Reader mail bag offerings:
One is worthy of a good rant over on the other blog today -- someone decided to forward me a review on Jim Butcher's last novel. Butcher also writes for Roc, but I haven't read more than a little of his first book, and I won't comment on it. Suffice to say Jimmy will doubtless Go Far. So, why am I getting a copy of one of his reviews? Why, because Victoria Strauss slammed me in it. Now I'm thinking, why is little Vicky so obsessed with trashing me that she has to do it in other
people's reviews? My communication with her has been limited to one polite thank you for the rather nasty review she wrote on StarDoc (that was back in the days when I thought I had to say thank you, even when I got slapped in the face), and helping her out with her Writer Beware project by providing information on Edit Inc. She can't stand my books, but for some reason, she keeps reading them and continually slamming me. Maybe she considers it her civic duty or something. What she doesn't realize is she's just giving me more publicity. Vick, if you don't like someone, ignore them. Has more dignity to it. The reader also told me that Butcher made a comment somewhere about feeling "unsettled" that the Vickster would slam me in the middle his review. Yeah, well, Jimmy boy, you've got to consider the source. And the lovely color green she probably turns whenever someone says "StarDoc." Hee hee.
The SF funnies have started up again -- a number of letters protesting the treatment of John Norman were just posted on Locus online -- and that Hayden lady editor went to town one the topic for the fourth (or is it fifth?) time. I'm going to bookmark them and the next time someone invites me to a SF Con, use them as an answer, along with the words, "No, thanks, not even if you drugged me . . . . "
Writing about Jian-Shan is like polishing a katana to bring out the hamon
-- the shadows and crystals in the surface of the blade. His are so subtle they're like mist on steel. I've never written a character like him before, and I keep pulling back, taking away the excess, paring down. I wonder if I'll really ever do him justice.
New title ideas for the trilogy:
Mine to Have
Mine to Hold
Mine to Keep
Yeah, yeah, I know, mushy, but that's what they want. Major mush. But I like the word "mine" a lot, greedy mercenary witch that I am.
Finally finished the monthly detox of the computer systems (I usually do this at the end of the month but the holidays and some operating problems forced me to start this morning.) Did another complete system backup and downloaded some files for relocation out of state. Pssst, Mister, want to take a couple of novels to Oregon and Colorado for me . . . ?
Famous Quote for the Day:
"What is algebra, exactly? Is it those three-cornered things?" J.M. Barrie, 1860-1937
I know it's taught by short men with dandruff in their eyebrows.
Gloat for the Day:
"The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline baggage." Mark Russell
Or pieces of the various Mars orbiters.
Finishing up for the night. Had a terrific think-tank session with the world building folks tonight at Holly's, came up with some great ideas from the group to solve plot problems. I'm still all hyper from it. On the down side, Rush has done something to his bottom lip, and it's so inflamed it looks like he's sticking his tongue out at me. I checked for foreign objects or signs of infection, but found nothing. He must have caught it on something or bumped it. Have four nice long parallel scratches on my right arm as payment for the exam. Putting on the Baroque CD tonight, maybe that will work as a lullabye.
I've been listening to Sting's "Brand New Day" CD and finalized "Desert Rose" as my song for StarDoc book six. I can see the plot run like a movie in my head whenever I listen to it. It's a beautiful, haunting song that has that sad Rai feel to it (thanks to Mami's backup) and still delivers hope. Helps stave off the need to work on the book, too -- I want to think about it for a few more months, let it simmer. When I listen to the music, I can rearrange and rewrite the scenes with mental images before I ever hit the keyboard.
There's always a songtrack to every novel I write, though sometimes I don't find the song until after I start writing. That was particularly true for BioRescue, I thought I'd never find the right music for that book. Then my son started listening to 'NSync, and I heard the "Space Cowboy" track for the first time -- and it clicked. Same thing happened to introduce me to Creed. People may look down their noses at trendy pop, but I like finding something new, and there's no reason to discount the latest hit groups just because I'm old enough to be their mother. :)
Reader mail bag offerings:
Lots of clamor over Shockball, why do I boycott reviews, miffed about some comparison to Heinlein (I never read this book he references so I haven't a clue), an interesting question about Hawk (this gal has to be a science person, she's into the aerodynamics), a suggestion to write a book about the HouseClans (Blade Dancer is coming), two self-pubbed authors looking for quotes, hated the treatment of Terrans in book, cried over the end (still the #1 most frequent comment), cover art is too green and Cherijo looks fat, some nice comments on Reparations, eager to see the surprise on the web site in December.
