Tag Archives: writing

In which all is revealed….

Every so often over the last few years, a fan of the Jani books would email me and ask if I was working on anything new. I always appreciated these messages, even though I never gave much of an answer.

Thank you for writing…I’m working on a few things, and as soon as I have news of anything new, I will post….

And that would be it. When I did post here, I wrote about cooking, gardening, my dogs. Life in general. About writing and works-in-progress, though, not so much. A couple of short stories saw the light of day. Other vague rumblings.

Well, I’m very happy to announce that there’s news, and it’s not so vague.  This is me, too.  And I have a book coming out in January–1/6/2015 to be exact. Info, synopses, pertinent links, etc, are all available at the Alex Gordon site.

I’m excited, and glad to at last be able to let folks know about GIDEON. It is a different genre–supernatural suspense/paranormal with dashes of horror and romance. Some Illinois history. It challenged me in many ways, this tale–I felt like I was starting from scratch as a writer. Writing present day. Needing to get streets and neighborhoods right…then needing to cut it all out because it slowed down the tale. The things that required the most research were the things I wound up cutting–maybe there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

Why “Alex Gordon?” It was picked a few years ago. Gordon was my dad’s name, and Alex went well with it. As it turned out, there were a few other folks with that name, including a baseball player whose team is doing rather well at the moment. I’m not him.

I don’t think there’s much more to add, but I’m happy to answer questions. Closer to the release date,  I will be posting GIDEON excerpts and outtakes in conjunction with the Harper Voyager site. Until then, I will be working on JERICHO, the followup. Eventually, I will update this website and either integrate or link it with the Alex Gordon site. “Kristine Smith” the writer isn’t gone–if and when I get the Jani books out as ebooks or write more SF/F, it will be under that name. The paranormal/thriller/suspense work is Alex’s. For the sake of simplicity, I will move all my blogging to the Alex Gordon site, so that all the cooking, gardening, and dog updates can be combined with the book and convention news.

And now, it’s late, and I need to get some sleep. The cable just went south in the middle of THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH–thank you Comcast!–so the house is very quiet. In a few hours, I’ll get up and start thinking about pacing and scaring people and which plants grow in Oregon’s Northern Coast Range. Same god, different mountain top.

Thanks again to those of you who wondered, and asked. Glad I’m finally able to tell you what’s been going on.

Still here

Summer has zipped by. I’ve been having work done around the house–deck repaired and stained, dishwasher installed. Thought I’d catch a break for a bit, but the handyman called this evening–he has an opening, so he’ll be by tomorrow to fix one of the walls in the bathroom and repair some tile. So I cleaned out the cabinet that is going to be removed, then vacuumed because doesn’t everyone clean before workmen come to the house?

Oh well. It upsets the day, but it has to get done.

Nothing to report on the reissue of CODE etc as ebooks. Struggling with some short works–I start them, and think, who would want to read this? It’s been done before. The thing is, just about everything has been done before–I could write a one-sentence synopsis and likely be able to think of several already-published stories that fit it. And they would all be different. Because it isn’t the idea, it’s the execution.

If I keep telling myself this, I might come to believe it.

A nice thing

…on a rainy, cold, grey winter day.

NYT bestselling author Jack Campbell had some nice things to say about the Jani Kilian books in the latest issue of SFSignal:

an excellent read steeped in espionage and double-dealing that captures the reality of it all better than most thrillers set in the modern day.

It always makes me feel good when folks who know say that I nailed aspects of Jani’s life/experiences.

Still trying to work out a deal to reissue the books. When something finally works out, I will scream it from the mountaintops. Or dune tops, seeing as this is NE Illinois.

Another day before

The snow’s started, fine crystals that will fall through the night. Just a few hours left in 2013.

It was a year. I lost King. Retired from the day job. Pondered and planned. Hit some speed bumps. Struggled to adjust to having All The Time In The World, because it seemed to zip past even more quickly than it did when I didn’t. Lollygagged a little too much–I need to stop that. I’ve heard from several writers that it takes a year to adjust to being a full-timer, and I believe it. So that’s one big item on the 2014 agenda. Adjust.

I cannot complain. I’m very lucky that I was able to do what I’ve done. In the coming year, I need to make the most of the opportunity. Push myself. Take chances.

I hope you all get the chance to do something you always wanted to do. Have a plan come to fruition. Take that first step down a winding, overgrown path, one that doesn’t get a lot of traffic.

To the new year!

Geoff Dyer’s ten rules for writing fiction

I have never read anything by Dyer, but that may change because this is one of the best “Ten Rules” essays I’ve read.

2. Don’t write in public places. In the early 1990s I went to live in Paris. The usual writerly reasons: back then, if you were caught writing in a pub in England, you could get your head kicked in, whereas in Paris, dans les cafés … Since then I’ve developed an aversion to writing in public. I now think it should be done only in private, like any other lavatorial activity.

I also especially like 4, 6, 8, 9, 10…oh hell, it’s a good list. No. 6, Using regrets for fuel. Pretty much my motto: It’s all material.

Madison, with baby ducks

Took a short trip to Madison with fellow writer Jen Stevenson. Talked over plot problems with current wips. Hiked up and down State Street. Ate really good Japanese. Enjoyed glorious weather. Walked the trail along Lake Mendota and discussed crow lore. A restorative 24 hours.

On the lake

We also fed baby ducks.

Nothing better than baby ducks.

Nothing better than baby ducks.

The wandering mind

In a file room, inventorying documents.

You know your mind is not 100% on-task when you pause to consider how you would get out of the file room if the Bad Guys ™ locked you in. Door knob is actually a handle equipped with a combo lock, but it is on the outside and handle could be jammed.

But. Hinges are on the inside, and 3 of 4 have already partially popped due to use. I have a pair of heavy-duty scissors to use as a pry. The room is equipped with sprinklers, so if I had matches/a lighter in my purse, I could set those off, thus notifying Security.

The rooms are modular–movable walls, so I could also possibly knock out panels if desperate enough.

Glad that’s settled.

In lieu of actual content…

…someone else’s words, namely Stephen King’s 20 quotes on writing.

I will add that I have used a thesaurus while writing and I haven’t killed all my darlings. I have learned the hard way that not all characters’ backstories are interesting. A harder lesson is that, while they may be interesting, if they detract from the story you’re trying to tell by derailing the main plot or swamping your protag, they have to go. Just because you have been distracted from your protag’s story does not mean your protag’s story isn’t interesting. It may just mean that you rambled too deep into the story weeds and lost your way. Story weeds are very easy to get lost in. They flower and grow quickly and seem very strong, but in the end, like real weeds, they push out everything else and make the yard a mess. And I think I will place a period at the end of this before weeds.

Chicago, Chicago

Been here since yesterday. A long weekend writers retreat with a few other, well, writers. Writing exercises, brainstorming, business talk. More on the exercises in a few days, when I am home and have digested the results. It’s been an interesting process so far, though.

We are staying in a place with kitchenettes in the rooms, so we bought groceries and are doing most of our own cooking. I thought I would miss eating out, but I am finding I don’t. Except we did have high tea at the Drake today because that is one of the things one does when one is in Chicago and has the chance.

The weather has finally, finally been lovely. Coolish because we are near the lake, but sunny and dry. It’s even supposed to warm up as the weekend continues. The long-awaited spring one hears about in song and fable.

Meme: a story I haven’t written

I haven’t posted any memes or quizzes in a while. They seem to have lessened in popularity as LJ traffic has slowed, but every so often something pops up that looks interesting.


Tell me about a story I haven’t written, and I’ll give you one sentence from that story.

(h/t to Kate Elliott over at LiveJournal)