Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Nothing has been signed yet, but I think it's safe to share my Big News.

Tor Books has made an offer to buy New Blood and the next two books in that universe. I don't know if they will keep my titles--though I really like New Blood and Old Spirits. I do know that as of right now, they want to bring New Blood out in March 2009. That's right at one year from now.

Then Old Spirits will come out in February 2010, and the third book, which is still nameless, in September 2010. This means I'd better get busy writing Old Spirits pretty quick, because I'd like to turn it in enough ahead of time that I have more than seven or eight months to write that third story. The deadlines will be Feb. '09 and Sept. '09, which makes that last one a little tight. If I didn't write so dang long, this wouldn't be an issue, but... I guess I'd better learn to thin things out a little better.

Needless to say, I am VERY excited. Tor has been one of my dream publishers, because of all the wonderful fantasy novels and fantasy romances they publish. I really like what they do, and I'm thrilled to be in their ranks.

So, there it is. New books from me will be coming. Eventually. :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Toys!!

We got new bikes!

Yep, the fella and me went out last Saturday, and got ourselves brand new, matching, red Schwinn bicycles. The old-fashioned coaster-brake, upright-handlebars, balloon-tire, wide-load-seat kind for riding up and down the seawall. Or wherever.

I think it was a Christmas present. When one gets cash money, sometimes one has to think a while before deciding what to spend it on. Bicycles make good Christmas presents. On the other hand, they could be Valentine's Day presents. Or even anniversary presents, since that's coming up in another month or two. Or maybe they were "just because" presents.

The deal the fella made with me was that "if you get a bicycle, you have to ride it." See, I had a bicycle I never rode. It had a teensy little hard seat that hurt to sit on, and racing-type handlebars that I didn't like leaning over to hold onto. I just didn't like riding that bike. So I didn't. But this one, I already have, and enjoyed it a lot.

Sunday, we went out and rode along the seawall. The weather was gorgeous, people were out everywhere and it was a really nice ride--except I was a nervous wreck for dodging all the strollers-along-the-seawall. Next time we ride that direction, we're going early in the a.m., when there will hopefully not be so much pedestrian traffic. Or else we're not riding on the sidewalk.

I went out again Monday, and my legs are wet noodles. The knees are a little sore too, so I'm going to take today off to let them recover a little. Then back out again on Wednesday. Maybe later in the day, so I'm not so worthless...

I will try to remember to take a picture of me and my bike (which may be named Ladybird... It reminds me a lot of the first bicycle I had, which was a fabulous, well-loved bike, and was named Speedy Gonzales. We will see what name this bicycle answers to.) and post it here for y'all to share.

Until then, me and my noodle-legs will toddle back off to work.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thinking about titles

Comment from AG:

COLD IRON makes me think about faeries. cold iron is supposed to be one of the things that can really really hurt them, I guess kinda like vampires and garlic, only it hurts the good guys instead of keeping the bad guys away.

It's only really in that context that I've seen "cold iron" instead of just "iron."

Yeah. Which gives it a fantasy sound--and then you read it and there's a twist... Maybe.

The first book is blood magic, hence NEW BLOOD, because 1. there's a new sorceress, so she's "new blood" in the magicians council, and 2. blood magic has been essentially lost for 300 years, so it's new. I like that title. (Dunno if it will fly with editors.)

The second book, I want to call OLD SPIRITS, because the hero is a conjurer, so it looks at a different type of magic used in this universe (though in terms of how it mixes with blood magic). And the older a spirit the conjurer can conjure, the more powerful it is and the more magic can be worked. So I think OLD SPIRITS works for that one.

The third book, will have an alchemist, who works magic with physical elements and forces (water, metal, earth, electricity, etc.), and a wizard, who works herbal magic. I have NO clue what to call that one, which is why I thought COLD IRON might work, because there IS magic worked with iron. But there are no faeries.

Fantasy/paranormal books with "blood" in the title generally are assumed to be vampire books. This one isn't. Not a vampire in sight. So, in that way, the cold iron reference would be a similar twist. The titles I came up with that had something referring to the wizardry sounded squishy. Iron Flowers? Deep Earth? Rooted Deep? The adjective-noun pattern doesn't necessarily have to be followed, but it would be nice if I could...

