Every Permutation

So far this morning I’ve spent an hour in the car, walked the dogs, and swallowed a few correspondence toads. As a result, I’m somewhat at sixes and sevens, and longing for more coffee. I just can’t tell if more caffeine will help or hinder, given the amount of fog brewing in my head.

It’s a continual amazement to me that so many people will put off responding to one’s communications but expect one to drop everything and leap upon theirs. I’m getting better at shrugging and filing things for later reply, and it would be inaccurate to suggest I feel no pleasure in doing so. I’m also getting better at dead-eyeing entitled little brats (of any age) into behaving better while out in public.

The end of summer is always a strange flux time, especially when one has children in American public school. Three months off is just enough time to settle into much slower habits, and the scramble to organize and prepare in August makes me long for year-round schooling. It seems a much more humane way to do things, but of course, America won’t implement the humane way of things until we’ve tried every. other. possible. choice. and failed at each and every one.

I suppose that sounds ill-tempered, but I’m *mumblemumble* years old and have earned a little temper by surviving as long with a brain (and in a country) that wants to erase me.

In any case, yesterday’s grey skies and rain did good things all over. The trees are much happier; I could feel my soul expanding with every drop hitting the ground. Consequently, today is much better than I expected, even as I was rudely (and somewhat early) dragged from strange dreams.

Even my open window, full of cursing and hammering from numerous last-minute construction and renovation projects in the neighborhood (as well as a particularly musical storm of cursing at random intervals as a hammer strikes a thumb or some other disaster occurs) provies just enough backdrop noise to make things interesting. Yesterday’s scene in HOOD needs its guts torn out and rearranged, too–sometimes one can’t do a scene properly until one’s taken a trial run and found out what doesn’t work.

At least I don’t have to try every permutation. Once is enough.

The romance–Damage–is also coming along well, though I’m far enough along on the first third that a few days of tender care situating the entire thing just so is necessary before I can settle into the long middle doldrum. It will be nice to hit the end, especially since I know pretty exactly how the book wants to swing and stretch. It doesn’t even matter that it wants to be written piecemeal, because the signposts are so large and the structure so easily discerned.

In other words, I have my work for the day cut out indeed. Here’s hoping for more rain (though the weather app tells me such hope is in vain) and for whoever’s currently cursing a blue streak to get a bandage and some better luck. (It sounds like there was a slight mishap with a staple gun; I’d curse too.)

Over and out.

Busy Meatspace

The past few weeks have been hell on my daily writing time. If it’s not the stress it’s family events, and if it’s not family events it’s back-to-school arrangements, and if it’s not any of that it’s scrambling to catch up with stuff that fell by the wayside because of stress, family events, and back-to-school arrangements.

It’s enough to make me wish for a cave in the woods. A cave with an electrical outlet or two, of course, so I could work in peace.

Single mothers are superheroes. No co-parent to take the pressure off even for a moment, as well as a constricted choice of jobs (so as to be available for childcare) and seventy-odd cents on the dollar a man would make besides. It’s surprising that any woman would choose to reproduce under these circumstances, which is, of course, why birth control and abortion are consistently made unavailable.

The State, you see, needs warm bodies, and there’s only one way to make those.

I finished Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain last night; it was like finishing one of the large, hearty sanitarium meals he describes so lovingly. Poor Settembrini, and poor Joachim. And poor Ellen Brand, taken advantage of by that damn doctor. Hans I have less than no sympathy for, even though he’s the reader’s entry into the tale. It was a lovely meal nonetheless, and while I’m sad it’s over, I’m sated and can push away from the table. I do like it better than Death in Venice; this book came along at just the right time.

I’ve still got an hour to spend in the car today, all told, and a good half-hour taking care of various things once I reach my destination. I’d best get started, especially if I want to get in wordcount. Subscription stuff needs to be sent out today, too–I could have taken the weekend to get a few weeks’ lead time set up, but instead I spent it taking care of life out here in meatspace.

The disconnect between how long it takes to write a book and how long it takes to read, let alone buy, one is huge. Related: I’ve noticed another spike in piracy lately, and there’s been a concomitant spike in people getting shitty with me in email about my request that people not steal my work.

This is why we can’t have nice things, like more Steelflower books in a reasonable time. (If you know someone who torrents, let them know they’re stopping you from getting more books from me.)

Anyway, the only thing I need now is breakfast to settle so I can run. I need the zen more than ever, from now until September.

Over and out.

From Every End

I finally have coffee this morning, no thanks to the dogs. Now I just have to wait for it to cool to a drinkable temperature.

It’s always something.

I spent the weekend doing housework and watching Buzzfeed Unsolved videos. (I like the true crime ones; life is always, always weirder than fiction.) It was pleasant to stay away from the news, though I made the mistake of looking Sunday morning.

The murderous carnival continues, piping merrily down the road to fascist hell.

Anyway, Season Two of HOOD starts this week. I’m going to try to get everything done in two seasons for this serial, but there’s no promises–there’s the Fête and then the Rescue, and they might need a season apiece. After that, unless a publisher buys it, we’ll start Rook and Rose, the first book of which is Hell’s Acre.

