March 7, 2014
It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about what TV I’m watching. Maybe because it hasn’t been changing much. I did enough traveling the last couple of months that it’s been a bit of a challenge keeping up. Thank goodness for all the On Demand and online options! We are spoiled for TV viewing options!
Castle: Still watching! Six seasons in! This is quite a feat. And it’s still the center of my “make dinner for friends/learning to cook” project, which has now been going for about the whole run, which is kind of cool. I really love that it’s turning into a show about two grownups working on their relationship. With cornball mysteries.
I finally watched the Doctor Who Christmas/new doctor thingy. Meh. Matt Smith’s doctor never grew on me. I would like to go back to a Doctor Who where all the women in the show aren’t throwing themselves at him. And then the story was rather unintelligible: the Silence, and the Angels, and the crack in the universe, and…and… This show is in danger of turning into one long inside joke. I’ll give the new Doctor a chance, but he’s really going to have to work to win me over.
Arrow: This one is getting better and better. It’s keeping up with the parts of I love and adding new bits all the time. This is a great show for women characters. It’s also weirdly giving me my GI Joe fix, because I swear, the flashback bits are Cobra Island. Have I explained my “the flashbacks are Cobra Island” theory? Seriously, I explained it to my friends and one of them said, “You’re right! That missile launcher even looks like a toy!”
Agents of SHIELD. A plot entirely built on acronyms. So wildly inconsistent I’m not sure what to think of it. Flashes of brilliance in between stretches of sheer stupidity. (I am a badass sniper…so I will place myself behind a giant truck that gives me zero line of sight…and not move… wut?) So frustrating. And yet, we watch for the easter eggs.
And…am I watching anything else? Sleepy Hollow, which is still lots of fun but would be even better if they could decide on one back story and stick to it. But I think that may be it. Oh! Face Off, what are we on, season 6? I have no opinions this season. Oh, and the next season of Justified has started! I’ll probably wait to mainline the whole thing at once.
There’s a lot of TV I ought to be watching, apparently. I seem to be watching NONE of the shows that everyone is talking about. And you know what? I’m okay with that. It’s like with books — never let anyone make you feel guilty for what you read, or what you haven’t read. Same with TV. Life is short.
March 5, 2014
Some things to report:
First, a release date for Low Midnight: January 2015. I know this makes it a really long time between releases, but that’s just how it worked out. I’m planning a few surprises and secret projects for over the summer and fall to tide you over and whet your appetite. Stay tuned.
March 14, I’m reading as part of the CU Boulder Creative Writing series. It’s at 7:30 at the CU Museum of Natural History. Come check it out!
Another late-breaking event on the schedule: It looks like I’ll be attending Phoenix Comic Con, June 6-9. More news on that when I have it. (I’ll also probably be at Denver Comic Con the weekend after, but probably only on Saturday. Again, I’ll let you know!)
This is shaping up to be another busy summer.
March 3, 2014
This is just a quick “state of the desk” summary, because I had a busy weekend (Bead show! Sensory overload! I got some Roman glass beads to make pendants out of! Yay!) and failed to think of a more substantive post.
I turned in the book this weekend. Hooray! It’s the next Kitty book after Low Midnight (which I still need to get an exact release date on). I’ve been a little cagey on this one about things like titles and such, but I want to get a handle on future plans before I start blabbing about everything. Sorry for being cryptic and all.
In the meantime, I have, like, NINE MILLION side projects keeping me busy (that may be an exaggeration), because the rule is to always be working on the next thing. One of my goals for the last month: clear my desk of side projects so I’ll be ready to launch in on the next novel writing project. When I got back from my trip I had four rough drafts I wanted to do something with by the end of the month. Here’s how it worked out: Harry and Marlowe short story rough draft — finished and sold; Secret Novella — finished and off to beta readers; Kitty Novel rough draft — finished and turned in; Secret short story — decided I want to write the two companion stories first and revise them all at once. So, on hold.
Not bad! I also spent yesterday putting a bunch of old manuscripts in boxes. And working on Low Midnight copyedits, which I’ll finish this week. I’ve started a new short story, and I’m still working on the Wild Cards graphic novel script.
My brain. It is full. I like it.
February 28, 2014
February 26, 2014
The next book is due on March 1. It’s almost there! February, that month where the end of the month totally sneaks up on me! I’m not worried — except the copy edits for Low Midnight landed on my desk this week, too. This always happens. (Update: when I say the book is due, I mean the manuscript is due at my publisher.)
