Cautionary Cranky

Yesterday I did All the Things. There was revision, there was fresh formatting to do for a paperback of Quill & Crow1, and revising on HOOD. Plus cleaning the kitchen, dinner to make, dogs to run, and a whole raft of things I had scheduled because it was a “holiday” and I had it in my head I wasn’t working.

Except I did. And now I feel like I need a weekend to recover from that one-day holiday. I spent a restless night toss-turning between two dogs who really just wanted the bed to themselves, and consequently am a bit cranky.

Check that. Majorly cranky.

There are things I should do: suit up and run, clean the kitchen again, bang my head some more on revisions, get a good chunk of text on The Poison Prince–I want the astrologer and the general to introduce a new layer of complexity and the lady-in-waiting needs her father’s signet and another marriage proposal–and figure out what to make for dinner as well as get some laundry in. There’s fifty million other things I should be doing.

I suspect, however, that what I will be doing is following the current plagiarism drama in Romancelandia (it’s a dilly) and poking at Lightning Bound since the witch and the storm god are working at cross-purposes while trying to save each other, and that’s a catnip dynamic for me. I love writing tension and scenes where two people who should be allies are actually working against each other.

I might even get to feeling enough like a lazy slug to accomplish a few things on the to-do list. Maybe it’ll even wear me out enough to sleep tonight, despite canines and their liquid sleeping habits. (As in, they turn into heavy liquid and spread, and spread, and spread…)

Don’t be like me, chickadees. Let your days off be days off, so you don’t arrive at the first day back at work exhausted. It’s too late for me, I suspect I shall be doing this until I die2, so learn from my cautionary tale.

*wanders away muttering about to-do lists and dogs, not necessarily in that order*

Planning Indispensable

This morning was a mad scramble to get everything done, since the Princess has come down with a stomach bug. I got a run in, thank goodness, and so far I’m holding steady. Traditionally I’m the last to get the heaves; sometimes I simply refuse to get ill until everyone else is over the sickness.

I just…I need to be left alone while I vomit, really. I hate throwing up, and if I have to do it, it’s best to just give me some damn space.

I wanted to get some serious writing in The Poison Prince done today, but there’s also HOOD to think of, and last night I got the setup for the lightsaber duel all settled–it involved Tuckerizing a couple people. I am a little in awe of how many folks want to die messily in one of my books. Maybe it’s a rite of passage? There’s subscription stuff to get out the door, yakisoba to prepare for tonight assuming nobody is violently emptying their digestive tract in different directions, a pair of headphones to charge (I think I need another way of shutting out the world while I write) and and and…

…I’m going to have to make a list, or nothing will get done. I mean, I have a list, but it’s one I made last night and events are moving somewhat quickly. No plan survives contact with the enemy, but planning is indispensable, and all that. I suppose another day of letting the duel scene gestate won’t be so bad. Generally the longer something like that cooks the easier it is to get a reasonable zero draft, but I want to be done with this little love-fest between Robb and Giz1 so I can write the landspeeder race.

So it’s another jolt of coffee, praying my stomach doesn’t decide to reject the offering, and list-making. Then it’s going down the list, bit by bit and one by one, and remembering not to kick myself if I somehow don’t get everything done while juggling a nauseous child and another child who may end up that way at the drop of a hat. I’m also chilled today; I haven’t been warm since the dogs nosed me out of bed–giving me an almost-split lip in the process, I might add.

Boxnoggin is VERY EXCITED when he hears me beginning to stir in the morning, and that excitement requires FLYING LEAPS onto the bed, back off again, then onto the bed once more, rinse and repeat.

At least Robin Hood only had crapping in the woods and a wicked sheriff to deal with. He got off easy, the jerk. Maybe I can make my Robin lose a hand…

*wanders away muttering nasty things about her characters*

Full Dance Card

So the Kindle edition of Atlanta Bound is now back up at Amazon. Since it’s coming through Draft2Digital, I can be assured you’re getting the whole file and there’s no hanky-panky. Amazon’s still refusing to make things right with me, for lo I am just a poor content creator. I’ll just take my toys and go elsewhere. I’m considering shifting plenty of my previous works off KDP–don’t worry, they’ll still be available for Kindle and on Amazon itself, I just won’t be listing them through the KDP interface.

