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2015

This has been a pretty excellent year for me! When I list the stuff of mine that’s been published, it doesn’t look like a lot. But I did a lot this year!

First and foremost, of course, Ancillary Mercy came out. It finishes the trilogy, though I’m not done with that universe, which is a nice large one and suitable for nearly anything I feel like doing in.

Ancillary Mercy has gotten a lot of nice reviews, and much to my delighted amazement it hit the New York Times Best Seller List. It is, of course, available at fine booksellers everywhere. But none of that is news to regular readers of this blog.

Also published this year, the novelette “Another Word for World” in the anthology Future Visions. You should be able to download the antho for free at that link. The story is also going to be reprinted in a few Years Best anthologies, including Neil Clarke’s new entry into the YB field and the volume edited by Gardner Dozois. There… might be another one but I haven’t seen that ToC announced yet, so.

Also published in 2015 (but not for the first time) Uncanny Magazine reprinted my fantasy story “The Nalendar”, which originally appeared in Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine in 2008.

And Forever Magazine reprinted “The Endangered Camp,” which first appeared in Clockwork Phoenix 2 in 2008.

Other things that happened this year: Ancillary Sword won the BSFA! That was super exciting, actually. I figured most voters, no matter how much they liked Sword, would figure I got more than enough recognition last year. And to be entirely honest, that’s a completely valid position to hold. I was super chuffed at the nomination. And that wasn’t all–Sword was nominated for the Nebula and the Hugo as well! And the Hugo nom–well, that was in circumstances that made it clear that a flattering number of readers had a very high opinion of it. So I got to enjoy the Nebs and the Hugos in a very low-stress way–I was pretty sure my book wasn’t going to win–and to happily applaud the results of both.

I went on an actual tour! Thankfully Orbit sent me along with Greg Bear, whose book Killing Titan came out the same day as Mercy. I cannot tell you how glad I am of that. Greg and Astrid were great fun to travel with, and on top of that I got to tour with someone who’d done it before and knew how it all went. I got to meet lots of readers, some of whom gave me lovely gifts in addition to just being their wonderful selves. It was exhausting but wonderful.

I was an actual invited GoH at ICON! I meant to write a post just about ICON and what a great time I had. They took fabulous care of me, everything went wonderfully and I had a great weekend. I met quite a few people I had wanted to meet in person for a while, met even more people who I hadn’t known I wanted to meet but absolutely did, and it was just a lovely convention all around.

I haven’t been keeping the blog post with the list of translations of Ancillary Justice up to date, and I really need to. Quite a few were published in the last year, including Japanese, which came out just a few weeks ago and I gather has already gone for a second printing.

And there’s fanfic! I don’t read the fanfic, but I have to admit that I check the number every now and then. It’s up to fifty-four! And there’s fan art.

So, all in all a really exciting and wonderful year! Much of it due to my readers, who are fabulous. Honestly I can’t thank you all enough.

I will leave you with this holiday-appropriate Origami Tauroctony that my daughter made quite a few years ago:

OrigamiTauroctony

Happy Dies Natalis Solis Invicti!

Me and Twitter

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Here, have some tweets from me.

This didn’t used to be an issue for me, as I say in the first of those tweets. I spent most of my first year or two on Twitter talking to my friends, or maybe making some new ones–mostly friends of friends, right? I had maybe a couple hundred followers, who I mostly also followed. And even at that level it was difficult to keep up.

Then Ancillary Justice came out. I now have nearly eight thousand followers. It would be beyond pointless for me to follow all or even most of those–I couldn’t possibly pay attention to even a significant fraction of that, and I’d likely entirely miss anything from my actual friends–which is mostly what I follow Twitter for to begin with.

