Favorite Posts

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 09:43 am
marthawells: (Reading)
In lieu of other content, I'm going to link to some of my favorite posts from the Night Bazaar this past year:

Don't Let Them Take Your Reynards The Death of the Necromancer, published in 1998, was my third novel, and my first with a new publisher, Avon Eos. Everything went fine through the editorial process, right up until I received the copyedit, and found that one of the major supporting characters, Captain Reynard Morane, had been all but removed from the book. And it happened that Reynard was gay.

My Favorite Women
There were a lot of books with female protagonists, and sometimes the covers didn’t show them as just sexy victims, but they aren’t as memorable to me as this one. The book more than fulfills the promise of the cover, as Zelde fights her way up from street kid enslaved by a dystopian government to become a space pirate captain and a rebel. It’s a rough raw R-rated story, and I was probably a little young for it, but I feel like it was what I needed to read at that time.

Don't Be That Guy The first review I saw for my first novel was in a national SF/F magazine, and from her summary of the plot, I could tell the reviewer hadn’t actually read the book. She had read the somewhat misleading description on the jacket, and probably the first and last chapters, but not all that stuff in the middle. This wasn’t the last time that happened to me. It isn’t uncommon, and will happen at one point or another to most writers.

Favorite SF/F Worlds and Cultures These are all worlds that permanently impressed themselves into my brain, and greatly influenced my own writing.
marthawells: Cover for the Cloud Roads, Art by Matthew Stewart (The Cloud Roads 2)
New post at the Night Bazaar: Martha Wells: My Last Year
This year, 2011, was supposed to be my last year as a writer. In January of 2010, I was in a really bad place. It had been five years since my last new fantasy novel, three years since my last published book. This is the post where I talk about how I had planned to give up professional writing in 2010. I think I've mentioned it before but not really gone into detail.


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Contest winners: All the Wheel of the Infinites were mailed out last week, and I know some of the US ones already arrived. Most of the copies of The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea have been mailed out, except for one US address and two international ones which I'll take to the post office tomorrow morning.
marthawells: (Reading)
Couple of links first:

I have a new guest post on The Night Bazaar: Readings and Signings Can Suck
When you are first starting out as a writer, doing readings and signings can suck. When you have had a career as a writer for years, doing readings and signings can still suck.

Unless you’re one of the people whose first novel hits big and becomes a bestseller, your first readings and signings are not going to be well-attended. That’s okay. Everybody (whose first books were not bestsellers, and many of those whose first books were bestsellers) has gone through/is going through the same thing. It’s only the people who think that all books are bestsellers and that every writer’s life is wine and roses and villas in Spain and vacations in Provence that are going to be scandalized by the lack of line at your spot on the signing table.


And the audiobook of The Cloud Roads is now up at Amazon here.

***

Yesterday we got given two free tickets to the Texas Renaissance Festival, so we went! And we had a great time. The site looked beautiful (even though it almost burned down in the wildfires twice this past summer, and we're still in severe fire danger conditions) and there were a lot more small craft people and artists selling things this year.

One very neat thing, author Peter Beagle was doing a signing out there with copies of The Last Unicorn and his other work, and I got to talk to him for a minute and get a signed book. I first met him when he was a guest of honor at ApolloCon in Houston a few years ago, so it was really neat to get to see him again.

(You wouldn't think the Texas Renaissance Festival would be a great place for a book signing, but a lot of the people in costume were just the right age to grow up watching The Last Unicorn movie. We never saw the table without a group waiting in line in front of it, and there were cries of "Dude! Dude! The dude who wrote The Last Unicorn is here!!!!")

I didn't spend much money, but got a small beeswax candle (from a 100% beeswax candle maker who was new there this year), a free candle from another candle place who was handing out coupons, some hand-made herbal handlotion, and a small stocking present for a friend. I was very tempted by many handmade soaps, but the soap lady we really like goes to the Sherwood Forest fair, so we decided to wait for her. (Handmade soaps last much much longer and we still have a couple of bars from buying them last February.)

Food: organic breakfast tea, cherry limeade, a sausage kolache (the pastry and tart selection was a lot bigger this year), a chicken pot pie biscuit, and samples from a place selling olive oils and other prepared foods.

It's a huge, huge fair, and I only took a few photos, trying to concentrate on areas I haven't gotten before and new stuff, and sort of succeeded:





more photos )
marthawells: (Manly Hug)
I have a new guest post on the Night Bazaar: Don’t Let Then Take Your Reynards

The Death of the Necromancer, published in 1998, was my third novel, and my first with a new publisher, Avon Eos. Everything went fine through the editorial process, right up until I received the copyedit, and found that one of the major supporting characters, Captain Reynard Morane, had been all but removed from the book. And it happened that Reynard was gay.


