Sunday, September 30, 2007

Challenges in novels...

The interesting thing about each new novel is that they all pose their own set of problems. Sometimes just setting things, often character interaction, odd plot bits and so on. Some come easy, some crazy-slow ... some never do work at all and get scrapped.

The most interesting part is that, for me, it's not "Oh, yawn, I'm working on another novel", but more: "Hah! I get to figure out how to write this novel now!"

I would post more on the subject, but I am tired now.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The End of Porn

Cyborg lovers
rusting behind the back shed
like a discard amusement park thrown
together in a heap          and the rains
slither slide down
but                      oh!

the lovers rust together
decals gone the way of names
faced etched with acid, bodies
        and bodies eroded by time

but no vines          none
no nothing grows on them
save rust and the ticking rain
memories but          always
there is a
but                      oh!

the rain tinkles! tickles! makes
such sweet songs          but sad?
No. Nothing lasts forever
and sometimes people call them art.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

nanowimo 2007 & other stuff

Well, I finally got some plots in my head for NaNo - the gist of it occurred to me half way through the second NaNo last year but nothing was going to convince me to write 3 in one month. I suspect I could have, but the point for NaNo is having fun, and that would not have been fun. The MC of the current one how has a name, and so does the hangman's beautiful daughter. I've figured out some things about the kingdom and why magic has fallen into disrepute. Shall see where it all goes from here.

In other writing, "First Carnations" goes steadily. I hope to get another 10K done by the end of this month, do 40K or so in October to end book 1 of it and do the second book after nano ends in dec/jan. After that I'm not really sure. I'd like to go back to the Dogs of War trilogy: I invested enough time in it, and understand why it fell apart -- such a novel just doesn't work as YA, not as I'd write it. So I may redo the entire thing from scratch next year if possible.

Aside from that, no huge plans for next year except getting some short stories published. I've written two (maaaybe three) I really like and will run them past the writing group for edits and then send out into the wider world....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Parts 7 & 8 from the first 2006 Nanowrimo


The air is city air, fetid and rank like the air in the apartment but better than the recycled death we use - used - in the office.
        I can smell cars, and hear sirens. Low, throbbing sounds like diseased heartbeats or blood rushing down the veins of the city. Here. There. They end, fade out, begin again. My mother asked me once what the difference was, between here and the country, back when she and dad lived out there. I told them: sirens.
        Every day, we hear them. When the end of the world comes, the trumpets will be sirens and no one will pay attention. We’ll just pull over in cars to the side of the road, letting the horsemen and ice giants and giant worms and fire elementals go past out of a sense of politeness, or duty.
        A few people are walking, six stories below. A homeless man is sleeping away some binge or drug in the alley below the window, rendered visible by the sunlight. I look down, wondering if he’d want my life, if I could offer it, but close the window instead. The people across from me, barred in, never react.
        But then, they never seem to be home. Even when the lights are on, almost no one moves. I wonder if they’re a police stakeout, and if they watch me when bored, through the window or the wall. I write my phone number in the grime, quickly, but realize it will be backwards for them. The grime is an old friend, in its own way: I leave it, feeling as if I should apologize for disturbing some balance between myself and this place.
        I didn’t call it home. Cat mrrows again, louder, pulling me like a lodestone, a loadstar. The tile is white and black, petal seventies etchings into the ground and cold under bare feet. I yelp the three hops to the bathroom, jumping in to close the door before Cat can dive in after me to play in the sink.
        Cats hate being bathed, but love to play in sinks and seem to have no problems with the contradiction that imposes on them. The sink is blue, which never bothered me before but does now, for a moment, before I turn the water on. Hot, sluicing water that drives into skin but never reaches far enough to really matter.
        They used to do baptisms by fire, in some cultures. Fire is deeper than water, ash a kind of purity. I hug myself, curled up under the heat, watching the steam fill the air and just stand.
        I remember....

