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I just need a few days where I don’t physically speak to anyone other than the kids. Oh, and the dogs. I mean, I do have to go to Goodwill to drop off a huge bag of the Princess’s old clothes and a bunch of stuffed animals the kids don’t want anymore, but that won’t take long. I just…have been very social lately, and I need to lock myself in my office and lunge for the end of Atlanta Bound. It’ll take some time to finish, but I can feel the fourth and final season of Roadtrip Z gathering steam for the race downhill to the end. Unfortunately, we still need a few deaths, at least one zombie bite, the death of a vehicle, and a run-in with some more not-very-nice survivors before we get to Atlanta, let alone the end.

It will be nice to get to the natural resting-place for the story. Roadtrip Z is one of the longer projects I’ve ever attempted, and there’s a certain amount of “Jesus Christ, why won’t this story just DIE?” going on. It’s a step above a traditional series in complexity, mostly because I have the hard deadline of a chapter each week. Because the working timeline is so compressed, I feel like it’s ONE HUGE 200K BOOK instead of four 50-60K books, and the perception of effort is waaaaay different. I don’t have the cooling-off and incubation period between seasons that I generally have between novels in a regular series. Which means everything’s fresh in my head for a longer period, but it also takes up braincycles I could use for things like, I don’t know, showers and remembering to eat? Maybe?

I guess my work’s cut out for me. Before that, though, there’s a run and some ebook formatting to get through.

Last week was full of Socializing In Person; now I need at least two weeks of closing my office door and not really talking to anyone in meatspace unless they’re my kids or writing partner. Online socializing is fine, because I can control my interaction speed and shut down if I get overwhelmed. Right now I’m in a particular sort of introvert hell, twitching while my energy juices replenish. I hope the poor person on duty at Goodwill doesn’t mind me simply grunting “No receipt, thanks,” and basically running away.

On the bright side, spring cleaning means lots of fresh new space downstairs. If more bookcases become necessary (please, dear gods, let it not be necessary) at least there will be space to shoehorn them in.

So. The second jolt of coffee has been downed, Odd Trundles is snoring contentedly, Miss B is eyeing my running clothes and pointing her nose down the hall, snugged across the office door so I can’t possibly attempt to leave without her, and I’ve a little formatting to poke at before I go run as if zombies are chasing me instead of my characters.

Over and out.

Every Music

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Used CD stores aren’t as safe as bookstores or libraries, but they’re still good. Still heaven, just a slightly lower circle.

Some days I want silence–or a facsimile thereof I can get with the dogs and kids in the house–for writing. Most days, however, I want music. All the music. Every music. Headphones–and CDs–are a gift.

Lemon Glaze

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I did not want to get out of bed today. I mean, I don’t ever want to, but this morning’s wanting was in a class all its own. Fortunately there was lemon poundcake left over from yesterday, which was even better today. Maybe it’s the sort of thing one has to make the day before, stick in the fridge, and try not to eat until the next morning.

The best thing about said cake was the glaze–sugar dissolved and heated in fresh-squeezed Meyer lemon juice, then poured over the hot and toothpick-jabbed poundcake, wait ten minutes, brush remainder of glaze over poundcake surface, let cool. The recipe said to take it out of the pan and brush it all over with the glaze, but I decided “fuck that” for two reasons: one, a tide of lemon syrup all over my counter is just asking for trouble, and two, I doubled the poundcake recipe to make a 13×9.

Because when I poundcake, dammit, I GO FOR GOLD.

Anyway, I can only guess that the glaze soaking in overnight, nestling in nooks and crannies, made for super deliciousness the next morning. For those interested, the recipe’s from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s Cake Bible–the basic poundcake recipe, lemon-poppyseed variation, only without the poppy seeds because I hate the little buggers between my teeth.

So, leftover poundcake with eight shots of espresso, I have a run to get in, and three projects on the burners now. Atlanta Bound is heating up; I have all the pieces in place for the season (and Roadtrip Z series) finale. I’m still going gonzo on Hostage of Zhaon–the first half of it is with a sensitivity reader now, so I should hear back soon whether there are giant fucking holes or the whole thing is just a bad idea. If it’s the former it’s probably fixable, but if it’s the latter, well, that’s 60K down the drain. Better that than being an asshole, though.

