July 11th, 2006

bear by san

consciousness is an illusion, semiconsciousness doubly so

of course, before the alarm went off, I was lying in bed, enjoying the fact that it had cooled off enough that I was not sticking to the sheets. and I was musing on the ending of Undertow (it's Undertoad in my head, of course, but everybody had to know that already) and my semiconscious self was convinced it had come up with a Much Better Ending than the one I currently have.

and then the alarm went off, and it vanished.

now, I'm experienced enough to realize that I hadn't actually solved the world's problems and developed a solution for peace in our time, and that really it was all just my neurons misfiring on the edge of sleep. but it's still an evil thing for one's brain to do to one first thing in the morning. especially since my unsolution is still picking at the edge of my brain, and probably will all day.

anyway, I'm sure I'll figure out a better ending as soon as I write this one.
bear by san

I know not where is that Promethean heat / That can thy light relume.*

Some Promethean Age stuff, and link salad:

For those who like photo references with their books, some pictures.

Where Carel Bierce works. That first building is Beach Hall--that long green lawn is the one that Matthew comments on, and this is about how it would look in mid-October. Second two photos are of Mirror Lake, and you can kind of see the enormous Wisconsin Weeping Willow who has a speaking part in Blood & Iron in the background of the third one. His UCONN Hort Society web page seems to be down, but you can at least see the thumbnail of the tree at the top of the Google image cache. And it may come back; you never know.

It's one heck of a tree.

A couple of people have asked what the status of the other Promethean Age books is, and how many of them there are. And I thought I had posted a list a while back, but buggered if I can find it. So I guess I will do the roundup here, with a timeline.


Blood & Iron (published 2006, set in October 1997), takes place in Connecticut, New York City, and Annwn.

Whiskey & Water (forthcoming 2007, set in the first week of October 2004. The clever will notice that this is seven years after Blood & Iron Hmm.), takes place in New York City, Connecticut, Boston, somewhere near Northampton MA, the Arthur Kill just off Staten Island, Annwn, and Hell.


The Stratford Man (set between May of 1593 and oh, 1597 or so IIRC), takes place in London, Stratford, Hell, and Annwn.

The Journeyman Devil (set between 1597 and 1605, with a later epilogue), takes place in London, Stratford, Hell, and Annwn.

Written, waiting their turn in the barrel:

One-Eyed Jack (set in 1964 and 2002), takes place in New York City (for one scene), Las Vegas, St. Thomas Nevada, and Los Angeles.

Planned or proposed:

Dog & Raven:Hungary, Wallachia, and environs, 15th century. Concerns Matthias Corvinus and lo, the Hunyadi, Bathory, and Dracula clans. Because really, the whole Dragon Prince thing? So not fun to live in the neighborhood of.

Posthumous Jonson: England, early 17th century. Seems to want to in part take the form of a letter composed by the dying Ben Jonson. (He spent the last nine years of his life bedbound from a stroke, in the gatehouse at Westminster, "with a pet fox and a housekeeper.") Consequently, will probably be the most depressing book ever.

Balm & Oil: Tsavo, East Africa, March 1898

Wounds are for the desperate, blows are for the strong.
Balm and oil for weary hearts all cut and bruised with wrong.
I forgive thy treason—I redeem thy fall—
For Iron—Cold Iron—must be master of men all!

--Rudyard Kipling

Rag & Bone: Britain, Ireland, and the Continent, 1890's or possible early 1900's

I must lie down where all the ladders start
In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

--W. B. Yeats

Unsuitable Metal: Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kiev--the early 1940's. Werewolves! Snipers! Partisans! Second most depressing book ever, I suspect.

Corinna, Corinna: Las Vegas, after One-Eyed Jack, and possibly the Wild West in general. Virginia City? San Fancisco? Seattle? New Orleans? You never know. (This is the working title for the American ballad book, which may likely also feature Stagger Lee and some other well-known folks. (John Henry shows up in One-Eyed Jack) The trick is going to be not letting it turn into American Gods, but if OEJ didn;t, I can probably get away with it.

Patience & Fortitude: New York City, end of 2004, 2005

Also, I want to write one set in modern India, but that will require field trips. Fortunately, I have ashacat to hold my hand.

There are also a lot of Promethean short stories, including the not-Lovecraft stuff (which is, yes, the same continuity, and yes, that does suggest that Pinky and Jack know each other, and no, I haven't written that story yet.) To date, these are:

"The Cold Blacksmith" in Jim Baen's Universe June, 2006 (Morgan and Weyland, back in the day)

"Long Cold Day " in SCIFICTION, May 4th, 2005 (an old drunk, his inept magic-using son, and two hounds of Tindalos on a cold day in some western foothill town)

"House of the Rising Sun" in The Third Alternative #42 (Summer 2005) (this is a chapter from One-Eyed Jack, the one that introduces Tribute)

"One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King" in Lenox Avenue, March-April 2005 (this is also a chapter from One-Eyed Jack)

"Botticelli " at The Agony Column, February 2005 (These are not the same Russian and American as are in OEJ. Because the spies in OEJ are not the only iterations of those stories in the Promethean Age universe. And yes, the critters from "Botticelli" will be back, someday. )

"Follow Me Light" in SCIFICTION, January 12th, 2005 (a Lovecraftian category romance, starring Pinky Gilman, monster, and Maria Del Prado, a defense attorney who can see guilty people.)

