Tim Pratt
SF and Fantasy Writer

Archive for the ‘fatheration’ Category

Start Your Morning with a Giant Eel

Monday, January 9th, 2012

It’s Monday, and that means: a new chapter of Grim Tides! Chapter 3: “A Conversation with Koona.” It’s about Marla and Rondeau visiting an oracle. I love oracles. Go, read, tell your friends if you like it, etc.

One nice thing about doing a serial novel is it encourages me to update here at least weekly.

In other linkages:

I tend to link mostly to book or magazine-related Kickstarter projects, but I do have other passions, like gourmet popsicles: so consider supporting the Little Bee Pops kickstarter. A delicious small business!

My wife Heather Shaw, who used to edit erotica magazine Fishnet, tells me that one of the authors she frequently published there has an erotica e-book collection for sale: Four Fantasies by Matthew Addison. (The cover features, like, stockings and part of a butt, so don’t click if you’re someplace where viewing such things is a problem.) Apparently it’s hardcore and literary with some fantasy elements, so if that’s your boat, go float it.

Writing:

I broke 75K on my current novel-in-progress on Sunday. (I can’t tell you much about the book; it’s pseudonymous, but I may be able to out myself as the author in the future.) Another eight (or maybe ten or twelve) thousand words will finish off the first draft, I think, so it should be a book this week! Of course, it’s an unusually messy book, but I’ll have the rest of the month to clean it up.

Life:

A wonderful weekend! Our friend Anne came over and hung out with us on Saturday, out in the back yard (the weather is essentially summer-like here, it’s bizarre), then stayed for dinner. That was great fun. On Sunday morning, I took the kid out to a playground, where he rode his tricycle in furious Mister Toad style, and we played chase (which is like tag but less, uh, formal?) and played in the sandbox. Afterward we encountered some local kids with a lemonade stand. (Yeah, in January. See above re: summerlike.) The boy was just captivated by the notion of having a lemonade stand, so his mom helped him make lemonade in the afternoon, and we played lemonade stand in the kitchen. (Me: “Can I have some lemonade?” Him: “It costs money.” Me: “Here’s a nickel.” Him: “No. 75 cents.”)

Beautiful weather, good friends, time with my wife and kid, and about 9,000 words of writing. That’s pretty much all I want out of any weekend ever.

Twelve! Twelve!

Monday, December 12th, 2011

I turned 35 today, thus falling out of the coveted 18-34 demographic age bracket, which means my opinions are no longer of interest. I expect video games, film, and all other media to begin sliding away from my preferences immediately. Drat.

My wonderful wife took me out to Pizzaiolo, one of my favorite restaurants, on Friday night, and we feasted and made merry. And I drank bourbon. She made me a cherry pie last night, served with great heaping scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. Why pie? Because I looooove cherries, and I don’t really like cake. Carrot cake is okay, but mostly because of the cream cheese frosting. Cake is just… sweet bread. Eh. It’s not offensive or anything, but neither does it delight me. Generally speaking, creamy is my vice, not sweet — fat yay, sugar meh. So, yay for ice cream!

Tonight, my actual birthday, I’ll open some presents and eat a cheeseburger and probably watch a horror movie. I’m a simple man of simple hedonic tastes.

Saturday, while my wife and kid went to a party, I neglected fun in favor of work. I dove back into my half-written novel-in-progress, which stalled utterly while I was on vacation. (It was an intentional stall, but I found it difficult to get back on track.) I had, fortunately, figured out my plot while on vacation, though now I have to do some retrofitting to make that plot actually work out. I got to write an attempted murder scene, at least, so that was fun. And soon I get to write about tentacled river monsters. I’m still a bit panicked about getting it all done by the February 1 deadline, but I think it’ll work. I know where I’m going now, at least.

Sunday was more fun. I took the boy out for about five hours in the morning, just wandering around Berkeley, doing some Christmas shopping, going to the playground, eating cinnamon rolls at the coffee shop, eating ice cream cones in the cold wind, and so on. I love spending time with that little guy. I did some work on the novel, too, figuring out how to hack apart the structure to insert a new section early on. For the rest of the night… I pretty much watched TV and played Skyrim. It was awesome.

