K.C. Shaw's Blog, page 5

November 26, 2012

I finished the draft of Wharf Rat this evening, finally! It needs some work, mostly because the denouement dragged out way too long. Next week I'll reread the whole thing in one or two sittings so I can get a feel for where the pacing sags. It's only about 72,500 words in all, which is short for a fantasy; I'll probably need to add some scenes and maybe another subplot too.

But for now, I can't stop writing. I still have almost 8,000 words left in order to complete NaNoWriMo. I've opened up the old, neglected Adventures in Zoology to continue writing it. It would be nice if I could finally finish it--I've been meaning to work on it all year, and I even have the rest of it outlined, I just haven't gotten around to it.

Now's my chance!
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Published on November 26, 2012 18:16 • 17 views

November 19, 2012

If I didn't cook (and didn't have this awesome little camera), I don't know what I'd blog about.


I made these from this recipe, only I added a tsp of almond extract to the dough, and for the filling I mixed about 1/4 c. raspberry jam with about 1/4 c. unsweetened, smooshed-up raspberries (because I wanted these to taste like raspberries instead of jam).

As it happens, I don't much like rosewater. I bought it on impulse last month and found this recipe because I wanted to know what to do with it. It's very strong and perfumey, naturally, but it makes me feel like I'm eating face cream. Next time I make these I might use lemon extract in place of the rosewater.
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Published on November 19, 2012 16:19 • 19 views

November 18, 2012


Last night was our local NaNoWriMo group's big write-in. We gathered in a big open room in an office building one of our members had arranged for us to borrow; it had lots of tables and power strips and a place to put our food. We all brought food, everything from bags of chips to a honey-baked ham.

I'd signed up to make pumpkin bread, but it was a recipe I hadn't tried before and...it wasn't a success. Obviously. The bottom and sides were overcooked and when I tried to tip the loaf out of the pan, the still-liquid insides puked out. So I stopped at the store on the way and bought a cheese log and Wheat Thins.

We gathered at 5pm and had the building until midnight. Our municipal liaison had a posterboard where we all wrote our names and our word goals for the night, and she had glittery star stickers to put next to our names every time we wrote 500 words. By the end of the night, all the stars were used--and we only had 15 or 16 people there.

I wrote just over 6,000 words, which got me caught up from where I'd been lagging behind on my wordcount. I should reach 30,000 words total today. I also had a good time talking with the other writers, and of course eating like a pig.

It was almost 1 a.m. when I got home. I slept late--until 11 a.m., which is unheard-of for me, but I was short on sleep to start with. Then when I got up, I realized I have galleys to proof for my Etopia book Blood and Ashes, which will be released soon in print. And of course I have to write my daily words.

So I'm going to get right on that, even though I am lacking sausage balls and tortillas with awesome seven-layer dip and leftover Halloween candy (three or four different people brought their leftover Halloween candy). At least I have half a cheese log.
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Published on November 18, 2012 11:24 • 16 views

November 16, 2012

I've been meaning to do a post like this for weeks. So many people I know have books that have either released recently or will be out soon. Here is a big shout-out to as many of them as I remember. If I left anyone out, let me know so I can update.

Cate Gardner has a story in the Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top anthology! It is sure to be delightfully unsettling.

My Etopia stable-mate Charley Descoteaux has a m/m erotic romance releasing in December, Comfort and Joy, which is probably exactly what you need to get you in the holiday spirit.

Lee Collins' weird western The Dead of Winter just came out from Angry Robot Books. I'm really looking forward to reading this one once NaNoWriMo is over.

Another Angry Robot Lee, Lee Battersby, had his book release a few months ago, The Corpse-Rat King . I've read it and it was great.

Alan W. Davidson has a story in the Friday Flash Vol. II anthology, out now! It looks like a fun collection.

Paula R.C. Readman has a story in the anthology Crime After Crime (US link) which is a collection of crime stories. You probably guessed that, though. It just came out like two days ago.

Carrie Harris also has a just-released YA horror (funny horror not OMG I will never sleep again horror) book out--actually two: Bad Hair Day (sequel to last year's excellent Bad Taste in Boys) and its related e-novella Bad Yeti . I'm going to have a lot of backed-up reading to do after NaNo.

I am remiss in not mentioning this sooner (although my blogging has slowed way down lately), but Conor P. Dempsey's science fiction book The Exiles of the New World was released in April! That cover makes me want to die of love.

Mercedes M. Yardley's horror/dark fantasy short story collection Beautiful Sorrows is available now from Shock Totem. Another cover that makes me want to die, in a good way.

