Saturday, January 30, 2010

One F or Two?

First off, thanks to uber-crit partner Susan over at Wastepaper Prose for the cool new blog design!

I'm about 48 hours away from starting serious revisions on my first novel for Tor, ROYAL STREET, so I thought I'd start easing through the manuscript highlighting trouble spots. I only got to the first sentence and there was my first trouble spot, and his name is Jean.

Now fiction writers in general, and especially writers of fantasy fiction, don't have to worry so much about misspelling names, right? Except when there's a historical character involved and that figure is going to be a major "playah" in one's books.

So, here I am, pondering Jean Lafitte vs. Jean Laffite. My sexy undead pirate. I've read a lot of histories about him, and have blogged on him before. The amount of conflicting information is staggering. But now it's "put up or shut up" time and I have to decide. How am I going to spell the man's name?

Some historians, popular writers and the folks who name national parks and towns and bayous and such spell it "Lafitte." So did the man himself...occasionally. More often, in documents I've seen, he spells it Laffite. He wasn't stupid but he does seem prone to take great interest in his own image, so like all the Cindys who decided to become Cyndi, he'd vascillate between Lafitte and Laffite.

Finally, though, I guess I have to go with popular opinion. If I spell it Laffite, as Jean and many of his historians have, I'm sure to engender cries of outrage and accusations of gross spelling errors by all three of my readers.

So there you have it. Meet Jean Lafitte.

Monday, January 25, 2010

'A Walking Psychotic Episode'

That's my new title, donated graciously by No. 1 crit partner Wastepaper Prose.

Technically, I haven't earned the title yet but it's bound to happen before the week ends. In the meantime, I'm just a Walking Psychotic Episode Waiting to Happen. Just call me Psycho for short.

I almost got there today. Between Auburn Magazine going to the printer amid barely controlled chaos, the contracts due on my desk any freaking minute now, my editor at Tor down with the flu and delaying the revision letter another couple of days...well, it's just a matter of time.

It won't be pretty, but there are positive things:
1. I do not own a gun.
2. I do own a bountiful supply of Xanax.

From today's playlist, Warren Zevon's "Porcelain Monkey." Har-har-har-har. Best Line (hint: it's about Elvis): "Hip shaking-shouting in gold lame--that's how he earned his regal sobriquet." How many rock songs have the word "sobriquet" in them? I mean, really.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Factory

From today's playlist, in honor of my job on deadline week (best line: I'm kickin' asbestos in the factory").

Thank you, Warren Zevon. Yeah, I'm still on that kick, although I edited some class notes to Kanye West today. How sick is that?

Book updates: The contracts are in the mail! Wait. That sounds like a line. No, really. I think they are. Should be strangling on publishing legalese by Monday or Tuesday. Revision letter and "notes" from my editor at Tor (please be nice) due early next week.

These books are gonna happen. I need a drink. Wait, I don't drink. I can change.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Multitasking=something Suzanne is REALLY bad at.

I'm a linear thinker and linear worker. Do Task A. Finish and move to Task B, then C. Okay, I'm kinda OCD. Just ask my crit partner, who makes relentless fun of my penchant for color-coding.

So, here I am today, getting a chapter of RIVER ROAD ready for my crit group tomorrow night. And massaging some plot problems out of STOCKHOLM. And creating story threads for ELYSIAN FIELDS, which will be the third in the D.J. Jaco series after ROYAL STREET and RIVER ROAD. The only manuscript being ignored, ironically, is the one that will be published first.

Because I'm still WAITING. Contracts from Tor are in the hands of my agent and should be winging their way to me next week or so. Then the revision letter. Then...then...then....everything else gets dropped on its head so ROYAL STREET can take the front seat.

Toto, I think we're multitasking.

From DJ's playlist today: "Blake Says" by Amanda Palmer.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Contracts, Juggling and Bobby Charles

First off, farewell to Bobby Charles, who wrote one of my favorite old songs that I associate with Louisiana. He died today in Abbeville. Take a listen.

New from the book front...the contracts are in my agent's hands and will be winging their way to me shortly assuming she doesn't find a problem with them. Yee-hah. Except....last night I realized I needed to get my backside in gear and work on the third book in the series. I'm supposed to have a proposal ready by April, which means (gulp) I have to really give serious thought to what's going to happen in it. So I am now juggling FOUR novels--ROYAL STREET is getting ready for revisions, RIVER ROAD is in crit group, STOCKHOLM is getting its first draft massaged out, and ELYSIAN FIELDS is in planning stages.

I need a nap. Or a Xanax.