Friday, August 1, 2014

Stay as an ebook in the UK

From: Laura

I'm looking for the ebook version of Stay but it doesn't appear to be listed on Amazon UK. Is it only available in paperback?

Sadly, yes, Stay is only available in the UK in paperback. The Aud books have never been officially published there, just imported from the US. Clearly HarperCollins (who published The Blue Place) and Riverhead/Penguin (Always) feel able to offer the Kindle version but Vintage/Random House (Stay) don't. Why? I don't know. A lot about publishing does not make sense to me

Being able to get two of the books in digital form but not the third is so far from ideal it approaches the bizarre. This is currently out of my control. There's nothing I'd like more than to get the rights back to all three and publish them properly and as a coherent package all over the world. I'm working on it. As and when I get my own way on this I'll post the news here.

I am very proud of the Aud books but their publication has been a great frustration to me. One day I'll fix it. I'll probably fix it faster in the UK because here in the US it will require more money than I currently have available to buy back the territorial rights from three different publishers. But I have no idea of timeframes in either case.

Meanwhile, hey, at least there's the paperback.

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Essays, rants, interviews, news

As Hild came out in the UK last week I've been busy writing stuff for other people's blogs. Here's a selection:

There's more goodness scheduled. I'll keep you updated. 

Meanwhile, Hild's made the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize longlist. (Operative word: loooong...) Go take a look.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

HILD on Not the Booker Prize long list

Hild is on the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize long list. And i's a very long list. I'd say over 90. There's some good stuff, also some rubbish—mileage really does vary—including a couple on the official Booker Prize long list.

Only six books will be shortlisted. And here's the thing, you, yes you, the readers, get to decide which. To vote, you choose two of the long-listed novels (make sure they're from different publishers) and write a review for both in the comments on the post linked above. The more thoughtful the review, the better; the Guardian wants "something over 100 words."

The deadline is midnight (UK time) on Sunday, August 3.

As my publisher says: this will help build conversation around all the good books out there. Her favourite part of the terms and condition is 12. The author of the winning book will receive a Guardian mug. They may not want it, but there's nothing we can do about that. So go take a look. I wouldn't mind one of those mugs...

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

HILD is out today in the UK!


From Blackfriars/Little, Brown — 24th June

Hild is out today. You can buy it in hardback or ebook in the UK:


and paperback or ebook in the rest of the English-speaking Commonwealth:


If you still haven't got your US copy then, hey, you could wait for the paperback, due October 28, or see this long and luscious list of where to buy Hild, which includes many fabulous independent bookshops.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Blog tour schedule

In honour of Hild's UK publication, I have lots of stuff—essays, interviews, reviews—going up this week on other people's blogs, starting today:
If you like anything, especially something someone else has written, do please leave them a comment.

I'll do my best to post links on Twitter and Facebook as things go up, but I might miss a few. So, just in case, here's the schedule:

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Bishops in high heels

Thanks to a reader I've finally got around to reading yesterday's New York Times Op-Ed about the Church of England's General Synod decision to permit women bishops.

Hild would have been glad. I imagine she essentially functioned as a bishop anyway—even without being a priest—but she would have welcomed anything that made her position as leader of her church easier.

I look forward to future bishops in frocks. Who knows, given the inevitable changes we're seeing around gender: some of them might be men...

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Coming soon: I am everywhere...

...But in the next ten days or so perhaps not here a lot. On Thursday, 24th July, Hild will be published in the UK (and fifty other territories: India, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand...). The hardback is available for pre-order from fine bookshops such as Foyles and Word Power, and giant online retailers like Amazon and Waterstones. You can get the ebook now from the online giants in all English-speaking territories (Amazon UK | Apple UK | Apple ANZ | Amazon ANZFlipkart | JB Hi-Fi). If none of those take your fancy, take a look at this comprehensive list of where to buy Hild.

I'll be guest-blogging in at least a dozen different places. 

