Twenty-five years ago I arrived on the campus of Michigan State University to begin the six weeks of the Clarion Science Fiction Writers Workshop. Donna had driven me up, along with a friend (because I didn’t want her driving back alone—which led to a small bit of confusion because while Donna was catching a nap in my dorm room, everyone else met Drea and then when Donna picked me up, there was some, as I say, confusion…) and then left me there for six weeks of the best pressure cooker experience I’d ever had. I’ve written about it here and here.
That was a defining time for me. It told me that I could be a writer and gave me the tools to do it.
That was a quarter century ago and soon we’re traveling to the west coast for a reunion of sorts with a handful of fellow classmates. Some of us have done quite well. Others…well, me, for instance…
This month marks the tenth anniversary of the release of the final Secantis Sequence novel to see publication. June of 2003, Peace & Memory came out from Meisha Merlin.
Book Three of the Secantis Sequence, which began with Compass Reach, continued with Metal of Night, and ended—for now—with this one.
Of the three, it has my favorite cover, which is a tale in itself, done by the estimable O.B. Solinsky. It captures a scene in the novel and evokes one of the themes as well. I enjoyed the entire process of working with him on this and the result still makes me smile.
But as I say, that’s the last one published. Due the vagaries and vicissitudes of the publishing industry, my “career” more or less collapsed after that. Meisha Merlin no longer exists.
I’ve been trying to get back into the game pretty much ever since.
I did publish two more novels after this one, one a sharecropper novel that pretty much sank without a trace and Remains, which is by some miracle, still in print. I’ve provided links for both novels.
Since 2003, I’ve been scrambling. Mistakes were made. I’ve been through a couple of agents. (I am now with one of the best I’ve ever had, Jen Udden of the Donald Maass Literary Agency, and we shall do great things together.) I’ve continued to write. It’s easy to succumb to despair in this business. It is so hard to get into print, harder still to stay in print, and the work can suffer from the difficulties of finances and the doubt that plagues any artist.
But as I told another artist recently, I’ve given up giving up. I don’t know how many times I’ve quit only to wake up one morning with a great idea, and suddenly I’m hip deep in a new project. (This one will work, this one will do it…)
I said Peace & Memory was the last Secantis novel published. It’s not the last one. I have a fourth one completed, Ghost Transit, and notes on another, Motion & Silence. The sequence was always intended to continue.
So it’s been ten years. I have every intention of not going away, of seeing the Secantis Sequence back in print and continued. With that in mind, I have an experiment I’d like to run. I understand the utility of the whole Kick Starter thing, but funding a project is not quite the same thing as creating a demand. Demand is created by people talking, people asking, people wanting. Maybe letting publishers know that something is Out Here that’s not available in print. Not sure. I’ll leave methodology up to the groupmind.
Meantime, in celebration of ten years, order copies if you’ve a mind. I have a preferred venue, of course, Left Bank Books—you can get the three Secantis books through them, at least until supplies last. (And lots of other really good books—you can order online from them, so please do, support local bookstores.)
Ten years. And twenty-five. Time flies when you’re working hard on something you love.
Clarion is no longer on the MSU campus, but all the way across the country in San Diego (link above). I, however, am still in St. Louis. Still writing. I suspect I will be for some time.
Thank you for your support.