Those of you waiting to hear from me, or waiting to hear news: it may be some time. I had a stroke December 5th. It is a difficult recovery. You would not believe how long it took me to type this note. I am still myself, though. No weird facial tics, or anything like. The damage was primarily mental; it left my sense of self alone, but stole some thought functions. Those are--slowly--coming back. It takes time. I am in a rehab facility in Portland. It looks like I am going home some time this week. Wish me luck.
A version of this appeared on my nonfiction site.
On November 12th, at 2:30 in the morning, we ran for our lives from my home of 27 years. A tiny spark from our pellet stove caught the bark dust alongside our house on fire; it smoldered until high winds blew the burning bark dust against our basement window casing. From there, it burnt through the casing, and spread into the basement.
Our oldest daughter discovered the fire when smoke began pouring out of the heat vent in her room, where she was staying up late finishing her homework. The alarms went off, but if she hadn't run out of the house and begun slamming the front door and screaming her head off, we might not have woken up in time.
As it was, by the time the three of us made it downstairs the house was within minutes of total involvement. The fire department came in the nick of time to save the building, but not before the entire basement was charred, including the floor joists. John tells me the floor boards for the main floor are also burned. We escaped with our pajamas, our dog, one cat and no shoes. Our second cat was discovered dead in the basement last Friday. We were hoping she'd just run away.
It turns out we have good insurance. They have put us up in an extended stay hotel and have found us a rental house not far from our home. They will be gutting our house, to the studs; it is balloon frame construction, and smoke damaged the entire house severely, including much of our belongings. When all is said and done, we will have a new house inside a 130-year-old frame. It will take six months to rebuild, months we will spend in the rental house.
Needless to say, this is cutting into my writing time.
I don't mourn the loss of most of the things I lost. What gets me are little things: all our Christmas ornaments, including the stocking my mother made me when I was a baby; a favorite thermal knit Henley I'd embroidered; fiber, yarn and fabric I'd collected over 35 years, including handspun; a huge chunk of my craft and art reference books; and my comics collection--it's the second one I've lost in my life. I lost looms, my sewing machine, copies of my books. My piano. My drafting table I've had since I was 15.
And my cat, Inky.
The things we miss the most are those attached to memories. Furniture, dishes, TVs--those things can be replaced. Nothing can ever replace my stocking, my handspun, the ornaments my daughters made, or my cat.
It's been less than two weeks. I'm still in shock, I think, though gradually coming out of it. We're all exhausted. But we have discovered we are rich in friends. They've come out of the woodwork, offering help, supplies, and money. Twelve years ago, when we first discovered my weird heart condition, we also discovered we had no friends but my parents and our intentional brother. Four years later, when I nearly died, we had them, and my two best friends. This time, we literally cannot count the people who have come forward to support us.
We are so grateful, so, so grateful.
And yet, we mourn.
That's a Van Morrison album, titled for his revelation after he left Scientology. I kinda feel like I just left some kind of cult, the cult of not trusting myself. I am never again going to use someone else's work method as my own.
I'm a slow writer. I hate that. I've been trying to speed my output up, and several people extolled the method of breaking a novel down: three sections (acts one, two and three), so many chapters per section, so many scenes per chapter, so many words per scene. That way you know just what you're going to write every day and can go faster. It's logical, right? It should work. Just outline your work into that handy structure, write a scene a day, and boom, novel.
I've been struggling for nearly a year trying to work this way, believing it would speed my writing up. All the trouble I've been having, I've been chalking up to other things--things that were contributing, for sure, but in the end weren't the problem. I found the choke points (mostly stuff from the original draft that doesn't work any more), worked them out, and still couldn't get this book into a coherent shape.
Today I said fuck it. I jettisoned everything but the scenes themselves. Got rid of the three part structure, the x number of chapters per part and x number of scenes per chapter. Which I knew I didn't have to follow slavishly, but even having it like that in Scrivener was fucking with my head. I dumped all the scenes into one folder...
...and it straightened itself right out. In an evening. I rejiggered the timeline, adjusted the wordcount targets, and went over the outline obsessively. I moved parts around, discovered what happens in the missing transitions (which will now have deep resonance), and I'm finally ready to finish this goddamned book. For the first time in weeks, I'm excited about writing. I got excited a little while ago, but it foundered on the structure I was trying to use to "speed my writing up."
This is the umpteenth time this has happened to me. It's no one's fault; no one's ever led me astray or forced me, I just haven't trusted my own process. Last year, I lost an entire Drifting Isle novel because I followed advice that I learned doesn't work for me: finish what you're supposed to be working on, not what you want to work on ("otherwise, you're procrastinating"--remember, I'm trying to speed up). I was supposed to be working on book three. By the time I realized I'm the kind of writer who has to follow the energy, it was too late: the Drifting Isle novel energy was completely gone, and I didn't have the book three energy, either.
After two years of working on book three--almost a year of which was spent having and recovering from various health calamities, granted--I'm finally on a serious track to finishing this goddamned book. As things already stand, I'm 90% done by wordcount, and 100% done in outline.
