It may seem that I’ve phased out again, and certainly the blogging is sporadic, but quite a bit of paddling’s been going on under the surface. The consultants have finally decided that there’s no way I’m getting my iron levels back to normal without one or possibly two iron transfusions, which will each give me 4 months’ worth of iron in one shot. They mentioned that the chest pain and the breathlessness I’ve been suffering was also a symptom of anemia – I never knew that! They think my period is the culprit, causing me to lose all the iron, so I’m to go to get the GP to do something to put a stop to that for the rest of my life, pump me full of iron, and I should be OK again. I can’t wait.
On the writing side of life, I passed my 250,000 word target for the year today. I’m not doing NaNo, as I’ve failed it the last 3 years and that’s rather discouraging, but the yearly word target allows me to have big gaps and days off when I’m editing/planning, being a mum or being ill, while catching up whenever I can.
I’m not stopping at that, because I’m on scene 27 of Trowchester Blues, which is planned as a 30 scene book, and I want to finish it by Christmas. (Ideally I want to finish it next week.) So my eventual total will probably be more like 275,000, which is not too shabby
I think, despite being ill for the last 6 months, this is the first year when I’ve been properly productive. Now I’ve just got to keep it up.
I meant to organize something organized for the launch of this book, but I failed. However, Stevie came to my rescue and interviewed me on her blog, so if you wanted to know a little bit more about Too Many Fairy Princes and why I am suddenly all about the elves, those answers are available here:
Too Many Fairy Princes is out today! I would be more enthusiastic about this if I was not (a) anaemic and (b) still sedated after yesterday (literally, I’m not yet legal to drive a car as it hasn’t worked its way out of my system yet.) So I’m afraid I cannot manage anything terribly upbeat. I’ll have to content myself by saying that I will give away a free copy to the first five people who comment, if you will promise to review it on Amazon. Like it, hate it, I don’t mind, but I’d really be grateful if you would tell people about it, because I am just … I just can’t, at the moment. Sorry.
Too Many Fairy Princes
Happily ever after doesn’t always come quietly. Sometimes it puts up a fight.
Kjartan’s family is royally dysfunctional. He’d prefer to ignore the lot of them, but can’t since his father has set him and his brothers on a quest to win a throne Kjartan doesn’t even want. Worse, his younger brother resorts to murder and forces Kjartan to teleport—without looking where he’s going.
Art gallery worker Joel Wilson’s day has gone from hopeless, to hopeful, then straight to hell. One minute he’s sure his boss has found a way to save the floundering business, the next he’s scrambling to sell everything to pay off a loan shark. If anyone needs a fairy godmother right now, it’s Joel. What he gets is a fugitive elven prince in a trash bin.
They’ll both have to make the best of it, because fairy tales run roughshod over reluctant heroes. Particularly when there aren’t enough happy endings to go around.
What I appreciated the most is Kai’s characterization… there was a lot in his character I could relate to as sympathetic, decent and likeable, but there was always something in him that felt alien to me and I really liked that. I liked that he felt like being from another world, rather than just looking like one.
Sirius for Dear Author.
Yes! Result! If there’s one thing I can’t bear, it’s elves that don’t feel any different from humans with pointy ears. I can’t tell you how badly I wanted for Kai to feel like he was of a different species or order of being to the rest of us. It’s not an easy thing to draw a character who reads as convincingly inhuman, when all you have to go on is your own humanity. So I am so chuffed that it worked.
I reserve judgement on the issue of the coincidence in the plot. I think that fateful revelations of this kind are part of the way the fairy tale universe works, more often than not. But it’s not terribly realistic outside of storybook rules, I agree.
Thanks so much Sirius/DA
I’m still shuffling from doctors to hospital and back again while ingesting various chemicals and being scanned for things. CT scan yesterday, in which they tried to put a cannula in me in three different places and my veins played hide and seek. Back for another day of being sedated on the 4th of November… So, normal life has still not resumed.
On the plus side I had an absolutely gorgeous review of Blessed Isle today:
Now, I can’t recommend this enough. It’s one of those rare stories that is more than the sum of good plot + good characterisation = success. Blessed Isle is more than an experience, it’s a memory and you will live it. This is a love story that will survive centauries. It’s beautiful.
Which can’t be bettered
I am half way through writing Trowchester Blues, at a wordcount of 36K, which means that it seems well within reach to plan to finish it during NaNoWriMo. We have here the ex-cop falling for the not-quite-ex-enough con, both of whom are mature gentlemen in their forties. I remember the mid-life crisis up close and personal, and sometimes it’s nice to write characters who are closer to your own age.
But the most exciting thing going on at the moment is the imminent release of Too Many Fairy Princes described by Publisher’s Weekly as an “effervescently charming fantasy romance”
It’s due out on the 5th of November, which is fortunately a day on which I’m not due to be sedated, huzzah! I can’t wait
Remember remember the 5th of November,
nefarious fairies and plots.
The Queen has her two-bore and she’ll always be sure
she welcomes those goblins with shots.
Or at least, the publication day of Too Many Fairy Princes approaches, but I liked the grammar of the title better.
I have a lovely early review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it an “effervescently charming fantasy romance”
but due to the whole ‘being ill since June’ thing I have not managed to arrange any kind of blog tour. How would anyone out there feel about me doing a guest spot on your blog? I’m really not getting the hang of this marketing and promotion thing, and I desperately need help.
