Strangely Restful

Gulag I finished Anne Applebaum’s GULAG: A History last night. Right before it I read Kolyma Tales, which means my head is full of history right now, and not very nice history at that. It’s chilling to see how well repression and the simple expedient of giving some slaves slightly better conditions in return for their help in suppression of the others works.

Next up is a translation of Anabasis, and a slightly different slice of Russian history–Russia Against Napoleon. I’ve often thought of reading Caulaincourt‘s account of the Grand Armee’s retreat–it was much referenced during the Eastern Front in the Second World War.

Other than that, there was a great deal of hither-and-yon this weekend, the kids visiting their friends and errands needing to be run. I did manage to get some hostas in the ground, some radishes planted, and also enough piano practice that the polonaise is coming along. I suppose I should practice the left hand with a metronome, but I’m not that ambitious yet. I have begun doing junior Hanon exercises instead of just plain scales to warm up. I might even devote one day of practice a week to just-Hanon. It’s strangely restful.

As for work, I finished the revisions on Rose & Thunder last week, and this week is for long, loooooooong days of producing new wordcount on Cal & Trinity as well as revising Blood Call. There’s the upcoming launch of Kin, the third in my fairytale series, my particular retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. I’m going to be highlighting the Kin launch in the next few weeks, so buckle your seatbelts for that.

And now it’s time to get started on the ten-hour workday. I’ve reference books set handily, tea brewing, and the dogs under my desk.

Over and out.

Menagerie There

Road I’m back! Well, I wasn’t really gone, just sunk into revising. I’d thought this book was fairly clean and easy. GOD, WAS I WRONG. Still, I can take some comfort from it. If you look at something you wrote months or years ago and don’t cringe a little thinking of how you could pull it off better, you’re probably not growing as a writer. So I’m just gritting my teeth and repeating it’s better now, it’s better now, it’s better now.

When this revision is finished, I go straight into another revision for my “assassin and old girlfriend, PLUS VAMPIRES!” book. In between all that is wordcount on Cal & Trinity, and then, revisions on the second Gallow book. It feels like I’m just revising ad nauseum with no time for new words, an exotic and not quite comfortable sensation.

I also brought Shirley the penguin home from Cover to Cover. I’m responsible for most of the menagerie there–it got to the point where my writing partner threatened to strangle me if I brought any more animal statues in. Shirley is temporarily living in the dining room, which may be her forever home if she expresses no other preference.


Also brought home: the rubber tree, a philodendron, and something I’m told is an aglaonema. Two of them came from the sunroom at the old house–remember, the one that got torn up during Neo’s Great Escape? It’s good to have the plants back, but I’m sorry the bookstore is closing. The end of an era, indeed.

It’s about time to get out the door and get my run in before I go back to the grindstone. I’m not quite sure when I’ll be able to take another breath. Oh, I almost forgot–there are cherry trees blooming.

In February.

They’re in some of the warmer micro-spots, but still. The honeysuckle on the north fence has greened up too, and the lilacs are awake. At this point I’m just hoping there won’t be a killing cold near the end of the month.

It makes me miss the plum tree at the old house–great clouds of pink blossom in spring, and every time it bloomed, I just knew everything was going to be all right. I’m going to have to find a different marker now–maybe the dogwood, maybe the birch, maybe the lilacs. Who knows?

Regardless, things are going to be all right. Even if the damn revisions are squeezing my brain into whey.

photo by: Moyan_Brenn

Begun to Green

piano Hip-deep in revisions. I’d forgotten what it was like to gut a manuscript.



Yeah, it’s revision time again, as if you can’t tell. I thought this book–my retelling of Beauty & the Beast–would hold up fairly well. My goodness, but was I ever wrong. Passive voice, dialogue tags, a million instances of “that,” the most horrid word of all, it’s got a little of everything. And I’m not even a hundred pages in yet.

At least when I’m done, it’ll be much better, and pretty much ready for Saint Skyla to copyedit and begin formatting. I think I’ll put it out in paper first, and only ebook if there’s a call for it. The worst that can happen is that it’ll sink like a stone! Now there’s a cheerful thought!

