24 May, 2023

back at it

 I'm writing again. I'd forgotten the sensation of feeling my way through the plot with only the vaguest idea of what's coming. I mean, there's a general plot in mind. A plan, if you will. An intention.

It's not that I can't think more than a chapter ahead in detail, it's that I don't want to. The kind of granular detail I want in a Google map I absolutely do not want in my storytelling process. I know the preferred terms are plotter and panster, but I think it's less about being carried along by the plot than it is about discovering it. Like...like a dungeon crawl. Or unlocking the map on a new level of a video game. What's over here? What's that? What does this do? If I know, then... eh? Why am I doing this?

(Then there's the debacle of Windscar's first draft, that I wrote to an outline and then trashed. Maybe I'm just crap at plotting.)

But let's stick with the dungeon-crawl metaphor. I think the close focus I keep on where I am putting my next literary foot is definitely reflected in the kinds of stories I tell. Generally short duration in-world, tightly focused, totally up in a character's head. That style makes it harder to do big sweeping epics. I think Rory worked--not as an epic, exactly, but the story spanned years--because I had an omniscient narrator. 

Someday I will try to write a single POV novel. Maybe even a first-person. And someday I may try out some of that postmodern fluidity of time and linearity. 

This, however, will not be that novel. 


21 February, 2023

In Translation (also, baking)

So, Nightwatch on the Hinterlands got picked up for Turkish foreign rights, and lo, this arrived in my mailbox this week. 

I love the cover art. It's kind of strange/cool to see your story in words you can't read, except for the proper names. While this isn't my first foreign rights sale, it is the first time I've gotten a copy. Pretty cool.

I would love to have more to report, but it is February. It's not even an especially dark month here (it should be raining. It isn't. That will change at the end of the week.), but it's a drag on the spirit. Nothing major, just many littles coming together to make a much. 

Thank the gods for steady D&D games and the friends that make them possible. 

And because I am (not so) low-key D&D obsessed, I took yesterday, Presidents' Day, to spend mostly in the kitchen, making D&D associated recipies. I've made Lord Eshteross's Maple Ginger Cookies with Turmeric (from Exquisite Exandria: The Official Cookbook of Critical Role) before, and they turned out splendidly this time as well. I don't actually own that cookbook yet, mind, so I can't speak to the rest. 

I do own Heroes' Feast, the official D&D cookbook (Shan, who is not Icelandic in any way, practices the Icelandic tradition of giving books as gifts on Christmas Eve. She figures cookbook and gaming is just doubling up on the awesome, and she is not wrong.) I did a test run of the vedbread (the D&D name in the book, and I have no idea what its real name might be).  It's a sort of savory not-at-all-cinnamon roll, where the dough is instead rolled around a combination of mushrooms, shallots, and cheese, and the dough itself has a fair bit of cheese worked into it as well. Tasty. A little more substantial  than "bread that accompanies soup" and more like "light lunch." They seem like a thing that may come with me to events where someone says "bring something savory, not a main dish, not a salad."  

And because I spent the day making dishes for my long-suffering husband to wash up, I feel better about the multiverse today. Also, I have tasty things to eat for lunches and snacks. 

And February is almost over.

16 January, 2023

ENEMY on sale this month

So it's 2023. Happy New Year!

Are you looking for story about conjurors and outlaws, ghosts and gods, and a good old dose of blood and fire? Then may I suggest ENEMY, on special for 2.99 in Kindle for the month.

book cover for ENEMY: a blue serpentine dragon swirls across the cover, jaws open

09 December, 2022

Ashland Public Library Event!

 I was fortunate enough to participate in a virtual panel about women in SciFi with Julie Czerneda, Lena Nguyen, and Mur Lafferty, hosted by the Ashland Public Library. You can watch it here

Those of you who make a DC 10 perception check may note yours truly held up Nightwatch on the Hinterlands instead of Nightwatch Over Windscar and utterly failed to, like, describe the books. Let us attribute this to end of quarter brain. Yes. 

And instead, please enjoy this beautiful animation of the most recent book, Nightwatch Over Windscar, which follows templar Iari and the Five Tribes vakari ambassador Gaer as they try to figure out wtf is going on in Windscar, where the separatists are hiding, and wait, what is that noise...?

04 December, 2022

consider this your holiday letter

Happy December! If I seem enthusiastic, it is because the quarter ended last week--the teaching in the classroom part, anyway--and while I am not done with work (grading final projects, setting up next quarter's class webpage), I am at least done with the part that requires me to wear shoes for the next month.

Unfortunately I am not able to grade without typing, because that isn't much fun at the moment. Took a dive on a run the Monday before Thanksgiving--there was an oncoming bike, and I was busy watching him when I stepped into the dirt and sidewalk adjacent ground cover, rather than where I was stepping. I thought I had clear dirt. I found a pernicious root. I had time, as it tightened across my foot, to think oh fuck and then splat. A very stretched out, fully extended, but at least running uphill at the time splat.

Half of me hit the dirt, literally, and that half--except for a few neat scratches on my ribs--was fine. The half that hit the sidewalk was less fortunate. I got myself up before the poor cyclist could even dismount to assist, and toddled off toward home. At the time, I thought the scraped up knee was the issue. (Running tights are tough. Not a scuff on them, but the skin underneath was shredded.) I'd caught myself on the palm on that side, elbow flexed at about 90 degrees, wrist mostly flat, and everything straightened and moved. I feared for the wrist, but it seemed fine, and it was.

The elbow, however, having absorbed a great deal of force and shock, was sprained, which I discovered about the time I got home and tried to flex is beyond that 90 degrees in either direction. Oh ho ho, that wasn't happening. 

Tinycat (small, black, permanent resting bitch face) pretends to ignore the vivid orange knit octopus sitting at her feet.
Since then, I have learned how very many things elbows are involved in besides bending, and how very unpleasant--or impossible--some of those things become. I have also learned how much of my yoga practice relies on straight elbows. 

I have not learned that I am bad at convalescing because I already knew that, and merely confirmed the continuation of that particular quality.

I could, and can, still knit, which is good! Because I have things* to finish by Christmas Eve. 

*Like that orange octopus D&D dice-bag beside Tinycat, except that one is mine.

03 December, 2022

a suggestion

Do you know what would make an excellent gift for whatever holiday or holidays you celebrate? I will give you one guess. Here. While you think about it, watch this video.