lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)

So, this is very cool, simply for what it is.  But it's also neat to look at the difference stance-choices, and what they say about each interpretation of the same character, both from a timeframe perspective, and the actor himself.

Personally, the only one I 'believe' is shooting, rather than posing, is Craig.  His stance, and the leashed violence in his movement, sells it for me. How about you? And what does the choice of movement tell you?

(and yes, as was pointed out on Tumblr, Roger Moore is the only Bond whose gun does not actually fire)

image source:
lagilman: coffee or die (do I look impressed to you?)
Copyedit in email for me to go over. Hrm. *opens file, sets to work.*

Okay, fine, I understand you have to change things to house style, but you don't have to patronize me with your explanation every time you do it: your house style is not Gods' Own English style, and I'm not going to relearn just to have my next publisher do it differently. You people also choose gray over grey*, so pffft. works..... mutter a little, works, works....oh for...

"does the author intent to invent this word?"

No, the author is using a word that appears commonly in the English language, and is (gasp) even in dictionaries, with a first cited use in 1814!

Page 10 and I'm already rolling my eyes. This may not go well.

(I am informed that the CE actually quite liked the book. I am pleased. I'm still rolling my eyes.)

*Publisher's stance: we don't use "grey" here in the States.  Writer's stance: There's a 'grey" in my mailbox address, but you seem able to use that without a problem... Publisher:  ....shut up, Gilman.
lagilman: coffee or die (meerkat coffee)

Monday. Oh god, the Do-Board for today is more than slightly insane. But it's (almost) all Good and Interesting, so yay?

To Do:

  • Deflag the copyedit for HEART OF BRIAR

  • Look over the revisions letter for SOUL OF FIRE (yeah, mine editor was late with the revisions letter so I'm behind the schedule. Such as it ever was...)

  • meeting with the Tax Guy (oh dog, freelancer taxes. They are a thing of heartache and headache)

  • Another 1-2k on DOGHOUSE, to stay on schedule

  • follow up on email with freelance clients, to keep projects moving forward

  • follow up on email with pending situation I can't talk about yet

  • write the two blog posts I owe this week

  • follow up on the "currently reading" blog post someone else owes me...

That should keep me busy for a few hours, yeah?

and for those of you for whom this means anything:

March 18th. *carefully does not fangirl squee* *may be squeeing a little bit*

lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)

Along with the occasional joys and successes, into every writer's life come the things that fall through. The options that are never picked up, the movie deals that stall, the projects that are cancelled, and endless variations through every year and day of your career. They're not even things that you can maybe use later: it's dead, Jim.

You learn to roll with it, because the only other option is to throw yourself onto your sofa, sobbing at the Unfairness of the World, and that gets boring the fifth or sixth time (trust me on this).

This morning, I finally, sadly, accepted the probability that a project I'd been really excited about isn't going to happen. The checks are cashed, so I can't even say I've been hard done by...but after a few years of saying "well, maybe..." I've put the project on the shelf of "someday" and closed the cabinet door. If the project is revived at some point I'll be thrilled, but I'm not looking for it any more.

My point is that this happens to everyone. Everyone. Newbies, famous folk, and the rest of us in-between. Not everything is Midas-touched. Sometimes, you get the Gorgon. And it's not even a dread Learning Experience. It's just something that happens.

Don't linger over it, don't hold a wake. Let go.
lagilman: coffee or die (bigger boat)
The revisions to FIXED are off for one last read before going back to Madame Micki. The production matter for MILES TO GO is ready and waiting only for cover art.  All of my editorial client files are up to date (one response still waiting to be sent), and the one last bit of freelance writing I need to do is underway. One might think that everything was totally under control...

Still in queue:
  • looking over a possible collaborative project file, to see if it gels.
  • revision notes for PROMISES TO KEEP
  • revision notes from M. Agent on two different projects
  • sample pages to go with a new project
  • sample pages to go with another project
  • the "outtake" stories for the Kickstarter readers
  • oh yeah right start writing G&T #3!
  • get the pending short stories off the hard drive an into the marketplace mix
  • getting website 3.0 up and running (also: the new dymk site)

Still waiting to hear back on:
  • the artwork for MILES TO GO
  • a possible new project that could shift my schedule AGAIN
  • my travel schedule for the rest of the year

Meanwhile, after years of that side being very quiet, I've been headhunted not once but twice this month.  We Shall See.... 

