Here’s a little snippet from one of The Gales, about the island nation of Erinth, a place inspired, more than a little, by Catania:
Sindria, capital of Erinth, was a city of black marble and volcanic glass, a dark architectural foundation layered in color and light. The carved urns and stone window boxes built into the structures all burst with bougainvillea and daisies. Fruit trees nodded along the avenues, laden with oranges, lemon trees and sun-burnished golden plums.
The title of the story this comes from is “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.”
As mentioned, I am posting these island snapshots because I’m giving away naming rights to one nation on the world of Stormwrack to the person who contributes the most to Clarion Westin 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.
And you can do it in person! Just show up either at my reading at Borderlands Bookstore on Saturday June 23rd at 3:00 p.m. or at the University Bookstore in Seattle on Monday the 25th at 7:00 p.m. Give me cash and a way to contact you, and you’re in the running.
To win, you need to 1) give money; 2) tell me so and 3) give me some contact info.
Finally, links: there’s a Buffy essay up now, called “Real Vampy Love Bitches of Sunnydale“. (This is the “Lovers Walk” essay and, yes, it’s out of order. My fault, I’m pretty sure. I wrote it, but then I was travelling and sick, and Something Ate It.)
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 Westin 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:
“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…”
“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.”
I am reading through the Blue Magic page proofs this week (196 days until it’s released!) which means I am going through printed pages that are laid out as the book will be, looking for any small errors. I’ve already gone through the copy-edited manuscript, where all the big errors and inconsistencies have been found and vanquished.
After that, my current plan is to have a hard look at a short story that’s all but done. It’s provisionally titled “Losing Heart among the Tall.” As titles go, I’m not convinced that’s perfect. This polish is half about actually finishing the story, and partly to reacquaint myself with the details of the setting, a place called Stormwrack, which also appears in a number of other things I’ve been working on this year. This includes a story called “Among the Silvering Herd” that I’ve sold to Tor.com. (I’ll let you know when it’s gonna be up, as soon as I know myself!)
This weekend, I’ll be hopping off to VCon to rub elbows with fabulous people like the latest denizen of the Twitterverse, DD Barant, Mary Choo, and Julie McGalliardon. On Saturday evening, at our 9:00 p.m. group reading, I’ll read from my story “Wild Things,” which takes place in the Indigo Springs universe, between the events of the two novels.
Once “Losing Heart among the Tall”‘s events and details are fresh in my mind, I’ll dig into the other stuff set in Stormwrack, for all of October.
Finally, if that goes well and I can wrap up by Halloween, I’m thinking of joining a number of my Nanowrimo buddies-in-crime in November by setting myself a goal of 50,000 words of new short fiction. Since I mostly write novelettes in the 7500-8500 word range, that’d make for six stories. I thought another squid story about Ruthless, perhaps, to go with “The Town on Blighted Sea,” another Stormwrack story for sure, and I have a few other ideas. But I don’t as yet have six ideas, and I thought I might throw the floor open for prompts, requests, challenges, a contest… somesuch thing.
Have any of you done this, either opened the floor to challenges in this way or contributed to a call for prompts? How did it work? Was there a prize? Were you happy with the result?
My write-a-thon count as of Tuesday was 17,139… I forgot to do any kind of count on Monday, and there was a day of switching projects and rereading and making tweaks to a long file, the better to crank out the next set of pages. The plan is to start drafting again asap.
Here’s some of the reread-and-tweak content:
Keeping her camera fixed on the ring, Sophie followed his gaze. The boy watching the mock duel from across the piazza was maybe eighteen, with curling auburn hair and a face right out of a Dante Gabriel Rosetti painting–big eyes, expressive mouth, skin like sun-burnished brass. He was surrounded by a bevy of expensively-dressed teens who were chattering and exchanging ribbons–more bets, Sophie guessed–but he was raptly watching the blow-by-blow between Acacia and the flaming man.
The babble in her head continued on, but the words got increasingly hard to make out, as if her own voice was moving away from her, something about froglets with tails, and then she was dreaming about one, about chasing it, extending her hand to catch the froglets and finding ducklings under a leaf, ordinary ducklings from home, reaching out, trying to catch it as it scrabbled and fled, and somebody sliced her wrist, cut off her hand and no, that was her, she was holding a severed hand… Gale’s severed hand? There was so much blood and all the choking noises.