Light in Dark Places

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

NaNo: Nothing on Monday, nothing on Tuesday. On that book, I mean. I did actually complete revisions to City of the Fallen Sky, which included writing another 2500 words or so of new and bridging material, but it’s not on the NaNo book, so it doesn’t count. And the next couple/few days will be devoted to line-editing Grim Tides so I can send it to my copyeditor before I leave town on Sunday. Sigh and sigh and sigh…

Skyrim: Joined the Thieves’ Guild. Oddly, while I feel no qualms about burglary, or even just straight-up assassinating people, I do feel guilty shaking down shopkeepers and mugging people and running protection schemes. This is probably indicative of some profound derangement. I mean, that kind of stuff just seems petty. But I need a fence to buy all the stuff I steal, so there you go. The game is generally impressing me a lot. Leveling is less tedious than it was in Oblivion, and there’s more variety in the dungeons — I went into a cavern last night that had a hole in the roof, allowing in enough sunlight for a small forest to grow in its depths, and it was beautiful. And I enjoy sniping car-sized spiders and then, when they chase me, tricking them into flame traps. Super fun.

Real life: Hanging out with the kid, of course. He’s been especially sweet lately, and is so excited about Thanksgiving and our vacation that he’s pretty much vibrating at all times. It’s great to see him happy.

Mars and Mars and Mars

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

NaNo: No progress on the novel yesterday. Other novel projects have come piling into me, with deadlines more pressing than this one. I got through about a quarter of my line edits/minor revisions on Grim Tides yesterday, adding about 2500 words to the total count (though I wrote more than that, since I also cut several bits). So, while I didn’t NaNo at all, I certainly worked.

Today is likely to be no better in terms of NaNo production, as I intend to get as many editorial revisions to City of the Fallen Sky done as I can manage in four hours.

Otherwise, yesterday, the boy and I ran around town, pretty much. We went to the library, and got some ice cream, and went up to a park he likes in North Berkeley, where we played rocket ship, blew up asteroids, did not blow up any moons (“because moons have eyes and a nose and a mouth, so you can’t shoot them”), and visited “a lot of different Marses,” as he says — Regular Mars, Sand Mars, Stair Mars, Turtle Mars, Circle Mars, etc. I assume we were flying in some sort of multiverse-traversing craft, but what do I know? I’m just the tailgunner.

And last night I played more Skyrim, where I went from being an amateur murderer to being a professional assassin, which is progress, I think.

My Sunday began with a clogged sink in the kitchen and a pipe section that dissolved into powdered rust when I touched it. Not an auspicious start. The hardware store around the corner should be open in five minutes or so…

Raise Up the Sky

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

NaNo: I wrote 1900 words last night. Back in the saddle. Or, rather, back in the rocking chair in the corner by the bookshelf where I sit with my laptop and type.

Otherwise: I got my editorial letter for City of the Fallen Sky back, and it’s not a demand for a complete teardown (always a relief). Actually, it’s all fairly minor stuff, probably only four or five hours of work to get the novel into shape. Unfortunately carving out four or five hours to finish this book before Thanksgiving and our departure for our vacation is going to be tricky, at least if I want to do so without sacrificing forward momentum on drafting this other book. And, you know, giving up Skyrim, which is basically my only form of relaxation at the moment. I’ll just have to sleep less, I guess. (This is also deadline week at my day job, and my wife has a freelance gig she has to finish this weekend, so time is short all around.) Oh well. That’s the writing life.

Oh, and I have to do a last line-edit pass on Grim Tides to send to my copyeditor, also before I leave on vacation. Ergh. This is a bad week to lose my day off.

This is normally my day off, but we’re going to press on the magazine tomorrow (short schedule due to the upcoming holiday), so… I’ll be at work. And so will my kid. It’s the return of officeboy! Wish us luck.

Rex Klaw, Agent of R.O.C.K.E.T.

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

NaNo: 2001 words written yesterday. Zipping along nicely.

Otherwise, yesterday was pretty much All Party All The Time. We booked the Kindergym at the YMCA, so River and about a dozen of his friends (and some miscellaneous siblings) ran around madly climbing, building, jumping, giggling hysterically, and essentially bouncing off the (fortunately padded) walls. Then we retired to the party room for cake, freeform balloon bouncing, and some arts and crafts. River was beside himself with joy. Making your kid happy is a pretty good path to happiness for yourself, I find. Thanks to everyone who came! And special thanks to my awesome wife, who did pretty much everything in terms of planning and preparation, and made a beautiful cake besides.