You’ve guessed it, chickadees: Mama Lili is in that peculiar state of frangible nerves only revision can call forth. Even the garden’s not very soothing, though another couple of roses have gone into the side-yard and the favs are growing like gangbusters. This will be the year that I need a wheelbarrow, too.

What? No, for carting compost, what did you think I’d be carrying in…oh, wait. never mind. A justifiable question, really.

Of course, the reason the garden’s doing so well is February’s unseasonable warmth. I’m hoping there won’t be a cold snap to blight everything that’s begun to green. The crocuses are out, daffodils too, and tulips are showing their bare arms, reaching for the sun. I’m worried over one of the Japanese maples, and I have to have a talk with the birch tree about the recent windstorms and the shed limbs.

All that, however, is for another day. Today is for the revisions, and my timer has just rung, so I must return to the salt mines.

See you later.

No More Skin

Day 30: Kerplunk! It’s a Monday. Which means this morning was full of coffee grounds and boiling water slopped all over me from my little espresso machine. It’s given signal service for years now, and needs a bit of careful coddling every now and again. Ah, well, at least I got yesterday off to recover after the bag sale at Cover to Cover.

The bookstore is closing–the fire put a huge dent in its business plan, and people have been coming in to find books, but not buying them. No, instead they check their phones with the airs of connoisseurs, right before they go home and order the book off Amazon to “save” a few bucks, completely disregarding the fact of the petrol spent to drive their silly asses around. You have no idea how many people did that.

*sigh* So many people came out for the bag sale. The regulars were sad the store’s closing, but there was also a certain class of vultures picking at the corpse, and that was infuriating and heartbreaking.

On the bright side, this means my writing partner will have way more time to finish a certain carnival book for me. And there will be less weird emotional vampires walking in and expecting to find trapped prey.

To this of you who were wondering what happened with SKIN: well, I got a few messages from very entitled people scolding me for not producing free content fast enough to suit them. That had one, and only one, response from me: no more SKIN at all.

I’m wondering if people were always this entitled and the internet’s just showing us what was there all along. Not like it matters, the end result is the same.

Anyway, since I took yesterday off, today is for more revisions on Rose and Thunder–my upcoming retelling of Beauty and the Beast–and chores that I didn’t get to. The wind seems to be pulling a new weather front in, which means the cedars along the back fence are shaking their green veils. I put two more roses in the ground, as well as some rosemary and dill, and the favs are coming along nicely. If we don’t have a hard freeze in the next month, I will be congratulating myself on an early start in the garden.

*wanders off, mumbling to self*

photo by: Dusty J

Tea and Irritation

quote-card-lilith-saintcrow No huge post today. We’re almost out of milk and the Agent Zero revisions are calling my name. I finished the sample chapters for Agent Trinity yesterday, so there’s that, and the story is bubbling and boiling in the back of my head. Proof pages for Trailer Park Fae are due to land on my doorstep today, and I really need to decide which project I’m going to work on in addition to already-contracted ones.

Just to keep myself limber. Also, I like to produce something just for me even while I’m working on contracted stuff. Sometimes it ends up as just a trunk novel, but other times something sellable comes out. My “pad” of unsold novels has gotten a little thin–there’s only three or four–so I need to thicken it a bit. I still haven’t decided what to do with Rattlesnake Wind, either.

So if you hear mad clicking and the occasional “oh goddammit” in the distance today, that’s just me revising, fueled by tea and irritation.

That Lovely Sound

swac Good morning, chickadees. I hope your Thanksgiving was low-stress and full of good food. For those who were on the barricades and protesting on that day (all through the weekend in some places, I’m told), I hope all went well and someone at least organized coffee.

News! I have news. Issue 18 of Fireside, with chapter three of my ongoing cyborg-Western-vampire serial She Wolf and Cub, is now live! If the serial ends up being a success, there might even be a book of the collected chapters, so if you’re wanting to read a monthly chapter of something from me while you’re waiting for, say, Trailer Park Fae or Kin, that’s an option.

There are upcoming details about Rose & Thunder, one of my retellings of Beauty & the Beast–still my favorite fairytale–and there is movement on the Steelflower 2 front, though I can’t announce anything just yet. (Publishing: moves at the speed of glaciers during the Ice Age!)

