They Are Odd And Winsome Beasts, Those Writers

There’s an interview with me over at the USAToday Happily Ever After blog. In which I talk about stealing time, how I know when a series is done, and what I say to people who look down on genre.

Also, this past weekend was the first annual Author Faire at Cover to Cover Books. It was a roaring success, even if I do say so myself. Picturespam after the jump!

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From Faires to Witch Houses

Oh, Friday, I’m not in love. But I will consider letting you buy me dinner.

* Want to chat me up and maybe get some books signed? Come to the First Annual Author Faire at Cover to Cover Books! I’ll be there Saturday, December 10, from 11AM to 3PM, along with other great authors like Bill Cameron and Lisa Nowak. I plan on drinking tons of coffee so I’m bright-eyed and manic. Should be lots of fun.

* Today I’m over at the Orbit Books blog, talking about the Hedgewitch Experiment. Any day I can use the phrase “suppository supposition” is a good day.

* Oooh, they dug up a Pendle witch house!

* Big happy doings on the YA front. I can’t say much yet, but it involves a new series. I hate sitting on secrets like this, so rest assured, as soon as I can give more details, I will.

* A certain Squirrel Wonder scared the bejesus out of some guys in my front yard the other day. Which reminds me, I really have to tell you guys how that convalescence of Neo’s turned out. It involves me barefoot and screaming in the backyard again. It’s nice to know I’m consistent…but I’m amazed you guys aren’t bored yet.

* I am starting a project. It involves wine and livetweeting my reading of Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. I did the first 25 pages the other night and had a blast. My favourite? “Hi, I’m Aaron Lightner/Rod Serling. For the next 965 pages, I’ll be showing you through Anne Rice’s id.” I kill me sometimes, I really do.

* To the skeezy guy trying to chat up the young girl with her dog near the middle-school’s soccer field this morning: my earphones weren’t playing music. I just don’t want to talk to people while I’m running. Consequently, I heard every word you said. And yes, I was looking at you. Because YOU ARE CREEPY. I’m glad the girl fled, and I took that extra lap around the track just to make sure you didn’t follow her. I’m surprised my gaze didn’t burn a hole in you. NEXT TIME IT WILL.

Yeah, Friday. It’s turning out to be a doozy. Let’s skip dinner and go straight to the drinks…

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On Vacations

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames, where there are contests, prizes, Readers on Deadline, and demons. But don’t worry. We have the demons under control. Mostly…

“Do you ever take a day off?” a health professional asked me today. “Do you ever take a vacation?”

“Not often,” I replied. “I can’t go for very long without writing. It itches under my skin, the words have to get out. It’s physically uncomfortable.”

“But everyone needs some time off.”

“I guess. Sometimes I just look through and tighten what I did the day before. That means I only write about 200 fresh words, sometimes, but it’s tweaking and tightening everything else that scratches the itch.”

“Weekends too?”

“Weekends too. Except then I get up and wander away to spend time with the kids, then come back when they’re done.” I paused. She was looking at me in a most peculiar manner. “I’m not crazy, I just like my job.”

I’m the picture of health, actually, other than some anemia. My pulse is a nice even 60 per minute, my blood pressure is extraordinarily low because of the running, and I’m reasonably fit. The bloodwork says my liver is healthy, for which I give a great deal of credit to that glass of red wine with dinner. (You’ve got to stretch those cells out, keep ‘em flexible.) But all of a sudden she’s looking narrowly at me.

I’m not crazy. I just don’t take a lot of time off. My job is a vacation, for heaven’s sake. Each day I get to do the thing I was designed and built for. It lowers my stress to sit down and write.

I’m between books right now. Kind of. I have some revisions staring at me, but I am coyly refusing to return their gaze. (We’re in the let-the-edit-letter-rest section of revisions.) After the crunch of three books at once earlier in the year (who else was seriously questioning my sanity? OTHER than my writing partner, editor, and agent? Why, that would be ME. Anyway.) I deliberately built a little bit of time into my schedule to decompress. But am I lying about on some tropical beach? Hell no. Sand would get into my laptop.

