Saturday, December 29, 2012

In Which the Author closes out the year

Okay, the move is done. The apartment is rented. The internets are turned on. A job of sorts has been acquired. It took a long time and the road was wrought with peril. There was even a wicked witch involved, but that's a whole nother story and I'm working on this one still, so, yeah.

Here's hoping 2013 will be a lot better than the year we're leaving. And that there are nice shiny new books to be had. I'm going to let this year go out with a whimper and start up bright and early in January.

Take care and see you on the other side of the line.

Friday, November 23, 2012

In Which the Author checks in for a quick minute


Quick post to say, Operation Get the Hell Out Of Vegas is complete. I am still looking for place to move but I'm okay where I am for the moment. Just a few updates that will be of interest to people.

First, and most thankfully, I have sold the Les Misérables set that I mentioned in an earlier post, for a decent sum. This will help enormously.

Second, clearly I will miss the Christmas deadline for Honor. But I will be able to pick it up once I get a permanent place to live with little trouble.

Third: in lieu of Honor coming out I will be posting my two Christmas themed bits. The prolog from Honor has a lot to do with Boxing Day (which personally we should adopt here in the US, but that's just my opinion). Also I wrote a short story that sort of fits in the middle of Adrift but not quite; I would have to shift some bits around in it to make it canonical, but I would like to think it could be made so. If so I would be happy to put it at the end of Honor like I did with the April Fool's section at the end of Adrift.

I'll be loading these up in December for you. Meanwhile, I am thankful to be healthy and safe and entering a new phase of life, a much better one physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially. I hope that you may have the same yourselves.

ps: also, in anticipation of the musical, and in gratitude for election day, I present this, which made me squeal like a 5 year old at a Yo Gabba Gabba concert. Also here's the link to the page if the pic gets blocked.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

In Which the Author makes a small announcement of incommunicado

Hey there

As you can see by the total lack of updates this month, my life's gone on one of those weird sabbaticals again. Next month, when I should be doing Nanowrimo, I will instead be moving out of state and selling off almost everything I own to get there. Including the computer. Which means I won't have a lot of communication with people until I can acquire a new one. I do have two things you should know: I can always update my personal Twitter feed @arlnee via my cell phone (which is not a smartphone, so texting to Twitter is about all I can do with it, other than, you know, make phone calls) and where I am moving will have a business center so I can occasionally log in and get email and the like. Other than that, nada.

Yes, I am still working on Honor. Yes I still will get it done. I had hoped to have it completed before Christmas but with this new schedule I do not know if I will be able to jump back on and get it done before then. My brain is in several different directions at this point. But it will get done. It is getting done.


Also, wanted to post to say RIP HMS Bounty, and those who lost their lives during Hurricane Sandy: Captain Robin Walbridge and crewmember Claudene Christian. Those who read Adrift might know I like tall ships a little bit. I was wondering myself why this ship went to sea before the storm knowing it was coming. The answer is, that a ship at sea can move and weather a storm better than at port, getting knocked into the pier and so on (and for pier, look at the famed Atlantic City boardwalk and see what happened to it. Now imagine a tall ship next to it.) So they tried to get out of the way and lost engines and abandoned ship. People will second guess what happened for a long time to come, but after reading the accounts, I cannot do the same. My heart goes out to the families of the lost and those who sailed on her, being true mariners, who went out knowing the odds and the treachery of the sea and went out anyway.


When my personal fortunes change I will certainly let it be known. Until then: au revoir, adieu, à bientôt

Thursday, October 11, 2012

In Which the Author says finally

Good News! I finished polishing a book and it's done and ready to go!


but it's not Honor. It's the other one.


I finished getting my book for Harper Voyager's open call for sf/fantasy manuscripts together. So that's now out of the way and I don't have to think about it again either a) ever (if it gets accepted) or b) in three months (when it's no longer exclusively submitted with them and I can shop it elsewhere, which I guarantee you, I shall). SUPER special thanks to both Trout and Val for helping me beta that thing and work out the plot bugs.

But the best news is that now that that's out of the way, the only other book on my plate is YOU KNOW WHAT.

Just give me a day to catch my breath and I'll get right back on it. Oh and ps: betas, can I get a status update? Don't need 'em back now, just need to know where I am and where you are. Thanks.

Writing is easy. It's the waiting that's a killer.

Friday, September 28, 2012

In Which the Author offers up something for sale

First of all: Betas! The Honor sections will go out tonight. I swear. Life has been weird right now. As in

Second: I'm starting to sell off some of my humongous Les Mis collection. Specifically my beautiful little French language five volume set that was one of the first editions to be published in Belgium (the Belgium edition had a couple of chapters that the French edition actually cut, much to Hugo's chagrin). Back in the day they would publish the books just in folios, pages only, so you could have them bound to match your library (I am not making this up) and one of the interior folios is discolored, but there's no problem reading it. ETA: removed the word "slightly." the discoloration is pretty deep, and the pages feel oily. The pages are not stuck together. The discoloration has bled through the adjoining folios through the years, but again, not sticky and still readable. It's a section of book 5, (150 YEAR OLD SPOILER ALERT) beginning approximately with the marriage of Marius and Cosette--in short, after Javert.

Believe me I hate to be selling stuff but

Third: I'm moving. I'm selling a lot of stuff and moving. Out of state. Away from the crazy. And having no day job, the money is necessary like whoa. I'm doing the Fantine routine without the teeth pulling, streetwalking, child supporting stuff.

I originally bought the books twelve years ago. I'm asking $200 for this set. The reason I'm not listing them on Ebay is because I doubt I'll get anywhere near that amount there. Interested parties please comment below with your email address: I screen comments and they will not be published.

I will be listing some more things for sale as I get them out and photographed. I also have movie versions and other small, unique collectibles, most of which are book based, not musical based.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

In Which the Author shares a neat gadget with the Readers

It's over in the sidebar. I will make more in the days to come. But this program just makes me happy :-)

ETA no it's not. Damn javascript. Damn it to Montfermeil. (click the arrows to embiggen, then have fun)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

In Which the Author is finally done with editing that stupid section

So there. *blows raspberry at manuscript*

Four sections are now ready for beta reading. Three have already been proofread multiple times (as they were already completed awhile ago). So this puts Honor at 40% complete. Probably more like 55% including the bits of sections already done and redone, but as far as whole sections? These are them.

Beta readers will be mailed the four sections together on Monday. Due to some time commitments I probably won't be online much till Friday. So, no rush. The four sections are out of sequence, basically sections 1, 3, 5, and 7. But these are the four most independent ones. Which means that once these are out of the way, the rest is pure plot. Vroom!

And now to get back to those plot parts, which are full of plot! Woo hoo!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In Which the Author is out of her fricking mind

So here I am knee deep--okay, clavicle deep--in Honor rewrites... and an opportunity to submit another work to a publishing house has come up.

That's right, I have other books ;-) and there is a window next month during which a reputable and established publisher is soliciting manuscripts, and one of my other books, which is done but needs editing, would be perfect for the submission process. So. Suddenly my attention is drawn between the two.

This does NOT mean that Honor is getting thrown under the bus! It just means I have to mentally shift gears for a couple of weeks to get this other book ready for submission. Once that's done and out of my hands it's back to Honor full time. But I just wanted to let everyone know that if I go silent on Honor for a few weeks, it's because of the other book.

(oh and also: anyone interested in looking it over, not for beta or corrections but more for a "what do you think" reaction? It's 120k words, fantasy, with a heavy LGBT theme and may be triggery to the wrong audience. The book was based on a short story I wrote for the old MZB "Sword and Sorceress" anthology--and was rejected because of the subject matter, LOL--but I have since turned it into a full length novel that is meant to be the first of a trilogy. Email me if you're interested and I'll send you out a copy. I would need response on it fairly quickly as the manuscript must be submitted by the middle of October to be considered for publication. So if you have the time and the inclination, let me know!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Which the Author shows why drafts take forever

"Judging from the amount of red on these pages, Watson, I deduce that the battle of Antietam was fought over them." -- Sherlock Holmes, "The Case of the Second Draft"
 And that's just three pages. The section is 17 pages long.


