Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'm probably going to shift most of my blogging over to tumblr, since it's easy to add pretty pictures. If you do tumblr, please follow me there. If you don't do tumblr, I will still post here sometimes, but tumblr & twitter are where my action is at these days.

Ah social media. What an entertaining time suck!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Did I mention I'm on tumblr?

You should go there; I post pretty pictures, and trenchant aphorisms, and sometimes videos of border collies doing parkour.

Plus, I am needy for followers. 

Hardhands does not like children. This dislike is nothing personal; he doesn't like chicken either, or rainy days, or socks that were too tight. In fact, if asked to rank dislikes he would have put these last three higher up on this list, easily. Maybe that was because chicken, rainy days and socks that were too tight intrude into his life. Children do not.  Still, his little experience with children, confined mostly to his dreadful niece—four years old and a red headed terror—have left him quite firm on the matter.

Hardhands does like dogs. He also likes sleeping late, double mochas and scrambled eggs, particularly the way that Paimon makes them, creamy and cheesy, and particularly on a late morning after a later night, after a particularly good show. Last night's show had more than particularly good, it had been fantastic, brilliant, fabulous, being superlative. The drums had rolled like thunder through the crowded club, crushing all before them, and his voice had balanced perfectly on the knife's edge of the guitar, cutting and quick. The invocation had been so superlatively heavy that the band had managed to manifest Forneaus, who had produced the most killer bass solo ever heard at the Octagon Theatre. The show was so fabulous that half the audience had staggered out into the early morning street with blood streaming from their ears, agog in bliss.
Now, still in afterglow, Hardhands helps himself to more cheesy eggs out of the silver chafing dish. He is humming the bass line to Bury Me in Immortal Oblivion. If he had been asked what could ruin his perfectly good mood, he would have said, in between egg and coffee, absfuckinglutely nothing.

 That was before his grandmamma joins him at the table.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Your chance to get the Japanese editions of FLORA'S FURY is gone.

But you may well have another.

Here's your chance to get the two volume set of the Japanese edition of FLORA'S Fury, and contribute to an extremely worthy cause--keeping the KGB reading series going for another few years.

Forty-five bucks is all it takes (same caliber as Flora's side-arm, dontchaknow), and since I'll be sending the books directly to you, I may be motivated to include goodies beyond my gorgeous signature. She who lives will see, as Nini Mo says. (Or He, as the case may be.)

I've already blogged about why it's important to support KGB even if you don't live anywhere near NYC and don't think you'll ever be able to attend a reading, so I won't repeat myself now.

But I will say that the Japanese edition of FLORA'S FURY is by far the most gorgeous edition of any Flora book ever, and well worth having for the art alone, even if your Japanese is slim to non-existent.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Let's play what's in her dispatch case.

  • a black light scorpion flashlight
  • wallet
  • a packet of Snoopy brand tissues
  • appointment book
  • pen case full of pins
  • case with knife, fork & spoon (I hate plastic)
  • iphone charger
  • bag of nuts
  • bag of Gail Ambrosius cocoa covered dried cherries
  • Little My coin purse 
  • 2 bars of Dandelion chocolate 
  • Power block battery charger
  • five lipsticks
  • collapsible bag 
  • 7 pens of various descriptions and hues
  • the menu from Delica, scribbled with reading suggestions from Sarah Gran
  • Kindle Fire
  • notebook 
  • black sparkly headband
  • green toy car missing its wheels
  • Kindle fire charger
  • Ikea pencil
  • Thermos bottle full of ice tea
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
Nini Mo would say: "Where's your knife?" That's a good question...where is my knife...I must have taken out when I flew last and not put it back in...

So what's in YOUR dispatch case? 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

I have always written chronologically until now. With each of the Flora books I started at the beginning and then just plowed forward. If I got stuck, I was stuck, and there I stayed until I could figure out how to unstick (Get out of bed, Flora! It's not that bad!). This worked well enough, although sometimes it meant I sat around for weeks waiting for Flora to get out of bed. She likes to lay around and moan, that girl.

But for years, I've been accumulating bits of METAL MORE ATTRACTIVE; short stories, longer pieces that clearly fit in the narrative somewhere, but where oh where? And while I had an idea of what actually happened in the end, I didn't have any idea how the pieces fit together or why things happened, or what the over arcing story line was about other than Hardhands' burning desire to burn.

