Brunt of Monday

rainingac6 The rain seems a little dispirited today. Maybe it’s tired of February too. (This is where I say “I could never get the hang of Februarys” again.) Or it could just be me blinking and asking myself, huh, what’s that smell? Must be morning again.

Today is for a short run, much wordcount, and maybe a transcription job if I can squeeze one in. Cormorant Run is burning a hole in me, the genie story isn’t far behind. We’re heading for the long slow slog on the former, and some fun double-dealing and shootouts on the latter. At least, fun for me to write. Not very fun for the characters involved. Perhaps they’ll get the brunt of my Monday.

Not that I dislike this Monday. Not at all. I’m just…floating slightly outside of my myself, and getting ready to dive into a long week. At least the little distance helps me ignore the spatters and bruises from moving so fast.

Related: I’m off for a run. Here’s hoping for no bruises from that particular speed, but miss B has a gleam in her eye and a spring in her step that makes me fear a little.

Adrenaline’s good for running, I’m told.

Over and out.

Coupon time!

Selene

You can now buy some of my books directly through Payhip! It’s super easy.

Also, if you buy before March 1, 2016, and use the code “SHOELESS”, you can get 15% off. Sweet, huh?

Enjoy!

Many Grief

ohai

Miss B: OHAI. WHERE YOU GO YOU LEFT YOU LEAVING?

Me: I just went downstairs to get–

Odd Trundles: WHERE YOU GO? YOU LEFT. FOREVER.

Me: We needed a can of–

Miss B: YOU GONE FOREVER. WE MANY GRIEF.

Me: Look, it was less than two minutes–

Odd Trundles: MANY GRIEF. MUCH EAT PAPER BAG.

Me: What?

Miss B: …HE DID IT.

Apparently, whenever I go downstairs to fetch a can of diced tomatoes, they think I’m never coming back and Odd Trundles decides he’d better get a head start on eating anything even remotely edible to prepare for the lean times ahead.

*headdesk*

Rejection Game

what i do The smartmouth genie story (with extra added Ontario Cowboy Stripper) proceeds apace. Cormorant Run is due to start stacking up a body count today, or I’m going to get cross with it. Not that this particular story cares, I suppose. That’s part of its charm. What dubious charm this story possesses. It’s eating my head and it has to get out, but I’m not sure I particularly like anyone in it.

It’s a bright morning; before I run today, though, I have coffee to finish and administrivia to wade through. That will put me in a mood to swear and sweat, I suspect. The huge glaring yellow thing in the sky is out to get me; I am a creature of cloud cover and most productive when it rains.

Rattlesnake Wind got a rejection yesterday. An editor loved it but couldn’t interest a committee in it, which is very usual for my books. (I never do well in committee.) It has a teenage protagonist, so of course people want to pigeonhole it in YA. The trouble is, it’s also brutally honest and more than a little sad, so YA publishers don’t see it as a “safe bet.” I am of two minds about this. On one hand, my agent tells me I have good prospects and a dedicated fanbase in YA; on the other, dealing with the pushback from publishers on anything they think an Easily Offended Bible Belt Housewife might possibly take an exception to is tiring. I almost want to tell my agent to submit it to litfic imprints, but since my name is openly female and I’m a genre author, I don’t think there will be much interest.

Sure, there’s a sting in being told “not good enough”, but it’s a familiar one, and caused me only about a half-hour of irritation. I did have a moment of thinking “well, let’s put a male pseudonym on this and see if it sells, JUST AS AN EXPERIMENT,” but I don’t have the time or energy to deal with the various ramifications of that strategy.

There are still other publishers to approach, but most of them are YA, so I don’t know. The chances aren’t good, and I’m not sure my heart could take self-pubbing this particular book. It was painful to write, like lancing a very deep boil. There was a certain relief to it, but I wouldn’t willingly revisit the place where it came from now that I’ve said goodbye.

This is part of the publishing business: dealing with the rejections and understanding that even things you pour your heart into aren’t necessarily going to interest the bean-counters or the marketing committees. It’s okay to finish a book and know it won’t find a home easily or at all. At least it wasn’t on spec, it was something I had to write for my own sanity. So it’s not like I was cheated out of that (unpaid) working time. It can safely go in a drawer for a while.

After 50ish books dragged through the publication process, rejection is still the name of the game. (And people wonder why authors stereotypically drink.) And while self-publishing is more available than it’s ever been, there are still instances where and reasons why it’s not the best fit for a particular book. The people who urge it as a panacea are not, I suspect, being quite honest in such urging, but that’s (say it with me) another blog post.

Miss B has found out that a little bit of my ankle is bare because of the gap between my exercise gear and my socks, and she is nosing that one part hopefully. It’s time to get out the door.

Over and out.

Today, Adulting

Escribano An incredibly productive day yesterday means I’m probably going to fail at adulting today, but them’s the breaks. If I manage to get to dinner without my head exploding, I’ll count it as a win. Especially for a Tuesday.

I’m liking transcription work. It exercises a different part of my brain, and doesn’t use up the emotional energy I need for writing. It’s a good palate-cleanser, and the best thing is, it’s really cheap dialogue training. Listening tot he rhythm of how people talk is great for one’s stories.

