Mercury, You Are Drunk. Give Me Your Keys.

Mercury does this thing about three times a year. Well, actually, it doesn’t really do anything; it just looks like it’s doing something. From Earth it looks like Mercury is moving backwards. They call it retrograde.

And dammit if it doesn’t just fuck everything up.

I  mean, yeah, sure, it’s just a planet and it’s probably not really affecting you, Katje. Sheesh. Crazy pagan, thinking planets do stuff.

And, you know, I know people for whom Mercury going retrograde is nothing. Just another week, or three.

But that’s not true for me. Something in my life always goes wrong when Mercury is retrograde. And Mercury don’t fuck around.

Today I had errands; no big deal, except, you know, they were, but whatever. Get in the car, head up the mountain. This is after spending all morning working. Get caught in traffic. Finally make it to the SFU visitor parking lot aaaaatttttt…3:38pm. I need to get a print out from the registration office and then go to the bookstore to return books that I’ve been trying to return for a month before four o’clock.

So naturally, Galactica dies on me.

Right there in the middle of the parking lot.

A few months ago she was doing this thing, I’m not really sure what it was, but I know it was making her stall out and then not start again for hours, if at all. We took her to the mechanic and got ‘er fixed, for no small amount of money (around 400 dollars).

So she’s doing it again. Wouldn’t start, not even with a jump. Or ten. I had to call a tow truck, and no, I didn’t get to the bookstore to return the books. I also didn’t get to downtown to pick up a proof from the printer’s, nor to my old landlady’s house to get my mail from my last place. Or grocery shopping. Ie, the rest of my errands. None of those happened.

Had to wait a long time for the tow truck to come. Apparently they had to build the truck for him first, or something. Anyway, he was a nice guy; took me to my fiance’s place, where I sit now, writing this for you. Couldn’t take me home, because Galactica needs to get parked in the parkade and the tow truck wouldn’t fit, and couldn’t take me to the mechanic because it would be pointless. They were closed and I would have had to wait outside in the rain for someone to maybe pick me up; more likely, I’d have to be lucky and catch the right bus — that is, if I still had enough money for transit after towing costs — and my luck with transit is…iffy? Definitely NOT something to be gambled with when Mercury is wandering around all over the cosmos like a drunken frat boy.

Towing cost me all of my grocery money. So. That was nice.

On the plus side, my fiance’s house is full of food. So I shall eat it until I’m full.

It is also full of Netflix. I drowned my sorrows in The Hunger Games.

Anyway, you didn’t come here to hear me whine. Wait, actually, I’m not sure why you came here if that’s the case. Whining is pretty much all I do.

So! The Jade Star of Athering. Yes. That thing.

Been working on it every day this month. Working hard. I set myself a deadline of finishing it by…um…tomorrow, but seeing as today’s events kind of borked the fuck out of everything, that may not happen. If I don’t finish the book tomorrow, my stretch deadline is March 8th.

Ran into a couple of problems the past few days that left me frustrated enough to screw up the progress I was making, unfortunately. Nothing like writing a continuity error into the plot of a sequel. Easily fixable, luckily — well, relatively easily — and all done now; really you’ll never notice where I grafted in the fix. And then I had to spend a morning figuring out troop deployments, marching orders, etc. There may have been some maps involved. Maps that are now sitting on my desk, at home.

Tonight’s writing and tomorrow morning’s scribblings are doing to be done sans guidance. Whatever; that’s fine. Nothing will stop me from writing this book.

Regardless the problems, the book has been pretty exciting the past few weeks. New things have cropped up, old storylines are being wrapped up, things I gave clues for in Bellica will be revealed. As well, the plot for a third book is revealing itself to me, so gods willing I’ll have the first draft of another book [in what is apparently turning into a series] started before the end of the year. (Maybe I can make it my November project.)

March project is revisions and story bibles! That’s a lot of work, and I’m hoping it’ll help me lay out the rest of the groundwork I need for Camp NaNoWriMo and my April novel project, the next book in the Stranger Skies series, currently untitled.

