I’m pleased as punch to bring you the second season of Roadtrip Z. Special thanks goes to my faithful Patreon subscribers, who are bankrolling this project and already reading Season 3; I’m hard at work on the fourth and final season. I will be bringing out an omnibus once it’s all done, definitely in ebook but I’m not sure about paper.
I hope you enjoy the continuing adventures of Ginny, Lee, and the gang. Now I’m going to go deal with my release day nerves with gallons of tea and yet more of that thing I do whether I’m nervous or calm, happy or sad, tired or energetic–writing more tales for you to read.
Busy week. Busy, busy, busy week. Patreon updates. Making sure In the Ruins is absolutely, positively, no-foolin’ ready for next week’s release. House-sitting and animal feeding. NaNo-ing. (Technically every month is a novel-writing month, but you know the drill.) Latin. French. Greek. Copyedits just landed. Kids both busy with their own lives, so arranging the clockwork of everyone’s schedules to run smoothly requires a bit of negotiation at the dinner table.
…I had a lot of other things planned for this blog post, but I just vapor-locked, sitting here staring at the screen while my fingers twitched uselessly. Which doesn’t bode well. Time to make a list and go down it, checking things off ruthlessly, and no knitting until I get at least half of it done.
I can’t promise everything will get done today, but by golly, I have caffeine and I’m going to damn well try. Except for the copyedits. Those can wait for next week.
I don’t get ill very often anymore, so when I do, it’s somewhat aggravating. My body is valiantly fighting off what is turning out to be a mild flu, given the low-grade fever and joint aches. I had thought that with enough hydration and rest for the past few days, I’d be running again today.
BOY WAS I EVER WRONG.
So I’m twitchy, well enough to itch under my skin, but not well enough to go out for a few kilometers. Especially since the cough has moved into my chest. Of course, I’d feel great, flush with endorphins, just after the run, but by tomorrow morning the stress on the organism would have me wishing I’d stayed in bed. Not that I don’t normally wish that anyway, but…yeah. I think the expressive writing experiment dredged up some toxins, and my body is pushing them out with alacrity. Overall, it’s good for the health of my corpus, but in the short term, it’s near misery.
So it’s tea, knitting, and doing cover copy surgery. Cover copy is the stuff on the back of a book, or on the inside flap, that makes you want to buy it. I flat-out love writing cover copy, which, I gather, makes me somewhat of an oddity among writers. I suspect I’d also like writing catalog copy, especially if it was for Harriet Carter. Of all the catalogs I love paging through and snaking, the old HC has to be #1. I fancy I’m a bit of a dab hand at it, and I like it when friend-writers throw a cit of copy at me and say, “WORK YOUR MAGIC.”
I damn near chortle with glee.
It’s perfect for days when I’m physically not tiptop, too, because each project has a definite starting and ending point. Working in twenty-minute increments makes for appreciable progress on cover copy, where it might not for novel-writing. I might also get super crazy and do some yoga today. If I can breathe deeply without coughing this afternoon, that is.
So that’s the state of the Lili today. I’m sexing up descriptions of books from people I love to read and hang out with, which is pretty spiffy. Even though it’s not a perfect day, there is tea, rain on the roof, tea, dogs to snuggle on every work break, and I get to do something I love.
Someone in the neighborhood is running some sort of machinery, and it has a harmonic precisely calculated to set my teeth on edge, with bonus driving the dogs to distraction. I’m trying to drown out both noises with Beethoven sonatas, to little avail. Maybe I should just get some booze and start drinking to dull the pain.
Yesterday was a good day, 2k on Season 3 of Roadtrip Z falling out of my head. (Some of it involved teenagers discussing syphilis.) I’m hoping for more of the same, though I have to shift to a character I don’t much like. I have very strong tea and yapping dogs, and though there is some sunshine, the rainclouds are still strong.
Maybe I’ll have this character get bitten, but I kind of want him to be like Humperdinck–he lives. I want him to have a long life, alone with his cowardice.
I am a cruel and vengeful writer-god. We all knew that.
Anyway, if I get some good wordcount on that, it’s time to start splitting to another project. Past time, I think I might have recovered (mostly) from the latest set of hurdles in a difficult publishing process. Soon I’ll have to start final revisions on Steelflower at Sea, too.
Things are pretty good today. I’m going back to my tea.
I’m not sure who I’d be if I stopped writing (other than a corpse), but I wonder sometimes if it would stop the periodic bouts of crippling self-doubt.
I’m not talking the lo-fi “maybe I should be a plumber instead,” or even the grinding envy when you read something achingly brilliant someone else has written. No, those are all normal, and well within tolerances. I’m not talking ennui, or procrastination, or even garden variety low self-worth.
I’m talking about a bleak black hole that rivals clinical depression in its will-sapping, crushing, even-just-breathing-is-an-effort numbness. I differentiate between the two because meds beat back the depression and hold the anxiety at bay, but do shit-all for the doubt.
