Kaia News!

I finished the big push of Steelflower in Snow revisions yesterday. Today is for writing cover copy, formatting, all the minutiae that attends upon packaging a book. Filling out the ISBN information, getting the title page done up, page count once the PDF proof has all its bells and whistles attached…these are things a publisher does, and doing them oneself is time-consuming but necessary. That’s why writers often job that particular set of tasks out to trad publishers, it’s just so much easier with an economy of scale going on.

As soon as I have ordering information, you guys will know. It’s been a long hard road to get here, and I’m not at all sure I can continue with The Highlands War, but at least this book is coming out. Patreon and Gumroad subscribers have already had teasers and tastes, and I can’t wait for devoted Readers to finally know the first half of what happens to Kaia in the cold, cold north.

The dogs are somewhat upset that I’m not running this morning, but frankly, after yesterday I doubt I could find my way home if I go a block or two the wrong direction. If I can get cover copy done and finalized today it will be somewhat of a miracle.

That said, I should go stare at a blank page for a little bit. I do have a skeleton of cover copy hidden somewhere, I just have to figure out where. Wish me luck, huh?

Over and out.

Waited Half the Year

The rains have arrived again. False summer has fled, heat-stressed leaves have dropped and those who survived the drought have begun to turn. Miss B is sanguine–she remembers, however dimly, that water falling from the sky is a thing.

Sir Boxnoggin, Lord van der Sploot, however, is agog. Things were not like this in Texas, he informs me, every time he has to step outside. I tried to remind him of a hurricane or two, but he informs me archly that what he remembers is dust and heat, not this damp bullshit.

Lord van der Sploot is not a big fan of change. I don’t blame him, he’s had more than his fair share. He needs a good long chunk of boring, nothing-ever-changes time, and we’re doing our best. It helps that feeding time, running time, and playing time is all the same, even if there is water where there shouldn’t be.

I took a forced rest this weekend, in order to gear up for the big push to get Steelflower in Snow out before the end of the month. I managed not to work except for a thousand words or so on Incorruptible, mostly because I don’t want to lose momentum. It was a chore to keep myself from working, but I did get all my Sunday cleaning chores done early. Other than that, I stuffed a lot of movies into my head, watched another couple episodes of Castle Rock–though I must say, the Queen episode brought everything nicely to a halt for me and I’m not sure I want to continue–and managed to read a good chunk of The American Slave Coast, which I’ve had to take in small pieces because it’s just so devastating.

Once I’m finished with that, I can reward myself with finishing Laura Kinsale’s For My Lady’s Heart, the Middle English edition. Right now the main characters there are in Ruck’s secret fastness and I want them to stay there until I can return.

In order to get there, though, I’ve got to work. The siege portion of Steelflower needs some heavy revising to make it ready, and I should probably go looking for the glossary, too.

*sigh* No rest for the wicked, ay? There’s also a run in the rain to accomplish, while Sir Boxnoggin complains next to me. He’ll settle down once it’s clear we’re outside to work. I may even have to get him a little coat, since he’s shorthaired and runs warm. He’s glad to have a nice bright home to return to, full of comfy beds, pets at the drop of a hat, and regular mealtimes, and his gladness helps when I start dragging.

Other than that, I have my SAD light on just to stay ahead of the game. I’ve been more productive on rainy days than I was all bloody summer. And bonus, with the rains, not so many people will be out letting their dogs off leash or wanting to stop me while I run in order to exchange commonplaces about the bloody weather.

I’ve waited half the year for this, and dammit, I’m going to enjoy it.

Over and out.

Breakfast at Leisure

This morning brought a leisurely breakfast with the Princess. We haven’t seen each other for a couple days, so it’s good to catch up, even though both of us are coughing, hacking, and filling wastebaskets with used tissues at a truly alarming rate. The dogs were glad both of us were in the same place for an extended period–they hate when anyone leaves, and both canines want to herd the hoomins into a tight bunch so they can supervise with little effort.

So the Little Prince was off to school and the remaining monkeys were in the same room, which sort of balanced everything out. Now, however, we’ve separated to begin our days, which means Sir Boxnoggin is trotting up and down the hall and Miss B is curled next to my chair, eyeing me reproachfully. Why, oh why, can I not stay where she places me?

In any case, I’m not as physically miserable as I was Sunday, and feeling better than yesterday. The Princess is a couple days behind me on this cold cycle, so today will probably be the worst. Thankfully, she can spend it on the couch with a box of tissues and plenty of liquids.

