ellenkushner: (gargoyle)
One of the nicest gifts I got this year was this, a cover letter to a set of copyedits from our publisher to all his authors from editor Jonathan Strahan:

 As is often the case, the copyedits are sometimes perceptive, sometimes
save the day, and occasionally miss the point or wreck the sense or
poetry of your prose.  In most cases the copyedits are minor, but in
some instances they are not. In either instance I wanted you to have
the chance to see, consider and accept or reject them. I would also
add that, while I value copyeditors a great deal when it comes to
catching grammatical issues and the occasional minor problem, I also
routinely overrule them, and so should you. This is a chance to ensure
the text is as you want it to appear, so you should make whatever
changes you require.

It is advice that every author should pin up over their desk, or secrete with lavender in their handkerchief drawer, or put behind glass next to a teensy hatchet with the words:  
When panicking over suggested copyedits, Break Glass!

It is very much the advice my college writing teacher of blessed memory, Joy (B.J.) Chute gave us:  "It's your name," she used to say, "that the work goes out under, not the editor's!"  But what did we know?  We just hoped there would be an editor to contend with some day!

And so, I offer it to you, and hope that you enjoy it all 'year round - and if not this year, then the next.


Aug. 8th, 2011 05:16 pm
ellenkushner: (Canty Cover (AH))
Just got a lovely note from my publisher (who has been, at one time or another, Bantam, Spectra, Bantam/Spectra, or, um, let's see, I think I'm up to Del Rey - no, wait, the note says "Del Rey Spectra" - and, of course, Random House to rule us all.....), saying that the paperback of Swordspoint is going back to press for more copies, because apparently you've bought all the ones they had lying around.

Go, you!

And, no, this icon is not the current cover; it's the original Arbor House hardcover art by Thomas Canty, which I love unreservedly.  Tor picked it up for their paperback version back when, but BSDLSRH commissioned a new cover on the latest version - the one which does have the 3 additional short stories - oh, it's all very complicated; just go here for some of the covers, and here for more on the Riverside series, including timelines, stories & more links.
ellenkushner: (TPOTS SmallBeerPress (Clouet))
 The piece [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman  & I did for Spectra's 25th Anniversary Online Celebration about How we Wrote THE FALL OF THE KINGS  is now posted there - along with a surprise very nice (blush blush) set of notes from our editor, Anne Groell (who grew up, herself, 2 blocks from Riverside Drive - and who also remembers when the art house on Broadway/99th was a porn film house)!

So take a read, leave a note . . . . and keep posting me suggestions on what sort of piece I should write them about TPOTS!  (I was thinking something about how we finally figured out the title for the book?  OK - you got a better idea?)
ellenkushner: (TPOTS SmallBeerPress (Clouet))
This month my US publisher, [Bantam] Spectra, celebrates its 25th year of publishing a truly scrumptious & distinguished array of sf & fantasy titles.  I remember how cool I thought they were when smart young SF editor Lou Aronica founded Spectra in 1985! And how I dreamed of being someday amongst them . . . . Lou & I were pals, and when I finished Swordspoint I sent it to him.  I still have his rejection letter explaining that while he loved reading the novel, it was just too "neither fish nor fowl" for him to publish as a genre novel [paraphrasing from memory here, as I'm at Clarion w/o access to my files].

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Spectra Senior Editor Anne Groell acquired our new Riverside novel, The Fall of the Kings, for Spectra in 2002 - along with the reprint rights to Swordspoint . . . and then brought out the Swordspoint sequel, The Privilege of the Sword, in 2006.  In between, she also put my Thomas the Rhymer back into print - and in print all 4 of them remain, thanks to Spectra's generous policies.

That's what they're celebrating in their 25 Years of Spectra online; as Anne blogged on June 7th:  Over the next 25 days, we will be presenting you with a classic title or titles that appeared under the Spectra colophon in a given year, and which still remain in print today. . . .  Some of these are genuine classics. Some are books we just plain love. And some are both.