I’m writing. A trunk novel about zombies, a cowboy, a schoolmarm, and a gold claim. Not to mention vampires and a pawnshop and chartermages. I am having a ball with it. Nobody will ever read it, of course, I don’t think it would ever sell…but I like it. I giggle with glee every time I open the document. I wriggle with joy at a neat turn of phrase. I outright chortle every time I throw another obstacle in the sheriff’s way.

This is a vacation, dammit. And the little dopamine glows I get from, say, a well-turned phrase or the wordcount reached for the day just reinforce it. I get a reward each time I sit down to write. Yeah, some times it’s like chipping hardened cheese out of wooden scrollwork, but there’s even some joy in that. In a job well done and polished at the end of the day.

Slight digression: I advocate daily writing because it builds discipline, not because I happen to get a glow from it. Some professionals can take a few weeks between books, or need to refill the well with time spent away, or days when they’re not dragging the words out into the ring and making them dance. (Isn’t that a lovely mental image.) That’s perfectly okay–one size does not fit all. And yet I advocate daily writing, and will continue to do so, because it’s very easy to mistake laziness or fear for the much more pleasant-sounding “needing some time off” or “vacation.” The professionals who take time off know that it’s hard to get back up onto the horse, and they have their own tips and tricks for doing so. YMMV.

“I hated writing in school,” she said, finally, taping the cotton ball over the bright tear of blood on my inner arm. “Your job sounds like my idea of torture.”

“Likewise.” I grinned. You’re sticking needles in me. I would be unhappy if I had to do that all day. “If I had to do what you do I’d go mad. Well, madder than I already am…”

“I don’t think they’ll commit you just yet,” she laughed.

But I got out of there quickly anyway. You never can tell.

And now, back to scratching the itch…

This Saturday I’m at the Author Faire at C2C books in Battle Ground! Also, check out the Hedgewitch Queen–my first e-only release, and $2.99 in the US for the entire month of December.

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Monday of the Sabretooth Chihuahua

Just a few quick things, since Monday is humping my leg like a sabretooth Chihuahua:

* To those of you asking for a Hedgewitch Queen/Bandit King spot in my fan forum, success! Here it is.

(See below)* I am informed there are some copies of Reckoning floating around out there with a printer error. As in:

Just finished reading Reckoning. Very confused. Book pages screwy? After p278 went to p215 with repeat through p246 then ended.– A fan on Twitter

There was a printer error, and they thought they caught all of them, but such is obviously not the case. My editor is asking around about how to solve the problem. So, hang in there–as soon as I know more, I’ll share it here.

* This last Saturday my friend Zen E. participated in the Portland Boulder Rally at the Circuit NE. I was on hand with the video camera, and it was a great event! I am constantly surprised by how supportive the climbing community here is. Out of all the people I’ve met since I started climbing, there’s only been one outright-nasty person. The rest of them have been kind, thoughtful, polite, cheering on everyone and just generally being good sports. It’s amazing. Anyway, Zen stuck her last route of the day, one she’d been working for a while during the competition, and it was great to see. (The video of the occasion holds audio of me whooping with you when she makes the last move and her hands stick at the top. I was Very Excited.) Thanks to everyone who made such a great event possible!

* I’m getting a lot of mail about Steelflower lately. Guys, even if I had time to write the second in the series, there are other considerations. I know you want to read about Kaia and her troupe heading off to Rainak Redfist’s homeland to take back his birthright, but it might not happen for a while, and being angry with me won’t help or solve anything. I have the last two books of the series in my head–the third book deals with Kaia and Darik’s return to G’maihallan. But like I said, it may be a while. I am looking at a number of different options. That’s all I can say.

