HARMONY, on sale!

Even heaven can be a trap…

November is upon us! In celebration of autumn finally releasing us from summer’s clutches, Harmony is on sale this month for $3.99 across ebook retailers–AmazonBarnes & NobleApple, and Kobo. (If you’re buying through Gumroad, use the code HARMONY at checkout to get the discount.)

I didn’t mean to write this book, but Val and her story simply wouldn’t go away. I’m rather glad I finally sat down and listened. Also, more than one Reader has found the extended Heinlein joke in the book, which makes me super happy. Nothing like other people discovering one’s Easter eggs to put a smile on one’s face.

On December 1, prices will return to normal–but don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll have something nice for the Yule season. Enjoy!

Hoping For Temporary

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The third and final!

I…might have to rethink November’s schedule.

In a normal year, I would be able to do NaNoWriMo and get other projects done on the side, no problem. Piece of cake, because it’s just a normal workload, after all.

But after two years of pandemic plus a fascist coup1 and a few personal-life events, I think I’m beginning to crack.

In other words, I can write this damn novel or I can get the revisions for Black God’s Heart done. I can’t gear-shift between the two in a single day, as I normally would. And this is driving me, in technical terms, utterly batshit.

I’m used to writing at least four new books at any given time2, juggling between them as they reach different stages of the process. Revisions can generally take up two of those daily working slots, while CEs and proofs are short-term intense efforts requiring a few days of complete effort, all my engines turned to the task at hand. This is the way I’ve worked since the beginning.

But now, it appears I can either work on a new book3, or I can do the revisions. I can’t do both. I’m unsure how long the damn revisions will take (another new thing, thanks, I hate it) and that might push the goal I’ve set myself–finishing Ghost Squad #2 during NaNo–into the realm of utter impossibility.

This infuriates me to a degree I am slightly baffled by. There have been only two times in my life the words have flat-out refused to come4 and I am somewhat frightened the current state of affairs presages a third. For someone used to juggling chainsaws with some facility, if not ease, it’s…disconcerting.

Really disconcerting.

I’m hoping this is temporary. I’m hoping a good hard run or two and a couple days’ worth of internal pep talks will remove whatever this damn blockage is. I’m used to being able to will–or simply flat-out endure–my way out of problems; this time, throwing myself against the wall is producing a little less of a dent than usual.

At least the weather is nice and grey. And at least NaNo is only a personal goal, not a hard-and-fast one. Still…the thought that I might be cracking under the strain and becoming unable to work at even half my usual pace is terrifying, and I would really prefer not to have that hanging around while I’m trying to concentrate.

So…if you, my beloveds, are having similar issues, you’re not alone. We’ve been holding on for so long, and the frustration–we could have been done with this and focusing on rebuilding by now, if not for some selfish, racist asshats–is intense, at least for me. If you’re having trouble concentrating, if you’re only working at half speed or less, this is entirely reasonable. I mean, just look at what we’re facing. It’s a wonder any of us bother to get out of bed at this rate, even when forced by the exigencies of survival under late-stage capitalism.

I don’t even have a ding-dang suggestion for overcoming or whatnot. “I suppose we just have to hold on,” isn’t a suggestion. It’s more like a desperate prayer.

Regardless, there’s coffee to finish and the dogs to get out for a walk. Yesterday I spent with the NaNo novel, today I’ll spend with the damn revisions. If something’s got to give, it’s going to have to be Klemp and Beck at the moment. I know they’ll wait, and yet…

Tuesday beckons. I keep giving the baseball bat longing looks.

Time to get started.

Covers and Schedules, Oh My

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Oh look, The Bloody Throne has a cover! Whew. I’m still waiting for the author’s copies, which will mean the series is all the way done instead of just mostly done, but it’s very nice to reach each semi-final milestone.

Winter–such as it is in the Pacific Northwest–has arrived. The first line of real, lovely storms moved in, dumping rain and stripping plenty of leaves. The clinging remainders are brightly colored, as a rule; there are bits of wet flame everywhere. The dogs are extremely glad for the heated mattress topper1 on my bed; Miss B’s old bones and Boxnoggin’s slick coat mean they both enjoy the heat on “their” side.

