I’ve been pretty much absent from all social media for the last month or two. Sorry about that. At the moment I’m at the Portland airport, headed for Barcelona. We’ll be there for a week, then half a week in London, then a week in Brighton for World Fantasy Con.
The plane boards in about twenty minutes, and I feel very unready for this trip. I have been studying Spanish every day for about two months, using the Duolingo app on my phone (which is marvelous) and the Pimsleur audio lessons, so that’s something. I know from previous trips that no amount of language study is enough, but anything is better than nothing. I have also not really made plans for what we’re going to do once we get there, but Kate the master trip planner has done plenty of research.
The main reason I have not prepared for this trip as well as I would like to have done is the same reason I haven’t been blogging: I’ve been finishing up a novel. Here’s the elevator pitch: “Arabella and the Marsman is a YA Regency Interplanetary Airship Adventure. Arabella is a Patrick O’Brian girl in a Jane Austen world — born and raised on Mars, she was hauled back home by her mother, where she’s stifled by England’s gravity, climate, and attitudes toward women. When she learns that her evil cousin plans to kill her brother and inherit the family fortune, she joins the crew of an interplanetary clipper ship in order to beat him to Mars. But pirates, mutiny, and rebellion stand in her way. Will she arrive in time?”
I completed the first draft just before the Worldcon, so that I could send it off to a bunch of other writers for their feedback at a novel critique retreat at the Oregon Coast called Coastal Heaven. I got some great feedback from them there, along with a lot of great writing and industry advice as well as great food and hanging out. I also got feedback from a number of other writers via email. Most of the people who read it really liked it!
Coastal Heaven was right after the Worldcon, and I really wanted to get the novel revised and into submission before departing for Europe. And I did it! I finished it on Tuesday and sent it off to an editor and an agent that very day. Both of them have responded with enthusiasm to the concept of the novel and promised rapid turnaround. I’m trying not to be too optimistic — I’ve had my heart broken before — but I really do think that this novel is a lot more straightforward, commercial, and dare I say salable than my previous two, as well as very entertaining, so I have high hopes.
I also have a bunch of writing-related news that has not gotten posted while I’ve been head-down on the novel, including: Old Mars, including my “Wreck of the Mars Adventure,” is now available for purchase, as is Mad Science Cafe, which includes a reprint of my “One Night in O’Shaughnessy’s Bar,” and the audiobook of my novella Second Chance releases on October 22 and is now available for pre-order.
So. That’s what’s up with me. I hope to blog extensively about the trip, including pictures and everything.