So yeah, when I said that February was shaping up to be considerably busier than January?  Also, March. Maybe all of 2013.
lagilman: coffee or die (madness toll)
I have a world, and a set-up, that Joe (aka New Agent) LOVES. I have a very specific voice for the book. I have two absolutely perfect characters to carry the POV, and several secondary characters just waiting for their lines. I even have a Scenario off which to base the dangerous hijinks and dark magics, derring-don't and foolish heroics.

What I bloody well DON'T have, is a plot. I've got the thinkings of a plot, the the trappings of a plot, but no actual plot on which to put said damned trappings.

I know it's in there, somewhere. It just hasn't come OUT yet.

*shakes brain, impatiently, waiting for something to fall out*

Ha, plot! I was falling for my own story-sneakery, and looking in the wrong direction.

Gotcha now.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
At the end of last year, I made a very difficult, painful decision, and ended my association* with my agency of a decade+.

I'm pleased today to say that I will now be represented by Joe Monti, of the Barry Goldblatt Literary Agency. And yes, both he and Barry are fully aware of what they're getting into, and seem to be looking forward to it. :-D


I know that it's popular now for writers to decide to go sans agent, and handle their affairs on their own, or with a lawyer's assist (especially if they've been burned in the past). I'd never say "don't do that" because for many people that is the right decision. But not for me. 

Ironic, perhaps, since my previous career as an editor gave me the skills to go solo (I have no fear of negotiations, contracts or paperwork). But gaining those skills also made me aware of how much time and energy they eat up, especially when things drag out, or details (and people) need to be tracked down and brought back to order.  Over the long haul, that time and energy adds up, and leeches away from the writing.  Having a business partner who handles all that, promptly and professionally and with an eye toward my best interests, so I don't have stress over it?  Makes financial and emotional sense to me.

Plus, I really appreciate someone acting as a pro-level sounding board for projects, gently poking at the holes and commenting on the elements that could be stronger, while thinking not only of the story but potential markets/editors for that story.  
AND that person talks me down off the occasional writerly ledge?

For me, a good agent** is worth 15% of my income For you, for whatever reasons, it may not.

So when you hear people saying "you need an agent" or "you're better off without an agent," don't think about what THEY say.  Think about what YOU want, and need.

* she's a wonderful person/agent, we just weren't a good fit any more
**a bad agent - by which I mean one that is fraudulent, not giving good advice, or simply isn' listenin to you, is NOT worth it.  At any percentage.
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
*worked up and submitted a proposal for a project in a new-to-me side of publishing.
*was interviewed for DOGTALK (a radio show) and was introduced solely by my pseudonym for the first time. That was... kind of surreal.
*was unexpectedly submitted (and got preliminary approval) for a project that could be a very fun, if time-intense, project.
*was headhunted for the first time in 5+ years for an editing job.
*spoke with several people about something (not related to the headhunting) that could change the direction of my career.
*chose the cover artist/designer for the Sylvan Investigations novellas (after several false starts).
*worked with editorial clients.
*started revisions for FIXED (G&T #2).
*did not do anywhere near enough writing.

That doesn't seem like enough to wear me out, but it did. Looking back, the proposal took rather more time than I'd been expecting. Hopefully it will pan out, but if not, at least I have the material to recycle/reuse at some later date. Because no writing is ever wasted, even if it's never used.

This weekend, rather than being at Arisia *sads* I will be finishing the revisions for PROMISES TO KEEP, doing some housekeeping of both house- and writing sorts, and Thinking Very Hard About Thinks. And, hopefully, sleeping. More than 6 hours of sleep in one stretch would be a loverly thing....
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
The Year-End Project has been...not exactly put to rest, but it's on a back burner, 40,000 words prepped and waiting for Discussions.

So, what's up, what's on deck?

Right now, the main priority is getting "Miles to Go" into final shipping shape for the Kickstarter backers. They're also due a few stories (I haven't forgotten, guys!). Plus, working with the good folk at PlusOne to get the second novella done, etc etc. That's January/February.

I also owe some other folk stories in the next six weeks. That's front-burner for January. Also, revisions to the books I handed in to my editors in, respectively, October and December. And there's February/March, sorted.

After that? I don't know. A lot of possibles. If the reaction was good, more Sylvan Investigations. The short story e-collection. Possibly another Gin & Tonic mystery or two. Hopefully, another fantasy or three. Waiting on callbacks.

Also, A Project I Can't Talk About Yet, but that has me really excited.