Oddly, the books I haven’t listed through KDP seem to do ever so much better than the ones I have. Which makes me very…thoughtful.

Very thoughtful indeed.

In any case, it only took two weeks, severe aggravation, and multiple emails both from me and from angry Readers. Practically a bargain, right? (/sarcasm)

Anyway, I have Robb and March drinking tai, a servant girl and her mistress, and a daimon and a Celestial Representative to write today, as well as Latin, piano practice, running, snuggling the doggos, and dinner to think about. It’s a full card, and why I jam-packed my holiday Monday I have no idea. Unless it was that I felt so good on Sunday I made out the list for the next day’s work in a fit of deep optimism.

Even the best of us have those moments, I’m sure.

Anyway, it’s time to get the next few things on the list checked off so I can run with two dogs trying to pull me in opposite directions. I’ve never seen the Chariot card played so plainly in real life. It’s enough to put me off tarot for a week, except I need the practice.

See you around, folks.

Seasoning, Not Dish

I’ve taken to making a list of the next day’s proposed work before I go to bed at night, and leaving it on my desk. It’s yet another way to get the engines beneath the floor of my consciousness to work on what I want them to work on instead of chewing up random stuff and spitting it at me at 3am.

I mean, that’s kind of fun and there’s room in my life for it, but it needs to be a seasoning, not the whole dish.

Yesterday I was struggling with The Poison Prince. It’s the second in a trilogy, so the bridging requires careful thought. It’s early days in the project, so I had to take a deep breath and let the book do what it wants. It worked–a scene I didn’t expect fell out, a character moving forward and taking her place in the sun. She gets an arc of her own, this young lady, but I’m not sure where it ends.

I have to write and find out.

Then it was HOOD, untangling a discussion between Alladal and Marah. Al’s a romantic lead all her own, and she wants the Dirty Dancing soundtrack all the time. Marah, of course, has been carrying a torch for someone all this time. There are several relationships happening at once when Marah, Robb, Giz, and Al are all onscreen, and a vast majority of them are unrequited.

It’s fun. And deconstructing the Robin Hood mythos is even better. I’m fascinated by the idea that terraforming and generation ships won’t necessarily lead to a fairer and more equitable society. Plus it’s difficult to have the whole Robin Hood thing without a huge inequality, whether corporate or feudal or–what I’ve eventually gone with–both. It’s also fun to swim around in the history and myth and pull out the threads one wants, clipping them fast and building a whole new structure. After working with many different influences, it’s like slipping into a warm bath to return to one’s own backyard.

Anyway, today I get to write Little John and Maid Marian, as well as John and Robin Hood puffing and blowing like the two stiff-necked veterans they are. It doesn’t help that both of them are drunk and wounded from separate barfights.

Well, write what you know, right?

There’s also Latin flashcards, piano practice, and running the dogs. My dance card’s full, and that’s the way I like it.

Let’s kick Thursday in the pants.

Kept From Brooding

I finished up the revisions on two short stories yesterday–the Hansel & Gretel kung fu story and the Alice in Wonderland/Resident Evil one. Both are sent off to the editors now, since they need another pair of eyes to figure out where the lacunae are. The stories are so vivid inside my head I forget the reader can’t peek inside my skull and watch them. Maybe one day technology will allow for that–I remember a Tanith Lee novel where someone had a job doing as much–but for right now, text is the tool I’ve got to pry the stories out of my head.

There’s an update on yesterday’s post about Atlanta Bound. It’s particularly telling that KDP only responded once I unpublished the book, which cuts into their profits. I expect Amazon to drag its feet over listing the book as distributed by Draft2Digital, too, especially now that I’ve publicly called them out. Which isn’t perfect, it is an inconvenience I did my best to prevent, but there’s nothing to be done for it.

Anyway, today I have a scene in The Poison Prince to rip apart and rework–an Emperor and his second concubine having a long-overdue conversation–and Alan-a-Dale has to visit Maid Marian’s clinic besides. My work is cut out for me, and there’s also lasagna to be made for the Princess’s houseguests. Somewhere in there the dogs need walks, and I should probably take a shower before the morning gets much older.

