200,000 Words of Cinnamon Frost

Milestones are coming. And the first of these is catching up on my wordcount for my Nanowrimo project this November, BOT NET!

Winning at Nano always feels like climbing a hill, but for me in particular it almost always feels like I start out sliding back down, Sisyphus-like, as I struggle to get a handle on the story.

But then there comes that magic point where I need to write 1,666 words in a  day and I. Got. Nothing.  Then I’m forced to be creative, and the real fun stuff happens, an event I call “going off the rails”. Hey, let’s try to embed a tweet!

So now things are back on track for the month, and I’m smack in the middle of where I normally am this time of Nano … Actually, it appears I’m ahead. Checking the stats … yep. At this point, I’m normally just shy of 6,000 words behind ( -5,984, though that estimate is numerically precise, it is not likely to be meaningfully accurate ) but today I am 169 words ahead of the Nano wordcount:

I’m one more thing too: 200,000 words into the Cinnamon Frost trilogy.

There are 3 published Dakota Frost novels: FROST MOON, BLOOD ROCK and LIQUID FIRE, and three more finished rough drafts: SPECTRAL IRON, PHANTOM SILVER, and SPIRITUAL GOLD. By my count, I’ve written about 900,000 words about Dakota Frost, Skindancer, the woman who can bring her tattoos to life. But in one sense, that’s expected: I planned Dakota. I wanted to write a character that other people who can relate to.

Cinnamon Frost, as I’ve said before, is a character I never expected. She shoved her way into the Dakota Frost universe, in one of those “step off into space moments”, and she shows no signs of leaving.

Cinnamon might say 200,000 seems significant because of how humans process patterns – how we love all those zeroes – but it’s just a number: 2*10*10*10*10*10. But somehow, it feels right to take it this far, and I look forward to writing the next 100,000 to 150,000 words that will finish her trilogy and give her a chance to live her own literary life.

Time to get back to it.

-the Centaur

P. S. I said milestones are coming. If you’ve read closely in this post, you’ll realize another milestone is coming soon. Stay tuned …

Nanowrimo 2017 in Process

“Okay, so … um, hi! I’m Cinnamon Frost, and I’m here to tell you that my biographer, Anthony Francis, is busy as fuck writing my next adventure, BOT NET, for National Novel Writing Month!  He’s real behind, so as soon as he finishes this post, he’s, like, seriously, getting back to creatin’ my universe!”

Thanks, Cinnamon! Sounds about right! I am now 1170 words in and 3830 words behind according to my spreadsheet. Time to get cracking!

I’ve got a laptop, a table and two and a half hours in the coffeehouse before it closes – GO!

-the Centaur

Happy (Belated) World Vegan Day!

Okay, I couldn’t leave “vegetables are what food eats” up long and still feel like me, so here, enjoy some tasty and delicious vegan food from November 1, World Vegan Day! Above are very delicious vegan desserts; below, what I normally see described as pumpkin steak and cauliflower steak

… though technically speaking neither are steak, and Millennium‘s menu only described the pumpkin above as “steak,” just referring to the below as “roasted cauliflower”…

… but either way, all of it was highly delicious!

-the Centaur

 

Vegetables are What Food Eats

So my wife and I were talking about restaurants, and since I’m a foodie, two of my favorite restaurants in the Bay Area happen to be fine dining:  Alexander’s in Cupertino – steakhouse – and Millennium in Oakland – vegan. Both are a bit pricey, but, as a vegan, my wife has experience with only one of these.

For a carnivore married to a vegan, it’s quite useful to acquire a love of vegan food, so we go to vegan restaurants like Millennium and Happy Hooligans a lot. But by the time the two of us have done drinks, alcohol, three apps, a dinner entree and their dessert assortment, Millennium is, um, pricey, and my wife wondered whether it was the most expensive place that I ate at.

“Um, no,” I admitted. “Alexander’s is way pricier.” (And it is. Some entrees at Alexander’s, like the Alexander’s Trio of different kinds of Wagyu beef, are more expensive than our entire meal for two at Millennium).

After a beat, my wife said, “Well, it had better be that expensive, because the animals you eat at Alexander’s get fed the kind of food we eat at Millennium.”

After a moment, we laughed and agreed that this was probably true – and that we should call up an old carnivorous friend who once told the story of one of his friends who refused to eat vegetables because “that’s what food eats.”

-the Centaur

Pictured: Appetizers, entree and dessert trio at Millennium, teh yums; Alexander’s Trio and a mother-bleeping four-and-a-half-pound wagyu tomahawk chop, which is the largest steak I’ve heard of at Alexander’s, the  second largest steak I’ve ever heard of and a full third bigger than the biggest steak I’ve ever eaten (and at least twice as big as the largest steak I’ve eaten without regret). 72 ounces? Even I can’t eat that much … and anyway, I prefer the savory taste of regular beef over the super-richness of wagyu. Actually, just after even writing that, I feel like posting more vegan food to balance it out … here’s a vegan burger and vegan fish and chips at Happy Hooligans:

You’re welcome.

Everything was on fire until earlier today

Not literally; we were far south of the literal fires, which just barely missed the homes of our friends. But so many other things have been going wrong that it felt like things were on fire … so no posts for a while, sorry.

But tonight, I got to the last chapter of Dakota Frost #6, SPIRITUAL GOLD.

I will likely finish this chapter Saturday.

That makes today a good day.

Time for some cake.

-the Centaur

Pictured: a cat break with Loki. Not how things look right now, but how I feel.

Yeah. That happened.

What you see above is the precise moment Irma touched Greenville, South Carolina, just prior to my supposed flight back to the Bay Area two days later.

That flight was canceled three times, finally being rescheduled to the next day.

