The Dream Café

Steven Brust: “A masterful storyteller of contagious glee and self-deprecating badassery” —Skyler White

*Headsmack*

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Today I was at a Borders looking for Poker Pro magazine (on account of I’m in it, how cool is that?).  While there, I, as usual, checked the sf section to see how well represented I was.  I skimmed past the row Jim Butcher, found the row of Lois Bujold, and there I was.  Two books.

Two lousy books.

Sad.  Miserable.  Depressed.  I moped out of the store to my car, then stopped.

Two books?  I have two books at Borders?

How many people do I know who would give their right cliche to have two books at Borders?

Man.  I have BOOKS.  In a BOOKSTORE.   And there was my car, that I bought with money I got for WRITING BOOKS.

I drove home feeling much better.

corwin

Author: corwin

Site administrative account, so probably Corwin, Felix or DD-B.

0 Comments

  1. Not only that, but they were likely two of the better novels in said sf section. Like Heinlein said, once he sold his first he knew he’d never go back to honest work 😉

    If it’s any consolation there were at least ten or twelve books at B&N the other day when I went to pick up Iorich.

    Is The Sun, The Moon, and The Stars going to come back into print at any point? I lent my copy to a friend some years ago and never got it back. There are always re-sellers I suppose.

  2. Freudas: It is currently in print from Tor, as an Orb trade paperback. Thanks for asking.

  3. I usually find a decent collection of yours at B&N, Border’s Sci Fi and Fantasy section is usually lacking IMHO.

  4. Agree on the borders selection often being lacking, but I think the real point here is: you’re in poker pro magazine? Why? Can I combine one of my favorite authors with one of my favorite activities?

  5. It waxes and wanes at my local Hastings.

  6. Matt: Pick up the latest copy and find out. 🙂 It is in The Online Fox column, and it’s called “Analyzing a hand like a pro.”

  7. Look at it this way – I’ve usually found 6-12 of your books at any given B&N or Borders in my two home towns; thus the only explanation is that someone bought *all* the others before you got there!

    ][

  8. Glad you feel better. Living in Canada, I find at least 2 or 3 titles at Chapters.

    BTW, I’m over 2/3 done with Iorich, and it rocks. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for Vlad.

    When finish, I will probably go back to the beginning of the series and start all over again. Jhereg happens to be a favourite, since a friend of mine actually incorporated that story into an RPG we play. It was very cool.

  9. Yea, seriously! Two books is *great*! Especially when you consider they’re biased to new books.

  10. Actually, if it’s the Borders I’m thinking of, the SFF selection is pretty weak. I believe it was much larger before they moved to that location.

    Plus, the parking/traffic there is a hassle. 🙁

  11. What ojiikun said — I don’t spend enough time in the chain stores to know how much the ones here normally stock, but it’s quite possible they had more, but they’d been bought. I think there were a half-dozen on the shelf in Mysterious Galaxy last time I looked, not counting Iorich, of which there were a great many copies, but one less when I left.

  12. Man, you should try and get one of your books in New Zealand, the byzant hoops I had to jump through to get any book dealer to get a copy of Dzur in for me caused many a psychological bruise. This year I ordered from Amazon and just took the shipping cost on my bookstore free chin.

  13. You were under represented in Singapore too, but I did manage to score a copy of Iorich about two weeks after the release date. I think at one point I had probablly one of five copies in the entire country, but by the end of my trip I saw Borders had restocked with two more copies. The other Brust books I saw on the shelves at the dozen book stores I visited on my month long visit were Brokedown Palace, Dzur, and a Book of Taltos.

  14. Steve, you are a precious, precious man. <3

    P.S. What did they say about you in Poker Pro? Other than the usual introductory fare of how you are charismatic, suave, intelliegent, brave, dashing, knee-weakeningly chiselled &c. &c.

  15. Ella! You never call, you never write. I haven’t eaten in three weeks, because I didn’t want to have food in my mouth in case you called.

    The article in Poker Pro is a regular column by my friend Chris “pokerfox” Wallace, in which he interviews me about a particular hand I played, and how I learned to do that kind of analysis (hint: he taught me).

  16. Whereas I went into Borders last week, found an entire shelf of your books, including Iorich in hardback which I purchases for my husband. If I go downstairs to our library, I will find the entire series, including the Phoenix Guard books and Brokedown Castle. You do good work man. I’m glad to find you at the bookstore.

