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Three Cups Later Posts

jodo

I remember when I was younger that I thought I’d pursue martial arts so I could write more believable fight scenes. Now I realize that, by pursuing martial arts, I am only finding it all the more difficult to write believable fight scenes because I agonize over every FREAKIN’ sentence.

But what I really probably need to do is go watch some jodo/jojutsu somewhere, or find a video of the same. Because I have no idea if what Myr just did to her father is even technically possible.

I suppose I could always experiment….

I mowed down fairyland today. Or, at least, that’s what I was thinking as I ran my mulcher-mower over the backyard. Little bugs, moths, and various garden critters went flying as I ran over their homes. There were tiny purple flowers, and tiny white flowers, and tiny yellow flowers, and it wouldn’t have surprised me one bit to see a pixie sitting on the chain link fence, mourning the death of his homeland.

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meanwhile, at the barricade

I’m terrified to read the big fat George R.R. Martin fantasy series he’s been writing the past couple of years because I know it’s going to be fantastic, and I’m going to be utterly despondent over its fantasticness.

Or, y’know, not. Sometimes reading really good fiction has the exact opposite effect.

Whoo. I thought I was climbing my way out of hell, but then I made the mistake of looking back over my shoulder, and now I’m stuck on the path again. Next weekend (not this weekend), I swear I’m gonna lock myself in my office and tell Eurydice to shove it.

I’ve got five chapters and eight characters screaming for blood, and it’s gonna be Bastille Day in my brain if I don’t do something.

    ring around the rosie

    pocket full of posies

    ashes to ashes

    we all fall down

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house buying sucked my soul

Move-in is this week. HOLY CRAP. I’m going to get my life back! Yeeee! (as my nephew would say)

And everyone thought I was insane for trying to write a book while buying a house. They were right. I’m ready to finish the buying/moving stuff so I can write it, though. Fawk.

Why oh why is it I most want to write when I’m most under duress and unable to write?

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books, books

My books arrived, and they are dry but informative; I’ll read them while I’m out in Cali next week (god, is that only next week away?). As I told a friend — that why I are a ritur. I take the boring stuff and make it fun.

I love going to aikido. Just saying.

Tonight we’re having a tomato and mozzarella dinner which should be very good. Today we had Vietnamese food at a Chinese restaurant that’s been around since I moved here, but just started serving Vietnamese. They should have been doing it from the get-go. So much better than that crap that passes for Chinese food here.

As for writing — midway through chapter 3, and shit’s about to hit the fan, but for now we’re stuck in uneasy pastoral bliss. With luck I’ll finish it before the end of the week, but I’m toying with some minor changes to the flow and ebb of the story, so who knows? If I really push, I could probably do chapter 4 as well. If I weren’t working, it’d be no problem, but…gotta pay the bills.

    So, if you don’t see your Heaven

    Don’t convince yourself you’re done

    Just ’cause the things around you seem heavy

    Doesn’t mean you can give up this ground

    On Grey Street

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girls like bastards

The latest website cover is of Wraith, who I won’t be writing about for a long time. He’s a character in a universe that I am letting brew in the back of my mind like a fabulous pot of super-deluxe, extra-strength Turkish coffee. It’s part of my evil plan to someday sharpen my craft so I can write a first-person hardboiled fantasy universe. No, REALLY.

Biggest problem with this cover was that I drew it entirely in ink, which means I couldn’t correct proportions, and the hair was a real bitch. You’d think after fifteen years of freestyle drawing I’d learn, but it’s just so much easier to draw with pen than pencil, and pencils tend to get lost around my house (read: I own cats).

As for Wraith — he’s the original Smiling Bastard, and he has a brother, who’s also a bastard, but on the other end of the Bastard Spectrum TM. I mean, there are smiling bastards, who you love to love, and scary bastards, who you just wish would go away.

And that’s all I’m gonna say, because it’s truly pointless to go on about a character when he hasn’t even appeared in any novels yet.

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research

Proofs away! My copyediting skills are seriously rusty. I’ve forgotten all the neat little symbols and such that one is supposed to use when editing things. Blargh.

In a fit of historical correctness, I went and ordered three books on medieval life in castles, villages, and cities because that’s another department where I could use some polish. I know tons about life in pre-Christian Mediterranean and African cultures, but my half-assed history degree from SFSU is many many years in my past, and none of my professors really addressed how people lived anyway (a shame; I found that far more interesting than the endless political bullshit, though the Medicis were fascinating).

Not that I am strict in my research, but I like to have it. I detest writing where the author simply scoops out the guts of a research thesis and plops it into their novel. Where’s the fun in that? Research should be like a backbone. It gives the story structure, but it’s icky if it’s actually visible.

And for the record — as a professional games writer, I have to say that RPGs can be a useful tool for writing novels, but if I can hear the dice rolling while I’m reading your story, then you have failed to successfully draw me in and separate your story from an overly detailed explanation of the last game you DM’d.

But anyway, back to what I’m writing now — I’m thinking China when I write the rural setting for Orobaerus, and have been thinking that for a couple years now, even though its inhabitants are relatively Franco-Anglo in appearance and speech, and the landmass is much smaller than China (hurray for imagination!). And all this just reminds me that I need to flip through my Chronicles of the Emperors of China book again; I must, I must.