Yeah, it was time to get the heck out of Dodge …

-the Centaur

My Daily Dragon Interview in Two Words: “Just Write!”

So at Dragon Con I had a reading this year. Yeah, looks like this is the last year I get to bring all my books – too many, to heavy! I read the two flash fiction pieces in Jagged Fragments, “If Looks Could Kill” and “The Secret of the T-Rex’s Arms”, as well as reading the first chapter of Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, a bit of my and Jim Davies’ essay on the psychology of Star Trek’s artificial intelligences, and even a bit of my very first published story, “Sibling Rivalry“. I also gave the presentation I was supposed to give at the SAM Talks before I realized I was double booked; that was “Risk Getting Worse”.

But that wasn’t recorded, so, oh dang, you’ll have to either go to my Amazon page to get my books, or wait until we get “Risk Getting Worse” recorded. But my interview with Nancy Northcott for the Daily Dragon, “Robots, Computers, and Magic“, however, IS online, so I can share it with you all. Even more so, I want to share what I think is the most important part of my interview:

DD: Do you have any one bit of advice for aspiring writers?

AF: Write. Just write. Don’t worry about perfection, or getting published, or even about pleasing anyone else: just write. Write to the end of what you start, and only then worry about what to do with it. In fact, don’t even worry about finishing everything—don’t be afraid to try anything. Artists know they need to fill a sketchbook before sitting down to create a masterwork, but writers sometimes get trapped trying to polish their first inspiration into a final product.

Don’t get trapped on the first hill! Whip out your notebook and write. Write morning pages. Write diary at the end of the day. Write a thousand starts to stories, and if one takes flight, run with it with all the abandon you have in you. Accept all writing, especially your own. Just write. Write.

That’s it. To read more, check out the interview here, or see all my Daily Dragon mentions at Dragon Con here, or check out my interviewer Nancy Northcott’s site here. Onward!

-the Centaur

 

 

The Centaur at Clockwork Alchemy

20160528_165746.jpg

This Memorial Day Weekend, I’ll be appearing at the Clockwork Alchemy steampunk convention! I’m on a whole passel of panels this year, including the following (all in the Monterey room near the Author’s Alley, as far as I know):

Friday, May 26
4PM: NaNoWriMo – Beat the Clock! [Panelist]

Saturday, May 27
12NOON: Working with Editors [Panelist]
1PM: The Science of Airships [Presenter]
5PM: Versimilitude in Fiction [Panelist]

Sunday, May 28
10AM: Applied Plotonium [Panelist]
12NOON: Organizing an Anthology [Panelist]
1PM: Instill Caring in Readers [Panelist]
2PM: Overcoming Writer’s Block [Presenter]

Monday, May 29
11AM: Past, Present, Future – Other! [Moderator]

Of course, if you don’t want to hear me yap, there are all sorts of other reasons to be there. Many great authors will be in attendance in the Author’s Alley:

20160527_155633.jpg

There’s a great dealer’s room and a wonderful art show filled with steampunk maker art:

20160530_120714.jpg

For yet another more year, we’ll be co-hosted with Fanime Con, so there will be buses back and forth and fans of both anime and steampunk in attendance:

20160529_155429.jpg

As usual, I will have all my latest releases, including Jeremiah Willstone and the Clockwork Time Machine, the steampunk novel I have like been promising you all like for ever!

20160528_165628.jpg

In addition to my fine books, there will also be new titles from Thinking Ink Press, including the steampunk anthologies TWELVE HOURS LATER, THIRTY DAYS LATER, and SOME TIME LATER!

20160529_111928.jpg

I think I have about as much fun at Clockwork Alchemy as I do at Dragon Con, and that’s saying something. So I hope you come join us, fellow adventurers, in celebrating all things steampunk!

20160529_190525.jpg

-the Centaur

Oh Myyy!

 

Wow. I guess a lot of books are going to be waiting for me when I get home tonight … either the shipment of LATER anthologies for Clockwork Alchemy has arrived, or I really messed up my last Amazon Prime order. Be sure to come by Clockwork Alchemy to check them out, or look on Amazon!

 

The Inevitability of Endings

All good things come to an end. I’ve known that since I was a child, when I asked my art teacher whether she had kept any of her childhood drawings, and she, with aplomb, replied no, they all burned in a house fire. But I’ve become more aware of that recently, as, one by one, places that I enjoy have come to an end. I’ve written about this before, but now it’s struck the place where I’ve written much of this: Caffe Romanza is closing.

As I’ve said before, it’s all too easy to kill the golden goose: a business decision which appears to save money may actually undermine the way you make money. Perhaps Books Inc is struggling, but I and many others like me spend a lot late at night, and when they cut their closing hours from 11pm to 10pm it took away one of the reasons I had for going there. Moving from their glorious two-story corner location to a regular storefront will remove more reasons for more people; and eliminating the cafe will remove more reasons still, leaving it just another bookstore instead of a landmark destination.

I don’t have access to their books and I can’t know all their reasons; maybe they were forced into this move. But I’ve talked to similar business owners about similar moves, and they never say, “we can’t afford the late night staff” but instead say “we aren’t making money on the late night traffic,” which shows that they don’t get the connection that the traffic they get at earlier hours is dependent on the later hours, and those of us that are night owls will be compelled to go everywhere. It’s not the four buck cup of coffee we’re paying for: it’s the pleasant environment to drink it in the company of friends.

Still, I wish Books Inc the best of luck in their new location, and I’ll be sure to drop by. And I hope Jay at Caffe Romanza finds a new option. But I will miss that place where I wrote the bulk of my many novels … but I will soon move on and find a new favorite, as the cycle continues.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Books Inc, an insanely large gift certificate for Caffe Romanza given to me by my colleagues on my tenth work anniversary, and Caffe Romanza, end of shift.