While I was away:

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Quick updates here:

While I was away I submitted a revision of a short story to a shared-world anthology (details to come) that was received quite well.

I received my final check for my current contract with Del Rey, which my stupid bank is going to hold until next week even though they’ve promised they wouldn’t have to do that any more and I have enough in my fucking account to cover it. (Good to have new money, though).

I made good progress on the revisions for A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark, having solved the notes my agent gave me. I hope I’ve solved them, anyway.

Finally, I dealt with a hundred minor annoyances that I couldn’t tweet about. Hmph.

Quick Friday post

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1. I have promised a thread for spoilery discussions of the Twenty Palaces books. I have not forgotten this promise.

2. Today is the day I travel around Seattle (by bus!) signing book stock in stores. Fun! Okay, not. Actually, it’ll be a good time to do some reading and thinking about item 3.

3. My agent got back to me with some notes about A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark. They seem very straightforward but will require a bit of fixing to address. Must turn on brain.

4. My agent has also shamed me into replacing my phone. Let us not speak of this further.

5. The Livestrong calorie counter is making me rethink my devotion to kielbasa and peanut butter.

6. Booster Gold is a terrific character.

7. My email inbox has been exploding for weeks. I’m not sure what to do about it, but I have to do something.

8. Last night was date night for my wife and me. Unfortunately, our sitter never showed (don’t know why) so we ended up cooking some quick, sorta-crappy food and then rushing out to Elliott Bay Marina to see “Cirque du Sail” a couple who travel around the world on their sailboat, with their kids, and pay their way by doing acrobatic shows in the rigging for donations. Last night was the final Seattle show but they’ll be in San Francisco in a few days. They’re very good. Check it out if you can.

9. One the way to the Marina last night, my wife turned to me and said “Thanks for coming to see this thing with me.” I said: “Hey, it’s Date Night! We just had bad food and now we’re going to see some unlikely entertainment. The only difference is that we’re dragging the boy behind us in a little red wagon.” Date night, everybody.

10. Time to get out of here and start signing. Have a great holiday weekend, Holiday Weekend People.

Revisions today, along with a book

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I was working on A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark today, trying to make up for my low productivity yesterday (doctor’s office visit and unfamiliar neighborhood can complicate things). But what do I find when I show up at my local library?

My hold on A Dance With Dragons has come through and the book is right there on the shelf waiting for me. Do I stop revisions so I can start the new book?

What I figure is that I’ll end my work session a little early, as soon as I finish this chapter… no, I forgot I needed to add this character to this scene… hey, this is turning out pretty good, I should make a note to change that other chapter… and now I need to fix the thing with the safe… and why don’t I wrap this part up here.

In the end, I worked until well past my usual writing time, just because I was enjoying it. (The revision is 1/3rd done. I send it to my agent after that.) But! I get to walk home with the book and read it all the way, now that the sun has come out.

Only three weeks to read a thousand pages! I know I won’t be renewing this baby, so time to get cracking.

State of the books/trailer/shorts report

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Thanks to a comment I received yesterday, I realized that I’ve been putting people off for months now about the status of the books, the trailer, everything. And that’s not fair. So here is a quick rundown of where things stand on the projects I’ve been promising. And since this is long, I’m going to put in a Continue reading

Let’s call this a draft.

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You heard that right. Draft zero of A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark is finished at 77K words and 43 chapters. Longest chapter: “An Unwelcome Party Guest Catches A Glimpse of Himself” (aka chapter 1) at 2,851 words. Shortest chapter: “Another Little Drive” (almost the end of the book) at 754 words. I suspect that first chapter will be substantially trimmed, leaving “The Recrimination Game” as the longest.

You know, I struggled with this book the way I struggle with all of them, but I had fun with it, too. In fact, when I was outlining it I had a serious crisis of confidence. Life is short: was this one of the books I wanted to have as my life’s work? Really?

Thank Pikachu I got over that. This book turned out to be a lot of fun.

So! I have to give it another read-through before I send it to my agent. I have a judo throw to add to one scene, and I stupidly gave two characters very similar names, then switched them mid-way through. Plus, there are the inevitable word echoes, under-researched locations, and screwed up sentences.

Still. DONE! I’ll be picking up a 22oz of Arrogant Bastard Ale on my way home tonight and I’ll celebrate happily.

Birthday Gift Report!

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So Friday was my birthday. I woke up at my usual 5am work time and did my pages. What’s more, I added even more cool stuff to the end of A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark–it sounds self-serving to say this, I know, but I’m getting really excited about this book (and I can’t wait to be done with it and move on to a new thing).

What did I find when I arrived home? A giant gift-wrapped box on my dining room table. My son, naturally, was super-excited to have me open it, but I was exhausted from several long days and begged a nap (gift one).

After we had our fruit salad and I did the whole wish/candle thing, I tore it open. It turned out to be a George Foreman Grill (gift two).