  17. I bought my copy of Iorich at Borders. 🙂

  18. Buddy of mine is a Regency romance writer. She moped in to lunch last week because there were only SIX of her books on the shelf at Barnes & Noble, and last year at this time, there was nearly an entire shelf.

    “Deb,” I said, “this is a seriously high-class problem to have.”

    So clearly it’s not just you!

  19. If you really want to feel ill could how many copies of Sarah Palin’s “Going Rogue” they have.

    I prefer your fantasy world every time.

  20. My favorite authors tend to be consistently under-represented at chain bookstores (you, Spider Robinson, etc.). It’s a hard, sad truth that quality doesn’t always equate with popularity.

    Consider that if you’d kept going past your name, up into the A’s, you would find several shelves all dominated by the same name, one who is rarely accused of quality writing. I started reading him the same time I started reading you, and stopped within 3 years. By contrast, you’re still on my shortlist of “buy hardcover on release day” 15 years after that.

  21. Hmm..So is poker where all your money problems come from Steve? Is that why you have to ask for handouts and have started printing books in hardback?

  22. You’re just looking in the wrong place, Steve. Powell’s City of Books has a shelf devoted to Brust. =D

  23. Having a backlist in the shelves in Borders is indeed impressive.

    What percentage of your books are sold through bookstores, as opposed to online?

  24. My Borders usually has about 5 of them spanning across various series… I figure they had just sold three Other of your books and hadn’t restocked yet. 😉

  25. Gentle author, consider the distinct possibility that the reason you discovered only two of your publications is thus: The others have been purchased by your avid readers!

  26. When I discovered Iorich was out (on the first day) I immediately ran to the Borders by work to purchase it and, of course, it wasn’t there, so I ended up ordering from Amazon. Sadly, that’s been pretty typical so I’ve all but given up on them.

    Next time I went, they had plenty of copies of Iorich, but no copies of the book I wanted. They seem really good at stocking what I’ve already read. They almost always have some Brust.

  27. Borders quality varies so greatly. Living in Oakland, I was absolutely in love with the Emeryville Borders. It stocked awesome things. It had actual space. It’s science fiction/fantasy section was strangely capable. The Best Buy in the same area had a more than adequate stock of cult movies, and actually sought out and stocked strange South Korean science fiction, Taiwanese horror, etc.

    But the important part of this is the realization that you have freaking _awesome_ books on the shelf in Borders, Steve. And it sounds like that moment outside, looking at your books-paid-for-it-mobile, was good recognition of some of the joys of life, whatever its pitfalls.

  28. i waited a week or so after iorich came out to pop into borders to see if i could snag a copy and was rather annoyed to find that they didn’t have any in stock. i poked around online on the internet and discovered that none of the borders in our area had it in stock.

    then i took a trek to barnes and noble. not only were there at least 10 or so copies, but it had its own little shelf for being a new release that was separate from where you were alphabetically, as if the store organizers were saying, “this book is awesome – it will definitely draw people over here.”

    go b&n.

  29. Steve @ 15: Goodness, I haven’t heard such Polishness from anyone since… well, me. Watch yourself, young man; for I am infinitely more of a Polish Mother than you, and as such am infinitely more skilled at passive-aggressive guilt-tripping. Do not test me. I hear little enough from you as it is. (And when I do, it is all recriminations anyway.)

    This weekend is Purim, so aside from dressing up as a pirate (for a given value of ‘dressing’; girl pirate costumes are inexplicably sparse when it comes to the actual, well, costume) I shall have some free time! If you’re available, we can duke it out and see which one of us is more starved, tormented, and sick with pining for the other. Hint: it’s not you.

    I keep reading your friend’s name as ‘Pokerface’, distressingly enough. Alas! Corrupted by Lady Gaga yet again. ):

  30. Evertt: No. I win.

    Ella: Hee hee. Sounds good.

  31. Steve,

    You had books at Borders in Perth, Australia. This is so because one of the guys working there is a fan of your work. He’s the introduced me to you when he was working at a small independent Scifi/fantasy book store before the owner passed away.

    Late last century:

    “Hi”

    “Hi – what are you after?”

    “Dunno. I’m after something original. I’m tired of reading adventures of a dwarf, an elf, a human and a wizard going on a quest with a shiny thing to destroy some dark evil guy.”

