Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I give up. When someone's gender (and species) is "angel," you can't call ilim sir or ma'am. (Yes, I'm practising. Shut up.) So what title do you use?

I'm being lazy and clinging to my copy of Lawrence of Arabia. Efendi it is.

(For the record, my three favourite movies ever are Lawrence of Arabia, Edward Scissorhands, and The Changeling. If you haven't seen them, I heartily recommend all three. Widescreen, HD. Especially for Lawrence.)

S'too early for this.

The pronouns have been revised AGAIN. Hopefully for the final time. The most difficult part is finding something that sounds and reads like a pronoun, while giving subtle visual hints as to which one it conjugates as. I finally have:

il (he, she, it)
ilim (him, her, it)
iliš (his, her/hers, its)
ilištum (himself/herself/itself)

As said before, š is pronounced sh. I'd write sh, but it doesn't correspond to anything in English. Even older forms, to the best of my knowledge, only used th (ð or þ) as a third person suffix, and, yes, they're pronounced differently. (Why, no, I really don't have anything better to do with my time than study dead languages for no constructive purpose. Why do you ask?)

All right, back to context conversion. I think this might work. It still hurts to do, but, hey. Might as well see how it goes.

Ohh, my poor lawn guy.

Last night, I passed out with the light on, my glasses crooked, and a romance novel on my chest (shut up, I'm experimenting). I was also wearing my latest attempt at liquid eyeliner.

This morning, my lawn guy stops by to get his check from Saturday, as he mowed while I was out. I haven't actually brushed my hair yet, so I answered in my "my cats walk all over me" nightshirt, hair everywhere, and my eyeliner smudged like Siouxsie Sioux. He just grinned, fortunately. I dread to imagine what went through his head.

It was just a romance novel! Honest! Blame the author! She's the one who had an entire room rocking with laughter at Conestoga.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Third-gender, third-person pronouns revisited

I have tentatively given into agent (and editorial) suggestion. After much experimentation, I have finally settled upon il - ilu - ilish - ilishtum, which conjugates in the same way as he - him - his -himself. You have no idea how much my teeth are grinding, but if it helps sell the book, so be it. Right now, I'm gripping my head, hoping with all my might that I don't lose half my readership in the first chapter.

Thank you, John Huehnergard. Without your in-depth and easily understood knowledge of a murderously complex dead language (which I happened to usurp for my nefarious purposes), I'd be hanging by my fingertips right now. As it stands, I've got at least one finger wedged into a fissure at the edge of the proverbial cliff.

Tonight definitely calls for a drink.

ETA: make that iliš. It's pronounced the same way as ilish, but is far less visually distracting IMO. Ah, special characters. How did I know it would eventually come to this?

I still want my beer.

ETA2: Aaaad now ilu is ilum. Will the madness never end???


On second look, this isn't the screwball comedy I'd intended. In fact, it's quite possibly the blackest comedy I've ever written. Still gonna submit it. It'll be a tough sale, but, hey, it's done. No sense in stuffing it straight into the trunk.

So. Yeah.

How the hell do I keep my mind off the Novel From Hell now?

Amazing what you can do with a little determination.

The rough draft of the comedy that's been languishing on my hard drive for months now is finally complete. It gets a little serious at the end, but that's okay. It suits the story. And it's still funny overall.

I'll give it a second read in the morning, after I take the trash out. For now, I'm goin' to bed.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Made of Daft

Dear self,

You have three weeks to rest your brain and work on some blunt comedy. You know perfectly well you've been comedy starved. So why is it that you insist on going, "Oooooooh, that'll help the plot!" regarding the Hellogy every thirty seconds? You've already written half a page of new dialogue AND advanced the Nefarious Plot (as well as the story's plot) a dozen times.

See that short story you've got up? Work on it. Also? Eat something, then get a shower so you can run to the library for ten minutes. You also need to fill in your bookstore application, because that would be the best job EVAR and you know you're good enough to get it.

