Preorders Ahoy!

Midian Unmade News! And lots of it. I got this in the mail yesterday–an advance uncorrected proof of Midian Unmade, which yours truly has a story in. It was lovely to hear from Joseph Nassise that the anthology had gotten off the ground, and the story, Bait and Switch, is one that had been knocking around inside my head ever since he told me there was a chance at a Nightbreed anthology. It was loads of fun to take Barker’s universe for a spin. It comes out in August, but you can get your preorder on now.

kin Also upcoming is the last Tale of Beauty & Madness (which was not my idea for a series title, I preferred Human Tales): Kin. It’s due out in the very beginning of March, and should you feel so inclined, you can preorder it as well. Preorders are very helpful to authors, they make for good arguments when contract time comes back around, so if you’ve been waiting for another book from me, might I suggest Ruby’s story? It’s the last in the trilogy, and my last YA offering for a while. I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to writing young adult stuff.

Trailer Park Fae Last but not least, there’s Trailer Park Fae. (Again, not my idea.) It’s due out near the end of June, and again, preorders are very helpful to authors.

I’m also working on self-pubbing a retelling of my favorite fairy tale of all–Beauty and the Beast. That process is moving ahead smoothly, and I should have more news about it soon. I’m playing with the idea of releasing it in paper first, ebook later, but we’ll see. I’m also offering editing packages again.

Thus concludes my not-very-frequent shilling of my creative wares. One of the things about publishing is that it’s a waiting game, a book takes a while to move through any quality-control process, and I can’t imagine just throwing a manuscript out unedited as some people seem to be doing nowadays. I am, however, considering posting a trunk novel on Wattpad under another name, just so you can see what unedited raw stuff looks like. We’ll see.

For now, though, I’ve two virus-soaked superspies to get into trouble, and some recovery from yesterday’s frantic rushing around to attend to.

See you in a bit, dear ones.

Preorder PACK!

PACK Psst! Wanna preorder a brand-new short story by yours truly?

That’s right, PACK is now available for preorder through Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and soon Google Play! (Kindle people, I’m sorry, but Amazon is still being greedy, so it’s not up for preorder there.) If you’d like an excerpt, you can read one here.

Short stories are generally difficult for me, and often I have to take several tries at one before I arrive at a finish point. Some of the malformed starts are able to be rescued and turn into finished stories in their own right, and PACK is one of them. The story had its genesis in last year’s Fireside Magazine short; before I could write Maternal Type I had to make several starts. Readers of Maternal Type and the upcoming Fireside serial will notice certain similarities, though PACK has no cyborgs.

I’m excited, and I hope you guys like Lydia and Huckleberry, and Oscar the Aussie, who may be very, very loosely based on a certain Australian Shepherd my readers will be familiar with…

Too Damn Hot

Thank YouIt’s Wednesday, so a new chapter of Selene is up! Also, SquirrelTerror is moving forward on the paper book front. If you contributed to the Indiegogo campaign and selected a perk, you should have already received your free copy of the SquirrelTerror ebook. If you didn’t, please email me! There are a couple contributors whose emails have gone a little wonky, and I want to make sure you get your perk!

And yes, Indiegogo contributors get the ebook early. SquirrelTerror’s official ebook release date is October 3; it will also be available in the Apple store, on Kobo, at Amazon, for the Nook–basically, everywhere, or as close to everywhere as I could get. Some of the campaign contributions went to buy a chunk of ISBNs today, so SquirrelTerror will have one to stick on the finished book. I’m still wondering if I want hardcover in addition to paperback. Choices, choices!

I finished a short story yesterday–it’s for an anthology based on some of Clive Barker’s work. More I can’t say, except that I hope the editor–and readers–like it. I was just plain giddy at the chance to be involved.

It’s going to be well over 90 today, which for us pale PNW mushrooms is way over on the “too hot” side of the spectrum. I’ve page proofs (for Wayfarer) to eyeball, so it’s time to crawl to the couch with some sharpened pencils and get cracking on that.