I'm honored to have books featured twice on this list - along with colleagues including Ursula K. Le Guin, Connie Willis, William Gibson, Sheri S. Tepper, Kim Stanley Robinson, Katherine Kerr, Paula Volsky, Lynn Flewelling, George R. R. Martin . . . . They've gotten each of us (or our editors) to write a little something about the works in question.  The List is here, and gets refreshed as each new one goes up over the 25 days - you'll want to keep an eye on it to see what these fine folk and more have to say about their work.
So the piece [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman  & I just wrote for them (and you)  about how we wrote The Fall of the Kings goes up tomorrow, June 30th (along with Robin Hobb's on her Fool's Errand, yay!).

And now I've got one due for The Privilege of the Sword.

So here's my question for you:  What should I write about for TPOTS?  

Anne simply "beg[ged] a few words or a small essay, talking about the book in question . . . whatever you want to write about the book that you think readers would be interested in. How it came about, or a funny story that happened during the writing or editing... Whatever strikes your fancy, really!"

O Gentle Readers:   You tell me!
ellenkushner: (*Simon van Alphen by Nicolaes Maes)
Thank you all for joining in this evening's earlier Righteous Wrath against the TorrentReactor.net client ripoff of [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman 's & my novel, The Fall of the Kings [yeah, I know - we're updating that page later this summer, srsly!].  I took the matter to Facebook as well, where some experienced writer pals weighed in with more advice:

Astrid Bear: It's probably on more than one site. Welcome to the whack-a-mole world of DMCA takedown notices. I have an essay about it if you'd like me to send it to you.

Laura Anne Gilman (aka [livejournal.com profile] suricattus ): Pirated torrents of books are a major problem (and it's not 'like' stealing, it IS stealing). Have the publisher send a cease&desist and keep after them until it's down. (I have to e-mail one publisher when I find pirated downloads, the other has a web page where I enter the info and the lawyers feed it into their attack-database)

Antony Galbraith: This is the problem with modern morals (or the lack thereof). I have the same problem with images of my paintings. A lot of people have come to think that anything they find on the internet is free for all. There is so little respect for artists and the work they do.

. . . . And I've just gotten a ton more suggestions from colleagues over on Twitter.  I will do what everyone says - which pretty much boils down to "tell your publisher to sic 'em! via this link!"

Well, you live & learn.  I do, anyway - and I hope this helps to raise all our consciounesses on the subject of not ripping off artists - including musicians whose work you enjoy, if you want to keep them creating and feeling valued.

* * * 

And now, back to reading stories for tomorrow's Clarion class (Day Two).  Our instructor, the fearsome [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman , has declared a total News/Gossip Blackout on the Clarion experience while it's going on . . . so I will say no more than that it is an honor and a a pleasure to be here with her and her class.
ellenkushner: (2French Swordspoint (EK only))
I like people taking my books out of libraries.

But I don't like

ETA: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lbilover  for posting this to comments below:

You can request to have a torrent removed here: http://www.torrentreactor.net/contact.php

I have done so.  Let's see how long it takes.  (And feel free to join me in my Righteous Indignation party by sending your own request to have it taken down.)
ellenkushner: (Bryn Mawr: Writing)
I belong to a very loose-knit writer's group:  when someone has a big project done, h/she convenes all the others in our little brain trust to critique and discuss it.  Last year, someone finished the first draft of a novel.  By the time the group was able to meet, she'd already gotten notes from her editor for revision.  We all assembled in the livingroom.  "Do you want to hear the editor's notes first?" she asked. No! we said.  Let's do our own comments - but every time we say something the editor already said, you have to shout BINGO!

Oddly enough, after nearly 2 hours, we'd only scored 1 1/2 Bingos.

Which just goes to show - there are more than 13 Ways of Looking at a Novel.

