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Month: October 2012

Big! Book! Sale!

You see the piles of books in that photo? That’s just a small selection of the tottering heaps of my books I have in the house. They make for good insulation, I’m sure, but I wouldn’t mind getting rid of a few, ideally making some money to buy Officeboy Xmas presents in the process.

Here’s where you come in: Buy my books! (They make great gifts. Even if just for yourself.)

You can get signed and/or inscribed copies for cover price (I’ll round up to destroy any stray pennies), plus $4 shipping per book for mass market paperbacks and $6 each for trade paperbacks/hardcovers.

Shipping costs for the US are included in the listed price. For shipping outside the US, add an extra $6 to the listed price.

Write to timpratt at gmail dot com or post in the comments here saying what you want and telling me if you want them signed and/or personalized. I’ll do the math and tell you what you owe me and where to send the PayPal money. First-come, first-served, which is why you should comment or e-mail instead of just sending money — I’d hate for you to pay for something that sold out. (First-time comments are moderated here, so don’t worry if your comment doesn’t show up immediately.)

I’ll run the sale for one week, from Monday October 29th until Sunday November 4.

Here’s what’s available. First editions, unless otherwise noted.

Marla Mason series:

Mass-market paperback of Blood Engines, $11 (19 copies available)

Mass-market paperback of Dead Reign, $11 (9 copies)

Mass-market paperback of Spell Games, $11 (10 copies)

Trade Paperback of Broken Mirrors, $20 (2 copies)

I also have eight or ten copies each of rare Marla Mason story chapbooks Shark’s Teeth and Snake & Mongoose, which I’ll sell for $8 each (shipping included).

Standalone novels:

Hardcover of The Constantine Affliction (as by T. Aaron Payton), $33 (16 copies)

Trade paperback of The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, $18 (11 copies)

Trade Paperback of The Nex, $14 Sold out!

Mass-market paperback of Forgotten Realms: Venom In Her Veins, $12 (20 copies)

Mass-market paperback of Pathfinder Tales: City of the Fallen Sky, $14 (12 copies)


Trade paperback of anthology Sympathy for the Devil (edited by Tim Pratt), $22 (4 copies)

Paperback of poetry collection If There Were Wolves, $14 (2 copies)

Trade paperback of collection Little Gods, $20 (Not the first edition that includes the poems, but the more attractive offset edition) (12 copies)

That’s it. Make your wishes known.

Words and Pictures (Note: No Pictures Included)

After a month of being lazy — er, that is, recharging creatively and refilling the wells of inspiration and suchlike — I have been writing again. Mostly working on a story called “The Fairy Library” which recently informed me it would like to be the start of a novel, please. I will finish a novelette version of it, though, for inclusion in my upcoming collection Antiquities and Tangibles. It’s about 10,000 words long already, and will need another five or six thousand words to be finished. It’s a rambling romantic oddball fantasy; basically the kind of story I most like to write, and do best.

I also wrote a review of Neal Barrett, Jr.’s Other Seasons for the Los Angeles Review of Books. Short form: Barrett’s an awesome short story writer with a crazy range, you oughta read him.

An interview with me will run in the November issue of Locus. I talk about The Constantine Affliction and Briarpatch and a bit about crowdfunding/self-publishing and a bit about other assorted things. I even got to do the traditional author photo shoot, which entailed standing on wobbly collapsing steps, leaning on a tree near some raccoon poop, falling off a wall (the scratches on my arm are nearly healed, thanks), getting spiderwebs in my hair, etc. The things I do for my art. Or, uh, the promotion of my art.

Six Strange Thursdays

My son has been in public school for about six weeks now. He likes it a lot, and is doing really well. His teacher seems great, and he’s even got electives (or “enrichment”) classes in his after-school program — science, tee-ball, art. (He loves science.)

The weirdest part for me has been having my Thursdays free.

Many years ago I went to four days a week at my day job so I could get more writing done. Then, after my son was born, that day off became our “River-Daddy day,” which we spent together every week. We’d go to playgrounds, run errands, hit the library, museums, day trips into San Francisco, and just generally have various adventures.