    “I reckon you should read Jhereg by Brust”

    “What by who?”

    He has ensured your exposure on this side of the planet is sustained.

    Hope your ego isn’t over-stroked.

  32. schmwarf: I have never had the experience of my ego being over-stroked. I’m always up for something new, though. 🙂 Thanks.

  33. Evrett: You really have an issue, don’t you? I have no interest in or ability to “prove my winning record.” About seven years ago, I deposited $10 in an online casino. Since then, I’ve been playing with other people’s money. If you think I’m lying, go fuck yourself.

  34. Also, Evrett-
    If you are really here to bash him in his own blog, I think maybe we should surround you with love and support.
    I just don’t think we will all fit in your mother’s basement. Besides, do trailers even have basements?
    Oh well, no matter. I’m too busy playing with all the toys my daddy buys me with his poker winnings and book money.

    Also, go fuck yourself either way.

  35. Evrett- You are not a fan. You are a pathetic looser who has nothing better to do with his time than berate people that are more successful than you. (You must be busy)

    As for you sly detective work, whatever dude. You’re a moron.

    And you have a problem with my language? Go fuck yourself.

    I love you too Daddy.

  36. All right, Evrett. I’m going out on a limb and assuming you’re asking a legit question because you want an answer, rather than looking for another place to stick a knife.

    First: As I said before, the biggest financial problem I have is me: I’m terrible at money management. I have a yearly income ranging from $35k to $45k, which ought to be plenty for a single person; if I were better at handling finances, it would be. The argument that, therefore, I do not deserve support, is unanswerable.

    Second: As a result of the above, I got into huge trouble with the IRS. I didn’t have to, it was my own fault. Fortunately, that is all but fixed (I only owe about $10k now, and have made payment arrangements for that).

    Third: I became very ill, required hospitalization, and ended up owing the hospital about 105k. That, too, thanks to High Counsel Patterloopy, is now fixed.

    Fourth: By the time I had the liens on my house in Las Vegas taken care of, the housing market had collapsed. I cannot sell the house because it wouldn’t bring as much as I owe, and am now trying to rent it out.

    Fifth: In poker, unlike any other casino game (but like para-mutual betting), you are not playing against the house, you are playing against each other, the house taking a small percentage of each pot. The rake means that only the top 30% or so of poker players consistently win. All it takes to be part of that top %30 is to learn the basics, and exercise patience, discipline, and good game selection. I am part of that top 30%, with a ROI of about .24 (ie, for every $100 invested, I win about $24).

    Sixth: It is possible that if I could build up my poker bankroll, as opposed to pulling money from it for living expenses, I could play for higher stakes and make more money. But the competition becomes tougher at higher levels, so my ROI would certainly decrease, and possibly become negative. I’m a solid poker player; I’m not brilliant.

    Seventh: What is all this “asking for donations” puppy-barf? My “asking for donations” is considering the idea of putting a small button on my blog. I am no more interested in going out soliciting donations than I am in marketing my books. I write books. Things that help me write books (like poker), I do; things that don’t help me write books, I tend not to do. Considering the idea of putting a button on my blog neither helps nor hinders directly, but could potentially take a little pressure off me, which would help.

    Do you now understand?

  37. Evrett: Hey, is it posssible you just came from Will Wiles’s blog? Dude, what are the chances? This subject is suddenly cropping up all over; it seems that all my author blogs have turned into financial cooking pots overnight. Bizarre.

    (I’m not siding with anyone either way — though I think Evrett could have been a lot more respectful in his inquiries — I’m just making an observation at the syndicated nature of author-blogs. The internet works strange wonders on the minds of literary men.)

  38. Evrett is apparently in Perth, which means he has socalized healthcare. Which means it’s difficult for him to understand the land where you can build up over 100k in medical bills in a very short period of time.

    In addition, as people who read his work, it’s none of our business how he spends his personal life, personal finances, personal time, etc.

    If you want a financial report for making a donation to the arts… good luck with that. Donate or don’t. Steve doesn’t care if you do. His readers don’t care if you do. No one cares if you do. If you want to, fine. If you don’t, fine. Just don’t be a fuck head about it.