And in still more news, NaNoWriMo is done. I finished both Rattlesnake Wind and the second Gallow & Robin book, which was my collective goal for November. In honor of finishing NaNo, some editing services are back in stock! First come, first serve, and all regular disclaimers apply. Please read the FAQs and Guidelines before you decide to purchase editing services, though. Some packages require a down payment.

It’s hovering at freezing here. Yesterday’s run took me past several crystallised puddles, and I could tell the ones kids had seen by the shattered ice. It made me wonder at what age my first instinct became to admire and leave well enough alone instead of breaking a solid sheet of ice just to see it fracture and hear that lovely sound. I never was a fan of breaking things the way some kids seem to be, but I did do my share of splashing in puddles when I reasonably sure I wouldn’t get caught and beaten for getting dirty. Sometimes the thrill of transgression is worth it.

I think it’s simply that now I could step through the ice if I wanted to, it’s up to me. When given a choice, I lose the desire to break. It makes me wonder how much breaking and burning is done by those who have no alternative. That’s as close to a comment on current events as I’ll get today.

And now, back to work on sample chapters, and revising Agent Zero

Fantastic Hat

A quilled snowflake The weather report’s been screaming about possible snow for a little while, but there’s nothing but cold and wind outside. It is nice and dry after the last few days, so if any of the white stuff comes down, it’ll probably stick. Which means people will go mad on the roads. Also, I should put the tire chains in the trunk, if I haven’t already. Better safe than sorry, as the Selkie and the Boy Scout always say.

Speaking of the Selkie, she got me the most fantastic hat ever.

Warm and fuzzy.

Warm and fuzzy.

I’ve been wearing it pretty much everywhere during the cold snap, and people keep complimenting it. Apparently the Selkie has FABULOUS taste, but then, we knew that. I will probably be able to wear it when my hair grows out, too–it’s stretchy enough to cover the mane. I may never walk around bareheaded ever again.

At least, not until it warms up.

I’m still hard at work on copyedits for Trailer Park Fae (I feel compelled to note once again that the title was not my idea.) Fortunately, Kin is put to bed, and I think there’s nothing left for me to do until it comes out in March. I want to get the zero drafts of Rattlesnake Wind and Gallow 2 (this is the follow-up book to Trailer Park Fae) done before the end of November, and now I can announce that Agent Zero and its follow-up book (as yet untitled) have both sold to Harlequin! I’ll have more details on that as soon as I get them. My agent, the fabulous Miss M, is chasing down the possibility of getting a publisher interested in Steelflower 2–once she has an idea of if that’s likely to happen I’ll start making decisions.

I have thought (long and hard) about and crunched the numbers for the Kickstarter for Steelflower 2, but the ridonkulous amount of money necessary for that to be viable–we’re talking $15K minimum, to cover time off from other projects as well as editing, cover art, and various other incidental expenses like perks–rather unnerves me. I would much prefer to have a publisher in my corner on that one, since even a small press will ease the burden of editing, cover art, and the numerous quality control arrangements necessary. I’m not willing to have Kaia’s story get any less than quality care.

On the bright side, Rose & Thunder (one of my retellings of Beauty and the Beast) is close to the start line, and the Anna Beguine books may have another incarnation soon.

So, while it might look like I’m just lounging around popping writerly bonbons into the Muse’s gaping maw, really I’m madly juggling chainsaws behind the scenes. Got to get a lot done before publishing shuts down (again) for months around the holidays.

Speaking of which, I’d better get back to those damn CEs. The wind is still up, no sign of snow yet, but copyediting waits for no woman. Or something.

Stay warm out there, chickadees.

photo by: starshaped

Skittish Creatures

Silk Road #10 Today, it’s the little things: chimney repair, laundry, copyedits, serial chapter revisions. I am only responsible for the last three; the first is (thankfully) contracted out. We’ll see how successful I am working with the dogs going crazy from PEOPLE ON THE ROOF! DOING THINGS! NOISY THINGS! When it’s over, we’ll have a practically new chimney. Considering that I haven’t lit a fire since I bought this place, this might not be as awesome as it sounds. The awesomeness will all come from the damn thing not leaking.