So when I finished FLORA'S DARE, I thought this is finally the time to figure out what the heck is going on with that boy and his little tiny doom. When I tallied up the fragments I had over 80K words. That's more than half a book! They were pretty good fragments too; I just had to figure out how they went together. And that's what I've been doing the last few months. Fleshing some out some stuff, cutting out other stuff, discovering back-story that I hadn't realized I'd inserted, and even, in a couple of cases, finding important scenes that I have no actual memory of ever writing. So I guess in a way, I'm following Joss's advice for the first time ever. And it's working out pretty well. I'm still at about 80K due to the splicing, pruning and adding, but now that 80K actually fits together in a (dis)orderly fashion and I feel as though I have some good sense of what's going on. Although I've been wrong about that before. (Never trust a trickster who you think isn't even in the book and then turns out to have been there all along pretending to be other characters.)

And there is something to be said, I realize now, about writing the really compelling urgent stuff first and then connecting it together later. Hardhands and Tiny Doom are rather urgent people (unlike Flora, who wants the answers quickly but don't have no energy) and so I often drop in on them and find them doing in the middle of doing some incredibly urgent thing they don't have time to explain. I just have to follow along behind, scribbling notes furiously, and then once the fuss has died down try to figure what *that* was all about. This is much more fun than sitting around waiting for Flora to get out of bed.

(I love ya, Flora, but more murder, less art!)

I have to say this is also making the writing process much more interesting and exciting. And when you have no idea what's going to happen next, and maybe next turns out to come before, well, the solving the puzzle makes the second draft much more fun.

As Nini Mo once said: if you spend all your time looking behind you, you'll never see what's in front of you.

"I used to write chronologically when I started, from beginning to end. Eventually I went, That’s absurd; my heart is in this one scene, therefore I must follow it. Obviously, if you know you have a bunch of stuff to do, I have to lay out this, all this dull stuff, and I feel very uncreative but the clock is ticking. Then you do that and you choose to do that. But I always believe in just have as much fun as you can so that when you’re in the part that you hate there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, that you’re close to finished.”

Joss Whedon

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Flying Bothwell, as drawn by Theo Black.

Kickstarter for KGB

The SF KGB reading series has a very worthy kickstarter going on right now. For those who don't know, KGB is a monthly SF&F reading series that's been going in the KGB in East Village for years. Moderated by Ellen Datlow and Matt Kressel, it's probably the most important SF&F reading series in THE WORLD. The list of luminaries that's read there is far too long to list, but does include your faithful author.

There are many wonderful things about KGB, but from a writer's POV the best part of participating in the series is a guaranteed audience. Writers are always longing to get a chance to read their work before an appreciative and adoring crowd, but the brutal truth is, even at cons, most writers are lucky to have three or four people show up. I just went to a reading given by a wonderful writer reading from a wonderful book that has gotten tons and tons of very deserved critical acclaim and only four people showed. Unless you are in the Hugely Big Book Leagues, people are just not interested in taking time to come to readings. This can even be true at cons; I've done readings at cons where I've had four people in the audience (thank you Kelly Link for coming and bringing three friends!) It's very depressing to know that even your peers can not be rousted from the bar long enough to stagger upstairs to the conference room to listen to you declaim your deathless prose.

(Cue Sad Trombone)

(Sound of Sad Trombone dies away.)

 (Cue Happy Trumpets!)

 But KGB is always full, always packed, always standing room only. It's the one place that writers like me can look out over a sea of happy faces and declaim our little hearts out. People come to KGB as much because it's an institution and because they adore Ellen & Matt than because they want to hear a particular writer. Which works to us un-particular writers very good advantage. So even if you don't live in NYC, and don't think you'll ever have a chance to attend KGB, please consider supporting it anyway. By doing so, you are supporting the authors you love and helping give them a chance to feel some love back. It's lonely being a writer, and so rarely do you get a chance to present your work yourself to an audience, get feedback, actually realize that you HAVE an audience (even if that audience is there as much for the bar, Ellen & Matt, as for you).

 Muchas gracias.
Alas and fie for shame, I never managed to get my gorgeous Sparkly Website back up and running, so that's why you have come here, and not to the Gorgeous Sparkly Website. Fie on Flash, Fie! And fie on Apple for abandoning Flash and thus ruining my beautiful Sparkly website. I know that writers today must be their own marketing, their own social secretaries, their own everything, but at the risk of a Whine, it's so time consuming to get social media constructed, to keep it going, to decide where to concentrate efforts etc. I have a facebook but no one ever visits there; I have this blog, where admittedly I haven't been very good about posting here, but then no one ever visits, so I guess no one ever notices. I have twitter, I did myspace, I did lj, I have a tumblr which I can't figure the heck out. It's exhausting. With only a certain amount of energy available, you have to put it where it counts...and deciding what counts is hard as heck. Anyway. If anyone ever reads this, I promise to try to be more proactive about keeping things up. And I'm going to get that Sparkly website back, if it kills me. Someday.