matt_doyle: (Default)
 This year, I wrote Lemancholy, a supernatural thriller-ish thing set at the Villa Diodati.  Byron, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, and Percy Bysse Shelley are my perspective characters, but I had to try very hard to keep Polidori from stealing the show, and every scene needs more Claire Clairmount (who I admire more the more I research her).  There's lots of debatably Unresolved Sexual Tension, stupid amounts of well-researched historical accuracy, and I think I tried to be fairly ambitious in my craft with this one, though I'm not sure I succeeded.

Anyway, I was very pleased to write it, and almost as pleased to present it with an annotated bibliography (something I wanted to do two years ago with The Knight of the Star, but couldn't, because I hadn't been organized enough and probably used upwards of forty sources).
matt_doyle: (Default)
 Yuletide is live!  I received a Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya story called Not a Harlequin Romance, told from Yuki's perspective, and it is positively the cutest, sweetest thing I could have imagined.  Readers, I melted. 
matt_doyle: (Default)
 I have a bad case of the Winter Mehs, so I haven't really been feeling like posting lately, but I've just been tagged by my friend and occasional co-conspirator Kat Laurange to do a Next Big Thing blog post.  And really, who am I to resist an invite like that?

So, although I imagine it comes as little or no surprise to those of you who follow my blog, here's a mini-interview-meme-thing about my next big writing project.

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?
The Hellion Prince
2) Where did the idea come from?
Wondering what Harry Potter would look like told from the perspective of Draco Malfoy.  It's gone far afield since then, but that was the starting point.
3) What genre does your book fall under?
Dark Fantasy.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I always pictured Damarhis as Alex Band circa 2002, so I’m afraid I don’t have a better image of who could play him now.  Hayden Panettiere or Amanda Seyfried for Chrysinthe.  Jason Isaacs for Damalien.  Corbin Bleu for Belasen.  Tyler Posey or possibly Logan Lerman as Sabric. Someone with bulky shoulders?  Imadria would be almost impossible to cast, but her father Imaric would be Johnny Depp, no questions asked.  The Lord Regent could easily be played by Michael Gambon or Malcolm McDowell  -- someone who can project great chill and also great anger.  The Fool’s voice should be Mark Hamill, Liv Tyler would be perfect for Yvanna the Silent, and the Unfallen King himself... Billy Connolly.
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Damarhis was prepared to be a traitor and a spy, but he didn’t expect to make friends by doing it.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’d like it to be repped by an agency, but first I have to finish it and find an agent!
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?
Four years.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
 Lies of Locke Lamora, The Briar King, Kushiel’s Scion.  But really if it was too much like anything else I wouldn’t have written it.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?  
Too many people to list, really.  But most briefly -- my wife Megan and my friends and former loves Erin Guthrie and Sarah Whittaker.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
Faeries, spies, dark magic, arranged marriage, swordfights, robberies, sexual tension both resolved and un (mostly un), murder kidnapping treachery the undead politics dances masks horses fancy clothing and tasty food.  if that doesn’t do it, I’m all out.


I don't tend to like tagging people to get them to do memes, but if you're writing something, I'd like to know about it -- so consider yourself tagged and let me know when your post goes up!

Two dreams.

Dec. 7th, 2012 10:25 am
matt_doyle: (Default)
 Hi everyone, I promise I still exist.

Anyway, two derams last night.  In the first, a friend and I were guests in a large house -- but so were a number of other people, and so we wound up having to share a bed.  There was audible noise from more than one of the other beds, indicating people having sex, and I made a joke about the music of the springs.

My friend swallowed, looked me in the eye, slipped his hand into mine, and said "Would you care to waltz, or do you prefer to tap-dance?"

Which is, I think, the smoothest, classiest proposition I have ever received.




Anyway, the second dream was a much larger narrative.  As is so often true in dreams, different casts of characters and intersections with fictional narratives came and went, so I'm going to trim my summary down to the truly relevant.

