May 01


Posted: under the writing life.
Tags: ,  May 1st, 2014

The Orbit UK edition of Crown of Renewal arrived in a box on my front porch this afternoon.    Great gloating ensued.   If I ever get over the thrill of opening a box and finding !my books! inside, I should quit writing…new books deserve that excitement.    Husband grabbed one and opened it.  I grabbed one and opened it.   I didn’t read beyond the first few pages (yes, the story is still there and has not turned into someone else’s story, perhaps about the life of a stockbroker who is dissatisfied with his teenage son and his manager) because I had Other Stuff to do.  Read the rest of this entry »

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May 01

May First Already??

Posted: under snippet, Story, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  May 1st, 2014

How did that happen?   I keep combing Crown, looking for possible snippets  that aren’t spoilers, but…the last book in a group is more spoiler than anything else.    Especially for a group of readers who are as sharp as you folks, who seize on the slightest clue and go straight to intelligent speculation.  Even when you’re off the mark, you’re interestingly off the mark (and sometimes, I confess, make me wish the story itself had gone that way.)   Hence the shortage of snippets from Crown.

What I can offer, sort of, is snippets from stories that will turn up in the related short fiction collections and background information that might lead…anywhere.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Apr 23

Ambushed by Stories

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags:  April 23rd, 2014

So there I am trying to figure out what kind of proposal to put forth that won’t die in Chapter Two, while short stuff is sprouting up all over my mind, like greenbriar in a mowed pasture.   Greenbriar will never grow into a tall, shady tree full of delicious fruit, but it sure can pop out of the ground and stab you in the ankle.  Short fiction is less painful (I hope!) but  I do now know the difference in feel between “This should run out of steam before x-thousand words” and “AHA!  This character and situation has real potential.”  Usually.  Almost always.   Many of my stories try to grow longer, but they’re like greenbriar, putting out long sneaky strands that have no woody potential.

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Mar 28

Luxury Polishing

Posted: under Collections, Craft, the writing life.
Tags: ,  March 28th, 2014

Quite often, and especially with long books,  writers are up against tight deadlines.   Yes, we proofread.  Yes, we try to find every continuity error, every awkward phrase, every less than perfect word choice.    And we hope Editor and Copy-Editor and eventually the proofreader for the page proofs will find the ones we miss (though sometimes we need to correct their corrections.   The CE who wanted me to have a ship’s weapons “staffed” instead of “manned,” for instance.)  But once a writer is hooked into a traditional publishing workflow,  there’s a limit to how many drafts, how many re-readings, how much polishing can be done in the time alloted. Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 28

This Week/Last Week

Posted: under artwork, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  March 28th, 2014

This post would have gone up last week, except for a power outage, a stubborn computer, and two speaking gigs for which prep had to be done.


Yes!  The cover of Shattered Shields in which I have a story, “First Blood.”  Those of  you who haunt have already seen it, no doubt, but last week was my first sight of it, when the editor sent it out to all of us.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 16

Progress Report: Paksworld Short Fiction

Posted: under Collections, E-books, the writing life.
Tags: , ,  March 16th, 2014

Rancherfriend-E, recruited as my editorial assistant on this project,  took far less time than I would have to act like a Sorting Hat and divvy up the stories-so-far between the two proposed collections.   I made one change about the time she was emailing me “You could do this instead…” and her this and my that were the same.   Then I threw a couple of other things into the first group (partly because I wanted to and partly because it would even up the wordage between the two) and she said “Good idea.  I think I’ll take a nap now.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 13

The Good News Is…

Posted: under Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: ,  March 13th, 2014

…that last week’s “phone call every parent dreads”  ended well, with our autistic son alive, unhurt,  and not detained by police.  That’s very good news, and I have nothing but praise for the police & EMS handling of the situation–and this in a police force I have criticized before.   It helps, of course, that our son is white, good-looking, and that all the long hours of coaching and practice on polite behavior meant he was polite and friendly to the police officers.    All of those contributed to the way the police handled the situation.  However, the situation and its aftermath pretty much ate our days from last Thursday at 6 pm when we got the first call through Monday’s last contact with the crisis management team.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Mar 07

Paksworld Stories

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags:  March 7th, 2014

Short fiction continues to flow…it’s odd, this happened after I finished the Deed–the first really solid short stories I’d ever been able to write and finish.  Only one of them sold–“Bargains”–and the agent I got later said the others weren’t that good (since none of them had sold in the several years before he took me on, he was probably right.)    But finishing the trilogy led to an outburst of short stuff.  And now that’s happening again.  (Only now, I think,  I write better short stuff.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Jan 13

Knitting With Herdwick Yarn: More on Paks Crafts

Posted: under Background, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  January 13th, 2014

The Herdwick yarn I bought is exactly what I hoped for–a yarn that belongs in a fantasy novel, in that its feel (like the breed itself) is old, traditional, and suits a rugged pre-industrial setting.    Here’s a small swatch knitted on US #5, (3.75mm) needles, from the Aran-weight, light-colored yarn.   I’m getting five stitches per inch.


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Jan 09

Bustling Through

Posted: under Good News, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: ,  January 9th, 2014

January is the month in which I have to turn in the annual report on our wildlife management program.   Some years I get it almost done in December.  This year I didn’t,  so I’m working on it now.  Also on another official report.   Husband does the last quarterly tax stuff, but I’m supposed to gather paperwork (whimper) and hand it to him.  Hence, bustling through. Read the rest of this entry »

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