With the end of 2020 comes the end of The Scribbling Lion Bookstore. It’s been a great few years, and the rush of orders in the closing days was extremely encouraging — thank you, everyone who helped clear the shelves! I still have several books that I’ll be sending out as donations to conventions and libraries in the next couple of months, but the shop is officially closed at this point.
I’m taking January completely off from TSL, other than official paperwork stuff, and focusing on mapping out the year ahead. There is a chance I’ll reimagine this site as a book review site; I’ll decide closer to February if I have the energy for that. Right now, I’m going to rest, and work on my writing, and dream about the garden I’ll build in the spring.
Thank you all, again and again — and please, take a chance on your dreams! It may not always work out, but it’s a great feeling to have given it a try.
It’s halfway through October, and creeping ever closer to the day on which I will close the doors on The Scribbling Lion for good. I still have several excellent books in stock, and I’ve set the prices as low as I can afford to drop them; there’s even a coupon on a couple of them, for folks who watch my new YouTube channel or subscribe to my newsletter.
(Haven’t done that yet? Here you go!)
Since I won’t be going out of state to any conventions at this point, I’ve closed out my sales tax accounts in Maryland, South Carolina, and North Carolina. All that’s left is Virginia. I’ll shut that door at the end of December, after Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas, this is an excellent time to clear out my inventory with orders. How aboutSISTERS OF THE WILD SAGE, a magical collection of stories by Nicole Givens Kurtz? Or CITY OF WEIRD, a fantastical anthology of weird Portland tales? I still have cookbooks, one copy each of THE HEARTHSTONE INNKEEPER’S COOKBOOK andSTAR WARS: GALAXY’S EDGE. If you’re more interested in epic fantasy, I have all seven books of the CHILDREN OF THE DESERT series — five main, two side novellas — in stock and ready to ship. I have the second and third books of Angela P Wade’s EDWARD RED MAGE series in stock — if you want the first book, just contact me. It’ll be a bit of a wait, given holiday printing demands, along with shipping mayhem, so order that sooner than later!
Wander through the shop, as there are many more titles to be had than what I can reasonably list here. I’d planned on a busy convention season in 2020!
By the way, if you’re missing convention companionship, take a look at ConTinual, an ongoing virtual convention that’s running over on Facebook. There are panels, and seminars, and meet & greets, and a vendor room, and live performances, just like an in person convention. I’ll be presenting on at least one panel in November, so keep an eye out for that!
In person conventions coming back in 2021 is dubious, in my opinion; the economic reality of many conventions is that they run on such a thin margin that this year has completely destroyed their savings buffer. If they’re lucky, their host hotel released them from the contract and they have a chance at starting up again next year; if not, the funds to run a convention just aren’t there. Also, a high proportion of the vendors, writers, and artists that draw attendance in the first place are just as desperately dry, and are, like The Scribbling Lion, effectively out of business.
So virtual meetings, or much smaller meetings in person, are going to be the way forward at least through 2021, I think. It’s going to be an interesting year….
I’ve been running a small writer’s group called The Ink Stained Fellowship, based out of Williamsburg, VA. With the pandemic, we’ve moved to online meetings, which means I can throw open membership to a wider geographical area. Here’s what you need to know about the group:
Members are all seeking publication
The focus of the group is on science fiction, fantasy, and horror
Members need to be familiar with editing using Microsoft Word Track Changes
Members should be working on at least one project (slowly is fine, and given current chaos, this is largely a goal more than a requirement.)
Meetings are once a week, on Zoom, usually Sunday evenings at 7:30
Meetings are for catching up, reporting progress, and setting goals, not critiques
Projects for critique are generally loaded to our FB group, or sent to individuals who express interest in critiquing that particular project. Critiques are sent individually via email. If I get a pro Zoom account we may start doing video critiques, but the time restriction right now makes that impossible.
There is a penalty for not meeting your self-selected goal each week, so choose with care! The penalty is: whatever money you can spare goes into a group kitty. If five dollars is painful for you, then that’s the amount to choose. If you only say ouch when you lose fifty dollars, then that’s the penalty. It’s entirely subjective. Every few months we vote on how to use the kitty. Given that we’re not meeting in person anymore, funds can be sent via Paypal (A specific account for the group is on my To Do List.)