I've already started over at Charlie Stross's Antipope with "Gods and Gender," ostensibly a piece about Thor but really about sex and gender and the sf genre, especially comics. Drop by. The comment thread is very well moderated and the conversation good. Next week I plan to start discussion on a topic very dear to my heart: Who owns sf? That is, who gets to define it? How is that changing?

Some of the articles I've written are starting to appear. See, for example, "To Come Back Increased" in Shiny New Books.

I've been delighted by the response of professional medievalists. See, for example, this long and thoughtful review in Medievally Speaking.

But what I'm currently pleased as punch about are the two blurbs from well-respected historian/author/academic Alex Woolf and the writer and archaeologist Max Adams:
  • "Hild is the best fictional attempt to recreate Dark Age Britain that I have ever read. Alex Woolf
  • "I was impressed—as a fellow-writer and a Northumbrian archaeologist. Hild is a great piece of work."  Max Adams
I won't be in the UK until October. That visit will include bookshops, literary festivals, at least one university, and perhaps more. The last I heard the publisher was talking to a company about a special batch of mead... Details to come but, essentially, if you can get to London or to Yorkshire we will have a good time!

Also, with luck, I'll be travelling in the US in November. That's all still TBD, though, so if you want to me to come to your city and/or your bookshop, do please let me know. Right now I've no idea what the paperback publisher, Picador, has in mind, so vote early, vote often, and you never know...

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hild's sexuality, redux

Over at Goodreads I've been answering questions, most recently on whether, in Hild's time, sex between women was or was not frowned upon.
______
Simon asked Nicola Griffith:

I absolutely loved your book _Hild_. Thanks so much for writing it! You depict a fairly open attitude to homosexual relations. In your research for the book, did you come across any evidence on attitudes to homosexuality, or was this part of what you "made up"?

Nicola Griffith said:
Thank you!

Hild isn't lesbian/homosexual. She's bisexual. I doubt they had such terms back then, though. I've seen no evidence that who you did or did not have sex with defined how women thought of themselves.

Actually, there's no evidence for anything, sexually, in early seventh-century northern Britain. Nothing. No material culture and no text.

I'm guessing that Roman Christians, being Pauline to the core, would have disapproved. Indeed, Breguswith says as much in the book: be careful around the priests. But that was as much about having sex with anyone as having sex with women. Monks and priests like Bede (if we go purely by written evidence) thought women were more holy if they didn't have sex at all; being a virgin was better than being married, for example.

The way I see it, at the time, before widespread conversion to Roman Christianity, no one much cared who you did and didn't have sex with. Sex wasn't a moral issue. All royal women before the founding of nunneries (I think--though I'm wary of the words 'always' and 'never' in any context, never mind a time we know so little about) got married, and that if they then wanted to have sex with other women no one would much care as long as they were discreet. After all, the point of marriage was alliance, household management, and the provision of heirs. Married girls loving other married girls wouldn't have any impact on any of these points.

I talk about that a bit here: http://gemaecca.blogspot.com/2008/08/...

There again, there's this incident from Ireland from the 8th century that makes sex between women sound rather jolly and uncomplicated:

Make of that what you will...
_______
More questions and answers here. I'll be stopping soon so carpe forum. Or you could just send me email (see sidebar) with a question and I'll answer here.

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

I'm Guest of Honour at Readercon 26, July 2015

One hour ago:

So it's official. Next year, July 2015, I and Gary Wolfe and the fiercely missed Joanna Russ will be the Guests of Honour at Readercon 26, Burlington MA. Mark your calendars! It's going to be an amazing four days.

More info when I have it.

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Friday, July 11, 2014

What is it about mothers?

From: Sally

This is more of a request than a question, actually! More Hild and more Aud, please!