I might even make triple-garlic chicken soup for dinner. We all sorely need it.

Incorruptible continues apace, and revisions on Steelflower in Snow do too. If I can get the “Karnaugh” section of the latter revised, I’ll count it a day well spent. I’ve decided the next serial will be the gunslinger story, so I should start making preparations for that, too. A placeholder cover will be fun to do once I accomplish everything else today.

And maybe, once all that is done, I can make another pair of super shiny earrings. I’m experimenting with cup chain, which is sparkly but finicky. And so. many. jump. rings. I must have wasted at least six trying to get everything connected on yesterday’s pair.

Shiny!

But the finickiness is so worth it, since these were EXACTLY what I wanted. Bright, swinging armor. I can’t wait to make more of them, frankly. People keep asking if I’m going to sell them on Etsy, and if I get to a place where I’m comfortable about my craftsmanship, I’ll probably put a few pairs up. It seems like a cool way to lose a little cash, and better than shipping books around.

So that’s my day. I might shoehorn a run in, too, if I get really ambitious. But for now, it’s time to brush my teeth, make some more coffee, and get down to Incorruptible.

Over and out.

Finally October

Saturday I attended the Taste of Style with a friend, and while that was nice, I woke up Sunday morning with my head full of snot and my entire body aching. The first (let’s hope it’s the last) cold of the season has arrived, and certainly wasn’t helped by my silly (but entirely adult) decision to have a drink with early dinner and a couple glasses of gallery-opening-quality wine. 

Apparently I am not allowed to drink at all, according to my body, and murder causes paperwork, so I’m going to have to find a different way of coping with the current political situation.

Being physically miserable kind of put a dent in the housework I wanted to do yesterday, but nobody’s going to die if I don’t dust. I got the dogs brushed, the upstairs hoovered, and the my laundry was already done, so I called it a win and spent most of the day staring vaguely into the distance while fumbling for a box of tissues.

The good kind, with lotion. Don’t ever skimp on your kids, your books, your asswipe, or your nosewipe, my friends. If I’ve learned anything from adulthood, it’s that. 

Today is the drop-dead date for starting Steelflower in Snow revisions.1 I’m thinking that will be released late October or early December, since November is set aside for a completely different book.2

I’ve also been playing around with placeholder covers, like for Incorruptible.

Of course everyone I showed versions to said my name needs to be bigger, but that feels like hubris. And don’t worry, this book isn’t out yet. I may even do it as a serial, I haven’t decided yet.

In any case, I have some cold medication to swallow and the dogs to wear out. Since I couldn’t run or ramble yesterday, they are both fidgety as fuck, needing something or another to bleed off that excess energy. I won’t be able to move very quickly, but at least sniffing all sorts fo interesting new smells will keep them occupied and give them something to process when they collapse for a nap.

Nap. That sounds good. But I’ve miles to go before I sleep, even for a bare twenty minutes.

All right, Monday. We’re not going to hurt each other, right?

Right?

Solace and Camouflage

The nights are finally cool enough to leave a window open and sleep through. Trees are burning their summer leaves, letting them drop, and emerging naked from the fire. Rain lingers though the afternoons warm; the ground is damp. The Great Pumpkin approaches.

I can’t wait. My favorite time of the entire year-wheel is upon us. I hate raking leaves, but the joy of being forty-plus is that I don’t have to. There’s always neighborhood kids or landscapers looking for an extra buck, and I will gladly pay for a little peace of mind. The scars on my palms from childhood raking have stretched and whitened, submerging until I can only feel them when I spread my fingers and stay tense for a little while. I’m sure they’ll pain me as I grow older, but that’s fine.

I don’t understand people who fear getting older. Sure, there’s facing your own mortality, but one can die by misadventure, violence, or sickness at the drop of a hat at any age. The further I am from my helpless childhood, the better. I have my own car, my own money, my own home full of things I love. I don’t have to speak to my past tormenters or allow them any of my mental real estate.

And, frankly, the longer I endure the more chance I’ll outlive them, and be granted the real freedom of knowing they’re permanently barred from harming me.

Perhaps that’s why fall is my favorite. It reminds me that I’ve survived so far by hiding under ice and bare branches when necessary, conserving my strength and fire until needed. In the rain, tears can’t be seen, and the blurring of falling water gives me both solace and camouflage.