The kid received an immense pile of gifts, and spent all afternoon and evening after we got home playing with them. One of the toys is a vast reconfigurable mass of interlocking machinery, so that you can make airplanes, rockets, helicopters with variable numbers of rotors, etc. It even has tiny spring-loaded missiles you can launch. But, best of all, it somewhat randomly comes with a big T-Rex that you can connect to the other parts too — so I created a missile-launching T-Rex with a jet-pack and helicopter blades (you know, for hovering). I also devised an elaborate mythology about his creation and goals. And, uh, River enjoyed playing with it too.

The kid and I were out in the yard until full dark playing with the “stomp rocket” one of his friends got him. (You know — a hose attached to a big air bladder you stomp on, fixed to a tripod, with little styrofoam rockets that get blown into the sky by the pressure of the expelled air.) Once he discovered he could get the rockets stuck in a tree, thus necessitating amusing antics on my part with a long stick to dislodge them, getting rockets stuck in the tree became the goal. Fortunately, his aim isn’t that good yet. I’ve promised him we’ll take the rockets to the park today… so I’d better do as I said.

Surf’s Up

Saturday, November 12th, 2011

NaNo: 2138 words written yesterday. The book’s total stands at 33,411, of which 23,512 have been written since November 1. The goal is to get to 60,000 words by the end of the month. (The book is due in February. I could knock out the last 30-40K in December, and have January to revise. This plan may not survive impact with reality.)

Yesterday I went to work, and worked, mostly laying out World Fantasy Convention photo spreads. Drove home in the rainy black dark. Once home I played with the kid a bit, and otherwise… mostly wrote, as you may have gathered. I also read Ken Bruen’s Headstone, the latest Jack Taylor novel. Just as bleak and brutal as always.

Today is the boy’s fourth birthday party! We rented the Kindergym at the YMCA, so a bunch of his school friends and he can run around like crazy for an hour, then gorge themselves on cake in the party room. Heather outdid herself decorating the cake. The kid wanted a Mickey Mouse cake, and we’re going on a beach vacation later this month (a trip which looms large in his mind), so we got cake toppers including Mickey on a surfboard, Minnie laying on a beach towel, plastic palm trees, etc. Heather baked a cake, frosted it with blue icing artfully swirled to resemble ocean waves for Mickey to surf on, and then created a “sandy beach” of atomized vanilla wafers for Minnie to lounge on. The kid will love it.

Totland

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

NaNo: Managed to write 3,295 words on Wednesday, about 800 on my lunch break, the rest in the evening. Nice to be back on track, even if I am still coughing disgustingly on an intermittent basis.

Sorry this update is so late. Thursday is my “day off” (AKA the busiest day of my week), so I had to do grocery shopping, hang a shelf, wash dishes, put away books, take the kid to the library, spend hours at Totland park in North Berkeley, walk a few miles in the interest of getting some exercise, etc. Any fiction writing I do today will have to happen after the boy goes to bed.

Make A Wish

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

I am still sick. My coughs are more productive, and last night my writing was slightly more productive, too, but I’m still depressingly low-energy.

NaNo: 1715 words last night. Back on track, at least. The book is around 27,000 words long now. It’s going quite well. I’ll need to layer in some incidental weirdness and sensory detail and descriptions in revision, but I’m getting down the bones of the plot and the relationships, and the dialogue is good.

Life: The kid had a little family birthday party last night, just his parents and aunt and cousins. Cupcakes! Candles! Presents! He had a wonderful time, and was a little cherubic beaming smiling delight. (Of course, he went to bed late, and then woke up early, and was a giant mass of crankiness this morning as a result. Oh well. Everything balances.) He gets a party with his friends on Saturday. Birthdays are so fun at that age.

Now We Are Four

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

NaNo: Only managed 1180 words yesterday, my lowest total since the month began. Not great, but I was sick, and actually expected to write nothing — my wife got a phone call, interrupting our Good Wife marathon, so I dragged myself to my chair and started typing. I’m still a few days ahead of schedule, so it’s not terrible, but I hope to get more done today.

Otherwise: it’s my son’s fourth birthday! This morning I asked him, “Do you want a birthday waffle?” He said, “Yeah!” I said, “It’s just like a regular waffle, but you eat it on your birthday!” (He did get to open a gift before school, though, and will get cupcakes and more presents tonight. We’re having a little family party for him this evening, and a party with his friends on Saturday.)