There is a sense to this last week, as the year speeds to its end. Most years, there is, of course, though it’s often submerged in the sense of rushing and getting things done for the end of the year. Parties, friends, one last chance to see people and get gifts wrapped. That sort of thing. This year, it feels like I’m getting things done, too, but there’s a sense of purpose to it.
I’m not — despite being a writer and therefore seeing plots and sense everywhere — in general given to seeing “It’s intended” or “meant to be” but these last two weeks might be the exception.
It’s not just that — without going into detail on this, as it would fall under washing one’s dirty laundry in public — I was given strong incentive (shall we say) to go indie on the fiction side, but also that the non-fiction side has been cut back to bare bones for reasons having nothing to do with me, or my competency at the work. And that this happened the same week about two weeks ago.
Look, for years now — to be exact 7 years, and certainly 5 years — I’ve known I should walk away from traditional publishing and go indie. The money side is far more rewarding, but beyond that, my traditional career has been a long and weird slalom of getting shoved away from what I actually wanted to do and to weird byways I never intended.
Witness the fact it took me 13 years to publish space opera which is — as older son has put it — “where your heart lies.” It’s not quite true. I mean, I grew up on both space opera and mystery. Sure, I like — and read — fantasy too, but I came to it late, in my mid to late twenties, and it will never be part of my core identity or thinking. I enjoy it. I will occasionally write it, but I’m aware I’m askew to its core readers.
And yet, for 13 years that was what I as pushed into doing if I wanted to be published.
There’s other stuff. Not complaining. I’ve had a longer traditional career — by more than double — than most people get. I had to make compromises, of course. Traditional IS compromises.
Not that indie won’t have it, too. As I am finishing the year with a blow-out indie sale, I am incredibly aware that what I want to do and what sells aren’t necessarily the same thing. Not that I have any science fiction out indie (this is about to change in the next six months) but because mysteries blow the doors off everything else by a factor of ten. Which is okay. I don’t mind mysteries. There might even be…. science fiction mysteries. (Soon and very soon. Research is happening. Characters are named.)
But it’s different. Going in a direction you know your fans want is different from going in a direction you know the house wants, but that the fans are puzzled by, and which won’t allow you to grow the audience. This is not unusual and it’s a bane of traditional publishing. Their market info is three years out of date, if not by design, by built-in biases of the way the industry “has always worked.” Which explains their triumphant upward spiral. (Yes, I’m joking. It’s okay. It only hurts when I laugh.)
So, anyway, I’ve felt for a long time I should walk away and just go indie. But chains of loyalty and diffidence held me. When you know one way of doing things, it’s hard to change in your mid fifties. It was startling to be cut loose, but also incredibly freeing. It was much like holding a position you’ve held so long you don’t realize everything hurts, until you change. I realized how much of — I wouldn’t call it block — my tiredness towards fiction came from a sense of a dead end, a closed road. I realized earlier last year that I no longer believed I could achieve anything or make a living from traditional publishing, not long term (which is stupid and counterfactual in many ways, but that was the feeling.) Given that, the ending of the year was fitting. Freeing too.
Then there was non-fiction, which was providing a good chunk of my income, but I was also aware was eating the fiction, or even the DESIRE to write fiction. Part of it is my non-fiction being political. I don’t mind being political. I don’t mind giving political opinions. Obviously. I am an intensely political animal, shaped as I was by the turbulent times of my youth.
On the other hand, given my odd and ah… quirky political orientation, much of politics drives me batsh*t crazy. With extra bats. And writing political non fiction to the extent I was doing — I was aiming for four or five posts a week — was forcing me to stay with the passing stream and pay attention to every glimmer. Even then I was blocking on it. I didn’t want to deal with it, to put it mildly.
Which means whenever I had time to write, I would sit down and be overdue on posts. Which meant that I never had time for fiction. And non-fiction doesn’t make me happy i the same way.
So to be cut back (I’ll probably still write how to write and such for them, on my own, but the political ones are down to 4 a month, which I can do in one day a week) suddenly and startlingly is scary, but also really, really freeing. It’s another weight off my mind.
