Dancing to Dirges

Depressing and happy things Tim says, sometimes while drunk

Monday, March 30, 2009

And Scions of the Scholar are kept locked away in a Prison Library.

Well, today marks four weeks since I learned about Solaris' potential sale. I still don't know where we are with that. Much activity, then weeks of sitting around knowing there's activity happening somewhere else, activity that quite directly impacts your work, but not able to even see that activity. There is frustration to that. Whatever. There are worse things.

I explained the cosmology to someone on Saturday (at my monthly D&D game) and it went well. It's the first time I've tried to explain how the magic works to, well, anyone. They thought it was cool, and understood how the world worked clearly enough. He was even saying stuff like "Oo, that means they would want to know how the ascension worked and that means..." and I would follow up with Yes, and here's how I've worked that into the story. It's good to see enthusiasm for a project when really, it's just a bunch of ideas and a couple paragraphs.

I also feel like I'm getting my DM skills back. I used to be good at that, but I've been out of practice, and for the last few years there's been a lot of frustration associated with gaming sessions. But now I've had a couple sessions getting used to the new rules and am starting to remember the whole roleplaying thing. So that feels nice. And people seem to be enjoying themselves.

For those of you thinking about switching up from 3.5 to 4, allow me to offer my "positive review." A lot of the things that disturbed me about the game seem to smooth out the deeper you get into the level progression. And it takes the players some time to get used to the idea of how things work differently. At level one through four you're really kind of limited in what you can do. It feels like you're just using the same powers over and over again, because you don't have many powerful tricks in your bag. But the higher you get, the more stuff you have access to. The experience deepens. So it's good, and it's certainly easier to DM.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Unless there are zombies. That's a different plan.

At management's insistence, I went to a seminar on the upcoming Intelligent Mail Barcode this morning. It was a beginner's course. I knew more about the transition than the presenter, who couldn't answer any of the audience questions. It was a waste of time. And you know what, I don't really want to know anything more about the IMB. I don't want to know about the specifics of the Move Update, or what I need to do to get our company in compliance for full service PostalOne! processing. I don't care how you create a mail.dat. I want out. Thank you.

The plumbing inspection on the bathroom failed yesterday. That's technically pushed drywall back a day, but they showed up anyway and started installing everywhere except the shower. That's fine, and now the plumber is doing his compliance repairs. Hopefully the second inspection will go better.

I finally had a good session of writing last night. I can't imagine how much production I could manage if this were what I was doing during the day, rather than what I was doing for an hour after dinner when I'm tired, or during lunch in this incredibly uncomfortable office.

I have a plan in my head of how this year is going to go. It isn't what I had in mind a month ago, but it's a good plan. Just a lot of work, and work I wasn't expecting. Gears I didn't think I would be engaging. Anyway. It's what I've got.

Monday, March 23, 2009

At least it's raining again

My wife is reading a themed anthology at the moment, and we got to talking about it over breakfast on Sunday. She expressed...frustration at one of the stories, and I asked "Who's the author?" She didn't know. The author is everything, I said. Doesn't matter if you like stories of a particular type, the author is going to bring their own particular style to it, and if you don't like that style you're not going to like the story. So I went and got the anthology and we looked up the author. Sure enough, one of the people on my long list of authors I won't tolerate. One of the people I blame for the resurgence of lazy genre writing. Lazy in that particularly clever, literary, completely lacking a plot kind of way. It was good to have a blind sample confirm my own bias.

Got a lot done this weekend, but none of it was writing. Well. Very little. But having the one bathroom demoed means that we're down to one toilet, so I spent parts of Saturday and Sunday disassembling and then reassembling our third toilet. I'm not good with tools. I'd rather not tell you what happened when the top came off the intake valve stack. It involved water. We also had to buy the door knobs for our new cabinetry, and towel racks and whatnot. Much driving, and walking, and comparing similar colored knobs. I recommend avoiding oil rubbed bronze. It's hard to match, and if the match isn't good enough it looks really weird. And I got to watch some basketball.

So that was my weekend. I'm going to try to make a better go of it this week. D&D on Saturday, and I need to gather my thoughts and write out some encounter cards and stuff.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Her name is Eva

It's funny. I spent a couple days working out all the names. Thought I had it. Then I sat down to write and just couldn't do it. Too typical, my names. So I changed them all, and changed the way I think about the naming in the world, and that changed something about how I viewed the world in general. And then I could write. Probably just my brain, looking for excuses to not be creative.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mead Brand

Demolition on our bathroom started yesterday. And finished. Not a big room, but it's kind of weird to come home from work and the bathroom is just down to the studs. It's a bigger room without walls. Or cabinets, or a tub, or a toilet. And it's partially open to the attic, so it's kind of cold in there. Pictures are being taken, I assure you.

