Sunday, February 27, 2011

Who's in with me?

So who else is planning to submit to Angry Robot on Tuesday? They're only opening to unagented submissions for one month. They're going to get inundated.

I'm sending Bell-Men, and to prepare I'm now doing yet-another-final-edit. They only want to see the first five chapters, but I figure any excuse to trim some words off that monster is a good one. And I have indeed managed to cut about 600 words, taking me down close enough to 116,000 words that I can change my official wordcount. I'd like to get down to 115,000, but I don't think that's going to happen. Still, the first draft was about 130,000, so I figure I'm doing good.

This is a good book. I like it. It's too long and probably the pacing is off as a result, but I think it's strong and pretty well written. Maybe the slush readers at Angry Robot will think so too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

My typing fingers are weary

Dang! I finally finished typing up all 20-some pages of writing I'd generated over the last several days. I wrote 6,500 words longhand! Bloodhound is now up to 48,000 words, and shifting into high gear. Best of all, the plot is coming together very nicely.

I don't necessarily prefer writing longhand instead of typing, but it sure is a good way to generate words. I always have my notebook with me. A few paragraphs here and there add up fast.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

More about my name

I was looking up last names online to find a name for a new character, and while I was on one site I looked up my own last name. Here's what it said!

Shaw - Originally given to a person who lived near a sceaga, Old English meaning "thicket".

Holy crap! My name means "thicket," and here I have a blog called "The Knotted Thicket," which was completely a coincidence. My ancestors would have been baffled.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Now with double the Shaw awe

The TOC has been announced for Pill Hill Press's Leather, Denim & Silver anthology, in which I have a story. Thirty stories in that antho! Hot damn! I'm also not the only Shaw in the TOC, which is fine, because all us Shaws are awesome.

I'm still working hard on Bloodhound, which is already almost at 40,000 words. In most books, that would be around the halfway point. In this ridiculously long thing, it's more like a quarter of the way in. I'm going to have to rein in the details during the first editing pass.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Come on, Spring!

The garden is tilled--with an actual rototiller, which we borrowed from the landlord--and I have two flats of pepper seeds started, and it's going to be nearly 70 degrees today and I'm totally ready for spring.

It's too early to plant the garden yet. I have lettuce and snow pea seeds ready to go in the ground in a few weeks; I have plans for yellow squash this summer, dark prince tomatoes, hot and mild peppers (of course), basil, watermelon, and lots more of the delicious bounty of summer.

But before summer, I have to wait just a little longer for spring. Maybe I'll put on my boots and take off for Clear Creek this afternoon.

What kind of plants would you grow, if you had a 20' x 20' garden to plant and a stack of seed catalogs to order from?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Taste of Magic has a home

I updated my website today, so I guess I'll go ahead and announce this. I got the contract back and no one's told me to keep it a secret. Etopia Press has accepted my fantasy novel The Taste of Magic! They're a new publisher, so I'm guessing it'll be released sooner rather than later this year as an ebook. Most of the books they've published so far are romances, but they're open to a lot of genres. I like their covers.

I'm happy about that and looking forward to starting edits. I've also got more edits coming up for The Weredeer. Honestly, the best way to improve as a writer is to work with a good editor and apply what you learn to the rest of your writing.

Speaking of which, now I'm diving back in to writing Bloodhound, which is shaping up to be as long as Bell-Men.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

That's my bowl. Hands off.

I bought three books and a lovely hand-made wooden bowl today. Thank you, Internal Revenue Service, for returning that money. Now I have done my part to keep the economy moving.

I looked very hard for some mysteries written by men that I thought I would read. I did buy a Walter Mosley book, but the other two books were by women. At least I'm trying. And I did finish reading Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, who is a man and whose book was just awesome.

When I got home, I cleaned my room top to bottom so I could properly display my beautiful wooden bowl. I put it on top of the computer where I can reach it easily. It's so smoothly textured, I can't keep my hands off it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Battle of the Sexes! And Species!

Yes, it's that time of year again. Okay, it's not. It's random. But I've been seeing some rumblings on the intertubes about how women writers aren't getting the reviews men writers get (well, duh), and how men prefer to read books written by men and women by women, etc. So I took a look at what I've been reading and writing, because I haven't done that in a while (here, specifically; I know I have a second post like this but I can't find it).

First I looked through my reviews at Skunk Cat for the last year, tossing out a few reviews of books I'd reread instead of reading for the first time. And...I was shocked. See, I read 57 books by women writers between February 2010 and February 2011 and only 32 books by men.

Then I went through and counted those books by genre, and that cleared things up for me. I read 18 fantasy books by women last year, 15 fantasy books by men; I read 15 YA/MG books by women last year, 9 YA/MG books by men. That's fairly evenly split. In fact, between February 2010 and October 2010, I only read slightly more books by women than by men.

