Category Archives: Works in Progress

Anything about whatever I’m writing now.

You heard it where first?

Posted on June 30, 2010 by

So much of my knowledge seems to come from the Twitterverse these days: I was flipping through the tabs on my browser yesterday when a SFWA tweet caught my eye. It had my name on it, and Cory Doctorow‘s and when I hit the link it gave me the happy news that Indigo Springs (and books by Cory, and Charles de Lint, and Karl Schroeder, and Robert Charles Wilson) are up for the Sunburst Award in the adult category.

Congratulatory messages started coming in about twenty seconds later. I’ve tried to answer them all; if I missed you somehow, thank you!  I am excited, thrilled, and frankly boggled to be on any list with these guys. A laundry list would be amazing–though, admittedly, weird. A short list? Wow.

I feel awash in good things at the moment, actually. I’m taking it as a memo from the Universe, to the effect that good things, like crappy ones, sometimes come in bunches. Response to the first Journey interview, with Louise Marley, has been very positive and pleasing, for example, and I am lining up the next interview even now. Moving to the realm of personal satisfaction with the whole writing process, I have been working this week on what I expect to be the final edit (before it goes off to the agent, that is) of Daughters of Zeus … and I am sincerely pleased with it. It’s gone from the scabby feral draft stage to something quite limber and pleasing.

And while my cup is runnething over, I’d also like to announce that my urban fantasy novelette, “The Cage,” will be appearing on next month as part of their Urban Fantasy spotlight. This was a thoroughly fun story to write and I hope you all enjoy it. Badger and Snuffy were kind enough to read an early draft of the piece–thank you both!

Cruisin’ to the rhythm

Posted on June 25, 2010 by

kelly-yoyoKelly and I made a little change to our pre-work walk this morning, taking 8th Avenue past the new community garden where some friends of ours have a plot. I’ve been able to see the installation happening as I’ve gone to and fro–between one thing and another, I pass the Broadway/Commercial intersection four to six times a day–but hadn’t gotten a good look. What’s there is attractive and thoughtfully laid out. The central area holds raised garden beds made of cedar, already pre-planted with veggies and herbs. Ground-level flower and berry gardens encircle these beds, and the backdrop is the Grandview Cut. The plants were donated by a local nursery, all the cedar chips are new and fragrant, and the whole thing radiates a newness and warmth that’s very pleasing. We are thinking we’ll do the walk past a lot in the next little while.

Community Garden on 8th and Commercial

Afterward, I made my way to Cafe Calabria and had a bash at the current fiction project, that slice of a novel I mentioned before, for the grant application. I was searching for one more scene to add into it, looking for something that had a bit of literary grit and referred back to the stuff I’ve put in the proposal, which is about shifting landscapes of privilege and the labeling, within large families, of different individuals as insiders and outsiders. On Wednesday I was sitting in the cafe scraping after that scene, whatever it was. I didn’t really expect to find the right answer, because I hadn’t slept the night before. But the idea came, to my surprise, and I scribbled some notes on it without getting started–trying to write on no sleep is never a good idea for me. Yesterday I drafted the first half, and today I wrapped it up. I have a piece I’m happy with now, and I have until fall to polish it until it shines.

I am delighted to have reached this point. If I’m not swamped by other commitments (some of which I’m chasing very actively), I will write a draft of the whole book in November, just as I did WINTERGIRLS and DAUGHTERS OF ZEUS.

Here’s a snippet from earlier the draft:

Sarah Varney’s address was a residential hotel, one that, from the look of it, was home to a good chunk of the city’s addict population. Its windows were black with grime, its awning greasy and tattered, with loose aluminium ribs inhabited by motheaten, feebly peeping pigeons. The sidewalk leading to the reinforced revolving door was glazed in bird droppings; it was impossible not to track them in.

The door spun them out into a lobby that smelled of Lysol and urine. A diminutive Asian crone eyeballed them through a cage of greasy bulletproof glass.

This feels very much as if it’s at a finished-for-now point, and given that we’re headed to Seattle for the LOCUS Awards tomorrow, I will probably skip actual fiction-writing for the whole of the weekend. By Monday, I’ll need to have decided what to work on next. I have another proposal I’d be delighted to work on, but I’m waiting on some notes; I have a drafted squid story that could use some attention, and a horror novel, SEE HOW THEY RUN, that I want to revise at some point in the near. I have a pile of books I need to read for various research stuff, and one I want to review.

