If you wanna read a two-buck short story about a carnivorous mermaid, now’s your chance.
So Cormorant is out, and I can talk about something I’ve wanted to for a while.
Some readers are upset because Svin isn’t Jill or Dante. She’s more like the name-shifting narrator of She Wolf–dedicated, and all right with murder if it gets the job done. One isn’t meant to get inside Svin’s head very far, and if she was a male protagonist, she probably would be called an antihero.
Since she’s most definitely not male, she’s called cold and distant.
This is very much like the reader fury over Jill and Saul’s relationship. Much of that fury dissipated when I noted publicly that if their genders were reversed, nobody would blink. It would, in fact, slot that romance neatly into the gumshoe/classy dame noir space. Funny, right?
I laugh, until I don’t.
Even Cormorant’s editors had difficulty with Svin. She isn’t likable, or approachable. She has her own agenda, and the reader isn’t allowed to take over her body. Nobody is allowed to do that, which is not normal for female characters in our culture. There’s also deliberate craft decisions I made, like no self-talk in italics–a hallmark of my style, one could say. It forced me to write differently, especially when Svin’s interacting with Barko or Vetch.
I knew readers would be expecting Svin to be more like Jill, or Dante, or even Selene or Emma Bannon or or or. But femininity is not a one-stop “strong woman” shop. Svin is just as feminine as any of them; she is part of the full range of female expression. It irks me that if I’d written her as a man (and/or under a male nom de guerre et plume) there probably would have been an avalanche of “ooooh, smexy brooding antihero!” Or, in the latter case, cookies and head-pats.
We have a long way to go. Sometimes the way gets goddamn rocky, and I get tired. Since I’ve written (and continue to write) chicks-in-leather and romance, I’m clearly not a Serious Writer of Science Fiction, right? I should have made my female protagonist in my love letter to Soviet sci-fi more “likable”, catered to different expectations, right?
Fuck that noise. Always and ever, fuck that goddamn noise.
I like writing romance. I like writing urban fantasy. I like writing fantasy. I like writing sci-fi. I like writing steampunk alt-history. Ad infinitum. I like telling a variety of stories, and that’s not going to change. I do not write by committee, I write what the story wants, and I’m pretty sure that’s what readers keep coming around for.
There’s always the chance that I just didn’t pull off my vision clearly enough, of course. (No doubt plenty of “objective” assholes will chalk it up that way.) But I did what I set out to do, and I didn’t truckle. I’m a hack, sure, but a prideful one.
And Svin is an unabashedly female character. If she doesn’t fit someone’s idea of what a woman should be, that’s not her problem.
I had a post planned about gender roles, spurred by Cormorant’s release, but I sat here staring at the screen for a little bit and thought, do I really want the concomitant internet kerfuffle today? I mean, there may be no kerfuffle at all, but I just don’t have the energy this close to a release day. I’d rather wait until I have some spoons to deal with potential mansplaining.
That’s a common hidden cost to being female. It makes me wonder how many great things we’d have if women didn’t have to swim against that tide every. damn. day.
Anyway, there’s a weather warning out today, for wind and rain. Just in time for me to go running with B. I lowered my bicycle seat and did 13ish kilometers yesterday, and my knees are protesting a little, but not badly. Fortunately today’s run is short, with walk breaks. Since B is getting older, she appreciates the walking part more and more.
It’s strange to watch her get frustrated. In her head, she’s still a puppy, with a puppy’s boundless enthusiasm and bendy bones. Odd Trundles thinks he is, too, and is constantly surprised that he can’t fit through puppy-sized holes in things. He is so muscle-bound and heavy he just tries to power through, which means he gets stuck a lot. B just overtaxes herself, then gives me an agonized look as if to say, “MOTHER. WHAT IS THIS AGING CRAP? I NEED TO RUN.”
Poor girl. I hear that.
I’m pretty sure the weather will hit when we’re in the middle of our jaunt, and we’ll come home soaked. Might as well just accept it. At least it’ll be warm-ish rain. B’s fur will puff up, so she’ll look like one of those soot-balls in Spirited Away. With four little legs scrabbling madly underneath.
I can hear Odd snoring in my bedroom down the hall. Now it’s time for some Latin, and some hangul practice. And, once the coffee settles in, an easy run. Then it’s wordcount, since the release day nerves have settled somewhat.
Over and out.
It’s here! It’s here! My love song to Soviet sci-fi is here!
ARRIVAL meets Under the Dome in this new post-apocalyptic novel from New York Times bestseller Lilith Saintcrow.
It could have been aliens, it could have been a trans-dimensional rip, nobody knows for sure. What’s known is that there was an Event, the Rifts opened up, and everyone caught inside died.
Since the Event certain people have gone into the drift… and come back, bearing priceless technology that’s almost magical in its advancement. When Ashe the Rat — the best Rifter of her generation — dies, the authorities offer her student, Svinga, a choice: go in and bring out the thing that killed her, or rot in jail.
