Tag Archives: secret project s

The News That Made Me Giggle and Clap Like a Maniac. (New Trilogy)

It's also the news that's made me blog twice in three days. Which is unheard of, as I am a crappy, crappy blogger. But here it is:

My new trilogy will be published by Tor Teen! ANTIGODDESS (formerly Secret Projects C and S) has found a home with my amazing editor, Melissa Frain.

In case you were wondering, I just yelled that at you, in a crazy, monotone voice. And I apologize. Here's the announcement in PM:

Anna Dressed in Blood author
Kendare Blake's ANTIGODDESS series, where the ancient, perpetually
teenaged Greek gods Athena and Hermes cling to life in the contemporary
world, seeking the causes of their mysterious, slow deaths and gathering
their allies in reincarnated form: Cassandra, an ordinary girl who was
once an extraordinary prophetess; Odysseus, the handsome trickster; and
other fickle characters with their own secret motives; they must all
band together against Hera and Poseidon who have become horrific
caricatures of their former glory in their desperation to survive, again
to Melissa Frain at Tor, in a very nice deal, in a three-book deal, by Adriann Ranta at Wolf Literary Services (World).

That didn't format very well. Anyway, it's a bit of a genre shift, but not completely. For those of you who enjoyed the horrifying elements of Anna Dressed in Blood, I promise, some stuff is still pretty horrifying. Because that's just how I am. Horrifying.

Huge thanks to Adriann, and Mel, and the team at Tor! I am so happy to be working with them!

Farts are Perennially Funny. It’s Just a Fact of Life.

To paraphrase the excellent comedian Louis CK: Farts are funny. Because 1. They come out of your ass. 2. They smell like poop, because they’ve been hanging around it all day, and 3. They make a trumpet sound. You don’t have to be smart of laugh at a fart, but you have to be stupid not to.

I came into direct contact with fart humor this week, when I went to a swanky movie theater to see Super 8 (which was excellent, by the way. Completely Stand By Me, but action intense). The chairs reclined, but every time you reclined them, they made a long, hilarious fart. And everyone in the surrounding area giggled. It happened all over the theater, numerous times. Farting chairs. Ha. Ha. Hee. Hee.

Dumb humor. I love wit as much as the next guy, but there’s something to be said for dumb humor.

I am waiting for books this week. Waiting for the Game of Thrones boxed set. Waiting for an early copy of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. Also waiting to decide what my first ebook should be. Because I got a Nook for my birthday. It’s also a tablet so Dylan can play Angry Birds.

In writing world, the series outlines were agent-approved this week. Yay. But sort of a boo, because I feel like I might know what happens now. I’ve been thinking a lot about how this series got started, how many tries it took to find the way to write it, how many false starts and failures. I wrote an entire novel of clunk. Then three more chapters of clunk that were re-written three times. And just when I thought it was dead, it gave a subtle shift, and pretty much fell onto the page. It was there the whole time, just waiting for my stupid ass to learn how to do it. Now that I have, I hope I have the chance to write the rest.

But no worrying about that just now. It’s my birthday week. (Actually I claim the whole month. You should try it. People let you get away with murder during your birthday month.) I foresee good food and perhaps an arcade where I will shoot many aliens and dinosaurs and stomp at air hockey.

Sparkly eyes technique. Are you ready?

Sparkly eyes technique, for those of you who have not seen The Men Who Stare at Goats, is a method of disarming someone that basically involves giving them…well…the sparkly eyes. I don’t recommend it. If George Clooney can’t pull it off, then you probably can’t either. But I do recommend the movie. While it may not be the uproarious comedy it touted itself to be (or at least that the trailers touted it to be) it is endlessly fascinating, and has driven me to read the book.

Another screen thing that has driven me to read the book: Game of Thrones. Damn you Sean Bean. Now I’m going to be engrossed in swords and sorcery all summer.

