stillsostrange: (Dark City)
Today I started physical therapy for my treacherous left knee. The therapist thinks the trouble is less quads and more IT band. My future has become endless weighted stretches. But he didn't tell me to cancel Warrior Dash, so that's something. (I get the feeling that physical therapists are used to people doing stupid shit against medical advice.)

I suppose I should get back to the endless survey questions eventually, but today I'm going to dust off the first line meme (short story edition only) in celebration of finishing "Snakebit."

For those of you new to this meme, we post the first lines of various unfinished projects in hope of finding inspiration.

"Flood"

Nan doesn't mean to fall asleep--she never does. But Evie's soft breath and the steady creak of the ceiling fan lull her, till her eyes sag and the worn paperback slides from her fingers.

"Salt"

The sea left footprints.

"Serpentskirt"

All Souls Night and the gutters still brim with shed Hallows skin. Broken glass crunches under Jane's boots as she carries an amp to the van, glittering beside limp feathers and cracked sequins, tattered black and orange fliers. One hell of a party, she heard--Sixth Street is still subdued and sleepy. But even for the day after Halloween and a Monday to boot, the crowd is still better than last night's in Dallas.

"Spore"

"I got it from my girlfriend," the boy says. "Ex-girlfriend." Color rises in his light brown cheeks. "Wow, that makes it sound bad. Simpler too, I guess."

"Waiting For the Train"

When it's raining here you hear the trains. You hear them other times too, with the tracks so close, but the dusty heat of summer bakes the sound out of the air, till it gets buried under cars and trucks and TVs and voices and all the other small-town noises. But when the rain comes, and the trains come, the whistles carry all over, low and mournful and rumbling in my chest.

Eternally untitled queen in the tower story

She watches from her tower as the sky burns.

Ash rains from scabbed clouds, drifts in grey-silver sheets toward the broken ground. Razored black rock cracks again, leaking flames and the hot blood of the earth. Heat seeps through her windows, shimmering against etched glass, and no matter how much incense she burns her room still reeks of the end of the world.

--30--

Feb. 19th, 2013 01:11 pm
stillsostrange: (Trouble)
"Snakebit"

Words today: 532
Words total: 6680
Reason for stopping: THE END
Darling: THE END

It is a draft with many drafty problems, but I have finished a short story! It's been a year and a half since this happened, and I was starting to disbelieve in the possibility.

Now it's time to dig through the more folders and see if there's anything else that wants to be finished.
stillsostrange: (Trouble)
The meme's the thing! (I believe the actual secret is not the posting of lines, but how digging up the first lines usually makes one reread the project in question. Shh.)

"Snakebit"
Words today: 1546
Words total: 4960
Mean things: Hangover, unhealthy family dynamics, quiet desperation
Deaths: A horse. I am a horrible person.

A chunk of today's words came in the form of a flashback that I may be able to cut when all is said and done. I have a string of snippets leading up to what passes for a climax in this story of quiet desperation. Now I just have to put them together. And then figure out where to send quietly desperate stories with sharp teeth.

stillsostrange: (Default)
Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] squirrel_monkey at Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top

So finally I turned in the manuscript for my reprint anthology, CIRCUS: FANTASY UNDER THE BIG TOP. Many thanks to everyone who suggested reprints — your help certainly pointed me to a number of stories I wouldn’t have seen otherwise, and the book is better for it. Now, for the good stuff, cover and table of contents:



CIRCUS: FANTASY UNDER THE BIG TOP Table of Contents
Introduction
“Something About a Death, Something About a Fire” Peter Straub
“Smoke & Mirrors” Amanda Downum
“Calliope: A Steam Romance” Andrew J McKiernan
“Welcome to the Greatest Show in the Universe” Deborah Walker
“Vanishing Act” Elise C Tobler
“Quin’s Shanghai Circus” Jeff VanderMeer
“Scream Angel” Douglas Smith
“The Vostrasovitch Clockwork Animal and Traveling Forest Show at the End of the World” Jessica Reisman
“Study, for Solo Piano” Genevieve Valentine
“Making My Entrance Again with My Usual Flair” Ken Scholes
“The Quest” Barry B. Longyear
“26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss” Kij Johnson
“Courting the Queen of Sheba” Amanda C. Davis
“Circus Circus” Eric Witchey
“Phantasy Moste Grotesk” Felicity Dowker
“Learning to Leave” Christopher Barzak
“Ginny Sweethips’ Flying Circus” Neal Barrett Jr
“The Aarne-Thompson Classification Revue” Holly Black
“Manipulating Paper Birds” Cate Gardner
“Winter Quarters” Howard Waldrop


Mirrored from ekaterinasedia.com.

stillsostrange: (Listen)
My story "Smoke & Mirrors," originally published in Strange Horizons in 2006, will be reprinted in Ekaterina Sedia's anthology Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top. Since it was previously reprinted in Best New Romantic Fantasy 2, this means I finally have a most reprinted story. Woo!