On the other hand you see why I can't do this on a computer. Javert couldn't track all these changes with Toby the bloodhound and a GPS locator. Fortunately, the draft after the initial redlining is always a lot easier because that's the fine tuning and that can be done on computer.

But that first hot-off-the-presses draft? This is how I roll.

And now I'll stop fiddling around on the computer and make some more coffee. This will take awhile...

In Which the Author says YAY

That final section I had left to draft? It's DONE. Can I get a huzzah? How about a woo hoo?

Right on.

Now it comes down to the next drafting. This section should be easier to redraft because it's all Hugoesque mansplaining (ha!) than the other sections; I found a plot hole that needs paving over, so part of what I wrote in June is going to have to be ripped out and redone. Yikes. But at least the structure around it is done so again, shouldn't be as hard as just getting it on the damn page in the first place.

Beta-ing will commence at the end of this month. There are eleven sections to Honor, four of which were completed back in 2006 and which are basically considered done, but will be sent out because a) fresh eyes and b) because they contain information that will be necessary to understand the rest of it. Of the other seven, one is an epilog and very very short, one is that damned sidetrack into history that I just finished, and the other five are new plot material. I'm guesstimating that Honor will be the same size as Sanctuary and Adrift, but the good news is that I think this will be the last of the ginormous books. Inferno does not appear to be quite so hefty, and Requiem should be again the same size as Resurrections. So I'm not doing so much a Harry Potter series where each book becomes exponentially larger; on the shelf it'll look more like a bell curve XD

Would love to take a break but tonight it's "print out the section and red pen the SOB" night. I cleared off the dining room table for it and everything. No computer, no tv: just me, a cup of coffee, a stack of paper and a red pen.

I love you Scrivener, so far; you're a great program even though you don't support the special characters... but this part of the process will never get automated. Never.

Monday, September 3, 2012

In Which the Author has a question for you, the Readers UPDATED

Anyone up for beta reading? I need a couple of people. Yes, it's Honor.

Benefits: you get to read it first. And you get to tell me where I'm wrong and what to do, which frankly doesn't happen too often (not that I'm not often wrong, but that I let people tell me so ;-) ) And at the end of all this, you will not have to pay for your copy of the book and will receive a specially made item just for you. (I know what it is but it's a surprise. Also, it's neat and not cheap).

Cons: it's a big book. And it's not all done; the beta reading will be done in sections. And you have to have some time (since it's not done I don't need it now, but it will be done by the end of the year). And obviously know how words are spelled and how sentences work. And it helps if you've already read the first three so you can spot those pesky continuity errors between the original book and these. And have to be able to look beyond the story and look at the components and tell me if it makes any damn sense.

So, anyone up for it? If you have a life no problem, it's okay, so you don't have to respond if you can't do it. Just let me know if you can do it. Thanks!

UPDATE: I now have my two betas. Thank you for volunteering! Files will start being emailed by the end of the month. I want to make sure this last section is complete before doing it in case anything in the third of the book that was already done needs adjusting. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In Which the Author promises to find something fun to report

Sorry about that.

I keep getting bummed out about stuff and passing the savings whining onto you. August was a really bad month, but then again it always is, for me; why I named two characters after the two worst months in the year I have no idea. But now it's September and that means fall and that means cooler temps and more getting stuff done.

So give me a week or so and I'll come up with some good news, even if I have to make it up myself.

In Which the Author reads something disturbing

This has nothing to do with the books, or even Les Mis in general. But I just had a big letdown that has colored my view on something I thought was harmless enough...

I have a love/hate relationship with the musical "The King and I." Love Yul Brynner, the costume pr0n, and yes, the whole "Small House of Uncle Thomas" scene, warts and all. I know what it was trying to say, anyway. Was uncomfortable about some things, but nothing I could pin down, just a vague feeling. Insert Futurama internet meme here.

So when the animated version came out a decade or so ago I was pretty interested. It looked beautiful. I'm all for more traditional animated fare. And with the Rodgers and Hammerstein soundtrack, how could it go wrong?

Friday, August 24, 2012

In Which the Author is bummed out over this last section

Yeah, I'm still working on this one new section to get it done, then I can go back and get Honor all refitted and gussied up and made readable. At least in a way I'd want to have seen in public. But damn if this last section isn't a downer.

I mean sure, I've written about some really unfortunate parts of history in this series (don't want to spoil them here), but this current section is a downer unlike the rest of them. It's the ultimate "don't ask how sausages are made" moment for me. But it needs to get written, because it's a fundamental part of the history in the section I'm in right now. Leaving it out is not an option. But damn, history, you depressing.

I swear it's enough for me to sell everything and go live on an island somewhere. I'm reminded of that quote from 1776 when Col. McEwan says (of Congress, as he's told to go fetch a dying comrade to help win the final vote for independence), "what a bastardly bunch we are."

Yes. Yes, we are.

Back to work.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In Which the Author declares it's too damn hot to work

Sorry I've been quiet this month. I wish I could say it was because I was working (either day job or Book) but I'll be honest and quote one of my favorite movies: "Gentlemen, the chair declares that it's too damn hot to work!"*

Wouldn't you know it, all this free time and the heat turns my brains to mush. I've gotten some work done on Inferno but I really do believe it's just words on page, nothing I'm going to be keeping. So I have turned my attention to working on Honor to get that sucker out the door STAT.

Some of the things I'm working on, everyone's favorite parts, the Long Hugoesque Explanationary Bits. But this time hopefully I've got one that people might actually not want to skip over. Because it's really fascinating. And also I've had to order a couple of books off Amazon to help with the research. Also another one that's a total bear (or two bears and a wolverine) to research because it's so convoluted no one else wants to write about it either. Except Dickens, and he was a jerk that way XD So we'll see how much fudging I can get away with on that part. ;-)

Meanwhile, still thinking/working on Zazzle store. Really hoping to have that up in the next month or so. Also I'm taking someone's (good) advice and opening a similar store on Cafepress. Because according to her, there are people who care which store they buy stuff at. So, with a little crossover between them, things will become available to buy. Very soon now. Seriously.

*from 1776, of course.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

In Which the Author has some Good Things Happen

Okay, so here's where it is: I am no longer employed. BUT. I have made enough money otherwise to make it so that I won't have to work for 2-3 months if I don't want to. Which will be good. Because then I can work on the books. And stay at home selling more things on Ebay and saving up money that way. And taking the physical and mental vacation I have needed for a long, long time. And like that.

So, for the next couple of months, things will be pretty good. And then we'll see. By then I'll be moving out of this very stressful town and things will be a lot better for me.

Not really doing well on the writing front right now; don't know how much time I can put into Inferno right now. I'm actually having more luck working on revising Honor than writing new stuff. But I'll keep plugging along with Inferno on Nano; I'm no longer trying to finish the book in August, I'll just shoot for the 50k and go from there. Again, the less stress, the better for me.

So that's where things are. Here's to a much, much calmer August.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Which the Author has decided to Just Do It

Camp Nano starts in 5 1/2 hours, and I'll be writing Inferno. I've decided not to let indecision and other things upset my writing plan. I may not make my goals, but it won't be for lack of beginning.

No word on the job situation yet. Will update when I know.

Meanwhile: I'm making a Zazzle store. With t shirts and stuff. Oh yes. Soon there will be things to buy. More when I get the store up and moving.

So, August is now "Let's See How It Goes" month.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

In Which the Author's plans may have to be changed

Okay, so here's what's going on: tomorrow (Monday) I'm probably losing my job. This causes several problems, not the least of which, see: Fantine, firing of. And of course the extrapolated aftermath (no money, no food, no house, no nothing) which I'm sure we can all agree is, well, not desirable. Or, is it?