Anyway, this post is the equivalent of sparkly eyes technique. There’s nothing much to it. It’s just a placeholder, telling you some other places that I’ll be in the next two weeks, where I hope to be much less sparkly eyes and more substance.

Sunday I’m over at The Night Bazaar, where I’ll be discussing my favorite horror novel. Friday the 24th I’m chatting live (with other authors too) about the publishing biz over at Eve’s Fan Garden as part of their Summer Camp feature. Sunday the 26th I’m at Books at Midnight, as part of the Five Flavors of Summer Feature. And look, here’s a pretty button:

Also, Tor is running a sweepstakes for five copies of Anna Dressed in Blood, and they’ve posted the first chapter free. Very cool. If you’ve entered to win, or read the chapter…thank you. I hope you win, and that you enjoyed it.

Writing world has changed gears briefly as I delved into edits on Secret Project S, which is headed off to the agent next week for final tweaks before submission. I also have to put together a query pack and synopsis because the damned thing wants to be a trilogy. I suck at synopses. I suck intensely. Luckily, my agent seems quite deft at unsucking whatever I toss her way.

And hopefully soon, we will know whether the new title for The novel formerly known as The Girl From Hell, has stuck.

Baby Can You Dig Your Man? (He’s a Righteous Man, He’s a Righteous Man!)

That’s from the Stephen King miniseries The Stand, adapted from his novel about the survivors of the apocalypse. I suppose the recent non-rapture has me thinking about the end. Humanity ground to dust, and all the elephants say "Hey-O! Now we can stop evolving our tusks away because poachers will no longer totally kill us for them. Good thing, too, because digging for water is way harder with these big, dull feet."

I hear that The Stand is going to be adapted to the screen again. But I’m pretty fond of Gary Sinise as Stu Redman, so, producers, do so at your peril.

Time is starting to pass funny. Anna Dressed in Blood comes out in about 12 weeks. That’s going to be here…yesterday. There are only a few more months before it’s out, speculation over, we know what’s what. I alternate between trying to slow these days down and whip them to a lather. (Why does everything I whip leave me? Ah, Homer Simpson.) Almost time, too, to revise Secret Project S, and send the query pack for the trilogy off to the agent. There are still a few questions about the ending. But from her first-read reaction, I think she’ll be okay with whatever direction I decide to go. I suppose I should stop calling it Secret Project S pretty soon, but I’m a superstitious piece of crap, and in the writing community, I don’t think that puts me in the minority. (Not the piece of crap part. The superstitious part.)

People ask for blog posts now, and to participate in chats, but it’s always a struggle to come up with ideas, because I hesitate to give any kind of general publishing/writing advice. Who am I? What do I know? Just the answers to a very particular set of circumstances, and sometimes not even that much. But I think, when I look back, I’m going to have the urge to tell people to enjoy whatever stage they’re at. Wring the most enjoyment out of it as you can. Pretty basic. But sometimes we all forget to do it.

His Name is Random Task. (Writing as giving birth. Again?)

Random Task has nothing to do with this post. I haven’t even watched Austin Powers lately. But it’s hilarious. Oddjob becomes Random Task. I love it. Moving on.

You hear it over and over. People compare writing to giving birth. It’s a labor of love, yada yada yada, we’re all tired of it. I usually steer clear of the metaphor, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fairly accurate. Today, it strikes me as accurate in a way I never thought of. I’m waist-deep in The Girl From Hell, and the going is…by turns euphoric and gear-grindingly painful. At times like these, it’s tempting to say that it’s the most stubborn thing I’ve ever written, that it’s a breech-birth; it’s easy to hee hee hee and hoo hoo hoo and say nothing has been more difficult or bumpy. Yet, if I think about it, they were all like this. They all hit that point where I distinctly referred to them as breech-births. Even Secret Project S, which in retrospect feels like it ran like god damn bastards (Tremors) once it found its footing.