That’s the plan, at least. Things are all up in the air here. It would be nice if a Certain Publisher would pay me what they owe; that way I could get the bank holding the mortgage in a fractionally better mood. Writers get it from every end, from theft of our work by piracy or plagiarism to credit woes because we’re basically freelancers. If we don’t pay our bills we suffer consequences, but if publishers/distributors don’t pay us we have little recourse unless we’re already wealthy enough to afford legal representation. It’s a shitshow, frankly, and though I’ve hustled to keep body and soul (and children and dogs) together for multiple years now I’m beginning to get a bit tired.

Just a bit.

In any case, I have plenty of cardamom in my coffee, everyone here at least has their health, and I have more work coming out. I even started writing a story last night, longhand in a spiral notebook as if I was still in high school. It may want to be written entirely that way, which means it’ll already be half-revised by the time the zero’s done, since I’ll have to type it from the handwritten pages. That will be interesting, I’ve rarely had a book come out that way before. Much of Rattlesnake Wind was written that way, and some of She Wolf and Cub. The lucky book choosing to come out that way this particular time is Memory Game, where a woman wakes up in a hospital bed and doesn’t know who she is.

I need to research trauma amnesia now. Hm.

Anyway, best to keep it sharklike–keep swimming or I’ll drown, and wear a big smile. At least there’s coffee, and I can worry about the stack of paperwork on my desk later.

Over and out.

RELEASE DAY: HOOD, Season One

That’s right, folks–Season One of HOOD is now available! Robin Hood–IN SPACE!


HOOD

The Great Migration was centuries ago; two generation ships reached the Anglene galaxy with its clutch of terraform-suitable planets and performed their work.

Anglene is smoldering. The galactic insurrection is supposed to be crushed. Robbhan Locke, a Second Echelon soldier, has returned to his birth planet along with other veterans, finding Sharl Notheim holding all of Saggitarius in his mailed fist for Parl Jun the Regent. 

There’s no redemption in homecoming. Even Marah Madán and Ged Gizabón, Robb’s childhood friends, have been forced into accommodation. The Sharl won’t stop squeezing until he’s made maximum profit for his royal patron–and covered up all his wartime indiscretions.

Heroes aren’t needed here, but even a damaged man can fight…

Available in e-edition direct (.epub and .mobi for Kindle users), through Amazon or Kobo; paper edition available through Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, independent bookstores, or Amazon.

You can also download a free sample–the first few chapters, in .mobi, .epub, or PDF format!


You can also read a little bit about the genesis of the story here. It’s been a long strange road, and I’ve got so much more to tell you, my friends. There’s going to be a race, a heist or three, betrayals, and ballroom dancing, not to mention murder, intrigue, and quite a few lucky shots. I hope you enjoy Season One, and in August Season Two starts with somewhat of a bang–or the aftereffects of one.

But for today, I’ve release-day nerves to fret with, a bunch of housework I’ve put off to address, and dogs to amuse. I’m swamped.

Over and out.

Brain, Thunderdome

HOOD

I’m a little excited, my dear little sparrows. HOOD‘s Season One comes out next Tuesday (you can download a free teaser here) and I’m trying some new things with distribution and marketing, so we’ll see how that works out. It’ll be nice to have the first season off my plate, since I’m already 30K into the second. I think I can get this done in two seasons, and if publishers don’t snap up Hell’s Acre I’ll do that as the next one. (Considering Season 2 is going to be long, though, there’s plenty of time. For once.)

I’m also revising Incorruptible, which will probably drop in September. There’s other releases scheduled around then, but none under my real name. (Yes, I know you’ll all want details. As soon as I can disclose them I will, not a second before or after.)

Today, however, Serial Time subscribers (on Gumroad or Patreon) get the final ebook for HOOD: Season One way before anyone else does. It’s a tiny thank-you for their support. That small, consistent support means I can plan around several vagaries of daily life and publishing, which means the rest of you get more to read. So, thank you, subscribers! All my other readers owe subscribers a vote of thanks as well, because the books resulting from that support go out into the world.

New release stress is pleasant (mostly), but it’s still…well, stress, and added to the illness of a dear friend and a few other woes, I’m feeling rather in the low end of the pool lately. Work is the only panacea, even if one has to swim against the current of imposter syndrome.

In short, I’m a little tender-skinned. Summer is hardly my favorite time, though by all rights it should be–it’s when the kids are home from school (though the Princess is out of school and working by now) and work dials back a bit. You’d think I’d enjoy it, but I find myself longing for autumn and the rains.

I always work better when it’s raining.

I suppose there’s nothing to do but stick to the plan. It’s never comfortable when one’s brain decides to try killing its container, but like any villain, it can be outwitted. Having an adversarial relationship with one’s own brain isn’t the recommended way to get through life, but one works with what one has.