Reparations is the story currently on my web site, and is actually a spin-off of Professional Courtesy. I really liked the character of Coureep and wanted to explore the idea of reconstructs a bit more. I'm also gearing up to write a straight mystery, so Reparations was a way to ease into that mindset. Sometimes it's better to try out a genre in short story form, see if it works for you, then plunge into a novel.
I've started a new blog, which will not
be rated PG. Bitch Blog is exactly what it sounds like -- solely devoted to my personal rants on everything and everyone. Early entries include my hatred for computers, sleep, and the anti-Rowling front. If you want to check it out in its infancy, it's at: http://majorbitchblog.blogspot.com.
But be warned -- when I want to use bad language about someone, I'm going to head over there. That way I can keep Star Lines focused on writing, and not venting my spleen.
I am writing ten thousand words today and God Help whoever tries to stop me.
As a direct result of the earlier html panic, I fell off the diet wagon and ate a slice of death-by-chocolate cake. I consider this stress compensation, not to be confused with boredom eating or night ritual snacking. I will also admit I had melon in the fridge for tonight. I saw it, ignored it, and went right for the cake. Some wounds can only be healed by chocolate. And it wasn't a very big slice anyway.
Writing punctuated -- no, derailed -- by other interference today. Everyone called this morning -- Mom, the ex, the FRW prez, the bank, the attorney. All the calls started the same way: "I know mornings are your writing time, but . . . ."
Tomorrow I'm either changing my phone number or yanking the cord out of the wall. You people can send me e-mail. Telegrams. Smoke signals.
On the upside of things, I got down the kibuki makeup scene, and it's really funny. I laugh out loud when I read it, so hopefully the editor will, too.
Hey, Holly, it worked! I did it! (whoop!)
It worked. (smacking myself in the forehead)
Okay. The HOME and ARCHIVE thing have been saved, but only because AOL did something wierd and saved the original template page down on my URL list, and popped it back up when I closed out the screwed-up template version. Now, one more shot at making HOME go to my web site. Cross your fingers.
One more time. Bear with me people, in terms of degree of difficulty opposed to user's skill, this is like performing neurosurgery with a butter knife.
Let's see if that worked.
Shit, I deleted the Home and Archive things. See? I knew it.
I have tried to change the home thing over there on the left so it would take people to my web site URL. Didn't work. I'm a complete html idiot. To rub salt in the wounds, I deleted two lines off the template thing in the process and I can't remember what they were so I can't replace them. Ominously I do remember the lines deleted included the words "HOME" and "ARCHIVE" in a bunch of coding. This weblog will probably self-destruct in five seconds . . . .
Temptation Cometh On Sneaky Little Feet:
Apparently a Shockball review has appeared on Sci Fi Weekly, something to do with the SciFi Channel. I got five e-mails about it. Yes, I am very tempted to track this down and read it, as I was when Locus reviewed the book, but I'm hoping the temptation it will pass. I mean, I made A Vow
here. No more reading reviews of any kind. But it's really, really tempting to see how bad I got slammed . . . argh . . . .
E-mail from friend with 911 READ THIS NOW! subject header turned out to be the first chuckle of the day -- another SF author has set up a new web page virtually identical to mine, including a Latest Update page. Stole some wording from one of my updates, too. To date, this makes three authors who have ripped off ideas from my site. It's silly and sad, really. Why not come up with your own design, your own ideas, you guys?
Famous Quote for the Day:
"Status quo: Latin for the mess we're in." Jeve Moorman
A mess we usually create ourselves.
Gloat for the Day:
"Cats are smarter than dogs. You can't get eight cats to pull a sled through snow." Jeff Valdez
I read that to the boys, who yawned, stretched, and wandered off.
The beginnings of a migraine setting in, I'm calling it a day. I got through the most difficult scene in the book, though the back of my neck feels like someone's been doing macrame with the muscle fibres. A dose of ibuprofen, and maybe some Pachelbel to lull me to sleep, and I think I'll be fine. Hard part's over.
Got hit with a huge horrible rush to get to work on the next StarDoc book today, which is insane, can't be done, absolutely not, no, nyet, neechevo, no
time left before deadline for Iceman and Blade. But I miss Cherijo and the crew, and if I go without them for more than a couple of weeks I get itchy. I figure after five books that's a good sign -- I could be bored out of my skull, right?
It has a lot to do with the responses I'm getting on Shockball, too. Tons of e-mail has been coming in from all over creation, with so much enthusiasm and praise (I'm going to become totally insufferable.) A bookseller in Texas wrote that he sold all forty copies in stock in three days. He's got a waiting list now for the next shipment. That's forty copies in just one store. And the same request in almost every e-mail -- "When does the next one come out?"
