My Favorite Game

There’s a filthy haze lingering on the horizon today–an air stagnation advisory until next Tuesday, for gods’ sake. I can already feel the weight in my lungs. This is going to make running a little more difficult than usual.

Admittedly, hauling my ass at a fast shamble is never easy, but still.

There also hasn’t been rain for ages, and consequently I’m a bit out of sorts. It’s winter, there is supposed to be water falling from the sky, and I feel rather as the dogs must when the weather doesn’t suit them and they expect me, as the Human in Charge, to do something about it.

The only trouble is, even the Head Bitch in Charge (that would be me, thanks) can’t do a damn thing about it.

Ah well. Sooner or later the rain will return and I’ll be productive again. As it is, I spent yesterday prepping the weekly subscription offerings. The great race and big heist are happening in HOOD, and non-serial subscribers got a little bit of Broken Profile, which I keep going back and staring longingly at in between finishing other stuff.

I also prepped next week’s NaNo post. There’s a series of four to inaugurate the Haggard Feathers Substack, which should take us through the month. (A “haggard” is a term for a hawk caught in adulthood, as well as a descriptor of my usual state, thanks.) Once December hits I might hive off all my technical writing-about-writing posts there. It’ll be fun. I’ve decided to stop offering formatting and cover copy as well as editing; I just don’t have the time while I’m working at this furious a publishing pace. At least all my clients are cleared and happy.

I suppose I should drain my coffee and get out the door with the dogs. Yesterday I managed wordcount on Finder’s Watcher, and I’m getting near the end of the revised bits, almost ready to start adding fresh chapters. I have the whole shape of the book inside my head, and the characters are beginning to speak much more clearly. I might not find a publisher for it, but there are Watcher fans out there who are excited about the book, so it might just be a case of tapping my beloved cover artist for a pretty cover and damning the torpedoes.

Always my favorite game.

I woke up with Queen playing inside my head–Who Wants to Live Forever, in specific. Which means at this moment I’m jamming along to Another One Bites the Dust, because I really don’t want Connor MacLeod in my head. Not today, thanks.

The music just shifted to We Will Rock You, so I guess that’s my cue to hop to the day. Let’s kick Thursday in the throat, my friends, and shake a living out of him.

Over and out.

Soundtrack Monday: Qadukka-i-Mayyas

It’s Soundtrack Monday again!

I was tired of modernity when I wrote The Hedgewitch Queen. I wanted something else, and all of a sudden Vianne was in my head, telling me about a muddy skirt on the day her entire world was upended. My love of Dumas (père, naturally) spilled into the books, as well as my bone-deep admiration for Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series. I wanted feathered caps, high manners, royalty, intrigue, magic–so I made some, and poured it all into the story of a lady-in-waiting called upon to save her country with only her wits and her small, peculiar talents.

And, of course, there had to be music. I won’t share the piece that gave me Tristan d’Arcenne yet, but I can share this.

If you want to hear the R’mini dancing, all you need to do is listen to this particular Jesse Cook piece. You can hear the contest at the end of The Bandit King, where the dancers line up and the elder women judge the quality and passion of their performance. You can even hear the moment Tristan catches sight of Vianne again.

At least I can, and while I didn’t like him very much, I suppose by the end of the road he had grown a little. Just a very little.


Price for Acuity

My nose was out of commission for a couple days, thanks to the flu; this morning, however, I cleared it with a honk into a somewhat overstrained tissue and can finally smell again. It’s a bloody relief to have that primary sense fully back instead of only dimly usable when something like a dog’s excited digestive system emits a pungent dambreaker. (So to speak.)

Of course, now that it’s back, I’m sure the house will be full of unpleasant corners. But if that’s the price I pay for acuity, so be it.

I went to bed super early last night, just after my second Inktober drawing–I’m not following any prompts, I’m just doing whatever I feel like. The kids like bringing their own sketchpads into my office in the evening, and we listen to Forensic Files cases while sharpening pencils and sharing pens. They used to draw while I knitted, but now that I’m drawing too they’re extremely pleased. One couldn’t ask for a more supportive audience; I’m no good at visual arts but they gravely remind me that it’s having fun that matters.

Youth is wise, indeed.

I’m pretty sure it was the flu; I still ache all over. Not like I was beaten with a truncheon anymore, which is a relief, and the fever’s receded though it didn’t break in a gush of sweat and clarity as it usually does. But I’ll take it. I can probably even start jogging again, very gently and on the treadmill. I don’t care if my plantar fascia gets upset, I’ve got to move and get some of this itching out.

The October Valentine Test Giveaway is still going strong, and don’t forget you can get more entries by clicking in daily. So far the response has exceeded my wildest expectations, and I’m already thinking of what to give away next month. Maybe a Gallow & Ragged set, or a couple Kismet omnibuses. (Omnibi?) It depends on what I’ve the postage for.

I should also get the monthly newsletter out the door, as well. But first there’s the rest of my coffee to absorb, and a little bit of deep breathing before I hit the damn treadmill. It’s always something, and I can’t wait to write some more Wangsty Dracula Reboot. The only thing I’m not doing is making it an epistolary novel, because I frankly don’t have the patience. I love reading epistolary, but writing it is a whole different ballgame.

Good gods. How did we arrive at Thursday without me knowing? I suppose I’d best get started.

Over and out.

When They’re Not Serving

I’ve got a survey out to my serial subscribers, asking if they want to go to Season Three of HOOD when Season Two ends. Season Three is the payoff, but from what I can tell, plenty of people are getting bored with Season Two.

I don’t take it personally–serials, especially long-running ones, are difficult, and the long shoal in the middle of a trilogy’s Book 2 is an inescapable fact of life. But it does mean that I might be finishing Season Two and putting together a whole new serial.

