Writer’s Workspace: 4/8

Good morning!  Welcome to this writer’s workspace.  Here’s what’s happening liiiiiiiiiiiiiive at Miranda’s desk:

What I’m working on:  Now that I’ve FINALLY finished Blood Red Sun and sent it off to Angry Robot, I’m diving back into my next novel, Absent.  I’m about 1/3 of the way in to the first draft and the characters have just traveled through time to the excavations at Ur, Iraq in the 1930’s.

Snippet from the screen: “A crumbling guard’s house hunched to their left, and Emily saw two Iraqi men lounging inside.  Then she was swept along in Davis’ wake, following him through the outer wall and into a large, tiled courtyard.  A trio of boys crouched over buckets, washing broken pottery from the excavations; they looked up with keen, dark eyes.”

In my mug:  Lately I’m obsessed with Numi tea.  Today I’ve got their Aged Early Grey steeping in my cup.


Keeping me company:  Since I’ve revamped my office with a new desk and ergonomic chair, Mr. Ramses has inherited my old office chair.  Regular readers will know that he and I have long competed over access to that chair.  Needless to say, he is pleased with what he perceives as a thrilling triumph of good over evil.

On the iTunes:  I put the collection on shuffle and it offered up “Try a Little Tenderness” by good old Otis.  I’ll take that.

Out the window:  I can’t talk about it, I just can’t.  I know a lot of us are wondering where the hell spring is.  All I can say is:  it ain’t here.  We do, however, have plenty of April showers.

A little procrastination never hurt anyone:  Writing Excuses has a podcast up that’s all about the romance, Catherine Schaff-Stump is working on a series of posts addressing things she wished she’d known when she first started writing, and John Favreau defends his latest offering, Cowboys and Aliens.

Okey-dokey people, that’s all from here.  What are YOU up to today?

Vegas, baby!

Only a few words today, and those with pencil. (bonus points to anyone who gets the reference).

As you may know, I’m in Vegas for a writing retreat organized by my friend E.F. Kelley.  We’re heading into Day Two and, so far, I have to say: Yes.  Though several of us have not met before in person, the group dynamic is clicking very well, the feedback provided on previously submitted works has been substantive and insightful…and, of course, it’s Vegas.  So, there’s good food and plenty of inspiration to be found on what is (let’s face it) essentially an alien planet.

In addition to crits of work by Lou Berger, George Galuschak, and Hallie Rulnick, we had a rousing discussion of the difference between paranormal romance and urban fantasy.  Underdevelopment of villains came up a lot, and we talked about the five writing cards, two of which every writer is given and three of which they must learn (plot, character, setting, prose, and dialogue).  Also, we stuffed ourselves full of tasty food (Bouchon Bistro for an obscene breakfast that included pastries AND pomme frites, Earl of Sandwich for yummy lunch, and Sage restaurant for fancy dinner).

I’m up for critique this morning on an excerpt and synopsis of my novel Absent.  I’m really looking forward to getting help on shaping up the characterizations (especially my protagonist’s motivations and needs/wants) and the direction of the second half of the plot. We’ll also take a look at Catherine Schaff-Stump’s novella excerpt “Were-Humans,” a short story from Danielle LeFevre, and – time permitting – do a plot session on E.F.’s novel.  Tonight: Cirque du Soleil.

I’ll try to pop in for a an update on Sunday when things wrap themselves up.  Till then, have a great weekend!  I know I will.

Writer’s Workspace: 1/8

Good morning!  Welcome to this writer’s workspace.  Here’s what’s happening liiiiiiiiiiiiiive at Miranda’s desk:

What I’m working on: In a few short weeks I’ll be attending a writing retreat (in Vegas! with friends!), for which I must prepare a submission for critique.  So, today’s labor is to polish up the first 9,000 or so words of my latest novel project (“Absent”) and write a synopsis and brief outline to go along with it.  I need to get this done asap, as the Saints play Seattle this afternoon.  Go Saints! (apologies to my hometown…)

Snippet from the screen: “Emily felt a faint wave of embarrassment.  She’d always envisioned her office outfitted with a big comfy armchair, not a hard plastic one looking like an escapee from a 1970’s warehouse of institutionalized furniture.”

On my iTunes: “Why Don’t We Do it in the Road” by The Beatles

In my mug: English Breakfast tea

Is it just me, or is a diet in order?

