Monday, November 19, 2012

The Next Big Thing: One Night in Sixes

Not going to lie: getting invited to participate in my very first blog hop is pretty dang exciting.  It's like I can close my eyes and hear Oprah asking the questions.  (A book club selection?  Oh, O, you shouldn't have!)

Ten thousand thanks to K.E. Skedgell for officially tagging me in to the Cool Kids Club.  Here we go!

What is your working title of your book?

One Night in Sixes.  Because some hack already took Tombstone, and The Good, the Bad, and the Amphibious doesn't have the right 'snap'.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I'll be straight: I've rebooted this book more times than I care to count.  The idea for the successful version came about when I quit saying, "okay, now I have all these cool characters lined up, what will I make them do?" and said, "okay, so there's a cowboy and a salesman trying to trade some horses – what goes wrong?"

What genre does your book fall under?

I've heard epic fantasy, historical fantasy, and Weird Western, but probably the best thing to call it is "rural fantasy."

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Well, right now I'm thinking Big Macintosh for the lead.

(With a big tip o' the hat to Lauren Faust, Hasbro, and GeneralZoi's Pony Creator, into which I have now poured several extremely pleasurable hours.)

I kid, of course.  But let's face it, re-imagining the cast as ponies is probably more fun for the casual observer than me waxing wishful about Max Pirkis and Rudy Youngblood.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

"It's a cowboys-and-Indians story, except that the cowboy's accidentally shot an Indian, and if the victim's family doesn't come after him, the fishmen will."

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I am the *luckiest* SOB in the world, because I am represented by none other than the Agent of My Dreams, Jennie Goloboy at Red Sofa Literary.  Don't hate me because she's beautiful.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Let me put it like this: if my book was a person, it'd be old enough to read itself.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I can't say The Rose of the Prophet, because that's too obscure.

I can't say The Dark Tower, because that's too awesome.

I can't even say True Grit, because that's not fantasy.

So I'll just have to say, "oh, I couldn't possibly – it's too devastatingly original, you see!" while thrusting Firefly and The Wire DVDs at you under the table.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My fellow Americans, let me be real.  We are citizens of the most seminal, exceptional, infinitely improbable nation on earth.  But our history is a radiation that has been seeping into our bones for five hundred years.

This story is about people who are literally, supernaturally altered by the world they were born into and the cultures they've inherited. And about the only thing worse than what that prompts them to do to each other is what they've already done to themselves.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

In the fantasy genre, Molly Boone would not be considered an exceptional horse.  She can't fly or fight or be summoned by an ocarina, and she doesn't have a telepathic bond with anybody.  But I am proud as hell to say that she has already inspired a MapleStory character of the same name, and I think the old girl is well on her way to a storied career.

That reminds me, I have an e-mail to write.

In the meantime, you should absolutely check out five of my very favorite fellow bloggers, to whom I bequeath this meme:

Lena Frank, who writes the WEIRDEST Westerns I have ever seen!
Matthew Borgard, the Man of Many Muses (and seriously brain-stimulating blog posts)
Jamie Wyman, who is Schtupping my ego AS I TYPE
Cynthia McGean, the mythological creature known as The Teacher Who Still Makes Time to Write

and the mysterious masked figure known only as... The Sneaky Burrito

So maybe the better question is, am I the kind of brass-balled swindling son of a bitch you want to do business with?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Some Assembly Preferred

So here in the US, the electoral afterbirth has been mopped up, the tear-stained editorials have mostly dried, and the relevant political parties are changing back into their sweatpants and wife-beaters for another year.


I tell you what flipped my lid, though: the morning after the election, I logged on to Facebook and saw a comment from one of my other-side-of-the-fence friends that stopped me dead in my Inter-tracks.

 "Fwoah," thought I. "THAT'S what this election was about for you? I didn't know we were voting on that!"

And I don't care to get too much into the partisan particulars just here, but suffice to say that for one of us, the Rebel Alliance has blown up the Death Star, and for the other, Luke Skywalker has just been murdered.

I don't expect that kind of reality-schism is news to anyone: there's something in the human brain that hardwires us to feel like a valiant, oppressed underdog no matter which side of what issue we happen to be on. But what gets me is that it is *almost impossible* for us to take in even the scantest handful of facts and NOT make a story out of them.

That lady in the Ford Dreadnought that just cut you off? Clearly a clueless ditzy gas-hog soccer mom.

The hurricane that ate New York? Obviously the result of global warming / the coming apocalypse / a completely random natural phenomenon / Ororo Munroe on bath salts.

I'm just saying.

These things don't exist in a vacuum. Our story-making brains are CONSTANTLY sifting through all the thousands of Erector-Set facts spread out around us, picking up the ones that fit our current project, and sidelining the rest.

Wait, you're telling me Governor Goodguy did THAT? Who reported it? Well, THEY'll say anything.

Hey, did you hear this rumor about Senator Sonofabitch? I knew he was a dirtbag!

And all of the above, my fellow fictioneers, is why I will always love stories that don't come pre-assembled. Sure, it's fun to pull a shiny new Transformers movie out of the box and start smashing up Decepticons. Sometimes it's nice to let good guys wear white hats and bad guys twirl their mustaches and damsels lap-dance on the train tracks.

But I got a special place in my heart for the writers who make building the toy part of its fun. "Okay, where does Shylock go? Yeah, he's kind of a dick, but if I make him the villain, then what kind of jerk-ass hero is Antonio?" "Well, and what do we do with the Ministry of Magic? Is it just an incompetent bureaucracy, or is it actually responsible for You-Know-Who?" "And while we're at it, I'm just gonna put Harry Dresden in his own special little box waaaaay over here."

Anyway: good luck with the building, y'all, and a special shout-out to all my fellow NaNo'ers who haven't yet started hallucinating word-count meters in your Wild Turkey writing binges.  Don't despair - we'll get there!

That was black magic, and it was easy to use. Easy and fun. Like Legos.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Confessions of a Closet Pedivore

This is Peaches.

She's a pretty great cat by any standard, but what I really love about her is that she's the most single-minded, laser-focused life-form I've ever met. When it's lovey time, you've got a furry vibrating mogwai draped on your face. When it's playtime, she's a mackerel-striped Lamborghini doing carpet-ripping donuts around the living room (or mauling feet, as above). And when it's time to go to the vet, there's an 8-pound meth-addled velociraptor in the Kozy Kitty crate.  Basically, no matter what she's doing, Peaches is doing it to the max.

I'm pretty much the same way. Not that I express affection by wiping eye-boogers on people's faces or anything - but man, it is SO easy to pick one thing and just go at it. Whether it's work or writing or hangout time, I shove everything else to one side, latch on to the goal like a facehugger alien, and don't let go until my success is skittering off the organ-splattered dinner table.

So to speak.

This kind of single-minded toe-chewing tenacity was essential in college, but lately I've been running hard up on its down side. It just doesn't work for things like losing weight, or saving money, or making e-friends - you know, the stuff that you can't just lock yourself in a room and power through for 8 hours at a time. And it is so dang exhausting to have to constantly keep on top of half a dozen little piddly things!

So for all you competent multi-taskers out there: what the heck is your secret? Do you make a schedule or a do-list or something? Is there a sticker chart on your wall where you give yourself a gold star every time you hit the gym or practice the glockenspiel? Tell me your winning strategy, so I can make it mine!

In the meantime, Peaches and I are going to use our mutant power to do NaNo this month.  Wish us luck!

The game's afoot;
Follow your spirit: and upon this charge,
Cry — God for Harry! England and Saint George!