I don’t yet have a release date for any of these books. I’m hoping to have a clearer picture of when that will be next month. Before the first round of revisions is done, however, I have no way to safely gauge. Suffice it to say — you will see both The Jade Star of Athering and Stranger Skies out this year. And I daresay I’ll do a better job of releasing them than I did Bellica. (Eeesh, what a trainwreck.)

On that note, I’m off to eat the rest of my fiance’s food. I’ll see you next month.

SFFSat January 26th: Thalaea learns about Saeas, Witch Goddess

Good morning! (Or evening, if you’re in my time zone.) Last week and the week before our ex-goddess character found her new True Name — Thalaea — and discovered she was falling for a mortal.

This week, we see a conversation between Thalaea and Enendoa, the “wise woman” (ie, witch). Enendoa is teaching Thalaea about Saeas, Witch Goddess of Min.

“Wolves and witches have a long history together in Min. Saeas watches over the wolves as much as She watches over Her chosen, the raven and the witch.”

Thalaea caressed the wolf bone on the altar. She felt an answering trill from the wolf-soul. “Then why are people like Kaz allowed to do what they do? If Saeas is honored by more than just witches.”

A gusty sigh was her response. “You look at the world as if it’s simple, as if people are easy to understand. They’re not. Life is not clearly delineated, and the sooner you learn that, the happier you’ll be.”

(For reference, Kaz is a hunter who…does brutal things to wolves.)

Hope you enjoyed this week’s snippet. There’s still a whole day’s worth of reading for you HERE, and I’ll see y’all after the weekend. I’m off to celebrate.

Weekly Round-up, November 16th: Bellica, SFFSat, Savita, and mom’s book

The title of this post makes it seem like the “weekly round-up” is an actual thing here at Bacon and Whiskey, but this is probably the first time I’ve ever done it. Also, not sure if it’ll happen again; there are just several short things this week that I want to cover in one post.

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Science-Fiction Fantasy Saturday

If you read my blog at all you know that I try to do this weekly. I hate taking hiatuses from it, but I’m going to have to this week at least, and probably next week as well. Life is just getting so eating-of-my-face-y that I just don’t have the time to go and comment on everyone else’s contributions, which means I don’t feel right contributing myself and soaking up all the delicious comment glory when I can’t give back the same way.

I’m hoping to be back in the saddle by the end of the month. Regardless, you should go to the SFFSat blog and read everyone else’s amazing contributions. I’m going to continue to read this week and next, even if I won’t have time to comment. You should too.

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Savita Halappanavar

You may have heard about this. Savita deserves more than a spot in a weekly round-up, but I only had enough spoons to blog about it once, over at Innocence and Immanence. I still wanted to mention it here.

Savita was denied a pregnancy termination during a miscarriage because “Ireland is a Catholic country”. She died, after three days of suffering.

The one thing I’m going to say about this is that if you’re not pro-choice, you’re an accomplice to murder. Full stop, and no, I don’t apologize for that stance, and I don’t care if it hurts your feelings. Either you’re pro-choice — which means you respect someone’s legal right to choose abortion, no matter their reason, regardless your own personal beliefs — or you’re as culpable in Savita’s murder as is the hospital that denied the procedure, or the government of Ireland that has refused to change the law for two decades.

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Bellica

Yeah, more news about my book. SO BORING I KNOW.

In honor of the one year anniversary of the publication of Bellica’s first edition, I’ve come to a decision. I’m going to start publishing it serially online. Again.

I won’t be doing it via the site I currently have up for Bellica, however. I’ll be doing it via Wattpad.

If this upsets you because you were reading the serial posts of Bellica before I published it and then had to buy a copy from me to read the whole thing…I’m sorry. I’m an asshole.

