I have finished Pretties. It was a worthy sequel to Uglies, and it complicates matters nicely. I’ve leafed a bit through Specials, and decided it can wait for a bit. Right now, it might be a bit over the top for me.

I am truly bored. Read out, watched out, slept out. Gotta love being sick. The doc was right, though. I’m not all better, but I’m improving.

In other good news, I feel like I should be writing. Which is a good sign. The habit is ingrained, even if the mind is restless. I think all the drama was me getting sick and worn out, and not recognizing it as such. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Back to the very serious business of channel surfing and fidgeting. ;P


This Just In: Tracheitis

Well, it’s a new one for me.

Since my general feeling of well-being kept deteriorating this afternoon, Bryon dragged me over to the doc when he got off school. My sinusitis has morphed into tracheitis, which is a novel -itis I’ve never had before.

Essentially it’s like the croup, with dizziness, headache, and earache. If left unchecked, it can turn into stridor, which in the most extreme cases can lead to a tracheotomy. No, I’m not there yet. It does explain that nasty coughing jag yesterday quite nicely.

I am grounded for 3 days. And my meds have tanked up. In addition to the anitbiotics, I have steroids and codeine cough syrup. Yeah. Up or down? You decided, drugs. You decide.

In brighter news, I finished The Queen of Attolia today while hanging out at the coffee shop. Fan-freakin’-tastic. Gonna have to get the rest of Megan Whalen-Turner’s books too. Good luck reading lately.

Waiting to see what tomorrow brings. I predict boredom and bad tv.


The Writer Reset Button

In Booklife, Jeff VanderMeer mentions that it’s important for writers to occasionally press the reset button to find a better balance. After talking to some friends, I realize it’s time for me to reset.

Work has really been wearing me out. I love my job, but it’s demanding. Of course, I refuse to let it eat my life. I *do* have time to write because I make time to write. My issue is energy, and I think I need to replenish the well.

For the next couple of days, I’m going to take it easy(er). I have a writing afternoon scheduled for today, and I’m just going to play with whatever I want in terms of stories, planning, and drafting. I have a low key weekend scheduled. I’m still going to play and relax and try to shake this cold, and get some of my energy back.

I promised a couple of wise people that I would be good to myself, at least until I felt better physically. The last thing I want to do is try to find an agent when I’m sending out a work where I’m so tired I’m just going through the motions.

I can see why a lot of writers give up on their day jobs. Totally see it.

Okay. There’s a seat at Coffee Talk for me. I’m outta here.


…and That Deadline Passes…

Interesting weather, Iowa.

Yesterday I drove to work on travel-not-recommended highway 30. Drifts higher than my car sprayed white powder overhead. I dodged a minivan that laid across the right lane. White out conditions turned the trip into guess work about 1/3 of the time. And yet, I live.

Then, yesterday afternoon, the sun came out for a little while. Oh yeah. I felt like a basking cat trying to solar cell the rays for all I was worth.

Today, we’re back to the grim gray. Still, some sun is better than no sun.


Last night, the younger brother called. He’s the only member of the family I’m not estranged from, so he’s my conduit for news. Looks like the mother is developing some heart trouble, and there will be tests. Nothing life-threatening at this time, but it will prevent her from having some needful foot surgery.


It becomes apparent that in spite of my best efforts, the troll book will not be completed by my January deadline. The day job has needed a lot of time-consuming and energy-consuming triage. I am a victim of Kirkwood’s success. It’s been a very busy but rewarding time as an administrator.

The only thing that I can do as a writer is to forge ahead and be grateful that I don’t have a deadline from a publisher. I am disappointed to admit defeat. At least it’s an honorable defeat, because I’ve been working pretty much every moment I’ve had free.

Soon, I hope to do an overview post about my writing plans for the year, with a little restructuring.

Discouraged, yes, but not done yet.


A Moment’s Pause

Today’s pithy and profound observation:

If I’m more excited to read Pretties than I am about writing my own book, I’d better be figuring out how to reverse the situation.