There was a large victorian house in town -- four or five stories tall, but it fit on a normal-sized lot (with very little room for yard left over); and in that house was a middle-aged women who ran a knick-knacks business of some sort.  In the course of bargaining for trinkets, she had the habit of setting a hook into the souls of her customers -- not all of her customers, but those who had known significant misery and deprivation.

She would then make over one of the rooms in her house so that it suited them perfectly.  After a couple weeks in town, she would vanish, and the interior of the house would vanish along with her -- and so would anyone she'd hooked, if she could lure them in.

Personally, I didn't qualify as sufficiently miserable, but the majority of my friends in this dream did -- at which point, facing the notion of their being hypnotized into a kidnapping where they would live forever inside this mazy house, seldom leaving their rooms and never exhibiting any emotion but a dazed, manic cheer -- yeah, then I met the qualifications, too.  i tried to bargain with the lady to let my friends free, or I'd cause trouble for her -- instead what I got (in exchange for the promise of a place in her collection), was a sort of non-interference pact.  She wouldn't kick me out of the house if I wanted to snoop around for a way to save my friends.

While snooping, accompanied by a few of my more distant pals who did NOT meet the misery qualifications, and whose main job was to pull me out of the house if I started setting up house in a spare bedroom rather than searching (this happened more than once, and it was terrifying); I discovered that the house could change shape, and that the lady hadn't created it.  She was no witch, really -- just the inmate who had been there longest, the only one who could remember a time when the house was an asylum, and before that a circus.

Something about that knowledge worried her enough to start directly kidnapping my already-snared friends, and to send thugs (some sort of goblins, who rode on flying mufflers that only worked if you were over a street) after my unaffected pals -- but she couldn't touch me.  So I was left with the knowledge that, somehow, I was close to getting what I needed -- but no notion of why or what to do next.

That's about when I woke up.

Holidays!

Nov. 26th, 2012 01:42 pm
matt_doyle: (Default)
I keep intending to do this, and year after year, I never do -- let me know if you'd like a Christmas or other variety of holiday card!

warnings: may turn into a long rambly letter!

further warnings: may not turn into a long rambly letter I DON'T KNOW!

Comments are screened, so you can safely post your real name, address, and anything else incriminating about your card preferences (I really have no idea what I am doing here).

Limit one per customer.

matt_doyle: (Default)
 ...around the time Yuletide assignments went out, I had computer hardware issues, and totally forgot to post a Dear Santa letter.  Obviously you've had your prompts for me for some time -- I think I was pretty detailed in them, so just run with it, and all should be well, I hope.  Sorry about the lateness of this note.
matt_doyle: (Default)
Had another vivid narrative dream last night.  I was a teenaged member of a three-man team of grifters, hustlers, and thieves living on the streets; each of us with faint magical gifts.  Our mentor, and several other street people, were murdered -- more like butchered -- and we made the determination that we should get off the streets.  Of course, we approached this like a con.  The boldest of the three of us, a blonde, green-eyed girl with a slight gift to distract, confuse, or charm people she spoke to or touched, approached what she felt was our best bet -- a theater troupe that had just come into town, augmenting their act with magic; who were very effusive in both praise and charity toward gifted street kids.  While she was insinuating herself into their good graces, I (the second-story man; an acrobat, tumbler, and catburglar with the ability to levitate small things or slightly change the weight or density of bigger things) made an accidental discovery -- this group was in fact a cabal of diabolists, bargaining for greater magical power by trading lives and souls to devils.  They were in the middle of a recruitment drive, appearing kind and charitable by day; while killing underworld authority figures by night to make the streets less safe, pushing us right into their hands.