Hild is so brilliant! I can’t wait for what happens next. It is such a beautiful book, so well written. You have a gift, your characters are so vivid. In your writings, while depicting a lot of violence and evil, you write with such love and compassion. In a time of small people you fill your books with super large people and lots of exciting action.

What is it about your mums? Both Hild’s and Aud’s are fascinating.

Aud is larger than life, her faults are frightening, she is so flawed but so lovable I think! Super Aud. She grows quite wonderfully in your trilogy.

I would love to know more about Aud’s mother, it is such a loaded relationship. You leave out and your reader fills in the spaces.

I love the way you bring science and nature into your books, reminding me of Robert Macfarlane’s wonderful books.

Thanks for your lovely books. I wish you well in your writing and in your health. God Bless.
Oh, there will be more Hild. I'm working on Book II now and researching for Book III. (Current reading: Nunneries and the Anglo-Saxon Royal Houses by Barbara Yorke, and Anglo-Saxon Art by Leslie Webster). One day there might be more Aud; I think of her now and again.

Hild and Aud do have some things in common: height, for one thing. And a concern for and attention to the physical world. They are bright, of course--I've never been interested in writing about people who aren't--but the body matters as much as the mind.

I've just realised that both, too, have absent fathers. Neither, though, has Daddy Issues. (Unlike 99.9% of Hollywood product. Don't get me started on The Lego Movie...)

The mothers of Hild and Aud are strong, smart, and accomplished. They're also political, ruthless, and occasionally selfish. And they love their daughters, though sometimes their daughters don't love them back. In other words, they're parents and they're human.

If you're going to have an interesting protagonist it helps if she comes from an interesting background. And the font of all background is family.

So the mothers of Aud and Hild are towering figures. Aud's is largely an absent one as she was growing up because that's the nature of modern diplomatic work. Hild's, on the other hand, is with her most of the time. Not always, though; I needed Hild to be able to find her own way, become her own person, and I suspect this isn't possible if a parent is constantly hovering.

I'm delighted Hild reminded you of Robert Macfarlane's work. I discovered his books not long after I started working on Hild and felt instantly at home with his appreciation of the natural world. His descriptions have the same sensibility. Last year, when he was chairing the Booker judges, I sighed over the fact that Hild wasn't eligible.

As for my health, it's good. Very good actually. But a truly terrible six months of iatrogenic horrors--November through May--has left me with some serious catching up to do. More on that another time because it will be a rant. Let me just put it this way: the FDA has been informed.

Now, though, I'm strong as a horse, engaged with Book II, and looking forward to the UK launch of Hild. Life is good.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Some basic thoughts on query letters

I often find myself helping first-time novelists with query letters. Here are my thoughts distilled.1

A query letter is not a teaser. It's not jacket copy or an artist's statement. It's a selling document. It's a list of specs for an agent who doesn't know you from Eve: this is what the book is, this is what it does, this is who I am. 

The sole purpose of a query letter is to tell the agent what s/he needs to know in order to decide to invest the time to read the novel. This means you have to make the book and you, the author, seem interesting and sellable:
  • to an editor
  • who will be thinking of how to pitch it to marketing and sales
  • who will be looking for something one reader can describe to another
Your novel doesn't have to be simple but the one-line description does.

So, for example, the one-line description for an imaginary novel The Burnt Man could be "Set in a ninth century in which the Fall of Rome coincided with the fall of something nasty from the sky: an alien slow virus that has destroyed what remains of civilisation and set the world on a new path."

Tell the agent:
  • about the book: setting, characters, basic plot arc, the big emotional knot at the heart of things (if there isn't one, you have a problem), length (don't query an agent about fiction that isn't complete)
  • about you: a thumbnail of why only you could have written this, who you are (have you won awards for short fiction? did you go to Breadloaf or Clarion West? are you a juggler or CEO or Olympic athlete?), what your social media numbers are like (if they're good; otherwise don't mention them)
Be clear and matter of fact. Don't overstate.

