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Satirica is Here


It’s here! The Satirica Anthology, featuring my story “The Babies at Nae-Long,” is out and on shelves! In hardback and everything! Here, Have some picturey goodness:

 






 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
Ooooh! Aaaaah! Pretty spiff-looking, no?

So yeah, I disappear for a month at a time and then I just waltz back into your life, no “hi, how ya doin’” no “I love you and missed you,” not even an explanation for where I’ve been, just shillin’ my filthy wares all across the internet. That appears to be how I roll. But okay, a brief where-I’ve-been: China for awhile, which was awesome. More on that to come. Then back here, to the law mines, desperately trying to catch up on mountains of work before I returned to feed the LJ monster. I grant that took a little more time than I expected, but I am back in full force now. I doubt I’ll be able to catch up on all the great LJ I’ve missed, though, so if you have big news that I missed, please tell me in a comment or message!

Okay, so back to the antho. For those who missed earlier discussion, Satirica is an anthology that looks to examine social problems and realities in our society through a satirical lens (but in the original sense of satire, i.e, social critique, not in the “humorous” sense. My story, especially, is not very funny). It’s full of a lot of great up-and-coming authors, and a few more established names, as well.

My own work aside, I’ve really enjoyed all the stories in this and am ecstatic to be a part of it. Roy Dudgeon has done a great job putting it together, and I am forever in his debt. Each story is interesting, unique, and will hopefully go a long way toward making you think about society in general, the human condition, and the world around us. Also, it’s big: 24 stories = more bang for your buck. And who doesn’t like bang?

Anyway, Satirica is currently available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. I saw the other day that Amazon was already nearly sold out and going back for more copies, which is a big hooray, but I think they're ordered up again. I will likely grab a few myself, and maybe give one or two away here? Would there be any interest in that? Let me know.

So there, with a bang (aforementioned good thing), I am back and promise to be a good little community-member from here on out! Coming soon-- the terror of vacation summary!

A Quick Note to Myself

I must remember…

That I am a good writer.
 
That the stories are worth telling.
 
That plot holes can be plugged.
 
That loose ends can be tied.
 
That cardboard characters can be born anew.
 
That flat writing can be made to explode.
 
That I have all the time in the world to make my art perfect.
 
That perfection is worth waiting for.

Friendly Note

It has come to my attention that some people I swear-to-god I friended were not, for reasons unexplained, added to my friends list. And here I thought you were just being very quiet of late. This situation has hopefully been rectified. If you are among those people, know that I and Zoidberg Jesus still love you.

That is all.

Random Writing Thoughts

I have established a general pattern for this book, it goes something like this: 1) writewritewrite 5 - 10,000 words. 2) Reach previously unthought-of plot development/scene that seems boring. 3) Ponderponderponder next scene for about a week. 4) Make major change to prior storyline without revising. 5) writewritewrite, rinse, repeat. Throw in the occasional “drop everything for day job” and that’s pretty much where I am. carrie_ryan suggested this may just be the way I write. I hope not, it’s pretty frustrating during the ponder periods.

So I am now in a ponder period and it is looking increasingly unlikely that I will make my goal of completing the first draft before I go to China next month, which I am now glad that I did not blog about planning on doing. Well, I was really rolling for a little while there, everything seemed like it was going to keep moving all the way through the end of the book, when I decided that one huge plot complication I was going to throw in should instead be another, which I think vastly strengthens the plot but simultaneously was totally unexpected and brought everything to a crashing halt.
I’ve got a lot of the elements of the ending in my mind, but I’m having difficulty tying them together, so I’ve decided to resort to (just for the end, mind you) my old nemesis, outlining. I’m not sure if this is another method of procrastinating or is legitimately helpful, but so far, the outlining seems to be going well, and I’m hoping for a breakthrough soon.