Reciprocal spot on mine guaranteed whenever you like, of course!
Off to hospital tomorrow to swallow a camera so they can check whether this is a stomach ulcer or not. They sounded alarmed that I’ve been steadily getting more anemic even while I was taking iron tablets, and instead of going “Take this and come back in a month” they’re now going, “OK, next week is too far away, can you come in tomorrow?” I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but I get the choice to be sedated while it happens, so I think I’ll go for that.
This has all put a bit of a crimp on the writing, but I have started a new book and am 8000 words in. As is typical of me, having blogged about the Fantasy I began thinking “This needs more research time,” and have ended up writing a contemporary instead. This is fun because I have decided to take a leaf out of many peoples’ books (Midsomer, St. Mary Meade etc) and create my own small English city rather than set the book somewhere that really exists. So now I’m enjoying mapping out the environs and features of Trowchester, which will contain everything I find at all interesting and nothing I don’t. This satisfies my desire to worldbuild while also being cosily familiar, and I can do with as much cosy as I can get at the moment.
So, this week I have gone from nothing to a rough plot plan of the next book I’m going to write. I say nothing, but I knew I wanted to write a Fantasy with queer heroes, so that was somewhere to start.
I do like to have a little bit of m/m romance in there no matter how mainstream I’m aiming to be, so I knew I was going to need two male heroes to pair up, and I fully endorse the idea that there ought to be more female characters in books, so I needed at least one heroine.
I know better than to go with pseudo-medieval as a setting. So I was going to go with a pseudo-Roman soldier, a pseudo-Celtic mage and a pseudo-New Agey, hedge witchy priestess.
But then I stopped myself and thought again. It’s a fantasy world, so there’s nothing tying me to having to get specific cultures right in a world where their members know more than I do and more than I could ever decently learn. I get to decide what the cultures look like, dress like, think like and believe in. Therefore I don’t need to worry quite so much about appropriating real life cultures or inadvertently being insulting. Which means – why am I making all my characters white?
So maybe I want a pseudo-Roman white soldier, a pseudo-Aztec mage and a pseudo-Egyptian black priestess? Do I? They’re all still a little common. Let’s try again. My white guy will be a pseudo-Etruscan soldier, who grew up in the Ancient world’s system of sexuality, so he’s been an eromenos, grown out of that, been an erastes and had to say goodbye to his own eromenos when the young man got too old, has been married to a woman and had children, and is now divorced. In modern terms he’s bisexual.
I’m going to use the Etruscans just as a leaping off point, but they seem generally to have had a less strait-laced culture than the Romans, so that makes him a bit less of a potential jerk, and also (as the above fresco suggests) gives him an amusing tendency to wander around in nothing more than a cloak.
Equally, the Aztecs have rather been done to death and were also quite a po-faced culture. I’ll have to mix them up a little, particularly as I want this character to be two-spirited and probably on reflection more of a shaman, leaving my priestess to do the flashy high magic stuff. But perhaps he’s something of an exile in his culture who has a wary but respectful relationship with the priests who do the hard work of keeping the gods under control?
And Egypt has been done often too, so how about I use Kush as the starting off point for my priestess’ culture? I have difficulties enough identifying with female characters enough to write them, so how about I give her asexuality as a form of commonality that helps me get into her mind? Makes sense.
So, I now have lots of stuff to research and make up about these three cultures, but an idea of where to start. Each of my characters has a problem in their life which they will not be able to solve without each others’ help, so the rough plot goes Character A’s Problem – Character B’s Problem – Character C’s Problem – They all get together – they don’t like each other – The Whole World Has a Problem! – They learn to like each other fast. They solve the problems and deal with the fallout of the conclusions. The End.
It’s actually considerably more developed than that, but that’s the gist of it I’m quite pleased. This is always the hardest part for me. I started out with nothing and now I have something. A week of fine tuning and research and I should be ready to start writing.
September 27th,2013 Uncategorized
It seems I was a bit premature in claiming I was back, last month. All that happened was that my stomach ulcer returned, leading to another month of pain through the chest, exhaustion, loss of appetite and finding it hard to breathe. Forget exercise, I can’t even play the pennywhistle because the sustained breathing is too painful.
So, I’m back on the tablets for that, and hopeful that since they greatly improved it last time, this time a double dose will see it off altogether.
However, it does mean that this year has been something of a washout as far as new writing goes. I have finished edits on Too Many Fairy Princes and The Reluctant Berserker. I have finished the plot-plans for the two follow-ups for The Glass Floor, and sent the manuscript of The Glass Floor off to Tor US and Tor UK. (If they don’t get back to me before February 2014, I can consider it a rejection.) And I have finished Blue Eyed Stranger, which is ready to submit to publishers. So I haven’t been entirely inactive, but I haven’t written any first draft words since May.
Which means that I find myself in the position where I’m about to start a new novel from scratch, with nothing but a vague idea to go on. Would it be a good idea, I wonder, to blog about the process of writing it from start to finish? Writing a novel in real time, including the process of getting from vague idea to plot plan, might be something interesting to talk about. What do you think?
On the plus side, I heard from Aleks Voinov this morning that The Crimson Outlaw got a review in Pink Tongue, a GBLT magazine from South Africa:
The Crimson Outlaw is the newest release from masterful historical storyteller Alex Beecroft.
“Masterful historical storyteller”? I like that!
September 23rd,2013 Uncategorized
Is wordbooker working again?