The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Notice Anything..?

In my entire writing life, I've never had security. I've made a lot of money, don't get me wrong, but I was never entirely certain where my next check was coming from, or when it would come, or how much it would be, or what I'd have to do for it. That's about to change. IN THE NIGHT OF THE HEAT blows my mind for lotsa reasons. Some of them are creative: I've wanted to write mystery-suspense for years, and just couldn't find the economic opening. Can't afford to spend a year writing a novel, unless it pays off. Because of the skills Blair, Tananarive and I bring to the table, as well as a publishing company that understands how to market black fiction, and a cultural wave unlike anything I've seen in my life, the Tennyson Hardwick mysteries look like they are a huge success. We finished the first draft this morning, and have to deliver Friday. With Buzzword, that's no problem.

Writers live odd lives. Many have spouses who provide a consistent income, with the writing chunks coming in intermittently. When I was married to Toni, that was more or less the situation, and it worked. At other times, the writer is sole support for self and/or another. But two writers together has special joy and challenge. On the challenge tip, we have a "feast or famine" lifestyle. No security. We're either going to be rich, or poor. I see no doorway to the middle class. it is.

Tennyson will allow me to actually budget my time differently. So long as I design my lifestyle to stay within the income made from that one source, I can spend the rest of my writing time working on what I really want.

That would include a couple of movies, some non-fiction, the sequel to Lion's Blood, and a far future novel set in a very specific world.

Hmmm...I'm tempted to bat around some ideas for that far future novel over on the message board. Hope you wouldn't mind.


Notice the rhetoric cooling down from the fringe elements of the Obama and Clinton camps? Thank God. Message to conservative Republicans: I promise that this is all going to turn out fine. Liberal Democrats are just as smart as you, but see things differently. And that's all right. You need two eyes to have stereo vision. Some of what we say sounds scary or stupid to you, in the same way that some of what you say sounds scary or stupid to us. Just the nature of limited human perception.

We'll get through this. America, and the dream of freedom America represents, is larger than our fears.


Nancy Lebovitz said...

It's not just that neither Republicans nor Democrats are generally destructively crazy, it's that losing the election doesn't mean loss of all influence.

This was something I held on to when I was reading people who thought the Bush administration was taking us straight to theocracy and/or kleptocracy. The US has a lot of individual and institutional resilience that will tend to keep it from falling over the edge.

This is not a guarantee, of course, but I agree on encouraging people to not panic.

The problem is that some doomsaying is actually more like a hobby or an emotional predispostion, and sometimes it's a sensible prediction. I'm not sure what the principles are for sorting them out-- maybe whether whether the doomsayer takes a careful look at the evidence and logic on the other side.

Mark Jones said...

Yeah, my wife stopped reading a usenet group because people she knows and likes there are claiming (with a straight face) to believe that Bush will declare martial law and cling to power, doing away with elections! (Of course, some of the same idiots were saying the same thing prior to 2004, so...)

We survived Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton (or if you prefer, we survived Reagan and Bush the Elder). Hell, in a few months' time, we'll have survived George W. Bush's administration as well. And we'll survive Obama or McCain as well.

The only thing I can guarantee is that I'll dislike most of what they (either of them) wants to accomplish--and that, fortunately, they won't be able to accomplish a lot of it anyhow.

Anonymous said...

Steve: I really hope you get around to writing the sequel to Lion's Blood, I'm looking forward to it. I ended up on this blog, because I googled you to try and find out what you were working on and when your next book would be released.

Marty S

Unknown said...

Congrats on the new possibilities Steve. Your books got me started me on a lifelong addiction to both cyberpunk as well as the martial arts (is RMAX the firedance?).

I think it is awesome that you are getting to:
* Work with your better half
* Do what you love
* Try new things that only a change in situation could allow
* Work with people who "get it"

Can't wait to see the results.

So now for my wishlist:
*Streetlethal Anime (to start)
*Bring back FUSION as a comic or series of novels.

Can't wait to see what comes next


Anonymous said...

I'd be very interested in any far future novel you write. That's the kind of story I enjoy the most.

I do like a change of pace once in a while though. I read Lion's Blood and thought it was interesting. I might read the sequel if I get in the right mood again.

Anonymous said...

Oh... politics. I agree with Nancy. The system is designed so that it's unlikely that things could ever go "over the edge." Unfortunately it's also designed so that not much progress can ever be made either but, like my grandmother used to say, "You gotta take the bad with the good." (I always hated that saying and I hate that I'm repeating it but darn it, sometimes it's true.)

Josh Jasper said...

I'm with Sean. Streetlethal would make for awesome anime.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

Very much congratulations on your career going so well. I'm interested in whatever you're writing, but I'm especially interested in the far future novel.

Steven Barnes said...

All right: maybe I'll start talking about some of the elements of that book. First hint: State Sponsored Enlightenment.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

If anyone else were writing it, I'd expect State Sponsored Enlightenment to be dystopian and/or satirical. Since it's you, I'm betting it's either ambiguous or positive.

mjholt said...

Whoohoo! Congratulations, and many happy returns -- particularly as royalty and advance checks. I jumped over to Amazon to read the reviews, and they are stupendous.