2. Second pass draft work always, as I said elsewhere, reminds me of tap-dancing on needles, while someone yells at you to go faster. But progress is progressing on SILVER ON THE ROAD, and the first 16 chapters are much stronger and tighter, now. Hopefully there will be time for a third pass before I have to send it off to Agent and Editor. Hopefully.
3. We're getting into the "oh god I need to be promoting the new book" stage for DOGHOUSE (out in July). Save me some agita and just pre-order it now? Amazon BN Amazon UK Powells and your favorite indie store...
4. CatofSize's neuropathy isn't showing the improvement we hoped for (and it seems to get worse when I go away) but he's otherwise in good spirits, and keeping that upstart Kitten in his place...
5. I make damn good chili. Just observing that fact, as I breathe fire and sigh contentedly.
So today I need to:
* answer all pending email
* send out the first part of the Kickstarter bonuses
oh yeah, and get back to the TWO books I'm supposed to be writing now. I'd really, really like to do that.
Although I looked over something I'd done last week and flinched. Not because it's not well-written (it's extremely well-written) but it hit an overused trope I really, really didn't want to hit. So now I have to go back and make it better. Which I can, but I should never have done what I did in the first place.
Still, I guess fixing it before it escaped is almost as good as not doing it in the first place?
Yesterday I went back to sleep for two hours, after feeding the cats at 6am. It was nice, but... mornings are productive for me. Mid-afternoon is for naps. I need to remember that.
Meanwhile, for those of you who were offline this weekend...
Publishers Weekly reviewed FIXED - a few month late, but they said nice enough things ("well-crafted" and "(a) comfort-reading cozy.") that we'll forgive them. :-)
And there may have been a drive-by snippeting for the WiP on Friday.
And who watched Cosmos last night? I was a little underwhelmed by some of it*, aware that they were starting with basics for a good reason, no matter that we already knew much of it, and still found myself moved and very much looking forward to next week... what say you?
I lost Saturday to an all-day writers workshop, where I did not make anyone cry but there were a few thoughtful flinches at certain moments, so I'm satisfied with that (if you come out of one of my workshops not having had a sudden Thought about your own work or process, I didn't do my job right). Sunday was... well, when I spend all day interacting with a largeish group, I need a day to recover. So, yeah. This wasn't the most work-productive weekend ever.
And while the loss of an hour for Daylight Savings didn't bother me, this morning the fog over the sky is matched by a fog in my brain. So much to do, so few available brain cells to do it in.... *yawns, dunks head in coffee, gets on with it*
*they might have been better served by a smaller budget for computer graphics, is all I'm saying...
I've also started getting wistful about my bike. Clearly, it's time for winter to pack up and go. Don't you hear Australia calling?
Today I need More Words, and also to polish up my lesson plans for this Saturday, when I'll be Imparting Wisdom (and some Foolishness) at the first IConSF writers workshop. *rubs hands in
And, for your amusement:
WASHINGTON -- The next time someone accuses you of interrupting, you might want to explain that you are not being rude: You're actually engaging
This did not surprise me in the slightest, but I am going to pull it out and use it next time someone pulls the "you're so rude" comment about New Yorkers (or mid-East Coasters in general). Because nope, it's just we're not adhering to your cultural norms. And that's fine - because you're not adhering to ours, either.
(c'mon, people! if you're into the conversation, get into it! Lean forward! Move your hands! Jump on my comment with a "no, but wait!" This isn't a spectator sport, you know... *g*)
I am interviewed over at Book View Cafe
The truth is, sometimes you think you know your theme, you think you know the driving motif, the point you’re trying to make, and then you get to the end and it’s all “holy shit I made that. what the hell is that?” Because the best storytelling takes on a life of its own past “once upon a time there was…” and you never really know what happens in the fifth chapter until you get there.
3. In slightly related news:
I am not unreasonably proud of this.
