Sheepfrog and Writing

Busy with the writing, but here’s a picture fosteronfilm found online that made me giggle:


Writing Stuff

- Payment from Pseudopod for “Wanting to Want.”
- Galley proofs for “Body and Soul Art” from the ASIM Best of Horror anthology.

- The anthology Bash Down the Door and Slice Open the Badguy with “Mistress Fortune Favors the Unlucky” is now out! I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while. I anticipate many belly laughs and chuckles. Will commence staking out the mailbox for my contrib. copy . . .

New Words:
- 900 on the Fox Princess novel. And it’s a mini-milestone; I’m past “short story” length!

I’ve noticed myself doing something anomalous, writing-wise, with this novel. I’m putting down the dialogue and using it as a sort of place holder, skimming over scene, setting, and action with the intention of going back to fill those in later. I’ve never done this before.

It keeps the story moving, both in my head and on the page, but it makes for a somewhat Spartan and dialogue-heavy initial draft. I suspect that may change in my next chapter, which will involve far more action than the previous ones, which were indeed a lot of talk-talk scenes.

Makes me think, though. I’ve been asked before about my writing “style,” whether I outline, how much research I do, if I write chronologically, etc. And the more I write, the more I’m certain that I don’t have a set method, per se. I put words on the page in whatever manner I can get them down.

Are other writers more structured than I am?

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
8,455 / 40,000

Club 100 for Writers: 4

Politics, photoshopping, and panda porn

Woke up early this morning (5AM!) due to a restless skunk. Since I have a follow-up doctor’s appointment this afternoon, I decided to go ahead and head on in to work so I could beat the rush hour traffic, have my car, and drive to my appointment instead of having to go through the work–>MARTA–>car–>doctor’s office headache that I went through last week. But I’m verily muzzy-headed and heavy-eyed now.

Therefore, linkage:

- The Pew Research Center conducted a recent national survey to determine how well informed on politics/current events Americans are today versus in 1989. (You can take the quiz yourself.) And here’s an interesting breakdown of the poll results.

- A freaky website elemess found on photo touch-ups (click on the “More Samples” link towards the bottom of the page to see further examples of the scariness). Children’s beauty pageants squick me out.

- And finally, panda porn. And it’s even work safe–unless your co-workers/boss are particularly offended by mating pandas . . .


Writing Stuff

- “The End of the Universe” in issue #3 of Darker Matter. Free fiction. Go read, yo!

New Words:
- 600 on the Fox Princess novel.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
4,288 / 40,000

Club 100 for Writers: 7

Hobkin’s health and post session productivity

The vet called yesterday with the blood panel results, and Hobkin officially has a clean bill of health. The vet used such words as “great” to describe how the fuzzwit’s numbers look and said we were doing a really good job with him. Yay!

This is a healthy skunk, so sayeth the vet:


Writing Stuff

Did research this weekend, lots for the novel and a little for my May Writing for Young Readers column (ack, I really need to crank that out and send it off already). Got on a roll on Saturday re: novel. My main concern is that I haven’t got a solid feel for my main character yet. I’ve been loading up on clinical descriptions and case studies of autism and Asperger’s, but I was still experiencing a sort of distance from her, when I really want to get into her head so I can understand who she is and what she’s like, not just what she’ll do.

Plus, I really want to like her too. I mean, I’ve written stories about characters who I didn’t have that rapport with, but for a longer work like this, I think I need to have it. And really, the best stories I’ve written have been ones where I completely empathize with and know my protagonist. But in order to reach that level of awareness requires a certain intimacy and a thorough understanding of what makes her tick; I gotta be able to step into her head completely and seamlessly in order to be able to show who she is to readers.

And hurray, finally, finally, I came across what I’ve been lacking, an excellent first-person account of someone who has Asperger’s–an inside look at an Aspie’s feelings, thoughts, perceptions, and insights. And y’know, it made me wonder even more whether I might fall into the autistic spectrum myself. There was so much there where I found myself nodding along going, “yep, I grok it.” It’s by no means a new speculation for me, but it made me go “hmmm” even more.