    And for the record, it’s not especially difficult to make money at playing poker, I can fairly easily go into Crown in Melbourne, sit down with 200 on a 2/3 hodlem table and in 3 or so hours have that up to 300+. You just have to be patient and remember that cash poker does not eqaul tourney poker, which most young poker studs in the casinos forget.

  39. Also, if it helps, in the Silver Spring, MD Borders you had about seven different books the last time I went there, and that number seems consistent between visits (though the particular books change). And it’s always a cheering sight.

  40. He didn’t even owe you an explanation. You’re fucking clown shoes. How’s that for a reasonable response.

  41. Hi Steve. I’m a big fan, like *most* everyone else here. Since you mentioned your yearly income, I wonder if you would indulge me: How does your book contract work? Did you get one big advance at the beginning of said contract? How much do you make for each copy sold? I’m just curious.

    Also, the Houston Chronicle reported that you would be at Comicpolooza here in Houston. Is that so? I can’t find it said anywhere else that you’re going to be there. Forget Gene Wolfe. I’d go to meet you.

  42. You keep writing ’em and I’ll keep buying ’em, whether I get them at Border’s or not.

  43. Steve, I can’t recall the last time I was in a book store that had a Sci Fi section and didn’t find at least one of your books. For Borders your over/under would between four and five volumes. Did you remember to look in the hard-cover section too?

    As others have mentioned, if you only found two of your books the most likely explanation is that someone recently bought the others. What you should have done was introduce yourself to the manager and offer to come in and do a book signing.

  44. FWIW, for years now when I’ve gone into bookstores, I’ve evaluated the quality of the bookstore based on how many Brust books there were and not the other way around.

  45. I like Jim Butcher’s writing, but his publisher (penguin) has recently abandoned the standard mass market book format in favor of the slightly taller format that doesn’t fit nicely with all my other books. A format change that they made in the middle (!) of two of his series. My complaints to the bookstore, publisher, and author resulting in (respectively) “Go talk to the publisher”, “Sorry, live with it”, and no reply at all, I’m afraid I’m done with him for the moment.

    Anyways, I like his writing, but he’s no Brust.

    Bujold, on the other hand, I think you could consider as proper competition. Some of her work is truly excellent. If I happen to notice something new from her when I am looking for my umpteenth copy of one of your books that I have worn out rereading or lost lending to a friend who refuses to return it I would definitely pick it up.

  46. First, I would like to say I am surprised by Evrett’s comments. This topic was covered in great detail in the “Alms for the Poor” thread. The whole donation thing was done by his fans, even before “dreamcafe”, and Steve has been very open the whole time about his ambivalence. I am one of those fans who chose to donate before and after the donation button because (a) I have reread the series so many times I felt the donation was a way to make _me_ feel fair, and (b) I am selfish and want to be able to read the last page of the “Last Contract” before I go.

    Second, I am though also very surprised by the f-bombs. Even if the questions were intrusive, I would not have thought they needed that level of response. I can perhaps relate in the fact that every time I have a beer or a drink, my wife is afraid that I am about to turn into her alcoholic father. Even though I know that this has not and will not happen, there is no way I can _prove_ to her that it will not happen tomorrow, hence trust is always tentative and I can never _prove_ that I am not a liar. Sigh; (potential) additions make us all afraid and sensitive.

    As for the topic at hand, I am happy to say I always find Steve’s books in my local large and small book stores. And while it is sometimes only one, they are still always there. If the copy I want is not in stock I always order it, because while Amazon works I do not want it to be the only game in town.

  47. schaf: I get an advance against royalties. It is broken up into 2, 3, or 4 chunks:
    1. On signing the contract
    2. On delivering a completed manuscript
    3. On hardcover publication
    4. On paperback publication

    On copies sold, I’m not sure. I think I’m getting, like, 10% on hardcovers, 8% on paperbacks. I’m not sure if that is a percentage of cover price. I think it is.

    Rathgar: Oh, heavens. I don’t think in terms of competition; there is no future in that. I haven’t read Jim Butcher yet, but I’ve heard good things about him so I will. Bujold, on the other hand, I have read, and she’s brilliant. I hope she sells millions.

  48. @skzb: “there is no future in that.”

    I miss Sticks.

  49. Steve,

    If you need any financial planning help, I would consider it an honor to do so for you, pro bono.