***

Yesterday we went to the Sherwood Forest Celtic Festival, on the Sherwood Forest Faire site. The site barely missed being burned down in the Bastrop wildfire, unlike almost all of Bastrop State Park. (The scary thing is Texas fire danger season does not actually start until November 1).

It was a good festival, but it's still in the 90s here and even with all the tree cover it was a little too hot. We honed our talent for finding a music group we wanted to listen to just as they were playing the last song in their set, but we had a good time.

(no subject)

Sunday, August 7th, 2011 09:43 am
marthawells: (John Green Trees)
This morning, I sort of straightened up my office by breaking down a lot of cardboard boxes for the recycling, and putting away some receipts and papers. I still have a ways to go.

Bad news: there's a good chance they're going to start water rationing here soon.

Very good news: There will be an Audible.com edition of The Cloud Roads! The reader will be Chris Kipiniak. I don't know yet when it'll be available, but I'll post here as soon as I find out.

New post by me on the Night Bazaar: Martha Wells: Favorite SF/F Worlds and Cultures If you comment with one or more of your favorite SF/F world or culture, you'll be entered in a drawing to win a copy of Courtney Schafer's new adventure fantasy The Whitefire Crossing.

Criminal Element: History Down Under: Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher by Victoria Janssen
I think I've read all these books and love them. They're set in 1920s Australia.

What I'm reading: The Unexpected Miss Bennet by Patrice Sarath. (The UK version is already out here.) This is the story of Mary Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice. She was the most awkward, socially inept, and bookish of the sisters, and I always found her a very sympathetic character because of that. In The Unexpected Miss Bennet we get to see her grow up, think for herself, and break out of that shell. I'm really enjoying this book, and I think Jane Austen fans will love it.

(no subject)

Sunday, July 17th, 2011 08:33 am
marthawells: (Sam and Vala)
Saw Harry Potter; loved Harry Potter.

New post by me on The Night Bazaar: Don't Be That Guy, about arguing with reviews.

Some people get addicted very quickly to internet attention and sympathy, and are prepared to kill and eat just about anybody to get that attention and sympathy. Don’t be one of those people. And don’t play into the hands of one of those people by responding to their effort to kill and eat you.

(no subject)

Sunday, June 5th, 2011 08:05 am
marthawells: (Wheel of the Infinite)
I did a guest post over at The Night Bazaar: Cover Art Covers are kind of a big deal. Even as ebook sales increase, readers who browse bookstores and libraries are still a large part of the reading/buying audience. Even if the publisher does get the book placed in the new release stands at the front of the chain stores, or faced out in the regular shelves, a passing glance at the cover may be all the chance it gets to make a sale. Covers are also important for attracting the attention of the chain book buyers. They don’t give space or prominent placement to covers they don’t think will sell.

There are a lot of theories, and superstitions, about what makes a good book cover, like the superstition that having non-white characters prominently featured will cause the book to magically fail. This one has been offensive to writers and readers for a long time.



Juliet E. McKenna: Women being published in SF - an issue for all genre readers


If you're on Twitter, check out the #YAsaves tag, as a response to the Wall Street Journal article on YA fiction.

(no subject)

Sunday, May 1st, 2011 09:18 am
marthawells: (John Sheppard)
Good news: My laptop is fixed! It was really good that we were actually in a city with an Apple Store, because it would have been a pain in the ass to do this at home via mail, phone, etc. As it was, we just made an appointment at the Genius Bar in the Galleria store, then when it was our turn I set the exploded battery (see previous post) on the counter and said, "So, this happened," and they said, "Free battery for you!" and that was it.

My signing at Murder by the Book also went very well, as usual there. We had cookies, I did a brief reading from chapter one of The Cloud Roads, answered a few questions, signed books, signed stock, and the books that had been bought via email, then hung out and talked a bit with friends. My only regret was that I was kind of frazzled from worrying about the laptop and so on, and couldn't concentrate enough on the used book sale the store was having to find anything I wanted. It's a fabulous store with a giant selection of new and used mysteries, plus some new YA and SF/F, and I highly recommend it. They still have some signed copies of The Cloud Roads and you can buy one by emailing or calling the store, if you can't get there in person.

I also have a new post at The Night Bazaar this morning, called Writing Media Tie-ins. I wrote about my two Stargate: Atlantis books, and my huge love for SF/F TV and fanfic and media fiction.
marthawells: Cover for the Cloud Roads, Art by Matthew Stewart (The Cloud Roads 2)
I've got a new post up at the Night Bazaar blog on Secondary World Fantasy. That's the topic there all this week.

This is also the official release week for The Cloud Roads on the Night Bazaar site and we're doing a book giveaway for it over there. Just comment on my Night Bazaar post there, or on any other post at the Night Bazaar this week, with the title of a novel set in a secondary world, and you’ll be entered in the drawing at the end of the week for one of at least four autographed and personalized copies of The Cloud Roads. (If you want to check the book out, there are reviews and sample chapters on my site here.)