And following that bit of reading and rumination, there was cat waxing.

Sigh. Well, at least it was productive cat waxing. Since the beginning of the year, with session and all, I’ve let my files get totally out of order. Normally my organization system is meticulous, but I had four months worth of contracts, correspondences, and rejections strewn around the house, scattered in haphazard piles in my office, lying where I’d opened them in the living room, and dumped in amongst the bills and receipts by an exasperated fosteronfilm (who doesn’t know what to do with my sundry writing paperwork and is generally leery of moving it). Spent several hours sorting everything and filing documents in their proper places. Cheers for getting that taken care of. And now I have no excuse not to crank out wordage.

- “The Goddess Queen’s Battlefield” in the Spring Equinox issue (#2) of GrendelSong. Woot!

This story was inspired by the Suzanne Vega song, “The Queen and the Soldier,” which, in turn, was introduced to me by britzkrieg. So bows to both Suzanne Vega and britzkrieg for their key roles in summoning my muse.

“The Goddess Queen’s Battlefield” by Eugie Foster
“Maixgloan” by Christopher Heath
“Pretty Mary” by Samantha Henderson
Featured Poet: Catherynne M. Valente
“Contraception throughout the ages and cultures: a short overview for a fantasy writer” by E. Sedia
“The Gods-forsaken World” by Steve Goble
“The Glaring Inaccuracies of the Bards” by Berrien C. Henderson
“By the Light of the Dark” by Stephanie Burgis

New Words:
- 1020 on The Novel: working title Fox Princess.

And so it begins.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
1,020 / 40,000

Overtime meep.

The Georgia General Assembly reconvened yesterday. And yes indeedy, the workload ramped up. My hours so far this week:

Sunday – 11:45AM to 6PM
Monday – 8:30AM to 10PM
Tuesday – Came in early to finish up the bill I was editing until 10 last night so: 7:00AM to ?

Matthew came and drove me home from work last night. While I’m sure I would’ve been fine on MARTA, I just wanted to get home as soon as possible so I could get to sleep, and the fastest way (without the rush hour traffic and all) was sans train. But we had a bit of confusion with the meet-up. He got to the capitol okay, but then while I was wandering around the first floor at the security entrance, my co-workers had let him in and they were wandering with him in our office on the third floor/mezzanine, looking for me. Whoops! But with the aid of a helpful, late-night security guy, we managed to hook up. Finally.

Think today’ll be a 30mg Adderall day. This is muchly reminiscent of Dragon*Con and editing the Daily Dragon while suffering from insufficient sleep and weird food. I can do this . . . for two and a half more months.

If you’re waiting on something for me, expect to wait a little longer.


Writing Stuff

- “The Snow Woman’s Daughter” in the Feb. ’07 issue of Cricket. And it’s the opening story! Woot! I had just enough time before falling comatose last night to beam delightedly at the illustrations. Shiny.

- After a mail snafu, payment, at last, from Her Circle eZine for “Second Daughter.” For some reason, the first time the editor tried mailing me payment, the USPS couldn’t find my house and sent the letter (w/check) back undeliverable. WTF? So I asked her to mail it to me at my work address this time, and it arrived yesterday.
- 88-day personal pass with invite to submit again to The Edge of Propinquity.

Legislative Session. Eek. And free advance screening tix to Pan’s Labyrinth

For all you Atlanta locals: fosteronfilm is giving away advance screening tickets to Pan’s Labyrinth for next Wednesday (the 17th). Check out his website for details.

And the session begineth. So far . . . on day three . . . it’s not that bad. It’s very hopping; I worked from noon ’til 6ish on Sunday and have stayed late every night this week (and expect to stay late every night until the session ends), but I haven’t felt overwhelmed or unduly stressed. Although I did make a blunder yesterday that required six bills to be re-done. The Georgia legislature has some spelling peculiarities, and I didn’t realize that we spell “statewide” with a hyphen: “state-wide.” And those six bills were all drafted using the same template I’d edited. Doh!

