Monday, October 25, 2010


Check out this completely awesome photo my dad took. Doesn't it look like a book cover? I LOVE it. I would pick up that book.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Finished, oh so finished!

Guess what. THE BOOK IS FINISHED! Final draft sent off at midnight! Yippeeeee! During my final read-through/futz, I did a random word-count and discovered that at that moment, the manuscript was exactly 100,000 words, which is kind of like looking at the clock exactly at 2:22 or something. It seems kind of cool, but is totally random and meaningless. So after that I kept checking, for no reason, as the book swung just below and just above the 100K mark, with the final coming in at 100,021. There's a perverse part of me that wants to cut 21 words in copyediting, ha ha!

But the important point is: it is finished!!! I am so so happy! It has been delightful working with Alvina Ling and her assistant Bethany, and that work is not over, of course, there are many phases yet ahead, but the meat of the edit is now ... hm, you start a meat metaphor, and then what? Do you just go with it? The meat of the edit is now chewed. Lovely. I should be a writer, snork snork.

So you know what I did to celebrate? I cleaned the kitchen! Am I wild or what? I cannot be controlled! Don't even try! Ha ha. But seriously. There are things that don't get high priority during deadline times, and I do so love a clean house. *happy sigh*

Obviously the blog is something else that has not gotten high priority! It's been a while since I posted any pictures of the Clementine, so here are some recents:

She's walking like a maniac now, not running yet, not fast, but I am sure that is only a matter of days. Climbs everything. Fascinated by dirt -- future gardener? Knows all her body parts and can say most of the words for them, the cutest being "elbow" which sounds kind of like "bolbow!" and is said with more glee than any elbow really merits :-) She helps us put groceries away and make the bed, handing us each item one by one, very serious about the whole procedure. Loves music like crazy. First thing in the morning, she toddles herself over the Jim's computer to wait for itunes to come up and someone to dance with her. That's the Clementine update, at 14.5 months of awesomeness.

The other day at Kinko's, while we waited for something, we were chatting with a woman, probably in her 60s? Here is a snippet of the exchange:

Her: Is she your first?

Jim: Yes.

Her: Probably your last, too, I guess.





What??? What does THAT mean? Do we look SO old? What is WRONG with people? Or did she have some extrasensory ovary perception and know something that we don't? Jeez, man. So rude. A friend of mine, once, was getting a wax or something, and when the person ... waxer? Waxist? asked her age, and she replied "35," the woman said, with some surprise, "You're only 35?" Can you believe that? I mean, someone in the beauty/cosmetic industry, who is supposed to default to making clients feel GOOD about themselves. Man, age sucks, and people are stupid. That's the lesson for today. I was also asked by an old man once at a restaurant if Clementine was my granddaughter!!! This one was a jaw-dropper. Yes, I technically could have a grandchild, but ... really???

Okay, little fingers are after the keyboard now, so I'm off. Great day, all!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tighten tighten

Tighten tighten.

One thing you need for revisions: a screwdriver. Not a real screwdriver. A language screwdriver. I read through the manuscript today on the lookout for unnecessary words. Maybe singletons, maybe whole paragraphs. One chapter, which incidentally was the first scene written and is now Chapter 13 (The Graverobber, in case the numbers change), went from 3500 words (it was the longest chapter in the book) to 2900. There was just stuff that had been in it for so long, I was used to looking at it. I'd forgotten to wonder whether every word was singing for its supper. Turns out: nope. Ciao. Tighten tighten.

A lot of it is just super-simple stuff like this:

The long mustache that had once been his pride hung lank and tangled.

The mustache that had been his pride hung lank and tangled.

The elevator door closed, and she was alone with herself and her reflection

The elevator door closed, and she was alone with her reflection

She sensed from the tenor of Z’s voice that

She sensed from Z’s agitation that

(Here's a doozy. Youch. To think this clunker might have snuck into the book.)
A look of dismay edging on horror slowly spread over his face as understanding dawned.

Dismay spread over his face as understanding dawned.

Those cuts add up! You can slice hundreds of words like this and never even miss them. This is an easy, restful part of revisions. That whole "writing new scenes" malarkey is so much harder, and I'm not *quite* done with that bit yet. I have one lingering section that needs some new material written to seam some stuff together. It makes my brain feel tired just thinking about it. Can't I just fiddle with my screwdriver instead? Well. I'm almost there. So close! Another day or two of this, and it's off into the ether again!

