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December 2006

Happy Holidays!

North Pole at SunsetWow, November went fast. I can’t believe the year’s almost over. And speaking of time’s swift passage and the holiday season, if you’re thinking of sending for a bookplate as a special gift for someone, get your requests out ASAP! I try to turn them around in a timely manner, but I get a lot around the holidays. Be sure to include a self-addressed stamped envelope with an accurate and legible address. I’ve had quite a few returned as undeliverable over the years, and while I feel bad, there’s nothing I can do about it. If the postal service can’t read your handwriting, odds are that I can’t, either.

So, I spent my Thanksgiving weekend this year attending the Darkover convention in Maryland as a guest of honor. Met some cool fans and fellow authors, including Katherine Kurtz, Celia S. Friedman and Tamora Pierce. The panel discussions at this one were quite good, and I think my favorite moment came during a 10:00 AM discussion of Taboos when Tamora Pierce, who writes young adult fantasy, interjected an unexpectedly bawdy sheep joke. That was by far and away the hardest I’ve ever laughed during a panel, especially at that hour!

Every con has its own traditions and Darkover has one of the more unusual. The folk group Clam Chowder gives a concert on Saturday evening. During the intermission, there’s a fundraiser to benefit the Children’s Hospital. If the fundraising goal is met, the band performs the infamous number “Bend Over, Greek Sailor.” This year, they promised the added incentive of a few songs from Rocky Horror, with the guitarist in corset and fishnets. They raised over $10,000, which was truly amazing. Then at midnight, a group of con-goers gather around the swimming pool and the band leads them in a very serious rendition of Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus. It’s a fascinating mix of the silly and the sublime.

It also occurred to me over the course of the weekend that there are an awful lot of photos of me wearing a black hoodie jacket. Contrary to appearances, I don’t actually live in this garment. However, convention hotels are often highly air-conditioned, which I tend to forget until I’m there, freezing. Hence, my faithful hoodie to the rescue.

Thanks to the numerous readers who sent me a link to George R.R. Martin’s wonderful comments on The Sundering. He’s one of the best authors in the field of epic fantasy, so that’s high praise indeed, and I hope to have a chance to thank him in person one day.

And as always, there are new additions to the galleries. Check out Fan Art, Fan Photos and Tattoos, which is now featuring the original rose tattoo, designed by Russell Sawyer to celebrate the birth of his daughter, Tabitha Rose. And on the homepage, in celebration of the season, a gorgeous photo of sunset at the North Pole.

Joie to all on the Longest Night!

November 2006

It’s beginning to look very stark and autumnal here in Michigan. The trees are half barren, and a thick carpet of brown leaves covers the ground.

Last month I delivered the manuscript of the last book in Imriel’s trilogy, Kushiel’s Mercy, and got rave responses from my agent and editor. I wish there was more I could write about it, but untilKushiel’s Justice comes out, there’s not a lot I can say without giving away big spoilers! It’s got a lot of plot crammed into it and it was so much fun to write, it ought to be illegal. I love all my books – asking an author to choose a favorite is like asking a mom to make Sophie’s Choice – but in terms of the actual writing process, Mercy wins, hands-down.

Beaten BackA number of people have asked if I’ll be posting a teaser or two for Justice. I will, but not until a bit closer to the June 2007 release date. If you want to stay informed about this sort of update or pending events, sign up for the email list in the lower left corner of this homepage. It’s very low traffic – one email a month or less – and of course, privacy is assured, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

So once again, I rely on the creativity of my readers to provide something fun. I’m all for fans making costumes based on my characters, but be advised there’s a risk. Here on the homepage, Victoria is suffering from Kushiel’s Revenge! Not a tattoo, ladies and gentlemen, but an itchy lingering rash caused by an allergic reaction to an additive in the original henna marque. Doctors were puzzled by the fact that the rash maintained a perfect briar rose pattern and didn’t spread. In the Terre d’Ange-that-lies-beyond, Kushiel allowed himself to smile.