Since I’m normally not an outliner, I’m curious-- you outliners, how do you do it? How much detail do you go into? Do you change your outline as you write? I don’t know if I’ll ever totally give up being a pantser, but I’d love to hear how the other half writes.

Also, a word meter:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
55,939 / 70,000
(79.9%)

 

I... Live(journal)

So you may or may not have noticed that I have been somewhat absent of late… things at the Day Job spiraled out of control and I had to basically give up anything resembling a life for a little while. Which is to say, for about a month, my schedule has been: Get up at 5:30, thirty minutes or so of basic intertubes to wake up (only the essentials: news and webcomics... haven't even checked LJ in nearly a month. I know, I know, priorities), exercise, get ready for work, work all day and deep into the night, come home, eat, watch Daily Show, sleep, rinse, repeat. Fun.

Notice that nowhere in there was the critical activity: “write.” I actually had to make a conscious decision to give up writing; not that I didn’t have the time-- I know the purists will tell me that I could have cut out my wake-up internet or my Daily Show-- but because I didn’t have the mental energy. I just couldn’t spin all my time working and muster enough to get my plot going in my brain. I tried for awhile, but it wasn’t working. It was a painful decision, but after talking it through with carrie_ryan, I realized that sometimes that I just had to do it.

So I guess maybe this is time to do a brief post on work/writing balance. Maybe this should be a solicitation… I could use the advice myself. I guess my first thought for others would be that if you really want to write professionally (i.e., building a career and making money), choose a day job that doesn’t require you to devote 150% of your time and energy. Don’t get me wrong, I love lots of my job, but it is really like working a job and a half-- you’re there most of the time, you have to be working, as in no breaks, full-mental-energy-devoted working, the entire time you’re there, and even when you aren’t there, it’s hard to not think about it. And that’s really about all I’ll say about Day Job here, btw. Hopefully that secrecy will make you think I am a spy.

My other thought is that you need to take the time you need to get things done right. And that means that sometimes writing needs to win out, and that means sometimes the Day Job or other things need to win out. The trick is to keep one from pushing other off the face of the map, particularly writing. Too many people let the stress of life be an excuse not to write, myself included. Conversely, though, you shouldn't let the drive to write add more stress to an already stressful period. I have slowly come to the realization that when I need to take time off from writing, be that because I have to focus on Day Job or just because I have to take time to actually relax every now and then, I have to allow myself to not write ahead of time and then take advantage of that off-time without feeling guilty about it. And you know what? I think doing that lets me get back to writing more easily when the time period I've given myself expires.

So I guess the question is, how do you deal with it? How do you balance the pressures of a full-time job with the pressures of getting your writing done? I hear a lot of people saying “you have to write, no matter what,” and I think that’s completely true-- that’s why I normally get up way early. But I also think it’s true that when you have a stressful job, you need to take what little time you can to relax. So where do you draw the line? How do you prioritize? I could use the advice!

Oh, by the way, just to prove that I’m back, a word count meter:


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
45,358 / 70,000
(64.8%)



PS- lalam, I owe you a meme. It’s coming, I promise!

Everyone's doing it...

I normally am not one for the memes, but when I saw the 100-book meme going around, I had to check and see where I was anyway, so I figured I might as well post it here. So like ta here we go!

The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books they've printed.
1) Look at the list and bold those you have read.
2) Italicize those you started but did not finish.
3) Underline the books you LOVE.
4) Reprint this list in your own LJ so we can try and track down these people who've read 6 and force books upon them

And I am adding a fourth category, as per the wise

raeputtputt:

5) List in blue the ones you've started, but not finished.

I should also add a category for books you think you might have read but have forgotten, but I'll spare you.

 


 

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Spamdemonium Reviewed

The very talented Aliette de Bodard had some nice things to say about my story Spamdemonium over at The Fix. She reviews the entire issue, so take a look and see what other good things are going on in there, too. The current issue of Baen's with Spamdemonium in it is still available on-line, a mere six bucks for heck of a lot of content.

