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.

Keep a Straight Face

Well, I’ve made it through another weekend. Things are stressful, but I just have to keep plugging away making books, I guess. Hollywood can call me with that fantastic offer to buy movie rights any time now, is all I’m saying.

I finished the initial revise on Season One of HOOD, watched Season One of Broadchurch, and–because it delights my daughter–was introduced to anime of Black Butler, which is just so extra. I love everything about it, and now some of the jokes the kids make about it make ever so much more sense.

I mean, they explain the jokes enough that I can reference them in common conversation, but now I really get them, you know? It’s a series of exotic parenting moments. I mean, I knew that kids find out about a lot of things very quickly in school, but now there’s the internet and that’s a whole new vector. I don’t begrudge it, I’m just awfully, awfully glad that the little ones came to me while young with all sorts of anime-inspired questions that I could (fortunately) keep a straight face while I found somewhat age-appropriate answers for.

That’s the big secret of parenthood, is keeping a straight face during the whole thing.

Anyway, I’ve coffee to finish, a run to get in, and an ebook to proof. I’ll probably spend the day getting the end of HOOD‘s Season One scheduled and the preorder arrangements made. Once that’s set up, I’ll have to decide once and for all what I’m working on next. I’m enjoying the clamor of many projects for my attention; it’s the only time I feel in demand any more. Maybe tomorrow I’ll list those projects out so you can get a taste of what it’s like inside my head. (Doesn’t that sound like a threat, indeed.)

Anyway, time waits not for the weary or the wicked. I hope your weekend was as pleasant as mine, dear ones. Oh, and I should remind everyone that I’ve a new book out this month, and that you can read the first few chapters for free.

And now, Monday may begin.

Safe Treasures

If I keep leaving this on the kitchen counter it’s going to get splattered. But there’s nothing like being able to pick up a book while cooking. (Long-term Readers will remember the Princess and I are book-clubbing Huck Finn.)

Growing up, my books were held ransom. The adults would take them, especially if I was so foolish as to leave them anywhere but hidden under my bed, and then I’d be hit with a hardback or they’d ripe up a paperback or just throw it away. For people who complained about how much things cost, they were certainly flagrant with their abuse of bound wood pulp. I spent any money I could get from babysitting, infrequent allowance, or any other work I could pick up on books, and I became adept at hiding what mattered to me–but I suppose since it was my money, they didn’t mind wasting it.

And I learned to love libraries, because they wouldn’t tear up or throw away a library book. Their fear of the library policeman must have been much greater than their fear of being caught abusing me.

Go figure.

Anyway, the joy and glory of having my own house is that I can have books everywhere and anywhere, and they stay where I put them. Nobody rips them up or throws them away. My books are safe here. I’ve even, thanks to the internet, replaced no few editions that fell prey to those horrid people.

I am so glad to be an adult now. You couldn’t get me to return to my teenage years–or even childhood–if you paid me.

I wish you a lovely weekend, dear Readers, and safe places for all your treasured things. Over and out!

Waffles and Huck

Steelflower in Snow

The Princess beat me at resurrecting this morning, so she made me coffee; also, a crow has decided that the gutter right over my office window is the premium perch for keeping an eye on the backyard. I’m most of the way through Holland’s The Allies Strike Back, too, though I’ll have to grab book one of the trilogy from the library next. I dislike reading history out of order, but there’s nothing to be done for it.

Yesterday was pure Monday, ameliorated only by the prospect of waffles for dinner1 and the fact that HOOD really isn’t a bad story. When I finished the zero of Season One, I was feeling kind of low and like I wouldn’t be able to pull the series off, but now I’m much more sanguine. There’s one more revise after this, but first I’ve got to get through the initial pass. Thankfully, layering in more details and adding things I didn’t know when I started writing is the sum of the edits; structurally, the book holds up rather well.

I’m also reading Huckleberry Finn with the Princess. I’ve halted at the point where the king and duke show up, mostly because that’s when the narrative takes a turn and I want all my faculties about me during the Nonesuch and Mary Jane bits. If I have a favorite novel, the honor must go to Jane Eyre, but Huck is definitely in the top five2. One of the best school papers I ever wrote was a monstrous (somewhere around twenty pages, single-spaced, typed on a balky old manual typewriter) examination of the Mississippi as a symbol. I’m sure the teachers were not at all prepared for what they got, but I’d found a list purporting to be the right way to write college essays and followed it to the letter. Not only did I approach every damn thing the list said, I threw in all the alternatives they had listed under the main paragraph idea breakdowns.

I was a real joy to teach, I’m sure. But I got an A on that fucking paper.

This particular critical edition has the raftsmen’s scene in it, and I can see why Twain (or his editor) excised it; I can also see why Twain would want it in. And of course the breathless racism is jarring. Every time I read the n-word it’s like a punch to the gut, and while I still admire the scene where Huck says, “All right, then, I’ll go to hell,”3 it doesn’t work unless Huck absolutely believes that the right thing to do is to turn Jim in. Even the right decision is suspect and provisional in a racist culture, and it’s sobering to unpick the logical consequences and knock-on effects.

And to see how little has changed since Twain wrote in the aftermath of the Civil War. I don’t quite see Huck as an answer to the war, though. Twain was struggling with endemic issues much as Dickens did (though with much more humor, it must be said) but the lacunae are huge. It makes one wonder about one’s own blind spots, swimming in different (but directly descended) cultural waters.

Or at least, it should, and if it doesn’t you should make it.

I tend not to halt to allow fellow readers to catch up while book-clubbing. Instead, I swallow the book whole, and if my fellow clubbers fall behind I go back and read certain bits to keep my memory fresh. So we’ll see how it goes. The Princess has the same edition I do, and wants to read critically, so it’s much slower for her than for me. I have about twenty years’ worth of skill she doesn’t, but on the other hand, she sees things I don’t, so I’m really looking forward to her analysis.

For a little while, after finishing Poison Prince revisions, I crawled into a movie or TV show at the end of the day, just stuffing my head with visuals to get my brain to stop chewing at itself. Now I’m in the secondary phase of recovery, where I’m stuffing text in; I’m crawling to the couch with a book instead. The kids are somewhat downcast, because watching movies with Mum is apparently pretty hilarious, but they’ll bring their Switches out and play quietly while I read, and every once in a while someone will say something amusing and we’ll all laugh. It’s a lovely way to spend an evening.

I just have to get a full day’s work in before I can get there, which means I need to get out the damn door and run. Breakfast hasn’t quite settled but at least I’m pretty sure I won’t lose my coffee if I head out, and that’s the important thing.

Over and out, my dears.

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.