dancinghorse: (fire)
This would be a great time to sign up for editing, writing mentoring, or Horse Camp for Writers (aka Camp Lipizzan). We've been busybusybusy, and now (For A Limited Time Only(tm)), there are some openings. And yes, we bank hours and book Camps for later in the year.

Also on the radar: my new! book! has a preorder button for the ebook form. It's space opera and it's intergenre and there's even a familiar face if you know some of my backlist (you will probably howl; you are meant to howl; and then I hope you will have a grand roaring time with it). It's called Forgotten Suns. Preorder goes live on May 5th. Here's the button at Amazon, and here (for the epub crowd) is the one at Kobo. There will be a trade paperback as well, if hardcopy is more your style. That comes out in late April.

I've been working on various projects. My novella for the December Kickstarter has hit the midpoint, and I am having So. Much. Fun. with it. It's contemporary and set in Tucson and has magical horses. I mean, it's autobiographical, right?

Also working on taking a few minutes each day to just be with the horses. Even if I lack the brain or body fu to do actual work with them, I aim for taking time, slowing down, breathing as much as I can. It being shedding season means a great excuse: they're massively itchy and demand that I groom them. There's a kind of peace in the process, and satisfaction as they present the itchiest portion and then sigh as it gets curried or bladed or Furminated. Then with some there's a moment to do some small bodywork or a step or two of groundwork. Keeping my hand in. Even if riding isn't happening.

Ro-Pup continues to enjoy his freedom. He has to be leashed on occasion, if there's a dog going by (no longer with the aggression, but he does want to go and say hi, which is not always welcome) or if the horses are getting excited, but mostly he's quick to come when called, and he's getting pretty clear on the rules. It's nice to have a real Farm Dog, and since he's a Shepherd by genetics and inclination, he's loving the sense of having a job.

Here's his current inclination:


Poor thing. We've been working him to death.
dancinghorse: (Balance)
2014 was a crap year in a whole lot of ways. The last couple of months were especially difficult. Everything was a struggle.

2015 seems to be setting off in a different direction. Very very busy. A lot of freelancing work--so that I'm gradually getting caught up on the bills from the end of last year. The fiction Muse is back, though she's been lolllygagging around that beach in Aruba the past couple of weeks while I've worked on some editing projects and a big nonfiction writing project. She'll get back to work this week Or Else.

So that's been good. I have myself back as a writer and a reader. But in the process of doing it, I lost the other side: the horses.

We had our bit of winter around the holidays, complete with snow and record cold on New Year's Day. We had lots and lots (and lots) of rain, which in the desert is a very good thing, but it turned the footing to mush and made the horses footsore. So no riding and very little groundwork happened after my last lesson, right before Solstice.

Once the weather improved and the footing likewise (it's still deep in places; we had that much rain), when I could have been riding, I was working instead. No energy left after caring for the horses to, you know, enjoy them. Lessons could have jump-started me but kept getting rained out or scheduled out.

Finally yesterday we were able to make a lesson happen. I had to remember where I'd put the riding gear, it had been so long. Longest I've gone without riding since grad school.

Ephiny was not on board. Capria actually volunteered, bless her heart, till I reminded her that she's retired and she's not carrying weight any more. She was a bit bummed. I think we may be doing groundwork or long-lining, if she feels she wants to get back in the game.

But not right then. I eyed Pooka, but with all the mares in heat, including Miss E, and not even a longe since last week, that was asking for trouble. When he's in that kind of mood, he can go rodeo. And I was not in shape to ride the rocket.

Anyway, Ephiny's the one who needs the work most, and between Ro deciding to get in touch with his inner border collie and Miss E being in standing heat, it took a while to catch her. Which is pretty much unheard of; she's usually in my face. Finally I said, "Hey. Do you want me to ride the hormones over there or can we have a lesson?" and she allowed as how she might consider the option.

That's Ephiny. She thinks things through.In which we have NEEP! )
So, back to it. Back to getting everything else lined up and working. On all sides of the personal balance sheet.
dancinghorse: (balloons)

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been part of a Storybundle. This is a very interesting crowdfunding concept, and one I like quite a lot. It brings together for a limited time a group of works under a common theme, and patrons can pay whatever they like. Of that payment, part goes to the organizing entity, part goes to charity, and the rest goes to the authors or artists. Patrons decide what proportion of their donation goes to each.


The bundle I’m in, which runs from January 21st through February 10th, consists of eight independently published fantasy ebooks by such authors as Bradley Beaulieu, Francesca Forrest, and M.C.A. Hogarth. The novels are varied in tone, style, and subject matter, but they’re all of excellent quality. They complement each other nicely.

I’ve been having a great time not only sharing the bundle with old friends and colleagues, but getting to know the new-to-me authors in the bundle. One of those is Scott Marlowe. I took the opportunity to ask him some questions about himself and his work. I hope you’ll enjoy his answers as much as I have.

This medievalist was delighted to see a fantasy series featuring an alchemically based magical system. How did you get started on this? What drew you to this particular angle?

