lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jun. 24th, 2011 09:56 am)

I finally finished the copyedits last night. My brain is porridge, but I go straight into Book 2 of the duology I just finished edits on book 1 for. *headdesk* So it’s six random things this Friday while I recuperate. Sort of. I guess. Maybe.

* James “Whitey” Bulger’s finally been caught. (He was in Santa Monica for 14 years.) I heard about him years ago on America’s Most Wanted (I used to watch that show religiously, you just don’t know) and always wondered, off and on, if he was ever going to be caught. Kind of like Ira Einhorn. (Einhorn was gone for 17 years. Justice grinding slow but fine, anyone?)

* What was Shakespeare smoking? They want to dig him up and find out. Seriously. No, really. The words “crack pipe” are used. I AM SERIOUS.

* Oh, what happens to a state’s economy when the expected quasi-slave labor pool is driven away? Any guesses?

* For heaven’s sake, just let people get married and spend their lives together. The world is cold and cruel enough. Quit trying to make it harder.

* My new cell phone (the one I had to teach how to curse, remember?) has Google Tracks. Which means I can run with Miss B., and have my distance, speed, elevation, and quite probably what I had for breakfast, the state of the cartilage in my knees, and the number of hairs on Miss B. right front foot tracked. Already it’s been thought-provoking; I’ve found out that my pace outside is a lot quicker than I thought possible, as well as a number of other things. The future is here. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with it, but it’s mighty convenient.

* I am told that in my next podcast I have to do my Hans and Franz impersonation. So, that’s coming up in the near future. I’m also taking questions for that same podcast. Drop me a line if you have a podcast question for me!

And that’s about it for Friday six. Off I go to force my porridge-brain through another sieve. It’s about as fun as it sounds…

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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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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Apr. 11th, 2011 09:36 am)

Morning walk was a treat. Sometimes when the wind is just right, you can even smell the sea, which scratches that itch quite nicely. I don’t feel like myself if I don’t see crashing waves every now and again, but I don’t get out to the beach nearly as often as I should. That may change this summer, with a dog and a decent car. We’ll see.

Unfortunately, I’d have to clear three months’ worth of work before I could afford to take a weekend off. No pain, no gain.

Miss B. is sacked out at my feet–I worked her hard this morning. I’m even wearing out a mini-Aussie, for heaven’s sake. I didn’t think it was possible. Oh well, a tired dog is a well-behaved dog, and all that.

Spring Break is over, the house is quiet because the kidlings are back at school, and I’m settling in. Before I turn off the wireless and get cracking writing the destruction of a whole Londinium shipyard, though, here’s some linkage!

* This is why I’m not letting Miss B. go outside alone. Also, when you have to use baby strollers as bait to catch squirrels…yeah.

* Courtesy of the lovely Mazoku, a little cautionary tale about caffeine. Well, maybe not cautionary. Maybe more like, I’d try this at home just to see the dude in the Matrix coat.

* This morning’s musecrack from my writing partner: a Laura Marling video. There’s a selkie story just begging to be written there.

* Just a note: the Reckoning cover that’s making the rounds on Goodreads? It’s not the final one, guys.

And now I need to plan that shipyard rumble with the assassin, the mad Bavarian genius, the mentath Clare, and a couple of prematurely-awakened mecha. This afternoon will be given over to revising a certain Sekrit Project I hope to announce soon. Let’s just say that if you like the way I write fantasy, you’re in for a treat.

Over and out.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Mar. 11th, 2011 10:08 am)

* First off, a collection of links on how to help after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Plus, emergency numbers and live reports.

* This week’s writing post (Habit and Ritual) was on Wednesday. I am putting together ideas for a new podcast episode. Now’s the time to get your questions in!

* Interesting article on Ayn Rand. I always wonder, when reading about Rand, how coverage or criticism would be different if she was male. But that’s a question/rant for another day.

* Let’s not forget that Governor Scott Walker and the Republicans in Wisconsin have basically given the finger to working families with a series of shenanigans. The cynic in me says that now that the bill is signed, the mainstream media will move on and shove more Charlie Sheen and disaster pr0n down our throats and hope we forget all about it. Let’s hope I’m wrong. Also, Peter King’s hypocritical McCarthyite witch hunt, America isn’t broke, and Murder City just over our border.

