Furry Book Month 2017!

Furry Book Month Huntress promo 2

October is Furry Book Month (courtesy of the Furry Writers’ Guild), and as part of the festivities, many writers and publishers are offering special sales.

In my case, if you don’t have a copy of Huntress yet, you can get the book on sale at Smashwords for just $1.99 (regularly $4.99):

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/560694

or the paperback at FurPlanet for $7.95 (regularly $9.95).

http://furplanet.com/shop/item.aspx?itemid=815

For a list of all the sales going on, be sure to check out the Furry Book Month page at the FWG and keep an eye on the #FurryBookMonth hashtag on Twitter.

Advertisements

The closing of the year

Yep, time for the usual end-of-the-year wrap-up post. This will probably be long, so fair warning…

All in all, not a bad year, if not as great as I was hoping for. Our financial picture improved after the bankruptcy was finalized in January, which was definitely not a fun process but one that removed a huge amount of stress for both of us. Our faithful 2005 Subaru Impreza brought my husband home from work one last time in May, after 381,000 miles, and was replaced with a 2015 Subaru Impreza. I had to get used to new work schedules both for him and myself that felt like they cut my free time dramatically (even though that was mostly an illusion), and for the first time carved out both a writing space and a writing time. I’ve gotten out of my usual habits through the holidays thanks to a pinched nerve that’s been hassling me since just after Thanksgiving, but I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine in 2016.

The biggest event of 2015 for me was, of course, RainFurrest, something I’d been planning for since the previous October. It’s kind of amusing to look back now through my 2015 planner and see all the lists I had going at various times, what to get, what to pack, what needed to be done before we left. It was an adventure, in all senses of the word, implying excitement, pleasure, anxiety, discomfort, and growth. Sometimes I do wish I could go back and get a do-over — prepare a little bit better for the panels, maybe, since I felt somewhat out of my element in many of them, or schedule a day before or after to see a bit of the city.

I admit that for too much of the con I felt kind of off-kilter — there were places I had to be when I would have rather been alone, and times I was alone when I would have rather been with people, and everything went by too fast and there were usually too many people around at once and I didn’t have as much time to chat one-on-one (or in small groups) as I would have liked. But I did have some good conversations and met a lot of great people and put a lot of faces to online usernames, so it wasn’t all rushing around, thankfully. The concert by Amadhia and friends at the guest of honor dinner was a highlight, and through the whole con, all the staff we encountered did a great job keeping everything together and making the experience as pleasant as possible for the GoHs and the attendees.

I feel a little sad at the thought that I apparently was a guest of honor at the last RF to be held in Seattle, now that the con has moved to Spokane, and I’m still angry both at the (relatively) few troublemakers who ruined the con’s relationship with the hotel/city and at the ways the fandom’s demographics/culture seem to have changed over the years, to the point where congoers seem more interested in partying than anything else and completely uninterested in how their behavior impacts others. (And even though I know the questions were from well-meaning people, I admit I got tired of hearing, after I got back, “So you were at RF? Was it as bad as everybody said?” Um, no, not from where I was. For me it was — as I expect it was for most of the attendees — a normal con, not a riot or an orgy or anything else people might have been imagining based on what went by on social media. Then again, keep in mind that I go to bed early by con standards, so maybe I just missed all the fun…)

On a personal level, I was looking for the experience of RF to answer some questions for me about how involved I want to be with furry going forward, and what my priorities are, and so forth, but in the end I was left with more questions than answers, and I think this next year is going to be spent sorting those things out.

I did at least learn that the dealer’s room isn’t the place for me — while I don’t mind signing books or doing readings, I don’t like handselling from behind a table, and I felt uncomfortable the whole time I was there but guilty whenever I had to be away. Still, I would never have learned that if I hadn’t tried. (Another part of what made the experience awkward was that, of the three boxes of books I shipped ahead to sell at the dealer’s table, only one showed up — the others apparently having been stolen after they were delivered — so I only had a handful of the stock I’d expected to have. But at least I sold what did show up.) At any rate, though, I’m also glad I had the table because it gave Jess E. Owen a place to sell her awesome books, and she does like handselling. 😀

And I was also reminded that I hate the hassle and general degradation of flying… and yet ever since the trip I’ve felt restless and longing to go somewhere again. (Any furcons within driving distance want a writing GoH? Just asking…)

Looking back on the year from a creative perspective, I’m actually surprised that I don’t feel more disappointed. I had originally planned on a novel that didn’t get finished in time for RF (and is badly in need of a detailed outline before I start work on it again), and while that bothered me at the time, it doesn’t now. (2016 is going to be the year I avoid deadlines like the plague. I have one prior commitment with a deadline, and as far as I’m concerned, everything else is just going to take as long as it takes. Write first, sell later, and trust that doors will open when ready.)

