Monthly Archives: April 2012

Enemy of Pants

I’ve never really been one of those “case of the Monday’s” people.  In fact, my personal weekly timeline runs thusly:

 

Monday – Not so bad.  You’re only a day past the weekend.  Coasting on weekend fumes, even.

Tuesday – Well, still, only a couple days past the weekend, and nobody’s complaining about Monday anymore.

Wednesday – Middle of the week!  You’re gonna make it!  It’s all a slow slide into the weekend, now.

Thursday – Friday Eve.  Enough said.

Friday – Is this even a day?  It never feels like one to me.  More a chance to ramp up my to-do lists for the weekend.

So, as you can see, I apparently put all my living towards two days out of the seven allotted to me each week.  Not really, of course.  I’m really, really busy, and there’s no way I could get by that way.  But I can always look forward to the stretch of hours over the weekend, where I can apply butt to chair and write without needing to do anything else.

I’m still a little slower on Monday.  It takes me a few extra minutes to write up the Tower of To-Do, and I maybe gaze blearily at the internet for a bit longer, wondering what sort of fuckery the week is waiting to unleash upon us.  But I don’t dislike the day itself.

Nope. I dislike having to put on real trousers and leave my nest. There’s just far too much “world” out here.  I’m not a fan. I think I could manage it a bit better if I didn’t have to deal with the pants.

Ah well. The best thing about Monday is that Monday night is Writing Night.  And the best thing about Monday afternoon?  Totally Music Monday:

 


Appearance – Balticon 46, May 25-28, 2012

Hey! Look at me, remembering to tell people things while there is still time to plan for them!

Michelle and I will be appearing at Balitcon 46, Memorial Day weekend (May 25-28, 2012) in Baltimore, MD.

We don’t have our full panel schedule yet, but we do know for sure that on Sunday evening, from 5:30 to 6:15 p.m., you can join us in Parlor 1041 for the Cupcakes and Con Men party, to celebrate the paperback release of The Slipstream Con. We’ll be plastering wanted posters and party details all over the various nooks and crannies of the hotel, but you can firmly state that you heard it here first. Please stop by for free cupcakes, party games, and frivolity of a Ylendrian bent. We will have paperback copies of The Slipstream Con for sale at the event, and would be thrilled (giddy, perhaps, given the amount of sugar we intend to have on offer!) to personalize a copy to send home with you.


What We’re Working On Wednesday

A project list- we have one!  It’s been tweaked and edited, and appears roughly in order of current priorities, though that could change at any moment, and the fact that solo projects appear at the bottom doesn’t indicate that they rank lower than co-written stories.

Michelle and Reesa

Novel-length:

Peripheral People (Ylendrian Empire #3) – We’re currently re-reading with fresh eyes, incorporating a lot of feedback from our awesome pre-reader group, and knocking this one back into shape.

A War for Ghosts (Ylendrian Empire #4) – Lewis Jacquard has a fast ship, a charmed life, and a missing chunk of his youth, lost to indiscretions unbecoming the heir to the largest media conglomerate in the Empire. He’s also got a lover who talks to ghosts, and a wayward wife who’d like to string him up by something he’s rather fond of.  Still, nothing he can’t handle, until his past starts unraveling, leaving him fighting in the remains of a war he doesn’t remember volunteering for.

Novella/Short-story:

Gifts Too Fine – Ylendrian Empire short story/novella – Kellen Frey is about to come up against a problem he can’t charm his way out of: a visit to the in-laws. Thank goodness Heston Gruin is willing to step in and distract him with a job, even if it’s not one he wants anything to do with.

Far From the Tree Ylendrian Empire short story/novella – Post-Peripheral People, Inspector Corwin Menivie is called home to Kaleia, where between the family who disowned him, the “help” of Agent Westley Shears, and the restrictive society that doesn’t play by Imperial rules, he finds the murder of an anthropologist is about the least of his problems.

With Knives – Vanya Reyes never knew her father, at least until an argument with her mother sent her marching for his doorstep.  He’s not the most welcoming of long-lost parents, but he’s willing to help her find a place in the Imperial Court.  When she falls in love with the Imperial Princess, Vanya’s betting that’s not the position he had in mind.

Changing of the Guard – Sometimes, the battle keeps going long after the last shot is fired.  Tal Serafine isn’t sure he wants to be the one pulling the trigger anymore.

Michelle:

Who Remembers? – Journalists putting together a book about America’s abandoned places stumble across one with a personal connection neither of them is expecting, and their only hope might be a reclusive innkeeper.

Reesa:

Not Actually the Title Of This Story (Jessup’s Run #1) – Post-apocalyptic fringe rebels trying to save their friend from a disease must use their hidden, mutated powers to infiltrate the corporate city that offers their only hope of salvation.  Caution: Contains murderous mutant river otters, a lack of speed limits, one little girl who swears too much, and the crazy notion of a future worth fighting for.


RavenCon

Con Up

Reesa and I just got back from RavenCon in Richmond, VA. It was our first time, and honestly, I’m bummed that we probably won’t get to go back as participants next year. They have a policy of inviting new folks in consecutive years, an interesting idea that probably helps them keep things fresh.

Brandon Blackmoor did an incredible job setting up the panels and coordinating who was going to be where when, not an easy task. Every panel we participated in was fun and informative and lively, something that can be directly attributed to the other panelists. Which is to say that we met awesome people, some of whom we’re hoping to snag for interviews down the road so their awesomeness can be shared. Yeah, or something more grammatically correct.