Today I have to get some work done, so I’m signing off and turning off the Internet connection. I just can’t handle any more. Have a safe weekend out there, dear Readers.

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I am currently stamping on some flaming revisions at the moment, hoping I can put them out in time to make deadline. So just a few things today:

* Yes, I’ve started a podcast! I can treat you all to long rambling rants about nothing in my screechy caw, not to mention try to get over my fear of speaking into a microphone.

* Chuck Wendig on how not to starve and die as a writer, and on what dopamine is and why writers need it. I should just steal all his writing posts and pass them off as mine.

* Holly Black on the (nonexistent) YA mafia. John Scalzi on the (nonexistent) YA mafia. For Christ’s sake, there is no YA mafia. This is just the latest iteration of the “gatekeeper” myth–the idea that there is a secret cabal somewhere that you have to kiss up to or figure out the secret handshake for in order to break into publishing. There is none. There is quality control and business practices, but no fricking gatekeepers, keymasters, Zuuls, Viggo the Carpathians, or Stay-Puft Marshmallow men.

Okay, so there is a Stay-Puft Man, but like I said earlier on Twitter, you have to be drunker than Hemingway to see him. So, yeah.

* Slacktivist has moved! But he promises to keep doing the Left Behind rundowns. So I suppose I’ll adjust.

Writing posts will resume when I have some mental and emotional energy to pour into them, which frankly isn’t at the moment. I’m too busy trying to put out the bonfire of the revisions. (They burn longer than vanities, I’m told…)

Over and out.

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My semi-hiatus from blogging proceeds apace. Here’s a couple links:

* I linked to my “The Hard Sell Doesn’t Work” post on Twitter yesterday, and Becca Fitzpatrick has further thoughts.

* An underground village in France, continuously inhabited for thousands of years.

* The Wishery Snow White remix, just because it’s been too long since I’ve linked to it.

* Larissa Ione on thickening skin and review scars.

I am also breaking the semi-hiatus to announce something. It’s that time. I’ve been given official permission to announce the project I’ll be working on after (sadly) finishing up Jill Kismet, Bannon & Clare:

Emma Bannon, Prime sorceress in the service of Britannia, has a mission: to protect Archibald Clare, a failed, unregistered mentath. His skills of deduction are legendary, and her own sorcery is not inconsiderable. It doesn’t much help that they dislike each other, or that Bannon’s Shield, Mikal, might just be a traitor himself. Or that the conspiracy killing registered mentaths and sorcerers alike will just as likely kill them as seduce them into treachery toward their Queen. In an alternate Londonium where illogical magic has turned the Industrial Revolution on its head, Bannon and Clare now face hostility, treason, cannon fire, black sorcery, and the problem of reliably finding hansom cabs. The game is afoot…

I am so ridiculously excited about this. Clockwork horses. Charm and charter. Gryphons. Cannon fire. Logic engines. GIGANTIC CLOCKWORK MECHA RUN BY LOGIC. *does squealing Kermit arm-wavey dance* This is why I’ve been diving up to my eyeballs into Victoriana. I am having a ball with creating Bannon & Clare’s world, and I can’t wait to invite you, dear Reader, into it.

And now, back I go to the semi-hiatus…

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Have blown out three electrical appliances in the last two days. (Temper, my besetting sin.) And today I’m not going to be slowing down for anything until dinnertime (and maybe not even then) so here are some links in lieu of a post:

* The Return of the REAL King, a review of a new book on Elvis. I am pretty fascinated by the ongoing worship of all things Presley, and this book seems to focus on a little-mined subject: the actual making of the music instead of the messy personal life.

* A fascinating look at Russian television.

* Waterloo teeth. This is one of the reasons why I don’t get when people say history is boring. It’s juicy and fabulous and utterly weird.

* Chuck Wendig’s utterly hilarious take on why you don’t want to be a writer. I laughed until I cried, holding onto both sides of my desk, sides heaving and tears rolling down my cheeks.

* Monica Valentinelli on a writer’s hidden enemy.

And with that, I’m outie. Got to work while the iron’s hot, and there’s errands today besides. See you.

