Look what arrived today!

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My contributor copy of Fablecroft’s Epilogue.  Shiny!

Buy a copy of your very own!

Today has been, so far, a productive day.  Played with the kidlet for ages this morning, mostly building train tracks for him (holy crap is he obsessed with trains).  We watched a bit of Peter Pan, which always makes me sad/happy.  He is now napping, and the house is quiet except for the sound of windchimes outside.

It is a fairly bad pain day, despite me dragging out the heavy duty drugs.  Air pressure changes are fun when you have fibromyalgia.  Plus we haven’t gotten any actual rain here yet, which just makes it all not worth it.  It has gotten overcast in the last half hour, though, so hopefully we’ll get some.  It’s been a distressingly dry month, and tomorrow Perth goes into full sprinkler ban for winter, with little more rain on the horizon.  Thankfully, our garden is mostly natives, which will survive, but I may need to get out and hand water the roses a little.

More organisation today.  Finally diving into reworking the outline of Never.  I’m making some major plot changes, and also pacing changes – most notably, I’m splitting most of my early chapters into much shorter ones.  My brain is melting now, thanks to the weather, so I think it’s time to step away from the novel and rest/read for a bit while the kid sleeps.

Getting organised

This week is turning into a week of not much actual writing, and lots of organisation.

Today involved the acquisition of some new stationary and filing organisation, and I began the task of truly getting my working area sorted.  The husband is amazing at keeping things organised, while I tend to just lob piles of paper into drawers.  Everything looks neat, but you can’t actually find anything.

The reality is this: if I want to pursue this as a career, I need to treat it like a business.  That means being organised, having vital papers where I need them.  I will note that I took particular joy in labelling a file “Contracts” today.  And realised that, even though I’ve only written three short stories in the last few years, I’ve sold all of them.  I have my fingers crossed for the fourth one, which is currently trying to find its place in the world.  I’ll never be a prolific short story writer, but I feel like I’ve levelled up there, at least.

I have my character bios rewritten, printed and filed away for Never, and worked on my place descriptions today.  Tomorrow, I’ll start getting my outline all sorted out.  I have hopes for this novel, and I really want to get the next draft finished relatively quickly.

Beginning again

Bliss and ReUnion Jim via Compfight

I am spending this week getting organised for the next draft of Never.

Today this has translated to going through my character biographies, updating them where needed, and making them fit with things that I discovered during the last draft.  One of my characters now makes me cry, which is a…good thing?  I do know that she has her own story, and I hope that I’ll get to tell it one day.

I’m working in Scrivener, as always, though I doubt I use even the smallest percentage of what the programme can do.  For me, it’s mostly about being able to have multiple files available in the one program.  Though I am printing out all of my bios and outlines and putting them in a folder as a story bible as well.

I’m feeling like this story makes sense now, which is a good thing.  And I’m looking forward to diving into the next draft.

Hugos Challenge 2012: Deadline by Mira Grant

Shaun Mason is a man without a mission. Not even running the news organization he built with his sister has the same urgency as it used to. Playing with dead things just doesn’t seem as fun when you’ve lost as much as he has.

But when a CDC researcher fakes her own death and appears on his doorstep with a ravenous pack of zombies in tow, Shaun has a newfound interest in life. Because she brings news-he may have put down the monster who attacked them, but the conspiracy is far from dead.

Now, Shaun hits the road to find what truth can be found at the end of a shotgun.

 

 

 

I could pretty much summarise my reaction to Deadline thusly: Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant broke my brain.

I originally read Feed, the first book in the trilogy, a while back.  And for reasons that I can’t pinpoint, I could not for the life of me get into it.  I found Georgia as POV character really irritating, I didn’t like everything being explained time and time again.  I was actually pretty hesitant to keep on reading the second book, but I decided to give it a go.  And because I am weird, I went back and reread Feed first.

And I don’t know what my brain was doing the first time, because on reread, I found Georgia engaging, I loved the humour and I’m just generally kind of in awe of the worldbuilding.  I love that I ended up caring so much about the characters, almost at times to the point where I didn’t care about the zombies.

Going onto book two, I found myself just caring more and more.  I was worried about how Grant would continue the series after the events of the first book, but she’s done so admirably.  Some of the new characters are amazing and fascinating, and I am amazed by how much their voices all differ.  This one does get heavier on the science behind the zombie outbreak, but I never found that it detracted much from the enjoyment of the reading.