This is very, very funny.

There are new tats in the Tattoo Gallery, another piece of cool custom clothing in Fan Photos and a couple new entries in Fan Art, including a nice portrait of the underrepresented Melisande Shahrizai.

As I mentioned last month, I’ll be at Darkover in Maryland over Thanksgiving weekend. This month, the link works!

And in closing, a Public Service Announcement. Tuesday, November 7th is Election Day in the U.S. Get out and vote!

October 2006

Mom and the BoysAn early update this month, as I’ve got a college reunion to attend. (Eek!) Last month, I promised kittens and here they are. This is the first litter of Bengal cats (which are housecats, not tigers, a point of earlier confusion) born to Solargem Kushiel Ysandre at Kushiel Bengals in Scotland.

All together now: “Awwww!”

Oddly enough, I also received a link last month to a cattery named Naamah Bengals in San Diego. If you want a double dose of adorability, check ’em out! And on a side note, I’m thinking we should advertise in Cat Fancy magazine when the next book comes out. Also? I love my job!

Long DayIt’s a good thing my readers have been so forthcoming lately, because I don’t have much to report. I’ve been finishing the last book in Imriel’s trilogy, provisionally titled Kushiel’s Mercy, and working on the copyedit of the second one, Kushiel’s Justice. All very satisfying for me, but not so much for the rest of you.

However, for anyone who might enjoy text-based role-playing games, I understand there’s a thriving one at KushielMUX. They’re having so much fun they’ve recruited new readers on the basis of the game alone, and they’re looking for existing fans to come join them. What, exactly, is an MUX? I have no idea, being woefully ignorant when it comes to role-playing games. But all the info’s there on the site, and it certainly sounds like they’re having a good time.

Lots of updates in the galleries. There are several new Tattoos, including a finished version of a very intricate one posted earlier as a work in progress. There are a handful of additions to the Fan Art Gallery, including a nice, moody depiction of Imriel as a boy and a lovely self-portrait-as-Phèdre. (The scarlet mote’s there, trust me).


And there’s a new henna tattoo in the Fan Photo Gallery, this one depicting a hibiscus marque. I always enjoy seeing how readers personalize the concept of the marque or adapt it to other flora. For the record, only permanent tats go in the official Tattoo Gallery. Seems only fair, since it’s a pretty darn big commitment. All temporary renderings in any medium, I have posted in Fan Photos, but please be assured, I love them all.

I’m off to revisit the site of my feckless young adulthood. As a reminder to readers in the Baltimore area, I’ll be a guest of honor at Darkover in November.

There you have it, short but sweet. Not a lot of news, but hey… kittens!

September 2006

If anyone had asked me ten years ago if I was a science fiction and fantasy fan, I would have said yes. I’ve read in the genre all my life. But I would have been wrong. The world of fandom is a community unto itself, and it’s something I didn’t know existed until I entered the arena as a published writer in the field.

Pi-Con Panel PresentationLast month, I was a guest of honor at Pi-Con. It occurs to me that many of my readers may have no more idea than I did exactly what a science fiction ‘con’ is and what goes on there. In a nutshell, a bunch of dedicated fans volunteer insane amounts of time to bring professionals from all walks of the field – writers, artists, game developers, etc. – together in one place for a weekend. Then a bunch more fans pay a registration fee to come mingle, play games, browse the art show, watch videos, show off costumes, hear music, attend parties, and yes, meet their favorite authors.

Most of the programming I take part in consists of panel discussions wherein I and other writers discuss topics like “Myth & Religion in SF,” as depicted in the photo borrowed from Red Seth. That’s the basics; a banquet table, a pitcher of water and a few panelists. We talk, then open it up for audience questions.

