lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
Indicative of my day yesterday, I started a "What are You Reading Wednesday?" post, only to discover this morning that I hadn't finished was still sitting here, in a tab, in draft form, on my computer.


I mean, to be fair, I haven't had much to report in terms of reading lately beyond "my Broad Universe mentee's manuscript," but I did finish My Solo Exchange Diary by Nagata Kabi, which I reviewed here: Thanks to a VERY QUIET night at Maplewood on Tuesday, I also have a bunch of books being pulled for me at the Ramsey County Library from the most recent Locus Recommended Reading List. So, hopefully, I'll have a better list of things I've read soon.  

Yesterday, I was also unaccountably sad to have heard about Opportunity, the Mars rover.  I know it lasted much longer than expected and it's _just_ a robot, but I feel like maybe a person is a little bit inhuman if they don't shed a small tear at its final communication: "Battery dying. Everything is going dark."  Jesus F*cking Christ, NASA. 

Then, on top of that, this morning I turned on the radio to AM950 and heard about the horrific destruction scheduled for the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as Trump's bulldozers and border control are seizing PRIVATE PROPERTY with immanent domaine.  I'm planning, on payday, of becoming a member in order to help them fight this, legally... even though I don't have a lot of hope that they'll win. And that's it, the frogs and the butterflies and the tiny little owls are all going to die because we're all a bunch of racist pig-sh*ts.

And, Shawn says to me this morning, "Hey, happy Valentine's Day, BBC is reporting that Taiwan voters rejected same-sex marriage."

It's honestly this sh*t that's going to break me.


In happier news, Mason really enjoys judging debate tournaments. He had one last night, at Washington, and he came home almost giddy with stories of the middle schoolers he critiqued and graded. "I'm SO PROUD of them!" he says to me, beaming. 

Next Monday we go to the informational meeting for PSEO (Post-Secondary Education Opportunities, a program that allows public school students to attend university for free, particularly if there's need--like for Mason, he's exhausted high school math, as of this year. Technically, he was done with the official HS math curriculum last year, but Washington Tech has a "College In Schools" Calc I class that he's in this year.). Mason also talked to his school councilor who is really supportive (especially after his early PSAT scores) of him going full-time PSEO next year. We're still debating the merits and the drawbacks to that, but the idea that Mason could basically be in college next year is kind of amazing. I think it could potentially be really good for him. He's a funny kid. The more rigorous the class, the better his grades tend to be. If he's in any class where there's a lot of busywork that most people would find to be "low-hanging fruit," (ie easily done), he struggles to do it, because he can't see the point. We tease him that he's the only person who get A+s in Calc I, but can barely pass "Independent Living." 

In much happier news, I have a book contract on the horizon.

It's a kind of funny story about how that happened. So, as reported here, Wizard Tower Press has put out an omnibus edition of all 5 of my AngeLINK books. As I was going around posting all the various self-promotion things one does, I came across an email from a fan complaining that she could not get a copy of Song of Secrets a book that Rachel Calish and I wrote together (but which has since been removed by the publisher for various reasons) AND she wanted to know when he heck I was going to get around to publishing that sequel to Precinct 13.

Those who have been following along at home know that i have a large portion of a sequel already written. I was posting it in installments on Wattpad for a while, but then I ran out of steam and never finished it.

WELL. I thought to myself, I wonder if Cheryl Morgan, my publisher at Wizard Tower Press, would be interested in that. Plus, if Cheryl gave me a deadline (and a contract), I might actually get off my depressed BUTT and finish it.  

Turns out, Cheryl was more than willing to send me out a contract... so, I now have a deadline of September 2019 to get things into shape. Should be very doable.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK CHERYL BEFORE. Thank you, random complainer! Without you, it would NEVER have occurred to me that I could just see if Wizard Tower Press was up for a new novel by me.

So that's kind of big news. It's not official-Official yet, per se, so I'm not shouting it from the rooftop--but, dang near. I have a draft contract in hand and everything looks very much green to go.

It's crazy, but just having this in the works has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel like a _real_ writer again.
lydamorehouse: (nic & coffee)
 I feel like I've forgotten how to write. 

Which is weird, since I wrote about 2,000+ words of fan fiction yesterday.  So, it's not the actual act of putting words to page that I've forgotten how to do, but something else.  I've got a deadline fast approaching for an author guest slot in an invite-only magazine called Boundary Shock Quarterly, my issue will be about apocalypses that I was invited to contribute to, and I've been doing a LOT of thinking about stories that feature after the fall/the end of the world and what appeals to me about them.  Shawn and I even re-watched "Logan's Run," which surprised me by mostly standing the test of time. But, Mason challenged me to put some words to paper today and I have started numerous times only to be frustrated with the results.

I've gotten some good advice about how-to write short stories from the people in my writers' group, so I'm not necessarily looking for that right now. But, you know, if you really want to point me to writing blogs or whatnot, I'll definitely read anything you link to. I'm not so proud that I'd turn away a good resource.

