cover art for Bewitching Benedict

My charming little Regency romance, BEWITCHING BENEDICT, is now available for pre-order at Amazon!

I *may* have pre-order links for other sites by tomorrow, but if not, I should have most of them for Friday when it goes live. With luck I’ll also have print edition links, but it’s possible that will take another week, and the audio book, which is in the works, won’t be out for a couple months. Still, it’s coming together QUITE NICELY here at the end. I’m pretty excited. :)

This constitutes a major milestone on the Nibbled To Death By Ducks list of things to do, as well as an entirely new publishing venture for me (I’ve never done a magic-free historical romance before!), and hopefully the first of a very long list of things to come out on a very regular schedule for the next, um. Several years. :)

Cover for Bewitching Benedict

Benedict Fairburn does not quite need his ailing great-aunt’s fortune, especially since he’ll have to marry to get it. His family, however, thinks otherwise—as do many of the eligible ladies in London—and the pressure is mounting. An embarrassment of attentions fill Benny’s time, but the young lady he prefers roundly dislikes him.

Claire Dalton, cousin to one of Benedict’s oldest friends, is too busy debuting in Society to pay much attention to the Fairburn boy who once insulted her past bearing. He doesn’t recognize her, but that’s hardly upsetting, especially with the fetching Mr Graham offering his arm.

Unfortunately, Mr Graham is not all he seems, and each week brings a fresh disaster for Claire’s first Season. It’s enough to drive a young woman to distraction, especially since Benny Fairburn keeps behaving so very oddly. Concealed tragedy, poor orphans, a dotty great-aunt, deception and misunderstanding whirl in every direction, ready to explode.

Benedict and Claire are perfect for each other. Unfortunately, it may take catastrophe to make them realize as much…

The Lovelorn Lads:
A man needs manners, if he is to marry.

I really hope you’ll like this story as much as I do. It’s just cute, and I really think anybody who likes my writing ought to like the Lovelorn Lads just fine, even if you’re not usually a romance reader. *happy, excited dance*!

I went to bed around 10 last night and, not at all to my delight, woke up at 10 to 6. I lay around for a while sullenly considering that this was, in fact, the ideal I’m nominally going for: earlyish to bed, early to rise, get some work done before bringing Indy to school and all that.

Except not on a Sunday, dammit.

Anyway, I got up after half an hour or so and spent a couple hours getting increasingly tired while working on an e-book layout, and I’ve concluded that probably if I can do this on a weekday basis, having to interrupt the work flow to bring Indy to school and then take myself to the gym is EXACTLY what I’ll need in order to keep myself going through the morning and into the afternoon. I don’t know what I’ll do about the almost-inevitable 2pm slump (the obvious answer here would be ‘go for a walk’) but given the sleepiness cycle, I’d say yeah, this would probably be Just About Right.

Assuming I manage to get to bed right around 10pm ALMOST ALL THE TIME. Well, Catie, who’s responsible for that, then, *hmmm*? (Of course, if I get into the habit of the gym, for the first several weeks at least I’m going to be so exhausted that I may fall asleep by 10 whether I mean to or not…)

I went into the bookstore the other day and there are so many books I want to read and I’ve got so much work to do before I can read any of them. *cries* Also my houseguest is TEMPTING me, TEMPTING ME, I SAY, to watch s5 Orphan Black this Thursday & Friday (the first days of school) and I’m being Drawn Into Temptation. Which means I have to finish up this e-book (which is waiting on cover art and also on me figuring out which button to press to tell it to clean up unused code) and do another set of copy edits by Thursday, which really isn’t anything like impossible. It just seems like a lot, somehow.

I was telling someone at Worldcon that I’m basically five years behind in my reading schedule, so pretty much if you had a book come out in 2012 I’m right on it! But I’d like to be reading a little closer to the present. Moop. So I’ve got KSR’s new book, and I still haven’t read Ian MacDonald’s Luna books and really want to, and I have the second two Anne Lyle (hello, 2012) books to read, and there’s another Long Earth book out, and I’m *desperate* to read Emma Newman’s Planetfall books, and I have (HELLO, 2012) a Carol Berg duology to read, and those are just what I can think of off the top of my head without checking the TBR shelf, much less going into the bookstore again. *flails* So if I get my edits and things done I’m going to read SOMETHING over the weekend.

