Oh, Publishing…

HOOD

Just a reminder: you can still download the first few chapters of HOOD: Season One for absolutely free.1 So if you want to see if Robin Hood in Space is to your tastes, this is a good way to find out!

Mornings here have been nice and grey, the marine layer shielding us from the worst heat. Of course, that means the humidity’s been through the roof, but at least it hasn’t been hot and feeling like the inside of Mother Nature’s mouth.2 The dogs are puzzled, but I explained to Miss B that this is what summers used to be like back before climate change accelerated.

Boxnoggin, of course, is absolutely surprised by everything the moment he steps outside. Rain, insects, wind touching his rump–it’s all a cavalcade of new sensations every damn time. He’s like a goldfish swimming circuits past a castle decoration and thinking it’s a new one every time. (“Look, Benny, we’re on the Rhine!”)

Yesterday I sent a sample of Hell’s Acre to my agent. So if a publisher wants Assassin’s Creed crossed with Da Vinci Code in an alt-Victorian London, they’d better get on the stick. I’m so tired of trad publishing saying “write the entire series, then give us the first book and in six months we might condescend to look at it.”3 That makes one book pulled from submission (Incorruptible), one full book out (Reader’s Shadow), and two samples (Sons of Ymre and Hell’s Acre) out in the world. I haven’t had this few works on submission in ages; it feels almost like a vacation.

Of all of them, I’m most worried about Reader’s Shadow because the protagonists are teens. I don’t want to set a toe in YA publishing again; twice was enough and both Harmony and Rattlesnake Wind are doing well without having the “YA” imprimatur. Sure, I’d love it if those books could get to the teens who need them, but going through a bunch of people who want me to water them down so some Bible-belt evangelical doesn’t get their panties in a wad takes time and effort I’d rather spend on writing new books.

Anyway, I think for a little while I’m going to concentrate on the serial and samples. I’m tired of a lot of things in publishing, and glad that my career is at a stage where hybridization is a possibility. You’d think the publishing industry would understand that without writers they don’t have jobs or profits, but we’re treated like embarrassing afterthoughts and hated stepchildren. Which sucks because I like trad publishing; I like not having to deal with plenty of the minutiae of producing a reasonable printed product. I’m an easy audience, and trad seems set on driving me away.

In any case, none of that changes the fact that I’ve work to do. Today is slated for a chapter in HOOD‘s Season Two, a chapter in Sons of Ymre, and making baked pasta with yesterday’s homemade red sauce.

My dance card’s packed, and the dogs are very excited at the prospect of walkies. First, though, it’s time for a run. Hopefully by now the cereal and coffee are resigned to their fate and will not attempt a high-speed escape.

It’s the little things. Over and out!

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.

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.

Rain, Dogs, Office

The Princess has gotten me into watching The Office. I know it’s nine seasons long, but the episodes are only about twenty minutes (thank you, Netflix) and so far it’s hysterically funny in that “I’ve seen this train wreck before” way. The Princess is thrilled that I’m enjoying it. Of course, she’s told us many of the plot points at dinners for the past year or so; it’s fun to witness them myself and discuss what either of us got out of the scenes.

I also watched Castlevania because the Little Prince loved it, so after I finish these nine seasons I’m going to have to ask him for another recommend. The kids love it when I try things they liked, even if I end up not admiring them as much. The mere fact of attention is enough.

So far I’m enjoying the shows; I don’t think I’d ever have watched either on my own. I have to say I am incredibly glad I don’t do office work any more. It’s almost as bad as retail.

Almost.

Anyway, today’s for brute wordcount. I’m waiting on a wrap for HOOD‘s Season One cover, and once that’s done I’ll upload everything and hit the button. It’s looking like Season One will be available at the end of next month. You can read a little bit about why I chose Robin Hood (in Space!) and sign up for the serial if it so moves you; we’ll be going into Season Two soon, where there’s a speeder race, a ball, and treachery everywhere, as well as a rising body count. In other words, big fun.

We had some lovely thunderstorms yesterday evening. I quite miss Odd Trundles’s sanguine disposition; neither lightning nor firework bothered him. Miss B hates both with a passion, and poor Lord van der Sploot was quite beside himself. I went to bed early, though, and as soon as I was settled (they get half the bed, Miss B sleeps near my shoulder and Sir Boxnoggin at the foot) van der Sploot was out like a light, curled into a tight ball. It took B about a half-hour of shaking and whining slightly before she too sacked out, sprawled luxuriously over one of my pillows and looking so peaceful I didn’t have the heart to move her, so I slept cockeyed all night.

It’s a good thing I love those beasts.

