Tag: foreign ghosts

Brief post


Had a lazy weekend, which involved much writing, eating Russian food (thanks to a friend who made us discover borscht, dressed herring, pierogi, and grilled pork), and of course Vietnamese food (a rather copious shrimp curry, thanks to my grandma).

Entering my second-to-last week of the job; also, entering French summer, which means everything suddenly is going very slowly, and people are unavailable… (frustrating). On the plus side, this week is the annual picnic of the department; I volunteered for salad. I hesitate to make bò bún, but I think I’ll go for a more classical French or Italian dish, if only because leftovers are more easily recycled.

In other, more exciting news, slowly filling in the holes on the novella, and answering a couple questions about the French translation of Harbinger of the Storm. The new novel project is going to be, er, an old one, ie revising Foreign Ghosts [2] before it is sent out. (with a side order of brainstorming sequels).

*rolls up sleeves*

[1] Apologies for the inevitable spelling/usage mistakes: I’m doing my best to retranscribe from Cyrillic, but Russian is nowhere near my native language…
[2] Foreign Ghosts is the Xuya novel. In the words of the blurb I wrote a couple years ago:

The year is 2009–but the world is profoundly different. China’s discovery of America before Columbus has given rise to a West Coast ruled by Xuya, the former Chinese colony. Now, instead of San Francisco, the bustling metropolis of Fenliu is Xuya’s second-largest city, where Irish-Americans walk side by side with Aztec warrior-spies, and the vermillion-painted houses of Xuyan gentlemen-scholars contrast with the grime of Inca clan-compounds. Transportation is done by aircars and maglev trains; and technologies such as network sockets, communicators and weapons are routinely implanted into human bodies.

In this bewilderingly foreign world, PI Jonathan Brooks is desperately looking for a way to fit in. His latest gamble was to rent a flat in one of the posher Xuyan areas of town–but it backfired with the flat turned out to contain a cache of illegally imported mummies. Expropriated and considered a suspect, Brooks must discover the truth and clear his name before he is arrested and tortured.

But Brooks’ hurried and careless investigation may have unintended consequences: Fenliu is a city of many cultures, perpetually poised on the cusp of dislocation, and the racial riots of five years ago need only the flimsiest of excuses to flare up again…

Xuya page (and questions thread)


Have had a couple questions about my alt-history universe Xuya (where the Chinese, the US and the Aztecs share North America), I decided to take the plunge, and transcribe my notes into a more legible form. I figured that with three stories out (two in Interzone and one in this month’s Asimov’s, the universe had cemented well enough that people might want extra explanations.

So behold the brand new spiffy Xuya page: all you’ve ever wanted to know about Xuya (well, not quite yet, but it does have a few pointers about the chronology, where the stories fit in there, and a few items of general interest).

BTW, since I’ve locked the comments on the page, this post here is as close as it’s getting to the official question thread–in the (unlikely[1]) event that you have any interrogations about Xuya-related stuff, ask in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer.

[1] I’m a natural pessimist, and those are only short stories after all, with a small audience…

Saturday, or the aftermath


So, now that I’ve got some decent sleep…

Spent the afternoon of yesterday at the BF’s PhD defence: he was working on quantum physics (entangled-photon sources, to be precise). I knew just enough quantum physics that the defence was somewhat familiar, but sadly not enough to actually understand most of what was going on. The question session lasted one hour (at which point they lost me completely), but in the end they awared him his PhD, with a Very Honorable Mention–which was pretty much the highest grade they could give him, so much happiness.

Then there was the cocktail, and the evening with drinks at Matthieu’s place–and I went to bed completely knackered. Slowly emerging now 🙂

-Sent revised version of Foreign Ghosts (the Xuya novel) to agent, and am now working on an appealing blurb they can use for marketing (and struggling a bit since this is multi-character in a weird setting).
-Updated the Servant of the Underworld page. I can haz blurbs!
-Got my synopsis for Book 2 of Servant of the Underworld approved by Angry Robot towers: it will tentatively be called Harbinger of the Storm. After much brainstorming, it looks like the series title has settled onto Obsidian and Blood.
Looks like book 2 of Obsidian and Blood is going to be the next project on my plate (right after I tackle the revisions for Servant of the Underworld).

