Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'm tryin' to breathe here, people.

I gave my pseudo-final draft of Stormy Weather to my fantastic non-writer beta reader on Friday night. Hopefully he'll get back to me in a week or so with his comments. Then it's the for-real final polish and then off to agent-land. In the meantime I should really work on agent letters and such today, start getting packets ready with SASE's and all that. You know, busy work that will take my mind off my rejection angst.

Soon, kids. Soon.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Book club

So I hosted book club this past Monday. The hostess picks the book and in my bid for shameless self-promotion I picked Pandora's Closet. I've known for the past year that I was going to make the book club read a fantasy book, and since my turn came around now, I figured, why not? It actually turned out well. Most of the ladies read about half the stories; almost all of them read a page or two of each. A few stories prompted good discussion. I have to say that hearing what eight regular readers thought of "Cake and Candy" was incredible. It drove home the point that it doesn't matter what the author intends; the reader is going to take from a story what the reader wants to take. A reader brings their own experiences to a story and uses those experiences to take meaning from what they've read. Everyone said they liked it--that's not reliable though, because I don't think anyone would have told me if they didn't--but they were all so passionate about what they took the story to mean that I believed them. It was almost as though we were discussing a stranger's book that we all liked and related to. I recommend the experience to anyone. Was I nervous before hand? Sure. Am I glad I did it? Absolutely.


Just look at that word-count meter! Woot! I've been working like a demon on Stormy Weather and it's looking pretty decent. I'm letting my fabulous non-writer reader get his hands on it Friday. I can't wait to see what he has to say. He always has great insights and spot-on advice and I know he'll help me bring this puppy home. I'd really like to send it out to agents by October 15th. Okay, so that's like a month past my original deadline but it's not bad considering said deadline was completely arbitrary. And it's before WFC, which is a plus.

This weekend I'll work on the mundane SF story. After Stormy Weather hits the public I'll get to work on the AI and teen witch outlines. If I've learned anything from SW it's that I need an outline, the more specific the better. More work at the front end means less angst on the back end. I'd like to have detailed outlines on both of them hammered out by the end of the year. Preferably by December so I can start putting those bad boys on paper. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I feel like Jodi Meadows

Yesterday I came up with a new idea for a book. Or, more precisely, a shadow of an idea for a book. A YA contemporary murder mystery/fantasy set in an all-girl's school. Or maybe not that last bit. I dunno quite yet. It will require a little bit of research into witchcraft, I think. I picture the feeling as a little goth and a little creepy.

This is jostling for time with the AI/autism idea that's been sprouting roots. That one is firmly an adult novel with lots of political and emotional undertones. Lots of research for that, too.

Do I have an outline for either of these? Of course not, silly. That comes after the mundane sf short. And the pile of research.

I'm nearly giddy. Being excited about two new book ideas rocks!

Happy Anniversary

So me and Ken celebrated 9 years of marriage last night. Sheesh. I've known him for 12 1/2 years, and it simultaneously feels like I just met him and I've known him forever. Where does the time frickin' go? We had a wonderful dinner, rented The Illusionist, and uh ... lounged. Ken got me a new journal and journal case; I got him some new cologne. good day.

I'm hosting bookclub next Monday night. This means I'll spend Sunday cleaning and cooking. I'm actually looking forward to that, in a sick and twisted way. Right now I'm thinking brownies and spinach-artichoke dip. I need a few other things, too. And wine. Mmmm, wine.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


James Rigney, JR (aka Robert Jordan) died at 2:45 p.m. on September the 16th. I'm a little out of sorts. While I've been writing off and on since grade school, one could say that reading RJ's Wheel of Time series pushed me over the edge of "wannabe-someday writer" to "serious-someday writer." Weather or not you liked his books, his impact on the industry is undeniable. He will be missed.

distractions II

Sunday: Mother-in-law dropped in for an impromtu visit

Monday: Cubs game at Wrigley

Tuesday: finish laundry and work out to schlep off food from the past week

Dear sweet baby Jesus, can I please get back to writing?!