I’ve shelved the amulet-maker story, and am concentrating on the smartmouth genie and the rationalist insurance adjustor. (At least, I think she’s an insurance adjustor. She doesn’t want to talk about work right now, having many other things on her mind.) This story is fun, I’m mostly writing it for my writing partner. It’s also taking a pattern different than other books. Normally I write somewhat sequentially, but this book wants the arc for the two main characters mostly done before I go back and take a whack at the villains. (Who kind of aren’t villains at all, just selfish assholes who want shortcuts.) It’s very rarely that a book does this, demanding to be told somewhat out-of-order even though I know pretty much what happens in each scene.

The bulk of my effort, though, is reserved for the Rifters story, which is now titled Cormorant Run. My homage to Tarkovsky and the Strugatskys is growing into its own peculiar beast inside my head, and invading my dreams as well. I love this book, weird and brutal as it is, with the fierce love of a thousand fiery suns. It’s wanting to be written sequentially, unlike the genie book, and more excavated than written. Each day I brush away a little more dirt and debris and find the shape of a room underneath, a room needing to be emptied with a shovel or a spoon, depending. I love the books that are a whole organic thing under the surface of your brain, but the labor to excavate them is sometimes backbreaking.

I’ve written almost sixty full novels now, and each time, it’s different. Each damn book wants to be written in its own special little way, and will balk unless coaxed correctly. There are some commonalities, like the long slog in the middle with the BOOK THAT WILL NOT DIE NO MATTER HOW YOU STAB IT, but each novel teaches you how to write just-it, it alone, and nothing but it. A certain amount of submission to and trust in the process is necessary, as well as the discipline to sit down every goddamn day and get the writing done[1].

Right now my fingers are a bit chilled, so it’s time to stretch, get a cuppa–I’m trying turmeric tea right now, and with the addition of more ginger it’s actually quite palatable–and get back to the grindstone before the doldrums hit. I may fail at adulting later today, especially when t’s time for errands, but for now I have some shiny new willpower, and am going to use it.

*cracks knuckles* Tuesday? I’ll see you now…

[1] Yes, I know there are professional writers who don’t write every day. But you’re here on my blog, and I’m going to tell you the best way I know. ‘Nuff said.

Full Time

ghandi01 Moving, shifting, creaking. Sometimes getting up a little early makes one think about possibilities. Morning t’ai chi. Stretching. Plenty of time instead of a rush all day.

Then, of course, I roll over and burrow back into warmth. Screw that noise, right? Except when I absolutely have to get up and drive someone somewhere.

Anyway. I was rousted early this morning and am still absorbing coffee that became stone-cold while I navigated morning traffic. Fortunately the way home was clear, and we all made it in one piece. The rest of today is for a short easy run and all sorts of wordcount. And piano practice. I have thrown Monday back onto the ropes, but I’m not sure it will ever surrender. The best we’ll achieve is an armed detente.

I spent the weekend playing hooky with a story that isn’t one of the Three Projects. It was nice to clear my head and work on something I didn’t have a clear idea for, just feeling my way from one edge to another. Never underestimate the ability of one story to make another jealous–it doesn’t even have to be a story one plans on finishing, really. I work on multiple projects at a time in order to shift between them when one gets stubborn. The key is to keep the pressure just steady enough to provide forward momentum, and reined in just enough to make it seem like one is stealing time to work on something forbidden. That feeling of illicit work, of thieving around the edges of something else, heart in mouth and skin alive with anticipation, brings all sorts of immediacy to the table.

Now that the week’s started, though, I go back to the projects on tap, and the pressure now comes from getting wordcount in so I can go play later. So much of living is finding ways to trick or game yourself into doing the unpleasant but necessary. Keeping one step ahead of my own desperate desire to just crawl in a hole and let the world go on without me is a full-time occupation most of the time. So much so that thinking about it is a bit disheartening, so it’s time to actually go do something instead of planning.

Over and out.

Still Here

spring

A ramble in the park woods with B is pretty much always a good idea, no matter the season. It’s February, and yet spring has already blown in, somewhat lionlike. I keep telling the crocuses and hyacinths and cherry trees to be careful, but they know better than me, it appears.

They almost always do.

The rains are a little bit warmer now, and the earth is no longer resting. It’s teeming, and that subtle scent of small things waking up is everywhere outside. Sweet daphne and some heather are blooming, too early, and the few cherry trees putting out flowers are humming happily. I hope the mason bees wait for the apple trees at least, or the favas.

I was not quite surprised to see these vine-bushes leafing out already–they’re generally the first to test the wind, so to speak. They told me nothing can be put back in the bottle, that spring has arrived whether I want it to be cautious or not, and that they appreciate my concern but they’d be just fine.

Mouthy little things. They get a little sullen in high summer, but other than that, they’re more than happy to give advice. The firs and cedars are grumbling in their sleep, rising toward wakefulness–they generally wait until the deciduous ones have made a showing before they start rolling over and peering at the alarm clock, so to speak.

It’s here. It’s begun. Another rainy spring, and I am surprised to find myself still here. These fellows, though, don’t seem surprised at all. They greet me like an old friend, and there’s few things as comforting.