The Princess greeted me with coffee this morning as I shuffled into the kitchen, a truly welcome event. Boxnoggin and B are still worn out from yesterday’s wind and long-ish run, and the advent of visitors will explode their Tiny Little Minds. There’s a lot of excitement planned for today.

I should probably get started. No rest for the weary or the wicked, my loves, and sometimes I prefer it that way. It keeps me from brooding.

Or at least, it tries to. I’m pretty sure I can brood anywhere, anytime.

Over and out.

Making a Virtue

Amazon’s still bollixed up about the Atlanta Bound release. Ah well, all other distribution platforms are doing well, and you can get the .mobi edition through Gumroad. So if Amazon’s jackassery is getting you down and you need your final fix of Ginny, Juju, Lee, and the gang, head on over.

Yesterday was a Very Good Writing Day. I tossed out a whole scene in The Poison Prince, but at least that wrong scene had shown me what the right one needed to look like, and said right scene consequently came out with little trouble. Then I switched to HOOD and a ball; there was dancing and intrigue, all leading up to a scene change and a seedy bar brawl. I suspect this is the first of many; what is a Robin Hood story without them?

Today I have to write the actual bar fight, and figure out if the next scene in Poison Prince is the bedridden Emperor or something else. I suspect I’ll need more coffee for the latter. Epic fantasy is slow to get out the gate, and finishing the massive revise on Book 1 almost broke me. I’m pretty sure the reason I’m tearing my hair out over Poison Prince is that I want to avoid Revision Hell, but I’m not sure it’s possible. Epic fantasies, when they break out of the egg, require a certain amount of effort to train their beaks and claws. Robbing them of the exercise might make them faint, or I might just be making a virtue out of a difficult part of a process.

I also might make lasagna today, because clearly I am a glutton for punishment. Though if I’m going to do that, I should stop blogging and get started, because of course lasagna requires proper bread to go with it, and proper bread does not make itself.

I hope your week has been calmer than mine, dear Readers. We’re almost to the weekend, but for now I’m putting on my Menstrual Rage Hat and rolling up my sleeves. Let us take no prisoners and reach the weekend all in one piece.

Or, at least, in a minimum of pieces…

Prospective Jacket

Both dogs are exhausted by roughhousing after breakfast. Which is fine by me, it’ll make walking them easier. It’s also chilly today, with a brisk wind, which Sir Boxnoggin does not enjoy. Miss B, thanks to her wonderful Aussie undercoat, is an all-weather dog, but Boxnoggin may need a jacket if it gets much colder.

I have deep philosophical objections to pet costumes, but a little pink plaid jacket to make Boxnoggin feel like a warm boy sounds delightful. I’ll have to take a handful of treats and measure him up.

He will probably try to eat the tape measure, but such is life with canines.

I spent a good seven hours hunched over revisions yesterday, which was at once a vacation–because my work days are generally about ten hours long–and a torment, because my back has decided it doesn’t like the super-fancy office chair at the moment. Time for pillows and other such things until my back decides once more I and the chair can be trusted.

I almost, almost got to the point where I need to shoehorn another scene in. I think the bastard prince needs to be on a caravan heading into the capital city of his country’s greatest enemy, and seeing the sheer size and scope of said city will have a few effects on him. He’s very much a “go big or go home” character, and it’ll be interesting if he decides to do the former in the series.

As it is, though, I just want this goddamn revision over. The book’s crept past 185K, and if one more person says “but it needs more politics!” I am going to scream like a Munch painting. Since a certain game of thrones has become popular, everyone wants to shoehorn similar things into every damn fantasy, losing sight of the fact that it’s characters people care about that drive the whole thing. Publishers are always looking to force the Last Big Thing into the Next Big Thing, whether it wills or no. Fighting that tendency is exhausting sometimes.

All the same, I love my job, and I’m sure when this book achieves its final fighting form I’ll be proud of it. I’m just tired right now, that’s all.

Which means it’s time to get out the door with the dogs. If we keep moving the wind won’t trouble us much. At least, that’s the plan.

Over and out.