beth_bernobich: red mushroom (cat on a wire)
Novel is out to readers.

Kickstarter starts tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile I need to write a few guest blog posts. Next Monday I'll be a guest on Fantasy Book Cafe, talking about quiet moments in epic fantasy. The week after that, it's on to Stephanie Burgis's blog for a post about epic romance. And the date isn't certain yet, but I will have a third post on Tynga's Reviews about stories, extras, and outtakes.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (book fin)
In a burst of editing energy, I ripped through the last 50 pages of Current Novel. The second draft is done and out to readers.

*pause for writer victory dance*

I finished just in time, too, because my Kickstarter for Nocturnall launches on Thursday. I'll have a more detailed post once the campaign goes live, but for now, let me just say there will be all kinds of rewards for pledges, including an e-bundle of the River of Souls trilogy, a limited print edition of Nocturnall, and writer's specials. And of course, everyone gets a thank-you tweet with a pic of Fig or Octavia:



Oh, wait. Wrong cat. Here they are:



(That's Octavia on the left, Fig on the right.)
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (mad scribe)
This last section for Current Novel is 70 pages long. I finished reading and marking up the pages and was delighted that 15 pages only needed a couple typos fixed. I was less delighted (but not surprised) to confirm that the middle section needs serious editing. Plot details need to be wrenched into shape, and the prose needs more emotional and sensory layers.

So far, I've edited 19 pages, with a net gain of two pages. (Lots of cuts, but lots more additions.) The details are falling into place, the emotions are bubbling to the surface, and I continue to be stupidly happy about the book.

In other news, I finished my Kickstarter video and with some excellent feedback from friends, I've tweaked and project description and rewards. I'm now aiming to launch on March 19th.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (book fin)
...at least until I tackle revisions.

That is, I now have a complete draft of Current Novel. Final wordcount is just under 70K, which I suspect will grow during edits.

so close...

Feb. 9th, 2015 09:00 am
beth_bernobich: obsessing (obsessing)
It took four long days, but I have at last finished the climax chapter for Current Novel. One more to go. Tunnel vision has set in, and it's painful to rip myself away from the book and re-enter the dayjob world. Ultimately, though, I think these enforced mini-breaks are good for me. I get a break, and chance to use my brain a different way, before I dive into that last chapter.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (scene 24)
Finished the chapter from last weekend and wrote half the next. One and half more chapters, then I flip the switch to edit, edit, edit.

Meanwhile, the dayjob is just one crisis after another. There's a company-wide meeting this week to announce a reorganization. That...should be interesting.

ETA: Just found out that more layoffs happened last week. Yeah. Not a happy time.
beth_bernobich: Crab (Crab)
I returned to the dayjob last Monday to find all kinds of crises. It turns out that having a layoff right before two major deployments, while the senior developer (that's me) is on leave and the other senior .NET developer has been reassigned to a different project, AND our new product owner is still learning the ropes, isn't such a great move.

The writing side, however, is going well. Over the past four days, I finished one new chapter and one diary entry, plus made a dent in a second new chapter. Less than three chapters to go...
beth_bernobich: Beak Bird (Beak Bird)
...even if it doesn't quite look like it.

So. My plan was to write one new chapter and edit the existing ones. (Also, to breathe.)

Didn't happen.** My writing brain hit a brick wall—hard. I took a step back and decided I needed to work out the last section in detail. Who knew what. When. And how did they figure things out.

That...took a while. And coming at the problem from several different angles. I created a timeline for the last section of the book, showing what our heroes were doing. Then I inserted (IN ALL CAPS AND RED) what the bad guys were doing offstage, and why. I ended up rearranging a few events and streamlining some others and...

I suddenly knew how to write these last four chapters.

I'm back at the dayjob starting today, but part time. Come Thursday I will dive back into the writing. And this time I'll get it right.

** Except the breathing part. That worked out well.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Rose Fractal)
...of the old year.

