Playing Hooky

There was a yarn sale and a houseguest yesterday (not in that order) so it was a day of hooky after I got in a bare minimum of wordcount. The day ended with good news, a bottle of syrah, and gumbo. I did not have to cook dinner, which made it a win all the way around. And now I have enough yarn for a second kimono sweater.

I also had time to curl up and read a couple graphic novels said houseguest was kind enough to bring me. Grendel was so-so, but Old Man Logan was a treat. I’ve been putting off seeing the Logan movie until I could read the latter, so now I have something for a knitting night. Something other than an opera, I mean.

That meant I’ve achieved my super loose goal of a book read each week this year. It’s a small goal, and I alternate between gigantic doorstop history tomes and smaller, shorter works, so it all balances out and I am feeling quite vindicated and victorious at once.

Yesterday’s bare minimum wordcount was worth more than it should have been, because I figured out a huge plot point AND how the space travel in that particular universe works. There are days when the heavy lifting is all internal, and one needs to do a certain amount of putting pieces together before anything can be written. And, of course, revisions on Season 2 of Roadtrip Z are slow going.

I also have a Silly Hat recording to get done for my Patreon subscribers. I was a bag of feverish flu when we hit that particular milestone, so my reading was not up to par. Also, the recording will mean locking the dogs out of my office, otherwise the only thing my subscribers will hear is Odd Trundles’s snoring. (He really does love it when I read to him, though.) I’m sure I could make a YouTube bundle off a recording of Odd doing what he loves best–snore-snuffling in his sleep, natch, or eating–but I’m often laughing too hard to hold a camera steady. Not to mention the pressures of celebrity wouldn’t be good for poor Odd.

So it’s back to work today, still feeling a slight dizziness from the syrah last night and almost shaking with relief at the good news–which I will announce as soon as is feasible. There’s a wind advisory today, and the double seashell-noise of bulldog snores and the remaining cedars along the back fence whispering is soothing in the extreme.

Over and out.

RELEASE DAY: Steelflower at Sea

After pitched battle, betrayal, and escape, Kaia Steelflower has enough gold to feed her troupe of outcasts through the winter. She can settle them in a small villa in Antai, that queen of maritime cities, and look forward to welcome boredom.

Unfortunately, there’s a pirate-infested sea to cross, her difficult new talents to corral, her traveling companions’ problems to solve, a princeling’s attentions to manage, and once in Antai, people keep trying to kill her. Or, more precisely, assassinate the barbarian Redfist, and Kaia keeps getting in the way.

Even the Steelflower can’t kill every assassin in the city. It’s going to take all her sharp wits—and sharper blades—to even try…

Now available at Amazon. Will be available at Barnes & Noble and indie bookstores as soon as the distribution propagates.

That’s right, my darling Readers! Kaia’s further adventures are now available. It’s been a long hard road to get here, indeed.

Please note that Steelflower at Sea will not be released in ebook for the foreseeable future. And yes, there’s a teaser for Book 3 at the end of this edition. I don’t have a projected date for Book 3–Steelflower in Snow–just yet, but I’m thinking maybe late 2018.

And now I’ll go soak my head in a bucket to calm the release day nerves…

Most Glorious

It’s that most glorious of days. Crisp weather, bowls of candy on the dining-room table, acres of good food to be made, the beginning of a new witch-year to celebrate. The Little Prince is home from school–eacy year I am amused by the reactions when I call and inform them he won’t be in, it’s a religious holiday for us.

My joys are small, but they are mine.

Lately I’ve been touching the chunk of bloodstone on my desk whenever the light overhead flickers. I wasn’t sure why until I realized it’s the first anniversary of a passing. The body remembers, even if the conscious mind doesn’t. Of course, once you realize what you’re carrying, the load becomes lighter. Human beings need a reason, and if they can’t find one, they’ll make one.

This is, like everything else to do with humanity, both blessing and curse.

Time to smear some sunscreen on and get the morning’s run in, then begin the first round of prep. I want chicken soup, which means I need to roast the defrosted fowl. I’m also going to make these, something the kids are looking forward to with great anticipation. In between, there’s writing to be done and release day prep to finish. Now that I know what I’m about and the last day of the year is here, I can put a few things to bed.

I can’t wait.

On To Napoleon

Traffic on a highway at night
© Adam36 | Dreamstime Stock Photos
I finished reading Karnow’s Vietnam: A History yesterday. I have the old hardback edition, picked up at a library sale somewhere or another, or maybe at the museum sale earlier this year. (I think it was this year.) Anyway, I did not find it “free of ideological bias,” since any work of history rests on bedrock assumptions that are culturally, well, biased. Like a worm in an apple–the worm eats, breathes, and shits apple, and thinks it’s air–so are historians, writers, singers, and all others in their culture. Ideology is an exhalation of culture, sometimes fragrant, more likely foul.

