Or in the case of this book, too much time. For you to be waiting, that is.
Here it is: I’m publishing The Reefs of Time in two volumes—two months apart—in both ebook and print.* I’m aiming for July and September. Yes, of this year, wise guy. I want to promote the launch of the first one at worldcon. Each volume will be heftier than any of the other Chaos books except Sunborn. Taken together, they’ll mass something just shy of a neutron star, or maybe a quantum black hole.
Okay, that could be an exaggeration. But I do hope they’ll suck you in, heh-heh.
I have a mountain of work to do to prepare for this. But today I want to talk about titles. Specifically, the title of the second book.
My first thought was, The Reefs of Time (Vol. 1) and The Reefs of Time (Vol. 2). But that doesn’t work, because it’s already Volume 5 (and 6) of The Chaos Chronicles and the potential for confusion was endless. So I started noodling around titles for the second part. Until a few days ago, I thought it was going to be:
The Reefs of Time (and) A Triumph of Time
But then I had an epiphany. How about this, instead:
The Reefs of Time (and) Crucible of Time
I actually like both. But I think “crucible” sounds more dangerous. Riskier. Anything can happen.
What do you think? I’m inviting comments, or even alternative suggestions!
*In case you missed it, these are no longer going to be published by Tor. I am publishing them under my own Starstream Publications imprint, in cooperation with Book View Café.
Grab a partner and hold tight!The Reefs of Time have taken a sharp left turn. My long-time publisher, Tor Books, has declined to publish it, sight unseen.* This came as something of a shock. The reason given is that it’s been too long since the last book—which is certainly true.
Fear not—the project is not grounded! But it has changed direction abruptly. I will publish it through my own imprint, Starstream Publications, in cooperation with Book View Café. While at first glance this seems like a setback, I choose to regard it as a blessing and an opportunity. I’ll get the rights back to the earlier material, and can now control the entire series, top to bottom. And I can publish the new work the way I want.
It does mean I have a lot of work cut out for me, and I don’t just mean publishing Reefs. Before the new book can come out, I need to have all the first four books available in new print editions, so that new readers can start at the beginning and read the whole story. These books are already available in ebook, but many people still prefer print. And then, of course, I need to do all the production of ebook and print book on the new novel—including cover design.
I have hired an assistant for the promotional efforts. I have called on artist and writer Chris Howard, who has already done two covers for me, to outdo himself. Various of my colleagues, both in and out of Book View Café, have stepped forward with offers of help. It’s been amazing, really. Still others have offered strong encouragement, including some terrific authors who have been dropped by traditional publishing and gone on to do exactly what I’m doing, and done quite well at it.
This all happened suddenly, and it’s too soon to have a realistic time frame sketched out. But my goal is to have the new work out in time for the World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin, in August.
Damn the torpedoes! Full speed ahead!
*This might seem odd, since I’ve been working on the book with my editor for about eight months. But he’s working on a consulting basis for Tor, and it was only when the books were ready to go into production in-house that the editorial oversight team at Tor said no. I’m not taking it personally; in fact, they’re settling graciously, and unlike many authors I’ve known in similar positions, I’m getting all my rights back without a fight. It’s an amicable divorce. There are no hard feelings on my part.
It’s been quite a while since I posted anything about the book. The reason is that the editorial process has been excruciatingly slow, and it’s not done yet—though I’m done with my revisions, at least for now. For reasons I’m not going to get into, the work process on this book is unusual, and the primary editing has been handled by an editor not on staff at the publishing house. Now it goes to an in-house editor, and that may entail more work; I don’t know yet.
The long and the short of it is, I don’t have a publication date yet. I think it’s likely to be published in two volumes, hopefully close together. But I don’t know that for certain, either.
Do I hear you groaning? Oh, me too! Me too! In fact, your groan is just an echo of my own! But I’ll post more info when I have it. Please keep hanging in there with me! I can’t do this without all of you behind me!