I’ve also been playing around with Hell’s Acre. I like both the characters, but I think the last scene I wrote needs to have its setting changed out in order to set up Breakbridge the Orphanage Director. Who is a very decent fellow doing his best.

No, I didn’t want to get out of bed today. Since I’m here and caffeinated, though, I might as well work. Miss B is pointed down the hallway, twitching every time I shift in my chair. She knows I have my running togs on, and that means motion.

Over and out.

Nota Bene

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Hi guys.

I found out late yesterday that Disqus isn’t syncing comments. I’m not ignoring you, I’m just trying to figure out why it suddenly stopped working and FIX it.


Iceberg Fiction

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It’s raining, just in time for me to get out the door for a run. The garden is already thrilled, Odd Trundles has retreated to his Fancy Bed in protest, Miss B will complain all the way through our soggy sojourn, and at least there won’t be very many people letting their dogs offleash in this weather.

Small mercies.

I blame the sunshine for yesterday’s slowness. I could not settle for the life of me, and as a result only barely got wordcount on Atlanta Bound and only half of what I needed on Hostage. It’s probably the echo from the one really intense scene in the former that robbed both of the requisite pressure for forward impulse, and there’s no cure for that but time and stuffing the artistic well to its accustomed level. Ginny and Juju need to have a talk about grief, Lee needs to suffer some pangs of conscience, and Duncan Harris (a new character) has secrets. Not to mention in Hostage I need to figure out the etiquette for a new crown princess to visit her father-in-law’s concubine.

Even if the etiquette doesn’t make it onto the page, I need to know it. The vast bulk of worldbuilding rests below the surface, like an iceberg. The reader only sees the very tip, but without the mass underneath, it’s merely pasteboard and doesn’t convince.

So if I am a very focused writer and get a scene in Atlanta Bound plus finish the introduction to the lonely concubine in Hostage, I can write the scene in Hell’s Acre where the Rook meets Miss Dove as a reward. And yes, I do reward myself for work with…more work. If I could just download the stories whole and then revise–but no, I have fingers that must translate, and an entire body behind them that needs to be cared for as well.

Which means it’s time for a run to shake all the cobwebs loose and plan out each scene. Or I might just run with my brain tuned to an expectant humming, letting the engines below my conscious floor arrange things to their liking. Whichever happens will be welcome, as will sweating out leftover stress.

Over and out.

Of Course, At Least

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Of course Miss B had to wriggle and push until I was out of bed, despite a very interesting dream I kept longing to go back to involving a spy, a giant old refinished Victorian house, and microfiche. Of course Odd Trundles, bumbling around under the dining table, scared himself with a high-pitched noise from his own nether end and knocked over two chairs, wrenching the table almost sideways and almost, almost knocking a hapless African violet off said table. (It lost a leaf and keeps whispering about earthquakes.)

Of course the Mad Tortie had to try leaping into my lap while I was drinking coffee. She’s fine and the cup didn’t break, but I had to make another four shots because the first four hit the floor. And, and, of course, of course the damn squirrels have found the bird feeders and are gorging themselves.

Of course.

I’ve a middling-long run this morning, which means B will not be accompanying me. She will be quite put out by this, but she’s no longer the sprightly pup she used to be. Rest will do her good, and she can go with me tomorrow. Of course she won’t understand, and will supervise me extra hard upon my return.

At least I got some seeds into a mini-greenhouse, protected from squirrel depredations. I’ll be able to plant the starts when they come up and have a chance of them surviving, if the slugs aren’t too bad this year. I also got another hellebore into the ground, a beautiful deep-flowered one. The milky daffodils are coming up and I see evidence of hyacinths, the hop vine survived the winter and is by all appearances ready to make this the year it grows up the stair-rails with a vengeance.

And at least, if I don’t take B today, all the asshats who let their dogs offleash will only be moderately annoying. Small mercies.

I have hung a cheap bird feeder outside the kitchen window. On tiptoe, getting the hook into the holder, I heard the Princess laughing on the deck behind me. “What?” I tried not to sound aggrieved.

“I’m just thinking,” she said, “that maybe we’ll have more raining squirrels.”

I’m under strict orders to keep her posted.

Over and out.


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Last weekend my writing partner stole me away for some hooky. Which included, of course, a bookstore–Powell’s on Hawthorne. Bookstores mean safety and security, just like libraries do.

They also mean heaven.