On the plus side, you get to read more fantastic writing from this asshole for free, because Bellica‘s not the only thing I’ll be publishing via Wattpad. Not only do I plan on putting up both The Jade Star of Athering and Stranger Skies, once they’re finished and edited and such, but I’m also toying with the idea of doing an actual web serial. (As opposed to just publishing full novels serially.) More news on that as it develops.

Regarding Bellica: chapters are going up starting today, November 16th, and will continue to be posted three times a week (Monday/Wednesday/Friday). I’ve divided up the book into three parts, so once I finish putting up all of Heavens, there will probably be a brief hiatus and then I’ll start with Earth.

That’s probably way too much info for a short bit in the weekly round-up, but watch me not give a fuck.

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Speaking of Wattpad, and my mom

My mom Kaimana Wolff is also on Wattpad now, and so is her book of short stories, How to Keep a Human. For free. It’s also available via Smashwords, for free, and I’m currently in the process of arranging a blog tour for her to advertise that fact. You know, if she ever gets some blog posts put together for it. *snaps fingers* Come on, mom! Get on it!

How to Keep a Human is set in the True Woods universe, as is Stranger Skies. How to Keep a Human is excellent, and I say that because I’ve read it a million times and I never get bored.

Also, it’s all true, and I love reading about my mom’s exploits with her best friend Amaruq. My favourite story? When she beats the living hell out of a guy who not only assaults her, but Amaruq too.

Pure unfiltered badassery runs in my veins, in case you were wondering.

Anyway, if you like dog stories — go check out How to Keep a Human. Mom’s busy writing the next book in Amaruq’s series of stories (Must Love Humans), and you can see an excerpt from it over at Lobos Locos, where Amaruq and the rest of the furry Pack members blog about all sorts of things.

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I think that’s it for this post. See you tomorrow, when I swear copiously while ranting. (Because that’s new.)

SFFSat, November 10th: the agony of living

This week we’re veering away from The Jade Star of Athering snippets so I can share with you a bit from my NaNoWriMo novel, Stranger Skies. The first two chapters of Stranger Skies is available on Smashwords for free, by the way, so I’ll be sharing the first few sentences of Chapter Three: Flesh Prison.

Silva woke to alien smells and sounds. Her hearing was duller than a wolf’s, but sharper than a Terran’s. The sounds of a fire crackling, bacon sizzling, people outside chopping wood, talking, laughing — all the sounds of a morning on a farm — assaulted her.

There were too many hearts. The rhythms were off. She was used to one heart per body; now she had…two? Three? They thrummed in her ears; she could not escape the beat of them. Her chest felt as if it would explode.

Stranger Skies is the story of the goddess Silva, Lady of the True Woods and Queen of the Deep Furs, Wild Goddess of Wolves, and how she falls to a different planet and becomes mortal. Trapped in her new mortal body and life, she has to discover her destiny in this new world and find a way to reclaim her godhood.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to check out the other great offerings for SFFSat here!

Eight Days In, Halfway Through — the magic of planning my NaNo-novel

You read that right. I’ve already hit 25K in my NaNoWriMo project, Stranger Skies.

The story is fleshing itself out nicely, and I’ve gone ahead and done the Smashwords NaNoWriMo promotion — you can read chapters 1 and 2 for free. Curious as to what it’s about? Here’s a short description:

Silva, Lady of the True Woods, Goddess of the Deep Furs, falls through a portal during her search for her missing friend, Etan. She lands on the planet below, suddenly mortal.

On an alien planet, she must navigate her new and strange mortal life. Soon she discovers there’s a reason for everything, and her coming to this new world was not by accident.

As war brews on the horizon, Silva goes on a journey to reclaim her godhood, find Etan, and save the wolves of Min.