Sometimes the titles just come (like SPIRITS--Floated up with the opening line and scene...). Sometimes I have to wrestle with them. A lot.

Mini beach report: The seagulls are growing in the black feathers on their heads. No more smudgy-white headed seagulls. They're going back to black. Mating season is at hand.

Valentine's Day

Since I spent Valentine's Day whining about the crud, I thought I would mention that despite both of us being cruddy, we did do a bit of Valentine-y stuff. I got a couple of roses--kinda bedraggled, but roses nonetheless. (One of them has recovered after being put in water, the other I think is a bit beyond hope.) And I got a chocolate-caramel heart and a little heart-box of chocolates. I gave the fella a card. (He doesn't do chocolate--though I did get him a rubber tree one year that he really seemed to like.)

So there you have it. Valentine's Day 2008 at my house.

I've been a total slug about writing this a.m., so-- Yeah.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Spring Crud

Friends all over the states are coming down with the crud. (Crud sounds like a much more realistic name than something mellifluous-ish like flu...) And yes, I've got it too. I came down with a cold just before I started the new job, which turned into bronchitis (colds/flu almost always does with me). I was pretty much over it by the official first day. Then I went to Waco to visit friends and talk writing--and some kind of pollen or something blew in. My friend had an asthma attack, and my allergies flared up. And since I was barely over the bronchitis, it instantly turned back into the same crud.

I've been to the doctor, have new different meds, but dang, I think I may cough up a lung here. My stomach muscles are getting sore. I pretty much always have a deep cough, and it sounds Terrible. The girl at the next desk in the newsroom is a bit of a hypochondriac and my cough has made her nervous all week, because she's getting married this weekend. I'm told I'm not contagious, though.

So, yeah. Pretty much I'm whining online. Poor pitiful me. Even stayed home from music practice tonight because I can't take a deep breath without coughing.

Oh, and the fella came home from his trip to D.C. with the crud. He's going to the doctor in the a.m. Last night, we had chicken and rice--with Ginormous chicken breasts--too big to eat in one sitting. So for the leftovers, we each got individual zipper bags for our piece of chicken and I wrote our names in Sharpie on the outside so we don't exchange germs. Of course, we sleep in the same bed, so I don't know how much good it will do, but...we're trying. He actually tried to accuse me of giving him my crud over the phone. He's been out of town over a week, so we haven't seen each other to share germs, but you know guys. If they can possibly blame somebody else, they're going to try. :)

Oh well. It really is getting better. I just wish it would get better faster. I'm pretty sure you can't build up your abs by coughing.

Hope y'all have had a great Valentine's Day. Except for the coughing, mine's been pretty good. But I'll tell y'all about that later.

What do you think about COLD IRON as a book title?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Living in the Future

Working at the newspaper has had all sorts of weird affects on me. I'm having a WHOLE lot of trouble keeping track of the date. You'd think it wouldn't be difficult, since newspapers are all about dates. Thing is, at the newspaper, it's all about TOMORROW'S date. See, all the stuff that's going in tomorrow's paper has to say "Today," which means that today is tomorrow...or something like that. I'm a bit confused. On my desk is a sheet of paper that says TODAY IS Saturday, Feb. 9, but I know darn good and well that it's Friday, so... well, let's just say that I'm having trouble remembering what day it is, and leave it at that. It's sort of like living in the future.

I have also found myself suddenly very aware/picky about commas and capitalization and word choice. Organizations never "hold" events. They "have" an event or the event will take place. You hold hands, not meetings.

Words are tricky things. Especially English words. So many of our words sound alike. Here and hear, led and lead (the metal). Their, they're and there. And a lot of times, we spell what we hear, knowing better, but the fingers somehow move faster than the brain. I judged a contest entry (or maybe it was a critique I was doing--don't remember off hand) where the author wrote "make due" instead of "make do."

I am terrible about writing ALL OVER the contest entries I judge. (I use black or blue ink pens, so it doesn't look bloody.) I write a lot, because I want to explain why I'm marking what I'm marking. I give the rules for dashes and ellipses. Sometimes, when I want to know more of what's going on inside a character's head, I'll ask a series of questions. What does he think about what she just did? Is he mad? Curious? Relieved? Why? Why not? So most of it's not "You did this wrong and you're a terrible writer." None of it is meant that way, but hopefully, it doesn't come across like that, unintentionally.