The thing is, I'm finding it increasingly ridiculous that I should even try to hold on to a job that has been actively trying to kill me for almost a year. And when I say that I'm being only slightly exaggerating. The toll the stress of this place has incurred is staggering. Last year at this time I was not having facial tics that made my whole right side seize up like a stroke, or nervous coughs 2-3 times a day that are so violent it leads to vomiting. I'm under the care of three different doctors covering three different sides of the same damn problems, simultaneously, and not one of them can tell me what is wrong with me or give me something that will do anything more than not make it worse. In this last year alone I've taken more meds than I've taken in the preceding 45 years combined; last year at this time I took a daily vitamin and the occasional Aleve for a headache. This is what this last year looks like:

And now I am deaf in one ear because I've started grinding my teeth at night which has closed one of my Eustachian tubes. Supposedly sleeping with a mouth guard will prevent the teeth grinding which will eventually reopen the tube, but it hasn't happened yet.

So this is what I'm up against. The classic damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.

Tomorrow morning I go before HR for a meeting the details of which they have so far refused to disclose to me. I can guess it's not a promotion. Yet if they were going to fire me they would have already done so. I can surmise from other clues that I'm being invited to explain something I may or may not have done, with the purpose of demonstrating why I should or should not keep my job. Schrödinger's Cat was more decisive.

Here's the conundrum: why should I try to keep a job that has been killing me?  For the money? And let's face it, my pay rate is obscenely good... but only when I can work long enough in the day to benefit. Right now I'm working half of a full paycheck. But I can always temp again. For the health insurance? If I'm not stressed by the job I don't need all this anymore, do I? I'd been afraid to lose the benefits, but the stress has actually decreased from the moment it appeared I was about to lose the job. What does that say?

The universe is definitely telling me something. It may look bleak in the short term, as in, where's the rent money going to come from, but if I'm going to starve I'll be sane while doing it.

The upshot of which is that I'm supposed to be starting to write Inferno in 2 days, as part of my "get it all done" strategy. If I don't find work quickly I'm about to have a lot more free time to do it in, but I'm worried that they'll interfere with each other. So, in the next few days I'll know what's what with the book, and hopefully everything else. In the meantime...

There's a button on the right hand side for donations, if you're so inclined. If not, or if you too are broke and scrambling, a good thought in my direction would be just as much appreciated.

Signed: the Artist Currently Known As Starving

In Which the Author shows the original sketches

From the previous post. And if it's not totally obvious, if you haven't read Resurrections, these pictures are extremely spoilery. If a little sketchy. Okay, a lot.

The pencils I got back from the illustrator were only half the ones I sent; if memory serves I sent the idea sketches as a group and told her to pick some that appealed to her and see what she could do, as a test. She did the first half of the whole set.

Images are presented without comment other than what I'd originally written on them for direction.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In Which the Author uncovers artifacts from ancient history

Well, in terms of the these books, that is. Ancient history being circa 2000.

As anyone who visits the Gallery knows, I am totes mad about old timey woodcut illustrations. The original Bayard et al pictures are among my favorites, although Lynd Ward's 1930's style images are themselves very cool, with quite a bit of the art deco about them. Nothing I like more than some good illustrations.

So back before Resurrections was published, I was introduced to someone who wanted to illustrate the books for me. Actually, back that up: I wanted an illustrator, and she had been pointed to the online version of volume I and was, according to the mutual acquaintances, amenable to illustrating. So I sent her some very VERY sketchy sketches of the scenes I wanted depicted, some of the more dramatic ones, wanting some appropriately woodcut style images. And she sent me some pencil sketches of her renditions of them.

On the one hand, I was bemused, because they were not the kind of illustrations I wanted. I wanted something like, well, the lineart seen in Bayard, Jeanniot, etc. What I got was, to be blunt, a Disneyesque rendition of the Tenth Anniversary Cast. No, seriously.

But this was twelve years ago, I was about to publish my first volume, and I wanted it illustrated so bad that I was willing to take what I got. It's not that I didn't like them, I did... or at least the idea of them. And I was in that first blush, gee-whiz-someone-drew-my-characters stage. (I have become somewhat more discerning since) So, I sent her a contract for the art. She was not doing me a favor; this was to be a business transaction.

Now, when an artist gets a contract to do work for hire, nothing is in concrete. They are perfectly able to negotiate clauses, payment, terms, the whole bit. In the end it's like any other contract: the artist is free to sign or not, and the contractor is free to accept the artist's revised terms or not. It's called negotiation, and it's usually the province of agents. Anyway, one of the terms I laid out was that I requested to be able to buy the original artwork on completion. I had this weird idea that I could hang them on the walls of my little apartment and enjoy the pictoral representation of my story--this before it occurred to me to just print the dang things out and hang them up that way.

Also, I know a lot of artists who make as much if not more money from the sale of the original artwork than from the proceeds of the project the art is done for, and I have bought art done for smaller projects before with no second thought about it.


This is where things went really bad. I got a very nasty email back to the effect "no one buys my originals, I do not sell my originals, you have no right to ask me this, the deal's off."

This took me quite aback, let me tell you. Because she had been represented to me as being professional, and one of the hallmarks of being professional is to act professionally. A simple "no" would have sufficed. But her reaction was a big red flag in the wtf department. So I went ahead and published without illustrations, and the rest is history. In the end I'm glad I went illustration-less, because the mood and tenor of the pictures I got would have detracted from the story. Also, although I do have a great deal of affection for the portrayals by certain actors in the stage version, I'm very clear in that this series is not connected with the musical version, but rather with the original novel.

So here I am looking back at my archive disks, while preparing the new ebook versions of things, and came across the pencil illustrations again. I present them here for the edification of the readers, to show what might have been, and are covered under fair use. In a followup post, after I get them all organized, I'll post my pathetic original sketches to compare how well they followed the idea, if not the execution, of the original intent.

Monday, July 23, 2012

In Which the Author warms up for August

As if August weren't already warm enough. :-P

So I took a couple weeks off from looking at Honor to let it kind of cool down, and now I'm going back doing some very preliminary edits, which is a) spellcheck, because writing fast means wording sloppy, and b) expanding on some parts that were barely fleshed in at that time. That's my usual way of doing things, on the second pass through I'll add on, layer, explain, flesh out... and then the next time I'll make more changes, edits, add some things... and then after that I'll go between adding to add... at some point I'll reach a place where it looks like some needs to be subtracted. That's when the hard editing starts happening. I don't so much carve out a book from marble as I do sculpt it on a wheel. Throw the clay, shape. Throw more clay, shape. Too much? Start paring and shape more. And so on.

As with former books there are new locations to explore, and those are the most intensive parts requiring by far the most research, not just into the locations themselves, but also the history, cultural aspects, geography (maps! I need moar maps!) and events that are taking place concurrently with the story. Because no matter where they go there's something going on. And the neat thing is that it fits together like a jigsaw puzzle whether I plan it to or not. Most of what's come up in the first part of Honor fit very nicely in with what has happened in earlier books, where I had thought I was done with the earlier stuff, it just comes right back into the storyline. Sometimes I even entertain myself :-)

But starting work on Inferno is not going to be as difficult as I thought it might be under these conditions; while I'm still working around Honor I know where I want to start with on Inferno and where it goes from there. Inferno may even be (gasp!) shorter than the three doorstops in the middle. But we'll see how well that works. Some whole new subplot may decide to smack me upside the head. Lord knows that's happened before...

Okay, done checking in. Next time: a small treat. Way back in 2000 when the first book was being written, there were some grand plans that fell through. I found some of it a while ago in an archived disk. I'll share it with you. Needless to say at this point I'm glad it did fall through, because if not, the books would have come out... well, different... but not in a good way.

eta: found these, was amused by them, probably 15 years old or more. One day I'll do it better.

