Strawberry Autumn

This morning’s run was wonderful. I felt like I had little wings on my feet. Every once in a while, everything clicks and a good run comes along. It’s like a perfect day of writing. It keeps you coming back for more and enduring the days when it feels like peeling one’s own skin off in strips.

I am full of pleasant thoughts today. You’ve been warned.

However, the predawn was incredibly foggy, which made me think of Stephen King’s Strawberry Spring. Which led me to thinking about Springheel Jack. Along with plague pits, you can tell I’m working on the next Bannon & Clare. (Their first adventure, The Iron Wyrm Affair, is in revision now.)

I was planning what I’d do if Springheel Jack suddenly appeared in the fog, and perhaps that gave me some extra speed. “Be prepared” is not just a Boy Scout motto.

Let’s see, what else? I’m glad you guys are enjoying the Squirrel!Terror serial. When Neo recovered, things got incredibly interesting, but I am not going to write that for a little while. Here, instead you can have a peek at the first chapter of Reckoning, which is due out soon. I am excited and sad all at once–excited to share the culmination of Dru’s story, and sad to say goodbye to her.

I’m incredibly interested in and excited about Glitch right now. It’s sort of like Animal Crossing for grownups. (Although Animal Crossing is nice too.) It’s like WoW without killing, which can be a relief. (Sometimes, though, I just want to get a glass of wine and murder some pixels.) I like the idea of a game where you water plants, pet animals, build and cook things, and basically learn to be cooperative. It balances out my antisocial tendencies. *snort*

I’m very boring right now. I had some unpleasant news that knocked the wind out of me not too long ago; my writing partner, who is always full of good advice, has been reminding me to plan for what I’m frightened of instead of just thrashing about in fear. The planning certainly seems a more productive use of one’s time, plus it provides an feeling of control. That feeling may be illusory, but it certainly helps. So I’m retreating into my shell for a wee bit, a process that is probably helped by the fact that a nice cool autumn is setting in and spending time curled up in the house is not only soothing but pleasant. I tend to be a winter writer, anyway–my most productive seasons are the ones with filthy weather.

Ach, I’m nattering on. It’s Wednesday. I seem to have lost the knack of Wednesdays.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Just Ask, Preorders, And More!

Attention Selene and Nikolai fans! The story of Selene’s return to Saint City, Just Ask, is now available in the Mammoth Book of Hot Romance! I hope you like it.

Also, I’ve updated the FAQ, the Strange Angels page, and the Jill Kismet page. Preorder information for Reckoning and Angel Town is now live on those pages.

A lot of you are asking me about audiobooks, especially for the Kismet series. I do not know when or if specific books will be released on audio. I’m sorry, I just don’t know.

I’m still sore and hobbling from the fall I took earlier this week, so that’s about all she wrote. (Literally. Ha ha. I kill me.) I’m gonna go take some ibuprofen and brace myself for climbing.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Announcements!

It is just way too bright and sunny today. And it’s a good thing I’m damn stubborn, or I would have quit after three miles today and not had that awesome endorphin-kick runner’s high. Not to mention the drift of honeysuckle, the cheerful “good morning”s from other runners–I content myself with a “Morning!” in return, because I can’t be cheerful while struggling to stay upright and moving. I would have also missed having the shaded park all to myself for a few glorious circuits. That was nice.

So, announcements!

* If you’ve ever wondered how Selene returned to Saint City, you can read the brand-new Selene and Nikolai story, Just Ask in the upcoming Mammoth Book of Hot Romance.

* Also upcoming is Reckoning, the final book in the Strange Angels series. The end of August will see a bindup of bboks one and two, Strange Angels and Betrayals with an all-new, lovely cover.

* November will also see the final Jill Kismet book, Angel Town.

* You can now buy all five of the Dante Valentine novels in one smoking-hot omnibus. (Personal demon not included, sorry.) Also, Graphic Audio has released parts one and two of Working For The Devil, I believe part 1 of Dead Man Rising is also available.

* I will be attending SpoCon in August. Not quite sure what my schedule will look like, but I’ll be there on panels etc. I will also be at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powells annual SF/F Authorfest in ?November?, more details on that as it gets closer.

* There’s an interview with me up over at the Gatekeeper’s Post.

* I can’t really talk about this yet, but it’s up on Amazon. Tempty tempty.

* A big “welcome home” shout-out to TP, back from the wilds of Europe. *evil wink*

…I’m sure there’s something I’ve forgotten, but I haven’t even finished my coffee yet, so forgive me. Off I go to find a name that means “a hunter” for a wooden garden-boy. He wants Calhoun, but I’m not sure he should have it. He’s not the protagonist, so he doesn’t really get what he wants as far as names.

Damn characters. Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Fun Stuff, & RECKONING Contest

The Gnomepocalypse yesterday tired me out. So it’s just a couple things today:

* Part 2 of the GraphicAudio recording of Working For The Devil is now available!

* On May 31 I’m going to be at Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s, with Devon Monk and Ilona Andrews. You can preorder a signed copy of Defiance, the fourth in the Strange Angels series. Of course, Ilona and Gordon have challenged their readers to set a record for signed preorders. And Devon is running a giveaway, too.

Our honor is at stake.

So I’ll tell you what, dear Readers. From those who preorder a signed copy of Defiance, one winner will be drawn. This winner will get a chapter (chosen by me) from Reckoning, the last book in the series. That’s right–if you preorder a signed book from Powell’s before the May 31 event, you have a chance to read a chapter from Reckoning before anyone else in the world (other than my editor and agent).