I also have some great news about the anthology I mentioned earlier, but I'll save that for its own post a little later.

Finally, after some furious stops and spurts, a word count update:


Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
36,332 / 70,000
(51.9%)
 
Woo-hoo, over half-way done! Had some set backs on the way, but still pretty amazing to me, given that I had never previously written anything over 8,000 words.

Like it's the end of the world...

 
I read about a man who used twitter to get out of jail in Sudan or somewhere. Maybe that’ll work for me.
 
The sun is going down now. There are at least a hundred of them in the park behind the house. We are more or less completely unprotected, but they don’t know we’re in here yet. I’m scared to barricade the doors, I’m afraid the noise might attract them, so we’re holed up in the attic. Thank god for wireless.
 
The news coming through is sporadic at best, but if you haven’t seen it, look here, and here, and here, and mostly here. Before you do anything else, go there. I don’t know if this is everywhere… if it’s not happening where you are, SEND HELP. If it is happening where you are, godspeed.
 
We saw the first one this morning while we were walking the dog. “Dude totally looks like a zombie,” I said. God I hate myself sometimes. I saw a woman eat a baby today, straight out of a stroller. Eat it like a goddamn watermelon. I don’t know if she was the mother or… I don’t know why it matters. 
 
The thing is, we talk about it all the time, and you talk about what you would do if it happened, and you say it will happen, but you don’t actually think it will happen. And then they’re stumbling around in the last rays of evening, jerking like marionettes without strings, and it’s strange and lovely in the twilight with the sun casting shadows through the neighborhood trees and the skyscrapers burning in the distance. And then what?
 
Here’s what I know: they’re faster than you would think. It makes sense really, rigor mortis takes hours to set in. I bet they’ll slow, as time goes by, but we haven’t seen it yet. But they’re not very coordinated, which is why I’m still alive. Not that they’re clumsy, but more like they aren’t good at moving, they’re not good at sensing, they don’t really have the capacity to pay attention for long. They get lost easily.
 
The other thing: I don’t believe they have supersenses like you see in the movies or comics or whatever. I think they’re still like normal, no uber-sense of smell or anything. And they don’t blink. I swear they don't blink. Which is good: with all the pollen and dust and crud in the air, their eyes will scratch up, and they won’t be able to see. Once that happens, they’ll have to hunt by sound. Maybe we could use some kind of sound weapon and deafen them-- then they would be totally helpless. Just remember, you heard it here first. I don't know, Toby Keith might work. harr harr. Let it not be said that he died without a sense of humor.
 
Speaking of which: They bite like a bitch. I really hope the infection part is make believe. Good luck, everyone. We'll be here, for as long as we can.

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Shameless Self-Promotion: Spamdemonium

 As of June 1, the first issue of the third year of Jim Baen’s Universe Magazine went live, including my story, Spamdemonium. For any of you who don’t know Baen’s Universe, it’s a professional-level, SFWA recognized speculative fiction magazine founded by the late SF novel publisher Jim Baen and edited by world-renowned SF authors Eric Flint and Mike Resnick (who, I learned this weekend, has garnered more Hugo nominations for short fiction than any other author in history). Baen’s goal has been to put out quality fiction that’s actually fun to read; stories that could compete for the audience’s beer money.
 
Spamdemonium is my first ever professional level sale, and I’m super proud to have it in Baen’s. What’s even more awesome is that they’ve had artist Kip Ayers draw not one but two new illustrations for it. Sweet! Kip does a fantastic job of capturing the mood.
 
Anyway, if you’ve got the time and the change, check it out! It’s only $6.00 for the issue, which also has a ton of great stories from such names as jaylake, M. Allen Ford, Eugie Foster, and Eric Flint himself, so you’re really getting your money’s worth. Here’s the link, and the link directly to my story, where you can read the first half as a teaser.
 

Zombiefied

 As Promised, zombification