Next year may be even more insane, since I plan to NOT be doing a 4 city whistlestop tour during it... (those may be FLW, who knows)
Suggested new points of order, based on conversations over the weekend:
1. Before offering advice in response to a post or comment, first consider: is the speaker over the age of 25? Are they in possession of a functional, not to say trained mind? Might they probably have already considered possible solutions to their issue before mentioning it? If the answer is yes, rethink offering your advice.
(the above is negated if you are their mother, father, or agent)
2. If you see a problem forming in a social setting, cut it off at the knees (either by intervention or deflection) before it becomes an actual problem. Defusing a bomb should be more highly valued than trying to pick up the shrapnel after the fact.
3. Life's too short, grim, and otherwise often unpleasant not to take joy in the small, silly things. Don't let your "dignity" get in the way of laughter. Or, as the late, great Dr Major Sydney Freedman twice said, "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice - pull down your pants and slide on the ice."
In other news, Pandora goes back to the vet (hopefully this week) for X-rays. I really don't have the emotional bandwidth to talk about that further, right now.
This week is Canada Day (Happy Canada Day, Canadians!) and Independence Day. I'm hauling out of the city for the first time in years, and so will miss the NYC fireworks. The lure of ocean air will make up for that, though, I suspect.
And then up to the Boston area for a long weekend. I'm looking forward to that, too.
How are you spending your national holiday, if your nation-of-choice is celebrating one this week?
This is the only part of being "an author" that I hate. But even with proofing, errors creep in. Can you imagine how horrifying it might be if I skipped this stage?
In other news, and almost despite myself, I’ve nailed my Write-a-thon numbers for the day. Barely. I’m going to blame the weather, which is warm and sticky and not to my DelicateNorthernFlower self’s liking.
"Normally I’m a mellow kind of guy,” he said conversationally. “But you came into my bar, and you were a jerk. You hit a puppy, man. Seriously? I’m not even a dog person and that pisses me off.”
a) massive amount of work to be done.
b) utterly perfect early spring weather that got me outside.
c) friends moving into the city the next neighborhood over (technically, they're in Manhattan and I'm in the Bronx, but it's a mile walk between, so screw technicalities).
I didn't get anywhere near enough done, and I didn't get enough time outside, but hey, that's linear time limitations for ya. I could go without sleep to finish things up, but I've reached the point in my life where that feels more stupid than solution. Meh.
The Sunday Morning topic of Important Discussion here at Chateau Felidae was hair: should I cut it short for summer, or grow it elf-long? And, irrespective of either, should I keep the silvering, or not? (I'm thinking keep. I kind of like it).
In other Stuff, it was proposed this weekend that indignation and entitlement are twinned concepts, in that very few of us are 100% oppressed by the existing system (you are Black, but you are a male. You are White, but female. You are a minority religion, and a male. You are a White male Christian who is handicapped, etc in a thousand different iterations) and for each hit we take, we are also given a hall pass.
I'm not going to say yea or nay to the theory (it doesn't take into account those who are 100% minority mixes), but it is...something to chew on, with a side of context.
And so we go into Monday. Wheee?
In-between: writing to trance.
My musical tastes: ecclectic.
"So how are you today?"
"Amazon is buying Goodreads."
uncertain pat on the shoulder, offer of a narcotic.
Meanwhile, we soldier on. Things to write, revise, edit, mourn, celebrate, promote... Publishing is not for the weak. Or the sane.
Another client meeting this afternoon, before the next strong push on the project. I'm hoping to get some more words down on my own work(s), and sit down to the page proofs that need to go back next week, follow-up on another long-term project that should start soon, and maybe even do some reading-for-pleasure...
Yeah, may not be time for that last. Hopefully this weekend: there are BOOKS! I need to FINISH!
Good Friday, for those who observe such, and Happy Easter. Happy weekend to the rest of us! Who's got plans? Who's taking it as it comes?
After several days among people, and a convention looming, and more interaction on the month's horizon, I am starting to develop that Introvert's Twitch, the one that says "I like you a lot but please stand over there and don't talk to me?" There are several friends who have perfected that art: alas, most of them are Not in NYC.