Sunday, September 16, 2007


Two of my bestest friends are in town from L.A. for a long weekend. (See "Bridget and Jimmy" over on the blogroll? Yeah, them.) Lots of socializing but not much writing has been done over the past few days. Me, Ken, Bridget and Jimmy had breakfast food for dinner Thursday night. Bridget, me, and two of our girlfriends had dinner and shopped on Friday night, and last night all of us, plus spouses, attended a mutual friend's wedding. The wedding was in an outdoor garden; the weather was gorgeous. The bride looked beautiful, the groom looked a little shaky, and the service was simple and funny and touching. Good times, but damn if the word-meter hasn't moved. Today I have two goals: get laundry done and edit three more chapters of Stormy Weather. This is actually a fairly tall order, seeing as how I haven't really done laundry for a few weeks. I will prevail, however.

After the edits, the manuscript will head out to a few non-writer readers. A final polish, then it's off to the agents. Then I'll work on a new short story before I start my new novel outline. Everything according to plan ... mawahaahaa.

I'm reading Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch right now. I'm not that far into it, but so far it's good. Never fear, I'll review it when I'm done.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Lemon Tree

Today I had my first bona-fide book signing. I left the house this morning with around 40 books and came home with 4. That's right, there's a whole lotta Swails verbiage floating around the world. I felt humbled and awed by the amount of support I got from my hometown homies. People whom I hadn't seen in years came out to buy a book, get it signed, and score a hug. I'm still a little giddy and high from the experience. I will say this, though: I seriously have to work on my book-signing skillz. Oh, sure, I can write my name and all that, but trying to come up with something witty for a stranger is tough. It's even hard for family! I have so much respect now for authors who talk with you for 6.3 seconds and then sign something in your book that is perfect.

This is, of course, assuming I sell anything ever again.

On that front, I'm getting the urge to write a short story. You know the AI/autism business I've blathered about recently? Interzone has a "mundane SF" issue coming up and I'm going to take a crack at it. It'd be a nice way to get myself aquainted with some characters, I think. Deadline 10-31-07. Plenty of time, especially since I'm finishing SW before I start on it.

Friday, September 07, 2007

A conversation overheard

Where: in the gym lobby
When: around 6:40 p.m.
Who: two college-aged women

Tall lanky sorority girl: Oh my god! How are you?
Short brunette sorority girl: Oh my god, I'm so tired.
TLSG: Oh my god, me too. I just got out of class--
SBSG: I usually have class now but it let out early.
TLSG: That's cool. You get to work out, at least.
SBSG: I totally need it. Hey, I talked to Jane last night.
TLSG: Oh my god. Is she still in New York?
SBSG: She's not in New York; Brad is. She's in New Jersey.
TLSG: But she's still with him, right?
SBSG: They're on "a break." Right now she's with this other guy.
TLSG: Oh my god, Jane and Brad broke up?! Why?
SBSG: I dunno. I think they're gonna get married eventually, but they need to go out with other people to realize no one else can compare.
TLSG: They should totally marry. They're kids would be hot.
SBSG: Totally.
TLSG: But who's she seeing now?
SBSG: This older guy ... actually, he's her boss.
TLSG: Oh my god! So, he's like, old.
SBSG: Well, not old. He's like 30 or something.
TLSG: *silence*
SBSG: Okay, he's old.
Both: laugh hysterically.

It should be noted that no homicides were committed at the gym or its environs last night.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


Okay. No new rejections to report, but take a look at that progress bar. Woot! I've added lots of fleshy bits to the first three chapters and will start on the fourth tomorrow. I've read a few agent websites and blogs in preparation for the query process. Ahh! I'm nervous about the whole business, but oddly enough, writing seems to take the edge off it. Still, I would really like to not fail this time.

I would also like to make another sale, but that's a post for another day.

Now, I'm tired and hungry. A snack, a book, and a bed are in my immediate future.