The Winter the Troll Danced with Old Nick is coming together in a craftastic fashion. But story, where is thy zing?

How can I expect others to be hyped about it if I’m not passionate about it? It’s well-crafted, but it doesn’t make me feel sparkly.

Well, poop. I’ve got to be ruminating on this. What do you all think about the passion to craft ratio, and pulling your readers in?


ETA: All right you guys, I get it. Your own book is more like a long term relationship, which isn’t always sparkly. The cool new book is more like the endorphine-inducing first kiss. Advice taken, and stance appreciated.


Next writing session we’ll revamp the first Quartz and Sigfried encounter, and ramp up the god mom rivalry.

Then I’ll go back to writing through plot threads, since that really seems to solidify directions.

Now that I’m feeling more lucid, another snow day would not be unwelcome, especially one I could use for a lot of writing.


Hulk Hercules?

Many of you have been asking me where Hulk Hercules: Professional Wrestler is.

Well, I don’t know. I wish I had news for you. I don’t.

January is still supposed to be the month of publication, and we still have six days of January, so it may appear like a birthday present on the horizon.

While ambiguity is troublesome, and waiting can be hard, at least I can not fault the publisher in the way that really counts. My advance has been paid. It has been edited, it has been proofed, and it has a cover, so I believe it is still in the pipe.

Believe me, there will be rainbows and balloons over here when I have something to tell you. Until then, we’ll move the announcement on the publications page back to 2010.

Thanks for your patience.


My Favorites: Uglies

Reading more broadly means you are surprised more often. I know I’m coming to the party very late in praising Uglies, but I devoured it this weekend. Just like with Lies of Locke Lamora, this is not my book, but I am in love with it anyway.

For the two of you out there who don’t know about Uglies, Tally Youngblood lives in a universe where, at the age of 16, everyone undergoes a beautification process that turns them from an adolescent ugly into a super model. And if you think you’ve seen something similar on a Twilight Zone episode, you’re right.

Complications ensue. Tally’s best friend Peris is waiting for her on the other side of the beautification process, but Tally’s new friend Shay doesn’t want to be beautiful. Tally is a realistic protagonist, caught between cultural conditioning and new discoveries, old loyalties and new knowledge.

Westerfield writes effortlessly. I am as pulled along by action as I am pulled into Tally’s hard moral decisions. I can see the city, the nature of the Smoke, the old ruins of the Rusties. I haven’t felt this passionate about an SF book since when I was a kid reading John Christopher’s Tripod books. The best ya is not only fantastic, but is often about awakening. This book hits all the bells and whistles.

I’m excited to read the next three, and will. As a writer, I could never write this kind of thing, so I’m glad Scott Westerfield is out there to do it for me.


Shout Outs and Linkages

Hey all. I’m back in the land of the vertical, with occasional wooziness. And my hair is superbly red (translation: made salon appointment today).

Another VPXIIIer gets a professional credit. Ferret gets himself a gig at Asimov’s for his short story “Under the Thumb of the Brain Patrol.” That’s the fourth one. Go, VP XIII!

While I’m trying to catch up at work, here are some people who have excellent things to say about writing.

Also from Ferrett, a rantification about how he’s improving his writing.

From Jay Lake, The Larval Stages of the Common American Speculative Fiction Writer, which is so true it pains me to read it, because I’ve been through all of those stages.

And finally, Jon Gibbs post Is Your But Too Big? ends up at Nathan Bransford’s blog today.

So, now we try to write a little.


Riddled with Virtual Typos

Unfortunately, I’m ill. It’s that kind of ill where you can’t do much of anything except be bored and feel bad. Competency is down. Tea consumption is way up.

So. Yesterday I missed teaching, including my night class for the accelerated course. I never thought I’d be grateful for an ice storm, but the college is closed today, so at least I’m not missing another day.

I’m going to crawl back into my hole now. I hope to venture out tomorrow.