This was in some ways the most difficult trip of our annual series, partly because problems we thought we’d fixed last time came back to bite us again. Just about everything that could go wrong, did. Water, electric, plumbing, appliances, even unexpected repairs to the roof. The cistern pump that we spent so much time getting to run? It burned out and seized when the incoming power line kacked, giving us an impromptu brownout. The nice remote-operated driveway gate? The same.
Eventually we got most everything fixed, though some of it had to wait until after we’d returned home. Some of it ran right up to the wire on the last day—when, of course, we had to go to the airport at one in the morning to catch our flights home. Tempers frayed. Somehow we got through it.
Here’s the power company truck on station, putting in a new line to the house. They told Allysen they were one of only two truck crews providing emergency services to the whole city of Ponce. They did a great job. Allysen and our neighbor Frances cheer them on.
Did I mention the guards? Because the old hotel just up the street is finally slated for renovation, they hired a security crew to keep kids and carousers out of the property. Imagine our surprise to encounter armed security guards right outside our gate. They were all ex-cops or current cops, and generally a very genial group. They had nothing to do but chat with us and our workers, and take care of the stray dog that adopted them. Startling at first sight, they gradually came to seem a friendly presence.
Our friend Crystal joined us from California for the last few days, and wielded a mighty paint brush. (Crystal was once my housemate, and it was she who introduced me to Allysen, more than a few years ago.) We promised her one day of fun, and were glad we had, because it forced us to take a day of fun for ourselves. We drove across the island and walked around Old San Juan for an afternoon. It was lovely.
Here’s a whimsical sculpture chair that was surprisingly comfortable to sit in. We called it the catbird seat.
And here’s a stray kitten we named Stet, who was getting a little bolder, day by day. I hope she makes out okay. Another week or two, and we would have brought her home, for sure.
Everything is a blur, including some of the stray cats who dash by, nearly invisible. The to-do list has grown like triffids. Here’s Allysen’s rundown, before things started cascading:
I need a plumber, electrician, tree remover, fence builder/repairer, pool plasterer, mason, construction handyman, and somebody to remove the “escombros” — the old refrigerator, sink, and junk that was supposed to have been removed months ago. Our best handyman’s now working for FEMA at twice the pay. It’s Christmas. In Puerto Rico, Christmas partying lasts from day after Thanksgiving through January 6th (3 Kings’ day/Epiphany) and then some. No one returns my calls.
We joyfully prep the first floor of the house for painting. For five days. Joy wanes.
Miracles of miracles, I found someone willing to do pool repair during the Christmas season!
The new electrician returned my call! He can’t come until February. I beg. He relents. The plumber promised to come but has not shown up. I text. I call. I pray. The fence guy said he’d measure and give me an estimate today. No show. Can’t find anyone for tree removal. Nor masons. We’re running out of time…
She forgot to mention that the new 1000-gallon cistern for backup water isn’t working because of a problem with the pump. William, the pool guy works on it… and works on it… The needed part, of course, is not readily available. Still, he persists.
Triumph! (No, not the pump.) The pool has been replastered and refilled! Just before the city water pressure goes belly up on us again. Water has been weak and intermittent for days now.
Jayce arrives to join us, and it’s her birthday. We get cake and ice cream. Upon opening the freezer drawer on the almost new refrigerator, we find the drawer won’t close. We are blasting cold air into the kitchen. The track is jammed—as it turns out, by a small loose screw lodged impossibly far into the mechanism. No way to fix it. The freezer opening is now closed off with plastic drop cloth and duct tape. Awaiting a repair visit from Sears. Yeah. The company that’s going under. Did I mention the fridge is new?
William finally gets the cistern pump working. Cheers and congratulations! An hour later, electrical power to the whole house goes bad, complete with sparks on the utility pole. We have enough power for lights, but not much more. No pumps, no micro, no washer… The electrician says it’s a bad ground (which he can fix) and a bad line coming in from the utility, which must await the power company. Have you ever waited for the power company in Puerto Rico?
