Roll for Adulting

I finished Kenneth Stampp’s The Peculiar Institution yesterday, during a break from the Sekrit Projekt. I had to take the book in small chunks, because so much of it is sickening. If one wishes to understand America, one must look unflinchingly at chattel slavery. It’s that simple.

It took a little while, sitting on the deck with my eyes closed, for the nausea to go down. Part of it was that Stampp’s attempt at “balance”–Christ knows he probably wouldn’t have gotten the book published without it–delved into the “moral quandaries” of slavery for the owners. I have long been, and remain, completely unimpressed by the idea that whites were somehow forced to enslave others, and unsympathetic to their moaning about how haaaaard it was to do so. The sheer number of mental contortions they had to perform to convince themselves what they were doing was somehow acceptable is astonishing. It’s akin to the just-as-breathtaking contortions conservatives perform today, both in number and in kind.

Next up: Harrison Salisbury’s The 900 Days. Which is a terrifying book already, since I’m familiar with the Siege of Leningrad from other books on the Eastern Front. I’m only about a hundred pages in, and I can’t look away, the suspense is awful.

In other news, I got 3K words in on the Sekrit Projekt, did an hour of yoga (my hips felt weird afterward) and almost forgot about the new short story up for preorder. It’s one I wrote a while ago, when I was first thinking about doing a werewolf novella. Unfortunately, the narrator had other ideas. It’s not often a short story comes out in a whole, bloody chunk, but this one did on a very cold winter afternoon. Funny how I tend to write winter stories in summer, and vice versa.

Anyway, I’ve a 6km run today, and another push to get the bulk of the Sekrit Projekt done before I have to shift to revisions. The revisions are for a book I doubt the publisher will take anyway, but when professionalism demands, the writer performs. I mean, I’ll certainly bitch about it to my writing partner, but I’ll do it to the very utmost best of my ability. Roll for adulting, +3.

Over and out.

Release Day: CORMORANT RUN

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…

Now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, independent bookstores, and wherever else fine books are sold.

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.

CORMORANT Is Almost Here…

It’s June. You know what that means? CORMORANT RUN is almost out!

ARRIVAL meets Under the Dome.

It could have been aliens, it could have been a trans-dimensional rift, 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…

Guys, I am SO EXCITED about this. My loving homage to the Strugatsky brothers and Tarkovsky is ALMOST OUT IN THE WORLD. (You can preorder at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, if you’re so inclined.) I am getting release-day nerves a full two weeks in advance, because I am so nervous about this one. It’s different than anything I’ve done before.

*bites nails* *runs away to make tea*

Much Heat, Many Halp

Winter Sunrise
© Mark6138 | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Day 2 of getting up early to do some yoga is going about as well as can be expected. It didn’t cool off much last night, so sleeping was intermittent at best, especially since Miss B decided that the open window meant OMG PROTECT MAI HOOMIN WIF SNUGGLE. She also decided to “help” me with every. damn. yoga. pose. Not content with that level of supervision, she also tried herding me all the way through our morning run, along with several bees who apparently find my hair extremely fascinating. (It’s not my shampoo, I’ve changed that several times.)

I am reminded of Shel Silverstein–some kind of help is the kind of help that helping’s all about, and then there’s this.

Now, exhausted by her efforts, Miss B’s cast herself onto the office floor next to a snoring Trundles (who has decided my bed is too warm and too soft, Goldilocks) and is eyeing me warily, in case I decide to Do Something Else She Needs To Help With.

At least all the sweaty stuff is done and I won’t have to venture into the heat until after dinner for Odd’s Daily Constitutional. He hates warm weather, and reproaches me about it almost as much as he complains about rain. It’s not really his fault–he’s a walking yeast factory, and with his compromised airways hot days mean he can’t breathe as well. Pretty soon he’ll move out of my office and into the hall, where he’ll find cool spots on the hardwood and move every ten minutes or so, groaning all the while.

That’s all the news from this morning, other than me trying to decide which project goes where in the next six months. I have a list, but I want to depart from it, and I have to find time to write another novella. That was fun, and it makes sense for me to broaden my genres, so to speak.

Maybe a cuppa while I ponder everything, since there’s a nice breeze through the window and it’ll be too hot come afternoon. And before you ask, no, I abhor iced tea and iced coffee. Call it a quirk.

Over and out.

