Category Archives: News

A Not So Timely Out of Time

Recently, some of my blogging friends in the United States have mentioned that books they ordered from Hinterlands Press have just been delivered. As the books were mailed a month ago, it seems that Out of Time delivery has not been very timely. Sorry!

When books are ordered directly from Hinterlands Press, they are shipped within a day or two of when the order is received. The pandemic has spurred us into being completely set-up for processing orders from home. We have a scale, and we print labels directly, which include postage. Finally, our postal service picks up packages six days a week directly from our very own mailbox.

What we can’t control is what happens when the packages get to the post office. I think the postal service was extremely stressed over the holidays, and I expect they did their best, given the circumstances.

I hope now that the holidays are over, packages will arrive in a more timely fashion. In normal circumstances, books should arrive within five to seven days of when they are ordered.

Anyway, thanks for your patience and understanding.

 

A Heartbreaking Day

Yesterday was a heartbreaking day for this country. A mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol as Senators and Representatives convened to count the presidential electoral votes and formalize the choice made by each state. Make no mistake: Joe Bidden was the winner in November’s election with a solid lead over Donald Trump. But the mob, egged on by Trump not long before they rioted, maintained that the election had been stolen and that they wanted to “take back America.”

As soon as we heard the news in the early afternoon, Clif and I were unable to focus on anything else. We turned on the television and watched in real time as the mob broke windows, looted, scaled walls, waved Confederate flags, took over Nancy Pelosi’s office, and snapped selfies of themselves as they committed what can only be called sedition. Later, in the New York Times, I saw a picture of a gallows the mob had erected.

Yes, we have had riots before in this country, and property and stores have been burned and looted, but never in my lifetime has a mob stormed the Capitol in an attempt to change the lawful results of an election. To my way of thinking, this puts yesterday’s event—an attempted coup—in a whole different category from previous riots, on par with countries that govern by dictatorship rather than by democracy.

Even the reporters, used to seeing many hard things, were shocked. An ABC reporter maintained that “history will remember January 6, 2021 as a day of infamy, the legacy of Donald Trump.”

While the Capitol police did a good job of protecting the Senators, Representatives, reporters, and other folks working there, they seemed woefully understaffed, and the mob more or less roamed at will for quite a while. Eventually the mob was cleared out. Some were arrested; most were allowed to go free. One woman was shot and killed. Others were injured. Pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails were found.

According to the New York Times, “Congress reconvened around 8 p.m. Eastern to certify the Electoral College results, and members of the National Guard from D.C. and Virginia were mobilized to prevent Trump supporters from entering the Capitol again.”

This time, the mob was foiled. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are officially the president and vice-president elect of the United States. Given there is no successful coup, Biden and Harris will be sworn in on January 20.

As for Trump? There are rumblings about removing him from office, but I will surprised if anything comes of that. I suppose it all depends on what he does between now and January 20. While Trump continues to falsely claim that the election was stolen from him, he promised there will be an orderly transition on January 20. That’s big of him, isn’t it? Well, we shall see.

Last night at the Capitol, Maine’s Senator Angus King spoke eloquently, and I will end with part of his speech: “We are a 240-year anomaly in world history. We think that what we have here in this country is the way it’s always been. It is a very unusual form of government. The normal form of government throughout world history is dictators, kings, czars, pharaohs, warlords, tyrants. And we thought 20 years ago the march of history was toward democracy, but it is in retreat in Hungary and Turkey, goodness knows in Russia. Democracy, as we have practiced it, is fragile. It’s fragile, and it rests upon trust. It rests upon trust in facts. It rests upon trust in courts. In public officials, and, yes, in elections…”

Wise words, and we would do well to heed them.

Unfortunately, a sizeable part of the population in this country does not, and what follows next remains to be seen.

 

It Hardly Feels Like Christmas

How quiet Christmas is this year. No wrapping of presents—all have been sent directly from where they were ordered—no rushing to clean the house, no flurry of cooking and baking. Less stress, to be sure, but also much, much less fun. As Clif noted, it hardly feels like Christmas.