    -Anthony Cloutier CFP, CLU, CASL
    Avid Fan

  50. Seriously last post on this topic for me..

    In “Alms to the Poor” we never got a clear answer to why Mr Brust, who should very much be a millionaire at this point, was so financially strapped. Its very easy to say “I’m bad with money”. But that means you are spending it on something. As a social service provider I saw “red flags”, and I suggested in that thread there was an underlying addiction draining Mr. Brust’s account.

    Here he admits he is a regular gambler and that he isnt a good with money management – so is it possible he is spending more than he thinks he is on gambling?

    Steve has said ” Poker helps me write”. That is a classic for those of us in addiction studies. I hope Steve looks back on that statement and really thinks about it. Does poker help you write or does it help you “bridge” through everything else? A doctor might be able to help you access the biochemical reward you get out poker for everyday activities without handing over money to the casinos.

  51. I don’t think writers earn as much as you think they do.

    Except in extreme cases where they break through to a multi-national pop star. People like JK Rowlings, Steven King, etc.

    He stated quite clearly above he earns around 45k per year from his writing. That isn’t really that much these days. Writing isn’t a magic money pot. It’s not being a rock star or a movie star where they’re earning millions per picture or per album.

    I remember reading somewhere that the Riftware books, one of the most influential series of fantasy books written in the recent few decades… has only sold around 15 million copies between all 9 of the books in that series, only around 1.5 million per book.

    Think on that for a moment, 1.5 million copies per book. World wide.

    Now, take one of the most influential records written in 1982, same year as the Riftwar was released, Thriller. It has sold something like 110 million copies.

    And want to know a really scary thing? “There are more than 200,000 books published each year in the US, and less than 5% ever sell more than 5,000 copies.”

    It can take as few as 3000 books sold to make a NYT Best sellers list. It’s slightly easier now of course with things like Amazon making it so you don’t actually have to go shop for a book, you can just press a few buttons and they appear.

    And by the way, very few experienced players consider it gambling. There’s very little actual gambling you do in poker if you are playing a good game. There are moments where you may decide to gamble on a 50/50 type situation. But even that is making an conscience decision to take a calcuated risk for a specific reward. Poker is more about math and reading people than it is luck. Which is why even most casinos consider it a game of skill and not gambling.

    Perhaps you should learn to classify things properly before coming into a public area and accusing someone of being an addict.

    I’d seriously suggest you get down off your high horse Evrett. Stop lecturing an adult on how they spend private time. People like you who sit and lecture without pause to think on if someone actually wants or needs your advice disgust me.

    Posts like 54 wish there was an ignore function for individuals. Stop prying into a private life of someone you don’t know and who hasn’t asked for it. He didn’t ask for you to critique his spending patterns, he didn’t ask for your advice on playing poker, he didn’t ask your opinion on anything.

    Move on. Stop dwelling.

  52. Josh@48

    Same for me except add Zelazny in there as well.

  53. Jo’din: I appreciate the offer very much; Reesa and I were just discussing the need for a financial planner. The thing is, a financial planner needs something to work with. 🙂

    At the moment, I should add, my friend Anne Murphy has been doing some of this for me (keep track of tax payments, helping make sure the mortgage on the Vegas house actually gets paid, &c) purely out of friendship.

    But, seriously, once I have something for you to work with, I would certainly be up for taking you up on that offer. Drop me an email so I have your address available if and when that happens.

    GWW: Thanks for saving me the trouble of trying to answer him and be polite at the same time.

  54. Evrett, does being a troll help you “bridge”?

  55. Well, this is my first post ever, to anything like this. I’ve been reading dreamcafe for a while now, in part because I actually DO think of SKZB as a “rockstar”, and have always enjoyed seeing there is this real person behind the image, whose thoughts I find enjoyable it turns out in non -fiction as well 😉 This thread actually very strongly shows Steve as a very real person, but you know… that just makes him that much more of a “rockstar” in my book.

    Went to Borders to get a copy of Iorich couple weeks ago, they didn’t have it. I never go to Borders for just that reason, but the instant I heard Iorich was out I had to get in the car and drive to the nearest bookstore! So I stopped by B&N, and they had it as well as about 8 other books. B&N usually has >10 of your books.

    When I check the bookstore, I pretty much start with Brust, then check Bujold, Butcher… then Heinlein and Zelazny, even though nothing new there–I just always like to see what they have. At various times of my life, If you asked me “Who is your favorite author?”, I’ve alternated between Brust, Zelazny, and Heinlein, so IMO you’re in good company Steve!