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There’s a new interview with me over at Reading Awesome Books, where I talk tangentially about Christophe’s plans and why Anna’s a tragic character to me. Later this week Captain Jack Sparrow will be interviewing me over at CJ Redwine’s place. (THAT should be fun. I am told cupcakes are involved. Though the rum is gone.)

Other cool stuff this morning: how words get their meaning, sleeping protects memories, and Taco Bell “beef” is really only 35% beef. I don’t know why that last one surprises anyone, really.

My two thoughtful, lovely spawn brought home a nasty cold from school that is currently trying to colonize my corpse and I’ve got two short stories to dress up and get out the door today, so I bid you a civil adieu, dear Readers. Hope your Tuesday is magnifique.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Sep. 20th, 2010 10:38 am)

Cranky, cold, and nauseated. Yep, it must be Monday.

The only update I have to offer on the ongoing SquirrelTerror is that Squirrel!Neo appears to have won whatever struggle for dominance there was. The backyard is now his territory. Even Tuxedo Kitty and the Siamese from down the street (they observe a studied ignorance of each other that reminds me of some married couples) will not venture into the yard while Neo is hopping about. He came right up to the sunroom door while I was running this morning, put his little paws on the glass, and turned his head sideways, fixing me with one beady little eye.

I’m really hoping he’s not going to hack into the house thinking it’s the mainframe.

And really, I don’t blame the cats. He’s a squirrel with kung fu, for Chrissake.

Anyway, links!

* A hilarious little piece on dating writers. My favorite is #6. Why? Oh, no reason…

* Mental Floss with 10 ways to learn stuff while procrastinating online. Don’t look at me like that. We know who we are.

* John Scalzi. Writing: Find The Time Or Don’t. I could go off on a rant but instead I’ll just point and say: there. What he said. WHAT HE SAID. Writers write. It’s that bloody simple.

I’ve been reading a lot of le Carre lately, and I have to say, I’m pretty much in love with George Smiley. Round, retiring, expensively but badly dressed, academic, bumbling, and very moist, still, Smiley is my type of guy. Plus, every le Carre novel rips your heart out in one way or another, and I’ve finally got to the place where I can enjoy that in fiction again. Thank goodness.

Well, off I go to nurse what I suspect will turn out to be a cold. Plus, the next scene is burning up inside my head and I have to get it out or I’ll start shuffling around, mumbling, and occasionally laughing at nothing…

…oh, damn. Too late.

Over and out.

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Aug. 2nd, 2010 10:34 am)

Morning. I had a helluva weekend, how ’bout you? For me it’s straight to work on revisions for the next Dru book, and a whole clutch of things I kind of let slide while the release madness was jumping up and down under my skin like red-hot ants.

Yeah, great image, right?

A couple of great links: LA Banks on writing the paranormal. I about died laughing because I’ve done what she describes before. And Michelle Sagara on the fact that not everyone has to love one’s books. John E. Dunn on who owns a book and Trip Gabriel on how student plagiarism could be rooted in “changing ideas of authorship.” (Both of those two last courtesy Victoria Strauss.)

I don’t quite agree with that last one. I’m more likely to ascribe it to a new form of the same old laziness–almost everyone wants something for nothing, and given a way to cheat, significant proportions of people will. I don’t think “ideas of authorship” have changed. I think people are just as they have always been, except it’s easier to plagiarize and easier to be caught doing so because of the way the Internet works.

Anyway, I have an event to announce! On August 19 at 7pm, I will be at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s, to read from and sign copies of Jealousy! (More information here.) You can even preorder signed copies.

I may–MAY, mind you–even be wearing heels.

Yes, the excitement. I don’t know how we stand it either. *grin*

The only thing I have left to say is a huge thank-you to everyone who has deluged me with congratulations and wonderful responses to Jealousy‘s release. I am overwhelmed by the support and cautiously optimistic, since plenty of you seem to have read it and like it. Thank you! You are, after all, who I write for.

Back to the word mines, my dears. Have a good Monday.

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First the news, then the links!

* We’re coming up on the release of the third Strange Angels book, Jealousy, next week. I’ve heard from a few people who have already scored copies; my fingers are crossed. I hope you guys like this one. My pre-release jitters are in full swing.

* I’ve been calming those jitters by climbing somewhat obsessively. I am now getting consistently to the top of 5.9s without getting so hashed I can’t cling at the end of the ascent. Climbing is a blessed relief for me, because once I’m on the wall I’m not thinking about anything other than the rest of the route. My busy brain stops eating itself, and that’s damn near priceless.