I do know that in the second half of this year I have three novels coming out - the next Gin & Tonic mystery, FIXED, and the Portals fantasy duology, HEART OF BRIAR and SOUL OF FIRE. So it's going to be a busy 2013 no matter what....

And that's how I like it. :-)
lagilman: coffee or die (Collared)
Thanks to the offices of a good friend who -despite gas rationing and shortages- was still willing to drive me to the airport at oh ack thirty, I made my flight with a minimum of stress. And we apparently had not a tailwind but a shake-your-tailwind, because we beat the predicted arrival time by a full hour. Seriously.

And so here I am, settled in my twinling's guest room, with three dogs, a cat and a dishonorary niece and nephew to abuse, and I have to keep reminding myself that this isn't a vacation. This week is all about launching COLLARED. Today...I am L.A. Kornetsky.

(except when LAG needs to make her wordcount on the WiP. Because THAT still needs to get done, too.)

So today will also be about hitting local bookstores to see if they have copies of COLLARED in, and signing everything I can lay hands on, and while I'm at it, doing some more research to finalize some settings in G&T#2: FIXED (out in mid-2013). And then tonight I may be taking some time off to go see SKYFALL, because violence and Daniel Craig are a damn good way to get over the impending ACK! of NEW BOOK!

Which you are all going to run out and buy, either for yourself or a mystery-reading friend/relative, right? As always, since this is a near-holidays release, if you want it personalized, I will send out bookplates on request, no cost to you. Just email me at lag-at-lauraannegilman-dot-net and tell me who to sign it for.

And if you're in the Seattle area, come out and see me! Tuesday at noon, for a lunch signing at Seattle Mystery Bookshop (117 Cherry St, Seattlw WA), and then Tuesday evening at 7pm, for our launch party at Kells Irish Restaurant & Pub (Post Alley, Seattle, Washington).  I expect to see you, Seattle!

lagilman: coffee or die (bigger boat)
Placing this here to remind myself, & others: "Stubbornness plus (reasonable) ego plus a clear goal equals perseverance." Perseverance does not guarantee success - but you won't get it any other way, either.

Sometimes my stubborn determination not to accept limitations in what I can do is a blessing. Sometimes it's just damnfool stubbornness. I can accept failure - I tried and it didn't work - but not "I can't."

OK, no, be honest: "I tried and it didn't work" still fills me with extreme irritation and a sense of utter frustration. But "I can't because X?" It's a classic goad. Thankfully for my own sanity, it only works when I apply the goad, not someone else.

see: balancing a checkbook, learning how to speak a second language, reading a map, learning how to knit. All things that my brain makes very difficult, and god knows my life would be simpler and less stressful if I simply shrugged and said "I can't..."

But I can't. :-)

And so with work.
lagilman: coffee or die (my job)
Working on the new proposal this morning - tweaking existing words and adding new flourishes - and I'm amazed again at how things unfold between brain and page, as though my fingers know what's going on before my conscious thought can get there.

I deleted some foreshadowing, thinking that it would run better as a total surprise to both the reader and the POV character, and came to a spot three pages later where the lack of foreshadowing turned two sentences from a confirmation-of-events to a lovely little thundercrack of realization.

I know that many folk think that you're either a plotter or a pantser, that you either know where everything is going or you are writing blind-and-hopeful, but the truth for me, at least, is that a living story, like anything else, has both direction and surprise. It's the twined two together that give a story energy, coiled and sprung.

A tiny snippet, for those interested in a work-down-the-road: )
lagilman: coffee or die (bigger boat)
and it has looked back at me.

Based on the state of all projects, and the immediacy of their deadlines, I am hereby declaring Operation Not A Workaholic in abeyance until December 1st.

Summer, it's been lovely to relax with you. Let the caffeine abuse and 12 hour days recommence!
lagilman: coffee or die (meerkat coffee)
The BOOK is my shepherd; I shall not lack.

It makes me to sit my ass down daily: it leads me to consume caffeine.

It restores my soul: it leads me in the paths of outlining for my sanity's sake.

Yea, though I face the threat of due dates, I will fear no evil: for my editor is with me; her notes and her edits they comfort me.

My book prepares a table before me in the presence of my critics: it anoints my head with ideas; my cup runs over.

Surely research and wordcount shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the BOOK forever.

[shush. this was written after Cup One but before Cup Two.]
lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
I felt odd posting this, but was encouraged to do so by friends who thought that maybe I could be An Object Lesson for others. And so.

(EtA: and I suspect my agent may already have this on speed dial, so to speak....)

