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Work has calmed down, to the degree that the SaaS project I’ve been working on passed its demo milestone and indeed its first demo. This doesn’t mean things stop, not by any stretch, but it does mean that I have a chance to catch my breath.

The first three days of this week were a highwater mark of suck for me, at least for the last 12 months or so. I wouldn’t think I’d miss the lonely melancholia of my last journal entry, but the combination of hair-pulling bugs the first two days with a traffic ticket on Wednesday (for an “unsafe lane change,” a subjective charge I don’t agree with, but never mind) had me nearly in tears by Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday evening was one of the few times I can remember drinking with the hopes of getting sufficiently tipsy to destress, a success achieved with a mai tai, a rye and soda and a Kahlua-spiked coffee. Are two strong drinks and a nightcap all that’s necessary to get me tipsy? That night, apparently, even though I’ve had more alcohol at other points to less effect. I’ll chalk that up to stress as well.

Yesterday, Thursday, was better; work was essentially stone quiet for me, the product demo went off apparently with no significant glitches elsewhere, a restaurant I’d been waiting for months to open (the Oaxacan Kitchen in Palo Alto) was yesterday, and I bought two expensive things: a Canon PowerShot G9 and a bottle of Laphroaig 10 Year “Cask Strength” single malt whisky. I’m somewhat worried that both of these purchases were a response to stress, but I’ve actually been thinking about the G9 for months specifically for the upcoming trip, and “learn about single malt” has been a low-level to do item for years. (Although honestly, the choice to learn about single malt this week? Yeah, stress response.)

Today also promises to be quiet. I’ve decided to try and update my personal website, making it something more of a project showcase than it is, and likely putting more stories online there. This raises some interesting issues to chew on with respect to making “in print” stories available for free online; while my first instinct has always been that you don’t put stuff you still want to be able to sell up on web sites, there’s a lot of evidence to the contrary, from the Baen Free Library to everything Cory Doctorow does to [livejournal.com profile] haikujaguar’s writing experiments right here on LiveJournal. My growing suspicion is that putting a good chunk of Why Coyotes Howl online, for instance, is going to either have no effect on book sales or slightly increase it, and that having a three-month “exclusive window” for stories that get publication in periodicals is, barring contractual obligations, sufficient. Of course, I still want the print work to sell and my gut feeling is that “but it’s print! dude!” isn’t in and of itself sufficient for most buyers, so I’ll be chewing on that, too.

I’d like to have that website updated before the Eurofurence trip, but I don’t know how likely that is, because it’s occurring to me that said trip is in just over two weeks and it will behoove me to have some idea what the hell I’m going to do for an author reading. If anybody has any “you should read that story” suggestions, I’m open.

Date: 2008-08-08 17:24 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] haikujaguar.livejournal.com
If you have any of the Revar stories available for sale, I'd choose one of those... it's iconically you, and it's been a while since they've been advertised.

Otherwise, I'd choose something from a book you have available. Readings are good marketing opportunities and I have observed it to really irritate people if they sit in on a reading and then learn they can't buy or get copies of the thing they've heard.

Date: 2008-08-09 10:27 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vulpesrex.livejournal.com
First of all - I don't think that I have read anything by you that I didn't like; I first read GIFT OF FIRE from the Belfry site, and it reamains my favorite; the followup story, told mainly from Revar's POV, is my close second. Of the other stories set in that world, they sort of require an explanation, or prior experience with your setting. But the one from that group which I think does best as a stand-alone may be THE CATTLE KING.

I bought WHY COYOTES HOWL, but it is packed away in a box, like so many of my books when I moved into this "temporary" townhouse almost a year ago, so it isn't convenient for me to grab as a reference - but the story in which the young man driving across the desert picks up the lady hitchhiker, with her destination deadline which he goes out of his way to accomodate, may be a good one, if you take Haikujaguar's advice about reading something that is available in book form now.

It is good that you are going to EuroFURence, but must you do an Author Reading? I'm inclined to agree with Jerry Pournelle that authors who read aloud from their own works are likely to have other nasty habits, as well; it comes mainly from the fact that unless something is WRITTEN to be read aloud, it comes off sounding stilted and fake when actually done so. Text is funny that way; it reads with a certain sense and timing, and yet you try to do it aloud, and it just...well, it becomes dead and flat and "artificial", somehow. People do not speak like readers read.

Date: 2008-08-09 17:42 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chipotle.livejournal.com
I'm not sure I want to read anything too long, but I'll see. I may try "The Narrow Road in Morning Light," which is a fairly new story (from New Fables #2 that came out at AC, and also in the Further Confusion 2008 program book it was written for), and something from the rewrite of "A Gift of Fire" I'm sort of muddling my way through. (I say "sort of" because it's been mostly stalled the last couple of months, a sentence or two I've been doggedly adding notwithstanding.)

As for having to do the author reading, no: but I already volunteered for it, for better or worse. I've never done one before. I've been to some I think were quite fine, and some that, ah, were of a kind with the ones that surely inspired Pournelle's observation. I shall see if I can manage at least a passable one!

Date: 2008-08-10 03:59 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] vulpesrex.livejournal.com
"...New Fables #2 that came out at AC..."

I mus have somehow missed that. Was it from Sofawolf Press, or one of the other publishers? Is it an anthology, or are all the stories your own? I need to buy a copy! Details, Please?

Date: 2008-08-11 16:23 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chipotle.livejournal.com
It's from Sofawolf, yes -- "New Fables" is a periodical Tim Susman edits, basically in the format of a literary magazine (that is, paperback book size and binding).

Date: 2008-08-09 18:12 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] prickvixen.livejournal.com
Noooo, you don't want to be one of those guys who gets into single-malts... Texas hold-em and sodomy can't be far behind!

Question

Date: 2008-08-12 05:03 (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I was reading your article on Kitsunes and I was wondering if there was some sort of rule against humans and kitsunes being together. Is there?

Re: Question

Date: 2008-08-12 06:01 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chipotle.livejournal.com
Many of the folk tales were about kitsune seducing or marrying humans, or otherwise living among them. This always seemed to be considered bad by the humans; whether that was a specific law wasn't mentioned, although I'd presume that it wasn't law as much as tradition and custom. (One can argue it'd be bestiality, of course, although when the "fox" in question is a beautiful human woman that strikes me as a thin argument to make.) The stories didn't say anything about how the foxes saw the matter, although they were generally portrayed as the ones initiating the contact with humans.

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