Ask Misty Archive - Conventions & Fandom

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Q: Dear Ms. Lackey,

First of all, I would like to thank you for all of your wonderful books. The have given me many hours of pleasure and The Last Herald-Mage made mecry BAWL, actually.

I'd also like to say that I hope the absolute idiots passing on deaththreats and such to you get caught and find their sorry butts in jail. I found a website just before and the GIT who was posting on it was sayinghorrible things about you and Mr. Dixon saying you had staged an attackat some convention or other Dragon*Con, apparently. Of course, being a very temperamental person that I am I immediately started to write a rather . . . defensive email to that person, and sent it to theGit after aclose friend of mine (also one of your admirers) edited it for me, as I was not feeling too coherent at the time. Anyway, I just wanted to saythat although there are people out there who doubt you, I think themajority of us hang on to your every word.

Also I am begging you now. I am down on my hands and knees! PLEASE! I know Van and Lendel/Stef are in Bermuda but I am dying for more about them!

Kit A: Dear Kit;

When it comes to the website you mention, I can only quote a Hungarian saying:
"The eagle is not concerned about the gossip of the butterfly."
Or that lovely one that Marion ZImmer Bradley invented for Darkover
"If you listen to dogs barking you will go deaf without learning anything."


Q: I saw that Mercedes Lackey doesn't seem too keen on going to conventions which aren't 'fun' and I can wholely agree. However, as a convention runner, I must ask for all conventions everywhere whether or not you are still willing to go to future conventions or not? If so, what can we do to bribe you to come to ours? :) A: We are going to conventions now, but we are limiting ourselves to no morethan one or two a year at the absolute most.


Q: Man, am I sorry that I only found these stories now!
Hi, I'm Anisa Nixon, and I just wanted to say kind of indirectly to Ms. Lackey, or is it Mrs? Anyway that I LOVE Diana Tregarde stories! I never ONCE thought that they were a sly way of "brainwashing people", or whatever people say!
I know, I'm sorry if I seem like I'm ranting at you, but I just heard ok read about EVERYTHING that happened! And OMG! I can't believe anyone would do that! But then again, I can't really believe all the other "stuff" if you can all it stuff that happens out there! I mean, I wish Valdemar was real! That would make it all a little less scary, but wishing isn't really going to help, is it? It's not. And I have to say, threatening someone who is just putting words on paper is NOT going to make it that way!
Again, sorry that I'm ranting!
You know, I just realised today that Ms./Mrs. Lackey is my FAVOURITE author, and now I find out that she's been threatened! It really --oh how shall I put this without seeming dangerous as well? -- bakes my clams!!
It's INSANE what this world is coming to!
I just wanted her to know everyone else on the stupid planet that I understand why she is scared, and I would be too! if I could, like, take a bullet, --as patriotic and stupid as that sounds,-- for Ms. Lackey, I would be happy to do it so she could continue to write these wonderful, uplifting tales of a better place!
The world is a scary place, that's why we need stories of better ones!
But enough from me! Sorry to waste your time with my ranting, and all, but I feel better now! ;)
Thank you again, and Ms Lackey... NEVER STOP!
A: It's a sad fact of life that virtually anyone can get a nutcase threatening them these days; a case in point is one of the professors at the little college just up the hill from us, who got a dangerous stalker because she had a UHF college-station TV show lecturing about writing. The one that gave us problems isn't a problem anymore, but there will probably be another along at some point.
The whole reason that I wrote 'The Last Straw' was not to get sympathy for us---though believe me, it is appreciated---but as a warning to the rest of you that there are plausible, manipulative psychotics out there at this very minute who would be only too happy to use you to achieve their ends. Charles Manson springs to do the leaders of skinhead, neonazi, supremacist, fundamentalist and other organizations. And, as history has shown us, you don't need to be a recognizable psychotic, either, to manipulate people to do horrible things. Once people have put their foot on that slippery slope of "WE are all special and persecuted, and THEY are persecuting us" it becomes easier and easier to shove them down it to the point of "WE are all special and persecuted and THEY are persecuting us, and YOU need to go and get rid of them so we can all live happily ever after."
And if you can see plenty of other places where that form of manipulation is going on, right this minute, good for you. You've taken a large step away from becoming one of the manipulated.

Q: Couple of questions here!
First, how was the Con in New Zealand? Uneventful, I hope?
Second, in the book Beyond World's End, there is a record store called Plastic Meltdown.......does it really exist?
Thank you so much, and I look forward to the new releases!
A: The con in New Zealand was fantastic; we have never felt so welcome or beentreated so nicely!

