Real Commitment

swac Issue 21 of Fireside is out, which means more Geoff and Abby! True to form, Abby’s decided the most efficient way to get what she wants, and in this case, that means getting into a bar-brawl.

Do I even need to say how much I really like this character? Once she makes up her mind, she is ALL IN, no matter the craziness. I respect that, both in characters and in meatspace. It shows real commitment.

kin Also, tomorrow is the release day for KIN, my retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. Preorders and first-week book orders are important, so I’m going to be hitting the marketing gong for a little bit.

This is the last YA book I’ll be releasing for a good long while, possibly ever. Publishing in YA for Strange Angels was a wonderful experience, but there was a certain friction between the publisher, I think, wanting something a little more “marketable” and me in my corner, just not that sort of writer. The issues became somewhat acute during the fairytale retellings. I do not write by committee and will resist, in any way possible, any suggestion meant to take the blood and guts out of a story because “kids can’t handle that!” I refuse to “talk down” to younger readers, and while I think the fan response justifies that, it’s nerve-wracking for a publisher. I perhaps wasn’t as graceful as I could be during the whole process, either. During Wayfarer, the Cinderella retelling, I was buying a house, and we all remember how stressful THAT was.

So, yeah. The constraints of YA, and the energy spent fighting against dilution and bullshit in that genre, mean I’m tapped out and won’t return there for a good long while.

All that aside, I love the fairytale retellings with a fierce, fierce love. I fought for them, and the covers are wonderful, and I think in each of them I ended up saying what I set out to say. I think that comes through in them. I hope readers agree.

That Lovely Sound

swac Good morning, chickadees. I hope your Thanksgiving was low-stress and full of good food. For those who were on the barricades and protesting on that day (all through the weekend in some places, I’m told), I hope all went well and someone at least organized coffee.

News! I have news. Issue 18 of Fireside, with chapter three of my ongoing cyborg-Western-vampire serial She Wolf and Cub, is now live! If the serial ends up being a success, there might even be a book of the collected chapters, so if you’re wanting to read a monthly chapter of something from me while you’re waiting for, say, Trailer Park Fae or Kin, that’s an option.

There are upcoming details about Rose & Thunder, one of my retellings of Beauty & the Beast–still my favorite fairytale–and there is movement on the Steelflower 2 front, though I can’t announce anything just yet. (Publishing: moves at the speed of glaciers during the Ice Age!)

And in still more news, NaNoWriMo is done. I finished both Rattlesnake Wind and the second Gallow & Robin book, which was my collective goal for November. In honor of finishing NaNo, some editing services are back in stock! First come, first serve, and all regular disclaimers apply. Please read the FAQs and Guidelines before you decide to purchase editing services, though. Some packages require a down payment.

It’s hovering at freezing here. Yesterday’s run took me past several crystallised puddles, and I could tell the ones kids had seen by the shattered ice. It made me wonder at what age my first instinct became to admire and leave well enough alone instead of breaking a solid sheet of ice just to see it fracture and hear that lovely sound. I never was a fan of breaking things the way some kids seem to be, but I did do my share of splashing in puddles when I reasonably sure I wouldn’t get caught and beaten for getting dirty. Sometimes the thrill of transgression is worth it.

I think it’s simply that now I could step through the ice if I wanted to, it’s up to me. When given a choice, I lose the desire to break. It makes me wonder how much breaking and burning is done by those who have no alternative. That’s as close to a comment on current events as I’ll get today.

And now, back to work on sample chapters, and revising Agent Zero

And Winning

Spy vs Sci 518 Today is the day to watch V for Vendetta one more time, and fall in love with Hugo Weaving’s voice again. I’m reminded of a particular meme–“Badassery is bringing knives to a gunfight. And winning.”

Another day, another five-mile run, though I suspect Miss B, getting on in years, will be forced to stay home. Another round of the Prince dragging his feet, too. Middle school is much harder than elementary, and the poor kid has a bit of adjustment shock. It’s not helped by several of his coevals using the loosened restrictions to act like little savages. All of a sudden the behaviour of the parents in the parking lot starts to be visible in their little darlings. *eyeroll* Why is it so difficult for people to wait their turn and behave reasonably?

I have about ten more scenes to write in Rattlesnake Wind, and the second Gallow book is heating up; we’re about to have the earth open up and the double-crossing of everyone by everyone else begin. I’ll probably finish Rattlesnake first, since it’s the one currently eating my brain, but daily wordcount on Gallow 2 is the order of business. There’s revisions for She Wolf and Cub serial chapters as well, and CEs for the first Gallow book landed in my inbox.

No rest for the wicked, even on the fifth of November. There’s chili to make, too. I’m trying cranberry beans this time, we’ll see how they stack up against the black bean variety. All hail chili experimentation.

Now, back to work. The revolution ain’t gonna write its own stories, man.

Proceeding Stubbornly

winter moon It’s a misty, beautiful dawn, red and gold, the moon peering through veils as she sails slowly for her rest. The Princess took pictures of it–she has a good eye for composition, probably from all the manga she reads and draws. The mist smells of drying leaves and that hint of spice-decay before the rains move in and turn it all to damp fungus-food. All India Radio playing softly behind me, my coffee mug slowly being drained, and for a few minutes, everything’s peaceful in the morning’s rush and bustle.

