So Freakin’ Close

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Twenty-four pages left. 2 – 4. Mostly minor line edits with one or two holes to fill, and HEARTLAND will be wrapped. Man, talk about close.

I do love Maureen McHugh’s chart on Writing The Novel. So true. So very true. I’m discovering there’s a corollary that comes with the second draft.

1. The first third will lull you. Line edits will go pretty quickly, the story will hold together fairly well, and you’ll think, Yeah, okay, I can do this; this won’t be so bad. You’ll blow through a hundred pages in a day or so, and suddenly, this book will almost be DONE.

2. The middle third will remind you that of that aphorism that Gene Wolfe offered to Neil Gaiman: “Every book is your first book.” Your pace will be halved (if not cut to a quarter), and you’ll wonder what you were trying to do with introducing an entirely new character and plot arc at the 50,000 word mark. Is this really the time to work out that impulse to do an experimental tone poem or a Shakespearean pastiche? Really? Couldn’t you just have stuck to the formula and cranked this fucker out?

3. The last third will try to kill you. It tried once already on the first draft, and you cleverly got away from its tentacled grip by the cunning use of magic tricks. Little things like: “INSERT PARAGRAPH HERE THAT SUMS UP THE THEMATIC THRUST OF THE BOOK,” and “TIE UP LOOSE ENDS HERE,” and even “FUCK, I DON’T KNOW. AND THEN MAGIC HAPPENS, AND EVERYONE GOES OFF TO HAVE SEX.” But now? You have to fill those holes.

I swear it feels like I am writing at a serious, serious clip here, but at the end of the evening, I’ve only vetted four pages of the manuscript. But I think the whole thing will stand on its own now. Almost.

The Weekend; How Was Yours?

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This weekend, summed up in two tweets.

SAT: File Under ‘Marvelous Things’: Zee dancing madly on the couch while the Beatles are singing “All Together Now” at the end of Yellow Sub.

SUN: Dear small birds who opted to put their delicate blue-green eggs in my dryer exhaust vent: Sorry. I am an ogre. #coexistingwithnaturefail

Oh, and yeah, first 30K of HEARTLAND line-edited.

Norwescon Roundup

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I survived Norwescon and had quite a bit of fun, actually.  Panels went well, and I met some delightful people on them and at them. VP-alum pal Jeff Soesbe and I had one on how to properly celebrate your first major sale; there were a pair related to mythic structures and fantasy; and one on brain extensions, which happened to be the best attended of my bunch.

Night Shade sold out of Lightbreaker around noon on Sunday so there was a couple of hours of people not being able to get a copy, which makes the Evil Overlord in me cackle with delight. Soon, though, it’ll be everywhere, and I will stop trying to track every copy, but for right now, the fifty or so of you?  You are my favorites.

Members of Team Seattle were in attendance and I had a chance to bask in their glory. Mark Henry read from Road Trip of the Living Dead, his latest Amanda Feral zombie socialite adventure, and trying to describe how sick and wrong it all was will not do justice to the proceedings. And then he read from something even freakier. Richelle Mead read from the soon to be released Succubus Heat, the horrifying adventures of Georgia Kincaid in Canada (I know, the Horror! the Horror!). Both are filled with Teh Funny. Lots of it. Lisa Mantchev was flaunting ARCs of Eyes Like Stars, her YA theater fairy book–one, I have to admit, I’m looking forward to, thereby killing my cred with the occult crowd. I picked up a copy of Underground, the Kat Richardson book I didn’t have and had her sign it (fanboy moment of the day).

And then there were Steve and Vladimir from Third Place Books, both of whom are filled with all manner of bookseller enthusiasm and I do need to get up north and see their store. Vladimir and I had two panels together and discovered that we could both name drop Eliade like we knew what we were talking about. (Oh, and Steve: It’s Atomik Circus that I was talking about.) There were many other fabulous people whom I ended up on a first name basis with: Jenna Waterford, Tiffany Trent, Warren Hammond (who I met briefly in the autograph session and he and I and Kat shared our love for Chris McGrath; I still think Kat got the better atmosphere and Warren the better burned-out noir hero, but I’m not complaining too much), Gigi, Lance, J- (whose name has multiple syllables and an apostrophe, and as I will get it wrong, I’m just going to abbreviate it to “J-” for the time being), Gary, Garth, that guy with the–okay, yes, I suck at names. Forgive me.

Anyway, lots of fabulous people. It’s nice to discover I don’t have to go far to find a hotel full of entertaining souls. All of whom played along nicely with my publisher/carnie barker when he turned the Presidential Suite bathroom at the WOTC party into a glorified game of quarters with the bathtub. It was NOT my idea. Stop looking at me like that. Go look at the pictures instead.

The kids were waiting for me when I got home, and so we had Easter later in the day, much to their delight. After that, I shucked off the monkey suit and finally relaxed. It was good to be home.

(Picture taken by my five-year old son. Yes, he is better with the camera than I am, and half of the decent pictures taken Easter afternoon were taken by him. God help us all when he actually figures out how to read a manual. Which should be some time next week.)

I’ve got a head full of ideas too. Finished off the epilogue to HEARTLAND yesterday, so that’s officially a draft. 121K. Most of which were written since January. Where do I find the time? I have a couple of weeks before the editorial calendar opens up, so I’m going to polish and fill in some holes, but baring huge problems with the ms., we’re on track for a fall release. Which, in turn, means I should start thinking about ANGEL TONGUE and GHOST SPEAK now rather than later, but I think I need a bit of a break. (And hmm, I need to decide if GHOST SPEAK is going to be the title of the fourth book; it’s one of my least favorites of the series.)

That, and there’s this new book trying to bust out of my head. Man, it wants out. I have no idea if there is even a viable market for this sort of thing (and yes, it does keep insisting that it has the legs to be a series), but I’m going to see if I can lock the story down a bit and get enough on paper for it to be my agent’s problem for a few months.

Half Page and Half Chapter

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I picked up April’s Locus and discovered that Night Shade Books has given Lightbreaker the half page spread of their ad. Half. Page. Ad. In Locus. For my little book.

That makes my day.

Norwescon this weekend for local peeps. My schedule is a few entries back, for those who’d like to stop by and say hello. Other than those times and locations, it’ll probably be BarCon.

Half a chapter to go in HEARTLAND. I can almost taste the blood.