My agent is waiting patiently for me to turn in Blade, then we go to the table with four books. I want to write them all in the next year, but with Roc's new make-'em-wait strategy, I have no reason to tackle all of them. It's frustrating. I want to write the books. People want to read them. Why play number games? If I'm good enough, won't that count in the end? Or is my career to be preordained by computerized strategy?
I know I'm supposed to be all cool and authorial about this stuff, but it just makes me restless. Let me write my books and get them out there. That's all I'm asking.
What's happened since this morning:
6:43am -- Woke up after having a ghastly nightmare about being on a ship headed for Mars, with three men who have not shaved, bathed, or changed their clothes for at least a week -- and that was before
getting on the ship. Figure it has to relate back to the icky specifics of that Geek Test I failed. Anyway, the nightmare gets worse when one of the men starts complaing about Dunham Bush screw machines (air conditioning unit, get your mind out of the gutter) and I become aware I'm on a ship, possibly built by Can't-Landis, on the way to a big cold dead red rock with three centrifugal A/C mechanics. Uh-huh. Where's the nearest air lock?
9:37am -- Having reached the post-jail Kalen scene in Iceman. God help Raven.
11:42am -- Cats are herding around me everytime I go in the kitchen, crying for Nine Lives (yes, I can tell the brand name by the meows.) They're on dry food for 24 hours so that maybe they will be desperate enough to eat the vet wet food the next time I put it out. I feel like a heartless monster but it has to be done.
1:38pm -- type all of the above twice and still get kicked out of the weblog before it will post. Cross your fingers.
1:57pm -- have wrecked the first day of my new diet by not eating breakfast and lunch. Eating while I'm writing is like doing anything while I'm writing -- it has to wait until I'm done writing. Yet I will try to stick to it for the rest of the day, eat a sensible dinner and not snack all night.
Okay, Blogger. Let's see if you'll bounce me this time.
Oh, so now
you'll let me post.
Blogger refuses to let me post. I now realize how addicted I've become to the weblog thing.
Stayed off the computer for most of the day to do the SV copy edit. Another chop job this time, apparently the copy editor had a hair up some orifice. STETed just about everything, as my editor warned me. Going to bed to sulk myself to sleep.
Not a good morning. The kids didn't want to go to school, the cats didn't want to eat the vet-recommended food, and some fool on a cell phone ran a red light and nearly nailed me with his highly polished Acura. The wait line at the post office was thirty deep and none too happy. I can't understand why people have to be in such a hurry to get everywhere and get things done and race through red lights to get there and do them. Or why they get nasty when they have to wait five, ten, or fifteen minutes to do something. It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and we don't have to shovel snow to get out the front door in the morning. Quit complaining.
A little writing turned out to be 3,485 words. Ah, well. Gotta love what you do for a living. The folks over at Holly's site are doing this national write a book in a month thing, where everyone is trying to write a novel with a 50K word length in thirty days. I think it's a great motivation idea. Out of curiosity, I added my own daily totals. Since 11/5, I've written 75,298 words, but that's spread out over three novels, and I've been putting in a lot of sixteen hour days at the keyboard to get these books done. There is no time left to play around, and for some reason I do my best work under pressure. Maybe that's why I set such impossible goals -- to create the pressure when none exists.
I'm sure a shrink would have a field day with that thought.
Had a highly productive online plotting session this a.m., got some serious editing done (154 pages in all, BioRescue and Castling, on to Blade tonight) and even did a little grocery and clothes shopping. My hands still ache, but not as much as this morning, so I may do a little writing tonight. Yeah, yeah, I know, I was going to take the day off but my mind is simmering, and if I don't get some of this out I won't sleep at all tonight.
It feels strange not to write in the morning -- though I did type for nearly two hours during the IM session, it's not the same. I probably typed a good 5K, but to me chatting on the internet doesn't count. Reading stuff I've written and editing is a nice break, but that doesn't feel like work, either (it only feels like work when I have to do an whole novel in one sitting. That
is more like plowing.)
I haven't read Castling in a good four months, but it still reads well and only needs a bit more work on the court intrigue stuff. BioRescue I'm having some second thoughts. One of the major characters is bugging me, and I think I need to rework him. He's not edgy or emotional enough for me yet. It's hard with this one because he's only seen through the eyes of the protagonist, and the POV is first person, like StarDoc. I don't want another clone of Reever. Otherwise, the story flows, the plot works great, and I feel pretty confident I can sell it, even if I do have to switch universes and take on another pseudonym (again.)