Pi-Con Tropical LobbyCons run a huge gamut in scale, from the behemoth Comic-Con in San Diego with 100,000 attendees to small regional cons with hundreds. Pi-Con, which was in its first year, was very intimate. By the time the weekend ended, I knew almost everyone by sight and many by name.

With the exception of the guests of honor, all the folks in programming are usually there on their own dime. Guests of honor have their travel and lodging expenses covered, but their time is donated. It’s a promotional opportunity, though I don’t pick up a lot of new readers at the small cons these days. Most of the people attending are either part of the local SF community sharing the same book recommendations, or long-time fans from out of town. Every now and then someone will say, “After hearing you talk, I’ll check out your work,” or “I’ve avoided reading your books because someone who really annoys me keeps recommending them, but now I will.” But for the most part, they’re familiar with my work and have already made up their minds.

Marilyn & Sarah's henna marquesI enjoy meeting other writers. Several of the pics here, including the view of the wacky faux-tropical lobby, were sent to me by author Sara Harvey, seated in the center of our Religion panel with the beatific expression. We had fun chatting on and off panels, and I picked up a copy of her brand-new debut novel, A Year and a Day and read it on the flight home. I’m happy to report that I think a lot of you would enjoy it!

Annie in Grianne dressOverall, it’s about meeting readers in new places, places I don’t usually get to. There’s Annie in the Grainne-goes-to-the-ball dress and Celtic tattoos, and Marilyn and Sarah who spent ages doing fabulous henna marques that didn’t take (I told ’em to send me a pic anyway). And Victoria who came bearing gifts from Montreal and treated me to dinner with her friend Carrie, and Adam who presented me with a bottle of Irish meade. All the fans who hung out to keep me entertained during a long signing, and the nice dad who asked me to pose for a photo with his shy, lovely daughters. You’re the ones who make it all worthwhile.

So there you have it. That’s what a con is, and that’s why I go.

In other updates, there’s a new interview online at Evolution. Check out the Tattoo Gallery for more great new additions, and the Fan Photo Gallery for a very cool custom corset. Our charitable cause du jour is a special one. Many of you have obtained signed copies of my books and others from Shawn Speakman at The Signed Page. Shawn is a cancer survivor and he’s taking part in the Light the Night Walk to benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on September 16th. If you appreciate the service he provides and have a couple bucks to spare, show him some love!

Next month: Kittens!

August 2006

Let me start this month off by repeating yes, Kushiel’s Scion is the first book of a new trilogy. Regular visitors to the site know this, but I’m hearing from a lot of readers who aren’t sure. Until the first person asked, I didn’t realize that it actually doesn’t indicate anywhere on the book that it’s the first of three. It is. Imriel resolves some personal issues in Scion, but there’s a lot of plot left. I wouldn’t leave you all hanging like that!

Kushiel’s Justice is scheduled for release in June 2007. As the date gets closer and there’s cover art and copy to share, I’ll be sure to post some teasers.

It’s wicked hot here in Michigan as I write this and I don’t have air-conditioning, so expect a heat-addled round-up of events and trivia. As a reminder of cooler days, I’ve posted a photo of a lovely rose-carved pumpkin which arrived in my inbox without explanation. Very unseasonal and cryptic, I love it!

If you’re looking for a signed copy of one of my books, I shipped a load to Clarkesworld Books last month. And I forgot to mention that while on tour in June, I received a copy of other magazine featuring an interview I did regarding The Sundering duology titled “What’s So Bad About Evil?” It’s a very good interview and elicited some of the best commentary I’ve written on the books. In fact, I found the entire magazine to be engaging, with articles ranging from funny to thoughtful and back. For anyone interested, back issues are available here.

A reminder for folks on the East Coast, I’ll be a guest of honor at Pi-Con in West Springfield, MA on August 11-13. Their site says hotel rooms are going fast, so if you’re thinking of attending, don’t delay.

