Anyway, a good day yesterday, which is to say it was a very productive day. Of course, it was that generally tedious sort of productivity that comes with editing a novel. There were moments, though, moments when I'd suddenly see so clearly a way to make some bit of prose or snippet of dialogue betterer. I say betterer, because everything in this ms. has already been edited at least once before this present editing. Some passages have been rewritten six or seven times. Spooky helped, as did Red Bull, and we didn't knock off until seven p.m. or so, by which time many of the difficulties with Daughter of Hounds had been resolved. Today, more of the same. We did get in a good walk yesterday. The cold snap doesn't seem to have done any harm to the green and budding and flowering things. Indeed, there's more than there was before the freeze.
Spooky just returned from the p.o. with copies of La Soglia, the Italian edition of Threshold. Oh, drad! There are footnotes explaining various bits of American and English pop culture. I love footnotes! Perhaps I'll auction one of these. And speaking of auctions, the Frog Toes and Tentacles letter S auction began about twenty minutes ago. This one's only a seven-day auction, so take note. There are photos on the auction page, and also in the entry I made for February 12th. These "cozies" are really frelling gorgeous. You must, you must. Your eyeballs and libido and fingertips will thank you.
Oh, Spooky says I need to tell William Harris that we're having trouble e-mailing the digest (or anything else) to the address that he provided, that things keep bouncing, and he needs to send a different e-mail addy to firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP so that she can send him #3. William? Are you out there? Also, I shall now remind you all that, according to ancient Phoenician astrological charts, February 16th, 2006 is a most excellent day to subscribe to Sirenia Digest. And those ancient Phoenicians weren't no fools.
Okay, I'm too excited to save this for the end, as I'd planned to do. Late last night, Ted e-mailed me a bunch of the artwork for Alabaster, including the art for the dust jacket. And my gods but it's a beautiful thing, this cover. Even if Peter Jackson should someday make an Oscar-winning Dancy movie with a somewhat older Dakota Fanning in the starring role, in my mind's eye, Dancy will always be as Ted has rendered her. The cover art's behind the cut. This should serve as a reminder that you need to pre-order Alabaster, if you've not done so already.
Okay. Finally, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Yes, we finished it night before last. And this is what I will say. For the most part, it was a terribly unfocused and meandering book. At times, it felt too much as though Rowling was trying to write for the expectations of her fans, that she was more concerned with those expectations than with writing a good book. At one point, I commented that she was writing her own slash fic. However, those things said, the last few chapters made up for whatever deficiencies there were earlier on. The last few chapters were terrible and unexpected and marvelous, and I applaud her for going where I'd feared she wouldn't have the nerve to go. I think Spooky wept all through the last three chapters. I would have, should have, but I'm such a callous old thing. I will admit now that I was very disappointed in the climax of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, what with it beginning so wonderfully and then devolving to the cluttered, chaotic mess that was the battle at the Ministry of Magic, and then the way that Rowling hit the ol' Star Trek story reset button. I mean, sure, Sirius was dead, but then it sort of felt like everything was forced back to some semblance of normality so that the expected formula could be repeated in the next book. Not so at the end of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Here, Rowling at least seems to be entering unfamiliar territory. The war has begun in earnest. She's broken my heart, and I love her for doing it. I shall likely explode before the next book is released. Oh, also the Tom Riddle flashbacks were chilling, particularly that first scene where Dumbledore meets him in the orphanage. And now, kiddos, I must away. Those red marks, those damned red marks, they mean business...
Postscript: I still have the hots for Severus Snape.