By the time I figured this out, my friend had already bought into the rhetoric.  I and the last member of our gang -- a pickpocket with a minor gift for illusion, primarily the ability to make himself harder to notice -- managed to distract the diabolist benefactors long enough to have a frank conversation.  While she was tempted to beguile me into joining, our enchantress was outraged at the murder of our mentor, so we made a new plan instead.  She'd play their star pupil, but take on an alias to hide our association and keep her soul safe from bargains.  I, playing the reluctant, would get myself captured in the process of an impressive robbery of diabolist assets, then let myself be paroled into recruitment (likewise using an alias).  Our third member would stay unseen, conducting surveillance and carrying messages for us -- and we'd bring the group down from the inside.  I wanted security; she wanted revenge -- and there was an uncomfortably devilish glint in her eye already when she talked about getting it.

If she'd already sold her soul, it was possible she was conning me.  I went through with the burglary, unsure of whether I wanted to carry out the con or actually get away with something of value, maybe evidence or magical assets I could turn against them on my own.  Still unsure, trying to escape -- but not get away so thoroughly that they would lose my trail and give up on me before I had made my decision -- my enchantress friend subtly sabotaged my getaway.

As I was caught, I wondered -- was she doing it to preserve the plan?  Or because she wasn't really on my side?  I sweet-talked my way into a paroled recruitment, still wondering, and then woke up.
matt_doyle: (Default)
So, attempting to do NaNoWriMo this year, but not on the official site or anything.  A friend and I are hammering out a rural fantasy road trip bildungsroman vampire hunting novel called Fang And Thorn, loosely based on a dream I had a while back.

...apparently I didn't blog about that dream, as I was going to link to it to explain the plot.  Damn.  Oh well.  Here's a link to somewhere I discussed it, anyway.

Besides that, I'm trying to maintain .5 NaNo quota on The Hellion Prince, which is the minimum I can do and have it doen by the end of the year.

Which I am going to do.

matt_doyle: (Default)
Thanks to numerous computer hardware woes, I will be mostly offline for the next ... several weeks to a month?  I shall of course cadge computer time from friends and libraries liberally, but my presence will be much briefer and less predictable.

Dreams.

Oct. 27th, 2012 10:11 am
matt_doyle: (modern me)
 In the first dream I recall last night, I was living in a secret underground commune.  The social mores were very... Spider Robinson-esque.  However, in the time we were there, time seemed to be passing at a different rate on the surface, so when we tunneled back up, we found ourselves under a residential area, and the locals were very concerned and alarmed by the notion that a bunch of troglodytes might pop up under their floorboards without warning.

Not a terribly coherent dream.

Like several of my dreams, it incorporated a lot of surreal architecture, some of it familiar from previous dreams -- my high school cafeteria does, in fact, have large stairwells on either side of it, but those stairwells do not, in fact, lead down into a multi-story underground library.  However, I've had several college-centric dreams where that library has been there was well.  It doesn't use the Dewey Decimal system, either -- as you descend, the subject matter becomes more arcane and secretive and mysterious.

Also, one floor was a carbon copy of the Eagan public library, whose architecture in the real world is just strange enough that it always seemed like a magic palace of some sort to me when I was growing up.

In my second dream, I was taking weird public transit all over the Twin Cities, and kept bumping into two of my friends --on several separate occasions, on different days, in different parts of the city, suddenly there they were, on the same bus as I was.

Especially strange since, though those friends do live in the Cities, they sure as Hell don't take public transit.
matt_doyle: (Default)
 ... that after LJ's new friendslist style goes into effect, I will stop crossposting and reading at LJ entirely and just stick with dreamwidth.  We'll see how it goes before I decide, but I despise the infinite scrolling model tumblr uses.

Does anyone need an invite code?  Alternately, DW users:  do you have extra invites you'd be willing to offer would-be blog immigrants?

Plus side: I may remember to read my DW circle!  I read LJ 2-3 times a day right now.  I read DW about... once... every other... week?

ETA: Info on the upcoming friendslist change.
matt_doyle: (meta)
 For archival purposes, a recipe I have yet to try but really want to.