Anyway, a short run and a day’s worth of wordcount on both HOOD and Sons of Ymre, which I really want to get done at least in skeleton form before too much longer. A new wrinkle in Hell Tide just showed up, and I have to seriously think about if I want Lia Spocarelli’s story to be a single book or a duology. I’m not sure yet.1

So that’s it, I’m sorted for the rest of the day, which looks to be cloudy, grey, and quite pleasant. Let’s hope the cloud cover holds during my run. Maybe I’ll even get rained on, which is nice for the sheer luxury of peeling out of wet clothes when I get home, showering, and putting on dry socks. (Nothing better, my friends. Not even coffee.) That might mean the bees will leave me alone–it’s not that I don’t like them, it’s just that I’m afraid of hurting the little fellows.

Anyway, my day’s packed. See you around, chickadees.

Not Enough Scratching

HOOD

I spent yesterday getting the tail-end of HOOD‘s Season One all arranged. It looks like the completed season will drop on or near the end of next month; subscribers, of course, get the unedited and final ebooks for free. (Nest Egg subscribers get weekly fiction AND the serial, if that’s your jam.)

I’m testing a new delivery platform with this series; it should solve some of the preorder problems we’ve experienced with KDP. If not, well, I already have a work-around.

The weary and the wicked alike receive no rest, and I’ve tomato plants to get in the ground too. They’re sad little orphan things, but I couldn’t just leave them where they were to die, so it’s into the ground they go with a whispered song. There’s a daphne that doesn’t like confinement, too, that will probably go near the back fence. If it survives it’ll screen the back of the house since some idiot took down some perfectly good cedars.

What? No, of course it wasn’t me, I wouldn’t have gotten rid of healthy cedars that went into shock for a bit when you tore the dead body of one of their fellows free. The poor things were grieving and a neighbor got talked into letting the people who took out the dead cedar (rightfully so, though they also crushed the fence and one of my garden decorations) take out the shocked ones as well. They probably laughed all the way to the bank about said neighbor’s gullibility, too.

Ah well. I did like the cedars, but a daphne and maybe some lilacs if the neighbor doesn’t replace the cedars might do. I do not want to see that neighbor’s yard, and I’m sure he returns the feeling.

It’s enough to make me wish I’d bought property out on the fringes where one doesn’t have to see neighbors, but with only one car that wasn’t a good idea. A single mother, even one with adult children, needs a little more infrastructure than can be found in rural areas.

Anyway, being head-down in publishing prep all day yesterday means I’m more than ready to get back to writing instead of revising and formatting. I’m beginning to feel itchy, even if several things have been crossed off the master to-do list. Revising is enough like writing that the itch can be touched, but formatting most definitely is not and it’s beginning to get painful. I’m not myself when I don’t write.

I did get a fragment down in my diary last night, about the Reaper. I’m not sure if I want to write that story, but it’s certainly interesting. Psychopomps interest me, and living ones doubly so.

Anyway, there’s also Sons of Ymre and Lightning Bound to think of. The latter holds promise of being a trilogy, and maybe that’ll be another serial. I haven’t decided yet.

That’s my day sorted, then. I wish my dear Readers a likewise happy Tuesday.

Over and out.

Glut of Stories

Jill Kismet

Summer has officially begun. It’s a Monday, but the Little Prince is not at school; there is no school to be had, and he is celebrating face-down in his pillows like any reasonable teenager. I think he and his sister are going to see Endgame today, but Im due for work–the first season of HOOD isn’t going to revise itself, more’s the pity.

I’m just waiting for breakfast to decide to settle before heading out on a run; when I come back there will be coffee. I’d have coffee first, but my mileage is going up, and that means there’s a chance of whatever’s in my stomach bouncing. I’d rather not waste the caffeine.

Anyway, there’s Season One to revised I have to make serious decisions about what to pursue next. There’s a nonfiction book or two I’d like to run down, and the second season of the serial, of course; but I also want to do something that pleases me and only me. It might be Hell Tide or maybe even Hell’s Acre (I sense a trend) or I might finish Lightning Bound or expand The Fool’s Assassin. An embarrassment of riches, to be sure.

I’m also reading Huckleberry Finn with the Princess. As in, we’re book-clubbing it, reading the Norton Critical edition (mostly because it has Toni Morrison’s wonderful 1996 introduction in the critical materials) and discussing as we go. This is going to be really fun.

I’d like to take more time off, but needs must when the devil drives and all that. Plus I was useless all last week after revising Poison Prince into first-draft status. The third book in that series is just going to kill me, I can tell. Anyway, it about took me down to mothballs. Besides, I get itchy when I’m not working.

And now I’m getting itchy with the need to run, too. So it’s off I go while it’s still cool and cloudy, to think about what I want to sample next in the big buffet. A glut of stories and only so many fingers to type them with; that’s the human condition.

Over and out.