All of which is to say why there have been no public posts for a while. I've been *busy*.
On the writing front, Loose Id closed its doors after 14 years, leaving many of my titles without a home. My titles at NineStar Press are fine and I'm not having any problems writing new material, but I have to stay off the computer as much as possible for now, which means self-publishing the out of print works won't be practical for a while.
In summary: 2018 sucked, and I am grateful to my immediate management at my day job who did their best to make it suck a little less.
"Screen hurts my brain" is actually still a bit of an issue in that my capacity for looking at a full size screen doesn't greatly exceed my working hours at the day job, but it's slowly getting better and there are workarounds. Unfortunately it's chewing up all the bandwidth I have, which means I have read lots of interesting books and they are not going to get reviewed or logged, not even to my usual lackadaisical standards.
I gather Tumblr has gone the "thanks for building our readership, now take your dirty, dirty porn away from our advertisers" route. This does not affect me because I never managed to wrap my elderly brain around the concept of Tumblr anyway - probably because I'm not a terribly visual person. I suppose my erotica alter ego ought to dig out their Tumblr password for the first time in several months and see if the account still exists. Not quite sure why I grok Twitter but not Tumblr, but there you go.
As anyone who follows my Twitter account has probably realised, I'm still spending too much of my limited screen time on the Cult Pens website. The "but I need it for professional writing purposes!" excuse is wearing a bit thin now, even if there's genuinely a lot of truth in it. I'd better get on and justify it...
( Read more... )
There are a number of factors in this, not least the ongoing migraine issues which chew up quite a lot of bandwidth and don't leave much for things other than day job. Also, at one point one of the side-effects of the meds and/or migraine was a bout of something close to hypergraphia, which is how I come to have a completed short story, a large chunk of a different short story draft, a bunch of random jottings on story ideas, and an outline and substantial chunk of something that is probably going to be at least novella length, all as a result of the #cockygate nonsense. This lot was mostly written by hand, with fountain pen and ink, and needed/will need to be transcribed onto electrons.
And that was before my Firefox install fell over multiple times, on one occasion taking Edge with it. Those things that require the big screen on the laptop plus a proper keyboard were not happening, and that includes Dreamwidth, both reading and writing. Actually fixing [expletive deleted] Firefox seems to involve removing every trace of it and then doing a fresh install, then waiting for the next time it falls over, so the only two reasons I use it at this point are Containers and NoScript. It makes Edge look stable by comparison.
And at some point I have to face the task of updating my website, so that will consume such spare clock cycles as I have. I shall endeavour to post slightly more frequently than I have of late, but am not making any promises.
My primary publisher, Loose Id, has alas closed as of 7 May. My books published through them are now out of print, although you may see them on third party distributors for a short period while the out of print notices work through the system.
I do intend to make the books available again, but that takes a lot of time, which is a resource I'm rather short of at the moment. I'm also waiting on Loose Id to finish working on the rights releases for the cover art I'd like to re-use. I'm focusing on writing new material for now.
If you're still looking for something of mine to read, I do have books at NineStar Press under the name Storm Duffy, which are still available and will be for the foreseeable future.
I have neck problems and instructions from the physiotherapist to remember to use a good posture, so went in search of a writing slope to use at home. It needed to be relatively light, big enough to hold an A4 page in both portrait and landscape orientation, sturdy enough for an adult to use, not require me to lean hard on the paper with my non-writing hand to pin it down, and have a lip to catch any escaping paper sliding down. This ticks almost all the boxes, for a reasonable price as such things go. The one thing it misses is "portrait A4". The surface is big enough, but there is a pen rest groove cut into the slope 2 to 3 cm below the top, and the top edge of an A4 sheet resting on the bottom lip will lie over this -- something to note if you want to write/colour to the very edge of the page.
It's made of a sturdy sheet of acrylic folded into shape, with a nonslip silicon strip on both surfaces in contact with the table, and another along the bottom edge of the writing service as a lip, thick enough to hold a colouring book in place but thin enough not to press too hard into my arm. I'm mostly using it to write on A5 paper, and finding it much better for my neck than writing with the paper flat on the table. It will also take the weight of an iPad 2, which is handy when I'm playing with electronic jigsaws. The only fault I found is that the gloss surface reflects overhead lights. Mine's black but it's also available in white, which may or may not be better for the glare problem. For me it's worth every penny of the 20 pounds I paid. Oh, and you get an email with a link to a downloadable colouring book. :-)
I was going to be ruthless about throwing out the ones that didn't work anymore, but some of the ancient and venerable have sentimental value, or are promo pens in a barrel style that I find very comfortable to use, so I set about investigating the availability of refills.
