If you're in or near Seattle at the end of next month you might want to hear me talk at Seattle University's Search For Meaning Festival about how Hild changed the world. Tickets are $10. Details below.
From: WendyShort answer: I get to choose, to a degree. I get to refuse but I don't always get to initiate.
Forgive my ignorance on such matters, but with all these appearances and interviews, are they required by your publisher? I'm also sure they are fun to do, but are you allowed to pick and choose and then finally just say "Hey, I need to go home and write."
The long tail is that of the demand curve of products versus sales. The best-sellers are all at one end, but as we move to the other sales drop off in a long slow curve that never quite hits zero. Traditional retailers draw a line only part-way along this curve, because slow-moving items return less profit than the cost of stocking them. But online retailers backed by huge warehouses and fast stock deliveries can easily afford to keep them permanently available. Helped by clever search engines that can suggest possibilities for customers with special interests, these niche items suddenly become profitable. (World Wide Words)Chris Anderson popularised the concept of the long tail in his 2004 Wired article, The Long Tail. He was talking mainly about cultural products—books and music—and he believed that digital supply and demand would turn the retail landscape upside down.
Jonathan Strahan has released the table of contents for his upcoming The Year's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year Vol 9, to be published by Solaris in May. It looks like a big book: 28 stories, including "Cold Wind." Over 200,000 words. The full table of contents is here. I'm guessing it will be worth $16 or whatever the list price ends up being.
So. The Supreme Court will hear four same-sex marriage appeal cases in (probably) April and issue their ruling in (most likely) late June*.
We are only 13 days into 2015 and emails are pouring in asking me for things and the pace seems to be picking up. (Well over a dozen; three just this morning.) This is a post I can link to to save myself many emails in which I regretfully say no.
So, plainly: Right now, no. No, I will not read your book with a view to blurbing it or introducing it or appearing with you when you come through town on your book tour. I will not join your organisation, judge your competition, or blog about your cause, no matter how worthy. I will not signal boost your initiative or organisation, despite it's urgency or importance. I cannot come to your school or book club or library. I am sorry for it.
I recognise that there are many people out there I could help, that I would like to help, especially those who are climbing uphill—women, people of colour, quiltbag folk, people with MS. It turns out that readers in many different rooms might recognise my name and that has some value. So I am lucky, I understand that. But still, no.
I have helped. I do help. I will help again. But right now I'm taking a break.
I am focused on Hild II. I will allow nothing to get in my way. Over the last year I've spent so long talking about my work that I'm a bit out of practise at doing it. Even something that seems simple—responding to a request by email—pulls me out of the seventh-century long enough that it takes hours to get back. So, no, right now I will not help.
How long will this state of affairs last? I don't know. A few months.
But as I've said, I am not averse to helping, generally-speaking, so here are my criteria for travel requests and book blurbs. I'll put together something addressing other requests another time. Right now the seventh-century beckons...
I heard you speak at Elliott Bay. Bought Hild and have been gone "back to Yorkshire" while reading it. I am the family historian for my extended Penrose family. Yes, we are Yorkshire Penroses from small places such as Skipwith, Foxholes, Langtoft, Burton Agnes, Huntington, Bainton, Hutton Cranswick. I have good documentation from 1731 to 1830s when the landless sons of Foxholes butcher decided to emigrate to America.
Over past 45 years I've traveled to these small Yorks places, and always launched myself by bus, train or car from York, Leeds, Beverley, Hull, Scarborough, Filey. Whitby I have a memory of climbing from waterfront of a town on the east coast up to an abbey ruin. I think.
All this is to say that I kept my Ordnance Survey maps of Yorks in my chair as I read Hild. Was forever matching place names in the book with those on your map in the book and with the Ordnance maps.
I wonder if you or any of your readers have ever created a map of the route journeys made by Hild. I keep wondering, where is Menewood? What would it be near today? Would a Yorkshire reader be better able to identify specific wolds, valleys, monuments while reading Hild?
I am now using Seattle Public Library and internet sources to get better informed about Bede, Celtic vs Roman religion, and so many more subjects. My pagan/Unitarian/Universalist spirituality has always urged me to learn and experience feminist spirituality and sources.
Thanks for writing Hild.
|Caer Loid, and ducks on the Aire|
|"Colder Wind" by Wylie Beckert.|
Women loving whoever they want is a huge part of my work. Actually, women being who they are—in whatever way—is part of my fundamental approach to the world. We are people. It's that simple.
I enjoyed the reading you did in DC. I loved reading Hild and was happy to hear you talk about it.
What I'd also hoped to say in some way was just how much your books mean to me. But I'm dysfunctionally shy on a good day, so I'm generally incapable of normal conversation with, well, anybody. So I'll write it instead -- your books were the first I ever read with strong lesbian characters who were portrayed as unashamed and (is this the right word?) normal. Not victims or sad freaks. I came out a few years ago in my late 20s and struggled with it. Reading your books was life-changing because they offered an alternative to the way I thought I was confined to be. They helped me through the process in a way. If that makes any sense. So for what it's worth, thank you. Thank you for not writing gloomy women who sit around sewing all day, hating themselves, and getting the shit kicked out of them by men.
I look forward to the sequels to Hild. And I love Kelley's writing as well. Can't wait to see the movie version of Solitaire. I feel like I hit the jackpot when I discovered your writing and Kelley's.
From: KiffiRob's review is one I particularly enjoyed. So please thank him from me.
I am reading Hild, having heard of it through my friend Rob Hardy’s review, and enjoying it immensely. The mix of ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ cultural details works wonderfully well, and creates a world the reader can begin to understand, rather than just observe.
But I have a question re: the song on page 211… Edwin’s gesiths are singing a drinking song beginning “Do your ears hang low…” etc.
