Pamela Dean

TGM Fundraiser: Autographed Books by Pamela Dean

Welcome to the penultimate 2016 Transgender Michigan Fundraiser auction!

Transgender Michigan was founded in 1997, and continues to run one of the only transgender helplines in the country, available 24/7 at 855-345-8464. Every tax-deductible donation helps them continue to provide support, advocacy, and education.

Today’s auction is for a set of books from Pamela Dean, including signed hardcover first editions of THE DUBIOUS HILLS and JUNIPER, GENTIAN, AND ROSEMARY, along with a signed mass-market paperback set of the reissue of the SECRET COUNTRY trilogy. That’s a total of five autographed books for you to enjoy!

Cover of The Dubious Hills Cover of Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary Cover of The Secret Country

About THE DUBIOUS HILLS: Centuries after a group of warring wizards eliminate war from the Dubious Hills, the Hills are a place where knowledge and ability are parcelled out in strange ways. Only the group known as the Akoumi understand death, only the Gnosi know how to teach, and only the Physici can know pain. Dean weaves a strange and compelling examination of knowledge, responsiblity and death.

About JUNIPER, GENTIAN, AND ROSEMARY: Three sisters live comfortably with their parents: Juniper, 16, who likes cooking and computer chats; Gentian, 13, who likes plays and astronomy; Rosemary, 11, who likes Girl Scouts. Enter Dominic, handsome as the night, quoting poetry, telling riddles, and asking help for a complex and fascinating science project. Gentian isn’t interested at first–she has her own life. But gradually her life, and her time, belong more and more to Dominic and his project, and her father begins to fear that the lad may be more than a charmer…

About THE SECRET COUNTRY: Each vacation for the past nine years, cousins Patrick, Ruth, Ellen, Ted, and Laura have played a game they call the “Secret”—and invented, scripted world full of witches, unicorns, a magic ring, court intrigue, and the Dragon King. In the Secret, they can imagine anything into reality, and shape destiny. Then the unbelievable happens: by trick or by chance, they actually find themselves in the Secret Country, their made-up identities now real. The five have arrived at the start of their games, with the Country on the edge of war. What was once exciting and wonderful now looms threateningly before them, and no one is sure how to stop it… or if they will ever get back home.

Note: Books have been stored in a house with cats, and may be dusty.

This auction is open to U.S. residents.

How to bid:

  1. Minimum bid is $30 U.S. Bidding starts at the moment this post goes live!
  2. Enter your bid in the comments. Bids must be a minimum of $1 more than the previous bid. (No bouncing from $20.01 to $20.02 to $20.03 and so on.) Make sure to include an email address I can use to contact you.
  3. Each auction will run for 24 hours, starting at noon Eastern time and running until noon the following day.
  4. To discourage last-minute sniping, I’ll wait until 10 minutes after the last bid to close an auction.
  5. If you want to be notified about other bids, check the “Subscribe to Comments” box when you bid.

Winning the auction:

I’ll contact the winner, who will then donate the winning bid to Transgender Michigan. You’ll forward me a copy of the receipt, at which point, I’ll contact the donor to arrange delivery of your winnings.

About Pamlea Dean:

Pamela Dean is the author of The Secret Country trilogy (The Secret Country, The Hidden Land, and The Whim of the Dragon); Tam Lin; The Dubious Hills; Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary; a handful of short stories; and Points of Departure with Patricia Wrede. She was born in the Midwest of the USA, and aside from a few aberrant periods spent in upstate New York and Massachusetts, she has stubbornly remained there. She attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, which in a somewhat altered state is the setting for her novel Tam Lin. She lives in a cluttered duplex in Minneapolis with her chosen family, about fifteen thousand books, and a variable number of cats. She enjoys hiking, gardening, cooking, reading, being a part of local science-fiction fandom, and attending the theater. She understands that writers are supposed to have colorful careers, but on the whole she prefers as quiet a life as the family and the cats will permit.


Don’t forget about the DAW Raffle!

My publisher, DAW Books, has agreed to contribute:

6 Tad Williams Bundles: each bundle includes one copy of Otherland: City of Golden Shadow (hardcover first edition, first printing)  plus 1 Advance Review Copy of The Heart of What Was Lost.

6 DAW December Release Bundles: each bundle includes one copy of all DAW December titles: Dreamweaver, Tempest, Alien Nation, and Jerusalem Fire, plus a bonus ARC (dependent on stock).