Javert, Fantine, Valjean

aka "Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves"

Friday, July 20, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

In Which the Author wishes everyone a happy Bastille Day!

hmm? Oh, that's it. Happy Bastille Day.

This is an image, drawn by Victor Hugo from the frontspiece of a collection of Hugo's work, of General Valmy. The girl is Marianne, symbol of France (like Uncle Sam in the US).

Please note that her image is also the figurehead of the Éponine. Because yeah duh.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

In Which the Author mentions a SALE!

I posted it on the Twitter feed which shows up on this page but I may as well put it here too: as part of their Summer Reading promotion on Smashwords... 

I've put all three Pont-au-Change books on sale!

You can get them for 50% off with the code SSW50 at checkout, now through July 31. They were cheap to begin with but now they're SUPER cheap! So if you've been putting off getting them, or you've been telling people about the books and they've been waffling, now is the time.

Link to the sale here!

You're welcome! 

Monday, July 9, 2012

In Which the Author revises her schedule

Okay, so, here's how it's working right now:

1: still slushing through Honor. Don't know how long that will continue. Some parts need work (as in, threw in basic chapter structure and need to flesh things out) more than others.

2: prepping to start drafting Inferno in August. Still on track with that. There's parts of this I actually fleshed out 15 years ago I been dying to do. Should be fun. At least I hope it will be.

3: Kickstarter/Indiegogo. Ah. Yeah, about that. I'm putting that off indefinitely (not completely, but not till later in the year than I'd thought or maybe beginning of next year). Not that I don't want to do it, I'm still planning to, but right now for reasons I don't want to get into, it's not really a good idea for me to invest in something like that right now. However. I have restored the donation link on the page where the Kickstarter gauge used to be. If you'd like to not wait for a new Kickstarter or Indiegogo, and send some money in the Author's direction, that would be lots appreciated--and would be counted, when the Kickstarter/Indiegogo campaign starts, as earning whatever level donation swag that a contribution during the campaign would earn.

4: and the rest... still working on it. As most of you know I've been ill off and on the last 9 months. The root cause is stress. I'm working to remove myself from the stressful situation. It should be relieved by the end of the year, if all goes well. But I'm beginning now.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

In Which the Author says Okay

Yeah, so that didn't fund. I'm not the biggest optimist to begin with but I was surprised how well it did anyway.

So I'm going to be trying again in September. That way it won't interfere with working on Inferno in August. So, yay! On both counts.

Meanwhile (since we didn't get enough backers to unlock it) I'll post you a pic we were adding to the donation prints, by Melanie B. It's a pic from Sanctuary, aptly titled "Against the Wind"

And of course if anyone else would like to contribute a picture to the print pool which it has become, please let me know. At this rate we'll have enough to make a calendar out of :-D (yeah probably not happening but it amuses me to think about it)

Thanks to everyone who contributed, and pledged, and tweeted, and posted to Facebook, and everything. I'll do better next time.

Next on the agenda: start rewrites on Honor, and prep for Inferno in August.

"It may stop, but it never ends" -- Matt Howarth

Monday, July 2, 2012

In Which the Author throws a hat over the fence

Just a quick July note. From this point forward this blog will be the main outlet for me unless I decide to create a personal one, but honestly I have a hard enough time keeping up with the ones I have. So, basically, between this and Twitter, that's the extent of my online presence.

If you're here from Livejournal, welcome. Glad to have you around.

Meanwhile, trying not to think about writing Inferno next month, so I'm distracting myself by looking at all the old notes for Honor I have lying around and realizing how much buffing up the draft is going to need. Yay for me.

Oh and three more days for the Kickstarter. After that I'll be working on setting up one for Indiegogo unless the backer fairy smites me with the magic wand in the next 72 hours. But I can promise you that campaign will wait until September. No way am I doing Nano and a fundraiser over the same month again. Seriously. What was I thinking?

Meanwhile amusing myself with the Major Arcana list I found. Some of which are no longer relevant since the characters went and became something else when I wasn't looking (looks like this list was written while I was still doing Sanctuary!) But the most obvious are:

8: le fort (strength) - Jean Valjean
11: la justice (justice) - Javert
15: le diable (the devil) - Thenardier

Any guesses as to the rest of them? Just wondering...

PS: Also need a vote. The closer I get the more I wonder about the last volume. So, opinions: should book 6 be titled Requiem?

or Revelations?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

In Which the Author finally shuts up for the month

Mostly because there's only 6 1/2 hours left in June. Then I start up yakking about July!

No, there's actually a point to this. I was rummaging through my old old OLD notes for the books and stuff, trying to find all the doodles and whatnot I have that have anything to do with Inferno, and I came across an odd list. I couldn't figure out what it was at first. Then it struck me.

It's a list of characters and symbols. For a PauC-themed project:

Tarot cards. 

Full major arcana of the major scenes of the series; full minor arcana for four symbolic items and the suit cards of minor characters.

Holy carp when did I come up with this? Never mind. I'm seeing it in my head now. And it looks COOL. I see art nouveau. Seriously.

If we don't fund the Kickstarter I'll be mentioning this in the Indiegogo campaign. Because dammit I want to see this come into being.

Particularly because of course, Victor Hugo is the Fool. X'D *

I don't know as I should mention it on the KS because it's only slightly more formed an idea than the maps, which are currently me charting the voyages on a paper and waiting for the maps I ordered to arrive so I can scan them and start photoshopping the bejeesus out of them. With the Tarot deck all I have is the list.

And it's a doozy.

I have the opposite of that thing, what's it called? Oh yeah. Too much time on my hands.

BRB brain broke.

*well actually, the Fool is the journeyer, so that makes sense; he's the one journeying vicariously through the lives of the other characters. I just however like calling him the fool. And yes the cards will be labeled in French. So it's Le Fou.

In Which the Author did it

Honor is done. A day early.

Final word count on the 2/3 of the book I did this month: 122,125. So probably tops out close to 200k total. Another brick in the bookshelf. Will let it sit a few days and then start printing out and picking apart.

But: first draft to bed. And so am I.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In Which the Author is really, really tired

Been up 24 straight hours, unable to sleep. Can't sleep means can't work. So, can't work at job means must work at home. Writing.

I have nine chapters to go (plus one section that's historical slush filler that may or may not get written so I'm not counting it right now) and I'm DONE.

I'm writing the final denouement scenes. It's all coming together.

Bodycount abnormally high. Angst level through the roof. This book is a bigger cliffhanger than the last one, on every single storyline.

But it's almost done. Then I can set it aside to congeal while I plan to write Inferno in August.

Just the words "Honor is almost done" are like ice cream and air conditioning right now. You have no idea.

Too wired to sleep. Going to write some more. May finish today.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In Which the Author is really, really mean

Just wanted to say that the closer I get to finishing it (and I am getting very close) the body count for Honor is getting kind of high. Not just my original characters, mind you. Until today I had told some people that no fewer than three of Hugo's characters are going to die in this one.

But today, it turns out to be four. Four characters!

On a related note, why not pledge the Kickstarter campaign? If it funds, the sooner and prettier this book will appear in your hands and e-readers.

Just a thought.

Mu ha ha ha ha ha...

Sunday, June 24, 2012

In Which the Author is driven a little crazy

For some reason, which I cannot seem to find, the ebook version of Adrift simply will not show up justified. It keeps showing a ragged right edge. I have tried everything to get it to match the other two books. Nothing seems to work.

I will keep trying though. Sooner or later it will work. I just have to hope that I don't have to UNformat the dang thing and then recode it from scratch. Because it takes a teensy bit short of forever doing that.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blathering.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In Which the Author is ready to throw up hands at Kickstarter

So remember how I said I sent Kickstarter a question about why they don't rotate other videos into the front page collage, and I got a canned email about how they choose what gets featured and that it's SO much better for me to push the project on my own media sites--in short, they didn't answer it at all.