Tell the agent a little about the story:
  • the protagonist: name, occupation, age
  • the protagonist's essential struggle: the major turning points
  • their real risk around this choice--what are they afraid of?
  • how does it begin, how does it end? (Does it start in one country and end in another? How long does it take--a day, a year, a lifetime?)
Avoid the whiff of dog-whistle flap-copy (the signals that only those in the know will get) and just say it. Be straightforward.

Never hint at more than you can back up. So don't say, "The Burnt Man has been called Hild meets Nightwings" because the first thing an agent will do is ask "By whom?" If you're really married to the Hollywood-style mashup2 say, rather, "I think of Burnt Man as Hild meets Nightwings." This not only gives the agent a window into your ambition and how you think but avoids the impression that you're trying to claim more than you should.

Make the agent want you as much as the book: if you have plans for--or, even better, have already begun--more novels, say so. (Agents like the idea of a steady stream of stuff they can sell; they like knowing you're a worthy investment of time, energy, emotion.) Give a couple of personal nuggets that they could use to sell the book to an editor; that is, that an editor could sell to marketing and sales--something PR could hang personal interest stories on.

Tell the truth.3 Good luck.

1 I'm assuming you know the basics: keep it to a page, address an agent by name, explain why you're approaching that particular agent, etc. If you don't, visit Query Shark or AgentQuery or Nathan Bransford.
2 Some agents love them, some hate them. It depends what you're writing. And be warned: if you do ever refer to your novel that way, even jokingly, you could get stuck with it: "Game of Thrones without the dragons," anyone?. Choose your comparisons carefully.
3 I have been known to indulge in, ah, aspirational statements--"Oh, yep, I'm working on two novels, actually; here's a paragraph about each." But I back them up. In this instance, I actually wrote Ammonite and Slow River after I'd lied and said I was already working on them. But when the editorial director of HarperCollins UK tells you he likes your short fiction and asks you if you're working on a novel I think it's okay to say Yes and make it true later. But much better to be actually doing the work already.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

A new kind of teaching

In April I taught The Magic of Immersive Fiction, a one-day workshop for Clarion West. The workshop sold out within 90 minutes of announcement. We were all startled (at least I was, and if CW was expecting that kind of stampede they kept it quiet). As an experiment, I offered to teach the same workshop again six weeks later. Within a day that one too had sold out, and had a waiting list.

Participants, it turned out, came from all over the country, and from Canada. I was surprised by that. It seems like a huge investment to fly thousands of miles to attend a one-day workshop. Three days of absence from home life, two nights' stay, food, flights... I didn't feel responsible, exactly, but I did want to be able to offer more than a single six-hour workshop: go out for beer, talk, eat. Something. But because I simply hadn't expected anyone but locals for the first, and because of the last-minute nature of the second, my schedule wouldn't permit it. (I can't remember what I had booked for the evening after the first but after the second it was a talk to a book club about Hild). 

The workshops were wonderful. It was a delight to meet and work with such committed people. I wanted to keep going. I was only just beginning to figure out what everyone needed, how they thought, how they learnt best. And they were just beginning to understand each other and work as a group. And there was so much I wanted to teach.

Clearly there's a demand for focused workshops. I've been considering ways to address it. Kelley and I have done a lot of thinking and talking.

We've both done a fair amount of teaching, both writing and other things. One of the many things we agree on is that writing concepts are better absorbed over time. It doesn't have to be a lot of time, a long weekend say, just enough to think and test and question alongside others, formally and informally.

So we're pondering a workshop for a small number of writers. At this stage we're not sure how many because we've only just started thinking. (12? 15? 18? Something like that.) We're not sure of venue. We're not sure of structure or of admission principles. (Selective? First-come basis?) But here's what we do know. 

