Author in Motion!

As some of you know, I had my right hip Totally Replaced in December, and the past two months have been largely devoted to regaining the mobility I lost starting with a cycling accident ten years ago. But now the pain meds are out of my system, I’m able to write again – and I am absolutely thrilled to be going to my first Boskone this coming weekend!

Boskone 53

If you’re in the Boston area, consider going; it promises to be a great weekend.  And I would love to meet more of you!  Here’s my schedule:

Friday, 7:00 PM
Room: Harbor II
Writing: Dialog
“No one talks that way!”
“I do.”
“Well, okay, but your characters aren’t all you. How about writing the way other people talk?”
“Okay, let’s have the panelists talk about that …”
Vincent O’Neil (M), A.C.E. Bauer, John Chu, Christie Meierz, Bruce Coville

Friday, 8:00 PM
Room: Marina 2
The Ripper
Fiction’s bad guys may be a dime a dozen, next to the real thing. One of history’s most mysterious and infamous serial killers, Jack the Ripper continues to be a cut above. How has his dark shadow inspired villains in fantastical fiction since he faded into darkness more than 125 years ago?
Dana Cameron (M), Christopher Golden, Leigh Perry, Christie Meierz, E.J. Stevens

Saturday, 4:00 PM
Room: Marina 3
Writing: Pinning Down Your Plot
Complicated plots need proper handling to keep from growing legs and walking away. Writers who lose control of a twisty tale can confuse and/or alienate their readers. But just how do authors manage a complex story line? Come hear their tips for keeping track of the trickiest of plots.
Steven Popkes (M), Ken Altabef, Sharon Lee, Christie Meierz, Vincent O’Neil

Sunday, 10:30 AM
Room: Independence
Reading: Christie Meierz
Christie Meierz

Sunday, 1:00 PM
Room: Griffin
Broad Universe Group Reading
Join members of Broad Universe — a nonprofit association dedicated to supporting, encouraging, and promoting female authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror — as they read tidbits of works and works in progress. Celebrate 16 years of “Broads” with Randee Dawn, Elaine Isaak, Anna Erishkigal, Lisa Hawkridge, Christie Meierz, and Roberta Rogow. Hosted by LJ Cohen.

Sunday, 2:00 PM
Room: Harbor III
How to Kill … a Character
Death shouldn’t be easy. Killing characters within a story shouldn’t just glorify death, or play to prurient interest. How, when, and why should you end a character so that it serves the greater purpose of the story? Is anyone really safe within a story?
Sarah Smith (M), Charles Gannon, David Gerrold, Christie Meierz, E.J. Stevens

And the household has a new denizen….

BanichiMeet Banichi, a black shelter-kitten we adopted around the time of my surgery. He makes an admirable Head of Security, for now.

What can I say? He makes me smile.

Farryn’s War!

So Farryn’s War is out in both e-book and print; the print edition boasts a beautiful interior layout by Melissa Neely and a Tom Peters cover. It’s a thorough-going space opera, and a bit of suspense noir. I hope you like it.

Every villain is the hero of his (or her) own story, and I definitely got to play with that in Farryn’s Warand explore a lot of things I only hinted at in previous books: the history of the human colonies; the reasons the Tolari turned away from spaceflight before their human cousins had running water; and what happens to Tolari who can’t (or won’t) live up to the rigid standards of a close-knit, empathic society.

After the rush of release work, I’m blogging again; you can look forward to the return of Sunday Snippets from my works in progress. On Monday, you might see a post on the subject of literary space opera, romance, and writing your own thing. We’ll see how brave I am.

In other news:

  • The second issue of my newsletter for readers, News from Tolari Space, will go out this weekend; subscribe now!
  • I will be on programming at Capclave in Gaithersburg, MD on October 9-11.  I hope to see some of you there!
  • I’m hosting an Evening of Space Opera and Futuristic Romance at Pittsburgh’s Rickert and Beagle Bookshop on Tuesday evening, October 20, from 6:30 to 8:00 PM.  Discussion, readings, and giveaways of classic SF and space opera; if you’re in driving distance of Pittsburgh, we’ve love to have you there. (It’s co-owned by Peter S. Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, and worth checking out in any case!)

