The Sunday Morning Post

Ruminations

My pal Adam Rakunas has just moved, bought a house, laments the lack of time to write, and still manages to kick out an entertaining and educational newsletter. I am not jealous of my friends’ ability to get shit done, but if I were, Adam would be at the top of the list right now. And no, I’m not writing this because I’m feeling guilty on this even more lazy than normal rainy first of November post-Daylight Savings Time time change Sunday morning. Not at all.

But you can thank Adam, regardless. And go buy a copy of his first novel Windswept, which I said nice things about but they weren’t nice enough to make it on the Amazon product page and which I can’t be bothered to go track down and cut-and-paste here. Remember when I said “more lazy than normal yada yada yada Sunday morning”? Still applicable here.

Regardless of all that, it is the first of November, which means it’s Nanowrimo time again. I should probably figure out how to write once more and actually produce some fiction this month, as well as finalize the contents of those two books I have coming out next spring. But, mostly I’m here to shill for the Storybundle Nano bundle, which is one of those “pay what you like, but if you pay more, we’ll give you more” bundle opportunities.

This one starts with thirteen books on writing, including Albert Zuckerman’s Writing the Blockbuster Novel (which I’ve read more than once myself), Stant Litore’s Write Characters Your Readers Won’t Forget, and Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Discoverability. Those are all in the first tier. If you pay a little more, you get the second tier, which is anchored by my Jumpstart Your Novel. A good way to start Nanowrimo, yes?

But it gets even better! There’s a second tier of goodies that includes ALL of the Nanowrimo bundle from LAST year. It’s twenty-five books for twenty-five bucks! All of which will help you leap over all of the hurdles that Nanowrimo is going to throw at you. Like a gazelle. A mighty word-slinging, hurdle-jumping gazelle.

[Mostly unrelated to the above, but following a curious line of thinking in regards to gazelles is George Saunders’ article in the New Yorker from last week about his writing education. It’s worth a read, especially for the bits of writing advice that he hides in the parts where he’s poking fun at himself.]

So, let’s call this an update. I’m becoming more and more inclined to vanish from the Internets on a day-to-day basis and spend all of that newly reclaimed free time writing, which will make none of you sad. In fact, you’re probably all wondering why it has taken me this long to get around to doing that. My apologies. It’s these lazy, rainy, time-shifted Sunday mornings that have been keeping me down.

NaNo-wayback

Author Stuff

Nanowrimo—National Novel Writing Month—starts in November. A friend recently asked what this was, and I—somewhat cheekily—replied: “It’s what we call a ‘workday,’ but everyone else makes a month-long ordeal out of it.” I re-enabled my account, and discovered that last year’s effort was supposed to be the start of ETERNAL QUEEN ONE, and I logged all of 3K before I wandered off to do something else. And the site design now supports a decade plus of badges and icons and stuff, which makes me wonder how far back my own efforts go.

Spelunking the archives turned up the following conversation in 2004, about that year’s project: I have a children’s book writer who burned out and is living in Montana as a survivalist as my protagonist.  He wrote a series of books about a goat named Barnabas.  His last manuscript (which was never published and is partially why he went nuts) was:  Barnabas and the Apocalypse.  The tagline read:  “Where Barnabas stares into the Great Abyss and the Great Abyss stares back.”

In 2003, I pitched a process blog to go along with that year’s entry (THE BOOK OF LIES). The archives of that effort (called SYMBOLIC) are still out there. THE BOOK OF LIES was something that wasn’t supposed to be a CODEX book, but after a few iterations, I realized it was better positioned as such, and changed some names. Bits and pieces, catalogued as ANGEL TONGUE, still rattle around my head, but they’ve felt like old parts that didn’t fit anymore. However, now that I’m looking at them again (like, perhaps, the entry on the Lunar Society), they may be the right parts for the project and I’ve just been hanging on to the wrong schematic these last few years.

And then I went dark until 2007 or so, and even then it was all CODEX rewrites, POTEMKIN, and unfinished efforts at a SPRAWL book. FOREWORLD in 2010. EARTH THIRST in 2011. It seems like there is other wreckage along the way. Perhaps I will crawl through the archives further. Now is the time to write books, after all . . .

Lazy Sunday wool gathering

What's Been Going On?

It’s a lazy Sunday morning. I should be doing all manner of things (including the never-ending effort to make my lawn not be That Lawn in the neighborhood, which I’ve been doing a bad job at for several years now, so why change, right?). The plan is to go see Snowpiercer tonight, and I’ve managed to completely avoid the trailer and nearly any imagery from the film, which means I’ll be nearly blank slate when it fills the screen. I’m kind of excited about that. Too often trailers show some image that my brain stores, and then when I’m watching the film, my brain figures out where that image goes and a small part of the film is spoiled.

