Hello again, O readers! I know it must be surprising, getting two blog posts from me within a week, after such a long silence. Consider it either something extra to be thankful for, since Thanksgiving is celebrated this Thursday in the United States, or Christmas (or other wintry holiday of your choice) coming early, as you please.
Two-parter today, first a refresher course on where and how you can find books by Anne, in all their various formats, and then a Made-Up Monday story for you as well! It’ll serve as another warm-up act for Masters in This Hall, and solve a little problem of mine which isn’t really one. Just a quirk of mine. More about that later.
I sell e-books on Amazon, Apple’s iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and subscription services Oyster and Scribd. Except for Amazon, where I upload directly, all of these retailers get my books from independent e-publisher Smashwords. As mentioned above, the 2015 holiday collection is entitled Masters in This Hall, and if you would like to pre-order it, which I would love for you to do if you’re able, Amazon is already live, as is Kobo and iBooks (can't link to that one, sorry, but it shouldn't be hard to find). B&N should be updating soon!
Sadly, you cannot preorder on Smashwords, but the information is still there. Pre-ordered copies will be loaded to your account or device on December 1, at which time your means of payment will also be charged. If you prefer to buy your e-books directly from Smashwords, that will also become possible on December 1.
Print copies of my books are available through Amazon’s Createspace, while signed copies can be purchased at my Etsy store. However, please note that I ship the Etsy books myself, so if you live outside the US, the shipping costs are going to be pretty hefty. If you want a signed copy but can’t swing the shipping costs, you might consider buying a print copy through your local Amazon, if you have one, and purchasing a signed bookplate on Etsy. Note also that I have my books enrolled in Kindle’s Matchbook program, so if you buy a print copy of one of my books directly from Amazon, you’re going to get a discounted price on a Kindle copy—and as a special thank you for the 2015 holiday season, that discounted price is FREE for all books.
Also, since I put it in the endnotes for Masters, I may as well go ahead and announce it here too. I will be indeed compiling this year’s Fiction Friday and Made-Up Monday blog posts into Week in Review 2, now available for pre-order on Etsy. E-books and print copies should be on sale at all other retailers mentioned above by December 1, when Masters in This Hall goes live.
Readers often ask me where they should buy their books if they want to give me the biggest profit. While I do get a slightly bigger cut of the purchase price from certain storefronts and formats, the difference is minimal, pennies or nickels at most. If you really want to benefit me, buy an extra copy or two for a friend (if you’re able), or read the stories and leave me a review! A good one, if at all possible. But hey, if it’s not what you wanted or expected, let me know that too. I’ll thank you for it someday, when I’m done crying and hiding under the bed. (Joke. Mostly.)
Now, on to what you're really all here for: the story. As I mentioned, this solves a slight problem for me. Namely, I wrote only one Fiction Friday post in the Killdeer universe this year, and I didn't want to have a category in Week in Review 2 which had only one story in it. So, obviously, I had to write another one. A bit rambling, perhaps, but I think it gives you an idea of this particular character. Please enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions!
Question: What do you believe is the biggest difference between primitive societies, such as we have been reading about, and our own society today in the greater galaxy? Support your opinion with facts and make a strong, convincing argument why this is true. Then provide illustrative examples of what your life is like, living in the greater galaxy today, and what it would have been like in a primitive society like the ones we have been reading about. How would it be the same? How would it be different?
I believe that the biggest difference between primitive societies and our society today is that in our society today, people know how to be bored. In a society like the ones we have been reading about, nobody knew anything about being bored. Everyone had to be busy all the time, working very hard to hunt food, or grow food, or watch the animals they used for food, or do lots and lots of other things that now we have machines to do for us. This is good because it means not so many people have to do things that are hard and take a long time, but it is also bad because it means we have a lot of time to fill up, and a lot of people fill up their time with trying to find new things to see and hear and do, and sometimes the new things they find aren’t good things.
On the ship where I live, we have the little robots called wallies to do a lot of the chores for us, but my mother and my aunt and my sisters, and the other mothers and aunts and sisters in the clan, still come together almost every day to work with thread and talk their thread talk. They don’t need to make thread or yarn for clothing anymore, because we can get clothing at a store, but now they like to make thread and yarn because it is a way to remember how things were once upon a time, and because it gives their fingers something to do while they are talking about the important things. Remembering helps to keep them from getting bored.
My father taught me how to work with a computer, but he also taught me how to stay very still and watch and listen to things, and how to figure out what people aren’t saying by watching their eyes and their bodies, and how to hurt someone who wants to hurt me or help a person who is hurt, no matter what I have or don’t have. So if I ever start to get bored when I am shipside, I can sit still and watch and listen, because I am never in the same place twice, and there are always new people and new things I can use for my imaginings.
My uncle taught me how to play the instrument he plays, which is called a timban in my family’s language and a dulcimer in the greater galaxy’s language, but he also taught me how to make a snare for a rabbit or a bird, and how to build a shelter that would keep me warm and dry in the woods, and how to tell (at least in the terraformed parts of a planet) which plants are good to eat and which ones aren’t. So if I ever start to get bored when I am planetside, I can look around for the nearest wilderness, and start to imagine how I would stay alive if I were all alone there and had to get home.
If I lived in a primitive society, I think I would have a life that is both a lot the same and a lot different from the one I have now. It would be the same because I would still have a mother and a father and a sister, and we would all still love each other, but it would be different because I would not have an aunt or one of my sisters, and my uncle would be just my mother’s cousin (he is my uncle because he is married to my aunt, who is my father’s sister). I would miss them, except that I wouldn’t know that they were missing, but I think I would miss them all the same.
My life in a primitive society would be the same as it is now because I would still be learning the things I needed to know to be a man someday. It would be different because if I did not learn those things well, people I loved might get hungry or cold or hurt or sick or even dead. I don’t want the people I love to have those things happen to them, but in the greater galaxy, there are more ways that they can keep from having those things happen. I am very glad that we have good medicine to help people who get sick and hurt, and money saved up so that we never have to be hungry or cold. And we will all be dead eventually, but we all want eventually to be as far away as possible, whether we live in a primitive society or in the greater galaxy.
I do not think I would want to live in a primitive society all the time. My mother and father say I would not, and they ought to know. But it is fun sometimes to imagine that I am growing up all the time as a wild rover of the plains, herding trison and hunting for ducks and trading meat and leather and music for grain and salt and woven cloth. It keeps me from getting bored, and it helps me to learn things I will need to know when I am a man in the greater galaxy.
Stefan Xiao, age 12, resident of the self-registered ship Wild Rover
(Shadowcrest, twelve harvests old, of the Free Sky clan of the people called the Aelur)