  • Genre doesn't matter. Story is story. I don't care whether you call it science fiction or literary fiction or crime fiction, the same concepts apply. Good writing is good writing.
  • Kelley and I would both teach. We have a similar understanding of how writing works, both at the basic and expert level. We'd teach different segments of the (say) weekend: I'd teach, for example, setting. Kelley, for example, story structure.
  • There would be time to socialise. One of the things we both love to do is bring people together: to hold parties, give readings, talk about everything from business to creativity to life. Such weekends would be an opportunity for writers to become part of a lasting and growing network.
Given that Kelley and I live in Seattle, Seattle might be the best place to do this. At least at first. Once we've figured it out we might be able to occasionally take it on the road, either as an independent workshop or to run concurrently with a convention or conference. Not sure yet.

So what we're looking for now is input.
  • Is this something you'd be interested in? 
  • What time of year works best for you? 
  • Would you prefer a holiday or regular weekend?
  • Is coming to Seattle workable for you?
I'm serious about this. We'd really like to hear from you.

ETA: If you're interested in staying in the loop on this, there are two ways to do it.
  1. send me email at asknicola2@nicolagriffith.com
  2. sign up for email updates of this blog

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

There are no tourists here

Lifted from Kelley's Instagram feed--with permission of course
Last night I went to a Clarion West party. I talked to several of this year's students and found myself saying to them, over and over, "There are no tourists here."

What I meant was everyone at the party mattered to the Clarion West ecosystem. No one present was a dilettante. Every single party guest had given time, money, or attention--most all three; many over decades--to the organisation.

Clarion West is one of the best writing workshops in the world. It is sustained by love: love of the written word, love of the genre, love of community, of generosity, of cooperation.

Kelley and I met at a Clarion workshop. We have both taught the six-week workshop. I've taught the one-day workshop three times. Kelley was Chair of the Board of Trustees for three years and is still a member of that board. I've run the Twitter account a couple of times in support of the Write-a-thon. Kelley has participated in the Wat many times. We've given countless parties in support of the workshop and its community. I could go on...

The last year or so has been a hectic one for me, so CW has not been top of my list of things to talk about. But last night reminded me of just how much these people, this idea, matters to me.

As I've said, CW is sustained by love. But it also needs money. And the biggest fundraiser of the year, the Write-a-thon, is now in gear: 263 writers from 16 countries writing their hearts out, writing like the wind, to fill CWs coffers so it will stay healthy for the future. Thanks to some generous donors, every participant now has a sponsor. This is good. More is better.

So, do you love fiction of any kind? Do you love f/sf in particular? Will you help? Please make a pledge to support a writer today.

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Three weeks three days

Just got back from Washington DC. So no mega-post today. But here's a picture of the UK hardback and paperback of Hild, which I took late last night because, well, I'm excited. I know, I've been talking about this book for a year now, but this is publication in the country where I grew up. Publication where old friends and family can see it on the shelves. Publication in the same place it's set. This is what I've been waiting for. Just 24 days to go. 

With luck, I'll be in the UK in early October for a couple of literary festivals and some other things. When I get those details I'll post them here. I'll be the one beaming like a lunatic.

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

All the different art of "Cold Wind"

At the end of last summer—mid-August—I unexpectedly wrote a short story, "Cold Wind." It was triggered by heat and brine and music and, especially, art.

When it gets warm here (that is, anything over 70 degrees) we open up the house to the breezes coming up from the ravine. This puts Terri Windling's Deer Maiden on permanent display: with the doors open I see it every time I walk into the kitchen to get tea. It's large. It's arresting.


I was also listening to Hedningarna's "Viima," which no matter what the weather makes me think of snow. In fact it made me think of Riva Lehrer's portrait of me.
The interesting thing—one of the many interesting things—about this picture is that it's three-dimensional. Here's a close-up to show you what I mean.
It's layered. It shows what lies beneath.