If there's a bunch of entries, I'll probably add a couple more copies. If you know anybody who might be interested in entering the drawing, please pass this along.

***

Yesterday we took a break from everything and went to Sherwood Forest Faire near Austin, and had a fabulous time. It was kind of windy and dusty at times, but since the site is almost completely under tree cover, it wasn't too bad.

Couple of highlights: there was an ent out there this time, and I got pictures which I'll post as soon as I wake up enough to find the camera. Plus the Circa Paleo has a stage out there, with a coffee house and hookah bar. It was a very neat set up. They had a tent with a counter that sold all kinds of hot and iced tea and coffee drinks, with tables and floor cushions for the people using the hookahs. It's close enough to the stage to hear the music and see the band.
marthawells: (Lafayette)
I have a guest post on the Night Bazaar: Stealing Time about wedging time for writing into your life any way you can, and how people will occasionally try to prevent you from doing that.


links:


Omnivoracious: Kameron Hurley on Fearing the Woman in the Dark Alley
If you ran into a svelte woman in a dark alley wearing leather pants and a halter top, would your first instinct be to fear for your life? Run away? Prepare to defend yourself?

Web Urbanist: Awesome Street Art in Mexico
marthawells: (Wheel of the Infinite)
I've got another guest post up on The Night Bazaar: Avoiding Writing Scams, about a new writer who was actually trapped by a writing scam, back before Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors and all those other sites that warn about those kind of traps existed.

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Texas writer Melissa Mia Hall has passed away. She was a short story writer, poet, critic, and interviewer, and editor of the anthology Wild Women, which featured stories by Margaret Atwood, Erica Jong, Ursula Le Guin, Alice Walker, Kate Wilhelm, Takeo Tomioko, Joe Lansdale, and others. She was only 55.

(no subject)

Sunday, January 16th, 2011 08:36 am
marthawells: (Wheel of the Infinite)
Just made another guest post over at The Night Bazaar: My Favorite Women. The theme for posts this week is favorite female protagonists.

There's also a book giveaway contest to win free copies of Kameron Hurley’s God’s War. It’s available now, and Publishers Weekly says Hurley’s world-building is phenomenal... (she) smoothly handles tricky themes such as race, class, religion, and gender without sacrificing action.
marthawells: Cover for the Cloud Roads, Art by Matthew Stewart (The Cloud Roads 2)
The new cold front hit, and we had freezing rain all night. It must have been freezing horizontal rain at one point, because it leaked in through a downstairs window that's fairly well protected. I just hope I don't have to go anywhere today.


I made my first guest post on the new blog The Night Bazaar: The Night Bazaar: the Road Here and it's about The Cloud Roads, and its long and somewhat fraught road to publication. (Contains no spoilers for the story.) Some of it I've talked about here before, some of it I haven't, because it was a bit painful at the time.

The Night Bazaar

Monday, January 3rd, 2011 08:11 am
marthawells: (Wheel of the Infinite)
I'm going to be blogging at another site for a few days this month. It's The Night Bazaar, which is a brand new blog for authors who have debut novels with Night Shade Books. Most of the bloggers are first time novelists, so they're going to focus a bit on the process of writing their book, finding an agent, and similar topics. I'll be doing at least two or three Sunday guest posts, and Carol Berg will also be doing a Sunday guest post. I'll post links here on the days I blog over there.


I spent most of yesterday clearing out clothes closets and amassing a large collection of sacks for Good Will. It always feels so good to get stuff I don't need/want anymore out of the house. I also made a butternut squash and carrot pie with onion, bacon, and garlic for dinner, and it turned out really well. Someone on Facebook asked for the recipe, and it is: "I peeled and baked the butternut squash first, for about 25 minutes at 375, so it could be cut up into little pieces easily. Then I cut the bacon up into small pieces and started it cooking with a little olive oil, added chopped onions and... chopped garlic. When the onions were cooked, I added a bunch of butter and the squash pieces, and let it cook about five minutes. I just pared the carrots and lined the bottom of the pie crust with them, then put the squash onion etc mixture in on top. Then I baked it about 35 minutes at 375."

Links:

Publishers Weekly: Borders Suspends Payments to Some Publishers This is really not good. There are authors that Barnes and Noble does not carry in their brick and mortar stores, even though they sell them online, that Borders does carry, and vice verse. If either chain goes out of business, it's going to be a disaster for a large number of authors.

Agent Joshua Bilmes has an article here on what's happening with Borders and why.

WebUrbanist: Don Kenn - Sticking it to the art world. The weirdly cute monster art of Don Kenn.

The 2011 Hugo Awards are having an open nomination period.

Plus, there's a new Night Shade Books Newsletter

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