Neko's Chai Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
1 cup liquid chai mix. (I used vanilla chai)
1 1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt

Directions: 
1) Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in one bowl and set aside. 
2) In a separate bowl, cream butter on med-hi until fluffy, then add sugar, chai, and mix. 
3) Stir in flour mixture until dough forms.
4) Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour (I froze it. The butter tends to make it melt rather quickly if not cold enough.)
5) Roll into 1" balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Keep them spread far apart, as they will spread quite far.
6) bake 10-12 min at 400 degrees F
 
Optional instructions:
Before placing on cookie sheet, roll balls in powdered sugar

Remove from cookie sheet as soon as they can be moved and place in a sealable container while still warm. This will keep them soft and cakey

optional:  cinnamon and vanilla
matt_doyle: (Default)
In my dream, the Teen Titans (bit of a weird lineup, but all canonical Titans) were blackmailed by dimension-hopping aliens to collaborate with them in a murder and conquest scheme, or have first themselves and then their loved ones hunted by waves of killer robot drones.  There were some weird similarities to the anime Bokura No, but in the end the Titans refused the blackmail, fought the robots through cleverness, and saved the day by having Miss Martian share the blackmail scheme via telepathic broadcast with the worst and most opportunistic supervillaisn in the world -- while I do not remember the details, something about the specific evil scheme being carried out became mush less palatable and compelling if there was competition, or if you could not be sure of the identity of your blackmailer.  

World thus inoculated, the Titans, left for dead after fighting the final round of robots, interrupted the invaders as they audaciously tried to blackmail the Justice League as their plan B, revealed that we had ruined their plans, and then got to take part in a truly cathartic brawl against the dimension-hoppers.
matt_doyle: (Default)
 So due to a sudden increase in my stress levels (detailed in a locked post; for purposes of public discussion let's just note that it is eustress not distress and move on), I had positively wretched dreams last night.

First, I dreamed that due to a paperwork technicality, I had to go back and repeat my last semester of highschool at age 28.  This meant returning to my hometown and moving back in with my parents.

Also I stumbled on a secret crime conspiracy at school which half the teachers hated and half were complicit in.  Both halves thought I was on the other side.


After that dream wrapped up inconclusively with me carrying a sleeping baby on a rocky bus ride; I dreamed that Steampunk Moriarty had kidnapped hundreds of people across a dimensional barrier.  We all wound up on a world that was one giant trainyard, our track was switched wrong and jammed, and we were all going to crash.  Nobody on the train but me realized the significance and immediacy of this problem, so it was up to me and only me to evacuate hundreds of disoriented, mistrustful, stubborn people from the train with under sixty seconds to spare.

When I woke up we were maybe five seconds, ten seconds from the crash, and I had evacuated all of three people and was about to bail out myself.


My head.  Ugh.
matt_doyle: (Default)
This year, I requested:


  1.  
  2. Read more... )
  3. Star Wars: X-Wing:  What I'd really like is an ensemble caper with Wraith Squadron, set after Iron Fist but before NJO, involving Lara/Gara/Kirney in some way. Beyond that, details are up to you! If there's romance, please stick to canon pairings! Dear Santa letter will be up on my journal under the 'yuletide' tag.
  4. Reamde, by Neal Stephenson: It felt to me as though the second half of the book never really wrapped up the drama and tension and promise of the MMO side of things. geeky gamer hijinks, either AU or post-novel, please. Any characters in any combinations are fine. Dear Yuuletide Santa will be up in my journal under the 'yuletide' tag.
  5.  

A Dear Santa letter with more details will go up as soon as I have the time.

And what the balls happened to my formatting?  Blast, no time to fix it right now.

matt_doyle: (Default)
The night after the last debate, I dreamed I DMed a game of  D & D with Megan, my sister Teresa, her boyfriend , and... Joe Biden.