I'm spending this last week editing chapters of Current Novel. Tidying up, as it were. Come New Year's Day, I'll start the next new chapter.

And the next year will be a new chapter, in so many ways. I'm switching to part-time at my dayjob for the first six months. I'm switching to a pen name for Current Novel, which itself is very different from the kind of books I usually write.

At the same time, I haven't abandoned my old self. I have plans to revise my fourth River of Souls novel and send that out to publishers. And I haven't forgotten my Not-Mansfield-Park project, which is my old friend historical fantasy, this time with magic and polyamory.

That's next year. For now, I'm content to work through this transitional week in quiet tasks and spending time with my family.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (collage)
I had only one publication this year, The Time Roads, which came out from Tor in October. It's an alternate history, set in a world where Ireland is the empire and England its colony. It's also a set of four braided tales. Three of them have been published elsewhere. (Asimov's, Postscripts, and PS Publishing, plus one made an appearance in a Year's Best anthology.) I've edited them for world building details and continuity. One novella ("The Time Roads") is new.

So...

Nov. 17th, 2014 08:30 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (sparkle kitties)
...a couple weeks ago, I was utterly miserable. Bronchitis had sucked away all my energy and brain power. The dayjob was a cesspit of chaos. And whenever I got the least traction with any of my writing projects, new obstacles and obligations popped up in my way.

So this past week, I sat down and wrote a business proposal. Goal: to a submission-ready draft of Current Novel ready by May 2015, and a revised version of my pirate novel by end of summer. I worked out a tentative schedule for accomplishing that, together with how much extra time that would require, and how much that time would cost in terms of lost income from the dayjob.

I gave the proposal to my husband, who said, Go for it.*

I talked to my manager, who said, Go for it.**

And I will. I'm taking off the first two weeks of January. After that, I switch to part-time status through the end of June, working three days a week. Doing that doubles the time I have for writing. It also gives me a cushion so I can 1) avoid burnout, and 2) spend more time with my family.

Between now and January, I've set a few small writing goals. Finish chapter 11. Write chapter 12. Work out the general plot points for the rest of the book.

Wish me luck!

----------------
* My husband is awesome. Have I mentioned that recently?
** Though he did looked a bit stressed when I told him.

quiet...

Oct. 19th, 2014 10:00 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Black Cat)
It's been a very hectic couple of months. Crisis after crisis at the dayjob. The drama of Newbie (now, thankfully, over). At least four weeks in a row where I consistently worked long days and weekends. And though I was truly looking forward to our vacation in London, that also required time and work to prepare for. I had no time for writing, and I could feel my nerves frazzling.

But! Vacation did finally arrive. And it was lovely.

We rented an apartment near Russell Square and within a few blocks of the British Museum. Having an apartment instead of a hotel room meant we could have a leisurely breakfast in our pajamas, with coffee made to our liking. It also meant that on Tuesday, when my spouse decided to go visit coin dealers, I had the space to write, pace, write, make coffee, and write some more.

We're home now, and that too is a good thing. I have quiet. I have my cats. And yesterday, I opened up the latest chapter for Current Novel and spent the afternoon writing. #bliss
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (Fractal Star)
To quote from my acknowledgments page... "Twelve years ago I sat down to write a story about murder, mathematics, and time. One story soon turned into three, with the hope of someday writing the fourth and final chapter of this braided tale."

Today is the day! The Time Roads is out in the world. Fly, little book! Fly!

So what is The Time Roads about? It's an alternate history, set in the early 20th century, in a world where Éire (Ireland) is an empire, and England one of its dependencies. It's also a world where scientists are investigating a phenomenon called time fractures, which they hope to exploit to travel through time.

It's also not a novel, exactly. It's a book with four stand-alone novellas, which link together to tell the larger story of time and Éire's entry into the modern age. Three of those novellas have been published over the past seven years. A Flight of Numbers Fantastique Strange appeared in Asimov's (June, 2006). The Golden Octopus was published in Postscripts Magazine (September, 2008), and was later reprinted in The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2009. Ars Memoriae came out in hardcover from PS Publishing (December, 2009). The Time Roads is original to this book.

