Monday, July 18, 2011


Status Report! I'm two weeks out from a submission deadline and feeling, for once, pretty confident in my work. Project Oh God It Burns and Project Lost In The Woods are both revised, polished, and sitting with beta readers for a quick once-over before I give them a final bit of shine and send them out to the God-Editors. Let me take a moment to thank my beta readers, better known as my wife Sarah and my best friend Colin. They don't generally read the stuff I like to write, but they're still willing to take time out of their busy lives to pore over manuscript pages and tell me where I've gone and fucked up. They both rock.

Project Long Hard Slog Over Broken Glass has not been so much fortunate: For the moment it's sitting in a drawer, waiting for me to dust it off and get it on its feet again. That could happen in a few weeks; that might not happen for months. I'm not sure at the moment which: at the moment it depends on how well Project Oh God It Burns is received, in my mind if nowhere else.

I am currently casting Project Sexy Golem, which involves taking a hard look at the characters I know I want in the story, and making sure they have what it takes to carry a story. That means giving them names, faces, goals, loves, hates, quirks, neuroses: the whole gamut of what makes someone interesting to read about. Once I've got a few sketches together, I'll be outlining. Once I've outlined, I'll start writing. That should still happen in August.

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I'm slightly scared about taxes.

Well, that goes for everyone. What I'm worried about is paying my taxes when (never if) I reach the next level as a writer, which is making enough money at it that I'm forced to register myself as a business. So far my income's been meager enough that I've been able to file this as a hobby.

No writers write about taxes. Stephen King discusses how his short stories helped him scrape by before Carrie, but Uncle Sam does not appear once in On Writing (he's probably got a guy). A few books about writing take a stab at the business end of things, but never in great detail. The books that devote themselves entirely to freelancing never tackle the question of what you do if you already have a day job.

I have a job I'm not quitting anytime soon. I get taxes withheld from my paycheck and a W-2 at the end of every year. I do not want to layer quarterly tax filings on top of that if I don't have to. I don't know if I have to. I don't know anyone who's dealt with this and spoken about it publicly.


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I'm developing an unhealthy obsession with OCD: Obsessive Corgi Disorder. It's just pictures of Corgis. There's nothing else to it. But it updates faster than a speed freak and it always brings the cute. I'd contribute, but the lighting in my house is horrible and Lina refuses to take a good picture recently.

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True Blood has me actively hoping for a black panther massacre. If you're following the show you know why. It's something that bothers the living fuck out of me whenever I try to read supernatural romance of the Charlaine Harris or Laurell K. Hamilton variety. The main character typically gets fed on, mesmerized, cursed, raped, infected, and God knows what else by the cast of a Hammer horror film in every book. Yet, somehow, thoughts of stakes or silver bullets never enter the heroine's mind, at least not associated with the sexy bad boys gnawing on their neck.

I wonder to this day what would happen if Anita Blake got loose from all the shit flowing in her veins and reverted back to the no-bullshit investigator we met in Guilty Pleasures. I guarantee you Jean-Claude would be a tiny pile of ash inside of a week. Which is kind of how Project Sexy Golem came about, now that I think about it.

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Two last bits of business.

Ari Marmell has a new book out. The Goblin Corps is epic fantasy written from point of view of the monsters: the orcs, gremlins, trolls, bugbears, and other miserable creatures bound in service to the titular Dark Lord. Except this lot is foul-mouthed, crude, treacherous, and somehow quite sympathetic on top of all that. It's a load of fun to read and well worth your time if you've ever enjoyed anything with an orc in it.

Chuck Wendig also has a new book out, but electronic-only I'm afraid. 250 Things You Should Know About Writing is a dirt-cheap collection of his 25 Things You Should Know About... blog posts, all of which have been informative. You also get some articles that were never posted on the blog, such as 25 Things You Should Know About Writing A Fucking Sentence. For 99 cents, you've really got no reason not to pick it up.

Go. Read. Enjoy.

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