I wish there was a record store like Plastic Meltdown! Sigh. The book is afantasy. after all.

Q: Here the question is autographs. Periodically someone writes in wanting copies of Misty's autograph--the story is that they are trying to verify authenticity on a signed book. On the surface a reasonable enough request. However these folks evaporate when I decline to send a signature and offer to do the verification for them. There could be a innocent explanation to this, but again here's what Misty has to say.
A: From time to time, people send me books to have autographed. Now, on the whole, this is a minor inconvenience; we live waaaaaaay out in the country, and it's kind of a pain to have to pack up boxes of books, hike them into town, and do so before the Post Awful closes ("For your convenience, we will no longer be open on Saturday...."), especially given my propensity to be a night-time worker. And I often don't check the PO box for weeks at a time, so they might sit there for a while.
But recently, I have come across a case of INCREDIBLE chutzpah.
Someone has been sending me books that have been remaindered (these are the hardbacks that you see in the "Bargain Books" section of your local B&N or other superbookstore, knocked down to five bucks or less) and asking me to autograph them without any kind of personalization because they are going to give them "to friends." Now, I have no objection to THIS (even though it's a minor pain to hump the blasted things back to the PO). If you've picked up five or six OWLKNIGHTS at a bargain, and you want to give them to as-yet-unspecified friends with autographs, that's cool. You're saving some bucks, and that's kosher.
BUT---I then turned around and while cruising ebay one day, guess what I found? The VERY SAME BOOKS up for auction.
Now---I do NOT object to anyone picking up remaindered books, asking me to autograph them, and putting them on ebay, either. I want to be very clear about that. It's an honest way to make some money, and by the time the things are remaindered, Firebird wouldn't be able to get copies, anyway, because these are usually the last dregs in the warehouse left after the book has gone into paperback.
No, what I object to is that I was lied to. In fact, I am very annoyed that I was lied to. There was absolutely no reason why the person or persons who have been doing this could not have just told me the truth. If they HAD told me the truth, I would have chuckled, said to myself, "Good for you!" and signed away.
I put notes to that effect in the last batch I sent out. One young lady did have a legitimate reason---the books are going to their monthly book discussion club. I have not heard from the rest, yet (but then, I haven't had time to go to the PO in a month---working on JOUST at high speed).
Now because of this, I am making a policy change. I will still sign books sent to the PO Box (even though it is a pain, and don't expect them back in a hurry, because it's going to depend entirely on whether I have any free time---it is an hour and a half trip to the PO)---but if people don't want them personalized, they'd better give me the truth, or they're going to get the books back with, "I'd better not see this on ebay! Best, Mercedes Lackey" in them.
Yes, I'm a cranky curmudgeon. Call me nuts, but I feel I deserve to be treated with honesty.
Mercedes Lackey

Q: I just wanted to tell you that I've read your Valdemar series repeatedly and cry at the end of almost every book. The worlds you create are magic. They take me away from everything and make me believe in people again.

One of the most amazing things I've recently experienced is that my nephew's girlfriend just started reading the series and we talk in code when we get together (we're only five years apart and hang out pretty often). I've loved these books for most of my life and to see someone else just getting started is a thrill, and I didn't even write them! Thank you for making this great contribution to our world. You have done a great Good.
V from SLC A: Wow, thanks! Reminds me of when I read LoTR and joined the Tolkein Society of America!

Q: Dear Mercedes,
I'm one of the owners of the Louisiana RenaissanceFestival.
I had one of the people who work for me comment that you visited our festival last year (or possibly our first year). My wife and I are VERY avid fans of your books, and were disappointed that we did not get achance to tell you hello.

I would like to extend a personal invitation for you to join us again this year at our festival. If you do get a chance to come out, I knowthat my wife (Stephanie) and I would like the opportunity to say hello, andif you feel like talking about your books, we would enjoy the opportunity to chat with you. We also realize that you may prefer to not talk about'work' when you go out, so just the chance to say 'hello' would make us very happy.
A: This is an imposter, I'm sorry to say. The closest I've been to Louisisanain a year was the Crescent City Con last month in New Orleans.

Q: I just wanted to tell you that when I found your books I was going through a very rough time. The first Book was By The Sword. Which is funny because that is also my last name. From the time that I was 15 I was placed in foster care. I am 26 now but your books have always meant so much to me.

Have you ever thought about a biography? I know there are more people besides me that you have helped be able to spend a little time away in a good book. A: Thank you; I'm happy that the books were able to help you in some bad times.

There's a certain amount of autobiographical material in the Valdemar Companion, but I would really rather that people focussed on the books and not the author. The books are the important thing, the author is a curmudgeon.