But wait, there’s more: After two years of my being unnaturally attached to a carpet cleaner, and still having a dodgy smell around the house, because one of the cats is very elderly and keeps forgetting where the box is (literally. If you catch him and carry him to the box, he looks startled like “dear lady. Why didn’t you tell me?”) we found wood at a ridiculously good price. We spent the last two weeks putting up floor and — unexpectedly — were able to do my library, which puts “putting up the library system” and unpacking the fargin research books in some semblance of order within reach. Which in turn puts things like the next musketeer’s mystery, the second vampire musketeers, alternate red baron, and other things that have been kicking around my braincase within reach as well.
Then there is the rendering computer, which I’ve been limping on, sometimes unable to make it work the way I wanted and having to do a ton of cover work by hand. It is being overhauled and reconfigured as we speak. We SHOULD honestly buy a new one, but we think with an external drive and stuff it can limp another year. And be FAR MORE functional and less frustrating. This was percipitated by it emburkering (totally a word) completely and us being forced to fix it, but it might be as grandmother would say one of those ills that come for good, in the end.
It’s like these final days of the year, things that have been disordered and broken are falling neatly in place to allow me to work next year. Like I’ve spent a lot of time pacing the ante-chamber, and now the door is opening, and I can get on with the business that brought me here.
It is time.
And, oh, yeah, that sale.
It has been going amazingly well.
Right now, still on sale — and I realize it’s a lot, but I think if you buy one of everything I put on sale it will cost you $20 — for the next few days (when there will be more.):
This is 99c to midnight the 26th.
From the trenches of WWI where the Red Baron just can’t help turning into a dragon, to the desert sands of a future world where humans have become something else, from a coffee shop between worlds where magicians gather, to a place where your worst nightmare can love you, let Dragon Blood take you on a series of fantastic adventures.
With an introduction by Pam Uphoff
This collection contains the stories: Rising Above, From Out The Fire, Yellow Tide Foam,
Hot, The Blood Like Wine,The Least Of These Little Ones,
Scraps Of Fog,Something Worse Hereafter,The Littlest Nightmare,Dragon Blood
Note that I’m not absolutely sure whether to do Red Baron to the future of Dragon Red Baron first. Suggestions accepted.
Witchfinder if 99c for the next couple of the days. (Yes, I’m almost done with a new cover, but not today.)
In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.
A collection of short stories by Award Winning Author Sarah A. Hoyt. From dark worlds ruled by vampires, to magical high schools, to future worlds where super-men have as many problems as mere mortals, this collection shows humans embattled, imperiled, in trouble, but never giving up. Angel in Flight is set in Sarah Hoyt’s popular Darkship series.
The collection contains the stories: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
First Blood, Created He Them, A Grain Of Salt, Shepherds and Wolves,
Blood Ransom,The Price Of Gold,Around the Bend,An Answer From The North,
Heart’s Fire,Whom The Gods Love,Angel In Flight,Dragons as well as an introduction by fantasy writer Cedar Sanderson.
A Dyce Dare Mystery
When she was six, Dyce Dare wanted to be a ballerina, but she couldn’t stop tripping over her own feet. Then she wanted to be a lion tamer, but Fluffy, the cat, would not obey her. Which is why at the age of twenty nine she’s dumpster diving, kind of. She’s looking for furniture to keep her refinishing business going, because she would someday like to feed herself and her young son something better than pancakes.
Unfortunately, as has come to be her expectation, things go disastrously wrong. She finds a half melted corpse in a dumpster. This will force her to do what she never wanted to do: solve a crime.
Life is just about to get crazy… er… crazier. But at least at the end of the tunnel there might be a relationship with a very nice Police Officer.
When Dyce Dare decides to refinish a piano as a gift for her boyfriend, Cas Wolfe, the last thing she expects is to stumble on an old letter that provides a clue to an older murder. She thinks her greatest problems in life are that her friend gave her son a toy motorcycle, and that her son has become unaccountably attached to a neurotic black cat named Pythagoras. She is not prepared for forgotten murder to reach out and threaten her and everything she loves, including her parents’ mystery bookstore.
A Dyce Dare Mystery.
Originally published by Prime Crime.
When Dyce Dare buys a table to refinish, the last thing she expects is to find a human blood stain under the amateurish finish. Whose blood is it? What happened to the person who bled on the table?
Helped and hindered by her fiance, Cas Wolfe, her friend Ben, her son E and an imaginary llama named Ccelly, Dyce must find the killer and the victim, before the killer finds her.
A Dyce Dare Mystery.