Due to scheduling issues (not mine) I'm juggling four different major projects this week. Two is optimal, three is manageable, four makes me cranky. The smaller projects are huddled in the corner, waiting their turn. Apologies to anyone waiting on one of those smaller/non-time-sensitive things...
My brain is utterly in mystery mode right now, not fantasy. Good, because I'm writing a mystery. Bad, because I'm also revising a fantasy.
Writing mysteries is actually both weirder and calmer for me: there's less fannish connection, less chatter in my daily life, so I'm not distracted from the Story by the Community. This is partially because I was a reader rather than a Fan of mysteries and so not hooked into that community the same way, and partially because there seems to be less online "noise" for mysteries the way there is F/SF. Pluses and minuses to both.
and now I have to go away and juggle some more. Feel free to use this thread to ask me anything. I reserve the right not to answer (or to lie like a rug if provoked/inspired) but I'll try to get to all questions...
And the end result? I am very thankful that, for all the crap life has handed me and all the crap I've handed myself, that I was also given a sense of humor AND developed a sense of perspective about All The Crap. Because otherwise, it would be really easy to become bitter and angry and afraid, and bitter and angry and afraid are terrible ways to spend your life.
Especially since we get no points, style or otherwise, for anger, and few of us are really witty enough to get points for bitterness, no matter what we want to believe. And fear, while it keeps you from being eaten, can also keep you from everything else.
(That does not mean, however, that I do not have occasional, utterly enjoyable, wallows in bitterness. Also, envy, fear, jealousy, and general fuckitallity. Because, yanno: human. And it adds piquancy to the rest of life, in small doses, and that informs the writing, eventually. Then I get out of the wallow, dry myself off, and go on. )
If you're in the States, do you have today off for MLK Day? (Publishing mostly switched from Columbus Day to MLK Day as a paid holiday, years ago.) If not, is it an annoyance, or a whachagonnao shrug? I have fond memories of paid holidays, myself...
Meanwhile, I'm having the not-unfamiliar urge to go ice skating. This is actually possible around here - there are good, not-insanely-crowded, not-madly-overpriced rinks in NYC. However, I hate rental skates - they never fit right, the blades aren't properly maintained, and there's not enough ankle support. Wondering if it's worth it to buy proper skates for the 1-2x a year I actually use them...
(and yes, I was one of those annoying single-digits, fearlessly zipping around the skating rink. My parents breathed a sigh of relief when I decided that I didn't want to continue lessons, because that meant they didn't have to weigh the 5am drives to the rink vs telling me I couldn't do something I loved... But I look back now and think "dear dog, I was an athletic child. Skating, skiing, horseback riding; ok, maybe I earned the "Forward, Faster" motto honestly...)
And in another random switch of topics, I am thinking about putting my current motto up on hallway wall. But me + stenciling = mess. Anyone have any experience with vinyl letters?
1. Showering in the morning. This seems like such a little thing, but for the first thirty years of my life, I took a shower every morning. It was part of how I woke up - the application of hot water externally, to go with the internal, caffeinated intake. And then, slowly, as I freelanced, and sometimes didn't have to leave the house all day, the shower got shoved down on the list of priorities (especially when I was on a deadline). And there was nothing wrong with if I took my shower in the afternoon rather than the morning...
but I could feel that I wasn't always as sharp as I used to be, in the morning. Plus, hanging around in my sweats gave me a "whatever" mood, even when I was under deadline. And that wasn't good, when you consider that my prime writing hours are 8am-1pm.
Also, it limited me. If I knew I'd have to take my shower before I went out, then I had to factor that time in to my plans, which mean spur of the moment, wasn't. That was... irking me.
2. Read more. I read a lot - but I wasn't reading as many books as I wanted to - and it sure didn't seem like Mount TBR was getting any smaller! So I'm embracing Twitter's "Friday Read" with a passion and determination. And doing it publicly, to keep me honest.
