Coyote Prints

Sporadic thoughts on writing

Ursa Major Final Ballot

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I’m very happy to say that Indigo Rain made the Ursa Major ballot this year!

If you haven’t read it, “Indigo Rain” is a novella in FurPlanet’s CupCakes line. It’s got a bit of fantasy, a lot of suspense, and a helping of romance.

Roulette, a young raccoon dancer, dreams of moving to Ranea’s capital city-state and marrying into a better life. But a horrifying encounter plunges her into a momentous political struggle—one that will turn tragically violent unless she and her companions can stop the mysterious Brothers of Atasos. And as if things weren’t complicated enough, Roulette may be falling in love with an activist who’s as far from her dream husband as she could get.

There’s a free two-part preview:

You can purchase it from several online stores in both print and ebook:

And, of course, if you like it, please cast your vote in the Ursas. There’s a lot of other good stuff nominated this year, from several works by Mary (Otters in Space) Lowd to the Hugo-winning Digger omnibus by Ursula Vernon. (The first issue of Claw & Quill was also nominated, which is immensely flattering, but I’d really like to get the damned second issue out. I didn’t know it was going to be a biannual. Mea culpa. As long as it doesn’t turn into a biennial.)

Indigo Rain and the Ursa Majors

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Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards are open through February 28th, and my novella “Indigo Rain” is eligible! This is the first time I’ve had something in the running since Why Coyotes Howl in 2005.

The nomination form is online; the process is a little clunky, but still fairly fast. This is for nominations only, not the the final voting; the top five stories will be on the final ballot.

You can read the first few thousand words of “Indigo Rain” in a two-part preview:

And, you can buy the whole shebang here:

The ebook is also available from Amazon, Apple iBooks, the Nook Store, and Lulu.

And, last but not least, Sabretoothed Ermine’s cover art is also eligible for a separate Ursa Major nomination as a “published illustration.” Just, you know, saying.

A digression on Cyberpunk

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I was listening to Fangs and Fonts‘ most recent podcast on cyberpunk, and—

Okay, let me back up. “Fangs and Fonts” is a podcast about writing, hosted by four writers in (and out of) furry fandom: Roland Ferret, Yannarra, Tarl “Voice” Hoch and Ocean. So far the episodes have mostly come across as structure-free conversations about a given topic. There’s a lot of spontaneity and liveliness to it, although I suspect they’d benefit from spending an hour or so before recording making a list of Things To Cover.

Anyway. While it was fun listening in on the conversation, my impression was that none of the four hosts had read much of the genre past the Wikipedia entry. They’d seen movies with cyberpunk tropes to varying degrees, but… well. There’s no way to say this without an implied tsk tsk, but you guys, it’s a writing podcast!

So let me back up more. Specificially, to the early ’80s.

I hate to say it, but…

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…I may start writing a web serial sometime soon.

All right, I don’t really hate to say that, of course—I’ve been thinking about it off and on for years. It’s possible that a new story that I’ve started may be a good candidate. I’ll have to get several months’ worth of updates in the bag before feeling confident trying this, though, so it might not start until next year. We’ll see.

I still have to figure out where to serialize it, too. As much as “serialize it everywhere!” sounds like the right answer, it could quickly get exhausting given that posting to each archive site is multiple steps and difficult to automate. I may stick to just my blog (http://cprints.ranea.org) and probably the LiveJournal mirror (which I’ve almost but not quite automated), with links to the posts from my SoFurry and FA accounts. In some ways I’d prefer to keep the story a separate “stream” from the blog, but mixing the stream doesn’t seem to hurt the audience of other people who’ve done it, so.

If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Ebook Hula

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A couple minor updates: Why Coyotes Howl has been submitted to Bad Dog Books and should be available there in a couple days for $5.99 retail. And, the ebook version of “Indigo Rain” is now available at Amazon and Lulu (and should be on the iBookstore and Nook store soon).

What good are reviews, anyway?

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A discussion-slash-debate broke out among friends and acquaintances on Twitter earlier this week relating to the value of reviewers—specifically with respect to furry writing (and by extension other subgenres), but also in a more general philosophical sense.

“Reviewers = haters” is not an attitude unique to fandom; I know a lot of people who express disdain for movie reviews—which also happen to be the media criticism we’re most familiar with. “If I listened to bad reviews, I’d have missed a lot of movies I liked,” the thought goes. “And reviewers never like escapist stuff. They only like artsy fartsy stuff.”

