Scattered details

I’ve been scarce and perhaps a bit cryptic lately, but I have some happy news to share!

A bun in my oven
[ photo: A bun in my oven by Sweet Mandy Kay CC]
I’ve officially got a bun in the oven (of the non-bakery kind). While it’s a happy time, and a busy time, it’s been really tough time health wise. I’ll spare you the health details, but it hasn’t been fun.

In the meantime I’ve been taking it slow, but I think my energy’s picking up again. I’m currently beta reading for some pals, and I’m impressed by how different, and how creative, each of the stories I’ve read have been.

I haven’t really had much energy to think about my own work, but two story ideas are battling it out in my head right now. Which one will win out and turn into the next novel? I need to let both ideas percolate a little longer just to see if they’re really viable.

And in house news, we’re still short on furniture but a couch and dining table should be arriving next week – so no more sitting on the floor. I still need to figure out some kind of office set up, and get my laptop fixed – hopefully soon!

I also really need some vacation time. Work has been insanely busy the past month, which hasn’t helped much on any of these front’s.

How’s your summer going?

Some things go smoothly

and some thing’s don’t.

La casa Bazelli is still without internet, so please forgive my absence lately. A whole lot of other things we’re making do without: desks, couches, tables (generally furniture), cooking, a functioning laptop… our house isn’t a home quite just yet, but at least we have a place, finally!

I Have A Spacious Room With A View, She Bragged
[ photo: I Have A Spacious Room With A View, She Bragged by Lotus Carroll CC]
But in good news, I finished edits on The Golden Threads, and the novel is finally in shape to send out to beta’s. This time, the editing was a dream, and I think that’s in thanks to a lot of organizing before hand. I also attribute outlining as the reason I didn’t need to do as much rewriting this time.

Of course, there were bumps along the way. The historical research involved was quite time consuming. The sources I could find were sometimes ambiguous about huge swathes of the population, or obviously biased. Sometimes there are no sources beyond archaeological speculation. Sometimes there weren’t any records, except for the descriptions of enemies (again, biased). All a challenge – it’s a good thing I’m writing fiction! There are a lot of blanks to fill in. I just hope I did the history justice.

And I shall continue to be scarce, until our house project makes a little more progress. I am sorry, my dears. I hope you’re enjoying your summer.

Internetless Wanderings

…I just have to use my imagination! How strange!

While I do have the internet at the office, we haven’t gotten it installed in our new place yet. Coupled with a broken laptop, and a touch of the flu – I may just turn into cranky T. Really… who gets the flu when the weather’s so warm and beautiful out? *insert grumbles* I DEMAND COOKIES OF APPEASEMENT.

cookies
[ Something like this. Yes ALL of this. ]
The move went well, but the new house is in a state of half-painted smelliness. It’s gotten to the point that if I look at the colour yellow, I get a bit queasy thinking about the odour.

But as a lovely surprise, we’ve discovered hummingbirds hanging out around the house. They like sipping  on the massive honeysuckle vines that are blocking the front entrance. I don’t mind having to duck under it because it smells amazing when it’s in bloom (right now). We’ve also discovered a gigantic rosemary bush, what I think are white currants, grapes, and strawberries growing in the garden. Our neighbour’s got a massive fig tree that overhangs into our yard, and lucky little me can’t wait till they’re ripe.

I hope next time I’ll have things sorted out, and a real update for you. Are you enjoying the beginning of summer?

My Writing Process

Last week John Wiswell posted some juicy tidbits about his current writing project. I’m usually hesitant to talk about what I’m working on until it’s done, but since I’m almost finished edits, the timing of this blog hop is perfect. Now I have to figure out what in the world I just wrote. Sometimes it’s good to put things into words, right?

1) What am I working on?

The Golden Threads* – A historical fantasy set to the north of China during the bronze age.

Long before the Mongols, the Xiongnu roamed the steppes, and united by a ruthless warlord, they set out to conquer the first empires of China.

The story follows Tama, a young Xiongnu woman, bastard sister to the self-declared ruler of the North. When her jealous half-brother cuts her soul from the magic threads that bind the Xiongnu tribe from one life to the next, it dooms Tama and the souls of her murdered family to wander alone for all eternity.

To save their souls, Tama agrees to an impossible quest. It takes her to to Xianyang, heart of the Qin Empire, ruled by an emperor obsessed with the search for immortality and builder of the terracotta army. There Tama must destroy an immortal, the one thing barring  the way of her brother’s conquest of the south.