The short answer is that I wanted to try something new, yet still hold onto all of the things I love about writing fantasy. I'm an engineer, so it seemed natural to pull some scientific elements into my world, while still retaining an overall fantasy feel. This means my "science" isn't science at all, really, but something that draws largely from my imagination. I may base it on real world scientific principles, but the similarities end there. For example, we all know electrical current travels through a wire. In my world, instead of wires there are tubules, and instead of electricity, a wide array of energy types, such as alchemical, elemental, emotional, magical, and others. Much like the fabled philosopher's stone of alchemy, which supposedly could transmute base metals such as lead into gold, there are certain individuals seeking the same thing, except they're searching for a way to alter the properties of one energy type to transform it into another. In my books, you'll see terms like the Principle of Confluence, which is a fictitious scientific principle that states when two similar energy sources are joined, they combine to form a single, more powerful energy source. But what happens when two disparate energy sources come together? That’s one of the questions I explore in The Five Elements.

As far as alchemy... Well, how could I not put alchemy into the mix? It adds in too much fun! I look at it as basically chemistry without boundaries. It brings with it arcane knowledge, mysticism, mythology, and a means to power or facilitate a wide variety of infernal devices. It’s something any scientist worth his or her salt in my world is going to have some knowledge about.

I see on your website http://www.scottmarlowe.com/ that you bill yourself as "Engineer" and "Technologist." Traditionally a person with that resume might head toward science fiction or technothrillers. Why fantasy?

I think I watched too many Ray Harryhausen movies (Sinbad, Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, etc.) when I was a kid and not enough 2001 Space Odyssey. Also, as a reader, I started with The Chronicles of Prydain and never really looked back, so it was natural for me to want to write fantasy. You know how some people are either left or right brain types? I guess I'm a bit of both, because I'm both an engineer and a writer. The story about that actually goes back to when I was about midway through college when I had a formative conversation with an English professor of mine about career direction. I was actually considering giving up the engineering pursuit in favor of a career in writing (what career exactly, I have no idea). He greatly swayed my decision when he said, "You know, Isaac Asimov is both a physicist and an author." I kept on with both the engineering program and writing in my spare time, and here I am today, still doing both.

Oh, very cool. So leading off from that--how does your technical background influence the worldbuilding and the writing of your books?

Worldbuilding becomes interesting when you have the potential to pull in aspects of theoretical physics into a fantasy world. I've been doing a lot of research on negative energy lately, for example. Negative energy is very strange. It's considered a form of exotic matter and isn't observable outside of a vacuum. So, in other words, you can't detect it inside our atmosphere, where positive energy is prevalent. But the opposite is true also: inside a vacuum, there's suddenly no positive energy, only negative energy. An interesting theory surrounding negative energy and black holes is that as a black hole absorbs more and more negative energy, it shrinks in mass, as opposed to growing until the entire universe is swallowed, which was an actual theory at one time. In effect, negative energy has the potential to nullify a black hole. The second book in my Alchemancer series is called The Nullification Engine. Related or not, I’m not saying.

In any case, this is how my mind works when worldbuilding. Take something that’s already pretty mysterious to begin with, then make it even more fantastic. It’s not much of a stretch fitting some of these things into the context of a fantasy world.

These are great answers. Now that I’ve gratified my curiosity, are there any questions you wish I’d asked you? What would you like to share with the world?

Here are a couple I did for another interview way back when, which still seem pertinent:

If you could write anyone's biography, whose would it be?

That's a tough one. There are many, many historical figures I would love to spend the time writing a biography about. However, if I had to choose, I'd go with Leonardo da Vinci. The man excelled at so many things, it would be fascinating to attempt to learn the origins of his brilliance.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

The act of creating the "perfect" scene. I often have a pretty good idea in my head as to how I want a scene to play out, but to actually write it out and experience it through the characters is a lot of fun. I really enjoy worldbuilding, too. I learned a long time ago, though, that the writing comes first. Engaging in worldbuilding is a great way to generate ideas, but I only take it as far as I need to in order to carry the story. Anything beyond that and you’re no longer writing a story, but something else.

True words. Thank you for sharing them with us! We’ll be looking forward to reading more of your work, now we’ve had a taste of it in the Storybundle.

dancinghorse: (winterpooka)
The sunrise was unusually...white this morning.

Tucson last saw snow on New Year's around about 1960.

New Year Sunrise 01015

Happy 2015!
dancinghorse: (yeeha)
I don't usually do year-end posts, but this year needs to be buried deep with a stake in its heart and rock salt over the--er, memorialized. Because parts of it were actively awful, but enough were good that I'm optimistic about the year ahead. And the parts that were bad maybe gave me either skills or intestinal fortitude to cope with bad stuff in the new year.

Both the bad and the good were tied up in this being a year of casting off the old and facing, often forcibly, the new. Nearly everything I tried that had been successful before fell short, sometimes a little, sometimes a whole lot. Mainstays of the old order just weren't there any more, or if they were, they just barely came through at all. Keeping the farm was at times a very difficult proposition.

Still is actually, but part of the problem was that I spent the first half of the year in a state of paralysis. Not knowing what to do or where to turn. Brain empty. Nothing coming to fill it.

Except one thing. After years of blockage, the writing genuinely came back. It was and is slow. It wasn't the easy gallop it had been before. The novel I worked on (and worked on and worked on) was much later than I had expected it to be, but it was also about half again as long, and then needed some fairly major revisions, which explains a good part of that. It's much better for those revisions, oh boy is it better. I have hopes for it. Which may fall short, but one has to gamble that they won't.

