Hobkin and Other Updates

Taking advantage of a minor lull in bill editing at the capitol to post this.

It’s now been two weeks since Hobkin’s emergency vet visit, and he’s got one more day of amoxicillin to go. He seems to have fully recovered from his UTI (thank all the deities who watch over fuzzy beasties) and is in downright frisky spirits.

Skunks, or at least Hobkin, display a pretty radical personality shift between spring and winter. In winter he’s fat, lazy, and generally laid back. In spring, he becomes frolicsome and downright attitudinous. And apparently, it’s now spring.

On Sunday, I’m reaching down to pet the deceptively mild-mannered plush critter curled up beside me, and he decided it was an invitation to wrestle. He latched all four paws around my forearm, grabbed my index finger with his teeth, and rolled (think crocodile ambushing a deer).

Now, Hobkin knows better than to bite me, but he considers it fair play to grab my forefinger right between his two top canines (which, ’cause my hands are small, is a perfect fit) where there’s a little ridge of front teeth. Not sharp enough to cause damage or break the skin even if he presses down, but enough to make me go “Ow, no bite! Leggo, no bite!” while he drags me about by one finger and gleefully assures me that he’s not biting.

And, once again, 8 lb fuzzy animal wins over stupid human. Yes, I think it’s safe to say that Hobkin’s all better.

   


Writing Stuff

During the times when I wasn’t losing at wrestling matches against the fuzzwit, the weekend was spent editing and burning the limited edition audio MP3 CD of Returning My Sister’s Face and getting the first shipment of autographed books mail-ready (which book Amazon is offering at a juicy discounted price of $21.55 right now). I’ll be sending out email notices shortly to let folks know to expect them. I anticipate the second batch will be going out later this week. Thanks to everyone who ordered during the launch party!

RETURNING MY SISTER’S FACE: Now at Amazon

Was at work until 10pm last night, so didn’t get home until nearly 11. And today has been a reprise of the madness. But I’m chipper and bouncy for there is much to be chipper and bouncy about:

The fabulous Elizabeth A. Allen (blogofstench) gave Returning My Sister’s Face an amazing review at The Fix:

“Up till now, fans of Eugie Foster’s clever, crystalline fairy tales, drawn from Chinese and Japanese mythology, had to seek out single instances of her stories in various magazines and anthologies. However, with the March publication of Returning My Sister’s Face: And Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, old aficionados can relish 12 of her tales all in one place. . .I wholeheartedly recommend this collection of tender and well-written stories.”

And more fabulousity, Amazon.com finally has it available:

It’s also available at Amazon UK for £15.20 (currently discounted from its list price of £16.00).

[Edit: As norilana commented, it’d be much appreciated if folks, once you’ve read Returning My Sister’s Face, would give some feedback in the Amazon reviews!]

And a final plug: I’m still selling autographed copies (see my launch party post for details).

RETURNING MY SISTER’S FACE: Prizewinners and freebie info

Thanks to everyone who attended the virtual launch party of Returning My Sister’s Face: And Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice yesterday!

For LJ users who gave a shout-out to the party and my collection, and/or dropped me a comment on yesterday’s party post, you can get the password and download access to the exclusive pre-release of my reading of “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon” at this locked post. Please drop me a comment if you should be able to see it but can’t.

For other shout-out folks who aren’t on LiveJournal, if you’re a member of my Facebook Group, you should be receiving the password/access through Facebook if you haven’t already, and I’ll be sending emails to the ones on neither platform.

If you weren’t able to make the party yesterday, you can still download and listen to my reading. All you have to do is give my collection a shout-out, drop a comment at yesterday’s post, or join my Facebook group anytime during the whole month of March.

Next, announcing the prizewinners from the random drawings. For the limited edition Returning My Sister’s Face audio MP3 CD:

• The LiveJournal/shout-out winner is: flyswatter
• The Facebook Group winner is: time_shark

And finally, announcing the grand prize winner of an autographed copy of Returning My Sister’s Face *drumroll please…*: shadesong!