What I'm really stymied about right now is something different, however. I was counseled to consider writing a story within a story, where there's something else going on and the end of the world is kind of more of a backdrop. Something like what [personal profile] naomikritzer did with "So Much Cooking."  (An amazing story, if you haven't already read it, you should.) This is excellent advice because a good short story is always operating on a number of different levels, but... okay, here's the thing that's really been hitting me _today_ as I sit down to write. I'm not sure that's me, the writer who writes brilliantly about the human condition clothed in science fiction. Think it's absolutely what most people are writing write now--most successful short story writers, anyway, given what I've been reading in prep for the Nebula Award nominations. I am a gigantic fan of slice-of-life manga, butI was re-reading some of the stuff I wrote to promote the launch of Resurrection Code, which very much is my "after the fall" novel, and it's all apocalypse travelogue with action.

And I'm wondering if I'm doing a disservice to myself by not just writing an adventure?

Eh, I should just write SOMETHING and stop overthinking the whole process.

Mason's right about me. I can talk myself OUT of any idea I have... and end up with nothing.

Well, I'm picking him up at 5:15 pm tonight (unless robotics gets cancelled due to the snow), so I have time to get something down. Probably I should just start writing ANYTHING and see where that takes me.

Or... I could do the dishes... or vacuum.

See, I'm a writer. I know how to avoid writing!


UPDATE: 325 words written. Ha! It's not a lot, but I'm exceedingly happy that words made it onto page. Go me!
lydamorehouse: (cap and flag)
 Well, CONvergence has been over for almost a week now and I never managed to write-up my con report.  All I can say to that, is that this week STARTED with me showing up to my library gig at New Brighton at quarter to five on Monday only to hear them announce that the library would be closing in fifteen minutes.... 

Luckily, it wasn't that I had completely missed my shift, BUT that I'd showed up a day early.


I had somehow mentally shifted my entire week in my head, because then I also had a panic about a talk I'd agreed to give at the University of Minnesota, which I suddenly worried conflicted (it didn't. That was last night, Wednesday.)  The only good thing that came out of that is that one of my colleagues at work might have me come to her library science class at St. Kate's and have me talk about manga/anime for libraries, which would be neat.

Last night, I was a guest at "From Rocket Ships to Gender Politics." There were only about 11 students, so that was a pretty perfect size, and they had all just finished reading Neal Stephenson's SNOW CRASH, which was a nice segue into my version of cyberpunk. I only feel a little badly because I am a very bombastic personality (Scorpio with a Leo Rising, heavy on the Leo Rising!) and I pretty much dominated the classroom discussion for 2 and a half hours. I gave away various copies of books that I had lying around, which was great.  I'm almost nearly entirely out of RESURRECTION CODE hardcopies.

But, that was a good time. I had initially expected to only have to carry 45 minutes or so of the class, but we were having too much fun and I ended up staying longer and longer.  :-)  In fact, I ended up staying all the way through and even listened to the class discussion of SNOW CRASH, which was interesting, since I haven't tried to re-read that book since it came out.

Okay, so, backtracking to CONvergence....

My CONvergence was fairly good.  It ended on a down note for me, but that was kind of me just feeling like a fraud/loser who hasn't published anything since 2013 (which is accurate, but mostly I don't feel the loser/fraud part so keenly.) I think having two panels in a row about literary awards is what caused that, alas.  

One of the first things that happened when I got to con on Thursday was that I ran into my old editor (now writing colleague) Laura Anne Gilman.  Laura Anne and I ended up hanging out together, getting coffee, and generally having a great time chatting about state parks and road trips and things like that.  I mean, I never know how she feels about me, but, this many years later, I have nothing but fond memories.  I ended up following her to her panel on "How to Say 'No' to Your Editor." I probably embarrassed her by publicly commenting that I thought that her editorial letter, while LONG, actually made my novel better.  Which is all true, and it's not like sucking up to her NOW would help my career any.

From there I had a panel, which I moderated, on DEATH NOTE a manga which has spawned a zillion adaptations, including an American remake for Netflix.  I thought that panel went very well. I think it helps that I reread the entire manga a few days earlier, so all the character interactions were fresh in my mind.

I did a lot of bumming around at con this year because I was semi-chaperoning three teenagers: Mason, his girlfriend, and their mutual guy friend.  So, I took them all out to dinner and whatnot and ended up watching part of the "Infinity War" panel with them. But, while waiting for my teens to get their acts together, I ran into [personal profile] opalsong and talked fandoms and the various things she's been podcasting.  I made Thursday an early night, though. I think we were all home by 8pm-9pm. 

Friday I had a 9:30 am panel. I saw Eleanor having breakfast in the hotel restaurant and so I crashed her table for a few minutes (and an extra cup of coffee) before my panel. Anne Lyle was there so we ended up talking about the World Cup and some of the other differences between American and U.K. life.

My panel, another one that I moderated, seemed to also go pretty well. This one was about Timothy Dalton as Bond and I think we ended up with a fairly lively discussion, despite the early hour.

At some point later, I ended up at "Judging a Book By its Cover."  CONvergence always has this track of panels that are really more like entertainment, Villification Tennis, Power-point Karaoke, the Poetry Slam, etc.  This one is one that Mason and I have seen before and it is almost always quite hilarious, even if the 'panelists' flail, because the covers they find for it are always worth the price of admission.  But, the performers were all amazing, so it was very entertaining.

I spent a LONG time sitting on the floor near the costuming atrium near the pool/cabana area chatting with Ty Blauersouth about... kind of everything, which was lovely.  

Then, I was one of the judges for the Poetry Slam, which went very well. It was enough fun that I think I'm going to try to catch it next year, even if I'm not a participant.