“Do you plan to stay in bed all day?”
        “Well, you can’t!”
        I looked up from the bed at my sister, giving her my best glare. “Go away.”
        “Your bladder will explode,” she sang, prancing out of the room. “And then you’ll be sorry.”
        “You’re just jealous because I got the good bed.”
        “For now,” she said darkly, stopping in the doorway, a shadow outlined in pale yellow. “Until we move again,” as if it was some secret code, some pact of a fraternity we’d joined without meaning to.
        “Close the door,” I said, and she did so, hearing something in my voice, offering up that small apology.
        The bedroom was wood, cheap pine panels and a real wood floor only good for splinters. I lay there, trying to get back to sleep, and my father knocked on the door, then came in without a word and sat on the edge of the bed.
        “She ratted.”
        He nodded. “She loves you.”
        “You said that was wrong. You and mom.”
        “Loving you?”
        “No! Ratting.”
        He chuckled. “Sometimes it’s good, if done for the right reasons.”
        “Go away.”
        He was quiet for some moments, on the edge, then: “You know she’ll be okay.”
        “Your mother. She’ll be all right.”
        “But every time she gets sick, she comes home with another one!”
        “Not always.”
        “Why can’t she get sick like normal people?”
        “Mother’s get sick in different ways. Having a baby isn’t the same thing.”
        “She keeps bringing them home, though. What if we don’t want another?”
        “Pardon?” he said, in his voice he usually reserved for the Big Bad Wolf.
        “Can’t we trade one in for a puppy?”
        “You can’t trade babies in for puppies,” he said, amused, trying not to laugh. “And it’s all right to be worried. I am, too. But your mom will be fine. And she’d want you to get up, and be ready for when she comes home today.”
        “Are you sure?”
        “Of course I am. That is what father’s are for,” and he stood and left with a smile, giving me time.

Over twenty years ago, and he still told me about it every few years, so that I no longer know what is memory and what part of it is story. I never forgot the next day, her coming home empty-handed, eyes filled with broken things.
        I remember recoiling from greeting her, as if she were a stranger, not sure what to make of this slow, strained creature who made her way inside the home and sat in a chair and looked out from it at the world for long moments, staring into nothing as if expecting to see something.
        Dad had told us, gently, that there had been an accident. He didn’t need to: the woman who had come home wasn’t the one who had left. They’d replaced our mother with this look-alike stranger and then let us know. Our mother returned to us in the coming weeks in fits and starts, like a car engine being turned over.
        But I am not sure she ever cried again, and she never tried for another baby.

And we never did get a puppy dog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Selling Souls

At least selling your soul to the Devil is pretty cut and dried. You were given a piece of paper, and then you signed it, often in blood, and someone notarized it and the Devil would leave and add it to His porn collection or something.

Selling your soul on ebay was something else altogether. It was one of those things that started out as a joke and—okay, okay, we were drunk at the time, but still it was mostly a joke that became not as funny once we were done.

Way we figured it, my soul would have us in cheap beer and pretzels for half a year.

The hard part was figuring out how to ship it, and the the S/H costs. We picked $3.33, because it felt right.

Bastard customer e-mailed us saying it had been damaged in transit a week later, and now it’s gone to the lawyers. The really funny thing is I don’t feel any different at all—it’s not like I was using my soul for anything, after all.

But I’m starting to consider the benefits of being a lawyer.

Monday, September 17, 2007

On Supermen

We mock, and it is too easy
to peel back confused decades
to lay bare the foolishness
at the root of all gods.

Reverence is always harder
tinged with all a symbol
never was, could have been,
and how no one remembers
anything quite the same.

And for all our sarcasm
who would not want to be
flying so far and free
and never hurt at all.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Ones I've read...

