Archive for the 'WIP' Category
Thursday, October 23rd, 2014
I spent a bunch of time today with Devon Monk talking writing, business, family, promotion, and all sorts of other things. It was lovely to get together and chat. We’ve both been swamped with work and life and haven’t had a chance to get together for awhile. It was quite fun.
Boy of size is sick again. Or rather, back to sicker, because he’s never achieved wellness. He’s missed the week of school. I hope he’ll make it back by Monday. I’ll get him up for tomorrow, but chances are he won’t be able to make it. But Monday he’s going to go no matter what, and call me if he needs to come home. We’re hoping just getting back into the routine will help.
I’ve been working on some plotting. I realized the problem I’m having with the current novel is that I don’t have a villain. I have a general–those people over there are bad ones, but I don’t have A Villain. Or even a couple of them. No one specific. This is a problem. I am working on solving this. I have a lot of threads to sort out and then weave together. It’s a super hard to figure out where the story is in this book and how to tell the personal story inside of telling the larger story. It’s the problem of epic, but worth doing. Just hard. I can do this. I will do this.
In the meantime, I’ll be signing books at The Reader’s Guide on Edgewater St. in Salem, Oregon, on Saturday, October 25th, from 1-3. We may do a little bit of a reading, but certainly we will be entertaining. Please come out if you can!!
I will also be at Orycon–more on that later.
Friday, October 10th, 2014
You might wonder where I’ve been. I’ve been knee-deep in the book. I’m almost done. Within a tantalizing couple of inches, but those inches are proving tangled and thorny. I persevere.
Boy of size is not feeling well. Having a significantly rough day. It was, however, a traumatic day, with vaccinations and a blood draw, so I hope this is what accounts for it. Anxiety does worsen things for him.
Other than that, been doing school stuff, cleaning stuff, yard stuff. Oh! And we got a new front security door/screen door. So we can leave it open and locked and it’s very safe and the doggies can see out and there’s a breeze and we love it. Doggies also love it.
The Black Ship has rereleased! I’ll post more on that soon, but it’s available on BN and Amazon and will soon be out in other venues, if it isn’t already.
Friday, September 19th, 2014
Most writers know better than to read reviews. Good, bad, or indifferent, they just aren’t healthy for the writerly condition. It is a condition. A kind of mental disease, I sometimes think. Good reviews are wonderful and they stroke the ego for about two seconds, but then you start thinking–what if this next work can’t be as good? What if I fail? What if everyone pans it after setting such high expectations? There’s actually a long litany of how a good review can turn bad on a writer, but you get the point. Then the indifferent review is just as bad, because you think, mediocre? They gave me a mediocre meh! I thought it was so much better than that!! What if everything I write is meh and I don’t even know it? What if I’m one big pile of undifferentiated beige? And then there’s the bad reviews. These are always far more believable than the good reviews, because, writer–>mentally diseased with writerly neurosis. So you get a bad one, and it kicks you in the stomach because it confirms everything you suspected all along: you suck as a writer, your book is shit, and here are all the many ways that it sucks. Probably worst of all, it teaches you to distrust all your beta readers, your agent, and your editor, because obviously these people lied to you about your work. See? Writerly condition–>mental disease. I can say that right now, even as I’m lost in bad review wallowing land.
I shouldn’t read reviews. I mean, to some extent it’s my job to collect up those reviews and pass them along to the agent and editor and keep clips for promotional purposes, but at the same time, it’s idiotic because my writerly mental disease flares up whenever I read one. If I’m in the middle of tricky writing or slogging through a bout of “I suck as a writer” (more normal than not) then reading the reviews just makes things that much worse.
I read a review this morning. It slammed Trace of Magic, big time. So now I’m wallowing and trying to scrape my ego back together in order to be able to write. I want to make a declaration that I will avoid reviews until at least the WIP is finished. If I do so declare, I’m not sure my willpower will aid my resolve. But . . . I need to try. So I declare that I WILL NOT look at any reviews at least until Edge of Dreams (Tracer #2’s working title) is turned in. And hopefully I won’t after that, either. It ain’t healthy.
Reaching the end of another school week. Boy has done pretty well overall, and the girlie has begun band. Both seem happy, which makes me happy. Well, except I haven’t been sleeping, but that’s a whole nother kettle of insomniac worms. And yes, I did just split another into two words.
I am working on getting Path of Honor back out at least as an ebook. Hopefully in the next month or so.