Congratulations to the three lucky winners! Your prizes should be winging their way to you in the next couple weeks, and thanks again to everyone who came out for the party yesterday!

Returning My Sister’s Face: Virtual Launch Party

Welcome to the virtual launch party of my debut short story collection, Returning My Sister’s Face: And Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice, co-hosted by Facebook and LiveJournal. Help yourself to a flute of champagne or a cup of sake!

To kick things off, I’ve got a couple announcements:

Returning My Sister’s Face is now available from Barnes & Noble and will be available any day now from Amazon (U.S., UK, France, Germany, and Japan).

I’m also selling autographed copies for $23 USD with free shipping and handling anywhere in the U.S. or Canada (overseas folks, please email me about shipping rates). Paypal payments from your PayPal cash balance may be directed to eugie (at) eugiefoster (dot) com at the PayPal site: http://www.paypal.com. (For credit card payments, see below*.)

If you order one this month, I’ll include for free a limited edition Returning My Sister’s Face audio MP3 CD containing five of the stories, including one previously unreleased and read by myself, plus a bonus story.

Contents:

• ”The Tiger Fortune Princess” read by Norm Sherman, produced and podcast by Drabblecast (Mar. 2008).
• “The Snow Woman’s Daughter” read by cunning minx, produced and podcast by Escape Pod (Aug. 2007).
• “The Tanuki-Kettle” read by Tina Connolly with an introduction by M. K. Hobson, produced and podcast by Podcastle (Oct. 2008).
• “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon” read by me, an original audio production.
• “Returning My Sister’s Face” read by Stephen Eley, produced and podcast by Pseudopod (Sept. 2006).
• Bonus Story: “Souls of Living Wood” read by me, an original audio production.

Next, what’s a party without prizes and party favors?

The grand prize is an autographed copy of Returning My Sister’s Face, which will be awarded by a random drawing at the end of today**. To get your chance to win, either:

• Post a shout-out on your blog for Returning My Sister’s Face with a link to this post***; or
• Join my Eugie Foster: Author Facebook group. This group will provide updates and info about Returning My Sister’s Face, my other publication news, and give folks a chance to give me some feedback and criticism, or ask that niggling question you’ve had about how I ended up with a pet skunk.

If you do both, you double your chance to win!

I’m also doing two additional random drawings for the Returning My Sister’s Face audio CD that I mentioned above, one drawing for shout-out folks and one for folks joining my Facebook group.

Finally, everyone who gives my collection a shout-out, joins my Facebook group, or comments to this post anytime this month will get exclusive access to my original audio reading of “The Archer of the Sun and the Lady of the Moon.” I plan to make it free to the public in April, but until then, it’s password protected.

[Edit: For LJ users, the password is now available at this locked post.]


* For credit card PayPal payments only, please use this address: buy@eugiefoster.com. Otherwise, please use eugie@eugiefoster.com. (Saves me fees.)
** To avoid timezone issues, “today” is based on UTC/GMT -11, so if it’s Sunday, March 1, 2009, anywhere in the world, it counts as today.
*** I’m trying out the new pingback LJ function, but if you’re an LJ user without a paid or permanent account, please drop me a comment to let me know you’ve posted a shout-out so I can enter you in the drawing. If you’re on another blogging platform, as long as you’ve got pings enabled, I should get notice of it—but drop me a comment here if you want to make extra certain.

Announcing: Returning My Sister’s Face – Book Launch Virtual Party

Date: Sunday, March 1, 2009
Location: Facebook and LiveJournal

My debut short story collection, RETURNING MY SISTER’S FACE: AND OTHER FAR EASTERN TALES OF WHIMSY AND MALICE, with an introduction by Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author Vonda N. McIntyre, premiers in trade hardcover from Norilana Books on March 1, 2009:

Enchantment, peril, and romance pervade the shadowy Far East, from the elegant throne room of the emperor’s palace to the humble teahouse of a peasant village. In these dozen stories of adventure and magic from the Orient, a maiden encounters an oni demon in the forest, a bride discovers her mother-in-law is a fox woman, a samurai must appease his sister’s angry ghost, strange luck is found in a jade locket, and dark and light are two sides of harmony.