Members (theoretically) submit presentations roughly once a month, written or spoken, on the intersection of one of our areas of interest and how to write about it. For example, I’ve presented on how to use plants and gardening to fill out your backdrop; another member has spoken on period clothing; another on ball jointed dolls. (Again, this is more of a goal than a requirement. Once stress levels drop across the board, we’ll get more serious on this and other points.)
Life is chaotic and time moves fast; you’re not going to get scolded for not living up to a set standard. This is a group focused on support and community and pushing each other to do more and do better, but NOT faster.
I’m not going to put a hard limit on membership numbers right now, but I’d rather grow slowly, so I may only take one new person a week and see how that works out.
Sorry not sorry, no Trump supporters. My tolerance for that mindset has burned to the ground.
If that sounds appealing, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or DM me via Twitter (@leonawisoker) and ask about joining the group!
Yet another newsletter has gone out! For those who haven’t subscribed yet (the link is over on the right, just sayyyyyyying…) go here to read it! It has books, and great news, and a giveaway, and a coupon, and SOME politics this time.
(A condensed and edited version of the most recent Irregular Update newsletter)
Hello there! It’s hard to be cheerful these days, so let’s take a side trip from Reality and binge on some wicked fun stuff for a while.
Let’s start this rolling and get you, my lovely readers and friends, a yummy book to run away with.
Here are the rules: We’re going to play the “pick the number” game. Whoever guesses closest to the one I’ve chosen gets the book. If there are more than two people who qualify, I’ll roll a dice or pull the names from a hat. Either email me the number at email@example.com or tag me on Twitter (@scribblinglion). I’ll announce the winner on the evening of Friday the 15th, to give everyone a chance to read this newsletter.
The number will be between 1-100, no fractions or decimals involved.
On offer this time around is a collection of short stories from Nicole Givens Kurtz: Sisters of the Wild Sage, which features Wild West, weirdness, and magic as you’ve rarely seen it before.
Nicole is a highly prolific author, with short stories in over thirty anthologies *pauses to boggle* as well as novels that have been finalists for an array of awards. She also runs Mocha Memoirs Press. I am insanely jealous of her success and also wildly happy for her.
You owe it to yourself to read this book. Seriously. The stories are fabulous.
I have two lightly dinged up copies to give away. Pick a number and get your name in the hat!
I’ll do another giveaway next month, or possibly sooner. As always, follow me on Twitter for the most up to date information.
More books! More book talk! Okay, okay, here you go:
I present to you Faith Hunter, author of the Jane Yellowrock series, theRogue Mage series, and the Soulwood series. I’ve only read the first two books in the Yellowrock series so far, and I’m impressed. Faith has a deft hand with pacing and suspense, and the choice of a skinwalker as a main character rather than a stereotypical evil creature to destroy is an intriguing twist. It’s well worth a read if you’re looking for a different kind of creatures-of-the-night series.
You can order Faith’s books through your local indie bookstore; if you don’t know of one in your area, try the bookstore locator on Indie Bound.
I want to talk about one of Patrick Rothfuss‘s books next, because it’s a strange little creation: The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a side novella to his popular Kingkiller series, and it was actually my introduction to his work. This is not generally recommended, even by the author, because it makes a lot more sense if you already understand the setting. I found it delightful in part because I had no idea of the larger picture.
What is the story about? Nothing. Everything. Making soap. Setting things in just the right place, moving in tune with the universe, listening. Fixing problems beneath the surface before they become visible to people above-ground. The main character looks at the world through a distinctly cracked lens. The one, brief passage involving real magic is all the more stunning for how ordinary everything else is.
It’s a vignette, it’s a cloud of taffy, it’s a piece of song from when this universe was created. It’s utterly amazing, and I love it more than the main series. If you need linear, clear plot, this is definitely not going to be to your taste. If you like follies and drifting abstract writing, you’re going to love this story. I re-read it whenever I feel like there’s no sense or hope left in the world, and it invariably recharges my mental batteries.
Slow Regard reminds me, a bit, of the Moominvalley stories by Tove Jansson. Those are some of my favorite books ever, especially the later ones where she really got a good grasp of her craft. The books follow the adventures of a simple family of kindly trolls and their friends, and poke holes in “how things should be done” along the way. At one point, Moominpappa must saw a hole in his own floor, and pauses to remark that it’s a shame, but still a dreadful sort of fun; another time, gold bangles are put into a muddy pond because it makes the color shine more brightly. What’s important to the Moomins is not at all what matters to our real-world, human society at large. The Moomin series, and Slow Regard, are a refreshing and heartening reminder to not take ourselves so very seriously.
