An advance copy of Deviations: Covenant sits on my laptop keyboard in the Hyatt in downtown Tampa. Covenant can be pre-ordered at discount from Aisling Press, and can now also be pre-ordered from Barnes and Noble. Release date is scheduled for November 28, with a hardcover edition to follow.
I met my publisher at Necronomicon in 2006. At Necro in 2007 I had a book out....
My first view of Covenant in print came from seeing 24 copies and a 20x30-inch framed poster of the cover. Mary took this shot of me at the table while we were in mid-setup before the dealer area opened on the first day of the con. I'm trying to pose through a sleep deficit after driving to Tampa in the dark, through thunderstorms and fog. Traffic was light, which was fortunate, given that I performed some impromptu Stupid Driver Tricks on the way down.
The standing binder holds copies of "Lazuli" (Asimov's, Nov. 1984), which got me on the final ballot for the John W. Campbell Award (given at the Science Fiction Worldcon to the best new sf writer of the year) and "Moments of Clarity" (Full Spectrum, Bantam Books, 1988), which reached preliminary ballot for a Nebula Award (given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America). Eventually I removed and laid out the copies of the publication covers. Several people who stopped by my table remembered one or both of the stories, and one immediately recognized the cover from Asimov's because she'd saved her old issues.
That gave me a thrill. Having people remember something I've written is an indescribable experience that still blows my mind.
The print on the binder contains a partial bibliography, which can be viewed in more detail here.
My table was one of four representing Aisling Press/Oculus Media Group, with the full cost of those tables covered by the publisher. Aisling also provided framed posters for new titles, plus brochures for each title on display. I brought my own postcards, flyers, magnets, and my T-shirt imprinted with the cover image and Aisling's URL writ large. A couple people (including one who bought a copy) told me that the postcards I'd left in the registration area brought them to my table. The one who didn't buy was looking for material for young adults. Aisling has several YA titles, so I was able to refer her to other authors.
My table is behind me. Here are the other three. I took this shot as the convention was winding down. The woman on the right is Tracy Akers, whose novel The Fire and the Light has won several young adult fiction awards. Aisling recently published her second volume, The Search for the Unnamed One. You can read more about Tracy's YA fantasy series, The Souls of Aredyrah, here. Other Aisling authors at Necro included Bo Savino and Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc.
This marks my first time on the other side of a dealer table, where I got in some mingling and took a break to be part of the Saturday morning panel on dark poetry. Following a format Bruce Boston proposed, which worked very well at Oasis in Orlando earlier this year, we each read a poem written by one of the other panelists and then engaged the poet in discussion about the poem.
Our audience was fairly sparse (it was a 10 AM panel after a night that included a 2 AM dance and all-night videos) but we had good audience participation. I read Malcolm Deeley's "The Red Pyramid," which can be viewed here. I love the world-building in this poem and the juxtaposition of mythic and everyday images -- and I thought it was a great performance piece.
We got together for lunch afterwards. In a discussion sparked by Marge Simon about how we each got into science fiction, almost all of us cited a work by Robert Heinlein. (My grade school library had a science fiction section and I remember reading my first sf book in the fourth grade. The first two -- and I forget which order they came in -- were Heinlein's Starship Troopers and Murray Leinster's Time Tunnel.) That's quite a legacy.
I came home with several direct sales under my belt and have continued to make more here. With Covenant being my first published novel, I've also benefited from talking with other authors at Necronomicon (including Kristy Tallman), who provided pointers and information. I had my journal notebook out, scribbling items for my To Do list.
The drive back was fairly uneventful except for the need to steer into a grassy ditch due to an accident that blocked both one-way lanes of a county road. I did my best to avoid steep angles, mentally chanting Do not tip the car as I crept by a pickup and trailer that had jacknifed near the entrance to a farm.
I got home to the message that the Florida State Poets Association anthologies were ready for pickup. Copies to be shipped are ready for the post office. Others will go to the FSPA's annual convention at the end of the month for distribution.
In other news, my poem "Forest Dragons," based on this painting by John A. Garner, received honorable mention in the Science Fiction Poetry Association's sonnet contest. You can read the winners here. (My poem isn't posted but it gets a mention on the page.) That and another poem, "Salvage" (which reached the top ten), will appear in a collection of the contest's top entries, to be released by Spec House of Poetry in cooperation with SFPA. Contest entries included 262 poems by 165 poets.
|Deviations: Covenant can be pre-ordered from Aisling Press. The Deviations page has additional details.|