The cover for First Flight, featuring a raven, some ribbons and stars, and an oak tree.

Paul Richmond has rocked my socks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011: Chris and Jesse will go out into the wide world, and then… We’ll see what happens. I will have to forbid my family from purchasing it, since it has far more actual sex in than Tobias’s Own did, but that’s okay — I have a different version that I can send to them.

I just want people to like my silly little story about a boy, a bird, and the everyday magic of love.

And now I need to sleep instead of investigating why Firefox won’t open. *Grump* *Yaaaaaaawn*

What do coal and the Catholic church have in common?

The letters C, O, A, and L, yes, but more than that, they’re the current focus of my research. I’ve gotten distracted by something new (again, I know), and it’s… Well, it’s kind of annoying is what it is.

After my Hornblower marathon, I’m kind of fascinated by the French Revolution/Napoleonic Wars era/War of 1812 portion of history. So my new thing is set in Brittany, France, right around the end of the 18th century/beginning of the 19th. Bretons tend(ed) to be devout Catholics, and basically all I know about the history of the church’s arrival in the area is bupkes. There’s the remains of a beautiful abby near Clohars-Carnoët, France, but outside of inspiration… Yeah.

I need to know how long the church has been in the area, when it arrived, when formal confessions began being heard/taken, whether your typical farmer would attend mass every day/week, how often they’d go to confession, etc. etc. etc. (Also, the standard form of confession would be nice; I’m fringe Episcopalian, we’re not big on bureaucracy so I’ve never done a formal confession.)

As for the coal mining, all I really wanted to know was whether or not one of my characters would be in any danger of being an underground coal miner if he was currently-as-of-the-conversation-in-the-story living in Wales. So far, I think the answer is yes, but I was immediately distracted by finding out what ‘drift mining’ involves. And then I decided to write this… And now I’m going to try to get back to actually writing.

(although I am thinking about writing another post for a different blog… No! Must write fiction! Now!)

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Pot Luck 4: Edits, Sequels, Books

Edits: The master document for First Flight is in the DONE pile. All I need now is cover art and a release date and I’m set.

Sequels: For the first time ever, I have a plot and a title for the next Chris-and-Jesse story. I’m trying very, very diligently NOT to work on it before the start of November. I have no idea if I’ll manage any NaNo writing this year, but I’m going to try — even if it means locking myself in my room.

Books: All I wanted to do was buy some books. Thanks to random passwords that I can never remember and a lack of PayPal, I wasn’t able to buy them from the publisher’s site — but I managed to get them through All Romance eBooks. I even earned myself a free book, thanks to their ‘buy ten titles, get one free’ promo; on top of that, I had about $7 in ebook-bucks, so I ended up with even more books than I intended to get. (And my to-buy pile is STILL huge. Sigh.)

Dear Companies: you exist to make money. When you sell something I want (like books full of Awesome Story, written by people I know and/or am a fan of), you make it easy for me to want to give you money. The second half of that equation is, of course, making it easy for me to give you that money. Making it easy for money to flow from me to you nets you a profit, which you can then share with the people who will then write you more Awesome Stories, which in turn brings me back to give you more money. It’s truly a win-win-win all the way around. When you make it difficult for me to give you money, it makes me crabby and less likely to sing your praises. This is not good, to put it mildly.

Please make it easy for me to give you money,

love,

Connor W., book fiend

I’m actually an Earth sign, but it’s hard to tell.

Mostly because I really, really like water and the creatures who live in it. Even if they’re fictional creatures. All of this is leading up to the fact that I am sorely tempted to buy myself a couple of ornaments from December Diamonds’s merman collection. I can definitely see some of these (or all of them, in a few cases) on the tree (or whatever) of more than one of my characters.

“Because it’s science, that’s why!”

To answer the question that has turned up several times in my “searches” statistics:

Knowing your parts of speech allows you to write sentences that delight both your English teacher and your readers.

For example, if you don’t know your parts of speech, you won’t know when you’ve broken the “rule” about not using adjectives and adverbs. Knowing your parts of speech can make learning a second language much easier. If you get bored easily, then knowing your parts of speech can provide you with hours of entertainment–don’t just stand in line at the grocery store, copy-edit the headlines on the tabloids! Also, it makes you a kick-ass Mad Libs player.

In all seriousness, though, I have found that knowing an adverb from an adjective from a direct object has been the most helpful in learning other languages, as well as in my writing. For instance, the simplest sentence construction in Japanese is: [Noun] is [noun/adjective]. In Japanese, the verb always comes at the end of a sentence, and there is a particle that marks the end of the subject. This makes it dead easy to make up declarative sentences, such as: sora wa aoi desu. Sora ([the]sky) is the subject; wa is the subject-marker particle; aoi (blue) is an adjective; desu (is) is the verb. [The] sky is blue. (Japanese has no articles. On the other hand, German has at least nine.)