Please, take a moment right now to think of a business or creative person whom you particularly appreciate. Send them a note letting them know! We all need a boost these days. Being told I matter always gives me a huge burst of motivation. Please, pass the love along to another person.
You matter. Your words matter. Your actions matter. Thank you.
This is a devastating decision for me, but it’s not a surprise. My strength has always been in hand-selling, using face to face conversations and in-person networking to sell stock and raise interest in The Scribbling Lion’s mission of helping small press and indie authors.
With the conventions I count on closing for COVID-19, I’m left with online sales — and I truly just can’t comfortably connect with customers online. There’s too much missing from the conversation when I can’t see faces and gestures.
So at the end of the year, I’m shutting the doors for The Scribbling Lion and moving on to other projects. It’s been a good run. I’ve learned a lot, I’ve made a few people happy, I’ve raised awareness of some excellent authors.
I’ve reopened the web store. I hope you’ll take a moment to browse the inventory and order something! Again, I’m not restocking or back ordering anything, so what you see is all there is.
Most orders will be shipped via Retro Daddio in Williamsburg; locals are welcome to arrange pickup at the store to save on shipping charges*. There may be a delay in shipping times, given the current strain on the USPS and the fact that we only ship via media mail. (RD is not shipping my stock at this point, I am. I can still arrange a dropoff at RD to save on shipping, but you need to contact me directly for that option.)
*Be aware: RD’s is currently only open by appointment, so advance planning is required to pick up a purchase.
PLEASE: if you run into any trouble ordering, let me know immediately so that I can fix the problem. Twitter is the fastest way to reach me (@scribblinglion), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you call, leave a message, as I don’t answer unknown numbers.
Atomacon 2020 and GriffinCon 2020 will be my last conventions as The Scribbling Lion.
If those two events fall through, I won’t replace them with anything else. (They fell through.)
My table at Retro Daddio will remain in place until the end of 2020, but I will not be reordering or refilling any stock. (Given circumstances, I have pulled my table from Retro already.)
I will hold to my promise and not return any stock to the authors, unless they specifically request for me to do so. (I hate to break this promise, but I am beginning to return inventory to publishers at this point. )
In December, I will run a closeout sale on anything remaining in inventory; anything left Jan 1 gets donated, probably to a convention.
If you’re interested in anything on my shelves, don’t wait for December. Many items are already down to a single copy, and I’m really hoping that this announcement will prompt a wave of orders.
Q: What happens to Leona R Wisoker’s self-published work when TSL closes? I am looking into whether to create a new company for my self-published ventures, as I have several more projects in the works as we speak. It would be simpler, in many ways, to separate that from the bookstore. The hardest part will be coming up with a new name!
Q: What happens to The Irregular Update? This newsletter will continue as before, focusing on great books and writing related news; it just won’t have any buy links. There may be a broader spectrum of information, mainly gardening and cooking. The main theme will remain firmly tied to literature, so as long as that’s what you’re enjoying, stick around!
Q: Why not hold a fundraiser, apply for a small business loan, set up a Ko-fi, or create a Patreon in order to stay in business? Because I’m not good at those things, and I don’t think they’d bring in enough to help in the long run. Also, I know when it’s time to cut my losses and let go, and this is that time, my friends. As I said above, it’s been a good run. I’m tremendously grateful to all of you for helping The Scribbling Lion stay open this long.
Do you have other questions? Please drop me a line at email@example.com, or catch up with me on Twitter (@scribblinglion). I’ll answer as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your support, and please spread the word. I’d very much like to sell out of inventory before the end of the year!
Take care and stay safe,
Leona R Wisoker firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.thescribblinglion.com
It was a wild and wooly weekend, all told. I made a hat-full of mistakes, recovered from most of them, and sold out of quite a few titles. All in all, a very good time! I’m currently updating the inventory on the website, and I should be bringing stock back down to Retro Daddio’s in Williamsburg to reset the table on Thursday.
Thank you to everyone who showed up at the convention — it was LOVELY to catch up with everyone, and the cosplay was EXTRAORDINARILY good this year.
We’re out at a convention this weekend (MarsCon of Williamsburg: marscon.net), so any sales through the web site will be handled Monday afternoon. Thank you for your patience, and we hope to see you at the convention!
There are a handful of books we decided not to list in the Shop for right now, because we only have one copy left; come to MarsCon or stop by Retro Daddio, both in Williamsburg, VA, to see what’s available!