Thinking about what’s next

I have a new thing bouncing around in the back of my head; I have a good double handful of things that need finishing. I need to make a list and match it up with the various sub-calls/due dates, then see what happens.

The New Thing seems to be asking to be a semi-historical: set in the mid-60s and featuring an older guy (40+) running a diner. I’m wondering how long ago something has to have happened to be considered “history”, not to mention whether I’m going to write it as an AU or more realistically (which: depressing, booooo).

New Stuff!

Updated the Titles page with, uh, titles: First Flight and Still Life. There are also excerpts, so you can see what you’re getting.

Speaking of new, I just dropped a contract into the mail, woot. Boots For The Goddess will be part of Neil Plakcy’s Sexy Sailors anthology, and is likely one of the more unusual stories in the collection. Par for the course, really, heh. All in all, I’m glad I didn’t go for the merman angle — though I still may write that one.

Learning New Things Is Good For You.

However, I would have liked to have learned this a little sooner…

Gmail lets you insert inline images. It has since 2009. I did not know this, nor how to accomplish it, until TODAY.

Turns out, you have to go to settings, then labs, then scroll waaaaaaay down and enable “insert images” before you can. Not terribly intuitive, and not terribly nifty, considering.

But now I know, and you do too. Hooray?

Naming Conventions Among Members Of Family Corvidae

…Okay, I admit it, they’re fictional naming coventions. And I’m so far from being a professional research scientist that I’d probably be picked up as a first baseman for the Phillies before I was hired by Cornell’s department of ornithology. *Waves a hand* That’s not what I wanted to talk about, so anyway.

I wanted to talk about the structures and conventions I decided on when it comes to naming the individuals in the various Corvidae orders. They’re not really as integral to the story in First Flight, but as I’ve worked on the sequel (or what I hope will be the sequel), they’ve become more important.

Corvus corax, the common raven: My ravens have descriptive names that come from the world around them, from abilities, or from events in their (early) lives. Fell-from-tree’s name explains a lot about him, for instance; Finds-mice-well and Sees-caches have names that indicate that they’re good providers (or at least that their parents hoped they’d be good providers).

Other times, their names are simply personal attributes that override any other possibilities–as a sort of bonus, for those of you who have read First Flight: Ate-a-butterfly and Won’t-eat-crickets. I’ll leave who they are as an exercise for those of you who haven’t yet read the story.

Corvus brachyrhynchos, the American crow: As of this moment, I only have decidedly urban crows, all of whom get their names from words commonly found in any city. This includes but is not limited to Espresso, Pizza, and Mart.

Cyanocitta cristata; C. Stelleri, the blue/Steller’s jay: Short, sharp names that are more like sound effects than anything. Jekjek, Cherk, and Zek are examples of jay names.

Pica hudsonia, the black-billed magpie: tail-centric names, like Bright-tail and Mouse-chewed-tail. I have the idea that any pet names they bestow on one another are also tail-centered, heh.

I don’t know if Sings-like-water will be encountering any jackdaws, rooks, treepies, choughs, or nutcrackers, yet — I’ll have to look up their ranges and figure out if he’s traveling east or west. (I’m still in the ‘writing the interesting bits’ stage, which means I’m only worrying about really big questions right now. Like what do highly-urban crows call themselves/one another?)

Welcome to the world, Story.

Today’s the day — Chris, Jesse, and their odd families have been set free. Between some personal schedule upsets, some internicene squabbling, and this, my usual pre-release jitters have been more like pre-release earthquakes.

That’s all over, now. Now, it’s time for me to point you toward the Random Interview I did for Michelle and Reesa, and to the book itself.

Me, I have to get back to writing, ’cause I have another story that needs finishing.

A lovely surprise in the mail…

Two copies of Model Men, edited by Neil Plakcy.

If I'd known you were coming...

I had no idea that Model Men was out! One of my housemates brought me an envelope–I wasn’t expecting anything from anyone–and when I saw the return address I knew approximately what was inside. They’re even nicer in person, though, with glossy covers and quality paper inside. My story, Still Life With Phillip Delaney, is on page 125, hooray!

And once again, I’ve been published alongside names like Heidi Champa and Rob Rosen, which is just… Well, it’s like the Hot Summer Days collection all over again: you mean it’s okay if my stuff is in the same book as Amy Lane? (I don’t think my stuff sucks, by the way, it’s just one of those ‘those people are FAMOUS!’ things, and I’m a relatively unknown quantity.)

And Now For Fun With Search Strings Theater!