This isn't a new or sudden thought. It's one that's been coming on me for about a year now, encouraged by both my agent and my family. And that is:

I gotta slow down.

Yes, I'm hyperactive by nature, and the world's second-laziest perfectionist, and I thrive on deadlines.... but the past ten years have been taking that to an extreme. I mean - my first original novel came out in 2004. My 21st novel comes out in 2013. Plus short stories, novellas, and the editing volunteer work, BookView Cafe, and trying to, y'know, Have A Life....

It used to be fun, that crazy-hectic pace, and I could bounce back from utter exhaustion with just a weekend to collapse. Now? Not so much fun. Not so much with the quick recovery. What took me two days now eats up a week.

I still have stories to tell. Oh, do I have stories to tell. But I need to slow down the torrent, consider the costs. And make sure I don't take too much on, simply because I'm on a writing-adrenaline high. Make sure I don't work past my breaking point, simply because there's so much to be done (there will always be so much to be done).

Mind, I'm not going to throw the brakes entirely. Going cold turkey isn't going to work (that's how I quit smoking, but writing isn't an addiction, it's a lifeblood). I just need to ease myself into a better, healthier, more sustainable pace, one that will keep me working, but not damage my ability to keep working.

So I'm giving myself Five Steps to start.

1. Six hours of sleep, every night. It shouldn't be so much to ask, right? But where I used to wake up at 5 or 5:30 and think "oh what the hell, let's get the day started," now I'm telling myself to stay in bed another 30 minutes or an hour. Even if I can't fall back asleep, I don't need to be GO that early. And if I can (convince the cats to let me) sleep until 7? Perfect.

2. I already eat well - a lot of home-cooked, healthy meals - so there isn't much I can do to increase that. And I'm pretty good about staying hydrated. But I can cut back on the alcohol. No, I'm not going to give up drinking - I'm just going to get even more particular about how MUCH I drink, and of what. In fact, I've already been doing that over the past five years; giving up most mixed drinks and cocktails, and limiting myself to wine, Scotch and the occasional G&T. When I was in my 20's and 30's, getting drunk was a stress-release. I find I don't need that particular release any more.

3. Don't start work before 8 am. This one's harder for me - I work well in the early morning. But it ties in with #1 - if I'm up at 6, and starting work at 6:30, I'm not giving myself time to ease into the day. Read email, check the social networks, fine. But no brain-heavy working. EtA: and no guilt for not being at my desk by 7am, either!

4. Exercise. I've always needed to move (see: hyperactive), but I'm trying to channel it into more structured forms now. Baby-level yoga, and I've taken up running again (ok, slow jogging). Stretches in-between writing breaks. Things that slow me down and loosen me up as much as kick up my heart rate.

5. Don't work past 7pm. This one's hard. If you look at your evening, and all that's on the schedule is digesting dinner and maybe watching some tv (and I don't have cable) the thought creeps in - hey, why not try for another 1k words? Or even 500? Or... No. Evening needs to be a time I interact with other people, or spend time with the cats, or read something someone else wrote, for pleasure. Or, yes, watch television without feeling like I'm somehow "wasting" time.

These seem like easy steps. They're not. I'm my sole support, and this career has a crap retirement plan. The urge to do more, earn more, get more work out of the day... it's intense, and you think "well, if I just pull a few 12 hour days this week, I can catch up."

But I'm going to be 45 next August. I'd like to still be writing when I'm 65. And that's not going to happen if I burn myself from the inside-out.

Odds are, most of you won't see a significant difference. But maybe you will. Hopefully, they'll be positive differences. Hopefully, we'll still be discussing it, twenty years from now.
lagilman: coffee or die (just sayin' - Nate)

So yesterday I set up my to-do list, and I settle in with my cup of coffee #1, and I lift the lid of the trusty workhorse laptop (whose name is Archie to Nero-the-cranky-desktop), and…

The screen displayed not the usual “okay boss, hopping to it!” energy, but the unending beachball of doom-about-to-fall.

And sure enough, soon after that: everything froze.

Not having time, patience, or any other valuable commodity to spare, I finally did the only thing I could do: a hard reboot.

And got the Grey Screen of UnBooting.

We’ll cut the begging, pleading and attempts to fix it myself using all the helpdesk things that never work.  I got a Genius Bar appointment at 2pm.

…Four Hours Later….

It took TWO geniuses to fix things (the second was named Lex.  I can has an Evil Genius?  I can!),  but at 6pm I was on my way back home with a new hard drive, and the promise that yes, it was all working now, all I had to do HONEST was plug it back into my Time Machine/Time Capsule, and everything would be restored.  Really.  Trust us*.