And that was the lesson of this difficult Change Year. That no matter what I might try to do or be, what I apparently am supposed to be is Writer Person. Writing new work, not just getting old work back into (e)print. That's what, however slow or interrupted, has not fallen short. It's what I keep being pushed toward, no matter what I do.

Of course, one has to find a way to make a living at it, because horses gotta eat, and one of the things that shed itself was the boarding business that paid most of their monthly hay bill. It needed to go; it was causing friction in the herd, and finally Pooka took a (literal) stand that injured his back. He's fine now, but point was taken. Herd wants to be its own self without outsiders.

So there was stress. And more sloughing off of the old. And more shiny! new! that isn't a sure thing yet and who knows if it will be. But if it's writing new stuff, I have a feeling it will be a surer path than anything else.

And that's where it sits on this last, windy, blustery, storm-coming-in day of 2014, that awful year with bright shiny bits in it. I've taken a brain break during the holidays, after a lovely Camp Lipizzan over the Solstice and a lovely family time over Christmas. Still in it actually, but turning the oversized starship of said brain out of resting mode and into writing mode. Because writing seems to be where it needs to be.

I don't do New Year's resolutions. I do do an ongoing conception of where things need to go, and that's toward fulfilling the Solstice Kickstarter by writing two (possibly three) short novels, and delving into the Sekrit Projekt, and contemplating a number of other TBA's having to do with writing new stuff. Along with more backlist because that's a nonspectacular but steady contributor to the bottom line, and some editing because likewise. And, beyond that, riding more and training more and giving myself permission to enjoy the horses rather than just struggle to keep them fed. Some of them are in the late twilight of their years; I want to enjoy the time they have. Some are heading into early twilight, so likewise. And the young ones are more than ready to step up and be the go-to riding and Camp horses.

People say, Well, you have too many, why not sell them. Because half of them are aged out of the market, a couple quite severely, and the other half are the future for me and for Camp Lipizzan. They're core staff. Can't do it without them. In a lot of ways, it's all about them, and most of what I do is for them. And I'm good with that. I need to let them give me joy--so maybe I have a resolution after all. Even if I don't Do resolutions.

So that's the year ahead, which one hopes will be a great improvement over the one just past. At least I go into it with a sense of where the path lies, and how I can make it work. That feels good.

I get to write! Yay! And ride! Yay! Yes! I can do this!
dancinghorse: (winterpooka)
The icon was made a while ago, but that's Pooka today, snugged up in his blankie and no little bit affronted because it's COLD. And intermittently WET. And there is MUD. The rest are in rain sheets because of said mud, and because when I saw how the forecast had changed, I ran out at midnight with a flashlight and a helpful dog and threw sheets on the crew.

Good thing, too. Temp dropped into the horse-hell zone (40F and raining) in the small hours of the morning. Would have been a miserable night for them without their raincoats.

We are in the frantic zone ourself, prepping for Camp Lipizzan this weekend plus arrival of family plus Solstice festivities plus buckets of work. And of course, because I Am Insane (and the hay fund is empty), I'm winding up a Kickstarter campaign this weekend. It ends at 9 p.m. MST on Sunday, which is Solstice night. Because reasons. We have one short novel funded and are closing in on the second. My goal (and quite a few backers' dream) is three novellas or a nice-sized novel. Horses, desert, magic. Tucson. Bonus dragon. (That's why we want the third part, people!)

I am actually working on it, trying to get a sample into coherent enough form to post before the campaign ends. There have been Obstacles. Had to get grain Monday, nearby feed store was out, went on to the big city and decided to do some Camp stocking-up on the way home. And lo, there was a Christmas tree lot at Home Despot, so I snagged a nice Douglas fir on sale (oh, the lovely fragrance!). Made it home late, fed hungry horses, went splat.

Only to discover in the morning that my wallet was missing. While juggling tree and purse, I had dropped the essential equipment. Thank goodness for my sister and a frantic text message begging her to call for me (because I have no access to phone relay at the moment because the FCC is being an ass and there is only one system left, which will not give me access until I jump through assorted hoops for which there is no time this week)(we will not discuss here the saga of how healthcare.gov shut me out, but thanks to twitter and a wonderful navigator from NC, I was able, via epic saga, to renew my coverage), and sure enough, the cashier had retrieved the goods.

It only took me an hour of waiting for Home Despot to extricate the thing from its safe. Person delegated to retrieve it apparently went on her lunch break and left me to wait. Luckily one of the customer-service reps finally took pity on me and did the honors.

I had a lesson in the afternoon. Was exhausted, but decided to tough it out. I'm glad I did. Ephiny was lovely, we discovered that she will sync her breathing with mine and that is Most useful on spooky days, and I got rid of quite a bit of tension. Though I sleepwalked through the chores afterward.

And that was just the past two days. I'm lolling about now with a stack of mss. to work on and the last of the cleaning glaring me in the face. And two dogs and assorted cats sending off powerful sleep rays, while the rain closes in again after a brief, actually sunny break. I have one more day to do what prep I'm going to do, then we hit the flat gallop and careen into the new year.
dancinghorse: (Living in Threes)
I've been wanting to do this one for a while. It's another milestone in a year full of them (both good and bad--this one, needless to say, is goooood): after years of being unable to read as well as write fiction, both logjams finally broke. I can write again! I can read again!