So I emailed them again, asking if they have live people reading these, because I want an answer about the rotation of front page videos. And I shit you not I got a response from someone named Emily who wrote one line saying, "Yes, real people answer these!" with a smiley face

followed by the EXACT SAME CUT AND PASTE CANNED EMAIL about what gets featured and that it's SO much better for me to push the project on my own media sites, etc.

I'm about ready to give up. I'm not asking for a feature, I just want to be rotated in once in awhile with all the other videos, to maybe catch a fresh eye, but apparently that's only for the cool kids.

Flowered kitten leggings? Front page coverage! Books? Back of the bus muchacha.

I'm about ready to just let it drop and work toward putting together an Indiegogo fundraiser with a smaller limit that I can reach or, if not, that at least I can get what gets donated.

I am so frustrated I can't even tell you. I feel like I let everyone down with the generous backers, art print donations, and every retweet or facebook post.

One would think, since they only get a cut of successful Kickstarters, it would be in their interest to rotate out those videos not just to the trendy or hip projects. The more successful projects, the more they get.

Apparently this is not part of their business model. So.

I'm going to go write some more. Kickstarter is not ended; it's still running. But other than spamming everyone again with tweets and requests for retweets and so on, which I don't want to inflict on people because that's just goddamned annoying, I'm at a loss for what to do now.

In Which the Author checks in

Yep, still writing. Yep, still working on Kickstarter campaign. Lamenting again I tried to do both in the same month. It's got about two weeks to go and I'm not totally giving up but it's slowed down to a crawl and apparently Kickstarter only puts the cool trendy projects on the front page image montage, so, doesn't look like they're going to be showing it to any potential new backers. I am so frustrated with their attitude I can't even. I mean I understand them featuring the ones that they want to feature, but the huge map of video images? Would it kill them to make it random to give smaller projects a chance to get noticed? Apparently so.

I'm not totally giving up, as I said, but I'm going to formulate a backup plan, because as we all know I think in worst case scenarios.

Speaking of which, you all know I've been sick for the better part of a year. Still no word on what's causing it, but I've been set up for some tests. The kind of tests they give you after the preliminary ones. The kind where they tell you, "we found something, but it's probably nothing to worry about." Yeah, see above paragraph about how I deal with that kind of stuff. 

Meanwhile I'm still writing. That at least hasn't changed. And the book is getting done. As for the rest, we'll cross fingers and etc.

Friday, June 15, 2012

In Which the Author shows off something pretty

If you are thinking about donating to the Kickstarter campaign, maybe this will help seal the deal.

Everyone who pledges at the $24 level or above receives a print of this fantastic portrait by Colleen Doran.

The quote reads:

Nothing was so poignant as this face, wherein was displayed all that may be designated as the evil of the good.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

In Which the Author gets donations of a different sort

So I've now had two different people offer to donate prints to use for the Kickstarter campaign as backer rewards. Along with the original print offered, that makes three! This is great! And I'm working on an idea of my own too, something a little different. Things are being made!

The question has also been raised, if I don't make the goal, will I still do the prints? Oh, definitely. Prints and postcards will be produced. They will be used as promotional giveaways and, when the books get printed (even if the Kickstarter fails the books will get made, it will just cost me personally a lot more to see it done--the Kickstarter is to offset what otherwise would be out of pocket expense for me) will be offered as inclusions.

So, even though things are kind of quiet on the Kickstarter front right now, things are still happening. Everyone knows the middle of the book is always the slowest, and it's toward the end that things pick up speed and get exciting. I've been told that Kickstarter projects tend to work the same way. So, thumbs up and keep plugging.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

In Which the Author takes a mallet to her manuscripts

No matter how many eyes you have looking on a manuscript, there's always something.

And we're finding them. Lots of somethings. Like a freaking literary whack-a-mole game. Hence the mallet.

Here's the thing: the print versions of the series were edited and formatted for PDF, which I am not allowed to use, but the word files I used to submit to the conversions originally apparently did not have the final changes. I'm finding discrepencies between the print volumes and the master files I created for Smashwords that, barring a side by side reading (and yeah, 500,000 words so far, not happening) I will never be able to find all of them.

So we're going through bit by bit and cleaning up all the manuscripts of all the tense issues, the double words, the missing spaces. If you've already downloaded a copy of any of the books fret not; you can always download a newer version that you've paid for. I am noting version numbers in the e-books and describing what edits were done (formatting, corrections, what have you). Of course you can also keep the earlier versions.

We have been reading these on the computer, or as I prefer to edit, printed out on actual paper. But it's only when looking at them in the confines of my e-reader that I'm finding things that my eyes skipped over.

By the end of the month, once I get the Camp Nanowrimo thing done and I'm not pushing myself to write new material, I can take July and work on edits and proofing. Because August is another book, so that's my only chance.

Thanks to all the beta readers and extra sets of eyes helping me out on this. If ever there was a demonstration why I need the Kickstarter to be successful--to be able to hire someone to professionally work these books over--this would be it.

Whack. Whack whackkity whack.

Monday, June 11, 2012

In Which the Author brings back an oldie but goodie

It has been suggested that I show off one of the neat pledge items on my Kickstarter project, the infamous "What would Javert Do?" t-shirt design.

I actually had these for sale way back around 2000 through CafePress, but it's been so long I don't even have the store anymore. The new shirts will be limited to the next rounded decimal above those needed to fulfill the Kickstarter pledges (so if there's 12, I'll make 20; if there's 5 I'll make 10, if there's 100 I'll throw a party)

Here's the front cover design. Art is from one of the original bookplate illustrations from the 1800's, with a little bit of text tweeking from me.

The punchline of course is on the back.

What do you think it might be? Feel free to speculate, except the ones who I told already.

We are currently at 26% funded on the campaign. Keep spreading the good word and I'll keep finding neat things to give you for pledging. Thanks everyone!

Friday, June 8, 2012

In Which the Author says Hooray

Smallish update: got a little stuck working on the segment of Honor I was working on so I went ahead and skipped to dessert and wrote the book's epilogue, where the merde is about to get vrai.

By the end of this book, not one, not two, but three of Hugo's original characters will not be continuing on to the fifth book, Inferno, and will sit out the rest of the books in the Green Room. And that's actual named, backgrounded and important-to-the-story characters. Not just "that one guy Jean Valjean talked to that one time."

And if you think that spares either of the two main characters, I'd just like to point out that while most of the books are flashbacks and being told as such, nothing protects them in Guernsey. Nothing.

And also: no one (with the exception of the one character who already has done so, who I'll refrain from naming because duh spoiler) dies in bed of old age in this series. No one.

Mu hu hu hu. Mwa ha ha ha ha.
 *cough hack cough*
I should know better than to cackle maniacally in a high register. Wow that hurts.

Anyway, back at it. Honor is more than 2/3 complete now with four segments to go: one Hugoesque diversion called The Fatal Flower (which I may save to tackle last, research and boring and all that) and three main storyline sections that I've tentatively titled Buttons, Sacrifice, and Misery.

Merde gets vrai, indeed.

Keep plugging the Kickstarter! the faster this gets funded and the printing worries go away, the more time and energy I can devote to finishing the whole shebang by early 2013. Every little bit helps!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In Which the Author dances around the campfire nekkid

Well, you would too if:

1) Adrift went up tonight! It's here! Unfortunately that means that until I finish Honor, there'll be no more releases like this, so make it last!


2) the Kickstarter campaign begins! So we can raise money to make print books of the series again, redesign and relaunch the website, and oh by the way once the volumes I'm doing now get done, they'll also go into print. And I can hire a professional editor and someone to design the print volumes for publication!

If you don't know what Kickstarter is, it's really simple. It's like public television. There's a goal amount for whatever you're doing. People pledge amounts that they want to contribute. Depending on how much you pledge, there are rewards. In this case, at certain money levels you can get the remaining e-books when they come out (a week before anyone else does) or the print volumes. You can get t-shirts and prints. You can even, with the right amount, be IN the book. That's right, I'll put you in it! But not the way you think.

