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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 03:55 am:   

This is the part of the board closest to my heart -- the fiction-writing section.

Right now I'm multi-tasking, as usual. I'm working on a collaborative short story with my buddy Greg van Eekhout. This story is an urban fantasy mixed with a heroic fantasy, set to the buzzing guitar riffs of mid-90s grunge rock. It's a lot of fun.

This is my 3rd collaborative story so far this year, and each one has been a rewarding experience. The first one was with my buddy Tim Pratt, a horror story about a train hijacked by demons, and the second was with writing pal Derek James, which was a near-future SF story about Native American trackers searching for terrorists in Western Asia.

Yes, I like to jump around in my projects...

I'm also trying like hell to finish the first draft of a paranormal romance novel set on North Carolina's Outer Banks. This one has lots of ghosties in it. Well, three of 'em. But one of them is Blackbeard's headless ghost, so that makes it even more fun...

So... what are YOU working on?
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 10:56 am:   

My novel, formerly known as An American Symphony, about a young man who can communicate through symphonic music. Also a short-short called "Enlightenment" about an unlikely successor to the Dalai Lama.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Wednesday, March 05, 2003 - 02:04 pm:   

Looking forward to the novel, Jason! And the story, of course.

I forgot to mention that at some point I need to revise my near-future SF novel about aliens landing in the Midwest, and my urban fantasy "for all ages" about the last Sorcerer (he's a homeless guy in Chicago, of course) left in the modern world, and the new magic that arises without his knowledge...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, March 13, 2003 - 11:09 am:   

Man. Been busy the past week or so. Finished up the first draft of the story I wrote with Greg van Eekhout. Greg gets first whack at the revision, then I get a whack at it, then it's going out to an unsuspecting magazine editor.

Also back up to speed on the Blackbeard novel, but probably won't make any headway on that until I get another collaboration -- this one with Derek James -- revised, probably this weekend.

I really need to stop committing to so many projects. But I can't help myself.

I'm closing in on 40,000 words so far for the year. Hope to hit 60k by the end of March...
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 06:40 pm:   

Is Greg van Eeekhout at the center of some sort of generational nexus? I had no idea you knew Greg, much less that you were writing with him. You guys have to hook up with Charlie Finley (Charles Coleman Finley) who is, along with your guys and a couple of other names, on my short list of writers to watch.
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Vera Nazarian
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 06:46 pm:   

Okay, that has got to be a quote:

"Is Greg van Eeekhout at the center of some sort of generational nexus?" -- Maureen McHugh

*grin*

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Mike
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 06:57 pm:   

Yeah, Greg and I started chatting via our online journals, thanks to Vera and her Not-a-Webring. Ain't the Internet great?

And we're planning on taking that Charlie Finley guy out at the knees at the next con we go to. He's taking up all our spots in F&SF!

Either that, or I'll buy him a beer.

In any case, I'm happy to make your list of writers to watch. :-)
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Greg van Eekhout
Posted on Friday, March 14, 2003 - 07:22 pm:   

I refuse to be the center of any nexus. The center of the nexus gets blamed for everything.

Mike, you know Maureen? Maureen, you know Mike? Is this a Clarion thing?

Mike, we have to come up with a better story than we met online. Can't we say we met in Ypres when we were in the ambulance corps?

I got to chat with Charlie coming back from ConJose (he had a connecting flight in Phoenix) and I don't think I could bring myself to kneecap him. But, yeah, something needs to be done.
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Mike
Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 04:28 am:   

Damn, Greg, that was YOU driving that ambulance behind men? We should have stopped off at the pub for a couple shots of pickle juice and homemade gin! Those Ypres bars -- fantastic, eh?

It's Clarion thing. Yep. Maureen knows everyone. :-)
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 05:01 am:   

It turns out VERA is the center of the nexus. I should have known.
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Greg van Eekhout
Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 07:14 am:   

I think Maureen's right, Vera. Now we get to blame you for everything.
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Mike "Self-Promotion Boy" Jasper
Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 10:36 am:   

Here's an excerpt from the beginning of the story Mr. Greg and I just (about have) finished. Enjoy!
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Irami
Posted on Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 10:55 pm:   

Is the above Maureen McHugh from [i]China Mountain Zhang[/i]? If so, that was an incredible read.
thank you!
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Sunday, March 16, 2003 - 06:58 pm:   

Thank you, Trami.
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 06:58 pm:   

Damn. My apologies. Make that 'Thank you, Irami.'