* But the BIG NEWS is something I can finally announce after sitting on it for literally MONTHS. I am really, really excited.

Longtime readers may remember a little story I called (very tongue in cheek) Weasel Boy. The title morphed to Carcajou, but I was overruled. I’m pleased and proud to report that Weasel Boy will now see the light of day as Taken, a Harlequin Nocturne coming out in February ’11. More details and links as soon as I get them, but I am so happy to be able to announce this. You just don’t know. This is one of my very favorite stories, and it’s a pretty gentle one (for me). I loved having the chance to play with the kind of were-animals I always wanted to read about!

That’s the news. Now the links!

* Writers talk about toiling on content farms. Eye-opening, and the bit about how you shouldn’t trust is…well. Thought-provoking. To say the least.

* Io9′s Words to live by: Advice from 34 sci-fi and fantasy authors. Some great stuff in here, including a few that made me giggle like a little girl.

* The most interesting thing today I’ve seen is Tobias Buckell’s post on mid-career advice for writers.

The audience changes. For one, the aspiring authors, whether they realize it or mean to do it, start pushing back. If you start thinking out loud about problems they wish they had, there gets to be a certain tension. I full on encountered this when I had just finished my first novel. At a con a dear friend (and to this day still a dear friend and someone I respect a great deal) had asked what the toughest part writing this novel was. I’d responded that I’d just become noticed enough that halfway through I got asked to write two short stories, and paused the book to do so. My friend responded, ‘wow, I wish I had that kind of problem.’ At the time it was a punch to the gut, because I really wanted to struggle through talking about the difficulty of saying ‘no’ to opportunities I’d never had before, but then how it had killed momentum on the book and how hard it was to juggle what needed to be done, versus new chances. It’s a problem I still haven’t fully figured out. But it was clear that my privilege in having this tough choice mean I couldn’t clearly talk this out easily as I had when talking about beginner issues. (Tobias Buckell)

I’m struggling a little with this too, mostly when it comes to the Friday writing posts. Sometimes i feel like I’ve said everything helpful or useful that I can about writing, and that nobody wants to hear me go on and on like a cranky old lady about the same old things. I always seem to find something to say, but I’m not sure whether that’s a good thing, you dig?

The advice one can give and the problems one is working on are different at each stage, and I’m not sure just how much people are interested in hearing about deadline woes or the nuts and bolts of publishing. Some people seem fascinated, others just shrug and say “whatevah.” Plus, I come to writing as a working writer, someone whose bills don’t get paid if she doesn’t produce. My advice may not work for any number of people who come to writing as a hobby, or a Pristine Arte, or what-have-you. In gearing myself so specifically, I sometimes wonder if I’m running the risk of only speaking to a fraction of the people who wonder about what it’s like to write every. damn. day.

Speaking of which, I’ve got wordcount to grind out. More coffee, she cries. Into the breach! Make those characters sorry they were ever hatched!

And, um, let’s hope I can find a subject for tomorrow’s Friday writing post…:P

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How can I have a cold when it’s a hundred degrees outside? I ask you, how? Maybe it’s the mosquitoes. Several people have mentioned how the little buggers seem to be particularly bad this year. I believe the term used was “MUTANT ZOMBIE MOSQUITOES FROM HELL, Jesus!” And I heartily agree. I’m welted up all over.

Anyway, I have great news and some links.

I’ve officially finished the zero draft for Strange Angels 5. This is the end of the series, and I cried like a baby last night when I wrote the last few chapters. My laundry pile is threatening to eat the living room and I just spent a couple hours weeding through email correspondence that I literally haven’t had time to touch for the past week. The race to finish the book meant dumping 4-5K out every day for the past four days–not that I’m under serious time constraints, because the first draft isn’t due for a couple months at least, but the story had taken me over and it wanted out.

It’s called a zero draft because it needs work before it turns into a reasonable first draft that I can send to my editor without cringing. Of course, I’ll cringe anyway. That’s just how it works–the instant I hit the “send” button, I am assailed by the “what if they don’t LIKE it?” tsunami. But before I can do that work and regard the zero draft as just raw material, I have to set it aside. I’m thinking this book needs to be completely out of my head for at least a month before I will have enough emotional distance from it to go back and see some of the flaws enough to correct them.

