Works in Progress

Accessing the Future Blog Hop

The Future Fire is crowdfunding another science fiction anthology! The theme this time concerns the issues that come with disability as well as how those intersect with other issues such as race, gender, sexuality, and class. Sounds pretty cool, huh? Well, to help spread the word, Future Fire has a blog hop going for writers and readers to talk about their work in progress or their current read and how power plays out therein. Future Fire general editor Djibril al-Ayad invited me to chime in and I quickly agreed. Continue reading

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Words In Progress

It’s been a couple of frustrating writing months since I last posted an update on such things. Going through a patch where writing is more of a struggle than a joy right now. Which I know happens, but it’s still frustrating. For example, that story about sentient plant life w/an older woman protagonist I was working on in April went nowhere. And I’m in the midst of rewriting “Piper Deez and the Case of the Clanless Woman.” Continue reading

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Words in Progress

I’ve been on vacation from the dayjob this week and it’s been lovely. But I’ve let the blog slide. I owe you a Monday Morning Music, there’s a book review I need to write, and it’s time for another update on my writing. Let’s do that one! Continue reading

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Words in Progress

So, when I posted my end-of-year roundup on my writing in December, I was thinking of making that kind of post a regular thing, updating all y’all on how the writing’s going.

And now it’s March. Yeah, I’m not always so good on following through with stuff.

So, how is that writing stuff going, M?

Continue reading

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Words in Progress – 2013

So, 2013 is coming to a close. Another year gone like lightning. At least, that’s how they feel to me, for good or ill.

It’s been a busy writing year. I seem to have really caught the bug for writing and submitting, being rejected and submitting again. And writing again and again. Kinda like it.

As much for my own curiosity as anything, here’s a list of what I wrote and/or had published in 2013.

  • “To The Edges” – published in May in Crossed Genres’ Winter Well: Speculative Novellas About Older Women. Starred review in Publisher’s Weekly happened in September.
  • “Buccinum Anningiae” – written this summer. Submitted and rejected. Submitted again. No word yet.
  • “Mind Over Murder” – also written in the summer. Submitted and ACCEPTED! More news soon.
  • “Piper Deez and the Case of the Clanless Woman” – written in 2011. Submitted and ACCEPTED back then. But things got weird with that editor. Long story. Anyway. Submitted three times this year, rejected all three. 😦 Back in development. Planning to resubmit in early 2014.
  • “Ketset Kismet” – written this fall. Submitted and rejected (awesome rejection email, though–very encouraging). Looks like I’ll be submitting somewhere else in 2014, maybe in February.
  • “Meanwhile, Inc.” – I have a title, an idea, and am about 1000 words in. Another possibility for a February submission.
  • The Travelers – the long-suffering novel. Still in process. The whole thing’s outlined now and the final scenes are coming together. Still working on the plan of having this draft finished in the next couple weeks and then spending 2014 rewriting.

Goals for 2014.

  • “Breaks Like Glass” – another Piper Deez story, written in 2012. Submitted and rejected three times back then (I’m sensing a trend here.). I want to fix it and submit somewhere next year.
  • Write more and submit more!

All those rejections up there seem a little sad, don’t they? But really? Of all the stories I’ve written since 2011, I have an acceptance rate of 43% (7 stories written; 3 accepted). Even if I do the math using number of submissions (12) instead of number of stories (which is probably the more accurate way to do this), I come up with a 25% acceptance rate. That’s ridiculously good.

So, yeah, as far as writing goes, it was a pretty good year in my world. Thanks, everyone, for reading my sporadic posts this year, and maybe even buying the books over there on the right. I wish you all the best in the new. I hope 2014 is as good or better for all of us.

"Writing on the wood is prohibited."...

“Writing on the wood is prohibited.” (Photo credit: Nicolas Karim) Random pic WordPress suggested. Kind of neat, huh?

 

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The State of Things

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted something that doesn’t have a video or a list of links attached to it. It’s been a busy summer, like I’ve said. Care for an update?

Over the last few months, I wrote and submitted two new short stories to a couple of themed anthologies. Still waiting to hear. There’s also been a lot of reading. I’ll be done with the next WOGF Challenge book soon and will have a review. I went old school this time; so far, it’s another good one.

