I’ve been absent, and mostly quiet. I noticed this year that I am almost always absent during the early months of the year, and usually for at least the last one; I’m not sure if this is in response to the lessening of the sunlight, because I’ve never actually valued sunlight all that much.
I have been working, though. I’ve just finished the last-but-one stage of Cast in Ruin, which is a review of the copy-edited manuscript; the last stage is the review of the Harlequin version of page proofs, which shouldn’t be for a month or two. I’m working on final revisions of Skirmish now. I also realized that the 50,000 words of Touch as it existed weren’t the right 50,000 words (the short version: at 50k words, I suddenly realized that the book as it’s written is written from the wrong viewpoint character; the right viewpoint character was not at all obvious to me until that point), and I’ve set them aside for now, to concentrate on Cast in Peril (as it is now called). I submitted one new novella, Anne, to Russell Davis’ Courts of the Fey.
You’ll note, in that list, that new writing is not perhaps the order of the day. Or month. I wrote many, many pages of War, and jettisoned them. I finally have a prologue, many, many pages later, that I’m happy with. The West novels generally cause me grief at the very beginning because while I’m certain of characters & place, I’m not always certain which is the right viewpoint – and sometimes writing the beginning makes me realize that the certainty of characters and place was perhaps misplaced. I’m looking, as I write, for the moment when the book snaps into focus and the words are absolutely the right beginning for the book. I now have the right beginning for the book.
Last, but not least, I’ve been figuring out the formats for epubs. Many of my short stories were written for anthologies that are no longer in print, and I’ve been considering re-releasing them in kindle/ebook format. The research into this has reminded me of how little I wanted to be a publisher or an editor when I first started writing; there’s some need for each separate story – if they’re sold separately – to have an individual cover, and I lack, among other things, any artistic talent whatsoever. There’s some excitement at the idea of putting these stories where people can actually read them, though.
The books are trickier. A number of my writer friends are beginning to put their shorter and out-of-print works up at various ebook sites via Smashwords. Smashwords, however, requires that the publisher/author own all of the electronic rights. And with the exception of the short fiction, I don’t.
DAW owns the North American rights to ebooks for all of my DAW titles, but the earlier paper books are lost in the backlog of all of their previous backlist, awaiting conversion. DAW does not own the rest of the world English rights, and I am strongly considering making the backlist of at least the current three books available on amazon.co.uk — but each book is the work of about two full-time weeks, because the manuscript formats I do have are absent any of the later copy-edits and proofing, and they would have to be checked against the book. I also, as mentioned above, don’t have anything approximating cover art, and as an artist, I’m a good writer.
For the Luna Sagara books, all ebook rights are owned by the publisher for all markets – I have no say at all in the timing or the production of their arrival in their various constituencies. Unlike every other short I’ve written, the Luna novella for Harvest Moon, is also entirely under the purview of HLQ for the duration.
So at the moment I’m going over the short fiction, and I have a question: I was considering put up a collection – the one that would have been published by MeishaMerlin, had their doors remained open. That one contained all of the extant West-related shorts, as well as a few others. Someone pointed out that my readers are likely to have some of those stories, and it might make more sense to offer them separately.
Offering them separately would take more time, because of the aforementioned necessary covers.