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[books] Green and Greener

The last few days I’ve been thinking about a sequel to Green. I believe I’ll make some story notes, and probably write a synopsis, before I get on to the revision Tourbillon at the beginning of March. I know the new title (for now): Endurance. I have the opening scene in my head, which means Fred is gnawing on it. Putting words to paper will let me get on to other things, while giving the ideas a chance to digest and be socialized among them what needs to know.

So properly, I suppose this post should be entitled Green and Endurance. More to come, and maybe even a WIP, if I wax sufficiently poetic.

[books|writing] Thinking about the road ahead

So here in my post-novel ennui of the past 24 hours, I have sold a novella, signed 500 sig sheets of the METAtropolis limited edition, mailed out a few more Green ARCs, done story marketing WRPA in which I noted that I recently passed the 250 stories mark, have been working several interesting short fiction publishing deals, and, um, cleaned my house. But I already reported that last bit.

My brain being what it is, I’m quite actively thinking about the road ahead, book-wise. Here’s what’s committed, what’s on deck, and what’s floating in my backbrain waiting for time and focus.

Committed

  • Revisions to Tourbillon (March)
  • Revisions to the Heart of the Beast (whenever Jeff gets them to me)

On Deck

  • Continue to write first volume of diplomatic/espionage thriller series with my Dad the retired ambassador (as time permits)
  • Develop collaborative concepts with (YA trilogy) and (steampunk romance) (as time permits)
  • Draft Sunspin (From May through Ghu only knows when)

Backbrain

  • Sequel to Green
  • Original Destiny, Manifest Sin
  • Black Tulip
  • Reign of Flowers
  • As yet unnamed Mainspring book which started jogging my elbow as I worked on “Chain of Stars”

That last bunch won’t happen this year, and some of them may never happen unless there’s commercial demand, but they’re in my head. I already know that even if I were a full time writer, sans day job, I couldn’t write much more than I do now. It’s not like I can write any faster. In point of fact, recent bouts of hypergraphia aside, I’ve been trying to slow down in the interests of improved pacing and work quality.

It’s fun to juggle all these balls in my head. It will be interesting to see where and how they land in real life.

[books] Green’s in the mail

Spent a couple of hours this evening packaging up the Green ARC to go out to my mailing list, plus recent winners and . Then and I hied off through the freezing fog to the airport post office under the theory that it’s less anti-social to go through the line with fifty packages on Saturday night at a commercial mail handling facility than it is on Monday morning at the neighborhood postal station. (I wish more of my fellow postal customers thought this way.)

My attempt at public-spirited behavior was moot, as it happened — one window open, over twenty people in line. We waited half an hour to get to the window, then we tied it up for almost another half an hour what with all the international bits.

The resulting receipt was almost $200, and nearly as long as is tall.

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Her reaction? I quote, “Isn’t your publisher supposed to put some money into this?”

[books] Yikes

I was in the Clackamas Town Center Barnes & Noble today and saw a very frightening thing. All the books in the Science Fiction section were faced. Even, then shelves had gaps. This means they had less than half the normal inventory. (Including nothing of mine.)

I know Borders is going under in the next month or two, but I didn’t know B&N was playing the cutback game. Anybody else seen this at B&N?

[books|process] Pratchett’s Small Gods

After an enormous amount of galley reading (Green) and critical reading (Demonhead) this weekend, I just couldn’t face Herman Melville again, so I gave myself a cookie with my nth re-reading of Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods.

Pratchett is one of those rare writers who turns off my Producer brain and taps directly into the Consumer vein. Which is to say, most media I consume hits the internal editor and is processed thereby. This is largely a good thing, I believe, as it is related to my critical thinking skills, professional development, etc. Pratchett can take me back to the sensawunda which kept twelve-year-old me hiding in the bookstacks to devour Andre Norton or a Heinlein juvenile because I wasn’t allowed to check out as many books as I could read in a weekend.

A funny thing happened on the way to the literary afterglow, though. Small Gods was the first Discworld book I read. In many ways, it remains my favorite, though The Truth has it in a photo finish, and likewise The Wee Free Men. This time I was noticing the scaffolding of craft which drives Small Gods, and I mean that in a good way.

Brutha has one of the most amazing character arcs I’ve ever seen in fiction. Regardless of what you think of Pratchett, fantasy or humor in genre, this book is worth reading for the sake of studying what Pratchett does with Brutha’s transformation, and how he does it. Plus, if you’re not hip to Discworld, this is one of the best entrees into that continuity, as it’s more-or-less a standalone work.

What books (genre or otherwise) do you like for demonstrating character arc and development?

[books] Green galleys

Just wrapped my read through of the Green galleys. Once I get ‘s review, I’ll ship these back to Tor. Wednesday at the latest, well within deadline, but given my upcoming travel, as well as additional work waiting to be done, the last day practical for me.

My favorite typesetting error today:

“I realized I was serinting”

I had to go back to the final revised soft copy to even begin to figure out what that meant. It made me laugh.

On to some reading now, for . I’d say payback is a bitch, except it’s not. It’s actually a lot of fun.

[books] Books for Christmas

Pace Jonathan Strahan, here’s me linking four new books published in 2008 which I think everyone should get or give at Christmas. I suppose this counts as a meme.

An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham (a/k/a ). This is the third volume in his Long Price quartet, and it’s one of the most stunning books I’ve ever read. You really need to read A Shadow In Summer and A Betrayal In Winter to get the full effect, but trust me, you’ll never look at fantasy the same way again. Intelligent, agonizingly emotional, and a hell of a lot of fun.

The Court of the Air by Stephen Hunt. Deep time steampunk, basically, using the tropes of English history in some pretty amazing ways. This book is great, good fun.

The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway. Strange, entertaining post-apocalyptic fiction that owes a lot more to Bill Gibson and Phil Dick than it does to Walter Miller or Pat Frank. I love the sheer, raw style of this book as well.

Nation by Terry Pratchett. Pratchett doing what he does so very well, with a youthful protagonist and a somewhat alternate version of our world. As so often with him, the storytelling is delightfully lateral. Sort of a postcard from a brighter version of post-colonialism, while also being intensely personal.

[writing] Alliteration failure

Important safety tip: sometimes it’s just not a good idea to say what comes into your head. From this early morning’s work on Tourbillon:

Her approval thrilled Boaz, sending an unexpected crackle through his crystals.

Don’t you just love it when something sends a crackle through your crystals?

[books] Help from the literati

Can anyone recommend particularly good (ideally, annotated) editions of Moby Dick and Leaves of Grass? I am feeling a powerful urge to return to the classics.

(No, I don’t know why either. I suspect the influence of Terry Pratchett.)