Have I mentioned the bit where I feel perpetually swamped? I had some inkling that might be the lot of the novelist, but I didn’t think it would come quite that fast…

Books books books


Just ordered Alastair Reynolds’ Revelation Space (since I read Chasm City a few months back and really liked it), Daniel Fox’s Dragon in Chains (which I’ve been meaning to read forever), and Daniel Abraham’s A Shadow in Summer (which I own an e-copy of, but no proper paper copy). And a second-hand copy of Tim Powers’ On Stranger Tides (which has been optioned for Pirates of the Caribbean 4 in a rather neat move).

In other news, finished importing Foreign Ghosts in Scrivener, and I’m taking a look at the various storylines to see what’s not working (I figure I know where the chronology problem is coming from, and I need to drastically re-think one character’s motivations).

So far, so good…

Another LJ hivemind question


Given a choice between:

-a novel where there is one point-of-view character per scene, and where the scenes more or less follow chronological order, but can be quite short (one scene=2,000 words approximately)

-a novel where each chapter is set in the point-of-view of a single character (one chapter=4,000 to 5,000 words approximately), but where the timeline ends up more warped than in the previous option

which one would you prefer, and why?

(I ask because I’ve seen both and enjoyed both, and I’m not quite clear on where I want to take Foreign Ghosts yet…)

EDIT: as zweipunktnull, I’ve been a little unclear. You only have 3 point-of-view characters in the entire novel. They alternate, in more or less equal shifts.

Foreign Ghosts…


The BF has just finished reading Foreign Ghosts, aka the Xuya novel, in between two rounds of writing summaries for his PhD dissertation (it’s like synopses: no one agrees on what length they want).


On the plus side, a lot of his comments are small, easy fixes; the book seems to hang together, and he loves the universe.

On the minus side, one of the characters made no sense to him, so I clearly need to do some motivation work. Also, he wants me to reorder scenes so that it’s a little less fragmented, ie one chapter per POV rather than 2-3 scenes per chapter in strict chronological order.

Hum, good thing I’ve got Scrivener if I decide to go down this road.

(I haven’t decided yet how I’m going to tackle his comments–still at the processing phase, plus at the “trying to finish short story draft” phase)

May Day


Wohoo, a holiday 🙂

It’s warm (sort of) and sunny (definitely) outside, a perfect day for not working.

Did some work on Foreign Ghosts, rewriting bits and pieces to give a character more motivation. Midway through chapter 16 (this particular transition was always rough, but I think I’ve got it right now). Next stumbling block is likely near the ending, so most of the work this afternoon should be filling in the research holes.

Went to the Opera Wednesday, to see Verdi’s Macbeth, a very impressive, modern production with an equally impressive soprano playing Lady Macbeth. (first time at the Opera, ever, courtesy of the BF).

And now I shall be off to do some cooking (more on that later, if it works…)

Sunday Progress


Coherency pass on Foreign Ghosts. It looks like it might not be as broken as I feared it was–making a list of all the stuff that’s currently missing, but the basic plot is starting to be reasonably leak-free. At chapter 16 out of 25.

Going to watch a few episodes of Chevalier D’Eon now, a decidedly odd anime set in France during the reign of Louis XV. Gorgeous backdrops, but obviously done by someone who had very little idea of the history of Paris–for instance, the obelisk of La Concorde was brought back by Napoleon, about 50 years after Louis XV; the big, large airy streets are Haussman, about 150 years later… But it’s still fun, in a very Japanese way (brother-sister uncomfortably close relationship? check. Creepy magic that takes more out of you than it gives you? check).

I do love the fact that religion is so omnipresent, though, and that D’Eon’s faith is so important (major pet peeve of mine: having religion thought of as weird, nonsensical, or as a science, in an era where Cartesian thought was either not developed or in its infancy, and where belief was widespread).