Howdy there: I have been playing around with GIMP and have found some cool ways to make my own artwork, so I gave the blog a new look. Tell me what you think. I created the new banner just by playing around and trying to create something related to the themes of my books.
To end all questions: yes, I and the family are moving to Colorado in June. I will miss New England and the writing scene here, but I’m looking forward to being close to my extended family and old friends in Colorado. I haven’t been blogging or writing short stories lately because we’re getting our house ready to sell and I have to focus on the novel. This is not an apology. I like writing this blog, and I have plenty of stuff I want to write about and discuss, but it’s a lower priority.
More evidence has cropped up that my former “agent” Mark Gottlieb is not someone you should do business with. I’ve hesitated to mention his name in the past, but his questionable practices are now widely known, including to Writer Beware (sponsored by SFWA), and a long thread of comments on QueryTracker.
On QueryTracker, a growing thread of complaints about Trident Media agent Mark Gottlieb (Writer Beware has received multiple reports that cite the same issues) https://t.co/msUonQIYE9
— Victoria Strauss (@victoriastrauss) April 3, 2018
My short story “The Harp” received an honorable mention from Writers of the Future, and “Killing Montherek” was rejected on the same day. I decided to post it for your reading on my short stories page, with some semi-original artwork.
I am almost done rewriting The Last Omen (a tale of fate and betrayal!), and will edit the manuscript before sending it to beta readers. This novel is my attempt to write a simpler story, closer to 100,000 words, and I’m pretty close to the goal. Thank you to everyone who volunteered to read it. If you’re interested, let me know.
Books I’m excited about: I received an ARC of Bradley P. Beaulieu’s A Veil of Spears, the latest book in The Song of Shattered Sands, and I’m almost done with it. If you haven’t started reading this with Beaulieu’s Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, I highly recommend it. It has a setting with a definite “Hogwarts Effect.” My big fear for M. Beaulieu is that people will love this setting so much that he will be stuck writing in this setting forever, when he’s a good enough writer that he could produce many more interesting settings.
The best thing about The Song of Shattered Sands is the really compelling character at the center of this huge drama. Sometimes I wake up thinking about her. The newest book makes it clear that Ceda is much more important to the fate of the entire world than any of the characters (or maybe the reader) has comprehended so far. Another great thing about this series is that even thought it’s not complete yet, and there’s only three books in the series, it has a lot of material, including four (five?) novellas.
I’m also very excited about Iron Flower, the next book in the Black Witch Chronicles by Vermont author Laurie Forest. The Black Witch got me interested in YA fantasy: I bought this book just to support a colleague and get a signed book, but I loved it. It’s full of tension. I think it’s better than Harry Potter.
Don’t believe me? Think I’m biased? The Black Witch has almost 6,000 ratings on Goodreads, with an average of 3.78 despite an active campaign to depress the average and damage the author’s reputation. The Black Witch Chronicles also includes shorter works, with one novella already out and another scheduled soon (Wandfasted has an average rating of 4.24 with 626 ratings, pretty good for an e-book).