Jean is a wonderful friend of mine and we’ve talked about this book, The Cauldron, off and on for months. Now, Silence in the Library has put together a multi-book kickstarter that is 2/3rds funded for three books (including one by Timothy Zahn) that includes The Cauldron. Here, Jean talks about how The Cauldron, co-written with Gene DeWeese, came to be.
The Cauldron (once called Mnemorphosis)
There’s a spaceship inside, aliens, an elephant, and the Civil War . . . oh, and a love story, too. How wonderful is that?
Not in a million light years would I have thought to combine those elements into a science fiction novel.
In fact, I wouldn’t have thought to attempt this book. Well . . . I did write it, you can see my name on the cover illustration. I mostly write fantasy, and I dabble in urban fantasy and modern-day adventure yarns. I love to read science fiction, but I haven’t written a lot of it.
So how did I end up writing what I consider an amazing book?
Gene DeWeese called me one day some years back.
Gene was one of my writer-buddies and at the time (‘cause I used to live in Kenosha, WI) a fellow Cheesehead. I’d met him many years ago when we both wrote books for TSR (he, Ravenloft, me, Dragonlance). I had read his books even years before that, and I’d invited him to a lot of the anthologies I edited. Gene wrote just about anything . . . contemporary, fantasy, horror, and science fiction. And he wrote all of it well. He was a New York Times Bestselling author, and he was known for his Star Trek novels.
Gene had a novel fragment in his computer that had been vexing him. Its working title was called Mnemorphosis, but it didn’t sit well with him, as he thought readers wouldn’t pick it up. He wanted to turn that fragment into a full novel, but he didn’t seem up to finishing it on his own. He asked if I’d like to tackle the project.
Dear God yes!
Although I usually work alone, I’d collaborated with Andre Norton and John Helfers, and had great fun doing so.
Working with Gene DeWeese was a dream. He had such an incredible imagination . . . hence the elephant and the Civil War. And he had such an elegant, beautiful, gentle soul. I cherished every day I spent working on The Cauldron, and every phone conversation and e-mail I shared with him. I wanted to get the book “just right,” just the way he’d envisioned it. And I managed to weave my own elements and side-trips in it too. Part of it is set in Wisconsin (familiar to both of us) and Indiana (where I’d lived for a time when I was a news reporter and he’d lived many years ago). So it was a perfect coauthor pairing.
The endeavor wasn’t without its difficulties. Gene was suffering with a form of dementia (and was well aware of it; he’d lament to me about things he couldn’t recall and memories that had been scattered to the winds). The disease claimed him before he could see The Cauldron in print. I’d like to think that his scattered thoughts helped make The Cauldron so wonderful. When you read it, you’ll see how so many disparate elements combine to tell one story.
My agent pronounced the book “weirdly good,” and endeavored to market it. After one of the New York publishers sat on it for more than eighteen months, deciding whether or not to take it on, I told my agent I’d get it into print myself.
It’s a Kickstarter project that starts in August. The Cauldron is perfect for a Kickstarter. It’s ready to be printed; it’s not one of those Kickstarters where if enough contributions are raised, the author will write it. Silence in the Library is the publisher. They’re awesome folks, and they love the book…maybe love it as much as I do.
It does, after all, have an elephant in it.
Jean Rabe is the author of thirty fantasy, adventure, and mystery novels, a heap of short stories, and has edited a few dozen anthologies. She shares her office with three dogs and a cantankerous parrot. Visit her at www.jeanrabe.com.
I just got back from Gen Con. As usual, it was the busiest four days of the year – panels, signings, manning the booth. I got to see old friends and new. I sold a thing. I got offered a gig which I will do. I got to talk to a bunch of fans. I shared my experience and knowledge with those who asked. It was a convention.
We got to have three of AIP’s six authors at the table at one point. Four if you count me. Dylan, Ivan, and new author Wendy. She’s a sweetheart and smart! I’m so happy we’ll be publishing her next year.
I had to take the week of Gen Con off writing for two reasons: 1. Con. That’s a given. Unless under deadline, I shouldn’t do a lot of writing at a convention because I’m so tired by the end of the day. 2. I did something very bad to my shoulder and needed to rest it. It seems to be better now. But no clicky games for the foreseeable future.
Not being allowed to write always makes me want to write more. I love conventions but I’m never happier to get home, back to my routine and to write. I’m almost half-way through Chimera Incarnate and Never Let Me Leave is fully outlined. I’m giving Peter M. Ball’s Flotsam #2 a read through and then it’s onto Dylan’s Sheynan #2 for a full edit.
It’s a busy schedule but I’m looking forward to it.
