand column, or if you’re using a feed that doesn’t show the column you can go here to fill in the form.

After you submit the form, you’ll get an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you do that, you’ll get a thank-you email that includes the web address where you can download both EPUB and MOBI (Kindle) versions of the “Through Your Eyes” ebook, which also includes an excerpt from The Red: First Light Note that it usually takes ten or fifteen minutes for this email to arrive.

My newsletter doesn’t go out very often. Generally I send it when I have new publications to announce, so you won’t be spammed. I hope you’ll sign up. It’s the best way I’ve found to stay in touch with readers.

*** The download is also available to current subscribers. An email has been sent explaining how to get it. If you’re a subscriber and didn’t get the email, please check your spam folder.

The Wild: Chapter 24

Friday, June 21st, 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

* * *

Near slopes, far mountains. Artist: Sarah AdamsChapter 24

Pantheren kept watch at the cliff windows with his bow in hand, ready, if an arowl should dare to show itself. He listened to the silence of the forest, and when that was shattered by a dreadful din of panicked howls he listened for some clue to the outcome of the hunt. It wasn’t long before he heard, faintly, the triumphant shouts of the hunters. He dared to believe all was well—until another arowl voice lanced the night, a horrible, pitiable screeching. Lanyon gripped his arm, looking up at him for explanation, but he had none. “I don’t know what it means.”

There was a witch light in the courtyard below. It flickered as Pantheren spoke, and then it faded. Within seconds the cavern was filled with an inky darkness invulnerable to the starlight that fell in through the windows. Lanyon’s grip on his arm tightened. “There is an Inyomere here.”

“Where is it?”

“Below us . . . around us. Look there! Across the bridge—”

(more…)

Advertisements & The Landing Page

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

I’ve been running some online advertising for The Red: First Light. It’s the first time I’ve ever tried this, and for this book I think it’s been a worthwhile exercise. If you noticed the ad, PLEASE let me know in the comments, and if you remember where you saw it, I’d like to know that too. I’m really curious, about it because I know that we (me) tend to use the “mental ad block” so that we just don’t see what’s there.

Anyway, I was talking to my daughter, Dallas Nagata White, a few days ago. She looked at the ad, clicked on it, and was not remotely impressed with my landing page, which was just the page on my website that talks about the book. She felt the page didn’t convey anything about the feeling, the flavor of the book. I think my response was something along the line of, “Yep, I understand what you’re saying, but I don’t really have time to do anything.”

Then out-of-the-blue last night Dallas called me up and said she’d created a digital painting to be the background of a new landing page. Given that I have only a few days left on my current ad run, and that I wanted to see if a new landing page had any effect on sales, I put aside what I was working on and dove into designing the page layout. It went up at midnight. Take a look at it here. It’s more spectacular anyway!

Like nearly everyone else, I have no idea what it takes to sell books — but I’m willing to try new things.

Please let me know if you’ve noticed the ad!

War Stories

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

This is a press release from Andrew Liptak and Jaym Gates. They’re getting the word out on an upcoming anthology of military science fiction. If you’re a writer interested in contributing, there will be an open submissions period. If you’re a reader interested in the range of military science fiction, stay tuned!

Since 2001, the role of the military around the world has drastically changed as conflicts have raged in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The decade long war on terror has highlighted changes in how war is conducted, and the violence has impacted millions of soldiers, civilians and families across the world. Yet, in the United States, the general public and those who serve rarely cross paths: only a small fraction of the population protects the country and fights on their behalf. As the soldiers return home, it’s vital that we understand what they did, and why it matters.

War Stories, co-edited by Andrew Liptak and Jaym Gates, will be an anthology of military science fiction, containing stories that emphasize the cultural, social, political and psychological repercussions of modern war. The anthology has been acquired by Jason Sizemore’s Apex Publications and will be funded through a Kickstarter campaign.
(more…)

The Wild: Chapter 23

Friday, June 14th, 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

* * *

Owl on branch. Artist: Sarah AdamsChapter 23

Zavoy slept little that night, and when he arose he went at once to the library, where he took out The Journal of Days that had been kept by his people since they crossed over the mountains. His father had never learned to write, and had assigned the keeping of the book to another, but Zavoy had learned reading and writing at an early age, and The Journal was his passion. By the blue glow of a witch light he began to chronicle the past night’s remarkable events, writing in tiny characters to make the most of each page of precious paper.