Join me in raising a virtual flute of the bubbly to celebrate!


Cover art by Ahyicodae

Praise for RETURNING MY SISTER’S FACE:

“Whimsy and malice—yes—also mystery, a very female sensuality, and wit. An elegant and entertaining book.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, Hugo, Nebula, Pushcart, and Newbery Award-winning author.

“The tales are beautifully written, elegant, passionate, funny and moving. The entire collection is a delightful, magical bridge across cultures. I hope many readers find their way to it.”
Patricia A. McKillip, Locus, World Fantasy Best Novel, and World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award-winning author.

“Noted short story author Foster offers a dozen enchanting and sometimes chilling tales alive with elegantly sketched characters and sensibilities drawn from Asian folklore…Readers who long for a break from European medieval fantasy will be charmed and entertained by Foster’s tales.”
Publishers Weekly

212 pages
Hardcover (March 2009)
ISBN-10: 1-60762-010-3
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-010-5

Trade paperback (July 2009)
ISBN-10: 1-60762-011-1
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-011-2

Publishers Weekly Reviews Returning My Sister’s Face & Jason Sanford Recommends “Sinner, Baker, etc.

Happy Obama inauguration day!

Thought it’d be relatively quiet at work this week, but came in this morning to a mountain of bills. Totally slammed. Guess that’s the price of not having to work this weekend.

   


Writing Stuff

Had a chock-full-o-squee day yesterday. As a follow-up to the IGMS sale, Publishers Weekly reviewed Returning My Sister’s Face and Other Far Eastern Tales of Whimsy and Malice:

“Noted short story author Foster offers a dozen enchanting and sometimes chilling tales alive with elegantly sketched characters and sensibilities drawn from Asian folklore…Readers who long for a break from European medieval fantasy will be charmed and entertained by Foster’s tales.”

I’m a “noted short story author”!

And Jason Sanford Recommended “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” as his Story of the Week pick:

“This far future science fiction tale is an exploration of self identity and the masks we all wear in public…a beautifully written and fast-paced tale which is certain to be on many of the year’s best lists.”

Squeeeeee!!

2008 Writing Year in Review and 2009 Resolutions

Hope everyone had a Happy New Year! Welcome 2009!

Recovering still from the holidays. Not sure I want to analyze too deeply what it says about me that I find it relaxing being back at my desk after returning from Illinois. I remember growing up that I found my mother’s work-a-holic nature perplexing and irksome, and now I seem to have acquired it. Hmph.

Anyhoo, had a wonderful Xmas with the in-laws and birthday with the hubby—acquiring many new prezzies thereof, both practical and whimsical, including a rice maker, kitchen knives (thank Jeebus, real knives to replace the blunt, knife-shaped metal bits we’ve been trying to cut with), new clothes for work and play, an elephant teapot (!), and many, many books and DVDs.

But I always get overwhelmed by the chaos of the holiday season and fall behind on my various obligations. Fording through the backlog now.

   


Writing Stuff

2008 was an interesting year for me. My overall productivity improved over last year’s, but most of that was from wordage on The Stupid Novel, which isn’t at zero draft yet. So my number of completed works this year is quite small. But I also sold a short story collection. I’ve been hungry to finally have a book of all Eugie, only Eugie works for a while now, and it’s a huge milestone for me.

Looking over 2008′s Writing Resolutions, I determined to:

• Finish the ^#$!@# novel.

Sigh. Getting there.

• Write 500 words a day, every day, barring weekends, holidays, and the legislative session.

Well, that didn’t pan out again. I think I averaged something like 250 words a day, which trended towards bouts of productivity—several weeks of 1000+ words/day—intermingled with huge stretches of nada. I’m wondering if I’m just not geared to writing every day, and if expecting myself to do so is just setting myself up for failure. Writing has become ingrained as a behavioral reality of my life by now; if I don’t write, it starts eating away at me until I have to sit down and get words on the page. So I don’t think I’m risking my writerly chops by allowing myself to accept that it’s okay not to write every day. Going to try that this year and see how it works out.

