04 September, 2022

The First Three

This summer I took a much needed break from drafting fiction, and in between copyedits on Windscar and writing a textbook chapter, and getting on a plane and visiting my parents, I mostly painted the collection of D&D minis I'd accrued in the last year. (As I type this, I realize I should be posting them, but I'm not, so...later? I will post them.) 

I also acquired some acid dyes. I have a box of undyed handspun hanks in various types of wool (and maybe silk?--the fiber was a gift, and I just spun it.) I don't have a dedicated sink or studio, but I had always planned on using an old slow cooker to dye, rather than a burner, because I just don't have that much fiber and the slow cooker seemed neater and maybe a little easier. 

Then I started painting, and promised myself no dyeing until the painting is done, because I suspected it was going to be A Thing and I was almost a little sorry I'd bought the dyes at all, because acid dyes are toxic and fraught and why hadn't I just done Kool-aid dyes and woe, wah, at least there's a dragon and a beholder left to paint and I can put off the new hard thing.

And then the dragon and the beholder were finished. 

three hanks of homespun, hand-dyed yarn: one a deep, vibrant blue-purple, one a medium purple with tonal variations, and one a darker purple tonal variations leaking into the blue range.
Honestly the hardest part was prepping the first hank, because I managed to give it a 3-hour tangle. Making the dye stock was a little dangerous--it had to happen outside, and very carefully so that the very toxic powder did not get off the plastic-and-damp-paper-towel-covered work surface--but not actually difficult

My first attempt was mostly blue, with a shot of purple thrown in for depth. I was trying for the kettle-dyed tonal look, so I immersed, but did not stir at all. My second batch was two hanks at once, in purple, but one of the hanks was an overdye of a bright turquoise blue/white yarn. I was expecting a less saturated color because the dye stock was less concentrated, and indeed, that is what happened. The overdye hank was more saturated on the whole, but also has bleed-through of the base color (an effect I like). Nous wants the lighter purple for a cephalopod dice bag I have promised him. 

Next up: a less saturated green, if I can manage it.

01 July, 2022

On the Bones of Gods

 The On the Bones of Gods reissue is here! 

Almost. The e-books will be out on July 12. The print versions, and the audio books, will take a little longer: February 14, 2023, because everyone wants a little revolution for Valentine's Day. 

The covers, though, are definitely here, and...here they are! The (original, just for this project) artwork is by Deborah L. Wright and the graphic design is by The Rat, Tan Grimes-Sackett. It is a grand thing to know artists and designers, and to be able to work with them on your projects. 

book cover with a blue dragon made of jagged spikes of blue smoke

a spiky dragon of purple and blue swirls across the cover the cover,

two dragons composed of jagged red and gold flames cross the cover.

29 May, 2022

OK, so May shot past...

a small black cat huddles in a shoebox looking annoyed at the paparazzi's intrusion.
Tinycat embodies my attitude
 ...but much was accomplished. May Madness. Mad May. May, May, go away. 

So in February, the first two books I ever wrote, Enemy and Outlaw, reverted. To me. Which I guess means they went out of print. 

Anyway, reversion means we can reissue! So we are doing that. The third book in that trilogy, Ally, had never found a home with the publisher, and we published it through JABberwocky. Now Enemy and Outlaw will also be published by JABberwocky. But in order to do that, we needed to get new cover art and new cover copy and people more technically savvy than I had to make epubs. 

So March and April were spent securing audio contracts and narrators and basically a lot of stuff that my agent and her assistant and the other folks at JABberwocky handled. I commissioned cover art (y'all, I cannot wait for you to see it) and wrote cover copy, the latter of which I like only slightly better than writing query letters and synopses. 

I also reread the manuscripts when they'd been set up as epubs, looking for stray formatting errors. I reread Ally, while I was at it, because it felt unfinished not to. (This was how I wrote them, too. I did that thing you're not supposed to do and wrote all three before I ever queried, because one way or the other, I wanted to know how the story ended. I also wanted to know I could finish three connected books.)

It was...odd. The experience of rereading, as more of a reader than a writer/editor. I mean, I know those books inside and out, right? I wrote them. I edited them. But I also haven't looked at them since they went into publication. I was half-dreading the experience--like, would I read and think omg, why didn't I--? and regret all my choices? Did I write something good, really? 

I did. I surprised myself in a few places, too, not with the unvarnished brilliance of my prose, but with little details or world-building things I'd done that I'd forgotten. Or even not so minor plot points. I am one of those people who can watch a film or a series and love it and then forget most of the important details almost immediately. Evidently I can do that with my own books, too. Ha.  

