September 1st, 2006


promises in every star (A September of Lanterns)

I am so very not awake, the sort of not-awakeness that seems determined to cling to me for many hours yet to come. But, fortunately, we finished with the galleys for Daughter of Hounds yesterday afternoon and today has been declared a "day off" after eight-straight days of proofreading and the busyness of writing.

Yesterday, we did chapters Nine ("The Bailiff") and Ten ("The Yellow House"), plus the epilogue, and think we were done by five p.m. And I'm pleased to say that I still like this book very much. I doubt I shall read it again for many years, having written it and read it three times in the last few months. I rarely ever read my books once they actually become books, especially the novels. I cannot say why. It's not an excessive familiarity with the material. I think that it has something to do with moving along to the next story. I feel like I'm always being propelled forward, as if on a river or as we move through time, headlong, and what I have done becomes memory while what I must do becomes the urgent present.

What I will say about Daughter of Hounds is that there's more plot contained in its pages than in my earlier novels. Or maybe it's just that the plot is more intricate. My approach to plot has always been haphazard. I don't see plot in the world, in life, and so I am very reluctant to impose it upon my novels. Maybe this is some holdover from my years as a paleontologist, but I am very leery of mistaking actual patterns for patterns that are illusory and vice versa. Most plot is a sort of illusory hindsight, weeding out everything that actually happened and choosing to make a story from the bits that interest us. Synoptic history, I call it. I'm sure it's why I've had to deal with so many "what happened?" complaints. I have always preferred to leave many of the "what happened?" and "why?" and "how?" questions to the minds of my readers, while I concentrated, instead, on giving them real people and places and mood and atmosphere and subtext. I tend to want my books to unfold by the gradual accumulation of happenstance, the consequences of cause and effect, rather than by following some preordained plot. But, that said, yes, there is a bit more plot to Daughter of Hounds. Hopefully, it won't get in the way. The characters are still what matter most, and the mood, and the bigger questions. I've always thought "what happened?" was a pretty small question. And one I had no desire to be enslaved by.

The novel takes place over six days in February 2010, in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

There wasn't much else to yesterday. After dinner, well after sunset, Spooky and I took our evening walk. It's much nicer after all the people have gone indoors. As it passed by, Ernesto had cooled things off nicely. Back home, my eyes and brain too weary from reading to read anything more, I watched three more episodes of Firefly ("Out of Gas," "Ariel," and "War Stories").

This evening a new cat will be coming to live with us. It's been almost three months since Sophie's death, and I think I'm ready. There was a great wonderful cat with us while we were in Rhode Island, and he kind of put us back in that place where we need to have a cat about. We're adopting a four-year-old seal-point Siamese. So, I think we're a little nervous in anticipation of his arrival.

It is beyond me (and perhaps that's evidence of my advancing years) how people endure, much less enjoy, More than anything else, it's the plethora of obnoxious flashing ads that get to me, sometimes as many as three or four on my screen at once. These things are clearly designed to be garish. But there are plenty of other annoying features, such as "Cool New People" and "MySpace Horoscopes." But I'm hanging in there. I am nothing if not tenacious. To stay a writer, one must be tenacious above all else. Tenacity is the key. I have noticed that MySpace seems to run very, very, very slow at times. But I will continue to mirror this journal there for the time being, as long as I can stomach the ads. Here's my MySpace page. I'll friend just about anyone who asks. I don't friend bands, unless I know them personally. But I gotta say, what a gorramn tacky place, MySpace.

I would be remiss in my writerly duties were I not to point you to Poppy's (docbrite) post from yesterday concerning her inability, even with the help of the Author's Guild, to get blood from a turnip, water from a stone, the $4000 she's owed from a magazine called Sacred History. You can read her post here. Note that we may contact the editor in question, Mr. James Griffith, at to let him know how we feel about editors who stiff working authors who rely on the income from their writing for survival. Personally, I have no problem with flying monkeys.

Okay. Stuff to do, even though this is a "day off." Please do have a look at the current eBay auctions, especially the PC of the lettered state of subpress' edition of Low Red Moon. If you'd like to see more images of the book and its traycase, just have a look back at my second entry from yesterday.

In closing, as promised, here's the cover image from the mass-market paperback edition of Threshold, coming January 2nd, 2007 (behind the cut). The corrected text, as I've come to think of it. At least Dancy's eyes are pink:

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Postscript (3:50 p.m.): The auctions have ended. My thanks to those who participated!