The next in line for serious reading–which includes reading in bed and taking notes in my zibaldone-slash-diary–is Brett-James’s The Hundred Days. I realized I have a shocking number of books on Napoleon, as an outgrowth of my quasi-obsession with the French Revolution, and it’s perhaps time I go through them. Especially the newer ones. There’s a fair amount of biographies of the man, but I’m more interested in him during the Revolution (when his “whiff of grapeshot” saves the day) and his invasion of (and subsequent retreat from) Russia. Of course, books that just scratch my little niche interests are few, and the urge to read more bracketing said interests in order to understand more deeply is overpowering.

I’m not complaining.

I have other thoughts on Karnow’s opus, but they have to sit and settle inside me before I can put them into anything resembling coherency. I’m just glad the flu is retreating so I can think in whole sentences again without each clause interrupted by a sneeze or a trip down the hall to blow my nose YET AGAIN. I got more exercise trekking for tissues than from a marathon. (That’s only slight hyperbole.)

Other than that, I finished a poncho knitted from this pattern. It’s green and stripy and lovely. The leftover yarn is going into a very long scarf instead of a hood. Stuck on a sentence? Knit a row. Watching a movie? Knit a few rows. Listening to a podcast? Knit many rows! Since the weather has turned, it’s all knitting all the time. I just don’t want to spend summer with a lapful of scratchy wool. I gorged on Fellini movies while knitting, feverish, and full of decongestant.

My dreams got awful interesting, when I could sleep.

And of course, today is for getting back on the serious wordcount horse. I’ve got that surrealist novel to prep for NaNo, and decisions to make about the next big project. I’m trying to only juggle two at a time. Trying. I think of juggling my usual four books at once and I get awful tired, which could just be the flu. I love my brain, it is a flexible and marvelous instrument, but sometimes I wish it wouldn’t eat itself quite so fiercely. I further wish my body would stop hosing off its internal surfaces with mucus and get back to the task at hand, but such is corporeal life. It’s ungrateful of me to be short-tempered with the physical frame that usually carries me so uncomplainingly.

Happy Monday, my friends.

Poor Queequeg

I finished Moby-Dick this past week. A common complaint is that the middle part of the book, pages upon pages of whale biology and whaling history and and and, is somehow “boring.” I think Melville deliberately structured the book to follow the pacing of the hunt itself. A whaling voyage, he says, could last two to three years, and of course there were long stretches of sailing time full of nothing but daily work and one’s own thoughts. The spike of activity near the end when the hunt reaches its apotheosis comes as a jolt and pulls the reader on.

Miss B, of course, wanted to know why I was sniffling a little when the book ending. She kept sticking her nose in my face and asking who on earth I was crying for. I rubbed her ears and could only repeat, poor Queequeg.

Now it’s my headcanon that Queequeg somehow escaped the vortex, and while Ishmael clung to the coffin Queequeg drifted in the opposite direction clinging to a broken bit of the mainmast (clutching the doubloon, too, because he effing deserved it) and finally after many adventures reached his home island, where he was a king again, and like Conan wore a jeweled crown upon a troubled brow, thinking of his lost mate.

That’s my private story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Shiny New Stuff

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.

Also up for preorder is Season One of Roadtrip Z. My faithful Patreon patrons, of course, are well into Season 2 by now, and get the season ebooks for FREE. (They’ve earned it.)

There’s also a Rowan Casey book written by Yours Truly coming soon. I can’t quite talk about it yet, but you may want to read a couple of those before mine drops. *is mysterious*

November will also bring a very cool new release. *is doubly mysterious*

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.

Over and out.

Calling Ishmael

Humpback Whale in Body of Water
© | Dreamstime Stock Photos
I once tried to read Moby Dick in high school. It defeated me, much as the Russians did (except Crime and Punishment, I read that shit and wanted to smack Raskolnikov even at a tender age) and I decided life was too short.

Cue to *mumblemumble* years later, and the Moby Dick at Sea Twitter feed. I thought, well, there’s some nice turns of phrase there. Maybe I should try the book again.

HOLY CRAP I AM ON PAGE 240 OF 427 AND I CAN’T STOP. Ishmael is exactly the kind of sarcastic jerk I’d be if I were a sailor, I think. The only thing giving me trouble is the stomach-churning descriptions of killing whales–noble creatures, much nicer than humans, and to be preferred to the latter indeed.

Also, FOOTNOTES. I love Norton Criticals, and their Moby Dick is no exception. I’m chugging along somewhat slowly, because I’m stopping to roll around in said footnotes like a dog in buttercups and stink. Once the first read is done, I’ll set the book aside to marinate a bit, and schedule a second read, where I’ll go through with a pencil and underline all the things I love.

I am looking forward to this with all an eight-year-old’s anticipation of Christmas, I’m telling you.

Right at the moment, though, I’ve a 10km run to get in, and Season One of Roadtrip Z to revise. I plan on releasing the seasons one at a time, but of course, if you want to read the serial as it comes out, check out my Patreon.

And that’s my Monday. I am anxious to get back to the pursuit of the White Whale. Except last night’s chapter was Stubb’s Supper, and I am fairly sure Stubb demanded whale testicles for breakfast.

Seriously, why did I not read this book before?