In the guest bedroom, there is a stack of presents for us, which we will open via Zoom with the kids tonight on Christmas Eve. But without the kids actually being here, somehow things just don’t feel right. While we certainly appreciate their generosity, it is the presence of the kids that  really makes the holidays special.

Next Christmas, I hope, will be better with a big pot of chili and other goodies, with kids and family and friends and movies and lots of laughter.

I expect this will be a quiet holiday season for most of you. But I wish you all a good one nonetheless.

I’ll be taking a break from blogging, reading as well as writing, from now until the new year.  It will give me a chance to rest and gather my energies for 2021, when I will begin work on Book Four of my Great Library Series and record my podcast Tales from the Other Green Door, a spinoff of Out of Time.

Stay safe, be well. A vaccine will soon be available to us all, and life will open up again.

See you all in 2021!

Last Week for Wicked Good Deal on Out of Time

Many thanks to all of you who have ordered my new YA fantasy novel Out of Time. I so appreciate it. Because of my wonderful blogging friends, my books have traveled all around the world. No small thing for an indie publisher whose budget is as big as a minute.

For blogging friends in the United States who haven’t had a chance to order the book, the wicked good deal on our website is in effect until December 19. The total cost of the book is $12, no shipping fee. (Don’t forget to use the coupon code.) Naturally, I will sign the book if you would like.

Here is the link to our website: https://hinterlandspress.com/

And don’t you think the cover is a festive color for this time of year?

Friday Favorites: And the Winners Are…

The 2020 Hinterlands Press Giveaway is over, and the names have been drawn.

Readers near and far—from all around the world—entered the contest, and what a treat to note the different places.  A wonderful example of how blogging really expands the horizon, especially during a time when we must stay so close to home.

Here are the winners:

A copy of Out of Time:
Going Batty in Wales

Calendars:
Shane Malcolm Billings, Maine
Ju-Lyn Tan, Singapore
JoAnne LaFear, Maine

Congratulations to the winners!

I wish everyone who entered had won, but alas that is not how giveaways work. However, as we Mainers would say, I can give you a wicked good deal just in time for the holidays. From now until December 19, for orders shipped in the United States, we are offering a 20%  discount for Out of Time on our Hinterlands Press website. 

Free shipping is still included. And you get a signed copy. (Unfortunately, shipping is too expensive to extend this discount to my out-of-country friends. So sorry!)

Again, congratulations to the winners! I will be getting in touch with you soon for your mailing addresses.

 

Walking on Sunshine

Yesterday, I felt as though a great weight had been lifted from me.  Pennsylvania was called for Joe Biden, and he therefore had more than enough votes to win the electoral college, the arcane way our country selects a president. Each state is assigned a number of  electors, who in turn have one vote. The number of electors in each state are based on population. In turn, those electors are pledged to vote how the majority in each state has voted. The winner must get at least 270 votes. With Pennsylvania, Biden reached 279. (President Trump has vowed to challenge in court the results of the election. The general feeling is that too many votes have gone to Biden for any of the challenges to change the outcome of the presidential race.)

Do I think this is a strange way to elect a president? Yes, I do. But it is the system this country has, and for now we must go with it.

At any rate, despite the fact that Trump has not conceded—customary but not required—Joe Biden is now our president-elect. There was literally dancing in the streets as people across the country celebrated the news.

On Saturday night, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris and President-elect Joe Biden gave speeches that were full of empathy, hope, grace, and resolve. On the stage I saw joy and love as their families joined them after the speeches were over.

As they face formidable challenges in this country and around the world, Biden and Harris will need every bit of grace and resolve they can muster.

Best of luck to them!

And the song below, sung by the buoyant Katrina & The Waves, exactly captures the way I felt yesterday.

 

Correction: My daughter, Shannon, very nicely let me know that when Pennsylvania was called the numbers were 273, before Nevada was added. ;))

Ta-Dah! A Map of Elferterre

I’m coming down the homestretch with the proofing for my new YA fantasy, Out of Time. By mid-November, I should be done. Fanfare, please! I certainly won’t be sorry when that arduous job is done.

I’m not sure how much I’ll be blogging until the proofing is finished. More than likely, posts will be sporadic.