The Travelers continues to limp toward its conclusion. I’ve mainly been typing up (dictating, really–my wrists have been sore lately) pages I’d already hand-written. That’s been interesting: 1) I wrote some of these scenes months ago (maybe longer), so I’m revisiting them with various levels of “cringe” and “oh, that’s not too bad”; and 2) Windows speech recognition doesn’t always hear quite what I said–latest fave mistake: “put a sock fuzz” for “bodhisattvas.”

Alpha Reader and I had a really good brainstorming session last month figuring out where The Travelers should end up. Lots of good questions and conversation. Let’s see if that translates into a good story!

In the realm of already-published business, Winter Well received a starred review from Publishers Weekly! There were good things said about my story “To The Edges,” which made my day, and continues to, even though the review came out last week.

I also ran into the dark side of attempting to get published yesterday, when I discovered that the latest issue of a magazine I’d submitted another story to was just terrible. (TW for rape; it’s on the right) It felt like a backlash against the really cool hashtag #DiversityinSFF that was happening on Twitter last week. Obviously, this place is not the home for my badass space detective. I immediately submitted somewhere else that feels a lot more welcoming to anyone who, you know, doesn’t find assault titillating. Here’s hoping they think my story’s a good fit, too.

In the what’s-happening-next category, I’m going to be posting an interview with Justin Robinson, author of the soon-to-be-published City of Devils. That’s going to happen on the day his book’s coming out, Sept. 24. I hope you’ll tune in for that. Should be fun. There might even be a giveaway!

That’s it for now, I think. How’ve you all been?

Man sits on bench reading

I love this photo: the composition, the colors, someone reading! Man sits on bench reading (Photo credit: Ian Livesey)

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Wherefore Art Thou John Teague

Alpha Reader finished the sub-zero still-not-finished draft of The Travelers last week, and he had thoughts, the main one being that he didn’t really see what one of my characters brought to the story.

Um, that would be a guy named John Teague, the character that kind of got the whole story rolling because I thought he would be interesting.

That's not good.

That’s a bit of a problem, isn’t it?

Apparently, the interesting bits are still in my head. Which, okay, Alpha Reader is right. I know this. It’s just all those bits are really vague and/or scattered at this point.

Let me be honest. Mr. Teague intimidates me. Not in a scary, violent way; he’s not that kind of guy. But his story is huge. Deep and wide. Stuff like that. And I’m not really sure how to tell it, including not knowing what to leave out. I really don’t want to fuck it up.

So, I’ve been avoiding that by telling the rest of the tale. Which Alpha Reader likes! So, I have that going for me.

Kitteh's not sure what I'm all happy about, but she's in.

Kitteh’s not sure what I’m all happy about, but she approves.

And I’ve written another 40 pages or so since the last time I updated you on The Travelers. We’re now into the Summer of the Novel and it feels like we’re in the third act and heading toward a conclusion of some kind. Since I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, though, that conclusion is covered in mist. Kind of like John Teague is.

But that’s why I write. Both the conclusion and the character are in my head somewhere, and the easiest way I’ve found to get other things out of my head that seem stuck is to pick up a pen and write. Here’s hoping that works in these cases, too. The only way out is through.

So many words to write...

So many words to write…

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The Next Big Thing – Novel in Progress

As I mentioned Sunday, the fabulous Kay Holt tagged me, along with the other authors from our upcoming Crossed Genres anthology Winter Well (coming out May 24), for the Next Big Thing Blog Hop. Today it’s my turn to answer some questions about my novel in progress. Remember the Winter of the Novel? Well, that’s the book I’m going to talk about.

1. What is the working title of your next book?

The Travelers.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea(s) come from a lot of places: movies (names of which I won’t mention because that would give away too much), music (Shooter Jennings’ Black Ribbons, among others (Ani, Joy Kills Sorrow, Leadbelly, Amy Ray, to name a few), has been played a lot and is responsible for my pirate radio dj, Erasmus Teller, existing), as well as the state of the world today. I wondered what would happen if I took the direst predictions of climate change scientists to their extreme, along with “free market” corporatism run amuck, and what that world, and the people in it, would look like fifty years out. That idea unleashed a lot of voices in my head wanting to tell their stories. So many that I’ve spun a group of them off into their own book (working title: The Tribe & the City). The characters that remain in The Travelers make up a group on the run (Erasmus and his daughter Bud, a rebel soldier and her physician lover (Tina Wheatley and Semira Sangare), and a man with many secrets (John Teague)) as well as the folks who are chasing them as they try to get to safer ground. Teague’s secrets are valuable, you see.