This week's Friday Read is: Julie Czerneda's A TURN OF LIGHT (continuing) and Fred Vargas' AN UNCERTAIN PLACE. One fantasy, one mystery. Also: both by non-USAn authors, just as a datapoint.
3. File. Every damn week. This decision brought to you by the end-of-month filing I was doing last year and...no. Small bites = less of a stomachache. Or that's the plan, anyway.
Anyone else out there taking advantage of the new year to Do Something Better?
I have now tried every available sugar substitute, both "natural" and un, and found them all to be sadly lacking. Do you people just get used to the taste? Or do you not notice it? Because, ugh - half an hour later and my tongue was still unhappy.
Midday: Today started off with irritation (too many people being reactive rather than proactive, and I'm tired of having to use the damn poking-stick) and has segued into painful WTFkery on the spectator level. Is there something even more than Merc Retro going around? And if so, how long do I have to hide under my bed before it will go away? At least the book is behaving... (at the moment. who knows about tomorrow)
Afternoon: On the plus side: today also brought us NASA geeking in prime geek manner over Seriously People There's Water/Ice on Mercury! The press conference was fascinating to listen to... Also, NASA seems set blowing the geek-nerd scientists are unattractive" myth out of the water. I'm just sayin... Or maybe I go for well-groomed geek. This is entirely possible.
Evening: At dinner tonight with friends, the check came.. and the starters had been left off. We hailed the waiter to tell him, only to be informed that it had been deliberate. "You're a regular, a VIP," the waiter said to my friend (who had made the reservation). So they thanked us for our support in a small (to them) but significant (to us) way.
Late Night: Yes, it takes me longer to get home using mass transit than it would if I drove. But there is something soothing about walking to the subway, then being able to read (or listen to music, or knit, or do all the things people enjoy doing) for 45 minutes to an hour - time that I'm not being poked or prodded by the Must Dos, or irritated by the Hurry Ups. And less traffic, fewer parking woes, and no worries about having had alcohol with dinner. I will never understand why some cities/towns resist building a mass transit infrastructure....
(and I say this as a suburbs-raised child who wholeheartedly embraced car culture - and still misses her beloved car occasionally.)
And now I am OMG tired, and need to go to bed by 11 like an old lady. *shakes cane*
The Do Board is brief but fierce today. And the window of "I need to hear by" for several projects has started to close. If Merc is still retro, it should get the hell in line ASAP, because I do not need any more communication screwups, thank you very much.
Reminder: the Thanksgiving-for-Readers contest has been extended until Sunday (to allow those of you who were traveling for the holiday time to get your entries in).
Reminder: if you're giving copies of my books as gifts this season, let me know, and I can personalize/send a bookplate! (no charge to you).
And, because it wouldn't be me on a Monday without a small grumble...
Friend: "oh my god, did you hear about [insert financial news]?"
Me: "yeah, [insert business news neepery]"
Friend: "How do you know all this?"
Me: "Because I've been paying attention for the past twenty years?"
I may be slightly annoyed at people who are only now discovering things like how finance charges work, or that companies buy and sell bits of each other on a regular basis...guys, I have only a layperson's knowledge of this, but seriously.. once you're past 30, it's a bit late in the game to be playing wide-eyed innocent at OMG the business world. ESPECIALLY if you aren't inherently wealthy, pun intended.
Day Off. Slept in. I mean, I didn't get out of bed until 10am. It was silly-nice, and I probably could have lazed about all day except there were Things To Do. Two craft fairs, wherein I fell in love with but with common sense and moral guidance (thanks, BF) did not buy a $650 hand-smithed ring of silver, orange garnet and diamond (not my usual thing at all but lovely), but did buy maple syrup, maple sugar, a wooden carved spoon, a (replacement) down quilt, pillar candles, and cornbread. And since it decided not to rain, walked many miles along the UWS, taking photos.
Also, I saw a dragon.
(more NYC2012 photos here)
CLANG THUD BANG CLANG Cats, wide-eyed & fluff-tailed: WhatTheHell?! Me: "It's just the Beast waking up for winter, relax."
