Writer’s Workspace: 5/10

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

What I’m working on: my little fingers are tap-tap-tapping as I labor to increase my word count on the first draft of ABSENT, my time-travel novel (currently at about 38,000 words).  In today’s installment, our intrepid heroine visits the 1920’s excavations at Ur, Iraq for the first time.

Snippet from the screen:Emily stood at the edge of the great excavation trench and shielded her eyes from the sun.  The ziggurat towered to the east, casting a long shadow behind them.  Beyond, mid-afternoon light lanced across the desert, bleaching color and washing everything to a faded, dusty taupe.  Iraqis draped in robes and headscarves labored in the trench, shoveling, lugging dirt, and calling out to one another.  The edges of an ancient mortar wall were beginning to emerge from the chaos of sand, picks, and men.”

In my mug: this morning I’m guzzling down multiple mugfuls of an organic Indian Darjeeling handpicked by virgins, flown to the States on the wings of cherubim, and sold in bulk by the faux-hippies at the Park Slope Food Co-op (okay, only the last part of that is true).  As my 2 1/2 year old niece Lyla would say: “it’s nummy, Aunty Mimi!”

Keeping me company:  everyone’s favorite fuzz-monster is is trying to seduce me away from my work with his most winsome and plaintive expression.  Devious, he is, but I will not weaken.

On the iTunes:  Tiny Dancer by Elton John.

Out the window:  we are finally, finally, finally getting some gorgeous spring weather here in Brooklyn.  It’s sunny and 65.  Marvel, dear Reader, at my willpower as I resist the urge to wander away from my computer and eat ice cream in the park.

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: first off, go check out fellow VP alum Nicky Drayden’s new short story collections.  Aptly titled “Delightfully Twisted Tales,” the collections showcase her sharp, witty prose.  Over at TalktoYoUniverse there’s an interesting post on re-envisioning a scene without totally rewriting it, mostly by focusing how your characters respond to each other and feel about the unfolding action.  Finally, in conjunction with the announcement of her first published story, “Luck be a Lady”, Amy Sundberg blogs about the role of luck in our lives.

In closing today, I ask not only what YOU are doing this fine morning, but also request you share any wonderful procrastinatory links you might have up your sleeves (favorite blogs, cool videos, new publications you want to pimp…) – come on, what corners of the internet do you like to hide in?  Tell all.

Writer’s Workspace: 4/20

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

What I’m working on:  Today is short story day.  I’ve got two drafts nearly ready to venture out into the big, wide world.  “Reversal of Fortune” tells the tale of a poker game playing out across the landscape of post-apocalyptic NYC.  “Ark in a Sea of Stars” recounts the adventures of a revolutionary group who steal the next generation of babies and flee to the stars.  This morning I’ll massage them both with bath oils and braid their hair.  They’ll be so lovely and fragrant no one will possibly be able to refuse them.  Alternatively, they’ll turn out to be those weird kids no one wants to sit next to on the bus.

Snippet from the screen: [From Ark in a Sea of Stars] “Alton pulled into the parking lot, their little biodiesel trailing French-fry smell among the ubiquitous hybrid SUV’s.  Brenda felt a swell of excitement.  She’d been dating Alton three months now, but only last week had he finally told her about his radical group.  Brenda had imagined their meetings taking place in a dark basement somewhere, unfiltered cigarette smoke drifting among their whispered plans like stardust.  Instead, the first meeting she’d attended was in a Starbucks.”

In my mug: Irish breakfast tea, or the dregs thereof.

Keeping me company: Mr. Ramses is falling down on his job of overseeing my progress.  He seems far more interested in snoozing on the sofa, begging for friskies, and generally making an adorable nuisance of himself.  Shameless, isn’t he?

Out the window: Rain and thunder, hail, wrath of the gods.

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: Here’s Juliette Wade from TalkToYoUniverse on how and when to begin a story, Julia Rios breaks down Hop in terms of race and class over on livejournal, and some silly from Wired Magazine on Skynet’s impending self-awareness.

That’s all from here, folks!  What are you working on today?

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?

Writer’s Workspace: 2/8

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

What I’m working on: Well, first off, my “desk” for the week is a cushioned, wicker couch on the porch by the pool.  I’m on vacation in Arizona for the week with my family.  No slacking for me, though.  I’ve got a novel outline to revise after a great writing retreat in Las Vegas.  I’m also working on a short story about a cat living in a strip club during the zombie apocalypse.  My first stab at humorous horror…we shall see.

Snippet from the screen: “Aromas of stale beer and the oily sweat of titillated men lay over the cheap dark furniture like damp sheets.  Above this, El Rey detected a new smell, sharp and acrid.  The smell of fear.  It wafted in through the door, which hung on its hinges.”

On my iTunes: no iTunes for me today; just the sound of the breeze through the cactus and sagebrush.

Keeping me company: my 2 1/2 year old niece has taken the place of Mr. Ramses in the “keeping me from my work” category.  She keeps scampering over from the pool and saying: “Auntie Mimi, you should be swimming.”  She’s probably right.

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: Being on vacation, I can hardly argue with this sentiment…but, I can’t seem to muster the energy to dig up interesting links to share.  You’re on your own, folks!

Writer’s Workspace: 1/22

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

What I’m working on: After getting some great feedback from my writer’s group, this morning I’m revising a short story called “Reversal of Fortune.”  It’s about a high stakes poker game being played out across a mysteriously fog-shrouded, post-apocalyptic Manhattan island.