And I'm finally ready to trust my own process. After six years. No guru, no method, no teacher. Just me.
I'll be part of the following panels:
Woman in the Fridge: Violence toward women as trope and plot device
Writing Believable Sex Scenes
Social Media and the Modern Writer
Synopses, Summaries, Book Descriptions and Other Horrors
Crowdfund Your Project
Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
MeiLin Miranda reading from my work
Stitch n Share (formerly Stitch n Bitch)
Sedra's favorite poet is Lassinia Heinigen, a Littan woman largely regarded as one of the greatest poets of her time, though considered controversial and somewhat frowned upon by the Scholars and other conservatives. A fragment of her poem, "She Walks Along the Strand," published in the 993 KY chapbook "The Passionate Life," is interspersed in an intimate moment of book 3:
That early evening when we paced the strand
The moon abroad late day, to peep through cloud
Soft-tinted gold by sunset’s soft command
And with my dreams for love and fame endowed …
For you, I let my verses wash away
Or so I told you, to allay your pride
The barren sand no marking did betray
But oh, my love, I’ve always fought the tide…
I love writing fake Victorianesque poetry, especially when it goes in a sex scene.
Allis and Issak Obby, the twin children of a prostitute, have lived in the House of Polls all their short lives. When their mother dies and leaves behind a large debt, the madam decides to use them to pay it. But a mysterious figure with ties to the Gods known as the Lovers has other ideas and will stop at nothing to rescue and avenge them.
A stand-alone short story prequel to the series An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom.
This one purchase gives you the .epub, .mobi/Kindle and .pdf versions of the ebook.
An erotic short story prequel to An Intimate History of the Greater Kingdom
Highcock's Oscillating Apparatus has harnessed steam to cure everything from hearing loss to "female complaints." That's what two Scholar-Priests of the god Eddin hope.
The old lechers also hope to watch black-haired beauty Allis Obby, the Embodiment of the Beloved, and lusciously plump Lovers' Supplicant Anda Barrows try its vibratory motion on one another. But Allis and Anda choose young Scholar Jep Burman to assist in the experiment instead. He gets the eyeful his superiors intended for themselves, and a sexual education he'll never forget.
This one purchase gives you the .epub, .mobi/Kindle and .pdf versions of the ebook. By purchasing this story, you agree that you are of age in your jurisdiction. In the United States, that is 18 years of age.
These favorite Tremontine fairy tales were collected by the great folklorist Reinerik Grandalon during the reign of Kings Warin VII and Temmin V, and include four of the royal family's favorite stories:
In Ellika's favorite, the classic Corrish tale "Little Snowflake," an abused queen finds help in the forest.
"Winter's Girl," one of Mattie Dunley's favorite stories, pits a sassy girl who says she doesn't believe in the spirit world against the brothers Summer and Winter.
A favorite of Temmin's is the Kellish ghost story "The Fisherman's Teeth," in which a grieving fisherman's wife cannot bear to let his spirit rest. (This story appeared in the out-of-print collection, Harla's Night.)
And finally, one of Sedra's favorite stories, "The Clever Boy," about a youth who thinks he can outsmart the Gods. You may recognize the boy, but don't assume this is the truth: this is a fairy tale, after all!
This one purchase gives you the .epub, .mobi/Kindle and .pdf versions of the ebook.
Glamorous siblings Henry and Mary Crawford have captivated the Bertrams of Mansfield Park. The one exception is the Bertrams' shy cousin, Fanny Price. Penniless, plain and raised to believe she has little worth, Fanny has long accepted that her cousin Edmund will never love her as she loves him. He will marry another--just let it not be a girl like Mary Crawford!
But when Fanny receives an ancient amber cross, the talisman reveals to her what kind of girl Mary Crawford really is. She and her brother are succubi, out to seduce the Bertrams and consume their life force--and Henry Crawford has decided Fanny is the most delicious of them all. Timid Fanny must find the strength to resist Henry's seductive powers if she is to save her own life and that of her beloved Edmund.
A paranormal erotica mashup of Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park," "The Amber Cross" originally appeared in the Circlet Press anthology "Sense and Sensuality."
Three DRM-free formats in one purchase: PDF, epub and mobi!
By purchasing this book, you confirm that you are of age in your jurisdiction. In the United States, that age is 18. Thank you.
Why look, it's an unboxing!
Twenty copies of my event-exclusive (meaning I don't sell them here and it'll never be in ebook form--you can find them at Amazon but Imma make you look for 'em) little chapbook, About Time. It has two short stories in it, "Reset" and "Dalston Junction," which both happen to be about time travel. Jason Gurley did the cover. He's not just an amazing cover artist, he is a phenomenal writer. Check him out.
If you come see me at StoryCon! in Vancouver, WA or at OryCon in November, you can get one of these autographed--and free. The only other way to get one is to join my mailing list. I'm going to be holding a drawing soon for two copies.