Finishing Touches

Kage Baker did, occasionally, get bored.

How, I never could figure out. Most of the time she had a dozen projects going on at once, and was loudly pressed for time. She always claimed there were not enough hours in the day, resented the time needed for sleep – and she wasn’t like me, she had to sleep. After a while, all internal systems just shut down and she’d fall asleep no matter where she was.

But somehow, when not racing the clock and shouting outrage at the time, she managed to get bored. Especially in the summer, on long warm comfortable afternoons. Although those afternoons it’s almost nice to be bored; to loll about with a cold drink and something retro on the CD player, lazily discussing Whammo Toys and defunct flavours of Otter Pops. Whenever she got really into the indolence, though, something would happen – a story would insist on being born, a manuscript would come back from the editor all marked up. And Kage would lay aside her plantation past-times, and leap back into the multi-tasking fray happily.

Sometimes what happened were signing sheets. Smaller houses often include a special run in their publication of a book – 1,500 volumes already signed by the author, on special pages sumptuously decorated and numbered. Subterranean Press – which just generally produces exquisite books anyway – habitually does this. And whenever the box of signing sheets arrived, there was 3 or 4 days of careful business right there: because the book juju, Kage maintained, would not be satisfied with a stamp.

They all had to be signed.

Well, I now have my own very first batch. Looks like, oh, 500 of them – really lovely, too, with a beach study in warm mauve-pink-copper tones centered on each page. Looks like a warm grey day heading for twilight, just perfect for The Women of Nell Gwynne’s II. 

It’s terribly exciting – one of the last pre-publication steps, and it means the book is real! It makes my head swim, being the first with my name on it – and even Kage never stopped being thrilled when things like this arrived. She’d do her dance of Authorial Glee at having made it to the fun bits of writing.

It’s certainly not boring.

In the meantime, today I have been working on similar finishing touches for the front lawn. Mostly, I drive – Kimberly and Michael won’t let me do anything even faintly strenuous. But I did get to pick out the fence panels now beginning to go in: we went with iron, sturdy iron with classic iron pointy bits: only waist-high, but an incontrovertible symbol of Private Property. Right now, they’re black – but we’re painting them green to match the trim on the house. I expect Mount Neighbor to blow his lava plug at that …

However, beginning tomorrow, the signing must be begun. I have to wash my hands really well (because mulch … clings), and set up a nice tidy cat-proof place to sign pages. Which task itself beggars imagination.  I’ll need a pot of coffee and a pitcher of ice water, with as little of them as possible within arm’s reach: for fear of dreadful spillage. I shall have to give some thought to the best ink with which to sign these, too … does anyone make 6-packs of pens in sepia?

Final touches are the most important.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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11 Responses to Finishing Touches

  1. I am of course swimming in a sea of envy even at the prospect of killing my wrist with 500 signatures. Ah well, anyway…Pens in sepia, not that I’m aware of, but fountain pen ink comes in brown! And the Pilot G2 10-pack does include a lovely burgundy. Don’t forget to get up every half hour or so and give the wrist a rest.

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    • Kate says:

      Maggie, your chance at semi-fatal writer’s cramp will come. And you *will*enjoy it – it’s a wonderful thing to be doing. It’s hard to believe this is happening, but … Kage planned it, and she was never one to be brooked.

      It also really makes one grateful for the invention of typewriters and word processors: imagine writing out whole books like this …

      Coloured inks may be the best way to go, but I splotch dreadfully with a staff pen. I like the idea of the burgundy Pilot! And one of my ladies from the Green Man has just given me a link to Sekuro pens that really do come in sepia. So one way or another, I’ll be able to find a perfect pen for the colour scheme. Thank you!

      Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com

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  2. Steven Gillan says:

    Faber-Castell artist pens come in sepia in a variety of tips and sizes.

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  3. Kate says:

    Thank you so much, Steven. Now I have three excellent sources of what I really wanted. This is wonderful. And fun.

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  4. kskjold says:

    Congratulations! Very, very exciting!

    While you’re working out what you’re signing with, have you worked out what you’re signing? Weren’t you leaning toward something mathematical-looking with initials?

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  5. Kate says:

    Neassa – I was thinking of KB1, with the 2 in smaller superscript, as in “KB squared”. Kage and I used to sign workshop cards like that. And Kimberly and I (we were lab partners in chemistry) signed our lab books with it. No one in their right mind would have let Kage near a chemistry lab …
    I offered to use it as a signature, but although my publisher was amused, they declined. So I will be signing it as myself.

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  6. Carol G says:

    I’m very excited for you Kathleen. This is a wonderful wrist-tiring task you are taking on. Congrats!

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  7. Medrith says:

    I don’t quite know how to ask this so I’m just gonna come out with it. Is the new book under your name, Kage’s, or both? (I need to know so I know how to ask for it of course)

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    • Kate says:

      Medrith – hey, that’s a good question! I should have said before now, too. It is under both our names, Kage’s first.

      Kathleen kbco.wordpress.com

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  8. Medrith says:

    That is a great way to do it.

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  9. Tom B. says:

    Wishing you much joy and minimal pain, you Author, you!

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