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The Heavy Lifting

So Generation V has now been out for three months! Pretty amazing, actually, when I think about it. I’ve learned quite a lot over the last three months – namely that the Amazon sales rankings make little to no sense, and seem simply designed to break my heart.

Now, what should I be expecting from a three-month-old book? Well, as always, the Internet provided an answer:

Your 3-month-old is growing bigger and becoming more aware every day. By this age, your baby should be settling into a schedule, and giving you some much-needed rest!

Your 3-month-old’s nervous system is maturing, and his stomach can accommodate more milk or formula. Those changes should allow your baby to sleep for a stretch of six or seven hours at a time, which translates into a good night’s sleep for you.
If your baby does wake up in the middle of the night, wait about 30 seconds before heading into the nursery. Sometimes, babies will cry for a few seconds and then go back to sleep. When you rush in at the first sound of fussing, your baby won’t learn how to fall back asleep on his own.
When the cries don’t stop and you do need to go into your baby’s room in the middle of the night, stick to the essentials. Feeding and changing should be done in the dark, if possible, and then it’s right back into the crib. Eventually, your baby will get the idea that nighttime is for sleeping only.
Your baby’s daytime sleep schedule should also become more routine by now. Most 3-month-old babies take a few naps of about 1 1/2 to 2 hours each day.

Thanks, WebMD! I’ll definitely keep those things in mind. Somewhere between improving its nervous system and working on not waking in the middle of the night, Generation V got reviewed again – this one is from Book Lovers, Inc. I also had a great time recently writing a guest post about naming the Generation V characters for Shadowhawk’s Shade‘s ongoing series on the topic. If you haven’t been reading these posts, I really recommend that you go over and check them out. Abhinav has gotten a really great roster of writers, and it’s very fun to see so many different perspectives.

My posting recently has gotten fairly erratic – August is a pretty busy month right now. I just finished the copy edits for Iron Night and mailed them back to Roc last night (WOO!) – it really helped clean the manuscript up, and hopefully we’ve caught all the typos and little bits of weirdness that always seem to hold on no matter how many eyes go through the manuscript. (until the first real reader, of course. THEN they pop out.)

Here’s something interesting that I learned during the copy edit – apparently “Wookiee” has two “e”’s? What the hell is up with this? Now, I actually read a not-insignificant number of Star Wars books when I was younger (for those curious – the Thrawn trilogy), and somehow this missed my notice. What is up with all those extra vowels? One “e” would’ve been sufficient!

"Chewbacca the Wookiee" by Chris Uminga - I found this at

“Chewbacca the Wookiee” by Chris Uminga – I found this at

That took a little under a week, but now I can fully shift back to work on the yet-unnamed Book 3 (it has a working title, but it’s pretty horrible, so I’m not going to mention it at this time… or EVER). The deadline on that one is September 1, which is getting just slightly stressful.

On top of that I’m teaching two classes this fall (that part isn’t so bad – usually I teach five) which each need a syllabus before classes start – on August 28. Usually wouldn’t be too bad, except some jackass decided to assign new books. What jackass would that be? Yeah. Me. Fuck you, me from April! Stop making more work for August Me just to try to stop plagiarism! (Meanwhile October Me is probably all, “Yeah, fuck off, August Me. I am totally not dealing with that shit.”)

Aaaaand WorldCon is the last weekend in August. Which should be awesome and all, but Jesus Christ, at this point it would be redundant to even throw up a .jpg of The Scream.

Eh, like redundancy has ever stopped me before.

Eh, like redundancy has ever stopped me before.

So if I’m frothing at the mouth and twitching spastically in another two weeks – that’s why. Not all is gloom and doom, though. My brother wrote me an inspirational haiku! (seriously, this is an ML Brennan’s Older Brother original. If you want to use it, you MUST credit him)

Bare slate beckons man:
“Fill the page ere dusk descends.
Words don’t write themselves.”
–ML Brennan’s Older Brother

Isn’t that nice? Clearly my brother got the poetry gene in the family. (which I am actually very, very okay about)

So, what are the odds that I’ll be delivering a Book 3 manuscript on deadline? Here, I will defer to the master.