"Old Leatherwings" in Lenox Avenue, July 2004 (The New England legend of the Old Leatherman told as a fairy tale)

"The Chains That You Refuse" in Chiaroscuro, April 2004 (A Boston hedge-wizard has an interesting hour)

"Tiger! Tiger!" in the anthology Shadows Over Baker Street (Del Rey, September 2003) (Tiger hunting in India in 1880)

"The Dying of the Light" (with Amber van Dyk) in the April 2003 issue of The Fortean Bureau (YBF&H Honorable Mention) (I'm not sure this technically counts as a PA story, because I dunno what Amber was thinking? But. The magic system in "The Dying of the Light" certainly fits the Promethean Age model. Not Promethean magic, but the nasty Faerie kind, and there are certainly Leannan Sidhe in the PA universe.)

"The Company of Four" in Scheherazade issue #20 (Backstory in the Seelie court)


"Inelastic Collisions" in Inferno from Tor books, 2007, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Pinky Gilman, and Gretchen and Tamara, are all in this one.)

"Sonny Liston Takes the Fall," in an as-yet untitled Datlow athology (another Jackie story, concerning boxing, horse racing, sacrifice, Cassius Clay, civil rights, and the life and death of Sonny Liston.)

"Sounding" in Strange Horizons. (A story about a fin whale, a Nantucket fishing trawler captain, and the woman who loves him)


"Cryptic Coloration" (Matthew in New York City about a year and a month before Blood and Iron)


feyandstrange on being an ambassador from Mars.

This made me homesick for sclerotic_rings, because I didn't see it there first: New developments on dinosaur endo/exothermy.

*Othello. Act v. Sc. 2

bear by san

narcissism tango

There are a bunch of new people around, and truepenny just reminded me of the existence of such a thing, so I thought I'd mention that hernewshoes moderates an unofficial Elizabeth Bear discussion forum on livejournal over at worldwire.

I do drop by occasionally, but if anybody wants to, you know, talk about stuff without feeling like I'm breathing down their neck, that would be a great place to do it.

In other news, I'm pleased to be able to announce that one of the sekrit projects has come to fruition...or at least set blossom, and I have permission to talk about it now.

Bill Schafer at Subterranean Press will be editing a collection of my New Amsterdam shorts. There will be a trade hadcover, and a slipcased signed limited edition, which will come with a bonus chapbook story.

The ToC will be as follows (in order by story chronology rather than publication date):

"Lucifugous," originally appearing in the (forthcoming) Subterranean 5, a novella (I'm promised Tim Truman illustrations for this--it involves Sebastien, and a murder mystery aboard a dirigible. I can barely wait to see what it looks like.)
"Wax," originally appearing in Interzone 201, a novelette
"Wane," originally appearing in Interzone 203, a novelette
"Limerent" (which is probably going to be the final title of the story I've been calling "Paddareen"), currently unpublished (and only partially written), a novelette
"Chatoyant," currently unpublished (and unwritten), a novelette
"Lumière," (which is probably going to be the final title of the story I've been calling "Les Innocents")currently unpublished (and unwritten), a novella

The chapbook story will be a previously unpublished short called "Almost True," which features Abby Irene's first appearance.

I'm supposed to deliver those last three stories by the end of the year. No rest for the wicked! The whole thing actually bears a striking resemblance to a fix-up novel, as there is a complete unifying external arc.

Working title for the collection is New Amsterdam, unless/until we come up with something better.

This, conveniently, gives me another excuse to pimp Subterranean 4, which contains not only my short story, "The Inevitable Heat Death of the Universe," but fiction and opinion by new and established, nay, award-winning (dare I even say New York Times best-selling?) authors and editors such as:

Rachel Swirsky
Charles Coleman Finlay and James Allison
John Joseph Adams
Stuart MacBride
Scott Westerfeld
Gillian Polack
Ann Leckie
Jo Walton
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
Allen M. Steele
Tobias S. Buckell and Ilsa J. Bick
Bruce Arthurs
Dean Cochrane
Ron Hogan
Nick Sagan
Chris Roberson
David Klecha
John Scalzi

bear by san

More than 135 dead in Mumbai blasts

bear by san

if we grow up we're all going to be famous.