And oh, here’s to hoping that someday I get to visit all these marvelous countries I like to draw from in my stories. Japan, China, France, Egypt…drool.

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more writing

Want…to write…need…to sleep….

Chapter One is very short in this iteration. Chapter Two is very long. SYMMETRY! Must…have…symmetry….

I have always had the amazing ability to write perfect, 8-10 page chapters. This is bizarre. I’ll just pretend it’s a prologue or somethin’.

Anyway, Chapter One is done for now, and Chapter Two is pretty much done. Three should be fun. The arrival of the hollow men.

Okay…yeah…need sleep. Falling asleep at the keyboard? No good. Automatic writing does not great fiction make, sorry.

    well there’s an obvious attraction

    to the path of least resistance

    in your life

    cuz it’s easy not to

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proof

I seem to have the same taste in gay men as Lance Arthur. Hm. Anyway, Kyan and Ted are both dishy, and both for entirely different reasons. Watching that show is like being back in the Bay Area. But, y’know, not.

Page proofs for Sun in Glory showed up today, and wow — there are some really cool authors in that thahr book. I’m feeling a light-headed after reading the table of contents. Pant.

There are lots of typos, but that’s okay — I have a fax number and I’m not afraid to use it. The story itself is two years old, and yet I still like it. The main character is neat, I managed to work in a little of my wacky humor, and the story is convoluted and a little character-heavy, but otherwise very much what I wanted. A quality I can only describe as “Valdemarish”. After all, this was the world I semi-grew up in.

I notice a similarity in my published Valdemar stories; whatever’s bugging me at the time I write them somehow winds up being a major part of the main character’s problem. I don’t like reading “Blood Ties” now; I was way too angry back then, way too crusades-happy. “Starhaven” has a lot of my frustrations about politics worked into it, but in a good way (I think).

Anywho, if you like Valdemar stories and you like me, you’ll probably like this one. I’m just sayin’.

And if you have no clue what I’m talking about, that’s okay, too. I guess. (sniff)

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finding it, keeping it, holding it

Please don’t kill me, but I started over again. >_< I know, I know, I just need to write the fucker. JUST WRITE IT, STEPH! But I have had this story for so long in my head, and there are things I’ve forgotten. Old loam at the bottom of the soil that is the story’s fertile ground. I remembered what had sparked the original story, and I knew I had to start over again.

It’s the house buying. It’s disrupted me. My brain isn’t where it used to be.

I am happy with this intro. It feels natural. The other felt forced and artificial. Tasted like plastic and ozone. This one tastes like chocolate and blood. Mmmm. Chocolate.

I’m sorry, please forgive me. But I feel like I have it now. I do, I do.

Argh. I know I said I wouldn’t do this, but…I must write the story I must write. I have that leisure. No editor holding a gun to my head. And the other I just sort of pushed through because I knew I had to do something. Because I was desperate at that point in my life to do something.

Now I’m at a serene spot, and I’m doing the right thing instead. Does that make any sense?

Paint fumes are rotting my brain.

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the temporary return

I am midway through securing a house, and all the way through rescuing the keyboard from the smaller cat. And now I have finally written a few more pages into Chapter Three, eliminating two that didn’t work.

My artsy side is striving to take over my life, and I have already themed three of the rooms in my home: Neo-Asian in the living room, English garden in the bedroom, and French country in the kitchen. This is not so bad, because I have no furniture whatsoever, so when I shop I have a clear idea of what I’m looking for.

I wish I could explain to you, Dear Reader, where my bizarre mix of style comes from, and I’m afraid the best answer I have is to spread my hands and shrug my shoulders at you. Perhaps it comes from sucking down all the Franco-Anglo fantasy fiction I could find as a child, or perhaps the act of absorbing Clavell’s Shogun as an adolescent left a third degree burn scar on my psyche. These are the sensibilities that now bleed into my design desires. Not to mention my cooking tastes.

I am almost finished with The Joy Luck Club by Mme. Amy Tan, and it has me thinking — why don’t we write fantasy fiction like this? Why is it so much fantasy fiction is simply straight-forward storytelling, no flash, no attempt at clever ways to make the brain maneuver through the tale? I am fascinated with the weave of this story — how the daughters have been effected by the past their mothers lived, how each voice is similar but different. Perhaps someone ought to think about doing something in this vein. It’s highly effective.

And since I am on a reading jag, I finally finished reading Finder by Mme. Emma Bull. It was quite good, but I was sad at the end, as I was post-reading Bone Dance. Emma is more ruthless than I, and far more deft at her ruthlessness. She creates characters as strong and fragile as eggshells, and crushes them when you least expect it. But somehow it all comes out right in the end. I so wish I could eat her brain.

So much to do. At the end of the month comes the family visit, and then a very busy seminar with Kashiwaya-sensei. And closing on the 18th of next month. So writing will occur, but it is sporadic.

And on a very bright side — my aunt’s website is not done, but it is released. The design is mine, as is the heavy tinkering with our shopping cart of choice (VP-ASP). Go buy some coffee from her, why don’t you?

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