Now, of course, he’s in school on Thursdays, and it’s left a weird emptiness in my life and disrupted all my routines. Running errands alone is way easier, but also more boring. Some Thursdays Heather takes him to school and I don’t even have to get out of bed at any particular time. (Sleeping in until I feel like getting up is quite bizarre. To think, before I was a parent, I used to do it every weekend. Incredible.)

I have no real new routine yet. I spent a couple of those days off just doing absolutely nothing of note (in my defense, I was sick one week, and beating Arkham City was an epic accomplishment). I just wandered aimlessly in my house and yard, then went to pick River up from school early and went to the library and got ice cream, trying to claw back some of our old fun activities.

One week, there was a rare convergence of schedules that allowed me to have lunch with my wife (we ate at 900 Grayson, and I had the Demon Lover, which is fried chicken on top of a buttermilk waffle smothered in gravy; yum). Then I went over to a cafe we like, Uncommon Grounds, and did some writing.

One week I went into San Francisco and worked at the Borderlands Cafe (Yes, there are perfectly nice cafes walking distance from my house, and a 20-minute train ride into the city was hardly necessary. What can I say? I was drunk with freedom).

Last week I did a writing day with my friend Maggie, which helped overcome my general aimlessness; I was productive! And had someone to talk to other than the cats!

I have no idea what I’m doing this Thursday, beyond the fact that I should get a story revised.

So, there’s still no routine in sight, but I seem to be trending toward a day devoted to writing (and grocery shopping and maybe some housework), topped off with an ice cream cone with the kid. The upside of losing the day off with my son is that I can, in theory, get a lot of work done that day instead, freeing up my weekends to spend with him (instead of making his mom entertain him while I write for hours and hours). This may even work out to be a net win. If I can just find the right groove to settle into.

At least the boy is having epic weekends. Saturday he had swim class, then I took him to the Habitot children’s museum/playspace. Sunday we went down to Santa Cruz and hit the beach boardwalk (Santa Cruz in the month after Labor Day is so glorious; perfect weather, way less crowded than summer), had lunch at Cafe Brasil, and dinner at Saturn Cafe. Yesterday (being Indigenous People’s Day in Berkeley, and thus a school holiday), he went to a day camp and had a field trip to a pumpkin patch/petting zoo/hay maze in Half Moon Bay. So we’re making up for the lost time.

In Our Stars

It’s National Poetry Day! (I mean, not in the nation I live in, but when it comes to poetry, I’m not picky.) The theme is stars, so here’s a poem with stars in it, previously published only in a small zine called Dark Illuminati, about ten years ago.


Holly Grove
She told me it was the oldest grove
of holly trees in the world, or
maybe just the country, I forget
which. "It's two days after midsummer,"
she said, "But close enough for a celebration."

All the mythic elements were there -- history
in the fiber of ancient live trees (like that poor girl
who ran from Apollo and, transformed into a laurel,
had to stand still forever just to get away), the stars
pinwheeling slowly through their elaborate
ballroom-dance courses, nude-girl naiads
splashing in the shallow water, and somewhere
a snorting bull roaming the darkness,
deep-chested and archetypal.

There aren't a lot of happily-ever-afters
in those old stories; the gods of the
Mediterranean were too human for those,
too firmly planted in the middle of the world,
for all their Olympian posturing. Love
affairs often ended with people turned
into trees or flowers or lonesome sounds.

(Orpheus was lucky. His lover died before
she could abandon him in a more prosaic

(No, that's ridiculously bitter. He wasn't
lucky. He was smashed apart by grief
and furies)

I watched my ex-lover swim
in the moonlight, Psyche to my Cupid,
Helen to my -- well, say Faust. I thought
about all the things those long-ago
folk had to endure just to become

Let her go, then. I don't want her 
to transform herself to escape me,
to be a tree in my backyard. I don't
want her if I have to make bargains
with the lords of the underworld,
or even the dark things in my private
caverns. Let us both live on in the middle
of this earth, and the middle of our own
stories. You don't always have to fall
apart over love

I sat on a log by the fire and looked
at the flames and the pale shapes
of the other girls nymphing away in
the two-days-after-midsummer dark,
watching night fall on one mythic time,
but aware always of later chances
to become part of a beautiful
future constellation.