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I went to bed around 10 last night and, not at all to my delight, woke up at 10 to 6. I lay around for a while sullenly considering that this was, in fact, the ideal I’m nominally going for: earlyish to bed, early to rise, get some work done before bringing Indy to school and all that.

Except not on a Sunday, dammit.

Anyway, I got up after half an hour or so and spent a couple hours getting increasingly tired while working on an e-book layout, and I’ve concluded that probably if I can do this on a weekday basis, having to interrupt the work flow to bring Indy to school and then take myself to the gym is EXACTLY what I’ll need in order to keep myself going through the morning and into the afternoon. I don’t know what I’ll do about the almost-inevitable 2pm slump (the obvious answer here would be ‘go for a walk’) but given the sleepiness cycle, I’d say yeah, this would probably be Just About Right.

Assuming I manage to get to bed right around 10pm ALMOST ALL THE TIME. Well, Catie, who’s responsible for that, then, *hmmm*? (Of course, if I get into the habit of the gym, for the first several weeks at least I’m going to be so exhausted that I may fall asleep by 10 whether I mean to or not…)

I went into the bookstore the other day and there are so many books I want to read and I’ve got so much work to do before I can read any of them. *cries* Also my houseguest is TEMPTING me, TEMPTING ME, I SAY, to watch s5 Orphan Black this Thursday & Friday (the first days of school) and I’m being Drawn Into Temptation. Which means I have to finish up this e-book (which is waiting on cover art and also on me figuring out which button to press to tell it to clean up unused code) and do another set of copy edits by Thursday, which really isn’t anything like impossible. It just seems like a lot, somehow.

I was telling someone at Worldcon that I’m basically five years behind in my reading schedule, so pretty much if you had a book come out in 2012 I’m right on it! But I’d like to be reading a little closer to the present. Moop. So I’ve got KSR’s new book, and I still haven’t read Ian MacDonald’s Luna books and really want to, and I have the second two Anne Lyle (hello, 2012) books to read, and there’s another Long Earth book out, and I’m *desperate* to read Emma Newman’s Planetfall books, and I have (HELLO, 2012) a Carol Berg duology to read, and those are just what I can think of off the top of my head without checking the TBR shelf, much less going into the bookstore again. *flails* So if I get my edits and things done I’m going to read SOMETHING over the weekend.

(*pauses to check how many books I’ve read from this year’s TBR shelf. 10 of the 41 I’ve read this year, which isn’t bad, actually. It leaves me with 13 fiction books on the TBR shelf, assuming I don’t bounce off any of them. Also, 41 books, while not BRILLIANT, isn’t bad for the year so far.)

I better go finish this e-book.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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Actually, I think–I hope–my head is coming through the other side of being a toxic waste dump, but jeez o flip. I’ve had two back to back colds. I don’t think I was sick when I went to Liverpool, so I guess I’ve been sick since about the Sunday after, which is three weeks today. It feels like longer. Both colds have been entirely in my head with a massive fucking cough that ejects gobs of snot that the constant nose-blowing assaults on my sinuses have not been able to remove preemptively.

I’ve been a lot of fun to be around. I coughed so hard I threw up! I’d never done that before. Cross one off the bucket list, I guess. Anyway, Friday night I conceded to Ted that if this hadn’t taken a significant turn for the better by Monday I should in fact go to a doctor and see if it’s more than just two utterly crappy colds in quick succession, but then Saturday afternoon and night I was able to lie down for sleep without trying to expel my lungs, so I think I may be on the mend.

(She said, ferociously ignoring what feels like a new fresh sore throat as opposed to “oh god my throat hurts from coughing so much”.)

IN OTHER, less gross, news, despite being a one-woman snot-production company, I’ve been working on a proposal for the publisher who’s interested in working with me, binging s1 of Brooklyn Nine Nine (I love the Pontiac Bandit so much), READING (how great is READING, PEOPLE?!!? (although reading Kim Stanley Robinson’s AURORA and James S.A. Corey’s CIBOLA BURNS back to back created some significant cognitive dissonance)), and making fumbling attempts to clean the house.

Oh, and Dad brought over four kilos of cherries, so those got pitted stemmed and frozen, and I need to pursue jam and perhaps cherry pie with them. Mmmm. And let’s see, what else. Ted got an e-reader and we’re culling the print books again, although at this stage we’re pretty close to the bone and are reaching Things That Can’t Be Purchased As E-Books, which means we keep ’em. :)

Yeah, what else, hm. There is a fluffy! bouncy! kitten in our yard (or in its vicinity, anyway), courtesy of some of the feral cats who live in the area. I’d like to try to capture the kitten(s) and see if they’re young enough to be tamed and homed, but it’d obviously be good to capture the adults and get them fixed, too. (*pauses to email the local animal rescue people about this, in fact* There, that’s done.)

And now I’ve taken a remarkably long time to make this blog post and shall rise up and go clean the kitchen, because for some reason it WON’T STAY CLEAN. If only we didn’t need to eat….

