Month: December 2008

Dead men working a sinner a saint

I took the day off, and I spent it by myself — slushing through the after-Christmas sales, and entertaining myself with cheap doo-dads and lunch. I probably shouldn’t have spent the money, but it was relaxing; and since finishing Draft Zero of Clementine, I really needed the downtime. Oh well. I regret nothing. And now I give you bullets.

  • Fathom at Amazon. Naturally, the first Amazon review is filled to the brim with “meh.” But if anyone who read the book enjoyed it, and if Amazon will let you,* I’m not above begging for public commentary.

  • Those Who Went Remain There Still builds up steam. Whoever this speculative fiction junkie may be, I am tremendously grateful to him/her for the kind sentiments.

  • A very Florida Christmas. Click to go see shots from my holiday vacation, though please pardon my general, “Oh God, I’ve just spent a week with my family” ragged-out appearance.

  • Cool vintage family photos. As has been pointed out by assorted internet commenters, my grandmother looked like a young Milla Jovovich, my mom was a hottie, and I now have my own shot of early 19th century nurses. I have more pictures to scan in later, but I don’t have time to do it right now. Stay tuned.

* Several people have emailed to say that Amazon wouldn’t let them leave a review, usually for some derivative of the reason, “You didn’t buy it from us” — even though at least two of the emailers did, in fact, order the book from Amazon. So. Yeah. I don’t know what to say to that.

December 29, 2008

I know I’ve been scarce since my return from Florida, but I have a most excellent excuse. Behold — here’s the final Draft Zero progress on my steampunk novella about a runaway-slave- turned-air-pirate and his lost Confederate war dirigible, a mysterious doomsday weapon, and a disenfranchised southern spy who’s gone to work for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency — now with Bonus! military intrigue and a gentle old scientist who’s slowly losing his mind:

Project: The Clementine
New Words Written Today: 5486 (BOO-YAH)
New Words Written Since Last Report: 24,371
Present Total Word Count: 57,065
Goal: Well and truly exceeded on all points.

Fiction Things Accomplished: All of them. And a super-brief epilogue. (It’s the text of a telegram sent to Allan Pinkerton.)

Real Life Things Accomplished: Nibbled on cheese and crackers and holiday cookies all day. Eschewed the internet. Tore through the final chapters to achieve Draft Zero, which tickles me pink.

What’s Next: Next, I’m going to let it sit for 24 hours — then cut it down to a Draft One that I can pass on to Schafer. Ideally, I’d like to reduce the word count on this one by at least 5000 words (as I think some of the earlier sections are unnecessarily fluffed, and bits ought to be excised); and I’ll deliver this first solid draft on New Year’s Day.

Reason for Stopping: Excessive squee and general need to get away from my laptop.

Total Fiction Words Composed in 2008: 331,914 — Which will likely be my year-end total. It’s a respectable figure, if somewhat short of what I’d hoped. Still, I count myself a fairly happy camper. This is absolutely the most I’ve ever written in any given year of my life, and I’m frankly rather proud of myself.

The light upon your rainy streets offers many reflections

I’m back in Seattle, and I have no idea where to begin the task of catching up on the internet goings-on while I was out of town. I think the best I can do is start from scratch, saying, “I’m here again, and if I’ve missed anything important, please pass it along.”

Anyway. Due to today’s Big Melt I was able to move my car to a spot that won’t get me ticketed; I did some grocery shopping and cleaned house a little; I wrote and rewrote, and I removed a fat chunk of text that I decided I didn’t like; I called Bill Schafer and he totally saved my life (long story); and basically, I’ve just done some decompressing.

I spend a lot of time by myself these days, working from home while my husband is at the office — and even when it’s the two of us, things are typically quiet; so spending a week back at the family homestead would have been exhausting even without the travel headaches that began and concluded the holiday. My family is large, and loud, and it gets louder every year — partly because my grandmother, mother, and aunts are all getting hard-of-hearing … and every one of them is intensely nosey.

Sample conversation:

    Me, to Tricia: Is that the sweater I gave you?
    Tricia: Yeah, I wear it all the time.
    Mom, overhears: What?
    Me: Nothing. I was just asking about her sweater.
    Mom: Didn’t you give her that sweater?
    Me: Yes. She says she wears it all the time.
    Mom: You know, she wears that thing all the time.
    Aunt Wanda, overhears: Who?
    Me: What?
    Aunt Wanda: What about that sweater?
    Me: I gave it to her. She wears it all the time.
    Aunt Wanda: Oh, you gave her that?
    Me: Yes. Before I moved to Seattle.
    Aunt Wanda: I swear, she wears that thing all the time.
    Aunt Marlene, overhears: What does she wear all the time?
    Me: That sweater. The one she’s wearing now.
    Aunt Marlene: Didn’t you give that to her?
    Me: Yes.
    Grandma, overhears: Who wears it all the time?
    Me: Tricia. That sweater. I gave it to her.
    Grandma: Where’d she get it?
    Me: I gave it to her. Before we moved to Seattle.

    [:: ad infinitum ::]

These conversations are all shouted at top volume, usually while the television is turned up all the way in the background. It’s a little overwhelming, repeating yourself incessantly and sharing a household with a sister, a brother-in-law, seven cousins (plus one spouse and one toddler), two aunts, one great aunt, my mom, and one grandma. Some of the older cousins (including the one with a toddler) booked hotel rooms nearby, but mostly everyone hung around grandma’s place and it was a nonstop riot of coming, going, last-minute Christmas shopping, and waiting for a bathroom.

But it was a lot of fun, and I took a lot of pictures, which I’m still working on getting uploaded. When I’m done, I’ll post a link to the set; and you can go look at them if you want … or don’t, yanno. Whatever.

For now, I’m going to post this and get myself some supper. But before I go, I’ll post the only dry-blogging entry I managed to write while I was in Florida. It’s short but sweet, and I’ll put it behind a jump.

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