And now, to go get on the job. Oh, finished reading a cowboy romance by Kathleen Eagle called The Last True Cowboy. Wasn’t sure how I was going to like it, because yanno, no sf or fantasy elements, and not a regency, and no mystery . . . Basically not my usual story. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was as much about the family relationships between a Grandmother, mother, and two daughters, as it was anything else. It was set in Wyoming on a ranch, which really brought memories back for me of growing up. The details were right and vivid. I’d recommend it.
And the theme music for today’s blog, as it seems appropriate:
Wednesday, August 6th, 2014
Maybe it’s just that my life isn’t terribly exciting, but I can’t seem to find things to say to update my blog. Or maybe I’m busy. Sure. That’s it.
I’m busy writing the untitled second book of the Diamond City Magic series. And I have a cover for Trace of Magic! Let me show you . . .
Isn’t it pretty? Remember, you can preorder for Kindle, right now. There will be a trade paperback available on August 29th. I’m not entire sure why it is they can’t do print preorders, but the book itself will be lovely. Bell Bridge does a stunning job. So if you’d like to wait for a print copy, it will be available, and through all the major outlets.
In other news, we’re heading to Montana for a week, and then to Spocon. If you want to catch up with me, let me know. I plan to get into whatever local stores I can to sign books. But I’m happy to meet up with people at a coffee shop or at the con if you are interested. Let me know.
The boy of size is still barfing. He’s terrible low in Vitamin D, so he’s going to get a prescription for that. He was taking it OTC, but that’s not doing enough. Despite the barfing, he is determined to go to Montana to see friends. I worry he won’t manage, but here’s hoping he’s okay. Maybe it will be just what he needs. The dogs are coming with us. They get to be on a corgi panel at Spocon. The stars of the panel. Spoiled rotten little beasties.
I read J Kathleen Cheney’s The Golden City and Seat of Magic. Both are amazing books. If you haven’t seen them, have a look. They are historical, magical, police procedures, and just delightful.
I’m now reading a book I don’t like at all. I’ve got to decide if I’m going to fight through it or read something else. What do you do when you don’t like a book? I paid for it, so I figure I ought to read it. But then again, with so many books out there, do I waste valuable reading time by reading something that I dislike? The thing is, lots of people like this author. Is there something wrong with me?
Tomorrow I go in bright and stupid early for my yearly physical. There’s only one word for that: Blech. Don’t want to do it.
Thursday, July 31st, 2014
As the title says, I wanted to give you some entertainment. Here’s hoping I succeeded. A snipped from the WIP:
“They split up,” I said. “Three of them went to the far right, two others went to the second left.”
“Which way did Trevor go?” Lauren asked. She sounded faintly winded and the last word trembled off her tongue.
“With the three,” I said. “We should split up.”
“And how do you expect to follow both trails? We only have one tracer,” Dalton said.
I could hear him sneering.
“Leo can ask the metal,” I said, before looking at my brother. “Can’t you?”
The light from the toe lamps hollowed at his face, making him look harsh and dangerous. “I don’t think it’s a good idea,” he said.
“We’ll follow the boy,” Dalton declared. “It’s too dangerous to split up.”
“What if the others are hurt? Maybe dying?” I dug my heels in. “We have the means to go after both. We should.”
“No,” Dalton said.
I ground my teeth together. I couldn’t make Dalton do anything he didn’t want to do. Unless of course I decided to run off my own into the mines. That was a spectacularly bad idea, so much so that even I understood it. I looked over my shoulder.
He sighed heavily and shook his head. “I hate to, but I agree with Dalton. Better we stick together. We’ll come back and get the other two after we find the three.”
I flexed my fingers. I could grab the trace of the two and then I’d know if they were in danger. But then I’d have to put my hand back into the spirit dimension and that was enough to make me think twice. Plus I didn’t want Dalton or his crew to know I could do it. Basically there was no way I was going to argue myself into a win. I decided to give in gracefully.
“Fine,” I said. “I hope to hell they don’t die.” Or maybe not so gracefully.
Dalton strode out down the far right branch. Maggie followed quick on his heels. The two yanked me after them before I had a chance to think about moving. I stumbled forward, stepping on Maggie’s heels. She swore and twisted sideways.
“Walk on your own damned feet, would you?”
“But yours are so much more comfortable,” I said. “Hey, that reminds me. Where were you when I went down to the Bottoms earlier today?”
She scowled at me. “Fuck off.”
“Trying to, but damn if you and your buddies can’t take a hint.”