And speaking of writing:

I just stumbled across Lynn Flewelling ([livejournal.com profile] otterdance )'s excellent article The Complete Nobody’s Guide to Query Letters, over at the SFWA site, which offers many, many such gems on the art & biz of writing.  Full of wise advice, encouragement & common sense.  Go see.

To Do List

Jan. 16th, 2010 03:19 pm
ellenkushner: (EK:  Twelfth Night)
I am the most disorganized & distractable effective & competent person in the world. I am now going to make a list of all the important and interesting professional things I must remember to do this weekend, which I am just as likely to forget as I wander around the internet or clean out the silverware drawer (you wouldn't believe what was in there!)..... Maybe this will shame me into doing them - it will certainly make it easy for me to keep checking my list, and not lose it!

* Bio to Ellen Datlow for TEETH story (YA Vampire collection, due out 2011. My story, "History," kicks ass! Must try to remember what my bio should have in it 18 months from now)
* Proofread "'A Wild & a Wicked Youth'" PDF galleys for Jonathan Strahan's Year's Best
* Talk to HW about exciting top-secret new project!!! (Hmm - better email him now)
*** Read Elizabeth & Yale's new draft of THE WITCHES OF LUBLIN & send notes & start revisions!!!!
* Finish editorial letter re. T--'s Bordertown story!!
* Reread new B'town story from C--; talk to[livejournal.com profile] blackholly about edits?


* Write Titi w/advice on her book project
* Send Official Presidential Thank You note to Interfictions Auction artists, already!

Am I forgetting anything?

(And why are we going to see Ruddigore tonight, you may ask?)
ellenkushner: (Spanish Swordspoint)
Wahoo! Just got galley pages from Jonathan Strahan for "'A Wild & a Wicked Youth,'" my "St Vier's boyhood" story which appeared in April/May 2009 Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and has been chosen by Jonathan for his The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume 4 from Night Shade Books in March. Gotta say I'm in damned good company - look at that ToC!

Anyhow, I am very grateful to this LJ, where I posted the errata from the F&SF edition - since that's what Night Shade set the type from, the corrections are the same, making my work that little bit easier.

Now, I suppose, I should read the entire thing through again, just in case I find any other infelicities. I really don't want to - there's bound to be a comma I want to change, or a word I don't like anymore - I'm such a fussbudget . . . I changed a couple dozen things just between the time Gordon bought it and when it was printed in F&SF. Where will it all end?!

Moral Fibre

Dec. 7th, 2009 02:21 pm
ellenkushner: (gargoyle)
I just had a story rejected. By a big-deal, long-shot publication. But still . . . not used to that any more! Haven't had anything turned down since, hmm, since the days when lower-back pain was rare . . . of course, I don't write all that much, either. My average would probably be higher if I did.

Good for me. Builds character. Encourages Buddhist-like compassion and generic humility.

ellenkushner: (book swords music)
Why Authors Need You to Buy Lots & Lots of Books
Why Most of Us Don't Quit Our Day Jobs,
What is this Thing Called Royalties?

a most Excellent Explanation & Analysis by Mr. Barry Lyga, which I urge everyone who wants to understand the publishing business to read.

To Do Done

Aug. 27th, 2009 07:15 pm
ellenkushner: (EK:  Twelfth Night)
First off, apologies to everyone to whom I owe a letter, a response, a thank you note, etc. (esp. Adrienne Martini - I love the scarf you made & gave me at Worldcon! I have a great photo of all of us wrapped in it! I should post it! Oh, hey - you've written about our dinner at Little Sheep! Cool photos.). In addition to getting ready for our 3-week UK jaunt, I've suddenly had - and hit - a bunch of deadlines. Here's my crossed-off To Do list. Give me your love!

* Revise "The Duke of Riverside" story for Ellen Datlow's urban fantasy anthology (coming in 2010, titled NAKED CITY, St. Martin's Press). Yeah, I sold it to her, got the contract, and then went, "Mmm...I don't think this story really works." She said if I could get it done before we left for England, she'd try to fit it in - assuming she agrees with me. Got it in last night. Phew!!! (But if none of my clothes match when we get there, that's why.)