On a sad note, longtime reader Darrell experienced a set-back in the family that led to a reminder that relief agencies like the Red Cross remain underfunded for all manner of emergencies, big and small. If you haven’t donated recently, consider one on a fellow reader’s behalf.

On a “That sucks!” note, reader Lori discovered someone had downloaded her photo from the Tattoo Gallery and posted it on their MySpace page. That’s flattering… but a lousy thing to do nonetheless. I’m thinking it’s bad karma to appropriate something that’s filled with personal significance!

And in closing, there are some excellent new marques in the Tattoo Gallery this month, including a very complex work-in-progress, and a new addition to the Fan Art Gallery.

Stay cool!

July 2006

Whew! That was one long, busy month. Between that and the holiday weekend, this update’s going to be a bit later than usual.

Anyway, many thanks to all the fans who turned out to make the booksignings a success. Everything went well and I had fun along the way. Here’s a photo taken by Jeremy Lassen at Borderlands Books in San Francisco of me posing with a reader in a great Phèdre-as-Mara costume!

Thanks also to all the wonderful booksellers, and a special thanks to Shawn at The Signed Page, who made it possible for so many fans who weren’t on the touring route to acquire personalized copies of their own. There were a healthy number of you to be sure, and Shawn sent me this photo of the daunting stack that awaited me at his quarters in Seattle.

When I get out there in the real world, I’m always struck by how diverse my readership is. It’s so great to see audiences of all colors, sizes and creeds, male and female, young and old, gay and straight and everything in between. It makes me happy to see the spectrum of humanity represented. Someone asked me if I wrote with a specific readership in mind, and I had to laugh. It would be impossible. When I began Kushiel’s Dart, I was writing the book I wanted to read; a book with an epic scope that encompassed intrigue, adventure, sex, romance, sacrifice, redemption… everything but the kitchen sink. All I could do was hope there were others who felt the same way.

Now that I know it’s true, I’m aware of my readership as I write, even if I don’t write for any specific demographic within my audience. And while I still – and will always – write the books I want to read, I’ve come to feel as though I’m writing in service of the story itself. People often ask if it’s difficult to write dark passages or to kill off beloved characters – and yes, of course it is. But I’m willing to do anything if it serves the story.

All things considered, I’m very glad I chose to continue Imriel’s story and really, truly pleased by the initial response to Kushiel’s Scion. And to be clear, yes, this is the first book of a trilogy. The second, Kushiel’s Justice, is scheduled for release in June 2007. I’m already excited about it… so much so that I’m having a hard time keeping myself from dropping hints. But you don’t really want any good surprises spoiled, do you? Nah… trust me, you don’t.

Rounding up other bits of this’n’that, there’s a new Discussion Forum in the Links Page and a new addition to the Tattoo Gallery. You can read a new interview in French with the English translation below at Rivages Maudits, though I can take no credit for linguistic skills to rival Phèdre’s; the original interview was conducted in English.

For readers in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, I’ve heard reports of Kushiel’s Scion turning up in specialty stores, and of course you can always special order a copy. And a reminder to fans in the vicinity of West Springfield, Massachusetts – I’ll be the guest of honor at PiCon on August 11-13th. They were having some technical difficulties with their email, but it should be sorted out by now.

On a happy closing note, Kushiel’s Scion made the extended New York Times Bestseller List, debuting at #28. Next time, maybe I’ll crack the top ten! And if I do, it will be thanks to all of you for spreading the good word and recommending the books to your friends and families.


June 2006

It’s time! Kushiel’s Scion hits the shelves in North America this month. The official date is June 12th, though copies may turn up earlier or later at your local bookstore depending on when they receive their shipment.

The Events listings in the column on the left are up to date. I’ll be traveling to Portland, Seattle, San Diego, San Francisco and Ann Arbor for booksignings. A lot of readers write to ask if I’ll be doing a signing in their area. Authors go where their publishers send them, and that’s wherever there’s a strong concentration of bookstores interested in hosting signings. For me, it tends to be the West Coast.

