Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Book promises

Contracts on my mind...

I've just had two requests for story reprints, so that's pleasant.

And today I shall send back three book contracts with some amendments but signed. I've taken a long time to finalized these, and have dithered a good deal. That's what comes of not bothering to get another agent and yet hating to do business. I'm keeping ebook rights and a few others.

FSG, 1996
One of these contracts means that Catherwood will be back in print. Catherwood was doing quite nicely in the way of finding readers and had moved from the Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover to the newly revived Bard imprint when the HarperCollins implosion (that's what comes of eating too much, HarperCollins!) took down many imprints, including Bard. I felt it as a great disappointment, one that was followed by my next book being delayed to days after 9-11. I do have the luck, don't I?

Then there's Glimmerglass, a somewhat fantastical book with many threads--growing older, failure and renewal, chasing the Muse, love and marriage, siblings, murderous impulses, a flood, and more. Despite being somewhere on the continuum between what is called realism and what is called speculative fiction, the setting is nonetheless identifiable as a version of Cooperstown. Parts take place in and under the lake, in a wonderful little gate house that I've called the "Seven Dwarves House" because it has seven doors, and in an imaginary great house not so terribly different from others around the lake. And yet, in one key way, terribly different...

And last is Maze of Blooda book loosely based on the deep-South life and times of that unusual boy and man, pulp writer Robert Howard, with faux-Howard pieces interspersed, and to some degree channeling my hot summer weeks near Lexsy and in Collins, Georgia. I know that boy and his strangeness, and I know that hot Southern world, so I had great fun frolicking with him.

So I am sticking with Mercer for my 12th and 13th books, and by then I will have four first editions with them, a number that rivals my four with Farrar, Straus & Giroux, with lovely acquiring editors Elisabeth Dyssegaard and Robbie Mayes. And I suppose that will mean having the stellar team of Burt and Burt again as book designers. The pair designed A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage (Mercer, 2012) and The Throne of Psyche (Mercer, 2011.)

That reminds me, I haven't mailed my Thaliad contract, and the book's almost out. Coming!

9 comments:

  1. O my God, Robert E. Howard, the purplest of the kings of purple? I adore him. Or did once upon a time, anyway. I suspect he wouldn't wear well, as a constant companion, but there was a jaw-dropping shamelessness about him that I look back on fondly. How people must have tutted about him!

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  2. My mother the librarian would never have let me read him when I was growing up, I'm sure! So I never had one of those periods.

    Really I fell into a fascination with his life after Mark Finn's "Blood and Thunder" came out from Monkey Brain Books. I have known some neurologically unusual people extremely well, and I felt that I recognized him, his impulses and obsessions and his more-than-boy-clumsiness with other people. And the little bug-scuffle Texas towns reminded me of my childhood summers in little towns in Georgia.

    I did read him afterward, the poetry and some of the fiction, but it was his life that gripped me. But I must say that I had a blast writing the passages where he encounters imaginary figures rather like his own creations. I made them "like" rather than identical because Howard is copyrighted to pieces. They even copyright his dratted name! Wouldn't he be astounded? But he'd get used to it right away, and love it.

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  3. Oh, and I used his mother's maiden name, too, for his. So it's not exactly Howard...

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  4. If one protests that she is not a "marketer" and proclaims "business" is not her favorite thing, what does she call it when she signs multiple deals at the same time?

    Congrats you non-marketing non-business woman.

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  5. I read him when they first started republishing his books in the 70s, with magnificently appropriate paintings by Frank Frazetta for covers. That was truly inspired book-marketing: Frazetta was just as over the top and shameless, in exactly the same way: hopelessly vulgar but an astonishing artist anyway. You come away from both, thinking, "could this force have been harnessed somehow for good?" And thinking it over, I always answered myself, "well, no, I don't think so."

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  6. Gary,

    I don't know; what does she call it? XD Note that I kept ebooks for my own little self. I think you would approve. Also a few other little things.

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  7. Dale,

    Hah, hah! Great close. (You're always good on closure--most poets aren't.)

    He was definitely his own fellow, through and through, though I think that with different encouragement and vast amounts of patience when he was a boy and other models to emulate, he would have been a different writer.

    But maybe that would have been a less interesting thing!

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  8. Congratulations. That's all very good news. Hope that the arrangement will free you from anxiety on those fronts.

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  9. Thanks, Clive--they do a lovely job on production, and are cutting back the list to spend more time on promotion, so I hope it will be good.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.