Whiskers

Saw this fellow in a gigantic aquarium last week, and couldn’t resist getting a close-up. He’s an old sturgeon, about the size of a small child, and his whiskers are fraying a bit at the tips–but they still work, I’d bet, and better than most.

Age brings experience and calm, and that is its beauty. Each day you accumulate brings more of all three.

Have a good weekend, chickadees.

Beginning the Magic Mountain

Strange Angels

Well, it’s a Monday. I spent the last bit of my (very busy) weekend on the couch with Mann’s The Magic Mountain, which is going to be rather slow but enjoyable, like a caramel. Some of his asides remind me of Melville, but that could be a function of the translation.

I’ve taken to logging completely out of Twitter whenever I walk away from it, and the small change (along with a blocking app during the day) has done wonders for my peace of mind. I like being in contact with Readers, one has to be somewhat visible on social media today if one has any kind of artistic career, and I like being aware of the larger zeitgeist, yes.

It’s just the misogynists, bigots and fascists I don’t like, and their little bot armies. It’s gotten to the point that Twitter’s a firehose spewing raw sewage more often than not. This explains why most of the time I’m over on my Mastodon instance instead. (If you’ve a domain name and a five euro a month you can have your own instance; I highly recommend it.) With the crossposter, I can keep my presence on Twitter but I don’t have to bathe in the torrent unless and until I feel ready. Having to log in from scratch each ding-dang time does me no end of good. Already some of the stress I’m swimming in has gone down.

A few of you have contacted me privately about the current situation. Yes, it was bad; it’s mostly managed now. I thank you for your kindness–you know who you are –and though I didn’t need much of what was offered, it is extremely, heartbreakingly comforting to have been offered anything at all. So thank you.

I’m up relatively early, trying to get my coffee absorbed so I can get a damn run in before it gets too hot to breathe, let alone move, outside. A little exercise, a little Latin, and a whole lot of work today, since HOOD isn’t going to write itself; I am already sensing this season might start breaking for the finish line even though it’s only around 30K words right now. If I wasn’t so used to stories doing what they damn well please I might even be a little afraid to loosen the reins and let this one gallop.

After the number of novels I’ve written, you’d think it would get easier to tell what a given story wants before one is in the position of having it half-wrought. (Hint: It’s…not.) I just keep muttering, “if it were easy, everyone would do it” interspersed with dire obscenities–a song of deeply committed insanity, as it were.

I’m already waiting for the end of piano practice tonight, so I can settle on the couch and lose myself in a mountain sanitarium again. Aside from a few strange things it might do to my dreams, chances are good it’ll be a rest cure. I just hope it won’t take me seven years (lean or fat) to finish reading.

Over and out.

An Actual Weekend

Steelflower in Snow

Ever have one of those days where nothing goes wrong for you, precisely, but everyone around you keeps getting packets of bad luck?

Yeah. Like that. Friday came along with terrible news, kept going through car trouble, and ended with me having to stop a teenage bigot from vomiting hatred-harassment, so by the time I got home I was more than ready to throw my purse in a corner and crawl into bed.

I’m finally feeling more like myself again, probably due to the work I did over the weekend. A ticklish scene in HOOD‘s Season Two gave me the answer to a plot problem I had heretofore only trusted would end up fixed eventually (my faith in the Muse knows very little bounds) and I got all sorts of stuff done in Tower of Yden. It was like a mini-vacation, writing exactly what I wanted, and since I ruthlessly closed my doors and was unavailable for anything else, a good deal of housecleaning got done too.

Normally my weekends take a few days to recover from, since I tend to cram in all sorts of things I can’t get to during the working week. But I’m actually feeling almost…rested? Is that the word?

I know, I know. Saying it aloud is a sure way to get hammered sideways by Something Quite Unexpected.

Anyway, today I feel my way through a scene with Robin Hood, Little John, Much the Miller’s Son, and Alan-a-dale. I know it’s important, and there’s a whole tangle of plot and counterplot going on, but I don’t quite have the shape of it yet. After I finish poking, it’s revisions on Incorruptible, which is lingering at about 60K words and will only get bigger. A truly angelic cover is needed, so it’s off to Indigo Chick Designs to look at premades, just to get an idea. (I love all Skyla’s covers.)

It’s also going to be very warm here today, after a couple weeks of decent (if somewhat humid) weather. I should get my run in early so I don’t get laid out in a puddle of hyperventilation and sweat.

In short, I’m somewhat optimistic about the week, despite publishers refusing to pay me. My entire life might explode as a result, but right at this moment nothing’s on fire and I can take a breath, so I might as well.

