September 18th, 2009


Finally Friday: we descend on Santa Clara.

Let's go back in time, to Friday, September 4th. (Feel free to make Wayne and Garth time-travel hands. They're like jazz hands, only awesome.) Rosemary and Rue has been available for purchase for less than a week. My house has been thoroughly invaded by book preparation, and also by Amy, who arrived while I had Martian Death Flu and didn't run screaming. My sanity is at a record ebb, since there's so much that needs to be done.

What a perfect time to have a party.

My first book release party was scheduled to happen at Illusive Comics, a comic book store in Santa Clara, California, owned and operated by my friend Anna. It was nepotism that got me the gig, I make no bones about that, but I really wanted a South Bay appearance, and she really wanted an excuse for a party, so hey, nothing wrong here. (My book release was Anna's first-ever non-comic book event. To say that we were both a little nervous is like saying that millipedes are a little over-equipped in the "legs" department.

While I spent the day at my day job, slogging away and trying not to chew through my fingers, the invasion began. Members of the Traveling Circus and Snake-Handling Show poured in from all over the place. Vixy, Tony, and Betsy came from the Seattle area; Brooke came from Vancouver, Canada; Sooj and K came via car from their ongoing magical musical road trip; Mia and Ryan came from Portland, Oregon. (Mia and Ryan, in fact, came at 5:27 AM. Because driving from Oregon to California is awesome.) They slowly filled my house to capacity, frightening the cats and waiting to pounce.

Amy spent the day at Kristoph's, doing awesome fiddle things, and when I called to ask her for an ETA, said that Kristoph would be delivering her to the house. Score! Everything's better with Kristoph.

Mom collected me from the train station, and we arrived home to find it occupied by a Mia, a Ryan, a Brooke, and an Amy. Hugs happened, followed by rapid-fire gathering of the things we'd need for the evening, and then we were off to the hotel where Vixy, Tony, Sooj, and K were staying, to collect the four of them (plus Betsy, who'd initially gone to the hotel when she arrived) and all their musical instruments. Mom had wisely borrowed a van from a friend for the weekend, and we filled that thing to capacity. More hugs were exchanged, and we took off in three vehicles, after a short stop at the 7-11 for provisions. (This is where I mention that my little sister, Rachel, and her girlfriend, Chris, were also in the van.)

We were off! We were running! We were on fire! We were...lost in very short order, leading to my mother stopping at a gas station for directions, while I went into the bathroom to throw up from sheer panic. I don't handle being late very well.

Still, wrong turns and panic attacks aside, we got there only fifteen minutes after the official start, and were met at the curb by the first of what would be many, many bags of candy corn. Inside, the joint was jumpin', and Anna was doing a brisk business in copies of Rosemary and Rue, as well as a few precious copies of Ravens in the Library. (We rapidly sold out of Rosemary and Rue.) The musicians gathered at the back of the store to tune and prepare; I went behind the counter to start signing things and eating candy corn. Blonde does not live by candy corn alone, and Ryan II was dispatched to bring me back delicious samosas. Mmmmmmm, samosas.

I signed more books. Anna looked increasingly wide-eyed as we packed more and more (and more and more) people into her little store. The Magic: the Gathering players set up between us and the bathroom looked more and more concerned that we were going to eat them. My food arrived. I ate my food. Time for music!

Much of the Traveling Circus and Snake-Handling Show had never actually shared a stage before that night, although all of us had played with some combination of the others. We opened with "Wicked Girls," and more than half the room was singing along. I nearly cried. From there, the music was a selection of offerings from each of our musicians—Vixy and Tony's "Thirteen," Betsy's "Wildlife," Sooj's version of "Tam Lin," Brooke's "Rosemary and Rue," and Amy doing mad reels like she thought the night might actually catch flame. Paul Kwinn even joined us for one number, and we did "This Is My Town" live for the first time in years. "Dorothy" was added to the set at the last minute—it turns out Anna, who used to publish the comic that inspired the song, wanted to hear it! Who knew? (This is by no means a complete set list.)

We closed the night with "Alligator In the House," with hugs, with laughter, and without an unclaimed copy of Rosemary and Rue in sight. The Circus was officially underway—and what a magical beginning! Could it get any better?

Actually, yes. It could. Next up, Saturday, San Francisco, slinky Sphynx, and serious sirens seriously invading one of the Bay Area's best independent bookstores. It's time for the Circus to hit Borderlands like a meteorite hitting a cornfield in a horror movie! Yay!

New story, Twitterfic results.

So—as you know, Bob—I belong to the Book View cafe, a truly rocking collective of writers offering free fiction and freelance fancies to the world. It's a really fun group of people, all professionals in their own right, and they do some really strange, really exciting stuff. Really!

Today, the results for my first Twitterfic contest were posted. Our theme was "fairy tale noir," and the entries were so stellar that I really wished we could have ten winners instead of two. Check out the results for a grin. They're really awesome.

As part of what we do over at the Book View Cafe, we all offer short fiction for free reading and enjoyment. My story for this week just went up. It's a fun short piece called "Indexing," and it introduces Henrietta Marchen and the Marchen Containment and Control Agency (MCCA). I really enjoyed this story, and this world. I think I'll probably wind up going back there a time or ten, just for fun.

As an interesting bit of trivia about "Indexing": this was my original concept for Ravens In the Library. I decided it was too frothy at the last minute, scrapped it, and wrote "Lost" instead. So it's a fairy tale flash from the files, and I hope that you enjoy it.

Word count -- Discount Armageddon.

Current stats:

Words: 4,385.
Total words: 46,986.
Reason for stopping: finished chapter thirteen.
Music: the Counting Crows, mostly. Because that's a shock.
Lilly and Alice: home from the vet and totally healthy. Yay, annual exams.

Apparently, officially becoming a novel was what it took to make me really start busting pages on Discount Armageddon, which has just gained another chapter and nearly 5,000 more words. Said chapter includes snark, combat, snark, sewers, snark, Land of the Lost jokes, snark, ballroom dancing applied to a field situation, and snark. Also, Sarah Zellaby—arguably one of my favorite characters in this series—has finally made her full-scale appearance, and she's just as awesome to write as I've been anticipating.

I'm starting to see the shape of the rest of the book more clearly as I near the halfway point. I now anticipate the full manuscript as coming in somewhere around 102,000 words, for the first pass, and reducing to approximately 99,000 words after I go through and do the obligate clean-and-jerk of all those little unnecessary bits that always creep in during the writing process. What's more fun is that I'm starting to see the shape of the series more clearly at the same time, and this is never not going to be fun to write.

Especially if Verity keeps kicking people in the head.