First, because it's Allll About MEEEEE, and also because it keeps the horses fed, here's what's going on on the writing front:

I have a Kickstarter, as many of you probably know. It's contemporary fantasy, it has horses and magic, and it's set in Tucson. It's about two-thirds of the way toward funding, and I would love to see it go to the three-novella level at least. That's triple the bang for whatever buck a backer contributes.

There's also a new book in print--it came out as an ebook after its own Kickstarter two years ago, and now it's a book you can hold in your hand. Just in time for Giftmas. It's called Living in Threes, it's YA with Egypt and history and science fiction and time travel, and it's up at Barnes&Noble and Amazon, and you should be able to order it from your favorite bookstore as well.

There's a selection of my other ebook titles up at Book View Cafe, mostly historicals and historical fantasy, including a collection of horse stories (including one that's all new), Nine White Horses. BVC is pure indie, and I get a 95% share of the proceeds, so that's a great way to support the (relatively) local small business. There are a whole bunch of different authors, genres, and styles in the co-op, and they're all worth checking out.

Aaaaannnd, with that, I'll segue to What I've Been Reading Lately.

If you don't know [livejournal.com profile] marthawells ' work, you're in for a serious treat. She's been writing unusual, dense and chewy but highly readable and beautifully worldbuilt speculative fiction for quite some time now, but I just finally got to her stories of the Raksura, beginning with The Cloud Roads. It bends genre (and sometimes gender) with grand glee. Is it fantasy? Is it science fiction? Does it walk on the ground or does it shapeshift and fly? There's nothing else quite like it out there, and the characters are wonderful. I'm just sorry I've burned through all three novels and the collection of shorter works--but a second collection is forthcoming, so I get to go back to the Three Worlds at least one more time. (Floating islands. Flying ships. Hundreds of totally different and totally distinctive races of sentients. And Raksura! Shapeshifting flying magical people with dominant females and serious attitude!)

I'm heading into her series for younger readers next, with the first one, Emilie and the Hollow World, waiting right now for me to finish the day's work and curl up with it.

Also on the radar, and the highly-recommended list: Ann Leckie's two (so far) space operas, the first of which, Ancillary Justice, has swept every award in the genre--and it's that rare book which actually, for me, lives  up to its hype. I've read the second volume  and eagerly await the third. (There'd better be a third.) This is space opera to end all space operas, and genderbending that can warp your brain in the very best way. "She was male, that was easy, but the others..."

And in a completely different vein, dark but lovely, is Jaime Lee Moyer's paranormal mystery series. It starts with Delia's Shadow, which I read last year. I read A Barricade in Hell just a few weeks ago. Strong characters, gripping action, and a lovely historical setting: San Francisco in the World War I era. It's a little like Downton Abbey, with murders. And ghosts. Jaime is [livejournal.com profile] stillnotbored on lj, and we're all in luck: she just today posted the cover for the third in the series.

Different yet again, and back to science fiction, this time YA and dystopia, is Sherwood Smith and Rachel Manija Brown's Stranger. This book had a rocky route to publication. Its multiple viewpoints, its genderbending, and its gay characters ruffled a few editorial and agential feathers. A good bit of this book and its two sequels (the first of which is coming out realsoonnow) was written at Camp Lipizzan, so I'm quite proud of it. I also love it as a reader--the characters are great, the world is complex and weirdly dangerous (those crystal trees, ye gods), and each volume ups the ante on the last one. This is another lj family party: Sherwood is sartorias , and Rachel is [livejournal.com profile] rachelmanija .

The last thing I'll burble about is a reread from a long time ago--Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy. I'm doing this in public over at Tor.com, where rereads are a way of life. We've wrapped up volume I and have started volume II. I started this to raise awareness that women write epic fantasy and have been for a long time, and also to revisit an old favorite. It has dragons. And sexy princes. And villains who chew the scenery with verve and elan. What's not to love?

In the future-delights department, I've backed a Kickstarter that ends tomorrow, so there's still a little time to get in on the action. My dear friend and kickass writer C.E. Murphy, aka [livejournal.com profile] mizkit , is writing a novel about Rosie the Redeemer--formerly the Riveter. Set in 1945. The boys are coming from World War II, and bringing the monsters with them. I really want to read this one.

And finally, I'm a Patreon backer for a writer I've come to know recently on twitter. She's a lovely person and her writing is really, really good. Her name is Joyce Chng, she lives in Singapore (we usually meet as I'm getting up in the morning and she's heading to bed), and she's currently putting up installments of Dragon Physician for patrons. Well worth taking a look, and checking out her other work as well.

There's more in the TBR pile. Lots more. I'm like Cookie Monster in the Keebler factory. Want to eat ALL THE THINGS.
dancinghorse: (Balance)
And I answer: Lots!

The big preoccupation for the past week and through Solstice is This Year's Kickstarter, aka "Horses of the Moon," which starts as a novella but will add bits as/if the funding grows, all the way up to a full novel. It's set in Tucson and features, of course, horses. And magic. And the Women of the Woo, who are starting to talk in my head. I will have at least a chunk written by the time the campaign ends. Just hoping (and barely breathing) that it funds, so I can write the whole thing.

