Deadlines…They Come And Go…

I really thought I would have this book done by now.

The problem is, I went into it half-blind. Usually, I don’t even start typing notes unless I know two things: how a book starts and where it ends. No matter how clear the middle bits appear to me, if I don’t have that first and last chapter solidly in mind, I don’t get involved. But this book…ugh. I needed something hard and fast for the table at the RT Convention that we never actually got, so I broke my rule and started before I had an ending. How fortunate it is that we never got that stupid table, because my quick and easy 45k word novella has climbed to 117k and I ain’t there yet. I honestly don’t know where it’s going, even though I know I’m in the last chapter. I can feel the end, but I can’t see it, like a tornado right before the funnel drops.

Other than that, I’ve been very productive. Moving is never quick or fun, but it’s going along. Today, I got most of my skulls unpacked and assembled one of those cubby shelf thingies for my massive hat collection. I also assembled the last of six bookshelves for our library and got 14 boxes of books unpacked and in an approximation of order. Still don’t have A/C in my room, because the idiots who owned the house before us disconnected the air ducts on this end of the house and ran cable wires through them. Why? I have no idea. Neither does the duct guy, who says it’s the dumbest thing he’s ever seen in all his years. Especially since the cable wires aren’t connected to anything either. They’re just sitting there, disconnected at both ends and snaking through a third of the house, which is now at a balmy 92 degrees and humid as Swamp Thing’s jockstrap after a particularly aggressive football game.

Assembling and unpacking things has been my daily routine for a month now and that stack of boxes in the basement doesn’t appear to be getting any smaller, like the ending of my book, which I type on every day and yet gets no nearer. Yet, I keep grinding away at it. Here’s a little snippet from the scene I wrote today (subject to changes during the inevitable editing phase), just so you know I really am doing something out here:

* * *

Ahead of them, the road had been blocked with a tall wall, long since knocked in. At regular intervals, signs had been posted, most of them too faded and riddled with bullets to be legible. The rest said things like ROAD CLOSED AHEAD and CONTAMINATED AREA BEYOND THIS POINT, along with pictures of skulls and swooning stickmen and other ominous symbols whose exact meanings were now lost but which still conveyed an undeniable sense of threat. Over the years, graffiti had covered over most of these notices in layer upon layer of apocalyptic murals depicting Azrael and Eaters and demons riding skeletal horses; quasi-religious gibberish spewing angry and fearful rhetoric about broken seals and eating the body of Christ; social commentary that was either meant to be ironic or was just badly spelled, like U can sleep when your DEAD or The End is Nigel. Crowning these madhouse musings, in thick black letters stretching across the full width of the road—all six lanes—someone had written, WHAT HAPPENED. Someone else had painted a T over the W, which Lan thought so perfect an answer that it was a very long time before she noticed Aristides had stopped the van to confer with Serafina.

* * *

The Land of the Beautiful Dead, coming soon, I swear to God.

 

Live! In Person! One Day Only!

So in answer to all those who asked, I will be at the hotel tomorrow from 10 am to 11 am, so if you have already made plans to go to the Book Signing event at the RT Convention (3rd floor, Mardi Gras Ballroom, from 11-2) I will be lurking nearby in the foyer, so you can chat without losing your place in line.

 

At 11, my family and I leave for the French Farmers Market for some last chance shopping, beginning with a café au lait and beignet. If you want to catch up with me there, that’s fine too, but once we leave, we’re gone for good. There’s just so much to see in this city and so little time.

 

So if you’re in the area tomorrow, swing on by the 3rd floor foyer outside the ballroom. I’ll be on of the thousands of people milling around. I’ll be the one wearing a plushie gator hat (like a professional, right?) Or you can look for my father, who is one of, like, six guys attending the convention. He’ll be the one wearing a jacket (really, Dad?!) but you’ll find him faster if you look for the beard. Put this man in the right clothes and he could be headmaster at Hogwarts.

 

Hope to see you tomorrow!

Checking In From the Big EasyR

God, I love this town.

The food, the music, the people, the architecture, the ghosts, the energy…this place is just amazing. Everyone should come here at least once.

 

Oh, and the RT Convention is cool too. I’ve been to lots of workshops (The Last Hour of Gann was mentioned in a panel once!!!) and done so much sightseeing, but I am not even close to ready to go home. There will be some longer, more interesting blog posts when I get home to a real computer, but I did want to check in and tell anyone who might be reading this that I will be in and out of workshops on Friday, but there’s an hour open between 12:15 (Urban Fantasy: Beyond the Old Dark House) and 1:30 (Romantic Suspense: Wrestle A Gator, Save the World) if anyone wanted to meet up. I also plan to cruise the French Market on Saturday morningish if that’s more convenient. So far, I have actually been recognized and even gushed over a little bit, which is most extremely awesome, but I would love to meet any of my readers who are in the area. Just let me know quick, because my internet access is extremely limited on the road and I have no way of checking this blog or email once I leave for the hotel.

If It’s Not One Thing, It’s a Bunch of Things

Lord, how did I let another whole month escape me without a blog post?

lazydog

Oh.