Someone asked me recently if I planned to write more stories in this world. Last year, my answer would have been a definite no. I'm done with these characters. I told the story I wanted to tell. Éire has survived and entered the modern age. What else is left to say?

A few weeks ago, however, I caught a glimpse of a new character and the possibility of a new set of stories set several decades after The Time Roads. So now my answer is maybe. :)




Where to buy The Time Roads:
     Barnes & Noble
     Chapters
     Powell's
     Indie Bound
     Amazon
     Mysterious Galaxy
     Kobo
     iTunes
beth_bernobich: petal twigs (petal twigs)
the coda story has a home. it won't appear until early 2016, but it will be easily available. my editor is still working out the details. more news when i have it.

i rewrote the first chapter of my pirate book and i am much happier with the results. only twenty-one more to go. i meant to tackle the second chapter this weekend, but the dayjob has been especially demanding this week, so i'll be writing code today (sunday) instead of writing prose.

here's a snippet from the pirate book...

snippet )

(and yes, that is ilse in a previous lifetime.)

update

Aug. 31st, 2014 09:04 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (blue woman)
allegiance... latest news says the paperback version will appear next october.

coda story.... might appear in that same paperback. or not. but there are possibilities under discussion. one concern i have about adding it to the paperback is that it then won't be freely available to those who already bought the e-book or hardcover.

geek girl story.... alas, the very shiny anthology that bought this story got shelved. sooooo, story is currently in a slushpile, awaiting its turn.

edge of the empire... revising because i need to. i first wrote this novel seven years ago. it sold four years ago. i'm a better writer now and i think i can bring the story up a notch or three.

the time roads... six weeks to book day! i have guest blogs posts scheduled for the magical words blog. tynga's reviews will interview me during their paranorm'all hallows eve celebration, plus hold a giveaway for the time roads.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (japanese paper)
...was a week where I made almost no progress on Current Novel. But! I made a polishing pass on one short story, and I finished another round of revisions on my River of Souls coda story. Story #1 is now sitting in a slush pile, waiting its turn. The coda story...I don't know yet. I have to read it through one more time to see how I feel.

Meanwhile, reviews for The Time Roads have started to appear. Publishers Weekly did not care for the book. Skiffy and Fanty, however, did. Other reviews have been just as polarized. I suspect this will be a book that you either love or hate.

And about Current Novel. I currently have nine chapters written, for about 28K words. This week promises to be another hectic one at the dayjob, so I've set myself a smaller goal. Go through my notes for the next two chapters. Tweak them a bit if necessary. Set up my files for next weekend when I can dive into the prose itself.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (book love)
I'm delighted to present a guest blog post from D.B. Jackson (aka, David B. Coe) about the women in his urban fantasy series, The Thieftaker's Chronicles...

I am something of an oddity in today’s urban fantasy market: I am a man writing books that center on a male protagonist. I’m not the only one, of course. I hear that some guy named Butcher is doing pretty well with this formula, and Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim books are also receiving well-earned critical and commercial attention. But the fact is that right now urban fantasy is being written predominantly by women, about women. And women are writing some pretty incredible books: the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, the Jane Yellowrock books by Faith Hunter, the Walker Papers by C.E. Murphy, the Rachel Morgan books by Kim Harrison, the Greywalker series from Kat Richardson…I could go on, but you get the picture.

What sets my Thieftaker Chronicles (Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, and A Plunder of Souls) apart somewhat from these others is that it’s actually historical urban fantasy set in pre-Revolutionary Boston. Writing in that time period would seem to make incorporating strong female characters into my story lines next to impossible, but you might be surprised. Colonial Era social norms and economic realities actually allowed women greater freedom than many assume, and that has allowed me to surround my male protagonist with strong, dynamic, and entertaining female characters.

