Thursday, June 25, 2009

A bit late....

I am a day or two from finishing Badlands, which is always an exciting, fun time for me. I want to rush through and do it tonight, but I have other work that has to be done. And besides, if I draw it out for one more day, it gives me a little extra time to come up with the next book to do. I think it ought to be Rat Pirates because I did Vita's Vengeance and Badlands, and Rat Pirates ties those two together.

Only there is a problem. Rat Pirates is at least a decade old. I'm sure I have a copy, though.... I have copies of everything, sometimes in various versions.

Well, I just spent hours searching and no sign of it. So I checked my older computer files and I lucked out. I had a copy from 1998 -- but it was in an old WPS format that the new copy of Works that came with the computer couldn't read. Then I found a file from 2000 where I had put all the chapters together and saved in a doc file -- and it opened! Yay computer!

So now I can go ahead and finish Badlands and go straight into this one and have all three rewritten in one year! Yay!

Oh. Forgot to post this! Up it goes now. No snippet this week -- too late to go find one. Maybe later! On the good side, I wrote over 5,000 words today and I should have Badlands done tomorrow.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Of Storms and Things

I opened one of the last boxes of books still to be catalogued at LibraryThing a couple days ago, and there I found most of my Andre Norton collection. I should have had the books listed by now, but I've been slowed down by reading a few pages out of several of them. Andre Norton was one of the earliest sf authors I ever read. I can't remember how I learned she was a woman, but it had an impact on me. Yes -- it was then that I realized women could write these types of things that I loved.

Norton had a lasting effect on my style and the type of story I tell. I tend to write young adult material with a lot of 'outsider' main characters, for instance. That probably doesn't sound particularly Andre Norton-ish, but it was from her that I fell in love with that type of character. I still want to write like Andre Norton, even though her books are outdated in some ways. But they were great adventures. They are still great adventures. I'm having trouble putting them down and getting work done.

I always loved her sf better than her fantasy. I'm still not certain how I got sidetracked into fantasy and writing it -- and selling more fantasy than sf, for that matter. But maybe this was really what I needed, to revisit the things that inspired me.

Ah... well, a bit later now. Had quite a storm here and I got some incredible lightning video. It was, in fact, the lightning that knocked out the power and left me without the computer for a little bit. I was just turning the camera off when it hit -- which means I missed the incredible sound afterwards, but that's all right. It was so loud it might have damaged the camera's mic.

And here is a little bit of that short story I began back in April. I've been working on it off and on since then, and I hope to get it done this month:

Keris looked to the window, about two yards away. He looked to the doorway and the shield. Then with a prayer to the gods of fools, he sent the shield out the door and he pushed himself up, dashed to the window and threw himself out --

As he had expected -- hoped -- whoever was after him went for overkill. He had thought they might, given that they sent an entire storm to kill him. As soon as the shield moved out the door lightning struck with a force that destroyed half of the house and sent him flying out the window and into the bushes beyond --

Parts of the house hit him. He dared not try to shield because he would draw attention again and it was all he could do to keep from cursing when something struck him firmly on the back of his right leg. He knew he was bleeding, but he didn't dare move -- he hardly dared breath.

Silence filled the world where only the shift of broken wood creaked now and then.

"Did we get the bastard?" someone asked. Accent. His ears were still ringing and he couldn't quite hear it well enough to decide where the man might be from.

"Must have," someone else said. Magic brushed over the top of him, so close that he could feel it like warmth against his skin. "No sign of him."

Damn poor mage not to have picked him up. He had started to move, but he stopped instead.

"We better go," the other said. "We don't want to be here if someone checks."

"Yes. You start back. I'll follow right behind. Be careful! There's no telling what trouble we might run into back at the palace."

"Lord Faulk will have everything in hand."

"I hope so!"

Faulk. It was a name to make his skin chill even more and a knot suddenly grew in his stomach that had not been there despite everything that had just happened. Faulk was a problem -- a man who had not taken well to being told that Princess Chloe would not marry him. In fact, he had been so rude about it that the king had sent him packing and he'd not been invited back to the palace.

Apparently, he had come without invitation.

Keris felt a wave of hot magic wash over the area and heard the particular wooshing sound of a gate opened. Hellish lot of magic going on around here suddenly, and it did not make him feel any better.

"Keris -- I know you're out there. Go carefully, friend. Go very carefully. We need your help. Chloe needs you. I know you won't let her down."

And then another woosh, and the magic died down. He didn't move. He wasn't certain he could, between shock, injury and worry. He didn't dare mess this up -- and he was a long time out of contact with the court. Too long, apparently.

Though whatever Lord Faulk had done, it must have been recent. He'd had some contact with people, after all. Just last week, Master Ferick had promised him good weather, and there had been nothing strained or unsettling about the conversation. Ferick would have let him know. Ferick was loyal to the royal family.

That, finally, gave him a little hope.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Novel Report

First, before I forget -- I now have a Twitter page. Silly, yeah -- but kind of fun, and why not?

I have a dull life, of course, but it's fun to drop a few lines there during the day while I work.

And speaking of work....

Badlands is still moving ahead at a nice 2k a day or so clip. I am considering a huge cultural change in the background, but I am getting the plotline and basics cleaned up in this version. After that, I'll put it aside again and continue to think about the work of rewriting the story into a different cultural background. It might work. I have to wait and see. I've been testing out different ideas for the change, and none of them appeal to me as much as the original Hispanic references and the gang groups. They work for this novel, and they are (as mentioned in the book itself) a moderated version of the gangs back on Mother Earth.