After a time the door opened and thirteen-year old Lehe peeped inside. Zavoy smiled. Lehe was his cousin on his mother’s side. She did not care for the hunt, and rarely went outside the cavern, but like Zavoy she loved to read the old manuscripts, and hear the words of the far fathers and far mothers of long ago. “Everyone is still asleep downstairs,” she said with a pout.

“Come in then, and read.”

(more…)

Patty Jansen on Hard SF

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

I missed Patty Jansen’s post when it came out at the start of May, but finally discovered it today, and recommend it if you’re interested in a thoughtful look at hard science fiction. The post is called “There are girl cooties on my space ship — on women writing hard SF.”

I’m not a fan of the term “girl cooties” because, going by my personal experience, it vastly over-simplifies a complex dynamic in the hard SF genre. That said, Patty had a good reason for using it. Her post starts with a description of her encounter with an editor who admitted he was reluctant to consider a hard SF novel written by a woman: “I hate to say that, but yeah, that is a problem”

(My own hard SF novels were sold at or before the turn of the century — a different age.)

But beyond this experience, Patty has a lot more thoughts on the subgenre, including the very thing I’ve gotten so agitated about lately:

Books are about people and the perception that hard SF is only about tech and not about character is rubbish.

Absolutely.

There is also blunt discussion on the gender ratio of hard SF readers, which leads to this:

A book that doesn’t sell fails to reach the right audience, never mind the gender. How about we stop trying to push books to the same old, same old group who supposedly don’t read women, and try to engage a general audience? In other words, pull the space ship that is hard SF into the garage and give it an overhaul. Get rid of the retro shit. There is certainly none in any of my books.

I strongly believe that if you want to sell a broader range of hard SF you need to step outside the current narrow audience with the narrow marketing messages.

This is an interesting point to me because, you know, marketing. The idea, in part, is that most hard SF books have “gendered” covers that say “this is for dudes.” So take a look at my books — the covers are there on the left; scroll down to see them all. With the exception of The Red: First Light I don’t think they’re aimed at a particular gender — and of course they don’t exactly sell in great quantity either.

So now I’ve got something else to cogitate on. There will be more to come on the subject of hard SF, but in the meantime, do go read Patty’s post.

The Dread Hammer–on sale

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Cover for The Dread HammerFor no particular reason, I’m putting The Dread Hammer ebook on sale for $2.99 until the end of the week — but only at my webstore.

The Dread Hammer is a fantasy novel, but it’s not “fat.” The print version comes in at a spare 214 pages, so no long-term commitments here! But if you like this one, there is a second book, Hepen The Watcher.

Here’s one reviewer’s conclusion about The Dread Hammer:
“It is the amount of heart this book has that really sells it for me. It is a book that falls into the gritty fantasy label for sure, but with a certain amount of sweetness.”Fantasy Review Barn

And from an enthusiastic reader:
“Richly developed characters drive the action of the novel and lend it the feel of an epic fantasy without the page count. The book’s hero, Smoke, is an almost mythic figure: complex, powerful, and conflicted. Smoke’s relationships are filled with turmoil, passion, and deeply human moments. Smoke’s vulnerability serves as an excellent contrast to his power.” –Jared Nelson

Find the book on sale here. Scroll down to read the opening.

Clarion West Write-a-thon

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

The number of SFF writers who’ve attended a Clarion Writers Workshop is really amazing. Sometimes it seems like “everyone” has…except of course that everyone hasn’t. Me, for example. By the time my writing reached the point where I might have qualified for Clarion, I was the mother of two young children, and there was no way I was going to leave them for six weeks–even if there had been enough money for it, which there wasn’t.

So in my mind Clarion has always been one of those things that other people do, like going to Europe, or living in a city with a literary community or something—definitely an advantage to a writing career, but not a necessity. Somehow I’ve managed without it…or have I? Maybe this has always been the missing ingredient! 🙂

At any rate, this summer I’ve decided to participate if only in an auxiliary fashion, by joining the Clarion West Write-a-thon. The goal of the Write-a-thon is to raise awareness, along with money that will go toward funding next year’s workshop. If you’d like to donate, please visit my participant page. My big goal is to force myself to stop squandering time online and instead spend more focused time writing.

I’ll be reporting on my success both here and on my participant page***. Wish me luck!

And find a list of all participants at the bottom of this page.

*** Update: I don’t think there’s a way to report progress on the participant page, so I’ll just do it here.