Now I’m firmly in the snapback phase, which is what happens to me after I’ve focused all this emotional, mental, and physical energy on finishing a book. I’m pretty much exhausted on all three levels, but the engine in my head is still whirring and pulling. It hasn’t calmed down yet; I’m still feeling the reverberations. So I’ll need a day or so to let the force bleed off and return my brain to normal. (Yeah, I know. Or as close to normal as my brain ever gets.)

The other news? Guess what arrived the other day. Go on, guess.

Some shiny new copies of the third Strange Angels book, Jealousy, due for release on July 29! Which means tomorrow there will be a giveaway for two signed copies on my Deadline Dames Friday writing post. Plus, I’ll be sending out a newsletter soon (I haven’t sent one out in months–sorry, Dark Siders! It’s been a bit crazy here.) And, because my faithful Dark Siders are so awesome, I’ll be running a giveaway for signed copies through the newsletter as well. Exciting, no?

Now for the links:

* Mario Vargas Llosa on why literature isn’t dead yet.

*Chapman/Chapman on failing harder.

* And in honor of Jealousy coming out, Graves appears on a list of hot boys over at Suzanne Young’s excellent blog. There’s also a Facebook release e-party gearing up.

That’s all I’ve got, dear Readers. My brain is mush. See you tomorrow.

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I have three scenes to get through today to set me up for the Epic!Battle! at the end of Dru 5. I am going to kick this book’s ass today, I swear. So this will be short.

* The Copenhagen Declaration on Religion in Public Life. I take this as a step forward. I have a close personal relationship with my gods, but I don’t like other peoples’ gods shoved down my throat, I do not require anyone else take my word for the existence of my gods, and I am still undecided on the question of whether or not gods actually objectively exist or are just psychological processes. (That’s reducing a complex ongoing philosophical argument I have with myself to a nutshell; I’m not going into all of it here. Suffice to say I think undecided is a good place to be when contemplating such questions.)

I consider the declaration a step forward. Secular societies have a better human-rights record than religious ones; organized religion is probably the most effective con game ever invented. I’m comfortable having my own religion/spirituality be just one of my many little personal quirks, rather like my preference for Havarti and my belief that mateless socks in the laundry are actually the larval form of wire clothes hangers. All in all, if one must believe in the unbelievable, I think that’s the healthiest route.

* New York Times on resources about bullying and cyber-bullying. I’ve been bullied and stalked, I’ve seen people I care about bullied and stalked. It’s not pretty. I am undecided whether bullying is actually on the rise or just more visible now with the technology we have. It seems people are pretty steadily nasty all through history, and a great deal of that nastiness is overlooked for one reason or another. Anyway, that doesn’t mean anyone should be bullied, or that parents or educators should stand for it. ‘Nuff said.

* An interesting piece about Harriet Wasserman, a literary agent who absconded with some of her clients’ royalties. (Hat tip to Victoria Strauss for the link.) This should not be construed as a case against agents; Wasserman is an anomaly, much like Ted Mooney representing himself effectively is an anomaly. Still, “trust but verify” is a business practice I wish more new and aspiring writers would practice. This is a business, and checking the math and doing your research doesn’t stop once you’re published. Get used to doing it before you’re published, and save yourself a lot of grief both before and after that blessed event.

* The ever-thoughtful Issendai returns to the subject of sick systems, exploring why they are so tenacious. (Be sure to read parts one and two of this series; they’re highly useful.)

There. That’s done. Now I’m going back to getting Dru in trouble. Lots of big, big trouble.

See you around.

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I don’t care how “less acidic” it’s supposed to be, I’m not drinking coffee that came through a civet’s rump.

Oh. Hi. Good morning. I had a fab weekend–for one thing, I visited the Ballard Farmer’s Market and ran across Adam Hurst quite by chance. I’ve been a fan of his for years now, ever since he played before a show at Cinetopia. He’s having a concert (that is being taped for OPB ArtBeat, go Adam!) on July 1 in Portland at the Old Church, and if you’re a fan of cello music, I highly recommend you go take a listen. If all else fails, he’s got several CDs available. I often listen to his stuff while writing Watcher books or while cooking; his first two albums also played quite a role in writing Japhrimel.