Michael McClung has several books available and I'm embarrassed to say I'm not sure which of his is the latest. I know The Blade That Whispers Hate is available recently although I think it's not the official release--it's mostly for people who just can't wait for it to be out in its final form. But hey, it's free, so if you can't wait....

Whew. I think that's everyone. I need to read faster and also, somehow, blog more at the same time.

Oh, and I shouldn't forget myself. Jack of All Trades has just been re-released by Double Dragon, and it includes the short story "The Neverstone." I've got a Goodreads giveaway running for a copy.
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Published on November 16, 2012 07:14 • 16 views

November 11, 2012

You know what I've done all day? Listened to Pandora Radio and failed to write.

Actually, I did have galleys of The Taste of Magic to proof and return (for the upcoming print edition), which I did. It took me most of the day. And I did go into Knoxville for a local NaNoWriMo write-in, except that the Panera where we were meeting was absolutely packed and I couldn't find our group, so I left again. Then I took a walk since it was almost 75 degrees out. Oh, and I went grocery shopping.

See? Boring.

On the other hand, I've opened up my NaNo file at last and I'm planning to write my way to a scene where our hero is mistaken, due to a complex series of actions he has no control over, for a princess. By the princess's fiance. So I may be boring on the outside, but my brain is busy coming up with cool stuff.
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Published on November 11, 2012 18:45 • 15 views

November 8, 2012

I almost forgot I wanted to post a picture of my awesome new Mister Ghost badge that I got from Evil Supply Company. That's why I am wearing my nightgown in the photo; I was too lazy to put a real shirt back on. I wanted to show Jekyll investigating the badge, but he was much more interested in the camera, which is odd because he'd never seen the badge before and I follow him around with the camera like his own personal paparazzi.

Here's the badge a little clearer, but I didn't want to just post this pic because it's mostly of my cleavage. Ooh la la.

I've also ordered some stationery (the Boneyard design), because I could not stop myself.

I followed @EvilSupplyCo on Twitter when I saw a post someone had retweeted. I had to follow them because I have a book called Evil Outfitters, of course, and then I found out they are a real company and I about died of awesome.

This seems like a propitious time to remind everyone that there are only three days left to enter my Goodreads giveaway for a copy of Evil Outfitters, Ltd. AND a copy of the original edition of Jack of All Trades, its companion volume. Jack of All Trades has been reissued by Double Dragon, and I got an email this morning letting me know that it's available now as a print book for anyone who wants the new edition (which includes the short story "The Neverstone").
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Published on November 08, 2012 18:15 • 17 views

November 4, 2012

Mostly, I find writing with an outline helpful. It keeps me from having to stop writing and figure out what comes next and why, and how it should fit into the larger plot.

Usually.

I knew I didn't have enough plot for Wharf Rat, but I didn't expect what happened yesterday. Three days into NaNo and I slammed to a dead halt. No clue what comes next. I haven't written a word all day. (Tweets don't count.)

The problem is that I wrote a paragraph that would launch a subplot, which I need. Usually when I do that, I can come up with something on the fly, jump right in, and go back later and backfill necessary scenes to make the subplot fit in. But this time...nothing. Crickets. Dog barking in the far distance.

So now it's 9:20 pm and I spent most of the afternoon baking (pumpkin pies that turned out terrible, blueberry tarts that turned out terrible, rice pudding that turned out wonderful thank gawd) and most of the evening browsing membase (which was funny at first and then just depressed me). And I still have to write something.

*drums fingers*

I guess I'd better skip ahead and write a scene I know I'll need. I hate doing that. I feel like I'm cheating.
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Published on November 04, 2012 18:23 • 20 views

October 31, 2012

Another Halloween is over, and another NaNoWriMo is about to begin. Hopefully I'll get some sleep in between.

I made a complicated costume that actually turned out really well, considering that in the end it was mostly held together with safety pins. I don't have a long mirror so I couldn't get a decent picture, but here are two pix I did get in the bathroom mirror. The shiny is the batwing cape I made from some gorgeous lacy cloth.


Oh, and I got pizza on the way home from work.

Jekyll wore a costume too. It came with a little hat but the costume was made for dogs and the hat wouldn't fit. He didn't mind the collar, at least. Jekyll is shy, but as the evening progressed he got to the point that he didn't freak out so much when kids came to the door. Sometimes he'd even stay in the living room, and all the kids commented on him.


One little girl asked what I was supposed to be dressed as. I said, "An evil queen who didn't have time to fix her hair."

