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Posts Tagged ‘The Essential Maggie McNeill’

Those of you who follow me on Twitter probably noticed that I started tweeting awfully early Saturday morning, and awfully late on Sunday afternoon.  That’s because I flew out on Saturday for an overnight with one of my favorite gentlemen, and was too busy enjoying my visit to tweet until I got to the airport to come home on Sunday.  And it was such a lovely and memorable visit that I managed to stay completely calm on the way back even when it looked like I was going to be pushed off of my flight due to what I believe to have been a mass invasion of conventioneers or some such.  But apparently Hermes is happy with me right now, because I got on both legs of my return trip despite that.  Even better: it looks like I’m going to be seeing a lot more of this particular gent than I have in the past, and that makes me very happy for all the reasons you might expect (and a couple more I won’t mention).  On top of that:  As I mentioned yesterday, The Essential Maggie McNeill, Volume I is out!  If you want an autographed copy, I’m going to be adding that to my store very soon (likely tomorrow, because I have a Who night with Lorelei tonight).  I’m not going to jinx things by dwelling too long on how well things are going for me right now, but I had to at least share the highlights with y’all, and hope I have plenty more like them this year!

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At long last it’s finally here!  I first mentioned my plan to write The Essential Maggie McNeill in my New Years’ Eve column for 2013, before many of the essays which are included in the final version were even written.  At that time I imagined I’d have it done by summer of 2014, but of course I decided to do a book tour during that time instead, then one thing led to another.  By the end of ’14 I had a title but nothing else; after March of ’15 the project sort of fizzled and by the time I mentioned it again over a year later I was already working on The Forms of Things Unknown.  Then it was two years after that (ie, about 18 months ago) before I finally started working on it in earnest, and I mention in the foreword that I wrote it on July 9th, 2018…at which time I told y’all that it’d probably be available in August.  Unfortunately, I’m not nearly as good with graphics as I am with words, so though the text was quite ready by August, I could not manage to create a cover that worked (though you may recognize the photo in this mention of the project).  Because I’m very competent at most things, I’ve never really learned how to deal with tasks that are difficult, and I’m not proud to say that my usual strategy for coping with such things is to put them off and hope something changes.  A year ago I hit upon the idea of letting someone else do the cover, but didn’t know who; Chester Brown has been busy with a big project of his own, and I don’t want to keep imposing on him anyhow (though I will when it comes time to publish my next fiction collection, Lost Angels).  Finally in November I decided to get Shannon Reeves, the young Canadian artist who did the artwork for The War on Whores; Paul Johnson put me in touch with her and she was able to design and create a lovely cover in a very short time!  Now here’s the good news:  we’ve already got a plan for the cover of volume II, and it’s already formatted and waiting for editing.  So barring some kind of disaster, that one should be ready in April, and Shannon’s already agreed to do covers for two collections of my answers to reader questions which I hope to get out in summer and autumn.  Yeah, I know, I don’t have a great track record on these, but once I get into a groove I’m usually fine.  In the meantime, y’all can inspire me by buying volume I at Amazon; the Kindle edition is here if you prefer that, and autographed copies will also be available on my store by the end of this week!

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It’s kinda nice when I can keep things moving along for a change.  We’ve got the trim for the bookcases; I’m waiting for the proof of The Essential Maggie McNeill, Volume I; I’ve made my travel arrangements for this weekend; and I’m starting to figure out my schedule for February (about which I’ll say more later).  And in addition to all that I managed to read a novel and listen to a rather strange but very entertaining radio serial from 1972 named The Fourth Tower of Inverness, which Chekhov gave me for Christmas (he also gave me the sequel, Moon Over Morocco).  Normally it would be difficult for me to sit and listen to such a long series, but I’ve driven to or from Sunset five times since receiving it, and the car has a CD player, so ta-da!  If you’ve ever heard the series you’ll understand when I tell you I kinda wish I had listened to at least some of it stoned, but I’ll have a chance with the sequel (which I’m told is not dissimilar).  Learning to relax and let go of stuff that stresses me out has been a long, slow, laborious process, but I’m getting there, and it’s lovely when people give me gifts that help.