So while it was summer and I was writing endless non-fiction (essays, speeches, blog posts) about Hild, my fiction-making brain wanted to play. One day I sat to write a speech for a trade show and out plopped the first thousand words of "Cold Wind." Huh, I thought. Look at that. So I wrote the rest. I sold it within a couple of days of writing it and sat there blinking, thinking, What?! Somehow in the space of a few days I'd written, rewritten, and sold a brand-new piece of fiction that I hadn't even known I was thinking about. (Normally I have a clue. Though not always—another exception was "Song of Bullfrogs, Cry of Geese" which dropped into my head absolutely whole one day on the beach in Florida.) But then I went back to the speech and put it from my mind.

Not long after Hild came out, I saw the art Tor.com had commission from Sam Wolfe Connelly. It catches some of the menace and is still ambiguous enough to not give the game away.

And last week I saw this, a piece by Rovina Cai created in response to the story.
As she says (and if you haven't read the story skip the next two paragraphs—they are absolutely **SPOILERS**):
The story is about two shapeshifters and explores the concept of predator and prey. There is a point in the story where the perspective changes and the roles are reversed. This illustration captures one of the characters mid-transformation; both physically from woman to deer and from predator to prey. I wanted to subtly hint at a sense of danger, and to play with contrasting elements that leave it ambiguous as to whether this character is good or bad, hunter or the hunted.
And now I would love to see how she imagines the other character, Onca, changing...

But mainly today I'm struck by how art—music, painting, poetry, fiction, sculpture, video, all of it—winds about our lives connecting everything.

Today, everyday, the world is full of unexpected connections. Stay open to them.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

Wife

Last year, two and half months before the publication of Hild, I emailed my editor at Farrar, Straus and Giroux: "I hope it's not too late to change my author bio. I no longer want it to read that I'm Kelley's 'partner' because we're getting married."

He wrote back: "No problem. I'll just change partner to wife. So the end of the bio will read 'She lives in Seattle with her wife, the writer Kelley Eskridge.'"

I blinked. I blinked again. I hesitated. Wife. Then (with some misgivings) I gave the okay.

Twenty years ago, when I first married Kelley, in a ceremony with zero legal validity, but much emotional truth, in front of family and friends who'd flown in from all over the world, I might have hurt anyone who called me her wife or her my wife.

But when we got married last year on the 20th anniversary of that first wedding, in front of a judge, with the full legal force of the USA and UK and many other countries behind our vows, we used the word wife.

We'd talked about it over the years. We'd disliked it over the years. But when we were looking at the old, old vow "to take this woman as your legally wedded wife" with all the ancient rhythms of have and hold, richer and poorer, sickness and in health we knew it was the right word.

Yet it's still not easy to introduce Kelley as my wife.

I read my first feminist theory when I was 19. It made me so angry that I couldn't leave my flat for three days because I thought I might hurt the first man I saw. In the countries I call home (the UK and US) until relatively recently husbands could rape their wives with impunity. Wives could do nothing about that. A wife belonged to her husband. A wife submitted to him and depended upon him; a wife wasn't allowed to make decisions for herself, to borrow money...

So growing up wife was, to me, an ugly word. Anathema. A badge of second-class citizenship. So ugly, in fact, that it changed the way I thought. I and the woman I first lived with and loved1 never called each other my anything. Not even my lover. Using the possessive for another human being seemed wholly wrong.

And then I met Kelley and fell in love. And now she is my wife. Now I am her wife. What changed?

The etymology of wife is complicated. Looked at superficially we can say the Modern English wife (female spouse) is from Middle English (ME) wif/wiif/wyf (mistress of a household) which in turn is from Old English (OE) wīf (female, lady, woman—from wīfman, female person, though I'm not sure when that formulation occurred). But look a little deeper and you see that various meanings from past eras hang on in different guises, so we get the OE sense of woman preserved in midwife and old wife's tale, and the ME sense in housewife and (more specialised) fishwife (tradeswoman of humble rank).