The final panel of Friday for me was another one I moderated which was the Chuck Tingle fan panel. I'm not sure how well that one went, but the audience seemed to enjoy it as one of them gave me a "good job" ribbon afterwards (which is only ironic since I really felt like I'd flailed around a lot.)  But, I mean, the subject matter alone is fairly entertaining, so there is that.

Saturday was my off day, but I did get to have lunch with [personal profile] naomikritzer and Ms. Shannon Paul, which prompted me to hit the comedy show to watch Ms. Shannon perform, which was, by far, the highlight of my day.

I ended up skipping con entirely on Sunday because I was WORN OUT.

lydamorehouse: (Renji 3/4ths profile)
 I've determined today to get a decent start (well, re-start after talking to Wyrdsmiths,) on my proposal for a mystery cozy that my agent was looking for. I'm a four pages in and all I want to do is... anything else.  

In fact, I just got back from running an errand and am eyeing up the dishes. I hate doing the dishes.  The only thing that makes doing the dishes bearable to me is the fact that I usually watch anime while doing it.

I even started the laundry, another job I loathe.

All to avoid writing.

I'm SUCH a stereotype.

I'm pretty sure I mentioned the cozy here before.  There's no real "interest." All that happened is that my agent was talking to an editor (as per her job) and the editor said something to the effect of, "You know what *I'd* love to see....? I'd love to see a cozy mystery set in the craft beer brewing community" and my agent, being an actual decent person who seems to legitimately have my back, passed on this bit of industry gossip. I'm probably the absolute worst person to try to write this. For one, I don't drink beer. AT. ALL.  I grew up in a brewing town and the smell of hops kind of makes me think, unpleasantly, of overly hot, swampy days. So I never bothered to acquire a taste for it.  I've done some home brewing of wines, but never (obviously, since I don't drink it) beer.

HOWEVER, the universe seems to want me to give this a try, because, by absolute chance I met a woman at Minicon who not only is a craft beer enthusiast, but ran her own craft beer brewery.  So, I contacted Kathleen on Facebook and she's agreed to be my expert advisor.  In fact, we got together a couple of weekends ago and talked about the local craft brewing scene. I learned a lot of interesting stuff and immediately got an idea of how the murder could happen.

So, I've been diligently poking at this proposal for several weeks now. I really want to get it done so that I can start on the part that's going to be the most difficult for me: writing the sample chapters.  I should probably just start writing those, too, but [insert typical writerly whine, aka "WRITING IS HARD!"].

Who thought this was a good career for me, anyway?  Oh, wait. I did.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
It might be the beans and rice I had for lunch (that's a lotta fiber!), but I actually think it's nerves. I just finished a draft of my proposal submission package for Carina Press. A friend of mine is beta reading it RIGHT NOW and I think that's part of my grumbling tummy. I mean I like this novel start. I once read it at a WorldCON reading and there's someone who heard that reading who keeps asking after it. So, I know it doesn't suck on a fundamental level, but breaking through this block I've head is... kinda a big deal, you know?

After she reads it and makes comments, I'll have a couple more days to polish it up. The proposals are due June 4, 11:59 Eastern Time!  So, an hour earlier for me, but still basically I have until late night on Sunday to get it all in working order.  


What, who me?


Anyway, I'm distracting myself from watching over her shoulder in Google Docs by writing this... and listening to my stomach gurgling like crazy!


I felt inspired to finish up and send it along to my beta reader today because I got some other good writer news. Several months ago, a friend encouraged me to send in a short flash fiction piece to a Queer SF flash anthology, (on the theme of "renewals.') I'm excited to report that I may or may not be a winner, but, regardless, they have selected my piece for inclusion in their anthology. Whoohoo! As their letter to me explains, "This does not mean you are or are not also a winner in the contest - you’ll have to wait to find out. ;) We will be announcing the honorable mentions, runners up, judges choices and winners over the next couple months." So I'm still in the running for the cash prize, too.

A red letter day, I would say if I hadn't recently realized that's a Biblical reference.

Maybe I'll still say it. I mean, I used to write religious stuff, after all.  A RED LETTER DAY.
lydamorehouse: (ichigo being adorbs)
Last night, I had a dream about attending the Nebula Awards in my pajamas.

Oh... Dr. Freud.  I'm not even subtle, am I?

First of all, I am actually going to the Nebula Awards Weekend this year.  It's in in May, in Chicago, (which is close to home), and my friend Naomi went last year because her friend Helene (Wecker, who wrote The Golem & the Jinni) was up for a Nebula.  They both had a such great time, and so Naomi was able to talk me into giving it a try with her again, this year. I thought, "Why not?" 

Apparently, my subconscious thinks I'm not dressed well enough for the whole affair.

I'm sure this has entirely to do with the fact that I haven't been writing much of anything original for such a long time.  I mean, as I say, my subconscious isn't known for its subtly.  I'm sure all this feeling of loser-y was added to by the fact that yesterday, as part of my review of the latest chapter, I went to look to see how long the manga Bleach had been running. It turns out, according to Wikipedia, Bleach was first serialized in August of 2001, which means that Tite Kubo and I started publishing almost exactly the same time.  Archangel Protocol was published by Roc in May of 2001. Kubo-sensei is also almost exactly 10 years YOUNGER than I am, having been born in 1977.  He's, of course, still writing and drawing his creation.  Me?  I'm writing fan fic in his universe.  (I mean, that's not entirely fair to myself. I'm doing other things, but you know how it is when you feel like a loser, right?)