And the ending…without spoiling anything, the ending is what broke my brain.  I should have seen it coming, but I absolutely didn’t.  I cannot wait for the third book, which is currently in transit to me.

Sometimes everything seems okay

Tingle

It’s a Sunday morning.  The kidlet and I have been relaxing in bed with the iPad for a while, and are now up and about.  He’s currently (slowly) eating breakfast and playing with trains, while I am on the computer, having eaten my own breakfast.  Spotify is running 80s radio for me.  The husband will be back from a fishing trip later on today, and everything seems okay.

I caught up with an amazing friend yesterday, which is a huge part of why everything feels awesome right now.  I am just so utterly blessed to have some of the people in my life that I do.  I also feel relatively on top of things – I’m going to get stuck into editing Never tomorrow, I have a nice list of admin type stuff to be done.  I just feel like I’m getting things done and moving on with life (levelling up, maybe?), which is always a great feeling.

Links for the week:

Writing fast, writing slow – and why one book a year suits hardly anyone.

27 Dos and Don’ts for being a badass woman.

What does the editing process look like?

Peter M Ball (and the Spokesbear) talk about Undead Press and about being in business as a writer.

Cassandra Clare talks about rape culture.  Justine Larbalestier replies, with her own experiences as a writer.

When you fear that you’re just no good.

What to do when “doing what you love” isn’t an option.

When the apocalypse throws you back in time.

The 1960s science fiction novels everyone should read.

Greg Rucka talks about why he writes strong female characters.

I kind of want this ring.  WANT.

Charlie Stross talks about the state of SF.

 

 

A public thanks: Galactic Suburbia

I find it vaguely amusing that I’m listening to Emilie Autumn’s newest single, “Fight Like a Girl”, while I’m starting to type this.

The husband is away fishing this weekend, so I’m on single parent duty at the moment, which means that my links post for the week will have to wait for a day or two.

And so I thought I’d take a moment to publicly one of the podcasts, and the people behind the podcast, which and who have been extremely influential both on the speculative fiction scene and on me: Galactic Suburbia.

First of all, if you’re not listening to GS already, go and download an episode.  I promise and warn you this: once you start listening to GS, you will not look at things the same.  Once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.

 

The Galactic Suburbia team consists of Alisa Krasnostein (an engineer by day who also heads up the amazing Twelfth Planet Press – and no, I have no damn idea how she manages her time), Tansy Rayner Roberts (mother and fantasy writer, most recently of the Creature Court trilogy) and Alex Pierce (teacher and reviewer).

Actually, I have no idea how any of them manage their time, to be frank.  Lots of careful planning, one would think.  However they do it, they do a lot to contribute to the SF scene.  I can imagine that there are a decent handful of people who’ve observed a lot of the issues they have, decided it was too hard to do anything about it, and left it at that.  Alisa, Tansy and Alex decided to do something – they highlight gender and feminist issues in the community and they try to do something to change them.  And based on the fact that they just got nominated for a Hugo, well, I think they’re doing something right.

I also tend to point my finger and complain good-naturedly when I listen to each podcast and end up ordering books.  I really don’t mind, though – pretty much every book I’ve bought that they’ve talked about has ended up being amazing.  Because of them, I have a full shelf of Connie Willis books, I’ve read the Vorkosigan Saga.

More importantly, because of them, I’ve become a much more critical reader and reviewer.  I cannot look past gender issues in a book now, where once I would have been blind to them.  I’m the first to admit that I’ve had a lot ot privilege in my life.  I’m white, I’m middle-class.  I’ve had access to education, and I studied in a science field that is generally kind to, and dominated by, females.  I’ve never been told that I couldn’t do something because I was female.  This doesn’t always lead to the kind of mindset where you’re immediately aware of all gender and feminist issues.  Listening to GS is a huge part of what’s changed that for me.

I’d just like to take a moment to thank Alisa, Tansy and Alex for their time and effort (and oh, it is a lot of time and effort, given with no thought of awards or rewards), as well as the people who work behind the scenes on GS, including the silent producer.  You are all much appreciated, and you have made me a better person, reviewer and writer.

 

 

Hugos Challenge 2012: Among Others by Jo Walton

Startling, unusual, and irresistibly readable, Among Others is at once the compelling story of a young woman struggling to escape a troubled childhood, a brilliant diary of first encounters with the great novels of modern fantasy and science fiction, and a spellbinding tale of escape from ancient enchantment.

 As a child growing up in Wales, Morwenna played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. When her half-mad mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled—and her twin sister dead.

