Monthly Archives: November 2006

What I Read This November

His Majesty’s Dragon – Naomi Novak
Fragile Things – Neil Gaiman
The Right Attitude to Rain – Alexander McCall Smith
A Cold Treachery – Charles Todd
The Mislaid Magician – Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Friends, Lovers, Chocolate – Alexander McCall Smith
Saint Peter’s Fair – Ellis Peters
Firestorm – Rachel Caine

Also, I finally finished Poison Study.

Is that all? It seems to me that there ought to be more books listed there.

I Aten’t Dead

Tired, tired, tired. Working lots. I also played six hours of cello on Wednesday, what with two rehearsals for different groups. By eight o’clock I was brain-dead, which led to me either completely being in the cello zone, or not able to play three notes after one another. (Guess which mindset I was in when we were playing the cello-only parts of the Messiah. As long as everyone else was playing, though, I was fine. I intend to go through a couple of pieces and write the bowing in for every single note, because it was what tripped me up the most Wednesday night.)

The novella’s rolling along, and it’s about seventy-five percent complete at 52K. (Of course, a third of what’s currently there will end up being thrown out, but them’s the breaks in a first draft.) Touch-ups in ESTC have slowed as I have reached the point where I have to really think out what changes/updates I want to make, if any at all, and decide if they’d be any better than what’s already there. Overall, I’m surprised at how minor the changes I’ve made have been, but there has been lots of thought behind each of those changes.

Liam and I took the bus to the shops today for various things, and he was very good. (It helped that the weather was ridiculously warm, around fourteen degrees above the seasonal average. Of course, we’re about to pay for it with freezing rain and snow and plummeting temps.) His lower canines are now making him crazy. New words: “broom”, “angel”, he’s been saying “Santa” as of yesterday (here we go!), and why do I keep forgetting to record that he says “turtle” and has been doing it for over a month? New foods today: the lettuce, raw green pepper, and black olives from my sandwich were all hits, and he ate more of the breaded chicken nugget at dinner than I expected him to. He and his broom are inseparable. (Well, the broom probably doesn’t care much, but he does.) I gave him his first haircut last night — cut off those long curls at the back of his head. He looks tidier, but I loved those curls. Oddly, now the rest of his hair looks longer.

Adding ribbon loops and making labels for the herbal sachets I’ve made for a local Yule craft fair is on tonight’s and tomorrow’s list of things to do. And I keep feeling that there’s something else I’m forgetting, although my brain is fairly certain that there isn’t.

Week-Long Writing Roundup

I really do post these things for my own future benefit, you know. I use my own archives as reference all the time when working through subsequent books.

ESTC: Many more carrots, although it remains to be seen if these carrots are baby carrots or full carrots, and if they will stay carrots or be removed and held for future use somewhere else.

Total word count, Il Maestro e le Figlie di Coro: 46,903
The final MS target length remains roughly 60,000, although I will certainly go over that before it is declared done as I intend to write both endings and then choose which one feels the best fit.

Nov 22: 3,013
Nov 23: 2,408
Nov 24: 5,352
Nov 25: 0
Nov 26: 2,231
Nov 27: 5,283

This is flowing well and relatively easily, although I will have to rearrange things once the first draft is complete in order for the timeline to make more sense. I’m leaving little marks in the text indicating where I’ll have to rejig things.

Books And Brooms (Or, Is It Child Labour If The Child Does It Voluntarily?)

You haven’t heard from me because I’ve been working up a storm. Things are going very well, but I’m drained; writing is work, no matter how enjoyable it is, and at the end of a day I often feel as tired as I used to feel after a day of retail. I’m still uncertain about the new things I’m adding/old things I’m changing in the-book-that-will-probably-not-be-known-as-ESTC, but second-guessing the improvements is always a given at this point in the game. And the novella is charging along. As it has evolved I’m beginning to see that it could end in two very different ways, instead of the way I had planned, and I think I will write both endings to see which works best. I expect the novella to be done by the end of the year.

Today Liam and I dropped HRH off at work and went to the bookstore to buy holiday gifts for others, and ended up walking out with gifts for ourselves instead, the gifts we went in for not being in stock. I now have the final two books in the Temeraire series, and Liam has a book on musical instruments as well as some letters for the fridge door. We also went to the toy store and bought a broom for him, because he is obsessed with using the big corn broom we use to sweep the kitchen.

We will never have to sweep again, because once I got it out of the wrapping he proceeded to enthusiastically yet carefully sweep the entire house, including under his crib. I got him a tea set too, and as soon as that was out of the package he picked up the teapot and poured me a pretend cup of tea. I was very touched.

Also, Liam has finally figured out that shoes and socks come off, and this is what he does to entertain himself in the car. He only removes the right set, for some reason.

Both upper canine teeth are out, thank goodness. Now the lower ones can quit dallying and break the surface any time, thank you.