I mean, there's an easy solution, right? And, I have several projects I could and should be working on. In fact, my writers' group has been hounding me to hand out the next chapter of the "Roommate from Hell" novel I started. I guess my brain is telling me that I ought to make some significant progress on those projects so that when people ask me "what are you doing these days?" I can have an answer besides, "Oh, a whole lot of nothing. You?"

I need to get over this, though, because I am really trying to NOT feel like a fraud at either the Nebulas or the Hugos this year (I'm also attending WorldCON).  I really, REALLY want to go and just have a good time. I want to support my friend and hang out and do the dealer's room and all that sort of stuff.  

At least in my dream, I went out and explored the city.  Of course, in my dream, the Nebulas weren't in Chicago, but somewhere in Michigan, instead, but I found this really cool lake-park to wander around in before the ceremony.  It was very visceral. Like it really looked like a real place, but my dream-mind loves to mess with me even when I could just be enjoying a pleasant walk in the park, because this park was kind of flooded, maybe always boggy, but definitely Escher-ish in the way it was difficult to traverse. In other words: treacherous.  

Dreams, huh?


Apr. 6th, 2015 01:46 pm
lydamorehouse: (Bazz-B)
Despite what's on most people's minds in the SF world today, I ended up over at Kurtis Scaletta's blog talking about failure. Not the culture of "fail" in the SF community, but my own personal f*ck ups.

"My Biggest Failure: Letting the B-st-rds Get Me Down."

Those of you who are regular readers here will have already heard much of what I have to say in the blog. If I have ONE regret, it's that I've sat on my hands for too long.

To that end, I'm happy to report I have a draft of the first book in a three-part comic book script, which I'm intending to hand out at the next Wyrdsmiths. I haven't done much yet about UnJust Cause and what I need to do with that story/novel, BUT I did start a novella about Garnet Lacey that I'm hoping to keep working on. I also have a short story that needs an ending, but that I have several pages on. So, I am starting to write for publication again, too.

Fingers crossed that I continue to be prolific.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
*throws up in mouth*

This comment was left on one of my fics the other day.  Because I'm that kind of person, I re-read the fic in question and tried to determine what on earth I wrote that would have caused that reaction.  The fic that elicited this remark wasn't terribly explicit, which is to say there was no actual sex scene a person might have gotten squicked over.  There was a conversation between two adults about sex, and I suppose someone could have been upset since one of the characters is discussing these things with her childhood friend who is currently sleeping with her adoptive brother.  But, the scene was intended to be all the awkward you might imagine something like that would be.  Also the fic is clearly tagged for the male pairing, so if this person preferred the stories where the childhood friends get together, you'd think the tags alone would have been a clue NOT TO GO THERE.

What is strange to me is that someone felt the need to leave this cryptic insult/comment in the middle of a long-running series without further explanation.

It is all of four words, with two asterisks, absolutely no other context, and of course, it's been nagging me for DAYS.

This is why the idea of sporking makes me violently ill.

I'm a professional writer.  I've had to suffer the slings and arrows of reviews and fellow professional writers snarkily saying "less of Morehouse is better" in print.  And, yet, four little words, surrounded by two asterisks, KEEPS ME UP AT NIGHT.

Truth is, I remember all the bad things anyone ever said about my professionally published novels.  A hundred people can tell me a story or novel or a fic is awesome, but even the slightest remark that implies there's something seriously wrong with my writing (or myself) and it will haunt me forever... or at least several days.

Despite the fact that I'm going to probably turn this moment around and around in my mind for days, I know I'm going to survive it.  If I kept writing after the "Less of Morehouse" comment (which always makes me think of a playground taunt), this is not going to end me.

But it's really not hard to see how it could.

I mean, writers (and artists in general, I imagine) have very fragile egos (even if successful artists are also usually resilient), none of which is helped by the mercurial nature of our business.  There's this sense that good books survive and sucky books die on the shelf.  Nothing could be less true. Many an amazing author has withered; and many books (do I have to remind you all of 50 Shades of Gray or Bridges Over Madison County???) become best sellers for reasons that baffle many of the rest of us.  Yet, when a career does stall or a book fails, the writer almost always blames themselves.  Every bad word ever written about any of their books loom large.  Every cliche they ever used is examined and found embarrassing and wanting and oh-god-how-could-I-have-ever-thought-I-was-any-good!

When you're professionally published, however, that's kind of the deal, the dues you pay.

When you're writing for fun/pleasure.... what's the joy in poking someone?  I guess like any bullying, it makes the bully feel bigger.  I don't understand it. It's far easier to ignore the fic writers whose stuff I find subpar than to drag myself through it and then go to the added trouble of hitting comment and writing out some vague insult.  I don't know, it's like walking up to a random person you don't know and whispering, "You're ugly."  That thing we all fear is true.

What can I say?  Random fic bullying: *throws up in mouth*
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I ignore Tate Hallaway a lot.

I think I've always been a little jealous of "her." But, ever since I created her persona, I drag my feet when it comes to things like posting to her Facebook page, Twittering as her, or even opening her gmail account to see what people have written to her.

It's been a couple of months since I checked her gmail account. I'm not proud to have gone that long, but, honestly? Since I've been "between contracts" I get really, REALLY depressed to open fan mail from someone who just discovered Tate and absolutely adores Precinct 13 or one of the Ana books. So, I've been avoiding it kind of subconciously and kind of super-consciously.

