Tag: 2012

The reading room

My library is now open!

Sort of.

In the next few minutes I’ll be sending out the password to those of you who have already contacted me. If you haven’t and you’d like access, just let me know. I’m happy to email it (or DM on Twitter, if that’s more your thing: @CosDrift). Once you have it, click on the link to The Reading Room at the top of the blog screen, give the password, and read the instructions there.

The point of providing these stories here, essentially a collection of my first year of publications (2011-2012) is not to discourage anyone from reading them at their original homes. In fact, if you choose to read here and like something, please click on the link to the publisher and go read more stories from other writers! If you like the other stories, then subscribe, or donate, or just tell the writers that you appreciate what they’ve written, or the editors that you like their choices.

There are very few rules for The Reading Room. The main one: please don’t hand out the password to others. If you know a blog follower who wants access, have them contact me.

Actually, that may be the only rule, aside from obvious ones, like don’t take the stories and publish them yourselves, in which case you’re clearly in dire straits and maybe you should contact me so that we can figure out a better source of income for you. The comments are open–I’m happy to answer story-specific questions there.

Oh, the one piece missing from the collection is Phoenix, for the simple reason that Phoenix is an e-book and the rights remain with Musa. If you’d like to read it, you’ll have to buy it.


In which I do not manage to summarize 2012

I started writing up some great state of the year post yesterday. I stopped when an owl came to visit. In the last week, the snow has finally arrived. There are tracks running through the backyard–dog, fox, children–and the leaves we didn’t rake are now hidden away.

The skies have been gray as well, and against such a background–dull silver and the black of branches–a flying owl stands out clearly. She landed in one of the pines and stayed there for much of the afternoon. During the winter, when the nights are so silent, owl calls carry a long way. It’s how I’ve come to think of winter nights since moving here fifteen years ago, a time of moonlight on snow and great echoing voices.

The owl came to usher 2012 out. The sun is here to welcome in 2013.

I’m not sure what to say about 2012. If I take a simple arithmetic approach, it had many pluses. It was a year in which I had seven stories published, completely overshadowing 2011’s two. There was a brief giddy period in the spring in which I sold every story I had available to sell, and I suddenly felt like a WRITER.

What I discovered is that I am very much in my adolescence as a writer. I’m tripping over my own feet everywhere I go, and stressing over the unruly state of my hair in the morning. At some point I will grow out of it, know who I am and where I am going.

But…but there is power in adolescence too. There is freedom in not yet knowing it all, in testing and trying and rushing into places that maturity would dictate foolish.

There is fun.

The thing about writerhood is that there is no clear graduation date. I’ve passed most of my arbitrary markers at this point. I sold my first story. I made my first professional sale. I earned my SFWA membership. I received an invitation to submit. I made it on to paper and into the library. I have an agent.

I still don’t feel like I know what I’m doing.

Both my children are involved in wilderness skills classes. They have fire challenges regularly. Make a fire that …burns this long, this high, with these materials. Make your bow drill, find your tinder, work with wet logs.

The path to the fire varies. The fire itself still warms.

This is my 2013 goal. Keep learning. Find those challenges and test my skills. Learn to keep my feet under me, learn that unruly hair has its own beauty. Listen to the owls on winter nights, enjoy the sun on my face on a January day.

Happy New Year to you all!


Q: What goes great with cold weather?

A: A chimney fire, of course. Preferably one that leaves you unable to heat your house until many things are fixed.

Yes, that’s my week in a nutshell. On the bright side, because it’s really necessary sometimes to find one, we saw a fox on the late night drive away from the house. More than that, the kids, pets, and I all managed to get out the door in what must have been a kid-pet-mom world-record setting time. And everyone is fine. And the exciting flames didn’t manage to set fire to the house, so it will be fine once it is warm again. And many, many more things.

But all in all, I have to say that 2012 is a year I’ll not grieve to see come to an end. It’s been rough on most everyone I know, much harder for many than it has been for us. As we limp our way into the darkest days of the winter, my thoughts are on all those small blessings, the everyday ones that are so easy to take for granted. Not even small, though they can be easily forgotten, things like family, like the certainty that spring follows on the heels of these cold times. Like having enough to be able to share.

