I have very recently been informed that what I am doing is vitally important, and should count as, if not a career, then a respectable detour. I’m still unconvinced I genuinely believe this (I certainly don’t grok it, but I’ve had confidence and perception issues for decades), but whether I do or not, this isn’t truly the issue.
What’s going on right now is that I’ve spent two days fighting with my children instead of writing. I JUST NOW spent nearly an hour building Lego instead of writing this post. Because the noise and wails when only one had a motorcycle.
I’m slowly coming to the realization that anything I want undamaged, anything from which I don’t want pieces missing must be cryosealed and buried, to be opened only after the last one has been unceremoniously ejected from all the Spaces That Are Mine.
This is the first time in almost five days that I’ve opened my laptop to do anything other than a quick check of email. I haven’t blogged. I haven’t put down a single new word of fiction. I even quit carrying my iPad around with me wherever I went. Better yet, I haven’t felt a single pang of guilt about it. How could I do such a thing, especially with a deadline looming less than two weeks away? Easy. A friend was coming into town. For the first time in years, I was allowing myself time to relax and not worry about the next book or editing the current one or anything else like that.
And I loved it.
More importantly, I realize now that I needed it. Read more
I woke up this morning to see that the beautiful, wealthy people at the top of the American publishing scene are telling me publishing is doing well! Whew. That’s a load off. And here, I can’t actually remember the last time I purchased a hardcopy genre novel. I suspect it was before Wee Dave was born, for a couple of reasons. First, disposable income. Second, I don’t remember a whole lot of the last four years.
Ok, the truly entertaining part of John Sargent’s (CEO of Macmillan) comments wasn’t thanking President Trump for trying to block the publication of Michael Wolff’s magnificent work of fiction Fire & Fury. (I still think the POTUS’ mobilization of the DOJ – aside from being apparently juvenile – was mostly trolling his political and cultural opponents.) Oh, no. That’s what followed, where he pulled off his gleaming helmet, wiped his noble brow, and assured us he believes “free speech … is the greatest value” in publishing. Such a paladin. I’m so glad powerful businessmen are there to defend our rights. I just wish they’d do it consistently, since that’s what they claim to be for.
It’s Tuesday afternoon, again (it’s not: I’m writing this to you from far in the distant past. Like, last Wednesday, or something. Maybe Thursday. Maybe both: hard to say) which means I ramble, and you all look askance at me.
It’s the little rituals that bring stability to life, y’know?
Today, our shared journey looks an awful lot like a blank page.
Is there an Arabic speaker on the blog?
That’s a serious question. You see, for the next book in the Pocketful of Stars series I’m positing a terrorist splinter group that has split off from Al-Shabaab and is based on one of the offshore islands of the Swahili coast. If necessary I can give it a Swahili name, but the fact is that Arabic has more prestige in Swahili culture even though hardly anybody actually speaks the language. And after a few days of tinkering I have reluctantly concluded that one year of intensive Arabic many, many years ago is not going to suffice for making sure up an authentic name, at least if I want to get fancier than “al-[Arabic word].” So… anybody want to help?
This question is only one of the many ways I’ve found to spend too much time on research. It started with reading up on Swahili beliefs in djinn and demons. That’s one aspect of Swahili culture I know nothing about firsthand, because in my time on the coast I found it politic to stay far, far away from discussions about these matters. It was an earlier and less technology-oriented age (no cell phones, and my tape recorder was the size of a shoebox) and I had enough trouble already with people muttering about jinni and shaitani when they heard their voices coming out of the shoebox.
The observation-lemur observes.
I had not planned on releasing three very different books in the space of three weeks. In fact, one of them wasn’t supposed to be written at all! But the Evil Muse, and the success of what was supposed to be a set of stand-alone stories was such that I released a short urban-fantasy novel, the tenth Cat Among Dragons book, and the second Shikari book in three weeks.
So, what were the results? 1) A frazzled author. Read more
The gym I go to is a small and very dedicated subset of exercise: a black iron gym. This means you walk in, and see roughly ten squat racks on individual platforms meant for weightlifting alone, and a lat pulldown machine in the far corner, The other room has even more platforms, with competition-specific weights and two concept two rowers that are used only for warmups. There are only two ancient treadmills, and only folks who are in a specific rehab use ’em. If they disappeared, it’d take weeks to notice. People are there to concentrate on doing their training, competing against themselves and marking sets and reps in notebooks or apps as they progress.
And there’s always music on in the background. Read more