Purchase Kushiel's Scion through Amazon.comWhenever my schedule permits, I also try to accept invitations to appear as a Guest of Honor at conventions elsewhere, since it’s a great way to meet fans. I always post events whenever they’re confirmed, but if you want to make sure you don’t miss one in your neck of the woods, consider signing up for my Mailing List. The link is at the bottom of this page. It’s very low traffic – I only send out announcements of events, book releases and items of interest, once a month at most.

So, a bit about Kushiel’s Scion. Quite a few readers have written to ask how big a role Phèdre and Joscelin play in the book. Plain and simple, this is Imriel’s story; or at least the beginning of its continuation. Phèdre and Joscelin are figures of enormous significance in his life and always will be, but Scion is a novel about coming of age, and to do that, Imriel has to move out from beneath their considerable shadow. So yes, they play an important role, but they’re not going to be front and center as the plot evolves.

I wrote an essay “On Becoming Imriel” available here. One of my most vivid impressions of writing this book is that I never got tired of it. For me, writing is a joy, but by the time a manuscript has gone through editing, copyediting and finally proofreading, the bloom is off the rose. Even with the most beloved of books, there comes a time when I need a little distance. That never happened with this one. I could start working on it at any point and find myself getting lost in it.

I’m not quite sure why… maybe because there’s something so personal about Imriel’s journey. A very wonderful starred Booklist review sums up the book by saying it’s “Intelligent, sexy, heartbreakingly human, Carey at her intoxicating best.” That’s the sort of summary that makes me never want to read another review, because that’s about as good as it gets! But I think the phrase ‘heartbreakingly human’ reflects my thoughts here. All his role models – for good or bad – are larger-than-life figures. While there’s intrigue and adventure a-plenty, at the heart of the conflict, Imriel’s just doing the best to figure out who he is; and that’s something almost everyone can relate to.

At any rate, I hope all of you enjoy it.

Last month I promised links to a forthcoming Q&A and book giveaway. I’m afraid the contest has already wrapped – my apologies! There’s another reason to sign up for the Mailing List. However, you can read the Q&A here, and find lots of other good interviews and contests, too.

Check out the Tattoo Gallery for another contribution and the Links page for a new discussion forum. Don’t forget it’s your last chance to order signed copies of Kushiel’s Scion from The Signed Page – I’ll be signing those on June 15th in Seattle. And the Elemental anthology has its own website where you can read reviews and see the complete list of contributors. It’s a good book for a good cause!

A special note to readers in Australia and the UK: I know a lot of you want to know when Scion’sgoing to be released there. Unfortunately, I don’t know yet, but it looks like it won’t be until 2007. Sorry! I’ll post the info in the Events column when I know for sure.

May 2006

Lots and lots of new listings in the Events column! But while you’re counting down the days to the release of Kushiel’s Scion, I’ll remind everyone that Elemental: The Tsunami Relief Anthology comes out this month. All profits go to Save the Children, an organization that’s doing great long-term relief work to benefit victims of the tsunami among many other worthwhile projects.

My contribution is a short story inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, a work of magic realism which uses the manifestation of the miraculous to explore unattractive aspects of human nature. My offering is a much more modest piece, surreal and absurd. Kirkus Reviews said, “Jacqueline Carey’s haunting and lyrical In the Matter of Fallen Angels explores the extraordinary through the eyes of the ordinary.”

In plainer language, it’s about a small town in Anywhere, America that wakes up to find a fallen angel in the backyard of its general store. It’s all for a good cause, so check it out.

Michelle PFor readers eager for advance Kushiel’s Scion news, keep an eye on this page. I’ll be contributing an essay about the joys and challenges of continuing Imriel’s story, and there will be a Q&A to follow, with a book giveaway in the next month. I’m happy to report that Publishers Weekly gave Scion a starred review, calling it “Credible and gripping, this is heroic fantasy at its finest.” Thanks, PW!