(*pauses to check how many books I’ve read from this year’s TBR shelf. 10 of the 41 I’ve read this year, which isn’t bad, actually. It leaves me with 13 fiction books on the TBR shelf, assuming I don’t bounce off any of them. Also, 41 books, while not BRILLIANT, isn’t bad for the year so far.)

I better go finish this e-book.

A while ago Ted said I had the kind of work/life balance that most people really dreamed of. That I had this incredibly rewarding creative *job* that I love passionately and then on top of that I had all these completely amazing HOBBIES that I’m actually quite good at and that most people would try to have as part of their ‘life’ balance around the, you know, job as a cop or whatever.

That made me reel a bit, because I never think I have a very good work/life balance. I’m…extremely focused, shall we say. When I’m working. It’s all or nothing, and honestly, it works really well for me. And then in my down time I don’t–I often don’t even *think* to–pursue the hobbies I’d like to.

(Excuse me while I suddenly take a moment to prioritize them, just for my own clarification: photography, art, sewing. Not necessarily in that order, but those are the three things I think I’d really like to *do*, in my down time. And reading, although I don’t consider reading a *hobby*.)

Anyway, so the point is I don’t think of myself as being especially balanced in the work/life sense. And I was having a really intense think about this last night with regards to fitness in particular, because, as I said, I do this extreme All Or Nothing thing, and working out really kind of needs to be consistent.

A Problem is that if I do the kind of 60-90 minute workout that I enjoy, then with the bus ride to the gym and back again, I’m looking at a really solid 3 hour block out of my day. And that’s too much in my All Or Nothing work mindset. (Especially when there’s a specific Child In School window I’ve got to work with. It’d be less of an issue if the bus started running at 6am, but it doesn’t start until 9. And of course 6am assumes I’d get up and go to the gym, which…well. Sometimes it happens. It helps if I GO TO BED by 10pm, which I far too often don’t do. ANYWAY. :))

So I was trying to figure out how to deal with that. I was thinking, well, if I bring Indy to school and then RUN for the bus I MIGHT catch it downtown–except realistically I won’t, because school and the bus circuit start at the same time and we don’t usually drop Indy off until just before the morning bell. But it did occur to me that there’s a bus stop…not necessarily closer to his school, but more to the point, farther on the bus route than at its start point, which might mean I could go from the school to the Other Stop and get there just in time to be taken to the gym. I’m going to go run an experiment on this as soon as I’ve gotten dressed this morning.

And then the other thing that struck me was that I just have to bust my ass and do a 40 minute workout instead of a 90 minute one so I can catch the next bus home (they’re hourly). Because, I mean, obviously 5 40 minute workouts a week will do me a lot more good than zero 90 minute ones.

The other thing I really flat out should do to make this work is go to bed at 10. That makes getting up between 6 and 6:30 an option (at least, that’s what I do left to my own devices on a Writing Retreat), so I can roll out of bed into the office and get 60-90 minutes of work done before the Getting Ready For School process starts in the house. My *entire day* is enormously more satisfying and productive if I get work done before 8am, because I always feel like “look how much I got done already! I can do ANYTHING by noon!” when I get work done early.

(Which, *twitch*. See, this is why a morning workout makes me twitchy, because it’s Interrupting That Flow, but the flip side of it is I’VE MET ME and if I do not do *something* to prioritize exercise I’ll stay at the desk all day long because “I’ve gotten so much done if I just stay another hour I’ll get SO MUCH MORE DONE” and then it’s 7pm and that ain’t it, kid. And also, who are we kidding, school ritual interrupts it anyway so I should work with reality to as great a degree as possible.)

(This post brought to you by the True Beginning Of The Year, and the Attempt To Create A Schedule Around It.)