The Most Significant SF & Fantasy Books of the Last 50 Years, 1953-2002
(according to the Science Fiction Book Club)

1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
2. The Foundation Trilogy, Isaac Asimov
3. Dune, Frank Herbert {Own a copy, yet to read it}
4. Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein
5. A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
6. Neuromancer, William Gibson
7. Childhood's End, Arthur C. Clarke
8. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K. Dick
9. The Mists of Avalon, Marion Zimmer Bradley
10. Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury
11. The Book of the New Sun, Gene Wolfe
12. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
13. The Caves of Steel, Isaac Asimov
14. Children of the Atom, Wilmar Shiras
15. Cities in Flight, James Blish
16. The Colour of Magic, Terry Pratchett
17. Dangerous Visions, edited by Harlan Ellison
18. Deathbird Stories, Harlan Ellison
19. The Demolished Man, Alfred Bester
20. Dhalgren, Samuel R. Delany
21. Dragonflight, Anne McCaffrey
22. Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card
23. The First Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever, Stephen R. Donaldson
24. The Forever War, Joe Haldeman
25. Gateway, Frederik Pohl
26. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, J.K. Rowling
27. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
28. I Am Legend, Richard Matheson
29. Interview with the Vampire, Anne Rice
30. The Left Hand of Darkness, Ursula K. Le Guin
31. Little, Big, John Crowley {Own a copy, yet to read it}
32. Lord of Light, Roger Zelazny
33. The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick
34. Mission of Gravity, Hal Clement
35. More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon {Own a copy, yet to read it}
36. The Rediscovery of Man, Cordwainer Smith
37. On the Beach, Nevil Shute
38. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
39. Ringworld, Larry Niven
40. Rogue Moon, Algis Budrys
41. The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien
42. Slaughterhouse-5, Kurt Vonnegut
43. Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
44. Stand on Zanzibar, John Brunner
45. The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
46. Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein
47. Stormbringer, Michael Moorcock
48. The Sword of Shannara, Terry Brooks
49. Timescape, Gregory Benford
50. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, Philip Jose Farmer

Monday, September 03, 2007


After the story was over.... there were all the other stories no one had ever said. When we die, the ones we never utter go somewhere, past the ending of our stories, and out into a memesphere, or a meneverse -- but nothing ever truly ends, and Life does not die even if it never leaves.

There are the words the never wrote, the tales we never said, the songs left ever unsung because of the wrong moment, the wrong thought, the wrong person -- this is what happens to our lost words, the ones that don't become black holes and birth another universe in grammatic singularity.

This is the other part of it all.

And The End came, but it was not enough, and the party after stripped enamel from toilets and sang entropic songs that brought small dreams to life and gave peace to all the lonely dust mites drifting about under furniture and clothing, formed by all those lost things we never use and lie fallow in our homes.

The words partied late into the nice, writing Joycean Dr. Seuss novels no one would ever read starring Freud and Margaret Thatcher, weaving the threads authors lose into their own stories, their own collaborative tales.

There is a kind of fan fiction we'll never read, the kind we write to ourselves with the words we never give breath to.

Afer The End, there is always more. The Story goes on, no matter if a story dies. There are no endings, happy or sad, no matter what we write, for nothing dies nor is born and even death is but a change a worlds, of books, of new pages.

There are too many pages for us to fill.

Too many words we will never write because we spurn our gifts and want things no gift can give us, because even hacks think their talent holds Truth, if they can follow it into dark places, and so our dreams write stories that no one will ever read, post modern wonders that have have no power, no force, no drive to them -- and we are diminished by dreams

and we are made weak by living for words that could be and not ones that are

and we write our The End while the story waits, patiently, to begin again, to not die in the way of books, to cry out against the darkness -- but all parties come to an end, and we only know of them because of new words formed by their drinking, and because of a hole in our hearts we can never fill, though we stamp on it with all we have.

The dust mites could tell us so much, but we sweep them all up.


Broke 20K in two days, so it was fun. Insane, yes, but still fun :)

Shall see how I do tomorrow as it comes.

Saturday, September 01, 2007


6,520 with 4 hour sleep break, 1.5 hour lunch with family. Resisted offer of seeing a movie tonight (they're trying to sabotage me: I just know it!) and hope to hit 20K by midnight with luck.

3 am...

and 2560 words done inn 2.5 hours. Now, I crash for a few :)