stillsostrange: (Dark City)
14. How do you handle a rainy day?

With much delight. At least until I have to mop up after the dogs.

15. Which is worse...losing your luggage or having to sort out tangled holiday lights?

Has the author of these questions ever lost their luggage, I wonder? Or do they just have a morbid fear of tangled cords?

16. How is your relationship with your parents?

Much better now that we're all adults.

17. Do you tend to be aware of what is going on around you?

I am not the least perceptive mammal I know, but let's just say I didn't have a lot of spare points to sink into Perception the last time I leveled.

18. What is the truest thing that you know?

That truth is subjective, and survey questions are often silly.

19. What did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut, a writer, a steeplechase jockey, an artist. Hey, one out of four isn't bad!


A thousand coffee shop words today. My tits are secure. Of course, all it took was a week of flinging myself against Isyllt IV* for The Poison Court to start talking to me. Savedra's costar even gave me a song for the soundtrack. I would like a third POV to round things out, but I'm not sure who yet. Varis might steal every scene he's in, but he hasn't started talking directly to me yet.

For my next trick, I will wander next door to the vintage shop and try to find a sufficiently festive Mardi Gras skirt on the budget of an extremely broke writer.


* It will not star Dolph Lundgren, but I might be able to work in Carl Weathers.
stillsostrange: (fatale)
Skyfall was lovely, as I had heard. (And it had damned well better have been--I've been holding my breath for years waiting for it to come out!) And I appreciate how a million slash writers must have exploded from joy*. But it makes me sad, because it feels like the end of the era that took a franchise I had enjoyed since I was eight and turned it into something I loved passionately. I could be wrong, of course, and perhaps I am, but gadgets and bad jokes are not what I ever loved about Bond, and the return to more traditional trappings makes me a bit nervous.

On the other hand, if they're prepping Eve to become the next M, then everything will be just fine.

As a bonus, it really drove home one of the problems I've been having with Isyllt IV. Sadly, it did not present a neat solution.



* The train, though. That was a little... Phallic. We get it already, people!
stillsostrange: (Default)
The good news is, The Drowning City has earned out its advance. The bad news is, the devils of basket accounting keep me from those delicious royalties until the other two earn out. (The Bone Palace is close! Kingdoms, alas, has a way to go.)

So, just to get the tackiness over with: Necromancers make great presents for the holidays! So do manticores! Consider giving your loved ones the gift of angst and setting!

Okay. Sorry. Had to get that out of my system.

We now return you to your previously scheduled programming.
stillsostrange: (Bone Palace)
Publishers Weekly gave A Fantasy Medley 2 a a starred review. Money shot: "The best of these four is Amanda Downum’s “Bone Garden,” an exciting gothic tragedy set among actors and refugees in the world of the Necromancer Chronicles."

I like being exciting and gothic. I also have a crush on PW.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Today we went to the San Antonio Zoo, and I ogled king cobras and crocodiles and hippos, and saner mammals than us took naps in the shade.

The Poison Court is becoming a real book: I need to scrap my first first chapter and write it over again with different plotty bits. I've also uncovered some poorly chosen terminology used in Kingdoms that I'll need to fix in this one. Luckily, most of it is easily explained by Isyllt's bad Skarrish.*




* She's a government spy. She knows when to take the fall for other people's screw-ups.
stillsostrange: (Savedra)
I named a character once in The Bone Palace, an offhand reference that didn't warrant an entry in the dramatis personae but is still in print. Now I find myself needing to write more about that character and a) not liking his name much anymore, and b) finding it a bit too similar to someone else who shows up quite often. How many of you would be wildly irritated if I changed someone's name between books? (I doubt most people even remember that he was ever mentioned, but somewhere out there is the reader who will.)
stillsostrange: (Yellow Sign)
Yesterday--or 2:00 AM this morning, to be technical--I turned my final revision of Dreams into [livejournal.com profile] arcaedia. Now all I'm waiting for are her notes, and any comments from my Vancouver native reader. I don't know what will happen to the book next, but for the first time in eight years it's no longer hanging like an albatross around my neck. This feels very strange.

Now I can go back to working on proposals for further Necromancer Chronicle-related works, and trying to think of a title for Dreams 2: Byakhee Boogaloo Debt and/or Devils of Something.
stillsostrange: (Default)
I need a gender-neutral respectful address suitable for mages. (In the same setting as The Bone Palace, if you've read it.) Greco-latinate roots are acceptable, as are Turkish or Persian, but plain English is fine too as long as it sounds cool.