More complex sentences are just as simple (providing you have the vocabulary). Watashi no neko wa kuro desu. Watashi (I) is a pronoun; no is a possessive particle (essential an apostrophe-S); neko (cat) is a noun; wa is the subject marker — this makes ‘watashi no neko’ (my cat) the subject. What about my cat? Well, we already know where to look for the verb, and it’s the same as the first time, so we know that my cat is…something. In this case, it’s another adjective: kuro (black). My cat is black.

How about something a little more exciting? Here’s this one:

Watashi no neko wa neko no tabemono wo tabemashita. We already know what the subject is: my cat. Same construction as before, pronoun + possessive particle + noun being possessed. Then we have another possession: neko no tabemono. Tabemono is ‘food’ (literally ‘eating thing’, tabemasu = to eat, mono = thing), so it’s cat food. There’s a new particle, wo, which usually denotes that what came before is a direct object. And, at the end as usual, we have the verb tabemashita (ate; past-tense form of ‘tabemasu’).

So, in English, we have the sentence: My cat ate cat food. What was eaten? Cat food. (And yes, I suppose the narrowest answer is just ‘food’, but I’m not being that picky.)

Now that we know what goes in each slot, we can make up Japanese sentences all day long. Watashi no neko wa ninjin wo tabemasen. (My cat didn’t eat [a] carrot.) Anata no mimizu wa kowaii desu. (Your earthworm is scary.) Kore uma wa shiawase desu. (This horse is happy.) Anata no uma wa watashi no ninjin wo tabemashita. (Your horse ate my carrot. [Explains why the horse is happy.])

And that is just one of the reasons that it’s good–vital, even–to know your parts of speech.

A new hat!

A figurative one, anyway — real ones tend to make my head hot.

I got into writing on purpose, but a lot of my stories come about by accident: usually because I start with one idea and my characters wrench the tiller from my hands and adjust the sails to their liking and we all end up somewhere else.

This new hat I’m trying on, it’s kind of an accident, too. I joined the YA GLBT Books (née YA M/M Romance) group on Goodreads because despite my advancing years, I still read YA books. Hell, I will read (okay, look at) picture books, too, if it comes down to it. If I come across Fox In Socks at a store, I can’t go on with my shopping until I have at least read the tweedle beetle battle. Out loud.

Anyway, my point is, I didn’t actually mean to put on the hat of a YA Author, but it seems to have slipped onto my head anyhow. I’m not complaining–far from it–I’m just kind of surprised. Kind of excited, too, because this means I have a shot at getting some of the completely RANDOM things I’ve written out into the world, which is always fun.

Thing is, if I’m going to write YA stuff, I’ll probably need to use a different name. Probably nothing radical–C. J. Wright, perhaps. Or maybe I’ll drop the C and go with Julian Wright instead. I’m trying to decide whether I should add a subdomain here, or if I should bite the bullet and have a separately-hosted site… A tumblr, maybe.

Before I do any of that, though, I should really have something to offer in terms of YA content, which means polishing up my . It will be M/M for now, though I may branch out in the future. I’ll make sure everything’s clearly labeled, no worries.

Now I have to try to decide if I should change a character’s name or not. Hmm…

Checking things off the list

Galley proof read and tweaks noted: DONE
Interview written up and submitted: DONE
Rolls and cookies for dinner with family: DONE
Dinner with family: DONE

Oof. Tonight: NCIS, Unforgettable, writing. Tomorrow: a trip into town and (probably) a trip to the post office; writing.

I found a new sub call this afternoon, and it’s another one about the sea. I’m tempted to do a version of The Little Mermaid, but I’m still torn… Maybe I’ll look up other myths and legends involving the sea instead, or just go with Welsh pirates or something.

The Once And Future Book…

The first volume of the Hot Summer Days project is out: Don’t Read In The Closet Volume One. It covers release days 1 to 19, and does include my story Gone To Pieces. (It’s highly explicit, involving D/s and a cyborg designed and purchased as nothing more than an incredibly complex sex toy.) The other important parts are that the whole thing is free, and there are three more volumes after this one. If you’re not a member of the Goodreads M/M Romance group, or if you know someone who wants to get their feet wet in the M/M end of the pool without spending much/any money, this is a great collection. It has stories of every kind (cowboys, sci-fi, sweet, funny) and every length; it has some great authors, both published and unpublished (until now).

I really enjoyed this project, and I’d love to do it again, both as an author and a reader. (I have to admit that I have a letter all ready to go for next time, if there is one. Heh.)

As for my latest release… I got the galley proof today! So now I have to check it over and figure out if there’s anything else that needs a last-second tweak before it goes off to the formatter/publisher. After that, it’s deciding on cover art (which I am looking forward to like…like you don’t even know) and then, then! It’s pre-release jitters and then the release. It’ll be out either in November or December, and as soon as I have a date, I’ll post it all over creation.