Category Archives: Works in Progress

Anything about whatever I’m writing now.

Nither NanoWrimo, but I am writing steadily

write memeAs it says: I am not doing Nanowrimo this year; I have books to rewrite, and stories on the go. There’s no discrete 50K chunk of wordage I need to generate, and so many things to finish.

The finishing is pleasant, though I do love the mad plunge through a draft. And the November part of Nanowrimo usually appeals to me. I sometimes struggle to get writing done after Halloween, and having a huge deadline and braggable goal has sorted that challenge rather handily for me in the past.

What I am doing, now that the Child of a Hidden Sea* copy-edits are on their way back to New York, is skimming through book two, currently titled Daughter of No Nation, as preparation for buckling down to really polishing number three, Nature of a Pirate. I am also considering what I may set as my 2014 writing goals: what I want to do, and what I need to do. Glancing up from the project at hand, in other words, to look at the work and career as a whole. If there’s a short story you wish I’d tackle, or a universe you want me to return to, now might be the time to put in a request.

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*Yes, the book’s already available in ebookstores for pre-order, even though its release date is June. The above link is for Amazon – here’s Chapters Indigo. Cool, huh?

Mermaids, #BuffyRewatch, and a vintage pun

My latest Buffy rewatch ends Season Five with “The Gift.” I call it “Beware of God.

If you’d prefer a pre-taste of my upcoming book CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA, which is set in the same world as “Among the Silvering Herd” or my next related Tor.com story “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti,” here’s a post on mermaids I did for
My World… in Words and Pages.

Toronto continues to be a completely fun place to explore: here’s a store called Da Vintage Code. I love a good pun.
DaVintage Code Vintage store, in Kensington Market. #yyz #toronto

Painted Ladies, the Pinboard

painted ladiesI have stumbled over a couple terrific art boards lately and have begun gathering up portraits of women as a result.
Many of the women on my Painted Ladies pinboard may be familiar to you–a lot of them are celebrity paintings by celebrity painters. Others, though, are newer or more obscure.

It has been fascinating collecting these, and what I’ve realized is that there’s a real difference between a photographic portrait–even if it’s fanciful–and something painted from scratch. The element of imagination is different: the painter imbues their subject with personality in a way that seems less about capturing reality and more about creating or amplifying it.

(From this you can tell I am not versed at all in art criticism.)

What was most exciting, though, was to stumble over Kneeling Girl, by Thomas Saliot. This is as perfect a picture of the protagonist of my next novel, a woman named Sophie Opal Hansa, as I could ever have wished to discover.

Today’s moving-related discovery: Revenue Canada will let us write off a ton of our moving expenses this year.

Faith hits the #BuffyRewatch @Tordotcom

The season four two-parter featuring the return of Faith is up–it’s called “The Last of the Red Hot Slayers.”

I know this blog has been light on everything but Buffy posts lately, but I am hoping to get back to a more varied routine soon. Thank you for bearing with me as I put the finishing touches on the current novel. It’s slated to go off to my agent on Friday.

I #amWriting, amReading, amRithmetic

Sometimes I can get through a book without ever having to print up a manuscript and make hard notes. Not so with the current book, though. I’ve run it off, divided it into five separate hundred-ish page segments, and am most of the way through a pink pen edit. This is not a sekrit publishing technical term. It just means that the next edit will be a green or blue or possibly orange pen edit. I am hoping to only read it this way twice, as the story came together pretty delightfully once the scribbling commenced.

Work in progress: DAUGHTER OF NO NATION

And speaking of delightful, I am now about 70% of the way through my shiny advance copy of M.K. Hobson’s heartrending steampunk novel The Warlock’s Curse, which will be available to the general public so very soon. This novel is the follow-up to the Nebula nominated The Native Star and its sequel The Hidden Goddess. I won’t say anything more about it until I’ve read that last 30%, except for this: damn you, Mary, you’ve gone and made me all emo! Those sodas at your Orycon launch party better be amazing! And also: guys, this is a superfun novel.

Wouldn’t you like to be a portal too?

No sooner had I written that Next Big Thing article about my Stormwrack novels than this post went live on SF Novelists. It’s about portal fantasies, and was sparked by another post, by Rachel Manija Brown. The classic example is C.S. Lewis’s Narnia Books, which is why Marie Brennan’s post is titled “This Wardrobe is Closed Until Further Notice.”

I found this discussion super-interesting for so many reasons.

First, I’d missed out on the term portal fantasy, so I hadn’t realized that I was writing one. Well, three. (I knew what I was writing, just hadn’t heard this handy term.)

Second, the panelists referenced in the posts agreed that nobody in publishing is buying these things. And if they were, they certainly aren’t buying portal fantasies written for adults. To which, of course, I got to reply in comments: except mine! There’s perhaps a little egoboo to be had in selling the arguably unsellable.