"Smoke & Mirrors" is the child of my very first artist's challenge necklace from [livejournal.com profile] elisem, two different dreams, and the song "Hoist That Rag" played on repeat.

Also, that isn't Loki. And it makes me sad that I've ever had to say that.

The same circus in S&M also appears in "Catch." I hope to eventually get another couple of stories out of it. If I ever get more stories out of anything.
stillsostrange: (Technopeasant)
To celebrate International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Wretch Day, here is my story "Aconite & Rue", originally published in On Spec in Fall, 2009. It's still one of my favorites. It's set in the same world as "Snake Charmer," which is separate from the Cthulhuverse where most of my other stories live. Some of its influences will be obvious; in addition to those, it's also inspired by [livejournal.com profile] elisem's necklace "Wolfbane and Memory."

I hope to return to the faerie world soonishly. I have a book about a blind faerie girl and her changeling sister that would like to be written as soon as it grows a plot.
stillsostrange: (Clean)
I have cleaned so many things today. All the things? No. But a lot of these damn things. Why do I have so many things? I blame the Norse.

I finished off the last square of chocolate in the pantry, and that is the end of the sweets. It's a good thing I didn't make alcohol an option on the poll, because I definitely earned a beer tonight. I probably earned three, but moderation and all that.

I wish my calorie tracker had "Ikea" as an activity option. I would dearly love to know how many calories I burned wrestling a bookcase together. My right thumb is still store from the allen wrench. But now my paperbacks are no longer stacked four deep, and my hardbacks no longer three deep. Now I just have to something about the horror that is my non-fiction shelf.

I also wrote my 500 words yesterday. I have a structure and characters--now I have to finish the thing in less than three weeks. A title would be very helpful. Mi-go aren't as conducive to easy titles as ghouls or deep ones.
stillsostrange: (Trouble)
I would worry about the goth points lost by owning a George Strait song, but it's a George Strait song from a vampire movie, so I think that's okay.

"Snakebit"
Words today: 2,000
Words total: 3,400
Reason for stopping: end of scene
Darling: The rain had stopped but low clouds slid across the sky, snagging against the distant silhouettes of grain elevators. Sodium lamps glazed wet asphalt with light the color of marigolds.
Mean things: Bad news, bad memories, not being happy with the things you think you should.

Apparently the dream was true: this story is much closer to finished now. It didn't hurt that I spent a lot of valuable research time googling pictures of Lance Henriksen.
stillsostrange: (Trouble)
I seem to find myself with a day off. This is good, because I woke up this morning from a long dream about an unfinished short story, which might be a sign that it's ready to become more finished. That would be nice, since I've known the whole plot for this damn thing for the last four years. Less nice is the part where I wrote a whole scene for this story in a notebook on a road trip years ago, and now have no idea which notebook it was.

Luckily it has a good soundtrack, since I'll have that on repeat for the rest of the day.
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: (Bleak)
And this is why I will never ever succeed at NaNo, besides my own natural slowness: November is full of stuff. Finally, though, more wordcount. I'd been stuck for days on a particular scene, only to realize that it was because I was in the wrong POV. Oops.

Dreams of Shreds & Tatters



13840 / 80000 words. 17% done!

I really should spend this between-novels time to finish some damn short stories. "Flood" remains as it has for years--one plot point away from completion. "Salt" is also starting to grow on me: He's a conflicted gun-slinging deep one living on borrowed time. He's a well-dressed apostate ghoul with a past. They commit crime!

In other news, Melancholia is a beautiful if slightly uneven film, the first half a trainwreck and the second the whimper with which the world ends. I will forgive it a lot of unevenness for being so very beautiful.
stillsostrange: (Bored)
Behold! The return of the first lines meme! For those of you unfamiliar, these are the first lines of all my unfinished works in progress. The meme often has the happy side effect of dislodging a stuck story, or reminding you of an old project.

Some of these short stories have been stalled for years, but I haven't given up hope yet.