However, I did want to share our first-ever map that will be in Out of Time. The map was created by my husband, Clif, and it features the country of Norlander, which is in the magical realm of Elferterre, where Maya and her new team—Will, Jay, and Lexie—must travel.

In Elferterre—green and mysterious with a touch of steampunk—Maya, Will, Jay, and Lexie encounter allies and foes, including a talking cat, a witch, sprites, ogres, imps, and a mechanical horse. All the while, Magic swirls around Elferterre, enhancing the good and bad in every creature that Maya and her team meet.

Stay tuned!

Taking a Short Break but Still Time for a Couple of Friday Favorites

The time has come to take a short break from blogging, maybe a week, maybe two, as I finish proofing my new YA fantasy novel Out of Time, Book Three in The Great Library Series.  Proofing is fussy, time-consuming work but absolutely necessary. Out of Time will be published in November, which is just around the corner. Hence the need to focus all my creative attention on the book.

Still, it is Friday, and before I go on my break, I do have time to slide in a couple of things that are making me happy.

Even in mid-October, when the leaves are falling and the air is decidedly crisp, the patio is still one of my favorite places. Nowadays, Clif and I must bundle up for drinks and snacks on the patio, but we still enjoy being out there. Notice how the patio has now been set-up for socially-distanced visits. The patio is twenty years old, and never have the chairs and tables been arranged the way they are now. A sign of life during the pandemic, that’s for sure.

Now on to an inside pleausre—music. What in the world would I do without NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert? Not only have I been able to listen to old favorites such as the Avett Brothers, but I have also been introduced to groups I’ve never heard of. One of those groups is alt-J, an English indie rock band. Why had I never heard of them? Indie rock is one of my favorite genres, and alt-J’s debut album, An Awesome Wave, came out in 2012. I have no excuse. But thanks to NPR and Tiny Desk, I now have another group to add to my list of favorites.

And because I’m going to gone for a while, here’s a bonus Tiny Desk Concert with musicians Lily & Madeleine. Such lovely harmonies.

As we Franco-Americans would say, à bientôt.

In which Instructions Are Provided for Using Dear Old Classic Editor so that the Terror of Block Editor May Be Avoided

It is unusual for me to post two pieces in the same day, but I came upon such brilliant advice from the blog The Belmont Rooster, that I decided to break with precedent. As the title of this post suggests, the advice involves instructions for continuing with Classic Editor, which is clean and easy to use.

From reading other blogs, I know there has been much consternation with the new Block Editor. I understand. I, too, hate the new system, which I find ugly and clunky. (Some bloggers do like it. After all, it takes all kinds to make the world go round.)

For those, like me, who would rather use Classic Editor, click on the link I provided above with The Belmont Rooster, and you will receive  step-by-step instructions.

Here they are in short:

“Scroll down to “Posts” and click or click on “All Posts”… DO NOT CLICK ON “ADD NEW” OR IT WILL TAKE YOU THE NEW EDITOR.

“After clicking you will see “Add New” with an arrow next to it.

“When you click on the arrow you are given the choice to click on “Block Editor” or “Classic Editor”.

“There it is… The Classic Editor. Without having to upgrade to the business plan.”

And, dear blogging friends, by following those instructions, I was able to do this post in Classic Editor.

Easy peasy.

Hot dog!

 

 

 

A Time for Mourning

By now I’m sure all of you have heard about the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a woman who looked like a dove but had the heart of a lioness. She fought tirelessly for women’s rights, which, in the end are human rights.

Heather Cox Richardson, in her Letter from an American, writes, “Justice Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 15, 1933, in an era when laws, as well as the customs they protected, treated women differently than men. Ginsburg would grow up to challenge the laws that barred women from jobs and denied them rights, eventually setting the country on a path to extend equal justice under law to women and LGBTQ Americans.”

Richardson goes on to quote Ginsburg, who in turn quoted from the abolitionist Sarah Grimke: “I ask no favor for my sex. All I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.”

I’ll stop here. Much will be written and said about Ginsburg over the next week, and I don’t have anything new to add. But I wanted to take time to honor this remarkable woman.

Rest in power, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and many, many thanks for all that you did.  You rose to the top and made the world a better place. Alas, the same cannot be said of all who achieve great power, and your shining example will not be forgotten.