It was definitely a reprint year for me, both ones I sent out and ones that were solicited, and I didn’t finish as many new stories as I expected, but what I did write, I was proud of. “The Lady’s Service” in A Menagerie of Heroes allowed me to finally write the “missing chapter” of By Sword and Star that I’d always wanted to go back to — the story of the rabbit Breckon’s training with the squirrel-clan of the Drays — and now that it’s complete, I feel a nice sense of closure with the world of Asteria. And even though it sometimes felt like I was writing them at a breakneck pace, I also enjoyed writing the new stories in Huntress, especially “Where the Rivers Meet.” Those mornings spent at my writing desk, writing “Rivers” in my desk journal with my Waterman Rhapsody fountain pen, with the Ultima Thule podcast playing in my headphones, are some of my favorite writing-related memories from this past year. Continue reading

Huntress news and Rainfurrest schedule

First off, Huntress is now available for pre-order in all formats — ebook and print! The ebook will be released on September 20, and the print version is scheduled for release at Rainfurrest, with online orders to ship October 16. You can find all the ordering links and more here at my website. (Remember, the ebook’s pre-order price of $2.99 will go up after it’s officially released, so pre-order now for the best price!)

Second — Rainfurrest is now just 9 days away! I’ll be attending as the Writer Guest of Honor this year, which is awesome but means a pretty full schedule. If you’re headed to the convention, read on to see where I’ll be.

Continue reading

Huntress now available for pre-order!

Huntress smallMy upcoming ebook Huntress is now available for pre-order in epub format!

If that title sounds a bit familiar, yes, the ebook includes my novella “Huntress” that was originally published in the anthology Five Fortunes — but it also includes three new short stories set in the same world. (I’ll be sending out a preview of one of those new stories to my mailing list later this week.)

You can now pre-order Huntress on iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.  Release date is September 15, but if you pre-order, you’ll be getting the special $2.99 pre-order price. (After release, the ebook’s price will be at least $3.99.)

If you need Kindle format, don’t worry, you won’t miss out — pre-orders at Amazon are planned for early September, and the best way to keep up to date on that is to join my mailing list. I’ll be sending out an email there as soon as the book’s available on Amazon. (My mailing list is always the best way to keep up with all my new stuff, exclusive fiction, giveaways, appearances, and whatever else I come up with to share — plus, it’s free!)

Blurbage:

All her life, the young lioness Leya has dreamed of becoming one of the karanja, the proud huntresses of her people. But there’s more to being karanja than just learning to throw a spear. Life among their tents means giving up family, safety — even love. How much is Leya willing to sacrifice for a place in the sisterhood? Does she truly have the heart of a huntress?

Author Renee Carter Hall takes readers into the veld for this coming-of-age anthropomorphic fantasy for teens and adults. This ebook includes the novella “Huntress” (nominated in the 2014 Ursa Major Awards and Coyotl Awards), as well as three brand-new short stories set in the same world.

And if you’d like a sample, you can read the opening of the original novella at my website:

http://www.reneecarterhall.com/huntress.html

 

Looking ahead: 2015

I didn’t bother to do a “looking back” type post for 2014, because frankly I’d rather forget most of what happened in 2014. While there were still some publications of previously sold stories, overall it wasn’t a very productive year for me writing-wise because my personal life wound up being so stressful. After my husband’s three outpatient surgeries, two more attempts at refinancing our mortgage that failed for reasons only underwriters could understand, and finally having to face our last resort of filing for bankruptcy because of all the medical and credit card bills, there wasn’t much time, energy, or headspace left for anything creative.