Deciding to Decide

Winter Sunrise
© Mark6138 | Dreamstime Stock Photos
The weekend was…difficult. It wasn’t until this morning that I realized it was somewhat of a perfect storm, between release-day nerves and finishing the revision of the Afterwar zero, not to mention a traditionally stressful time of year.

I mean, I should have figured it out when all I wanted to do was knit and sob while watching a cryfest K-drama (oh, my God, Jung is the BEST PRINCE IN SCARLET HEART RYEO and if you don’t think so I WILL FITE YOU) and drinking endless cups of tea while it rained outside, but eh, emotional exhaustion doesn’t lend itself to such realizations. I was also in the dolors thinking I had no more books left in me, which is a GIGANTIC NEON BILLBOARD SIGN that I’m not thinking clearly and I need to call a time-out for self-care.

On days like that, the best bargain I can make is “just get through today. If you’re still breathing when you go to bed, it’s a win.” When things get truly dire, it’s “just get through the next 60 seconds.” I haven’t had a 60-second day in a long, long while, and gods willing, I won’t ever again. I’ll take the “just getting to bedtime.”

In any case, the sun has risen on another rainy day, and I feel scraped-hollow but mostly at peace. I’m thinking of adding Greek to my daily language rounds, simply because it seems a good way to understand botanical terms. Also, if one is set to learn Latin, one must at least nod to Greek. Or so I’m told. We’ll see if the alphabet breaks me.

So today is for eyeing the next hill. I’m not sure if it’s the vampire smut novella, or if I want to go in a different direction. Someone asked me for a scarecrow moment (oh, you’ll recognize it when you see it) and my very favorite editor is asking me for epic fantasy. Plus there are other things I want to get done, but I’m not in a condition to really make the decision of what to put into the hopper just yet.

I’m taking a page from the transtheoretical model of change, which is just chock-full of useful applications. I’m not deciding what to work on just yet, I’m deciding to decide. Which is a small and very useful distinction, one I wish more people were familiar with. If you don’t know a change/project is possible, if you haven’t even entertained the notion, you’re cut off before you start. Setting aside time to think over possibilities, deciding to decide, is a good thing.

Of course, it’s pouring outside, and I’ve a run to get in. The physical misery will no doubt force me to make a few decisions, most likely accompanied by swearing. At least when it’s raining this hard I might not get bees trying to fly into my mouth.

Small mercies.

Not New, But Still Shiny

GUESS WHAT.

NO, COME ON. GUESS.

OKAY FINE I’LL TELL YOU.

That’s right. Since the previous publisher went out of business, I’m putting out Steelflower on my own. Currently, you can buy the ebook directly; it will be in KU during the month of June, and the new paperback should be out by the end of June as well.

Yes, I’m trying to get back to work on Book 2. Trying. We’ll see what happens.

There now, aren’t you glad I told you?

Procrastination Station

Driving through the desert
© Urosr | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Well hello, my darlings. How is your Wednesday? My retelling of Beauty & the Beast is still $2.99 over on Kindle, until May 12; on June 1, it’ll be pulled from KU and put into wider distribution again. Also, stay tuned for a Love, Bite announcement next week–that’s the werewolf smut, for those of you keeping track.

The Anna Beguine books are fun. I’m enjoying just letting my hair down and writing whatever pleases me. It’s very liberating, to write under a different name. There’s not the pressure I’ve been feeling lately. Now if I can just get the metaslider on the homepage to perform like a carousel, I’d be all-bloody-set. But that’s a battle for a different day, now that I’ve got the first Angelov Wolves book out of the way.

Today was supposed to be 50F and rainy, but the big yellow glaring thing in the sky is back. Miss B is recovering from our run yesterday, and I probably should too. I kind of want to go for a bike ride, though. Just to move, to keep the blood flowing. Or maybe I’m using exercise to procrastinate. (It’s only a borderline healthy habit, really.) Considering that tomorrow is my long run for the week, maybe I should just stick to yoga today.

Yeah, right.

On the bright side, sunshine and warmth mean I can leave my office window open a bit without freezing to death. That will help dispel some of the fug from whatever Odd Trundles managed to stuff into his digestive system last night in the backyard. I won’t need a gas mask, just eyedrops.

It’s the little victories, I guess.

Well, I could practice some piano, go on a walk, read another book on Stalingrad, pull some stinking geranium

…but that’s procrastination, too.

*puts on goggles*

NO SLEEP ‘TIL REVISION. OVER AND OUT.