I think we can give Ilona and Devon’s preorders a run for their money, can’t we? (PS: I believe Powell’s ships worldwide. Just sayin’.)

* Last but not least, Chuck Wendig on action scenes.

Good heavens, I’m exhausted. Time to buckle down and get some more of Bannon & Clare’s adventures written…

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Decompress Smart, Not Hard

Just a little catch-up today, since I have two books hanging fire in copyedits and another round of revisions.

For those of you asking when RECKONING will be out, I think it’s later this year–November 2011, if my memory serves me correctly. Yes, it will be the last book in the Strange Angels series. Dru’s story must and will come to a close.

Libba Bray tells you what it’s like to write a book, every time. I laughed so hard I almost cried, nodding my head over and over.

Here’s a post from Jaym Gates on decompressing, and how it’s necessary.

I do not disagree with Ms. Gates, but my non-disagreement comes with a couple important codicils. I am firmly in the “Gotta write every day” category. I don’t see how it’s possible to produce quality work in a timely manner without that practice and habit being built up over a reasonable period of time. This is my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. I’ve gotten flak for it, sure, but I’ve never seen a compelling argument for any other way.

That being said, there does come a point, when you have professionally or consistently written for a while, when you can take some time off. Because even during the time off, some part of your brain is still working on the story. It becomes a reflex. Still, this is dangerous. It’s easy to get out of the habit of writing every day, it’s easy to procrastinate, just like it’s easy to get out of the habit of regular physical workouts. An occasional day off, or a necessary decompression or two, is something one grants oneself while hopefully being fully aware of that danger. It’s good to take a vacation, but the hard part is getting back up on the horse again afterward. It is that–the determination to get back up on the horse–that is critical and crucial, and being in the habit of writing every day maximizes one’s chances. Human beings are wired for habit; make it work for you.

Here’s another codicil:

Back in the long ago days when I actually WROTE on a regular basis, that quote headlined every writing advice post I read. That was back when I had all sorts of world-building charts and questionnaires and Debated About First Person Vs Third with Great Seriousness on Official Writing Forums. At that point, you could probably have told me that standing on my head would get me published, and gotten instant obedience. (Jaym Gates)

World-building charts and questionnaires might be useful tools in moderation, but they’re not writing. Debating on online forums is not writing. A lot of new or aspiring writers make the mistake of thinking procrastination or the Internet is actual writing work. It’s the same principle the diet or self-help industry makes its money from: people confusing the effort of reading the books/watching the DVDs/whatever for actual effort spent getting exercise or doing hard nasty self-work. One gets an ersatz jolt from the book/CD/DVD, there is a flush of feeling good, then sooner or later the flush wears off, the problems reassert themselves, and a new diet/self-help book is sought.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t spend time outlining or on the Internet. That would be hypocritical as well as false. What I’m saying is: when you think you’re burning out on writing, look at the effort you’re spending on things you mistake for writing, and cut those things out first. Do not cut out the writing first thing. The writing is the whole point, cutting it out is shooting yourself in the foot. If you’ve cut away the procrastination, the Internet, all the little fiddles and indiscretions we use to hide from the writing, and you’re still burning out on producing the story, then it’s time to consider decompression.

And now, time for me to take some of my own medicine, get the hell off the Internet, and get some of these copyedits wrangled. I’ve got wordcount to get in today, too.

Over and out.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

DEFIANCE Giveaway!

That’s right, yesterday was the official launch of the fourth in the Strange Angels series, Defiance. I celebrated with Episode 2 of my podcast, Ragged Feathers. But that wasn’t nearly enough celebration, so today, I’m giving books away!

What you can win: There will be four (4) winners. I will be giving away three (3) signed copies of Defiance (note: if you’re outside the US, I will have to send books to you through BookDepository instead, sorry about that.) ONE lucky winner will get a set of all Strange Angels books so far–Strange Angels, Betrayals, Jealousy, Defiance–again, signed if you’re in the US, sent through BookDepository if you’re not.

What you do: In the comments of this post over at the Deadline Dames, you’ve got to tell me the best piece of trivia you ever found. I’m not talking about the most arcane, or the one you think will impress other people. I’m talking about that useless fact you found that made you deeply happy, made your socks roll up and down and your pants fly off. The winners will be picked with the help of Random.org; if the random spits out a comment number that has no trivia I’ll pick another. Remember, you must go to the Deadline Dames post to comment in order to win!

Ready? GO!

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

DEFIANCE Release!

ETA: A new podcast episode about the Defiance release, a semi-coherent rant, and Reader shout-outs is now up! Hooray!

Now for the giveaway announcement. Tomorrow is my day to blog at the Deadline Dames. I’ll be giving away three copies of Defiance, signed if the winner lives in the US, shipped through the Book Depository if you’re outside. To win, you’ll need to leave a comment with the most interesting bit of trivia you know. So be thinking, until then.

***

That’s right–the fourth book in the Strange Angels series, Defiance, is officially released today!

Dru Anderson has always been a good listener. She listened to her dad, but had to gun him down herself when he turned zombie. She listened to the Order, but got nothing but lied to in return. She listened to Christophe, and lost the only friend she had left.

Time to buckle up, boys and girls. Dru Anderson is done listening. From here on out, she’ll face the King of the Vampires on her own terms. And if the Order has a problem with it, they can kiss their sweet little svetocha goodbye…

There’s a free excerpt here, and Defiance is available through Barnes & Noble, Borders, Booksamillion, the Book Depository, and Amazon.

If you want a signed copy, no problem! Just drop an email to the friendly folks at Cover to Cover Books. Of, you can tune in later on in the day to my giveaway. Stick around!

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.