What do you think? Am I on the right track with this or totally off?
I’m very excited to announce that Good Bones has been released by Dreamspinner Press! You can buy it now in ebook or print versions. The first 20 or so print copies purchased directly from DSP are autographed. 🙂
Click here to buy directly from DSP. The book should also be available from Amazon and other booksellers in the next day or two.
So today I’m going to let you in on one of my not-so-secret loves: travel. Seriously, I love to travel. The actual travel part–schlepping myself via plane, train, or automobile–isn’t the good part, although I do enjoy trains and boats, and I like the uninterrupted and guilt-free reading and writing time that a long plane rides gives me.
My favorite part is exploring Someplace Else. It doesn’t particularly matter where the Someplace Else is. A lot of my favorite S.E.s are less than two hours from my house: San Francisco, Yosemite, Gold Rush country, the beach. But even better if the S.E. is more exotic.
Last year I was extremely fortunate and was able to live and work in Croatia for 5 months. I got to see lots of that beautiful country. Plitvice Lakes has to be one of the world’s most beautiful locations, and Dubrovnik is like a dream, made slightly bittersweet by what happened there during the Homeland War. But during my European adventure I was also able to travel to Spain, Scotland, England, Italy (twice), Austria (twice), and Slovenia (many many times). I saw some fascinating things, met some wonderful people, and ate amazing food. I learned to decode menus and manage basic interactions multilingually. It was a blast. It was also exhausting.
So when I returned to the US and collapsed into my bed, how long did it take me to yearn for travel once again? Three weeks.
I’m not sure what it is about travel that so captures me, but I know one thing: it gives me endless inspiration for writing. My next novel will, I believe, be set in Venice, where I spent a wonderful week. And I’ll be able to describe exactly how the fresh fish tasted, eaten raw or just lightly sauted in olive oil. I can describe the sound of thousands of tourists in Piazza San Marco, the smell of the lagoon, the feeling of a vaporetto bumping into a dock, the way the local women blocked the narrow streets–some so narrow you can easily touch both sides at once–as they chat, and the way waiters made a fuss over my 8-year-old daughter.
Give me one day in a city not my own and I can give you a novel.
Now, there is one part of travel I truly hate, and that is packing. Hate hate hate it. I can barely decide what to wear each morning–how can I choose for a week someplace I’ve never been where the weather is unknown? I always give myself the Going to Mars Talk: “Pack lightly, as best as you can, and if you need something when you get there, you can buy it. You’re not going to Mars.” Actually, some of those purchases end up being fun souvenirs. My rainjacket will remind me of Edinburgh everytime I wear it (Edinburgh in June=cold and rainy), and my watch is a daily reminder of Trieste, Italy.
What travel do I have planned for the rest of this year? San Francisco, Yosemite, Cambria, Palm Desert, Portland, Croatia (and somewhere else in Europe TBA), Albuquerque, Mexico.
Where do you love to go?
Dreamspinner’s Time Is Eternity anthology will include one of my stories. You can wait until June and buy the story on its own, or you can buy the entire anthology–a story a day in June. If you preorder the package now the price is lower. My story, “Violet’s Present,” is an angsty one set partly in the 1940s. More information here.
Here’s the blurb for my story:
When Matt’s Great-great-aunt Violet dies, she leaves him a precious gift: a photo album he loved as a child. Then Matt starts having dreams—very good dreams—about Joseph, one of the men in the pictures from the 1940s. One morning when Matt wakes up, the bruises are still there. Could there be more to Violet’s present than he thought?
Men of Steel was released today! And the ebook format is 20% today and tomorrow. As a bit of a tease, here’s a brief excerpt from my story, “Act One.”
Look what arrived in the mail today!
You can buy a copy starting April 9, either in eBook version or print. And you can buy from Dreamspinner or Amazon. My story is called “Act One” and was inspired to a trip I took to Hollywood a while back.
I’m guest blogging today: http://www.koolqueerlit.com/
Come read an excerpt from Good Bones!
I am really thrilled to announce that my new novel, Good Bones, will be available on April 20. It will be available in print and ebook formats, directly through the publisher or through Amazon. It has a gorgeous cover by Christine Griffin.
Skinny, quiet hipster Dylan Warner was the kind of guy other men barely glanced at until an evening’s indiscretion with a handsome stranger turned him into a werewolf. Now, despite a slightly hairy handicap, he just wants to live an ordinary—if lonely—life as an architect. He tries to keep his wild impulses in check, but after one too many close calls, Dylan gives up his urban life and moves to the country, where he will be less likely to harm someone else. His new home is a dilapidated but promising house that comes with a former Christmas tree farm and a solitary neighbor: sexy, rustic Chris Nock.
Dylan hires Chris to help him renovate the farmhouse and quickly discovers his assumptions about his neighbor are inaccurate—and that he’d very much like Chris to become a permanent fixture in his life as well as his home. Between proving himself to his boss, coping with the seductive lure of his dangerous ex-lover, and his limited romantic experience, Dylan finds it hard enough to express himself—how can he bring up his monthly urge to howl at the moon?
Today’s blog subject is productivity–mainly because I’ve had very little of it for the past few days!
I’ve always been a fast writer. I wrote my first textbook in one semester, a pace that was assisted by my knowledge that I was due to have my second child at the end of that semester. There’s nothing more inspiring than a deadline you know you can’t get around! I write fiction pretty quickly too. In the last 6 months I’ve written 3 novels, 3 short stories, and several pieces of fanfic–on top of my regular academic and household duties. When I’m working on a novel, I average maybe 2000 words a day, but I can manage much more if it’s a short story or if I have a particular reason to hurry.
Ironically, I think one of the reasons I’m so productive is that I’m also very busy. When I sit down for writing time, I’m fully aware that it’s then or never. I rarely have the kind of day where I can futz around with all those little things that waste time without accomplishing much.
I wonder sometimes if I would be as productive if I were able to write full time.
Today I’m going to share with you one of my deep, dark secrets: I really love doing background research for my fiction.
Once an academic geek, always an academic geek, I guess. And fiction gives me the excuse to research all sorts of topics that have nothing whatsoever to do with my academic specialty but are still really interesting. For example, for the Praesidium trilogy I ended up learning about nineteenth century sailing ships. Didn’t know the first thing about the topic ahead of time.
Also–and I suppose maybe this is more evidence of my geekhood–I love history. Not the boring stuff about which year some war was fought or who signed which treaty. But the cool stuff, like what did people eat in medieval England, or how did the Roman empire affect language and culture throughout Europe, or what were the sanitation practices in Victorian London. It helps when I’ve traveled to some of the places I write about and I can actually picture the houses and the countryside.
Doing research makes me feel a little like a detective. And it gives me a fantastic excuse to talk to people and ask them all sorts of nosy questions, to try just a taste of places or lifestyles or jobs that will never be mine.
Often the research itself suggests plotlines I’d never have thought of on my own. Sometimes the research slows down my writing because I end up on some fascinating detour, but then I never know when that detour will come in handy.
And there’s a really deep satisfaction I get when I’m able to paint details with precise accuracy, even if nobody but a few people who happen to be familiar with the topic will realize how accurate those details are. So if you’re reading one of my works and you come accross a factoid on, say, the weather during D-Day, you can rest assured it’s as correct as I was able to get it.