Now put away the novel, and work on something else. All right? Good little addict.

More annoyance than love,


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Unexpected Gifts

Today, Colleen (my lovely agent) asked me to send her my current edit on what is quickly becoming the Novel From Hell. She said it'll take her a few weeks to really go through it as thoroughly as it needs to be seen.

This afternoon, K. D. Wentworth gave me my annual, "You've come so close so many times, I always think, 'this quarter she's going to win', and you really need to keep entering," Writers of the Future lecture.

Despite the religious nature of a lot of my writing, I'm an atheist. I believe strongly in coincidence.

This one is too good to ignore.


Conestoga is over for another year. Much fun was had, no alcohol was drunk (ACK), and I got a lot of awesome information. I'm torn between working on a short story and taking a nap. Somehow, I suspect the nap will win; an hour of belly dancing is wonderfully fun and great for the joints, but I'm knackered. Also? Beading class was a blast. Must get some beading needles and make some bookmarks.

... time passes, Import calls....

Well, I'm completely tired now. Definitely going for that nap. Next year, Conestoga will be in April, so I shouldn't be quite so dead at the end. Some of us just aren't designed for 107° weather. That's Fahrenheit, not Celsius, thank Elvis.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Day Two

Awesome panels. Con crud. Came home before I could barf and/or snot on someone's masquerade costume (which would be a tragedy, as we always get some awesome ones). Have taken some vitamin C, and will soon have a bath so I can enjoy tomorrow. I'm looking forward to several of tomorrow's panels. I've spent the last two days in the Fangs, Fur, and Fey room, so tomorrow I'm going to be a naughty writer and go to both the belly dance class AND the beadwork panel. Huzzah!

One of the best things about congoing is that it shows me that I'm not the only person going through the writing problems I have. It's normal to think that the book sucks two thirds of the way through, I'm not the first person to have to do overwhelming revisions, and plenty of other people refuse to show their sex scenes to their parents. The "Business of Writing" panel this afternoon was top notch, and pleasantly followed by the Sex Scenes panel. You can imagine the hilarity that ensued. Oh, and P. C. Cast's dad is made of humiliating awesome.

About ready to go the lazy vegetarian/bad vegan route and just boil some eggs for dinner. Mmm, forbidden eggs. I'm seriously a hair's breadth from saying "screw it" to veganism and just switch to mostly veganism. I've been eating cheese all weekend, anyway, via consuite nachos (delicious, but probably why I've got con crud).

Damn it. Now I want more nachos.

Friday, July 25, 2008


One day of Conestoga down, two to go. Today was pretty awesome, and included a fabulous belly dance show--performed by fairies. You had to be there, but it involved tequila. Damn, I love my local con.

I missed the Fangs, Fur, and Fey bar night, alas. I'm tired, and given how much I have to parcel out my energy these days, I felt it was more prudent to come home and rest. That said, I would have loved a few Sam Adams and a good chat. Must take my copy of Marie Brennan's Midnight Never Come tomorrow so I can get her to sign it. Also, my JBU Best-Of, so I can get one of my fellow best-of authors to sign it for me. *grin*

All right. I'm up in seven hours, and Sunday is going to be even harsher. I'm off to bed. Ohh, I'm going to regret wearing red velvet and heels tomorrow. I just know it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


On the last day of Tacitus's seven-day convalescence, Sophie pilfered his new pocket monkey....
Typos are AWESOME.

Oh, fu....

Kill me. Kill me now. I have annihilated 130-mumblety-K words, and I need to do a whole new revision to kill another 50K. Nnngh. *thumps head on desk more than is healthy*

Worse, I have a whole new plot element I have to foreshadow (a small one, thank Elvis), and I think I may need to reconstruct part of the ending.

Yeah. Yeah. We're gonna skip dinner and just get some sleep. Yes, I know it's 2:30 in the morning. It's dinnertime when I say it is, damn it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stupid Microsoft.