Anyway, the thing that makes this different from public television is that if at the end of the pledge period (in this case, one month) you don't reach your goal, you get NONE of the money. It's okay to go over, but if you don't make your projected amount, it's as much fun as spending a night in Montfermeil.

So, if you want to pledge and by doing so get yourself some awesome swag, stop on by the Kickstarter page. Here's the link! Don't forget to laugh at my painfully amateur video.

oh and 3) don't forget to cheer me on writing Honor at CampNanoWrimo. Because otherwise you'll never know what happens next :-D

In Which the Author has Good News and Gooder News

Good news: Adrift goes live tomorrow (the 6th of June, perfect timing!) Or rather, the traditional launch time, 1am local time.

Gooder news: my proposal for a Kickstarter campaign has been approved. My goal is small, but it will cover reissuing the books in print in all new shiny editions and the relaunch of the poor old neglected website, also restored to shiny goodness.

When I get the Kickstarter kickstarted, which will ALSO be at 1am on June 6, I will post here and link to it. It's not just a donation drive; it's a donation and you get SWAG drive! E books, the new print editions, t-shirts, mini prints, and more! And you also get to look at the video I made. I'm a little proud of how it came out :-)

More later. Meanwhile, I'm imputing last few correx on Adrift for the launch. I'm sure after I download it and read it I'll find stuff I didn't see the first thirty seven times I read it through, but (and here's an incentive to donate to the Kickstarter if there ever was one) the goal I set includes hiring a professional editor to go over the manuscripts and really give them a workout. Not that I don't appreciate the beta readers and proofers who over the years have helped me out, because I do, but honestly, it's time to get a professional to get their hands on them.

Also: if you're not following my Camp Nanowrimo progress, shame on you you can follow it here, and also every week I will be posting a new excerpt from Honor, all new, never before read. So it's worth it. Because the book is getting written and the wheels of progress are turning again. Hooray!

In Which the Author has some ongoing Issues

First off, I've (temporarily) removed the donation link on the page. First because I'm in the final stages of getting a Kickstarter started, and I'd rather drive any money in that direction, and second, because Paypal is effing me up yo. Because of an ebay transaction that six months later someone decides to dispute on their credit card, my Paypal account is tied up with money that is not there until they decide what to do about it. Any money going through Paypal right now will just be caught up in a dragnet (dum da dum dum DUMMMM) and no sense leaving it there for them to collect interest on while I can't get to it. So.

(and btw, Kickstarter is done through Amazon Payments, so take that Paypal)

I will keep you updated as soon as I know anything. Meanwhile looking into other donation options.

But I'm > this < close never to selling on Ebay again, I swear. Those buyers are crazy.

In other news, Nano is going well, have completed 10k of new work on Honor that really really needs editing, you bet, but it's on the page so there. And in sports, Sanctuary has been reloaded on Smashwords because the Author wrote something really stupid and took out the whole paragraph rather than try to fix it. It reads better without it, but dayam stupid writer is stupid. I won't tell you what it is. I'm just embarrassed and need to have my researching credentials revoked. If you bought one already you can download the updated version. Please do.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

In Which the Author hates to wait for things

So, it's four days early but screw it I'm tired of waiting. It's worse than Christmas.

Pont-au-Change Volume II: Sanctuary is now live.

Here's hoping Adrift goes up on the 6th but if I miss that date I won't worry so much.

Nanoing the rest of Honor is working so far! Please follow my progress here and I've even posted a small excerpt.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

In Which the Author found some oddly appropriate advice

Presented without comment.

In Which the Author apologizes in advance for June

I'm looking at the number of updates in May and man I got wordy. June will be different. Other than a few update housekeeping things (launch of Sanctuary, Kickstarter, etc.) I don't see myself making so many posts next month. I could be wrong though!

But if I am less wordy on the blog than I have been, that's why. Nano is going to kick my butt but it's for a good cause: the end of Honor which I only began *mumbledemumble* years ago.

So, there you go, that's why, definitely see you on June 6.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

In Which the Author reprints some lyrics which may be of interest to Someone

I wrote this in the Nanawrimo forums a few years ago but I think it's still hilarious, so... (and yeah I know it's June, not November, but I'm not switching the words around.)

Sing along if you know it! Or even if you don't!

Valjean: One day more
Another shot at Nano history,
This never ending road to victory
My plans are set, my goal I know,
There's fifty thousand words to go...

One day more...

Marius: I only registered today
I have no clue, it's all uncharted

Valjean: One day more

Marius and Cosette: Tomorrow seems a ways away
Across the date line, they have started

Eponine: One more day, I'm on my own
Marius and Cosette: (where's my desk thesaurus gone?)
Eponine: With my notebook and my laptop
Marius and Cosette: (it was here, I swear it was)
Eponine: And my "don't disturb me" sign
Marius and Cosette: (How'd it get under my chair?)
Eponine: Thirty days of this to go...

Enjolras: One more day before the storm
Marius: (Do I write what's in my head?)
Enjolras: On the laptop in the kitchen
Marius: (Do I throw my outline out?)
Enjolras: As the words begin to form
Marius: (Do I take a walk outside?)
Enjolras: Will you write your books with me?

The time is now! The day is here!

Valjean: One Day More

Javert: I will add these Nano buddies, I will follow what they do
I will try to match their output, I will stay here till it's through!

Thenardiers: Type the little keys till your fingers bleed
Nothing's half as easy if you don't proofread
Wasn't there a plot half an hour ago
Just throw in some zombies, make the bunnies grow

Enjolras: One day to a new beginning
Students: (Raise the freak flag banners high!)
Enjolras: Fifty thousand words to go
Students: (fifty thousand words to go!)
Enjolras: Every time we think to stop
Students: (every time we think to stop)
Enjolras: Chris's emails tell us no

Marius: My place is here, I write with you!

Valjean: One day more!

Marius and Cosette: We only registered today
Eponine: I'm trying to write, leave me alone
Marius and Cosette: December First seems worlds away
Enough delay, we'd best get started

Valjean: One day more!

Thenardiers: Don't know why we work, last year was more fun
c&ped the forums, then declared we'd won
claimed a billion words, none of them our own
they can't call us cheaters but our karma's pwned*

Valjean: One day more!

Javert: I have fifty writing dares now
And the forum servers crashed
Think I'll spend awhile on LJ
Till the site's back up at last

Valjean: Tomorrow we'll be on the way
Tomorrow is the judgement day

All: Tomorrow Nanowrimos all around the world will score:
One more word, one more day
One More Won!

*referred to the moron one year whose "novel" was to Ctrl C and V all the Nano forums into a word processor and submitted it to the counter.

In Which the Author has a sneak preview

Yep, it just posted: the first trailer for the musical movie of Les Mis. Reactions of the PauC cast are below...

Well, Javert is yelling at the screen "Get a shave you hippie!*"
while the rest of the cast is going "Not bad, not bad at all"
and René Devereaux is going, "Wait, you guys can sing?"

and Hugo is plugging his ears and going "lalalalalala I can't hear you" because he HATED music and refused to allow anyone to "make an opera of his book" during his lifetime.

*I'm pretty sure that's not the exact word he used but that's the gist of it

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

In Which the Author makes a teensy change in scheduling

It's been pointed out to me that releasing the e-book versions of Sanctuary and Adrift simultaneously will a) not allow the last beta readers to get Adrift done before they go live, which means b) the book will go out without that extra editing and c) sending it, as it was pointed out, "dirty" will not be professional and relying on the ability to just "upload a cleaner version later" is lazy. Well, yeah, so am I, but anyway, she has a point. So.

Therefore, Sanctuary goes live on June 6, the day we celebrate the anniversary of when Javert goes in Seine. (wait for it...)