Keeping me company: After our trip to New Orleans, Mr. Ramses has been extra snuggly – and just as lazy as ever.

Out my window: Gah! More snow!  (weeps softly)

Since the ugly heaps from the snowpocalypse last week were starting to melt, this is demoralizing.  Seriously, the sidewalk was only beginning to reemerge – and with it a host of scary things buried for more than a week.  About a block from our apartment, I saw a pile of snow receding to reveal a moldering mattress.  I kid you not.  This newest dusting created more ice than anything else, but also coated several Christmas trees left on the curb for recycling, as well as a sofa and love seat set.

Ah, life in the city.

Okay, Suri, focus.  Assuming I can get my chair back from Mr. Ramses, there’s work to do.

Writer’s Workspace: 12/8

Good morning!  Welcome to this writer’s workspace.  Here’s what’s happening liiiiiiiiiiiiiive at Miranda’s desk:

What I’m working on: As we’re in the death throes of the Fall semester, a lot of my time’s been taken up with writing and grading exams for my World Prehistory class.  But, I have managed to squeeze in some writing.  In particular, I’ve been working on “Absent,” the novel I started for NaNoWriMo.  In the section I’m reworking today, one of my protagonists searches for a missing girl in an Ice Age snowstorm.

Snippet from the screen: “Nick braced himself against the slap of the wind and staggered forward.  The trees loomed, ominous shadows in the wintry gale, but his headlamp cast a reassuring glow on the snowdrifts and he felt the firm grip of the climbing rope encircling his waist.”

On my iTunes: Baby Please Come Home (Christmas), by Mariah Carey.  Yes, it’s THAT time of year again.

In my mug: trusty, trusty English Breakfast tea

Keeping me company: with the onset of the cold weather, the Overseer has taken to seeking out unconventional warm nooks and crannies in our apartment.  Exhibit A:


Thanks for heating these up for me! You don't mind if I settle in, do you?

Out my window: It’s gotten downright bone-chilling in New York these last few days.  And, of course, the cranky heating system in our building has been having it’s annual temper tantrum.  Workmen have been tromping in and out all hours of the day and casting a judgmental eye on my stylish work-from-home ensembles….  What?  That sweatshirt looks hot!  Anyway, it’s cold.

Well, that’s all from here folks!  After all, I’ve got writing to do.  But, I’d love to hear what you all are up to…get in the holiday spirit and share, share, share.

Writer’s Workspace: 11/16

Good morning and welcome to this writer’s workspace.  Here’s what’s happening liiiiiiiive at Miranda’s desk:

What I’m working on: Today’s a NaNoWriMo day, so I’m plowing ahead on the first draft of “Absent (see “Miranda’s Writing” for a synopsis).  So far, I’ve written 21,000 words in 15 days, but I’m still over 5,000 words behind.  I hope to eat away at that deficit today.

Snippet from the page: “Nick’s first impression was a blinding glare–the sun overhead.  Then the cold.  It pressed greedy fingers against every inch of exposed skin.  He gasped and the air bit deep into his lungs.  Emily’s hand still clutched his, and he saw Reid crouched nearby, his hands against his knees and vomit trailing in the wind.  Brittle, tundra-like grasses sprouted in miserable clumps, bent down in submission to the wind.  A jagged line of mountains loomed in the distance.”

Keeping me company: Mr. Ramses (The Overseer) has turned his attention to guarding the borders of his domain.  At least he’s not trying to steal my chair this morning.

Patrolling the borders

On the iTunes: Instrumental soundtracks are great for novel writing.  Right now I’ve got the Main Title (House Atreides) from Children of Dune playing.

Out the Window: it’s warm today, for a November, but miserable and gray.  The forecast promises “soaking rains.”  This might actually be inspiring since I need to write several scenes set in Ice Age Wyoming.

In my mug: Empty! Gah!  I’m contemplating a second cup of Irish Breakfast, but it’s still early.  Must. Pace. Myself.

A Little Procrastination Never Hurt Anyone: a few links to share today….Catherine Schaff-Stump on the love of writing, Scalzi reminds us to nominate books for the Nebula, and The Ferrett on the importance of working your writing muscle.  Enjoy.

Well, that’s all from here folks!  What are you up to today?