Our major do-or-die project, after repairing the swimming pool, is repainting the master bedroom. Seemed straightforward enough, even though the walls and ceilings are pebbly cement and take forever to prep. But then we find the mildew behind the skimcoat on the outer wall, and hope goes out the window. A simple paint job has turned into mold remediation, external sealing, and replastering. Not for the first time I think, I hate painting. And… if I spent half as much time fixing the walls of my own house… (No, don’t think that way. Wrong thinking will be punished.)
As always, what success we have is thanks in no small measure to our neighbor Frances, who is Miles Vorkosigan’s mother Cordelia and Aunt Alys wrapped into one. (See Lois McMaster Bujold’s novels, if that doesn’t mean anything to you.)
Let’s end with something brighter. Here’s a little fellow who found his way into the living room and stayed just long enough for me to get a picture.
Happy Belated New Year, everyone! We started our new year in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where we’re beginning another round of upkeep, repair (yes, including Hurricane Maria repair, a year and a half later), and steady upgrading of Allysen’s mom’s house here (now available for vacation rental!)
Our first action—after a drugged sleep, after landing at the airport at 4 a.m. local time—was to pick up our reserved rental car from Enterprise. What we had reserved was a small SUV. What we got—the last vehicle on the lot—was a Ford F-150 pickup truck. Not the one of the older, reasonable-sized pickups, but a monster truck. This thing was up so high you could barely see the street, and it had the approximate turning radius of an aircraft carrier. (Oh, for my little Ranger, back home!) Fortunately we were able to swap it out for a Jeep “SUV”—a small crossover, really—after a week of lumbering around in the monster.
Then we began the inventory of everything to be done…
Oh, my head. That will come in the next installment. For now, here’s a picture of Allysen in a charming little place called 19 Barios, with excellent pizza and equally excellent locally brewed IPA.
And here’s the hillside at night, from our neighbor’s balcony. The brightly lit building in the center is the Castillo Serralles, and to the right is La Cruceta, both big tourist attractions in Ponce.
For real. Allysen’s DNA was tested by 23andMe, and the results are in, and my universe is shaking! My wife is 3% Neanderthal! She has 298 Neanderthal variants, which is more than 83% of 23andMe customers. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m sure it must be impressive.
What does this mean for me? Have all my efforts to civilize my children been in vain? They must be part Neanderthal, too. Or maybe this: Is the world actually being run by Neanderthals? There’s a sobering thought. Just think about Washington, and you know it could be true.
On the other hand, my knowledgeable Neanderthalian wife informs me that the Neanderthals were on the whole a kinder, gentler species than homo sap. So maybe the Washington argument is wrong, after all.
Whatever the case, now I know that it was not for nothing that years ago Allysen acquired the nickname Thagga. (Although I acquired the nickname of Thag, so what does that suggest about me? I haven’t been tested, but maybe I have some Cro-Magnon in me. That could explain a lot.)
(One of these pix is my wife. The other is a pic from the Museo Arqueologico Nacional in Madrid. See the family resemblance?)
I’ve just arrived in Puerto Rico for another work-trip/visit to the house in Ponce. But as a parting gift to all my friends, past present future, I’ve turned down the price on the ebook of Panglor, for a few days only! (Today’s the start of my Bookbub promo.)
Panglor’s kind of a crazy dude, and he’s got problems that go way beyond being crazy. Join him for a journey to Strange, and see what got the Star Rigger universe going! $.99! How many dog biscuits can you buy for less than a dollar? What are you waiting for? Buy a whole box for your friends!
This is where I use my special timestream skills to go back and wish you all a Merry Christmas! We had a wonderful day with family, and I hope you did, too. (Even if you don’t celebrate the holiday as such, I hope the day was good to you.)
Here’s what our outdoor tree looks like this year. You can’t really see the laser display on the side of the house, which was initially intended to substitute for the time-consuming installation of lights in the tree. Didn’t quite work, though it looked pretty cool on its own, and I ended up adding to the project, rather than simplifying it. Story of my life. But I still like the magical, almost ethereal quality of the blue lights, with a bit of green.
On the other hand, our tree inside, which started all fresh and pliable and thirsty, has turned into Charlie Brown’s tree. Piles of needles everywhere. I used tree preserver, too. Where’d I go wrong?