Adrift will go up by the first of July, or, if absolutely necessary, on Javert's birthday (July 20). I mean it's not like there isn't something else important to celebrate that day or anything, right?

Meanwhile Honor is still on track to be finished by the end of June (knock on every available wood product surface) but that's first draft. No way to know when it will be good enough to get bookified. But since the first half has been already extensively edited and filtered, hopefully it won't take as long as a whole book would.

Also, re: the Kickstarter campaign? Still working on the presentation. Believe me, when I get that done and running, you'll know.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

In Which the Author needs some help with a question UPDATED

Long time ago someone sent me this awesome piece of PauC fan art. My first fan art! And it's awesome. It's the pivotal moment of Resurrections, and the expressions on both of them are just flat out perfect.

However, I do not know who did this art, and it is not signed, and while I did at the time get permission to use it on the website before, I would like to be able to properly credit the artist.

So if you are, or know, the person who did this, please let me know. Thanks!

UPDATE: After searching through the entire of my old disks (of course it was on the last place I looked) I found the email from the artist regarding this artwork. Her name is Noel Dwyer. The picture was "inked in ballpoint pen and colored in photoshop." And also she graciously gives me license to "do whatever (I) want with it."

Noel, if you ever get back to me, I have some e-books and stuff for you. This picture has brought me eight years worth of squee. Seriously. Merci mille fois.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Which the Author celebrates a milestone

I have finished a whole section of Honor. Granted it was halfway done when it was stopped back in 2007-ish, but it's now done. At least the first draft of it. I'll be cleaning and polishing and tinkering with it between now and the release, obviously. But the point is, it's done. I figure I put in about 10,000 words in the last few days.

My next goal is to finish the other unfinished section that I skipped over. Once I get that done and it's all caught up then I can complete the other half of Honor.

I discovered a few days ago that in a fit of I don't know what, I was going to break Honor into two volumes, the other called "Allegiance" or some sort. That is no longer the case. There are six books. Six very large paving stones worth of books. So, yeah.

I'm not sure how this writing is going to mesh with and/or interfere with my Camp Nano plans. I have reserved June for book 5 (Inferno) and August for book 6 (Requiem) which doesn't leave much room to finish book 4, does it? But still, the more I write, the easier the next ones will be to add onto.

I've also been mulling over the old way of doing things, from the original site, where I would post each section as they were completed for free, and then when the whole book was done I'd take the sections offline and send them to press. This way of doing things is not going to be a good business model from here on out. Considering that the e-books are much less expensive than the print versions, I don't have enough reason to be posting the entire thing for free electronically. However, I will be putting up random chapters for a sample. And you can always get the first 10-15% of the books as a free sample anyway from the publisher. So, while the days of the free lunch are done, there's still an appetizer tray I'll be passing around.

Not to mention the fact that the books will contain extras. Adrift has the "alternate beginning" version special feature. Honor will have the extra Christmas short story (not the beginning bit already posted about Boxing Day; that's a whole 'nother Christmas bit), even though it really doesn't appear in canon and the timing makes it confusing as to where in the story it would go (although I will say, if someone can figure it out, I'll make it canon). And we'll see about the last two books.

So there we are. Back to writing. I'm home sick again so, may as well Write Moar.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In Which the Author would like to point out a few new features of the blog:

You may have noticed I've added a "donate" button to the site. If you would like to contribute to the fund to complete the other three covers in the series (while I'm struggling to complete the actual three books) anything would be greatly appreciated. Until I actually earn enough from the book sales for them to send me the money--I'm still under their limit; as soon as I sell enough e-books to get a check cut then I can throw that money back into covers and then anything above that comes to me to keep--I figured it never hurts to ask.

Also, Pont-au-Change has a twitter feed. Don't know what I'll put on it that won't be in here, but it's there and I have it. Props to me for digging out my old French dictionary and not using the internet to find out the French word for "tweets."

Okay, enough with the self promotion. Let's get back to writing!

In which the Author takes a moment to enjoy things, UPDATED

Quickie update part deux:

I got enough money together to get the next two covers done (well not really, but if I tighten the belt a notch or two more it shouldn't be a problem); I've seen the preliminaries and I love them! Of course they will be posted on the website when the books go live. For now, I'm just going oooooooooo.
UPDATE: Covers are done! She works so fast and they're so nice, when viewed together the books really do appear like the set piece I've always imagined them to be... Okay, enough drooling, carry on...
Books are totally on track to go live on Javert's suicide day (June 6, which long time readers will know is one of the Pont-au-Change quarter days, along with Javert's birthday on July 20, Valjean's birthday on December 14, and Marius and Cosette's wedding anniversary on February 19. Nearly all releases of books or other updates are generally scheduled to occur on one of these days, just saying.)

Also, for the first time in a few years, I've actually completed three whole chapters of Honor. Brand new chapters, not rewriting old ones or finishing ones left uncompleted. I did these in the past three days. Which doesn't sound like much by themselves, but they were some pretty important chapters, so, three cheers and a tiger for me! Three chapters down means three chapters closer to finishing the darn thing. I can't believe it's taking longer to write this one than it took me to write Adrift. Especially since the Ouroborous section of Adrift went through three. separate. drafts. Yikes.

So things are still looking up for everyone but the actual characters in the book, basically. After all it ain't called Les Hereuseables for a reason.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

In which the Author throws a postile over the prison wall

Just a quick update:

both Sanctuary and Adrift are ready to go barring any last minute edits. Just waiting for covers to be made, which requires money for covers. I'm selling some stuff on Ebay so hopefully by next week I'll have enough to get those done. Then both books will be released simultaneously. I'm going to have them published on June 6, because der-hey why else.

I found a treasure trove of old Honor and Inferno notes I thought I'd lost. I'm sifting through them now. I'm not so far behind on those as I thought originally. Requiem is a little sketchy. I know the beginning and the middle and the end, but nothing concrete to mortar them together with. Hopefully the plot fairy will send a nice big anvil to drop on my head. I am still going all out to get this series done this year. For sure.

Since, y'know, apocalypse and all that. Right?

Friday, May 11, 2012

In which the Author proves she's two paving stones short of a barricade

(cross posted to the Livejournal)

That's right, I'm doing another Nano.  There's a couple of them this summer, Camp NaNo. Still 50k words, and twice: June and August.

I'm going to use this time to write the last two PauC books. Which you may or may not remember are titled Inferno and Requiem. (I thought about making it Revelations, but Requiem sounds, well, more final...)

Yeah, let's see how well this works (sarcasm)

Please feel free to send encouraging words. Because if this works, the entire series may be done before the apocalypse.

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now." --  Goethe

Saturday, May 5, 2012

In which the Author cites a connection between Cinco de Mayo to the current work

First let me quote from that eminently unimpeachable source, Wikipedia:
Cinco de Mayo (Spanish for "fifth of May") is a celebration held on May 5. It is celebrated nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla, where the holiday is called El Día de la Batalla de Puebla (English: The Day of the Battle of Puebla). The date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War. In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, under the leadership of General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín. Contrary to widespread popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day—the most important national patriotic holiday in Mexico—which is actually celebrated on September 16.
Okay so let me break it all down: During the time period that Pont-au-Change takes place, the same Napoléon III that Victor Hugo hated so much was also trying to expand colonial interests in the New World. Mexico was the last major French colony in the Western Hemisphere; they'd grabbed it from the Spanish and they meant to keep it, even installing their own Emperor, Maximillian. And the battle of Puebla was basically to Mexico what Waterloo was to the English. Any excuse to kick the crap out a Napoléon, huh? And despite the inclination to make a "French Military Victories" remark, at the time the French were rolling on 50 years of straight victories. After this, it kind of went south in a handbasket for them. Seven years later the Prussians were rolling down the Champs-Élysées for the first time, and they liked it so much they did it again seventy years after that, before the Maquis (with Allied backup) got them to knock it off.