“Maggie,” Dalton said before she could retort, his voice cracking like a whip.
She flinched and spun away from me.
Tuesday, July 29th, 2014
I made it home from Colorado. The teaching was a lot of fun, but exhausting with all that was going on. Sadly, a good friend died on the same day I came home. She’d been fighting cancer for some time, and she let me know when I was in CO that she was going into hospice. I had a chance to say those things you always wish you’d have a chance to say to someone you love before they are gone, which I’m glad I did. I’m heartbroken, for her family and myself. She was younger than I by several years, and her daughter is younger than mine. We are hoping to go to MT in a couple weeks. I’d hoped to see Laurie then, but it wasn’t to be. I’m hoping we can see her family.
That brings me to the next bit of news. We went to see the specialist for boy of size today. He’s had up and down days. He was feeling pretty good today. The doctor wants me to take him off most everything he’s on–herbal and not–except for omeprazole and Ondansetron–and she’d like me to wean him off the latter as much as possible. Just about everything he’s been taking either lose effectiveness after awhile, or begin to cause the problem you take them to prevent, ie. vomiting. Peppermint is one of these, so is ginger root. This means vomiting could increase, but hopefully it will subside. He’s supposed to avoid fructose, which can cause stomach upset in these circumstances. He can have fruit, but not fruit leather, juice, and that sort of thing. So things could gt really ugly. I hope my heart can take watching him suffer.
In the meantime, I’m trying to get caught up on life from being gone. I have to get my own blood drawn for my annual physical sometime soon. I need to call and arrange the blood draw. I’m also trying to get writing done. Lots and lots.
Trace of Magic is up for preorder on Amazon Kindle. Other formats will be coming soon, including print. I’ll let you know more. I’ll maybe nag you to pre-order. Tell your friends. All that sort of thing.
It’s food time now. Going to go put something together for the family. Also, I read Michaela Roessner’s Walkabout Woman. It’s phenomenal and like nothing you’ve read. Go read it. Seriously. And I’m currently reading The Golden City by J. Kathleen Cheney. I’m loving it. Definitely recommend it already.
Monday, July 14th, 2014
I very much doubt this will make the final version of this nameless book. And yet, I love this so much I have to share. It is wrong. So, so, so, wrong:
Lately my dreams had been divided equally between erotic images of the two of us together that left my thighs aching and the rest of me more frustrated than an impotent priest on free fuck night at the local brothel, and erotic images of *him with someone else, which left me wanting to skin him alive. I really have mental problems, I swear.
* pronoun added to prevent TMI on the book.
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
This is from Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life. It’s my go-to book when writing becomes thorny. Here’s where I’m at now. She says it so well.
I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend. During visiting hours, I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders. I hold its hand and hope it will get better
This tender relationship can change in a tinkling. If you skip a visit or two, a work in progress will turn on you.
A work in progress quickly becomes feral. It reverts to a wild state overnight. It is barely domesticated, a mustang on which you one day fastened a halter, but which now you cannot catch. It is a lion you cage in your study. AS the work grows, it gets harder to control; it is a lion growing in strength. You must visit it every day and reassert your mastery over it. If you skip a day, you are, quite rightly, afraid to open the door to its room. You enter in its room with bravura, holding a chair at the thing and shouting, “Simba!”
I highly recommend that you read this book. That you read it often or open it and read a bit here and there whenever you need a little inspiration.
Thursday, June 5th, 2014
I had an ugly realization the other day that I’d forgotten some serious developments in The Hollow Crown and had neglected to account for them in plotting out the next Crosspointe book. Bad. Very bad. I’ve been rereading the past couple of days–both The Turning Tide and The Hollow Crown–and realize that I have to essentially toss out what I was going to do and totally rejigger everything. The worst part is that I did a really good job of building the intrigue and complexity and now I have to wind it up in one book. I want to do so as elegantly as all that happened in the previous books. I hope I can.
In rereading all four of the books, I realize that I’m a pretty good writer. This is not something that I remember very often or realize. Maybe it’s because my sales are nothing like the biggies in the field; maybe it’s because my name isn’t splattered all over the place; maybe it’s because it don’t get tons of reviews on Amazon. Maybe it’s just because I’m neurotic. I think most writers are. It’s probably part of the definition. Anyhow, in rereading, I realized that I built the relationships in a way that made me happy. I developed the complexities of the politics the way that I envisioned–they are difficult and twisty. I realized that ending this series won’t be easy because I did manage to capture those complexities and it won’t be easy to resolve them.