I use Woopra Analytics to keep an eye on visits to my site, mostly because there’s a plugin for WordPress that makes it easier to check them. My favorite part is seeing the stuff that people are looking for that leads them here, like the following:

books about things that are not awesome
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day?

writing without adjectives or adverbs
…is pretty much impossible, I think. All you’ll find here are arguments against even trying.

fwbs
I don’t know what their FWBs stands for, but mine is short for “Filthy Welsh Boys” (which is what I started calling Max and Trev during the long-distance phase of their relationship — it involved a lot of sex-heavy text messages/pictures and of course video chats.)

name of someone easily entertained
Connor J. Wright, at your service. *Hat tip*

why am i always the odd one out
Because you yourself are strange and unusual? It’s okay to be the odd one out. I honestly think that odd people are more fun, most of the time.

how to tell a story without adjectives or adverbs
You pretty much cannot do it, is what I’m saying. Still, if you manage to do it, please let me know.

why is reesa awesome
It would take too long to tell you all of the ways in which she is awesome, so I’ll stick with these two: she writes (and shares!) Awesome Stories, and she can do that whole plot thing, which makes me a little jealous at times.

how to right a two paragraph story with adverbs and adjectives
…Well, you did ask about writing, not spelling or homophones. First things first: decide what you want your story to be about — titles and all of that can come later, if they ever do. You don’t have to have a detailed idea, just something to aim for. First Flight started with the really simple premise of “I love ravens and I wanna write a story about them/one!” From there, it grew into what we have today. I have another story (which may or may not ever be finished, never mind published) that started life as “there’s this war, and a soldier in love with his immediate superior, and the one in love just wants to go home and never see another sword again…Plus he’s gone and confessed to his officer that he’s in love, but the officer is thisclose to dying of pneumonia, so then what?”

The next thing to do is both the simplest and the most difficult: WRITE it. And if it takes more than a couple of paragraphs to get your characters and your story where you want it, that’s okay — it’s what rewrites and editing and revision is for. The only “real” rules for writing are that you absolutely cannot get anything written if you don’t do the work, and that there are as many methods (outlining, seat-of-the-pantsing, hybrid, snowflake, etc) to getting from “idea” to “story” as there are authors. If one way doesn’t work, try another.

which is done first revisions or edits
This is a great question! I don’t really know, but I suspect it really depends on the author. With First Flight (and Tobias’s Own, to an extent), I actually started my own “This Stuff Needs To Be Changed” file before I got anything back from the editors/proofers. My sailors story was sent back with suggestions for revision, as well as edits, which means that some people see them as synonyms.

because science thats why
“Because it’s science, that’s why!” is a line from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Eegah. Dr. Forrester has installed a radiator in Frank, and Joel asks why he didn’t just leave Frank alone; the doctor starts his reply by saying, “Since Frank’s blood was a previously unknown type, the money that brings in will–Why!? Because it’s science, that’s why!” At my house, ‘because it’s science, that’s why!’ has pretty much become a way to (jokingly) tell people to mind their own business… Or to admit that we’re not sure why we’re doing whatever. Heh.

A week away can do Bad Things to one’s inbox.

But it was more or less good for my writing.

Unfortunately, one of the discussions I came back to has gotten me feeling a bit ranty. I’m going to sleep on it, though, and see how I feel in the morning.

Also, my Day Job has picked up again, which is awesome. I’ve been hoping to put some money aside for a fair amount of travel in the coming year, and this will give me the chance to do so.

Tell Me Tuesday: FINALLY.

I have finally vanquished the various issues that have been preventing me from posting this since the 29th of October. *Deep breath* Okay! So, Reesa posted the following picture on Tuesday, October 25th, with a request for more information than the photographer provided. Art, music, writing, anything. It took a couple of days, but this is what came to mind… It’s based on my odd Brittany thing, and I’ve taken decided liberties with the northwestern coast of France. It’s also currently untitled.

Carousel closed for winter on deserted pier, over a river that has iced over.

 

"It changes every year."

"It’s not so bad. I like the colors."

"The colors are nice, I suppose. Sometimes I just miss… simplicity. Waves and wind and water, with nothing else."

"There were plenty of other things. Shells and crabs and mussels, clams and seaweed and little fish."

"Yes, yes, I was counting them, too."

"And there was you."

"And the birds. The birds found me first."

"So they did, but I think you count more than they did."

"I like to think so."

"How long has it been, since then?"

"Years and years."

"Fifty, sixty, eighty… One hundred and ten…"

"Over two hundred."

"Over two hundred. The tide comes in, the tide goes out, lambing-time comes, and lambing-time goes. At least there are still farms where we left them."

"More has changed than the land. Look."

Two figures walked down the pier, toward the shuttered ride. Brice adjusted his scarf, then pulled his hat further down over his ears.

"It’s the fiber, isn’t it? I knew it would be itchy. I’m—"

"No, ‘Caël, it’s the wind," Brice said, hunching his shoulders up as another gust came off the water. "Your homespun is just fine."