I'm not old enough for reading glasses, I swear. And the eye doctor says I'm borderline. Old people wear bifocals...
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Irami
Posted on Monday, March 17, 2003 - 09:47 pm:   

My name isn't important, but China Mountain Zhang is, so I'm going to tell you that to this day I remember reading about the goat with the soul of a whore, and the colony marriage proposal which broke my heart. That storyline was my favorite because I didn't see the proposal coming, and when I read it, I felt hope for the first time. Lord, there was finally hope in that poor woman's life. I also remember a line about life being extraordinarily cruel on ugly women, and the election in the communist colony with the man who spoke too much to a group who was tired of and distrusted people talking about ideals.

There are other instructional situations which flit into my head from China Mountain Zhang, but you don't need me to tell you why your book was frighteningly well done.

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Mike
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 03:53 am:   

I loved the kite races and Zhang's situation, and how you (Maureen) dealt with the working-class folks. Now I'm gonna have to go read it again.

Thanks for your input, Irami. Fascinating stuff!
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 05:22 am:   

In the original hardback edition of the novel, in that little bit of legalese on the copyright page that usually says something like 'This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to people, living or dead, is purely coincidental...' China Mountain Zhang says: 'This is a work of fiction. Jellybean the goat is based on an actual existing goat. However, all the events and all the other characters protrayed in this book are fictitious...'

Jellybean was my sister's goat.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, March 20, 2003 - 03:37 am:   

I'd forgotten about Jellybean the goat! Too funny the goat got his/her own note in the copyright page. :-)

As for current writing projects, just finished up the final tweaks to the collab I did with Greg van Eekhout, and did what I hope is the penultimate (love that wor) revising pass on the collab I did with Derek James.

This has been the year (so far) for working with other writers -- 3 story collaborations, and one play/screenplay collab in progress.

Also still working on the Blackbeard novel, and hoping to one day get to that historical baseball story with some SF/fantasy elements.
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Mike
Posted on Wednesday, March 26, 2003 - 05:54 am:   

Distractions -- I got a million of 'em. Keeping me from making a lot of progress on the Blackbeard novel. There's that crazy screenplay idea I'm doing for the SlamFi contest, and the collaboration with Derek that is almost ready to go out, and then yesterday I spent a big chunk of time chopping 4,000 words out of a novella so it was 15k and so I could send it out to a couple markets.

I wonder why I'm putting off work on the novel. I still plan on finishing the draft in a month or so... Maybe I just need a tighter deadline?

Or maybe I'm just crazy? Enquiring minds want to know...
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 12:45 pm:   

I've gotten all the current short stories wrapped up and sent out to publishers, and am now throwing myself full-tilt into my novel, now named Echo of the Invisible World, after a quote about music by Giuseppe Mazzini. I have gotten good responses from my novel-writing workshop, and am happy with the rewrites at the beginning.

Though short stories do keep popping into my head, and sometime soon I will have to write them down so they stop all their yammering.

And yes, Mike, you're totally bonkers.
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Mike
Posted on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 01:16 pm:   

Ah. That's it. :-)
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Jason Erik Lundberg
Posted on Wednesday, May 14, 2003 - 01:36 pm:   

Taking a break from the novel due to temporary burn-out, and will be working on my submission for Leviathan 4, which will take place in Singapore or Bali (or both), and will contain a character used secondarily in two earlier short stories. Since I'll be in Singapore visiting my girlfriend for two weeks, I'll get lots of great first-hand research.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2003 - 06:18 am:   

I just finished up a humorous short story I wrote as a lark while teaching SF/F writing to 2 groups of kids ages 9-14. They liked it! ;)

In July I have a short story to write based on a Christina Sng story for the EXQUISITE CORPUSCLE project being spearheaded by Jay Lake and Frank Wu, those ubiquitous fellas. The poem rocks. I hope my story will too -- it's due at the end of July.

I'm still keeping up with my story-a-month pace this year, which is cool.

Also, the plan is to revamp my SF novel in July, then revise my Blackbeard novel in August, and then draft novel number 5 in September and October, so I can have a rough draft by World Fantasy.

I don't know what the novel's about. Yet. And I'm looking forward to it!
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Mike
Posted on Friday, July 11, 2003 - 01:48 pm:   

Man. Just finished up a marathon revamping of the opening of my Wannoshay novel, rewriting some scenes and moving chapters around and reworking the timeline. And man, it's starting to fall into shape!