It might even be The Highlands War, but don’t bet on it. I have several prospects, including Lightning Bound and the wangsty Dracula reboot I’ve been playing hooky with. I may just keep Wangsty Dracula for my own personal delectation, too. It’s nice to have some things just for oneself.

In other news, I spent the weekend getting a few things put together, like an upcoming test giveaway. I’ll be giving away two signed, personalized copies of the UK edition of Dante Valentine; I want to see if the giveaways will drive a couple other things and I don’t do signings anymore.1 Of course, it may be an idea I’ll quietly let die on the vine once the flu-fever recedes, because I’ve been running 99.9F or slightly above since last week.

I don’t mind fever so much–my body tends to cook itself at the slightest provocation–but the body aches have convinced me it’s flu, and I do mind those. I feel like I’ve been beaten with a truncheon. The only thing I’m missing is garish bruises, which I’m alternately grateful for the lack of and a little peeved that I’m not wearing a badge of honor for.

I know it doesn’t make sense. It’s still how I feel.

Anyway, I’ve a full list of things to get done today, including the finishing touches on the giveaway and some yoga, since I’m going mad at not being able to run. If it’s not plantar fasciitis it’s the damn fever; it’s always something. Getting older sucks, but there are good things too. Like being able to look at things, shrug, and set them aside when they’re not serving me.

In any case, it’s a Monday and I’d best be back at work. I hope your beginning-of-blessed-autumn is proceeding a little more smoothly than mine, dear Readers.

Over and out.

Deeper Levels

I just had to laugh. Dear gods, Astrology App, do you think I do anything else?

I have to say, the notifications from this particular app have made me break down laughing on a regular basis. It’s been sorely needed merriment, indeed.

Here’s to having a good weekend, my friends–and to giving as much access as you prefer, ever and always.

Monster Wish-Fulfillment Hooky

So Incorruptible is out, and I’m aching to get back into the swing of things after the usual release day nerves. You’d think after however-many books out, I’d be almost blasé about a release day. But that’s not what happens. I still get just as nervous-anxious-upset, each damn time.

It’s like the speed of light, I should just take it as a constant and arrange for it, then move on.

I woke up this morning wanting to write a Dracula reboot with reincarnation and angsty blood-drinking, not to mention the monster getting the girl. Which is strange, because one of my biggest turnoffs in a narrative is the creator not being willing to hurt their monster. Maybe it’s a function of reading Caroline Kepnes’s You and Providence in the same weekend; I got halfway through Hidden Bodies and decided that the Very Angry White Guy Joe Goldberg was going to get everything he wanted and I didn’t need to be around for that. You was pretty amazing, but Providence left me wanting something quite different. I’ll probably return to Hidden Bodies later, just because I’m a completionist and paging to the end to see what happens doesn’t quite satisfy, especially when I’m reading critically.

Having a monster without consequences just isn’t my jam. There’s nothing wrong with wish-fulfillment fic, far from. I just usually want something different and I’m a little bemused at my sudden urge to write it myself. I suppose one could do wish fulfillment and consequences, that would be a worthy hat trick.

Anyway, I’m just noodling. I have HOOD‘s Season Two to work on, and Memory Game, which I think will be the next project-of-my-heart finished. Then I can make decisions about Dracula reboots. I have all the major parts for the last bouncing around inside my skull; I should probably just get them into a Scrivener doc so they’ll stop dancing around and making noise…

…stop laughing, dammit, I swear I’m not going to work on it, I’m just gonna write a few things down.


Okay, yes, I give up, if you’re thinking I’m probably going to play hooky and write at least the first few scenes of a Dracula reboot wish-fulfillment thing today, you’re right. Like REO Speedwagon, I can’t fight this feeling anymore.

Goddamn Muse. I suppose I’d best get started so I have some time left over for actual work today, too.

Over and out.

Blank, Pointy-Tooth Screens

Cormorant Run

The weekend passed in a blur, between chores and getting wordcount in on Damage. The best thing about it was the rain moving in. It is now officially autumn, and I couldn’t be happier.

I always work best when the rains settle like an inverted grey bowl, tip-tapping the roof and window, hissing between leaves beginning to turn, plopping into puddles. Maybe it’s all the negative ions being thrown up, maybe it’s the ambient white noise, maybe it’s the petrichor, maybe it’s the cleaning of the air. Maybe it’s all of them.

I also watched Wes Craven’s Dracula 2000 and its two “sequels”, the latter only loosely related to the first movie but starring Jason Scott Lee. I don’t quite uncritically love them, I’m aware of how bad all three movies are. The first one played with some extremely interesting themes and the third had the right ending1 instead of an action-movie Gary Stu vomit-fest, so all in all, they’re not bad.

Vampires are a blank screen we use to project a number of anxieties onto. I know–I’m guilty as charged, between Selene2 and the scurf in the Kismet series.3 Both had their uses, and I might be ready to write Tarquin’s story. Or even Imprint, the Beguine vampire smexy-story I’ve been adding chunks to over literal years.

But first I’ve got to finish Damage and get the Season 2 zero of HOOD out of the way. Now that I’m in the productive half of the year, that might even happen in a hurry. And of course there’s running, running with dogs, walking with dogs, parenting, and making sure my meatsack doesn’t give out under the pressure.

It feels like juggling chainsaws, complete with the risk of lopping off a hand when one grabs the wrong way. Tiger by the tail, and all that.

I should also get the monthly newsletter out of the way. Incorruptible goes on sale later this month, too, so there’s housekeeping to do for that.

It’s a good thing the rainy season’s long in these parts. I’d probably never get anything finished otherwise. Time to finish absorbing my coffee and get with the program; it might be dangerous to stay in one place.

Over and out.