Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pulp Romance

A fantastic ultra-short (110 words, to order) by Maria Dahvana Headley, which came to my attention via Neil Gaiman's Tumblr:

He saw her across a crowded shelf.

Her deckle-edge was seductively deep, her endpapers velvety. She was a first edition, probably autographed. Any man would want to write his name in a book like her.

She noticed him perusing her pages, and blushed. He had a hard spine, and a crisp dust jacket. His eyes were capitalized, and in an obscure font designed in Amsterdam in 1768. She caught herself glancing at his flyleaf, and looked away, mortified.

They were in the YA section, and she was acting like a common galley.

"Can I have your ISBN?" he whispered. He could nearly see her addendum.

"Yes," she cooed, helpless. "Yes."


Monday, May 28, 2012

In Honor

In honor of Memorial Day, I've posted an excerpt from the upcoming "Dead On Her Feet" over on my personal blog. Check it out!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


First things first! Congratulations to Lynn for her release today of Blister Effect! Steampunk and werewolves -- she's pushing all the buttons! You should totally go enter her contest; it's got awesome stuff in it!

The Day Job is having a slow week, and my vacation balance is fairly comfortable, so I took some extra days off. I spent about half of yesterday at Panera writing and shipping the hot guys sitting next to me. (The one guy was wearing a rainbow bracelet and a pink ear stud; I don't think it was an entirely outrageous notion on my part.)

Which means that you get a snippet today!

Tae Chen was not present in the dining hall for the mid-day meal, Zhan noted with something like relief. He spent the meal chatting with several others, but lost the thread of conversation several times, victim to the distraction of his own thoughts and his hyperawareness of Wen Fai hovering nearby ostensibly awaiting his command, but also listening to every word and absorbing impressions of Zhan and the other heirs. What would be in that report? That Ma Jin was likable and easygoing, but not overburdened with intelligence? That Deng Sen's grasp of military tactics was formidable but that even the simplest political maneuverings escaped him?

That Li Zhan had pretensions of nobility, but was too easily distracted?

He stood abruptly, interrupting the conversation. "Excuse me," he said. "I am fatigued; I believe I will retire." He left the hall, aware of more than one set of eyes following him. He wondered how many of the others had heard about the incident with Tae Chen, and how they had interpreted it.

"Master?" Zhan looked up, startled to note he was already back in his apartments. Wen Fai knelt before him, his hands wringing together in distress. "Are you unwell, master? Shall this one fetch the physician?"

It's moving slowly -- I know where I want it to go, but I'm having trouble with focus. Alas, experience tells me that the best way to help my focus is to write more often. The more I do it, the tighter my focus gets -- and it fades away far too quickly when I let that discipline slack. It hardly seems fair.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


It feels more like a victory than it should, that I wrote a little Monday night, and again for a couple of hours yesterday.

I didn't burn up any words-per-hour records, but I made some steady progress on a story that's been lying fallow for the better part of year now. I had a notion Monday evening in the shower for a way to revamp the story to make it flow a little better, and now I'm working on implementing that change. I've only written about a thousand new words, but I like the direction the story is taking.

The problem had been that my POV character, Zhan, is a man consumed with anger and resentment. I'd started it out as a light BDSM story, in fact, on the assumption that he would use that to work out some of his anger. But it wasn't working. He does like to be in control, but he's so very rigidly in control of himself that he wasn't releasing anything.

So I'd put the story on hiatus. It popped back up on Monday (in the shower, as I said, which is apparently where I do about 75% of my plot work) and I realized that there's a sort of game of let's-pretend going on that is preventing Zhan from taking the situation seriously. So either he needs to be fully deceived, or I need to strip it out and rework the approach.

Zhan waited while Wen Fai helped him out of his outer robe and hung it to air. He knelt on a cushion and allowed the slave to bring him a cup of wine, well-watered. Then, as Wen Fai was about to retreat to the discreet corner from which he customarily awaited Zhan's commands, Zhan stopped him. "Come here," Zhan said. He gestured to the cushion across from him. "Sit."

A certain satisfaction filled him as he saw Wen Fai hesitate. "I do not care to repeat myself," Zhan said quietly. Wen Fai bit his lip, but knelt where Zhan had indicated. "You may speak freely, for the moment," Zhan continued. "I wish for us to... converse."

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I read an article yesterday about why writers should cooperate with their editors as much as possible. It made a lot of excellent points, some of which were even new to me.

But it was hard to get on board with the post, even though I agreed with all its points. Even though I am an editor. Why?

Because the post... was in desperate need of an edit.

There were typos and misspelled words. There were sentences that were broken -- had obviously been written and then re-written another way but with remnants of the original structure left behind. There were a couple of paragraphs that were wildly misplaced, and one that should have been removed entirely.

I'm still trying to figure out if the author did that on purpose to illustrate his point.


I had a plot bunny crawl out of the ground and bite me on the ankles this morning. It's a YA/self-discovery sort of thing, though, which I haven't done before, so I don't know if it will go anywhere.

I need to get something off the ground, though, because my list of "out" submissions is down to just one.