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L. Shelby - Cultivator Universe - News Category Frozen Witness

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Frozen Witness News

Contract

The contract for the anthology sale arrived yesterday, and I finally know how much money I'll get. I didn't know before, because the editor had said “counts as pro” and that's all I cared about, so I didn't think to inquire further. Only when a couple family members asked 'how much cash?' did it occur to me that there might be a reason to want to know these things in advance. I felt significantly less than professional when replying “Ah… I dunno. Does it matter?”

I guess it all goes to prove that I'm in this for the fame, and not for the merchandise. :)

I've now got three chapters of page layout sketches done for Flag in Flames, and I'm currently grumbling at the first page in chapter four which is being recalcitrant. Rather amusingly, one of my problems with it is the little matter of the space armor. My space pirates go into battle wearing armored pressure suits. When they aren't expecting to be fighting, they don't wear anything nearly that uncomfortable. Makes sense, yes?
So, where do they keep their space armor when they aren't wearing it? And when a pirate ship gets ambushed by another pirate ship, how long does it take everyone to scramble into their space armor, and how much of that do I need to show in order for the reader not to be bothered by the switch into space armor and back out again? (Maybe I should go the anime route, have them yell “Space Pirate PROTECTION!!!” and then do flashy lights and showers of flower petals until… TAH, DAH! bright new shining space armor materializes out of the N-th dimension, and the all the girls are suddenly wearing more makeup.)

I become a pro…

My short story Frozen Witness has SOLD!
Yay! Bounce, Bounce, Bounce!

It was bought by author/editor Julie Czerneda for the science fiction anthology POLARIS – A Celebration of Polar Science, which will be published in 2007.

Apparently it will even get its very own, made to order, black & white interior illustration by Jean-Pierre Normand, and I will get to see and approve of the preliminary sketch. Is that cool, or what?

This is my third professional sale according to the standards set out by the Science Fiction and Fantasy writers of America (SFWA). Also, according to them, three short pro sales makes a pro. I'm not eligible for a SFWA membership, because it's my first sale in the speculative fiction genre, but it's still number three pro sale, so I'm going to consider myself a pro, whether I'm SFWA eligible or not.

Writing Progress

“Frozen Witness” has arrived in the editor's inbox and I'm supposed to hear back in about a month.
“Velvet Lies” is in the mail. (Thank you, Zeborah, for your comments, they were a big help!)

And, I have 11 out of 19 Chapters worth of fixes done for _Talking With Winds_, which I'm hoping to get into the mail next week. Although, I keep *reading* it instead of fixing it. (I just get this huge kick out of Asond going around insulting everyone. I'm sure this means I suffer from some serious character flaws, but I can't help it.)

Two days in a row

This is the first time in what seems like ages that I've been capable of sustained mental effort for two days in a row.

Which is a good thing, because it was 1908 words I needed to get rid of to get Frozen Witness down to size, not 908. Ouch.

Frozen Witness

Word Count: 2182

I think maybe I *can* fit it into the required number of words.
:::crosses fingers:::
It sort of has three parts, and I'm done part one. So at least I'm in the general vicinity of on target.

Frozen Witness

Frozen Witness
Word Count: 1148

It needs to be between 3000-5000 if I am to submit it to the anthology it's being written for. So I'm hopefully about a quarter done — only it doesn't feel like it. More like a tenth. (Which would make it considerably shorter than Velvet Lies, but still far too long for the intended purpose.) I'm also still not positive it exactly fits the subject requirements, but it's close enough that I don't think they'll be annoyed at me for sending it. *IF* it fits the requested word length.

Nasty big horrible IF.

More Lies

I did about 1400 more words of the Crimson Courtesies, Velvet Lies transcription/rewrite.

I then did a rough total wordage calculation based on how many pages of stuff I had transcribed and how many words I had written as compared to total pages in the handwritten draft. The darn thing will probably turn out to be between 35 000 and 40 000 words. :::grumble::: It's from reading too many Nero Wolfe stories, isn't it? Most of them feel about that length. That's why they come in omnibuses of threes and fours so often.

Anyway, I want to get this one done, so that I can start on a short story for the anthology I've been invited to submit to without this one pestering me.
The next story, (Frozen Witness?), is another murder mystery, like Lies, only this one is set in a frozen wasteland and the key to unraveling it is scientific insight instead of cultural insight. (And if it isn't a whole lot shorter, I'm going to be mad at myself. I can't submit a Novella.)

Oh! I just had the strangest thought. If Lies turns out to be just *over* 40 000 words, instead of just under, I have officially written 7 complete novel manuscripts since my Juvenalia period, instead of 6. Add the two I finished when I was a teen, and I've completed 9 novel manuscripts. Yowza!

Author's Note on the Cultivator Universe

I had created two fantasy worlds, and wanted to do a science fictional one. But I kept having problems. I could build a science fictional universe around a story (see Black Flag for an example of a universe built around a specific story) but to just build one that stood on it's own was for some reason giving me trouble. I finally realized that it was because I was tripping over the fact that science fiction universes are often seen as a continuation of ours: a possible future. My imagination was choking over my conviction that I was incapable of guessing what the future would be.

So instead of creating a possible future, I created an impossible one.

As soon as I had detached the universe I was building from the real world and real life, by centering it on a concept that was scientificly impossible, I was free to be as scientificly rigorous as I wanted to be in everything else. At the same time I remained free to ignore scientific realities when I thought they were getting in the way of a good yarn. The best aspects of both worlds were mine to play with.


 
Quote from Talking With Winds
 
'We like words. They are a wealth that weighs nothing, and fears no theft.'
 
-- Samanth
 
 
Copyright © Michelle Bottorff

Email mbottorff at lshelby period com