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Old 12th March 2007, 01:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tennessee
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Works In Progress

I figured it might be fun to start a thread about what works are in progress, so here goes...

Winter is sloughing off, and I don't know why, but I am once again working on rewriting an early novel titled Songs of the Magister. For those unfamiliar with my work, over the years between 1992 and 2000, I had a series of short stories in Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY Magazine, Dark Regions and Adventures in Sword & Sorcery concerning a certain harper named Anwyn Baldomyre and his harp Glynnanis.

In 2003, Wildside Press released a collection titled Magic's Song: Tales of the Harper Mage (which is still available through online stores and some Brick & Mortar Ones will order it for you), putting together most of the original tales plus some new ones.

Now Anwyn has actually been a part of my life since the early 80s when I first created him. I wrote the novel about that time, then tried to sell it without success, then realized some of the mistakes I was making...

In the meantime, I got the stories published, and Marion seemed to like them and always asked for more.

When Magic's Song came out, one of the questions a fan asked was when was I going to go back and tell the story of how Anwyn got the harp. A short story cobbled from bits of the novel actually appeared in MZBFM (and was reprinted in Magic's Sons), but clearly there was more to the story than I revealed there.

So about once a year, I think about pulling the book out and rewriting it, gleaning out all the "baby writer" mistakes, and preparing it for publication again.

Of course, life and deadlines always get in the way. The last time I started working on it, I had to stop to get several other projects for which I was going to be paid together and into the hands of the editors.

Poor Anwyn was sorta forgotten.

Then early last year, the editor of Dark Regions Press (previous publishers of the magazine by the same name and of my collection Tangled Webs and Other Imaginary Weaving) approached me about doing another collection of short stories...

It just so happened that I had recently regained the rights to one of my favorite stories, "Earth Song," which appeared in a limited edition anthology Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Worlds. The anthology had been done as a special thing for the MZB Fantasy Worlds Convention (where I finally got to meet Ms. Bradley in the flesh), and at the time, I was told that the rights were going to be tied up since Ms. Bradley was considering offering the anthology to DAW for mass market publication so she was purchasing both hardcopy and paperback rights...

Unfortunately, Ms. Bradley died before the project saw fruitation, and I remember checking with her literary trust about the story. They finally said that there were no plans to use the rights and that they were mine again...

So with that story, another that I had regained rights to earlier that year and several others, including a novella titled "Song of Snow," I put together a collection that on and off over the last year I have been editing, seeing the art for, working out the details, etc, with the publisher.

Meanwhile, I was spending a lot of time promoting Dragon's Tongue and working on its sequel, and getting another novella ready for another publisher, and discussing with Yard Dog Press the possibility of yet another short novel (The Lunari Mask, which is now scheduled to be 1/2 of Double Dog #4)...

I was doing a bit of art at the time too, and in the interim, I ran across something I had forgotten--illustrations I actually did for a couple of earlier Anwyn stories that were on old floppy disks.

I transferred those drawings (am seriously thinking of making one into a temporary avatar too), and suddenly found myself wanting to go back to working on Songs of the Magister.

And now, I have a good idea of the problems that earlier book had (sometimes, you just have to not look at something for a long time) and am seriously editing out the flaws, reworking parts of the plot, eliminating weaker points of story, and on the whole, trimming an 800 page manuscript into a sleeker child half that size.

What I am hoping is to have it ready to start submitting it in the spring.

So we shall see...

Curiosity is one of the permanent and certain characteristics of a vigorous mind, is what I hear.

I am curious to see if I complete the task I have set for myself.

Laura J. Underwood
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