    I bought “To Reign in Hell” the year it came out, and I bought it based on the Zelazny intro/quote–anyone that Zelazny took the time to recommend had to be good! Since that day, I have read every Brust book as soon as it came out, eagerly awaiting each one. I have checked for Brust books on every visit to every bookstore since then, as a habit, thousands of checks to see if this amazingly wonderful mind, Steven Brust, had graciously taken the time to allow me to share a glimpse of his imaginings.

    I’ve re-read everything SKZB has ever written, at least 4 times each–just finished the whole Taltos series again while waiting for Iorich, and damn if I didn’t enjoy it even more this time through!

    At the risk of being melodramatic, I thought I’d try to give Steve an idea of what his work has meant to at least one fan, to help balance the shelf-space initial downer 😉 I guess that if I had to rate all the various pleasures in my life, I’d put reading your work up in the top 15 or something–hey, It’s not going to trump my kids etc., but there’s a damn lot of things it beats! I was on a Disney cruise this month, stopped at the Bahamas… I know for sure that re-reading Vlad for the umpth time took priority over Nassau and most of the cruise. I’ve climbed several mountains, travelled the world, dove all the seas , and flown fighter aircraft as my job for 23 years–I can tell you honestly I’d be hard-pressed to choose between “Reading Brust” and some of that other experience if I had to give one up.

    How many of us can say we’ve got a book in Borders, feh….That’s not even close to the real question. You’re too modest to maybe think the REAL question: How many of us can say they created something that brought pleasure and joy to millions, that gave countless people a fantastic sojourn from their troubles and worries. How many of us can say that by our thoughts and minds we’ve created happiness and gifted it to thousands; that we gave people ideas and entertainment and the ability for a brief time to be a Vlad Taltos.

    If I’m very lucky I hope to give to maybe 10 folks in my life the kind of enjoyment and gift you’ve given me. Somewhere I’m sure there is a metaphysical bookshelf that keeps track of this kind of thing, and on that shelf you have millions of copies, and I’m pretty sure those are the copies that count at the end of the day.

    Thanks for all you’ve done.
    OK, maybe a bit much for a first post, but hey it’s just once in 46 years…

  56. Roadkill: That was moving. Not to mention seriously head-swelling. Thank you.

    I think I’m going to write something now.

  57. I just found out about a posthumous Zelazny book a few days ago….did the rest of you know “Dead Man’s Brother” was out there?

  58. Huh. “If all you’ve got is a stick, everything looks like a kneecap.”

    Steve, thanks for sharing all the info in this thread to help us understand what your life as an author is really like. And most importantly, thanks for sharing your imagination and y0ur stories with us all these years.

    -Dennis, who goes back to the release of “Cowboy Feng’s” when he was 18, which makes me a fan for 21 years, now.

  59. I’m curious; which two titles did Borders have?

    The Borders in my neighborhood usually only has “Cowboy Feng’s” and whatever the latest one out is. I’ve occasionally seen “To Reign in Hell” but not always.

    On the plus side, B&N carries a good selection of the Vlad books, plus one or two others pretty much every time I’m in there.

    Of course, here in Portland, I can always get any of them by going to Powell’s, so it’s not a big issue for me. (Of course, since I own them all already, it’s not an issue at all…)

    Look at it this way; they probably only had two books on the shelf because the rest sell out so fast when they get them in stock.

  60. Roadkill @ 59, thank you for so eloquently putting into words what is in my heart as well.

    Steve, “What he said!”

  61. Well, for what it is worth, I have a litmus test before I will buy books in any book store. I take the number of Brust books, plus the number of Saberhagen books, plus the number of David Drake books, minus the number of Robert Jordan books. If the number is positive, I buy. If negative, I leave. And absolutely must have a copy of the Lords of the Rings there as well.

  62. I am here to confess and repent.

    I stopped reading fantasy over the past few years after reading most of skzb’s books up until Dzur in 2006 (which seems like yesterday, which is how I know I am getting old. Jhereg was just last week wasn’t it?)

    I had the usual excuses for this behavior – I thought I had outgrown fantasy books (38), didn’t have the money (because we spoil kids these days, all of who need to read Harry Potter, see the movie, and then get the DVD… and don’t get me started that absurd excuse for his big screen ripoff successor that recently came out.)