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I drove back from Sunset last Thursday to find a couple of gifts waiting for me; one was a book named A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder, sent to me by Jeremy Dunn.  I had a rather quiet weekend (except for going to a special Doctor Who screening on Sunday with Lorelei); aside from writing and getting stoned (because I believe in keeping Christmas going for the full twelve days if at all possible), I did a bit of planning for an upcoming overnight with one of my favorite gentlemen, and I finally got the cover art for The Essential Maggie McNeil, Volume I completed!  I originally planned to use a photo, because I wanted a different style of cover for my non-fiction books.  But we just couldn’t get any photos to work, so Shannon Reeves (who did the art for The War on Whores) did a sketch based on one of my photos instead.  I think it came out very well, and as soon as I’m finished examining the proof the book will at long last be ready for sale!  So I should be announcing that soon.  Because, as I mentioned last week, Grace has been in poor health, I decided to run back to Sunset for one night earlier this week so she wouldn’t have to be alone for such a long stretch; while I was there we did two more bookcase units, which completes the main work for that set of shelves.  Chekhov will be back tomorrow, so they’ll start on the finish work and staining, and before much longer I’ll have a real library again!  We want to do a few more sets of shelves for DVDs and CDs, then after that Chekhov is going to put new flooring down (the existing flooring is 90 years old and quite worn), and then Jae will do the rest of the decorating; by spring we’ll finally have the main room finished.  And after 25 years of waiting to have a nice place of my own again, that’s going to feel so wonderful I’m honestly not sure how I’m going to react to it.

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While the snow was on the ground (and the cars, and a lot of other things) it was remarkably quiet; for days I barely heard any traffic noise, and my neighborhood at least was blissfully spared the periodic nuisance of testosterone-addled cops blaring their sirens to run red lights in the middle of the night.  And strangely, my emails and other channels of communication were also fairly quiet.  But as soon as the snow started melting, everything started back at once, and I was inundated with correspondence and other stuff to do.  But one of those things was planning future showings of The War on Whores, so that’s good; we’re already looking at screenings in Orlando, FL, Minneapolis, MN, and Washington, DC, and would love to hear from you if you can help us show it in another city!  Finally, it shouldn’t be much longer before I release The Essential Maggie McNeill, now that someone else has taken over producing the cover.  See, I told you I was serious about letting others taking care of the stuff I’m not good at, so I can just concentrate on being Maggie McNeill.

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Things are definitely moving forward on my various projects!  My documentary, The War on Whores, will premiere at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 2nd at The Rendezvous on 2nd Avenue in Seattle; after that I’ll be looking for sponsors for screenings all over the country, so if your organization (activist group, school, etc) would like to do that, let me know.  I’ve also been talking to Thaddeus Russell about some projects we’re going to do together, and he offered his graphic designer to help me finish the cover of The Essential Maggie McNeill.  My inability to complete it myself is the reason it has been delayed for several months, and I’ve been talking to Thad about ways to delegate stuff (like cover design) that I’m bad at, so I can be free to write, speak, interact with people one-on-one, be fabulous, and all the other things that I’m good at.  I’ve been working on cutting things that drag me down and annoy me out of my life, which is why I don’t answer cold voice-calls any more; my recording suggests sending a text, so when someone tries to call but doesn’t follow up with  text, I know that I just avoided another time-waster.  And that gives me more time to do things I like, such as writing and getting presents like these snakeskin leggings from Nattie Roman.  And meeting my fans by travelling around the country!

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Christmas is over and carnival has begun, which means my nails have gone from red to purple and my wardrobe from autumn & Yuletide to late winter colors (and once February arrives, that even includes pink).  Yeah, I’m pretty persnickety about seasonal colors; as a kid in New Orleans I always wished for seasons, and now that I have them I intend to observe them.  On a different subject, we’re just about done with the editing of my documentary, The War On Whores; we’re premiering it at this year’s SASS (less than two months away!) and then we’ll be opening up for screenings.  So if you have a group which might like to sponsor a screening in your city, you might want to start thinking about that.  And I might want to start thinking about getting off my derriere and putting the last touches on The Essential Maggie McNeill, which I’ve shamefully neglected since September for no reason I can adequately explain to my own satisfaction.  Such is the life of a neuroatypical writer sans externally-imposed deadlines; I’m trying to learn not to beat myself up about it.

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