Dear Microshaft,

I'm damned close to installing Open Office and getting it over with. Word 2007 took some getting used to, but the one thing I CANNOT get used to is how damned long it takes to save a file, and HOW OFTEN THE SOFTWARE LOCKS UP FOR IT.

Srsly. I'm editing an 800-page document. I can't have your stupid software choking on it every minute. I'd say it's an issue of file size, but things are no better than they were when it was a 1200-page file. I don't even hold hope for it when I get it down to 500-600 pages. Because you suck. YOU SUCK HARD!

Please give me a free bugfix, kthxbye. Otherwise, my next novel will be written in Open Source.

No love AT ALL,


Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Ahh, editing gratuitous sex scenes. I know that the whole thing's probably going to either be cut or trimmed to bare bones (heh, I said bone), but, damn it, I like writing porn. Let me have my moment.

Also? It's really farking hot.


This weekend, I learned that:
  • At least half my artistic temperament comes from my dad's family.
  • Trigger points are miserable things indeed. Ow. Ow.
  • I'm not the only weirdo in my family.
  • Nor am I the only one with Fibromyalgia. Genetic link, anyone?
  • Milk is tasty, but does yucky things. Pleh!
  • Good Indian food is worth any amount of pleh.
I'm glad to be back to editing, all told. I've got a huge stack of knitting to do now, which is a bit annoying, but it'll keep me busy for a long time. Going to edit myself blind this week, get some of the house cleaned up, and hope my back (ow, ow) has loosened up in time for Conestoga this weekend. If anyone's planning to go, look for the weirdo knitting the light blue shawl or the bizarre garter stitch scarf. The shawl might be a bit too complicated to take with me.

Getting back to editing now. Then, we load the dishwasher. UGH. Are men genetically incapable of doing housework before leaving town for two weeks? I came back to a nightmare, and that's not an exaggeration.

Friday, July 18, 2008


I know I haven't posted lately, but I've been working, honest. Getting a little frustrated again, but it'll resolve itself sooner or later.

Going to be away this weekend. I have a family reunion to go to in sunny southwestern Oklahoma. I'm gonna die. I know I'm gonna die. Still need to pack and sleep, too. Oh, well. Packing will take half an hour, tops, including the knitting bag and a couple of books. One of the worst parts will be the loss of WinAmp. My iPod got requisitioned when the Import's died, and was never returned when I got him a brand spankin' new Bluetooth mp3 player. D'oh. Well, I'll pack a few CDs and hope my parents (who are driving) like Shiny Toys Guns.

See you all on Sunday afternoon!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


I found three whole chapters I'd made irrelevant, which means that TBFKaB1 has gone from 145K to 70.6K. I removed more than fifty percent of the damned thing. Hot dog!

I think I'm going to open TBFKAB2 and work out what needs to be rearranged first. I've got a few ideas. Mostly, though, I need some sleep. Assuming I can scrape a suitable spot from beneath either the very snorrific Import (I can hear him on the other side of the house) or a stunningly fat and spoiled cat. I'll probably make Aldous move from the couch. The poor Import has to be up at six, and he has a hard enough time getting to sleep without me making him budge up.

Yes. Rather proud of myself. There's a lot that still needs to be done, and I'll have to go back and patch some holes, but this is eminently doable.


The Book Formerly Known as Book One has dipped below 90K. I've still got a lot of work ahead of me, but I'm getting there. So far, I've cut more than 55K, with as much as 25K yet to be excised. Now to pare both it and TBFKaB2 down to 120K together, and we're set.

In other news, my ear infection is back. Seems it's levafloxacin resistant. This is a very, very bad thing. Seeing a specialist on Friday to see what needs to be done. I sense a microbial culture in my future.

Getting back to work, then trying to get some more sleep. I'm pretty much homebound until my appointment. With luck, I'll be able to con some get-well yarn out of someone.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Looking Up

I just had one of those little flashes of insight that mean that the task I've got before me is eminently doable. A royal pain in the ass, but doable. I've managed to condense some early events to the point that the Former Book One should be cut to maybe a third of its original size. The Former Book Two will be more difficult, but I should be able to retain the high points without losing the flavour of things.