I do a Horseblog over at Book View Cafe every other week, for those who miss the horse neep here. This week I talked about living in a fantasy novel. Horses and desert. Very much a part of every day, and pretty much all of my preoccupation that isn't writing.

I'm also ebaying a bunch of things, to help with the feed bill. I'm listed as dhflipizzans. Got some convention gear there, as well as assorted other items. More will go up as we get into Giftmas season.

Aaaaannd, we finally did a print edition of Living in Threes (or if you'd rather not deal with Amazon, here's Barnes&Noble) for them as likes to hold the book in their hand. We got the interior art in, with generally excellent effect. I really like the way it turned out--thanks to Leah Cutter, who does amazing book and cover design.

Thanksgiving was hectic thanks to the Anti-Magic Turkey Roasting Pan, which takes twice as long no matter what you do, but the bird did finally get cooked and transported to my mom's along with a moderately full roster of fixings. There was pie. And I made it home in time to feed the horses. I am Mighty.

This weekend I'm hoping for a nice quiet time with writing and horses. So far I've been racing around madly and dealing with thisthattheother, but there are still two days left in the weekend. Right?
dancinghorse: (Tenshi)
Whole bunch of things make a post.

We Are Having a Sale

Because it's nearly mid-NaNo and I'm almost through my own major novel-revision push and my last novel is about to appear in print, I feel like going saleing. There are openings in the editing calendar. My usual rate is US$60 per hour, and I take on projects of all sizes and lengths. Between now and November 28th, I'm offering a five-hour package for $275.

Five hours is long enough to look over your NaNo novel and advise on plot, characters, style, whatever you may need. It's a start on a full line or copyedit. I can do some research for you, advise on your equestrian details, review your synopsis or your submission package, even give you a mini-class in writing one. Endless possibilities. I'm a full-service mentoring and editing machine. :)

Not in NaNo? No problem. The sale is open to everyone. Just mention this post when you get in touch. My email is capriole at that gmail thing.

I'm open to new clients for more general editing and mentoring, too. Email with details and needs. Sale price can be applied to the first five hours of a longer project or mentoring arrangement.

Classes and Online Writing Instruction

In October I experimented with an online class. I posted a lecture once a week, assigned writing exercises, and conversed with students about the results. The class was small but enthusiastic, and we had a great time. We all learned a lot--yes, I learn when I teach, too.

The size of the class did force me to assess whether I should continue to offer a scheduled session, and conclude that it might not be the best way to approach the idea.

What I'd like to do, by way of experiment, is offer unscheduled sessions. Three or four class "days" with lecture posts and assignments as with the scheduled class, but at the student's request and on the student's schedule. If two or more people--writing partners, writers' group members, and so on--would like to take the class together, I'd offer a group rate.

This is a more structured concept than the usual mentoring arrangement. We focus on specific elements of craft--plot, characterization, dialogue, setting, or worldbuilding, for example--and work on exercises designed to develop craft in specific ways. If you have a project you'd like to bring to the class, we'll make that the center of the discussion. Or we might address more general questions and techniques. I'll tailor the lecture posts to your individual needs.

One class I'm dying to try: "How Big Is My Idea?" Working with the student on writing a new or less familiar length or form: short-story writer who wants to try novel, or novelist who is interested in learning how to write short.

Introductory rate: $275 for a four-unit class, $225 for three units. Email for group pricing. Available right now: Plotting 101 (four units). Available in December: How Big Is My Idea? (four units). (Embrace Your Process (three units), Make Your Dialogue Work For You (three units), Worldbuilding 101 (four units), Student's Choice (you tell me what you need, three or four units).

I do bank hours, so if you expect to take the class after the New Year, as long as you book and pay during the sale, I'll keep a slot open for you.

And Finally, Camp Lipizzan

While we're here...

Camp Lipizzan, aka Horse Camp for Writers, is booking sessions for 2015. We have openings in February and March. Other months or times by arrangement--email and we'll talk. Writers' retreat with Lipizzans--and we're trying new angles on White Horse Herd Yoga, which Campers will help test and refine. Sunset Solstice Retreat, anyone? (That's a thing. December 19th. Email if interested.)
dancinghorse: (Living in Threes)
Lookit what just joined the brag shelf! I love ebooks and read lots of them, but there's just something about an actual book that I can hold in my hand.


(yep, that Breyer is the dead spittin' image of da Pook--and he's called "Pluto," too)

It's officially going on sale through Book View Cafe on the 18th. Is up at Createspace now, should trickle down to Amazon and other distributors in a few days.

Because I love my readers, I'd like to celebrate by offering signed copies that will be shipped in time for Giftmas. Cost is $20 per book and includes shipping. Here's how to get one:

Email me at capriole at that gmail thang and tell me how many. That's also my Paypal address, so if you'd like to skip a step, just do it through Paypal.

In the US and want to send me a check? We can do that. Email for my address.

Not in the US? We have a workaround for that. Add US$15 ($17 for Oz and NZ) and I will drop-ship the book to you and mail you a signed bookplate. This saves you in the region of US $35 on shipping (...oof. yeah).