Coming up this week: my thoughts on epub-only, the Pyrrhic Victory of Pelennor Sunroom, and possibly (if I can figure out how to meld the music into it) a podcast. Not sure about the podcast, though. It takes me a while, and much swearing, to get those right…

Over and out.

ETA: Heard back from the publisher–no more than 200 copies escaped with the error. If you received one of them, contact the publisher’s Customer Service directly. If you can’t take the book back to the bookstore from whence it came, they can send you a new copy. (Note the “IF.”) Thanks for letting me know about this, guys–I got six emails in a 20-minute span about it on Monday, and about had a heart attack. Whew.

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Introducing the Hedgewitch Queen!

Yes, you read that right. Remember that book I was talking about–the alt-France epic fantasy thing? Well, my dears, I am pleased and proud to announce the release of The Hedgewitch Queen.

“If not for a muddy skirt, I would be dead like all the rest. Dead…or worse, perhaps.”

Vianne di Rocancheil has been largely content to play the gawky provincial. As lady in waiting at the Court of Arquitaine, she studies her books, watches for intrigue, and shepherds her foolhardy Princesse safely through the glittering whirl. Court is a sometimes-unpleasant waltz, especially for the unwary, but Vianne treads its measured steps well.

Unfortunately, the dance has changed. Treachery is afoot in gilded and velvet halls. A sorcerous conspiracy is unleashed, with blood, death, and warfare close behind. Her Princesse murdered and her own life in jeopardy, Vianne must flee, carrying the fate of her land with her— the Great Seal of Arquitaine, awake after its long sleep. Invasion threatens, civil war looms, and the conspiracy hunts for Vianne di Rocancheil, to kill or to use her against all she holds dear.

A life of dances, intrigues, and fashion has not prepared her for this. Nor has it prepared her for Tristan d’Arcenne, Captain of the King’s Guard and player in the most dangerous games conspiracy can devise. Yet to save her country and avenge her Princesse, Vianne will become what she must, say what she should, and do whatever is required.

A Queen can do no less.

You can read an excerpt here!

I am so excited. This is my very first ebook-first release. You know how I feel about ebooks, but I am in a position to take a bit of a chance here. Besides, I love and trust my editor. (Did you hear that, Miss DP? *cowers* Please don’t hurt me.) So this is a new thing, and during the month of December the book is priced at $2.99 in the US.

I am receiving two questions right now:

* “Will it be available in my country?” Hedgewitch is available in the US, UK, and Canada; check your favourite ebook retailer. I don’t know anything else; quite simply, I am not told.

* Will there be a paper version? I can only say (and I quote) “There are no plans for a paper release at this time.”

Unfortunately, those are the only answers I can give. The good news is that Book 2 of the series (it is a duology and only a duology, alas), The Bandit King, will be available digitally in June 2012.

I am pleased and proud as punch, dear Readers. I hope you enjoy Vianne’s adventures…

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Authorfest, Shame Edition!

Crossposted to the Deadline Dames. Go check us out!

I promised an Authorfest post! And lo, here I am. I took tons of pictures, but unfortunately, most of them were blurry to the point of being unsuable. The fever-shakes had me pretty bad–I hope I was not contagious, since my recovery since Sunday has been pretty steep. (Still can’t breathe near the top of some climbs, though.) Anyway. The majority of un-blurry photos I did manage to take were part of a shoot involving Devon Monk and a fan dressed as her character Shame.

Well, you know, if anyone had showed up dressed like Japh, I probably would have bolted for the exit. He’s not an encouraging sight.

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Authorfest!

A quick note/reminder: I am attending the Sci-Fi Fantasy Authorfest at Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s Sunday (tomorrow) at 4:30PM. Due to the flu I may have to leave a trifle early, but I will definitely show up and stay as long as I can to sign books and caboodle. Other fantastic and much more interesting authors like fellow Dame Devon Monk and Ursula LeGuin will be there, too. So come on out and have a good time!

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