I haven’t posted in a bit. Nothing major to announce at the moment, except that I sold a short story – “A Shadow on the Sky”, a tale of a drone queen because of course drones would need one – to Mythic Delirium.
AND here’s a novel update: I’m currently working on two concurrently, because I’m out of my mind. The first is Rookwar, the final installment in the Casting the Bones trilogy – which I am very behind on and need to push hard at this month – and also an as-yet untitled one that I began on a whim. You know how I seem to keep coming back to the Line and Orbit universe? Well, this is the story of Kae, how he met his wife Leila, and how – together – they saved the entire convoy from starvation, managed a conflict between a lost human colony and a sentient biosphere, dealt with Relationship Feelings, and somehow didn’t murder Lochlan.
I’m not very far into it, and like any baby novel its future is uncertain, but I’m feeling pretty good about it and so far it feels like it’s coming relatively smoothly. If you like, here – with the usual caveats about a work-in-progress (rough draft, may not make it into the final product if there is one, etc.) – is an excerpt.
The trees thinned out around her, the path widening, and then they fell away entirely and she came out into the fields, the grass whispering in the breeze and carrying the sweet smell of heather and the bracken that grew at the edge of the wood, mixed with the headier scent of honeysuckle. The light of the sunlamps was deepening into afternoon, and for a moment Nkiruka stood, breathing it in. She tilted her head back. Far above her, through the transparent ceiling, the stars shone in the night that went on forever.
She had not been born on Ashwina but on Suzaku, where the High Fields were drier and faded into patches of red desert, and the Arched Halls were–strangely–lusher and more humid, more like what people described as the equatorial jungles of Terra. She had grown up in those Fields and those Halls, had carried their dust and drifting pollen within her when she came to Ashwina to learn how to fight, to dance the death dances, to pilot an escort fighter. It had been an adjustment but she had made it. She would never love these lands the way she loved the lands that rested at the top of Suzaku’s great bulk, but she had grown to love them all the same.
Anything growing. Miracles in the black.
I am so, so happy to be back here again. And I love this character.
Release Week for Line and Orbit is almost done, and oh, what a week it’s been. It’s been great to see people reading and reviewing on Goodreads, seeing what people are liking about the book, what’s striking a chord with people – it’s been so much fun. Those of you who have reviewed it already, thank you so much. Those of you who are reading now and come out of the experience pleased, the single best thing you can do for us is to leave a rating or a review, or to blog about it, or to otherwise spread the word, because word-of-mouth is what a book like this really needs.
But as we come out of this week and into the next, I find that what I’m really thinking about isn’t the present, but what’s coming next for this universe. Because yeah, I feel comfortable being very clear about this now: Sequels are in the works. (very mild spoilers for the first book below. hints, really, more than anything.)
So I’ve been tagged in the Next Big Thing blog hop that’s been going around, by the marvelous Catherine Lundoff – who you should really be paying attention to. I just finished her novel Silver Moon and enjoyed it hugely (menopausal werewolves; you can’t imagine what a breath of fresh air that is).
So here’s me.
An earlier version of this post appeared on my Dreamwidth
So I finished Harbinger yesterday, or at least a draft of it. It clocks in at about 79k words, which is respectable. There’s still a lot of work to be done on it, but it feels good to be done.
I suppose. It honestly doesn’t feel like much of a big deal. Which is weird. It should. I’ve been working on it for nine months now. You guys it has literally been like I’ve been pregnant with a book.
And now it’s done–or at least a draft of it is–and I just feel tired. And disconnected from it. I wrote -end- at the bottom of the page around 1:30 and then went to eat lunch and didn’t really think about it all that much for the rest of the afternoon. Granted, I had the first lecture of the semester to deal with yesterday evening and that always makes me nervous and preoccupied but still. I realize that it’s kind of the height of callous assholery to be all like oh yawn I finished another novel but I honestly do feel a little like that.
And I look back on the other two books I wrote/co-wrote–Line and Orbit and Communion–and I think about the differences in the two. At the end of L&O I was fucking elated. I was almost dizzy with joy. I had also written about 10k words in a single day so I was just dizzy, period. And then at the end of Communion I was considerably less excited but it still felt like kind of a Thing. And now… yeah.
Maybe some of it is just that I have more visceral sense of how far from done a draft actually means–from being in publishable shape and then actually being published. It took us about two years to sell L&O, from completion to signing the contracts, and this was after it took a good year or so to write. And then there’s been the edits, which were extensive, and it still won’t even come out for another few months. And I still haven’t sold Communion. I’m sure I will but it might take a while longer.
And now there’s Harbinger. My third baby. I love it but it’s got some defects that need fixing, and that’s work that has to be done before I can send it anywhere–and even then the work won’t be done.
That’s the thing about writing books: You’re never done. Not really. You take a breath and then you’re shoved back into it again. One of the reasons why I was so set on finishing Harbinger this week is because I want to start the next thing (which I’m very excited about but am not ready to talk about yet). And there are other things after that–I have a wonderful/awful feeling that the next thing is actually the first of three things, and there are another couple of things that might come after L&O… and I guess finishing just isn’t enough for me anymore. Which feels kind of sad, even though I guess I should be mostly pleased about what it means.