 Fleeing to a father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England—a place all but devoid of true magic. There, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off….

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination, this is a stunning new novel by an author whose genius has already been hailed by dozens of her peers.

I started my Hugo novel reading with a reread of Among Others.  I preordered this book on the basis of the blurb (science fiction! fairies! a boarding school novel!) and a love of several of Jo Walton’s previous books.  I’m fairly sure that I actually picked it up and read it soon after it arrived (though a check at Goodreads may refute that and prove how bad my memory is), which is rare for me, who tends to hoard books unread.  I do know that I devoured it.

Where do I even begin with this book?  It has so many things that are particular loves of mine.  I grew up reading a lot of Victorian children’s books – think What Katy Did – and the boarding school thing, even though it isn’t a huge part of the story, is always something that draws me in.  I love the ambiguity of it all – the fact that Mori actually states baldly at several times that she is unable to tell the difference between her imagination and reality, which of course leads to the question about the reality of the magic that we see.  Is Mori’s mother actually a witch, or is she just mad?  Do the fairies exist?  I love that there are no cut-and-dried answers (though I believe Walton herself has stated that the magic is, indeed, real), which means that the reader can make up their own mind.

And the science fiction!  This book has been described so much as being a love letter to science fiction, and that is so true.  It makes me want to go back in time and discover genre again myself.  And it makes me realise how much classic SF I haven’t read.  I found myself starting to make a list of everything that I wanted to read, and gave up quickly, realising that the list was getting ridiculous.  Maybe if I stopped the nasty habit of sleeping?

I do remember that the first time I read this book, I found myself a little frustrated with how quickly the resolution of Mori’s mother’s plot came.  It felt like an afterthought, and I wanted to see more of it.  On this reread, I realised this: that plotline isn’t what the book is about at all, and it doesn’t matter that it comes quickly or too late or is over too fast.  It’s there because it has to be there, and it’s an amazing scene when Mori and her mother confront each other, but it’s not the heart of the book.

This is absolutely a book that I’m going to read and reread.  I am absolutely in love with it, and I am so glad that it won a Nebula Award.  The rest of the novels in the Hugos shortlist are going to have to be damn good to win out against this one for me.

 

 

Long live the draft, the draft is dead

And lo, there was great celebration in the land, for the draft of Never was finished.

Well, not really.  This is draft 1.5, which is my way of representing that it’s the second draft of the first half of the book and first draft of the second half.  Brain broken now?  😉  I should just call it draft one of this version, I guess, since so much has changed since my earlier drafts.

And now I take a day off from fiction writing tomorrow, and I have the weekend off, and Monday I come back to it and try to figure out how to fix all of the broken bits.  I know I should probably leave it a bit longer, but I want to at least get my outline for the next draft in order while everything is fresh in my mind.

What kind of creature shall I be?

So, yesterday Spotify launched in Australia.  I pounced joined up and am now happily enjoying streaming music.  Not sure as of yet if it’s going to be worth paying for a subscription.  I don’t mind ads.  We’ll see.

Another glorious day in Perth today: clear blue skies, though it’s cold this morning (where cold is a value of less than 10C for us, which is probably warm for some of you reading this.  Remember, it gets to 40C here in summer, we don’t do cold that well!).  There’s some frost on the lawn this morning, too, which always looks gorgeous.

I am meandering my way towards the end of this draft of Never and am reminded, as always, by how much I hate writing endings.  I am sorely tempted to just outline these last few scenes and go back and start editing.  I’ve written this in an odd way – I’m working from an outline, but I’m doing a fair bit of pantsing in between my outline points.  It means that I have a few subplots to go and put in and stuff to clarify.  Plus, I need to do some scene rearranging.  Luckily I love editing 😉

Good things

There is a Fable Tribe update happening as I speak.  I am happy, for I have been stalking and managed to snag this one:

 

This has been a strange morning.  I found it very difficult to wake up, but I also discovered that, for the first time in months, I have been able to drink coffee without feeling nauseated afterwards.  Go, regenerative liver powers!  Got the news yesterday that my liver enzymes have dropped back to normal, which means that the damage that the organ suffered was temporary.  Knowing my body, it’ll take a while for all of the effects to go away, but at least the liver is working properly again.

Even though the cold nights are painful for me (literally, the joys of fibromyalgia), the days are beautiful this week.  Clear skies, and warm enough in the sun that it’s glorious to just stand there and soak up the sunshine.  Soon we’ll descend into much-needed rain again, but for now, Perth autumn is wonderful.