* Draft "Dear Bordertown Authors" letter. Send to [livejournal.com profile] blackholly & [livejournal.com profile] bgliterary & Terri' for fussing over details. Worry about who has time to reconstruct map of Bordertown from existing stories. Realize in bolt of genius that Fan Sites have already done exhaustive lists! Bless you, fans. We loves you. Have long phone meeting with Barry & Holly & figure out I don't really know how Googlegroups work, but am willing to learn. Letter sent. Awesome authors' awesome replies mostly responded to. It's magic!

* Type in all the performance changes from last year's Klezmer Nutcracker that were penciled in my script but never actually typed up, for reading (yesterday) at Vital. Which I don't have time to tell you about, but it was great. Lots of rewrites ahead, however.

* Figure out which shoes will not exacerbate exciting new foot condition (cuboid syndrome, anyone?) for next 3 weeks by trying on & wearing (w/different sock combinations) for an hour each. I'm almost there....

* Get tix for complicated multi-leg trip to WFC.

*Leave letter for doorman explaining which peripatetic musician friends will be crashing here while we're not.

* OK, you're bored now, aren't you? Go do something else! I am so glad the weather's broken. Trying to pack for 50-62F when it's 90 was a bit of a challenge.

I also want to give a special thank you shout to all my Interstitial Arts Foundation committee heads & members, & my IAF Executive Board pals - knowing you're out there doing great work makes it all so much easier!
ellenkushner: (Bordertown)
Wanted to let everyone know how much I'm enjoying the discussion following yesterday's post. Terri Windling turns out to have a strong thread about this going on her Facebook Wall, as well. She also told me that Mercedes Lackey wrote her series as a direct response to Bordertown, which I hadn't known.

As I keep saying to anyone who will listen: "This is not hard to research! It only happened 20 years ago! We're not dead! Just ASK!"

I'm now particularly interested, in an OED geeky way, in the first recorded use of the term "urban fantasy", which [livejournal.com profile] jongibbs asked about yesterday. From TW's Facebook thread comes this note from
Russell Blackford at 5:37am June 23
I co-edited an anthology called Urban Fantasies back in 1985. The expression "urban fantasy" was in use well before then. I picked it up from Lee Harding, and it was applied during the early 80s to books such as Harding's _Displaced Person_ (known as _Misplaced Persons_ in the US), which was published in 1979. I'd be confident that it goes back even further. Mind you, what is now known as "urban fantasy" may be rather different, but still ...
ellenkushner: (Bordertown)
I haven't even finished the no doubt excellent new Salon article by Laura Miller on "the kickass young heroines of urban fantasy fiction" but this had me seeing red:

"...the term "urban fantasy" (meaning fantasies set in the contemporary world) was first applied to the work of such writers as Neil Gaiman and John Crowley, whose aspirations are more literary. . . . "

Oh, the giantness of this GIANT FAIL!!!!!

Of course it's only 2 male authors who are cited - probably the only fantasists who she can even think of with "literary aspirations" . . . . .
ellenkushner: (Default)
Indie SF/F/Horror publisher Night Shade Books is having their annual 50% off sale on all current & forthcoming books(4 book min) thru June 17. Coupon code 50NSB2009. Check out their catalogue - great stuff by hot authors.

New to all this? Or not so new? How about people recc. their favorite Night Shade books in the comments?

This is where I put in a plug for forthcoming anthology Eclipse 3, to which I just sold a new story, "Dulce Domum." Editor Jonathan Strahan asked me for a story about a year ago, and really encouraged me to finish something I'd had in the works for some time. I'm really proud to be in the distinguished Eclipse series; volumes 1 & 2 have includeded award nominated stories, with work by Ted Chiang, Jeffrey Ford, Nancy Kress, Margo Lanagan, Peter S. Beagle, Andy Duncan, Garth Nix, Maureen McHugh, Ysabeau Wilce, Ellen Klages, Lucius Shepard, et al . . . . a host of writers I admire. The stories are pretty interstitial - mine sure is.