Judicaël frowned at the sea-green and coast-blue wool that obscured all but Bryce’s eyes. "Are you—"

"Saints preserve me," Brice muttered, shaking his head. He grabbed the sleeve of Judicaël’s coat in one storm-grey mitten and hauled him around the gayly painted carousel. "You’re such a worrywart. I love everything you’ve ever made for me, ‘Caël. Especially—" He cut the slightly-muffled words off, wind-pink skin deepening to red as he blushed. Mitten tucked under his other arm, he tugged his scarf down, then reached over and pulled Judicaël’s own scarf out of the way.

"Brice," he said, his eyes closing as the other young man leaned in close. "I just…"

"I know." With that, he kissed Judicaël, his bare hand tucked under the lapel of his friend’s coat.

"See? Look at them! And out where anyone could see them."

"You kissed me out here. There were just as many people, too."

"There weren’t as many people living here, then. And besides, they’re not alone."

"Oh, I see."

"Briiiiice! Caaaaaaël!"

"It’s the wonder twins," Brice said, drawing back from the other young man just enough to get his mitten back on.

"There you are," said a girl in a bright pink ski jacket with a matching hat.

"Snogging again, no doubt," another young man in a puffy black jacket said. A bright orange-and-yellow striped hat with ear flaps and a pom-pom sat on his head.

"Probably," she said, and giggled as the two in question blushed and adjusted their scarves. "It’s not like it’s a secret or anything."

"Things certainly have changed."

"As they should."

"It… It’s…"

"Maybe it’s not a secret," Judicaël said, crossing his arms as well as he could. "That doesn’t mean that we want to show off."

"Just because you think it’s cute doesn’t mean other people wanna watch it," Earflap Hat said, curling his lip at Pinky, but his tone made it a joke.

"I wouldn’t mind showing off, just a little," Brice said, putting an arm around Judicaël before leaning over to plant a loud smack on his cheek. The effect was somewhat spoiled by two layers of fabric between them.  "’Caël’s too pretty to keep hidden."

"If you say so," Earflap Hat said, rolling his eyes and jerking his head toward the street. "Come on, it’s freezing. I’ll buy coffees if it means we can go inside."

"Valère is buying coffee! I think I can be persuaded to leave this compelling discussion for later," Pinky said, bouncing on her toes.

"As long as we can quit talking about whether I’m going to be put on public display," Judicaël said, with a put-upon sigh. "Please."

"Of course," Valère said, waving his hands, "there’s football to talk about. Much more interesting than your silly snogging." Holding his arms up, he turned away and started back up the pier. "Rumor has it that Filip Djordjević might be getting traded to Rennes! Can you imagine?"

"Oh, I’m sure that’s a very big deal," Pinky said, to his back. To Judicaël and Brice, she said, "I suppose you two would like me to get a head start?"

"Maybe just a small one," Brice said, his eyes crinkling at the corners.

"Catch up soon," she said, grinning at them. "I can only listen to Val’s wittering for so long!"

 "We will," Judicaël said, waving at her. "See you, Jacinthe."

Jacinthe waved back and skipped away.

"I know you didn’t bring me out here to look at the view," Judicaël said, when she was halfway to catching up with Val.

"No," Brice said, taking a deep breath. He took his mitten off again, pulling his scarf down and pushing his hat up a little. "No, I wanted… Um. ‘Caël? Next term… Next term, there’ll be an empty room, and and and if you, maybe you’d want to…"

"Maybe I’d want to?" Judicaël squinted at Brice for a moment before his eyes went wide. "Are you asking—"

"Yes," Brice said, into the soft silence that followed. "If you’d like to, there’ll be room, so you can have your own space…"

Judicaël was utterly still for a heartbeat, two; he put his hands on either side of Brice’s face and held him in place for a long kiss.

"Did they just agree to live together?"

"I think so."

"And their friends know…"

"Well, probably not yet."

"No, I meant that they’re in love."

"Ah. Sorry."

"That’s all right. It would have been nice, you know."

"What are you talking about? We lived together."

"But not like they will."

"True."

"It was… difficult. But I would do it all over again."

"I love you, too."

"Did you say something?" Brice looked around, turning as he thought he saw someone out of the corner of his eye. There was nothing remarkable, though, just the sea and the shore and the pier.

"Not out loud," Judicaël said, taking Brice’s hand and a step in the direction their friends had gone. "I don’t know if I still have all my toes."

"Like I said, you’re a worrywart," Brice said, following him with a smile. "I’ll warm them for you, later."

"Which is only fair, since you brought me out here in the first place."

A set of cold fingers laced through another, and if the light was right, half-formed shapes suggested a pair of young men dressed in the typical clothes of late 18th century farmers. They drifted after Brice and Judicaël, stopping at the end of the jetty to watch them round the corner before fading away, leaving behind a faint sense of satisfied peace.