I learned that I still love those books. I love the characters. Part of that is nostalgia, sure--these were the books that got me an agent and my first publishing deal. But part of it is just loving that world and those people. (And the prose, which is jagged and fragmented and so very much not like the RORY books. NIGHTWATCH and WINDSCAR are closer in feel, but even they're more fluid.)

Anyway. The re-issue of On the Bones of Gods is in the final stages of production. Manuscript formatting corrected, prices and barcodes and ISBNs acquired. Now we're waiting on the fantastic Tan to finalize the cover text/placement (complicated by the fact of her wife's return from a business trip with COVID--she's fine, just miserable, and Tan's on single-parent duty in the meantime).   Stay tuned, watch this space--I'll make lots of noise when they're finally out in the world. 

AND, coda, postscript, lest you think I did nothing but read my own work and, like, teach and stuff--I finished the WINDSCAR edits early and turned in to my editor.  Copyedits are inbound, and I suspect they'll land the same time as 30-odd final portfolios for grading, which...could make the next couple weeks interesting. 

Fortunately, there is coffee.

25 April, 2022

Watch this space

 In anticipation of events on the Bird Site, I will be (finally) getting a newsletter going, and attempt (valiantly) to be more regular about blog updates. LOOK! There on the right! You can sign up! 

I promise to produce actual useful content when I am not staring down a day of student conferences, editor revisions on Windscar, and galleys for the reissue of Enemy and Outlaw.

In the meantime, proof of concept: here I am, with Nous, having ventured out to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire for the first time in two years. 

two people in Renaissance festival garb smirking at the camera

30 March, 2022

And so it is finished

Five weeks of Inconceivable MKAL, in pictures. Finished on time and on schedule, and just in time, because I'm expecting editorial notes on Windscar Very Soon Now(tm). I will be fabulously dressed while I edit, once The Patchwork Terror finishes his promenade.

A triangle of knitting in four colors and four patternsA 15' wide strip knitting in four colors and four patterns A 15' wide strip knitting in four colors and four patterns

a close-up of several stitch patterns
a black and white cat walks along a large, long knit wrap stretched across a floor

16 March, 2022



Please join me in admiring this cover: 

a book cover showing tangled machinery limned in blue, with red seeping through the cracks like blood. Titled Nightwatch over Windscar.

...in which Iari, Gaer, and Corso investigate mysterious ruins in Windscar province. They're looking for answers. They find some. And more questions. 

And monsters, hiding in the dark.

Preorders are available from all the usual places! 

16 February, 2022


I am a knitter, but I am a self-taught solitary who has never participated in a stitch-n-bitch or any other social knitting. I am a member of ravelry.com because that's where you find all the cool patterns, but I haven't updated a project there since The Early Days of Knitting(tm), when it was still a miracle to me that two sticks and some string could make things that were useful and beautiful, and also when I had more time to update my projects pages.

ANYWAY. I am an asocial knitter. I knew that there were things called Knit-Alongs, KALs, which sounded a lot like socializing to me, and also knitting on a schedule and usually not a project I was all that interested in. I mean, how many shawls do I need, really? I'm more of a sock and sweater girl, with a side of cowls and rugs for the handspun stuff. And then there's the subset of KAL, the mystery KAL (MKAL), in which the pattern is bought, sight unseen, and doled out with clues over the course of weeks.

I hadn't exactly sworn that I wouldn't do such a thing, but I reckoned it highly unlikely. 

And then one day, while prowling Ravelry's pattern library for something--I spotted As You Wish: An Inconceivable MKAL. My mind leapt immediately--because I am a GenX child of the 80s--to The Princess Bride. Surely, I thought, this cannot be a MKAL themed on the Princess Bride! Why, that would be... 

four hanks of yarn, top to bottom: bright teal, cerulean blue, light grey multi-color speckles, and a deep, vibrant violet
No, not "inconceivable," but so irresistibly cool a notion that I clicked on the link, and then the next thing you know, I'm looking at (and pricing, yikes) yarn and harrassing Nous for opinions about various colorways. I posted on Facebook (a semi-serious "talk me out of this idea, it's kinda A Lot, right?"), which garnered a lot more enthusiasm than I had been expecting from both knitters and non-knitters. I even took the mad step of joining the project message boards (though I want it known I have not actually posted a voidspit thing yet). 

To the surprise of no one, I bought the pattern and got a kit from Frabjous Fibers and Wonderland Yarns.  The name of the colorway is "Battle of Wits," which I chose partly for the the purple and the speckled hank and partly for the name. The first clue drops Feb. 22, and I hope by then to have cleared at least one of my outstanding projects off the needles, because I'm gonna be on a schedule, people. 

Expect to see updates.