I’m experimenting with several different things for this story. I’ve named chapters with things like Falling to the Future, Flesh Prison, or The Wolf in the Woods — instead of my usual practice of naming chapters with the name of the character who’s telling that particular part. (I say ‘usual practice’, but truth is I’ve only done that for one book — Bellica. The Jade Star of Athering is, so far, simply divided up by numbered chapters. So is Islands of Fire and Water. That may change.) Another, I’m not writing about Terrans, or Terra, or Terran colonies at all. The main character is original from Terra, yes, but she’s also originally a goddess — it’s not exactly the same as, say, writing about a Terran mortal traveling to a new planet. So that’s interesting.

The big experiment is that I actually planned out the story. Not every scene was decided ahead of time (and a lot in the latest chapters have changed), but the big ones were. I decided, ahead of time, what my First Plot Point was, my Second Plot Point, my pinch points, my resolution. I have Larry Brooks to thank for that — while I don’t agree with him wholly on his philosophy that planning is superior to pantsing or percolating, I do concede that planning my Nano novel is leading to an infinitely better first draft, and a higher likelihood of my hitting 50K well before the month is over. And I wouldn’t have been able to plan if I hadn’t read the majority of his posts on how to plan your Nano novel.

If you’re a pantser or percolator and you want to give planning a try, I recommend reading Larry’s posts for some ideas as to where to start.

Now, full disclosure, while planning has yielded higher word counts and better writing for me, I don’t fully like it. It’s contrary to my nature, so I may never fully like it. But I find that when I do a beat sheet and figure out the big five scenes ahead of time, I get sort of bored with the story early on. I wasn’t able to do a complete beat sheet, and I found myself wanting to skip ahead to where I’d quit planning out scenes — I wanted to “get to the good stuff”.

Which tells me something important about myself. As much as I dislike having my routine changed unexpectedly, I love the unknown when it comes to writing. I like getting stuck and having to think about it for a few weeks until it suddenly hits me, a flash of inspiration while I sit in the bath, getting pruney. Running naked down the street shouting EUREKA! appeals to me.

I also find that I’m not always sure what will take a full scene, or more than one. Some things that I had planned out as one scene took three; other things that were planned as four scenes only took two. I’m having to adjust as I get through these bits, re-numbering scenes and re-structuring chapters.

Which is fine. It’s a learning experience. I’m not knocking it. It works.

But I don’t think I’ll be planning all my stories. The NaNo ones, yes. Possibly short stories, as well. The other novels?

I’m going to keep on percolating, I think.

This, of course, means that The Jade Star of Athering will probably not be done until the end of December, and released at some point in early 2013. I’m aiming for April. Cross your fingers that that will happen (and let me know if you’re interested in being a beta reader).

What about you? If you write, do you pants, plan, or percolate? Some combo of the three? No idea what I’m talking about? Wondering where the pie you ordered is? I love hearing from my readers — leave me a comment below!

30 in 30: Day 17 (wolf-dogs, whiskey, and badass women)

Favorite story or collection of stories (short stories, novellas, novelettes, etc.)

Cover photo for How to Keep a Human

My favourite collection of short stories is How to Keep a Human (as told by Amaruq), written by Kaimana Wolff.

The stories are ghost-written by Amaruq the wolf dog, and tell of his adventures in Yukon with his pack leader, Kaimana Wolff. Kaimana lived up in Yukon with Amaruq in her 20s, and all these stories are true. (And the truth about stories is — that’s all we are. But I’ve already talked about Thomas King on this blog.)

My favourite story is The King of Dawson City, wherein Amaruq and Kaimana defend their thrones from interlopers from the south. It’s my favourite because in it, Kaimana ends up beating up a guy for making one unwanted sexual advance on her too many (and for siccing his dog on Ruq), in the middle of a cheering crowd in Dawson City, while Ruq holds his own against the other dog. Why does this make me so happy? Kaimana Wolff is my mother, and this story illustrates just how badass she is — and that badass blood runs in my veins.

I come from a long line of badass Dutch women, all the way back to the Viking age. We wear combat boots, chug sourtoe cocktails, run with the wolves, and don’t take any crap from any man.

And our dogs write about our exploits in short story collections.