Stop by the Tattoo and Fan Art Galleries for many new tattoos and a fresh interpretation of Alcuin’s marque. I’m also featuring a tattoo on the homepage, which in addition to being a lovely full back piece, has the distinction of being the first sent to me by the artist, Joseph at Infamous Ink, rather than the bearer (posted with permission, of course).

Solargem Kushiel JoselinAnd last but not least, being a writer is an awesome job that occasionally comes with delightful quirks. The adorable cub featured here is Solargem Kushiel Joscelin, one of the first in a line of big cats bred in the U.K. which will bear a Kushiel name. If you can look at that without going, “Awwwww!” you’ve got a harder heart than I do!


April 2006

As promised last month, I’ve posted an excerpt from Kushiel’s Scion. You can read the first chapter here. There’s also a prologue, but since it contains a lot of backstory familiar to readers of the original trilogy, I opted to go with Chapter One.

Beyond that, you’ll have to wait until June! But for those of you jonesing for something new to read, I realized that several books I blurbed have been recently released or are on the verge of release. Various readers might enjoy the following: A Shadow in Summer, Working for the Devil, Heir of Autumn and In the Eye of Heaven.

They’re all quite different books and I don’t guarantee each will appeal to every reader, but you’re all savvy enough to scan the description and reviews and decide for yourselves whether or not it’s to your taste. I have a diverse and eclectic readership, and editors from numerous publishing houses send me a fairly ecclectic array of books to read.

I always try to give them a fair chance. I benefited from established readers generous enough to read and blurb Kushiel’s Dart at the outset of my career, and I believe in paying forward. It’s not always easy. For every writer who provided me a quote, there was at least one other who declined. Now that I’m in the same position, I understand how difficult it can be. I want to love every book I read, but I have my own innate biases as a reader. Sometimes I can get past them, sometimes I can’t.

When I can manage to read objectively, I try to gauge a book on whether or not it meets its own goals, lives up to its promise. The hardest ones are ambitious books with many elements to admire that just never quite pull everything together and work for me, personally, as a reader. I struggle with those. Sometimes it’s easier to recommend a simple, straightforward story that fulfills its own objectives.

At any rate, these are four I genuinely enjoyed for vastly different reasons. Check ’em out, and I hope you find something to enjoy.

In other news, more new tattoos! For Michiganders, there’s a new addition in the Events column. In the broader scheme of things, it looks like Warner is going to be sending me on a West Coast tour for the release of Kushiel’s Scion. I’ll post details as they emerge.

Mardi Gras 2006Thanks to everyone who sent good wishes for Mardi Gras! Seen here, another fine award-winning float from the Mystik Krewe.



March 2006

A brief update this month, which might go up early or late… as longtime visitors know, I’m a member of the oldest Mardi Gras krewe in Michigan, a grand tradition for over a decade. Which means instead of penning a thoughtful update, I’ve been spending many, many hours in a friend’s basement, assembling wondrous things out of cardboard and breathing paint fumes. This year, we’re holding the celebration in conjunction with a fundraiser for Hurricane Relief, so we’ll be celebrating in spirit with our friends in the Gulf region and raising more money for aid. It’s a thought to warm the heart, which will come in handy as we shiver our way along the parade route!

I’ll make up for it next month by posting an excerpt from Kushiel’s Scion, as many of you have requested. Meanwhile, you can check out the galleries for numerous new offerings: More gorgeous Tattoos, a great self-portrait as Phèdre Fan Photo, and cool variants on the marque design in Fan Art.

And here on the home page, another view from the author’s desk. The kitties have decided that manuscripts make for excellent napping cushions when strewn across the floor. Nice work, girls!



