Fresh From the Box

Fresh From the Box

Fresh From the Box

I guess you could call it a perk of being the author that you get to see the books straight from the printer instead of, you know, actually waiting for the publication date. Only the irony of seeing them first is that I’ve already read the darn thing. Multiple times. I do consider it a good thing that they exist, and will soon be going into sales channels and possibly a B&N near you.

My thanks to the publisher, Sean Wallace, and the editor, Paula Guran of Prime Books for making it happen.

Fireworks and Final Edits

YamadaEmperor-600Happy 4th to all those stateside. Our across the street neighbors apparently chose to celebrate by re-enacting the Battle of Bunker Hill. Our cats disappeared for a while but came out unscathed when the coast was finally clear. Not that I should complain. I went through my own phase of being enamored with firecrackers, but that was mostly because I was a kid in a small southern town and often there was literally nothing better to do. Read all the books/comics I had multiple times (no internet). Run out of scrap wood for tinkering. Night too cloudy for stargazing. I know! Let’s set off low-scale ordinance! What I have trouble understanding is why alleged grownups want to do it now. I grew out of it before I’d left my teens, and count myself fortunate I still have all my fingers.

Good thing, too, as I needed them to make final corrections on the typeset manuscript for The Emperor in Shadow, which from the link you can see now has its own Amazon page, and an official release date of September 6th. Which means it’ll more than likely be available in August, because that’s how these things usually work. Since it’s July now (What gave it away? Oh, right, fireworks…), that’s not very long, but why wait? You can pre-order it now and have it as soon as it’s available.

On that subject, I want to give a shout-out to my editor, Paula Guran, who turned the manuscript around in a short time under extremely trying circumstances, only one of which was me cutting it so close to the deadline. It’s a much better book for her efforts. Anything you don’t like falls squarely on me.

Imaginary Imaginings

YamadaEmperor-600I have a quirk which my wife has often remarked upon. I have conversations in my head which I then forget to have in real life, yet will sometimes believe that I’ve done so. I’m so used to holding up two ends (or more) of an imaginary conversation and spinning scenarios that it’s not always easy to turn off. Unchecked, it can play havoc in a normal relationship, and I do try to keep it under control. Nevertheless, I’d never want to eliminate this quirk, because it is simply too useful a tool. What is dialogue except an imaginary conversation between two beings who do not exist, save on the screen or page?

However….

What happens when the imaginary scenario turns into an imaginary scenario? By which I mean in the writing process an imaginary conversation did not manifest beyond the imagination?

You’re right—I’m not sure I understood that last bit myself, so let me try again, more concrete, less surreal. I finished the rough draft of Yamada Monogatari: The Emperor in Shadow on May 24th. First Reader was kind enough to push it up to the top of her queue because of the time crunch, and the last several days I’ve been working through the rewrite. In the book Yamada needed a crucial piece of information. I worked out a logical way for him to receive said information without alerting the wrong people, and I worked out the scene where it happens. I set the logic bomb in motion and wrote out what followed from this crucial scene to the end of the book.

One problem—I never wrote the actual scene.

How did I manage to do this? Beats me, fore the reason already mentioned. I did not discover this until the read through. There was a hole in the book, left there by me because I had envisioned the scene and its aftermath so clearly, so completely, that somewhere in the twisty lump I call a brain, I thought I’d already written the darn thing. Only I hadn’t. This took all of ten minutes to correct, since the scene was still in my head, down to the last detail, right where I had left it. It was like sentences where someone leaves out a word—or perhaps you do it yourself—in a succession of words which flow such that your brain fills in the missing word even though it is not there. Sometimes you never even notice.

Fortunately for me and the book, I did notice. Though if I hadn’t, I fully expected to hear about it from my editor at Prime—“How the hell does he know this??”

I spared us both the aggravation, but it was a close call.

The book is turned in, and assuming no major revisions are needed—or I didn’t leave anything else out–we should be on track for a September 2016 release. Now it is on to other imaginary conversations, which I hope I will at least remember to write down.

Almost Normal, For Outlying Values of Normal

New Desk

New Desk

After over four months working off of a folding card table, I finally have a new desk. Carol found it online, a discontinued model for a ridiculously low price, and I only had to argue with the instructions once while I was putting it together. While it’s not my normal style–I have a style? Sort of. I lean more toward Mission and Arts & Crafts–I’m frankly not that picky when push comes to pen. Give me a good working surface with a bit of storage and I’m happy. Plus I managed almost 2000 words on my first writing session on the new equipment. I score that both a good omen and a solid win. Just don’t expect the desk to continue looking this neat. When it comes to my work space and library, I don’t do neat.

Now all I have to do is get the rest of the boxes in my new library sorted, which is going to lead to more painful decisions, but you can’t fight physics. I know the shelf space I want doesn’t fit the shelf space I have. More books will have to go into the attic. Granted, these are mostly books I want to keep even though I know I won’t be reading them again anytime soon. I just have to decide which ones those are. I’ve already had to pack up most of my brag shelf, which stroked my ego a bit because there were so many, but stung it a bit in that I just can’t keep them all out and visible. But then, I was the only one looking at them and I already knew what they looked like. Priorities.

I can see most of my floor now. Once the remaining boxes are dealt with and the guitars on their wall hangers, I can put down a rug. Nothing says “you’re home” quite like your own area rug. That pretty much declares “space of your own.” Little things, but they do matter.

As for the book, it’s coming along, and for those who care, here’s a heads-up.  Yamada Monogatari: The Emperor in Shadow, is going to be a much more political book–Heian politics, I hasten to point out–than The War God’s Son. I sort of knew that before I even started writing it, but my previous writing session rather emphasized the fact. Just saying.

There and Back Again

IMG_0402I apologize for missing last Monday’s post, but I was on the road to our new home to take care of some prep before we take full possession. The house itself is that white edifice to the left of your screen, After thirty-three years the place where I made my living (and enabled my writing) closed down, putting me “quite at my leisure,” as Mr. Bennet might say,

So here’s the thing–we decided to leave. Most of my immediate family had moved out of state already, and with few ties to hold us, we decided to do the same, on the theory that I can be unemployed anywhere, so we might as well be somewhere we want to be. We chose upstate New York, trading brutal summers for brutal winters. I never said it was the smart thing to do. It probably wasn’t. It was, however, the necessary thing to do for reasons I won’t bore you with. We’re going to make it work.

View from Rte 167

View from Rte 167

IMG_0393

View from our back patio.

View of the Mohawk From Downtown.

View of the Mohawk From Downtown.

I did manage to get a little writing done on the new book. All this has been quite a disruption, as you can imagine, but I’ll get it done. In the meantime, here’s some comment from Publisher’s Weekly on The War God’s Son:

“… With a refreshingly conversational narrative, Parks captures the different facets of Japanese mythology and visions of the supernatural. Lord Yamada is a complex and entertaining protagonist, and his personal battles, whether with demons or his relationships with women, are compelling. Parks creates a rich world, further proving that in this series, nothing is as it seems. Suspenseful and often thought-provoking, Parks’s work is a delight to read. (Oct.)”