Won’t be forgetting that one anytime soon.

I got home last night just in time to get ready for bed, but it wasn’t that troubling. fosteronfilm was at an IMAGE salon, so he wasn’t home anyway. Although, poor Hobkin. He was a little anxious at the change in routine. I startled him when I came home–he’s not a brave beastie–and he bolted for the hutch. Unfortunately, he was in such a hurry, his aim was off. He bonked right into the hutch leg, missing the opening completely. Didn’t phase him, though. He bounced off and then scampered under it. Silly fuzzwit. I’m worried that one day he’ll concuss himself doing that.

Had some qualms about what the MARTA would be like late at night, both on the long waits front as well as the scariness one, but as it turns out, I haven’t had to wait longer than ten minutes for a nighttime train, and the stations are well lit and still pretty populated at the times I’ve been riding.


Writing Stuff

No writing accomplished. No surprise there.

- My January Writing for Young Readers column, “A Writer’s Resolution: I Will Submit.” (With thanks to n_decisive for the inspiration on the subject matter.)

- Personal pass plus invite to try again from Escape Pod on a reprint. Snartleblast.
- Contract from Aberrant Dreams for “Living With a Shoulder Monster.” Signed and sent back.
- Payment from Hub for “Wanting to Want.” And I’m delighted the American dollar is so weak against the pound right now. I got a very favorable exchange rate.

It’s my birthday today! Happy birthday to me. As I was telling terracinque, I still love having birthdays, but I’ve reached the point where I find the numerical increment in age indicator something of a downer. Yeah, I’m conflicted by my birthday. But at least there’s cake.

fosteronfilm and I got back to Atlanta yesterday after a grueling 14+ hour drive, retrieved Hobkin, who has been a fuzzy lump attached to my hip (or haunting my ankles–which has made walking something of a chancy affair), from his godmother, and have made a dent in unpacking. We discovered several packages on our doorstep, and the mail person brought another one when she made her rounds. After resting and having our traditional Christmas feast (we always have our own, private Christmas after we get back from Illinois)–faux roast beast, mashed potatoes and onion gravy, and cranberry sauce–we opened the prezzies from our friends and the remainder of the ones to each other, and took a long soak in the hot tub. The perfect way to cap off the holiday.

This morning, I’m sipping some delicious Adagio apricot green tea which I brewed from the IngenuiTea infuser/pot, all part of the gift set that n_decisive gave me, while I peruse L’amber by Tanith Lee from teflaime as Loreena McKennitt’s new CD, An Ancient Muse, courtesy dean13, plays in the background. I’ve got on the new Victoria’s Secret sleep shirt the hubby gave me and am using the cordless, optical mouse that my mom-in-law got me to post this LJ entry, while Hobkin snoozes beside me.

It was a good Christmas, with periodic flashes of sadness as something remembered or said triggered memories of my dad-in-law. But I managed to keep from having a total meltdown and only got teary eyed a couple times. He is sorely missed, and his absence was a compelling but quiet presence–much like he was.


Writing Stuff

New Words/Editing:
- Cranked out another 600 words for my January Writing for Young Readers column, did several editing passes, and sent it off to my editor. And I got a confirm from her that it made it to her without problem this time. Whew.

- 92-day personal and complimentary pass from Paradox with invite to submit again. Also, by way of apology for the delay in response (I didn’t think it was that long, actually), an explanation that a bunch of submissions seem to have gotten delayed en route by the USPS. My manuscript, although mailed (First Class) in late September, didn’t arrive until mid-December. It seems other manuscripts were likewise delayed. Eep.
- Payment for my January column. Huzzah!