I’ve heard from those who have babies that you don’t remember the pain of the birth. After all, you’ve got a new shiny diaper-filler to show for all the huffing and puffing. So the struggle fades from memory and even moves into the realm of nostalgia. Such is the case for books. In a few months, I’ll bounce The Girl From Hell on my knee, and a few months after that I won’t even remember that I once wanted to shove an epidural through my fricken eyeball. Interesting, this human function of forgetting. I am continually fascinated by it. Which is why I want to read Angie Smibert’s Memento Nora, which has roots in that vein, and why I love Kundera’s The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. In my literary work, it’s a perennial theme.

Sidenote: If you watched Fringe this week then you heard the coining of a new fantastic word: Vagenda. As in, "that femme fatale is trying to seduce him…and she’s got a definite vagenda." Let’s make that fly. Urban dictionary, activate!

It’s true, you are a good woman. Then again, you may just be the Antichrist. (Contracts! WIP blues!)

Has Val Kilmer ever been more appealing than in Tombstone, playing that devilishly charming lunger, Doc Holliday? No. He never has been. The quote above is from the scene where Big Nose Kate is trying to ply him with sex and cigarettes when most of his lung tissue is gone. Eh. Whatever works.

Contracts arrived in the mail yesterday!!! I think I’ll do that authorly thing and take a photo while I sign them. Probably doing some rendition of Arthur Fonzerelli. “Contracts, EY! Now sit on it.” Maybe I’ll post it to the journal.

After the contracts go back, line edits should arrive. And there’s been news of the cover design, which I will keep under my hat for now. It’s more trouble for me than you know. I look ridiculous in hats.

So, Secret Project S is finishing up next week. I now know that there are only two scenes, one chapter, and an epilogue left. Sounds so simple. I know pretty much what is going to happen. All I have to do, is sit down and do it. Ha! Too bad this a-hole is trying to kill me! Kill me! Not that it’s going badly. Or even going that slowly. But it is wringing me out. There is so much action and emotion packed into it. And then, after it’s finished, it might be finished forever. Market is tough. Always has been, but now more than ever.

I’m taking the weekend off.

We Can’t Stop Here. This is Bat Country. (Book Trailer! Interview!)

I love Fear and Loathing as much as the next guy, but not as much as my brother. He needs to stop channeling Hunter S. Thompson before he arranges to have his remains blasted out of a cannon.

I’m going to finish Secret Project S within the next two weeks. It’s sort of scary and sad, because I love this book. Sure, there are moments when I work myself to death on it and we become like a couple who spends too much time together. But for the most part, I love this book. Dying goddesses and epic romance. Blood and grit. I’m going to miss it when it’s gone. I can only hope that I’ll have the opportunity to write the sequel.

Anna Dressed in Blood is coming back with line edits from my excellent editor. Earlier this week, I got to live out a fantasy sequence: talking about cover design. And identifying actors who I thought look like my main characters, so we were all on the same page. I chose Kevin Zegers and Shiri Appleby from Roswell. These are just approximations, of course. Cas Lowood and Anna Korlov are their own people.

It was a good writing work day. I updated the website, and had a long talk with my independent press publisher at PRA. It seems that I will be headed for the London Book Fair. Interesting. I love me some London. Still my home away from home. Then I wrote over two thousand words on Secret Project S, and still have time to start dinner before Dylan gets here. I hear Roseanne Barr saying "Svelte Domestic Goddess".

I also did an interview with Kim McMillon:www.blogtalkradio.com/onword/2010/07/15/writers-sanctuary-presents-hosted-by-kim-mcmillon 

And posted the book trailer:
 

I no longer know who I am and I feel like the ghost of a total stranger.

The quote for the day was a three-way tie between "Umm, Gangbang 101, Freebasing Tutorial and Oral Sex Workshop" and "I met a Dutch TV actress and we drank absinthe at a bar called Absinthe." These are, of course, from The Rules of Attraction, and I am using a Bret Easton Ellis-related quote because I am only hours away from going to a Bret Easton Ellis reading!