So. On to the next one.
A few months ago I started something that, given my hatred of thinking up titles, I then took to referring to as The Dystopian Cyborg Angel Novel – or any number of different arrangements of those words.
A few months later I’m close – I think and hope and pray – to being done with the first draft of it, which will probably clock in between 80k and 90k words. I’m very back and forth on whether it’s any good, but at least it’s going to be done, which is about all a writer can hope for some days. It also has a title – Harbinger – and I definitely don’t hate that, at least. I don’t know yet what’s going to happen to it or where it’s going to be sent, but for the moment I’m not worrying too much about that.
I’ve been posting little snippets of it as it’s been written and I mentioned last week that I was going to post another one, so here it is.
A little background: My two protagonists, Samir Ghani and Michael, have attempted to make contact with a terrorist organization known as Phoenix, which Samir hopes might help his sister Ashmita (who has gotten herself uncomfortably mixed up in a theft). The meet has gone sour and the private security agency that has essentially replaced the government has attempted to arrest them. But Michael is possessed of terrifying powers that neither he nor Samir entirely understands, and he has unleashed them in an attempt to allow both Samir and Phoenix’s representatives to escape into some disused subway tunnels.
Excerpt under the cut.
I’ve been working on this one for a while now — a few months — and it’s in that awfulGod will I never be able to stop working on this stage of it, but I’m plugging away, I’m about two-thirds done, and I do at least have a pretty good idea of where it’s going.
As I said a few weeks back, it’s set a hundred years or so into a future where the US is in shambles and the gap between the rich and the poor has become unbelievably huge, where the currently questionable line between corporations and governments and the military has eroded into meaninglessness, and where augmentation of the body is commonplace and, for certain elements of society, basically necessary. My protagonist is a Good Samaritan for Michael, a guy who ends up having weird and worrying powers and who may — or may not be — an angel. And the two of them get wrapped up in trying to find a stolen and highly dangerous weapon. And there’s a sister with dubious allegiances. And yeah.
Excerpt after the cut. Quick setup: Samir, Michael, and Ashmita have arranged to meet with a dissident group who they think is involved in the theft of the weapon. But they aren’t the only ones looking for it, and — predictably — things don’t go smoothly.
So having abandoned the audio posts for now, I’m looking to jump back into the swing of things with actually writing, and to that end I’ve decided to pick up the Muse Monday/WIP Wednesday posts again. Because I think the template works well, on the whole, when I can bludgeon myself into keeping up with it.
The WIP for this week is actually not technically a W IP — at least not at the moment — because I just made the last of the current round of editing passes through it yesterday. I still intend to get some further outside crit on it, but I’m largely comfortable with the meat of it as it stands.
It had its inception when I stumbled on the concept of iron stars — a theoretical kind of endpoint for a star that would only be possible mind-bending lengths of time in the future (and only, apparently, if the proton doesn’t decay). The idea of a cold sphere of pure iron spinning through the post-stellar darkness blew my mind in the most evocative of ways, and anything that blows my mind in just that way is going to have me trying to hammer it into something story-shaped. I’ve also been wanting to write something about loss and time travel for a while, and the ideas all just kind of gelled. Vita and her AI companion CERA and her lost love Kendra emerged from that and finally I had my elusive story-shaped thing.
Excerpt under the cut. Enjoy.
No podcasty-thing for this week, as I’m battling the second iteration of comps-related illness that I’ve had so far this year and my voice is a wreck (though perhaps it would actually be a husky, sexy wreck). However, since the last few installments have all dealt with my weathering of my comprehensive exams in some manner, I should note at this point that I’ve officially passed both and will be proceeding to PhD candidacy just as soon as I get my ass in gear enough to get the paperwork turned in.
So that’s good.
A couple of note-worthy things:
- Circlet Press has fixed the malware issue on their site and it’s now safe to once again go and cast your vote for your top five favorite Circlet stories to be included in their best-of anthology. And again, my story “Catch & Release” is up for a vote, so if you haven’t voted for it that would be a lovely thing to do.
- I’ve fixed some of the broken links on my fiction page; stories on sites that have vanished into the ether are now linked in their Archive.org editions. I may actually host the stories here myself, but for now this seems like an okay stopgap. I’ve also linked to the Smashwords edition of “We Are Such Stuff”, lately out of print from Torquere Press.
- I’m still working on the untitled angel novel and I really like where it’s going now.
- Stay tuned for some super-awesome amazing news in the next week or so. Seriously, I can hardly stand it how much I want to talk about this right now.
Hopefully next week — or possibly even this Friday — we’ll be back with more audio. In the meantime, wash your hands carefully and frequently. Cough cough.
Fresh new post-comps edition of the ongoing podcast-esque project. I talk about something I’m running into in one of the books I’m currently reading that is proving to be a barrier to me really immersing myself in its world, and that I feel is often a stumbling block when it comes to constructing really vital, believable fantastic worlds of any kind – especially hard to deal with because of its subtlety.
I also read a bit from one of my current two WIPs (short SF time travel-gone-wrong piece). The text of it is after the cut. Enjoy.