Perspective and Rescue

Good morning! I woke up with Hall & Oates singing about your kiss is on my list, and whichever one of you gave me that earworm, I will have my revenge.

Ahem.

Yesterday was super productive, mostly because I got a run in. I just work better when I can pound the pavement, for however short a period. Yesterday was also nerve-wracking–Haggard Feathers goes paid-subscription this month, so I was doing the last bit of prep for that. One free post per month, the rest will be paid-subscriber-only, and I’ll be doing an open thread every Thursday for paid subscribers to ask me about writing and publishing.

I figure I’ll try it for a year and see how it works out. I like Substack‘s terms way better than Medium’s, and the fact that the former makes a point of not “owning” my data/content and the latter makes a point in the opposite direction has a lot to do with my willingness to experiment.

I also spent some time procrastinating (after the productivity, of course) with Canva templates. Graphic design is so not my strong point, but I like playing.

Isn’t that nice? It’s something I say a lot–sooner or later, the muscle inside your head that sees good writing material gets hypertrophied (and there’s a great deal of hyperplasia, too, but that’s beside the point) and everything becomes material. Which is great when something hurts like hell–thinking this will be great material helps provide perspective and gives the pain meaning, which is a step in ameliorating it. It’s not so great when one is relentlessly questioning one’s own happiness, but I consider it a small price to pay.

Of course other people’s mileage may vary, but the warning still stands. Sooner or later, all things serve the work.

Anyway, I’ve more Sons of Ymre to get done today–one character is about to rescue another from a burning car–and I’ve got to get some characters in HOOD rescued in their little escape pod. Rescue seems to be the theme of the day, which might bode ill for the dogs’ walk. If all else fails they can drag me home, though.

Let’s hope it’s not necessary; I’ve got so much to do today.

I’d best get started then, hadn’t I.

Maintenance and Morning

So last night, while I was doing some site maintenance, a plugin choked and tossed about twenty old, old posts–from 2017–into the blog-subscription-queue. I’m so sorry about that, guys–I hate getting my inbox snowed under, and I can only imagine how much you guys do. I apologize; that plugin has been told to go sit in the corner and THINK about what it’s done, and that was the end of my Wednesday.

I decided, after that, it was time to go to bed.

This morning went from fog to a pink-striped, cotton-candy sky. I watched the sun rise while lying warm and safe in bed, Miss B snuggled against my side and Boxnoggin snoring in a furry lump, as he is wont to do. Both dogs were worn out after yesterday’s rainy fun and games. I found out that yes, I do still need breakfast on running days, and furthermore found out that Boxnoggin can practically drag me home if necessary. (He didn’t have to… but he could have, and it was a comfort.)

Now I’m up, and have a few toads to swallow before I can get back to Sons of Ymre. I think that’ll be the thing I finish next. I have an idea of what I want to do with the story, which hinges on the fact that the Sons can’t really trust their own perceptions in certain cases. Being under constant siege from the whispers of a mad god has a certain effect on one, and it’ll be a hat trick to delineate the mounting dread of a certain main character. Especially once their safe haven is broken into and it becomes a road-trip book.

Other than that, Damage is with a beta reader, I’m clearing my submissions queue by the end of February (which means nothing will be out on sub come April), there’s Season Two of HOOD to CE, proof, and format, the third installment of Hostage to Empire to write now that I have the structure of the book decided, a monthly price on my writing advice column to decide upon–I’m thinking $6/mo–not to mention Season Three of HOOD to get underway–and Guilder to frame for it.

I’m swamped.

You know I like the feeling of having too much work; it’s oodles better than not enough. Some exciting stuff I can’t talk about is coming down the pike, and I might, might be able to squeeze in writing a good chunk of The Highlands War (that’s a fresh new Kaia Steelflower book, natch) for upcoming serial purposes. Don’t get your hopes up yet, though–I’ve so much else to do, I might not be able to, and of course the people who write to me demanding (not encouraging, not telling me how much they like Kaia’s adventures but flat-out DEMANDING) more of that world are doing more harm than good.

I haven’t forgotten that one person who was extremely vocal about demanding other Steelflower books/chapters was the person putting them up on thieving torrenting sites. (Yes, I include a nag and specific typos in certain things, so I can pinpoint who’s listing my stuff on pirate/thievery sites.) So, outright demanding that I write more Kaia makes me want to dig in my heels and is extremely counterproductive.

Anyway, the dogs need a brisk walk to shake off morning fidgets, and I need it in order to shake off the logy feeling of not nearly enough caffeine. I might make myself another jolt if I still feel woolly-headed when we come back home.

Again, I’m super sorry about last night’s snafu, guys. I take being invited into your inbox very seriously, and accidents are embarrassing. You can bet your sweet bippy I’ll be deleting that plugin during the next scheduled maintenance session.

And tomorrow’s Friday. It can’t come soon enough…

Relative Distinction

Well, it’s Monday, and back to work. I sent off the submissions draft of Finder’s Watcher late Friday night, and then had to catch up on everything I let slide during the push to finish that revision. On the bright side, a tonne of housework got done. The Princess arrived home from work exhausted to find good smells and plenty of snacks, and the Prince remarked that it was nice to see me taking a weekend off, for a change.

Little did either know I’m about to start on another, far more difficult and hazardous round of revisions. (Insert evil laugh here.) So will begin about a month of revising, cross-checking, muttering to myself, and wondering why on earth I made such a complex, fragile world.

I can see why gods are cranky most of the time. There’s always something that needs doing.

In any case, there’s the dogs to walk, a morning run to get in, prep, more prep, and a daily goal or two to set. If I try to look at the entire revision mass I’ll go mad; much better to break it into tiny chunks and chew on each in turn. It’s the Mouse Theory of Revising–each bite mannerly indeed, like the girl who ate the whale in the Shel Silverstein poem.

There’s also a Soundtrack Monday post to get done, since I took last week off. And I probably should have worked on the monthly newsletter, but the engine inside my head’s been in the red for so long things were starting to melt. I’m on a long course now, where I can–and should–take the curves a little more slowly.

That’s me, beating a metaphor almost to death. Sometimes I wonder if I ever experience anything directly without filtering it through the writer in my head, or without comparing it to a screen of other things. Then I think everything is relative, and living is only a matter of distinction.

I also need to finalize next year’s writing schedule. It would be nice if trad publishing would get off its ass and return decisions in a reasonable amount of time. I’ve already had to pull Sons of Ymre from submission to trads because they were sitting on their hands; that’ll probably be a self-pub title this upcoming year. If I can fit in The Highlands War I think I might; that’s been hanging fire for long enough. I at least want to get Kaia back to civilization in Antai before bringing that to a close.

I probably won’t write her and Darik’s return to G’maihallan; piracy continues to rob readers of things they really love. Each time I find the books pirated, I know it’s because some asshole just wants to hurt and violate, and it feels like someone’s spread offal on my bed. The next time one of your friends proudly trumpets that they don’t pay for books, that authors are rich and charge too much anyway, well, there it is.

Anyway, I need to figure out a prize big enough to reward myself at the end of this revision. Which will have to be a doozy, since I go straight into Book 3 of the trilogy after I’m done. And I’ll be revising Season Two of HOOD at the same time. Spaceships in the morning, preindustrial court espionage in the afternoon, evenings and weekends for things that make me feel human again.

It’s not a bad schedule. If I can keep it up for a month or two–Yule notwithstanding–I might feel as if I’ve caught up.

Might.

Enjoy your Monday, my dears. A Soundtrack Monday post is coming up around 2pm PST, for your delectation…

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!