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.

altar_lights

Ghost Games

Occulture

Tomorrow night, the Cabiri begin their run of Ghost Games: 13 Witches, their yearly dinner theater show of spooky tales and aerialist magic. I had a chance to sit in on a pre-performance discussion about the upcoming show last weekend, where we got to see a beautiful performance celebrating the three faces of Hecate. White-gowned initiates spinning and performing on a triangular platform. In sync with their poses and movements until the very end, when they break free and create a form that both rises and descends through the triangular form.

full_altar_lights

All I can offer you is picture of a shadow of the platform and one of the altars. Fitting, I think, for the ephemeral nature of these performances by the Cabiri. This year’s performance concerns the power of witches—thirteen of them, in fact. And yes, as the number ’13’ has been powerful for me this year (offered to me by a Mesopotamian witch, in fact), I suspect this show is going to reach right in and grab my guts. Shake ’em hard.

I had meant to write this post as a call to attend the show, but as I’m gathering links to share, I realize the run has sold out. So, um, well, that’s fabulous. In which case, let me offer you a link to the source material for the story of Erichtho, one of the witches whose story will be told. And Peter Grey’s essay on “Rewilding Witchcraft”, which calls upon us to reclaim our wild spirits before catastrophe envelopes us.

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?

Tending the Garden

Ruminations

Process-wise, every few hours my buffer runs out and I need to take a break and let it refill. Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to have nearly a week of uninterrupted writing time, and I discovered that I can write for more than twelve hours at a stretch, but that time has to be broken up with hour long breaks. My fingers do eventually catch up with my brain.

So, taking a buffer break this afternoon. It’s as good a time as any to roll up the past week or so into a blog post.

The Mongoliad Book Three has been turned in. Two and a half years of working on that book with six other writers, and it’s all done but for the copy edits. Good thing, too, as it comes out next February. SINNER comes out in a week and a half, and it is the first of the Foreworld Side Quests, novellas set during our extensive chronology. This one takes place a few years before the main action of the The Mongoliad. SEER, the one I’m working on now, follows a few years later. Along with DREAMER, they make for a loose triptych of stories about two of my favorite characters from the medieval era of Foreworld.

Editorial notes for Earth Thirst have come in. I’m supposed to get those dealt with by the middle of September, which should, technically, be the end of the looping hell schedule I’ve been on. But there are two more novellas to write, one to edit and co-write, and the other two medieval era Foreworld books to shepherd along. Somewhere in there, I suspect another book will start germinating.

Chris Randall, one-time leader of Sister Machine Gun and a bit of a 21st Century Renaissance man, has posted a lengthy argument about the relationship between art and commerce in this modern era. He points out that it is NOT a manifesto (more of a mission statement, if you will), but it is certainly a call for awareness. Give it a read: ‘It’s Not A Memo…’. It’s definitely something that I think all creatives–regardless of their industry–should give some thought to.

My schedule over the past year (and in the near future as well) certainly is part of the overall argument that one should ‘shut up and make art.’ There is a lot more that can be discussed about the relationship between a creative and their audience, but fundamentally, it does come down the fact that you must create–often and consistently–before you can really start to consider reaping the commercial benefits of building a reputation garden.

Thinking, Planning, Reading

Link-o-Rama

Link round-up today while I’m off banging out words in the catacombs.

Late last week, I dropped by the Clarion West house and entertained this year’s crop of students for a bit, doing the dog-and-pony about epublishing and urban fantasy. They were nicely attentive and didn’t roll their eyes too many times at my soap-boxing. So very kind of them. During the party, later in the evening, I learned that the fall workshop schedule had been posted. I’m doing the one in October.

Called “Jumpstart Your Novel,” it’s the six-hour version of the two-hour talk I did at Norwescon back in March. I packed the room during the con version, and we didn’t have enough time to cover all the material I had. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to do this again, both with more time and with a smaller class size. So, yes, registration is limited, and I believe it is filling up already.

Writer pal Jonathan Wood has a new book out called No Hero and it posits as its entertaining premise the question of “What would Kurt Russell do?” Plus it has all sorts of eldritch horrors. He’s serializing a story over at Geek Dad these next few weeks, and here’s a link to Case File #1 and Case File #2.

Annoyingly, there isn’t a way to get to Case File #2 from the first one. Hopefully, they’ll go back and update the first post with the subsequent links.

Speaking of posts and updating, I’ve gone and written something for DARKLINE, the other blog. A bit of ruminating on magickal systems. I have been remiss on keeping up with the esoteric studies. Many distractions offered by life, of course.

Including the fact that grass can’t be bothered to grow on its own. You have to manage it. Stupid grass. More annoyingly, the neighbor across the street who already has an immaculate lawn has decided to rip out the front edge and plant shrubbery. Most of which he accomplished in the course of a single day. Over-achiever.