    In other words, it wasn’t about me, and the Fantasy “machines” were getting the few dollars left to me. It seems there are too many places to spend money and not enough to go around 🙁

    Saturday I was in a Books-A-Million and feeling rather selfish as they HAD exactly two Brust books in stock. I am happy to report that have just finished Jhegaala in pb (which I really liked) and now have cracked Iorich in hb (sfsg).

    I can’t tell you how heartening it is to be reading about some of my favorite characters again after an extended break. Reading a new book from a favorite author (skzb or Glen Cook as most of the others are dead) really improves my mood in these difficult times.

    Anyway, I am going to dig out the old books for my wife, who I think will like them. Heck maybe my older son will like them.

    P.S. I am secretly writing this because I am now ashamed that I laugh my wife because she follows the blog of her favorite authoress who loves to give up-to-the-minute reports of her writing life/activities (just finished Chapter 5 – and now will treat myself to the day spa), what she thinks about her characters (as if they existed here and she wished she could shag them or something), etc. All of which I think are really in bad taste as a reader, but you know how girls are.

    P.S.S. So how about an update of your next project! How many pages have you written? Tell us about your daily routine! How many Tecklas does it take to screw… ahhh nevermind.

  63. Well, you’ve got 22 books on MY bookshelves! Right next to Bujold.

    I just introduced a friend in Wales to Jhereg, and he liked it, but cannot find copies of your books there either.

  64. Josh P @ 52 — Met too. Aibynn seems to me to have been cut from a similar psychological cloth, but came from a different mental space.

    Should I ever see any two things I’ve written in a bookstore, I will know the truth about a past life a card-reader once said I’d had, as the cries of “Die now!” will thunder in my head.

    SKZB: playing poker is one of the things you do that helps you write books? Wow. To me, that’s the very definition of NOT being obssessive or addictive. I can’t do things like that, because I want to get good at them, and that takes time, and then more time, and…. No good comes of that for me.

    Glad it does for you, bror. That’s cool.

  65. JP: I work best when I have the project I’m working on open on one screen, and something distracting on another. I’ve gone through many, many different games as distractions, but poker works best, because there are all those pauses between hands (I play very tight), and because it makes me money. 🙂

  66. Steve,
    How do you feel about the differences between the various forms of poker — online, home game, poker room, tournament?

    Which form is most enjoyable, and which most profitable? Do you miss the social aspect online?

  67. I like online because I can keep track of statistics. Home is good for the social aspects, which are fun, but reading people is actually a weakness. The trouble with poker rooms is that they’re all non-smoking these days. As Joel Rosenburg once said, “I can see non-smoking Bridge, but non-smoking poker is like putting vitamins in gin.”

    Most of my background is with low limit (my favorite being 1-4-8-8 spread). But recently, I’ve switched to no-limit tournaments, especially 45-player sit&gos. I like those a lot, and will probably be staying with them at least until more of my opponents learn how to play them.

  68. I’ve never posted on this blog before, but I’ve been a fan of Steve and his writing for about 15 years now.

    I’m actually going to support Evrett here. I can’t approve of the way he went about it, but I can identify with his thought process before he did so. I think you’d be surprised at how many of us lurk here who fee the same.

    When I first saw that Alms post, I was disgusted and extremely disappointed in one of my favorite authors. I didn’t see it until after I had purchased TWO copies of Iorich (my release day copy was delayed in the mail by Amazon so I bought the Kindle version to read it as quickly as possible). I wasn’t happy that I was giving that much money to someone who claimed to be “terrible at money management” and was therefore asking for more money from his fans. That statement, to me, read that Steve was blowing all of his income on crap, and was coming to us, his loyal devoted fans, asking for more so he could continue to blow money on crap. When I read the post this morning that he was in a poker magazine, I was even more disgusted.

    That being said, thank you for explaining things Steve. Being terrible at money management is still no excuse, and I think you know that, put I appreciate the time you took to explain your money issues to us. True, it should be none of our business, but when you throw a post out there like “Alms” where you’re asking us for extra money, I think it becomes our business. I can’t say I’ll be hitting that donate button anytime soon, but I adore your writing, so I’ll still be buying up all of your books as soon as they’re released, and I’ll keep recommending them to my friends.