• Be more willing to say “no” when new hamsters come a’beggin’.

This I managed to do, actually turning down a couple invitations to submit to projects, but I suspect I’ve still got too many hamsters in the air. Not sure what to do about it, as I want to keep all the hamsters remaining.

2008′s highlights and accomplishments, I:
• Saw the one-year anniversary of TTA Press’s The Fix.
• Survived another year as The Daily Dragon‘s Editor/Director.
• Made 15 sales (and received 25 rejections), including the sale of my short story collection, Returning My Sister’s Face to Norilana Books.
• Saw 17 works published, including stories in Cricket and Baen’s Universe.
• Wrote 42.2K words on The Stupid Novel, the most words I’ve set down on a single work and the closest I’ve come to completing a novel. Continuing to work on it and hope to finish it this year.

And herein my Writing Resolutions for 2009:

• Finish The Stupid Novel. I’m so @^$!#* close!

And that’s it. Guess that should’ve been “resolution” not “resolutions.”

And finally, New Words (the last tally from 2008):
• 1.6K on The Stupid Novel.

Ursula K. Le Guin Cover Blurb!

Came home to an email from Ursula K. Le Guin—yes, the Hugo, Nebula, Pushcart, and Newbury (and many more) Award-winning author of The Left Hand of Darkness and the Earthsea series, that Ursula K. Le Guin!—with an awesome cover blurb for Returning My Sister’s Face:

“Whimsy and malice—yes—also mystery, a very female sensuality, and wit. An elegant and entertaining book.”

Is it possible to die from too much squee?

Cover Mock-up of Returning My Sister’s Face

I woke up this morning before my alarm went off with Hobkin a warm, fuzzy lump curled up at my shoulder and fosteronfilm a warm, less-fuzzy lump beside me. I lay in the pre-dawn darkness listening to them breathe, amused that at first I couldn’t tell which breath-sound belonged to husband and which to skunk. Eventually, I determined that Matthew’s breathing was the deeper, slower of the two and Hobkin’s breathing had a little snuffle-hitch at the end of each exhalation—plus he was closer to my ear. It was very peaceful.

‘Course then my alarm went off, and I had to emerge from the toasty covers and into the frigid air. But I’ve managed to keep a bit of the early AM tranquility with me—which is fortunate, ’cause holy Jeebus is it cold outside!

   


Writing Stuff

Received the cover mock-up for the ARC of Returning My Sister’s Face from Norilana, and omigod it’s fabulous. Shiny, shiny cover:

The ARC is off to the printers, and I’ve been compiling a list of places to pass along to Vera as suggestions to send it to. Feels kinda weird to find myself in the opposite role than my usual one of review material recipient (for The Fix).

Frozen Editor and Galleys of Returning My Sister’s Face

So cold. So very, very cold.

The office at work is freezing. I’m downing hot tea, wearing my coat and gloves, and I still can’t get warm. I haven’t turned on the space heater under my desk yet, ’cause it always dries out my contacts. And I can’t edit if I can’t see. But I’m nearing the point of not caring about my eyes anymore. Plus, I can’t edit if I can’t feel my fingers either.

*shiver shiver*

   


Writing Stuff

New Words:
• 350 on The Stupid Novel. Must. Get. To. Zero draft.

Received:
• Galley proofs of Returning My Sister’s Face from norilana. I’m very pleased with the layout; it’s elegant and readable. I can’t wait to hold the finished product in my eager little hands.

Y’know, it’s not like I haven’t received tons of proofs before, but I can’t seem to wipe the silly grin off my face as I review this one. Every stage of getting this collection ready for publication gives me the same sense of excitement and glee as I used to get when I first started making sales.

And somewhat disturbingly, Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is now playing through my head. Umm…