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Early Feedback

So, what’s been keeping me away from this blog this time?

Everything. Working as a scopist. Having to get a new car. Having my Internet access temporarily interrupted. And, when I get a chance, writing. I’m at the awkward stage with Age of Consequences and Locksmith’s War where I have to plan out the next few chapters. In the case of Locksmith’s War, this means developing a very precise timeline of where everybody is at any given time.

Book sales are going okay. Reviews have been few, but still positive—including an excellent one in Analog (link goes to current issue). I also had my first book signing, at the Book Warehouse in the Queenstown Outlets. I sold a few books, and had a lively discussion with an elderly gentlemen who was suffering from degenerative Fox News viewing. I think I did pretty well. (He started going on about Al Gore’s private jet. People who are winning the argument don’t do that.)

I’ve learned something about Altered Seasons that everybody but me already seemed to know. I’d always thought of Isabel Bradshaw and Carrie Camberg as sort of co-protagonists. Going over the number of pages, however, I realize that Isabel has gotten over twice as many as Carrie. Also, when people talk to me about the characters, the character they always talk about is Isabel.

People seem to like her. The way they talk about her reminds me of the way people talk about Irene J. Harris, another of my creations. Which makes sense—apart from the obvious differences in stature and strength (Isabel is a mere 5’6”, and while she can schlep an air conditioner upstairs and install it in a window with the best of them, her strength is also a lot closer to average) and sexual orientation (Isabel is bi) Isabel has a lot in common with Reenie the Giant. They’re both smarter than average, but not purely intellectual. They both grew up in a rural, blue-collar world and are equally at home there or in a more urban, white-collar world. They’re both characters who derive their sense of self-worth from their work, and are as happy working with their hands as with their brains. They both like to sort out their problems themselves. Neither of these women spends much time raging against gender stereotypes, but neither woman puts much effort into conforming to them either—although they both try to stay in shape and avoid letting their weight go past a certain point. Neither of them is prone to fear… at least not of their fellow human beings. They both have younger sisters of whom they are highly protective. Isabel is perhaps a little smarter, but Reenie is more outgoing and has better social skills.

But of course, the main thing people notice and remember about Reenie is her towering stature. It informs every aspect of her interaction with other people, and with the whole built environment. There’s nothing like that in Isabel’s life.

One more thing—on reading the e-book version of Monsoonrise, I find that the footnotes somehow got lost. I’d complain, but (a) I’ve bothered the publisher enough over minor matters, (b) at least one reviewer didn’t miss them, and (c) since the print version costs about ten dollars more, I feel like people who buy it should get something extra. Also, this does give me an idea of what to put in my first “Backstory Files” newsletter.

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