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Robin Hobb's Infrequent and Off Topic Blog

Missing Blogs and blessed rain.

I'm having to delete some of the old blogs from here.  A lot of them are no longer relevant.  Others have the comment section packed full of stuff that has nothing to do with me or writing or cons.  Rather  than sacrifice writing time to painstakingly deleting comments one at a time, I'm going to discard them.


On the flip side of that, I'm going to make a sincere effort to blog here more often.  I still enjoy Instagram but X-Twitter has become mostly a time waster.  And Facebook harvests more information than I am comfortable with.  I'll still post there occasionally, but mostly I read other people's posts and sometimes comment.  It is not a good way to contact me, as I hardly ever look for messages there.


So.  My current life.  We finally have a good soaking rain after months of drought.  I hope my pond will fill up and the streams start running again.  The spring we use as a water source for the guest cottage is horribly low. This on a piece of land where large sections of it are designated as wet lands.  It's horrifying  I'm grateful every night that I hear my frogs croaking.  So many wild mallards have taken refuge with us, but the pond is so low it's a hazard for them to land and then struggle to wade out through the mud and silt to the feed troughs.  I've had this land over 40 years, and never seen it so parched.


But I had a bountiful crop of apples, so I'm putting up lots of dried apples and applesauce.  I'll check and see if any grapes remain for me to harvest.  The birds are very efficient at finding them.


Meantime, I write in my head, even if I'm not at the keyboards.  It is disturbing and saddening to discover that all my works as Lindholm and Hobb have been 'scraped' from a pirate site to feed AI.  The Authors Guild (I am a member) has brought a class action suit, and I hope they are successful.  That's all I'm going to say about it now.  I will add only that things like this trash the Muse and I spend too much time worrying about this when I should be trying to write a story.


So that's about it.  A day for wet dogs, muddy floors and I hope words on the screen.


Catch you later.





Recently, circumstances forced me to do a major reduction of my home library.  It's hard for me to hold a decrepit paperback in my hand and say firmly to myself, "I read this forty years ago.  Yes, I enjoyed it, but it's unlikely I will ever read it again.  I need to release it into the wilds."  So I have taken box after box after box of books to donate to the local second hand book store.  


It wasn't just the fiction that I needed to reduce.  With many a pang, I needed to thin my reference books to a reasonable level.  Even when I know I can easily find a similar reference book in my local library (I much prefer print to internet searches for information) it's still hard to let them go. 


Then I came to my travel books.  Over the years, as I've visited conventions in different countries, I've acquired quite a few guide books to various places.  I think I"ve visited London more than any other city, so I have quite a few guides in all sorts of hand sizes and form.  But as I was thumbing through my book of London Walks, and then the set of handy cards that one can put into one's purse, and maps of Paris and tourist guide to Rome, my thoughts turned to the process of getting to those wonderful places.


I thought about airports.  Security lines.  The long flight across the US from Washington state to some east coast airport, often with multiple stops, and then the longer flight across the Atlantic, and then passport check and  scannning the crowd to try to find whoever has been sent to meet me.  And what came to me was more of a realization than a decision.


I'm not sure I can do those long cramped flights anymore.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I would arrive in Italy or the Netherlands or France  or Croatia in a state of total and grumpy exhaustion.


Not the image i want to project at a convention or festival.  


In the last year, with reluctance, I've turned down some wonderful invitations to conventions in Europe.  I've felt very wistful about that.  I hope to make a virtual appearance at some of them, but it's not the same as meeting readers face to face and chatting and signing books.  


I'd still like to do some US conventions, ones that I can drive to in a day or three, pacing myself so I don't arrive tired and cranky.  I will confess that the gigantic conventions with thousands of people and movie stars and television actors and vast rooms of merchandise do not appeal to me as much as the smaller conventions that still focus on books and writers and illustrators. It seems to me there are not as many of those as there used to be, but some still exist.   There is Potlatch-sf, a literary convention that migrates from Seattle to Portland and the Bay Area.  Armadillo con.  Foolscap.  I'm sure there are more that I simply haven't heard about.


So if you know of an sf/fantasy convention within the US or Canada that still focuses on books and stories, I'd love to hear about it.  


"I didn't get the Signed Book I Ordered!"

Yes.  We know.  And it doesn't matter if you ordered it from The University Book Store in Seattle or from The Signed Page website.  You didn't get it.


And it's not their fault.  It's mine.


On February 11, I began to feel very ill.  By the 12th, I tested positive for Covid.  


I usually go to University Book Store on the second Tuesday of every month to sign the special orders and some store stock.  Needless to say, I didn't go. 


On the 17th, I hoped to go by Shawn's house and sing the Dark Horse comics of Assassin's Apprentice.  Nope.  Still not feeling good.


I rescheduled University Book Stosre for the 22.  The day came and I just wasn't upt to it.  It's not that far from Roy to Seattle, but traffic means that I allow two hours for the trip up, and if I hit rush hour traffic on the way back, it can take up to three hours.  I didn't think I could stay awake behind the wheel.  So it was a definite No.


So now we are into March.  On March 9th, I went by Shawn's and dropped off a batch of signed comics and picked up six more boxes of them.  (About 240 comics in each full box.)  Upon opening the boxes, I found that one had been damaged in shipping and that all the comics in that box were not really suitable for sale.  Another setback.



But as of tonight at 7 PM, I have signed every undamaged comic and I'll be taking them back to The Signed Page to be carefully packed and shipped. And on Tuesday the 14th, I will go to University Book Store to sign every special order and any stock they want signed.  


Soooooo  that means if you act very quickly, you can go to the Hobb page at UBS and order a signed Hobb book, and I will sign it on Tuesday the 14th!