No, I’m not there yet, but it’s close. Some days I feel it hovering. I’m sure the current on-fire state of the world isn’t helping. Empathy is critical to writing, but it can turn into a handicap really quickly.
The bigger thing is, of course, I finished a book that was huge, complex, better than anything I’d ever done before…and it’s having a difficult, tortuous slog through the publication process. It’s the kind of experience that, if I were a newbie writer, might put me off publishing altogether. It’s like being stabbed repeatedly, pulling the knife out only to have another go in, slow or fast, doesn’t matter. A perfect storm of “whatever can go wrong, will” has crashed into my life, and upended a lot of plans.
I had meant to get some more of the Angelov Wolves written, especially Misha’s book, which I really like. Unfortunately, limited bandwidth means I’m on still on the zero of Roadtrip Z’s third season, eking out only a few words each day, pushing against an elastic, resisting barrier. It’s all I can do to keep going with the serial, and I keep glancing up at the master to-do list and feeling like crying. I have taken to closing the office door, just so I can sit and stare, the engines of story working right below conscious thought, grinding slow but exceeding fine.
The only way out is through, I guess. Punching and jabbing and fending off the hovering black hole, telling myself that even two hundred words a day is two hundred more than I had before, and that with significant portions of my emotional energy taken up with healing after the latest round of oh-my-dear-gods-you-have-got-to-be-fucking-kidding-me-they-want-WHAT it’s good enough. The dogs help, of course, since as long as their bellies are full and walkies and snuggles are handy, it’s all good. And the kids are older now, so I don’t have to put on much of a brave facade. They understand when I’ve had a shit day it’s not them, and I can bitch about work at the dinner table a little and get some commiseration.
There’s coffee, and the weather changing, too. Rain is due this Sunday, and that means productivity. At least the worst is behind me, when it comes to this particular publication process. I don’t ever have to go through that particular experience again. It’s a good thing I’ve got years of accumulated experience in this career, so something like this doesn’t put me off that aspect of it completely.
But oh, my dear sweet fluffy bonnet, I need time to recover. The more I try to push, the more damage I’ll do and the longer healing will take. And thank goodness for the meds, since my brain chemistry, already having tried to kill me several times, does not need the provocation of the Gigantic Black Hole of Doubt.
After lunch–spicy, spicy noodles, plenty of curry paste and some Bangkok Blend–I’m going to take down my master to-do list, and make a new one with only three things on it, one of which I’ve already done. Narrowing one’s scope and focusing on details can push away the looming monster.
As long as it merely looms, and doesn’t settle on the roof entirely, I can get through. All this stubbornness has to be good for something. Also, Odd trundles has just settled to lick at my ankles, which means it’s time to get up and make that lunch.
Six months of furious activity is beginning to surface, much like a whale rising to breathe. (Yeah, I finished Moby Dick, more about that later. Poor Queequeg.) So the last half of 2017 has some Really Cool Stuff coming for my readers.
Like the story about the genie and the accountant! It’s finally seeing the light of day! Preorders are up, the print version is wending its way through distribution networks, and oh my goodness release day (August 22) is right around the corner.
For right now, though, I’ve got to get a run in before the heat makes it dangerous. There’s a thick veil of smoke wending its way southward from all the forest forest in BC, and I’m sure I’ll end up coughing before I get three kilometers alone. Big fun to be had by all. At least inside we have the ionizers to clean some of the particles away.
You can probably tell I’m excited. It’s pretty cool to see book babies take their first blinking, unsteady steps into the light. I’m hoping they’ll be able to run on their own.
A 5km tempo run (avec bonus agility training), a tepid shower (I’m trying out cold showers, don’t ask), and that first taste of caffeine for the day (harsh black tea with just a little heavy cream).
Ahhh. That’s better.
I’ve decided August is the month I finish the zero of Roadtrip Z, and is ALSO the month I prep Season 1 (Cotton Crossing) of that beast for release. Patreon subscribers, of course, have already read it, and will get the ebook (and later season ebooks) for free.
It’s looking like there’ll be four seasons in all, and I’m having a ton of fun writing it almost like a television show, hitting the character beats and also finding out more about Ginny, Lee, and the crew. I think I know who survives, but that can always change. And Traveller the Bluetick Hound, despite not being in the original plans, is turning out to be quite a character.
…this is somewhat my idea of a vacation, since my release calendar for the rest of the year is full and there are projects I don’t quite want to start yet. Brain, body, and soul, all need a bit of rest before I go back to the frantic forge of creation. Come September, there will be school and other things, and that’s soon enough for me to get my shoulder back to the grindstone. And yes, this “vacation” means ten-hour days of writing, revising, proofing, and whatnot. You know me. That’s my idea of fun anyway.