Today, Briefly

I would like to state for the record that my new cello pickup is teh awesome. There is zero loss of sound quality between the actual string vibrating and the amp output. Zero. I didn’t think that was possible. It’s worth every single penny. (Plus I finally get to use the patch cord I bought a year and a half ago.)

Also, band practice was excellent.

Liam’s new word today: “bubble”, said while watching his bath fill. This led to the phrase “bubble bath” directly afterwards as he put two and two together. He proceeded to eat a handful of them, then generously fed me a handful too, because he is all about the sharing.

I’m wrong; there were two new words. The other was “balloon”, because one was given to him by a server at the breakfast place we went to this morning. No, three: he said “soon”, too. Yes, the new words are coming thick and fast these days.

Poor kid, his teeth are driving him round the bend.The upper left incisor is now threatening to break the gum any moment. We can’t get our fingers near the lower set without being bitten with great and frustrated force, so we have no idea how close those two are. I picked up more infant Tylenol today on the way home, for everyone’s relief.

Now I’m going to go read Naomi Novik’s His Majesty’s Dragon in bed, because I have only one-third of the book left and it is good enough to be finished in a third sitting. It’s been sitting on my to-read pile since it was released, and I’m partially upset about having failed to read it before now and partially glad that I didn’t, because it’s perfect for what I want to be reading this week. (Also, as much as I adore Neil Gaiman’s writing, Fragile Things is not exactly relaxing bedtime reading because most of the stories hinge on slightly odd and/or creepy twists at the end that get odder and creepier the more you think about them.)

Liam Update

We have a new tooth! The upper right incisor has made an appearance. We are Bad Parents for not being quicker on the uptake: it looks like it came in a few days ago, and is a quarter of the way out already.

New words and sayings in the past two weeks include “bless you”, gentle, door, Grandma, Papa (Grandpa), two, close, “car go!”, shirt, apple, “all gone”, “all done”, as well as clear and properly used “thank you”, “yes”, and “no”.

He points at everything (or goes to touch it!) if you say the name of an object. Fridge, door, cat, chair, table, bath, light… but the best moment came about six weeks ago when he was eating dinner and babbling, “Mama, mama, mama” with a big smile while swinging his head back and forth. “Liam, Liam, Liam,” I chanted back at him and he stopped moving, sat up straight and patted his chest with both hands, a pleased little grin on his face. It was the first time he’d actively identified himself to us. It was an awesome moment, and I’m surprised I didn’t record it when it happened.

He’s started actively matching two images on his own. If there’s a dog on one page and a dog on the other, he’ll put his first two fingers together with his thumb and touch one, then touch the second. It’s interesting that this is a very specific hand position that he only uses to indicate two of the same object.

He flips through books with animals and says their names, mangling them sometimes in Liam-speak, but he knows them. He doesn’t seem to discern between the animal name and the sound it makes, so a cow is usually “mmmmmmoo”, a cat is usually “cat”, a dog is “dah” or “ff ff ff” (as in “arf” or “woof”), bees are “bssss” (and I have no idea if that’s the sound they make or the actual word), and fish are “fsh!”.

He can say “crow” too, because he was calling the Halloween crow prop over at his caregiver’s house an owl, and she taught him the right name for it. He confused us for a while by pointing to the top of the bookcases in the living rooms and saying “owl, owl”, and we kept trying to redirect his attention to the stuffed owl on the lower shelves. This past weekend HRH happened to be holding him at the time he said it, and finally caught on that Liam was pointing at the displayed cover of Solitary Wicca for Life, which has a small buff-coloured figure in a robe in the lower lefthand corner of the cover. From the other side of the room, it does look somewhat like an owl.

Okay, that’s your quick catch-up on Liam’s World.

Novella Update

My plans for the evening were derailed, and I wasn’t happy about it. So I wrote instead.

Total word count, Il Maestro e le Figlie di Coro: 31,629
Total words today: 3,013

And I did another 1,193 last night after Liam went to bed, too. (There, posterity, are you satisfied?)

I’ve been messing about with creating alternate meditations and rituals for two chapters of ESTC. I’m still not wholly certain about them at the moment, but I only started them today so they need time to evolve properly. It remains to be seen if they’ll create the effect I’m still trying to capture. I moved more things around to smooth out the final chapter too, but the eighth chapter is still defying me, possibly because birth is an incredibly spiritual thing to begin with, and to capture it in words is remarkably difficult without sounding either twee or dim.

It’s good to have two so very different projects on the go at once. When I get stuck or bored with one of them, I switch to the other and still get work done. (And don’t kid yourself — this is work. It’s what I do for a living. Some stuff I am fortunate enough to sell as partials, other stuff I need to write out before I can send it out on a quest for a home.)

An Ancient Muse, the new Loreena McKennitt album, is excellent. So is Fragile Things, the latest short fiction collection from Neil Gaiman that I started reading the other day. And in fact, I’m headed for bed to read more of it before I turn out the light.