Guess what? Tate apparently had an LJ account. LJ deleted her for inactivity.

Wow, I feel like an idiot. Of course, I didn't even remember getting an LJ account for her until it hit me that I'd used it YEARS ago to contribute to the fairies, fang, and fur group LJ... except I was terrible at that too. I actually kind of failed at being Tate a lot. I loved the books I wrote as her, but I really felt fake when I participated on the Internet ast Tate. I should probably delete her from Twitter, too. Because hell if I even remember my password it's been so long since I've check her Twitter account.

I had thirteen friends waiting at Facebook for her too.

Man, I really suck. I must seriously hate my-psuedo-self.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
For Shawn's birthday this year, my mom got the most PERFECT card. It shows a woman dumping left-over food into the trash and her dialogue bubble says, "La-la-la-la, I'm throwing my vegetables away and no one can stop me!" The inside reads, "There are some perks to growing older."

That's just funny, but the truth is Shawn hates most veggies, so it's even FUNNIER.

I feel like that when I wake up at 2 o'clock am with a nagging sense that there's "stuff to be done!" I'm at the age now where I think, "Ah, hell, I'll just get up and see if I can figure out what it is..." Apparently, the dishes needed doing, so I did those. Then, I needed to finally write back to my parents because, despite the ease of social media, I've apparently forgotten how to write a simple e-mail letter and am terribly behind on familial correspondence. So, I did that.

The next thing on my list is to check to see when I promised the Loft that I would write a blog promoting my up-coming classes. This is the year I teach ALL THE THINGS in the summer. If all three courses fill-up, I have two youth classes I'll be teaching: 'ALL THE FEELS: FanFic 101' and 'MORE THAN THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE: Writing SF/F.' I also agreed to try another on-line class for adults teaching SF, called 'OVER THE TRANSOM: An Intermediate Course for SF/F Writers.' I'm looking forward to them all, but I really, really hope my fanfic class fills, because it would be the great vindication of my life if I could find a way to make a legitimate living from fanfic.

I mentioned the fanfic class at Detour and had tons of people come up afterwards and ask me about it. It's really a shame that I didn't get my act together enough to offer an adult version of that class for next semester. I guess someone is doing a fanfic class for adults though on the theme of 50 SHADES OF FANFIC, so maybe people will try that out. I don't know if that's written by an insider, though, you know what I mean?

Today is Wednesday, so when it's finally a decent hour, I'll be meeting with the Women of Wyrdsmiths for our usual Wednesday gathering. I've been working on another set of sample chapters. I ended up having to set aside Mars for the moment because it started to veer off my synopsis. Normally, that's a GOOD sign, but the editor who's shown interest in the Mars book is the one who rejected Samurai High for a number of reasons, but specifically because it didn't jibe with the proposal. So, that's made me a little gun shy about my usual process of just writing my way into a book until it finds its sea legs, as it were. I decided the best course of action would be to set Mars aside for the moment and come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes in a little while to see if I can wrestle it back on track or if I should just go where it takes me. In the meantime, I've switched to ANOTHER sample chapter project for a completely different editor. This project is one that my friend [ profile] empty_mirrors calls DSL, which stands for "Deep Space Lawyer." This seems to have been a good move on my part, because I woke up several days ago with a zinger opening line and have been on a bit of a roll. I've been looking for a project that will carry me, and DSL might be it. That is to say, this might be the book I just write from start to finish.

My last Wyrdsmiths meeting was kind of rough, though, because I'd handed out part of the Mars project weeks earlier knowing full well that it wasn't working. Even being prepared for the critique, it was surprisingly disheartening to hear just how much it failed. I've been feeling lately like, despite writing every day, I've forgotten a lot of the basics of original fiction writing. That's probably not true/unfair and more a product of NOT SELLING. But it becomes a kind of vicious circle: it becomes mentally harder to get into OF writing the longer I'm without a contract.

And, I will tell you that getting up at 2 am has its perks, but opening my email to a rejection from a short story anthology is not one of them. I'd sent out "Van Buelyn Effect," my time travel couch story to a place looking for time-travel reprints, and got a very nice, professional "alas, does not suit our needs at this time" rejection. I can't really feel bad about not placing in this anthology because a) it was a long-shot to start with, and b) the couch story already sold once... this was for reprints only.

So, here I am at... well, now 3 am, trying to not feel like a loser.

I need to remind myself that there's good news on the horizon. I heard from my British e-book publisher, Wizard's Tower Press, that Fallen Host is in its final round of editing/clean-up and will very likely be out and available for purchase in a matter of days. Interestingly, when my family and I were at HalfPrice Books yesterday I stumbled across a pristine hard copy of Fallen Host. It didn't even have my signature in it (which is especially rare locally.) So, I bought it. It's going to go into a secret stash, for those times when I might like to give away a complete set of the old books.

And, they saw me coming at HPB... I went downstairs to start flipping through the one shelf they reserve for Shonen Jump, and, dang if the manager didn't run to the back room and haul out the rest of the Jumps they had in storage and lay them at my feet. I did walk off with half of them, so apparently that was a good move. I might have to take a photo of my haul again. All I have to say is: "color inserts." I swear to god they're easily worth the dollar I paid for them. Plus, last night I read a really cool Naurto short story that was apparently the original one-shot that launched the series (though it's VERY different, Naurto is a full-on kitsune/yoaki and has the power to shape-shift.)

