Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Revision Update, and two awesome August books

After a good start, July turned out to be a rough month, writing-wise.  I ran into some tricky scenes, had some day job and life distractions, all the usual things that make writing hard when you're a parent with little free time.  I made some progress, but nowhere near what I was hoping.  So!  For August, the plan is to buckle down.  I can't control day job fire drills or other wackiness, but there are distractions I can block out.  Like, Ye Olde Internet.  If I've got even 5 spare minutes, I want to spend them working on Labyrinth of Flame.  Not deciding to take a "brain break" by idly checking Reddit's r/Fantasy forum, and then getting sucked into a discussion of the visibility of female authors in epic fantasy, as happened today (oops).

As of now, I've got 14 chapters left to revise (yes, this is a long freaking book).  Some need a lot of revision, some less.  I'm going to see how far I can get in August, and then make a decision about whether to run a kickstarter in mid-October, or wait until after the holidays.

(By the way, I've had some emails from German fans recently, worried that my self-publishing Labyrinth of Flame means it may not come out in Germany.  While I don't yet have a contract with Bastei Lübbe for Labyrinth, they've been asking when the manuscript will be ready, so I'm certainly hopeful they will buy the book and you won't be left hanging.)

Anyway, starting Aug 1, I'm going dark for a while.  If there's any nifty book-related news, I'll reappear to share it.  (One cool thing about August is that the cover artist, Dave Palumbo, is starting work on the cover for Labyrinth of Flame.  I'm so excited to see what he does!)  Other than that, I'm going to do my best to stay off the web & spend every spare second on finishing the book.

But before I vanish, there are two novels coming out in August that I wanted to highlight here.  They're very different in style and tone, but both writers are amazing.

1. Dust and Light (Sanctuary Duet #1), by Carol Berg (August 5)


Carol Berg is one of my all-time favorite fantasy authors.  She consistently produces one excellent novel after another, full of magic and adventure and incredibly well-drawn characters.  This new series takes place in the same world as her previous Lighthouse Duet, which I adored.  You don't have to have read the previous books to enjoy these; either series can be read first, as they take place concurrently.  I read Dust and Light in draft form, and thought it was terrific - I'm a sucker for reluctant friendships between two very different characters, and D&L has a wonderful example of that between the mage Lucian and the abrasive coroner he ends up working for.  It's epic fantasy crossed with a detective story, and the plot's got plenty of delicious twists and turns to keep you guessing.  For all her many devoted fans, Carol deserves even more - so go on, give Dust and Light a try!

2. The Mirror Empire (Worldbreaker #1), by Kameron Hurley (August 26)


I read this one in ARC form, and gave it this blurb: "Bold, merciless, and wildly inventive, Kameron Hurley's The Mirror Empire begins an epic tale of worlds at war that will linger long in readers' imaginations.  If you're looking for original and challenging fantasy, this is definitely the series for you."  I mean every word of it, too.  Kameron's work here is hugely ambitious, and her imagination nothing short of incredible.  Don't go in expecting a comfort read; this is grimdark-style fantasy, where the characters are interesting rather than likable.  The book will challenge you, make you think, perhaps make you uncomfortable.  (There were certainly parts it did me.)  But that's part of what fantasy is for: to stretch our horizons and our imaginations, and Kameron does that with gusto.  If that appeals to you at all, you must try this book.

And now, commence vanishing act.  At least until I've got cover art or other good news to share!


                

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thursday Adventure (and a revision update): Telluride, Colorado

I started July by taking a few days off work to concentrate on revising The Labyrinth of Flame, which was both wonderful and frustrating.  Why frustrating?  Because I saw just how productive I could be with entire day-long chunks of time.  I tell you, if I could take a month off work I'd have this revision finished, bam.  Alas, I must return to snatching scraps of time whenever I can, making progress in inches instead of bounds.  But I've passed 100K - always a big psychological milestone for me - and once I get the rest of the midsection of the book properly fixed up (darn those pesky logistical and inter-character details I skimmed over in the first draft!), the climax should require far less work. I hope.

After my 3-day book-writing vacation, we took a real vacation - our annual 4th of July trip to Telluride down in southwestern Colorado.  I could go on for hours about how much I love Telluride....but I figured since I haven't done a Thursday Adventure post in forever, I'll just show some of the pics from this year's trip, and let you see for yourself how gorgeous the San Juan Mountains are.

The town of Telluride, nestled in a box canyon deep in the San Juan Mountains.  The ski runs above town are some of the best and steepest mogul slopes in Colorado.
View from our condo.  The town's small enough you don't need a car - everyone bikes and walks everywhere.
My son indicates Telluride's airport, visible on the mesa in the distance.  We've never flown to Telluride (we just drive), but I hear it's a hell of a landing.  At 9,070 ft, it's North America's highest commercial airport.
My husband and I got married in Telluride, and we return at least once every year.  Visiting over the 4th of July is always great - the town has a fun little parade, followed by fireworks at night that are truly spectacular. (Nothing beats fireworks in a box canyon - the echoes roll on forever.)

My son and my husband, ready to watch the parade
The parade involves plenty of cowboys...
Yetis and climbers doing crazy things (yes, the guys dangling off the truck are in skydiving wing suits)...
And plenty of people being silly.
This year was extra fun because my son is finally old enough to do some actual hikes and bike rides instead of just toddling along beside the creek.  The weather was lovely, though in typical Colorado fashion, a thunderstorm rolled in every afternoon at 2pm.  You want to hike in Colorado, you've got to do it early.

Ready to hike!

The views are always amazing
I love me some spiky ridges
The San Juans are much wetter than the mountains near Denver, and as such, far greener and chock full of wildflowers
Lizard Head (the little rock formation poking up on the left) and the Wilson group of peaks, which includes several 14ers (El Diente and the less imaginatively named Wilson Peak and Mt. Wilson) 

The waterfalls are pretty awesome, too.
Checking out Cornet Creek Falls
Looking toward the head of the box canyon. 
The aspen are large and plentiful, which makes for beautiful fall color displays
The key to hiking with a 5 year old is to keep things silly
It was a great trip.  I read some excellent books during the 6+ hour drive back, including Mazarkis Williams's The Tower Broken, M.R. Carey's The Girl With All the Gifts, and Jim Butcher's Skin Game.  Just to cap it all off, when I got back to Boulder I discovered people saying very nice things about my books on Reddit's r/Fantasy  - talk about a good homecoming!

I'll do a post next week on July's new releases I'm excited about reading, but other than that, it's back to the revision cave for me.  Until next time...