I write, I run, I care for those under my aegis. But sometimes I stop and take a breath, feeling a bone-deep gladness that I have seen many autumns now and each one takes me further from a horrifying pit of bleak despair.

It’s good to survive. Many don’t, and we who do carry them curled inside us. We carry those who cannot crawl any further, and those who were subsumed in the darkness. Each day we are granted, each day we fight through, is a victory for the forever silent as well as for ourselves.

If you’re carrying, today, try to take a deep breath.

I’m with you. We’re gonna make it.

False Summer

They’re saying it will reach 80F several days this week; false summer has arrived. At least it’ll cool off rapidly at night. I am completely done with sweating from every inch. Some of the trees, heat-stressed and sensing the plummeting temperatures when the sun falls, have already finished turning. I am not sure the dogwood in the back corner will survive to next year; even with the sprinklers it doesn’t get enough water to get it through those hideous days of above 90F.

Thank goodness those are gone. At least until next year.

Sir Boxnoggin has been with us for two months now, give or take a few days, and nobody here can imagine life without him. He’s begun to show even more of his goofy, gooberish self–he was upside-down on my bed last night, twisting to look up at me while I scratched his belly, and I began to laugh. Shy, they said. Low-energy, they said.

They also said he’s three years old, but if this dog is older than two I will eat both my running shoes, without ketchup. He’s still growing, for God’s sake. His paws have mushroomed and that’s a sure sign he’s got more expanding to do. Right now he’s pretty leggy, and I’m hoping he’ll fill out with exercise and plenty of food.

Miss B has found herself acting younger lately too. All the exercise from herding Lord van der Sploot and wrestling with his puppyish self has done her no end of good. She still looks for Odd Trundles sometimes, nosing in corners and uttering her particular motherly bark for him, but all in all Sir Boxnoggin keeps her busy and distracted. A younger dog who treats her just as she treated older dogs when she was much bouncier and chewier is karma, and hilarious to see. They play constantly, and the only break is when someone is in the kitchen and I’m in the office, or when they’re both asleep. Or when one or the other of them takes shelter between my ankles. A few sessions with the spray bottle while they were attempting to wrestle underfoot took care of that.

In short, the canine contingent here at Chez Saintcrow is quite pleased with itself in every degree. They’re ready for fall. Winter running with Lord Boxnoggin may necessitate a jacket to keep him from getting too cold, since he doesn’t have Miss B’s lovely undercoat. I have never dressed a dog before, but I’ll do it for this goober.

I mean, just look at that face.

Off we go, then. Have a good Tuesday, my friends. Mine will include a great deal of barking and wrestling.

Action Bits

I walked away from social media last week after finishing the revisions, and it was…pretty nice. The Maiden’s Blade is now back with the editor, and I thought I’d give it a couple days before diving into the next huge task.

Instead, I spent a few days watching documentaries, cleaning the house, and spending long dinner hours with the kids. I kept glaring at my to-do list, hoping that something on it would begin to sound vaguely do-able, but I was so drained and exhausted the thought of starting another round of revisions–or pushing to complete a zero draft–made me want to spill out of my chair and rest, weeping aimlessly, on the office floor.

So, yeah. It was time to do some cleaning. All the loose paper is off my desk and filed, I hoovered twice, plants have been watered and the kitchen scrubbed, the windowsills have been dusted and polished, I drank a LOT of coffee, and the dogs got twice-daily walkies.

Which all means I’m ready for something new on a Monday. The next thing on my list is Steelflower 3 revisions–at least that bloody zero is done–but I might spent the day working on Incorruptible instead. I’m in the mood for writing romance, and I’ve got the main characters in a truck heading west. It’s about time to start getting them into trouble, and maybe I can stage a shootout in a nice hotel or two today. Or a falling elevator, that would be swell. Add in a car accident and there will be lots of room for love to flower, right?

…I may have to just write the action bits, I’m not sure it’s in me to write any smexxors today. Though, as I’ve said before, the two are very close–you want tension rising to a crescendo1 and a short curve downward after. Tension, explosion, falling action.

Regardless, it’s time for another jolt of coffee, some deep breathing, and getting my running shoes laced. Sir Boxnoggin needs some fidgets burned off, and Miss B might even get to come along if she promises to behave reasonably.

She probably won’t, but that’s a problem for later. Right now I’m off for more coffee.

Over and out, Monday.