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    • michelle

      Living Room Etiquette   07/25/17

      Welcome to my living room on the internet.   Let me talk a little bit about the history of my home on the internet. I started out blogging on LiveJournal, which is a blogging community. And I talked about publishing and process, but in a fairly general way.   And that worked for a number of years.   What I almost never talked about was my books. But over time, people found my LJ, and they wanted to talk about my books, and I felt a little self-conscious talking about my books on LiveJournal, where the community was more general and more social, and talking about my books felt a little conspicuously like shouting: Me Me Me!   So: I started my author web-site. I posted sample chapters. I talked--when I had any news--about my books. I didn't post often, because I didn't want to drive people who came to the web-site purely for news or information away.   And that seemed to work.   But a funny thing happened. I'm not, and have never been, Robert Jordan, George Martin or Patrick Rothfuss in terms of my reach. I don't have the kind of buzz they generate, and I'm fine with that. I'm not Misty Lackey or Melanie Rawn, either.   I write my books. I try not to say too much about them, because some people hate spoilers. I try not to complain too much about the process, because every job anywhere is difficult sometimes. But… I can't really talk about my books as if I were a reader, because I can't ever approach them as a reader would for the first time. Or even the twentieth.   And sometimes people want to talk about the experience of reading my books. But given my general invisibility on fantasy reader radars, they haven't found many places in which they can do that.   A few years ago, my readers began to talk to each other - on my web-site, because they found people who were also interested in talking about my books there. On a release-day post about the latest novel. This made some readers unhappy because of course discussing the books meant spoilers. I then made a separate SPOILER thread, which people could easily avoid.   That worked, and I made a spoiler thread for almost every subsequent book.   So readers who wanted to discuss the book with other readers spoke to each other on the spoiler threads. I stay out of the spoiler threads. I stay out of the discussions about my books. And I've been able to do that because, while people don't always agree, they don't descend into acrimony and flames.   But the spoiler thread for Cast in Peril was 369 comments long. And that's a lot of comments, and possibly a long load time.   And I thought: maybe it's time to try forums.   I wouldn't have considered forums at all if the spoiler threads had descended into invective and angry ranting; they never have. The people who post and discuss on them have been helpful and reasonable, even when they don't agree with each other.   And what I want out of forums is for that to continue. I don't expect my forums to be crowded; I don't expect that they'll need to be moderated or policed, because of the history of the readers who have posted on my web-site.   But forums in general have rules and policies, and it's best to be clear about those up front, in case of future need. So.   The Living Room rules:   1. Since it's my Living Room, there's a strong possibility that children and grandmothers will stroll past or stop in, since both frequent my house. So I'd ask you to keep that in mind when it comes to profanity. Swear as much as I do.   2. Door to door salesmen frequently interrupt social gatherings, and they're not there to join the discussion. So: don't be that person. This isn't a tupperware party, and I don't want anyone to attempt to sell things to my visitors. If you notice that someone is advertising cheap watches or winning lottery numbers or any variant thereof, report it - and ignore it. It'll be cleaned up and swept out the door.   3. No flaming. Which is to say: no personal attacks or insults. I don't expect this will be a problem because it hasn't been - and I'd really like that to continue. Also, and this is a personal thing: don't accuse someone of trolling just because they disagree with you. Sometimes people disagree; they're not doing it to enrage or derail.   4. Things NOT to discuss on these forums: Real-world religions (any). Real-world politics (any). Explicit sexuality (because: children & grandmothers. And, to be fair, me). There are many other places to discuss any of these things - and I ask that you discuss them there. Here is not the place. This is possibly the only thing I'll be draconian about.   If, in the opinion of the management, you break these rules, we'll probably ask you to sit out the topic. If you break these rules more than once, we may ask you to sit out the week. If you can't communicate without breaking these rules, this is not the forum for you; there are lots of forums on the internet that will be more to your liking.   Also: I believe that readers should be able to discuss what they want to discuss, even if what they want to discuss is how a particular book I've written didn't work for them. For obvious reasons, I would like to personally avoid those discussions because I don't want to be a damper, and because it's not possible for me to be consistently objective about my own work. It's not entirely possible to avoid these discussions on the web-site; on the forums it will be. I've asked Tchula Ripton to moderate, as she's been the list-mom on the Yahoo West list for a number of years.   So on those parts of the forum where the discussions are about my works, she wears the big hat where necessary, because I'm not there.   As for the forums: any member can create topics, and any member can read any forum and reply there. If, for instance, you want to get people's opinions on ebook readers, you can start a post in the “Random†category, and ask.