*Tentative working title.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This book is a product of all the Chinese historical dramas I watched when I was growing up, but with a Sword and Sorcery twist.

The book is heavy on the history, but this is a world where where “God / Monster/ Demon / Immortal” frequently means the same thing, and they wander the world, along with ghosts and spirits of Asian superstition and mythology.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Sometimes I think of the book as “The Secret Histories”. So often, the lives of women and minorities are omitted or excluded from history, even if they have contributed to it. Though Tama is fictional, I wanted to write a a story that gives a little life to some of the forgotten ones.

4) How does my writing process work?

It’s a process of constant refinement. I haven’t written a book the same way twice. I attempted a scene by scene outline for this novel and the first draft came together pretty quickly. I trunked it for a year (and wrote another book), before taking a second look at it, and deciding whether or not I was ready to take it on.

I had to do second, intensive, round of research before digging into edits. It wasn’t until I had the first draft done that I figured out what world and cultural details I was missing.

Pass this meme on! I’d love to hear about what you’re working on and how you write.

Writing through it

… or not.

Lately my days have fallen into the ‘or not’ category. Other things have been occupying my time: work craziness, packing, wrist problems, cleaning, yard sales, parents, business trips, dead laptops. None of it is really all that bad, but I’m mentally and physically exhausted. It’s just a little much right now for me to handle all at once.

packing
[photo: Packing by Jason Vance CC]
On the plus side, I’ve rediscovered my love of aimless walks. I can get lost in thoughts and daydreams as I go, and it’s nice to hear the voice in my head again. There’s time to ruminate, puzzle things through, and have debates with my internal self. I’m also more fit than I have been in a while, because I’ve done so much of it and it feels good.

On the down side, I’ve almost gotten run over twice. Um… yes. And I’m starting to get grumpy, the way I always get when I haven’t written in a while. I’m clocking in at more than a month in a half, and it’s driving me nuts.

Sometimes it’s wiser to rest. Sometimes it’s procrastination. This time I can’t figure out which one it is.

Do you write even if you’re exhausted or not feeling all that great?

New Look and New York

First off, the blog redesign is finally done. I think this will stick for a while. It’s simple, but I’m liking the fresh colour palette.

Secondly I was in NYC last week, which was the main reason for my absence. When I can, I like checking out the libraries in different cities, and I took some photos for you.

New York

I thought it was a museum at first, because there were tourists walking around taking photos. My question was – if this is a library where are all the books?

New York

Check out the painted ceilings. It turns out that you need to request a book from the collection, and someone will fetch it for you.

New York

I imagine there must be books vaulted away in the basements or back rooms.

New York

And it also turned out there’s a more modern library across the street, with books piled up on shelves, that looks more familiar.

Maybe it just seemed strange to me. What does your local library look like?

For more New York photos (and not just the library) check out my Flickr stream.

Pardon The Dust + Some Show & Tell

The last update to WordPress finally broke my old theme. I suppose that means it’s about time for a total redesign? In the meantime, I thinks this works well enough and all the old links and posts are still here.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the layout quite yet, but watch me fall down the web design rabbit whole for a few weeks…

In the meantime, here’s a little show and tell:

Untitled

There she is! All 119k, printed double-sided, with narrow margins, and in Garamond font (to save ink). Though it’s the longest thing I’ve ever written, it looks a lot humbler than the last because of the print format.

Onward with the edits we go! I’m trying to get myself organized for the next round so it doesn’t take too long. Hopefully soon, some poor, brave, souls will get to read it.

Help out a friend

In the yea old days when I was yet a wee newbie to the Twitter-sphere, this nice guy named Harry asked if he could be my writing buddy. No one had ever asked me to be their writing friend before! Fast forward a few years, and we’re still both committed to encouraging each other to keep writing.

Harry got accepted to Clarion with a scholarship this year, but he’ll need some help to get there all the way from Bulgaria. In his own words:

I want to be a voice for my culture. I want to represent LGBTQ writers. I want to bring more diversity into speculative fiction and I believe Clarion can give my voice power.

I don’t have the means to pay these sums on my own. Because I’m a Bulgarian native and not a native English speaker, I’ve experienced difficulty finding better paying freelance writing jobs and can currently only work towards covering my basic living expenses. All my savings have gone to help my family through a very unforgiving year, so I can’t rely on anyone else, except for the community that has made me feel accepted for so many years.

If you’ve got a little to spare, please help Harry get to Clarion!