Writing and Other Afflictions

"If it was easy, everyone would do it." –Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own"

Tower and the Fox e-book on sale!

Happy Independence Day! To celebrate the American Revolution, my Revolutionary War-era fantasy book is now out in e-book form from baddogbooks.com. You can get it in either MOBI (Kindle) or ePub form, and you’ll be supporting an independent bookseller, not Amazon or Apple or Google.

But if you’re stuck on one of those platforms, it’ll be there come August.

Advertisements

Clarion Write-A-Thon time!

I’m joining the Clarion Write-A-Thon again this year! My goal is to get some editing hours in on a couple manuscripts I need to get ready for next year. If you’d like to support one of the best workshops out there for aspiring science fiction and fantasy writers, you can do it via my page. You can also support any of the other wonderful writers working this summer to raise money. This is a big part of Clarion’s funding, so anything you can do to help is greatly appreciated!

Workshopping (plus more Tower and the Fox release info!)

In 2014, I took Kij Johnson’s Novel Workshop at KU’s CSSF, and it was a great experience. Kij offers the chance to return and brainstorm with other alumni at Repeat Offenders, and this year I was able to take part in it. So I’m trying to nail down the fantasy book I want to write next year, as well as getting words down on the sequel to Tower and the Fox (titled “The Demon and the Fox”). I’ll be here through Monday the 26th and then heading home for July 4th weekend.

And in July, I’ll be attending a retreat with some of my fellow workshop alumni to hash out the outline for the third Calatians novel (and I’m not going to tell you the title of that one yet), right before spending a week at San Diego Comic-Con. Busy writing summer.

So you can see the Calatians are very much on my mind these days. The Tower and the Fox is off to the printer, the art looks magnificent, and I’m really excited to hold it as a real thing that actually exists in the world. The print version will be released at AnthroCon over July 4th weekend (I will not be there, alas) and on Amazon soon after. IN FACT, the pre-order page is already up on Amazon, if you care to mosey on over there and take a look. The Kindle version will have a preorder page up pretty soon as well, and the Kindle version (and other ePubs) will be up at baddogbooks.com in July (I have an exclusivity agreement with them for the first month), and on all the other major sites in August. I’m working on getting an audiobook into production too, but it’ll be a few months before that happens.

Hooray!

Book Release: The Tower and the Fox

I’ve been working on this book for some seven years, which is a record for me unless I dig up one of my trunk novels and try to publish that (spoiler: my trunk novels would need to be rewritten and no, that is not happening). What happened was that I started writing this story, and then it got too big and became two books, and then there wasn’t a lot happening in the first book so I got dissatisfied with it and shelved it, and then one friend said, “You can write better now than you did when you wrote that,” and so I started from scratch and rewrote the whole thing (keeping a few passages I really liked), which is also by the way what I’m doing now with the second book. Along the way I had an idea for a sequel, which became the third book when the first one split and then became the fourth book when another friend made an offhand comment after reading the new draft of the first and I realized I needed another book between 2 and 3. So that’s how a book becomes a four-book series.

The book takes place around Prince George’s College of Sorcery in the Royal Colony of Massachusetts Bay in 1815, which means that yes, there is magic and the American Revolution has not (yet) happened. Kip Penfold, one of a race of animal-people called Calatians created by magic four hundred years before, is trying to become the first of his kind to enroll in the college and become a sorcerer. The opportunity has arisen for him because of a mysterious attack that decimated the ranks of the College and made them desperate for new students. Even so, not everyone is on board with this, not many of the sorcerers, his classmates, nor even the rest of the Calatians in the nearby town of New Cambridge where he grew up. The Tower and the Fox follows Kip’s quest to be accepted as apprentice to one of the sorcerers at the College while preserving his relationships with his community and while surrounded by the mystery of who attacked the College and whether–when–it will happen again.

Kip is a fox (of course) and his best friend Coppy is an otter. Also enrolling at the college are Emily Carswell, the first woman to enroll in a College of Sorcery, and several other students who will offer Kip grief or support throughout the few months leading up to the decision about an apprenticeship. Along the way he will find a mysterious book that nobody else can read and a voice that speaks to him from the ancient White Tower that was the only building spared in the attack, in addition to more practical mysteries such as “is there anything another student can do to him that would actually result in them being punished?”