Yep, the PowerCenter, aka the Beast, aka the furnace for my building, was waking up, a bit at a time, stretching through the pipes and radiators. A little early by my standards, but we have old folk living here, too... I note that ElderCat is getting plushy again. The Catalmanac suggests a hard winter.
The rest of the day: editing, cooking, cleaning, footballl. In other words: an Autumn Sunday. Finestkind. Giants won. Sesame-maple ribs for dinner. Not enough work done, but enough that I feel ok about the day. Suffice until Monday the evils therein.
And, via the Twitterverse and a discussion of "aspiring author" as a non-useful phrase... I call myself a writer. I write. "Author" is a label other people put on me after the fact. However, some folk seem to think that "writer" isn't enough, that "author" is the longed-for and preferred title.
(I'd love to hear from published and unpublished writers, and also readers-who-don't-write)
And that concludes this summer's "Book-A-Week" Giveaway contest. I will wait until September first for everyone to claim their books. Any books left unclaimed at that point will be thrown back into the hopper, and a new winner will be chosen.
Thanks for playing, and I hope y'all found some new goodies to stash on your shelf.
2. Starting Monday morning with a funeral is one way to ensure that the rest of the week's problems won't seem so dire. But I don't recommend it at all.
3. I'm pretty sure that last night's Leverage episode gave me flashbacks to the 1970's. I will never forgive them for that. Well-played, cast and crew. Also: they managed to mess with one of my favorite American myths without trashing it too badly, mainly by making it the vehicle for the story rather than the story itself.
4. It looks like Ms. Kornetsky will be having a launch party for COLLARED (A Gin & Tonic Investigation) in Seattle this coming November. Announcements will go out when we have a time and a place confirmed.
5. I'm having a lot of trouble believing that WorldCon is in three days. And that I'm heading out to Chicago in two days. Ack. I should do some laundry. And print out my schedule. And confirm how I'm getting from the airport to my pre-convention domicille....
and a bonus, of dubious value:
Chekhov's Gun Theory: "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. "
Gilman's addendum: "But that does not mean it needs to be the murder weapon."
2. Analyzing your alcohol consumption is an interesting thing. I started doing this years ago when I was going through my divorce, was feeling incredibly depressed and alone, and knew it would be too easy to rely on booze to get through. So when I thought "I want..." my next thought was "why do I want?" Periodically I pull that out and dust it off, just to gauge my own reactions. "Why do I want?" There are all sorts of answers, from "I want a buzz" to "this is the taste sensation that my body wants" and none of them are bad answers in an of themselves. And sometimes, the answer is "you know, I really don't." Which is, I admit, reassuring. When you want, but don't need...
(I suspect that dieters use something similar to this, when readjusting their relationship to food?)
3. The mind of a writer is a dark, simmering junkyard of Stuff, and it runs 24/7. While I'm working on TWO novels, and shaping the plot of a third in my mind, there's also this weird undercurrent developing the character of a fourth, where I'm constantly evaluating and adapting her body modifications, and considering the muscular and social implications therein. Even during my exercise routines, part of me is considering how she would handle something, and what the caloric cost would be, etc. Yay worldbuilding, on a totally brainstem level.
4. Speaking of exercise, I've made an interesting discovery: jumping rope seems to do amazing things for the tensor muscles - I'm getting definition there I haven't seen since I was riding regularly. All in my continued effort to not suffer from lower back or hip pain as I get older... and, y'know, still be able to rock the 4" heels. :-)
5. This weekend, I head up to Boston to see Springsteen with my tour-companion AS. This trip is particularly special though, because my eldest sister and her husband are going, too. I've never tailgated with my sister before - hell, we've never even gone to the same concert before, unless you count Tanglewoods. So this is an unlooked-for moment of sibling bonding.
(we don't have tix in the same section... there may be bragging rights, depending on who outseated whom. Because, y'know...siblings. *g*)
On the other hand... some of these are so very very wrong.... but the ones that are right make my heart happy.
Marvel VS Disney – the Lost Connection and Conclusion