Draw the Line has finally reached 80,000 words. I find this kind of surprising because it felt like it wasn't moving at all at its little 500 words a day. Things are happening in the story now that I have focused on plot again, and not just on getting those 500 words written. I am looking at the larger picture, and creating a situation that is far beyond what I had originally planned. I was most of the way into the trouble when I realized that it just was not enough to carry the story. And then I realized it was a great set up for something far worse. It's wonderful how it all fell in together, too.

So here is a short little snip from Draw the Line, and the humans explaining a few things about humans to one of the Kasa. (Who, I think, are about to become Ksa. I accidentally typed that the other day, and think it looks better for an alien race. And a reminder that due to facial structure, the Kasa cannot say the letters b, p, and m -- though sometimes they sneak into my typing anyway.)

"The Kasa will take Rafael into our care if the humans feel they 'ust leave the station," he said. "We will hold here as 'est we can."

"We aren't going to jump ship just yet," Ardhi said.

"Jum' shi'?"

"Leave in a hurry during danger," Ardhi said. "It's an old Earth term from the nautical -- from the the sea-faring days. Sometimes it referred to leaving a ship without permission when in port."

Etinon nodded and apparently filed that information away for future use. Morgan wondered what the Kasa thought of their sayings. That last one said a great deal about them, after all. Leave at a time of danger. Abandon duty.

Only it was not true of them as a species.

"If the situation becomes one where we think that our presence will make more of a problem than our leaving, then we might leave," Morgan said, drawing his attention. "If it looks as though the Norishi might try to kill us all, we will go. There is no honor in dying without a good reason. We'll fight back, but we are mostly scientists and not warriors. We will save our information, retreat from the trouble, and come back when it is safer."

"You would come 'ack?" Etinon said. "Even if the Norishi is still here?"

"If we thought it was safe to be with them," Ardhi said. "And if we didn't, we might find that we would remove the Norishi first."

Etinon started to say something. He stopped. "You think you could re'ove the Norishi."

"You would be surprised at what humans can do," Neva said and looked up at him. "There is something about our nature that you might not understand. We are also extremely territorial. We believe that once we have settled somewhere, it is ours. This appears to be hardwired, and it allows us to believe we are home wherever we settle for a length of time. And we defend our homes."

"Ah. Ah." He looked from one to the other, then glanced back at Rafe. "The Norishi are dangerous."

"So are we," Neva said. The words seemed to give her strength and she stood. "I need false information to feed to the Norishi spy. Let's come up with something inventive to tell her."

"We can fake the call of a ship coming in," Ardhi said. He tapped his comm. "If she has direct contact with the other Norishi, we might be able to scare them into backing off."
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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

June already!

Wednesday. It almost got away from me there!

So, we're into June and coming perilously close to half a year gone already. It's gone far too quickly. But I have done better than I expected. I am already a bit over 500k in word count, and I have managed to send something out almost every month. I've written about nine short stories, and I have several rewritten novels. Draw the Line is almost up to 80k, too. It's still not going quite right, but I at least have something to work with.

So, in many ways, the year is going well for writing. Better than last year, and likely better than the year before. But I am trying to focus a bit better this year. I think it is helping in some ways and not in others. Part of me wouldn't mind just floating along and not worrying over anything at all, but that's probably not wise.

All in all, not too bad for the first few months. Better than I hoped. We'll see how the rest of the year goes.

So here is the opening to one of the short stories I did:

It's never good to find the fae at the gate first thing in the morning. When Captain Kirlin arrived and looked down, he shook his head in worry. It could have been worse, though. They could have just blown the gate down and come into town. That hadn't happened for at least a decade, though.

So maybe this wasn't so bad.

Living on the edge of Fae Lands was always a challenge. He liked it here. He even liked the fae... but it was never good when there was trouble between the two groups.

And this looked like trouble.

"I'll go down," he said. He tried not to sound worried. "Carla, you go up to the keep and tell Lord Martin that we may have trouble. I'll send word when I find out what it is."

Carla gave several quick nods and hurried away, plainly relieved not to have to deal with whatever trouble stood at the gates. He almost smiled at the haste with which she carried out the order. She hadn't moved that quickly in days.

But he looked back down and saw, unexpectedly, someone he had not expected. Ashilina looked up at him. She gave a quick wave of her hand -- magic sparkled through the air in a sign they had made between them, and meant this was serious trouble.

He hurried down the old wood stairs -- time to replace them. They'd grown slick from use and he nearly fell. He cursed softly, but reached the bottom in good time and without any broken bones. He brushed down his tunic, wishing he'd known about the guests and had worn his dress uniform. He unbuckled his sword and handed it to the guard who opened the portal door. In a moment, he slipped out into the clear morning light. Dew clung to the grass and the wood of the gate door. The fae stood a few steps away, quiet and calm, but he could almost feel the worry in the air. This was not going to be good.

"We have a missing child," Ashilina said. She lifted her pale, thin hand and laid fingers on Kirlin's arm. He could feel the chill of her touch, which was normally so warm and comforting. "It is Halley."

Kirlin felt his heart start beating far too quickly. Lord Martin's son, child of a lovely fae woman named Sisa. She had disappeared when the child was barely two, and the boy had come to live with his father for a while. He'd been a frail, quiet boy who had never seemed quite connected with the world around him, and who walked with a slight limp.

Life with his father hadn't worked out -- the Lord's wife was not real happy to have a half-breed bastard son in the house, especially since she had no children at all.

Lady Bell had been vocal and cruel, and the child had gone back to live with the fae at the age of ten. They hadn't seen anything of him in the last four years. He hadn't even thought about Halley for quite a while.
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