Nov. 23rd, 2013 | 08:24 am
I find it appalling that stores are now opening on Thanksgiving day. Why are they doing this?
We do need some businesses in operation on Thanksgiving. Fire stations and emergency medical clinics need to be staffed. I understand why restaurants would be open.
But general retail? Why? Why don’t they announce that big sale the day before Thanksgiving, and then close on Thanksgiving day and give their workers the break they deserve? Why does the cashier and salesperson have to get up from their meals, or leave before the meal is served and rush out to help us buy things?
The things will be the same things regardless of the day on which they are purchased. The profit margin on the things will be the same whether you put them on sale the Sunday before Thanksgiving or the day after. There is no earthly reason why retail must create this shopping frenzy on a day that was once reserved for families to share a meal and be thankful for their blessings.
Every year on ‘black Friday’ people are injured in the rush to get into the stores. Every year we have reports of violence as people compete in the ‘Hunger Games’ of retail to get one of the 3 ridiculously low-priced game systems or TVs or designer whatever that are the ‘loss leader’ bait to lure the shoppers into a store.
It was bad enough when shoppers were camping out to be the first into the store on black Friday. Do you think that people will forego Thanksgiving entirely now to camp out in front of the store on Thursday? I do.
I will not be there. For years now, I have observed Buy Nothing day on black Friday. Strange to say, I have never regretted it, never felt that I ‘lost out’ by not being part of the mass surging into the store. I do know that some families enjoy it as a wild, exciting shopping trip the day after Thanksgiving. And on Black Friday, I do feel that is up to you.
But Thanksgiving Day? Our peculiarly American national holiday, one of the few that didn’t get moved to a Monday? No. Just no.
When you rush out to get bargains on Thanksgiving, there is a bigger cost that outweighs whatever consumers may think they are saving. You may be getting bargains. You may be the one to get the hugely discounted game system. But the bargains we are getting have cost every working person in that store the opportunity to have a relaxed time with their families.
I don’t think any of us can afford that.
This will spread like a disease. If the mall retail stores are open, will the coffee shops stay closed? The ice cream store? The shoe stores? Of course not.
Soon Thanksgiving Day will be just another work day for the retail worker. I have been that ’35 hour a week so we don’t have to pay health insurance or unemployment insurance’ worker. I’ve been the restaurant worker who made more from her tips than from her paycheck.
Don’t reward the stores for doing this. Stay home. Surprise them.
Nov. 11th, 2013 | 08:11 am
Back at home and back to work!
It looks as if we had a bit of a windstorm here. Yesterday I cleared a lot of leaves and branches from the yard. More leaves to come, of course, and many needles, but that is the price of having two big trees in my yard. I would never wish to part with either one.
Many thanks to all the readers who made my book tour so memorable, both in the UK and Sweden. I had a wonderful time. Ended my journey on a note of high anxiety, however, as I raced through the airport and was the last person to board for the flight home. I could blame BA for the change in gates and the announcement that I apparently did not hear. That is the hazard of opening a new Joe Abercrombie book in the airport. I finished reading Half a King in record time and recommend it without reservation. You’ll have to jot that title down somewhere or remember it, as it isn’t in the shops yet. I was lucky enough to get an ARC (Advance Reading Copy.) Of course, if you haven’t read Joe Abercrombie before, you don’t have to wait. He has plenty of books out there. Heroes is one of my special favorites.
My other plane reads were just as enthralling but in radically different genres. The Lavender Keeper was written by my great friend Fiona McIntosh. It could be described as a historical romance, but to me it is a lot more than that. The questions of loyalty that the story raises are fascinating. Again, I recommend this one highly.
And my third book for the journey was The Wisdom of Hair by Kim Boykin. I met Kim earlier this year at a book festival in North Carolina. Again, I think it would be a mistake to label this book as either ‘romance’ or ‘coming of age’ because I think it has a tale for a much wider readership. It’s a tale of the sort of friendships that women form, and hospitality, and the choices we face in deciding who we are. Again, a book I recommend.
And that, of course, is one of the best things about long flights. Hm. Almost the only good thing about long airport waits and humming time in an airplane! I still carry paper books with me, so I can ignore all the instructions to turn off my device and be bored. I actually hoard books so I have something special to look forward to when I travel.
But now I am home, and there is a yard to tidy, laundry to do, and a book to write. I’m on what I hope is the final round of edits for The Fool’s Assassin. I know, of course, that there will be copy edits and final readings of galleys, but I hope this is the one where I actually get the words on the page right, excluding typos and those sorts of errors. So wish me luck on that, and then I’ll be plunging back into the first draft of Book Two, as yet untitled.
So if you don’t see any new posts here for a bit, you’ll know I have good reason!
Nov. 6th, 2013 | 03:06 am
I just composed a lovely, witty post about my visit to Sweden. This isn’t it. The ether devoured it as soon as I hit ‘publish!’
So instead of clever writing, I’m afraid you will get brevity and conciseness. Hm. That’s in small supply on the Internet, so perhaps we will all enjoy it.
First, Stockholm: Amazing and just as lovely as I recall it from a previous visit years ago.
2 PM Interview for pod cast and you tube. Pity me!
3-5:30 Science Fiction Bokhandel in Gamla Stan, for a reading, question and answer, and a signing.
There is an event later at the English Bookstore that we mentioned earlier on social media. Sad to say, this is a closed event with no tickets or seats available, so I will leave it at that.
