I'm thinking of starting a Patreon. I know, all the cool kids have done so already, but I am still thinking about it. For good or ill, that is how I roll.
David has supported my writing career since 1981. I have in fact made money from writing, and it came in very handy for any number of things. But after Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
was published in 1998, I didn't sell any more novels. I wrote a synopsis and the first few chapters of a Liavek novel and submitted it to Tor, which rejected it. Then Harry Potter became a sensation, and Sharyn November started the Firebird line at Viking/Penguin and bought up and reissued much of my backlist. She also bought a new novel called Going North
. Briefly, I turned the book in late and too long. It was suggested that I expand it into two volumes, which I did; but at that point two-volume fantasy novels were not doing well, so I was asked, and perhaps unwisely agreed, to try and shrink the even-longer revision back down to 100,000 words. This did not go well at all.Going North
was cancelled in 2012, and then took a very long time to be pried loose from the publisher that no longer wanted it. In the meantime, I worked on the Liavek novel and on a number of pieces of short fiction, none of which is as yet finished. I don't work fast, but I have been working. Last year, Patricia Wrede and I put together a collection of our Liavek stories from the original anthologies, added a story Pat had written that never got into any of the anthologies, newly-revised; and also added a brand-new collaborative story about some of the background of our characters and their ancestral connection. This was published by Diversion Books as Points of Departure
. Diversion Books did a lovely job on the cover and editing and the entire project was very gratifying. Unsurprisingly, however, it did not really solve our financial problems.
In the meantime, the market for the kind of work David does has been evolving; and we've been limping from crisis to crisis and having a hard time making ends meet. The house has accumulated a lot of deferred maintenance. Once I got the rights to Going North
back, I approached various agents with it, but none of them wanted to represent it. I am also, honestly, a bit out of patience with conventional publishing.
In response to this lack of patience, David and I recently started Blaisdell Press
and reissued Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary
and The Dubious Hills
. We are also going to reissue "Owlswater," a Secret Country novella originally published in Jane Yolen's Xanadu
series. But reissues aren't enough. We fully plan to publish the new novel. However, it needs to be revised and expanded again from the state I got it into trying to reduce it to the contractually mandated 100,0000 words; and I haven't been able to settle to this properly because I am so worried about money and the state of the house. Also, with timing I will not dignify by describing it, I was just diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. This is stressful, time-consuming, and, even with insurance, expensive.
I am having a very hard time working. If I could generate some income, it would be much easier for me to concentrate as I need to, and we might be able to begin fixing things that need fixing, as well as continuing to pay our share of the mortgage and our health insurance premiums, buy groceries, and so on.
I know that many people write far more than I do while they too are dealing with chronic illness, day jobs, and other very pressing problems. But I write as fast as I write. What I have is this: these are my stories. Nobody else can tell them.
David continues to look for work and to do it when he gets it. He'll be teaching a course this fall, but that doesn't pay as much as it ought to.
I haven't thought through the levels yet, but among the things I am considering offering are such diverse elements as:
Scenes from the short stories I'm working on. These include one about wish-granting merpeople and one about astronomical werewolves. The latter is a result of having removed entire characters wholesale from Going North
. There are several others too inchoate for an easy description.
Chapters from the Liavek novel. This takes place after the events of the last Liavek collection, and is about the theater.
Videos of me reading snippets of the offered passages.
Videos of me answering questions that supporters of the Patreon send in.
Cat pictures, of course. Possibly cat videos, though this depends more than photos do on the actual cooperation of the cats.
Chapters of the original very long and extremely opaque Going North.
Chapters of the even longer and still somewhat opaque two-volume version of Going North.
Posts about the process of revising the latest version of Going North, which will be sometimes subtle, but not actually opaque.
If there's actual interest, vegan and veganizable recipes I have made, with commentary. (I eat a diet that is mostly vegan but does encompass fish and occasionally sheep- or goats-milk cheese, but I have recipes for cheese substitutes, and some fish recipes work nicely with tofu.)
I'd like to say garden photos and essays, but the yard is one of the things that needs fixing. Well, there's certainly a lot of it and it does have a lot of things growing in it, as well as birds and dragonflies and bees and so on. So, I suppose, if there was interest in an ex-garden, or a garden that needs to be rehabilitated, it would be fairly easy to write about what's out there.
I know that some of you don't like dealing with unfinished work, or waiting a long time for something you've had a taste of. I will do the best I can not to be more dilatory than necessary.
What do you guys think? Is there anything else you'd like to see, in addition or instead?
Thanks very much.