When my now husband and I met, in Wisconsin summer stock, 1955, we were just a couple of theatre struck kids, and prone to acting out all sorts of things… At one maybe slightly drunken moment, Victor sang all his Delta Tau Delta (Univ. of Missouri at Columbia) fraternity drinking songs to me…
(What could he possibly have been thinking was the attraction ???)
But the point is, he sang that song, virtually word for word, with the substitution of a ‘continental’ soldier, and optional body parts!
My question then… is the use of that song: was it actually traced somehow, or was it something you had heard and found exactly appropriate for the scene?
Available for free download, Tor's anthology of their best short fiction of 2014, complete with the original illustrations. (The cover is from the one used for my story, "Cold Wind," 4,000 words of snow, mounting creepitude, and a hint of sex.)
I skimmed the Hope-Taylor, long ago. Fascinating stuff. But I didn't have it. Now I do. Yay! Thanks for that.
Facebook can be useful. Someone just posted a link to the Archeology Data Service site where they list English Heritage monographs that have been made into free PDFs. This one about Yeavering caught my eye.
There is a lot of information in it and I've only had a chance to flip through, but any mention of Edwin or Paulinus made me think, "Hey, I know those guys!"
Thanks for writing about Hild. Between my interest in medieval stuff (and playing in the SCA for 20 years), and working as a metalsmith in a studio where we dabble in forensic metalsmithing, your book inspires me to dig more into things Anglo-Saxon.
I couldn't get to Porter Square [Boston], unfortunately. I would, however, love to have more east coast opportunities to see you read. From, say, NY eastward. I figure if 100 readers send you a similar message this week, it might impact your itinerary, so I'm pitching in my two cents on the matter.
It turns out that etymology is my crack. I can't resist it. Yesterday, after posting the AN question about freemartins, I couldn't resist looking just a bit further for the origins of the word, and found this from a 75-year old Journal of Agricultural Research*:
The freemartin has been known to cattle breeders since before the establishment of the Roman Empire. The sterile cow born twin with a bull was referred to by Varro, a writer who died in 28 B. C.
It was called "taura," which apparently meant "barren cow." Although the condition has been recognized for some 2,000 years the origin of the term "freemartin" is obscure. According to one authority the word "free" meant "willing" or "ready to go," as the freemartin was supposed to be an especially willing worker. It has been proposed also that the word "free" was used to signify exemption from reproduction (sterile). Another authority saw in the term a contraction of the words "ferry," "ferow," or "farrow," which appear to be associated with the Flemish "varvekoe"—a cow that gives no milk—and with the West Flemish "varwekoe"—a cow that has ceased to be capable of producing offspring. It is not difficult to imagine an association between the two words "free" and "farrow."
There is probably greater speculation about the word "martin." It may have been derived from the Irish and Gaelic "mart" meaning heifer or cow. Efforts have been made to trace it to St. Martin who, according to legend, once cast the devil from a cow. Moreover, St. Martin is said to have been the patron saint of twins and unusual fecundity. Another explanation offered is that on or near November 11, which was called Martinmas day in Scotland and England, it was customary to slaughter cattle the meat of which was salted for winter use and called martinmas-beef. An early English dictionary referred to martin as "not a true heifer, but an undeveloped male with many of the characteristics of the ox, and generally fattened and killed about Martinmas." It has been suggested further that the freemartin may have been given that designation because its meat was so choice that it was reserved for St. Martin's—a great feast day. Moreover the words "mart," "maert," "mert," and "mairt" appear to have been used in Scotland and parts of England in referring to the cow or ox fattened for slaughter and salted or smoked for winter use.
Hart showed that it is not difficult in view of these facts, to imagine such an individual being referred to as the "farrow-mart-one," or in Scotland as the "farrow-mart-yin," either of which might have been corrupted or shortened into "freemartin."
Note: for some reason a first draft of this post published instead of the edited version. That's now fixed.
From: AndreaHaving visited Whitby some years ago, I found Hild especially intriguing. I'm writing to suggest that someone might like to add a reference to it at the Wikipedia article about freemartins (your book was the first time I'd ever heard of them.
What's your anticipated completion date? Why isn't it in my Kindle yet? Are you planning just 1 more volume, or 2?
I have not felt this way since Harry Potter.....
There's something about the earnest wishes of the media and populace at large that this should be a peaceful time of year that just makes me want to blow shit up. As this is regarded as an antisocial tendency, I have restricted myself to my imagination. So you can imagine my delight when I discovered the Action Movie app three years ago.
I'm delighted you liked them. I was sad when they went out of print in the UK. (They've been continuously in print here in the US. Ammonite alone has been through multiple editions and many-multiples of print runs. It still brings me useful royalty cheques every year. I'm proud of it.
I just wanted to send you a quick note and let you know how much I enjoyed reading your two books Slow River and Ammonite. The SF Gateway collection Gollancz is producing is fantastic, and a great example of the Long Tail phenomenon working wonderfully for superb out-of-print books.
I literally just put down Ammonite. As I said, I did really enjoy the book, the cultures, and the women that you so richly created. It did leave me with one (fairly big) question however. The defining characteristic of Jeep was the virus. We discover midway through the book that it does fairly amazing things to the women who survived it. But the other defining thing it does is kill all men. Now perhaps that gave you the palette on which you wanted to paint the story of these women, and their relationships, and perhaps what a world without men might be like. But, when these cultures meet, and even become somewhat telepathic, men are never talked about. What they are, how they fit in, the fact that on every planet except Jeep the entire human race is made up of two sexes. Never mentioned, offered by Marghe, or discussed. For the entire novel.
Just was curious why. Was the omission intentional, or did you just not see the need to advance the story, or...?
Anyway, mainly wanted to let you know how much I did enjoy the books. Look forward to reading your others.