Join me today for a round of questions on what I’m up to — some tongue in cheek, some less so. Continue reading
One thing I’ve learned over the past several years of writing is that the way I write doesn’t stay the same, nor does the way I edit. Nor, fortunately, has my attitude about what I already know. Continue reading
As I’ve mentioned before, I often have more than one project in progress, so I had to decide which one to use for this post — I’m going to talk about Touching Time, my Mayan novel.
In my freelance work, I do a lot of proofreading of travel books. This often gives me little baby plot bunnies that I stuff into a hutch in my brain to see if they grow into anything. I’ve proofread a few for Mexico, the Yucatán, and Central America, and on the way, I ran across engravings that couldn’t be translated, cenotes, underground rivers, and abandoned cities completely covered by the jungle.
I think my thought process for Julia, my psychometric main character, originally had nothing to do with the Mayan ideas. She might have shown up in New Orleans, or maybe in England — somewhere with an atmospheric cemetery, trailing her hand across a gravestone to learn what the eroded carvings could no longer tell her.
When Moongypsy Press put out their call earlier this year, my mind flipped through the stored ideas and said, hey, Julia could read this untranslated mosaic. But then what did it say? Some research into the Mayan calendar and it’s repeating time cycles gave me the notion of time travel to a previous end-of-cycle period — triggered by Julia’s reading.
And those are the seeds the novel is being grown from — little bits of this and that from my work and my reading and letting my brain have the time to make the connections.
(Today’s post was inspired by the topic “Where I got my latest idea” — the opening question in the inaugural cycle of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The next post in the tour will be on the 4th, by D. M. Bonanno. Be sure to check it out.
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out where they got their latest ideas, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!)
I was going to start this post with a picture of my nightstand and intersperse it with other shots of reading material around the house. I even dusted my nightstand before taking pictures! However, there have been yet more computer problems Chez Hartshorn, so that’s not happening. I’ll post pictures some other time; sorry, folks.
This first non-existent picture is the state of my nightstand as I write this. There are three different stacks of books, including paperbacks and hardbacks. There’s a lot there, to be sure — but it’s not really what I read before I go to bed at night (because by the time I get to bed, I just want to sleep, and if I don’t, I’m reading whatever I wandered into the bedroom holding) or what’s up next in my reading queue. There are a couple books here that I dip into for a page or two before sleep occasionally, and books that if we had a tub instead of a walk-in shower, I’d be happy to take with me while I indulged in a bubblebath. There are books that I have there because I should read them, and books that I put there because my husband was trying to clean up the living room and I had books all over the place.
What you don’t see is the hundreds of books that I have available if I want them when I go in there at night. I carry my iPod Touch with me everywhere, and on it I have apps to read with: Kindle, Nook, Stanza, Air Sharing (which lets me load up PDF and RTF files, so that’s where I’ve got the current Hugo nominees), but not Kobo (not compatible with my old iPod, sadly). Last time I checked, I had 126 downloads to my Kindle app. Some of those are samples, some are freebies, and some are books I’ve paid for, prices ranging from 99 cents to $6.99.
In addition to those, I have other piles of books around the house, including the table by the entryway, littered with library books and magazines (Fantasy & Science Fiction, Black Gate, Weird Tales, Locus, SFWA Bulletin, National Geographic, and a few different alumni mags). (Another non-existent picture goes here, of that table with my son’s books on the left, two piles of my books in the middle, plus the magazines, and my husband’s books on the right.)
All of which rather makes one ask two questions:
- How do I manage to read it all?
- How do I decide what to read next?
The first answer is easy — I don’t. *sigh* Try as I might, I don’t get to everything. Somehow, though, that doesn’t stop me from acquiring more. Because, you know, if the mood isn’t right for whatever’s in the pile, I still might find something else fascinating.
The second is trickier. Sometimes, it really depends on my mood — I want something light, or something familiar, or the book I’ve been waiting for months to come out. What I’ve been doing the past few weeks (and anticipate continuing through at least the rest of this month) is alternating — something from the Hugo nominations packet, something from the library, something from one of the authors I’m including in my A to Z tour (although that might also fall under one of the other categories). I’m also trying to make sure I’m reading some nonfiction — Jackie As Editor, The Influencing Machine, The Psychopath Test.
All of that said, what are some of the books I have in the TBR pile?Embassytown by China Miéville (hold request placed at library), The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (borrowed from a friend, and should be read and returned), Hammerfall by C. J. Cherryh (Can you believe I’ve never read anything by her?), God’s War by Kameron Hurley, Witch-born by A. J. Maguire, and Starve Better by Nick Mamatas. I’ll probably also pick up Quantum Rose, Spherical Harmonic, and The Moon’s Shadow by Catherine Asaro since I enjoyed Ascendant Sun so much, but that might not be until fall — I don’t exactly have a shortage of things to read.
(Another non-existent photo here, with some of the books laid out to cover the surface of a card table, so you can actually see the titles and authors — The Courage to Write, A Forest of Stars, Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Half World, Passion Play, Jackie as Editor, Then Everything Changed, The Fat Man, The Copyright Handbook, Negotiating a Book Contract, Tracing the Shadow, Primal Branding, Bloodchild and other stories, Nylon Angel, Fire on the Deep, Quantum Rose, Seven Contemporary Chinese Women Writers, The Psychopath Test.)
So what are you reading right now?
(Today’s post was inspired by the topic “What Books are on Your Nightstand?” — the opening question in the inaugural cycle of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The next post in the tour will be on the 4th, by D. M. Bonanno. Be sure to check it out.
If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!)