And then we ask, where did wīf come from? From Proto-Germanic *wiban2. Which in turns might (things apparently get a bit guessy at this altitude, or maybe depth) come from the Proto-Indo-European *weip- (to twist, turn, wrap, perhaps with a sense of veiled person), or *ghwibh- (shame, also pundenda). So: wife might ultimately come from a sense of hiding one's shame. No wonder I've never liked it.

But words change. They change because the world does, because the speakers of a language put the words to different use, one that reflects their evolving worldview. In this sense, frothing conservatives are right: changing the traditional definition of marriage has changed marriage.

When two women call each other wife, wife no longer means chattel. It can't—chattel can't own each other. It no longer means object not subject, that is, subject to another's will. How can two people with the same status subject each other to anything? These days, in the US and UK, wife means, Woman in a legal marriage. By association, woman also no longer means object not subject. It no longer carries with it the implication that someone else is in charge. A woman is no longer automatically a lesser member of a household.

Wives and husbands3, women and men, are both now human beings in and of themselves. Though legally related. Family. Which entails obligation and connection, belonging that isn't necessarily possessive. I never had a problem calling the woman who bore me my mother though no one would have dreamt of assuming she was my chattel. Rather, we belonged to each other.

More women—of every age and sexuality and marital status—understand this and are refusing to accept the notion that women belong to men. I don't think it's a coincidence, for example, that the Twitter hashtag #YesAllWomen began some time after the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality. Yes, before that there was #bindersfullofwomen. And, yes, SCOTUS ruled as it did because attitudes were already changing. But they are part of a continuum.

Interesting times lie ahead.
____

1 But see how awkward that phrasing is?
2 This disquisition is from notes I jotted down some time ago without attribution. (It's a bad habit I'm trying to break.) A quick search shows that a good chunk comes from the Online Etymology Dictionary but some, well, it's a bit of mystery. I'm guessing I consulted the Oxford English Dictionary, my favourite book, and that I added two and two myself to make four, but if anyone out there recognises any of it, please let me know. I'll be happy to give credit.
3 Husband is a later formulation. It's from Old Norse and probably replaced OE wer in the 13th century.

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Saturday, June 14, 2014

Hild paperback cover

This is what the Hild paperback (out October 28 from Picador) will look like. What do you think?


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Friday, June 13, 2014

Definition of hægtes

From: Robin

I am reading Hild and I have not been able to discover the definition of "haegtes." I read on my Kindle and cannot find the word on Wikipedia and have not been able to discover a reading group source; maybe I haven't looked hard enough but then I work full time.

I enjoyed your book Slow River.

[This email was edited for readability.]

A hægtes is a supernatural figure (imagine a witch, but worse).

The word is defined in the glossary—the list of terms and their definitions—that comes with the book. If on your Kindle (or in the Kindle app) you go to Table of Contents, you'll see the link to that glossary. It's at the end of the book, along with Author's Note which includes information on the real Hild and a pronunciation guide. At the front of the book, that is, before the chapters actually begin, you'll find other goodies, including a map and a family tree.

If you prefer to download and/or print the PDFs of map, glossary, pronunciation guide, list of characters etc. you can go to the Hild extras page on my blog where all are handily listed and linked.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Game of Thrones theme tune if it were from New Orleans

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Coming soon, redux

The top four vote getters for my list of possible future blog posts are, in order:

  • dog-whistle flap copy
  • branding for writers
  • diversity on con panels
  • immersive fiction choices
I'll tackle at least one of those in the next few days. I'm not sure which.

I have a million other ideas, too. Some of them are long, more like essays than blog posts, and some are short and ranty. The lovely thing about a blog—this one, anyway—is that I don't have to know in advance. 

This blog is a labour of love; when it's too much labour I stop loving it. So it's play, mostly. Which isn't to say I don't take it—and you, dear reader—seriously. I do. I just don't organise around it. Right now, other parts of my life come first. Given that "other parts" include HILD II I'm guessing you won't mind too much.

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