Happy PrintBookDay (two-weeks-early) To Me!
dancinghorse: (pookadance)

That moment when you realize you haven't had a proper, butt-busting (you AND the horse) dressage lesson since April, and you've been cruising along (bendy bendy bendy collect lengthen collect lengthen) and you're working on your this and your that and it's all good even if your brain hurts, and lesson ends and you go to dismount and Ow.

Riding greenbeans has many rewards, but there's nothing quite like a butt-buster with the more trained horse. Who was off work himself for a while with basically testosterone poisoning, so we'll both be taking it slow tomorrow.

Lesson Coma

Oct. 7th, 2014 02:17 pm
dancinghorse: (levade2)

Lesson Coma. No Airs. We were very good about staying on the ground and doing our homework and working in hand and finding our corners under saddle. Also, unreeling the miles of snaky dragony neck and finding the poll at the other end. She does like to curl up in the middle. Often while crossing her legs fore and aft. With me on her.

Gumby horse. Never even hints at falling down, which is good. She has nice natural balance.

Lightbulb moment for me: Not getting frustrated when we ground to a halt. We're finally seeing that as a pause to ask and answer questions, instead of Oh Noes We've Fallen Out Of Orbit Now We'll Crash AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!

Every new horse I ride, I learn something new. This one is teaching me I can too ride all the things I used to think I couldn't stand (stopping when confused and then growing roots, blowing up when even slightly off balance, demanding even more than the usual precision in calibration and positioning of aids).

Also, she has absolutely adorable ears.

dancinghorse: (moon)
We are abruptly (and compared to some years slightly early) in our desert fall. The air is crystal clear, the sky is cloudless, the nights and mornings are crisp and lovely. Suddenly I need the comforter to sleep--first time since April--and I have to wear a jacket for the bedtime barn check. I even dug out socks to wear while watching Spartacus on the teevee yesterday evening, because it was just a little too chilly for bare feet.

Pooka is not quite ready for his placebo blankie, but that time will come very soon. He's a little crankier in the mornings, and a little spicier in the afternoons. Those are still warm shading to hot, but the heat is brief and sinks fast with the sun. I've had to turn my one working cooler off around 5, which a month ago was the peak of the day's heat; now it's cold in the house. The other cooler needs repair (Hillary took it with him: the moment he died, I smelled burning electrical circuits), but that can wait until spring. Time to get the furnace started; we'll be needing it in a week or two or at most three.

I talked about Transitions in this week's Horseblog over at Book View Cafe. It even got a response from another member. Fall has always been a major transitional time for me, because it used to be somewhat closely connected to the start of school, and because I've always hated summer and been glad to see the end of it, and that in turn is because something about my brain makes it wake up with the days get shorter and the light gets clearer and the air gets noticeably cooler.

This year has been an unusually stuck-in-molasses year. For months I couldn't move in any productive directions, couldn't think, couldn't plan or see a way ahead. Things got very scary, are still scary, but the difference is that suddenly I can think of ways to get through. Or at least ways to try.

I knew part of it was fighting through the years of crippling writer's block, finally getting out of the panic attack every time I opened the fiction file, but then struggling to get through the novel I had (effectively) under contract. Finishing that felt like the passing of a huge obstacle.

So, though it was painful, did the departure of the outside horse boarders. One left with grace, going home to loving owners. The other sneaked out while I was away in Colorado working on a wonderful new Sekrit Projekt. I came home to an empty stall and a note on the table, and the remnants of the unholy mess I had already been aware of: part of the sneakage included attempting to sneak the vet in (my vet, if you please) to get the horse's shots done, and leaving the main gate open and letting the entire herd out all night long. I'm still picking up bits of scattered debris.

That was not a pleasant homecoming. Not to mention the fact that sneaky one had been my farmsitter, so that option had gone bye-bye.

But even through the whatthefrakery and the breaking of trust, I could feel the relief. My space was my own again. My horses were much calmer. It was good. It was the removal of another obstacle.

Then the weather broke and I did my much delayed taxes--that's as late as I'll ever do them, ye gods, but ye gods^2, the year I've had. And I felt as if a really big door had opened and I could think again. As if maybe there's some hope of getting through this and it's no longer an impasse. Just a really tough time and a serious dry patch.

I have a book to revise. And decisions to make as to where to go from there. It needs a sequel. There's also totally unrelated Sekrit Projekt. And story ideas. And other novel ideas. Focus, I must focus. Which I can do. Because it's October. October is when my brain wakes up from its summer sleep.
dancinghorse: (moon)

Our endless summer is finally coming to an end. Mornings are just a little bit crisper--and begin noticeably later. It's full dark by 7 p.m. (we don't "save" daylight here). The last of the monsoon is rolling in, but will be gone in a day or two. It was a long and productive one this year. The weathergods were good to us.

I had found the jeans in the depths of the closet before I went to Colorado--that forecast of snow inspired me--but this morning I realized I might start to need them for the night feedings here. It was allllmost jacket weather last night.

We could still have hot weather for another few weeks. But more and more, our nights and mornings will be cool, slowly shading to chilly, even when our afternoons are bright and hot. I'd better make sure I know where Pooka's placebo blanket is. He'll be wanting it in a week or two or three.

