Yes, I’ve been very quiet lately, here in Blogland and also on places like the Book of Face. I want to write you all, I do. And there’s nothing particular keeping me silent except a mountain of busy. And “Hey, all, I’m working on stuff,” seems rather a dull thing to say.
A good chunk of the mountain has been wrangling The Nature of a Pirate, the third book in the Hidden Sea Tales. It’s moving along, and I’m happy with the process, but it’s not easy.
This year UCLA changed its classroom software, which has been a good and amazing thing, but which also means that I am recoding my classes as I simultaneously teach other classes. And the class last quarter and the one coming up are doozies: lots of thinking, lots of critiquing, lots of brain.
I’m also critiquing a whole novel for a one-on-one student. Again, lots of thinking.
I got our taxes off to the accountant this week! Go me!
I hope to be interesting for you all again soon.
The joke I’ve been making since I learned last week that Child of a Hidden Sea had made the 27th Lambda Literary Awards Finalist List, has been that my previous book, Blue Magic, is “way more gay.”
It’s easy to crack wise when these things happen, because it’s difficult to know what to say, beyond the obvious, about a nomination. The obvious being that I’m more than pleased… I’m thrilled, really, and also–hence the joke–surprised too. I am happy for my fellow Tor authors, Max Gladstone and Daryl Gregory, and for all the other nominees. I’m pleased to have personal connections to other people on the ballot, like Lloyd Meeker (we used to sing together in a choir called Out in Harmony) and one of my oldest friends in the world, the marvelous Keph Senett, who has a story in A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships. These are the people in my neighborhood, the not-quite-imaginary place where queerness and feminism and activism and artistic expression all intersect to produce wonders.
It’s easier in person, of course. I got to brag up the nomination at the SpecFic Colloquium this past weekend, in between hearing Nnedi Okorafor, David Nickle, Simon McNeil, Alex Leitch and Derek Newman-Stile talking about everything from racism and ableism to gamergate and James Bond. I got to be all delighted and smug at my weekly writing date on Thursday, too.
The nomination injected a big dose of excitement into last week, in other words, and continues to offer up a warm glow of delight as the days pass.
Final edits for A Daughter of No Nation are done, done, OMG done, and the book’s back at Tor. Soon there will be copy-edits to proof. Meanwhile, I’m finishing up a short story for License Expired and then moving into polishing up The Nature of a Pirate.
So… blogging will commence approximately six minutes after I can form a sentence more complex than “Dur dur dur.”
I do spend a shocking amount of time saying “Get off da counter!” as it happens. CinCin has an advanced degree in incorrigible and she loves loves loves to mooch.
If you would like to kickstart this process whereby I become communicative again (kickstart in the old fashioned sense of the word, and not the “Let’s raise money for a rockin’ awesome project!” sense, though if you want to throw money at me of course I’ll knit a pink net to catch it with), feel free to suggest some topics. I’m often at my most interesting when I’m talking about something I hadn’t realized you all wanted to know.
Now that I have a shiny new cover for A Daughter of No Nation, I asked if anyone had any questions about the upcoming book, which’ll be out in November.
And Paul Weimer did! He asks:
Is Sophie’s brother coming back?
Yes. Bram is in both A Daughter of No Nation (or, sometimes, ADoNN) and the third book, whose tentative title is The Nature of a Pirate.
How much time takes place between the end of Child of a Hidden Sea and the beginning of ADoNN?
The second book picks up about six months after Sophie’s deportation from the Fleet at the end of CHS.
Will we ever see a map? (you knew I needed to ask that)…
Honestly, I don’t know. I have hopes that it’ll happen one day… but as you probably remember, there’s so much ocean on Stormwrack, and so little land, that any full map of the planet would look like a blue sphere with green pimples. Also, since I am completely incapable of drawing one, some assistance will be required. A better bet is getting maps of some of the great nations, one day: Sylvanna, for example, and Verdanii. I don’t think there’s going to be a map in this book, though.
What new characters are you most excited to introduce us to?
Hmmm, who’s the most exciting new character in the second novel? We do see a little more of Sweet, who has been promoted up from her bosun’s assistant position on Nightjar, and you meet Watts, a doctor they pick up en route in this second book. I think the most fun I had with characters you haven’t seen previously was probably with a certain monk on Issle Morta, who has some strongly held opinions about Garland Parrish’s life and career choices.
You also get a quick look at Sophie’s adoptive parents, Regina and Cornell Hansa.
Paul, thank you for the questions! And the floor’s still open, everyone–what else do you all want to know?
I am sitting in my office with Chinchilla stretched out across my lap, occupying the space atop my left hand, and so I am dictating this blog entry on my phone.
Fiction writing continues to be in revision/wrap-up mode: I have been rereading the last couple novels in the trilogy, just reacquainting myself with every little detail and thinking about where I might insert one more story element into the last book. I am simultaneously trying to trim a novelette down to 7500 words, the better to send it to a specific horror market. (160 words to go!)
Over at UCLA, Novel Writing II opens next week: I will have a dozen writers working on 50 pages apiece, for 10 weeks.
I finished reading Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies on the weekend,and the history book of the moment is A.N. Wilson’s The Victorians. The next novel I will read is for a review, so you’ll hear about it when I’m done.
And television this winter is currently taking the form of re-watching the Laurie/Fry Jeeves and Wooster, watching Marvel’s Agent Carter, and slipping in the occasional episode of Community.
I have not been out to take pictures in a couple weeks, but yesterday on my way to get my glasses adjusted I did get a great look at what was almost certainly a peregrine falcon, fluffed up against the cold as it sat on a branch on D’Arcy Street. I will spare you all the pixelated phone shots. It was, however, miraculous.