Monday, August 27, 2012

Barring Unforeseen Disaster

We went to the big library in Anoka yesterday and I checked out ten books on "Arabian Nights" and modern Yemen. Even my son recognized "research for the next book," and graciously loaned me his library card. As I complete the final paperwork for my retirement, I can spend an hour or so each day absorbing desert atmosphere for "Hero of Fire." I've already been brushing up on the Talmud.

I just hit chapter 40 in "Queen of the Pirates". Only 7-10 outlined chapters left. I allow for extra because the big battles I sketch for the end always split into two or three chapters. This one has taken several minor twists even I didn't anticipate. Lady Corrie Evershade is a powerful character and pulls the entire world to revolve around her every chance she gets. I have 14 days till the edit window. Barring unforeseen disaster, I should make it.

Dave Baker, my best friend from high school woke me this morning, calling from his hospital room. After an accident with a chainsaw yesterday, he may lose the use of his right hand. Prayers would be appreciated. The doctors are dealing with the pain, but it was a severe emotional blow as well.  UPDATE: He had five tendons reattached successfully but the nerves carrying sensation from the back of his hand are iffy.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut for Six-Year-Olds

I took a break from "Queen of the Pirates" this weekend to drive my wife and kids on a whirlwind tour of the twelve quilt stores in southwest Minnesota. Tammy really likes quilting and seeing her smile was worth it. In one small town I poked around in  a new + used bookstore while the others shopped for fabric. They don't hate Amazon there like new bookstores because Amazon marketplace helps them sell their books all over the world. This was a welcome change. They had a nice selection of kid's books up front, like "Everybody Poops."

The funniest thing was that in the next aisle, due to childish pictures and titles like "Cat's Cradle" and "Welcome to the Monkey House," someone had shelved Kurt Vonnegut in with the Kindergarten through second grade books. I gently broached this subject with the clerk. She's never read him. I informed her that the first story in one collection of shorts involves drugging and raping a woman. They weren't removed because it wasn't her section. (She was the only one in that day.)

We had a nice discussion about what "Slaughter House Five" was about, as well as the deeper meaning of few Stephen King novels. It felt odd explaining books to a person working in a bookstore (kind of like explaining vaginas to a woman), but I felt compelled. When my wife came in, I pointed out the Vonnegut and she also exclaimed that this was inappropriate for people reading Berenstain Bears books. No reaction from the clerk. My son bought a used Animorphs book for the trip home and we left.

We had some great family time, each of us making selections from the iPod jukebox to sing along to. We had a good meal out and candy for dessert. Now the kids are asleep!

Tonight, Tammy is reading over the first 86K words of "Queen of the Pirates". It's reached a plateau for this emperor's plot thread. He holds the enemy at bay while Tashi, Pinetto, and Sarajah race to find people from her new kingdom to save the empire from the Pretender's invasion. I was shocked to see how many pages it is. My newer style is much more aerated by dialogue than twelve years ago. Still, we should have it wrapped up by my edit slot September 10th. I'm already

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Royal Pain

I just did the paperback formatting for "Contagion". I always find 3 or 4 quirks in the e-book when I paste this up. Believe is or not, Word even has a few bugs. Then I had to re-post the e-book once I had the paperback done. Last night, I finished this book completely, including tagging, getting three wonderful readers to review, sending "free" notices to 150 bloggers, and giving the book away for two days. Whew.

It was a good month; I had record sales for the Jezebel series. Now it's a new month, new book, and we start all over again.

Even though it is the third book in the series, "Queen of the Pirates" is a completely different animal than the others. Though there is a quest to a new land with new magic and lots of action, the central theme is "just because some god names you queen/emperor doesn't mean the people there want you." They like things just the way they are -- with them in control. It doesn't matter if you fell from the sky and look exactly like the picture they painted of the ideal ruler, and pass every test they give you, people will resist. Enter our minor character, Lady Evershade, noblewoman of the first circle, fallen on hard times. The emperor has to pick one candidate from each kingdom, and one of them will become his first wife in the spring. Nightglow, her daughter is one of them. Lady Evershade gets named official chaperone and systematically submarines each candidate. She took over the middle of my book, but it's so LMAO hilarious I'm going with it. It's like watching an ultra-rich cheerleading mom who uses rare jellyfish poisons. Just put her in an important event like the coronation and watch her take over.  It gets even funnier when the emperor shows her a small kindness and she takes his banner with religious fervor.

My only worry is whether the dream sex/sex magic scenes are too much. There's a fine line between selling the story with humor and farce. I don't want to ruin the whole series by JarJaring out on this sub-plot thread. For now, I'll just finish it out and edit later. She just arranged for one of the dancers (a fifteen year old) to disobey and get drunk at a museum fund raiser. The whole chapter was a hoot to write with the stuff that popped out of her mouth. "Mom, where are getting the money for all this?"
"From your dowry. Enjoy the shrimp canapes, dear."

To Komiko:
"If the wife arrives second, send her through the portrait gallery and signal Nightglow to warn the mistress."
"There's an etiquette for covering who's sleeping with who?"
"Whom, dear. A lady always use proper grammar when spreading slanderous rumors. And yes, society is held together by such rules."
"How do I keep track of all this?"
"Merely lay the guest list within three feet of you, and Lady Vapordoom will tell anyone in range."

Later to Anna.
"My reputation would be improved if you weren't so friendly with me in public."
"So you mind if I call you a heinous b?" she mumbled.
"Not at all, but please enunciate clearly. I put you at the children's table for tonight's meal, and I want all the other nobles to know you like I do."

In short, Lady Evershade has been a royal pain, but she's just too much fun not to follow around with a mental videocamera.