Wednesday, April 08, 2009
On to the next book
It's been a long week. My oldest cat, Lady Jane Pudge'ums, got sick last week. She died on Monday at very nearly 17 years of age. She had a good, long life -- Russ and I tried to remember if she had ever been to the vet for anything more than being fixed and shots. It's made this a difficult week in an already difficult year -- I've lost three cats in the last year and a half since Russ moved to New York, including Guy who was a very sweet cat and who had just showed up at the house one day. And my beloved Pip, of course. I still miss him.
Russ is going to be home for a few days towards the end of the month. He has classes to teach locally, but we'll have quite a bit of time together. It'll be good to have him here again, and not just because we need to get some stuff fixed.
I'm done with Kat Among the Pigeons, except for a final read-through for whatever little things I messed up on. I think it's a very solid story, and I entered it into the Knight Agency's Novel in a Nutshell contest. I may enter another book before it's over, if I can get anything to fall together properly. I've been working on something for Glory and considering it for Vita's Vengeance, which is currently getting one more rewrite... though, to be honest, it's looking so good that I can't bring myself to count it as a real word-for-word rewrite since so much of it is barely getting a word or two changed in some lines -- though some pages are getting extensive changes or cut completely. Anyway, I'm only counting 1000 words for every ten pages, which was about what it worked out to be in changes for the first thirty pages. It does mean a LOT of work for each day, but that's been good lately. It's kept me very busy so that I don't have time to think about other things. So type, type, type little fingers.
Sometimes even I need busy work to keep my brain engaged and out of darker thoughts.
And if a rewrite of this type seems an odd thing to do when I've decided that the book doesn't really need so much work... well, I have found that I'm able to see problems more clearly when I read and type than when I read and fix. I've already come across a couple 'huh?' moments in the story. Part of this is because I have been doing line-editing on other stories, and doing the same on VV gets confusing. I need variety.
Unless there is a major change in the story at some point, this will be the last retyping of it, though. It's a good story and the prose is finally, really just about right. Really.
(Glares at the story again... you will be right this tiem!)
(Well, maybe not....)
Here is a bit from the book:
Rain sliced the air like needles and with a hint of ice in each hard drop. General Jarak stood on the edge of the landing ramp and let the cold hit him. Planetary atmospheres always amazed him. He never understood why people chose to live where they did, especially in places so uncomfortable. They had worlds to choose from, after all -- but here they gathered, in this cold, dirty and gray place.
He walked down the narrow ramp and into the stinging rain with his Shadow following. Verdi Elite, marching in perfect formation, saluted him and moved on.
He found the tiny Tyr port ill-equipped, and barely large enough for three shuttles and his flagship to put down at once. The constant exchange of transports cost him time and any element of surprise. It annoyed Jarak that he had to come into Dasan through this awkward back door, but he had learned enough about the Kaiton defenses to know he couldn't risk his troops and precious ships in a forced landing there.
So here he stood in Tyr, an honored guest of the great Dictator Ivas, who seemed to think Jarak had brought all these troops just to help the fool conquer Kai. Ivas also mistakenly thought the two of them were equals and allies. As soon as General Jarak had time, he would disabuse the man of that odd notion. When Jarak finished, Ivas might still remain in nominal control of Tyr, but he would have no doubt whom he answered to.
Jarak disliked needing this backward, farming world to cement his hold on the Aquila Fringe and make himself independent of outside influence and dependencies. After he had Dasan in his control, he could stand up to the Inner Worlds Council with impunity and let them know the Aquila Fringe would not become another sector sucked into the morass of their laws and taxes.
No, not these worlds: These worlds would remain free as they had been intended when the first settlers came this way, already fleeing the nascent power of the IWC.
Jarak finally walked down the ramp from his ship and crossed the rain-drenched cement, heading toward the squat gray port terminal. The rain began to fall harder as he stepped inside the building, and he managed not to frown. Crimson uniformed Verdi Elite patrolled the inner room, and only a few locals stood back watching him enter. Behind Jarak, his Shadow moved almost exactly in step with his master. The burly, nearly mindless guard existed only to make certain Jarak remained safe. The convicted murderer had made amends by volunteering to serve in the Verdi Army under strict mindblock controls. Jarak chose such burly halfwits for his personal protection because he didn't like his guards to have much mind left to distract them from their work.
Between the Shadow and his very fine personal armor an assassin would have very little chance to kill him. He took what precautions he could against the fools and madmen who considered him a greater danger than the IWC and all its mindless, powerful allies. The drones were lucky to have him, Jarak thought, or they would go mindlessly into IWC slavery without a complaint.
Ivas finally came into the room with a half dozen gray-uniformed guards around him. Gray, gray -- everything seemed gray in this ugly place.
"Ivas." Jarak spoke the name in a cool greeting while his hand dramatically brushed away a line of rain water running across his forehead. He had noted the vidcams his people had carefully arranged, and he knew how to play to them.
"Forgive me," Ivas mumbled -- words he plainly didn't say very often. "No one informed us your ship had landed. I would have sent a proper transport to bring you from the flagship to the terminal."