These are books I’m proud to have written. These are books that I like to read.
I left a fairly large cliffhanger in The Hollow Crown. I’ll endeavor to make the wait for the finish worth it. In the meantime, I should be able to post links to the reissue of The Cipher on Monday or so of next week.
Thursday, May 8th, 2014
I finally FINALLY finished my revision of Trace of Magic and sent it back to my editor. I really like it and hope that I’m right. Anyhow, in honor of finishing, here’s a snippet for you.
A week later, I walked into the Diamond City Diner a little after two in the afternoon. I’d spent the night before following a carpet cleaner who was stealing supplies from his boss. I’d slept a few hours after tracking him to his storage unit, then turned in my report and collected my fee. I hadn’t eaten since lunch the day before and I was starving.
Patti glared at me when I walked in. “You look like shit.”
I had not grounds to argue. I hadn’t been sleeping well the last week. Nancy Jane and her mother had been rescued alive. I should have been over the moon. Instead I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong. I spent hours reinforcing my nulls and I’d taken to carrying my gun everywhere I went, along with the Chinese baton I hid in my sleeve. I usually kept one or the other on me, but tended to leave them behind when I went shopping or to going to visit my family. Not any more.
“Thanks. I spent hours on this look.” I was wearing my hair in a ponytail, with my usual uniform of jeans, hiking boots, a long sleeved shirt, a heavy jacket, a hat, and gloves.
“It’s cold out there. Got anything to eat?” I asked, unzipping my coat and stuffing my gloves and hat into a pocket before hanging it on a hook fastened to the bench of my usual booth. A snow storm had moved in, the first of several to come, all piled up like cars stuck on an LA freeway. By the time they were done with Diamond City, we’d be buried.
“Hold your horses, Laraby.” Patti glared at the dentist who was waving a check at her. “I’ll be there in a second.” She grabbed a clean coffee cup off the counter and set it down in front of me and filled it. “I’ll get you something to eat.”
Ten minutes later she returned carrying a white oval plate mounded with an omelet, hashbrowns, pancakes, and a half dozen slices of bacon. I didn’t want an omelet, but Patti tended to get me what she thought I needed, not what I wanted. It was loaded with vegetables and cheese. Tasty, but not the burger and fries I was craving. Arguing wasn’t going to do me any good. I’d eat what I was given and try to look happy about it.
“Give me a few minutes,” she said. “We should slow down soon and I’ll join you. People are trying to get home before the weather gets too heavy.”
I glanced through the front window. Snow was falling in a thick curtain of fat flakes. Already the ground was white. I was willing to be there’d be an inch or two on the ground by the time I finished eating. Giving lie to her promise, the door jingled and half a dozen people came in, stomping their feet and dusting the snow off their clothing.
Patti zipped off to help them. I cleared my plate and immediately wanted a nap. I considered heading upstairs. Patti kept a room for me in her apartment. I spent two or three nights a week at the diner, sometimes more, depending on the jobs I had. Right now I didn’t have anything lined up. I was planning to hit the grocery store and go home and hole up until the storms blew themselves out.
I took my dishes to the bus tub, waving at Ben, Patti’s partner in the diner, through the kitchen window. I grabbed a pot of coffee and topped off my cup before sliding back into my seat. I didn’t bother looking up with the bell on the door rang again. I was checking the weather radar on my phone.
A shape loomed over me suddenly and Clay Price slid into the seat opposite me. My mouth dropped open. As far as I knew, he’d never even set foot in the diner before.
“What do you want?”
He slid my coffee out of my hand and took a sip, then eyed it in surprise. “That’s good,” he said.
“Not to mention it’s mine,” I said, eyeing him balefully.
He set the cup down, then ran his fingers through his hair. He was he carefully controlled type, so his gesture startled me. I examined him. He didn’t look any better than I did. His eyes were sunken and grooves cut deeply around him nose and mouth.
“You know, if you’re hungry, there are other tables. Empty tables,” I pointed out.
He sipped my coffee again. “But you’re not sitting at the other tables.”
A frisson of foreboding rippled through me. I shivered. It had nothing to do with cold. “You came looking for me?”
“I knew you were a smart woman.”
He pulled a manila file from inside his leather jacket and set it on the table. “I want you to do a trace for me.”
Like I said before, my cardinal rule is not to be stupid. Taking a case working for Price—a cop and a Tyet enforcer–was the dictionary definition of stupid. Insane even. I didn’t even think before I said, “no.”