Mason, meanwhile, walked off with almost 70 bucks in books.

Lucky kid.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
The only movie I've ever liked Nick Nolte in was "The Good Thief." He plays a drug-addled, washed out jewel thief who gets talked into a casino heist by a police officer/former rival. There's a scene where the cop is trying to explain the details of the heist, and he asks Nolte's character, "Do you remember the 80s, Bob?" To which Nolte replies, "No."

Well, do you remember when the Internet was new? Do you remember why emoticons got invented, Bob? I do. It was because sometimes a singular line of text in a reply is hard to parce. The words are there, but the intent behind them is really uncertain. Was that sarcasm? Is she dissing me? Or is that genuine concern coming off as sarcasm? So emoticons got added so you could get more of a clue. Ah! A winky face, she's teasing me!

Somedays, I'm pretty sure I'm the person they invented emoticons FOR. I also apparently need a beta reader for real life (tm). Someone who could look over my shoulder at Tweets and status updates and blog posts and tell me if the words on the screen match my intentions.

Because I tend to get in trouble when I talk about my failings as a writer. Apparently, once you reach a certain level of professionalism, you're never, ever supposed to admit defeat. You're never supposed to agree that a rejection might have felt deserved or that you're not entirely happy with the finished product you sent off to your short story editor (who subsequentally published it.) Apparently, when you do that, you're dissing someone other than yourself. You're not a writer struggling to do her best, but instead some kind of horrible person who's hoodwinking editors into accepting less than perfect work and then crowing about it on the Internet.

For instance, I found out several years ago that I'm on someone's sh*t list because, on the day that an anthology came out, I told people to run out and buy a million copies and also talked about my struggles with short stories in general and in particular about the one that I sent off to the editor of said anthology. Apparently, my self-deprection/admission of imperfection was seen as a call out to all readers everywhere to NOT BUY THIS ANTHOLOGY BECAUSE CLEARLY IT'S FULL OF CRAP.

To this day, I don't understand how the one this makes people read the other. Shawn has explained it to me over and over again, but somehow I keep making the same mistake. I need an emoticon that says, "This is about me and is no reflection on you."

So yeah, I'm facing what I consider the strangest fall-out for having posted about being rejected yesterday (actually not the LJ post I ended up friend-locking below on Shawn's advice, but an even more innocuous status on Facebook.) Obviously, I can't go into details because SOMEONE SOMEWHERE WILL TAKE OFFENSE, but color me baffled. I thought that writers routinely got rejected and that it was all just a part of our lives and that we were free to talk about them, get a little comfort for the sting, and move on. But, apparently saying that what you really want to do is go back over your submission and make it better is some kind of slap to the face of all parties involved...

I really don't get it.

But, if you read yesterday's post (or saw my Facebook status), I'd love your opinion. Is there a coded message in there that says I was secretly trying to send my second-best effort, and that I gleefully hoodwinked my agent, the editor in question, and the entire universe with deviousness? Does admitting that you wish you had a chance to rework a submission now that it's been rejected and you have a sense of what might have gone wrong mean that you sent something off HOPING TO FAIL?

Shawn says she can see it. Maybe you can too. She's explained it a thousand times, but maybe you'll have the magic turn of phrase that will make me say, "Ah, I get it now."

And is there ever a way to talk about what we struggle with as writers that's not going to come off like this? Because I actually always apreciated hearing that writers "above" me on the professional ladder were having troubles not unlike my own. Steven King still gets rejections? Awesome. Stuff like that can, IMHO, be the sort of thing that keeps a writer at any level plugging away--knowing we're all in this together, doing our best, sometimes coming up short, but reworking things and going again. I want to be able to say that. But, every time I do, I get in the WEIRDEST kind of trouble.
lydamorehouse: (more renji art)
I understand why people talk about Muses when they try to describe the creative process. It's because writing is a confidence game. Most days I can fool myself into believing I'm brillant and that my ideas are cool and worth pursuing. Today, I'm having one of those days where every idea I try to come up with seems cliche and stupid.

Part of the problem is that I'm trying to tackle a proposal for an urban fantasy that I actually wrote some time ago. It's a proposal for a novel that my editor passed on. But, I have several "drawers" full of such things, because I always like to send in three proposals to my editor: the one I think she wants, the one I want, and one I make up off the seat of my pants. In the past, I've been pretty accurate in what I think will sell, but I've been surprised--Precinct 13 was actually the "seat of my pants" proposal, and I spent a lot of time thinking, "Really, this is the one you want??" But, I got over my shock eventually, and had a great time writing that book.

Anyway, I was looking through some of the ideas in the "reject" pile and started trying to figure out if there were any good bits to any of them. No surprise, perhaps, there are. However, the one I'm working on revising has some world-building that's exciting, but the whole rest of it-- the character, her situation, her choices-- all need a major overhaul. So I've been sitting at the coffee shop with my notebook trying to write out the cool of the world-building ideas and restructure a story around it.

It's not working.

I've had coffee (the usual food preferred by my "Muse,") but I'm not getting anywhere. I don't know if it's because I'm out of practice writing original fiction or if it's because EVERY IDEA REALLY *IS* STUPID. I've decided to forge ahead, but, when you're banging your head... everything else seems preferrable. It's probably a good thing that I've relocated to a coffeeshop because otherwise I'd be decorating our porch for the holidays, doing the dishes, or probably tackling any number of other projects that's been on my "honey do" list for years.