There were a few bright spots early on in the year — like seeing the publication of “Huntress” in Five Fortunes, and winning the Spark contest in the spring* —  but summer and fall were particularly tough times for me, and for quite a while I didn’t want much of anything to do with writing. I didn’t want to write, I didn’t want to think about writing, and I certainly didn’t want to be around other writers. I’d had dry spells before, but nothing ever this bad or reaching so widely or deeply. I felt completely unappreciated, writing anything felt pointless, and honestly I more or less hated the entire world — a world I felt like I was viewing through a thick pane of glass while, beyond it, everyone else went about their business being happy and noticed and fulfilled.

That was pretty much the mindset I was in one morning when I checked my email… and found an invitation to be the writing guest of honor at Rainfurrest this year.

And I felt the glass break.

rainfurrest flyerTo be honest, I never thought I’d even be able to attend Rainfurrest, let alone as one of their guests of honor. Our budget doesn’t allow for many conventions of any sort, especially not ones that require cross-country flights — and I hated not being able to go because RF is considered one of the best (if not the best) furry conventions for writers.** So I’m excited, flattered, and occasionally terrified by this honor, and I’m looking forward to finally meeting plenty of people I’ve known only as screennames. Beyond anything else, I’m determined to enjoy this experience as much as I can, knowing this sort of thing may never happen again, and I’m also determined to do everything in my power as a GoH to make the con a great experience for everyone else.

As part of being the “writers’ con,” RF also likes to help authors launch their new books, so to take advantage of that opportunity, my main writing goal for the first half of the year is to finish my next novel, The Second Life of Bartholomew T. Lion, in time to debut it at the con. Bartholomew has been waiting since the summer of 2011, when the first half to two-thirds was written during a Camp NaNoWriMo session that year. Now it’s time to dig out the draft, figure out an outline for what needs to be revised and added, and get to work.

It’s shaping up to be a very busy year…

 

*That winning story is slated for publication very soon; watch this space.
**If you need a quick primer on the furry fandom, try the one I wrote for the Furry Writers’ Guild website and the links included there.

Two recent publications…

Two new story publications to highlight today, both of which feature anthropomorphic characters and have themes of discovery and exploration, though they’re pretty different in terms of character and tone.

The first is “Tesla Mae and the Lost Tribe,” written for the furry anthology PULP! Two-Pawed Tales of Adventure. A taste of the opening:

The island was not supposed to be there.

pulp coverTesla Mae squinted at her charts, checked her compass, double-checked her course, and looked once more out the front window of her airship’s gondola. Ahead, just a green smudge on the blinding blue horizon, was an island where nothing but open water should have been. She could even smell it, for Pete’s sake; her canine nose picked up the scent of trees and maybe a hint of smoke amid the endless salt.

She went back to her maps, muttering softly. She often talked to herself on these long voyages, mainly by way of the fact that there wasn’t anyone else on board to talk to. She’d tried various crewmates and navigators, but all of them had rubbed her the wrong way or spent too much time in the speakeasies or had just been plain fools, so she’d figured she was better off by herself.

Her mother had been horrified at the thought of her gallivanting all over creation alone—which, to her mind, meant “unchaperoned”—whether you were flying over open water or just going to a movie house. Unladylike, regardless of the danger. Her mother was quite proud of her purebred English foxhound heritage, though when she’d married a man with a little Irish setter in the line and a whole lot of other things besides, her only child wound up a floppy-eared, molasses-colored mutt. Not that her mother would ever use such a word. “Even a mixed-breed,” she always reminded Tess, “can be a lady.”

But her father had understood, as he always did. It was the Professor, as she called him, who’d named her after his favorite inventor, though her mother had insisted on the “Mae.” He’d simply installed the latest radio system, made her promise to write as often as she could when out of range, and helped her secure provisions before every voyage. She wished he could have come with her, but even if he’d been able to leave her mother, one didn’t walk away from one of the most prestigious universities in the country to go … well, gallivanting around.

This particular trip was her longest yet, and she’d planned it very carefully, down to the last mile, the last ounce of fuel, and the last cracker and bologna sausage. It was her first trip that involved being out of sight of land for the majority of the voyage, and out of radio contact for a good portion. And no one—man or woman, she thought with satisfaction—had made it solo before.

At least, not yet.

