I have no glasses, for lo, they have gone in for repair. Squinting is not fun. However, this post comes in four parts for your convenience, and hopefully has at least a smidgen of non-blurry fun.
1. Personal nonsense.
Most of yesterday was spent in the car (driving around, not just sitting there), and gave me time to think. I realized the cloth I was cut from internalizes stress the same way I do. See, they received wonderful news, news that negated several simultaneous problems, and were promptly able to eat without getting sick afterwards for the first time in months.
Stress goes right to the stomach. How about that?
Know what else they do when stressed? Hide. I do that, too, and so I’ve made an effort to stay visible and to connect with people over the last few days. I see how it hurts others when they hide; I see how it hurts others when I hide. Breaking out of my bubble isn’t easy (it sure is cozy in here), but necessary.
Meh. This fix is gonna take a while.
2. Family stuff.
Grandma is going to need to be cared for.
I already knew this. Duane and I have known for months, but I’m sad to say that the rest of my family was not listening. I sort of understand why. Grandma has been the most amazing matriarch. She always knew the answer to any question, could interpret the most complicated manuals, could always be relied on for help in any aspect of life. Well, she’s ninety-five now, and has become the one who needs help.
Nobody wanted to believe this. Grandma is a strong woman. To see her as anything but independent is painful, and a shocking reminder of mortality. Unfortunately, it took her inability to bathe herself to finally convince the rest of the family that she’s reached that point.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next. Duane is applying for jobs in NYC. We’ll see what happens from there.
3. Book stuff.
In terms of writing, I am thrilled. See, I learned everything I know from struggling through book one. I used to say I learned from fanfic, but what I did with fic was instinct – things felt right, which is a great way to create, but I didn’t know why they felt right. That meant I couldn’t duplicate them on command, and that meant I had to study.
So book two has been a pain in the ass, not to put too fine a point on it. I kept ripping it out and redoing it, which was acceptable for book one because that was the learning ground, but if I ever do get published, I’m going to need to be able to create at a faster pace. Thus, I started applying what I’d learned.
Step one: figure out what the hell is going on. Mindomo is an invaluable resource for this. I’ve organized an entire tree around Alex, outlining out his personal conflict, his situational conflict, and the over-arching scheme, as well as where he himself needs to grow.
Step two: Put it in order. Okay, so I’m still working on this – after all, this is the book. I have all the issues laid out. I know the starting issue and I know how it resolves. Now the rest of the bullet-points simply need to be ordered in the middle.
This is going to work. It’s already working. I can feel it – and boy, it feels good.
4. Summary and Snippet!
And now, since you’ve been patient (or skipped past all my blabbering, which is perfectly acceptable), I am pleased to give you the query and a snippet for book two.
Summary (Simon Says, Guardian, book two):
The Wild Hunt’s erratic behavior is getting worse, and Owen is trying to bring the mythos together to fight them. Unfortunately, no one takes the Unseelie fey seriously anymore, and he’s being ignored – but not by all. Someone strange has begun to visit the children of the Unseelie fey, promising freedoms that lure them from their beds so they disappear without a trace. Alex, always protective, plans to save them all, but his efforts only seem to hinder the investigation. When his friend Caelan announces he wants to move away, it seems like Alex’s chance for a graceful exit, but Caelan doesn’t want him to come.
Being told he can’t help hurts Alex in a way he barely understands, so when the Tohu suddenly claim to have information about his father, he jumps at the bait. Every choice has consequences, and Alex thinks he’s counted the cost. Unfortunately, he has a lot more to lose than he knows.
Snippet (Simon Says, Guardian, book two):
Rumors fell like snow, splattering thick wet words that stuck to everything and made paths slick. They started small – mumbles in the marketplace, off-handed comments in human coffee-houses – but quickly, they grew, until not even the people who’d been there could quite believe what they’d seen.
“I always said the Tohu were after the Unseelie fey.”
“The Wild Hunt joined them – ”
“Joined them? Nobody joins the Hunt, bone-head.”
Then there was talk of a menagerie of horrors, obscure and obscene creatures Queen Mab had hidden for thousands of years before releasing them on the unsuspecting public.
“Owen Starbird, son of Mab herself. Set a manticore loose in the streets.”
“No, it was a sphinx. Thing pissed all over the palace.”
“Well, I heard it was a kikiyaon. You know, a soul-stealing owl?”
That one generally got a laugh.
The stories of long-dead queens and power grabs and monsters did not compare, however, to the mystery. Whispers said there was a boy involved. A boy with four wings, unknown among the mythos, and possessed of such beauty that no one who saw him could keep their heads clear. They said he was just a child. They said he could distract the hardest soldiers, turn the head of the most sensible patriarch, or steal the heart of anyone young enough to dream.
They also said he had power. Power that made crazy dead Mab take heed. Power that caught the attention of Notte, the Dark Drinker of All Who Live, that caught the attention of the Tohu themselves. Nobody knew what that power might be. It was strange and unfamiliar, even among all the diversity of the mythos.
Rumors fell like snow, thick and wet and splattering. It was only a matter of time before someone got too curious to wait for more.