Some personal links first: I made a reprint sale to Beyond Binary, an anthology of genderqueer SF, edited by Brit Mandelo for Lethe Press. I’m super excited about it, not only to be a Lethe Press author now, but also to share a TOC with such amazing writers as Nalo Hopkinson, Ellen Kushner, Delia Sherman, Catherynne Valente and Sandra McDonald. The story in question is “Prosperine When It Sizzles,” which first appeared in shared world anthology New Ceres Nights. I have a soft spot for M. Pepin and La Duchesse, so delighted to see that story get a wider audience.
Also I’ve been meaning to link for ages that my story, “Taking Leaves,” which was one of the winners of the Love2Read competition of fiction about reading disabilities, now has an audio version available. You can listen by streaming it from the site.
A new Hark, a Vagrant! is always cause for celebration, but this one is especially pertinent and awesome this week because it’s all about Wonder Woman. Kate Beaton is a cynical genius.
Bluemilk often writes wonderfully about parenthood and feminism, and this post about crying babies on aeroplanes struck a chord with me. There really are two kinds of people, those who have empathy for parents struggling with noisy children/babies in public, and those who don’t. Often, sadly, that empathy can depend on how personally close you are to the experience of trying to function with small children in public.
This essay about the growing phenomenon of women cosplaying femme versions of the Doctor is fascinating, with some great pics. I find this particular aspect of fandom close to my heart because my daughter came up with it independently, playing Matt Smith’s Doctor in the playground (sometimes with male friends as companions and the Master, though on one notable occasion she had corralled four other girls to play River Song, Melody Pond, Amy Pond & young Amelia OH HELL YES that’s my girl) and back in July kept her bedroom tidy for a whole month in order to earn a red bowtie for herself.
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My honey called me from work today to tell me he had bought my book again – in e-form, from the iBooks store.
“There are IBOOKS for sale in the IBOOKS store?” I repeated, very excited.
Because yes, having Power and Majesty as an e-book is super exciting, and not something I knew about in advance at all, but I’m almost as completely excited that after half a year sharing a house with an iPad, nearly a year owning an iPod Touch and about a month or so with my own iPhone (it’s kind of adorable, but my honey didn’t have a single Mac product when we first got together and now he practically hurls them into the household at superspeed) it was now, finally, possible to buy ebooks that didn’t come from Project Gutenberg.
Not that I’m knocking Project Gutenberg, I love me some free old books, but sometimes you want more than just the first two Agatha Christies, you know?
So yes. Apple is finally getting the ebook thing happening in Australia. And Power and Majesty is RIGHT THERE on the front line. This is kinda squeeworthy! I am a little disappointed in the layout and design of the iBooks store – it’s not nearly as tantalising and enticing as iTunes, and while the searchability is excellent, I like a bit more razzle dazzle when I’m browsing for purchases. But early days. I hope it will get shinier as more books and publishers get involved.
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Twelfth Planet Press has a new webstore set up and are celebrating with a Mother’s Day sale!
TPP Mothers Day Sale!
1. Preorder Glitter Rose* and/or Horn and buy Roadkill/Siren Beat or Angel Rising for $6 plus postage.
2. Buy any 3 books** and buy Roadkill/Siren Beat or Angel Rising for $6 plus postage.
Offers till May 7, 2010
* All prior preorders of Glitter Rose will be honoured.
** Cost of postage will be corrected on payment.
The erudite Peter M Ball rather charmingly sums up Siren Beat/Roadkill: “which delivers Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Hobart noir novelette with a tentacle-squick filling and Robert Shearman’s novelette of desperately uncomfortable, captivating weirdness in one convenient package“. He also points out that Dirk Flinthart’s Angel Rising has warrior nuns in it.
I’m a big fan of Mother’s Day sales which have nothing to do with chocolates, flowers or anything lavender-scented. Some of us (and we all know who we are) really do have mothers who are much more interested in kraken, sexy sea-ponies, warrior nuns and Byronic superheroes. And since most of you were of course planning to pre-order the gorgeous boutique collection by Marianne De Pierres after all (you KNOW you want to, so you can put it on a shelf beside the other collections by Australian women coming out this year – Cat Sparks, Angela Slatter, Kaaron Warren…) this sale is the perfect opportunity!
I don’t go to the shops with both daughters very often. Raeli being at school and Jem having 2 afternoons daycare a week means that I tend to squeeze my chores into those precious daughter-free hours. But today is the last proper day of the Easter holiday, and after several activity-heavy days that have meant little actual shared activity for me and Raeli, today I let her choose what to do.
This meant working on our seemingly endless paper theatre project (glue takes so loooong to dry and suddenly you’ve got distracted and the day’s over) and a visit to the library. I’d also been hanging out for some book shopping now that my fast is done. So I loaded both girls into the car and off we went.
We started with donuts for morning tea – note to Donut King, creating a donut in the shape of a mobile phone is very cute and you obviously have the tween market all sewn up there, but you do realise that the effect is going to be little girls putting it to their ear, right? Right? Also is it a sign of being grown up to finally acknowledge that the only nice donuts at such a place are the hot cinnamon ones?
