(You can’t really see it from the pics, but it missed the house by a few steps. Well played, wind.)
Or: When is a Ski Trip Like Writing?
*Disclaimer: despite the title, no hobbits were harmed in the making of this blog post.*
A week ago I was merrily packing for a little ski jaunt up to the beautiful Colorado Rockies. I was planning to catch up with my dad and spend some quality time with my kids. Mountain views and bonding time. Perfect.
Or so I thought.
Turns out that the one time I decide to go on a distant vacation without my husband is also the first time in almost two years that my youngest chooses to get sick. And then kindly passes me her cold. I ended up spending most of my week inside the condo, keeping her company or coughing. When I wasn’t cajoling my son to not give up on his snowboarding lessons.
Still, I did get the quality time I wanted with my dad and kids, even though it wasn’t quite the vacation I’d planned. And the views – even from inside – were truly lovely.
All in all, the week turned out to be a little like writing a novel.
“What’s that?” you ask. “Just how is a no ski ski vacation like writing a novel?”
Well, it is. Kind of. See, when you start out with a blank document and a fresh concept, you probably have some notion about where the whole thing is headed. Even if you’re not a planner, you have a rough idea of the layout of the land and where the ending lies. So you start writing. And then, eventually, you hit the first bumps. Your characters refuse to act the way you want them to. Maybe your minor throwaway guy decides he’s the true villain (more power to you, secret villain!). Or the princess wants to play with ray guns (Pow! Zap! Awesome!). And then the castle turns out to be a trap and the real kingdom is somewhere up above in the clouds and you’re fresh out of flying horses and it starts to rain…
Okay, maybe I got a little carried away. But you get where I’m going, right?
When you’re writing, your mind throws you curveballs all the time. And, much like vacationing with kids, you have to be prepared to roll with it. Your story may not take you along the lines you expected, but it will get there in the end, and who knows? You may just achieve everything you set out to do in the first place.
I can promise you one thing, though. The views will be fantastic.
Tomorrow I’m off for a week’s skiing in Colorado. Because apparently we don’t have enough snow here in Connecticut. But that’s okay, because it’s ski snow and not lying-in-heaps-all-around-my-house snow. And we all know that ski snow is fun stuff, not help-my-back-is-broken-from-shoveling stuff. So all is good.
In the meantime, please to enjoy this bloggy thing I wrote for the very lovely Jo Zebedee. Jo, author of the upcoming Abendau’s Heir, was kind enough to invite me to guest on her blog. By which I really mean she mentioned she didn’t have a blog post for the weekend yet and I said “Oh please, Miss, choose me, pick me, me, me!” And eventually she took pity on my conspicuously raised hand and Bob, as they say, is your uncle. Yours, not mine, although I do have an honorary ‘Uncle’ Bob. Does that count?
It totally counts.
So, this is something new I thought I’d try out. A reading log! I’ll try to do sporadically regular (is that a thing? Can it be a thing? Please?) versions, depending on how many books I’ve eaten for breakfast each month.
Recent Reads: Lately life has been all about Vikings and the Vikingesque. But that’s all good and fine because I do loves me some decent weaponry action.
First up was Blood Will Follow, Book 2 in Snorri Kristjánsson‘s Valhalla Saga. It was great to dive back into the world of the Norse gods and meet up again with Ulfar and Audun, the Riggs and Murtaugh of the North. In this sequel to Swords of Good Men (such awesome titles!) Kristjánsson gives us a deeper look at the threads entangling his blood-drenched heroes and the puppet-masters who would shape their destiny.
Next, another sequel, Half the World. This is Book 2 in Joe Abercrombie‘s Shattered Sea trilogy, told this time from the perspective of warrior-girl Thorn and her former training partner and now oar-mate Brand. We still get to keep Yarvi, but this time we see him through other’s eyes, an interesting plot device as it puts readers in a position where they know more than the main characters. Thorn and Brand are fantastic creations and a great addition to the tale.
Now Reading: Magic, math and demons, oh my!
I recently discovered the delights of Charles Stross‘s Laundry Files, and am now devouring the second in the series (another book 2; sensing a theme here!). So far, The Jennifer Morgue is a fast-paced and fun read. Good stuff.
To Read: A little bit of this, a little bit of that.
First up, and burning a hole in my Kindle, is Book 2 (heh, what do you know? Another second…) in Brian Staveley‘s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne trilogy, The Providence of Fire. I thoroughly enjoyed his first novel, The Emperor’s Blades, so I’m looking forward to this one.
Also on my list is Jo Zebedee‘s debut, the first in her space opera Inheritance Trilogy, Abendau’s Heir. Abendau’s release isn’t due until the very end of the month, but I’m very excited for this one as I was lucky enough to be an enthusiastic (if not very competent) beta reader for Jo. I know Abendau has been through a lot of edits since then, so I’m curious to see what the final result is. Bring on those sexy space pilots! (And, er, all the suffering and devastation too, of course.)
Last day at Boskone…
And here’s Saturday’s round-up of panels.
Here’s the link to a longer blog-type thing on my Boskone weekend. It’s over at the SFF Chronicles forum, my online home-away-from-home. Days 2 and 3 coming later this week…
Back from my first ever Boskone weekend, and what a weekend it was. In a bloggy nutshell: great YA panels, sidekicks and henchmen, angels and demons, research tips, publishing tips, author hangouts, cupcakes, plots and worldbuilding, snow, cold wind, cold beer, hot tea, writing fight and combat scenes, urban fantasy, signed books, free books, book readings, books everywhere, more snow, too much snow, great bread and new friends.
The guy in the pic may not look too happy (perhaps because he knew I was about to sink my teeth in), but I certainly am. Fantastic event, and I’m a definite Boskone convert!
Thank you NESFA for organizing such a nice convention.
Yesterday was the book birthday of my writing buddy Cindy Rodriguez. When Reason Breaks is a beautifully written contemporary YA about teenage depression.
Cindy’s done a lovely job of entwining the subject with the work and life of poet Emily Dickinson, and it’s an eye-opening read (for me, at least) on how quiet depression can be. As a mum to two preteens, it was kind of scary.
Anyhow, Cindy wrote a very sweet blog piece on the publishing process, from writing the MS, to getting signed on by her agent, all the way through to seeing it on the shelves of the bookstore for the first time.
Check it out! And then go buy the book. Also, buy kleenex. Lots and lots of kleenex.
I have a short story out in Kraxon Magazine. It’s based on the Brazilian water lily myth, the vitória-régia. Check it out! (also, have a nose around while you’re on there; Kraxon has a lovely line-up of short stories by some very talented people.