stillsostrange: (Riff & Magenta)
Good morning, LiveJournal! Happy 2016!

My website has been languishing with server woes for some time now, so my scant updates will be split between here and Patreon for a while.

2015 was a good year. At the end of 2014 I moved in with my partner and his roommates; this spring we moved out of a cramped apartment on the 3rd floor into a very lovely house in Austin. This summer I got my ass in gear on The Poison Court--and, with the help of Patreon, was able to scale my hours back at the used book mines. I didn't type The End in 2015, but I can see it from my couch now.

We spent Christmas in New Orleans, which was delightful. Eventually I'll finish sorting through our pictures.

And of course, Dreams of Shreds & Tatters was released this year, and the Necromancer Chronicles finally earned out.

Books read:

1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka
5. Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh (reread)
6. Invader - C.J. Cherryh
7. Dark Dance - Tanith Lee (reread)
8. Inheritor - C.J. Cherryh
9. Precursor - C.J. Cherryh
10. Ancillary Justice - Anne Leckie
11. Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood
12. Defender - C.J. Cherryh
13. Explorer - C.J. Cherryh
14. Hellboy, a volume whose title currently escapes me - Mike Mignola
15. Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others - Mike Mignola
16. The Wicked + the Divine: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen
17. Destroyer - C.J. Cherryh
18. Pretender - C.J. Cherryh
19. The Hellbound Heart - Clive Barker
20. Deliverer - C.J. Cherryh
21. Conspirator - C.J. Cherryh
22. Deceiver - C.J. Cherryh
23. Betrayer - C.J. Cherryh
24. Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts - Orrin Grey
25. Ancillary Sword - Anne Leckie
26. Protector - C.J. Cherryh*
27. The Stone In The Skull - Elizabeth Bear (in draft)

My favorite book of the year was definitely Painted Monsters.


* You may notice I skipped the 13th book. That happened by accident, but having finished the 14th, I just can't bring myself to go back. Perhaps someday.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
A very good writing day today (3500 words), bringing The Poison Court to 50,000 words. We owe this great outpouring to Varis, who becomes quite loquacious when you throw enough problems at him, and also a cute boyfriend.

Binging on atevi books makes me mindful of the dangers of piling more and more characters into a series, but I keep filling more positions at court, and introducing new ambassadors. And I do like Varis's boyfriend, and it would be nice to keep him around for a while.

The city shimmered around them, moving in and out of focus. Walls faded and darkened again. Buildings changed shape. The skyline rose and fell. Streets broadened, narrowed, widened once more. Cobbles gave way to muddy ruts, dry earth, and then back to stone.

“The city is restless tonight,” the kardi said. “She cannot find a skin that suits her. The country is simpler—it knows its shape, and changes only slowly.”

The shadow city teemed with movement, if not precisely life. Little spirits skittered and chirped. Ghosts like pale gossamer drifted past—some lost and aimless, others searching, some prowling hungry. Some recognized Varis as a living mage and recoiled or eyed him warily. A few moved toward him, hands raised to threaten or implore, but his companion bared her shining teeth and they retreated again.
stillsostrange: (Default)
The "Recent Entries" tab mocks me with inaccuracy.



Progress continues! Pieces fall into place!

In other exciting news, today I made anticuchos de corazon for the first time, and it was delightful. Although I'm not sure how you mess up anything as lovely as beef heart.

Also also, today my story "Snakebit" went live at Strange Horizons. I was so enamored of hearts I nearly missed it. There is also a podcast! This is so fancy!
stillsostrange: (Words)
The Poison Court


I think I have finally sorted out the beginning plot of this book. Which is good, because I really can't reread my first three chapters for a while.
stillsostrange: (Conscious)
Readercon was lovely, as usual. I read from The Poison Court and no one threw produce at me. I listened to other people read things. I drank an intemperate number of cocktails on Saturday night and got five hours of sleep before my 9:00 A.M. panel Sunday morning. I am forever grateful for Neil Clarke for being present and awake and talking about publishing while all I could manage was to sit very still and pray the room didn't capsize. Eventually the hotel stopped its ominous sway and I had breakfast and made it to my panels, where I hope I managed some small degree of coherence. After the last panel, a group of us adjourned to see Pacific Rim, which was...entertaining. The next day we returned to Boston for still more cocktails and dancing.

Today I'm slumped on [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's couch until it's time to go to airport, staring at the internet and wondering if I should try to write a synopsis for Poison Court yet.
stillsostrange: (Riff & Magenta)
I had plans to attend a summer solstice parade last night, and most of a Green Fairy costume assembled for the occasion. Then [livejournal.com profile] mmaresca informed me that The Bone Palace would be featured in a Naked Girls Reading performance. Well, dear reader, parades happen several times a year in Austin. Gorgeous burlesque dancers reading my books aloud--not so often. The reader turned out to be Zaftigg von BonBon.

Bunk.

After the show I blushingly introduced myself and got a glittery hug, which means that I have actually found the fabled auctorial glamour. Even awards that come with tiaras are not so glamourous.