Horses are growing their winter coats. They look like slightly tarnished silver now. Except Pooka, who is always porcelain, regardless of the season.

dancinghorse: (kolbrainbow)
Last call for fall classes! Link to class descriptions is here.

Signups to this point have been minimal despite extensive signal boosting (for which, thanks to all who have so kindly spread the word). I will be conducting the class for those who have signed up for it so far, but unless I get at least another four participants, the format will be different than I had originally planned. I'll be contacting participants in a few days with further details.

It does seem that I will have to find another way to keep the horses fed. With so many writers hanging out the editing and teaching shingle as advances shrink and contracts slow down or stop coming, the market appears to be saturated. We are at a scary juncture here, with the boarders gone (one was ready to go home after rehab, the other took off last week while I was away; I returned to an empty stall and a note on the table). They had paid the bulk of the hay bill. The ebook revolution has not been the bonanza for me that it has for others: it covers utilities every month, but that's as far as it goes. I do not have the funds to buy ads that supposedly will increase sales. Another Kickstarter can't happen until I get the last one done and fulfilled--which it will be by the end of this year.

Meanwhile, the horses keep eating. I'm not sure where the next load of hay is coming from, and they'll need it next week. (Yes, I've been hiding under the bed. It's been a rough month.)

I still have openings for editing and mentoring--will be happy to take referrals. There are also openings available for Camp Lipizzan, which I tend to call Horse Camp for Writers, but what it actually is is a week with the White Herd. There's yoga, there's riding and groundwork, there's quiet and peace and a chance to rest and be pampered, whatever your level of horse skills. You don't have to be a writer, either. Horsepeople come for the horse-retreat aspects.

I have in the past offered sponsorships for the horses. I'm thinking I might revive that, and turn it into a monthly newsletter or blogthing. Backers-only news, updates, pictures of "your" sponsored horse or horses, bits of things from the farm. Not sure if that should be a formal setup a la Patreon or a more informal, one-on-one arrangement. I'm open to suggestion.

I have also offered commissioned stories--have written a fair few, in fact, over the years. Email me at capriole at that gmail thing if you'd like to talk about a story for yourself or friends or family. I love doing these, and recipients seem to love getting them.

I've seen crowdfunding campaigns with authors doing a monthly short story. I wonder if this would work for me. While I was in toxic block, I couldn't commit to any such thing, but that's finally gone (and that part of me feels wonderful).

I hate to borrow, because paying back becomes this ongoing awful thing while the hay bills keep coming. I need something that I can do that will give value, and feed the horses, and keep the place going in the next few weeks or months while I figure out the longer term. I'm running out of energy to keep hustling, and I'm running out of options for keeping this place afloat.

I have no idea what will happen to the horses if I have to let them go. Tia might find a home as a broodmare, she's still of an age for that. Pandora would have a place to go, at least, and I would put Capria down; she's nearing the end of her body's ability to cope. The rest are a hard sell in this economy.

Ideas would be most welcome. I'm so tired and stretched so thin that I know I'm not seeing the forest for all the tangled thickets of panicky trees. The woo side of things says the farm will continue, the horses will stay, I'm just missing something blindingly obvious. But I persist in being, well, blinded.

Wish you could help, but just as broke as I am? There is one thing you can do. If you've read my books, post honest reviews especially at Amazon. Reviewomancy has gone a bit whackers lately as authors become more desperate and careers slip closer to the edge, but it does appear that the more reviews you get, the more likely the book is to bump one of those all-important "If You Liked X, You Might Like Y" algorithms. You can also encourage your library to buy books from Book View Cafe via Overdrive or an assortment of other distribution networks--they usually buy a selection of mine, and the proceeds eventually trickle down to me.

Every little bit helps.
dancinghorse: (kolbrainbow)
Yes, people want classes! I'm excited. Please feel free to spread the word. I'll be sending out another ping after this weekend, when the US holiday crowds get back and head to work.

This fall I'll be offering three classes starting October 8th. One group class and two "independent study" individual classes.

Here's how they'll work:

Classes will meet online via invitation-only Wordpress blogs and file-sharing. We're looking into a chat option for individual tutoring and group meetings, and will have more details on that as we get closer to the start dates.

The group class will consist of four weekly "lectures" via blog post, with writing assignments. Cost will include the class lectures, group and instructor review of assignments, and one half-hour chat or email tutorial/consultation with the instructor. Additional consultations available for additional cost, on which see below.

Individual courses will consist of three "lectures" via email or private blog post, with writing assignments, plus one half-hour general tutorial/consultation via chat or email. The schedule for these courses is flexible; see below.

Here's what we'll be offering this fall:

The Art of Plotting Your Story or Novel
Group Class
October 8th-29th (lectures post on Wednesday)

The art and craft of plotting, based on the original beta class offered on Livejournal. Participants in the beta are welcome to join the new class. Lectures and writing exercises will focus on the ways in which individual writing process affects the way a writer plots a story, as well as the mechanics of structure, pacing, and thinking things through.

Embrace Your Process
Independent Study
October 22nd-December 15th (exact schedule and pacing tailored to the individual)

A three-part lecture series with writing exercises. Participants will explore and develop their individual writing process through tutorials and exercises tailored to their particular way of approaching the craft. Outliners/pantsers, linear/nonlinear writers, the art of writing tight and the art of the exploratory draft--there's no wrong way to do it, and we'll work together to develop or refine a writing project.