First port of call was the Cult Pens website, a wondrous cavern of everything pen. It turned out they were having a three for two special deal on Schneider products, and Schneider make All the Refills, or pretty close to it. I already had a Schneider disposable courtesy of a sample in a previous order, so I knew they made decent cheap pens. Cue buying binge…
I needed a selection of refills, and I haven't had a chance to do much with most of them yet, but so far -- nice refills. They write smoothly and don't need much pressure to get them started. I really like the Slider 755, which is a Parker style G2 filled with Schneider's ViscoGlide hybrid ink. It writes very smoothly with no skipping and almost no pressure once it gets going, but can write on gloss paper without smearing even if it gets wet. It's described as combining the best features of ballpoint and gel pens. It's moderately expensive but I think well worth it if it continues to perform like this. I do love my fountain pens for not needing any pressure to write, but this refill comes close and is waterproof to boot.
The refills are all clearly labelled with brand, model number, colour and tip size, even the tiny D1 format multipen refills. This might not sound important, but when you've just opened an envelope full of miscellaneous loose refills, it's very useful for matching refill to pen. Definitely for my "buy again" list.
You can find the Schneider range in lots of pen shops, and as of the time of writing there is still a three for two offer at Cult Pens for the entire range.
"To talk of many things:
Of fountain pens and sealing wax
of binding combs and rings."
I've been on a bit of a binge on stationery and office supplies of late for a number of reasons. Chief amongst these is the latest medical reason for staying away from a computer, but it doesn't help that the WIP features a hero with a passion for pens beyond even that seen in racsf's collective obsession with writing paraphernalia. I can't type, but I can put ink on paper and dictate the results into Dragon, and only look at the screen to set the transcription running and then error-correct the result. I have a genuine justification for having acquired a breeding herd of fountain pens over the last few months, inasmuch as a good fountain pen needs no pressure at all to glide over the page, and this is an important consideration for those with RSI. All of this is to explain why there may be stationery-related wibble in lieu of anything else I can focus on for long enough to write a blog post. You have been warned.
That means all of my books still with them will be out of print by then at the latest, as will all the other titles in their catalogue. The LI contract is a periodic one generally renewed every year or two years, and any contracts which expire before May will not be renewed and the title will go out of print at that point. I can't remember off-hand which of my contracts might expire before then, so no guarantees that all of my books will still be available after the end of the year. Skimming last year's contract renewal emails suggests that they'll start to fall out of print around February/March.
I gather the usual Boxing Day sale will be going ahead.
I'd like to say that I'll self-publish to get them back in print, but realistically that's not likely to happen for quite a while, given my current health issues. OTOH, if I do self-publish I'll do so at a significantly lower cover price. In the unlikely event you'd like to buy any of my Loose Id titles and haven't got around to it yet, you'll need to weigh up those options.
I know some of the other authors aren't planning to do new editions of some of their titles, or have put it at the back of a very long "when I have time and energy" queue, so you might want to check out what any favourite authors are planning to do if there are any books you hadn't got to yet and would be sorry to miss out on.
Make sure you have copies of all your purchases downloaded, and that you have cashed in any Id Points, gift certificates etc and claimed any prizes before shutdown.
Er... This was supposed to be a short story. I had a bright idea while talking to jacey and carl_allery at Worldcon 75 in early August, and scribbled down the first 100 or so words then and there. I was writing on and off over the rest of Worldcon. I thought I'd get a draft finished and give it to Carl if I saw him over the August bank holiday. That... has not happened. :-)
It also provided a certain amount of amusement to the Lyst silver anniversary meet in London at the beginning of this month, because I was busy scribbling my daily word count at one point...
As always, there was something else in the envelope as a promo or general "thanks for ordering". This time it was a Uniball Signo erasable rollerball sample and a fun size pack of Haribo. The warehouse has obviously stocked up on the Halloween sweets...
The other thing that arrived was more of the fruits of a spending spree on Chinese fountain pens. This time it was a pair of Baoer 801s, which I was interested in after reading on one of the pen forums that they were basically a knock-off of my first and best beloved fountain pen, the Parker Vector. They do look suspiciously like a Vector, although I think they're a bit heavier. Alas, the really pretty one of the pair has the barrel jammed on the nib unit, to the point where I'm wondering if it's a fake of a knock-off. :-/
In theory I have portable net access. In practice this is on a new phone, and I am not sure I have got everything set up yet. Best bet if you're looking for me is probably Twitter, where I am bookfetishist and where I can actually remember my password should I need to go in via the website. My primary mobile phone number hasn't changed and is on a tiny and ancient Nokia from before the dawn of time, so even if the smartphone is stolen or runs out of battery I should be contactable on that.