I’ll also be adding lots of newness to my Kindle. All hail the Amazon Visa and earning points! Going on my list will be John Betancourt’s mystery anthology, “Pit and the Pendulum”. And add an excited waving-of-hands here for an invitation from him to participate in his soon-to-be-announced shared world writing project.

More excitement… Reesa and I are now proud Broads! Leona Wisoker was on two of our panels, and mentioned a Rapid Fire Reading she was moderating with some other women from Broad Universe. We went to the reading (excellent, by the way) and asked about membership. For those new to them (me, until Saturday!), Broad Universe is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror and other speculative genres. http://www.broaduniverse.org/ Go. Join!

Con Down

Why oh why do I always think of clever things I should’ve said during a panel HOURS TOO LATE? Someone please tell me that this gets better. I really really like being on panels, but I end up feeling that I don’t contribute anything worthwhile.


Michelle and Reesa Go To RavenCon

Our schedules for RavenCon are as follows:

Friday

4 p.m. – Room E – Space Cowboys and Fantasy Noir

7 p.m. – Room E&F – Opening Ceremonies

8 p.m. – Board Room – Reading

Saturday

12 p.m. – Room F – From Print to Electronic Publishing

1 p.m. – Cove – Self-Promotion and Social Anxiety: At least your Mom still loves you. (Maybe.) (Moderating)

11 p.m. – Cove – Non-Monogamy in Speculative Fiction: Threesome doesn’t mean erotica (Moderating)

Sunday

9 a.m. – Room F – Rethinking “Write What You Know”

10 a.m. – Cove – Our Favorite Non-Genre Shows (Reesa only.)


R-E-J-E-C-T-E-D: Find out what it means to me.

Please ignore the HORRIBLE scan on that title.

So, without sugar-coating it, the first “final” draft of our recent book was returned with a partial rejection.  The editor, one we’ve worked with twice before, was kind enough to include the reasons that it didn’t work for them.  That’s not something you can count on with a rejection, though I imagine that given our history, we stood a better shot of getting feedback than someone coming directly from the slush pile.

If you follow us on Twitter, you might have noticed that we did an all-out push to finish the book.  It basically consumed our lives for about three solid weeks, and when we were done, we felt like we’d won the lottery.  We made a book, and it was good!  We pushed our own boundaries, and loved it to death, and shoved it out the door as soon as we finished the third round of self-edits, because we were simultaneously proud as hell, and sick unto death of looking at it. We were happy little writers, and we both still love the book to bits.

But we weren’t readers.  And you know who tends to like books?  Readers.

I won’t bore you with the psychology of my writing process (at least, not today), but even with a partner, writing is a lonely sort of business.  Telling stories is amazing, but I think most people who tell them want someone else to hear them.  Part of writing, for me, is sinking myself into the movie and translating it.  (Oh, look, I lied about not veering into this topic.  You can read my previous post about it here.)  That means it’s all there for me- sight, sound, even smell a lot of times, and I know without a doubt who the character is on a level that might never make it to the page.  A lot of times, it doesn’t need to.  But when I’m being a writer, I am emphatically not being a reader.  As an engaged reader, I want to know what’s going to happen next, what happened before, and I want to poke into all the little cracks and find everything I possibly can in the story.  If I didn’t do my job as a writer, didn’t convey the right parts of the experience, or let them get lost as I took the long way around to the bones of the story, why should I expect a reader to settle in long enough for the story to enfold them?

And that’s where an editor catches you.  Obviously, we’ve sold to this editor before, and we like working with them. So when they came to us with these problems, and said it really hurt the book, why wouldn’t we listen?  I mean- it’s an editor’s job to know what’s going to work, and what’s going to sell, and what’s going to showcase our story in the best light.  Why would I get pissed at that? If I respect them enough to let them tinker with my book, why wouldn’t I respect their opinion on whether or not the book is working?

We’ve disagreed on a few things, and this editor has been respectful of our wishes.  At the end of the day, we wrote the book, not them.  Obviously, if an editor wades into a story with a hacksaw and hands you back the dismembered (or disgendered) head of your main character, you’ve got every right in the world to question that editorial advice, or even to take your work elsewhere, especially if it’s not an editor you trust.

As a writer, I see the work that went into my stories, the craft and hours and joy of writing them.  During the submission process, viewing my work as a writer can be a huge hindrance to the book, because at that point, I need to be looking at it almost as two people- writer and reader.  Being so caught up in the creating that you can’t judge the creation isn’t unique to writing, but if you’re submitting your writing somewhere, you’ve got a checkpoint that many other artists don’t: a good editor.

Down to brass tacks: an editor is a reader with a built-in vested interest.  They want your story to be the best it can be.  They want it to be engaging and solidly written.  An editor wants your book to succeed.  I’m not disregarding that they edit for a love of good stories, but good stories get talked about, and getting talked about gets sales.  Authors want to sell books.  Editors want to sell books.  And readers want to buy books that have been lovingly created, beautifully written- and read over by someone who knows what makes a good story better.

Rejection sucks, tiddlywinks.  It’s no lie that I’m really, really sad that our book didn’t make this editor jump up in their office and scream, “Everyone, stop writing- THIS is the best book I’ve ever read!  There can be no other!”  (What?  Like you don’t pretend you’ve written one of the Manuscripts of Power?  You’ll never cast my page proofs into the fires of Mordor!  ANYway…)

You know what would have sucked worse?  Publishing what I still believe is an incredible story, and losing most of our readers in the first three chapters, because we were too busy being pissed off that someone didn’t recognize our brilliance. Rejection, in this case, was a gift, and we intend to return the kindness by writing a better book and taking the editor’s advice into account.

Time to make it better.