But in November 2010, I started reading mysteries again after a long absence from the genre. Mysteries are generally quick reads and I was reading entire series at a time. But I read 21 mysteries written by women and one mystery written by a man. One.

Part of the problem is that I like cozy mysteries, which is a subgenre pretty well dominated by women writers. But I do recall, back in my 20s when I was reading mysteries almost exclusively, that I was aware even then that I was reading hardly any books by men. In fact, I would try to read cozy mysteries by men and wouldn't finish them because they just weren't all that good (to me). Obviously I need to revisit my prejudices and try more mysteries by men.

Then I turned to my writing. I haven't been writing many stories lately, so I went back to September of 2009 for my count (because I remember what I wrote since then because most of it is still waiting to sell). Since 9/09 I've written three short stories, three novellas, and two novels. Two have male main characters, five female, and one has both a male and a female main character. If I include works in progress, though (meaning novels I intend to finish within the next year or two), I can add three female and three male main characters. Best of all, of all these main characters--finished and WIP--9 of 15 are human! That's pretty good for me.

So except for the mystery thing, I think I'm doing pretty good.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

I don't know what I'm eating

Our neighbors are having a cookout with barbecued ribs. This is real barbecue, too, not any pansyass grilled stuff. The neighbor's been slow-cooking it all day. He sent some over to us and even though I'm already full of tacos, I'm scarfing this stuff down like a starving dog.

I am only slightly concerned about what kind of meat I'm eating. I know that the neighbor is on the local police call-list for when someone reports hitting a deer with their car. The neighbor doesn't hunt, but when the police call about a roadkill deer, he goes out to pick it up and eats it.

I'm pretty sure these are pork ribs. Not positive, though. I know it's not beef. But, you know, they taste good so I don't really care.

In writing-related news, I'm 25,000 words into Bloodhound and enjoying writing it immensely. I'm also switching out happily with Adventures in Zoology, which ripened at the same time and is about 2/3 done already. It'd be cool if I could finish both before summer.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A very good year

I just found my old photobucket login and logged in to see what kind of photos I was saving in 2006.

Well, I was saving screenshots from a MMORPG I played obsessively for many years, Ultima Online. Here's a picture of my tamer, Saint Vincent (named after one of my cats), showing off his maxed-out pet deer. Those of you who never played a tamer in UO will have no idea what that means, but the typical pet in that game was a dragon or something, not a deer and training low-level animals to 100% stats was not easy. You'll note also that the deer's name was Kristof. Yes, I had just finished writing the first draft of The Weredeer and tamed and trained a deer in the game to commemorate it.

I'm pretty sure UO no longer exists--I stopped playing years ago and haven't felt brave enough to check. If it's still around, I'll be sucked in and will spend all my free time playing. If it's not still around, I'll be sad because I played that game for literally years. I even participated in the beta back when I was 27 years old. I remember joking with my cousin who also played that no one would believe it if I told them how old I was, because 27-year-olds don't play video games--I mean, 27-year-olds are grown-ups.

Anyway, this 41-year-old kind of misses the game. But at least I've still got The Weredeer.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I need more caffeine. Or less.

The world is full of little mysteries. Like, where did all this ink on my arm come from? It's a big splotch that I must have picked up from a flat surface. But I don't see any ink on any flat surfaces and none of my pens appear to be leaking. And anyway, how on earth did I get ink on just that one spot on my arm and not all over my hands and my face and my clothes?

It's a mystery. See, life is exciting!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Facebook, we hates it preciousss

Several years ago I signed up for facebook as KC Shaw, thinking I probably ought to. But I could never get it to display my name right (it was Kc Shaw, which just looks stupid), so I deactivated the account and signed up as Katherine Shaw. I never used that account either and deactivated it, because Facebook is just stupid. Then a friend convinced me a little over a year ago to sign up for Facebook again, which I did under a third email account as Katherine Shaw. I log in maybe once a month, if that.

Since Facebook won't let you actually delete accounts, just deactivate them, and since I can never remember which account is actually active, I'm forever accidentally reactivating those two old accounts. Today I decided I might as well make the other Katherine Shaw account my 'writer' Facebook page, since the account I've been using is personal--family, old friends, old friends of family. You know, people I don't actually need to stay connected with on Facebook because mostly I see them all the time anyway.

So I reactivated that old account and brought it more or less up to date, and then I went to invite friends. And I only had one person listed who I actually know, a guy who was in my crit group back when I lived (briefly and freezingly) in Pennsylvania. So if you have a Facebook account, I have one too. And this is probably the most pathetic post I've ever written.