Tuesday, June 28, 2011

"Death, Taxes, and the Writer" and other advice

In 1998 I wrote two articles for writers: "What Have You Done with my Manuscript?" was originally published in the June issue of Speculations and described the process of dealing with manuscripts in Marion's office; "Death, Taxes, and the Writer" was in issue 41 of Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine.

The first article was in response to the writers who kept asking for the status of their manuscripts right after they'd submitted them. The second was inspired by the horrified dismay of a guy who had just discovered that he had to pay self-employment tax, but had failed to save the money to do so because he had never heard of self-employment tax, and by several writers who died without wills, forcing Marion to figure out how to pay royalties to estates in conditions that rivaled Jarndyce and Jarndyce (see BLEAK HOUSE, by Charles Dickens).

Manuscripts are easier to deal with now that electronic submissions are the norm -- I'm certainly glad not to have to deal with piles of paper and folders of SASEs. Inheritance, on the other hand, has NOT become any easier. So if you are ever going to be paid royalties, do the editor a favor: make a will, and leave your royalties and copyrights to one person or organization. It's hard to split $1.27 among four heirs.

Both of these articles are on the Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust website, along with several articles Marion wrote. I've always liked "Why Did My Story Get Rejected?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Dragon's Horde

In 1997, when this story was written, Raul S. Reyes and I were both working for Marion Zimmer Bradley, which kept us rather busy. So we decided to collaborate on a story for SWORD AND SORCERESS 15, and we came up with "The Dragon's Horde." I contributed the Dragon, and he contributed the Horde. The dragon had been in several of my earlier stories, beginning with "The Birthday Gift" when she acquired (a) Princess Rowena, and (b) the idiots who kept trying to rescue Rowena, ignoring the fact that she was perfectly happy living with the dragon. So the dragon decided to outsource the problem, beginning by making a pregnant mercenary an offer she couldn't refuse.

"The Dragon's Horde" is available for Kindle and Nook. It is also part of the collection THE PRINCESS, THE DRAGON, AND THE FROG PRINCE, available for Kindle and Kobo.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Blade of Unmaking

"The Blade of Unmaking" is the first story in what became the "Treasures of Albion" series -- stories about mystical treasures or anti-treasures held by a succession of Guardians. It appeared in SWORD AND SORCERESS 14 in 1997. I'm sure that I'm far from being the only teenager who ever wanted to kill herself, and judging from the popularity of the panels on "Abuse Themes in Science Fiction" at conventions, I'm not the only one who had a difficult relationship with a parent. So it wasn't hard for me to come up with the idea of a dagger that would make whoever picked it up want to commit suicide -- or murder.

"The Blade of Unmaking" is in the first volume of TREASURES OF ALBION.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The School up the Hill

I wrote "The School up the Hill" for SWORD OF ICE, the first of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar anthologies. She's still doing the anthologies; I just sold "A Leash of Greyhounds" to UNDER THE VALE, which will be published this December. As frequently happens to me, the idea came from a casual reference in one of her books about the teachers from the White Winds mage school coming down to the village to fix any damage done by the students. One of my favorite things about writing is that I can ask the question "what if...?" and then go off at a tangent.

"The School up the Hill" is available for Kindle and Nook.