- The audio podcast of “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” is now up at Pseudopod, read by Paul S. Jenkins who, ye verily, has a sexy voice. Go listen, yo!
- “Addy in My Mind” is now up at Helix. This story is a stand-alone sequel to my Phobos-award-winning “All in My Mind.” Enjoy!

Shopping and writing

And lo, there was much holiday-related consumer activity. Our Christmas shopping is almost done, although I still don’t know what to get Hobkin.


Writing Stuff

The crits are in; tomorrow I start on my rewrite of “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest etc.” Hoping to have it out the door by the end of this week.

- “Wanting to Want” is now out in the premiere issue of the new U.K. ‘zine, Hub. Yay!

- An invitation to submit to an anthology put out by a new publishing outfit. I recognize the name of one of the editors; I’m sharing a ToC with him in an upcoming issue of GrendelSong, and he dropped me a very nice email letting me know he enjoyed my story in GS#1. Pondering whether I’ll have time to put together a story by the deadline, since the first three months of next year are dedicated to the legislative session, and I wanted to try to do that whole novel thing again afterward. But I hate turning down an invite to submit anywhere.

New Words:
- 100 on “By Oak, Bramble, and Metro.” At least they were constructive words. I think I’ve got a direction now for the ending. I think.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
3,878 / 4,500

Cold cold cold cold cold

Yesterday, on my way to work, as I was walking out of the Twin Towers–the building catercorner to the Capitol and where the MARTA station is–I was hit by a frigid wind that knocked my breath away and clamped my lungs shut. Of late, my fingers turn blue every time I go outside (and sometimes even when I’m inside)–my Raynaud’s syndrome coming out of its southern climate-induced dormancy–and my skin feels so dry I think it should crackle when I smile.

I remember all of these sensations in icky, vivid clarity. It’s what winters are like in the Midwest: freezing, arid, and painful. It’s not how winters are supposed to be in the South! Wah!

At least it’s not snowing. But this weather makes me utterly miserable.

On the non-griping-about-weather front, dire_epiphany swung by on Sunday and taught me the rudiments of Adobe’s InDesign. So much better than MS Publisher. I’ll be using it to lay out the Daily Dragon from here on. And now I have the urge to engage in gratuitous desktop publishing.


Writing Stuff

I’m way distressed at email right now. In addition to getting undeliverable error messages when I try to send to accounts, it seems some of my emails to other, non-aol accounts aren’t getting through, and I’m not getting any sort of bounce message.

The editor of Writing-World sent me a query about the status of my Writing For Young Readers December column, the one I emailed to her over a week ago. I emailed her my column again and asked for a receipt confirmation (from a couple accounts) and haven’t heard back. Ack!

While the bounce messages are annoying, at least they told me when something I sent didn’t make it. This no error thing is freaking me out, wondering what emails I’ve sent that might’ve gotten lost in transit, and what ones I’m not receiving that the sender hasn’t realized didn’t make it to me. So much of the nuts and bolts of my writing career dealings are dependent upon reliable electronic communications. This is so not good. Also, WTF?

87-day audio reprint sale+contract of “Oranges, Lemons, and Thou Beside Me” to the fine folks of Pseudopod. Not sure when this podcast will go live, but the editors indicated that it might be soon–as in the next couple weeks. Happy dancing and wooting galore!

New Words/Editing:
- Maybe 200 on “By Oak, Bramble, and Metro” and an editing pass to clean up some flotsam. I’m gear-spinny on this one, trying to figure out where I want to take it. I thought I knew, but upon reflection, I think my original idea was too big for the story, when what I really want is to encapsulate a single concept. Pondering.