Now, I do look at my mentions, and not infrequently reply to those in some way. I do enjoy doing that. But every now and then, someone will turn up in my mentions in some way that’s very clearly designed to get my attention in a particular way–the tweeter wants me to notice their book, or asks explicitly that I follow them back (and they’re not someone I already know). I’m going to be honest, this irritates me. No offense, right? They’re obviously using Twitter as a promotional tool, where I’m using it to hang with people. This is mostly fine with me, in the abstract, I’ve got no problem with publicity or promotion. In the concrete and specific, I’d suggest that approaching promotion on Twitter as largely a question of amassing a lot of followers who you can then tweet to about your book is, perhaps, not as effective as you imagine it might be. I’ll also suggest that, if you want to engage the interest of someone with a lot of twitter followers, whose retweets or conversations with you might bring you the visibility you’re after, you might want to do your research about who that person is and why they have those followers, and not try to engage them with generic questions, let alone passive-aggressive tweets meant to guilt or provoke that person into replying or following back. But, you know, it’s your call, your life, your Twitter feed. And I’m totally okay with using the block and mute buttons whenever it seems convenient. (That would be the way the “react badly” mentioned in the tweets above usually manifests itself.)

I do follow people back who I know in real life (though not always, sometimes I have a reason for not following back or I’ve missed the follow). And I do often respond to mentions, even if only to heart something that amuses me. But I don’t always respond, and I don’t consider myself to have any particular obligation to respond, to be entirely honest, and nothing will take the shine off someone’s @ing me like their acting as though they are entitled to my attention.

And–this ought to go without saying, but I’ll say it anyway–I block the tweeters of abusive or offensive tweets, without saying anything more about it. To be entirely honest, I’ll block the senders of such tweets even if they haven’t sent them to me, and I’ve just happened across them in a conversation. The begging for follow-backs I describe above doesn’t fall into this category, of course, but I still ignore or mute it.

Seriously, I tweet to hang with my friends, and I enjoy answering questions or hearting or retweeting comments from my readers when I have a chance to. I love sharing things my readers have made, like fan art, or silly jokes. Occasionally I’ll tweet announcements about my stories or books. That’s how I use it, and you’re free to use Twitter however you like. Just don’t expect that I’ll play along.

Access

I am signing on to Mary Robinette Kowal’s Convention Accessibility Pledge. I’m doing it in this blog post because I think it’s important as many people as possible are aware of this issue.

I’m not going to pull out of convention appearances that I’ve already committed to. (And as it happens, ConFusion and Vericon have both assured me they’re taking accessibility issues seriously, so kudos to them.) But going forward, I will only attend cons that meet the (let’s be honest, pretty minimal) criteria outlined in MRK’s post:

  • The convention has an accessibility statement posted on the website and in the written programs offering specifics about the convention’s disability access.
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  • The convention has at least one trained accessibility staff member with easy to find contact information. (There are numerous local and national organizations that will help with training.)
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  • The convention is willing and able to make accommodations for its members as it tries to be as accessible as possible. (We recommend that the convention uses the Accessibility Checklist for SFWA Spaces as a beginning guideline. Other resources include Fans for Accessible Cons, A Guide for Accessible Conferences, and the ADA rules for places of public accommodation, which apply to US conventions.)
  • This shouldn’t be an issue, in the US. Hotels and convention centers are already required by law to provide accommodations like ramps and lifts. It doesn’t take that much extra effort to assume you’ll have folks with mobility issues attending your con, and to say so to the hotel when you’re talking about how things will be set up.

    I’ve heard complaints that this is just too expensive–well, you’re already shelling out for the facility itself. That is, in fact, a kind of accommodation. Why not just have your con out in a park? That would be uncomfortable and inconvenient for a lot of congoers, right? Especially in bad weather. But imagine if a convention insisted that paying for an indoor facility was just too expensive and would drive up the cost of membership? Imagine the indignation.

    But having a con inside a dry, heated and/or cooled building with sufficient space for people to move around and stairs between floors is in fact an accommodation. We just don’t think of it as one, since we’re used to seeing that particular attention to our needs and comfort as normal and understandable and worth going to some effort to ensure. And yes, stairs are an accommodation. What, you can’t climb up that rope ladder to the next floor?