Yes, they have a whole side of the bed. In the first place, I’m a sucker. In the second place, they’ll alert me of hijinks and intruders, and that’s part of their job.

They work hard, the fuzzy little brats.

I spent the weekend with kitchen chemistry. My candymaking is improving by leaps and bounds, mostly due to having the proper tools. It’s been a real journey of, “Oh, this is why they recommend using one of these! Who knew?”

I did not work on the NaNoWriMo book more than lightly. Ghost Squad #2 (Klemp’s book, for those playing along at home) is moving right along. It’s about time for the first real danger, which I think will be cut brake lines.

I just have to figure out what in hell the cutter of said brake lines is bloody well thinking. They’re utterly convinced of the rightness of this course of action, while I’m mystified. They’ll tell me in a bit, I’m sure, I just have to trust the Muse knows what the hell she’s doing when she insists on something like this.

Never been wrong yet, but there’s always a first time.

I also have to reserve a significant amount of time today for revisions on The Black God’s Heart. I’m getting to the point where I distrust both projects, revising or in the process of creation, which is normal at their respective parts of the process but hardly comfortable, especially when I’m staring at the NaNo book and muttering, “why the fuck did I think I could do this, who the fuck do I think I am, everyone is going to hate this book, YOU MIGHT AS WELL STOP WRITING NOW, LILI.”

Plus ça change, and all that. Plus there’s the pressure of other deadlines looming. My ability to distinguish between “deadline RIGHT NOW” and “deadline a little later” is all caddywumpus, despite all the scheduling software I use to keep on track. (I like Cushion.) I thought I could also work on Jake’s book (Sons of Ymre #2) at the same time, but instead of being able to juggle four projects at once I’m down to two slots during the day when I can give my full attention to things.

I’m torn between “lo, how the mighty have fallen” and “this goddamn pandemic, we could have been past this by now if YOU PEOPLE2 would just cooperate.” Neither are particularly comfortable.

At least there’s some rain. Most mornings are nice and grey, just the way I like them. Boxnoggin is definitely not pleased by that, but he loves the occasional blaze in the fireplace, cuddles on the couch, and (of course) the heated mattress topper, which sometimes I turn on during the day for his napping pleasure.

There are good things in this season, even for a summer dog.

My scheduling app informs me that it’s time to swill the rest of this coffee and get the canines walked. We’re a bit early this morning, because there’s a lot to do. I suppose I should get started.

Let’s hope our respective Mondays behave, my dearests. If not, I’ve got that ashwood Louisville Slugger ready.

It’s nice to have a plan.

Late Dragon

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But a snapdragon, of course, is never late. It blooms precisely when it means to.

The weekend approacheth, and I’m exhausted. I wish you a pleasant one, my beloveds.

The Very (Dog) Pink

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NaNoWriMo continues apace. I’m doing writing sprints on my Discord in the afternoons; sometimes I even dust off my old gaming headphones and you can hear me softly swearing in the ChitChat audio channel–if, that is, you like that sort of thing.

Plus, we’re a really fun crew; we just instituted a Pet Tax channel, and the pics of everyone’s fluffy, furry, feathered, scaled, or other companions are wonderful. Between that and the Bob Ross birthday marathon on YouTube, I’m feeling much more balanced. Not quite better, and not anywhere close to recovered, but less unsteady.

I’ll take it.

Many of you were a bit concerned about Miss B. Don’t worry, she’s just an elderly statesdog. Sometimes she decides to snub her breakfast, especially if there’s not enough bacon grease or something similarly high-value in it, and that can lead to weird things even if she condescends to eat her dinner the same day. Sometimes her tummy just decides, “nope, we’re not doing this,” and that leads to a night of her producing some bile, needing to go outside to clear the other end, and just generally resetting her poor ol’ digestive system.

This is normal in some elderly dogs. The vet isn’t concerned unless other danger signs are present. As long as B’s well-hydrated and the tummy stuff doesn’t last more then 24hrs or so, she’s fine and there’s no need to disrupt routine and drag her to the pet ER. In fact, breaking routine and stressing her when there’s no need could disturb the delicate equilibrium of an old dog, so I’m under orders to just keep calm and carry on when she does this, while watching for true danger signs.