I don’t want to give the mistaken impression that the second half of the eighteenth century was some sort of golden age for women’s rights. It wasn’t. This is the era, after all, that brought us “universal” white male suffrage. But by the same token, the strict circumscription of women’s freedoms that many of us have spent the better part of a century trying to undo, is more a product of nineteenth and early twentieth century society. The fact is that life in the pre-Revolutionary era was difficult and North American Colonial communities could hardly afford to restrict half of their populations to the parlor room. Women in 1760s Boston were shop owners, innkeepers, and craftswomen; many enjoyed economic independence that would have been unheard of one hundred years later. True, a good number of these women were widows, who gained some economic advantage from their husbands’ estates. But their freedoms were hard-won, and they held fast to them after dealing with the tragedy of their spouses’ deaths.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, therefore, that one of the key female characters in the Thieftaker books is Kannice Lester, the widowed owner of a tavern called the Dowsing Rod. She is young for a widow, having lost her husband to the smallpox epidemic that struck Boston in 1761. But she is a savvy business woman and a strict disciplinarian who does not permit fighting, smuggling, or any discussion of religion or politics in her establishment. Unless she happens to be the one holding forth on the villainy of the Crown and the virtues of Samuel Adams and the Sons of Liberty. She can go drink for drink with any man and has been known to tell stories that would make a sailor blush. She’s fiercely independent, but also is in love with Ethan Kaille, the thieftaking, conjuring hero of the series.

Theirs has been a fun romance to write, in large part because their love affair is already well-established. I didn’t write about the heady early days when they first fell in love, but rather have focused on the later years of their relationship, when as a couple they sometimes have to work at overcoming their political disagreements (Ethan is a loyalist, at least early on in the series), and at dealing with his selfishness or her stubbornness. She is in the wrong as often as he, which, I believe, makes their relationship that much more interesting and realistic for my readers. And I will admit that I’m a little bit in love with her myself.

The second key female character in the Thieftaker books is Tarijanna Windcatcher. Janna is an older woman who claims to be of West Indian descent, although some have claimed that she is an escaped slave. She was orphaned at sea and rescued by a wealthy sea merchant from Newport. Janna never knew her family name and so took Windcatcher simply because she liked the sound of it. When she grew into adulthood, her wealthy benefactor fell in love with her, and though they could not marry because of her race, they remained together for many years. When he died, he left her with enough money to ensure her freedom for the rest of her days. She moved to Boston, where she opened a tavern of her own: the Fat Spider. Like Ethan, Janna is a conjurer, perhaps the most accomplished and knowledgeable conjurer in all of Boston. She calls herself a “marriage smith,” and she makes most of her coin selling love magick in the form of spells, potions, and collections of herbs. She is cantankerous, often to the point of rudeness, and she does not suffer fools. She’s often hostile to Ethan when he comes to her with questions about spells because, as she puts it, “there’s no coin in that for me.” But she is a true friend when he needs one.

Perhaps the most important female character in the Thieftaker Chronicles is Sephira Pryce, Ethan’s lovely and deadly rival in thieftaking. Sephira is based loosely on a true historical figure—Jonathan Wild, London’s most infamous thieftaker, who built a lucrative criminal empire for himself by hiring men to steal goods and then later returning them for a finder’s fee. In other words, he was responsible for nearly all the crimes he “solved.” Sephira is similarly corrupt, and so is a natural nemesis for my honest thieftaking hero. She is brilliant, beautiful, canny, skilled with both fist and blade, and utterly ruthless. And yet, she is also funny and at times a deeply sympathetic character. She has a wonderful, full-throated laugh that Ethan likes despite himself, even though it’s too often directed at him.