Q: Dear Mercedes, I have just read your letter and Teri's addendum for thefirst time. To say I'm shocked is an understatement. I can't say I'm shockedabout what people will believe or do. but I'am shocked at the level ofharrassment that you have been enduring. I love the DT stories, but as just that, stories, purely entertainment. I had hoped you were going to write more,but having read your letter I say don't bother. It is not worth yours,Larry's or anybody else's safety. I hope things have calmed down somwhat since youwrote this but, knowing the way some peoples alledged minds work, I somehowdoubt it. Anyway, thank you (and Larry) very much for the entertainment youhave given me with all your books over the years. A: It wasn't so much harassment as a single case of pure lunacy. The person inquestion got into so much mundane trouble with the law totally unrelated tous that he has much more pressing concerns these days.

Q: Ms Lackey might be interested to see this--the response from "Willow" to my email suggesting that she post an attribution to the (now locked and archived) thread. "Willow" uses lines from the "Oath" books on her postings w/o acknowledging that she didn't write them, and i have seen two responses complimenting her on them (she just says "oh thanks"--again w/o saying who DID write it). According to her profile, she's 34 at the time....i'm not saying anything about copyrights, just that i think she should "post an ack" and, failing that, that Ms Lackey should know about it. Thanks!

I never claimed to be teh author but suppling the information I had found regarding the four fold goddess. I encluded that poem as part of my findings and my quest for more information.
A: Oh, for pity's sake.....While this is a step down from impersonating me, it's certainlyillegal/unethical and violates copyright laws. If you are ever feeling boldenough to post a reply the next time this "Willow" purloins some of myprose, you might remind her that karma is gonna get her one of these days,and she'll likely find someone stealing something from her that sheconsiders precious.

On the other hand, no one who is really aware and observant is going tobelieve that someone who spells that badly ever wrote "Wind's FourQuarters." It's entirely possible that the people who were complimentingher on the poem were doing so with their tongues firmly in their cheeks,waiting to see if she'd finally 'fess up. And when she didn't....bitingtheir lips.

Q: Heyla, I've recemtly received your newletter advising Misty will be in New Zealand next year for Easter at a con. I'm keen to go, but I've noidea where the con is or what it's for. Any details would be greatly appreciated. A:Sent website 'eddress'. This should answer most questions.

Q:What's going on with the Queen's Own Fanclub?I'm not quite sure whom to contact about this, but I thought either you or perhaps Misty herself (if you would be kind enough to pass along the message) would be a good place to start.

I have been informed by a prospective Queen's Own member in another country that Robin Ready says that Queen's Own went bankrupt in April and folded. The fanclub at large has not been informed as far as I know (in fact, the check I just sent in for three membership renewals was cashed). Robin's e-mail address is not working, and I do not have a current phone number for her.

Does anyone know how to get in touch with Robin? I'm the person who maintains the webpages for Queen's Own, and she has not contacted me about there being any problem at all with the club. All I know is that I have received this feedback from a foreign fan and suddenly Robin's e-mail address doesn't work. This makes me wonder (1) What happened to the money? and (2) What's going on?

Please let me know if you have any additional information and/or ideas about where we can go from here.

A: All I know is that I got a message on my answering machine saying thatRobin was closing Queen's Own down, and when I tried to call, the phonenumber was disconnected. The email addy I got for her isn't workingeither.

Since I strictly kept my hands off the fan club, I have no more ideathan you why this happened, what happened to the money, or what hashappened to Robin.

Q: Hi!!! First of all, I want to tell you how much I (as I'm sure MANY other people do also) absolutely love your writing!! Creating a placelike Valdemar in your fantasy books; and then doing different series, spanning over a course of time; within it is absolutely wonderful!!!
As for questions, here goes. First off, since it's (almost) May 2000, and Brightly Burning should be coming out soon [barring some sort ofdelay] I was wondering if you know which book you'll be working on for your next project, and if you do, what it's (tentatively) titled? I know thatyou're planning to do a fourth Owl book, as well as some others, so I've been curious for awhile...
Also, is the Queen's Own still up and running?
And finally, how are you doing with your webpage? (I think it's I'm anxious to see it active!!
Thank you so much for listening to my questions!! (I'll stop rambling and let you go now! :) Best wishes and blessings to both you and Larry,
A:The next book is SERPENT'S SHADOW set in1909 Londoon.
I don't know if Queen's Own has been resurrected.
The pros are still working on the web page.
Hope that helps!

