A September of the mind

Hello, friends! It’s been a while. Life is keeping me busy these days. I don’t know whether news from my province reaches you, wherever you are, but here in British Columbia our teachers are on strike. School was supposed to have started September 2nd, but the children are still home.

I lay the lion’s share of blame on our provincial government: they have been under-funding the school system the entire time we’ve lived here; they have deliberately provoked strikes; they’ve broken contracts and ignored the court rulings saying this was against the law. In the 6 years my son has been in school we’ve seen a steady erosion of services. First they stopped serving lunch, and then they cut back on teacher aides and support staff. B needed speech therapy, and we couldn’t get enough from the school; we had to go private. Luckily, we could afford it, but what about all the families who can’t? B needs support in two areas, but we’re told we have to choose one.  It’s a travesty.

It’s rumoured that the province wants to destroy public education so they can introduce a school voucher system. Like in Sweden? That doesn’t inspire confidence.

Anyway, sorry to get all political on you. The upshot of this is that I am home-schooling the lad for the foreseeable future. I’ve heard some folks are eschewing academic work right now in solidarity with teachers. I get that, but think that in fact it would be more helpful to teachers if the kids come in already used to work and ready to go. So far, it’s going okay — where “okay” is what you get when you average out The Best of Times and The Worst of Times.

We’re having a Dickens novel of a time, apparently. That’s probably appropriate.

It’s not very conducive to writing, however, or at least not yet. If we kept at it long enough, our day would surely fall into a routine (ye gods, I hope he’s not out of school THAT long), but so far it’s all pretty labour-intensive. That’s one reason I’m here blogging — I’m trying to reclaim some space in the day (and in my own brain). When he was a baby, blogging was the way I kept up the discipline of writing every day.

I’ve also been getting up early to write, and have completed a book proposal! My agent is sending it to the usual suspects today, and I hope they find it promising. It’s another novel set in Goredd, dealing mostly with new characters, although there’s a bit of Phina in it as well. I don’t want to say too much, because things could still change, but fingers crossed that they give me the go-ahead. I really want to write this book.

If home-schooling is teaching anyone in this household anything, it’s teaching me that I really want to get writing again.

 


Shadow Scale cover!

It’s on Amazon already, so I’m overdue posting it here:

Oooh! Pretty! And I'm told it will have a sheen to it, like the purple Seraphina cover.

Oooh! Pretty! And I’m told it will have a sheen to it, like the purple Seraphina cover.

Yes, the wood-block print is by the same artist who did Seraphina‘s cover, Andrew Davidson.

The Amazon listing describes it as “a companion to Seraphina,” which is already causing a little confusion over on Twitter. Let there be no doubt: Shadow Scale is a sequel, plan and simple, told from Seraphina’s point of view. It begins about three months after the events of the first book. It is also the conclusion of Seraphina’s narrative, so it’s not the middle volume of a trilogy. I refuse to call it a “duology,” however, because I strongly dislike “duology” as a word. I have strong opinions about words, it seems. This should surprise no one.

The date is listed as March 10th, 2015. As with all things publishing, there is a non-zero chance that this might change.

This is so wonderful to me. This book and I have been through so much together, and I can’t even tell you how it feels to know it’s really done, it’s really happening, it’s nearly here. I know March seems far away, but it’s eight months. Babies gestate longer than that. You’ll blink, and it will be here. I’m sure of it.


Rested and ready for trouble

After three weeks of aggressive laziness, I find myself feeling all squirrelly and full of vim today. I spent much of the last week on the floor with a heating pad after throwing out my back; I’m sure it’s no coincidence that I’m feeling better today.

Long ago, my grandmother advised my mother to spend time every day sitting in a chair, getting used to being old. My mother, ever the contrarian, did not follow that advice, but that’s how I’ve felt for the last week, like I was practising senescence. I think I got good enough at it. Surely it’s like riding a bike, right? When the time comes, I won’t forget how.

Anyway, DONE with that. The one good thing is that I got some reading done. It’s been so long since I had leisure to read much of anything that I’m absurdly giddy with it. I finished Thomas Pynchon’s V. which I’d read way back in college (ye gods, almost exactly two decades ago! Speaking of my senescence). In fact, I’ve started a little reading group on Facebook called Club V. If you have any interest in reading and discussing along with me and some other intrepid souls, please do look us up. It’s an open group for now. I may close it at some point if it gets too unwieldy.

You know I’m feeling happy if I’m reading difficult books and digging into my comparative literature roots for fun. I think it’s finally sinking in that Shadow Scale is done and I’m free. I had my celebratory luncheon at Nuba. It keeps hitting me – I’m done! – and I’m dizzy with it.

I even started “the talk” with my agent – wherein we figure out what kind of trouble I should get into next. It’s wide open, darlings. Wide, wide open.


DONE.

The sequel. Written. Sent.

All out of words.


Ce moys de may!

The jolly, jolly month of May! Here’s how I’m feeling right now:

Five days ’til Le Grand Deadline, darlings. I am so close to done, I can taste it. I really am ready to come up out of this hole I’ve been living in and go biking and singing in the sunshine.

Back soon!


Belle Epoque

Last of the Morris interviews! Elizabeth Bunce talks to Elizabeth Ross about Belle Epoque!

I hope you’ve enjoyed all of these. I sure have. The Morris Award will be announced with the rest of the ALA Youth Media Awards (the Printz, the Coretta Scott King, the Caldecott, etc.) on Monday, January 27th, in a ceremony beginning at 8am EST.

That’s 5am on the west coast, here. I’d whine about that, but I’m sometimes up that early anyway. If you follow that ALA link, it looks like there’s going to be a live webcast. And will you look at all those smiley librarians? Ooh, one of them is holding Seraphina!

Anyway, congrats to all nominees. As convenient as it was for me to go to Seattle last year, I do kind of envy you all going to Philly, where I used to live.


Sex and Violence

Today’s fabulous Morris nominee interview is up! John Corey Whaley talks to Carrie Mesrobian about her first novel, Sex and Violence.

And be sure to tune in Monday, when Stephanie Kuehn graciously answers my impertinent questions about Charm and Strange.

In other news: did I mention I’m on deadline? I reckon I did. Sorry to be so absent, but it’s eaten my entire brain. I will just say, it continues to go well, although I’m getting a bit tired. This has been quite the sustained effort, for me. I throw it back at Jim in just over two weeks, and then I’m FREE — until the next go-round. And there will be one, because that’s the way we work.

But hey, it’s getting better all the time. Let that encourage you.


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