But Svin, of course, has other plans…
I am SO chuffed, and frightened to death at the same time. This is different than any other book I’ve ever done, and we fought so hard to get it published. Now it’s ready for you, dear Readers, and I hope you enjoy it. If it’s your jam, please do me a solid and leave a rating or short review at the vendor of your choice–it really helps, and means I can make more stories for you.
Now I’m going to go for my usual release-day run, and try to work all my nerves out. Each time a book goes out into the world, it’s terrifying.
Catch you later, gators.
Well, I’m awake, it’s a Monday, and I have a medium-long run planned. Yesterday was a silly 200-word day, but at least I got a lot of housework done.
I found a new favorite yoga pose this morning–Stargazer. It feels incredibly good to open up the side, and stretch out my ribs. I also came across this Vimeo short, Nano. I’d watch a whole movie of this, and read the books too. Hell, I’d write books about this. (In all my copious spare time, heh.)
So today is catch-up wordage on everything, and bracing for Cormorant Run‘s release day. I’m already feeling the nerves, so I’ll probably have Purple Rain in rotation and dance around my office every time “Let’s Go Crazy” comes up. That is, if I have any nerves left after an 8km run.
The current list of projects is: DEADROAD, Sekrit Projekt, Epic Fantasy, Roadtrip Z, and Damage. The last has taken the place of Dog Days, because the agent wants it. Hopefully I can get the Sekrit Projekt finished before too much longer, so I can throw its zero into the bin and move on. It’s…been a while, for that particular simmering book. I may have to break it up into two, and release the first part as a novella. It depends on the finished length, and how intense the guerrilla war in the latter half of the book gets.
So that’s my Monday. The world is still on fire, I’m still trying desperately to preserve my tiny corner of it. I have a lot of hopes riding on Cormorant–it’s so, so different than anything I’ve done before, and though I know a lot of the early reviewers didn’t “get” it, I have faith in my Readers. Who are, after all, the smartest bunch on the planet.
Smarter than me, that’s for damn sure.
Over and out.
It’s raining! And while I wait for my breakfast to settle so I can go on a run, I’m watching Twitter explode over the Comey hearing today.
Comey is no hero. He basically just didn’t want a female president, so he made sure we couldn’t have one…and it blew up in his face. He’s not out for truth, justice, or the American way. He’s out for vengeance, because der Turmper touched the quick of his pride, so to speak. Now, in the current situation, this vengeance happens to be on the side of the angels, but it shouldn’t be treated as heroism. Anyone who thought cooperating with the Mango Mussolini was a good idea does not get a cookie, does not pass Go, does not get benefit-of-the-doubt.
ANYWAY. There’s wordcount to get in today, and a long run to endure. I’ve got to get Ginny out of that wrecked RV and the rest of the group away from the cannibals AND the zombies, there’s a queen and her son to check in on, a post-apocalyptic New York to begin exploring, the heroine of an Angelov Wolves tale to introduce, and a difficult talk between two elvish lovers to begin drafting. Not to mention dogs to wrangle and some Latin to work my way through. It’s gonna be a busy, busy day.
First, though, I really need my stomach to settle. Which means I need to stop watching the Comey hearing.
Wish me luck…
This morning, eating breakfast, I looked at the table, and had the exotic experience of three different words for such a thing–French, Latin, and Spanish–fighting briefly for primacy, while I wondered what the Korean word was and, for the life of me, could not remember the English word for this wooden thing right in front of me. (Even though the French word is spelled the same way, the pronunciation is different, so it might as well be a Whole New Word. Gah.)
I think it’s time to take a day off from language learning, don’t you? I’m slowly going through a couple “learn Hangul” apps; it seems a little easier than Cyrillic. Maybe my brain just isn’t cut out for Russian, who knows? Either way, I’m going to rest a bit, before I start trying to figure out how to say “table” in music, too.
Speaking of music…taking a rest from piano now means that my sight-reading has improved, for some reason. I made it all the way through Scarborough Fair in Dm last night, without needing to annotate. Of course, I’m sure that once I go back to Bach I’ll have to scrawl all over the page like a mofo, but it was nice to have my hands do just what they needed to while at the ivories, for once.
Periodic rest sessions are needed for mental strengthening as well as physical. You’ve got to give the poor overworked neurons time to repair themselves.
I do rather miss my morning Caesar session, though. There’s a certain grim humor to realizing people don’t change much, even over hundreds, thousands of years. I mean, we adapt, but you can still find the same follies in Sumeria, in Rome, and in New York. And, like a certain Miss Bennet, follies delight me, even my own.
So, today is for wordcount, for following up with a couple publishers, and for an easy run, probably with Miss B. She’ll be unlivable if I leave her home, after all. She doesn’t seem to understand that she’s aging, and is honestly baffled when her body won’t obey her puppylike need to jump. It’s a temporal conspiracy, she feels, and looks to me to solve it.
Gods grant me the strength to be the person my dogs think I am. Blessed be.