Friday, April 30, 2010

I'm still here!

Still busy. I finished proof-reading Stuff of Legends in time for my deadline, but it was a near thing. Interesting process -- the hardest part was resisting the urge to tinker. At times, I was convinced that this was the most wretched, clumsily written thing in the history of novels, but if I just changed a few turns of phrase, shifted focus a little bit here, trimmed some dialogue there, it could be brilliant . . . but that's what I think every time I read my own writing, whether I'm able to edit it or not. I'm going to have to learn to let go of that impulse.

I did end up with a list of a dozen changes or corrections; mostly minor, but there was one embarrassing instance where I'd inverted the name of the wizards' conclave and gift shop. It was there back through every draft, and I can't count how many times I haven't caught it. Hopefully, there aren't any others I'm failing to see, or if there are, that nobody else will every realize they're there either.

Word from my editor is that she's got a full-colour galley of Stuff of Legends on her desk. Before very long, I should have one of those on my desk, too... which means I should clear some space for it to dock. This will be a challenge. I like a tidy desk with plenty of space, but rarely manage to achieve such a thing. I blame the migratory herds of books that fill my house -- they keep returning here as to a spawning ground, and where they go, flocks of paper follow.

Less progress than I'd like on the sequel. Some sketching -- or more accurately, doodling -- which is my ur-writing technique for figuring out characters and scenes. Oddly enough, the sketch that came quickest and easiest to me is the one I've included with this post.

Next on the list of things to do in preparation-for-publication: Get an updated author photo (I've said I'll send it off on Monday) for the author page I'll be getting on penguin's website, and get a Self Q&A done up for handy press-release material (suggested by the publicist who'll be working with me as the book nears launch). The photo and anything else I can come up with will also get added to my amazon page, this blog, and various other places. To market, to market . . . myself.

Speaking of amazon, take a look at the page for Stuff of Legends. They've got the cover. This makes me happy.

Countdown: 5

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Piling Up

The proofs for Stuff of Legends have arrived. I have one week to look them over for any typos that I don't want to see when the novel hits bookstores. At the same time, I have ten days to finish processing the stacks of season ticket renewals pouring in every day at the theatre, before a tax increase hits. On top of doing my own taxes. On top of working on the Stuff of Legends sequel. On top of the secret project I've been teasing you all with by counting down towards it.

In other words, the rest of this month is going to be fun.

That said, I'm not the only set of eyes on these proofs; a freelance proofreader from Ace is also going over them. Nor am I the only one working through the stacks. There's a real temptation to feel like the weight of everything in all worlds rests on me -- that I am that solitary legume under a hundred mattresses, trying to feel up the princess called Success. I wouldn't be a writer if I didn't have some isolationist tendencies, that urge to work in solitude. But I'm not working alone. I just need to remember that.

Now, back to work! (Countdown: 6)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Re: Nightmares

Another blog I read offered a challenge recently to write a short story of 500 words or less on the topic of a character experiencing a nightmare. As my current work-in-progress uses a lot of dreams, I thought I'd give it a shot, for practice. This one dips back into Stuff of Legends, and is less of a funny piece than my usual; feedback is welcome. (Countdown: 7)


In his dream, Jordan the Red is a young man again, the hero of song and story. He is walking along a country road between rows of poplar trees. The rustling leaves sound like the ocean, and the sunlight slanting through swaying branches lays waves across the road: light, dark. Light, dark. The tide carries him forward.

His pace is leisurely, as if there is no necromantic horror waiting for him. By the time he reaches the boneyard at the end of the road, it will be night; setting demands that he face the field of erupted graves by moonlight. He knows this, but cannot force himself to walk faster. All this is a matter of record. His feet can only move at their historical speed.

He wants to grab himself by the shoulders – turn around, fool. Run away, as fast and as far as you can go. But he has no power over himself, and cannot change his course. A glimpse of hell is ahead of him, a hell that is indeed other people: the ones he cannot save. The dream may end before he looks through that gate, or it may not, but the prospect of it does not scare him half so much as being trapped in his own body as it strolls inexorably toward his destiny of the month.

His lips part. He tries to make them scream, but what comes out is a cheery whistle.

The notes blend with the wash of the leaves into a serpent's whisper:

“Remember, you wanted this...”


Jordan doesn’t scream as he wakes; he has woken from this nightmare too many times before. He shakes out his blanket to lift the familiar sweat from his skin, then closes his eyes again.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Viking Oath: By Ography!

This late at night, that's what it sounds like to me, anyway.

I found my way onto's Author Central, a new resource utility for authors to promote themselves and their books. It provides a page where all your books are available in one easy location, space for a blog (or an RSS feed to your existing blog), events tracking, author photo, and of course, your biography.

I have trouble with biographies. Whenever I try to write one, it falls into one of three categories: unsatisfyingly short, excessively long, or sounds like it belongs on a dating website. When my editor asked for one to go in Stuff of Legends, I think I spent more time stressing about it than most of the editing suggestions. Still, that one is done and finalized -- short, as requested, and very plain. For Author Central, I'm going to try to be more creative. Wish me luck.

So, for those of you who've already worked out a good biography that you're happy with, my admiration. Any tips?

(Countdown: 8)