Changeling Hearts

The girl whose name was not Aletheia Rampion woke to thunder, and the surety that something was wrong.

Dreams of Shreds & Tatters

Halloween night, and parties staggered down Granville Street--clubs full of costumes, sequins and feathers, masks and paint. People dressed in shiny new skins, searching for opportunities to shed them. Groping hands and sticky candy kisses, tricks and treats in darkened corners.

Mist & Chill

The Terminal is a dive on its best day.

Oracle of Plagues

The horn blew an hour before dawn. A conch's mournful drone--one call, then silence. The oracle was dead.

Pinion

Lilah runs and darkness follows.

Prayers to Broken Stone

Springtime in Paris—the cruelest month come and gone, but storms still linger. Rain washes the city, speeding the Seine in its rush to the sea. In the Left Bank, it pours from the gutters and drips from curling wrought iron balconies to splash the cobbles below. Moisture darkens white walls, new paint and plaster over centuries-old bones. On rue du Four, water drums against the awnings outside Les Vieux Os and falls in shining ribbons to the flooded pavement.

Shadowhand

The stallion came with the dawn, and the rising sun flung his shadow before him over the cracked and dusty ground.

Spiral

The sky hangs dark and swollen overhead, scraping its belly over the spires of Prague. Bianca pauses to wipe her boots on the mat, groceries balanced on her hip. The rain has slacked, of course, now that they've reached the apartment. Water trickles through her hair, warm by the time it drips down her neck and under her collar. She really should buy an umbrella.

"Birthgrave"

The storm hadn't broken by midnight, and neither had Ziya's fever. Isyllt slouched on the floor beside the sweat-stained mattress, listening to her friend's harsh breath through the rush of wind and rain and distant thunder, the steady drip of the leaking roof. Winter had finally left Erisín, but so far spring had proven no kinder.

"Flood"

Nan doesn't mean to fall asleep--she never does. But Evie's soft breath and the steady creak of the ceiling fan lull her, till her eyes sag and the worn paperback slides from her fingers.

"Music From A Farther Room"

Alex found his wife waiting on the threshold, at the divide between memory and dream. He was used to finding her here, one of the many memory-ghosts to haunt these halls. But this was different. The door she stood in was one he couldn't cross.

"Rain Dogs"

Nathan Killerlain is having a bad night.

All his nights have been bad since his luck broke, and he anticipates no change any time soon. No change for the better, at least.


"Serpentskirt"

All Souls Night and the gutters still brim with shed Hallows skin. Broken glass crunches under Jane's boots as she carries an amp to the van, glittering beside limp feathers and cracked sequins, tattered black and orange fliers. One hell of a party, she heard--Sixth Street is still subdued and sleepy. But even for the day after Halloween and a Monday to boot, the crowd is still better than last night's in Dallas.

"Shoggoth With Grace Notes"

Tuesdays are music lessons.

"Snakebit"

The horses are restless.

The sound of snorts and hooves tangles through Lanie's nightmares, familiar dreams of fire and smoke. She wakes with a start, sweat sticky on her neck and back. Beside her, Merle stirs with a muffled curse as one of the horses whinnies.


"Teneral"

"Take off your mask," the arachne tells me.

Sometimes they ask, the johns and janes, but I didn't expect it from this one. I don't know what to expect from this one. She tilts her head, maybe smiling. Hard to tell in the storm-shuttered gloom. "Please," she adds, mocking-sweet.


"Waiting For the Train"

When it's raining here, you hear the trains. You hear them other times too, with the tracks so close, but the dusty heat of summer bakes the sound out of the air, till it gets buried under cars and trucks and TVs and voices and all the other small-town noises. But when the rain comes, and the trains come, the whistles carry all over, low and mournful and rumbling in my chest.

Untitled Queen in a Tower Story

She watches from her tower as the sky burns.

Untitled Hotel Carcosa Story

A stranger has come to Carcosa.

The news hisses and bubbles through the city's whisper-stream, from tunnels to alleys to rookeries, pleasure gardens to cathedrals. Any new face is cause for gossip, but these rumors fly faster than most. This arrival has already attracted the attention of the Bacchante, and the Leather Men as well.