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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*sigh* I just spent about 40 minutes trying to get some ebooks onto my ereader, which didn’t work very well because it’s been a while since I’d done it and I’d kind of forgotten how. It’s not hard. It used to be hard, and I defaulted to the much harder version, which obviously took more time than the newer easy way, and also the USB port I first plugged it into on the computer wasn’t working and it took longer than reasonable to figure that out, so that was just, yeah.

I wanted to re-read the very comforting BLUE SWORD, but didn’t want to read my 30 year old worn-to-bits paperback. Finally got the books onto the e-reader. Discovered THE BLUE SWORD wasn’t there. Furthermore, it’s not available on kobo’s website, either, at least not on this side of the pond. Gave up in despair, deciding to read Daniel Keys Moran’s THE LONG RUN again, as it’s pretty well equally comfort reading.

And then I remembered I had specifically asked for a bunch of Robin McKinley books in hardback so I could read them at my leisure without wrecking my old worn to bits paperbacks, and of course THE BLUE SWORD is one of them, so I have a lovely hardback edition and now I’m too tired to read it.

So here it is, 5 to 9 on a Friday, and I’m going to bed, because I’m a real party animal. :p

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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I’m re-reading the Negotiator Trilogy, which I haven’t done since (before) they were published. I’m doing this so I can write KISS OF ANGELS, which is set (at least partially) after the trilogy, and in some ways I have only a vague idea of what the books are about. I mean, obviously I know what they’re about, but…

Some of you may know that the reason I haven’t written more book-length Old Races stories is that writing the Negotiator Trilogy was…awful. Just awful. Like, I had a small nervous breakdown, writing the third one. The Negotiator Trilogy is 375K long; I wrote well over a million words trying to get there. (For reference, the complete Walker Papers series, including “Banshee Cries” and the NO DOMINION collection, is just under 1.1 million words.)

The first book went through six major, massive revisions before publication.

The second book got an edit letter 6 months late that said “please insert a plot into this book” (that’s not really what it said at all, but that was the solution to what it DID say). It had to be torn apart and a plot forcibly inserted, which required throwing out and completely rewriting about 2/3rds of the book…during the time I was supposed to be writing the third book.

Because the revision letter for book 2 was so late, I’d started WRITING the third book, but because book 2 had no plot, and because there was a character I really desperately wanted to introduce in book 3 who it turned out didn’t belong there, I could not get book 3 written. I wrote between 200-300 pages six times before I got it right, and by that time I doubted myself so much I literally brought the manuscript, in tears, to my husband and said “please tell me if this works at all.”

On top of all that, the copy editor didn’t like my writing style and rewrote huge chunks of my sentences, leaving me to struggle with correcting them (this was before copy edits were done electronically) and leaving errors that remain in the books to this day.

It was an *awful* experience, and it’s why I’ve only ever written short stories and novellas in the world again. Even so it took me years to even consider that.

So! I know what happens in the books, but…not very clearly, because so many versions live in my head, and besides that, it’s been ten years. To write KISS OF ANGELS requires some revisiting of the old material.

I have never, ever (due to the reasons ennumerated above) wanted to re-read the Negotiator Trilogy. I’ve been hoping that they’d turn out to be good enough that, a decade after the fact, they could at least draw me in a little and make a re-read a modestly enjoyable task instead of a sisyphean one.

I’ve just finished HEART OF STONE, and it turns out they are!

In fact, there have been sentences and phrases that, if another author had written them, I would have been envious of the skill and wordcraft there! (That’s a real moment of cognitive dissonance, lemme tell you. :))

Nothing in the story has really *surprised* me, but there have been a number of times where I’ve gone, “Oh yes, this is the thing that happens here, I remember that,” and also, “OH I SEE WHAT I DID THERE, MAYBE NOBODY ELSE EVER SAW IT BUT I SEE WHAT I DID THERE I’M SO FUNNY AHAHAHAH” because I’m a great big dork. *laughs*

One of the things that is *particularly* interesting to me is that I had to work very hard to write Romancy Sensual Sexy Reactions stuff in that book, and I felt like, god, SO heavy-handed, SO awkward, SO awful. But re-reading it? It’s really not any of those things. Which is just fascinating. I mean, I was, like, embarrassed at the heavy-handedness of it all, when I wrote it. (Yes, yes, this from the same woman who wrote THE QUEEN’S BASTARD, but that book didn’t go through the evolution that HEART OF STONE did. TQB was (almost) always supposed to be full of smut. :))

Another thing that I kind of knew but which is much more obvious on re-reading is that holy cats, the short stories have different versions–sometimes MUCH different versions–of the backstory mentioned in the book. Like, there’s stuff in the book that’s just plain wrong, if the short stories are to be believed. Which, IMHO as the author, they are. :)

The nice thing is I’m totally okay with that. I figure two things: One, all of these characters are at least hundreds and often thousands upon thousands of years old, and one can hardly expect anybody to remember the truth accurately over that period of time.

Second, and much more importantly, many of these characters are inveterate liars anyway, and should never be assumed to ever be telling you the truth. (I mean, seriously. You wouldn’t trust Janx or Daisani, would you? You *shouldn’t*, anyway.) :)

Anyway, so now I’m on to reading HOUSE OF CARDS, and I’ll blog about that while I’m finishing it! <3 -Catie

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)


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C.E. Murphy

September 2017

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