    Claims that arranging in advance to have some ramps or lifts on standby is just too much trouble or expense are, frankly, claims that the needs and comfort of members who need them just don’t matter to you.

    And let’s consider the question of the $800 charge for a ramp at World Fantasy. That was a quote for a last-minute request for a ramp–likely if WFC had told the facility in advance that they’d need one, it would have been much less, or possibly even not an extra charge at all. But let’s consider hiring one ramp for WFC, at $800, and how much that would affect the cost of membership. Now, WFC has a membership cap, right? It’s 850, according to this. So if requesting a single ramp in advance of the con costs $800, to be added to the cost of memberships, that comes out to less than one dollar a person. Let’s say they only get half that (I’m given to understand they routinely sell out and have a waiting list, but perhaps that’s not the case). Two dollars a person. And I’m not even counting supporting memberships.

    Now of course, since this charge was coming after memberships had already been paid it was dauntingly large. Which doesn’t make me more sympathetic–it would have been easy enough to say, up front, during the planning stage, “And of course we’ll need some kind of access to the dais or stages in case there are wheelchair users or folks with other mobility issues. How do we make that work?”

    I do understand feeling defensive when you’re caught out in a mistake. Okay, feel defensive. Complain to your spouse and/or close friends in private, have some ice cream or a hot bath and some tea. And then go to whoever it is you’re working with at the facility for the next event and let them know that you’ll need to accommodate members with mobility issues, and what are the options and how will you make that work? Have SFWA’s Accessibility Checklist in hand.

    The fabulous Lee Martindale had a hand in that checklist. Lee has been fierce in her advocacy for accessibility at cons–and elsewhere. Walking around a con with her is an eye-opener, I’ll tell you. There are so many things you don’t notice if you’re not currently in need of mobility assistance. I was pretty appalled, though not terribly surprised, honestly.

    And Lee makes a good point:

    But for her part, Martindale says she won’t be signing the pledge, because she’s learned in 40 years as a human rights activist that “change is not brought about by using only one approach.” And in addition to public protests and boycotts, another valuable approach is “those directly affected by the exclusion communicating with those perpetuating it, explaining and demonstrating why the exclusion is a problem and what to do about it.”
     
    “If I’m not there, as a scheduled guest, a rolling reminder of why accessibility is important and capable of explaining what I need to do the job I was brought in to do, it all becomes purely academic and easily dismissed,” says Martindale. “It’s hard to dismiss someone sitting right in front of you.”

    Not everyone is as fierce as Lee–she’s a pretty impressive lady–but for those who are willing and able to get right in there, that needs to happen, too.

    Worldbuilders Fundraiser

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    Y’all know about Patrick Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders fundraiser, right? Basically, various cool items are raffled or auctioned off–the proceeds go to Heifer International. If you’re not familiar with Heifer International:

    Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.
     
    When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.

    So, every year people donate those cool things to be raffled or auctioned off. This year, I’ve donated signed copies of the Ancillary trilogy. And also a second signed set of the Ancillary trilogy, plus sample tins of my Adagio Imperial Radch teas.

    But I’m not the only person donating things. Check out Rothfuss’ blog, check out the Worldbuilders website for more information about how it works, and check out the Worldbuilders auctions that have gone live so far!

    Tonight I’ll be at the University City Library!

    Wanna come meet me? Maybe hear me read a bit, maybe ask me a question or two? Wanna buy a copy of Ancillary Mercy and have me sign it?

    If you answered yes to any of those questions, consider coming to the University City Library at 7pm this evening.

    Subterranean Books (not the publisher, the St. Louis bookstore) will have copies for sale, and if I get my act together there will be cookies.

    See you there!

    Tour!

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    So, the tour was a thing that happened. In fact, it was an awesome thing that happened!

    Along with Greg Bear, I hit five cities in five days. I was really glad to be sharing the tour with Greg, since he’s done this book tour thing a few times before and knew what was what, and he was generally just great to travel and hang out with.