Untitled Asenath Waite Story

I wait in the mud and dark for the oracle to come.
stillsostrange: (Blood)
I've written 3,000 words today, completing a very rough first draft of "Red" (formerly "Red is the Color", and may become something else). It didn't so much end as go pear-shaped and stop, but hey. If I can get an emergency critique from my stalwart writing buddies, I may be able to squeak it in by midnight to make a deadline. (Or maybe before I go to sleep, which makes it still mostly today, even if it's two in the morning tomorrow.) That would be kind of awesome.

This makes the second work of short fiction I've finished this year. I may dig out "Flood" and see what it's doing these days.

ETA: I realized a transition was missing between my last entry and this one. Despite some truly above-and-beyond assistance by [livejournal.com profile] kafkonia, I couldn't get "Needlepoint" into shape in time. It had an entire plot, but the worldbuilding was facile and generic, lending itself in turn to generic plot points. I will now set it aside for a bit and try to develop some clever, thoughtful background. After a mild freakout, I woke up yesterday with the burning certainty that I could finish "Red" as a last minute substitute. And I did. The end.
stillsostrange: (Mary Sue)
Still alive in Ireland. I got a sunburn on my first day (totally [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's fault), which seems to impress the Irish. If I'm too white for Ireland, there's no hope for me at all.

I'm currently camped out in a coffee shop in Balbriggan with [livejournal.com profile] matociquala and [livejournal.com profile] hawkwing_lb, studiously not-working on the story that will likely not be called "Needlepoint". I've figured out its plot, but 2/3rds of the characters refuse to name themselves. A new title would be nice, too.
stillsostrange: (Wild roses)
"Bone Garden"* is finished! At 11600 words, it's 1600 too long for the intended market, but that's what ruthless revisions are for. It's also the first short(ish) story I've finished since two thousand and frickin' eight, as well as my first real novelette. (As opposed to a short story that was just too long.)

I'm thrilled to have finished something short again, and even more thrilled to have made a deadline. After the disastrous lateness of the last two novels, this is very soothing to me. Now I just have to do it again by the end of June.

Also, thank you everyone who contributed a fake play. Many of your suggestions will be performed in Erisín soon.

Here, have a video that was very influential on this story.




*Also known as Boywhores vs. Oracular Demons, or the story in which I kill [livejournal.com profile] sovay horribly.
stillsostrange: (Blood)
"Bone Garden"
Words today: 2236
Words total: 9099
Reason for stopping: so close, and yet so tired.
Mean things: inconvenient emergencies, painful realizations, guilt
Named things: Gentian's troupe, the demon of the mirror, a lot of extras
Things that need names: A random comedy. (A comic play, that is.)

Long story is long, with further still to go. At least they're walking into the antags' lair right now, so hopefully we'll wrap this up fairly soon. Then I have to whittle it back down to 10k before I sub it.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Are there any theatre people in the house? Can anyone describe for me what it's like backstage before a performance--mood and activities and such?
stillsostrange: (Default)
Good news/bad news:

The good news is, I got the edit letter for Kingdoms today, and my editor likes it! I appear to have pulled off the desert gothic thing. He also had useful suggestions for making the end into less of a dog's breakfast.

The bad news is, the release date has been pushed back till March of 2012. Alas. This is what happens when you blow your deadlines and your middle initials aren't R. R. To everyone who was hoping to get in in December, I apologize for the delay, but I'll try to offer bonus content to make up for it. Necromancer Christmas cards, maybe...


"Bone Garden"
Words today: 1618
Words total: 6886
Reason for stopping: tired
Darling: "What went wrong?" Something always went wrong. The theatre had taught him that, even if he hadn't seen [the plot] himself.
Tyop: n/a
Named things: If domovoi is "house thing", does that mean kostovoi is "bone thing"?

I'm not sure I can wrap this up in 3k, but at least the beginning has some fluff I can trim.


The book-and-art sale continues, and will do so till Monday.


Mad science baking led to Goblin Market muffins (beets, cranberries, pomegranate applesauce, orange zest), a brilliant idea that fell through somewhere along the way. They're tasty, but way too sticky, and end up fused with the cupcake papers. I'll try this again some time.


Shadowhand (aka Mad Max Beyond Ragnarok) is clamoring at me. The characters have started telling me too much about their sex lives, which is always a dubiously good thing. I'm especially enamored of Loki's grandson, and am trying to figure out a graceful way to conflate both Vális.