Third, the meat of the panel was essentially literary and marketing criticism of the subgenre: it’s wish-fulfillment, they said, and therefore immature. The novels have no consequences for the real world. The protagonist always returns to their life at home, barely older and much much wiser. It’s all been done. (The actual posts are more articulate, of course.)

So, Marie says–I’m taking some liberties with my paraphrasing–that maybe someone will one day write a grown-up portal fantasy where people travel both ways and portal-worlders fall through to Earth, and the journey of the protagonist affects important stuff at home and maybe the heroes and heroines don’t automatically just leave the magical land behind and embrace their old life with a zesty declaration–“There’s no place like home!”

To which I say: Hahahaha! I’m there, I’m so there! Because not only are the Stormwrack novels this and much more, it’s safe to argue that Indigo Springs and Blue Magic are, in part, portal fantasies where what’s behind the portal takes out most of Oregon in the first book alone!

Here’s a picture of me being smug.
Everyone at #vcon is up and ready to have a great morning, right?

My fellow SF Novelist Marie Brennan has, by the way, done a Journeys interview here at Planetalyx.

All I #amreading is student novels…

My UCLA Extension Writers’ Program course, Novel Writing II, is in full swing and I haven’t yet found a book that goes well with fourteen student novels-in-progress.

I am continuing to write about 1200-1500 words a day on my current novel, as part of my Clarion West Write-A-Thon commitment. The naming contest is still on the go for sponsors. Right now, a donation of any size will get you into the draw for a chance to name a landmark, person or animal species. It’ll take at least $35 to be the biggest donor and thereby get the right to name an island nation. Here’s a snippet about another island, Tiladene:

“Perhaps, too, since you’re an outlander . . . ”
What else had she done? “Yes?”
“Lais Dariach . . . he’s from Tiladene.”
Tiladene. That word was on one of Gale’s coins. “You said that. So?”
“They’re somewhat . . . promiscuous.”
The significant look on Dracy’s face made her want to giggle. “You mean sexually promiscuous?”
“They don’t believe in marriage–in faithfulness.”
“Okay, got it. Your other passenger–”
“Lais.”
Lais is from Friends with Benefits Island.”
Planet of the Polyamorous Sluts, she thought, lightheaded. Didn’t the Star Trek guys used to go somewhere like that for shore leave?
And then: A little shore leave wouldn’t be the worst idea I ever had. And he is cute.

Readin’, Research, Write-A-Thon Giveaway

I am going to Victoria tomorrow to do some research for the series of books and stories I’m currently writing–in point of fact, I’m going on a short day sail on a tall ship called the Pacific Grace, which is owned and sailed by S.A.L.T.S. It should be a neat experience. If I’m not clinging to a rope every minute, there will, of course, be pictures.

I am really excited about this, except in the moments when I wonder if it will involve barfing or hard labour.

But back to the current project, I have firmed up my decision to give away naming rights to one island nation on the world of Stormwrack to the person who contributes the most to Clarion West in my name this summer. I will also have a draw for naming rights to a landmark, animal species, sailing vessel or city on Stormwrack. It’s your choice. Anyone who wants to qualify for that one need only donate something, even if it’s the minimum.

To win, you need to 1) give money; 2) tell me so and 3) give me some contact info. The Clarion site’s supposed to let me know about contributions, but this didn’t work out so well last year–I’m doing something wrong when I log in, is all I can conclude, because I have immense troubles with the site, and I’m the only one. (It’s me, lovely wonderful Clarion folks, it’s not you. You’ve tried, Chaos knows you’ve tried…)

The reason I’m clattering for donations should be blindingly clear, but if it isn’t: Clarion is a great program. It does terrific work. It made a difference in my life. I wrote six stories in the weeks before I went to Seattle (see, I had a pre-season last time too!) and 220 pages of new fiction while I was there. It helped me improve at my chosen art, it got my nascent writing career on track and introduced me to some of my best friends in the world.

But wait, there’s more, and it’s not frickin’ steak knives!

You need to know what kind of a place Stormwrack is if you’re gonna name an island, right? So as I continue to Thon, there will be posts from all the interconnected works set in this world, and they will be about the island nations I’ve established so far. For example, in the first of a series of stories called The Gales, I have this, about Redcap Island:

To distract him, she asked: “What do you know of Redcap Island?”

“It’s a kingdom,” he said promptly. “Government is stable, king’s rule is absolute. The crown passes to the eldest son upon the death of the king or his sixtieth birthday, whichever comes first. Elder kings go into a kind of ceremonial exile, along with any other sons…”

“Yes?”

“There’s usually just one other son. They must use magic to affect the succession.”

Gale nodded. “Once there’s a healthy heir and a second son, the king’s consorts bear only daughters. The Blossoms Majestic—the princesses—run the government.”

From “Among the Silvering Herd,” out on Tor.com and available as an e-book too!