Q: , just wanted to know if you will ever come to Australia, especially the city of Melbourne. If not, is it possible to pay a visit and meet you in person. A: I can't speak for Australia, but we will be Guests of Honor at the convention in New Zealand over the Easter Holliday next year.

Q: (1) Do you have prints of "Darian and Kuari" from Owlsight, signed byLarry Dixon?(2) Do you have (or can you get) a signed copy of the Last Herald Mage(either book or the triology in one (ISBN 1-56865-019-1)? I would beglad to contribute a more than fair price to a fund of choice.(3) If I sent you a stamped envolope addressed to Ms. Lackey, would youforward it on to her? A: 1. No. I'll forward this to Larry and see if he can concoct a one-off, butI doubt it. I think that he's probably lost all the art files by now.2. I can send some signed bookplates. The only 3-in-one is via the ScienceFiction Book Club, to which I have no access.3. Go right ahead and forward it.

Q: 1. did you know if you do a search on 'tannim' on the internet, you finda fundamental bible church website?
2. when is the third tannim book going to be out? i've been reading ms.lackey's work for years, because my sister and i used to live near marionzimmer bradley in berklely, and we got a subscription to her fantasymagazine as a present, read a skitty story, and have been hooked since.i'm a big fan of the tannim series myself, and am eagerly awaitinganotherbook (not to apply presure).
3. what's up with just curious.thanks, and i hope that this doesn't bug anybody.
A: 1. I had no idea! Beats me why you'd get that.2. Ask Larry. Tannim is his character.3. Herald Co. (a professional webdesign company) has finished the proposaland is working on the website even as I type.

Q: Could you see if this could get into the pile of questions for Mercedes Lackey please?
I'd just like to say I'm sorry for the kooks that have cause you so much distress in the past, I hope they get a reality check square in the pants. (And comment on the wonderful writing both you and Larry do!) I was wondering if you could tell me if this was alright. For Dragon*Con 2000 I'm working on a new costume idea..
I'd like to be a Herald of Valdemar. It would be just a white costume with some gold trimming added. Now the question is... A) Am I allowed to do this.. I wouldent be one of your trademarked charaters.. I'd just want to know if I'm allowed to use the title "Herald of Valdemar"... and B) If it isent to much trouble, could I get a tip or two one what a costume in the time of Vanyel would look like?

Thanks so Much, A:There are guidelines for getting "qualified" to call yourself a Herald;check with Arrows Online or Queen's Own for details---basically, I feelthat you shouldn't call yourself a Herald unless you actually DOsomething to earn the title.
As for the costumes, the male and female costumes are pretty much alike(see Jody Lee's cover art) except for tailoring.

Q: Dear Misty, Do you believe elves live among us like in your books? A: Hate to disappoint you, but no. We just brought the legend of elves upto date, but it's still just myth.

Q: Dear AskMisty, my fiancee and I would like to have the text of the second and third elders from Owlsight (p.108-109) read at our wedding. We thought it best to ask permission before we included this in our wedding plans. A: By all means, please do! We hope your wedding will be fantastic!

Q: My name is Margaret and I am an avid reader of your books. I was just wondering how to pronounce the name "Lyra". Thank you A: Simple enough! Lee-rah, with the accent on the first syllable.

Q: I have a couple of questions for Misty. Did she attend the 1992 sci-fi convention, "Rivercon" in Louisville, Ky? I was wondering because it has her listed as one of the guests. I also would like to know if she has any plans, tenative or otherwise, to attend the one upcoming in the year 2000, since it will be the last "Rivercon". I realize with all the unfortunate problems that she may not but I would love to see and hear her at one. The "Valdemar" books are my most favorite of her writings with the "Vaneyl" trilogy being the top favorites. Thanks. Edgar A: We did attend the 1992 Rivercon, which was in fact the last conventionwe actually enjoyed. We had been invited to the 2000 Rivercon, but donot intend to go, though we appreciated the invitation. What we wouldlike to do in the future, if any conventions are interested, is to setup Internet teleconferencing and ship in signed bookplates. This wouldenable us to do things like show you our latest rehab birds. And wewould get to stay cozily at home!

Q: Please don't flame me for this! My friend and I just created a Hawkbrother fanclub that has our fanfiction on it (our fanfiction is not published anywhere except online). We honestly didn't know that all fanfiction needed a release form until just recently, and we were told that the release form doesn't have anything to do with web fanfiction. So we wanted to know whether you permitted web fanfiction or not and, if so, what sort of legalities we need to go through. Also, we'd like to know if you permit unofficial webrings (my friend and I also began a mini-ring. It's actually just a "Links" page, but we thought we'd give it a fancier name). If you do not permit any of these online activities, my friend and I will prompty shut down the site. We're very sorry for the inconvenience. A: We don't allow online fanfiction or online games, MUDs, MUCKs or MUSHs;anything else is fine.