I am suddenly incredibly motivated to finish The Poison Court.


In other news, my gym recently acquired a heavy bag. It is my new best friend. I spent ten minutes on it this morning, and now my knuckles are bruised. I want to punch things forever.
stillsostrange: (fatale)
The Poison Court



I won't even kid myself that this will be a short book. Four chapters in and it's already taking after Bone Palace. I would like a third POV character to round things out, but so far no one's volunteered. It's like they're afraid I'll crush their spirits and ruin their lives or something...

Mean things: blackmail, painful reminders of the past, the possibility of having to murder an old friend, hangovers
stillsostrange: (Rilke)
Remember when I posted metrics here? I'm not sure I do either.

The Poison Court
Words today: 528
Words total: 15,832
Reason for stopping: Out of steam, and need to move furniture around before I go to bed.
Darling: Yes, but it's a bit long.
Tyop: n/a
Mean things: A letter from your ex, unsettling surprises

I'm at that awkward stage of plotting where I need to figure out who's scheming about what, and who knows about it, and how much of what Our Heroes are being told is the truth. And I'm starting to worry that it's taking too long to get some of our antags onscreen. But that's a second draft problem.


Despite an oppressive case of mope that lasted several days, this week has been pretty damn good. I climbed like a badass on Monday, deadlifted my own bodyweight* on Tuesday, danced on Wednesday**, and today not only did I make progress on a steeply overhung V2, but I also got a real massage, which has turned my neck into something other than a twisted column of hate. And, even better, when I went in for a PT session this morning, my therapist was so pleased with my progress and with my interval running strategy that he turned me loose. So I am running again. For five minute intervals and no more than 1.8 miles at a stretch yet, but sweet fishes is that better than not running at all.


* My current, still swollen with Portland evil, bodyweight, even. This means when I shed the bloat, I'll be lifting more than bodyweight. Assuming I don't put on more muscle by then.

** Walking from my car to the club, I lost the sole to one of my boots. Faced with the option of either sitting down on the sidewalk and sobbing or ripping off the other sole and dancing anyway, I chose the latter. It wasn't even the least comfortable footwear I've danced in.
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: (Elbow sex)
I had hoped to have at least the chapters of this damn proposal done before Readercon, if not the synop, but that looks questionable now. Still, progress continues. So far we've had one corpse, one unexpected betrothal, and two unsettling revelations. Next I need to plant some clues about the murderer, and then figure out how to wring an interesting scene out of searching someone's room.

8018 / 10500
(76.36%)



Today also brought the joyous news that I can finally announce the details about "Bone Garden." It will appear in A Fantasy Medley 2, edited by Yanni Kuznia, which will be released in late November. I share a ToC with Tanya Huff, Seanan McGuire, and Jasper Kent.

I'll be reading from "Bone Garden" at Readercon on Friday, if any of you are wandering by.
stillsostrange: (Default)
I've been wretchedly slack in posting my write-a-thon updates, but not quite as wretched at the actual writing. The nice thing about having to gut The Poison Court and start again from the beginning is that now every reclaimed word now counts toward my goal. I'm much happier with the new plot, but I still haven't figured out what my Cool Magic Stuff is going to be. Ghosts, djinn, vampires, vengeful undead sorcerers--what will the new hotness be?

6419 / 10500
(61.13%)




Books read in 2012 )

12. Dead and Buried - Barbara Hambly

13. The Shirt On His Back - Barbara Hambly

14. Ran Away - Barbara Hambly

15. The Ninth Daughter - Barbara Hamilton

The boy bought me the new lighted Nook for an anniversary present, and I though I was skeptical, it's definitely earned it's keep. I've read these past four books on it, mainly while I'm sitting up with Agent J until she falls asleep. Being able to read in a dark room or car is a codsend, and it doesn't strain my eyes like laptop reading does. Also, ebooks give me a nice instant gratification for books I'd otherwise have to special order. Of course, I'll have to order them all anyway, because I have no illusions that this device will last a quarter the life of a paperback, but oh well.
stillsostrange: (Teeth)
I wasted an hour and a half of my child-free morning to a fit of black rage which fed a writing tantrum, and another half hour to a horror movie quiz, but eventually the rage receded. I'm finally acknowledging that I'm trying to squish two books worth of plot into one (this is not a problem I often have), and one half has to go. So the return of House Ctesiphon, return of a dead house, and a whole bunch of fake plays and demimonde playwrights have to go. They can show up in the next book. This book gets an inconvenient corpse, foreign spies, family history, tragic romances, and--if I'm lucky--a trip to Iskar. And it needs some Cool Magic Stuff, but I'll figure that out later.

On the one hand, it's lovely that my mouth is hurting a lot less and I can chew soft things. (I can see the titanium screw gleaming in the socket now, and my stitches are impressively Frankensteinian [Frankenstonian?].) On the other, while I don't enjoy Vicodin much, I do appreciate the vivid dreams it gives me. Last night I had a drawn out dream about vampires, death in an immortal family, betrayal by one's own progeny, and the dangers inherent in choosing new progeny. I've already lost most of the details, and am left wistful and sad by their absence. I used to remember my dreams, and have in recent years done so less and less often.