Anyway, I’d best get a run in before the heat makes everything unbearable. Despite my current bleak mood, I am excited for Robb, Marah, Giz, and the gang to make their debut. It’s just that the excitement is trapped in Thunderdome with a particular brand of anxiety-laced depression.

I can’t decide if I’m Max or Auntie. I suppose I just have to wait to see what happens.

Time to get punching on Thursday, chickadees. Over and out.

Similar Productivity

She-Wolf & Cub

It’s a lovely grey morning, just cool enough that a soft draught comes through the window and caresses my arms. The dogs, having consumed breakfast, are sprawled in various places to embark upon the first of the day’s naps.

B has turned over many supervisory duties to Boxnoggin, since there are enough humans in the house that both of them are required to stick their cold wet noses into every situation and it’s a rather large job even for an Australian Shepherd. Backup is always pleasant, at least when it does exactly what B wants it to.

Boxnoggin does not always do exactly what B wants, so he is added to her list of things to nose-bump and grouse at. Her herding instincts nowadays seem to center on bossing him about, and he’s a good fellow about the whole thing. Every once in a while he simply stubbornly refuses to do what she wants, then they wrestle, and when she’s distracted enough he wanders off to do what he wanted to in the first place and she throws herself down on the carpet to rest after the flurry of activity.

It’s a pretty perfect friendship they have, really.

Yesterday was amazingly productive. 1.7k on HOOD‘s Season Two, then 2k added in revision to Incorruptible. There’s a few nuggets in the latter I don’t remember writing, which is always a pleasant surprise when the nuggets are gold, and only mildly annoying if they’re dross.

Today I am hoping for similar productivity, but only once the coffee has been absorbed. I’ve misspelled everything this morning, my fingers doing a double or triple tap instead of striking true. My speed remains, it’s accuracy I’m after now. Once my accuracy hikes again I’ll start working on speed once more. It’s a serpent eating its own tail.

…I had more to say, but it’s left my head as caffeine has stolen into my bloodstream. I should probably go back to prepping for the day’s work and finding my running shoes. I know where they are, of course, but there’s many a slip twixt the sock and the foot when you have two dogs helping you with every aspect of your morning.

Happy Tuesday, chickadees, and remember: you need the whole corpse on the table before you can begin sculpting and painting it. Get the entire work out, then go back and revise. Don’t be afraid to change midstream, finish a book with its back half vastly different, and retcon it in revision.

Over and out.

Oh, Publishing…

HOOD

Just a reminder: you can still download the first few chapters of HOOD: Season One for absolutely free.1 So if you want to see if Robin Hood in Space is to your tastes, this is a good way to find out!

Mornings here have been nice and grey, the marine layer shielding us from the worst heat. Of course, that means the humidity’s been through the roof, but at least it hasn’t been hot and feeling like the inside of Mother Nature’s mouth.2 The dogs are puzzled, but I explained to Miss B that this is what summers used to be like back before climate change accelerated.

Boxnoggin, of course, is absolutely surprised by everything the moment he steps outside. Rain, insects, wind touching his rump–it’s all a cavalcade of new sensations every damn time. He’s like a goldfish swimming circuits past a castle decoration and thinking it’s a new one every time. (“Look, Benny, we’re on the Rhine!”)

Yesterday I sent a sample of Hell’s Acre to my agent. So if a publisher wants Assassin’s Creed crossed with Da Vinci Code in an alt-Victorian London, they’d better get on the stick. I’m so tired of trad publishing saying “write the entire series, then give us the first book and in six months we might condescend to look at it.”3 That makes one book pulled from submission (Incorruptible), one full book out (Reader’s Shadow), and two samples (Sons of Ymre and Hell’s Acre) out in the world. I haven’t had this few works on submission in ages; it feels almost like a vacation.

Of all of them, I’m most worried about Reader’s Shadow because the protagonists are teens. I don’t want to set a toe in YA publishing again; twice was enough and both Harmony and Rattlesnake Wind are doing well without having the “YA” imprimatur. Sure, I’d love it if those books could get to the teens who need them, but going through a bunch of people who want me to water them down so some Bible-belt evangelical doesn’t get their panties in a wad takes time and effort I’d rather spend on writing new books.

Anyway, I think for a little while I’m going to concentrate on the serial and samples. I’m tired of a lot of things in publishing, and glad that my career is at a stage where hybridization is a possibility. You’d think the publishing industry would understand that without writers they don’t have jobs or profits, but we’re treated like embarrassing afterthoughts and hated stepchildren. Which sucks because I like trad publishing; I like not having to deal with plenty of the minutiae of producing a reasonable printed product. I’m an easy audience, and trad seems set on driving me away.

In any case, none of that changes the fact that I’ve work to do. Today is slated for a chapter in HOOD‘s Season Two, a chapter in Sons of Ymre, and making baked pasta with yesterday’s homemade red sauce.

My dance card’s packed, and the dogs are very excited at the prospect of walkies. First, though, it’s time for a run. Hopefully by now the cereal and coffee are resigned to their fate and will not attempt a high-speed escape.

It’s the little things. Over and out!