Having a hard drive fail, when you’re mid-book, and being told “yeah, it happens” does not make one feel inspired to trust.  I’m just saying.

I want to give kudos to my geniuses, though.  They were dealing with a writer on deadline, whose writing machine had just failed under her fingertips, who had stormed into their bar on a quivering high of coffee and not a hell of a lot else (me to a friend, via text: “oh crap, I haven’t eaten anything today.  It’s 5pm.  I’m about to go into meltdown”) and kept me from utterly losing it, even when reinstall after reinstall failed.

Anyway: if you haven’t backed your shit up today, whatever your shit may be?  Take a moment.  Do it.  Trust me.  Full system backup.  Every. Damn. Day.

And now, I need to finish this coffee, open up my (restored!  Up-to-date!) files, and get the hell back to work.

*edited to add: they were right

Originally Published at Practical Meerkat: A Blog. You can comment here or there.
lagilman: coffee or die (meerkat coffee)
from CE Murphy's blog:

"I have accepted [info]desperance /Chaz's challenge, and will be writing a novel in five weeks.

Chaz is already ahead; he has 15K of an 80K novel written, and I have, um. Five or ten hand-written pages of a 60K novel written. More alarmingly, I have a Walker Papers proposal and a short story to do, both of which really need to be done before the novel. BUT I SHALL NOT DESPAIR."

And because a) the write-a-thon taught me nothing and b) I can't see a challenge go by without thinking "sounds like fun" I said "hey, can I play, too?"

Apparently, I can. We start Monday.

*headdesks, makes more coffee*

I also have 15k words written, of a 70k novel. I s'pose I'm technically in the lead, when we start. This situation will not hold, I know those two. Plus, they're six hours ahead of me. I'll wake up and already be behind...

Um. Zoom?

ETA:  An Update on Who and How  Short version: 60k in 5 weeks), and many of us are insane.

Originally published at
Practical Meerkat: A Blog
lagilman: coffee or die (bigger boat)
Today: pick up rental car, hit midtown to do the RWA bar-meetings thing (if you're there, look for me in the bar!), work on Other pending Projects, head out to NJ tonight.

Wednesday: teach all day (YA writing workshop), come back, drop off car, head back downtown for RWA-related dinner.

Thursday: agent lunch, a networking meeting, try to hammer out more wordage on everything, publisher party.

Friday: finish all the work I didn't get done.

For someone not actually attending RWA, it's chewing up a lot of my week...


Jun. 12th, 2011 12:11 pm
lagilman: coffee or die (bigger boat)
The Current Project (Unsold) has just taken an Interesting Research-Driven Turn. This is a good thing. Ignore the swearing and muttering coming from behind the curtain...
lagilman: coffee or die (citron presse)
And so on Twitter, a random comment about 'are you working if...?" led to Kris Rusch and I getting feisty* over what constitutes "writing."

Kris said that words-on-page is "the only sign" of writing, and that nothing else count. I disagreed: the inspiration and the thinking and the researching are all part of the writing. Words-on-page is the final and most important part of it, of course: if you don't get the words down, nobody else can see what you've done/share the story.

But to say that words-on-page is the ONLY sign... that bothered me. A lot.

A story isn't words. Words are what convey the story. The stronger and more effective your conveyance, the better people respond. That's the goal. But Kris would agree that a story without research is going to fall flat, no matter how well-structured your words (as her former editor, I am in a prime position to say that Kris does a hell of a lot of research!)

And I know from my own and others' experience that research triggers ideas, and the ideas trigger thoughts, and those thoughts move the story in ways we-the-writer might not have anticipated or planned.

So how can that process be any less "writing a story" than the actual choosing/typing of words?

Idea + Plotting + Research + Word choice + Editing/revising = Writing.

I suspect that this is an argument of semantics, but it really bothers me to see writers discounting everything that comes before as not actually working-at-writing. Because it IS. And they should give themselves credit for the whole damned difficult process.

As an aside, I have decided that the push to post daily wordcounts has the potential to become akin to measuring dicks in the locker room: pointless and potentially damaging. Too much guilt coming off people who "only" wrote 1000 words, or "only" revised one chapter. If you're on schedule, and feel good about what you did - isn't that a good day's work?

*we've been friends for a long time. Hopefully nobody thought it was daggers-drawn....


lagilman: coffee or die (Default)
Laura Anne Gilman

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