I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to knit on my upcoming family reunion weekend. It'll have to be from my stash, and I really should get to work on Christmas stuff, but neither of those are really major problems. (Also, if anyone's got any non-Red Heart yarn out there you'd like to get rid of? I'm more than happy to give it a good home.)

I seem to have come up with a solution to my sunscreen problems, too: Desitin. Yes, the caulk-like stuff you smear on diaper rash. It's 40% zinc oxide, which is about the widest-spectrum sunblock available. The rest is pretty much fish oil and petroleum jelly. I haven't been in the sun to test it yet, but, damn, is my skin soft.

All right, back to work. With luck, I'll actually get to sleep before 6:00 this morning.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Dear Self,

When editing down, you should probably not end up expanding scenes from their original formats. Yes, it's now in a completely different context, but there are limits to keep in mind. No, really. You need to stop being so damn wordy. OTOH, you also need to reconsider exactly how much story can fit into three books.

So get back to work, and make this shorter, not longer.




For those of you playing at home, this is starting to get incredibly painful. My self-worth should not be wrapped up in a word count, but for now, it is. There's loads yet to come out, and I keep telling myself that, but... Rrrr! I think it's time to re-negotiate the ending point on this thing. I've still got to pack everything into three books rather than five, though, and the next two are even longer. Fortunately, one can be re-worked and the other can have whole chapters cut free. Still going to be living hell to get this all done.

Nope, nope, the ending on book two needs to remain the end to the condensed first book. It fully cements the main character into the thick of things and takes away any easy out he might have. Also, no more living on PB&J. That's a complete aside, but a necessary one, I fear.

A few more minutes of work, and then to bed.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Brokeback Kittehs

I am increasingly convinced that Crowley, my enormous white kitty, is gay. No, seriously. Last summer, I saw him trying to mate with another stray I call Bravery. Well, this summer it turns out that Bravery is a boy. Admittedly, it might have been a dominance issue, like he's had with Aldous, who does NOT appreciate being made someone's bitch.

But today, Crowley started bringing Aldous gifts. He'll sometimes pick up his toys and bring them to me while I'm knitting. Four times, he walked straight past me with a toy in his mouth, and set it in front of Aldous's kitty jungle gym. The Import just rolls his eyes at the whole concept, but I'm the writer, damn it. Let me have my active imagination.

Editing continues apace. In fact, I haven't even had a shower yet today. (TMI FTW!) It's kind of nice to go back and insert new scenes to accommodate the change in structure. It feels like revisiting a more innocent time in the series. Not that any time in the series was innocent. Backstory is my friend.

Aaaand that squeal means that Jack "Crowley" Twist is at it again. I'm gonna go spray down the cat. Poor Aldous.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


I am not allowed to watch Robot Chicken anymore. I was just working on a very, very foreshadowy bit involving two characters who will eventually fall in love, and the first thing that went through my head: "This is me. This is Stalin. We're married."

Just trust me. FUNNIEST. THING. EVER.

Incentive Time

Dear Self,

You really, really need to get your ass in gear. It seems that the carrot method might be best, only, you can get carrots any time you want, being vegetarian and all. Hence, I am giving you this. Eleven balls Bronzed Olive, five Henna, or however many are required. You are getting a sweater of your own design when you finish cramming two books into one. If this requires saving pennies from the sidewalk, it will happen. You have your carrot.

Now get back to work. No, you cannot take time off for the What Not To Wear marathon. Editing first. Sweater second. Anyway, you're on a fun bit. And that sort of TV rots your brain.



Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Ah, crap.

My brilliant method of reducing word count has required the retooling of more character motivation than I can keep up with at one in the morning (or near enough). While there are distinct advantages that can be played on later, it's also a pain in the butt. Damn my brain! Like alcohol, it, too, is the answer to and source of all of life's problems.