When the dialogue doesn't seem to be leading anywhere, I'll say so, or say something like "This is an awful lot of chit-chat, you might want to focus on your purpose here." But I'm afraid I do tend to get a little impatient when I bump up against chit-chat again and again. Or when the dialogue sounds stilted and unrealistic. Or when I get POV whiplash. And I'm not even a POV purist. I think people ought to be able to change POV in the middle of a scene if they want to, as long as the change is clear. And as long as the switches don't happen every other paragraph. That can give a reader whiplash.

Ah well. I could write more, but I'm out of time, so...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Picture for fun

Got into a discussion of whether men without hairy chests really existed. And since I married into a family full of them, in which the hairy-chested sons are exceptions, I thought I'd share with friends a picture of one of the sons and one of the hair-free cousins. It's a few years old, but the chest hair hasn't changed.

(Since hair atop heads is also pretty rare with our crew, these two now shave their heads...)

And yeah, I'll post something else later.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Settling In, Not Down

I don't think my life will EVER settle down. But I'm trying to settle in to things.

Our mattress is still on the floor, and probably will be for a week--unless the fella decides to put it on the box springs and frame on the one day he'll be at home this week. I opened 6 boxes this morning, hunting the dryer fabric softener sheets so I wouldn't have my underwear stuck to my socks. The cable guys came to put in my internet cable (YAY!) but basically re-wired the whole house, and they were here till about 12:50--and the new job starts at 1 p.m. I barely made it.

I typed in about 15 cutlines for "Look what I did" photos--they go in the Applause section, and mostly people mail them in. It was tough remembering all the little codes they want for the titles and this little thing and that, so I kept having to go back and put them in, but it worked. I got them all in. Hopefully, I'll get the hang of things and be able to catch up on stuff. Still don't really know how the phones work there, but I doubt I'll be using them much. And tomorrow, maybe I'll get to be myself. ;) I'm still the girl I'm taking over for, because the computer guy has a new grandbaby. I'll forgive him today, because I know those grandbabies are IMPORTANT!

So. I guess I'd better go finish my judging for this contest. I'm Late! I hate being late. I even worked on these while I was at Mom's. I got them really late, because somehow, my new addy didn't get in the system, and the entries went all the way to West Texas, then all the way back to the coast. LOoooooong Way.

Oh yeah. This was the last weekend of Mardi Gras. The island celebrates--and has for at least 80 years--though since it's a smaller place than New Orleans, it doesn't get quite as wild. But, after we made the son come down from college to help us move (he brought his girlfriend, too, who was great help!), we took them downtown to watch the big evening parade and have dinner. The place we went to eat wasn't crowded, (probably because we got tired of waiting for the parade to show up and went on to eat, and everybody else was out in the street begging for beads from the balconies and getting drunk) and was very good. And we caught a good bit of the parade. And beads. I caught a few strands, anyway. This was the Knights of Momus Krewe parade, and we were standing under the Knights of Momus party balcony, so the people on the floats were all focused on throwing beads to their friends on the balcony above us. But I had some very cool dolphin beads, and caught some other neat strands. I had a hurricane. I ate fish. It was a good day all round.

Keep your fingers crossed. There is interest in New Blood. And maybe Old Spirits too. And...whatever the third book in the story might be called... Deep Earth? The third book will be about alchemy and wizardry--non-living magic (water, rock, electricity, etc.), and living, non-human magic (plants & animals). It will have two magics in it. Flowering Earth? Suggestions are welcomed. :)

Friday, February 01, 2008

Quick, Quick Post

'Cause we're moving. Faster than we might have thought. They turned the water off before we thought they were. Like, already. It was supposed to be just a switchover, from us paying the water to the rental company paying it, but they turned it off. So I guess we're moving a bed, and dirty dishes (because I was waiting till after lunch to wash them), and staying there tonight till we can move the rest of the stuff.

Went in to train at the new job yesterday. I think I'm really going to enjoy it, though there's a lot of technical tricks and style things I'm going to have to learn. Probably need an AP style guide for a few days. Anyway--more later, after we get the internet cable hooked up on Monday.