  69. As always, there is so much posting it is hard to arrive late and comment on all of it.

    skzb @0 – Many ppl have said it, but I will say it too, perhaps they had sold out of the other books they carry. 🙂 Also, I agree with many posters that Borders just does not carry as much of your work as B&N. I prefer Borders but had to seek out the latter for Iorich. Especially, because I _needed_ it that day.

    Evrett @54 – As was previously mentioned, poker is not a game “against” the casinos but rather against other players. Casinos merely provide the services of a dealer, a venue, a deck of cards, and poker chips for a nominal fee.

    Majikjon @63 – That is funny, the only book I am missing is Cowboy Feng’s, which I can never find. I loaned my copy out and never got it back. (Yes, I know I can find it online but I have a malaise associated with online ordering.)

  70. Here’s a question:

    Using the cool theory of literature, how would Vlad play poker? And what would Loiosh have to say about it?

  71. I’m not sure how the Cool Stuff Theory of Literature has to do with how Vlad would play poker. But most likely, Loiosh would look for tells, and Vlad be calculating odds while keeping up pleasant conversation.

  72. Boss, why did you lay down your trips to his two pair?

    Loiosh, if you knew he had two pair, why didn’t you tell me?

    You didn’t ask.

  73. I was surprised when I originally read this thread that your work was so under-represented in Borders.

    I had reason to visit my local borders yesterday and, having read this thread, I carefully wandered around counting the number of Brust titles on the shelves.
    There was a total of seven, several copies of Iorich (one less than when I arrived after I left) in hardcover, four titles in trade paperback and two in the regular paperback shelves.

    Here in CA at least your work is more represented Mr. Brust.

  74. It must be because all the other ones had been purchased.

  75. Admittedly, the bookstores in my area tend to only have one or two of your books at any given time. I’m proud to say that I recently got my signed, first edition copy of Taltos in the mail the other day, and I’m stoked. Only problem is this: it’s my only copy and now I can’t read it because it’s too valuable to me. Thought you might get a chuckle out of that.

    Anyway, I have a story for you that I thought might warm your heart just a little bit. Never underestimate the power of crappy, secondhand bookstores! When I was probably 12 years old, my dad took me to some little book shop out of town and let me look around for a while. I spied a copy of Dragon on the shelf, but didn’t take much notice because I’d never heard of your books.
    As we were walking out the door, though, I told him I’d seen a book with some pretty awesome cover art, and asked if I could get it. Needless to say, you’ve been my favorite author ever since. And all because of some bookstore that happened to have your book lying around.
    Many a hard earned dollar have I donated to the “I Want More Taltos Books To Come Out” Fund…
    All in all, on a personal level, Steven, I just wanted to say thanks for writing. I feel lucky that I’ve gotten to read such a good story, and I can’t wait to read the rest of it as it comes. When my son gets old enough to read, I want to introduce him to your work as well.

    As far as major bookstores go, I can’t complain. They had a first edition copy of Iorich perched, waiting for me on the shelf when I walked in. Ha!!! I was excited.

  76. While I think it’s impossible to diagnose a real human over a website, I think it is pretty clear that Vlad is an alcoholic….

  77. Wanna’ really screw with someone’s mind? The next time you’re in a bookstore, pick up one of your books & write in it a quick note & signiture to the future buyer, then place it back.

  78. Well done for keeping writing the Taltos series, though its taken so long. I really look forward to seeing the last 6 (unless I’ve miscounted). I read a friend’s imported copies early last decade, but wanted to wait to collect them until the series was complete (I’ve never bought incomplete extended cycles). This year I suddenly started missing them so badly I gave in and bought them despite the series having a way to go. And I had no trouble finding them, though online.
    In the UK copies of many of my favourite (and famous) SF & Fantasy authors’ work have been disappearing from bookstore shelves for years, except latest publications, as online bookstore sales have taken over this genre even more than other book categories. (I miss browsing in Borders since the UK’s stores went the other year.) Though as you point out you’ve done well in sales terms anyway, don’t think the shelves reflect your popularity. The wiki s and other sites that reflect enthusiasm for your works, and your own past blog entry reflects your popular appeal has hardly slackened in the years since you started writing http://skzbrust.livejournal.com/18112.html Bookshop shelfspace is no measure of a good author – otherwise airports wouldn’t be so full of twinkly-Meyer vampires. Sorry for butting onto your LJ.

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