I have…

… completely unrealistic writing goals today:
a. dismantle, restructure, and rewrite two chapters
b. clean up yesterday’s three chapters reorganizing
c. a general dust and polish to the five chapters currently under scrutiny.

I also have a magical elixir. (Dark roast, 1% milk, no sugar. Thank you, Steven!)

Let the games begin!


Authors should marry well

I’m working up in my office today (it’s the third floor loft) because it is warm enough to step away from the fireplace today. My husband just brought me a carafe of tea and a hot pad to put under my feet because while it is warmer, it is still a wee bit chilly (feels like 10 degrees outside). Note to future authors: choose your mates with care. The life companion of an author must have the following:

1. The patience of all the saints, combined.
2. A fondness for inexpensive clothes and peanut butter sandwiches.
3. A wicked good sense of humor.
4. The ability to not be put off when you talk to your characters in your sleep, or when your eyes glaze over during conversation and he/she realizes that you are in your story, and not really listening.
5. A gracious acceptance of the fact that state and national library conventions count as family vacations.
6. The ability to stand at the Staples photocopier for hours and remain cheerful.
7. The courage to return your overdue library books and pay the fines.
8. The willingness to go back to the library and pick up the dozen books you just ordered.
9. The skill to spin the straw of all critical reviews into gold.
10. The sense of when to cheer, when to nudge, and when to brew tea.

I am a very lucky author. Thanks, BH.

I found an amazing mistake in a history book this morning, and lost a half-hour verifying it. But now I know I’m right about the date of a particular invasion and I’m feeling a little smug. (And I have warm toes! And hot tea!) Am anxiously awaiting the news from Seattle about the Big Awards this morning. Good luck to all!!

Yesterday: writing. Today: more of the same.

edited to add: Here are the ALA winners – hearty congratulations to all!

Not a day of rest

This past year I have been trying to take Sundays off from work, but that won’t be the case today. My goals for the day are ambitious: review yesterday’s work on Chapter 27, one more edit of Chapter 28 (which I think is in fairly good shape already ::crosses fingers::), and major reconstruction from the ground up on Chapter 29, which is a shambles right now.

I also need to answer the stack of mail on my desk and empty the email box. And get some exercise.

I took some time off yesterday, so don’t feel bad for me. Wrote all morning and played all afternoon. We went to a tattoo convention and to the booksigning of my friend, Ellen Yeomans, whose new book Rubber Houses just came out.

The differences between the tattoo convention and book signing were rather….. striking.

Writing prompt: Take a person from each world (World A: tattoo/biker convention, World B: booksigning in suburban chain store on a cold snowy day) and drop them into the other world.

More of the author at work



It took from 7:30 – 5:30 but by all the gods above those two puppies (chapters 25 & 26) are done. I think. I hope. Well, they are in good shape for right now. And 25 wound up having a very sweet unanticipated turn of events, so that was fun. (Notice that I did not go to the gym… that’s the tradeoff – exercise or another chapter. Argh.)

This is what my world looked like as I worked yesterday:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Today will not be quite as tidy. I have to go to a doctor’s appointment and take care of my mom, and there is more family stuff later in the day. If I can squeeze in work on Chapter 27 I will be very happy, but I am not going to be unrealistic about it.

In yesterday’s comments a student asked a couple of career questions I’ll answer here:

Do you enjoy what you do? I love it, even the hard days.

What is you favourite part of the job? When ideas jump up out of nowhere and when characters talk to me.

What is the hardest part of the job? I hate how long it takes to write a book, I hate how anxious I get, I wish I had affordable health insurance.

what is the average salary? (don’t answer this one if you don’t want to) Authors are paid based on the numbers of books sold. Generally, we earn 10% of the price of a hardcover book, and 6% of the price of a paperback. (Out of that money I have to pay my agent 15%.) A book that sells 10,000 copies a year is considered to be doing very well. Authors are not as rich as many people think. Except for J.K. Rowling.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a writer? Have a Plan B. You need some other kind of job that will pay the bills while you are learning the craft and breaking in (which takes on average 10 years).

Do you think that this is an obtainable career goal? It depends on how hard you are willing to work.

In other news, the magical people with the microphones just finished recording the TWISTED audiobook. I’m not sure when it will be released, but I am really looking forward to it.

Safe travels to everyone headed out to the ALA Mid-Winter conference in Seattle. Is anyone blogging from there?