Ducking

I’ve had this to-do list for…ever. Forever. Very little of it is the fun kind of to-do, which for me is YAY WRITE A WHOLE NEW BOOK YAY THIS IS MY FAVOURITE PART. It’s all the other stuff. It’s edits and copyedits and guilting over unwritten short stories

(I was going to really try to focus on writing…I was going to say ‘good’, but I write good enough short stories. But twisty, deep ones, perhaps. I want to add that to my skill set. So I was going to try focusing on learning how to write those. And then I realized I’ve got so much else actually *due* that it would be moronic to try to add that to my plate. It’s probably mostly a reaction to admiring people who win Hugos or sell short stories independently, anyway, and sort of vaguely wishing I was Like Them, and I usually get over that. Even if I really would like to be able to write more independent, clever, intelligent short stories. I’ll stop being parenthetical now and try to get back to the point.)

and all the little details of self publishing that I haven’t, for one reason or another, managed to hand off to Ted, and anyway, I usually have a Thinks To Do list but this has been my Nibbled To Death By Ducks list, and I’m about two years behind on all of it. Which is a lot of catching up to do.

But I am THIS CLOSE to being caught up/done with TWO projects, and it’s starting to be a Big Psychological Relief.

I’m finalized-cover-art away from launching BEWITCHING BENEDICT, my adorkable magic-free Regency romance, and I’m copy-edits-and-book-layout away from delivering REDEEMER to my insanely patient backers, toward whom I feel so much guilt I want to cry every time I think about it. Those projects are almost done, and, just…*weeps* It’ll be such a relief to have those out.

And although the To Do list just…keeps…going…on…after that, I’m…I’m trying not to think that far ahead, honestly. I’m trying to just keep one project at a time in mind. If I think about it all I despair. Right now I just gotta get through Nibbled To Death.

September’s Nibbled To Death project is writing KISS OF ANGELS, which absolutely has to be done in September so I can get it into a general release launch in December (Patreon supporters will get it the instant it’s finished). I’m trying pretty desperately here to get myself into a quarterly release schedule, BUT I CANNOT THINK ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW IT WILL LEAD TO DESPAIR

But once KISS OF ANGELS and three or four short stories are done, I’m…done, I think, with Nibbled To Death By Ducks. And that will be so. nice. *weeps*

I’ve been–I don’t think I’ve been doing it on the blog, but on Twitter and my FB page I’ve been keeping pretty close tabs on Wonder Woman all summer long. I’ve seen it five or six times in the theatre (including infamously flying to Liverpool to take my friend Leah to it to make sure she’d see it when her husband didn’t particularly want to!). I’ve been watching it break record after record–it was the biggest opening for the first weekend in June ever, it’s the biggest female-led, female-directed movie in history, Warner Bros have announced they’re going to be running a major Academy Awards campaign for it for Best Picture and Best Director (and I tell you, having seen it six times, I *still* think Gal Gadot deserves a Best Actress nomination). It stayed in theatres at nearly unprecedented numbers–it’s down to under 1000 now, but it only dropped that low last week–and I’ve just been hanging on to watching it go from success to success. It’s meant a lot to me. It shouldn’t *have* to, but it has.

And now I’m looking at this week’s nubers. $402.8m in North America as of Wednesday. $396m internationally (and that’s as of the weekend, because Box Office Mojo doesn’t get international numbers as rapidly). $798.7m all together, worldwide.

So I’m calling it: Wonder Woman is going to squeak over $800m worldwide *before* it opens in Japan on the 25th.

The fascinating thing is that Japan is a total wild card. At the worst it’ll play like the other DCEU movies and make about $15m there. But it’s a princess warrior movie, and Diana’s voice is being dubbed by the woman who does Sailor Moon’s voice, which is as canny a bit of casting as ever there was. And Japan *loves* princess movies. It *could* play like a Disney princess film and make tens of millions.

It needs $873,260,195 to beat Batman vs Superman by $1.

Come on, Wondy.

(Also the director, Patty Jenkins, is reported to be just about to sign a historic deal for the sequel, with the expectation of a payday unlike anything a woman director has ever seen. Come on, Wondy! #emotions)