If this has been a hard year for you, you’re not alone. If this has been a great year for you, it’s okay to feel good about it. Tell me how 2012 has treated you.

Sea Glass

A little more good news.

“Sea Glass” is a simple story. Two brothers, an ocean, a girl on the beach. Despair that runs like black ink through the water, joy that fills the air like kite streamers in the wind.

It’s also so much more to me. The conflicts of The Lost originate in the events of “Sea Glass”. Without those brothers, and that ocean, and that girl on the beach, there would be no novel series for me. I wrote it after I wrote The Lost, then sat on it for a long time, too chicken to send it out.

Now it has a home. The good people at Abyss and Apex will be including it in their April 2012 issue. I couldn’t be happier!


When I said I’d have good news soon, I forgot to qualify “soon” in terms of publishing time. The news is still there, and I’ll share it as soon as is reasonable. Promise.

In the meantime? Cracked 70K on Wren. It’s taken a little bit of time to get back into it, but that’s only to be expected after a year or so vacation from it. The good news is that the year off let me grow as a writer. The bad news is that this draft will require that much more editing to make the two halves fit together. That’s okay. I’m happy to look at it as part of my writerly education.

Once I finish a draft of Wren, I can plot out the necessary changes to the remaining books of the series. The second book was originally the first (in fact the second book was written as a standalone–I never saw it as part of a series until long after I’d written it), but somewhere along the way I realized that I’d started in the wrong place. “Somewhere” in this case meaning two and a half books into a (then) three book series, and “wrong place” meaning a whole book too late.

The really great news though is that it’s finally all in place. Character arcs, story arcs over individual novels, over the entire series, all major plot events, with the exception of one or two things that I’m waiting to the end to sort out–I’ve got them all. I started this project in 2009, and my goal is to reach the end by the close of 2012. I think it may actually happen.

And then? I’ll be free to work on a standalone novel that’s been waiting patiently for a long time. Woohoo!

Little Bird

I’ve been working on Wren’s Book this weekend. Wren came from The Lost, showing up first as a minor character, a spy whose most noteworthy characteristic was that I changed her name every time I revised the story. Somewhere along the way, I decided I needed to know more about her, about why she’d risked her life to save the people she saved. No problem. I did what I usually do, and started a short story. I have a handful of these, most of them little more than character sketches. They live in a file on my computer, and I read them from time to time when I’m bored.

The trouble with Wren, however, is that her story turned out to be something more than I expected. Characters sometimes do that, have a hidden life far more complex than expected. I decided to ignore her, and continued writing the second book in The Lost series. She showed up again, this time toting a bit more story. Now she’d grown beyond being a scared teenage spy with a mercurial name who existed as something of a plot prop. She’d become a woman commanding a great deal of respect from her peers, a woman who once again saves someone in an unexpected way.

Fine. I could accept that there was more to her than I thought. I finished the draft of that book and continued on to the final book of the series. Halfway through? There was Wren again, and this time she was front and center, the key to a rather complex emotional piece of the story.

Wren gets her own book now. I started and stopped it several times, struggling, until I realized the problem was not in the story, but in how I kept thinking it should be told. I had to put aside my assumptions in order to be able to move forward. It’s finally flowing now. At this point, with about 2/3 written, I’m starting to feel pretty good about where it’s going. I hope to have the draft finished within a month.

I’m having fun.

Starting 2012

Happy 2012!

I’m spending the day in wonderful ways. Three hours on a new story this morning. Out to do some geocaching this afternoon. Hopefully, there will be time to finish the story when I come back.

I’m also reading Angels in America (Tony Kushner). I’ve never seen it on the stage, just the HBO version. I keep hoping it will be staged again, someday, somewhere I can see it.

It was on my long long to-be-read list. This post made me bump it up the list a bit. It’s an involving text, tremendous and sad and beautiful and angry. It’s also the kind of thing that reads much more quickly than I want to read it. I’ve been going scene by scene, occasionally reading a few scenes at a time, in order to allow it to sink in more fully.

So, that is my start to the new year. It should be snowing here. It should be cold, but it is in the forties, and sunny, and I shouldn’t be inside any longer.

Be well, live more boldly, be blessed.