* * *
By the way, cool news: I am going to be a guest of honor at the 2011 Sirens Conference in Vail, Colorado! I'm so excited about this! It's a conference dedicated to women in fantasy literature, and it just happened last weekend -- wish I could have been there! The theme this year was "fairies" about which I have a thing or two to say :-) Next year, oh, this is so cool. Next year the theme is MONSTERS. Mwahahahahahahaha! In Daughter of Smoke and Bone, as in, I think, all my books, the idea of what really makes a monster is central theme. It's a whole year off, but I'm psyched. Also psyched about the other two guests of honor: Justine Larbalestier and Nnedi Okorafor, who are both AWESOME!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Do you have a favorite Lips Touch story?

I'm curious :-) Do you have a favorite Lips Touch story? There's a little discussion going over at Readergirlz, if you would like to input your input.

I *might* say in comments which one *might* be my favorite.

I also *might* hint that I want to write more Druj stories. I was kind of stoked to have a google alert pop up a few hours after this hint that alerted me that, ahem, there are people in the world (or at least a person) excited by that prospect! Which is totally exciting to ME. Thank you Fantasy Cafe! To be clear, there is not an immediate Druj sighting on the horizon -- the horizon is all about Daughter of Smoke and Bone and sequel right now, but Druj are out there, all creepy with their pale eyes, waiting. My head has plans.

Please come over to Readergirlz and weigh in! Thank you!

Very Important

Winners of the European Beard Competition. Isn't it weird that none of them has a ... beard? Three naked chinny chin chins. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Stop Talking Blueberry

Yeah, look at me, all vanishing again for a week, popping up with no coherent thoughts. Just: "Oog. Brain fuzzy." My brain is fuzzy. You know how the inside of your mouth feels kind of ... furry ... after eating cooked spinach? My head is like that. On the bright side, my head is now host to newly pink hair. Oh, my roots were so atrocious! Last hair appointment, we got all sidetracked and forgot to make my next appointment, and then by the time I realized it, my stylist was all booked! It was dire, seriously dire. So that I was wearing hats, and they were squeezing my brain and I was torn whether to take them off in public or not. Brain squeeze, roots, brain squeeze, roots.

I eventually chose in favor of brain comfort, and exposed my roots to the world. Or the world at the cafe where I was writing, anyway. As far as I know, everyone survived.

My lovely hair stylist pinked me at her house this evening, while Jim and Clementine hung out inside with her husband -- who was our first friend in Portland -- and kids. I am no longer a disgrace to the color pink, thank god!

You see what matters of incredible importance I blog about? Here's another one: I keep finding random things in my shirt. Shoved there by furtive baby fists. I think I catch, like, 85% of them going in, but there's that 15% or so that happen while I'm distracted and then fall out later. Like, a game piece, or a whole block. Things have fallen unceremoniously out of my bra that I would have sworn to you could never have gone unnoticed. And yet.

There's a whole food component too, but those tend to be in the 85%, especially the really awesome stuff, like sliced peaches. I might occasionally come across a cheerio though.

Brain had just notified me that it has exactly three coherent sentences left in it. That was one. There went another. Dog had to drive uphill but that's okay I like root beer don't you? Warm cheerios and then I waffle iron halleluja shut up. I've come to the end and kept talking you see what happens? So just. Stop. Talking. Blueberry.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Yonder grass is looking greenly

Yes I love revisions, yes. I do.




I'm kinda ready to be done now! See, sometimes revisions are all cozy futz-futz, tinker-tinker, and other times, the need to write a new scene falls out of the sky, and my brain does not want to write a new scene. My brain is nonplussed. It's like, "I thought all that writing malarkey was over. I thought we were revising here." Yeah. Dirty secret: revising involves writing. It's like when you just mopped and somebody runs over your floor with muddy feet. You clap your hands to your cheeks and scream, "NOOOOOOOO!"

At least, that's my reaction to muddy feet.

Who am I kidding? I rarely mop. And the scene-writing is fine. It's just that as one nears the end, one gets so ready to be DONE. But it is hugely satisfying to take the almost-book and polish it to a high gloss. Just, sometimes, a deep breath must be taken. A whole new scene. So you go write a blog post instead. At least, that is what I do. Ha ha.

Really think about the term "revision." Re-vision. This is your chance to see if you've got everything running at full awesome. Don't be afraid to make drastic changes. I am not making drastic changes. Not now, but over the course of writing this book, there was much drastickness. Drasticity.


On a happier note, a couple of things. First, Lips Touch is an honor book for the Oregon Spirit Book Award! This is awesome; it's an award given by the Oregon Council of Teachers of English, and I love English teachers!

Secondly, Lips Touch is up as the October title for Readergirlz! Thank you, Readergirlz! This is so cool. Check it out. There are guidelines for a book party, if you are inclined, including discussion questions, a play list, and recommendations for what kind of food to make, invitations, and even what movies to watch. This was SO FUN. The live chat will be October 20, if you want to put together a little gathering for that night. I'll be blogging more about it, of course. But go check it out :)