And if you think that somehow this little factoid about the holiday we now more or less celebrate as Cinco de Drinko will not somehow make its way into the current book Honor, you are sadly mistaken. It's merely a footnote to the overall work (since the battle takes place six years after the episodes in Guernsey) but it's in there. By the end of the year when Honor is complete, you'll see it.

For me, though, it's kind of an in-joke, a self fulfilling Easter Egg: this is the very part where the Pont-au-Change universe collides with another of my book universes: the same one that 500 years later will be the Timeless universe, the one where this story and these people exist too. Kind of like this, really.

But that is another story, and shall be told at another time.

Monday, April 30, 2012

In which the Author makes a decision about earlier questions

So awhile back I mentioned a part that was supposed to be in Honor but I was wondering if it was too farfetched? Well guess what, I found the paper copy of that scene that I'd written (I no longer have the original text file apparently) and reread it, and discovered why that scene was there in the first place. And if I may say so, it totally rocked.

It's a great sign when you reread something you wrote a while back and you like it. I cannot tell you how stoked that makes me. First time in a long time I felt like it wasn't at the dead end I thought it was.

I'm going to spend a day this week putting it back in the text file and then finishing up the section. It's out of order with the rest of what's done but it really wants to be finished now and I can't wait to get back to these guys.

Meanwhile Sanctuary is still being worked on; all I have to do is put in the file the links between the chapters and the directory so you can navigate through it. I also have to come up with the $32 for the cover to the second book. I can publish it coverless but it won't be available at any of the major outlets if I don't (like Amazon, B&N, Sony, Apple, etc), only at Smashwords. I could always add one later but I would prefer to have it done pretty and right the first time.

Unless someone wants to donate me $32 for the cover lol yeahright

New question! When Honor is done, should it be Honor, or Honour? Just wondering...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

In which the Author checks in

Quickie update:

Taking next week off (with pay! yay!) and will be able to finish setting up Sanctuary for e-book publication. Having a few issues with money again due to the days I had to take off without pay (boo!) so it may be a little longer to actually get the book posted (as I need to get the book cover made).

Otherwise, things going okay. Just thought I'd mention it. Will post again with news about Sanctuary when it's ready to go up.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In which the Author makes an important update

Short note: Sanctuary is 90% reformatted; I'm going to have to do a careful edit though as there are some problems with the files, namely, it looks like the files that were saved to archives were not the final version that was printed by IUniverse; this looks like the next to last version before the final copy proofing. I'm finding discrepencies between spelling, especially of some of the more obscure French name places, so I'm going to have to find out which one is the right one and replace manually. I have a list of about 45 words to research so, yeah, that won't take long, it's just tedious.

The other problem is longer, and more anger-inducing. You see, back in the early days, when I was first posting Resurrections, there was someone who I thought was doing me a favor by offering to proofread the books. She was very good at the actual job of proofing and copy editing. However, every now and then though she thought it would be funny to "riff" on some parts of the books, á là MST3K, in addition to making proofing comments that went beyond simple correction and became hurtful commentary. Admittedly, I like a good riff every now and then, and I know my writing is not perfect and I can appreciate a bon mot like the next person, and anyone who knows me knows I love MST3K and Rifftrax. But there's a difference between riffing the bad writing and acting of a production that's professionally done, been through the editing process already, and put out there by people who ought to know better, and riffing a first draft of a work you're supposed to be actively assisting in making better. You know when someone's laughing with you and when they're laughing at you, and she was doing the second one, in spades.

But I put up with it. Because I was afraid at that time to say anything, because hey, she was "doing me a favor" proofing my books for free, and -- oh, irony! -- since she made me feel like I couldn't write two sentences without help and I thought I needed her help, I didn't want to hurt her feelings!

But it hurt me, to have someone do that, someone who purportedly was also my friend, someone who didn't just correct the grammar or punctuation, but someone who was intentionally catty and vicious at it and hiding it under the "can't you take a joke" umbrella. Having been bullied like that from my family for years and years, I had learned how to put on the brave face and not let them know they'd hurt me, but there's only so much of that you can take before you snap, seriously.

Coincidentally, I'm currently reading the original Three Musketeers, getting myself back into the "reading big French novels" mode, and there was a description of a cup of patience, filling with insults and abuse, and that last drop that spills it all over. That happened between me and the proofreader, finally, right after my mother died. And that, I thought, was that.

The trouble now is, all through the manuscript I'm trying to ready for e-publishing, there are snide little landmines of hers. It's like revisiting a bad time in my life I thought I'd left behind. So now I'm going to have to line edit the entire thing, word by word, all 200,000 words (approximately), as there's no highlights or other warnings to let me know when I'm suddenly going to run into a troll comment.

So, long story short, it's going to take a little longer to get Sanctuary done than I'd hoped.

And also, for future reference: when I begin the second half of Honor, I will have to beg to be excused; as you recall I post the chapters as I write them and then when complete I take them down and re-edit and thereby get the whole novel together for publication. Please excuse the errors that will occur more often than usual, as I am without an outside proofreader at the moment. This is not necessarily a good thing, but considering the previous alternative, this is not a bad thing AT ALL.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

In which the Author goes all in

I have decided, once I get the first three books converted to e-book format, to sell off my last remaining (personal) set of the print version Pont-au-Change books. Because I'm redoing them for print later this year with all new covers (and some minor re-editing). I'd like to sell them as a set, but, if someone is missing one of the volumes, let me know and I'll see what I can do. I have one full set of books 1-3 (Resurrections, Sanctuary, and Adrift) and one extra copy of Adrift. It will be a month or so before I'm ready to part with them, so, if you're interested, speak up. I don't know what the prices are yet, I'll see what I feel like doing, or make an offer.

I've started formatting Sanctuary already. Now that I have the hang of it, it should go much faster than the first one. I'll post right before it goes live (I'll have a few days' delay because I'll need to get another cover done)

Looks like I'm well on track to have all three existing books in e-book form by the good ol' fifth of June!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

In which the Author is Pleased to Announce

that Resurrections has been resurrected! Uncork the champagne!

It's live, right now, on Smashwords. It may take a few days for it to start showing up on actual e-sites like Amazon and Apple, but you can bypass the wait and download your copy in any format (Nook, Apple, Sony, Kindle, PDF for the computer, you name it) right now, by following this handy link:

And here's the lovely cover I got for the new version!

The first volume is only 2.99 per download! The other ones are much bigger books so those'll probably be 3.99, but the first one is so cheap it's almost free! (Especially compared to the highway robbery prices IUnivese was putting on the print versions)

Thank you everyone reading this. Your good thoughts and well wishes helped a lot to make this possible!

And now, onto formatting Sanctuary! Which will be out in April!

But first, some hot chocolate and a well deserved nap :-)

Friday, March 23, 2012

In which the Author is very very happy

In a few days I'll be posting the new cover to Resurrections. The person I hired to make me one for the e-book version is doing an awesome job, I can't wait to show this off.

So... that's about it. In a few days, it begins again.

Monday, March 19, 2012

In which new technologies are embraced

So, I got a Kindle. Used, but it's nice. And has buttons. And the first thing I did was search "free books" on Kindle's store and got a bunch of classics (including Les Misérables, but I'm not sure yet which translation it is) and then I uploaded the two PDFs I have of the Pont-au-Change books, for Sanctuary and Adrift (I have NO idea whatever happened to the PDF for Resurrections) and they look pretty good, but small type.

So here's what I'm doing. Since technically IUniverse owns the PDFs of the books so I can't publish using them, I can redo the PDFs from my original files and then publish them as e-books. So that people can read them again. And I can start earning some income from them again. Because the life I'm living now is not the life I want to keep living.

It's time for me to start doing what I love to do and stop making excuses for not doing it.

Time for me to draw out a dragon or two.

To understand what that means, I suggest you go here and see. It will be worthwhile.

Here we go.