I don't know what I'm going to do about the damn pronouns.
stillsostrange: (Words)
Today I named a character. It may not sound like much, but after nearly ten hours of pondering it, I feel pretty accomplished having settled on one. I have never had any luck with placeholder names--I can know nearly everything else about a character, but if I haven't found their name, they won't put out. I can sometimes tweak spelling (Ciaran was meant to be Kieran, but then he ended on the same page with Kiril; one of them had to give), but rarely can I completely change a name without it having a profound effect on the person. Some of them won't change at all. That's why Adam is Adam, even though I had to do jump through a few worldbuilding hoops to explain why he would have that name. Adam has been Adam since 1996, and nothing I have ever done has been able to change that.

Isyllt is the last and best of a long string of not-quite-right names. Back before the oceans drank Atlantis, when I was sixteen, reading too much Lackey, and working on a terrible portal fantasy starring thinly veiled analogues of my friends, there was a snarky girl named Elizabeth who fell into another world and learned magic. Then I started college and decided the portal part was a bad idea, and made all the characters natives to a sad generic European fantasyland. I didn't want a Hebraic name screwing up my awful pan-Gaelic mishmash (except Adam, because he wouldn't change), so after much consulting of name books, Elizabeth became Isolde. It still wasn't quite right, but enough to get me through a few abortive attempts at a book. Then I found a new name book, which listed Isyllt as a Norse variant of Isolde*. Things clicked. Her appearance changed. Her backstory changed. Her snark remained. And so Falling Towers was born.

That fell apart eventually, but many characters crawled out of the wreckage. Isyllt, Adam, Savedra, Nikos, Ashlin (originally Aislinn**, but I'd been mispronouncing it for so long I had to take steps***), Kiril, Mathiros (originally Matthias), Brenna, Ciaran (Kieran). They emerged older, wiser, and with better wardrobes, and have gone on to win fame and glory.


* It should probably be Ishild, but she's Isyllt forever now.

** My first exposure to a lot of Gaelic names was the Cheysuli books. I mispronounced every single one of them, and bad habits became ingrained. Astute readers will notice I'm still borrowing names from that series to this day.

*** Yeah, I know it's still not quite right.
stillsostrange: (Clean)
I'm late to Unfuck Your Habitat, like every other party I attend, but holy crap it is the best thing ever. It isn't telling me anything I didn't already know--except maybe drain volcanoes, which I'd at least forgotten--but the repetition and challenges and breaking down of tasks is amazingly motivational. The public areas of my house have been clean for a week now, which is pretty outstanding around these parts. The bedroom is a minor disaster (but only a minor one), and I may turn that into tomorrow's challenge.

My other challenge besides the bedroom is to unfuck my novel proposal. I have four chapters of Isyllt IV that are full of bits I love, but are also deeply flawed in a stakes/motivation way, and I need to take everything apart and rebuild it in a more stable fashion. It would also help to foreshadow the other half of the plot if I knew what that half was.
stillsostrange: (Veil)
Chapter 3 of Kingdoms is now up on my website. And keep an eye on the Necromancer blog, as I hope to have another character study posted before the release date.


3. Throne of the Crescent Moon - Saladin Ahmed

I actually read this last year, but forgot to add it to the book list. Ghouls! Crotchety ghoul hunters! Lion girls! Creepy jackal spirits! Cardamom tea! I do not read enough books with cardamom tea.

4. Infidel - Kameron Hurley

I continue to love the Bel Dame Apocrypha, brutal and bittersweet and veined with the impossible hope of redemption. My only nit with this book is Sweet Holy Mother of Fishes, the word rep! I cannot not see it, and it burns us, precious.



And now I should have lunch and put on non-yardwork clothing, for tonight I'm crashing [livejournal.com profile] jmeadows' signing, with cupcakes.
stillsostrange: (Follow me boy)
A new character study is up at the Necromancer blog, complete with music and visual aids. Any requests for who to do next?
stillsostrange: (Veil)
Time for the next installment of Kingdoms of Dust. Here is Chapter 2, wherein we see the return of another old friend. (Also available on the necromancer blog.)
stillsostrange: (Default)
This is just to say that The Necromancer Chronicles site is up and running. So far it duplicates the extra content from amandadownum.com, because that's the content I have. I would appreciate help filling out the FAQ, which would involve you guys asking me questions. And if you ever had cause to link to it, that would be cool too--right now Gail Z. Martin and her Chronicles of the Necromancer beat me in Google ranking. I think we need to arm-wrestle over this.
stillsostrange: (Default)
2011 wasn't my best year for writing or publication, but it wasn't the worst either. I finished Kingdoms of Dust, and made it more than half way through the latest revision of Dreams. I also finished and sold "Red" and "Bone Garden."