I know this is several years too late but Dear BSG writers. Starting every episode with a scene, and then cutting to 48 hours ago, and then advancing the scene, and then 36 hours ago, and then the scene...that's not clever. It works once in a while. Like, maybe once in a season. Stop it.

Not much else going on. Work is slow. I got a new moleskine notebook, all apologies to Uncle Gibson, who recommends Field Notes. I'm writing in green ink for a while. Uh. Yeah. I think that's it for today.

I should point out that I don't actually write fiction in my moleskine. I make notes, I brainstorm... generally I just talk to myself and sometimes that leads to story stuff. It's a process. Sometimes I write fiction in there, but never full pieces. I'll write some stuff, type it up, print it out, write some more on the back of those pages, type, print, write. I've been doing that since 5th grade, I think. I also write in marbled Mead Composition notebooks. I don't know why. It just feels right.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Don't tell me about next season. I don't want to hear it.

We lost the science fiction channel when Comcast moved it from whatever flavor of cable we have to some other flavor that we weren't paying for. We didn't follow, as perhaps they were hoping we would. At the time the only show we were watching on the channel was the reinvention of BSG. I have to admit being a little pissed to drop the show halfway through a season, but whatever.

Years later, I finally got the DVDs for christmas. We took a break in our marathon of West Wing to pick up the BSG thread, and I've generally been pleased with that decision. We're into 2.5, and last night was the first time I turned to my wife and said "That wasn't a good episode." That's a pretty high success rate. Then again, it was a really bad episode. The writing was lazy, the plot came pretty much out of the blue, it didn't feel authentic to the characters. It felt like someone else unattached to the show wrote it for a different series, then changed all the names and submitted it to BSG. Pure filler.

You'll earn more hate from me with a little bad writing than you'll earn love for a pile of good writing. I always expect your best. If it isn't good enough, don't air it. If it's not in you, if you're not feeling it this week, don't submit it. Take a pass. Or learn to write on a schedule. I don't care. Just write better than that.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The gods have a name.

Wow, this thing kind of ground to a halt, didn't it? I suppose it's safe to say that I was a little blown out of the water by the Solaris going on sale thing. It rearranged a lot of the plans I had made for this year, and it was a year I had arranged very carefully. But I've been reading, and playing videogames, and monitoring developments. Some good, some bad. It'll all settle out and there's nothing more I can do right now. But waiting? I'm one of those people who doesn't wait well. I can be patient, I can play slow games, I can keep the long eye. But just sitting, with nothing much to be done to advance my cause? It does poorly with me.

I am working on something else, though. That sucks more than I can tell you. Veridon took a while to make, and while I've been fiddling around with this other thing for a couple years now, it's not like I sat down and really grinded at it. I'm grinding. But I don't even have names for places, or people, or cities. None of that stuff. Just ideas of what these places are, and what sort of people might occupy them, and what those people might do with their time.

On the radio this morning I heard that this is the start of national Act Happy week. So I thought you should know, you know, that I'm doing okay. I'm getting through.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

These days, they happen

Well, since I have the official announcement in hand, the story was leaked two days ago, and most of the people who read this blog either read about this elsewhere, asked me about it, found out from me or were the ones who told me about it in the first place, I figure I'm safe to talk about this.

My publisher, Solaris, has put itself up for sale. Games Workshop has decided to focus on its core strengths, namely the Black Library imprint, and so is shopping Solaris around. The imprint has done well, just not as well as BL. Understandable. And from a purely business perspective, it's the right thing for them to do.

Personally? I woke up Monday morning thinking I was days away from negotiating a deal on book two. Maybe even a multi-book deal. Tuesday morning I woke up without a contract, and unsure how this would effect the drop of the debut I've been building towards for five years. So these haven't been my best couple days.

All I can say is that I'm uncertain. How will this effect the marketing of HoV? How willing will the buyers at the various chains be to pick up a debut novel from a relative unknown from a house that isn't going to be around in six months? If Solaris ends up folding, will another publisher be willing to pick up the Veridon series at book two? For that matter, will the sale effect my raw sales numbers, for a variety of reasons? I'm uncertain.

Beyond that, I'm disappointed I won't be working with Mark, Christian and George any more on this project. We worked well together. I have no idea where I'm going from here, and who I'll be dealing with.

I'm a little angry, too. That's natural. But that's business for you.

So I'm moving forward. I don't know if this will be the last Veridon novel. I'd like to do more in the world. I've obviously given it all a lot of thought. But this opens possibilities. In some ways I'm back where I was three years ago, when I first wrote a scene about an airship crashing into a waterfall, and the strange events that sprang from that disaster. I don't have a next book, but I have ideas. I don't have any guarantees, but I have faith in my abilities. And I don't know how anything's going to turn out, but I look forward to getting there.