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True Confessions (Excerpted)
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Today (my once-fortnightly day off) I have goals. What are they? Well, I want to wash the dishes. (There's a mountain of dirty dishes.) I need to duct tape the car. (The car leaks around the sunroof when it rains, and now we're in the rainy season. The duct tape from last year dried and came off over the summer. This is the glamorous life of a writer.) I need to write a review of London Revenant and get it into A Certain Magazine by the end of the day. I need to answer some e-mail interview questions (and I did another e-mail interview yesterday. I like e-mail interviews. I am far more articulate when I type than I am when I talk.) I want to write a few pages of the Bridge novel.

Okay, true confession time. I haven't written much fiction at all since before the wedding. Really, truly, I haven't written much at all since August or September. At first, it was understandable -- there's nothing wrong with taking a little break, and there was the wedding madness, and then going on the honeymoon, and then catching up on all the stuff we were behind on after the honeymoon, etc. But, really, that was all excuses. I could as easily say I don't have time to write now, what with the holidays, etc. But I've always been able to make time before. I've been working -- I did some revising (notably the whole of Blood Engines), and various administrivial tasks, but none of that is creating new words. I just couldn't work up much enthusiasm for writing new stuff, which has always been my passion. I felt I'd lost the thread of the Bridge novel. Even the story I started on the honeymoon has been left half-finished, because once I figured out how to tie up the plot, I lost interest in actually doing the scribbling part. I don't know what's wrong, but I've felt vapor-locked.

So on Monday I made a promise to myself to get back on the horse. I decided to put aside an hour each night to write. Even if I just sat and stared at the screen for an hour, I would put in the time. Routine always helps me, and I've been woefully short on routine lately. So last night I sat down at 10 p.m., played some music, and moaned and bitched and sighed and typed and backspaced and cursed. But, gradually, the magic kicked in, as it usually does, and I got into the story again (it helps that the current scene in the Bridge novel is from the point-of-view of one of the more wicked and perverse characters, so the mindset was good nasty fun). The first 500 words were a conscious effort, but then I fell into the story. The fount opened. I got to a good scene break, and checked the time -- I'd only been at it for 40 minutes. So I ran a word count, and discovered I'd written 2,100 words. My usual cruising speed, if things are going well and I don't have to stop to untangle snarled plot threads, is 2,000 words an hour. Somehow, last night, I exceeded that in 2/3 of the time. So I decided I'd written enough for the evening.

I've got my confidence back. Writing is fun again. I just might get a draft of this book done by the new year after all.

***

My publisher, Bantam Spectra, has posted an excerpt from Chapter 1 of Rangergirl on their website. It's not the whole chapter, but it does introduce Marzi, Beej, and (briefly) Lindsay.

In further excerpty goodness, there are excerpts from my Locus interview online now. And don't forget, you can still order the interview issue, postage paid, or get the issue free when you subscribe.

***

The Bantam Spectra e-newsletter does a feature sometimes where they send advance copies of their books to newsletter subscribers, and solicit their reviews. The book they sent out last month was Rangergirl, and here are some of the reader responses:

"This book is just plain fun. The characters are bizarre enough without entering the realm of the unbelievable. The unbalanced Beej is sympathetic and somewhat loveable. Jane is especially spooky and unsettling. Marzi is an irresistible character with a sharp mind and a unique way of looking at the world. Tim Pratt has a fresh and original voice, and would probably appeal to fans of Charles De Lint and Tim Powers. I enjoyed this book tremendously, and I hope that this is just the first novel in a series of Marzi's adventures as a (more-or-less) real-life Rangergirl."--Erin M, Los Angeles, CA

"The title says it all in Tim Pratt's debut novel. His writing is fresh and original as he envisions a sort of Sci Fi western, or Westworld meets the land of Narnia. But the door to the Medicine Lands isn't in a cupboard; it's in a closed off room of the coffee house where Marzi works as the nighttime manager. Marzi is an unlikely heroine who resists responsibility to fight the evil that is invading the real world. There are plenty of twists and turns before the final showdown. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and give it a definite 'thumbs up'."--Marjorie K., Saint Paul, MN

"I really enjoyed reading The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl. I read western, fantasy and sci-fi magazines, and used to go to the movies on Saturday afternoons to see the old westerns and the Rocketman and other serials. This book has the same feel to it as the old books and movies and I think those who will be reading it will find an appreciation for this style. I'm looking forward to more of Tim Pratt's work."--Patsy W., Evansville, IN

"The characters were memorable, particularly the mud woman and her relationship with the obsessive-compulsive neat freak. (The ironic humor was another plus.) I enjoyed the vivid scenes retold from the comic book--I would love to see some issues of the comic Rangergirl. A powerful message: With their imagination, artists can actually change the world." --Natalia M., Toronto, ON, CANADA

"When I received this book I had to start reading it right away. This was a fun read with great characters. From Marzi to Lindsay to Ray, I loved them all. Everyone can enjoy this quick read with all the twists to it."--Kim V., Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

"Fun and interesting. I was never really sure what was going to happen next. The characters were very vivid. A fascinating read."--Sandra H., Glendale, AZ

"Tim Pratt's novel quickly caught my attention. I liked the plot of today and the old west mixed together. The characters came to life and I found myself fully involved. It is a fun and entertaining novel to read."--Holly C., Grand Forks, BC

That's all for now. Into the ink mines.



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