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Harp & Gyre News

Alas, poor ego!

My eldest daughter has been re-reading Harp & Gyre, and today she decided that a friend of hers who is moving would enjoy it, and asked if she could give her, as a going away present, the copy Lulu printed up for me (as part of their promotional contest thingy, three years ago).

One of my younger daughters leaned over her shoulder to watch her wrap the present, and asked: “How do you know she hasn’t read it already?”

Um… Because it’s unpublished, and that is the only printed copy in existence?At the time I was just amused, but unfortunately I got on lj and saw a rant about self-published authors spewing out their advice on the world under the misguided assumption that they actually know how to write.

I know it wasn’t aimed at me.

But still. Ouch.

It’s too late to tell her she can’t give it away now, it’s wrapped and everything.

A week to catch up on

The kids had three days off school and a two hour delay this week too, so they didn't miss much of my sister's visit at all. She left Thursday, after making me birthday cake (with dragons on it!). Yesterday Boyd took me out to dinner, and then we attended the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society and played games all evening.

I'm over halfway done with the Eyes of Infistar first revision pass. Today I found a couple small continuity problems I hadn't noticed in my read through, but they were pretty easy to fix. I also got Harp & Gyre ready to go to WotC, but it's still sitting on a shelf in my bedroom because no one wants to chip the family van out of the ice — or drive it in this weather. And naturally Boyd's work van is never available when the post office is open. (It's snowing again too.)

So I'm off to work on Black Flag. I'm maybe a third of the way through page 3, but the next bit is somewhat scary. Four characters in the same scene is going to be an enormous strain on my system, and slower than molasses to work with. Wish I had bigger, faster, more ubercool hardware. And more memory. And more storage. And more…

Hmm… Didn't I already write a song about that?

In the Bull Pen

I'm not a baseball fan. Did I get that right? Is the bull pen where the pitcher warms up?

Because I, having recently read 's post on pitching to editors, have been practicing my pitches.

Practice Pitch for Harp & Gyre

My novel, Harp & Gyre is a completed high fantasy Juvenile of about 50 000 words, told in tight 3rd person from the viewpoint of the protagonist. Allma, apprentice bard, was convinced that his future as a keeper of history and advisor to kings was assured, but his unwary tongue and his mischievous pranks have finally become too much for his master, Lord Bectus. Bectus has been called away to try stop an impending war, and he regretfully decides to leave Allma behind. Allma can't bear to lose the respect and good will of his teacher, so he steals away after him, determined to prove himself worthy of song and story. His self-assigned diplomatic mission to find allies for the shortly to be besieged city of Ilam is less than successful, and in the end Allma finds that his only option is to speak to the invaders in person. But will his youthful earnestness and silver tongue be enough to save an entire kingdom from destruction? Maybe not. Fortunately along the way he's made friends with a young elf enchantress, some telepathic unicorns, acquired a pair of magical dice, and learned that sometimes you just have to do what needs to be done.

My name is Michelle Bottorff, and I wrote this book because it was the type of book I loved reading as a child and, well, I still love reading this kind of book. I think its cool when a total underdog, like a little kid, manages to plausibly accomplish something that all the big important people can't manage to do, and I love going somewhere that doesn't exist and seeing things that could never be. I have six kids and they all love fantasy, and after I practically forced them to read this book they confessed that they wouldn't be ashamed to admit in public that they were related to its author. I have sold a children's short story and a rpg article at professional rates, and I also write fantasy and science fiction for older readers. If this book is of any interest to you I have a sequel practically finished. As for my expectation for a writing career, well, I have written stories since I was twelve and I will continue to write until the day I die, and I figure if I'm going to do all that work anyway, I might as well get paid. I'm hoping my training in drama and public speaking will serve me well when the time comes to do marketing and promotion.