Much Like Monday

Odd Trundles
Odd Trundles
So far this morning, Odd has alerted me to:

* the Mad Tortie on my bed. Which I already knew, because she had nested in my hair and was contentedly grooming herself, and my forehead. This came to a short, sharp end when Odd woke up and started howling from his crate, informing me “MUM! MUM! SOMETHING ON YOUR HEAD! MUM! WAKE UP!”
* a pine cone that invaded the deck from above while Odd was eating breakfast
* my shoes set on the end of the bed, where they were clearly a danger to all present as well as being a CHANGE
* a dastardly Monopoly box on the couch

Odd doesn’t like change. AT ALL. Any break in routine stresses him, and things set where they don’t belong drive him into a frenzy of alert barking. (Laundry baskets, if not set in the armchair, are clearly Up To No Good and must be barked at.) He won’t stop until I arrive and touch the offending article to rob it of its dangerousness. Then all is well, and he wriggles in delight, sure that he’s been a Good Boy and Saved Mum From Incredible Danger.

I wish all problems were solved so neatly.

Today I am going to finish the short story currently eating my brain–it’s set in Clive Barker’s Nightbreed universe, and destined for an anthology. I’ll have more on that as it gets closer to the pub date, unless of course the story sucks bigtime. Which it might, I’m too close to it to see clearly.

In other words, it’s a Tuesday, and it feels very much like a Monday. Ugh.

*runs off to investigate sudden barking*

Snapback

oneissadderthantheotherYesterday I finished the zero draft of a short story for Fireside Mag, tentatively titled Maternal Type. If it won’t work for them I’ll write them another–I should finish another short story just to have on hand, just in case. Usually I wait until I’m asked to produce one, which may explain part of why the process is so…fraught. It may also explain why I don’t do so many of them–because going oh my God you might not like this one let me produce fifteen and let you choose please like one pleasepleaseplease is sort of…creepy. And not so professional.

Anyway, Maternal Type slid out pretty easily once I was over the initial WARGH, which is how second attempts at short stories (thankfully) tend to go. Then for the rest of the day, my brain was full of echoes. I’ve written about snapback before, but I might as well have another go at it.

Snapback is what I call that peculiar exhaustion which follows finishing any intense piece of creative work. Working means your engines–the massive things that sit below the floor of your consciousness, making everything tremble with their humming–are going full speed, perhaps pulling a massive weight, perhaps Tuning an entire world into being. When the work of creation is done, all that energy, all that force doesn’t just stop. It has to wind down, sparking and shuddering.

Which is, to say the least, uncomfortable. For me, the sensation of having my brain turn into mush is unpleasant in the highest degree. The end of a big project or even just a very vivid and deeply-felt one feels a little like an emotional hangover, with a component of physical aches and pains. All that emotional energy spent may overdraw one’s “bank”, and I know writers who invariably catch a cold after finishing a work or series. In other words, it feels like crap.

A lot of new or aspiring writers make the mistake of thinking this discomfort (or outright pain) means they’re doing something wrong, and subtly (or not so subtly) use it as another reason not to finish other works, just to flog the one completed thing. Which shoots them in the foot, in more ways than one. Instead of viewing it as a normal part of a process, like the aches and pains the day after a hard workout, they think “OH GOD I’M DYYYYING” And a lot of wonderful stories they could have told afterward rot unborn inside them.

Learning about your own snapback after finishing is a valuable part of teaching yourself to produce consistently. You don’t need to lie caterwauling on a bed of nails–unless you like that sort of thing, I guess? At least, not for very long. Give yourself a time limit. I generally need a day’s worth of recovery time after a short story. Novels, especially end-of-series novels, might take a week. Right after you finish, do celebrate! Get down, get your groove on, get inebriated if you want, glory in the fact that the fucking thing is finished. And do give yourself a little bit of time to feel like the low end of the pool.

My recovery often involves mindless video games, long walks, and periods of time just spent staring out a window, my mind slowly congealing back into its usual sharp bustle. I give myself a deadline to be done with that part of the process. (Sometimes this doesn’t work, and I’m mortified at myself for not getting off the stick sooner.) By acknowledging the need and building the expectation of a little time to recover into your process as a matter of course, you’re giving yourself the best possible start on a new project.

So, what does your snapback look like? What’s your process? Mine is constantly in need of fine-tuning–the Valentine series knocked me sideways, where the Damnation Affair left me feeling tired but oddly energized as well. (My God, that book was a lot of fun.) Don’t expect the process to stay static–but do account for it.

Over and out.