How Big Is My Idea?
Independent Study
October 22nd-December 15th (exact schedule and pacing tailored to the individual)

A three-part lecture series with writing exercises.When is an idea a short-story idea, and when is it a novel? What about ideas that fit in between? How does a writer "grow" a small idea into a big one, and how does a natural novel writer pare down the idea into a piece of short fiction? Do the sets of skills translate? Can one writer switch from one to the other?

Pricing and Signup Deadlines (US dollars):

Four-Week Group Course:

Early-Bird Special: If paid on or before September 6th - $195
Preregister by September 27th: $225
"At the door" registration by October 5th: $250
Additional tutorials (may be booked during the course): $35 half hour/$60 hour

Three-Lecture Independent Study:
Early-Bird Special: If paid on or before September 6th - US$150
Preregister by September 27th: US$175
"At the door" registration by October 20th: $200
Additional tutorials (may be booked during the course): $35 half hour/$60 hour

We take Paypal at the address below. Please add 5% for the fees.
US participants may pay by check. Check must clear before participant starts class. Email for address.

Questions? Comment here, or email me at capriole@gmail.com


Aug. 5th, 2014 11:35 am
dancinghorse: (lightning)
In August the light changes. Even here in the desert, we can feel the season shifting. The angle of the sun is longer. The days are perceptibly shorter. The light has a distinct and striking clarity. The heat is not quite as intense.

It will get hot again once the summer rains blow past, but the worst of summer is over. The year is turning. Winter is coming.

I learned after I was well embarked on the day that Monday was the ancient Egyptian New Year. No wonder I was all about Stuff Happening and Getting Things Moving Onward.

I blogged that day at Book View Cafe about how the year had metamorphosed from ongoing stuck-can't-move into Forward MARCH!

It really has been a much more dynamic couple of weeks compared to the past few months. My mentoring and editing sale is still going--through August 15th--and I've landed a blogging gig at Tor.com, rereading a classic Eighties epic fantasy.

Meanwhile Ro-Pup had his rescueversary, a year to the day since Stacey found him wandering in a wash on the way to [livejournal.com profile] casacorona's place, and his puppyversary, when a week later he moved to DHF. He's my frecklefaced heart dog, and he's been a challenge, but I wouldn't trade him for anything.

He celebrated as he does every afternoon.

It's a dog's life.
dancinghorse: (Default)
Oh yeah, it's been forever. I've moved the daily stuff and the horse neep to facebook, where most of the people seem to have gone. But some things work better in this format--and there are still people here who aren't doing facebook. So here I am.

I'm reopening my editing/mentoring list to new and repeat clients starting August 15th. At that point my hourly rate will go up as well, to $60. In the meantime, I'm having a sale. If you sign up and pay for a block of five hours between now and August 15th, the cost is $225--$25 off the old rate and $75 off the new.

For a summary of what I do, how to pay, etc., look here.

I am also taking reservations for Horse Camp between October and March. One Camp a month, one or two (or three max) people, hot and cold running (and leaping and dancing and snorfling all over you) Lipizzans.

I am contemplating starting an online writers' group/class, weekly meetings, set up in modules--plot, character, developing ideas, novel, short fiction, etc. Or we might do a combination of those. Structure and pricing to be determined. If that interests you, let me know in comments. I'll be working on the details of that over the next couple of weeks. Feel free to make suggestions, requests, demands, etc., etc.

There's more in the works, but that's what I have today. We are Busy! We have Plans!

ETAAnd if you wonder what I do and how I do it, here's a description from Linda Nagata, whose Nebula nominee I edited (and oh, am I proud of it and her).
dancinghorse: (kolbrainbow)
Resistance is futile.

dancinghorse: (moon)
Hearing aid is dead.

Without it I am the equivalent of legally blind.

It's ancient. I've been nursing it along, holding it together literally with a band-aid, waiting for Big Wow Srsly Cool You Guys Will Be Thrilled Thing to get out of the pie-in-the-sky stage and swoop to a landing on my plate, but that's at utmost best two or three months away. Right now, feeding the horses and keeping the farm is what I can do, and must do. I've talked with the nice lady who fixed it when a much lesser part of it broke over the winter, and the bare-bones basic single aid I want and can best use (don't need the fancy crap) is about $1000. (I'm lucky. The two-digital-aids package they always try to sell me is in the $5000 range.)

Insurance does not cover hearing aids. At all.

Anybody want Horse Camp? Editing? Story written to order?

It has been suggested I try a Kickstarter, but I don't feel right doing that again so soon, it seems like asking a bit too much of my wonderful backers, and it takes quite a bit of time and energy--and then Amazon sits on the funds for 14 days. And I'd have to offer something pretty awesome. If anybody has ideas for something that might be crowdfunded more informally, bring 'em on. A story in the world of the Hound&Falcon books? The Caitlin Brennan Mountain's Call series? Something new?

Gotta be a way. Somehow.

ETA Wow. Talk about feeling loved. It's covered--will be able to call on Monday and start the process.

I'm going to write a story for all those who stepped up. Thinking about what to write. Suggestions welcome.
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