Friday, November 25, 2011

Success! and a review.

First:  It's not official yet (i.e., I haven't yet dumped my novel into the validating software), but my NaNo novel topped the 50,000 word mark earlier this week.  Go me!

Second:  Besides being NaNoWriMo, November is also Adopt an Indie Month.  This effort was begun (as I understand it) by a lovely lady in the UK.  The idea is that authors can submit their books for review, and then bloggers and other readers can "adopt" the book and review it.  I found out too late to submit SwanSong this year, but I did agree to adopt another book.  That book is called Finder, by Terri-Lynne DeFino.

Finder is an epic fantasy with a romantic twist.  The main character is Ethen, the Finder of the title.  Ethen has a talent for Finding things or people.  He can hold something related to the lost item, and in his mind's eye he will see an image of its location and maps that will lead him there.  That ability leads him from a life on the streets to a life of ease, but on the way, he finds and loses something very precious to him -- his soul mate, Zihariel.  She is a renowned musician whose playing evokes strong emotions in anyone who hears her.  She is also a pooni, a race enslaved by the ruling Therks.  When she runs away from her master, he hires Ethen to Find her.

I very much enjoyed this novel, especially the second half, when Ethen and Ziharial are no longer callow youths beset by their first big rush of hormones.  So many fantasies follow the track of the hero myth -- child (usually a boy), destined for greatness, sets out on an epic quest to find (insert magical object here) and finds him/herself in the process.  It's refreshing to read a story, especially a love story, that features characters in their prime.

The love story is set against a backdrop of a desert kingdom in which spices are a controlled substance and participating in the spice black market can get one killed.  This secondary plot is what drives the novel to a satisfying conclusion.  Go and find Finder -- I think you'll like it, too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I knew this would happen, or: NaNo update for week, uh, 4.

So much for posting once a week.  Sorry about that.  I've gotten so wrapped in writing this year's NaNoWriMo novel that I've neglected just about everything else -- including the blog.  But the end is in sight; there's light at the end of the tunnel and I'm hoping it's not an oncoming train. 

But really, I ought to get some kind of pass for having written nearly 47,000 words in just three weeks.  Yes, that's right, it's not even Thanksgiving yet and I am within shouting distance of the NaNo winner's circle.  If I had only started my writing career sooner, and been able to keep up this pace, I could have been another Joyce Carol Oates.  Output-wise, at least.

Okay, I'll stop patting myself on the back now, lest I break my arm and miss the deadline, after all.  ("I coulda been a contender….")

I am trying my hand at urban fantasy this time.  It's a little different than the previous two books in that the details need to be not just plausible, but anchored pretty firmly in reality.  I'm doing a lot more googling with this one than I have with the previous books.  It doesn't help that I picked, as the main setting, a place I haven't lived in for more than ten years.  (All I can say is:  thank the gods for Google Earth!  What did we do before the intarwebz, anyway?  I'll tell you what we did:  we lived in ignorance and fear, that's what we did.  Mark my words, someday the pre-intarwebz era will be known as the New Dark Ages.) 

Also, unlike SwanSong and The Maidens' War, this book is not modeled, either in whole or in part, on a myth or legend.  That's scary in one way -- I had to write a story arc because there was no existing framework to hang my plot on.  But  in another way, it's freeing.  This story is all mine.  I can do whatever I want with it, muahaha.  (I actually found myself grinning the other day because I'd realized that this book doesn't have to end tragically!)

And it's easier to write because I don't have to weigh whether to invent a new noun for every stinkin' thing.  I don't have to worry about what this fictional culture would call a cassava melon, for example; they would call it a cassava melon.  (Not that there are any cassava melons in the book.  Let alone any that are integral to the plot.  Muahaha.)

Anyway, rest assured that I haven't forgotten about this blog.  I promise I'll be back on track, writing once a week, from here on out.  And look for the new book (whose name I promise to post just as soon as I figure out what it is…) from yer major intarwebz booksellers sometime in spring 2012.

Oh, and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We pause during NaNo for station identification or: can I put this post toward my word count?

First, a follow-up:  World Fantasy Convention 2011 was a great time.  I got to meet several of the most awesome authors in fantasy writing, including Neil Gaiman (who I mentioned last time), Graham Joyce (you may not have heard of him, but I love his stuff, and I nearly squee'd when he signed my book), and Peter S. Beagle.  I sat next to Steve Rasnic Tem at the banquet -- I admit I'd never heard of him before, but he's an award winning author, and we had a nice conversation about what metafiction is and is not.  I got to watch Charlaine Harris (who writes the Sookie Stackhouse urban fantasy series) get out of a queue to introduce herself to Connie Willis.

And then I went back to work, where one of my bosses admitted she didn't know who Neil Gaiman was.

But in the interim, between flying back from Never-Never Land on Monday and crashing back to Real Life on Wednesday, I had a day off -- a day that just so happened to be November 1st, also known as the first day of National Novel Writing Month.  So I waited 'til my daughter went to work, and then I booted up the computer and started writing.  Ahhhh.

What usually happens, on the first day of NaNoWriMo, is that I find myself out of town, or otherwise unable to start working on my novel on day one.  And then I spend the rest of the month feeling like I'm playing catch-up.  But this year, not only did I start on the first day, but I had all my pre-planning out of the way, and a whole day to make headway.  The result:  a comfortable word-count cushion for the inevitable days I will have to take off.  And needless to say, there have been a few since then.  Sunday, I stayed at book club much longer than I anticipated.  Last night, after work, I needed to go grocery shopping.  Tonight, I voted after work, and then my daughter and I went out to eat, and now I'm writing this post.  So it's been a little frustrating.  I still have a pretty good cushion, but it will diminish rapidly if I don't clear my schedule again.

So!  Tomorrow night, nobody tempt me with movies or conversations or shiny websites, okay?  Because I will be writing.