Newsletter #2 mailed out 8 December 2000

This is mostly notice of some updates to the website proper. I've added two sets of comments to the Bibliography, to The Jungle and Surface Action. Having this newsletter has prodded me to fill in the gaps on the website after too long a delay.

There's also an additional FAQ on why the HC of Servant of the Dragon is so poorly typeset. Running through that sequence of events made me scratch my head, and I know it happened that way. The heck of it is, I could've done a similar litany of disaster regarding the initial PB printing of The Tank Lords. The number of ways things can go wrong in publishing, even when most of the people involved are competent and honest, is pretty remarkable. I'd say I've been around long enough to have most of them happen to me already, but frankly I'm not sure that's true.

In the news section, there are now pictures of Jim Baen at dinner the Friday after Thanksgiving. Baen Books is now formally located in Wake Forest. I have yet to get up there--I've been writing a Big Fat Fantasy, after all--but when I do I'll add pictures of the new Baen home to the site. As an aside, I've only visited my publishers' offices once in New York, back in the '80s. NYC isn't my sort of place. Thank goodness.

My webgoddess Karen has also swapped the home page picture with one of me on my new bike (and a color-coordinated shirt). I suggested that she run one of herself on the deck of the Lexington in Corpus Christi near the FAQ Form, but whether she does so or not is her own decision.

On to business matters. FOREIGN LEGIONS, a series of novellas set in the universe of my 1986 novel Ranks of Bronze, will be coming out in HC from Baen Books in June. The individual pieces are by Eric Flint, Steve Stirling, Dave Weber, Mark L Van Name, and me. I also did a little intro, and we added the original short story which Jim Baen published in Galaxy a lifetime ago.

There's an interesting mix of stories. Eric and Steve used my characters from the original novel. I used different characters from the same Roman legion as in the original. Dave in a manner of speaking reprised the original novel but used a shipload of 14th-century Normans. And Mark did a near-future piece, a hard-boiled suspense story that's quite different from all the others.

In passing, Mark's story and Eric's can't both happen in the same universe. That was understood before we started. My only rules were that the story fit in the universe of the original novel, and that it be the best story the writer could create in that milieu. The book's been a long time in process, but I think the result is worth the blood I, Mark, and the Baen production staff sweated over it.

By the way, Baen Books will reissue Ranks of Bronze in August with a new cover. You can check out the art for both books in the website news section.

I'm moving forward on Mistress of the Catacombs, the fourth book in the Isles series. I've sent off the first two-thirds of the rough draft to Donato Giancarlo, the artist who did the wonderful covers for Queen of Demons and Servant of the Dragon (and also on The Voyage some years ago, by the way). It's moving well, but these fantasies are very long books for a guy who started out writing 3,000-word short stories.

I hope you all have a pleasant holiday season and a great 2001. Now, back to work on Mistress....

***** STOP THE PRESSES--Or whatever one calls breaking news in the electronic field. I mentioned in the earlier newsletter that the new owners of Mattel Interactive had cancelled the Hammer's Slammers electronic game after paying me the entire advance. Apparently they've rethought their decision and the game is back on. I'm simply bemused, but it does occur to me that the change may have occurred because they learned they'd already sunk $200K into the project, plus whatever engineering they'd done on their end. As developments occur, Iíll keep you posted.

All best,
Dave Drake

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