Then we bought books. Dear internet, did you realise that I now have two daughters to buy books for? Is this not the most awesome thing? On the other hand, whoa that’s going to be expensive.
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It’s the end of my ‘holiday’ March and I’m exhausted – between our big room swap and a family emergency which has led to many visitors, I’ve basically been cleaning house for a week. Seriously. How do real housewives do it? How did housewives cope before podcasts? And will I ever be able to listen to Radio Free Skaro again without getting mild asthma?
We have some lovely friends who have pitched in and helped, and while all this was going on, the baby learned to creep (like crawling but flatter and sneakier), has consumed half a bright orange eggbox spider (mmm, orange paint), and has basically proved that she can no longer be left lying adorably on a quilt. Time to reclaim the playpen! (It’s been Raeli’s soft toy depository for a long time…)
As March draws to a close, so does my two month of not buying books. I can’t say it’s been a time of deprivation – my to read shelves aren’t looking any lighter, and thanks to be being a bit heavy on the old Fishpond pre-order button, I have in fact still had new books arriving during this whole time. (the last of the pre-orders in fact arrived this week – Chicks Dig Time Lords – hooray!)
It’s been good, though. I never want to get too guilty about buying books – it is a pretty important part of my life and career, after all. But it’s not a bad thing to force yourself to think about these things from time to time. And as it turned out, it was a very good idea to let me catch up with all those pre-ordered books and start with a clean slate again.
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Lovers of paranormal romance may be interested in this new Australian anthology: Scary Kisses, edited by Liz Grzyb for Ticonderoga Publications. There have been a couple of attempts to get a paranormal antho off the ground in Australia. One that I know of fell through due to lack of submissions, and another due to not being able to secure a publisher (right at the time the global financial crisis hit). It’s lovely to see one that’s finally made it out into the public eye.
Featuring authors such as Felicity Dowker, Kyla Ward, Nicole R. Murphy, L.L. Hannett & Angela Slatter, the anthology will be launched at Swancon on 2 April and is available now for pre-order.
(oh and the lovely cover design is by Amanda Rainey, who also does most of the covers over at Twelfth Planet Press.)
So after my thwarted attempt to have a no buying books for myself month in December (I swear, feminist tomes kept hurling themselves at my head, it was a moral imperative to take them home) and because my bank balance is looking somewhat sickly, I decided that I was going to refrain from buying books for the months of February AND March.
This is a very big deal.
What this means is nothing that gives me the ‘hit’ that comes from purchasing a book – which includes clicking pre-order buttons. So far what I have learned from the exercise is that yes, I am an addict.
I thought I would track the experiment (and keep myself from clicking ‘buy’ buttons) by keeping track of all the books I had more than a fleeting impulse to buy – ones that I definitely wanted for at least three moments. I should add that it is unlikely I would have bought all the books on the list without the pledge holding me back – at least, I really hope not.
So far I’m ten days in and I have 17 books on the list.
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This is a really long post by Tobias Buckell, and it’s completely worth reading – he explains the Macmillan v. Amazon situation really well but also talks about the pricing of e-books, and why it is the way it is right now, and why it has the potential to change in the future (and as part of that, why publishers would really prefer to have flexibility of pricing.
Charlie Stross provides an outsiders guide to the fight.
Amazon present a letter to their customers. The most interesting aspect is that they are definitely saying that this is a temporary thing. And squarely placing Macmillan as the bullies, heh. Sorry, hard to see Amazon as the underdog. *Tries* Nope, can’t see it.
Scott Westerfeld explains why we should be more hacked off at Amazon than Macmillan.
Scalzi on the many ways of Amazonfail.
I have to say one good thing came out of this – I know I’ll be happier about paying higher prices for e-books in the future. I had never understood why they were priced the way they were, and now I have a much clearer idea. (of course I still maintain, as before, that DRM devalues e-books to the point where the logical price structure does not make sense – and Amazon are in the wrong there too, as they still don’t allow publishers to choose to de-activate DRM)
Cory Doctorow published the story yesterday, about how Amazon had dropped all Macmillan titles (including Tor, etc) from its site in retaliation for Macmillan wanting to charge more than the Amazon standard of $9.99 for e-books.
Macmillan themselves have put their side of the story at Publisher’s Lunch, making it clear that what they wanted to do was to have a sliding scale of e-book sales, starting at 14.99 when the dead tree books are published in hardcover, and coming down eventually to 5.99.
Many authors and editors have of course weighed in on this, including many whose livelihoods are being directly targeted by Amazon’s bullying (note: many of these posts were written before Macmillan publicly explained the part about wanting to charge more for e-books, something which caused almost as much concern/outrage as Amazon’s behaviour).
Scalzi discusses the subject of e-book pricing as well as the deliberate timing of the removal of books (do we remember last Easter’s Amazonfail?).
Teresa Nielson Hayden
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