This weekend we also visited the Ballard Locks and got to see several sailboats go through to Lake Union. This led to a long involved science geekery conversation about how the locks work, the density of water, deep-ocean currents, fish spawning, and sodium chloride. Add in lunch at Lombardi’s and some Cupcake Royale, and it was a very happy, full, and tired Lili who embarked on the long drive home. The Little Prince and Princess were absolutely fascinated by the sailboats and couldn’t stop talking about it.

We had great weather (overcast but warm, which meant we didn’t get sunburnt while we were out scampering around) and a relaxing drive both ways. All in all, it was a rest-and-recharge weekend, and I actually got some work done too. Everyone won.

How’s your Monday, dear Reader?

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lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Jun. 24th, 2010 02:03 pm)

A few thoughts knocking around inside my head:

* No matter how much being a full-time writer sometimes sucks, I really, really like that I don’t have to work retail right now unless I choose to. I do volunteer at a bookstore (Cover to Cover Books in beautiful Uptown Vancouver, come and see us!) but I don’t have to deal with the General Public every day. As someone who has worked a lot of retail, this pleases me a great deal. Which is why I find this so amusing. Anyone who works retail or food service need a huge sense of humor and more endurance than Job.

* There’s a special place in hell for those who steal books. That being said, the Tome Raider is a huge plot bunny. My steampunky forensic sorceress and her two sidekicks (one of them a Sherlock-Holmesian master of observation and deduction) could SO use this story.

* Some thoughts on the “democratization of slush” that digital and self-publishing is opening up.

You’ve either experienced slush or you haven’t, and the difference is not trivial. People who have never had the job of reading through the heaps of unsolicited manuscripts sent to anyone even remotely connected with publishing typically have no inkling of two awful facts: 1) just how much slush is out there, and 2) how really, really, really, really terrible the vast majority of it is. Civilians who kvetch about the bad writing of Dan Brown, Stephenie Meyer or any other hugely popular but critically disdained novelist can talk as much trash as they want about the supposedly low standards of traditional publishing. They haven’t seen the vast majority of what didn’t get published — and believe me, if you have, it’s enough to make your blood run cold, thinking about that stuff being introduced into the general population.

Everybody acknowledges that there have to be a few gems out in the slush pile — one manuscript in 10,000, say — buried under all the dreck. The problem lies in finding it. A diamond encased in a mountain of solid granite may be truly valuable, but at a certain point the cost of extracting it exceeds the value of the jewel. With slush, the cost is not only financial (many publishers can no longer afford to assign junior editors to read unsolicited manuscripts) but also — as is less often admitted — emotional and even moral.

It seriously messes with your head to read slush. Being bombarded with inept prose, shoddy ideas, incoherent grammar, boring plots and insubstantial characters — not to mention ton after metric ton of clichés — for hours on end induces a state of existential despair that’s almost impossible to communicate to anyone who hasn’t been there themselves: Call it slush fatigue. You walk in the door pledging your soul to literature, and you walk out with a crazed glint in your eyes, thinking that the Hitler Youth guy who said, “Whenever I hear the word ‘culture,’ I reach for my revolver” might have had a point after all. Recovery is possible, but it’ll take a while (apply liberal doses of F. Scott Fitzgerald). In the meantime, instead of picking up every new manuscript with an open mind and a tiny nibbling hope, you learn to expect the worst. Because almost every time, the worst is exactly what you’ll get. Laura Miller, Salon

Oh, God. SO TRUE.

* This brings me to another train of thought: people are once again yelling wildly that digital and self-publishing are nails in the coffin of trad publishing. Um, no. One of the things very few people who sound off about this realize is that digital publishing, (most of) self-publishing, and e-readers largely presuppose a number of things:

-an infrastructure to deliver Internet service
-disposable income/sweat equity to pay for some aspects of self-publishing, and definitely to pay for marketing
-access to or disposable income to buy Internet service
-access to a computer or the disposable income to buy a computer
-access to or the disposable income to buy an e-reader
-that the quality control a trad publisher delivers (editing, copyediting, art departments, proofing, production values) Doesn’t Count