Now, I’m skeptical of electric cooking appliances. I use our food processor and stand mixer all the time, but specific gadgets for cooking? Too fussy, too messy, too much trouble to take out and put away. Especially that last one. I use the crock pot about once a week, and even though it’s fine for the first two, it’s a pain in the ass for third. We just don’t have that much counter space or storage.

But this gadget? The cooking plates come out and fit in the dishwasher, it has no controls beyond an on/off switch, and it folds up pretty compactly.

What’s more, my wife had picked out a beautiful steak for me to have for dinner (gift three) and it cooked up beautifully. I can’t wait to try potatoes, asparagus, and (naturally) burgers in it. My son is eager to put a personal pizza in it, and I’m game for that.

One other birthday gift turned up at the end of the night. Google Alerts brought me this: Publishers Weekly gave Circle of Enemies a starred review. (gift four) That means I’m 3 for 3 for PW reviews. :) I’m seriously pleased about this.

Anyway, I’m back to making donuts. At this point, it’s a sprint to the end of the draft. I just wish it wasn’t so damn gorgeous outside, which is like a gift I can’t play with. Local temp for July 2nd: 78F. Sunday the second is expected to be ten degrees cooler.

Today is my birthday

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Well, really it’s my not-birthday (ob repetitive explanation: My wife and I share a Bday, which sucks, so I bumped mine back a month). But that doesn’t matter, right? It’s just a date, and I’m supposed to celebrate the new year.

You don’t have to ask. I’m 46.

Anyway, I was up way, way too early to write, and write I did. After having almost zero idea how I was going to end A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark yesterday I bumped against the frontier of my synopsis and started brainstorming ideas. Within an hour, I had the end all worked out, and as I was smoothing it out this morning (connecting the plot points clearly, I mean) I had several more good ideas.

That’s all recorded, and at this point it’s a race to the end of the draft. I’ve already made today’s long-goal; hopefully I’ll be able to do another thousand words or so before I go home.

There will be no cake tonight. I don’t like it, and neither does anyone else in the family. We’ll be having melon-free fruit salad, instead, which is the tradition for my bday. What other efforts will be made on my behalf I do not know. I just hope I get a nap.

Anyway, I get a little more time to goof around online, then it’s back to the word mines. Have a great Friday and Happy Canada Day, you wonderful Canadians.

Boy yesterday’s post seemed cranky, didn’t it?

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I didn’t think I was being all cranky, but it geez.

Anyway, I’m not online much because of the book-writing. Both yesterday and today were big days for me. Doing 2.5K words is a modest goal for many writers, but for me it’s nearly unthinkable. Hitting that mark two days in a row, with extra time to revise an old short story? That’s practically a breakthrough. I may have transformed myself into a totally different person. I’d better oversleep tomorrow and waste the whole day on Twitter or my wife and son might not recognize me.

Anyway, it’s not even one o’clock, and I’m done for the day. ::thumbs up::

“They’re so funny. They use the subjunctive when they ought to use the nupative.”

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Let’s make this a quick list of items of interest, okay?

First of all: Hey New Yorkers! I’m going to be in New York City next week, visiting Manhattan with my wife and son. Yes, I’m also going to meet up with my agent (first time face to face) and my editor (not first time). And others, too, if things go well.

Publishing people! Who use the subjunctive correctly! And who probably also know how to use the nupative, even though that doesn’t even exist, except in last night’s dream about condescending NY grammar fundamentalists. (See subject header)

Anyway, I’m also planning to attend the KGB Fantastic Fiction Reading Series on June 15th. I don’t know either of the authors who’ll be reading there, but that just makes it more exciting.

Are you in New York? I’d like to meet there, and maybe do something after. I look like this. If you see me there, don’t hesitate to introduce yourself.

Second: I mentioned this on Twitter last week, but haven’t here; Twenty Palaces, the prequel to Child of Fire, is 100% done! Well, unless Del Rey buys it and my editor has notes. And except for the copy edits. And galleys. And another polish, if I want to give it one, (and I always do).

Still: One. Hundred. Percent. Done. I’m back at work on A Key, An Egg, An Unfortunate Remark (aka: The Auntie Mame Files). I like this book, although I suspect it’s going to be a stand alone. We’ll see.

Third: On the advice of a friend, I’ve started polishing up some old short stories to self-publish them. I mean, why not? Several have been published before and several will need substantial rewriting, but it will be nice to have something new to put out into the world.

Fourth: Look what came in the mail over the weekend?

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It had this in it:

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I’m going to assume he meant “this book,” to mean “the book for Harry Connolly.” Seems obvious, right?

I sorta expect a significant proportion of this text to be right out of his LiveJournal, but with luck I’ll pick up some extra tips for writing short work for small checks, rather than doing these months-long projects on spec, which sucks.

Fourth: Is it completely ridiculous for me to record all the Bookscan numbers I get from Amazon.com into a spreadsheet? I mean, I can’t even keep my characters’ names straight, but I’m fastidious about this?

Fifth: I still have a lot to do before I head to NY. Good thing I finished those Dungeon Quest books (by Joe Daly). Now that the hilarity is over, I can get some shit done.