January 21st, 2008

writing sf starwars wookiee stet

Cat V. Monkey: Psychological Warfare

Monkey: *awakens*
Monkey: *realizes that she's alone in bed, and lying diagonally across the entire width*
Monkey: Cat?

...time passes...

Monkey: Cat?

...time passes...

Monkey: Cat?

...time passes...

Monkey: *in the midst of an adrenaline fit, clambers out of bed*
Monkey: Cat! Where are you?
Monkey: Cat? Are you dead?
Monkey: Cat?!
Cat: *nonchalantly strolling in, tail high* Mrrt?
Monkey: Cat! You scared me!
Cat: ?
Monkey: I woke up and you weren't sleeping on my face.
Cat: ...
Monkey: ?
Cat: ...and you talk about the mixed messages around here.

...time passes...

Cat: Monkey, you're doing it wrong.
Monkey: Doing what wrong? I'm just sitting here drinking water and reading the internet.
Cat: And you're doing it wrong. Here, push over.
Monkey: *pushes over*
Cat: *steals Monkey's water*
Monkey: ...why was I worried about you again?

Hmm. I wonder what I should do today. Still no words, but I do have a sense they may be regenerating.

Apparently the side effect of me lazing about the house doing nothing of value is that you get a lot of Cat V. Monkey.

It's like Good V. Evil, only without the orange Volvo. (*misses Good V. Evil, though she's not really sure why*)
muppetology need bears fozzie & kermit

deep down, you know it's evil

arcaedia just let me know that Recorded Books has licensed rights to Undertow, Carnival, and Dust for their science fiction line. Publication date is likely to be later this summer, and I do not know who the reader(s) will be.

Format is probably CD/downloadable. Woohoo!  
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when you gaze into the internets, the internets gaze also in to you

835 words on "Smoke and Mirrors" today, because of course it's the thing that's absolutely lowest on my priority list, being due sometime in January of 2009. (And there's another Shadow Unit story--"Wind-Up Boogeyman"--I even have to write first. But Todd likes to talk to me in the shower, dirty old man, and he gave me a great big juicy angst-riddled scene this morning.)

I'm pleased, however, because narrative chunks shaking out of my head may be a sign that my brain is starting to regenerate from the forced-march.

I am amused at myself, because it took me 24 hours to figure out that maybe the reason I felt tired and achy and out of sorts was that I was dehydrated. Some naproxen and 48 ounces of water later, I am vastly improved, and the urge to bag on climbing tonight is fading. (And hey, it's up to 13 degrees! No excuses!)

In other news, my Sarracenia is falling down on the job. The fattest, blackest housefly you ever saw is buzzing around the apartment, and I have no idea where it came from.

And here are a whole bunch of reviews and comments on things:

My dad liked Dust:

nayad liked Undertow:

carla_scribbles liked Dust:

gscbook does not have the love for the Promethean Age stuff, with spoilers:

Joe Sherry doesn't mind New Amsterdam too much:

varianor really likes Undertow:

thebostonreader likes Jenny but finds Scardown confusing:

shadowkat67 found Blood & Iron disappointing:
(I like this review a lot, if only because it tells me a lot about how the book intersects with certain readers.)

next_bold_move (I love that username) liked B&I, however.

carbonel mostly approves of Carnival:

pnkrokhockeymom goes into lit-crit mode on Whiskey & Water:
(Now, this is the way to author's heart. Seriously.)

lightreads gives New Amsterdam a thumbs-up, and a "They Fight Crime!"

Graem's Fantasy Book Review does Wastelands:

kaiz liked A Companion to Wolves:
(I have a special place in my heart for everybody who has said OMG TEH SEX IS SO HAWT! Really, for me, the sex in that book was so unhot as to be a turn-off. However, comma, it's kind of reassuring to know that I can write stuff that is Not My Kink convincingly. I'm always a little worried when I can figure out what a writer likes in bed from reading his or her work. [NB: Of course, I did not write the sex scenes. truepenny wrote all the sex scenes.)

galeni really liked ACtW, too. Win!

Poodlerat also liked it:
(Amusement value for those who chased all of the above links and noticed the one who doesn't like Sarah's work, and thinks I am a positive influence on Sarah; and the one who doesn't like my work, and thinks she's a positive influence on me. The funniest part of this, of course, is that in place of pride on my refrigerator, next to the Moscow Rules magnet, the Zen magnet, and the pornographic Shakespearean refrigerator poetry, is a magnet Sarah gave me that shows two crusty old broads in Mother Hubbards and bears the caption: "We've been through a lot together, and most of it was your fault."

It is good to have friends.