I should do reader mail and quotes (trying to keep the blog consistent) but since this is my unofficial day off, we'll skip that for now. Maybe later, if I emerge from Iceman early.
Excerpt pages from Paradise Island are also available on Amazon.com now. I guess they're going to do it with all my past releases. Maybe it'll sell some books, we shall see.
I did a huge backup last night, the one I do of the entire system once a month, and counted unfinished novels while I was waiting for the thing to finish. I've actually got twenty-five books I've started, waiting to be worked on. The two that really tempt me are the historicals -- ever since Eric Flint asked me to do that A/H story for his antho, I've been feeling the history bug biting me on the butt. I've always been told it's not my voice, but then I've always been told I'd never get published, never make the bestseller list, never make any money doing this, etc.
The hard cold reality now is I don't have time. There simply are not enough hours in the day to write everything I want. I have to pick and choose carefully now, and I resent that. It's like I should be able to call someone (God, perhaps) and say, "Excuse me. I need another ten hours added to each day. Could you take care of that for me?"
Who invented Monday morning? I'd really like to know. The Marquis de Sade?
Wound up at 18,491 tonight. Close but no cee-gar. Crawling off to bed now. (whimper)
Halfway to 20K. Taking a break to eat something and play with the cats, who have been wandering in and out of my office to glare at me with great indignation all day. Jeri's particularly po'ed. If he could talk, he'd say, "You there. Serving wench. Quit meddling with that contraption, fetch my pounce treats, and be quick about it."
More random title ideas for the new trilogy:
(mushy romance) Lost in You -- Trust in You -- Believe in You
(animal) Heart of the Tiger (Raven, Dragon) also Tiger Heart
Dance with the Tiger (Raven, Dragon) Also Tiger Dance
Way of the Tiger (Raven, Dragon) also Tiger's Way
All of these are kinda lame. I can't seem to find the common bond beyond the animal symbols, I'm hopelessly not
a romantic person when it comes to titles, and the mushy stuff just makes me go "eeuuuwwww."
Making Sunday breakfast for the kids, then onto the iceman marathon. Today's goal is 20K, then I can devote Monday solely to editing and give my hands a rest. Joints are still a bit inflamed this morning, but cooking should loosen them up, and I'm going to stop a couple times today to do cold soaks. Arthritis is not fun, especially not for obsessive compulsive writers with fountain pen fetishes.
Famous Quote for the Day:
"When you have got an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it is best to let him run." Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865
I say, jump on his back and go along for the ride.
Gloat for the Day:
"I felt like poisoning a monk." Umberto Eco on why he wrote the novel The Name of the Rose
I have got to come up with a one-liner like this.
A poem emerged from a box I was sorting through tonight, one I wrote about twenty years ago, when I was going through another of my dark but mercifully brief rhyme-o-thons. It's not bad, if you can get past some of the sillier lines.
"She's tired," Momma says,
"burning her bridges, her candle-ends,
writing that nonsense
and putting up pretense--"
the words shatter what she mends.
This is the lot of her days.
Grandma sits and studies hard
the circles racooning her eyes.
"Needs to sleep, too wired
and forget about that bastard."
Always the easy surmise
that children get tired.
Her brother lets her listen
to an hour of Jesus
then takes salvation away.
"You're not one of the forgiven."
But he's not there, not much.
Older brothers go their own way.
She grows up beyond the petty
so others can show her their dead.
Come home our fallen angel
come home to family pity
be the daughter the child instead
of the boarder in rooms in Hell.
Sprung back hugs and comfort food
squeezed indifferently by the random brood
she won't sleep tonight
or ever on.
She's from away, in flight
from someone she just can't tell on.
It's Bingo Night
the neon sign flashes cast
their own crucifix.
Their concern so many taps
on little love nails.
You can't hide in white light.
Screams and church don't mix.
Their eyes are straps.
This is what being their child entails.
I wrote that after coming home the first time after leaving home -- post divorce, feeling like a failure, unable to resume my already-precarious place in the family. What had been my whole world had shrunk to ridiculously tiny dimensions and I felt unable to fit back into it. I also felt completely cruicifed by what seemed horribly intrusive curiosity about my personal, not-to-be-discussed pain. This poem is really only significant in that it dates the origin of my insomnia. Odd to think I've been sleeping badly for over twenty years now -- has it really been that long?
But now, when I read it, I just remember a very scared nineteen year old kid with a three month old infant, trying to pull her life back together, angry, bitter, but mostly feeling lost. And I'm glad she found a way to pick up the pieces.
*I never titled them back then, except by number. This one was poem #645.