A Partial Answer …

April 15th, 2016

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… to how I made so little progress yesterday: halfway through yesterday’s writing session, I started entering yesterday’s wordcount into today’s row of the spreadsheet, effectively cutting my apparent wordcount for the day in half.

That would do it.

No excerpts; I just experimented with a new chapter 1 and I want to try it on for size before I share it. But it seems to dovetail nicely with what I’ve already written … and it was 800 free words, springing fully formed from my pen, uh, keyboard.


-the Centaur


April 14th, 2016

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Gaah! How do I spend an hour writing a new long scene and only get 500 words out of it? 17% done, 30% behind. Aaa! Still, I got this. Just … need … to … write … faster …

-the Centaur

“Can’t talk; I need to rescue a vampire from a ghost”

April 14th, 2016


A real conversation from my life. Love my life.

-the Centaur


April 13th, 2016

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Is the novel back on track? NO. But I am reaching the point where I have enough traction in the story that I’m starting to make real progress. I’m 14,000+ words behind, I need to write over 2,500 words a day to finish my 50,000 words in the month … but at least I’m making real progress now. An excerpt:

The looming tower of Brendelbane Manor leered down at me, its three irregular windows looking even more like a skull. Yes, it was the same room, the nook at the front of Alissa van Kreveld’s room—but was there now flickering light within?

And … was the thing we’d seen Alissa van Kreveld? The phantom hadn’t looked like a Scottish refugee or a woman of Dutch descent; its hair and face had looked distinctly Asian, like a concept drawing for a mash-up of The Grudge and Memoirs of a Geisha.

So if it wasn’t her … who was it? What was it?

In horror movies, it seemed like you had a fifty-fifty chance of a ghost being a human ghost or a real demon. My personal experience told me next to nothing about ghosts, but any kind of phantom had a seventy percent chance of being a projectia, and a ninety percent chance of it turning out to be something hostile.

I stopped for a moment. No. That was my bad attitude talking. Chris Valentine’s projectia, the Streetscribe’s projectia, Cosgreave’s specter: all hostile. My Dragon, Arcturus’s vines, Avenix’s tentacle monster: all benign. The odds were closer to fifty-fifty. Even if this ghost had chased us out of the property with phantom fire, it might not be a hostile.

Still … my girlfriend was inside, and this thing spat phantom fracking fire.

Screwing up my courage, I drew my sword, ascended the steps … and went inside.


-the Centaur


April 9th, 2016

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Is the novel back on track? NO.

For an idea of why I push so hard on this, though, take a look at this graph of how popular my books have been over time (a graph compiled by myself looking at data from various sources). It may not be readily apparent, but every time a new book is released, all my books spike in popularity, then slowly decline. The graph starts at the release of BLOOD ROCK, and the big gap between that and LIQUID FIRE – working on stories for anthologies – really caused things to fade away. If I want to write all the time, I need people to buy my books, so I need to produce books, to get back on track with novels coming out on a regular basis.

So … back to PHANTOM SILVER.

-the Centaur

Blood in the Water

April 8th, 2016

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Well, shoot. Camp Nano not going well so far. Blast ye, taxes. Is the date right? Should I make Dakota worry about her taxes too, just to be mean? Checking The Grid … no, dangit, her taxes wouldn’t be due until the next book. Sigh.

Back to work.

-the Centaur

Beautiful Garbage

April 7th, 2016


I blogged this before, but now the formal description of Sandi’s art show “Beautiful Garbage” is up:


KALEID Gallery presents Beautiful Garbage a new feature exhibition for the month of April by Sandi Billingsley.

The goal of this body of work is to continue awareness of the need to recycle. Working in various states, in many homes and living with clients for months at a time, I am witness to the fact that it is still rare to recycle. In fact almost every home uses disposable cookware, cups, plates and utensils for every meal. Not only is this a questionable use of gas to transport the goods, and power to make the disposable goods but it all ends up in a landfill. I would like to encourage a change in mindset from a disposable to sustainable by creating beauty out of garbage.

Exhibition dates: April 1 – April 25, 2016
88 South Fourth Street (@ San Fernando), San Jose, CA 95112
Tuesday – Saturday, noon -7pm
Free admission

It will be showing through most of April, so go check it out!

-the Centaur

An Open Letter to Matt Damon, Andy Weir, Ridley Scott, and Harry Gregson-Williams

April 7th, 2016


Thank you for The Martian. That is all.

Oh, while I’m here I should also extend my thanks to Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and the rest of the fine cast and crew that made it possible. But that which pops most to my mind is Matt Damon directed by Ridley Scott to say Andy Weir’s lines, with Harry Gregson-Williams’ music in the background. Thank you.

Back to the novel (and the book launch, and the deep learning, and the taxes). That is all.

-the Centaur

Can’t Blog! Noveling!

April 6th, 2016


Can’t blog! Noveliing! Also, taxing, Q2 OKR planning, book publishing, and general panic. Enjoy pictures of a nice restaurant and its delicious food!


-the Centaur


April 3rd, 2016

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Back at work on Dakota Frost #5, PHANTOM SILVER, for Camp Nanowrimo. I’m at 50,000+ words already and hope to get it to 100,000 words the month of April, then finish the book off in Camp Nanowrimo in July. My summary from the Camp Nano page:

Dakota Frost — Skindancer, magical tattooist, chair of the Magical Security Council, and harried mother of a teen weretiger and a teen half-elf — still has to pay the bills. Fortunately that involves something awesome, being a headliner on the supernatural debunking show The Exposers billed as the Skeptical Witch.

Too bad their latest adventure turns up a very real ghost, which latches onto Dakota to help dispel its ancient family curse. Add to that a reawakened fae curse, an invasion from the land of the dead – and an annoying older brother – and you have a recipe for disaster.

and an excerpt of yesterday’s writing:

“Alright, your turn,” I said.

“Mo—uh, my Lady Frost, I do not think—” Benjamin began.

“What did you say?” the sphinx said, claws scraping against granite.

“You asked me a riddle, now I ask you a riddle back, correct?” I said.

“You wish to duel me?” the sphinx said. “I accept!”

“Wait,” I said, befuddled, “weren’t we dueling already?”

“It was a riddle challenge,” Benjamin said. “Trolls ask one, sphinxes three—”

“The riddle game is from The Hobbit, Mom,” Cinnamon said, tugging at my arm.

“The riddle game is an ancient and honorable mode of dueling and I accept,” the sphinx roared, stamping one paw, so that all three of us cringed back. “I accept! We must answer three riddles each before we pass by; at the first slip … the winner takes the loser as the prize.”

Oh dear! Sounds like Dakota and her brood are in trouble!

Now to brew up more of it. Back to work.

-the Centaur

P. S. Planning it out, it looks like the next three Dakota Frost books will dovetail nicely with the first three Cinnamon Frost books, so I have a loose hexalogy on my hands. I had to look that one up, God help me. (And I pray He does.)