Okay, enough whining. Back to it!
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I think I may have actually deleted a thoughtful response to my "Fan Fiction Addiction" post.  I've been getting super-spammed here at LJ, and I think I may have hit "delete" out of habit.  I reprinted what the commenter said and my response to it in the comments of the previous post.  I hope she or he isn't offended that it seemed to go away.... anyway, I'm still thinking about that subject, honestly.  Because I'm hitting a kind of crisis point with my writing career.

It's officially been a year since I was under contract. 

I've been having a really hard time bouncing back from this one, and I've been trying to figure out how to break out of the cycle I've gotten into emotionally.  I've written a ton in that time period, nearly 200,000 words, all of it fan fic.  I've also drawn more art than I have since my last year in high school.  It's been a wickedly creative period for me, but there hasn't been a whole lot officially original that whole time. 

I've been reminded how much FUN writing can be, but I've had trouble translating that fun to other projects.  One of the things I've been thinking about to help motivate myself is that I'm seriously thinking about starting a new writers group...  or maybe just cultivate a wider range of writer friends.  What I'd love is to surround myself with creative, HUNGRY types -- sort of the me I used to be a decade ago when I had all the enthusiasm and drive of the BAKUMAN characters (I'm up to graphic novel collection #7, btw.  Still an amazingly inspirational story.)

I've been terrible about keeping up with my idea-a-day project, but I have gotten several really interesting things started, including an idea for a superhero novellette/novella that I may or may not submit to the anthology that inspired it.  The deadline for that is early November and I work well under deadline, so I may shoot to have something finished for that, regardless.

I'm thinking about doing the Novel in a Month thingy, with an eye to producing an e-book of Garnet Lacey or one of my other former series as Tate. 

But, I'm working on lighting a fire under myself. 

Fingers crossed.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
I thought I should write a quick update about my actual life (as opposed to the lives of my/Kubo-sensei's fictional characters.) 

First of all, I want to say that I will be at WorldCON this year, in Chicago.  My schedule is pretty open, but I'm really pleased how many panels I did get, considering the odds:

FRIDAY - 3:00 - 4:30pm --Broad Universe Rapid-Fire Reading
SATURDAY - 10:30am  - Noon --Autograph Session
SATURDAY - 16:00 - 17:30 (4:00pm-5:30pm?) --Series: Why Do We Love Them, Why Do we Hate Them? (ooh, I'll have tell Shawn.  Jack McDevitt is on the panel with me!)
SATURDAY - 10:30 - 11:00pm (for some reason they switched out of military time) -- Reading: Lyda Morehouse (perhaps Tate wasn't invited? Too bad, I intend to read from Precinct 13.)
SUNDAY - 1:30-3:00pm --Grimm from a Portland Perspective.  (A panel I'm probably on because I have Grimm opinions in general, given I don't live in Portland and have no Portland perpectives.)

I'm headed down by Amtrack on Thursday night.  I had intended to go down on Friday, but the Empire Builder is having delay problems so I switched my reservations.  As a bonus, it was a cheaper rate, so I got a bit of a refund. 

On an unrelated note, my family got hit, despite vaccination, with Whooping Cough.  Mason was coninuing to cough after what we THOUGHT was a mild cold, so we took him and he tested positive.  The bummer about this is that we were all quarantined, even adults with no symptoms, because there's such a raging epidemic in Minnesota.  We'll ALL on antibiotics, as well.  Shawn went back to work after only a day or so, because there are no specific guidelines for when the adults with no symptom can return to work, but Mason was stuck away from people during the course of the antibiotics.

Apparently, some friends of ours came to Mason's birthday party as carriers.  They weren't told to stay away from people.


It's also extremely dangerous for people with asthma... so, I'm glad I seem to be showing no symptoms.  Unfortunately, I was probably shedding the virus at my signing at Uncles last Saturday.  Apparently vaccinated adults often don't realize they have it and are spreding it.  Hello, Typhoid Lyda!   AND I'm going to have to miss my promotion ceremony for my blue stripe because today is Mason's last day of antibiotics.  (I could go without him, but that's just SAD.)

So I officially hate WHOOPING COUGH and anyone who decided not to vaccinate against it (and I'm likewise mildly irritated with parents whose kids are sick, but they don't let people know!)

Back to WorldCON, I have a bit of a conundrum.  I got a super-secret, SUPER pro invite from a publishing house (not mine!) to a boat party on Lake Michigan on Saturday night.  Saturday night I had been planning to help Cecilia Tan host her Hogwart's Reunion party.  My first impulse was,"OMG, I'm a pro!" and my second, much more serious consideration was, "Yeah, but who am I going to know, really?"  I have _been_ to what I imagine this boat party is going to be like, and IT'S AWFUL.  There's a lot of standing around sipping alcohol I can't really drink (and certainly don't enjoy), feeling underdressed no matter what I end up wearing, and staring desperately at all the cool people who all already know each other feeling like a dope (or worse, like I'm back at my high school prom without a date).  It's miserable, and I usually end up feeling worse for it.  On the flip side, I've been to the party it's SUPPOSED to be too.  The last WorldCon I went to, in Boston, I got to go to the super-secret Penguin party where I met up with my then-editor John Morgan and my current editor, Anne Sowards.  We had a BLAST, and I f*cking hung out with Charaline Harris.