Snippet from the screen: “Velice once crept through the inky darkness to spy and glimpsed The Cleaver dissecting zebras from the Central Park Zoo.  The moonlight had caught the gleam from serrated knives and the wind had carried eerie snatches of The Cleaver’s strange whispering voice.  The dissection’s purpose, however, had been unclear.  Velice suspected the man was losing his mind.”

On my iTunes: God Only Knows, by the Beach Boys

In my mug: Numi’s Chinese Breakfast tea

Keeping me company: well, at present, I’m all by my lonesome.  Mr. Ramses, aka The Overseer, appears to have abandoned me for a good snooze in the bedroom.  Here’s a cute picture of him anyway, though (the lazy cuss):

Out my window: Deceptive sunshine on a day clocking in at 12 degrees.  I weep.  Will winter never end?  My insane husband is out there playing soccer in the park.  Curled under a blanket, I have no words to describe how unappealing soccer in 12 degree weather sounds to me.

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: I’ll start with this one from Terrible Minds, as it gave me the best laugh I’ve had in some time.  This dude can really write; even his discouragement is entertaining.  Following the serious tone he sets, I’ll send you over to Stacia Kane’s blog for a post she wrote last week about women and how their books are marketed.  Thought-provoking.  Then, if you still want to be a writer, head over to Writing Excuses and see if you’re fulfilling the promises you made to your readers.

That’s all from here, folks!  What are you up to this fine, if chilly, Saturday?

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: 12/14

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

What I’m working on: After receiving feedback from my writing group, I zeroed in on three major chunks of revisions to my novel “A Blood Red Sun.”  I finally made it through the second chunk; the third is in my sights (which means the end of revisions is a glimmer on the horizon, too!).

Snippet from the screen: “Kara knew Itzil was coming.  She could feel it in her gut, in the pucker of goose bumps on her skin.  She heard footsteps in the hall.  The heavy wooden bar grated as it was dragged back.  Kara breathed deep and tasted the damp, moldly scent of the cell and the tang of harsh soap still clinging to her skin.”

On my iTunes: Actually, I’ve got Pandora up and running today.  It’s great for listening to all those Christmas tunes you’d really rather not pay for 😉

In my mug: tongue-burninating Dunmore East Irish blend tea

Keeping me company: The Overseer is here on my desk, pestering me with his mournful eyes and sad little chirps: “please play with me!”  Hard to resist the cuteness.

The Overseer waits not-so-patiently for play time.

Out the window: Snow!  We actually got a very pretty dusting of the fluffy white stuff last night 🙂

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: Here’s an interesting history of the elevator pitch over on Wired; your daily giggle from SlushPile Hell; and an interview with fellow VPXIII alum, Ferrett Steinmetz.

That’s all from here, folks!  What are YOU up today?

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: 12/1

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

First off, a special link to share.  My VP classmate and friend Catherine Schaff-Stump has posted an interview with me over at her blog, Writer Tamago.  Check it out!

What I’m working on: revisions to A Blood Red Sun press forward.  My protagonist has reached a real low point.  She’s been betrayed, her army is slaughtered, and she’s now a prisoner.  In the coming chapter, her enemy will perform ritual human sacrifice to allow a goddess to claim her body as a host.  Not looking good for our heroine.

Snippet from the screen: “A hot, dry wind blew.  It pushed her hair back from her face, ruffling the feathers of her headdress.  Kara stood with eight hundred and fifty warriors at her back and the dog at her side.  The northern edges of the Huecalli desert spread dry fingers around her, and beyond, the high, bleak mountains of Acoya rose like teeth.”

On the iTunes: “So Nice So Smart” by Kimya Dawson

In my mug: The usual English Breakfast tea.

Out the window: Gloomy, gloomy, and more gloomy.  I guess, as they keep saying in these trailers that I can’t stop watching…winter is coming.

Keeping me company: The Overseer is lounging on the floor by my desk, keeping a close watch; should I get up, he’ll be quick to steal his chair my chair.


His Royal Fuzziness, Mr. Ramses

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: of course, the first link I have to share is to my own short story, “The New Arrival” just published by Electric Spec.  Second, if you happen to live in the San Fran/Bay Area and like performance art, check out Sean Craven’s latest post on Renaissance Oaf.  Finally, to get you in the holiday spirit, a NYTimes slideshow on festive drinks.

That’s all from here, dear friends.  What are YOU doing today?


Writer’s Workspace: 11/23

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

Today’s installment of Writer’s Workspace is brought to you from the sofa, as The Overseer has commandeered my office chair and is using it as his personal tanning bed.  Thanks buddy.


The Overseer takes his rest

What I’m working on: I’m way behind on all my projects, so whatever I chose to do this morning was six of one, half dozen of the other.  I dreamed about Blood Red Sun last night, so that’s what I’m inspired to work on today.  That means revisions, editing, and redrafting troublesome chapters from the first draft.

Snippet from the screen: “Kara’s expression was unreadable, flat and strange.  She swung her legs over the side of the sleeping bench and stood.  Her hair hung in ropes, thick with dried mud, and black patches of blood crusted her cheeks and neck.  Her tunic was torn.”

What’s on the iTunes: “Evenstar” from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack

What’s in my mug: English breakfast tea, half gone and mostly cold.

What’s out the window: Sunny and 65 degrees, my dears! (Sorry, friends stuck in Seattle’s snowstorm…)

A little procrastination never hurt anyone: A few links for those in need of a wee break…here’s Jeff VanderMeer on rejuvenating your imagination, Scalzi gives us a tour of his new office, and a thimble full of funny from Slush Pile Hell.  Enjoy!

That’s all from here!

What are YOU working on today?