At any time between now and the end of the day on December 23, donate $5 to Transgender Michigan and email me a copy of the receipt at jchines -at-, with the subject line “DAW Raffle Entry.” Each week, I’ll pick at least one donor to win their choice of either a Tad Williams or a December Release bundle from DAW.

You can donate more than $5. For example, donating $20 would get you four entries. However, you can only win a maximum of one of each bundle. This is separate from the individual auctions. Winning an auction does not count as a raffle entry.

First Book Friday: Pamela Dean

Welcome to First Book Friday.

Pamela Dean (LJ, Facebook) has no idea what I’m going to write here.  I could talk about how she and I followed some of the same advice about having to write short fiction before you can do novels — advice that isn’t actually true, as it turns out.  Or I could talk about the first time a friend thrust a copy of Tam Lin into my hands saying “You have to read this!” and my fanboyish glee years later when I opened up my e-mail and said, “Holy crap, Pamela Dean read my blog!”

Ahem.  Anyway, read on, and enjoy the tale of Pamela Dean’s first published novels.


My first novel was only half a book.  I started it when I was fifteen. I had been writing on and off since I was eight, but mostly poetry.  As I became more interested in fantasy and science fiction, I started trying to write short stories, since such common wisdom as I could garner in those pre-internet days stated that one always began with short stories and went on to novels.

In fact, I could not begin if I had to begin with short stories.  Even my sonnets were always overflowing their bounds and becoming entire narrative poems with sonnets as the individual verses.  I was rescued from my dilemma by a friend who had been given the Ballantine paperback edition of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.  She was suspicious of such a long, weird-looking book; and, knowing that I read such things, asked me to just check it out for her.  It hit me like a tornado; I was never the same again.

One of its many effects was that I junked the short stories and began writing a huge fantasy epic – planned for three volumes, naturally – with a female protagonist.  At some point I realized that having read one epic fantasy novel at the age of fifteen did not actually equip one to write an epic fantasy novel.  What had I actually read a lot of?  Children’s fantasy novels.  I started over with a cast of five cousins unnervingly like the Pevensies in the Narnia books.  The characters who were not like the Pevensies were a lot like the crew of the original “Star Trek.”  Fortunately for me, I couldn’t manage a viewpoint character like any of Lewis’s, and devolved upon one named for Laura Ingalls in the Little House books, although she is a lot more like me at her age than like Laura Ingalls.

I stopped working on the book when I went off to college, but what I learned while not writing had profound effects on the finished book. After I fled graduate school, I revised my teenaged efforts extensively and then plodded on and on, through two writing group, and finally finished a work called The Hedge and the Sword.  It was shorter than Lord of the Rings, but still very long.  The writing groups were essential, particularly the second one, the Scribblies.  I would probably still be writing those books today if I had been all on my own.

By the time my book was done, Pat Wrede, a member of the Scribblies, had sold her first novel and found an agent.  The agent kindly agreed to look at my book.  However, she was perplexed by the intractable length and the apparent impossibility of cutting the book anywhere, and felt that she could not market it properly.  I wasn’t experienced enough to be daunted, and neither were my fellow Scribblies.  At their behest, I reread the manuscript and picked a spot, two-thirds of the way through, where the action paused briefly, and cut the book in two unequal pieces.   I polished up the “ending” of the first so that it was less raggedy. Pat then wrote me a cover letter, and I sent the manuscript to Terri Windling, then at Ace Books, who had bought Pat’s first novel.  In addition to Pat’s willingness to write me a cover letter, Terri was at that time editing both an adult and a children’s line of books, sparing me the decision as to which sort I had written.

Terri bought the book despite its unfinished character and demanded to see the rest of it, which she also bought.  The two volumes were retitled The Secret Country  [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy] and The Hidden Land  [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy].

I had hoped that both halves of the original large book would be published in the same year, but the first was published in 1985 and the second in 1986.  Moreover, Ace steadfastly refused to indicate anywhere on the first book that it was really only half a story.  I still get irate mail about that.  I think I picked the right place to divide the book, though.  The tone also changes at the place where the action pauses, and I have a lot of mail from people whose absolute favorite of all my books is The Secret Country, stealthy inconclusive ending or no. And when Sharyn November did the reprints for her Firebird line, she put the proper information about the books’ connection on the covers, and brought them out within a few months of one another.

Jim C. Hines