I’m not saying that digital or self-publishing is bad. Far from. I just don’t think a lot of the underpinning assumptions beneath grand sweeping statements about the Death of Trad Publishing or about how Trad Publishers Are Keeping Quality From The Masses are founded on any kind of reality. Plenty of people who are very vocal in this discussion don’t realize that the Internet and e-readers aren’t ubiquitous, it just feels like they are if you have access and income enough to take advantage of them. Self-published successes, or so-called “digital” successes, are still the exception rather than the rule, and trad publishing has better resources and a better track record at this point in time. Trad publishing also makes books available to a vast mass of people who aren’t privileged enough to be plugged in. Sherman Alexie made this point not too long ago:

Having grown up poor, I’m also highly aware that there’s always a massive technology gap between rich and poor kids. I haven’t yet heard what Amazon plans to do about this potential technology gap. And that’s a vital question considering that Bezos wants to change the way we read books. How does he plan to change the way that poor kids read books? How does he plan to make sure that poor kids have access to the technology? Poor kids all over the country don’t have access to current textbooks, so will they have access to Kindle? Sherman Alexie, Edrants

I have very mixed feelings about ebooks. Part of this is because I’m very in love with the sensuous experience of reading a physical book–the smell of the paper, the feel of the pages. Partly because used bookstores and libraries were my salvation before the Internet existed, they were my salvation when I was too poor for a high-speed connection or indeed any connection at all, and they still continue to be the places I patronize when looking for books, because I don’t want to spend the money on an e-reader and deal with the hassle of platform changes, technology burps, and the distributor deciding to take things off my private electronic device even after I’ve paid for them–I could go on and on.

A greater part of my mixed feelings about ebooks comes from the fact that I can look at torrenting sites and see people stealing my work. (Mike Briggs addresses this eloquently in his Copyright And Free piece.) Maybe my books are shoplifted from brick-and-mortars, I don’t know. But I can look and see them being stolen online, and that irritates me.

Now I’ve got some more fiction to commit. Like I said, these are just some thoughts knocking around inside my head today. Make of them what you will, and play nice in comments.

See you around.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Yesterday was pretty productive. I know what happens in the entire rest of Dru 5 now, all that remains is to buckle down and see how it shifts in the actual writing.

I posted an excerpt of Dame Devon’s Magic At The Gate. I encourage you to go take a gander, it’s pretty awesome. Dame Devon posted the only excerpt of Jealousy I will be giving before the book comes out. You can also read the first chapter of Jealousy on the official Strange Angels website; there will be quizzes and lots more cool stuff showing up on that site before long, so stay tuned. And please, if you want to know about excerpts, read this.

I also updated my FAQ (new stuff about Selene and Nikolai, the Kismet series, and Strange Angels) and updated the fan forum. If you want spoilers, the place to look is the forum; I often give tidbits there. Plus, there’s now preorder information for Heaven’s Spite on the Kismet page.

True to form, once I updated everything about Selene and Nikolai, new news came in. I am pleased and proud to announce that the Selene and Nikolai short story Just Ask has been accepted for the upcoming Mammoth Book of Hot Romance. I don’t know exactly when it will be released but the official acceptance has arrived. Just Ask deals with Selene’s return to Saint City, and as soon as I have more information I’ll share. I can also share that I’ll have a story in the upcoming Dark & Stormy Knights, titled Rookwood & Mrs. King. I am also proud as punch to announce that a YA short story, titled Say Yes, has been accepted for the upcoming Eternal: More Love Stories With Bite, also featuring the awesome PC Cast.

I’ve been sitting on the news about the short stories for so long, it’s just about killed me. You just don’t know. There’s yet more news that I can’t share just yet (oh, how I tease) but it’s so totally exiting I can barely sit still. Anyway, once I get all the details, you’ll hear more.

Now, it’s raining and I have a dead body and a burned-down Schola, not to mention a kidnapping and an epic battle, to commence. Sorry to throw the links and run, but that’s what I’ve gotta do.

Over and out!

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

There are Issues. My Friday post is not forthcoming this week. Here, have some links instead:

* Steven Pressfield on “Do It Anyway”. Yes, you knew I’d agree with this.

*The inimitable Judith Tarr with 10 Ways To Prove You Didn’t Do Your Horse Homework

* Stacy Deanne on trad vs. self-publishing, and where writers are actually better off.