I also dreamt that I asked a werewolf (played by Helen Mirren--Hollywood, make that happen) to bite me, because the alternative was to be bitten by someone whom I liked less. She chidingly explained that it wasn't that simple, and that you couldn't ask a wild animal to politely bite you and then walk away. The act was savagery, and not something to be scheduled. (We also stopped at a lodge off a snowy road in the woods, where I met several of my bookstore coworkers who were talking about videogames, lest the dream be too serious.) I am left with a strong desire to write about impeccably dressed were-ladies of a certain age.

And now I have to figure out what exactly my antag is conspiring with a foreign government to do.

(And yes, I have picked up on the ur-theme of all my recent bitey dreams.)
stillsostrange: (Default)
I fail at this daily posting thing, don't I? But Agent J likes her new daycare so much she wants to go back tomorrow, which means I get a writing day! Maybe I can catch up on my write-a-thon.
stillsostrange: (Bored)
Still alive, mostly. Saturday and yesterday I tried to woman up and take as little Vicodin as possible, but that resulted in two nights of waking up at 4 AM in pain, so today I'm going to take a happy pill every five hours and be a good zombie. I don't like overmedicating, but I like feeling as though my skull is lined in pain even less.

Today Agent F--who is considering changing her name to Jessica*, which doesn't require anonymization--is at daycare, and the Stepspawn has been given carte blanche to play Skyrim until his brain drips out his ears. I will be in bed, playing hidden object games and trying to write a synopsis for The Poison Court. Because synopses are incoherent even when one isn't on drugs.

Bed is boring. Comments are welcome.



* I can't argue with any Shakespearian name, and I can live in hope that she'll grow up to be a Bene Gesserit. Also, while her real name is very pretty, it will also leave her with a lifetime of "how do you spell that?"
stillsostrange: (Default)
Words were managed in spite of the Vicodin haze. Which means I won't know till I sober up if any of them are coherent, but for now I can pretend it's progress. If I can just figure out what's supposed to happen in this chapter, I might stay caught up on the write-a-thon a while longer.

1553 / 10500
(14.79%)
stillsostrange: (Agony)
I was under the impression that the write-a-thon started today, but some people swear it started yesterday. So I wrote an extra day's worth of words just to be safe.

My goal is 250 words a day. My primary project is The Poison Court, but I may work on other things as soon as I have finish its proposal and send it to [livejournal.com profile] arcaedia. I need to get ahead this week, because on Friday I have my very exciting dental surgery (in which I get a titanium screw in my skull), and will spend several days knocked out on Vicodin.

You can, if you're so inclined, sponsor me here. I might be willing to name characters or landmarks after my patrons.

518 / 10500
(4.93%)
stillsostrange: (Words)
Because I...enjoy public humiliation? No, that's not right. Need motivation? Maybe that's it. Anyway, for whatever reason, I've joined the Clarion West write-a-thon this year.

2012 Clarion West Write-a-thon

I'm not sure exactly how this works. I write words and you donate money to other people? It seems odd, but whatever. I'm told it's for a good cause.
stillsostrange: (Default)
The Poison Court
Words today: 1194
Words total: 9973 (So close to 10k! So little brain left.)
Reason for stopping: end of child-free writing window
Tyop: n/a
Darling: She held her ground, though gooseflesh roughened her skin. She wasn’t afraid of him. And if he did try anything, she was fairly certain [her maid] would help her dispose of an inconvenient corpse.
Deaths: She hasn't heard about the corpse from the last chapter yet.
Mean things: Memory loss, familial constraints, arrogant boys

I'm very enamored of my new POV character today. She rolls her eyes a lot, makes dubious decisions, and snarks.

I have a lot of plot for this book, and less idea how I'm going to tie it all neatly together. Luckily, I'm in the 1st draft throw-it-all-at-the-page stage. I also reassure myself that no matter what I throw, this will have fewer characters than the historical mysteries I've been reading lately. And that sometimes thematic repetition happens in a series, and that doesn't seem to stop authors who sell better than I do.

The foreign spies, like communism, are only a red herring.
stillsostrange: (Words)
A meme via [livejournal.com profile] lanerobins and [livejournal.com profile] la_marquise_de_:

1. Go to page 77 (or 7th) of your current ms
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines – sentences or paragraphs – and post them as they’re written. No cheating.

If only I were on page 77 by now. Alas, 7 will have to suffice.

The Poison Court

“I hope he’s not planning to blackmail me.” She said it lightly, but even a joke sent a cold worm curling in her stomach. She only had one secret worth extorting, and she would be ruthless in keeping it.

“I’d turn his blood to sand if he tried.” Varis sighed. “Nikos should have formally appointed Varga months ago or not at all. But poor timing aside, I can’t fault the choice."

This won't be on page seven for long, since I'm dismembering the whole chapter and reassembling it with staples and rubber cement.
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.

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