Now I just have to completely rewrite the entire last 1/3. Ow.
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 07:20 am:   

Just jammed out the opening scene to my story for the upcoming EXQUISITE CORPUSCLE anthology edited by Frank Wu and Jay Lake. I had another idea for the story, and had written a couple hundred words on it, but it bored the crap outta me.

So this one's much more fun -- I've got the first scene set in the early 80s, so I can use references to Men at Work while my four characters play Dungeons and Dragons and... more to come. I've got about 100 years to cover in the story, which is based on a kick-ass Christina Sng poem. Once I'm done with the story, I pass it on to artist Maia Sanders, who does a piece of art based on my story, then it's on to other writers, poets, and artists... I probably shouldn't say much more than that, other than it's a great project that I'm proud to be a part of.

And now, back to my regularly-scheduled novel revisions...
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Laura Anne
Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 01:07 pm:   

Men At Work were so totally cool, in a really geeky way.

Currently...

tearing apart the first four chapters of the Book As Has Sold and inserting the beginning a new, nifty subplot involving anti-demon vigilantes and a 24-hour pizza joint in the West Village. I'm back on a 500-words-a-night-no-matter-what schedule. Deadline or death!

(_whose_ death has yet to be determined)




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Mike Jasper
Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 03:50 pm:   

He just smiled, and gave me a vegemite sandwich...

Along with my 1,000 words on the story, I also banged out a new scene on the SF novel and revamped the next two chapters, getting the whole first act pretty damn close to being nailed down in a manner that I actually like. What a concept.

Laura Anne -- I'm learning that the first 3-4 chapters of a novel are usually the ones that need the most work, so I can relate to your current writing tasks. The novel I finished in April needs that treatment.

And hey -- congrats on the book sale AND on the SF CHRONICLE interview. Good stuff, all 'round! (I wish I had a Day Job that I loved -- I'm jealous!)
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Mike
Posted on Thursday, July 17, 2003 - 03:52 pm:   

Oh, and I just realized I'm 400 words away from hitting my 100,000th word written this year!

May have to pull an all-nighter to hit that 6-figure number! WAhoo!
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Liz Williams
Posted on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 12:25 am:   

>He just smiled, and gave me a vegemite sandwich...

AAAUUGGH! This is one of those lyrics that is guaranteed to go round and round in my head for the rest of the day. But I'll forgive you.

Well done on the 6 figure number.

I am currently hammering away at the latest novel- about 20K to go. I'm revising as I go along, for various reasons to do with a dodgy plot. But it's not due to the end of the year, so...

Also been working on various pieces of short fiction, mainly rewrites, but some new stuff. The novel is taking precedence, however. And now I just want to start the next one. I'm getting that 7 month itch...
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Mike Jasper
Posted on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 10:38 am:   

Yearly word-count now stands at 100,100!

So Liz, are you on a novel-a-year plan, or do you do more than that?

I'm shooting to do 1-2 novels a year, plus 12 stories per year. That oughta keep me busy and out of trouble... I've been keeping up with that pace for the past 2-3 years, more or less.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Friday, July 18, 2003 - 01:40 pm:   

I've been on pretty much the same schedule, Mike - 1-2 novels a year (it's probably more like one and a half, actually) and a short story a month. This year has been a bit off, for various reasons, but I'm coming back up to speed. Bantam have been pushing for a publication every nine months in order to build up some momentum, which so far we've achieved, but I asked for (and got) a little more time this go-round.

It's certainly do-able. I write full time, as mentioned, and I do quite enjoy the old 'having a life' business as well...
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Mike
Posted on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 02:16 am:   

That's cool, Liz -- is there a lot of pressure, doing a book every nine months? I'd think it'd be a pretty GOOD kind of pressure.

And writing full-time -- I'm jealous! :-)
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Liz Williams
Posted on Saturday, July 19, 2003 - 03:24 am:   

There is some pressure, mainly self-applied, however. I think if something really hit the rocks, Bantam would be negotiable. I like a reasonably tough schedule - makes me stop procrastinating and get on with stuff, and I prefer to work fairly hard, so....!

I went full time last year, which has been challenging but also interesting in one of those back-against-the-wall ways - you know how you finally take a plunge and it's only when you make the decision that it pays off? This happened to me, because when I gave up the day job, Macmillan picked up my backlist. Also I have very low overheads - mortgage more or less paid off etc. But I would not rule out of the possibility of having to return to work in future - who knows whether I'll continue to be published? A fall-back position is always useful...

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