I’ll tell you how. The RT Convention is in less than a week and we’ve had so much last minute drama…hoo boy. I ran out of time and money and didn’t get as much swag as I’d initially planned, but that’s okay, because the table we were supposed to have?  We aren’t. We wouldn’t have anyplace to put all that swag anyway.  I had to drop everything (again) to do some “paycheck” work, so The Land of the Beautiful Dead didn’t get finished in time, but that’s okay too, because apparently, I had to sign up in order to put my books in the Freebie Room (???) and I missed the sign up date. No problem. Moving on. Just gives me more time to edit anyway.

Oh, and on the subject of TLotBD, it went from being a 45,000 word novella to 85,000 and climbing. Still not done yet! Hopefully, it will be published by the end of the summer, but don’t get your hopes too far up because–

I’m moving. Yup, buying a home, putting my huge collection of skulls in boxes, driving them three hours away and putting them in a whole new house. Yay. This is a good move for a lot of reasons, prime among them getting the (expletive deleted) away from this town, which consists of a train station, an oil refinery, and a stockyard, and our house is less than two blocks from all of them. My brother in law, who picked this house, swears none of them were noticeable when he bought it. He lived here alone for well over two months while we sold the last house. I was here less than ten seconds before I noticed them and I haven’t stopped noticing them in the five years I’ve been living here.

But now we are moving. The new house is comfortably rural and tree-y, nary a refinery or a train in sight, although there are a few cows. I can live with cows. I’m quite excited about the move, actually, but it is a royal pain to do the moving part, particularly when it intersects with a ten-day excursion to New Orleans for the RT Convention. And when the convention is over, I will find myself temporarily homeless as the present home is packed up and the future home is not yet ours to inhabit. I will be staying with my father and other sister for about two weeks and then I’ll be moved up to the new house, where I will live without internet or a washing machine for another two weeks, all alone, until the rest of the family joins me. They may well find me dressed in animal hides, crouching on my haunches around a carved stone idol of a laptop, offering human sacrifices for wifi.

deep thought

Don’t panic.

 

I swear I will be better about posting on this blog when things settle down and yes, I know you’ve heard that out of me before. I mean it this time. I promise. I will even try to post about interesting things instead of string of excuses about why I haven’t been posting.  In the meantime, here is a small piece of the bit I just wrote for The Land of the Beautiful Dead, which you will NOT find in the Freebie Room at the RT Convention in New Orleans, nor will you find it on my (non-existant) table in the swag hall, but which will be available later this year, I swear. I mean it this time. I promise.

* * *

Of all the rooms in Azrael’s palace, or at least those where Lan had been, if she had to choose a favorite, it could only be the library. The sheer size of it, reaching up and up on every side, marvelously open and yet lavishly closed in. Every surface was in some way beautiful, from the rich carpets over the polished floors to the elaborate tiles and cornices on the ceiling and everything in-between. She could stare at just the windows all day, imagining stories to go with the pictures that had been set so colorfully inside them, and if she ever got bored doing that, she could always ride the ladders.

The library was the only place that made Lan glad Haven existed, because it meant that room had been spared when all the rest of the world had fallen down. It made her happy, a little, to think it might survive even if humanity did not, and at the same time, it made her sad for the same reason, because no one else would ever look at those windows the same way, with the same wonder.

So it should have been a good thing that Lan had to go to the library every day, except that the reason she had to go was to meet with her tutor. It wasn’t really that either, because the tutor wasn’t so bad, for a dead man. It was just that Lan hated reading. She could see the sense of it, but only in the same way she could see the sense of glazing or smithing; it was a useful skill for a community to possess, not an individual, much less many individuals in the same community. The very fact that there was someone whose sole function was to teach reading made it completely unnecessary for anyone else to learn.

She said as much, but her tutor simply told her all complaints had to be submitted in writing.

* * *

 

Okay, for real this time…Remember to Vote!

So, when I last posted, I did not know they were spreading out the first round of the tournament into sets, so I told everyone to vote when they literally couldn’t.

 

But now you can! Today only, from noon to midnight, you can vote for The Last Hour of Gann. Just go to dabwaha.com or click the dabwaha button in the sidebar to the right and vote! If I win this round, there will be other rounds, so consider this a practice run. Remember THIS is the vote that counts, so even if you think you already voted, if you didn’t do it today, March 21, between noon and midnight, it won’t be counted toward THIS ROUND.

 

Last I checked, I was 47% to Hero’s 53%, but it’s early yet. If I win this round, I will host a giveaway on my blog for a signed copy of my new book, The Land of the Beautiful Dead (coming soon!). If I don’t win…well, I guess I’ll lie in bed all day, watching MST3K and eating Girl Scout Cookies, just like I did when Heat failed to win me an award. I mean, I’ll live, but I’d sure be happier with a win. So be sure to vote and tell all your friends!

Don’t Forget To Vote!

The Last Hour of Gann is up for best sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal, so please head over to dabwaha.com and vote. Time is limited, just today and tomorrow (March 20-21) and please remember, this is a tournament, so even if you think you already voted, you have to do it again during this time period or it won’t count. (If Gann wins this round, you’ll even have to vote again! Isn’t this exciting?)