I let the seasons change my mind

Here’s recent progress on my modern gothic about two lady academics investigating the case of a mystery woman who was murdered and stuffed in a tree forty years ago – with Bonus! lovely ghosts, sinister messages from beyond, creepy small town shenanigans, and a New Southern Weird* vibe (as inspired by a true story):


    Project: Cinderwich
    Deadline: None! Mwoohahahahaha etc.
    New words written: 6955
    Present total word count: 27,479



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Discovered that a fire road is not made of fire and doesn’t lead to fire, either; found an old tree where a body once was stashed; sat for a spot of tea with a lovely woman who told them stories about finding that body, back when she was a little girl.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunts with the dogs; an epic amount of laundry; hosted a friend for a couple of days; cleaned the whole house; filled the car up with gas and cleaned it out; went grocery shopping; went to the liquor store; did some Christmas shopping; wrapped some presents.

    Other: I know it’s not the world’s most lightning-quick progress, but I’m getting a bit written every day – a habit I need to nurture and restore. I’ve let things slide too much, too far this year. I really need to get my shit together.

    Pet Other: We have a new chair in the living room. It is cat-approved.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: Let’s say 91,479. That’s about right.

The fabulous freaks are leaving town

Not that I’m going to crack 50k on this project – or even the 30k I expressed a wish for yesterday – but what the hell. Might as well go ahead and start a running blog count…at least, until production on something else gets in the way. I’m sure I’ll have to put this down before I get a full draft, but that’s no excuse not to take a swing at it, right?

So until progress is interrupted….

Here’s recent progress on my modern gothic about two lady academics investigating the case of a mystery woman who was murdered and stuffed in a tree forty years ago – with Bonus! lovely ghosts, sinister messages from beyond, creepy small town shenanigans, and a New Southern Weird* vibe (as inspired by a true story):


    Project: Cinderwich
    Deadline: None! Mwoohahahahaha etc.
    New words written: 1802
    Present total word count: 20,524



    Things Accomplished in Fiction: Successfully located a tree that may or may not be (but probably is) the spot where a woman’s body was stashed in the late 1970s. Argued with friend/mentor about it, and very nearly left her there.

    Things Accomplished in Real Life: Neighborhood jaunt with the dogs; cooked and then cleaned kitchen; answered some emails; did some research reading; cleaned/did a half-water-change on the fish tank.

    Other: I was poking around on my website, trying to find the progress bar I use in these posts…when I came across this picture of Greyson and Quinnie, and it is perfect. It needs to be shared again.

    Pet Other: I only just cleaned Fancy’s tank a week or so ago, but he had some uneaten food that was getting gross in the gravel – and a plant that was dying in a slimy fashion. (Usually Fancy just gets a regular tiny amount of fish-food, but sometimes the current from the filter sucks it away from him, and he loses it in the weeds.) I read an article a few months ago about how fish get depressed if their environment isn’t engaging, anyway – and although he’s none too keen on the actual process of having the tank tidied, he seems to very much appreciate the result. He spends ages swimming around, checking everything out and blowing bubbles. #nodepressedfishin2017

    Number of fiction words so far this year: Approximately 85k, by my best count. (Spread across several projects, largely in production/editorial processes.) Frankly, not my strongest year. I’ll try to do better in 2018.




* I made that “category” up…to explain what the forthcoming project The Toll is meant to feel like. It suits this one, too.

Holiday Cheer and Other Assorted Whatnot

The great Settling In continues, and goes mostly well. There’s still a lot we’d like to do to the new house, but we’re out of money for the time being – and here comes Christmas, so…yeah. Presents only for immediate family this year, and no holiday cards. I simply will not have my shit together in time – but such is life.

Next year, eh?

So this year…from a professional standpoint, I haven’t had much going on. Brimstone came out from Roc early on, and then [group project] Indigo landed in June. I had one short story published, “Good Night Prison Kings” in Dark Cities, and in a couple of weeks [December 5] a new Wild Cards project – Mississippi Roll – drops, including a piece by yours truly. I guess when I put it like that, it doesn’t sound like such a slow year; but it sure feels like a slow year. I’ve been in 5th gear for ages. Third gear feels like park.

I took a feeble stab at playing with a project for funsies, to line up with Nanowrimo…but didn’t get very far. Still, if I finish November with 30k words on my oddball feminist modern gothic inspired by a true crime story from the 1940s…I’ll still chalk it up as a “win.”

Otherwise, for 2018 I still have The Agony House forthcoming (YA from Scholastic, pub date TBD) – and it’s officially out of my hands, and into the hands of an artist;* also The Toll (horror from Tor, pub date TBD) is likewise still grinding along. No short stories in the queue, I don’t think. A lot less travel, too.

On a less business-y note, the last few months have been very sociable – and it’s been great finding a groove back in the PNW again. Old friends and new are making the process easier. I should probably post a bunch of pictures here to prove that I have left the house, but you can find those on Instagram if that’s your jam. Also a zillion pics of the cats and dogs. And the fish.

Oh yeah, we added a fish. His name is “Fancy” because the lid of his tub ID’d him as a “Fancy Half-Moon Betta” and I short-handed it…then made a dumb joke on Twitter about naming him after a character I like on Killjoys. Then the actor who plays the character saw it, gave it his thumbs up, and that’s why I have a fish named Fancy. He’s a lovely little fellow, in a lovely 5-gallon tank with a heater, some moss balls, real and fake plants, and a little filter to keep the whole set-up clean and fresh. I mix up the furnishings every few weeks, because I read an article about how fish can get depressed just like people – and now I’m freaked out about the prospect of having a sad fish.

I mean, I freak out if I think any of the other household pets are unhappy, too – don’t get me wrong. I will never understand people who have animal companions, and just…don’t give a damn if they’re happy. I want mine to be happy. Even the damp ones.

Speaking of, the ElderCat continues to rule the roost, despite her advanced age. I do not know how much longer she will be with us; she’s in renal failure, on fluids twice a week, and is roughly old enough to drink. But as long as she’s her usual self – we’ve got her back. Likewise, the House Leopard is doing well. Her persistent diarrhea issues have cleared up, and she’s thrilled by the fish tank – though it has a tempered glass lid and strong plastic clippies to keep her out.** And of course, Greyson and Lucy remain ridiculous. They are learning their way around the new neighborhood, and making friends left and right – as they always do, everywhere we go. Every walk is basically Dog Cuddle Patrol.

At any rate, apart from holiday shopping and a last push for Nanowrimo, there’s not much to report. I just realized I hadn’t updated here in awhile, and also, I am keen to procrastinate while simultaneously appearing somewhat productive.

Thanks for reading, as always – and happy holidays, whichever ones you celebrate, or don’t.





* Like I Am Princess X, there is a comic book element threaded through the story.
** Once, I sat and watched her try to get inside the tank for about twenty minutes. She failed at every turn, and has since given up. But she does love to watch it.