Practice Pitch for Cantata in Coral and Ivory

My novel Cantata in Coral and Ivory, is a completed fantasy comedy of manners of about 126 000 words. It is narrated in first person by the personal scribe of the protagonist. This scribe is in some ways an unreliable narrator, because, although he desperately wants to tell the true story of what happened, it is forbidden for him to say anything that might be considered derogatory about his master… and his master is a gruff sea-captain, with the build of a professional wrestler and a sailors' vocabulary who has just unexpectedly come into the family title and is now required to take up residence at court. Lord Ikhsior wants nothing better than to get out of there, but the longer he stays at court, the more he becomes entangled in its affairs. A lady-in-waiting offers him a gift he cannot refuse, but will he need to pay a price he cannot afford? Can he face down the snide and sophisticated Lord Lare, explain the meaning behind the mysterious disappearing rock man, orchestrate a court sight-seeing expedition, manage his estates, maintain his family honor, and find true love, all while conjuring up songs appropriate to every occasion at the drop of a lady's hairpin? Well, he can, but will the court ever recover from the resulting havoc? And can he survive the Emperor's resulting wrath?

My name is Michelle Bottorff, and I wrote this book to combine three of my greatest loves in literature. The first is my obsession with romance, the second is the invention/discovery of a strange and exotic new places and cultures, and the third is the wry, tongue-in-cheek sort of humor found in Jane Austin, Oscar Wilde and Georgette Heyer. I have written stories since I was twelve and have sold a children's short story and a rpg article at professional rates, as well as winning a few negligible writing contests and challenges. I have many stories to tell and I'm more interested in building a long term career than I am in making a splash, but I understand the need for promotion, so I've taken a course in internet marketing, and hopefully my training in drama and public speaking will also prove useful when the time comes.

Reluctant Fan

Jasmine read my book in manuscript form and was honored to have the opportunity.

Her sister Azure, however, couldn't be bothered. After all, it was written by her Mom, how good could it be? Worse, all those bothersome loose pages. But I entered my Harp & Gyre in the Xerox/lelu aspiring author's contest, so now I have a bound copy on hand, and Azure finally condescended to read it.

She read it all in a day. Hardly putting it down. But when her father faced her with it, she seems really reluctant to admit that she actually ::gasp!:: *liked* it.

The View from the Other Side

At Marcon I did a koffeklatch, (or whatever they are called) with Steve Staffel, from Del Rey. It was very, very fun getting to see an editor enthuse over all his current projects and go on about how good his writers were, and how excited he was about this book, and how excited he was about that other book and so forth.

I want one of those on my side.

Although, it probably won't Steve Staffel, I don't think my writing and his tastes would mesh that closely. But there must be one who likes the sort of stuff I write out there *somewhere*. I just have to find them.

And then as soon as I get home from Marcon I see a notice about Xerox doing a contest as a promotional thing. It's to promote their self-publishing/publish on demand, technology. I'm not really interested in self publishing, I don't think. But it didn't cost anything to enter except the time it took to “publish” my book, and for that, I get a free perfect bound (soft cover) copy of the book. I entered Harp & Gyre. I didn't dare take as much time as I wanted on the cover picture, because it looked like they were only accepting the first thousand books, and I didn't know how far along they were. But I did have the files available from the smaller picture I made for my webpage, so I think the finished cover looks pretty darned good for a rush job.

Author's Note on Racciman's World

I'm going to blame it all on a guy named Tracy Hickman. He was at my first ever science fiction convention, and he did a panel on worldbuilding. I was a dedicated worldbuilder already, but my worlds had always been built alongside of the story that I was telling in them. Before Tracy explained how he approached worldbuilding, it had never occurd to me to build the world first, and find stories to tell in it afterward. So I thought I'd give it a try.

But what to base the world on? Well, they say 'write what you know', and as one of eight siblings, (and later the mother of six,) one of the things I knew was large family dynamics. So I decided to base a fantasy world on that. What would happen, I asked myself, if the gods of a fantasy world, were actually children? A family of children, with all their squabbles and shifting alliegences reflected in the world they created?

Hexblurb for Dicing With Flames
See legendary trap,
--walk right in

Copyright © Michelle Bottorff

Email mbottorff at lshelby period com