Blog, What Happened?

Credit: aigle_dore on Flickr.


So, a couple of things.

You may have noticed that my blogging has dropped off dramatically. In fact, if you were very vigilant (which you have no reason to be), you may have noticed that my schedule went from “MWF” to “TT” to “quietly removing all traces of a schedule” and the sound of crickets.

Simply put, my life blew up there for awhile. I won’t get into the details, because they’re kind of drab. But for the past few weeks, I’ve been overcome with the desire to get my book finished and out there. People want to read it. I want them to read it. Most of all, I want to finish it so I can move on to new things. I love this book, but it’s outstayed its welcome at this point. And yet I can’t afford to be impatient with it. There’s probably a whole blog post I could write about just that. But anyway.

I’ve also got a couple of paid writing gigs, which take a pretty sizeable chunk of time. Between that, the book, and the rest of my life, something had to give. And for the last few weeks, it’s been this blog. I realized I could either blogormake the progress I want on my book, but not both.

Also, I realized that for the moment, I have nothing else to say on the craft of writing. I’m sure something will come to me eventually. But I really want to spend less time talking about writing, and more time actually doing it.

However, this is not a hiatus. This is not “going dark.” This is not the abandonment of Surly Muse, at least not yet. It is, however, the end of regular content for the time being. Much as I wish my writing energy were bottomless, it just isn’t right now, and the blog is kind of the weak link in the chain right now.

It pains me to neglect this space — I love reading your comments, engaging with you, and chatting on Twitter and G+ and Facebook. The time’s just not there.

The good news, there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and its name is Orison. Which is the book I’m writing. More on that later. I’ll still be posting updates, they’ll just be sporadic for awhile. And then, one fine day, we’ll be back in force.

Until then, I miss you all. Cheers and good luck with your writing.

Be Inspired Blog Hop

Cover by Tracy McCusker at

I’ve been tagged by Bullish Ink to participate in the Be Inspired Blog Hop by Vicky Orians. I’m a little late to the party on this one, but I hope you’ll enjoy reading anyway. Here are the rules:

1. Answer the following ten questions about a book you’re working on or have completed.

2. Tag five other writers, making sure you put links in your blog post so we can all hop over and see their answers.

3. Thank the writer who tagged you. (Thank you, Ruth!)

I’m going to pass on tagging five other writers, because I think the writers I most want to hear from have already participated. That, and I feel a bit like I’m coming in with the appetizers after the party’s broken up and everyone’s gone home.

The questions:

1. What is the title of your book?


2. Where did you get the idea for the book?

I was on a heist-movie kick (Ocean’s Eleven and the like), and I wanted to write a “fantasy heist” novel. That isn’t really the novel I ended up writing, but that was the seed of the idea. The good news is, I can still use that “heist” angle in the future, although I’m not sure I actually ever will.

3. What genre would your book fall under?

Fantasy. Or sword-and-sorcery, if you like.

4. Who would you choose to play your character(s) in a movie rendition?

Story – Emmy Rossum. She does “scruffy” very well. She also does “fearless” quite well, and I think she’d convey Story’s boldness.
Mar Dunnac – Temuera Morrison. He needs more ass-kicking roles, and Dunnac’s a mercenary soldier.
Wrynn – Martin Freeman. I’d watch him read the phone book, and I think he’d fit Wrynn’s intelligent but slightly hapless nature very well.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Oh gosh. I’m terrible at these, I’m afraid.

In a city ruled by unstable magic, six rivals struggle over an artifact that could shift the balance of power — not just in the city, but the world.

6. Is your book published or represented?

Nothing’s signed yet, but I’ve had an offer.

7. How long did it take you to write?

A month for the rough draft, several more months for the edits.

8.What other books within your genre would you compare it to?

That’s a tough one. Probably Matthew Stover’s Heroes Die or Blade of Tyshalle. Maybe the Mistborn books, although I’ve only read the first one.

9. Which authors inspired you to write this book?

Again, I’d probably have to say Matthew Stover. I think he’s a criminally underrated writer. He’s done some of the most hard-bitten, fast-paced fantasy out there, and I wish his books were more widely read. Also, Glen Cook. The Black Company series informed a lot of Orison‘s voice.

10.Tell us anything else that might pique our interest in your book.

While Orison started out as a “heist” story, it eventually became about power — what it does to people, and how different personalities handle the ability to change the world around them. I think I’ve created six distinct, colorful characters and I had a wonderful time setting them into conflict with one another.

Oh, and the book has a female protagonist who doesn’t wear scanty clothing, doesn’t get captured, doesn’t fall in love, doesn’t get rescued by a man, Because I think we need more of that sort of thing.

Enhanced by ZemantaThanks again for the opportunity, Ruth!

Full Circle

Over a decade ago, I began a very personal blogging project. This was circa 1997, when blogging was still a relatively new thing and the Internet wasn’t spawning a thousand new blogs a second (or whatever we’re up to now). I was inspired to start it by an Asian girl who went by the name of Chunk. Chunk overshared the minutiae of her life in the lengthy, intimate way that’s since been largely overshadowed by tweets and Facebook status updates. She had no thesis, no purpose, no agenda; just the charming self-absorption of someone youthful and articulate, trying to lend insight and meaning to the drab circumstances of everyday life.

When I started that project, I was pretty certain no one would care — I was and am, after all, not a cute Asian girl, despite all my best efforts — but to my surprise, people did. People emailed. People commented. For a short time, people would occasionally recognize me on the street, which freaks me out even in retrospect. That would never happen now, amidst the din of a billion cleverly-produced Youtube videos, but back then, this was all relatively novel. I never attained the Internet fame of, say, Jennicam (how’s that for a hoary old reference?), but I did all right.

Chunk’s site is long gone, as is mine; I took it down some time ago and am grateful for its absence and obscurity. I’m not even going to mention its name (although you could probably find it quite easily with a little effort), because it’s a thing whose time has come and gone. Sure, nothing is ever truly lost on the internet, but I like to think I’ve come pretty close. Mostly, I’m afraid that if I read it again, my eyes would roll back so far in my head that I’d get detached retinas.

Stick with me a little longer through my vague nostalgia, this is going somewhere.

Recently an old friend of mine asked me about that project, and told me it had inspired her to start her own introspective journey — although hers has more practical value, in that she’s trying to motivate herself to write regularly and mine was a highly dubious search for personal profundity, taking the red pill and seeing how deep my own navel went. I find it curious and gratifying to inspire someone at all, much less thirteen-plus years after the fact. It’s good to know that my defunct old self-absorbed blog served a purpose after all, albeit posthumously.

Anyway, this is a very long-winded way of saying that I decided it was time to start a new blog. My old site,, has been suffering from an identity crisis since about 2001, and it’s hard for me to even think about giving that old jalopy another overhaul. I decided it was time for a fresh space, dedicated to one subject: the art and craft of writing.

So here we are. The world may not need another writing blog, but it’s getting one anyway. If I manage to entertain, then I’ll consider the whole thing worthwhile. If I somehow manage to inspire, then that’s a big heap of delicious gravy on top.

I’m still not a cute Asian girl, though, for which I am truly sorry.