While sorting through my somewhat moribund social media presence the other day, I stumbled upon Klout, which I knew about but had managed to ignore. This time, I shrugged and signed up, though I’m barely more influential than anyone on the street. Maybe it’ll nudge me enough to keep up with making myself visible. It’s one thing to write books; it’s another thing to tell others that you have written. The latter is part of the new paradigm, so I might as well suck it up and figure it out. There is so much wild gnashing of teeth and tearing of hair on the internet, though, that I have little enthusiasm for adding to it. Perhaps, then, there will be talk of kittens and mittens instead.

Or there will be talk of Boris, maybe. There’s a new record out. It doesn’t open with as stunning a song as “Riot Sugar,” and so I’m on the fence about it. I’m not really sure why, other than, you know, “Riot Sugar.”

And the lawn has not mown itself.

Distracted by Warren Ellis’s morning.computer post regarding Blue Ants and Blue Rose Cases, and was reminded that the full Twin Peaks set comes out at the end of this month. It’s been awhile since I sat down and watched the whole thing.

It’s been awhile since I sat down and watched much of anything. The entrepreneur lifestyle, after all.

Closing in on the end of Rudolph edits. Thinking about QUEEN and EVERGREEN. Also thinking about something else called ZERO.

Listening to Tricky’s “Parenthesis”. False Idols is a delightful return of the back alley noir downtempo sound. Also listening to Chris Randall’s new record, floats on air. Delightful Sonorian Chill.

Back in the Saddle

Writing

This picture was taken during the filming of the Mongoliad trailer. There was an entire section of the script that revolved around Joe Brassey and I in the office, typing and thinking. Eventually, we’d go upstairs and hit each other with swords. The hitting each other with swords bit is the only part that stayed in the final cut. Because, well, apparently Joe and I are even more awkward on camera than Neal.

Anyway, I was poking around at 750words.com this morning in an effort to find a way to track word count metrics, and realized I needed a profile picture. Something with me and a laptop in my “office,” AKA the comfy chair. I had to go back nearly two years to find evidence of me actually writing. That should tell you something.

But, yes, there was writing this morning. And yesterday too. Must have something to do with the fact that I finalized four books in the Fall schedule last week, and got cover art for those same books all taken care of. One of the big milestones in the first months of Resurrection House is in the can. I have books. They have covers. There are manuscripts in place. I suppose I can take a bit of time to myself and see if I remember how to do this writing thing.

That, and three books are starting to bang against the insides of my head. HERE BE MONSTERS, ANGEL TONGUE, and something I’m calling EVERGREEN. I’m going to try to finish two of the three this year. Maybe all three. We’ll see how it goes. I had two of the three on my list last year too. We see how well that turned out.

Something, Somewhere, Is Not As It Was Before

Author Stuff

Book Three of the Mongoliad has come out since the last time I posted an update. Since then I’ve been deep in the word mines on the next volume of the medieval era in Foreworld. The working title of the book is Katabasis. I hope it sticks. We spent quite a few sessions batting ideas back and forth about the titles of the next two books, and while we knew we weren’t going to have something as idiosyncratic as The Mongoliad, we were hoping for something that was a cut above the standard adventure fantasy titles that are on the shelves now.

Negotiations on other projects continue, though with the usual ebb, flow, and utter soul-crushing dead stops that such negotiations always seem to go through. The CLANG team is wrapping up the deliverables for our Kickstarter campaign (we shot the video just over a year ago!), and the Foreworld writers continue to bang out stories. Recently, we’ve entered the Renaissance with great stories by Barth Anderson (The Book of Seven Hands) and Joe Brassey (The Assassination of Orange). Next month, Scott James Magner has Hearts of Iron, which is a jump back to the 11th century, but sets up some of the predecessors of medieval-era players. There are a few others in progress, and I’ll mention them as we get closer to publication.

It’s been announced (and subsequently deconstructed and commented on) that Night Shade Books is seeking to sell its assets to Skyhorse Publishing and Start Publishing, LLC. This matters to me because the CODEX books and Earth Thirst are Night Shade books. It’s still a little early to comment on the sale, but I’m hoping that it goes through and all parties get a modicum of what they hope to get out of it. I considered my options and decided it was best to make the choice that kept the books on the market. It’s a little too early in my career to be stamping my foot and taking my toys and going home.

Dean Wesley Smith has been blogging his process during the ten day sprint to ghost write a NYT Bestseller (the first entry is here). It’s been interesting to see how his day breaks down as far as how much time is spent actually writing and how much is spent doing administrative work. Once Katabasis and the fifth Foreworld book are turned in, I’ll have some time to think about my own projects again. I’m charting my days as well, trying to figure out the optimal word count I can get each day and how much other time is available for related matters. No point in diving off in the deep end of the pool if you’re not sure you’ve got the skills to stay afloat, is there?