I have about ten days to reply to the super-secret invite publishing house.  I haven't yet, because my heart belongs at Hogwarts.  First of all, I have never met Cecilia Tan for more than five minutes (I do know, however, what she can do with her tongue and a cherry stem.  Oh my!) and I'd not only like to get to know her better, I also went out of my way to invite myself  to this hostessing gig and leaving her for a bunch of annoying published authors and their editors seems RUDE.  For the record, Ms. Tan is also an editor and a writer whose work I've long admired.  More importantly, I think the Hogwarts Reunion will be a f*cking BLAST.  I will know some people who wuill be there for sure and there will be butter beer and fan grrliness of epic proportions. Plus I don't have to wear anything more formal than Hogwarts robes, which I already own.  (Oh, must sew on my Slytherin patch and find tie!!)  I will NOT feel stupid among Harry Potter fans, and, honestly, will probably have a lot more in common with the strangers in that room than I will with anyone on a stupid boat upon which I will be STUCK until they let us debark.

Okay, I think I actually know which party I prefer.  I'm just having a bit of trouble shaking the idea that I SHOULD go to the publishing house's party.
lydamorehouse: (Default)
On Friday I got my editorial letter from Penguin for Tate's newest novel Precinct 13.  Shawn and I were off celebrating "anniversary observed" and so I didn't really see it in my in-box until yesterday.  Today is the first day I'm sitting down and really looking at it.  First of all, it's seventeen pages long.  That's pretty long, though my editor didn't send back an electronically marked-up document, so it's not as line-by-line detailed as some of the others have been (though there is *some* of that.)

My editor is always very reasonable in her expectations, but regardless, I seem need to spend the first day of "revising" actually fuming, and not (re-)writing at all.  I get over it.  I usually get over it in a matter of hours, and then get down to the work of making changes that she will appreciate and I can live with.  More often than not, I come out the other side very grateful for her suggestions.

I suspect that'll happen again... any minute now.

However, at this very second, I just want to whine that "no one understands my GENUIS!!" 

It's something I've noticed a lot about my writing process: it's very manic depressive (or maybe just... weird). For instance, I just finished a short story that I'm submitting to the second Biblical horror anthology that Dybbuk Press is putting out.  I HATED the story at several points during its creation, but, on Friday, when I finished going over my writers' group's comments and revising it, I thought it was the most awesome thing anyone had written eVAR in the history of writing.    If/When it gets rejected, I will, at first, decide that the editor was the biggest fool in the universe not to recognize my genius.  I will immediately send it off to someone else who might appreciate me more.  Then, after it's gone back into the mail, I will suddenly believe that I suck, and that none of my writing has ever been worthy of publication. 

Technically, I skipped a step in here, where I will love the story just before I print it out to handout to my writers' group, and then, the moment they have it in their grubby little hands, think of everything that's wrong with it and why they're going to tell me it's dumber than the dumbest thing ever uttered.  And, then the subsequent roller coaster of emotions at the writers' group itself where I'm insanely happy that they found things to like, and mortified by the things that need improvement.  Weirdly, I don't tend to blame Wyrdsmiths for not recognizing my genuis, and I no longer go through a period, not even a milisecond, of thinking, "Wow, they just don't GET me," probably because my brain pre-filters comments as I'm listening to them, ie, "Oh, that was a good catch, I'll write that down," vs.  "Well, that wasn't my intention, but so-and-so doesn't like horror, so I'll note that impression but not dwell on it other than to make sure that part is toned down in revision." 

I think that just shows that there's a lot of trust built up in Wyrdsmiths over time.  You'd think I'd have that with my editor, but I see Wyrdsmiths every other week.  I talk to my editor usually only when working on a book's revisions with her, once or twice a year.  Also, face-to-face is utlimately different than receiving a seventeen page critique (even though my editor is always very good to mention the things she likes as well.)

I guess I just needed to articulate that, because I have no one here to complain to besides the cats. Who, I should say, are very good listeners, especially Ms. Ball, who has taken to sitting on me a lot this winter.

In other news, our Solstice/Christmas tree is up. We buy a tree every year from the Y's Men because they are conveniently located just across University Avenue from us, and we have a lovely family tradition of frantically dodging University traffic while carrying a ginormous tree. All the lights are on and all the oraments too, including both captains (Kirk and America), several Star Fleet vessels, and a blown glass octopus (among other oddities.)

Doing all that took up most of Sunday. Saturday was more of a lay around day this time, and, of course, Friday (as I said above) Shawn took off work and we hung out together. We ended up shopping, actually. The morning on Friday began with the sock incident, in which it was discovered that Mason had (we initally thought anyway) misplaced one of his black socks. This was a Big Deal because Mason has out grown all but two pair, and Shawn had been carefully tending them. Obviously, what was needed immediately after dropping little boy off at school was an expotition to the North Pole, er, Kohls. Off we went, and then since we were already shopping we kind of got into it and went to Pier One for a bunch of fun pillows for the new chairs (did I mention we have new chairs?) and then to Shawn's hair appointment and then off to DSW. Shopping! I'm not normally a retail therapy sort, but Friday was fun.

I had good company, I suspect.

Okay, so that's everything I know. You?

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