Along with a second novel, one of those “spun-off” characters also demanded her own novella (Seriously, she got in my face about it. “You know this community you’re writing about that I’m only an ancillary character in? I built it. Tell that story.”) and now appears as her younger self in “To The Edges,” my tale in Winter Well.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Speculative fiction, future dystopia.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I’m awful at coming up with actors to play my characters, partly because I suck at remembering actors’ names, unless the film’s fifty years old or more and black and white. That said, Freddy Rodriguez would work as John Teague, especially with the longer hair he wore in Bottle Shock. Erasmus Teller looks a lot like older Stephen King without the glasses. Beyond that, it’s all kinds of fuzzy.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence, huh? How about this one? In a corporate-controlled dystopian world, why is one man so important?

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I doubt I’ll self-publish; I don’t have that kind of chutzpah. Also, I love working with good editors. They make the stories better.

7. How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Still in progress and has been for three years now. (I’m easily distracted by shiny anthologies looking for short stories.) I would love to have a finished first draft by the end of this year.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Coming up with book titles is something else I suck at. The Travelers is an action-adventure tale taking place in a degraded future world that also looks back through history a little bit with the stories that Teague and Teller share. It’s a dark tale with a snarky sense of humor.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I have to blame fan fiction, actually. As I mentioned in this post last year, I started writing this book after a few months of writing Whedonfic kicked open the door to the writing part of my brain that had been asleep for a long time. With three accepted stories in the last three years, I’m calling that a win.

10.What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Um, let’s see. Pirate radio, car chases, explosions, lesbian romance, sartorial excess, and a good dose of alternate history/mythmaking are part of the mix. I hope that’s interest-piqueing.

Tag other writers…

Natania Barron was kind of enough to let me tag her to carry on the Next Big Thing blog hop. She’s the author of the Candlemark & Gleam novel Pilgrim of the Sky, as well as several works of shorter fiction that have appeared in many cool places. Can’t wait to learn more about what she’s working on.

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Things to Look Forward To

Given how half-assed I usually am about this blog, it impresses me that I actually have blog things planned. Scheduled even.

The usual stuff, you know, like Monday Morning Music. The big surprise there is I even have next week’s video picked. That just doesn’t happen. So, there’s that.

There are also book-related blog things in store. My Winter Well editor, Kay Holt, tagged me for the Next Big Thing blog hop. She also tagged the rest of the Winter Well authors, and we’re all going to take part, talking about our works in progress. The schedule is this:

I’m excited to read about what these talented women have in store for us. I hope you’ll join us!

And speaking of talented women, Susan Jane Bigelow is going to be posting here on May 28, release day for her new book The Daughter Star. She’s going to be talking about her writing/editing process and how The Daughter Star changed over the course of writing it. Should be pretty cool

I think that’s it for now. Women Learn To Be Women #3 is still in process, as are some reviews I need to post, but I’m not going to pretend they’re near ready. But they will be! Someday! Soon!

WordPress’s selections for photos were impressively random for this post. I won’t bother you with all the wrestling photos (yeah, I don’t know either), but this one made me smile.

A well

A well (Photo credit: Andreas Solberg) It’s also a little wistful, isn’t it? Poor little rusted can all alone.

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Winter of the Novel Update

Okay, yes, it’s technically spring, but you know what? I hacked ice off my windshield this morning and walked through sleet to a morning meeting, so Winter of the Novel it remains.

Just wanted to check in with a progress report. I finally got all of my edits into Scrivener last night! All the edits!

Now to get my chapter breaks sorted out. Because having split this novel in two means that things don’t break like they used to. Gotta fix that.

Favorite bit I ran into last night:

It’s a long story, full of drama and heroics.” He gave her a sheepish look as he dumped a shovelful of dirt. “Not necessarily my heroics, I hate to admit.”

Favorite bit that would fit on Twitter:

Can I bust his head open, Frank? I wanna watch all the gunk run out.”

This line of dialogue makes me laugh for some reason, even though it’s not a humorous scene at all. Pure poetry, eh? 😉

English: published 1878, scketches of people l...

Twitter and Scrivener really threw off the randomicity of WordPress’s photo suggestions, but this popped up. People in Istanbul, apparently. And one of them is scrivening.

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