Love Terry Pratchett? Well, there’s a Tumblr for that: Terry Pratchett Appreciation. I have a short piece on there, along with other fabulous authors like Cory Doctorow and Megan Whalen Turner. I believe they are also taking submissions, if you feel inspired.
Sorry this is brief, but my poor whippet is unwell. *sigh* Off to the vet with us.
I had never heard of this book before, and then it’s come to my attention twice within a month: Codex Seraphinianus. Read the article; admire the artwork. It’s gently, humanely surreal, and right up my alley.
Seraphina – from my novel – is not named after Luigi Serafini or his Codex, and yet she could have been. It would have been apropos. These images would fit right in with her Garden of Grotesques, I think.
It occurs to me that you probably want some information about this mysterious sequel I’ve been working on for the last geologic age. A few things may now be told without being spoilery.
The title will be Shadow Scale
Two words. It was originally one, and I still like it better as one, but there were other, logistical reasons to make it two. I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say what those reasons are just yet, so you must use your imagination. If your imagination is on vacation (it IS November, after all) I will give you some alternatives:
a) Because I get paid by the word
b) Because somebody hacked it in two with a sword
c) Because when it was one word, people kept misreading it as “Shadows Cale” and then getting hungry for mysterious cruciferous vegetables
The correct answer is, of course, all three.
Second item of business: when does the accursed thing come out? We have a date, darlings, but it may be subject to change, so pencil it in. As of right now, if revisions go the way they should and my editor isn’t eaten by Godzilla and an asteroid doesn’t hit Manhattan and I don’t fall down a hole, the book should be out by:
I will give you a moment to weep. That’s fair. It is November, after all, and nobody should be expected to hold it in when the rain clouds can’t be bothered to show the same consideration.
Done? Good. Now let’s get a YAAAAY! Because this thing is real. It is happening. There were days I thought it never would be, when my mind felt like a glacier, cold and barren and immovable.
But glaciers do move. They move mountains and etch valleys and bulldoze entire landscapes. I have applied irresistible forces to immovable objects. I have eroded whole canyons, sometimes with nothing but a persistent drip.
Heh. Persistent drip. That pretty much sums me up.
A fascinating article about synaesthesia and a place where music and science history intersect. I don’t have time to comment sensibly because I’m just walking out the door, but well worth a read.
Steve Howe’s merry guitar tune, “Clap”
I had understood the title of this song to be “The Clap”, as in the STD, but according to Wikipedia, that’s wrong. I just checked our antique tape of The Yes Album, and there it is, wrong. How annoying would that be, to write a jolly little song in honour of your son’s birth and then some album-cover designer renames it after gonorrhea. I’d be a little upset, I have to admit.
But what a happy song, and what an interesting video of it. I’m so used to the cello and violin model of of string instruments, where you’d be moving the left hand fingers for each individual note, but you can see really clearly here that the left hand holds set chord positions and most of the work and challenge is in the right hand. Pretty neat.
You may remember that we steamed a haggis ’round these parts on Bobby Burns Day back in January. Well, we’re up to no good again, this time in the form of 19th century nautical cuisine. My husband has been reading Patrick O’Brian’s novels – basis for the movie Master and Commander, if that’s more familiar – and he’s grown increasingly intrigued by what the sailors eat.
And who wouldn’t want to try figgy dowdy? I maintain he’s got a point.
And so, yes, we’re diving in. Today he and our son will be making hardtack (two kinds! No weevils, though), and then tomorrow we’re making salt pork, pease porridge (hot? cold? nine days old?), figgy dowdy, and grog.
REAL grog, not Ikea grog. Made from rum, lime juice, and bilge water. Bilge-tastic!
Anyway, my lads have largely taken charge of this whole operation, which is nice. I’m to take pictures and make sure Nancy Dawson is playing while we drink our grog. No, really, there was a specific fife tune for grog-drinking time. Here it is.
Why yes, it has been forever — or maybe half of forever, which is close enough. I hope you weren’t worried. I needed to step away from this space for a while. I may do it again at some point, with or without warning. Well, THIS is your warning, I guess.
I think it’s fair to blame the sequel for pretty much everything. The way it ate my brain, the way it had me so stressed out in April that I would freeze up when I sat down to write. This sequel has, on occasion, been very very mean to me.
Or I’ve been very mean to myself. Or a lot of both.
I’m afraid I had to spend some time untangling myself and figuring out how to love writing again. The weird thing is that in the course of doing that, I found answers to a few problems in the sequel. That’s right: without all the suffering, I couldn’t have written those things. I’d spent months prior to that, trying to write a book I couldn’t write because I hadn’t been through April (the cruellest month! ™) yet.
Clearly, what we have here is some kind of timeline issue that could be solved quite easily if I had a time machine. I could go forward in time to my Future Self and say, “So, Future Self, what hard-won wisdom have you gleaned, so I can put it in this here book I’m writing. Don’t worry, I’ll mention you in the acknowledgements.”
At which point my Future Self would probably steal my time machine and blast herself back to ancient Greece. For all I know, she’s already done this. Time machines are tricky that way.
In any case, this is a terribly tedious and roundabout way of saying I’m feeling better. I’m writing better. I’ve taught myself overtone singing. We’re all gonna be OK.
Ah, friends, once again I’m burying myself in work for the next foreseeable while. I want so badly to get this draft of the sequel off my chest; you don’t even know. I am keeping my nose to the proverbial grindstone, thinking I can finish it soon. You may not hear from me before March. Keep well until then, and I will see you on the other side.
Hello darlings! I have an item of interest and another of good news, and the sun is shining, and… and… *whew!* okay, deep breath.
[Pause while the author breathes! You should breathe too, at some point.]
Firstly! I have an interview up at YALSA’s The Hub! We talk about my Morris Award nomination, music, dragons, and other good stuff. Thank you so much Jessica and YALSA for all the kind attention!
Nextly! I have been nominated for this year’s Golden Tentacle Kitschie Award. No, really, that’s a thing, and not just anything, but an AWESOME THING. The trophy is – get this – A TENTACLE. I know, right? I generally try to approach these nominations with philosophical equanimity, and it is such an honour to be short-listed. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much, but, well. It’s hard.
Thirdly! I had lunch yesterday with Elizabeth May, author of upcoming urban fantasy The Falconer. It was super nice of her to cross a whole ocean just to have lunch with me, and I had a great time. The wonder of the internet, eh? We can have friends and colleagues all over the world.
My dog, in an effort to keep me humble and grounded, is whining to go out. She’s having digestive issues, which is just as glamorous as it sounds. That’s all for now, friends!
Here’s a blog post about emotion vs. intellect in fiction. Specifically YA and MG fiction, in this case.
What interested me most, strangely enough, was the classification of genres as Adrenaline, Emotional, Intellectual, and Landscape. I wonder whether these don’t correspond to the predominance of certain elements of fiction, namely (in the same order) plot, character, theme (or ideas), and setting. Novels should have all of these, of course, but I’m sure readers (and writers too) feel consistently drawn to some elements more than others.