Ethan’s rivalry with Sephira forms the dramatic core of every Thieftaker novel. They are Yin and Yang—she is attractive, influential, wealthy. She has a coterie of toughs in her employ, and hobnobs with some of Boston’s most famous and powerful people. Ethan is older than she and bears the scars of a hard life. He is a loner, an ex-convict who lives day-to-day, job-to-job, shilling-to-shilling; he works alone and has few friends, though those he has he trusts. He has access to magick, which is how he is able to compete with her in the streets of Boston. Yet, on occasion—as in A Plunder of Souls, the newest Thieftaker novel, which has just been released by Tor Books—they are forced to work together, or at least to cooperate. And though neither would admit it, they have as many attributes in common as not: tenacity, intellect, resourcefulness. They are natural enemies, but if they weren’t they would be fast friends, if that makes sense. It’s a complicated relationship and tremendous fun to write. I will admit that of all the female characters in the books, Sephira is probably the one whose station in life is the least realistic from a historical point of view. But I don’t really care, because she’s my favorite character.

I chose to have Ethan as my protagonist because I wanted my lead character to come to the books with a certain life history—Ethan was a sailor in the British navy, a mutineer, a prisoner at hard labor on a sugar plantation. I could not have given that history to a female character without stretching my historical accuracy to the breaking point. But the strong, intelligent, challenging female characters with whom he interacts are what make the series work. And as the father of strong, intelligent, at times challenging daughters, I wouldn’t have it any other way.




D.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award-winning author of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His first two books as D.B. Jackson, the Revolutionary War era urban fantasies, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, volumes I and II of the Thieftaker Chronicles, are both available from Tor Books in hardcover and paperback. The third volume, A Plunder of Souls, has recently been released in hardcover. The fourth Thieftaker novel, Dead Man’s Reach, is in production and will be out in the summer of 2015. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

 




Here's where you can read more about David and his series:

http://www.dbjackson-author.com
http://www.dbjackson-author.com/blog
http://www.facebook.com/dbjacksonAuthor
http://twitter.com/dbjacksonauthor
http://www.goodreads.com/dbjackson
http://amazon.com/author/dbjackson
beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
Lots of stuff going on, with transitions and possibilities.

Management has finally realized we need more .NET people, so we've been interviewing candidates. My hope is that we hire a couple mid-level developers and one more senior person, then get rid of Our Newbie, who has spent the past year being a drag on the team. (To put it mildly.)

I continue to work on Current Novel. Six chapters written and polished. A couple thousand words in notes and prose for the next two chapters. Fairly soon, I need to take another break to figure out the political thread in more detail.

Meanwhile, I received a revise and resubmit for Nocturnall (my coda to the River of Souls trilogy). The editor's comments were spot-on, so this weekend I will tackle that. Fred also dumped an idea for a far-future River of Souls story into my head. The idea is little more than a couple images at this point, but I love the idea of Ilse and Raul in Space. For now, however, it gets filed in the Someday Folder.

And in the Exciting News Department: This coming Monday, I have my first guest blog post! David B. Coe, writing as D.B. Jackson, has contributed a splendid article about the women characters in his series, The Thieftaker Chronicles. Please stop by to read and comment.

ARCs....

Jun. 23rd, 2014 10:04 am
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (squee!)
...for THE TIME ROADS showed up Friday. *pets the shiny ARCs*

(This means reviewers should get their copies in the next couple weeks.)

(Speaking of which, if you are interested in reviewing my book, either drop me a line so I can let my publicist know, or contact her directly. Her email is: Ardi.Alspach@tor.com)

(Oh, and you can reading the opening here)
beth_bernobich: petal twigs (petal twigs)
...I finished reviewing the page proofs for THE TIME ROADS and sent off my list of corrections. (And by the way, I loved the interior design. Very elegant.) This marks the point where the book truly leaves my hands and starts its last dash toward release. ARCs should go out...early next month? Reviews should start showing up in September. I am both excited and anxious.

Meanwhile, I'll take this week to review and revise several promised guest blog posts. Then it's back to Current Novel. I've just reached the point where the first victim makes her appearance. (Still alive, but not for long.)

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