I kind of think we're a collective bad influence, personally.)

And speaking of being a bad influence, marythefan really liked ACtW and isn't sure she's supposed to.
(I would like to go tell her that any way you read a book is the right way, as long as you can defend your reading. But that would be rude.

I love this line with all the love that is in me:

And makes me feel like I'm being one of those guys who gets off on his comic books without realizing that mainstream female superheroes are being drawn more like fetish porn than pro source material really ought to be.

Well yeah. Exactly. That's what subversion is for. And you know, the classical pro-slash argument is that it's a subversion of everything that's wonky about gender roles in general media. The fact that it also hits a sexual kink for most or all of the readers/writers thereof is, well, it's something for examination, right, but it doesn't make it bad.

I have some fantasy kinks myself that don't exactly bear Feminist Inspection. On the other hand, I also know where they come from, and yanno, I am keenly aware of the fantasy/reality divide. Getting off on something problematic doesn't make you a bad person, unless you go out of your way to arrange to have it happen in real life, and not in a consensual role-playing situation. (Then, eventually, the nice men at the FBI will get interested in you, if--and we hope--you fail to cover your tracks enough.)

That's what fantasy is for. That's what fiction is for. It gives us a means to do things we can't do in real life, because they're wrong. (Well, it's also for thematic arguments, but that's besides the point.)

It's the salad dressing story*. Writ large.)

*Two elderly sisters live together. Each night at dinner, one sister takes the salad dressing out of the bottle and measures two servings into a silver serving dish. Finally, one night, the other sister says to the first one, "Muriel, honey, it's okay to put the bottle on the table as long as we're nice, and know better."

muppetology need bears fozzie & kermit


I need to start thinking about Chill more seriously, which may mean re-reading Dust, which is a task I find myself cringing to contemplate. At least I don't actually need to start writing yet, which is good. (I should be writing, which is different. The deadline is now four months and ten days out, which is looming but not yet tight. If I haven't gotten my feet sorted by mid-February, though, we may have a Situation.)

I wish everything I wrote could come out the way the scene I wrote this morning did. It was easy, and I could feel the shape of it in my head, like I used to be able to, and the characters were pulling their weight, and all the layers were just there, where they should be, and the writing smoothed out by the second pass--and some of it, I actually think, is kind of good. And it has resonance, and things at stake, and it does work.

And it's pretty without being purple.

I would like to keep this sense of accomplishment for a while.

Here's a sentence or two I can show you without spoiling:

Shoulder to shoulder, they waited. Chaz heard Todd breathing, slow and steady, unruffled and unhurried, as if all he had to do in life was take in air and let it out again. 

I like it. I think it works.

Somebody check my DNA. I think I've been replaced.

All of which reminds me: I should have some copies of the galleys of All the Windwracked Stars to give away within a couple of weeks (Two, I expect.) For those of you who have not been playing the home game, AtWS is a Norse noir steampunk periapocalyptic mythic cyberfantasy, first in a not-a-trilogy collectively known as The Edda of Burdens, which is being published by Tor in October of this year. It's set in the same world as my short stories "Ice," and "The Devil You Don't."

Anybody got a bright idea for some kind of contest I could run to determine who gets the copies? This is something like nine months in advance of release, so it's a pretty big treat.
writing genocide

give me somewhere to fall from 'cause in the dark i can't find my feet

Well, I got past the crux of the 5.7 that is my current project wall, and I think I have actually figured out the easy and elegant way to do it. This makes me happy, because I have been working on it for Some Time Now.

Unfortunately, the rest of the wall is an overhang, and I don't yet have the strength or technique to hold myself on it. So I've got the first fifteen feet or so, and I'm just gonna have to keep pushing to get the rest. Ah well. If it were easy, it wouldn't be fun.

My smearing is getting a lot better, though. I have nice fat fleshy high-volume feet that make my life easy on the slab wall. I somehow suspect my first 5.7 will be one of the ones on the slab. There's actually at least one route on that wall that I can do in a thoughtful and organized fashion at this point, and feel very secure on the wall. Feeling secure on the wall is very awesome.

They took down all my 5.6s! All of them! Except the one that everybody in the gym including the staff agrees is really a 5.7+ or a 5.8, but they haven't relabeled it. (Actually, it might be a 5.6 if you have a lot of brute force to throw at it. But maybe not so much on technique. There is an awful lot of hauling yourself up by your hands with no footholds, however.)

Oddly enough, as if it were exercise, climbing makes you hungry.

1023 more words on the WTF story I need to write... next January. Thank you, brain. No, I'm not complaining.

But maybe consider thinking about the novel now?