    I met a lot of fabulous people, and signed a lot of books. I was given fabulous gifts–the artist who made this:

    Ors Diorama

    was at one signing, and actually gave me the amazing original. Really, amazing is an understatement.

    (And now I see that when I pin stuff from a tumblr search, it links back to the tumblr search page, and not the artist, which means I need to maybe be more conscientious about adding comments or tags to credit people, hmm. Sorry about that, didn’t realize until now, though I probably should have.)

    Another artist gave me this:

    2015-10-14 08.02.53

    Yes, that would be a picture of Brother Her-Breath-Contains at his daily devotions to She-Commands-Me-And-I-Obey. Awesome, right?

    And yet another has produced embroidered Emanation bookmarks:

    2015-10-14 08.02.47

    And that’s just the art! I also got delicious pumpkin bread, tea cookies, and some tea the giver told me was Daughter of Fishes, which from the (mmm delicious) flavor is some kind of oolong.

    It was an absolute delight meeting everyone who came to the various signings.

    It was also completely exhausting. I was basically on an airplane every day. Most stops I wasn’t even at for a full 24 hours. I got home Monday night and collapsed in a heap, sat on the couch staring for a while and then went to bed. Spent Tuesday recovering. Today I have errands to run, and then…I’m off again! This time to ICON. Which I am looking forward to–not only will I be in the same place for more than a day or so, but I’ll be there in the company of a lot of fabulous folks.

    Some folks asked me about the etsy store–I probably won’t be listing things until after October. Partly because this October is incredibly busy for me, and partly–a more recent development–because I have in fact run out of Awn Elming pins. I still have some Translator Dlique pins and some Spoiler pins for giving out at ICON, and I’ll have badge ribbons with me (unless something goes awry in my packing). But it takes a couple of weeks to get pins, even if I order them right away. So those won’t be available for a bit. But when things calm down, I’ll be listing what pins I have. So if you really want a Dlique pin or a Spoiler pin and don’t have a chance to get one in person, I do intend to make them available on etsy.

    Anyway. Thanks again to everyone I met during the tour–it was a pleasure and a delight to meet you. And I’m looking forward to seeing folks in Cedar Rapids!

    Future Visions

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    future_visions_marketing_images_awfw

    Regular readers will know that I used to mostly write short fiction. Which I’ve kind of missed since starting in on the novel thing, actually. But as it happens, there will be some new short fiction from me very soon!

    Basically I have a story in a new anthology called Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft, coming out on all major eBook platforms for free on November 17th. Authors were given inside access to a Microsoft Research lab; the visits served as inspiration for new short fiction.

    The book features eight award-winning, acclaimed writers of science fiction, and also includes a short graphic novel and an original illustration for each story.

    To learn more, go to microsoft.com/futurevisions and/or follow the hashtag #FutureVisionsBook on Twitter.

    And look for online news from Blue Delliquanti in the next few days about her contribution to the anthology!

    Ancillary Mercy is out!

    It’s Book Day! Ancillary Mercy should have downloaded to your device by now, if you pre-ordered the ebook, and bookstores should have the paper version on their shelves.

    This post is visible due to the magic of WordPress scheduling–I myself am not home right now. I’m in Seattle! If you are too, you could come to University Temple United Methodist Church The Sanctuary, 1415 NE 43rd Street, Seattle, WA at 7pm to meet me, and also Greg Bear, who has a book coming out today too–Killing Titan.

    Actually, quite a few people have books out today. Ferrett Steinmetz’ The Flux is out, the sequel to Flex. I enjoyed Flex quite a bit, but haven’t had a chance to read The Flux yet.

    Also, Kameron Hurley’s Empire Ascendant, sequel to The Mirror Empire.

    And probably other books–books tend to come out on Tuesday.

    Anyway! If you’ve been waiting for Mercy, you should be able to get it now! I hope you enjoy it!