- Aegri Somnia is now out! Just in time for the holidays. Makes a great gift for all the dark fantasy/horror fans on your shopping list:

“YY” by Jennifer Pelland
“The League of Last Girls” by Christopher Rowe
“All Praise to the Dreamer” by Nancy Fulda
“Nothing of Me” by Eugie Foster
“Heal Thyself” by Scott Nicholson
“On the Shoulders of Giants” by Bryn Sparks
“Dream Takers” by Rhonda Eudaly
“Letters From Weirdside” by Lavie Tidhar
“Wishbones” by Cherie Priest
“All Becomes as Wormwood” by Angeline Hawkes
“Well of the Waters” by Mari Adkins
“Mens Rea” by Steven Savile

Hobkin: sleep aid and writing muse

My cunning plan to go easy on the caffeine yesterday worked, and lo, sleep was had. I conked out right after dinner and didn’t so much as stir when fosteronfilm flashy-thinged me with the camera. Hobkin helped. Napping skunks exude a sleepy aura that drags anyone with them into slumber mode who’s directly in contact with them, and Hobkin flopped upon me with much determination:

But this morning, I’m back to suckling at the java teat. Mmm, coffee.


Writing Stuff

Not much was accomplished yesterday on the writing front due to the diminished levels of caffeine in my bloodstream, but my resting subconscious did engage with the muse. I woke this morning with the realization that I need to add a scene to the last segment of “Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” in order to properly “sell” the finale. Plan to get cracking on that once the caffeine molecules start with the happy bonding at my adenosine receptors.

New Words:
- A mere 300 or so on “By Oak, Bramble, and Metro,” the MARTA-inspired story I’m writing for squirrel_monkey‘s urban fantasy anthology. Thankfully, I have until the end of December to get it to her, not, as I feared, the beginning.

- Got my contrib. copies of the Feb. 2007 issue of Realms of Fantasy:

I’m in awesome company! Check out the fiction ToC:

“Three Wishes” by Bruce Holland Rogers
“Looking After Family” by Carrie Vaughn
“Spare Change” by Chuck Rothman
“Syren” by Graham Edwards
“The Devil and Mrs. Comstock’s Snickerdoodles” by Eugie Foster
“Number of the Bus” by Jay Lake
“Circus Circus” by Eric M. Witchey
“In the Thicket, With Wolves” by Josh Rountree

Lori Koefoed illustrated my story:

I’m tickled. The kitty depicted was actually inspired by Hobkin, and while the resemblance is faint–different species and all–my skunk muse frequently lounges in that exact posture.

Weekend working on rewrites

Friday, I got my first taste of editing a 32-page city charter. Oof. elemess informs me that we can look forward to around a dozen or so of them a session. Did I menion “oof”? But, as much as my eyes crossed and my brain twitched, still better than being an IT cubicle monkey.

fosteronfilm and I started our first foray into Christmas shopping yesterday on the “getting a head start on the manic merriness this year” effort. Not much progress was made, but we discovered that there’s a new Teavana branch at North Points mall. Mmmm, tea. We ended up buying some for us. Yah, it’s what it’s about: shiny malls and consumeristic avarice.


Writing Stuff

- 30-day rewrite request from Intergalactic Medicine Show, of the “I want this, but can you make some changes?” variety. Pending final editorial approval and the cooperation of my muse, “Beauty’s Folly” should be in the Jan. 2007 issue. (Tentative) woohoo!
- 23-day nope from Clarkesworld Magazine.
- Note from Richard Freeborn, editor of Oceans of the Mind, letting me know that they’re ceasing publication. And another pro-paying SF market bites the dust. Damn.

New Words/Editing:
- 400 on the rewrite of “Beauty’s Folly” for IGMS. A bridging paragraph or two and some smoothing and polishing, and I think I’ve got this one bagged.
- 100 on the rewrite request for lynnejamneck‘s Supernatural Sleuths anthology. Tweaking, tweaking, and some ideas that I need to dwell on–the trick being how best to implement them to keep the “sleuth” part sleuthy rather than sledgehammery. Hmmm.

- “Of Two Minds in Lanais” reprinted in French in the Winter 2006 issue (#23) of Faeries. Thanks to lisamantchev for the heads up, as my French wasn’t up to the task. And also, we’re sharing a ToC!