We’re going to the lake house this weekend – we haven’t been there for a few weeks, and after this we aren’t likely to go for another four more. There are good and bad sides to this: the good side is that we won’t make it down there (unless we go next weekend) because the weekend after next I will be doing fun Yarn Crawl stuff, doing the Crawl with a group in a limo on r and showing off my designs on Sunday, and the weekend after that we’re going skiing for the first time in very many years. The down side is that we’d hoped to race this year and that’s going to be a bit iffy if we don’t get some water time. I think I’m in pretty decent share for it, due to the rowing machine, but it isn’t quite the same. We should have good weather for rowing this week, at least.

I’ve found a new YA series I like enough to want to recommend; the first book is called The Eighth Day and it does something with the Arthurian myth cycle that’s sort of like what Rick Riordan did with the Ancient Greek myths, but different enough to be very much its own unique thing. (The hero is named Jaxon, so these books will feel a bit dated in fifteen years, but meanwhile I’ve recommended it to an acquaintance who has a son with that name.) Also, it’s turning the Chosen One trope – the kid who learns that he (most often he) was born with a special destiny – in a slightly new direction that I’ve seen a couple other times lately, notably in the (more mediocre) Jack Templar books. Yes, the hero is born to greatness yadda yadda and he doesn’t have to decide if he’s special, just what side he’s on – but he’s got friends who choose to join him, who have nothing special about them except their own will. It’s a good start; next I’d like to see it turned around to where the ordinary kid saves the day with the gifted one as sidekick.

And the biggest news: according to my publisher’s statement, apparently I’m going to get a royalty check! We’re not talking much money – we can share a pizza and have a beer each if we don’t go to a fancy brewpub – but this is my first one, and means the book has earned out its advance, so I’m pretty giddy.

On the down side, a minor annoyance: today I had a discussion with a coworker about how much time Real Authors actually spend with butt in chair typing. (It is worth noting that coworker writes but has never published – I don’t think she’s tried. She’s basing this on “all the authors she knows.”) It is totally true that writing while on “sabbatical”, as I did, is definitely the easy way to go; I have vast admiration for the people like Jim Hines or Merrie Haskell who get books finished while holding down day jobs. On the other hand, coworker claims that if I’d been under the gun to earn a living from my writing, I’d have spent much more time at the keyboard every day. I contend that if I’d spent ten hours in that chair instead of four, I’d have produced the same amount of usable writing and six hours worth of crap. I’m not saying this is true for all writers – Asimov apparently wrote for 8 hours a day, every day – but I’m pretty sure that for a lot of people, brain-growing-back time is part of the writing gig. I suppose it’s possible that you develop more endurance over time, though.