The Tower and the Fox is coming out in July from Argyll Productions, and should be available on Amazon in physical form as well as on most major e-book sites in digital form (digital might be August). The cover and all the interior art is by Laura Garabedian and it looks fantastic.

I’ll leave this page up for info on the book, and will post again when it’s available.

You Bought It, You Own It.

This is for the people who voted for Trump and are now downplaying the racist, misogynistic, homophobic, anti-Semitic aspects of his campaign. For the people the news keeps telling us voted for him “in spite of those remarks, not because of them.” For the people distancing themselves from the reports of the behavior of the racists, misogynists, homophobes, and anti-Semites who did vote for Trump and are now emboldened by his victory.

Here’s the deal. None of this stuff was hidden. Maybe you thought it was just rhetoric. Maybe you thought the political process would stop the more extreme ideas before they even got started. Maybe you just didn’t want to take the chance that our next president might send an errant e-mail. Whatever your justification to yourself, you voted for him, and you got the whole package. You can’t just claim the aspects you wanted and ignore the rest; that’s not how it works. You are in part responsible for these people feeling free to express their hate on our streets, because you endorsed and helped elect the candidate who told them it was okay.

But this post isn’t meant to shame you or anything. You’re an adult, you made a decision, and your decision came with consequences. So if you’re really not okay with hate, if you’re privately horrified by the threatening letters, the hateful graffiti, the confrontations in public, you can do something about it. When you see attempts to roll back progress–like the Trump transition team discussing registering Muslims in a database–stand up and say that it’s not acceptable, loudly and often.

Here’s the most important thing, though: take action. Donate to the groups that are specifically fighting hate: the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, and so on. The lists aren’t hard to find. And call your elected representatives. Tell them you don’t want a radical anti-Semite as your next President’s chief counselor. Tell them you don’t want immigrant deportations, minority groups forced to register in a database, gay marriage overturned, Roe v. Wade overturned. Your voice matters, especially if you’re in a red state or represented by a Republican at any level of federal government.

If you really aren’t down with misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism, or any of the other hateful philosophies our President-elect and his running mate have endorsed throughout their campaign, do something about it. You bought this presidency. Now own it.

Book Publishing News!

Well, a teaser anyway. I have reached a handshake deal to publish my 1815 magic school series, the one I’ve been working on for six years now. Pretty excited about it! More details to come, but it looks like the first volume will come out next summer.

Dog Backstory

We got our dog through the German Shepherd Rescue of Northern California. He was found wandering the streets of Sacramento, so we have no idea what his history is. All we know is that he wasn’t fixed (he is now), he loves people, he knows tricks, and he gets nervous/excited around other dogs (poorly dog-socialized). So sometimes we make up backstories for him.

Kobaltsideeyewithball

You lived with a family and loved them with all your dog’s heart. And they loved you, too. They let you sleep in bed with the kids until you got too big, and you climbed on the couch to watch TV with them at night. The kids gave you pizza and bread from the table as their mom scolded them. They would all pile into the car with you and you’d go out to a park with a pond where the kids would throw balls for you and you’d jump around in the water and they would give you bits of their soft pretzels and then fall asleep against you in the back seat on the way home. And then one day they were putting things into boxes and everyone was crying and you didn’t know why. You ran around the house, worried, but whenever someone stopped to pet you they just cried more. And then they put things in the car but you weren’t allowed out to see what they were doing. At the end, the house was empty but for the smells of them. They took you outside and got in the car, and you wanted to get in with them but they wouldn’t let you, and then the car drove away without you.

You came home with a man who lived alone, and you were his companion. Sometimes he’d talk to the little box in his hand, but more often he talked to you. He’d sit beside you on the couch and rest his hand between your ears, scratching as the TV flickered and made noise, and he’d take you out in his truck to play in the park. It was just you and him, every day as you grew from a puppy to an adult. And then one day he didn’t get out of bed, and you found out what death was. You stayed with him until the police broke into the house, days later. You were hungry and scared and you bolted out the door.

