A Writer’s Day(s)

Posted: February 15th, 2011 under Crisis of Vision, Editing, Life beyond writing, Revisions, the writing life.
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Today has been not-quite-typical but sufficiently full of writing stuff that you might find it interesting.   Though it started not with writing stuff but with the car making odd noises the last time I had it out.

So yesterday, Himself called the car repair place, described the noises and made an appointment to take it in.   (It was going BRRRAPPP! when the automatic door lock engaged, and a sound I can’t even begin to put into letters when I put on the brakes.)     As usual, I woke up first, started up my computer about 7:15, and after about half an hour  of work  looked at the clock and decided Himself should get up in order to get to the car dealership (in another town, of course) on time.

After he left I settled into serious work on the revisions of Crisis of Vision Editor had sent.   These are always more complicated than they look, because just deleting something or adding something isn’t enough–the gap or the bulge must be feathered in to the rest of the story so that you, the readers, never know it happened.    And I was behind where I wanted to be, having lost ground last week when the virus had infiltrated my brain and filled it with unthinking glue.   Most of it has now drained out.    I was working away on that when the phone rang.

My good friend and alpha reader E- was having email trouble but wanted me to know that she’d gotten an email from Amazon (because she orders my books from there) with what looked like a real mess about the new one….something advertising it as part of “Playaway Adult Fiction” for $89.99.   E- freaked.  I freaked.   Emails raced up to Editor, who checked with their sub-rights people.  We had actually licensed the audio rights with one  company and they, it turned out, had sub-licensed this particular format to this other company.  The things you don’t know.    I wonder what my cut of that price is.   I wonder who’s foolish enough to pay it.   More things you don’t know.

Once we had this straightened out,  I went back to the revision work, but also had an email in to my web guru to see if she could find some stuff scanned several years ago.   When I was about three, my mother wrote me an etiquette book…it may or may not have had the desired effect on my behavior, but it immediately impressed me with the possibility of real people writing books.  And since Editor had asked me yesterday if I could come up with “books that inspired you” I thought “Sure, and it would be cute to have the pictures from that book.”  Editor thought so too.

The pictures arrived.  I spent some time looking at them and choosing three to send to Editor, then re-titling them for that purpose.  Back to revisions.    At some point Himself came home with the car (no longer making funny noises), some groceries, and two big fat burritos from Freebird’s.    We took them out to the back yard, since it was springlike (minus any green.)    I threw some birdseed around.   I ate half a burrito, came back inside to go back to work  and slowly folded into an inert mass (still having energy drags from the virus of last week.)

Slept for an hour or two (not even sure.)  Crawled up from the depths of sleep, started working on revisions again.    Did not at first notice another email from Editor…did I by chance have any previous speech or essay on autism to add to the news letter for March, because they’re reissuing The Speed of Dark???   By then it was after five pm here, let alone in NYC.

I ate a couple of bollitos from a sack of them Himself brought home from the grocery.   Watched some of NCIS, interspersed with staring at someone else’s book and wondering why mine is so much worse.  (Tangled revisions do this to me.)    Then back to the revisions.

The revisions had my brain tied in a knot again by 9:30 pm, so I switched to the new book and wrote just over 1000 words on that, popping it over the top of the 60,000 word mark, and then went then back to revisions.   It’s now almost 11:30 pm, and I should come up with something for the March newsletter and plow through at least another 50 pages of revisions.    Because tomorrow is Wednesday and I really, REALLY need to get to choir practice.  Missed last week, missed Sunday services.  The big 5 hour rehearsal for the St. John Passion is this coming Saturday.

But…progress.   Book IV over 60,000 words.    Revisions coming along.   More days like this and everything will get done.


  • Comment by Alia D. — February 16, 2011 @ 10:28 am


    FYI, playawys are often bought by librarys. Patrons like the portablity and lack of need for a CD player and libraies like fact that it avoids the problem of what to do when a patron losses just one of a set of CDs.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 16, 2011 @ 10:42 am


    Ah…I had no idea. Thank you! My mind put together “playaway” and the usual meaning of “adult fiction” and ran screaming into the arms of my publisher.


  • Comment by PocketGoddess — February 17, 2011 @ 3:41 pm


    PLEASE tell me that Kings of the North will be available as a B&N nookbook. I’m concerned since it has been available for preorder (for what seems like forever) from Amazon, but it’s still not showing up on the B&N site. Some authors have gone Amazon Kindle-exclusive, and I hope that’s not the case here.

    I’m literally counting the days until its release, and hoping that it will be available on my reading platform of choice.

  • Comment by elizabeth — February 17, 2011 @ 8:23 pm


    PocketGoddess: Please understand that once the e-rights are licensed, the writer has no choice of format and is not informed which, or when, new formats will come online.

    The situation with e-readers is not the fault of writers or publishers: it is the retailers and designers of e-readers who have chosen to insist on proprietary formats for the reading devices they handle, eliminating a common standard. Writers abhor this, and publishers find it annoying and expensive (especially as new e-readers, with new proprietary formats, keep showing up.) But Amazon, Apple, B&N, etc. did not ask US whether we thought this was a good idea. (In the same way, B&N does not always order the same books as Borders–something rather scary now that Borders is in trouble. Writers carried more heavily by Borders are likely to lose out.)

    I, too, hope that it will be available on your reading platform of choice. I know that Del Rey would like their books to be widely available, but I cannot say when. And I hope if it’s not, you’ll be annoyed with the people actually responsible.

  • Comment by PocketGoddess — February 18, 2011 @ 8:09 am


    Trust me, you are literally preaching to the choir on this one. Though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, I do write–I’m a tech blogger & freelancer. I’ve followed the ebook market for almost a decade now, and written about it from time to time: http://www.pocketgoddess.com/2010/04/sookie-skyrockets-but-the-joke-is-on-us/

    Though I’m thrilled about your success, I was sad when you left Baen–their ebook policies are most enlightened. I hope that B&N is just late on this one, and am relieved to hear that you haven’t gone Amazon exclusive like Stephen Covey, Paolo Coelho, etc. I did get Oath of Fealty as a nookbook, and stayed up half the night reading it on release day.

    Your books have meant a great deal to me, and I am so glad that you have returned to Paksenarrion. I have read the Deed more times than I can count, and I even wrote a paper on it for a Theology & Literature class when I was in graduate school.

    I’m not able to travel, so I’ve not yet had the opportunity to meet you at a convention or book signing. Hopefully you’ll find yourself in Dallas one of these days. For now, I enjoy following you here and on Twitter. The insights you provide into the writer’s life are fascinating, and of course I enjoy the snippets. Keep ’em coming!

  • Comment by genko — February 19, 2011 @ 9:01 pm


    I’d be interested in your paper — I’ve also read Deed more times than I can count (I assume less than 50 times, but can’t be altogether sure), and I’m a Zen monk, so have a little interest in religious topics. Not sure how to connect for it – if I go to your website listed, is there a contact? Don’t want to clutter up Elizabeth’s blog with this.

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