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Posts Tagged ‘midnight never come’

more review bouncy

Marissa Lingen on A Star Shall Fall.

I’ve already admitted to her in private, and don’t mind repeating here, how relieved her review made me. Why? Because she’s a scientist, and I’ve been biting my fingernails over how the way I handle science in this book will be received. I’ve got at least two major factors complicating it, one being that I’m actively trying to grapple with the issue of how magic and science interrelate (or don’t), and the other being that I’m doing it in the context of eighteenth-century science, which is fascinatingly wacky all on its own. And right now I’m trying to deal with the nineteenth-century ramifications of the ideas I set up in Star, which means it’s a relief to know it’s worked for at least one reader of that sort.

I knew I was setting myself up for this challenge. Back when I decided Midnight Never Come would be the first in a series, and that the books would take place in different centuries, I knew I had a chance to do something you don’t often see in faerie fiction: not to show fae as totally stuck in the past, nor as completely modernized, but going through the process of change. Science & technology is a big part of that, though not the only one, so I knew I’d have to deal with these questions, and that it wouldn’t be easy . . . just as Ashes taught me why you don’t see more English Civil War-era fiction out there (because it’s bloody COMPLICATED, is why), I know why more authors don’t try to mash these ideas together.

On the other hand, if I succeed, I’ll have done something that hasn’t been done in a thousand other novels. And that’s worth a few headaches, I suppose.

Git yer discussion on!

Over on the community, they’re doing GoH book discussions leading up to the conference in October. In an excellent bit of timing, this is month my books are up to bat: Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie are on the table, and the first questions have been asked.

I don’t think you need an LJ account to comment over there (though it would probably be helpful to put some name on your posts). And I doubt they’d object to input from non-Sirens attendees — not everybody can make it to the conference that wants to. So if you want to jump in, feel free!

ID’ing the pattern

I’ve gotten a number of reviews of both Midnight Never Come and In Ashes Lie that say some variant on, “this takes a while to get going, but once it does, it’s pretty awesome.” (Or sometimes, “this takes forever to get going, and I gave up.”) I fully expect that as more reviews come in for A Star Shall Fall, I’ll get a few that say the same thing.

And I’ve finally figured out how to characterize it in my head: these books are arrangements of dominoes.

That is to say, the opening stages of each book are about lining up the stones, creating patterns that will — once set in motion — crash into each other in (hopefully) interesting ways. And the important part of this epiphany is, I’m not sure I could write these books any other way. Not so long as they are both (1) historical and (2) full of intrigue. I have to set the scene (in terms of both time and place), and I have to set up the political board (to steal from the metaphor I had Walsingham use in the first book). If I skip either of those steps, the dominoes will not fall as they should, because the reader will have no idea who these people are and why they’re doing what I just said they did.

So I don’t feel like this is a flaw, per se. Just a “mileage may vary” kind of thing. There are better and worse ways of doing the setup, and my success with it has probably been uneven; I’ll certainly be looking at the opening parts of this fourth book with an eye toward making the setup as engaging as it can be. But my feeling that the current scenes for both Dead Rick and Eliza kick them into a higher degree of motion than they were before? That’s just how these books go. The dominoes have begun to fall, and pretty soon the various lines I’ve laid out will begin to collide with one another, revealing the pattern of the whole. It’s like Lune’s Act III conversation with Tiresias in Midnight, or Vidar’s appearance at the end of Part II in Ashes, or [redacted on account of spoilers for Star].

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go knock down some more dominoes.


It just occurred to me that this particular plotline amounts to industrial espionage.

Well, it’s the Industrial Age; it fits. It just makes an odd little mirror to the Walsingham-style intrigue of Midnight Never Come.

Okay, brain; a few more paragraphs of revision on this scene, and then we can go to bed.

music lists

arielstarshadow, a while ago — where “a while” is “about six months” — you mentioned you’d be interested in seeing my playlists for the Onyx Court books, the stuff I had on shuffle while writing, that the soundtracks got built out of. Well, since I recently found myself with occasion to mail those playlists to someone, I figured I might as well go ahead and put them up on my website. The Midnight playlists are here, and the Ashes playlists are here.

They’re just .txt files, and moderately illegible; when iTunes exports a playlist, it includes all the file information, and it was already enough work just cleaning out the chaff so you could see what the titles, composers, and albums were. I didn’t feel like doing even more work to make it pretty. Also, most of it is film scores. But if that’s the kind of thing you’re interested in — especially the dark-and-atmospheric end of film scores — you can scan through and see what I’ve been listening to.

Signal Boost: want to commission some art?

I’ve mentioned Avery Liell-Kok before; she’s the artist who did (among other things) this portrait of Invidiana, this painting for my game Memento, and the webcomic My Name Is Might Have Been.

She’s just launched a new website, and is actively seeking commissions. If you’ve always wanted a sketch or painting of something from one of your books (or works in progress), or a game, or something else entirely, drop her a line.

more auctioning

The Carl Brandon Society is sponsoring a fundraiser to help people of color attend Wiscon, a well-respected feminist SF convention. I’m auctioning off a signed set of the first two Onyx Court novels. There are a lot more goodies on offer; details about how to offer, browse, bid, donate, or request assistance here.

Two things I forgot to mention

One is that for the duration of June, Midnight Never Come is available as a one-dollar e-book. You can pick up a Kindle copy at Amazon, or eReader or what have you at Fictionwise, and maybe other formats elsewhere — but the offer only lasts until the end of the month.

The other is that I will be doing a reading and signing at Borderlands Books in San Francisco tomorrow (Saturday) at 1 p.m. If you’re in the Bay Area, come on by, and hear some assortment of short stories and/or excerpts from In Ashes Lie. (I really should make a decision on what I’m reading . . . .)