P. S. My website has a new look and feel; tell me what you think!

Why Exiles of the Drift?

Astute readers may have noticed that the Amazon page for my forthcoming novel Farryn’s War has it listed not as Tales of Tolari Space Book 4, but as Exiles of the Drift. What (you might ask) is up with that?

In my Tolari stories, the Drift is a dangerous region of K-space adjacent to humanity’s Six Planets, and within easy reach of at least four of the other races of the Trade Alliance. Beta Hydri – the star that Tolar circles every 2.03 standard years – sits on one of the few safe routes through the Drift, and much of the action of my first three novels involves Earth’s attempts to convince the Tolari to allow humans to build a trade station in the Drift.

Now, if you’re writing about, say, the jungle, you can tell stories about the people who go into the jungle; the people who live in the jungle, though they might occasionally dare to go Outside; and what happens when people from the jungle go Outside to stay. The Tales of Tolari Space series followed the first humans to be invited to Tolar, and the decision of the Tolari to gradually abandon their isolation and end their pretense of being harmless primitives. There are a lot more stories in the offing, set on Tolar and adjacent regions of deep space. These will all be Tales of Tolari Space.

Meanwhile, this new series, Exiles of the Drift, will explore what happens to those Tolari who leave their world and its relative safety, to wrestle with the Outside. There will be adventure, and love stories, and occasional disasters, and comings and goings between Tolar, the Drift, and the worlds beyond, for a good while yet. And Farryn’s War is the first installment.

First Impressions of Windows 10

Windows 10 finally came to my machine this morning, a little late in the game, to be sure.

At first, the promised jump lists did not function. For Word, for example, a little arrow appeared beside its entry on the start menu, but neither mousing over it nor clicking it had any effect. One reboot later, and the jump list was back! I am so so happy not to have to create a desktop or taskbar shortcut for each and every manuscript to which I want quick access. So, yay for that.

Boo for the look. Win 10 is, if anything, uglier than Win 8. Flatter (whose idea was that?). Just as 64-ugly-colorish. With no options to get a 3D look back. What, was someone afraid that if they gave users a choice, we’d reject their bug-ugly idea? I clicked on the clock in the lower right-hand corner to check a date, and the nice compact little calendar had turned into a great, flat, ugly gray thing.

It’s really, at first blush, not terribly different from Win 8.1. Reintroduce the jump lists, stick the metro screen on the start menu, flatten the look even flatter than it was, and voila. I’m wondering if we’ve all been snookered.

Knitting a Story

I have, at various points in my life, been a knitter of some small skill. I learned the art while I was expecting my third child, and took to it like a house-afire, knitting sweater after sweater for those I love, some of which are still in use.

They say that when you first begin to knit, you merrily knit away, churning out project after project at a very quick pace. Then as you gain skill, you slow down, knitting and re-knitting problem areas, practicing your frog stitch (rip-it, rip-it!). Your projects begin not only to fit their intended recipients, but to fit them well. Finally, as you approach mastery of the art, you speed up again.

It occurred to me recently that this could in some ways describe my writing experience. The Marann went very fast, as did Daughters of Suralia. The Fall — well, I think I wrote and rewrote that novel at least three, perhaps four times (I’ve long since lost count). I have definitely hit the middle now, slowing way way way down.

I don’t really believe the million word myth, but it stands to reason that even the most talented individual must hone his craft. Athletes must spend time honing their bodies. Artists must create art. Even Stephen Hawking had to study when he was young, though probably not as much as the rest of us. 🙂

And so I write. Where I’m at in the process of mastery is anyone’s guess, but I am definitely in a slow patch.

Perhaps attending Confluence will shake things loose? I hope to see some of you there.