HOWEVER, I left lots of signed stock at the Uppsala English Bookstore, and hope to do the same at Science Fiction Bokhandel. So if we miss each other today, you can still find a signed book there. And I will be back in England in August of 2014 for Worldcon, also known as Loncon. There will be a host of amazing writers, illustrators and other SF people there, so make your plans now!
And now let’s see if this will post for me!
Nov. 3rd, 2013 | 12:44 pm
World Fantasy Convention in Brighton was amazing. Such a wonderful location for a gathering. The heavy winds lashed up the waves for us and I absolutely loved it. It was not that cold, just very windy with strongly gusting winds.
Inside, all was cozy and nice. Lots of panels to attend, some wonderful late night shows, the dealer room, the art show . . . the agony was that I could not possibly do all of it. I greeted lots of friends, old and new and constantly wished for more hours in the day.
If you are a SF/fantasy fan and would like to sample what a convention is like, it’s fairly easy to Google one close to where you live. My recommendation would be to start with a smaller convention; the larger ones can be overwhelming if you have not learned the usual rhythm and routine of one. Usually you can buy memberships on line before you go, and then pick up your badges at registration. With the smaller conventions, often you can arrive on Saturday morning, buy a membership and explore a convention for one day to see if you would enjoy a longer experience.
Most conventions feature panels with experts speaking and audience participation. There will be a dealers room, with books and jewelry and costumes and other fannish items. Some conventions have art shows, some have evening dances or costume contests or music events. If you have an enthusiasm for Steam Punk, or hard SF or fantasy movies or costuming, I am certain you can find a convention that focuses on these or any other specific fannish interest. I’ve been going to conventions for over 30 years now and recommend the wonderful interaction between readers.
Tonight I’m back in London. Tomorrow I’m off to Bristol and then Oxford. And the next day will see me setting out for Sweden!
Oct. 28th, 2013 | 08:50 am
Everyone has been so lovely!
We had a warm welcome at the Waterstones in Leeds and a nice queue of people waiting to have books signed.
So on we go to Manchester. That event to 7 PM tonight will be a reading, followed by questions and answers, and then a book signing. I hope to see you there.
Oct. 26th, 2013 | 01:38 am
That is my schedule for today, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve had a few hiccups with the Internet today, so I may not be posting as often as I’d like, but I will do my best!
I’ll be at Waterstones at Midsummer Place at noon to sign books.
Forbidden Planet in London at 4 this afternoon!
Don’t let me sit there all alone!
Oct. 22nd, 2013 | 08:40 pm
But alas, my flight doesn’t leave until Thursday. That gives me one more day to change my mind, dump out the suitcase, and do it all over again. :O
Then I will fly off to the UK for a wonderful book tour, The World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, and then a brief visit to Sweden.
For a concise listing of my stops in England and Scotland, visit http://harpervoyagerbooks.com/2013/08/28/r
If you are curious about my later stops in Sweden, or where I will be in Australia and Canada in 2014, click on APPEARANCES at the top of this page. It’s all there!
I hope to meet some readers and fully expect to have a wonderful time! See you there.
Oct. 14th, 2013 | 09:04 pm
This lovely link was sent to me by my friend Sini.
And for those of us not versed in Swedish, here is the free-wheeling Google Translation! The summary is that I have been awarded Nåbel prize from the SF bookstore in Malmo! A very pleasant surprise!
October 11, 2013
And Nåbelpriset in Literature 2013 goes to … … Robin Hobb! … for immersive novels ranging from urban fantasy visible origin where the great challenge the real, to drakfantasyns wide wingspan, and also from this epic height portray complex characters empathetic, and with uncompromising honesty follows them through both the tragic and the magic.
/ Nåbelkommittén by Karin and Nene
PS. Robin Hobb will personally be present at the solemn Nåbelceremonin in SF Bookstore in Stockholm Wednesday, Nov. 6 (more info follow!).
Oct. 13th, 2013 | 08:57 pm
We had sunny October skies here in Western Washington. We went down to the pocket farm for a quiet weekend. My hawthorne tree filled up with robins, who proceeded to squabble over the berries. I picked all the apples I could reach without risking my life, and we made a lot of applesauce and put it up in jars.
Last night the dogs woke me up, absolutely infuriated. I had left the porch light on, and a curious doe was looking in the window at them. Absolutely not allowed! Despite their outrage, she took her time leaving.
I love my days down there. It’s not exactly placid; the chickens go into alarm mode when a hawk flies over, and today the ducks had a panic about a blue heron coming in for a landing. Those birds look like pterodactyls in flight.
Tonight I am back in Tacoma, where Diego is telling me how much he suffered in my absence. Do all cats lie as much as he does.
Finally over my horrible cold, and that makes life look pretty good. And the pages are slowly being filled with characters.
Oct. 8th, 2013 | 07:26 pm
So. There it is.
The short summary. This manuscript is now with my publishers. I am hoping for a 2014 publication date, but we will see. This is volume one of what I am determined will remain a trilogy in length.
Over on the Robin Hobb Facebook, you may see AskTheKat’s version of recent events in the office household. There is a reason why she is known as The Evil Assistant.
Or, if you do not care for Facebook, you can check her video blog of the day here: http://youtu.be/Rmd5NhHlgcQ
I had intended to make a more grandiose announcement of this, but flu/cold felled me, and the days ticked by, and suddenly it was time let the cat out of the bag. Or perhaps the Kat?
And so. On we go.