Work proceeds apace on the second Gallow and Robin novel, with today’s work a running battle in the middle of a goblin market. I’ve reached the point where what I thought was going to happen in the book is thrown out the window and what actually happens because the characters have thoughts of their own leaps in to fill the gap. I’ve lost count of how many books I’ve written, but it’s always the same–I despair of finding my way through the labyrinth, then turn around and find the thread in my hand. It’s like the logic of dreams. Speaking of those, I chose not to write mine down this morning, and now can’t remember what I didn’t want to remember about them.

Jacking and hacking your own brain is a weird sport.

Today’s run is almost-10K tempo. Which means 1.6km slow-running, 3.2km “fast,” a three-minute recovery, another 3.2km fast, and 1.6 slow-running. Since it’s over 8km I can’t take Miss B, and her annoyance at being left behind will require much petting and soothing. Odd, of course, won’t care as long as he gets to sleep on my bed. He’s beginning to hit the “floor potato” stage of bulldog-hood. He believes he’s doing a grand duty by holding the carpet down, and of course we pet and praise him for doing so.

Rattlesnake Wind is also heating up. I want to lunge for the end of that book, then heave a sigh and put it in a drawer. It’s had a hard gestation. I should never, ever let an unfinished zero draft out of my hands. I know this, and yet I talked myself into it, and as a result…well. Just got to finish it and put it to rest in a crypt.

My hair is still sticking up all over my head. I look like a scrubby-brush.

And that’s all I have to say. There’s other projects that need attention today too–edits on upcoming chapters of She Wolf and Cub, Storium stuff (my, game-writing is a different beast, there’s a HUGE learning curve) and piano practice, hopefully not as frustrating as yesterday’s hour of banging my head on the keyboard and moaning. It seems I’m doing that more and more, these days. Just stubbornly whacking at things. I know pathological stubbornness is my greatest asset and biggest talent, but it’s tiring.

Here’s hoping we all get through Thursday with only good surprises…

SHE WOLF AND CUB Starts Today!

Have you ever said to yourself, “Self, where are all the cyborg assassin Westerns, because I really want to read one?”

I did. So I wrote one. And you can now read it.

swacThat’s right! Fireside has just begun Year Three. That means my book-length serial, She Wolf and Cub, taking off where my short story Maternal Type ends, is beginning! Chapter One is out today. It has art by the fabulous Galen Dara and is just generally some of the most kickass fun I’ve had writing something for a long while.

Longtime readers will remember that PACK, an e-short out through Orbit, is one of my first attempts at writing the short story that eventually became She Wolf and Cub. Just in case you wanted to see how a story can change, and morph, and become something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

I’m really excited for this year’s Fireside, and I hope you guys are too. Please consider subscribing or otherwise supporting–Fireside’s mission is providing great fiction AND paying its writers a decent wage, two things I very much believe in.

Happy Monday!

Mad Scramble

piano My brain aches. The last few days have been a mad scramble, between starting the music theory course, having houseguests, finishing revisions, and generally catching up and cramming about six weeks’ worth of work into less than a weekend. All of which adds up to me staring blankly at the computer screen, trying to remember what the hell I was thinking about a few moments ago.

Those episodes seem to grow in number and intensity the older I get. Here’s hoping meditation and piano playing will stem the tide. Really, my brain is all I have going for me, I should take good care of it.

The complete Fireside serial is in first draft form, and it’s resting with the editor now. Finishing the zero and going back so soon to revise might have overstrained a few neurons, though I’m told only the weak ones die. (Perhaps that’s why I’m having such trouble finding my bloody car keys.) Also, today has been taken up with Storium work, blurbage, a proposal for a new romantic suspense series–well, since I’m not writing YA I have some time on my docket, and I like writing suspense. (I like getting paid, too. Fancy that.) Plus, I have to look at the revisions for the first Gallow book and go through them with an eye toward the second, which is bubbling away in the back of my active little brain.

Not until tomorrow, though.

I’ll be back later this week to tell you all about the time Odd Trundles ate a bamboo toilet seat. It’s been juuuuuuust long enough now that I can laugh, thinking about it. (That is, laugh nervously and change the subject.) Also, the Ripper Affair is due out soon! I should dig out my microphone and maybe read you lot the first chapter, if you’d enjoy that? I have ideas of reading first chapters, just as a service to my Beloved Readers.

But again, not today. Miles to go before I sleep, again. Stay cool out there, chickadees. And let’s hope the manuscripts I have out on offer see some movement soon…

She Wolf Is Zero

Relaxed Pointe Yesterday I finished the zero draft of the upcoming Fireside Fiction serial, provisionally titled She Wolf and Cub. The tale takes off where my previous Fireside short, Maternal Type, ended. It was a mad scramble to get to the zero draft finish line, partly because the story wanted to tear itself out of my head bloody, whole, and raw.

Consequently, I was completely useless last night, but it ended up being all right since someone else cooked dinner. I didn’t have to do much beyond stare into space, eat a bit, and maybe grunt once or twice when the conversation turned my way. The dogs, well used to my periodic spells of “FINISH STORY BRANE PORRIDGE,” were completely thrilled that instead of moving about the house cleaning or doing Similar Unnecessary Things, I settled right where they could see me without having to get up.

Of such small things are canine joys made.

So, today I don’t have a lot to say. I’m giving myself a day or two to let the zero draft rest, then it’s straight into revising, perhaps taking another whack at Rattlesnake Wind, and Lammas is my drop-dead date for starting the next Jeremy Gallow book. In between now and then, there’s also revisions on the first Gallow book to take care of.

Guh. My brain hurts just thinking about it. Time for me to go stare at a wall for a bit, play some piano, drag out a trunk novel and pick at it.

See you around the bend, chickadees.