It’s not oatmeal. It’s my brains.

First, the obligatory self-pimpage: don’t forget the RECKONING contest! The May 31 event grows ever closer!

Things I did today include:

* Dropping off people at the airport without killing, maiming, or screaming at anyone. Banner occasion.
* Staring at a weird pale growth in the front yard until I realized it was a mushroom.
* Saying very loudly, “Jesus Christ, don’t eat that, what’s WRONG with you?” to my dog, then looking up and realizing a woman and her toddler were staring at me round-eyed.
* Wondering just where the J. Peterman Company got my address from. I mean, I’m not mad. I’m just curious.
* Realizing my current TBR stack includes five books on psychopathology, two books on forensic pathology, and six books on World War II.
* Admitting to myself that I find China Mieville‘s brain disturbingly hawt. (WHAT? I paid for Embassytown in HARDCOVER, thankyouverymuch.)
* Spending serious time while walking considering just how best to set up shots of Gilbert the Zombie Gnome at the May 31 event.

Things I looked up today include:

* Mining in the 1800s
* How to say “you magnificent bastard” in German
* Rapiers. RAPIERS ARE COOL. Actually, medieval fencing manuals are interesting too. I should totally get someone around here to put on a couple rapier fights for me…
* Prostitute slang in Victorian London. ^o.0^

Things I wrote today include:

* A mentath, an assassin, and a mad Bavarian go into a mine.
* A REALLY BAD joke. (If it ain’t baroque, donna fixit!)
* An entire email based on a sleeping tapir. (I love saying “TAPIR TOES!” at random moments.)
* A scorching letter to the Entitled Stalker Of The Week. Which I promptly deleted. Because I am an adult.
* An email beginning “Dear Mr. Jones,”. No lie.

And a couple of links to round things off:

* Jill Filipovic on accusing the accuser.
* And the BEST THING IN THE WORLD TODAY is this vlog, where a lovely young lady calls out Beyonce for being a liar-liar-pants-on-fire, and does it with such clarity and grace it leaves one breathless.

Over and out.

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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…

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Just A Few Things

First, the shameless self-promotion: I think we can do better than 24 comments, darlings, don’t you? Plus, there’s that voting for Fourth Day Universe’s Best Horror Book of 2010. If the spirit moves you, hop on over and give a click or a comment. Also, you can hear in this interview how Cover to Cover Books is rising like a phoenix from the ashes, and how I’m to blame for a thing or two. My writing partner has a great interview voice, I’m just sayin’.

A couple of other links: almost-ten ways to tighten your copy, Michael Moore’s final thoughts on the death of Osama bin Laden, and aspiring writers, please LISTEN TO THE BROWN ONE. (Hat tip to Richelle Mead for that link.) Also, from the indomitable and always-hilarious Chuck Wendig, an expose on how writers get their ideas. (Beverage alert on that one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

Back I go into the coils of revision. I wish I could announce the project I’m working on right now. My editor won’t let me yet, so I’ll just have to wriggle with frustration in my desk chair and wait.

Sorry for that mental image. Have a good weekend.

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Winners! Revisions! Worm-eaten brainmonkeys!

The winners for the DEFIANCE contest are posted here at Deadline Dames! Thanks for all the great trivia–I learned an incredible amount reading those comments. My Readers have a vast store of knowledge. When I take over the world, I shall be depending on each of you to advise me.

My weekend was long periods of intense work broken only by moments of reaching for the next batch of Easter candy to shove down my gullet. Yes, that’s right–I was revising. Or, if you want to be precise, doing the first revision after an editorial letter for a book I wrote three years ago or so. I kept looking at the screen in disbelief, shaking my head and tasting vomit because I’d written something that sucked so hugely. Which is a normal thing for me during revisions, really, but looking at any work more than six months old is an incredibly disheartening experience. I take comfort in the fact that, while I might not know if I’ve gotten better in the intervening time, at least I know my writing style has changed.

This particular book started out at about 100K words, and now stands at about 125K. This is, for me, an absolute doorstop of a book. My editor wanted more more more, so I obliged, and since the work had good bones…well, I guess I’ll find out what she thinks in a little bit. Since I’ve finished and sent it back early, pleading for her to be only as savage with it as she must.

Notice I don’t ask for kindness. Kindness, while it may save whatever tattered shards of ego I have left, will not make the book better.

Anyway. I am looking forward to announcing this project as soon as I get the official okay-go-ahead. In the meantime, here, have some Chuck Wendig: 25 things a writer should know. I’ll just point and say, what he said.

After the push to get the revisions done (steady progress yesterday was marred by a corrupted file and the loss of an hour’s worth of work, thank God it wasn’t more, but it was in the last twenty fricking pages and I almost wept like the little girl I pretend to be sometimes when luring my victims in, whole ‘nother story, tell you later), catching up (mostly) on correspondence, and finishing a review that had been languishing on my hard drive for two weeks, I don’t have a lot of usable gray matter left in my tiny little skull. If you need me, I’ll be over in the corner rocking back and forth and reading about the Ardennes offensive. *whimpers*

Over and out.