“Tesla Mae and the Lost Tribe” is something of a tribute to a couple of my favorite film franchises — Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park. It’s got Tess and her airship, talking raptors, a volcano — really, what else do you need in fiction? Published and sold by Rabbit Valley.

For something a bit more serious, here’s the opening of “Signal,” published in STRAEON 1: Malady Fare

straeon cover mediumIt was Jak who found the thing. That didn’t surprise anyone in the least, since he was always stuffing his den with anything unusual: a pebble glinting with mica, a particularly bright maple leaf, two acorn caps joined at the stem, a withered chrysalis. The rakuun expected such behavior in kits, who couldn’t keep their eager little paws off anything whether it was useful or edible or not, but one expected more sense from him now that he was considered an adult and had a den of his own.

The nursing sows all shook their heads whenever he showed off his newest find. He would never find a mate that way, they said. A shame, really. He was young and might father strong kits, but what female would risk her children inheriting such an odd habit?

Jak had been searching for acorns when he saw an unusual glint of light in the dirt. True to form, the acorns were instantly forgotten, and his nimble fingers scraped the packed soil and leaf litter away. He thought at first it might be a black rock, but once it was free, it wasn’t like any rock he’d ever seen.

He turned the thing in his paws, watching how the sunlight bounced off its surface. It was shinier than a beetle’s shell. He put it in his mouth and nibbled experimentally, but it didn’t taste like much of anything except for the earth it had been in. It did make an interesting sound against his teeth, though.

Then he realized the thing opened like a mussel shell, hinged on one side. He pried it open carefully, hoping for a morsel of chewy meat inside, but instead there was a segmented pad like the underside of a turtle, with strange little spots in each section. He pressed the sections and found them slightly spongy.

Was it a shell? He sniffed and pried and poked, but nothing came out. Perhaps the living thing inside had died long ago.

Jak had no idea what it was–except that it was, without a doubt, the best thing he had ever found.

The novella “Signal” is set in a posthuman Earth, vaguely inspired by the Life After People series that aired several years ago. That human artifact Jak has found leads to visions, but he begins to wonder if he’s seeing the humans’ past, or his people’s future — and more importantly, whether his mind will survive the connection.

As always, it’s especially nice to be part of the launch of a new publication. You can purchase STRAEON 1 in ebook format from Amazon.com (other countries’ links are here). And of course, if you pick up either PULP! or STRAEON, reviews at the seller’s site are always greatly appreciated!

 

“Huntress” in Five Fortunes

fivefortunesmed

The first time she’d seen them, she had been very young, but she hadn’t been afraid. The other cubs, male and female alike, had hidden behind their mothers, frightened by the huntresses’ fierce eyes and sharp weapons. Where the villagers wore beads or stones, the karanja sported necklaces of bone and hoof and claw, and their loincloths were made of zebra hide in deference to Kamara’s first kill, a material only they were permitted to wear. They were all mesmerizing, exotic and dangerous and beautiful, their eyeshine flashing like lightning-strikes as they took their places around the fire.

-from “Huntress”

The furry anthology Five Fortunes, containing five new novellas from five authors, is now available for pre-order from the publisher!

My contribution, “Huntress,” follows the young anthro lioness Leya as she struggles to become one of her tribe’s warrior women and yet begins to question if it’s truly what she wants. It’s part coming of age, part romance, very much a character-based story, and it’s also kind of my personal rebuttal to the furry fiction that often includes female characters tangentially or not at all. Writing “Huntress” was an emotional experience and a learning experience, both in terms of craft (for one thing, understanding at a gut level the difference between a short story scene and a novel scene) and in terms of challenging myself to complete something on a tight schedule but still to the highest degree of quality I was capable of. I consider it a great success, and while I know I can’t control how it will be received, I hope it finds some sympathetic readers.

The other works included are “Chosen People” by Phil Geusz, set in his Book of Lapism world; “Going Concerns” by Watts Martin, set in his Ranea world; “When a Cat Loves a Dog” by Mary E. Lowd, set in her Otters in Space world; and “Piece of Mind” by Bernard Doove, set in his Chakat Universe. (Yeah, mine is the only one that isn’t written in a storyverse I’d previously created. But you never know — I might return to Leya’s homeland someday for another story or two.)

Pre-order Five Fortunes at FurPlanet.