Particularly, Blissfully

Some mornings, that first sip of coffee is particularly glorious. I mean, it’s always good, but sometimes it’s more than good. I can almost feel the caffeine molecules jumping across fleshly barriers to kick-start my brain. It could be merely psychological, but caffeine does go straight across the stomach barrier, so…

Monday again, and I may have recovered from the roof replacement. Certainly I’ve been sleeping better, which could be a function of cooler weather. Not to complain–we had perfect conditions for roofing, and the cloudy coolness afterward has been likewise perfect for the amount of gardening I had saved up (since the sprinklers are now working again too, hallelujah).

What I’m not doing this morning is looking at the discourse. Nope, sorry, nerves can’t take it, I can remain blissfully unaware of both news and analysis for a few more days. I’m just too emotionally exhausted. Sure, I’ve been reading Gibbon’s Decline and Fall all my life, I saw this coming, I even wrote a whole goddamn book about it. I don’t have to keep looking, I know perfectly well what’s going on.

I worked furiously ahead before Bailey’s passing, too, knowing the grief would knock me caddywumpus, and it’s time to get back to it. Even thought Sons of Ymre 2 has around 40k words, it’s only a little over halfway done and I’m not going to be able to turn it in on time. I hate that. I don’t mind if publishers/editors fall behind–there are a lot of moving parts for them to corral, and honestly a worldwide pandemic plus fascist coup are good reasons for disruption–but I despise being behind myself. So it’s time to either catch up or just do my best.

All of which means reserving what sanity and energy I have by not looking at the news. I can feel my will to live being sucked away each time I even glance at the mess.

So. Today I rework (again) this goddamn scene in Hell’s Acre, I clear a pile of stuff so I can get Sons of Ymre 2 into the mix, and I open up the Tolkien Viking Werewolves again. Book 2 of that little series needs some attention now too. Closer to the end of the month I have line edits on Ghost Squad 2 to eyeball; I think the book will hold up pretty well to that last real read before copyedits. At least I don’t have to worry about That Damn Werelion Book until after the first of the month; the paperback should be live in early August and the ebook is in September.

And Guilder to frame for it. I’m positively swamped.

Of course, now that I have a plan for attacking the mountain of work looming before me, the Muse wants nothing more than to fool around with the follow-up to Strange Angels. Which will probably never see light of day, but I did tinker with it this past weekend in dribs and drabs, more to keep my hand in than anything else. But it’s Monday now, such things must fall by the wayside, and there’s also the dog to walk. Which I should get to, as soon as this coffee has been finished.

It’s gonna be a busy week, my beloveds. I hope your weekend was restful and that we’re all in fighting trim. I’ve got the machete on one side, the Louisville Slugger on the other, and I’m ready to rumble.

See you around.

While They Stay

The weekend was… busy. The neighbor’s beloved Big Cat–more properly a dog in a feline body, one of the few cats I’ve ever met whose fuzzy belly is not a trap–came down late Saturday night with what we’re almost sure is saddle thrombosis. The vet at the animal hospital agrees, so now it’s just keeping him quiet and stable long enough to get him to his regular vet, where further decisions will be made.

Poor fellow. He’s got painkillers, so his human is probably feeling worse than he is at this point. I just wish I could punch the offending disorder right in the face, knocking it out of his poor kitty body and restoring him to health. May Bastet watch over him and his human today.

So that’s happening. I did get the winners of the Happy New Strange Angels Giveaway notified, so at least there’s that. And I got plenty of housework done in between trips to the animal hospital and helping with Big Cat. I swear, I need Monday and Tuesday to recover from every damn weekend lately.

I feel like I want to change up some of the Soundtrack Monday vibe, too, so I’ve got to think of that. Maybe I’ll highlight a song on a working soundtrack instead of one for a published book. Hm.

…I’d add more, but I’m too tired. I should probably think about breakfast; 6am was just too early for a nervous stomach to accept anything but coffee. I’m tetchy despite a short run. Maybe wanting to punch intangibles will go away when I get something solid in me, but I’m not betting on it.

The rest of today’s work involves outlining, after a fashion. I know I’m going to throw out the outline halfway through when the true shape of the work becomes visible, but before then it’s nice to have handholds, even if they’re entirely wrong. As in warfare, no plan survives contact with the enemy but planning is indispensable nonetheless.

Hug your furry friends today, my dears. They are with us so briefly, and give so much while they stay.

*sigh* Onwards, I guess. If I sit still and think about it, I’ll drown.

Giveaway, and Other Monday

Good morning, chickadees! It was a long weekend, and one I’m not quite sure I made it through intact. But I did get to settle on the couch with a book on contesting orthodoxy in the medieval and early modern era, so there’s that.