Oh, hey... I thought Fenrir was the man with the cold grey voice (because Hel is the hag), but maybe it's Váli. This book is turning into one big family reunion. Maybe Laufey herself will get a cameo.
stillsostrange: (Blood)
Fourth-day Universe is having a contest, with many categories. The Bone Palace is one of the contenders for Best Horror Novel of 2010 (I know, but I guess it is kinda spooky?). If you have some free clicking time, feel free to vote for any of the many fine books nominated for various things.

Today I sent back the page proofs for the End of an Aeon anthology! It's scheduled for print and ebook in July. I'm so glad that "Blue Valentine" will finally be loose in the world, even if I'm not in love with its commas anymore.

Now I need to read someone else's book to crit, and then try to figure out what's going on with my boywhores and oracular demons.
stillsostrange: (Stuck)
I would like to finish a short story in 2010. Maybe even two. And so I turn to the 1st-line meme.

"Music From a Farther Room"

Alex found his wife waiting on the threshold, at the divide between memory and dream. He was used to finding her here, one of the many memory-ghosts to haunt these halls. But this was different. The door she stood in was one he couldn't cross.

My Prufrock's revenge story. Mainly stalled because it's set in 2017, and also because it might require reading Dreams of Shreds & Tatters for it to make sense.

Untitled Queen-in-her-tower Story

She watches from her tower as the sky burns.

Ash rains from scabbed clouds, drifts in grey-silver sheets toward the broken ground. Razored black rock cracks again, leaking flames and the hot blood of the earth. Once gardens grew there; once fountains played and people laughed. Now their bones are charred to dust. Heat seeps through her windows, shimmering against etched glass, and no matter how much incense she burns her room still reeks of the end of the world.

Someday I'll figure out why the world is ending, and then maybe I'll finish this.

"Flood"

Nan doesn't mean to fall asleep--she never does. But Evie's soft breath and the steady creak of the ceiling fan lull her, till her eyes sag and the worn paperback slides from her fingers.

Crazy girl vs. Tindalosi. So damn close to being finished, yet it balks.

"Red Is The Color"

I wake with the taste of storms in my mouth and screams echoing down the hall. Slow and dream-sticky and for a second I don't know where I am, but I'm still on my feet with my gun in my hand before my eyes are all the way open.

Lesbian (potentially YA) zombiestravaganza. This is the one that threatens to be a novel, but luckily I have no idea what happens Audra runs off with her zombie.

"Serpentskirt"

All Souls Night and the gutters still brim with shed Hallows skin. Broken glass crunches under Jane's boots as she carries an amp to the van, glittering beside limp feathers and cracked sequins, tattered black and orange fliers. One hell of a party, she heard--Sixth Street is still subdued and sleepy. But even for the day after Halloween and a Monday to boot, the crowd is still better than last night's in Dallas.

In which nearly being eaten by a lamia saves Our Heroine's rocky relationship. Stuck because I can't translate that into actual plot.

"Snakebit"

The horses are restless.

The sound of snorts and hooves tangles through Lanie's nightmares, familiar dreams of fire and smoke. She wakes with a start, sweat sticky on her neck and back. Beside her, Merle stirs with a muffled curse as one of the horses whinnies.

AU Near Dark fanfic. I make no bones about this.

"Waiting For the Train"

When it's raining here, you hear the trains. You hear them other times too, with the tracks so close, but the dusty heat of summer bakes the sound out of the air, till it gets buried under cars and trucks and TVs and voices and all the other small-town noises. But when the rain comes, and the trains come, the whistles carry all over, low and mournful and rumbling in my chest.

My lovesong to John Hiatt's "Wrote It Down And Burned It". It needs a real title.

"Mud and Dark"

I wait in the mud and dark for the oracle to come.

My blind mermaid story, on hold until I can figure out how to turn fishsex and Asenath Waite's search for her mother into actual plot.

"Teneral"

"Take off your mask," the arachne tells me.

Little Miss Muffet and the Spiders From Mars. Stalled because my narrator is a liar and won't tell me what's really going on.

"Needlepoint"

You wake crumpled on the floor, legs folded awkwardly and one arm twisted behind your back. The room is dark and still, except for the green blink of the timer behind your right eyelid.

The hard life of an arcology sexbot. Stalled mostly because I'm panicky about writing SF. Possibly I should get over that.

"Bone Garden"

They found the girl unconscious on the back doorstep an hour before dawn.

Boywhores vs. oracular demons. Stalled until I figure out what the oracular demons want.

"Spell 81A"

Someone had left flowers again.

A Shadow Unit episode co-written with [livejournal.com profile] matociquala. I have to finish this one or she'll disown me.

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