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Month: August 2011

Voids and Briars

It’s been a busy year. I’ve written 210,000 words since January 1 — that’s two full novels (City of the Fallen Sky and a pseudonymous book), plus a story or two and some miscellaneous non-fiction. I can take off most of August without needed to feel guilty about it. Though in practice I don’t think I’ll actually be lazy for more than another week at most. I like writing; once my brain is less exhausted, it’ll start generating ideas again, whether I want it to or not.

Let’s see, some things on the horizon. I signed the sig sheets for the limited edition of Briarpatch — the most times I’ve consecutively signed my name in my life. The limited is no longer available, I understand, but the trade paperback is available for pre-order: you can get it at Amazon, or via Powell’s, or from a whole slew of places listed at the publisher’s website.

I also have a story coming out in newish online magazine Basement Stories at the end of the month. “A Void Wrapped in a Smile” is a standalone story, but it’s also sort of a Marla Mason story (though Marla appears in only one scene, and is a very minor character here). It’s a story about the villainous lovetalker Joshua Kindler. “Void” doesn’t necessarily make him seem any less villainous, but it does, I hope, make his villainy more understandable. (This story was originally written for a very generous Broken Mirrors donor who gave me a lot of money in exchange for writing a story about a character of their choice. They got a limited-edition-of-one chapbook containing the story. We were both pretty pleased with how it came out, and I’m glad the rest of you will get to read it soon!)

The Ice Man

Being a big slacker continues to satisfy. I haven’t done much with my evenings but play Alice: Madness Returns, watch the new Avengers cartoon on Netflix, and read the new Charles Stross novel Rule 34 lately. (All recommended.) I am beginning to get a distant itchy urge to write, but so far it hasn’t grown overwhelming. I think I needed this time to recharge.

I got some popsicle molds and have become a popsicle fiend. Besides juice pops for the kid, I’ve also made White Russian popsicles for my wife and myself. (Recipe: make a weak White Russian. Freeze it. EAT.) And I made some mocha coffee popsicles last night; yum. Soon I will experiment with margarita popsicles, cherry cream popsicles, and so on. This is preventing me from eating all the ice cream in the world, which is what I usually want to do in the summer, so it’s good. River likes to help me make the popsicles, though he hates waiting for them to freeze. Today we will go to Berkeley Bowl and consider their vast and mighty juice section. I predict pear nectar ice pops in my son’s future…

White Russian On A Stick

So, life is pretty good. While I’ve started researching the next book, that “research” so far consists mostly of reading a bunch of novels written in and set in the historical time and place where my book will take place. Not exactly hardcore historical work at this point — I’m just trying to soak up flavor and feel for now.

Otherwise, apart from writing a book review (Daniel Polansky’s Low Town, a good and bleak noir/fantasy hybrid), I didn’t do a lick of work all weekend. Mostly I played Alice: Madness Returns, which is a ridiculously pretty game. Play gets a bit repetitive sometimes, but it’s worth it for the scenery, and I love how the NPCs all refuse to provide any of the useful exposition you’d expect from such characters. Mostly they just go off on appropriately Wonderland-ish tangents and rambles.

After months of spending my weekends working as much as possible, I was finally able to do a family outing! I went with my wife and kid and sister-in-law and nephew to a pool on the other side of the Caldecott tunnel. (It’s been cool in Berkeley, but was hot over the hill, so we did the drive.) Lots of fun splashing and a bit of lounging and reading. It’s always good when the adults outnumber the children. Nephew did a sleepover, and both kids were pretty good, for the most part, though when they got up at 6 a.m. on Sunday I wasn’t thrilled. Still, that was a good day, too — did a little shopping with the family in the morning, then took the kid to a playground all afternoon so Heather could get some work done. All very pleasant.

Also: I am experimenting with making alcoholic popsicles.