If it does explode, I’ll deal with it then. I suppose that’s adulthood. I could do without the lingering anxiety, but I suppose nothing is ever perfect.

Stay cool and hydrated out there, chickadees. Catch you tomorrow.

Hungry Feet

Two fine fellows–one quadruped, one gastropod–met upon a driveway. The quadruped sensed a delicacy and prepared a good chomp.

Fortunatley, a biped noticed and dragged the quadruped away. The gastropod went about their business unmolested–probably to eat the biped’s hostas, which is a funny way of thanking your savior.

But we’ve all got to eat, one way or another. Boxnoggin was dragged into the house and given a treat along with much bellyrub, I was content with toast, and the snail wandered away on their lone stomach-foot, in search of greenery.

I wish them well.

Associated Disruptions

It was a long strange weekend, but at least I got all the housecleaning done. And thanks to the fireworks ban, both the dogs and I were quite calm all the way through. There was artillery in the distance, certainly, but we didn’t have any mortars popping near the house, which I am devoutly grateful for.

Also, I’ve been experimenting with BookFunnel. The first half-dozen or so chapters of Harmony are available for free download here; when HOOD gets its wrap cover and begins wending its way through the last quarter of the publication process there will be a free teaser for it as well. I might put some other freebies up, just to see how they do and if they drive interests to other titles. Might even put up a Freebies & Swag page, but I need to think carefully about whether or not I want the deluge of entitled demands it might spark.

I also spent the weekend polishing off a few books–reading, not writing. The Coldest Winter and The Coldest City, as well as a graphic novel adaptation of The King in Yellow, kept me occupied for an afternoon; I also finished James Holland’s The Rise of Germany and polished off two Christine Feehan novels. The last are like crack, I can’t read just one, kind of like Shannon McKenna novels. Now I’m on to a history of the Byzantine state, which is filling certain lacunae in my understanding of just how things were administered in the late Roman empire.

What I wanted was to get a few more chapters of Season Two done, but the Glorious Fourth and associated disruptions put paid to that little dream. But I got the revised cover list off to the artist, and there’s plenty of time for everything that needs to get done for the next couple books.

I’ve spent a lot of time these past few days thinking about growing up, logistics, rain, how to get a prince back to his homeland, whether or not I want to write The Highlands War, whether or not I truly want to write Hell Tide, how I’m going to get Maid Marian dancing with Prince John, genetic plasticity, and a whole host of other things I’d put on hold to think about after HOOD‘s Season One was sorted. Now all those things have come back to roost and I must give each the time they demand, from a few moments’ worth to a day or so of concentrated thought while the rest of me goes about the business of living.

It’s a form of mental housekeeping. Plenty of writing is keeping the creative cauldron bubbling at a certain pressure so the steam moves everything through one’s internal tubes. Weird facts, historical narratives, tangential fiction–all these things are fuel. So is the habit of observation when I have to leave the house, storing up notes on how these human creatures behave.

Can’t write what you don’t understand or observe. It’s probably the only use of my over-sensitive empathy that won’t drain me to transparency and leave me day-drinking. (Of course, I can’t drink without getting hives now anyway, but you know what I mean.)

In any case, today is for getting a needle back in the groove of work. There’s Incorruptible to revise and HOOD‘s Season Two to pile bricks for, and Hell’s Acre to think about. I’m pretty sure the last will be the next serial, which will be super fun to write. I always did like steampunk.

I hope your weekend was pleasant, dear readers, and that there was a paucity of artillery in your neck of the woods as well. I’ve got a bellydancing bagpiper to listen to while I write, and honestly, since my coffee is staying down, I really can’t imagine anything better.

Over and out.

Head Bowed

The ketchup-and-mustard roses (planted for the Princess’s best friend) are aglow, but most of them have their heads bowed from recent rain, hail, and wind. Battered but still beautiful, their finery damp but still incandescent.

I haven’t had much time in the garden this year. There’s always next spring, though.

Tower of Cookie

For the recent solstice, I requested the Princess’s famous Big Round Yellow Sun Cookies. They were fluffy, sweet, delicious dipped in coffee, and I ate a truly amazing number of them.

Work has taken precedence over sabbats and esbats for a while now, but maybe if things loosen up a bit I can begin marking those again.It would be nice; I feel at sea in the non-witch year, as if time has slipped out of its socket.

I’m not at my most productive during summer–I like the rain too much–but at least the food is great.

Have a good weekend, chickadees. May the sun shine upon you in proper and perfect proportion, and your ice cream melt at just the right rate.