February 2006

Serendipity strikes. As I mentioned last month, I’ve been planning to write about the tattoo phenomenon for a while. The other day, I received an email from Russell Sawyer, the artist who created the design. I think that means it’s time! I’ve heard from numerous readers regarding their decisions to get a tattoo inspired in some way by Phèdre’s marque. For many, it’s an aesthetic choice, plain and simple. They liked the books and the design appealed strongly to them.

I’ve even heard from a couple of folks who got the tattoo before reading the books. As a point of interest, the design was created as a tribute to the birth of Mr. Sawyer’s daughter, Tabitha Rose. It didn’t take on a second significance until Tor contacted him about using the design on the cover of Kushiel’s Dart, an unknown author’s debut novel.

And acquire significance, it did.

Those are the letters that touch me the most; the ones from readers for whom the tattoo has a deep personal significance. It’s an homage to a lover, it’s a badge of survival, it’s mark of suffering endured. It’s a declaration of emancipation, an assertion of self-ownership. It’s a symbol of rebirth, of self-acceptance, of hard-won pride. It’s an act of defiance. It’s an affirmation of the sacred potential inherent in desire. It’s a private theology etched in blood and ink on a human canvas.

It’s all of those things and more.

Many readers send photos of their tattoos without divulging the reasons behind them, content to share the images. There are stories I’ll never know; and that’s just fine. It’s an individual choice. I’m honored to know they exist.

And I’m honored to have written books which have struck profound chords in so many different people; but I know full well that the tattoos aren’t tributes to me. Once a book is released to the public, it belongs to everyone who reads it. And everyone reads the same words, but no one reads the exact same story. We bring different perspectives to the worlds and characters we visit in books, and we take different things from them. They live on inside us, hundreds of thousands of versions of the same tale.

So, there are some thoughts on tattoos, composed on a cold, blustery day. Stop by the Tattoo Gallery to see the latest additions, and the Fan Art Gallery for a version in henna and a new photo portrait featuring the artist as Phèdre.

January 2006

I’m a bit late with the update this month, but I trust you’ll all forgive me. My thanks to those readers who let me know they appreciate the fact that I try to post something new every month. I know it’s not much compared to many of the prolific bloggers out there posting insightful commentary on a daily basis… but then most of them probably aren’t working on manuscripts that weigh in at close to a thousand pages, I’m guessing.

Other than the holidays, I’m afraid it was an uneventful month; a whirl of eating, drinking and socializing, but not much in the way of literary news. Such is also the case when working on monumental manuscripts; things move at a glacial pace. And while I had planned to write on the varying significances of tattoos, I’m going to save that one, since I’m already behind schedule and it’s a thoughtful topic. A lot of readers have shared their reasons, and I want to do them justice.

There are new offerings in several of the galleries – Tattoos, Fan Photos and Fan Art. Those in the latter are portraits by a photographer of a friend who resembles her vision of Imriel, which is something lovely and different.

Last month, after writing about the forthcoming Elemental anthology, relief fatigue and charitable giving in general, I received an email from a reader who’s a senior at St. Mary’s Dominican School in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. Flood damage caused by Hurricane Katrina destroyed their entire library. It’s a private school supported by donations in an area where few people have anything left to give, and she was writing in the hope that one of her favorite writers might be able to help.

If there’s one things writers understand, it’s libraries! I sent a contribution, and if anyone else would like to send a few bucks or replacement volumes in honor of a fellow fan check out the Dominican School’s wish list.

As I said last month, unfortunately there’s always plenty of need to go around, but it’s nice to feel a personal connection of some sort to a good cause. And since I elected to forego gifts this year in lieu of donations, I feel filled with do-goodery and entitled to flog worthy causes.

In closing, the photo on my homepage this month is a rather lousy shot of the view from my desk of the giant, Ent-like pine tree that fills my entire window, shrouded in snow. That’s winter in Michigan, folks! When I first began writing in this study, some nine years ago, the original Kushiel trilogy was still a simmering stew of elements in the back of my mind, and I could still see a slice of my backyard.

The times, they do change