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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!

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Snap, Bite, Growl, Anyway

I’m over at Bitten By Books today, along with the rest of the crew from the Those Who Fight Monsters anthology. There’s a contest, too, tempty-tempty.

Now for the not-so-pleasant. Oh, tax time. You know, as a single mother, maybe I shouldn’t be penalized so heavily. And really, if I have to pay this amount in taxes, why can’t I have better schools? Better roads? And universal health care? Oh, that’s right–because I exist only at the pleasure of the corporations who are people now. And because the super-rich have managed to ram through a budget that cuts social safety nets to ribbons so they can feed the war machine. We can afford wars, but we can’t afford to relieve some poverty. The commie poor might get ideas above their station, after all.

I wouldn’t mind paying goddamn taxes if the cash was spent on infrastructure, education, and a social safety net instead of corporate welfare and the goddamn war machine. Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just bitter. Jesus. ANYWAY.

It’s a nice day, sunny and beautiful. I’m shifting between Bannon & Clare and a separate project I can’t announce yet. (So exciting.) Miss B., after a morning walk in which she was absolutely full of all sorts of vinegar and baking soda, is now sacked out at my feet and evinces absolutely no desire to go outside. This will change once the Little Prince comes home from school, I fancy.

One of the things I’m struggling with while writing now is just how much verite to put into a sort of alternate-historical fantasy. I am playing fast and loose with Londinium and with history. No doubt there will be a great deal of screaming. No actual cities are ever harmed in the making of these books, but plenty of electrons are terribly inconvenienced, to mashup a phrase.

Anyway, it’s time to turn to the Sekrit Projekt and do some pen and paper work. I can barely sit still, it’s so exciting. This is another Year Of Doing Things I’ve Never Done Before, and I’m terrified enough to think it’s grand fun. Off I go to get into more trouble…

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Gormenghast to Ziggurat

I can’t afford to get sick. I have too blasted much to do. Unfortunately, my body is not listening, recalcitrant thing that it is.

For those of you asking: I don’t know what’s going on with Those Who Fight Monsters. It was supposed to ship in March; the publisher will have a clearer idea of what’s up. (ETA: There’s a giveaway here.)

I’ve also finished the Gormenghast novels. I was ambivalent about Titus Groan, I quite liked Gormenghast, but Titus Alone lost all the goodwill the first two books earned. (Can we please stop having the Callow Adventurer being so Irresistible To The Laydeez? GAH.) Peake’s genius for names and the decaying Gothick splendour of the castle itself were magical, and I could even see the first two books as a sort of social allegory. Steerpike was my favourite character, with Fuschia and the Doctor as close seconds; but Peake betrayed every single woman in the book dreadfully. Anything with ovaries was a cipher, and not a very well-drawn one at that. However, props to Peake for taking Steerpike to his logical conclusion, and not flinching. I said it before and I’ll say it again: I think Dr. Prunesquallor was Peake himself, and Titus was what Peake wanted to view himself as. This leaves Steerpike as the id, or the Shadow. (My vote is for Shadow, but I might be biased.) Once Steerpike was gone, the book ended. If the story belongs to the character that changes the most (as Laura Kalpakian, I believe, said, though I’ve attributed it before to Karen Fisher), then the Gormenghast books belong to Steerpike.

End result: I’m glad I read it, though I probably never will again. I may go back to Gormenghast and read for Steerpike, but that’s about it.

A majority of this weekend will be spent sucking on cough drops and helping with the grand reopening of Cover to Cover, my favourite local indie bookstore. I was down there today, breathing in the new paint fumes as bookcases (recently cleaned of smoke, the old location suffered a dreadful fire) were carried in, as well as various sundries–and I just got a call telling me that the gigantic ziggurat of book boxes was making its way into the store. The books were lovingly cleaned and taken care of by the staff at Servicemaster (who have been incredibly wonderful, and gentle, thorough, and kind) and are almost ready to go up on the shelf. We just have to drag the shelves around and reassemble them.

So yeah, there’s my weekend. There will be pizza, and sore muscles, and a great deal of dust and excitement. All in all it’s a good way to finish saying farewell to a character or two. The old Cover to Cover saw many a long discussion with my writing partner, where we both hashed over aspects of a book (hers or mine, didn’t matter) or generally noodled on about writing. Soon we’ll start treating the book-lined walls of a new place to long discussions of plot and genre and animus, pop culture and lit fic and ships and seas and sailing wax, cabbages and kings.

You can tell I’m excited. I have a ton of pictures from the moving in. Including pictures of Shirley the penguin, perched on a high shelf as is her wont, staring dramatically at the ceiling. (Yes, we have a two-foot high plastic penguin, and her name is Shirley. Just one of the many reasons I love this store.)

Oh, and there’s more trouble to get Bannon & Clare into as well. I think it’s about time they met an Adventurer…

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