Holy cow. I’m tired, and it’s been a long day, and I now drive a 1991 Dodge POS that I have named affectionately, "Gonzo", but I still can’t wait to head into the city and hear this icon read some new stuff. I think my favorite work of his was actually Lunar Park. No wait. Hell, I don’t know. Did anyone see the film version of "The Informers" last year? Weird, and not as affecting as it could have been. And it didn’t manage to come off as disaffected either. It should have been affecting in its air of disaffection. Okay then. I’ll just file that one away under sentences that make me sound stoned.

Work slowed on Secret Project S today, but I’m not worried. Much of that slowness came from the desire to go slow, and also a change that I argued with myself over, involving a character I thought would turn up now, but instead is holding out for the second book. If there is such a thing. Project S must sell first, sadly.

Well, I’d better track down my ride (Gonzo may or may not have survived the trip). Imperial Bedrooms, here I come! Unless my ride does not show up. In which case I will be off to kill my ride.

Your brain presses against your skull and it feels likethis!

That’s one of John Travolta’s lines from Broken Arrow, right when he’s crushing Christian Slater’s skull. He delivers it with such wacky glee that it always makes me giggle, even if the rest of the movie’s dialogue doesn’t hold up to repeat viewings. It was I think the first time he played his now famous and unwanted "John Travolta is the cold, charismatic bad guy" character. He should stop it now.

Today was a day of re-writing. And not on editor’s orders either. No, it was a re-write of an early chapter of Secret Project S. Because I hated it. I hated it and I wanted it to die, and it could have very easily been done better had I not psyched myself out. This chapter was leftover from an earlier and much crappier draft, you see, and apparently crap is hard to get out without a scalpel and a steam cleaner. But I have re-written it, and like it much better. We are almost at the convergence point, and that, I think, is when things will really smooth out. Or it could completely de-rail. Whatever. That’s the fun/torture of writing.

Remember that scene from Secret Window, where Johnny Depp is playing with the slinky and talking to his dog and he says something to the effect of, "Well, that’s just bad writing. And you know the rules. No. Bad. Writing." And then he deletes the paragraph. And then he goes and kills his wife and her boyfriend with a shovel. I’d be a far more productive writer if I could just learn to delete the paragraph and then go kill my wife and her boyfriend with a shovel. Enough said.

Soft as I am, I wouldn’t last a week in a Central American war.

Okay that isn’t from a movie. But it is from an awesome show, and if anyone knows what that show is, they will become a hero in my eyes. No one’s going to know what it is. I should just resign myself to that now.

Today I wrote a very respectable whole chapter of Secret Project S. And it was a chapter that I started yesterday, crappily, so I had to erase a few hundred words and start over. When did that happen? When did my first outings become so invariably crappy? Because I know when I read over the new chapter tomorrow, I’m going to have at least twelve instances of word omissions/additions and re-phrasing. Why can’t I do it right the effen first time?! The love stories in this are starting to evolve in ways I had only a vague inkling of. Which so far is a good thing. One of the characters was flopping onto the page completely milquetoast, but now he’s taking a turn for the dark. Nice.

Tomorrow I have one more day of Secret Project S before my attention returns to Anna Dressed in Blood. My intention is to have it sent back to my editor by Monday, just shy of the contracted deadline.

In reading news, there are way too many good books these days, and nowhere near enough time to read them. My list of to-reads is growing steadily, and I have no idea where they’re going to fit in. My schedule is already packed, even with the loss of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged in the move. Bret Easton Ellis’ Imperial Bedrooms will get picked up next Wednesday at his reading, and then The Ammonite Violin and Others will probably ship from Caitlin R. Kiernan (and I love me some new Caitlin!) and in September Lisa Desrochers Personal Demons has caught my interest. Also on my radar is Sisters Red, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. And 2666, a literary beast of a novel focusing on a search for a german author and murders based on those in Juarez, is also prodding for a place.

Tomorrow I think I will have to consider the purchase of an e-reader. But for now I’ll pretend I didn’t say that.