Boxnoggin, of course, is in the very pink of health. His largest problem is that after nights when B and Mum are up and down, neither of us are very bouncy during morning walkies, and he is forced to go at a somewhat more sedate pace than he would otherwise choose. On those days, the kids play with him as soon as they’re home from school/work or have resurrected from the lethargy of a morning lie-in. There’s a lot of laughter, a lot of squeaks from plush toys, and while B and I hide in the office to escape the rampage, we can still hear the fun and eventually Boxnoggin is exhausted.

Tired dogs are well-behaved dogs. Mostly.

Today is subscription day. This week in Hell’s Acre, a gentleman is asked twice; in She’s Fleeing a Byronic Hero, which my Crow’s Nest patrons are seeing me write almost in realtime, there’s murder, arson, and soup. Big fun.

It’s going to be a great Thursday. Miss B spent last night resting comfortably, and aside from the piles of baking soda around my bedroom (cleanup, it’s always cleanup) there’s no indication she was ever feeling poorly. I may even get to run my poor old corpse, which will do me no end of good.

I’d best get started. These books won’t write themselves, more’s the pity. Steady on, my beloveds. Eventually we’ll get there.

NaNo Weather

Samhain came, and went. It was a very quiet day; we all needed as much. There’s still bowls of candy on the dining table, but that’s a problem which will fix itself in due time.

We didn’t even hear the shouts of excited children up and down the street. We’re so close to kids getting the vaccine, I think a lot of parents felt like this is the last gate to make it through. There will be other Halloweens, after all. Especially if one cares for one’s child enough to get them a lifesaving poke.

I also spent a great deal of the time watching the Bob Ross marathon on YouTube. I’d had no idea about the Kowalskis and their theft of Ross’s legacy from his family, so I won’t be buying any Ross merchandise again until that’s all cleared up. But the YouTube and Twitch marathons don’t appear to benefit the Kowalskis, so they’re probably safe to consume. (The YouTube marathon is going on until Nov 6, 2021; the Twitch channel is here.)

NaNoWriMo is also upon us; I’m doing Klemp’s book (Ghost Squad #2) for it, and have revisions on The Black God’s Heart diptych to get done as well as working ahead on Hell’s Acre. So November will be even busier than usual. Alas, I won’t have a great deal of time to argue with strangers on the internet.

It will probably do me nothing but good. I’m sick of being patient with murderous trolls. The pandemic has severely depleted my ability to care about the deliberately, viciously obtuse. At this point, if you call yourself “conservative” or wear a red baseball cap, you know exactly the message you’re sending, and I shall respond accordingly. I suppose at the very least it’s easy to see who’s a murderous bigot, since they’re self-marking with such lockstep discipline these days.

Silver linings, and all that.

There’s dogs to walk and work to do today, so I’d best get to it. I’m sure the “holiday” season will be anything but calm, between the supply chain issues and the habit of publishing to offload all the work onto freelancers right before holidays as all the salaried people are clearing their desks. (If you imagined me rolling my eyes and sighing as I typed that sentence you’d be spot-on, my ducklings.)

It’s not going to slow down until mid-February. Might as well get off the mark now.

At least the weather is wonderful–misty and cool, with masses of color hanging on deciduous trees and rain coming in waves. The evergreens, helped by a stiff wind, have shed most of the heat damage, though the rhododendrons are still looking a bit draggled. Summer seemed endless; I’m so glad we’re not suffering it at the moment.

Onward and upward, then. One last swallow of coffee before we get out the door. Caffeine is a gat-damn miracle, but you already knew that.

See you around.

Leaf Ghost

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Boo.

The imprint will wash away, of course. But for now, it lingers on concrete. Something evanescent has marked something durable, and the image is stored in electrons too because I happened by with my pocket computer.

World’s stuffed full of wonder, isn’t it, my beloveds.

Samhain approaches. The end of the witch’s year is welcome this time around. Another survival in the face of All This, another gate passed through. Survival is a victory, especially now.

I’m glad you’re here too, and I hope your weekend is lovely.