Thursday 26 December 2013

Seasonal update

It's a fine tradition in this house to be working on books over Xmas. I finished my first print novel in Germany over Christmas 2000. I don't remember what else I did in that year, but I remember sitting quite contently and editing/tweaking that book. It seemed like a very good use of "empty" time.

This year, I have a pile of edits on my desk. Developmental edits on one book and line edits on another. I've also sent back edits on a third novel before that and a fourth novel is currently with the editor. Two of those are co-written, but the ones hogging my desktop right now are both solos, which means I can't consult with a co-writer on decisions and that self-consciousness and anxiety kicks in. What if it's not good?

Well. I took the liberty to spend the last two days playing Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (Christmas present from the Dude), which has a ludicrous story if you actually follow politics and military history, but some pixel eye candy, pretty well-written levels and oh the shiny. Amped up on trigger-happiness, I then switched to an old favourite: Splinter Cell: Conviction, which made me re-learn the bloody controller, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. Of course, my DNA as a gamer is to go for maximum damage, so Sam Fisher never killed so many people. In a sneaky way. (That's why I like Gears of War and Call of Duty - the comical levels of ultraviolence.)

It does make me want to write some more military stuff, so that should be great for that series of paranormal novels I'm hatching.

I made my first batch of unassisted gingerbread. I'm also currently in the process of helping a friend buy a house. I've been through the process before, and personal finance is a hobby of mine. I just enjoy financial planning.

Then I've heard back from a job I applied for and they want to see me in early January. They're also seeing my boss (yes, we're sharing job specs, considering the ship feels a lot like it's going down).

So, lots of stuff going on. I'm not really writing, though I hope the Muse will be a bit more cooperative. I've been putting words down for Suckerpunch, but it's not nearly in the quantities that I'll need.

Then I've been in contract negotiations with Ulisses-Spiele for the re-issue of three of my old German novels. They have the rights for the 150-odd book series "DSA", Germany's largest fantasy RPG system. I'd estimate about 95% of all German speculative fiction writers got their break with DSA, which always had a decidedly fannish culture and hence much lower barriers to entry, to borrow a term.

That means re-reading the old manuscripts, making changes where necessary and accepting that I wasn't a great stylist 13 years ago. (I'm still no great stylist, mind, but these days I get edited a lot more harshly.) Mostly, I have to fight the instinct to butcher and rewrite them. Essentially, I can't enforce my current tastes on something so old. Any editing done on this needs to be gentle.

I'm also considering adding a sex scene to one of them - something the editor is very much in favour of. There are two male couples in there, and one's mostly hinted at. I think that slave should get a reward...

I briefly considered attending the Leipzig Book Fair in March, but then I saw that the whole city is booked out for the weekend and decided against it. While friends claim I'm "still a known quantity" due to the DSA novels, I don't have anything to offer in German. That said, I might co-write something with a German friend to keep my hand in. That said, I will travel to Marburg in late March to visit friends.

Christmas (or "Chrimbo" as some people call it) didn't make much of an impact. Not seeing family, not entertaining, not cooking huge amounts of food. It's a week off and I'm getting a couple books done. Cooking-wise, we selected a few favourites and are preparing those. I admire all the authors who're putting out Christmas codas, but I'm not getting into the groove and right now I'm not writing in any meaningful way. When I'm trapped in the "editing" side of my brain, writing isn't easy. I think the brain will be clearer when I'm done with these two books and have them out of the way.

Plans for 2014 so far include:

- Getting a new real-life job
- Getting a new bathroom installed
- Finishing Suckerpunch
- Writing two historical novels
- Writing more Market Garden
- Launching/planning a new paranormal series

Anyway. Hope you guys are having a good Festive Season and a Happy New Year. :)

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