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.

Instead of #amreading, here’s what I’m teaching in the fall…

Last week I read all three of Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games books. It may have been too much of the same thing at once, and maybe I’ll have more to say about them once some time has passed. I also reread Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer, but I’ve almost certainly written about that before.

Instead of treating you to semi-coherent Peeta/Gale mumblings or some variation on Wow, I sure don’t have what it takes to be a high-altitude climber!, I will tell you that my next UCLA extension course is Novel III, it starts on October 3rd, and there’s a discount available to people who sign up before the 24th. Here’s the description from the course catalog:

For those with a minimum of 50 pages of a novel-in-progress, this workshop guides you to generate at least 50 new pages as well as learn essential self-editing techniques, with the instructor and peers reviewing each participant’s project in detail. Refinements of character, structure, emotional content, and the development of the writer’s voice also are explored. The goal is to produce a substantial portion of your novel.

You can check out the syllabus here. (It’s subject to minor changes only.)

Or, if you’d rather, here’s a newsflash: the trees know that autumn’s on the way.
Autumn leaves in sun

I #AmReading, but for how long?

Happy Fourth of July, U.S. Friends!

I am about a third of the way into The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization and have only just reached the first gory corpse in Patrick O’Brian’s Red Rain.

Neither book is completely doing it for me: The House of Wisdom is good, but I seem to be absorbing it in small chunks. I feel predisposed to extreme pickiness, to feeling dissatisfaction with the books I’m tackling. I’m not sure there’s much wrong with them, but we definitely aren’t playing well together.

I’ll note that this all started well before I started busily bustin’ words for my WriteAThon commitment. On which note, some braggage:

Tuesday – 1,464 for a total of 28,887
Monday – 1,146 for a total of 27,423
Sunday- 850 words, total of 26,277
Saturday – 1,280 words total of 25,427

Sponsor me here! Win naming rights to stuff on Stormwrack! The number of donors in the pool tripled this week, but the odds of winning the draw are still excellent!)

Okay, back to my point, which is books. Reading for pleasure. The delights of the written word. What has been working for me, in terms of reading, is some of the stuff on the ever-delightful Longreads–I read a good piece on a tornado that ripped through Moscow, Ohio, and a New Yorker article about how having pots of money (or even thinking about it) can affect a person’s capacity for empathy or generosity.

So yay Longreads, and all that, but I am still struggling to sink into a good book-length work, fiction or non-fiction, that I haven’t already read. Has this ever happened to any of you?

Squid story ahoy! And a #BuffyRewatch!

New Fiction! My story “The Sweet Spot,” is available now in the e-book version of Lightspeed magazine, and can be downloaded along with the rest of the issue, here. The story’s release date on the site is July 17th, and I’ll definitely be doing one of my short story intros about it between now and then.


For now I’ll tell you that the story is about the childhood of Ruthless Gerrickle, from “The Town on Blighted Sea,” and, in case you’re following this universe of mine at all, it’s about the beginning of the Battle of Oahu.

This week’s Buffy rewatch on Tor.com covers the S3 episode “Helpless.”

And also I #amreading some things…

Many many things. I finished Remote awhile ago–as I am greedy, I found myself telling Donn Cortez I wished it had gone on longer–and I’ve joined Pinterest but haven’t really figured it out yet.
I’ve also read a novella James Patrick Kelly kindly sent me, “Men are Trouble“. This came about because I was writing an article about gender in SF and fantasy, and trying to remember the title of his short story, “Lovestory.” So, in that way we all have now I’d thrown a query out to the Twitternets and had an answer, from Jim himself, in 24 hours. We got to talking about gender and science fiction and he mentioned his other gender stuff, in particular this novella.
So. “Men are Trouble.” It’s a near-future hardboiled detective story. There are aliens in it, aliens who–it’s apparent early on–came to Earth to help humanity pull itself out of the environmental and economic hole we’re currently digging ourselves into. And who, as part of their tough love program, disappeared every single man in the world. Jim wanted to know what I thought, and I’m sure he’d be interested in your reaction, too.
What did I think? The obvious effect of removing the male sex from the population, in this story, certainly isn’t to disappear human conflict or power struggles. It brings a couple things into the light: intergenerational friction between women, and the aliens’ failure to understand that simply wiping out guys (and, presumably, transwomen) isn’t the answer. The story and the culture he creates is very true to human behavior.
It’s a terrific story, and I’m still thinking about it a week later.
I also couldn’t help but compare it to James Alan Gardner’s “A Clean Sweep with All the Trimmings,” which is also feminist in its sensibility and a hardboiled. And, just a little, to my favorite hardboiled ever, Nicola Griffith’s Aud series which opens with Blue Place. The trio makes me wonder what it is about the hard-boiled that makes it such a good lens for stories about gender inequality. Or are all genres equally good for this, and it’s just that I’ve been exposed to these three excellent examples.
Changing pace, I’ve moved on to Caitlin Sweet’s The Pattern Scars, which is lovely and dark and intriguing, and which is also on the Prix Aurora Ballot, by the way. It’s beautifully put together on a sentence-by-sentence level and is well worth close attention.