The nice thing about experience is that, even though I know this book is kind of broken, I'm not worried about it. Because it's broken in almost exactly the same way that One-Eyed Jack was broken, and I fixed that one, after all. (Halfway through, it turned out to be not the book I had meant for it to be. When this happens, you can fight the book and lose, or you can shrug and let it do what it wants.)

Eighty-eight degrees Fahrenheit. 71% humidity.

Still better than Las Vegas.

I've got the AC on and I'm writing the end of the book to Roxette. Because that's just what says "tree-climbing in a hurricane."

And yes, one does say "Undertoad!" with exactly the same diction that one would say "Underdog!" How clever of you to notice.

Progress notes for 11 July 2006:


New Words:  2,567
Total Words: 87,611 / 100,000
Pages: 404
Deadline: August 1
Words per day to meet deadline: 0
Scenes left / scenes myrtilized (notecards, if I were using notecards this book): 0
Reason for stopping:

Ladies and gentlemen, that's a draft.

Admittedly, the last 100 pages need to be rewritten, revised, and generally banged on with a hammer before being given three coats of bondo, a good sanding, and two coats of paint, and there are places where I really probably should write the scene where they save the world rather than dispensing with it in a one-paragraph flashback... but I have ten thousand words of wiggle room. It's broken. But it can be fixed. And I even think I know how.

And my ceremonial week off guilt-free from writing any fiction starts now.

Life is good.

Zokutou word meter
404 / 400
That is my fifteenth completed novel. That feels kind of good.

Stimulants:  carrot juice, olive bread with olive cream cheese, raspberries, grocery store sushi. That wasabi Wild Oats uses? That stuff is nas-tay. Fortunately I had some ungross wasabi in my fridge.
Exercise: none, unless carrying three reams of paper and some groceries upstairs in the disgusting heat counts. Well, and I stretched a little and did some squats, for I am sore from the wobble board yestereve.
Mail: There is a mystery package coming from Random House. I wonder What It Can Be? Also, Roc sent me a couple of copies of their giveaway paranormal romance sampler, which features, among five other titles--Blood & Iron. (Cover Copy:

Kickass Femmes.
Alpha Males.
Undead Love, And
A Twist of Faerie Magic...

)Oh dear. I hope no-one who buys it based on this advertising is too terribly shocked when the only vaguely alpha males are the dying werewolf prince and his would-be successor. And I think the characters who can be described as femme are some secondary characters, a villain, and a lesbian. 

Ah well, two out of four ain't bad....

Also, gwyneira liked Blood & Iron. 

AND I hear a rumor that SOMEBODY on my reading list got a starred, boxed, illustrated, flashing red ASCII review from Booklist.

Today's words Word don't know: luff
Mean Things: Blew up many things.
Tyop du jour: clamped to nearby tree limps
Darling du jour: Blood, fatigue, and rainwater did not blur his sight.
Phrases I spent fifteen minutes trying to work out a way to avoid: "How thin it had grown."
Jerry-rigging: This new thing where I have to write a sentence, stop, and stare at it, and then revise it--it slows me down a lot, But it does turn sentences like "There was a lot implied in Jean's silence," to "Jean's silence implied much." So I'll live with it.
There's always one more quirk in the character: Jean caved to expedience. Poor Jean.

Other writing-related work: none
Books in progress: Martin Cruz Smith, Stallion Gate; Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice;

Man, have you seen these Army recruitment ads that are all about setting parents up as the adversary for a bright young man who wants to sign up?
bear by san

Here's to the boys I kissed and to complete the list

And, just in case I was going to get cocky, the State of the To-Do List:

Carnival page proofs
Undertow draft

ASAP, once it *is* possible:

Whiskey & Water CEM
Get the freaking truck fixed--it needs, let's see, a windshield, brakes, an exhaust system, shocks, an oil change, a tuneup,  new tires.
Undertow revision post-editorial comments from Jenn and Anne and first readers.

August 1

Undertow revision

September 1

A Companion to Wolves revision
All the Windwracked Stars proposal
finish "War Stories"
finish "1796"
finish "Chatoyant"
article for ASIM
article for Broad Universe

December 31

Dust proposal
finish "Limerent"
finish "Lumière"

April 1

Space Opera Novella

When convenient, but preferably before I have to draft any more damned novels, which would mean, oh, January 31 or so:

draft of the ground-up rewrite of All the Windwracked Stars
revise By the Mountain Bound and The Sea thy Mistress
finish "Orm the Beautiful"
finish "Periastron"
finish "Dark on Wednesdays"
finish "The Death of Terrestrial Radio"
finish "King Pole, Gallows Pole, Bottle Tree"
finish "Black is the Color"
finish "On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera"
finish "The Rest of your Life in a Day."
put together a ToC for a Promethean Age short story collection and send it out to shake its booty

In case you were thinking this writing-for-a-living gig is easy. :-P