Eclipse 3 is coming out in October 2009 - just in time for pre-ordering now! Here's some of the first page of the story, if you want to get a feel for it. It's the story I read most of at the Wiscon reading:

Read more... )
ellenkushner: (Default)
So has everyone received her copy of the April/May F&SF (containing the new Riverside story, "'A Wild and a Wicked Youth'") in the mail, or trotted down to the newsstand for it?


Then this seems like a good place to note one little correction: on the magazine's p. 121, 3rd line (1st line of 1st full paragraph)*:

Crispin's father was Lord Trevelyan, and had a seat in Council of Lords
should read
Crispin's father was Lord Trevelyan, and had a seat on the Council of Lords

Please note it in your copy of the magazine.

"How could this happen?!" you ask. I went into my e-files to look. If you're interested in process, read on:
Read more... )

One little letter, easily missed by both of us! But since I invented the particular usages of my city (e.g., it's "Lord Michael Godwin" until he's the head of the family; then he's "Michael, Lord Godwin;" she's "the Duchess Tremontaine" not "of Tremontaine" etc.), I feel I must strive for consistency.

And if you tell me that's not actually how I use it in the books, I'll go and --
I'll go and change it.

*ADDED: Another typo, 2 lines down in the same paragraph:

Every Quarter Day, Trevelyn's steward brought Richard's mother the money
Every Quarter Day,Trevelyan's steward brought Richard's mother the money

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] yaoi_in_exile for catching this one!
ellenkushner: (Latvian THOMAS)
I was very unhappy at the recent word that Realms of Fantasy magazine has gotten the axe in its prime from its publisher, suddenly & without warning, effective April.* So are many other folks. There is now a FaceBook page and also a LiveJournal page to collect ideas and enthusiasm, which all are invited to join: http://community.livejournal.com/save_rof/

Not only has RoF published some cutting-edge fiction by the likes of Theodora Goss, Gene Wolfe, Kage Baker and, ahem, Delia Sherman, but its longrunning "Folkroots" column (for many years by Terri Windling, most recently by Ari Berk and [livejournal.com profile] krismcd59) has made a huge difference, educating young readers & writers [many of them are reprinted here] - and the interior illustrations have given artists a chance to stretch their wings.

*If this is news to you, read all about it here:Read more... )
ellenkushner: (IAF)
To Gavin Grant, co-editor with Kelly Link for the past 5.5 years on the Fantasy half of St. Martin's Press' venerable & groundbreaking The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, has fallen the unlovely task of announcing to the world that after 21 years, the series has come to an end. Details & ongoing comment/discussion here.

Terri Windling, the original Fantasy editor (volumes 1-16!), takes up the story on her blog with a beautiful illustrated reminiscence of what it was like to begin the series, and work on it over the years with editor Jim Frenkel, cover artist Tom Canty, and co-editor Ellen Datlow.

Terri pioneered the complex, adult, multicultural and interstitial fantasy half of the volume for its first 16 years, often taking it on the chin for her non-traditional choices, especially in the early days. I think Terri has done more to change the face of modern fantasy than anyone - and when she decided it was time for her to leave the project, she hand-picked Gavin & Kelly to be her successors, knowing they’d continue making similarly daring and interesting choices, expanding everyone’s ideas of what makes good fantasy fiction. So go on over there, enjoy Terri's thoughtful, generous piece, and tell her you appreciate what she's done for us all. To walk on the Horror side for a moment: Gavin, Kelly & Ellen Datlow are getting all the condolence notes - but it was her baby, too.

[CORRECTED from my original post, which read "St Martin's has cancelled the series." - thanks to [livejournal.com profile] ellen_datlow for the correction.]

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