I asked Erik Scott de Bie to talk to me about Justice/Vengeance: Libations for the Dead (Vol 1). I love comic books and I like Erik's writing. So, this kickstarter was a no brainer for me. I've worked with Eric on RPGs and and I've edited him. I think ya'll are going to like Justice/Vengeance. Here's what he had to say about it.
That’s what it’s all about.
Since I was a kid, I’ve loved superheroes: people who stand out and above the rest, using the powers for the good of everyone. They may have got their special whammy from radiation, magic, aliens, or maybe they’re born with it (maybe it’s Maybelline), or maybe there’s nothing super-powered about them at all but their drive to do the right thing. The common denominator is that they can do something to help the world, and so they do.
It’s the same with the heroes of the character driven Justice/Vengeance, around whom I’ve built the entire concept.
Pre-law student Marcus Orestes has only just learned the identity of his birth father: Justice, one of the greatest heroes the world has ever known. The revelation sets him on a quest to learn more about his father he never knew, the great power he wields, and the super-heroic destiny that awaits him: to become the new Justice.
His path crosses that of two powerful women.
The Latina superstar Angel “A-Girl” DeSantes is a superhero celebrity heiress melting in the spotlight with her own legacy to uphold. Possessed of superhuman strength, durability, and flight, she is stunningly effective in fighting crime, but her inherent clumsiness and lack of experience lead to a great deal of collateral damage that doesn’t play well in the tabloids. She’s coping with the pressures of fame and the niggling feeling that she’s supposed to be doing something more—much more—with her powers.
Enter also the retired former villain Vivienne “Lady Vengeance” Cain, a functioning alcoholic who struggles to control her dark, demon-fueled fear powers that threaten the world itself. She drinks to defend herself and everyone around her. After she was implicated in the murder of her former superhero team by their combined rogue’s gallery, most of the world thinks she’s dead, and those who know she’s alive want to fix that.
And lots of booze, ninjas, robots, demons, monsters, gods, demi-gods, and whatever else you can imagine.
Justice/Vengeance is my first comic book. It’s about doing the right thing, even if it isn’t always clear what that is. It unpacks some of the big themes I explore in my other work: the nature of good and evil, the difference between justice and vengeance, identity and moral agency. I make a concerted effort in J/V to embrace diversity of story and characters in a way comics haven’t always done all that well, across the lines of age, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and motivation. And most of all, I'm just telling an awesome story: taking what is already fully formed in my head and communicating it to my audience.
I’ve wanted to do this since before I started writing. Here’s my chance.
And it’s going to be awesome.
Erik Scott de Bie is a 30-something speculative fiction author and game designer. He has published eight novels to date, including novels in the storied Forgotten Realms fantasy setting, the famous Traveller universe (his forthcoming novel Priority: Hyperion), a stand-alone novel for Broken Eye Books (Scourge of the Realm), and the original World of Ruin epic fantasy setting (his recently released novel, Shadow of the Winter King, is the first in that series). His short work has appeared in numerous anthologies and he is the author of the multimedia superhero project, Justice/Vengeance (live on Kickstarter during GenCon 2014!). In his work as a game designer, he has contributed to products from such companies as Wizards of the Coast and Privateer Press, and he is a lead creative consultant on Red Aegis from Vorpal Games. Check out his website: erikscottdebie.com
If I'm not at a panel/signing, I’ll be at my Apocalypse Ink Productions booth in Authors Avenue. Feel free to come by and say hello. Make sure you ask for a Gen Con 2014 author story card!
2pm – Rm243 – Writer’s Craft: Romance and Love Stories
4pm – Dealers – Signing
12pm – Rm244 – Editing: The Writer Editor
11am – Rm244 – Publishing: Small Press
12pm – Rm244 – Publishing: E-Publishing
4pm – Dealers – Signing
The Husband, Jeff, is doing a charity bike ride to fight multiple sclerosis. He’s pretty close to his funding goal. It would be nice for him to make it. Here’s the official blurb:
“I would like to thank those that donated in my first round notification, and I’m trying to keep these relatively un-spammy. But, if you have a moment to consider this, I and the MS community, will thank you.
So, I registered to be a part of a charity biking event this year ( Sep 5th – 7th), riding with Team Microsoft, and am raising funds to support the charity. Your donation can be matched by Microsoft as well if you also submit it as a matching donation.
Mile by mile and dollar by dollar, Bike MS is changing lives. That's why I registered for Bike MS and why I'm asking you to support my fundraising efforts with a tax-deductible donation.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society is dedicated to creating a world free of MS, but they can't do it without our help. It's faster and easier than ever to support this cause. Simply click the link below to visit my page and make a donation.
Your donation supports cutting-edge research and programs and services for everyone impacted by MS. Ending MS means no one will receive an MS diagnosis again. Every dollar helps. Every person makes a difference.
Please support me by making a donation! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on progress to my goal.
Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:
Thank for thinking about it.”