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  1. Cast in Ruin. The end - I love Bellusdeo so much. I nearly cry over those last few paragraphs.
  2. Cast in Flight excerpt

    Really I should go back and review that. I had a vague idea that her things were being packed with Teela's, in a trunk on a carriage. But they may have counted on the hospitality where they stayed taking care of any cleaning and mending and so on that needed to be done, rather than packing lots of stuff.
  3. Cast in Flight excerpt

    Fancy dresses in a pack? oh dear. Somehow I always felt sure Kaylin had sneaked her regular clothes in using the pack. The Human Caste Court was referred to a couple of times as being nothing but merchants or some such, in different books; I wonder if its politics will grow more complicated at some point?
  4. Cast in Flight excerpt

    Did anyone's luggage actually make it to the West March, let along back to the city? Kaylin's next visit to Tiamaris could be interesting. I hope Grethan is learning fast. At least her work with the midwives hasn't been lost. Sometimes I forget how little time happens in the books between books, so to speak. Emmerian seems obvious now. Too obvious? There's no hurry, after all. (I kind of wonder how they will manage if/when there are dragon eggs to hatch - where? With what guards? What teachers? There are so few dragons that we know of. Hatchlings would be a great temptation to the dragon in/of Ravellon.)

    Interesting to look at! Thank you, Aquilegia.

    Thanks, Aviania.

    I may have to go reread to see if anyone anywhere has ever said anything about Kaylin's father, even Kaylin.

    I didn't think Nightshade was going to "get a pass" - I thought people were going to be really mad at him. I don't think the Consort or the two main Barrani Lords, her brothers, have seen it yet. I can't really figure what anyone would do about it except yell; I'm not sure it would cause an actual retaliation because of Barrani politics and politics in general. Threats, maybe. Sanabalis might be displeased, too. Marcus will probably need a new desk. Again. If Nightshade had physically struck her, the damage might have been less obvious, depending on how hard he hit. I wonder if he was amazed that she still could resist him. Tchula, I had the same feeling about him being shocked. The laughter had a strange feeling of him being not in control of himself, perhaps. eta: I may have said this already. Sorry!

    I believe the woman called Kaylin's mother in the books was Kaylin's mother. I don't think I know anything about her father that I can recall. The belief Kaylin has that she is mortal is consistent: if it turns out she was wrong, I can live with that. I might be a little disappointed, because there's something to the idea of a heroine who is mortal rather than being one of the immortal class with all that goes along with that. And if it turns out she was mortal but the power given to her will sustain her longer than most mortals, I can live with that. Either way, sometimes the stories need something I didn't expect or plan for. But pulling out the "oh wait, you were actually born special" card after the character has spent a lot of time identifying with the "nonspecial" can seem like cheating, as if it there's some unwritten rule that no one who isn't born "special" will ever be a heroine. That may be one of those situations the writer just can't win: readers may complain if she is *or* if she isn't.
  10. Random thoughts upon re-read

    I suspect it would take the writer to explain that for sure. I queried it as well, but decided it was some Barrani principle. Also, if the dragon was killed then, another villain would have had to be developed for later. *wry grin* I did think it meant he thought Kaylin should be allowed to make her own kill or decision about it: perhaps this is a Barrani thing that if you have power you will be pushed, tested, and watched. And judged.
  11. SHADOWS - Robin McKinley

    I liked this - I read it not too long ago. From the library, though, so I couldn't find my copy when I went to look for it and re-read it a couple of days ago. *wry grin*
  12. Random thoughts upon re-read

    Ali, was it Mandoran who had the hair thing going on in one of their escapades? I thought that was so amazing, hair that helped break down a barrier. He and Annarion are so different than the other Barrani. It's really interesting, and it's probably going to cause a lot of trouble one way or another. *grins madly* They can point out odd things and ordinary things in ways other characters can't, because they *are* new to the city in so many ways. They are really clever additions to the cast, as well as being useful power-wise. I still am waiting to see how Annarion and Nightshade resolve things-- if they do! I don't think Nightshade told anyone about the time travel and I wonder how upsetting others would find that - both that it happened and that he didn't say anything. But I am really looking forward to Cast in Flight, which I think will involve Moran's people more - it's gonna be cool.
  13. Random thoughts upon re-read

    Ali, I looked at that line about Helen being her home till she died and --I am so mean -- I thought hmm, I wonder how many books it will be before that falls through. I think Helen must think he's safely contained. She would not want him able to affect herself, right? And that it's somewhere Kaylin can't, at this point, go. . . .but could Mandoran or Annarion? Or someone else? But I'd hate to jinx Kaylin by saying, oh, I'm sure we'll never see him again. I won't be disappointed if Kaylin is able to stay with Helen; it's just that it's like daring fate to hand you another lemon, thinking things like that.
  14. Random thoughts upon re-read

    Ali, yes. And given Helen's reactions, it's hard to imagine Nightshade putting up with a long-distance relationship where he has to visit there. I'm pretty sure she's going to tell us a whopper of a story again, no matter what it costs those characters, and I have to admit that while I've not thought of myself as gloating over the misfortunes of others. .. . I like it that way. The books really rely on those three characters and the way they are tangled up. Changing any of those relationships very much would be difficult, I suspect: say Severn was killed or chose to walk away. Someone would have to replace in him in some way - Kaylin talks to herself enough as it is, and the Hawks are sent out in pairs as far as I can tell. There'd have to be tension and fascination in the character interaction or one might lose readers. Kind of an if it isn't broken, don't fix it -- the relationships here may be broken, but as a function of the books, the setup is not broken: it works excellently. Can't stop talking about them, in fact. sigh. .. . how long do we have to wait?
  15. Random thoughts upon re-read

    Thanks, Shadoes. Maybe I'll have to reread soon to refresh my memory.