Tanith Lee

And so December appears, in its grey-gold mantle… well, here in England (south) a lot of leaves still linger on trees. I’m really saying, the year has passed at a rate of knots. I should have filled in on this site sooner. Not a huge amount to report, in case you still remember me, and didn’t just hit the site thinking I was something else. I have been very behind on deadlines, mostly through no fault of my own. ( Life interferes ) However, I am still working on Piratica 3. It’s going well, a strange contrast, very marked this time, of dark and (crazy) light. Plus a novella for Firebird has been delivered. this one, Indigara, details the adventures of the young Jet and her robot dog Otis, tipped into the subworld of a futuristic Ollywood (no H or B). Meanwhile unfortunately Greyglass isn’t going to make it out this year, and I can’t give a definite date for publication. It is at finished proofed stage, and has a (glorious) cover by John Kaiine, so it’s all ready to go. But matters beyond everyone’s control have put paid to the last stage of publication for now. These things happen. I’ll let you know on this one. Again, the delay is no one’s fault. And so December appears, in its grey-gold mantle… well, here in England (south) a lot of leaves still linger on trees. I’m really saying, the year has passed at a rate of knots. I should have filled in on this site sooner. Not a huge amount to report, in case you still remember me, and didn’t just hit the site thinking I was something else. I have been very behind on deadlines, mostly through no fault of my own. ( Life interferes ) However, I am still working on Piratica 3. It’s going well, a strange contrast, very marked this time, of dark and (crazy) light. Plus a novella for Firebird has been delivered. this one, Indigara, details the adventures of the young Jet and her robot dog Otis, tipped into the subworld of a futuristic Ollywood (no H or B). Meanwhile unfortunately Greyglass isn’t going to make it out this year, and I can’t give a definite date for publication. It is at finished proofed stage, and has a (glorious) cover by John Kaiine, so it’s all ready to go. But matters beyond everyone’s control have put paid to the last stage of publication for now. These things happen. I’ll let you know on this one. Again, the delay is no one’s fault. Hello – a quick update. I’ve finished the third book of The Lionwolf Trilogy – No Flame but Mine and am now typing it. I’m happy with it and it seems for me to conclude this opus – but one can never be sure… Next big venture is to write the third Piratica ( Piratica III: The Family Sea ). I’m also scheduled to pen two large novellas this year. So I’d best get back to the desk!! Just before I do, other thrilling news, for me. I’m among five other writers shortlisted for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature - incredibly alongside one of our finest living writers – Margaret Atwood. Friends, Romans and fellow citizens of the world… thank you for looking in again, and once more my apologies for such a long delay. The old excuses still apply. Which probably doesn’t make them any less inexcusable.

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Firstly, I’m still working on the last of the Lionwolf Trilogy Macmillan). The first book: Cast a Bright Shadow, and the second: Here in Cold Hell, appeared in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Anyone who’s read thus far will probably believe me when I say finalizing this vast madhouse epic (have I coined a new genre applicable only to me?) takes time and thought, and a lot of prowling about with large mugs of tea. (Tea and coffee are really always preferable to wine when working; they take more time to make.) I am very excited by the book however. Going slow is less due to problems or fatigue than the intensity of cohering all details.

Meanwhile Piratica (Return to Parrot Island) has just escaped from Hodder. Friends, Romans and fellow citizens of the world… thank you for looking in again, and once more my apologies for such a long delay. The old excuses still apply. Which probably doesn’t make them any less inexcusable.

Firstly, I’m still working on the last of the Lionwolf Trilogy Macmillan). The first book: Cast a Bright Shadow, and the second: Here in Cold Hell, appeared in 2004 and 2005 respectively. Anyone who’s read thus far will probably believe me when I say finalizing this vast madhouse epic (have I coined a new genre applicable only to me?) takes time and thought, and a lot of prowling about with large mugs of tea. (Tea and coffee are really always preferable to wine when working; they take more time to make.) I am very excited by the book however. Going slow is less due to problems or fatigue than the intensity of cohering all details.

Meanwhile Piratica (Return to Parrot Island) has just escaped from Hodder. L’Amber is a strange book, but as I have said before, no one ever expects anything strange from me. (Hmm.) The anti-heroine Jay is the one who writes it, referring back to a time when she became obsessed with the rich, beautiful and talented artist, Jilaine Best. Jay worms her way into this other shining life with a habitual cunning and caution, but then becomes ensnared in a spiderweb of other people’s passions and demands. The one thing Jilaine can’t have is a baby, and a baby is the one thing Jilaine desires. You can guess perhaps Jay’s next moves. But both she, and I, were in for some stellar bad surprises. Though contemporary fiction, the novel is so bizarre it feels virtually uncanny. Or so I’ve sensed and also been told. Believe me, if you want to try this one, it won’t be like any ‘normal’ saga — and if ‘kitchen sink’ at all, then it’s a sink full of crocodiles.
Greyglass, the next in this unconnected series, should be out the end of 2006, about in time for you to sensibly avoid it as a Christmas or Winter Solstice present.

There is still a joint Garber-Sorores collection outstanding too. Most of this is done. (And I have to tell you, the Sorores material is pretty stunning stuff, highly erotic in Lesbian ethos, and shocking in its effect, haunting in its afterimages.) We really will get this on the road, hopefully this year.

Future work, apart from the above, is a third Piratica which I should be starting on this summer. I don’t want to say too much about this before anyone who wants to has had a chance to read the second volume. If and when you read that, you’ll doubtless see why…

I’ll come back to novels presently.

