Apr 23 2014

Zen Cho On Writing

I just wanted to put up a quick link to Zen Cho’s post, a follow-up to mine in the blog hop:

I’m working on yet another revision of my Regency fantasy of manners about England’s first black Sorcerer Royal. This has been my main writing project since late 2012, but in intervals between working on it I’ve also been working on Space Villette (not its real title), a novella based on Charlotte Bronte’s Villette, but with a space opera setting influenced by the early kingdoms (or should I say mandalas?) of maritime Southeast Asia.

How awesome does that sound? Pretty frickin’ awesome.

Apr 20 2014

Happy Easter!


“I did it,” I said, leaning my head against Sam’s shoulder. “I made Easter.”

“You sure did,” he said. “You pulled it off by the skin of your teeth, and despite being really sick. When you were trying to get the kids to paint uncooked eggs I thought, Well, she’s really going for it. Good for her.

I have been sick for the past several days—it started with congestion, sore throat, alternating chills and sweats, general exhaustion and wooziness, but yesterday I developed a full-body skin rash that drove me to finally see a doctor. (He told me it was some kind of virus coupled with some kind of allergic reaction; he wasn’t really able to be more specific, and ultimately there’s nothing that will heal it besides rest and drinking lots of fluids.) Anyway, so I wasn’t very on the ball when it came to Easter prep.

We had eggs, of course, from our chickens—but Henny lays brown eggs and Penny lays pale green ones. They’re not the kind that take dye well:


So when I staggered up this morning, scratched at my rash, hacked up a few gobs of snot, knocked back a cup of coffee and an extra-strength Tylenol, and muttered “oh Christ, it’s Easter,” I didn’t exactly have the miracle of the Resurrection in mind.

But I do think that holidays and ritual are important. I like Easter very much as a celebration of springtime and renewal, life-from-death, the eternal rhythms of the transcendent world. Also I like it as a crafty holiday, and I remember always particularly enjoying it as a kid.

So I stumbled to the kitchen, laid out the eggs we had on hand, scrounged up some paint and paintbrushes, and instructed the kids to have at it. This was the point at which Sam stepped in with a gentle, “Um. Aren’t those supposed to be cooked first?”

So then I picked all the eggs up, hard-boiled them, gave them an ice bath, dried them off, brought them back and helped the kids to paint them while Sam made pancakes. After breakfast I got everybody dressed in nice picture-taking clothes, went out and hid the eggs, and then we had our little romp through the yard. The kids enjoyed it tremendously, dashing back and forth and squealing whenever they spotted a hidden egg, and even Sol seemed to get into the spirit.


Back inside, I was helped tremendously by a batch of candy that Pops and Mo had sent ahead a little bit early. I directed the boys to trade the eggs in their basket for a fistful of chocolates, and as they tore into their bounty I paused for my moment of self-congratulation.

I pulled off Easter. Now it’s time for a nap!

Apr 10 2014

Na na na na na na na na



Robin: “Could I please have a glass of water?”
Me: “Sure, here you go.”
Robin: glug glug glug
Me: “Hey, whaddya say?”
Robin: “You should say thank you to ME for protecting the city.”
Me: “Oh, you’re right. Thank you, Batman!”
Davy: “ME TOO.”
Me: “Thank you, Batmans!”

(Batman pajamas courtesy Pops and Mo. Thanks Pops and Mo! Although to be fair, you should really say thanks to Robin and Davy and Sol, for protecting the city.)

Apr 7 2014

Goin’ To the Blog Hop

So I’m participating in a “blog hop,” which is a thing bouncing around various writer’s blogs where we all answer the same four questions about how we approach the process of writing. I was tagged by Rhonda Parrish:

Rhonda Parrish is driven by a desire to do All The Things. She has been the publisher and editor-in-chief of Niteblade Magazine for over five years now (which is like 25 years in internet time) and is the editor of the forthcoming World Weaver Press anthology Fae.

In addition, Rhonda is a writer whose work has been included or is forthcoming in dozens of publications including Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast and Mythic Delirium.

Her website, updated weekly, is at http://www.rhondaparrish.com

You can read her answers to the questions here. And here’s mine!

1) What am I working on?

Right now I’m actually working on collage illustrations for my next kids’ book, If You Meet A Dinosaur. This is new territory for me because visual arts aren’t really my medium. However, I have a clear idea of how I want the pictures to look and it doesn’t actually seem to be beyond my technical capabilities, so I’m plugging away at it.

On the writing front I have a couple of different manuscripts that I’m about 10,000 words into—one’s fantasy and the other’s sci-fi. I actually can’t tell at this point if either of them are really going to “work,” though.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Hm, that’s a tricky one. Most of what I write is urban fantasy, although I do also dip into sci-fi or pre-industrial fantasy settings. In urban fantasy, I would set myself apart from the glut of “shifter” books and their ubiquitous love triangles and align myself more with what Neil Gaiman calls “magical city” books—works that are set in real places and aim to tell you something about the character of that place by spinning fairy tales around it.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because it’s what I like to read! I have always been hugely drawn to fairy tales and mythology—from lots of cultures, but Irish folklore forms a particularly large part of my imaginative landscape. I love everything from the Táin Bó Cúailnge to Lady Wilde, and I love modern writers who draw from that well in their own stories. In modern literature I am almost exclusively an SFF genre reader, so that is the natural shape that my narratives take.

4) How does my writing process work?

Well, currently, it works poorly. In theory I subscribe to the “just put your butt in the chair and bang out a thousand words a day” school, but in practice I cannot do this while I’ve got small children at home. So instead what happens is that I’m only writing when I’m gripped with a fever of inspiration—and inspiration strikes rarely.

Recently I’ve gotten a couple of short stories written, because I can get those down on paper before the first rush of excitement fades. But novel-length projects require discipline, structure, and long-term commitment. Right now writing isn’t and can’t be my first priority, so my novel manuscripts are languishing.

I am pretty much okay with this. For the next year I’ll keep doing what I’m doing—short stories, maybe kid’s books, and whatever slow progress I can manage to make on the novels. And year after next I’ll have one morning a week where there’s no kids at home, so hopefully that can be my writing day.

To keep the blog hop going, I’m tagging two of my favorite writers: Zen Cho and Mary Borsellino. Here are their bios:

Zen Cho was born and raised in Malaysia and currently lives in England. She mostly writes speculative fiction, with the occasional foray into romance. She has published short stories and novelettes and has a novel forthcoming. Her novella, The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo, is available on Amazon and Smashwords.

Mary Borsellino is an indie punk writer from Australia. She has a bunch of tattoos and a tendency to get passionately involved with things she believes in and loves. Her latest book, Ruby Coral Carnelian, is a rich, engrossing fairy tale following three students on the run from cruel sorcerers.

I totally look forward to seeing their answers!