Believe what you will, but I believe that just doesn’t hold up. Most critics liked “The Dark Knight” and the Lord of the Rings movies and “Star Trek Into Darkness” and countless other popular flicks. And do not tell me that critics can’t appreciate escapist fluff when “Fast & Furious 6” is sitting there with 70% on Rotten Tomatoes as I write this, okay? Critics have different likes and dislikes (surprisingly similar to normal humans), but in aggregate they tend to be fairly reflective of movie audiences. Yes, the critics probably will all hate on “Transformers vs. GI Joe: Give Michael Bay All Your Money,” but let’s not pretend it’s because they’re all horrible people who hate fun.

Indigo Rain now an ebook

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I’m happy to announce that Indigo Rain is available as an ebook from Bad Dog Books, in both Mobi (Kindle) and EPUB formats. Bad Dog’s ebooks are DRM-free, and Indigo Rain features all three of Sabretoothed Ermine’s interior illustrations.

Indigo Rain product page

It’ll be available through Amazon and other outlets eventually, but for now it’s a Bad Dog exclusive.

A Gift of Fire, A Gift of Blood

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Some of you might remember this story from, well, a long time ago. A lot of you might not at this point. This wasn’t the first Ranea story but it was the longest one—I think—unmatched until “Indigo Rain,” and for a while was quite popular.

But, as I said: a long time ago. While it’s never been particularly hard to find for those who know where to look, it’s not been very discoverable. I’d started rewriting it in 2010 with the intent of making an expanded version, but never got past about halfway through chapter two. Due to a bit of prodding on unrelated things I decided to simply do a less dramatic revision of the rest and powered through it all today, and, well, here it is.

I’ll be serializing it on the archive sites starting… soon-ish, maybe one chapter every week or two, but for the small in number but high in wisdom group of you reading things over here, you can get it all now—and with somewhat easier to read typesetting and navigation to boot. (Soon I’ll finally start putting stories in the navigation bar of Coyote Prints, too, I suppose…)

A Gift of Fire, A Gift of Blood

On reviewing in a small community

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So here’s the thing: bad reviews are fun.

Sure, good reviews can be fun, too. But let’s face it—stuff you hate gives you more occasion for zingers. Roger Ebert opened his review of one infamous movie with “Battlefield Earth is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time.” (My favorite review opener, though, is from Mary Pols of TIME: “More than 24 hours has passed since I watched the new Adam Sandler movie Jack and Jill and I am still dead inside.”)

But a good review can’t be just zingers, and the point of a review is not to show off how witty the reviewer is. Ebert explained—without rancor—just what it is that made “Battlefield Earth” suck. He didn’t accuse the movie of being an assault on all that is good and holy; the movie’s creators and stars needed a thick skin to deflect the barbs, but they weren’t personal attacks. No one was writing, say, “This is a steaming pile of shit.”

“That may be vulgar, but it’s not a personal attack.”

Well, see, that’s kinda the heart of the matter.

Further Confusion 2013

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So, Further Confusion 2013 has come and gone, and with it a few notable events for me:

  • The release of “Indigo Rain
  • My first reading since Eurofurence 14 (!)
  • Oh yes, running FurCon’s writing track
  • A lot of alcohol

Everything seems to have gone really well from those standpoints. It sounds like FurPlanet sold about two dozen copies of “Rain,” which may not sound barn-burning but I’m pretty happy with it. (Look for information about an ebook release, er, eventually. Sooner rather than later. There’s a non-zero chance the ebook will not have Sabretoothed Ermine’s great interior sketches, though.) I got positive feedback on the writing track from both attendees and the con committee. While I didn’t pull the reading off flawlessly—and I’m not likely to be recruited by Audible.com any time soon—overall, it was pretty smooth.

Also, I will probably not be drinking for the next week.

As I mentioned on Twitter, my current job is being phased out, switching from full-time to part-time at the end of the month. (I confess my enthusiasm for the work has already phased out, although the job loss is due to the company’s finances, not my performance.) This may or may not give me more time to work on my personal writing projects like the glacially-developed science fiction novel I’ve been hammering on since roughly 1858, tentatively entitled Kismet, as well as a couple new pieces I’ve been playing around with and the hopefully-soon-reviving Claw & Quill Magazine—but one of my definite goals for 2013 is to get both of those specific projects launched.

I also have a subject I may want to rant about, but I’ll decide later. (In short form, I’m considering how to compare and contrast “giving a small press book a negative review” and “shoving your junk in a light socket and screaming on YouTube for seven minutes.” The differences are subtle, but I think they’re important.)