Refuelling. That’s what Poppy Z Brite called it, standing on a streetcorner of Royal Street one evening in 1997. “Reading books, going to clubs, listening to music,” she said.
It’s the part of writing that a lot of non-writers don’t really understand.
I’ve just spent a very pleasant afternoon cutting out shirts for myself. Later I’ll go for a walk, and hope to put in a couple of hours this evening slaughtering unoffending Evil Mercenaries on the X-Box. This is as much a part of being a writer as the actual sitting-in-front-of-the-computer part. Getting out. Breathing air. Talking to friends. I find I always work better, when I can put my brain in a bowl of cold water for a couple of days.
Sometimes, one has no choice. Lower advances = taking as many projects as are offered, and these +a part-time job (see: “lower advances” above) = a heavier work schedule. I am fortunately insanely disciplined about my work, and, when possible, insanely disciplined about my rest-time as well. (I’m a Virgo, it’s what we do).
But a part of writing is – metaphorically or actually – lying on one’s back staring at the clouds, and this can get difficult if there is another member of the household, and understandably so. (I’m sure the legendarily crabby Xantippe, wife of Socrates, got pretty tired of Soc just hanging out talking instead of bringing in even a minimal paycheck). I’ve been on both sides of that line, and both are ugly. Where does refuelling turn into procrastinating? I generally know for myself (since I don’t procrastinate about writing), but living with a writer who had a different clock-speed than I got pretty tense sometimes. “Why don’t you help out around here?” is bad enough, but there’s also, “I’m bored, come talk to me…” I have no idea what the appropriate response connected with either of those is, but closing the study door did not help).
Essentially, the part of me that writes is still a five-year-old child. During the ‘seventies those New Age effusions about “Caring for your Inner Child” put my teeth on edge – they often seemed to me to be simply a justification for bad behavior, irresponsibility, and selfishness – but yes, the part of me that writes is very much a child. Writing – any kind of art, I think – is a balancing-act, being simultaneously child and adult. The stories – the dreams – the people I see in my head – those are produced by that five-year-old sitting in some mental inner closet pecking away at a keyboard. But it’s the adult that crafts them, so that other people can see them exactly as I do: “WAY too many adjectives, dear… that’s the fifth time you’ve used the word ‘deleriously’ in three paragraphs… does the reader really need to know about Zelda’s toenails?” Or, “What does the air smell like, when it smells like that?”
And the adult has the responsibilities of an adult, to make sure the dog gets fed, to behave responsibly with sales people, to maintain her part of the relationships that nourish the soul.
But part of my job as the adult is to take care of that child. And children need their naps.
(I also buy her presents from time to time, which unfortunately I can’t deduct from my income-tax the way I can a new monitor for the computer.)

Happy On-Sale Day!

Barbara is the featured author at Open Road Media today, to mark “On-Sale Day”. You can now purchase ebook versions of almost her entire back catalog. Hurray for ebooks! Even better, they have released the “About the Author” video they shot a couple weeks ago and you can either watch it on their site or RIGHT HERE! Thanks to Open Road for sending me the nifty embed link. I’m so pleased for Barbara, and for everyone who has been clamoring for digital versions of her work. Enjoy!

Ebook extravaganza!

Hi, all-

I’m finally able to announce that YES, you can get almost every Hambly book in e-format, starting at the end of this month! Yay! Open Road Media has picked up Barbara’s back catalog, and will be releasing the books via their site, Amazon, and the B&N nook store on March 29, 2011.

Even more excitingly, Open Road recently shot an “About the Author” video of Barbara. I’ll post the link as soon as it’s released to the public. Let me know if you’re planning to get an ebook, comments, what platform you’re using, etc.


Exciting Surprise Mail

I was vacuuming this morning when the mail came in, with a package for me from Severn House, Barbara’s newest publisher:

Shirt on His Back pic


I have to temper this slightly by saying that this book has been released in the UK already, but won’t be officially released in the US until June, 2011.

Thanks very much to Severn for sending a copy to me – and just in time for weekend reading, too (see the book underneath?  That’s a statistics book – guess who probably won’t be reading about statistics this weekend??). Severn has completely redesigned their website; it’s clean and informative. Most excitingly, it looks like they’re planning to start offering ebooks soon.

Speaking of ebooks, in case you haven’t heard the news, Barbara’s entire back catalog has been picked up by Open Road Media and will be released soon.  Barbara and I will both be posting more information about this in the very near future, but her blog/Twitter feed will keep you up to date as things go along.

Further Adventures, Part 3

Just in time for Thanksgiving weekend reading: Further Adventures part III is here!

There are two new stories this time: Princess, in which John and Jenny from the Dragonsbane series get tangled up with dragons, demons, and an unwillingly betrothed young woman…and A Time to Every Purpose Under Heaven, starring Rose Janvier (while Ben is out of town for The Shirt on His Back), whose neighbors provide her with a very…em…exciting day.

