Look! It’s the cover art for my novelette “Wild Things,” which will be out on Tor.com on October 3rd. If you went to any of my BLUE MAGIC readings, this is the story whose beginning you heard; it’s set in the same universe, between the events of the two novels, and deals with the effects of the mystical outbreak in British Columbia.
Here in the real B.C., (though there’s a lot of stuff about phones in “Wild Things”, oddly) our home phone stopped working, probably sometime last week. Maybe earlier. Did you fail to get through to us? Sorry.
It wasn’t just that we both have mobiles now that kept us from noticing. We’re neither of us much for the phone in any case, so everyone in our lives tends to e-mail us when they need us. Except, you know. The doctor. The pharmacist. The bank. Work.
I spent an hour yesterday futzing around trying to get it fixed, while simultaneously trying to get the tech to give me the number for the people who’d cancel it altogether. Here’s what being on hold looks like at Telus these days:
In the end, the technician walked me through 90% of the let’s fix your phone script before I managed to convince him to tell me who to call to just kill the landline. I’d forgotten, though, that the phone jacks also control our door buzzer. And that too seems to be dead dead dead, so now I’m asking our property manager and strata guys to look into fixing a problem that probably wasn’t Telus’s fault in the first place. But which made them notice we weren’t using the phone, and which thus cost them a monthly more-than-pittance for phone fees.
Letting go of our old phone number was a little weird–we have had the same phone account and number since 1991. But paying to hang onto the number for nostalgia purposes seemed a little silly. It was weird, too, because it feels like a thing you do when you’re moving. And though we’re not moving, you can’t tell it from the state of my not-yet-painted office:
“I’m gonna visit Dad.” Matt is curled in the passenger seat of their antique minivan, scowling as offworlders tromp and slither past their front bumper. Shooting a glance at Ruthie through long, pretty eyelashes, he flips down the visor to check the mirror.
“Dad’s dead, Matt. He can’t see your haircut.”
This July Lightspeed Magazine ran my latest squid story, a novelette “The Sweet Spot.” I was a little preoccupied at the time, so though I mentioned it quite a few times, here and on Twitter and elsewhere, I never got around to writing the introduction I promised for it.
This story is set earlier in the Proxy War than any of the other published squid stories. In “The Town on Blighted Sea,” for example, Ruthless Gerrickle is in her late fifties. Here, she’s just a teenager and just Ruth. She likes to think she’s tough as nails, but really she’s an orphan in a war zone, and is more vulnerable than she’d like to admit.
In writing these stories, I often started out with U.S. geography. (Actually, I’ve just realized the topic of geography and my writing is a whole post in itself, and I’ll try not to keep you waiting for it for long.) “Five Good Things about Meghan Sheedy” is about the Siege of Seattle and “Time of the Snake” is set during an occupation of Los Angeles. I have a half-written squid story set in Las Vegas and one out to the markets now that’s about the Fiend push into Texas from Mexico.
The idea, you see, is that in this global civil war there’s one side, called the Fiends, who have a good hold on all of the world except the Americas. Now they’re working their way upward from South to North: the U.S. is the last real holdout against them. So it’s just a march up the map: Seattle, naturally, happens later than Texas. In “The Sweet Spot,” the Fiends haven’t even begun their land invasion of the U.S. yet; they’re just reaching out to pick off Hawaii. And it’s Ruth’s bad luck to be there, along with her little brother.
Summer 2012 has, so far and for the most part, been weird and wonderful. I got the opportunity to do some book touring, as you know. I went to Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. Here’s me at my reading with my delightful friend Eliot Fintushel, who’s running a fundraiser for a theater project called ANCIENT VOICES that some of you may be interested in.
I participated in the Clarion West Write-A-Thon, and raised about $70 more than I did last year. I ran a giveaway for naming rights to some stuff on the world of Stormwrack, where my story “Among the Silvering Herd” takes place. The biggest individual donor was author Jeremy Zimmerman, a former student of mine who thereby claimed the right to name an island nation. He has done so–a future story of mine called “Island of the Giants” will take place on the island of Nysa, a haven for escaped slaves, adorable marsupials and, of course, giants. I’ll keep you posted about that story’s fate.
I also held a draw for everyone who donated, the winner of which got the right to name a landmark, ship or plant species on Stormwrack. That has been won by the ever-fabulous Dawn Marie Pares, otherwise known as Kormantic–we’re talking now.
The Write-a-Thon was mostly an excuse to finish up the first draft of the second novel of the three Stormwrack books I am writing. That got done last week. It’s messy but complete. I am now resting my brain and poking at a short story before I dive into revision mode.
Finally, I had, for several weeks, a good reason to believe I’d be in Toronto at the end of October, and so in the spirit of optimism I bought myself a World Fantasy Convention membership for $175ish U.S. The trip didn’t come together, so if anyone wants the membership before the transfer deadline elapses at the end of the month, let me know. I’m open to all reasonable offers.
The good news is that since I won’t be in Toronto, I don’t have to face the prospect of cheating on Orycon in Portland, a con I truly adore. See you there?
So not into the Kindle thing? Opposed to Amazon for any reason at all? But kinda into e-books? This may be the post for you.
My publisher, TOR, has currently got four works of mine out as e-books, and recently they’ve made it to the Apple ecosystem. This means iPhone and iPad users can load up my two novels, Indigo Springs and Blue Magic. The two novelettes available in this format, The Cage and Among the Silvering Herd.
Like all of TOR’s stuff now, these files are DRM-free, which logically should mean that you can buy them from iTunes and read them on other devices. I haven’t attempted to do this yet, but if there are wrinkles in the process I’ll let you know.
(All this stuff is of course findable if you go to the link with my name on it: A.M. Dellamonica.)
Like anyone in practically any kind of business at all these days, an unknowable portion of my fate is tied to good user reviews and ratings. As far as I can tell, you do not have to have purchased any of the above stories from the iStore to rate it. (This isn’t true of apps–you have to own one to post about it.) So… if you have read and liked one of them, and have a minute to hit the iStore and say so, I’ll be in your debt.
My UCLA Extension Writers’ Program course, Novel Writing II, is in full swing and I haven’t yet found a book that goes well with fourteen student novels-in-progress.
I am continuing to write about 1200-1500 words a day on my current novel, as part of my Clarion West Write-A-Thon commitment. The naming contest is still on the go for sponsors. Right now, a donation of any size will get you into the draw for a chance to name a landmark, person or animal species. It’ll take at least $35 to be the biggest donor and thereby get the right to name an island nation. Here’s a snippet about another island, Tiladene:
“Perhaps, too, since you’re an outlander . . . ”
What else had she done? “Yes?”
“Lais Dariach . . . he’s from Tiladene.”
Tiladene. That word was on one of Gale’s coins. “You said that. So?”
“They’re somewhat . . . promiscuous.”
The significant look on Dracy’s face made her want to giggle. “You mean sexually promiscuous?”
“They don’t believe in marriage–in faithfulness.”
“Okay, got it. Your other passenger–”
Lais is from Friends with Benefits Island.”
Planet of the Polyamorous Sluts, she thought, lightheaded. Didn’t the Star Trek guys used to go somewhere like that for shore leave?
And then: A little shore leave wouldn’t be the worst idea I ever had. And he is cute.