Just in case you think I had a consistently terrible time in high school based on the last couple of posts, I want to assure you I had some really wonderful teachers as well. Like Mr. McHugh, who let us try some pretty crazy (i.e. exothermic, i.e. explosive) experiments during class in AP Chemistry because it was totally educational, or Mrs. Gaggi, my sophomore English teacher, who when I shyly went up to her desk and asked her if my writing was maybe good enough to get published, she said, “Sure, give it a try!” And that’s when I started sending out short stories.
I had a blah day yesterday, which I blame on a combination of bad weather and having to spend the day on some bureaucratic errands that took almost all day. Today will be better. *cracks knuckles, gets to it*
February 24, 2014
It’s a wonder I ever became an English major, what with the terrible time I had in AP English in high school. But I think part of the reason I had a terrible time was I loved the literature. This is the class where I discovered Sylvia Plath and Tom Stoppard. But the teacher… I argued with her. A lot.
So, in comments on the previous post I already told the story about this awful textbook we had that divided stories into “real” literature and popular literature, or “crap,” pretty much just like that (the book earned my eternal ire by placing Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game,” one of my favorite short stories at the time, in the “crap” category). So one day as part of a group presentation I did a fake commercial with a blender where I announced “This is your brain on popular literature,” blended an apple, and said, “Any questions?” The entire class cheered. The teacher did not. (I wonder, if I tried to bring a blender to high school now, would I be suspended because of zero tolerance policies?)
This was also the class where I pointed out that you can sing every Emily Dickinson song to the tune of “Yellow Rose of Texas.” (There are sing alongs on YouTube. Proceed at your own risk.) Now, first off, you can’t sing every poem to that tune, and second, that just means it’s a popular meter and there was no reason for Dickinson not to use a popular meter. In my defense, I would not have pointed this out to the class if I didn’t think everybody didn’t already know it. Turns out, nobody else knew it, and I was subsequently blamed for ruining Dickinson for everyone. (My response: “If that’s all it takes to ruin Dickinson for you, you don’t deserve her!”)
It would have ended there, except test day came along. The test, the big AP test that had kids puking in the bushes beforehand. As part of the AP English test, we were given a poem cold, that day, that we had to do a close reading on and write an essay about in the space of forty minutes or so. We cracked open our test books: Yes, it was an Emily Dickinson poem. And there were two dozen high school kids humming that song under their breaths. If looks could kill, I’d have been a steaming pile of goo that day.
I, however, thought it was the funniest damn thing that had happened all year. I could not stop laughing. And I got a 5 out of 5 on the test.
February 21, 2014
The first time I read Pride and Prejudice was in high school, for AP English, and I hated it. I think this was because it was Serious Literature. The teacher (who I never really got along with, long story there) was careful to tell us how Serious it is, and we talked about its Seriousness. The whole time I was thinking, this is a freaking soap opera about people getting married. Hell no.
Then I watched a bunch of Monty Python, as you do when you’re a nerd moving on to college.
When I read Pride and Prejudice the second time, in college, I realized it’s funny, in the same way Monty Python is funny. It’s all caricature and satire, some of it utterly scathing. Even Elizabeth is frequently mockable because she’s so sure she can read everyone else, but she knows herself so little. If someone had just told me the first time around that this was supposed to be funny and we’re allowed to laugh at it — in fact, we’re supposed to laugh at it — it wouldn’t have taken me another 15-20 years to become a fan of Jane Austen.
Then I was introduced to the BBC version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle, with all those beautiful clothes and settings, and I watched a bunch of the other films, and read the books, and I thought, What would this look like with werewolves? Because of course that’s what I would think.
So I’m working on that.
In the meantime, I’ve read a bunch of Austen and I’ve even started reading other authors’ takes on Regency romance, an entire genre invented by people trying to replicate Austen. There’s even a whole genre of sequels to Pride and Prejudice, about what happens to Lizzie and Darcy after they get married. I have to admit: I don’t like the sequels so far, and I stopped reading P.D. James Death Comes to Pemberley entirely. You know why? They’re not funny. They strip Elizabeth of all her wit. All the pointed social commentary and character studies are just gone, as if the world of P&P ought to suddenly be taken seriously. It’s all tedious dialog and description of manners and nothing of the satire and the pointed zingers of Austen — which is the whole point of Austen. (You want to know my idea for a Pride and Prejudice sequel? “Fitzwilliam Darcy Jr., Pioneering Naturalist, and His Adventures in India.” This must be why I’m a genre writer.)
I love the costumes when I’m watching the movies, and I’m finally making a Regency gown after years of wanting to do so. I know there’s a level at which it’s all about the clothes and manners. But dammit, my Regency stories are going to make people smile.