Non-fic stuff on the go includes three last lectures for Novel Writing II and assorted admin stuff, two guest blog posts to write, a review, some things I want to talk and post about in this space, critiques for a couple of my one on one students, fine-tuning of a website I’m developing for my choir, and more work on the page.

On a more recreational note, I need to review everything I learned in last year’s Italian class before my next one begins in about ten days time and one of my Jonathan Coulton albums has vanished from my iPod.

History books are my consumer Achilles heel…

Posted on June 24, 2010 by

Thanks to the UBC Bookstore‘s frequent buyers’ system, I just paid $3 for two beautiful new history books:

Seize the Fire: Heroism, Duty, and Nelson’s Battle of Trafalgar, by Adam Nicholson
In Triumph’s Wake: Royal Mothers, Tragic Daughters, and the Price they paid for Glory, by Julia P. Gelardi

I have been thinking about getting the latter in the history section for weeks, not so much because it’s exactly what I want to read but because for weeks it was the most tempting item on that particular shelf. It looks terrific, and French history is something I especially enjoy, but I wasn’t necessarily prepared to pick it up. But today the Nelson book was out, and it’s just the thing for primary research on one of my projects, and I knew the bookstore ‘owed’ me a kickback for all the bookbuying of the past year, so… treasure!

I will of course let you know how they are.

Because they’ve just freshened up all the shelves for the summer session, the bookstore has new “Summer Reading” and “Local Author” displays, and Indigo Springs was prominently displayed in both. I say was, because apparently by the time I noticed this gratifying fact, the Local Author copies had been sold. They are very very good to me out there.

From caterpillar comes lace and fluffings

Posted on June 23, 2010 by

Burnaby Lake wildlife

Originally uploaded by Alyx Dellamonica

Lately most of my posted photos have been of ducks or other birds, so here’s an invertebrate for you all, a glowy sunlit butterfly. This one, like so many of my recent shots, came from Burnaby Lake… it almost makes the world look summery, despite the fact that our weather has been ambivalent for months, waffling to and fro betwixt warmth and deluge.

I have been tip-tapping at the computer since I got home from my weekly Wednesday breakfast date with Kelly: teaching, answering e-mails, and fiddling with my web site. I am working on two sites at once right now, and contemplating diving into a third. Soon, though, I will head out to the cafe and go back to wrestling with the current work in progress, a thirty-page sample of a book I’ve tentatively titled FILTERING FOR RAIN, or perhaps THE RAIN GARDEN. (For the couple of you who’ve seen THE WINTERGIRLS in MS, this would be the Dill book.)

The sample would be for a grant application, and the readers are looking for literary merit. What I have so far feels like two nicely literary scenes sandwiching a bit of plotty filling. I want another nice, image-laden, freighted-with-import something to pull it all together. I haven’t quite figured out what that is, though, and since I slept quite poorly last night I don’t know how successful I’ll be when I attempt it after lunch. But I’m a big believer in plugging away, even if it might not be overly comfortable. The head against wall bash-bash-bash seems to usually get me somewhere, sooner or later.

I am also supposed to go on a 5K walk this evening with a bunch of people from the mentoring gig. Unless a nap happens after the fiction-writing, I’m thinking that’s coming off the agenda. I could do the walk itself half-asleep, but coherent conversation would be beyond me.

Hammer hammer, saw saw

Posted on June 23, 2010 by

I converted to a WordPress site in June of 2010, with the goal of integrating the static site about my writing with the more dynamic content of my blog, which originated on Livejournal, and whose archives still live there. I have great plans for this site, and given my posting habits, I know that all of the areas you see in the menus on this site will soon be brimming over with new, up-to-date, recent, sexy content. I will continue to grab text fragments and post mini-reviews of books as I read them, talk film and TV, discuss the music I’m listening to as well as whatever I’m singing with my choir, and write about food, wine, cheese, and eco-consumerism.

I am also getting ready to launch an interview series, Journeys, which will discuss the career paths of various authors in the SF and fantasy fields.

I could dig up old posts on some of these topics and whip off a few new ones, if I wished, but I want this process to happen organically. I want to write good thoughtful posts, things you will enjoy, things that will make you hungry or thoughtful or maybe even mad once in awhile–things that will get you talking. In the meantime, this post is just a quick note to say I’m sorry there’s nothing more on point here just yet, and to beg your patience while I generate content that’s really worth reading.

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