The State of Monday

Things are going pretty well right now. I finished making adjustments to Iron Night based on the edits that my editor sent me, and sent it to her on Friday. These were mostly big-picture elements – character motivations, pacing, building up some elements and toning down others. What happens now (based on my experience with Generation V) is that she’ll take the manuscript and start working on it line-by-line – does this wording sound right? Is there too much repetition in one paragraph? Is a particular idea or piece of information established thoroughly enough?

That’s where Iron Night is right now. I’m really excited about this book – for one thing, I got to take Fort deeper into the supernatural world that he’d been fighting to avoid. I got to revisit and expand some tertiary characters from Book One, as well as introduce some new ones. The world gets more complicated – and also longer! Generation V went to publication at around 85,000 words, but right now Iron Night is beating that by 23K. Given that my word-count goal going in was just to hit 90K, that was kind of surprising, but fun at the same time.

I’ve also gotten a peek at the Iron Night cover – and it is amazing! I’m under strict orders not to share it yet, but as soon as that gets lifted I’m going to put it up. Stylistically it’s similar to the Generation V cover, but I think it’s more dynamic and atmospheric. Can’t wait to hear everyone’s reaction to it!

This week I’m working on Book Three stuff – solidifying plans, doing some background research, that kind of thing. My hope is that at the end of the week I’ll have a working outline of the book. Right now I have a broad idea of major events and where I want a lot of the characters to be at the end of the book, but I’m still working on finer details.

There have been a few changes on the website since the last time I posted an entry – I now have a full character list page. Don’t look through that unless you’ve finished Generation V – it’s spoiler-heavy. I made it to help me with Iron Night (making sure I didn’t use the same names for background characters, being sure that I was consistent on birth years for my vampire characters, that kind of thing), so it establishes where everyone is at the end of the first book. (including, for several characters, deaths and who killed them). When writing Iron Night I found myself constantly flipping open a copy of Generation V to fact-check, and somehow I think that that will just be getting worse when I start Book Three, so I figured that it was definitely time to establish a separate series bible to avoid continuity flubs.

I also have the Reviews & Interviews page – links to all the reviews, interviews, guest posts, or media mentions that I know of. In the last two weeks what has been very exciting is seeing the occasional review pop up that I had no prior knowledge of – a blog review by someone who hadn’t been sent the book by either me or Roc. That’s been very neat, and I’m happy to say that the reviews have overall been really positive.

A few recent ones include:

Fang-tastic Fiction, That’s What I’m Talking About, Urban Fantasy Investigations, Owlcat Mountain, and Fangs For The Fantasy: The Latest In Urban Fantasy From A Social Justice Perspective. There’s a wide variety of responses and writing in here – I love seeing how every reader responds differently to various elements.

My most recent interview was over at Book Lovers Inc.. I also had the wonderful opportunity to write for SF Signal about deeper meaning in speculative fiction writing, which gave me the chance to write about two of my favorite books: Neuromancer by William Gibson and Singer From The Sea by Sheri S. Tepper. Check it out: The Veneer of Escapism.

So that’s where things are. I’m hoping to do that parasite post sometime this week, but I have a few things on my To-Do list, plus a job interview on Wednesday, and Tuesday is the publication for the latest Nalini Singh *and* Cassie Alexander’s latest Edie Spence book, so there will be some rather significant distractions. I’m also trying to introduce my three cats to the CatGenie (litter pan whose cleaning is controlled by TECHNOLOGY!), and it is Not Going Well.

Oh, last thing! Shiloh Walker wrote a great article here about how important Amazon and B&N reviews are for the success of a book. Generation V has twelve reviews at Amazon, and one review at Barnes & Noble. So if you read the book and enjoyed it, please post a review on either website, or both!

And if you haven’t read Generation V… well, wouldn’t you like to give it a try?

Choosy bat mothers choose Generation V for their adorable clinging bat babies!

Choosy bat mothers choose Generation V for their adorable clinging bat babies!