More Progress

Chapter 4 of The Seventh Law of Power is in the can, or would be if it was a movie from thirty years ago. Everything’s digital and the can is a metaphor. Chapter 5 is begun. Only about 11,000 words in and Marta has already discovered the 6th Law of Power.

Frankly, I hadn’t expected this to happen so soon. But as the end of Chapter 4 came into view and I reviewed the seven laws, I realized I’d set  it up perfectly. Which would have been very clever of me if I’d realized this was what I was doing, but of course I didn’t. Neil Gaiman once said something to the effect that the real purpose of a rewrite/edit was to go back and fix the details so it looked like you knew what you were doing all along.There’s a lot of truth in that. Even so, I like it better when I get it right in the first draft.

Even if I didn’t realize this was what I was doing.

Still plenty of time to get things wrong. And I’m certain beyond a reasonable doubt it’s going to take Marta the rest of the book to find the 7th Law. Would be even more of a surprise if this particular event happened sooner. As with the discovery of the 6th Law, Marta and I are always open for surprises.

What’s He On About Now?

YamadaEmperor-600One drawback of working on a longer project like a novel is you don’t have a lot left in you for anything else. Say, blogging, for example. Normally I try to post these every Monday like clockwork, but here it is Wednesday (thank you, Captain Obvious) and I am late. I don’t like being late. Normally I show up for appointments fifteen minutes early or more and everyone ELSE is late. Usually doctors and dentists, whose time as they will willingly tell you is much more valuable than yours.

Well, to them or anyone else this is literally true, since all any of us has is time. Everything else—money, cars, clothes, your ipod–is a temporary construct relating to how we live in the world, but time is what matters and no one as a general rule knows how much they have. There is much unnecessary fretting over this. I’m prone to it myself, especially when I’m under a deadline, either contractual or self-imposed, makes no difference. It reminds me of a scene from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novel series where his sister Death has just collected the soul of a baby who passes in SIDS, and the baby is not happy about it, to paraphrase, “That was it? That was all I got?” To which the reply was, again paraphrasing, “You had a life. That is all anyone has.”

So all we have is time, but the only time we really have is now. So what we decide to do with it? Yeah. It kind of matters. I don’t always make the best choices about that, but then I don’t know anyone who always does. We act like we have forever even when we know it is not true. Sometimes that illusion is all that gets you through a day, but best not to forget that it is an illusion. If there is anything at all which is not an illusion, it is now, the only point in time where action is possible. Like writing a late blog post, because there were things I believed to be more important at the time.

For instance, finishing the first draft of The Emperor in Shadow, complete at 94k words. It’ll probably be close to that after the rewrite. I usually put in as much as I take out. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but usually within close tolerances. I won’t call the book done, since that doesn’t happen until it has gone through rewrite then editing and come back from the printers. Then, for better or worse, it is done, and likely on time for a September release.

Then it is time to move on to something else because, you know, that whole “now” thing keeps happening. Until it doesn’t.


Lunch Break

WeirdDetectivesI thought I’d ordered a pizza, but this will do. Brand spanking new author copies of Weird Detectives, edited by Paula Guran. It’s out, it’s live, it’s full of authors who aren’t me, aside from me.

“Paranormal investigators. Occult detectives. Ghost hunters. Monster fighters. Humans who unravel uncanny crimes and solve psychic puzzles; sleuths with supernatural powers of their own who provide services far beyond those normal gumshoes, shamuses, and Sherlocks can. When vampires, werewolves, and things that go “bump” in the night are part of your world, criminals can be as inhuman as the crimes they commit, and magic can seep into the mundane – those who solve the mysteries, bring justice, or even save the world itself, might utter spells, wield wands as well as firearms, or simply use their powers of deduction. Some of the best tales of the last decade from top authors of the 21st century’s most popular genres take you down mean streets and into strange crime scenes in this fantastic compilation.”

Order delivery. You know you want to. Weird Detectives.

Ghosts: Recent Hauntings

I noticed several other contributors announcing the receipt of their copies of Ghosts: Recent Hauntings yesterday. I also know that all mail coming here has to pass through the city PO before it’s sent off to the outposts, which adds a day’s delay, so I was reasonably sure that my own copies were waiting for me at the PO Box today. Sure enough.

My story’s in here somewhere. Let’s see… Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Hand, Jeff Ford, Tim Powers, John Shirley, Peter Straub, Joe R. Lansdale, James Van Pelt, Nisi Shawl, Ekaterina Sedia, Steve Rasnic Tem, Melanine Tem, Sarah Monette, Maureen McHugh, Margo Lanagan…ah! There it is, “The Plum Blossom Lantern.” Nestled safely(?) between John Langan and Stephen Jones. Paula Guran’s managed to collect quite a few talented people in here. Not sure how I managed to sneak in, but it’s too late to check tickets now.

Well, whether I deserve it or not, that story does. It’s one of my favorites of my own ghost stories, and I’ve written quite a few. See what ya’ll think. And you might as well read the rest of those guys while you’re in there. Just sayin’.

Occasional Status Update

I started to call this “Periodic Status Update,” but that would apply that there was some sort of regular schedule to things happening that make a status update appropriate, and I’m here to tell you that ain’t the case. Feast or famine is the only schedule I’m aware of, and it’s more of a binary condition than a discreet event…

Ahem. Where was I? Right. Status update. Yesterday I got not one, but two contracts in the mail. Famine is the general condition, but yesterday was more of a feast day. First, I sold the latest Lord Yamada story, “Three Little Foxes,” to Beneath Ceaseless Skies. I think it’ll be online sometime later this year, but I don’t know for sure. I’ll post when I know more. If anyone’s curious, that’s the story that came to me when I was looking at a Gmail background image, so you just never know which direction one of these things is going to arrive from. Continue reading