Hop on over to the Further Adventures page to preview these stories, and to purchase any of the eight FA offerings. Stories are available in pdf, epub, and mobi formats, and should be readable on pretty much every device (including paper, should you wish to print one out)!

Thanks very much to everyone who has purchased/enjoyed these stories so far! FA has been a success so far, and will definitely be continuing.

News of the week

Here’s Barbara Hamilton/Hambly appearing Friday at the Mysterious Galaxy bookstore in San Diego.

In other new, Barbara is hard at work on two new Further Adventures stories, one to be about Rose (from the Ben January books).

A Mysterious sighting of Barbara Hamilton

Barbara Hamilton will be making a public appearance next Friday at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego. If you plan to go, take a picture for the site!

Weekly News Update

Hi, all-

Just a quick roundup of news:

1. Barbara Hamilton is blogging about her Abigail Adams books; you can read the first installment by following the link. Who would you call on the historical cell-phone?

2. Barbara Hamilton’s A Marked Man is now out – if you’ve read it already, feel free to leave a comment.

3. Severn Press (publishers of the recent Dead and Buried and the out/upcoming Blood Maidens) is planning to start their ebooks venture in early 2011. Yay!

4. You really should not miss Barbara’s latest blog post discussing the writing of Time of the Dark. Really. It’s fantastic.

The ebook post

I’ve been meaning for ages to post about Barbara Hambly and Barbara Hamilton ebooks (in case you’d missed the news, Barbara Hamilton is Barbara Hambly).

A lot of letters/comments come in from people who want to read X book on their Y device.  These are usually impassioned, and end with a plea to make books available digitally.  Trust me, I feel your pain – I, too, have an ereader, and I, too, would like more books to be available.  But neither I nor Barbara can magically produce ebooks – digital rights to all her books are currently sold.  What does that mean?  It means that some other entity – not Barbara, and certainly not me – controls whether those books make it into digital format.  Yes, I, too find that a bit sad.

Available ebooks

On a happier note, you can obtain some Hambly books in ebook formats! Yay!  Most of the stores offer the exact same selection (see below), so you’re really not device-limited (iBooks is an exception, but you can run the kindle or nook app on that, so no worries). The links below are for searches, so should stay up-to-date.

Barnes and Noble (nook, or nook app on ipad, ipod, & PC, mac, android devices):

The Emancipator’s Wife : A Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln
Patriot Hearts : A Novel of the Founding Mothers
Dragonshadow (Winterlands Series #2)
Knight of the Demon Queen (Winterlands Series #3)
Dragonstar (Winterlands Series #4)
Die upon a Kiss (Benjamin January Series #5)
Wet Grave (Benjamin January Series #6)
Days of the Dead (Benjamin January Series #7)
Dead Water (Benjamin January Series #8)
Star Trek #23 : Ishmael
Star Trek #71 : Crossroad
Star Trek #53 : Ghost-Walker
Circle of the Moon
Sisters of the Raven
Night’s Edge (3 novellas, one of hers)
Renfield : Slave of Dracula

From Barbara Hamilton, they have:

The Ninth Daughter
A Marked Man (currently on preorder)

As above, but also Magic Time (by Barbara Hambly and Marc Scott Zicree)

Sony ebokstore (Sony reader):
As above, but also New Orleans Noir by Julie Smith (short stories)

They have only a subset of the above: Magic Time, the Star Trek books, Sisters of the Raven, Circle of the Moon, Renfield, and The Ninth Daughter.  However, you can run a number of ebook apps on the iWhatsit, so you’re not limited to iBooks.

General information:

1.  A huge list of ebookstores is here at this wiki link.

2.  Most of Barbara’s books can be bought directly from the publisher.

3.  Nothing of Barbara’s is at Project Gutenberg or any of the other large free collections (most ebookstores also offer classic texts for free), but these sites are highly recommended for filling up your digital shelves!

4.  Calibre is a popular and free program for changing book formats and organizing book collections on your computer.  I also like Mobipocket Reader, the Stanza program (my choice for iphone reading), and Sigil for the techies who want to edit their epub files.

5. Comments are welcome!  The spam filter will catch anything with too many links; let me know if your post doesn’t make the cut and I’ll retrieve it.


New Projects!

This is Barbara, making what I hope is the official announcement:

1) Blood Maidens is out in the U.K. I believe this month – someone told me they’d ordered from Amazon U.K. and had actually GOTTEN a copy! I’m told it should be available in regular Amazon in December.
b) Barbara Hamilton’s second Abigail Adams mystery, A Marked Man, goes on sale first week of October!
c) I am working on adapting Stuart Moore’s graphic novel PARA as a movie script (a work-for-hire project, but it’s fun and an interesting task!)
d) I am just about done with the final polish of Benjamin January # 10, The Shirt On His Back, which (those Brits are REALLY fast and efficient) should be out in February.
Thank you all for hanging in with me. (I hope this appears where people can read it. I am NOT good with websites).