My goals for 2012 are a) to finish this draft of Dreams by Jan 19th, b) sell more books (any books will do), and c) to finish a few of the short stories that have been collecting dust for too long. I would also eventually like to put out a collection of my short stories, but I care less about when that happens.


21. The Big Sleep - Raymond Chandler

Beautifully written and plotted, and rightly a classic. On the other hand, the constant low thrum of sexism made me kind of tired, and it had the same bonus homophobia that made me sad in The Maltese Falcon. Sigh.

22. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (This must be a reread, but I can't remember when I first read it.)

This is really a sweet little book, but wow it makes me roll my eyes a lot. Could be greatly improved by monsters.

My other goal is to read more books in 2012. Perhaps as many as 40. 52 still seems a bit of a stretch.


And now, the contest! necromancerchronicles.com is up now (though there's no new content yet), but it needs a tagline. As in "The Necromancer Chronicles: Sexy tagline goes here." I turn to you, beloved LJers, to come up with something brilliant.
stillsostrange: (Default)
I own necromancerchronicles.com, but haven't done very much with it. Originally I planned to fill it full of all the book-related stuff I have on my website now--chapters, deleted scenes, soundtracks, etc.--plus the character studies and artwork I've been too lazy to post here. This hasn't happened both because I am a slothful beast and because I began wondering if there was any interest in such a thing. So instead of wondering and slothing, I will ask outright:

Would a website full of book-related extras be cool? Would it be too much duplicated content? If it doesn't sound cool, is there a way in which it could be made cool? If I asked for fan art, would anyone but [livejournal.com profile] csinman draw me some?
stillsostrange: (Default)
I am not actually dead, though I did manage to sleep for 13 hours last night.

Over at Diana Peterfreund's blog she has updated cover art for Brave New Love, and the list of contributers. It's pretty spiffy.

I've finished the proposal for TWR/TAT, at least until someone tells me how awful the synopsis is and makes me fix it. Now I can go back to picking at Dreams for the rest of the month. As soon as I finish typing up my notes for this crit novel.
stillsostrange: (Driven)
TWR/TAT
Words today: 2512
Words total: 17855
Reason for stopping: end of chapter 3
Tyop: n/a
Darling: The sheets were cool and soft when she crawled between them, and she would have offered a prayer of thanks if she could have remembered the saint responsible for clean linen.

I'm happy with this last chapter (though I'm pretty sure I need to split it into 3 and 4). I managed to surprise myself, and knock a lot of the fourth book cockiness out of Isyllt. She may make me regret it later, of course. I seem to have traded one supporting character for another, but at least the new girl is earning her keep so far.

This gives me three chapters (or four) and a solid chunk of book. Which means that now I have to write the synopsis. This fills me with dread. At least no one expects it to bear much resemblance to the finished book.
stillsostrange: (Blood)
TWD/TAT
Words today & yesterday: 2163
Words total: 14,543
Tyop: "How is he?" / "Alice. For the moment."
Darling: "I’ll begin a batch of bread mold—that and prayer are your options now."
Mean things: Cracked rib, hemothorax, and a very crude tube thoracostomy. And of course the remaining blood left inside his chest, which may or may not turn septic.

It was touch and go for a bit--giving someone a hemothorax is one thing; describing the treatment of it is something else. I finally settled for some gore and handwaving. Tomorrow the characters will convene for a fact-finding mission to discover the plot.
stillsostrange: (Ginger Snaps Back)
In a display of wonderful timing, Trent Reznor has made the Karen O cover of "Immigrant Song" available for download. It's like he knows what my book needs.

The Winter Road (The Ashen Throne? I can't decide! TWR is a better title, but TAT is more pertinent to the book.)
Words today: 1633
Words total: 12229
Darling: To be safe, she brought her boot down hard on his sword hand, feeling the crunch of bone through leather, and kicked the weapon away with her toe. I'm not happy with the construction of the sentence, but I love it when Isyllt is a bitch.
Mean things: Two weeks without a bath, assassins in alleys, gunshot in an enclosed space, watching your boyfriend get shot. (Isyllt isn't the only bitch here.)

Downum's Law: The time spent writing combat scenes is inversely proportional to actual combat time. But after spending hours on a five minute scuffle, I stumbled over an unexpected twist. I may rethink it, but a moment of auctorial nastiness could serve to leave Isyllt alone and off balance, and allow me to conserve characters.

When you find yourself giggling and clapping after shooting someone in the lung, writing or serial murder are really the only life choices left to you.

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