Last night, I dreamed I was on Arrakis and got adopted by the Fremen. It was hardcore.  We were being hunted by the Sardaukar.
matt_doyle: (Default)
I've been unproductive in both writing and blogging lately (the latter being obvious to you guys) (lately meaning... since June, when it comes to writing), and that's a stress thing.  The writing has been slowly getting better; the blogging slowly worse, but I've had a frustrating couple of days, so I wanted to get it off my chest.  Also i promised y'all a blog post a week, so it's owed.

The problem is, the stress isn't rational.  Megan and I are financially better off than ever.  Several other obvious stressors I've had before are also lower, not higher, than ever before.

And yet, I've been having what I can only describe as anxiety attacks.  They started earlier this year; I don't remember how much earlier.  Before my productivity problems in writing, anyway.  (Two years ago my best year for writing was 40,000 words; this year i am over 100K, clearly productivity problems are relative).

What happens is, I have an intense episode, between, say, two and twenty minutes, where I am paralyzed and preoccupied by the fear of my own mortality.  I think I mentioned this before.  Not fear of death, mind, of mortality.  I don't think I'm going to die any time soon, but the prospect that it will happen eventually, not just to me but to everyone, and that tehre is no knowing what if anything comes next, makes me want to scream and weep and throw up and throw things.  Of course, I don't.  I just sit there being dizzy and angry and fed up at myself, and try to think about something else, or put some fucking rational perspective on the thing, and eventually I succeed and life goes back to normal.

I don't like talking about this.  I don't like posting about this.  it makes me feel vulnerable, and worse, it makes me feel crazy.  Growing up with a clinically paranoid father, being crazy is my biggest fear.  Hell, even these existential panic attacks can't rival my fear of senility, insanity, delusion... just, fuck no, okay?

Sometime around midsummer, I think, I started to find coping mechanisms that worked.  The attacks got less frequent.  Even when they happened, I could ride them out with relative serenity in five minutes or less.

Now they're stepping up again.

In another couple months I will have health insurance.  After I get a doctor to figure out if I have depression or ADD or both, conquering these things is priority numero uno.  Hell, I'll mention it in that first appointment, because maybe it's connected, even though these are new and my other presumptive neurochemical difficulties date back at least to when i hit puberty.

I'm just impatient.  Worst of all, these things both give me an awareness of the limited time I have on this sphere, and simultaneously, they waste my time.  I refuse to spend the next sixty years losing, what, call it point six percent of my time to these things?  That's five months.  I could write a novel in five months.  This bastardly little inconvenience is cutting a novel out of my lifetime potential productivity.

I hate it.

I guess, this year, I've had more than my usual share of spiritual doubts and struggles with faith.  But it's hard to tell which was cause and which was effect, and I've made it past the worst of those, too, so doubt that these things are only... what, theological aftershocks?

I do not know what is going on inside my head.  I do not like it.

I would appreciate commentary.  I would not appreciate advice.  Please distinguish between the two in your responses.

Thanks for listening.

Tarot.

Oct. 4th, 2012 04:06 pm
matt_doyle: (philosophy)

A long time ago I made a post about Tarot and how, for the Hellion Prince, I had assembled a slightly changed deck.  Under the cut are my more detailed thoughts on the new trumps; and if you're a Tarot buff or a Hellion Prince reader I'd be happy to hear your thoughts as well, especially on how the changes would change a reading.  I've put all the in-universe details in context, so even if you haven't looked at Hellion Prince it should all make perfect sense to you.  I hope.

Read more... )

Damn.

Oct. 2nd, 2012 11:22 am
matt_doyle: (Default)
That guitar music stuck in my head last month wasn't "Misirlou" after all.  I was just re-reading posts, started humming along to the tune in my head, and went.... wait, dammit, that's a totally different tune!

Now I need to go hunting again.

Doo-doo doo doo, doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo...

matt_doyle: (Default)
... not planning on resuming 5-days-a-week blogging this month.  Maybe next month.  Will try to still post weekly or better.

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