Crazy Busy, Busy Crazy

Kwahe’e Inspects the Laundry

The popular image of writers is doubtless created by high school and college literature classes.  These often present the lives of the writers only when those lives have some connection to their literary output.  Even when the personal is touched upon, there’s always an element of the dramatic to it.   They drink too much or have tempestuous affairs or eventually commit suicide.

Authors don’t do the laundry.  They don’t have sick pets.  They don’t worry about in-laws who are in and out of the hospital.  They don’t need to get to the grocery store.  And none of these things eat time and mental energy the author would rather spend writing.

Today, as I gear up to leave tomorrow for Congregate in Greenville North Carolina, I have all of those things going on.  At least I’m looking forward to Congregate.

Cons are always fun.  They’re one of the few times I get to talk to readers.  Unlike writers who live in more heavily populated areas, and so often hit a different convention every weekend, out here in the Wild West, our choices are more limited.  But Congregate is going to be extra special for a couple of reasons.

One is that by purest chance, the other Writer Guest of Honor is someone I’ve known since I was a college undergraduate.  Charles E. “Chuck” Gannon and I started hanging out when he was newly graduated from college.  Once a week, he and a couple other friends would make the trip from Upstate New York to my dorm at Fordham University for our weekly RPG.  Chuck and I gamed together steadily for about six years – through my last years as an undergrad, and through my grad work.  And we’ve stayed in touch since.  At Congregate, we’re not only going to be present as Author Guests, we’re donning our gaming hats for a two-hour live RPG session.

I’m going to play a paladin devoted to Freya.  If the technical challenges can be handled (as our group’s bard assures us they can be), the game should be available as a podcast.  I’ll let you know.

Another great thing is that one of my best buddies and, just as an aside, co-authors – David Weber – is dropping by Congregate on Friday.  We’ll do a couple panels, including one about writing in the Honorverse, something I’ve done for several novellas and two novels (Fire Season and Treecat Wars).

A bunch of other friends are coming as well, so although this is probably not the best time for me to travel, I’m really looking forward to this con.  I hope some of you will be there, and I hope you’ll come by when I’m signing and introduce yourselves.

A friend said I should remind people who won’t be able to be at Congregate about a few of my 2018 writerly news items.  I’ll do that.

First of all, January saw the release of a new original novel: AsphodelAsphodel stretches the limits of traditional narrative – but what’s speculative fiction for, if not that?  Asphodel is short, so I hope you’ll take a chance on it.  I’m confident you won’t regret it.  Of Asphodel, Publisher’s Weekly said: “This curious blend of fanciful vignettes, real danger, and existential mystery wends a twisting, pleasurable way through the powers of imagination.”

Asphodel can be found as an e-book from all major retailers (Amazon, Nook, i-Tunes, Kobo, GooglePlay) and as a print version from Amazon.com.

There are also new e-book editions of all six Firekeeper novels.  In addition to the original novels, each e-book contains a short essay in which I chat about some aspect of the series.  Spoiler alerts are provided where necessary!

The early part of this year also saw the release of two new short stories: “Unexpected Flowers” in the May/June edition of Asimov’s and “A Green Moon Problem” in Lightspeed Magazine.

Coming up, hopefully soon, will be a new e-book edition of Brother to Dragons, Companion to Owls.  The cover art is by Patrick Arrasmith, who did the art for the Tor Orb edition, but features a surprise element.  This edition will also include an essay about the writing of this – my first published –novel.

Don’t worry.  I’m still immersed in writing Wolf’s Search (Firekeeper 7) and its yet-untitled sequel.  The stories are closely intertwined, so I’m writing both.  Then I’ll polish the first part and get it to you.  We’re still talking months down the road, but it’s definitely going to be faster than if I used the traditional publishing route.

Speaking of traditional publishing, October 2018 will see the paperback release of my 2015 novel, Artemis Invaded.  This is the sequel to the 2014 release, Artemis Awakening.

So, there you are…  Crazy Busy.  I’m hoping that the bad stuff dials back a bit, but this is a Real Writer’s Life.  Now, off to change that load of laundry, then go pack my Hawaiian shirt for Congregate.  Hope to see some of you there!

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4 Responses to “Crazy Busy, Busy Crazy”

  1. valorandcompassion Says:

    Thank you for this post, Jane. It came at just the right time, and it raised my spirits to be reminded that all writers–all human beings–struggle to balance our creative, self-renewing time with life’s emergencies, small or big.

    I think the stereotype about writers not having to deal with quotidian things like laundry, or heavy matters like caring for an ailing animal or human family member, comes from a tradition of classic writers coming from wealthy families. I remember bristling when I read something William Wordsworth had written about “those helpful hands” (my paraphrase) that made it possible for him to write: his mother and sister, who took care of everything practical, from cooking to laundry, freeing him to create poetry. (What really made me seethe was how he’d reduced them to a pair of disembodied hands…no matter how well loved, they were still hands to him.) I wondered whether his sister and mother carried poetic inspiration within themselves as well, and if so, what they could’ve shared with the world if they’d had the chance to carve out a moment to write in days crowded with domesticity.

    Since most working writers today do their own laundry, I’ve tried to redefine these pesky daily chores, as a wise book on Zen Buddhism puts it in its title (I think it’s by John Kabat-Zinn): “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry.” I figured that if an enlightened person can rise from the meditation cushion and do laundry with a peaceful heart, it’s my hope that I can too. 🙂

    Have a terrific time at Congregate! What other cons will you be a guest at this year?

    • janelindskold Says:

      Hi! Dorothy Wordsworth — William’s sister — probably could have been a writer on her own. I read her journals back when I was at Fordham. You can find reprints still.

      Right now my other cons are Bubonicon here in NM in August, and MileHiCon in October in Denver.

      I’ll be talking more about Congregate tomorrow in the WW.

  2. Louis Robinson Says:

    RPGs…

    If Congregate has found a range that let’s them fire Rocket Propelled Grenades maybe I should sign up…

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