Incidentally, I made a lot of effort to find unusual candy. The lollipops with plastic skeleton arms as sticks were a huge hit, as were the gummy mummies. My personal favorite was the plastic vampire teeth that came with a little pouch of candy blood. How cool is that? I made sure to give them to older kids, not toddlers.


The house looked particularly good, if I do say so myself.

The cold weather kept a lot of kids away, unfortunately, and I have a bunch of candy left over. I plan to take it to work tomorrow. The last thing I need during NaNo is candy to graze on while I type.

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Published on October 31, 2012 19:35 • 13 views

October 29, 2012

I woke from a sound sleep at two this morning with the sound of a metallic crash still reverberating in my ears. Naturally I assumed the cat had knocked something over, and since I was scared I reacted by yelling several obscenities really loudly, because ghosts are scared of yelling.

Then I got up and turned on all the lights.

Jekyll was in the hallway outside my bedroom, his tail fluffed up and his eyes big and round.

These are my thoughts, as near as I can remember them:
It's a ghost.
No, a neighbor cat must have jumped onto the outside of a window and scared Jekyll.
But what made the noise?
Is someone trying to get into the house?
I'd better look outside.

I went to the front door and peered out, then turned on the porch light and peered out some more. Nothing stirred in the yard.

Then I turned around and saw that part of a plastic "FOR SALE BY OWNER" sign had fallen out of the capped chimney and onto the electric heater that sits in the fireplace, along with a lot of soot and cinders.

I don't know what a FOR SALE BY OWNER sign was doing in my chimney. I didn't put it there. The chimney was capped something like ten years ago when the house was remodeled, long before I moved in, and presumably the cut-down sign was used to block off something up there. There's no flue in the chimney anymore and, of course, the chimneytop itself has a metal cover over it, although there are ports in the cover's sides, presumably for ventilation.

The wind gusted outside, making the house creak gently. Then I heard scrabbling in the chimney.

I pictured a sooty and furious, probably rabid, raccoon leaping down from the chimney and attacking my face. So I banged on the heater and yelled more obscenities, and the sounds stopped. I waited a long time and didn't hear anything but the wind, and there wasn't a draft from the chimney so hopefully the FOR SALE BY OWNER sign wasn't blocking off something important. I cleaned up the soot and cinders, threw the sign away, and turned off all but one living room lamp.

Then I went back to bed and stared at the ceiling, listening tensely, for the next four hours.

Further details if any come up.

Edit: I left the house a while ago to run down to the post office, and three young raccoons and what I initially thought was a white cat ran from my side yard across the street. About the time I realized the "cat" was an albino raccoon, they were gone and I wasn't able to get a picture. But, you know, mystery solved. They were probably fighting crime.
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Published on October 29, 2012 09:36 • 27 views

October 22, 2012

The lovely and talented Cate Gardner has tagged me! I felt like just copying her answers because they're so clever, but probably someone would have noticed. So here are my answers.

What is the title of your book? 
Wharf Rat 

Where did the idea come from for the book?
 The main character started out as a small-time thief in another book I wrote a few years ago. He wasn't even supposed to have a name--he was only supposed to steal something from one character so that another one could look good by catching him--but he turned out to be such an appealing guy that I wrote him into the story. Ever since, I wanted to feature him in his own book.

What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Oh, gosh. I don't know actors. Since the main character, Rone, is an elf, I'll say Orlando Bloom except that Bloom would need to go on a three-day drunk before shooting started and also have his front top teeth knocked out.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of the book?
When Rone, an incompetent thief, takes a job delivering messages for a businessman, he stumbles on a conspiracy involving a foreign prince and a princess who isn't supposed to exist.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Let's hope I get an agent when I'm done.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
It's not done, but I've been working on it on and off for a few months. I'm planning to finish during NaNo.

What other books would you compare this story to in your genre?
It's a kind of heist story set in a fantasy world (which itself is based loosely on New Orleans and Savannah), but any titles I list would make me sound too full of myself so I won't list any.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Hey, wait, that's sort of the same question as one earlier. That's cheating.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Rone can't read or write. I'm writing a book about a guy who can't read. Weird. Also, he's not interested in learning. Also, I think I just totally swallowed a bug. (Wait, that has nothing to do with my book.)

And now I have to tag five people. Don't worry, I won't be upset (read: I won't notice) if you don't respond:
Laura Lam (who just did a very similar or possibly identical post a few weeks ago, so technically she already responded)
Becky Regalado
Michael McClung
Rob Haines
Wesley Chu
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Published on October 22, 2012 13:59 • 17 views