* I often get writing links from Wyrdsmith’s Smart Things; her link roundups about writing are always worth a peek. (And I’m not just saying that because she sometimes links me. Honest!)

And a big shout-out to Jess Hartley. I can’t say why in public, but OMG SQUEEE!

For those of you worrying, nobody’s hurt and everything’s pretty much fine. There’s just…ARGH. Sometimes the argh gets in the way of the blog. Regular Friday writing posts will return next Friday. Thank you, and good night.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Apr. 22nd, 2010 07:50 am)

Today is Take Your Middle-Schooler To Work Day. Since I work at home…yeah, there was pleading. The Princess is usually so good, and she’s worked so hard, that I am allowing her to “come to work” with me today. Which basically means running errands with me, and hanging around the house while I bonk my head against revisions. The lucky little chickadee.

I’m deep in the wilds of revision and making a final push today, plus I have a ton of people who really need answers and correspondence from me. They’ve been very patient, and I need to get right on that and start cracking. So today it’s just a couple of links:

* Yes, health insurers want you dead. Or at least, very ill. Why else would they have $2 billion in stock in fast food companies? (h/t to Mark Morford.)

* Lucienne Diver with three things every writer should know.

* And something I’ve found helpful lately: 50 things you can control right now. In this vein, Thich Nhat Hanh on the here and now. Deeeep breath.

There now. That’s better.

See you on the other side, dear Readers.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

Good morning, all. First, the news.

* There may be a 6-10K-word story dealing with Selene and Nikolai’s reunion in Saint City in the works. I’ll have details when everything firms up, but for right now, I thought I’d let you guys know.

* Events! I will be at the Ooligan Press Write To Publish event on May 23, 2010, at 2pm. I will also be signing in conjunction with Devon Monk and Ilona Andrews at the Cedar Hills Crossing Powell’s on May 25, and by my lonesome in the same location on August 19 to celebrate the release of Jealousy. Details of the Powell’s signings will be forthcoming; they’re usually around 7pm.

* Release news: Heaven’s Spite, the next Jill Kismet novel, is due for release in November 2010. I just confirmed this with my editor yesterday (or was it the day before?) Anyway, now I know, so now you know.

And, linkspam:

* Post-Healthcare Fatigue Syndrome. Don’t worry, the Republicans are still tirelessly working to make sure only the rich have healthcare. Oh, and stirring up their nutwing base to terrify the rest of us. It’s unsurprising, even if it is enough to make one sick enough to need that public option.

* A great article on my very favorite fairy tale. Seriously. I collect versions of Beauty and the Beast. I even wrote my own take on it, as yet unpublished.

* Tim Burton might direct Maleficent’s story. OH PLEASE OH PLEASE. Maleficent is my very favorite villain in any Disney movie. The horns! The shapeshifting! The elegant black cape! The sneer! Oh, please, let this come to pass.

* If you’re not reading the Comics Curmudgeon, you’re missing out. I check in with Josh daily to see what the hell he’s come up with now. Comics snark is pure LOVE.

I think that’s about all. I’m on the last push to complete Dru 4, have a detail-round of revisions due for Kismet 5, and there’s a short story in there somewhere needing to be written. I bought a hat to cover up the fact that my hair is at an awkward length. I’ve stocked up on coffee, because the way things are going, it’s going to become one of my major food groups through the month of April.

Fasten your seatbelts, kiddos, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.

lilithsaintcrow: (Default)
( Mar. 23rd, 2010 11:31 am)

Linkspam, because I’m deep in it today. I’ve got the White Stripes on loud and like spice, BOOK MUST FLOW!

* So those deep meandering conversations about Life, the Universe, and Everything? They can actually help make you happier. I think I need to call my friends and get a couple bottles of wine.

* Oh, Luc Besson, you complete me. Lady adventurers and steampunk dragons? I’M SO THERE.

* Here, find out where earthquakes are happening.

* As I have often told my kids, the separate compartment for dessert in one’s stomach is AWESOME. (This is usually right before I’m called “best mum EVER!” for about five minutes, or however long the ice cream lasts…)

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Gotta run.

*dives back into showdown*

Posted from A Fire of Reason. You can also comment there.



lilithsaintcrow: (Default)


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