Of course, the long to-do list going to be made a smidgen more difficult by the fact that my head is full of snot and cottonwool, and I ache all over. I was coughing all yesterday, but that seems to have faded. All of that means no running this morning, which fills me with the sort of antsy dread Miss B shares when she’s not exercised enough. Skittish creatures are we, my Miss B and me. I also missed attending the opera yesterday. It was a comic opera, which really isn’t my thing, so I don’t feel too bad about it.

I will tell you who is NOT skittish: Odd Trundles. He is snoring in his accustomed place half-under the table holding the cavy cage, blissfully unaware of any impending change to his serene surroundings. All the schnorgling he did over breakfast and at my ankles while I absorbed morning coffee must have worn him out.

It is gray and cold, and I just had to put the shields over the outside faucets. Winter has truly arrived. Whatever trees aren’t bare are getting there, which makes it, oddly, a little brighter on a daily basis, since the leaves aren’t soaking up what manages to get through the cloud cover. I find myself in a state of low-grade irritation with everything, which probably is not the best state to approach CEs in, but oh well.

*buckles helmet on* Pip pip cheerio, into the breach, devil take the hindmost, and all that. Monday, here I come.

New Watchers!

Dark Watcher Well, not quite new. More like, re-edited and re-released with a BRAND NEW COVER. Yep, that’s right–all my old ImaJinn books are getting brushed up (it’s every writer’s dream, to be able to go back and edit something after it’s been published, right?) and given fresh new covers to boot.

How did this happen? Well, BelleBooks acquired ImaJinn, and I was offered a the chance to revise and get lovely new covers. (If I keep going on and on about the covers, it’s because that’s one of the many things authors have little to no control over, and it’s really, really nice to get old ones, well, fixed.)

Dark Watcher was the first book I ever sold, over a decade ago. Getting a chance to revisit it was pretty marvelous. After weeping vigorously about the number of sins I committed in text (if you’re not looking at stuff you wrote even six months ago and cringing a little, you’re not growing as a writer, I always say) I set to work, and the result is respectable, if I do say so myself. If you like my earlier paranormal romance work, with my trademark blood and violence, this might be right up your alley.

Right now the new e-edition of Dark Watcher is available through Amazon (oh, the irony) and Barnes & Noble, but the changes should propagate out to other platforms as the year winds down. I’m told all four of the initial books will be released again by the end of the year, and I’ll announce each one here. That means Storm Watcher, Fire Watcher, and Cloud Watcher will be out by the end of the year, all shiny and new again. Next year is for the Society series, and everyone’s favourite (demon’s) librarian. Again, I’ll be announcing the new editions here, and please, if you want to buy them, make sure you’re getting the ones with the new covers! Getting the paper ones in stock might take a little longer. Sorry about that.

This bit of news has been long in the offing, and I’m so excited to finally be able to announce it I’m wriggling in my chair. (I know, that’s a mental image you didn’t need. You’re welcome!) And now I have to get back to work, making more words for you. Best job in the world, more days than not.

And Winning

Spy vs Sci 518 Today is the day to watch V for Vendetta one more time, and fall in love with Hugo Weaving’s voice again. I’m reminded of a particular meme–“Badassery is bringing knives to a gunfight. And winning.”

Another day, another five-mile run, though I suspect Miss B, getting on in years, will be forced to stay home. Another round of the Prince dragging his feet, too. Middle school is much harder than elementary, and the poor kid has a bit of adjustment shock. It’s not helped by several of his coevals using the loosened restrictions to act like little savages. All of a sudden the behaviour of the parents in the parking lot starts to be visible in their little darlings. *eyeroll* Why is it so difficult for people to wait their turn and behave reasonably?

I have about ten more scenes to write in Rattlesnake Wind, and the second Gallow book is heating up; we’re about to have the earth open up and the double-crossing of everyone by everyone else begin. I’ll probably finish Rattlesnake first, since it’s the one currently eating my brain, but daily wordcount on Gallow 2 is the order of business. There’s revisions for She Wolf and Cub serial chapters as well, and CEs for the first Gallow book landed in my inbox.

No rest for the wicked, even on the fifth of November. There’s chili to make, too. I’m trying cranberry beans this time, we’ll see how they stack up against the black bean variety. All hail chili experimentation.

Now, back to work. The revolution ain’t gonna write its own stories, man.

photo by: Anonymous9000