Checking In

My contributor’s copy for the reprint of “Night, in Dark Perfection” in China’s Science Fiction World arrived a few days ago, shown left. I can’t read it, but I hear the story wasn’t bad.

I’ll be participating in a group flash fiction reading at @littlefallslibrary  (Little Falls, NY) on Wednesday, November 13, at 6PM. Stop by if you’re in the area.

Little Fire & Fog has been selling well since its release (hard to do before release unless there was a pre-order. Which there wasn’t. I’m not that patient.). My thanks to everyone who took a chance on it. There’s one stellar review up already.

Otherwise, I’m starting a new project that’s going to take a while. Not saying what it is just yet because I don’t want to jinx it, but at least some of you will be pleased to hear..when I get around to telling you, that is. Until then, the occasional cryptic update might be all there is.

 

Little Fire and Fog

I’m running a bit late today, I know. Not as late as last week, when the blog didn’t get posted until Wednesday, but late nonetheless. The image to the left is a big part of the reason. Also, I can’t wait until Wednesday this week since I have Jury Duty. Another motivation to get this wrapped up while I still can.

The long novella project, Little Fire & Fog goes live today. My editor got through with it late last week, the rewrite is finished, and I’m doing this as an indie book. It came in just over 35k, too short for an official novel, but it doesn’t miss it by much. I like the way it turned out. Now we’ll see if anyone else does.

There was a time I wouldn’t even consider going indie on anything. These days and for some projects, it’s really the only path that makes sense. LF&F is more akin to the type of fractured fairy tale I used to publish in Realms of Fantasy back in the day. That was then and now isn’t, and the market has changed, as it always does. There’s no professional market at all for that sort of thing just now. I like writing them, but if I want anyone to actually read them, this is the only game in town.

Finally, shout-outs to Scott Andrews and Kij Johnson for their World Fantasy Award wins. Congratulations to all the winners but likewise to the nominees. It really is an honor just to be nominated. I remember.

 

Rewrite Time

First Reader has returned the manuscript for the novella project, so it’s rewrite time. I’m about fifty pages in, trying not to rush, trying not to dawdle, and above all trying to get it right.

Some writers hire editors for indie projects, which is a good idea in general. Me, I married the best one I know. She’s thorough and pulls no punches, even if she does have to live with me. Which is probably why she pulls no punches. Just between you and me, I think she enjoys them.

For the good of the work, of course.

I don’t normally have so much trouble with titles, but this one is beating me up. I still haven’t been able to improve on my original. I also don’t think the original quite does it justice. That is, it describes the story perfectly to me, but that’s not the title’s job. Its job, it should go without saying, is to give enough of a hint to the reader to let them know this is worth reading. It’s a tough gig, titles. Almost like a separate skill from writing the story in the first place.

Just as an aside, if anyone out there gets their ebooks on Kobo, The Ogre’s Wife: Fairy Tales for Grownups, is finally getting a Kobo release, as of October 31st. I’ll put a link up when I have one.

 

 

 

Arguing With Word

As previously stated, I’m working on a novella. The rough draft is finished, but it’s very rough, and a thorough rewrite is proceeding. Said rewrite is going a little slower than I’d like, but for the most part there’s good reason. Aside from the usual typos and word choice snafus and missing words that either have to be ruthlessly exterminated or added back, depending, there’s also a great deal of mythological minutiae that has to be accurately rendered. Including reasonable extrapolation of what might happen when two very different mythological cosmos collide. Additional research was required. Also not inconsiderable fallout from the fact that the story started as one thing and grew into something very different. Can you say continuity error? I knew you could.

I was more or less prepared for all of that. One thing I was not prepared for was wasting twenty minutes of rewrite time arguing with Word over the correct usage of “who” and “whom.” As the rewrite sometimes required, I wrote a new sentence. Word insisted that the sentence was grammatically incorrect. Loath as I am to question a computer’s accuracy, I disagreed. Word insisted I change it. I pushed the little button that supposedly explains why Word wants me to edit my lovely prose on the fly. Word said I was using “whom” as the subject of a clause. I said I wasn’t, I was clearly using “whom” as the object of the prepositional phrase beginning with “with.”

All the while this was going on, I was reminded of how ridiculous the whole thing was by remembering an old George Carlin routine about having an argument with his breakfast cereal. In my defense, I note that at least Word has a rudimentary AI working, which elevates it, in this context, above the level of breakfast cereal, if only barely.

Still, pretty ridiculous.

To cut to the chase, I looked up the grammatical rules online. Remember, I’m from the generation where we still had to break down and diagram a sentence into its component parts, identifying those parts. Doesn’t mean I remember all the rules. But I have a decent ear for the language and was still sure I was right, and told Word to stop arguing with me. This afternoon I related the incident to First Reader, who agreed that I was correct but in addition was able to cite the rule, in the process explaining how Word got confused. “Whom” was part of a short prepositional phrase, which Word mistook for a clause, which demands a subject, which in turn would have called for the nominative, not the objective case. An easy enough mistake for either a human or an algorithm to make.

Regardless, I was right. I hereby claim victory in the Battle of Whom. Which, I reiterate, took twenty minutes of rewrite time when I already should have been in bed two hours before.

It’s amazing I get any work done at all.

A Day on the Lake

First Reader and I had been meaning to take one of the boat excursions on Lake Otsego in Cooperstown, NY, for some time now. Summer was pretty much impossible because, oddly enough, the place is overrun with baseball fans come to see the museum and looking for other things to do. Go figure. Now the kids are back in school, at least some of the grown-ups are back at work, and the place is not so crazy. Also, it’s fall now and the leaves, as you can see, are starting to change. And since the boat tours close for the season in a couple weeks, we decided not to wait.

By the time the captain had finished relating the long list of previous lake boats that had either burned or sunk or both, I was maybe having second thoughts about that “not waiting” thing, but as we were well under way it was too late by that point. Still, the current boat is all metal so I was less concerned about the burning part, figuring we stood at least a 50-50 chance.

This is Kingfisher tower. Built by a guy named Clarke around 1876, it’s a sixty-foot folly (in the technical architectural sense) in order to make the lake more “aesthetically pleasing.” Locals wanted it torn down, but overall I’m glad they didn’t.

While I do think it’s a cute building, it’s hard to imagine this as anything other than gilding the lily. Lake Otsego is gorgeous all by itself, and it was probably more so in 1876, before alewives (the fish) were introduced by accident and upset the natural balance. The lovely blue cast to the water, which you can probably make out in the picture, is due to a slight over-abundance of blue-green algae. Alewives ate the plankton which normally fed on the algae, which led…well, you get the idea. The lake water was a lot clearer before that happened. Still gorgeous, but yeah. Alewives are threatened species in some lakes, but in Lake Otsego? Not so much.

Lake Otsego is a glacial lake, nestled into a wooded valley. It is just over 7 miles long and is 167 feet deep at its deepest point. The outlet from Lake Otsego forms the North Branch of the headwaters of  the Susquehanna River, which eventually ends up in Chesapeake Bay. Never let it be said this blog is without educational content.

In non-lake news, I’ve started the rewrite of the unrelated (to Yamada or really anything else) novella. I have a working title, but it’s likely not going to stand, so I’m not giving it here. When I know what the actual title is, I’ll post it.