Q: I know I've seen you at conventions this year and some friends haveseen you at SCA events, so why do you say you don't attend conventionsor SCA events?

A: Because what you and your friends saw is an impersonater. Larry andI have several---we're not alone in this, many other writers also haveimpersonators. I'm not sure what most of these sad individuals get outof their charade, but some have been dangerous---one impersonator ofSimon Hawke got a fan to offer him a guest-room then raped the fan'spre-teen daughter. So don't trust these people; whatever they tell youis a lie, and they probably want something from you, if only youradulation. In the very rare instance that the convention is offering adeal too good to pass up (We are the GoHs for New Zealand 2001, forinstance, which is the ONLY convention---and no SCA events---that wewill be attending in the next two years) there will be a lot ofpublicity about it and you will be sure to hear about it here.

Q: How do I get in touch with the Queen's Own?
A: Queen's Own/ Merging of the Ways
P.O. Box 56956
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
Due are $8.00 USA/Canada $10.00 elsewhere per year, for 9 issues of the newsletter. Also the newsletter is available in email format for only $4.00 per year no matter where you live.
Please make checks payable to Queen's Own in US funds only. You may pay in cash, US postage stamps, 20 IRC's, and International money order, or in two $4.00 or $5.00 installments if you wish. The fee covers the cost of printing and mailing.

Q: Is there a place where we can send Fan mail to you and Larry?Perhaps to a publisher? And do you object to personal Artwork sent to you? 5/10/99
A: PO Box 8309 Tulsa OK 74101. You'll get an answer if you send an SASE,and it will probably be answered by my secretary, but I readeverything. Larry does not do art critique, and please don't send anyoriginal artwork that you're going to want back---I can't guarantee thatthe post office will deliver it intact (or at all), that we won't loseit if/when we get it (things get eaten by black holes on a regularbasis), or that the post office will return it intact (if at all).

Q: Can I use some art of Larry's for a tattoo? 5/9/99
A: While I understand why someone might want a tattoo of Larry's or Jody's artwork, I'm sorry to tell you that we don't want that done. This is because once a tattoo artist does a piece, he adds it to his "flash" book, and it starts getting passed around to other tattoo artists, and people start wearing it who have no idea where it came from or what it means. Folks, I really don't want to find out that some guy who killed 20 nuns is walking around the Federal Pen with Amberdrake or Elspeth and Gwena on his back, OK?

Q: After all the problems that you have gone through with, crazed fansbelieving in your writings, was it worth it? Would you do it again?Should I be worried that if I became a writter would I go through thesame heartache? 5/30/99

A: By far and away, the vast, vast majority of our fans are such incrediblyfine people, conscientious, compassionate, and caring, that the onlypossible answer is that without a doubt it is worth it.

As for others experiencing the same headaches...well, it is a fact oflife that anyone in the public eye these days has a chance of attractinga lunatic. One of the professors at Rogers College attracted adangerous stalker---all the more dangerous because he was local and knewexactly where she lived---just because she had a half-hour show on thecollege TV station about creative writing! And the only reason heDIDN'T kill her was because he murdered his mother first and was caught!

Yes, it could happen. If you happen to be male, Marty, the chances ofit happening to you are substantially reduced. The thing to do is tostudy stalkers---you could do a lot worse than read Gavin De Becker'sbooks---and educate yourself. You'll be able to see the danger signsand protect yourself before things enter a risky stage. Forewarned isdefinitely forarmed.

Q: Would you be at all willing to skim a hopeful author's story? It is not finished yet, but when it is, would you be willing to go over it to see if it could make it to be published and any publishers (such as Tor, etc.) that are the most complacent about publishing works by new authors?

A: Because of an unfortunate incident several years ago involving MarionZimmer Bradley, my agent has directed all of his authors not to readunpublished fiction. And I know that you and everyone else will swearthat you would never sue me for "stealing your ideas," but that'sexactly what the person who threatened to sue Marion once said. This iswhy I do not read manuscripts sent to me, or fan fiction. Allmanuscripts are returned by my secretary unread and usually unopened.

It really is too bad that one rotten person has to spoil things foreveryone, but there it is.

There are many good books about writing available from bookstores; Irecommend "Zen and the Art of Writing" by Ray Bradbury; there are evenbooks about the specifics of writing fantasy and sf. Another option isa writing workshop specifically for writing in this genre; Clarion isonly the best-known.

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