And we have a new giveaway! This month it’s for two signed, personalized Strange Angels/Betrayals bind-ups, copies of which I have signed I can count on one hand. It’s also out of print, which makes it even more rare. There will be two winners, and of course, newsletter subscribers got first crack at it. But now you, too, can enter–and multiple times to up your chances, too. It is worldwide, but media mail–I can’t afford quicker postage, so it will take a wee bit for your book to get to you.

It’s been warmer than usual for the past couple days, which the dogs have liked. At least, Boxnoggin, being a slick-coated fellow, has liked it; Miss B doesn’t mind since she’s got her lovely undercoat to keep her warm or cool as the situation demands.

It’s a holiday, so I’m moving rather slowly. Said dogs need their walkies, and I should probably stretch out a bit and get ready for a week that will be full of yet more revision madness. I’m prepping Season Two of HOOD for eventual publication, and I have a couple new tools to do it with. This time around I’m going to try proofing in PDF instead of on paper, which I’m sure will be a barrel of fun for all involved. I have the iPad, the pencil, and the app for doing it; I’m hoping it will be enough like paper that I can actually see the errors.

Proofing on something in my lap, with a pencil clutched firmly in hand, is vastly different than proofing on my desktop screen. Each way I see different errors; I’m pretty sure it engages vastly different parts of the brain. If this particular strategy works, trad publishers will be overjoyed at not having to send me paper proofs; if it doesn’t, well, at least I tried.

I suspect I’m going to say “at least I tried” a lot this year. There are worse fates.

And now it’s time for said walkies with said canines. They’ve been very patient, but Miss B has her nose on my knee, so I suspect her remaining patience is of short duration.

I suspect that will be a theme for this year as well. Looking forward to it. Happy Monday, my friends!

Soundtrack Monday: Measuring Cups

Strange Angels

I’m not a huge Andrew Bird fan. Some of his stuff is just confusing for the sake of confusion, and that irritates me.

And yet Measuring Cups came across my musical radar just at the right time while I was writing Dru dealing with the bullshit that is high school, especially for kids who have nonstandard problems. It’s what would be playing over a montage of Dru in the halls of a normal high school, dodging jocks and rolling her eyes at teachers.

The teacher Dru inadvertently almost hexes to death is a composite of three separate educational “professionals” I had the bad luck to encounter from middle to high school. Of course, I’m sure I was a treasure myself–too smart for my own good, highly verbal, with a hideous home life and a penchant for both mischief and coming to school hungover.

Anyway, sometimes a song comes along at exactly, but exactly the right moment. And this was one.

I am toying with the idea of a sequel series to Strange Angels, and am waiting to see if my agent wants sample chapters. It might be something I do as a serial if I can’t get a publisher to pony up, but that takes planning and my plate’s full today.

Still… it’s nice to dream. Just as long as you’re not dreaming of owls and winged snakes, I guess.

Soundtrack Monday: Let Me Down Easy

Strange Angels

It’s time for another Soundtrack Monday! It’s Labor Day, so I’m only working a half day, but I’ve been wanting to share this one with you.

Graves in Strange Angels had his genesis in several boys I knew in high school. His musical tastes were eclectic, to say the least, but I could always reliably get him to come out and start talking if I played a little Chris Isaak. (Or Metallica, but that’s neither here nor there.)

Eventually, even the first few bars of Let Me Down Easy would give me a window into how he was feeling. The series is told from Dru’s point of view, but you can’t know just one character’s motivations and expect to have a whole story. You need to know what everyone in the room wants, even if it’s something so simple as a glass of water. (Thank you, Vonnegut.)

And poor Graves wanted, above all, to be worth his glass of water. It may be what every child with a highly suboptimal home life wants. I did plan to go back to that world with a Maharaj girl sent to train Dru in her heritage, but the publisher didn’t want it and finally took the Human Tales instead.

Anyway, enjoy the tune, and when I come back tomorrow I’ll tell you more about that turkey.

Soundtrack Monday: Into Something Good

Strange Angels

Sometimes a character requires the most outlandish things. For example, Christophe Reynard in Strange Angels has an extremely narrow musical taste–as in, it pretty much stopped changing when Buddy Holly died. Doo-wop and be-bop, in his opinion, will never die.

The fellow considers Herman’s Hermits, while somewhat late to the party, the absolute acme. So much so, that the very first scene I tried writing from his point of view is Christophe in a grocery store (right after the first time he’s met Dru) humming I’m Into Something Good. It didn’t make it into the finished book–the entire Strange Angels series is told from Dru’s POV, but sometimes I wrote small scenes from other characters just so I could figure out what indeed was happening.

Of course, the song playing during those few short but extremely intense moments of his and Dru’s first meeting (the one that ends up with Christophe catching a shotgun blast courtesy of our favorite svetocha) is, of course, Can’t You Hear My Heartbeat.

He’s a funny fellow, Christophe is, but I guess when your murderous, sociopathic dad’s the current king of the vampires you can be forgiven a few quirks. Psychological standards for djamphir, he would say, notwithstanding.

He might even, being Reynard, say it with a small, fanged smile.