Smaller works are fairly recently published novella the Heart of the Moon, with Luna imprint, Harlequin. this is a fantasy set in a parallel ancient world, with supernatural and romantic twists. Betrayed by her lover and her best friend, Clirando finds herself under the latter’s curse, which takes a simple and devastating form. Only a visit to the sacred and dangerous testing-zone of Moon Isle can free her — but she may perish in the attempt.

There’s also a novella due from the SF Book Club of America, in the series begun by Marvin Kaye and myself: 1) The Vampire Sextet, 2) The Dragon Quintet. The third volume is The Ghost Quartet, and my tale is Strindberg’s Ghost Sonata. Despite writing this through a debilitating flu virus at the end of 2004, I loved doing it. It will one day be part of a new quartet of my own — following on from Paradys and Venus novels. This new foursome will be called The Secret Books of Petragrava. A Russian city this time, a combined Moscow and St Petersberg. It remains to be written, and to be sold, said quartet, but we shall see.

Also, there is a short story in Realms of Fantasy December 2005 — this one was first published in France by l’Oxymore. The story Arthur’s Lion is still due out from Weird Tales, but has been put forward to, I think, the summer. I have a couple of shorter tales with them, as yet I don’t know publishing dates. I also have a young adult tale out in the anthology Firebirds Rising, from Firebird: The House on the Planet. So far as I know my double collection of long short tales from Wildside Press is still going forward — but I haven’t been given the new date.

Coming back to novels, Hodder are re-releasing the four Claidi journals in the UK, in altered but terrific covers, still featuring the brilliant quirky artwork from the first issue.

More vague perhaps, as not yet written: I hope you won’t mind my sharing with you a couple of future projects I want to accomplish. Possibly you’ve seen, from mention of the titles of two of the books due from Egerton — l’Amber and Greyglass, that they have a similarity; both include an element of colour. Of course I’ve done that in other things not remotely connected, but these novels, although in no manner otherwise relating to each other, have, and will have, each of them, colour in the title. In fact I can give them to you, and I trust you won’t be too irritated by the fact I’m wafting around ideas that I haven’t yet even had a chance to put down notes on. They will be: (if not necessarily in this order) To Indigo, Cruel Pink and Winter Green. The reason for this bonding is so far unclear to me, and maybe means nothing. I shall find out.

Nor am I very sure what each book will be about — but those among you that know how I work, know too that general unknowledge of the inner subject of what I write has always been a guiding principle, and for me one of the most exciting ways I can write. Sometimes, if not always, the more I know of what I’m due to tackle, the less inviting it grows. Yet wonderful and horrible surprises always occur. I flail over the page, screaming with laughter, or just screaming — generally not aloud. And when this happens, my internal sky is lit with fireworks. Self-indulgent no doubt. But then I believe firmly that a writer should be self-indulgent. How is any sincerity or white-hot passion to get out if one doesn’t let oneself off the leash? Sure, flaws and all. Emeralds have flaws. It’s what makes them unique. Discipline has its place only in sticking to the task when it becomes reticent, or in trying to polish, or in chasing what has refused properly to manifest. Never, NEVER in letting through the wild force of inspiration. Oh, dear. Lee is on the soap-box again. Down, Lee.

Now I have aired my works and a (noisy) wisp of my opinions, I come to a much finer thing. I do try here not to hoot and rejoice over other writers — they have their own websites, and don’t require my pleased trumpetings. But now and then it seems silly to desist. And so I have to feature here a new novel by a friend of mine, Rosemary Hawley Jarman. Many of you will have heard of and read Jarman’s stunning historicals — such as We Speak No Treason, Crown in Candlelight, and The Courts of Illusion. In perfect honesty I can confess to you that in my thirties, at a quite terrible time in my life when my father was dangerously ill, her work saved my sanity, or it certainly seemed to. We came to know each other later, and have stayed friends. All her books have given me vast delight, and taught me too a great deal. Now she has produced a fantasy novel, which Egerton, one of my own publishers, have just released.
The Captain’s Witch is an historical novel of another world, which has flavours of the late mediaeval and the renaissance, and also of a far, far darker place. This is Dark Fantasy at its darkest — a concept of vampiric, parasitic terror that is heartless, mindless, soulless — yet intelligent, resourceful and beautiful beyond all reason. Seldom have I seen a portrait of pure evil painted so lavishly, or with such disturbing exactness.
Tallis is a warrior, strong, handsome, courageous, and honoured in his own country. When he is sent to escort home a royal betrothed the web of corruption and horror snags his life. War, treachery and — perhaps most lethal of all, love — will follow on this contact. For among the damned, love kills…

The novel is lush, erotic, voluptuous, it is harsh, cruel, uncomfortable, appalling. It has scenes of piercing loveliness and frantic vileness and breakneck action. It has scenes of deep tenderness and cosmic hilarity. It is a page-turner, where to put it down feels like a crime against oneself. And speaking of surprises, this one twists you around so fast that being startled becomes a way of life. It’s like a piece of music, a rogue symphony with many more than four movements. And though the extraordinary and exquisitely-paced ending satisfies by pulling out every stop, I am praying Jarman will write a sequel.

So more than highly recommended, this. It’s a magical departure from one of the UK’s best writers.Well, that about brings me to the end of this communication. I will be in touch again soon. I value very much your visits to the site, and regret that I sometimes don’t put enough new info on here as swiftly as I should. It is truly my pleasure to extend that info to you. that you may read what I write, that you may be interested in learning something of what goes on for me, give me great happiness. I write for myself, selfish to the last. But when another can find something in what I have done that gives them amusement, or enjoyment, I am given a prize beyond deserving. Thank you again for your visit to the site. And it’s nearly spring — !