You were supposed to be a guard dog for a household that dealt drugs, but you were too sweet, so they kept you around as a companion and let you sit in the car and bark at people when they went out, to make you seem scarier. When the police came to arrest them, the cops kept you on to be a drug-sniffing dog, because you were really good at sniffing. You were assigned to a female officer who grew to love you and take good care of you, only you couldn’t be a drug dog because you wouldn’t attack the criminals unless you thought the officer was in danger. They were taking you to an adoption facility, away from the officer, when the car was in an accident and you jumped free. You thought you’d try to make your way back to her, but you quickly got lost and had to fend for yourself.

You were implicated in a Ponzi scheme run by your brother and a standard poodle out of the San Francisco financial district. As the three of you fled across the Embarcadero pursued by the police, you scrambled onto a ferry and made your way to the East Bay, cursing that damn brother of yours and his get-rich-quick schemes. All you’d done was co-sign for a perfectly legal small business loan, and now you had to disappear or you’d go to prison. You made your way to Sacramento and lived on the street for a while until Animal Control picked you up and gave you a new identity, and now you growl at anyone in uniform just to be safe.

When your parents learned that their colleagues’ research was going to blow up your home planet, they put you in a small spacecraft and sent you to another planet with a yellow sun, where your kind are pampered and kept happy and fed all their lives. They didn’t quite understand the mechanism by which this works, so you crashed into the hills outside Sacramento and wandered into the city looking for a family. 

*

We don’t really know how your story started, but we’re going to be there for the rest of it and we’ll make it as happy as we can.

 

Write-A-Thon Update!

I’m a quarter of the way to my goal for the Write-A-Thon. If you want to sponsor me, the link is here: http://www.clarionwest.org/members/timsusman/

I’m working on the second book in the Calatians series, which I workshopped the last two weeks with a very talented group of writers. Now that I’m back from the workshop, I intend to get to my goal of 40,000 words quickly and start posting more regular updates.

Clarion Write-A-Thon Time!

Hey, so I’m back at the Write-A-Thon thing! I’ve been drafted by one of my friends in Clarion West, so I’m doing the Write-A-Thon through them this year. I’m also hosting a couple meetups in the Bay Area, so if you’re in the Bay and you want to get together Saturday afternoon for a little writing to kick things off (I know it doesn’t OFFICIALLY start until Sunday but I’m leaving town Saturday night) and get some nifty bookmarks, come on down to Red Rock Coffee in Mountain View around 2 pm on June 18th. I’ll try to snag a table upstairs and will have bookmarks out and we can talk about our goals and how to get friends to sponsor us (hint: do not leave your announcement about doing the Write-A-Thon until the day before).

If you’re not participating but would like to sponsor me, here! http://www.clarionwest.org/members/timsusman/

There are also lots of other lovely authors who will be happy to write things for your money. Check them out at the Clarion West page and also here at the Clarion one!

I Have Zootopia Thoughts

Yes, I do.

Zootopia_poster_goldposter_com_50

(Zootropolis is the UK name of the film)

They have mostly been expressed by Other Me over on that Other Blog where I write more about furry/adult stuff, but if you’re interested, here are some links (most of these posts contain spoilers for the movie):

My thoughts about Zootopia and furry fandom leading up to the movie, and reaction after first viewing(s): http://kyellgold.com/wpblog/2016/03/07/so-zootopia-my-thoughts/

My reaction to people who said that Zootopia is “not subtle” in its portrayal of prejudice, and thoughts on the movie’s structure and some of the neat tricks in it:  http://kyellgold.com/wpblog/2016/03/28/zootopia-and-subtlety/

Should Nick and Judy get together?? Also, what’s the deal with romance in movies anyway? http://kyellgold.com/wpblog/2016/03/31/friendship-vs-romance-yes-zootopia-again/

And as a bonus, I talk about the best Disney and Pixar movies and how the heck you would even make a top five list from either studio: http://kyellgold.com/wpblog/2016/04/01/best-disneypixar-movie/