Of heredity and the curse and blessing of ancestors – 1264 words and 16,765 total

By Holly Lisle

Today was a goooood writing day. This was a solid Monday in which I leapt into my story world, discovered a massive and necessary secret behind my main character’s origins, found my way through a fair amount of backstory while avoiding what would otherwise have been exposition, and came out the other end knowing something about my main character that had been a complete secret to me before this.

She makes more sense to me now.

And today I discovered the Five Worlds. Nothing more on that except that I find them really cool, and they give my MC something she didn’t know she had.

And if I DON’T have jury duty for the rest of the week (which I won’t find out until 5: 30 tonight), I’m in a great place to pick up with the next scene tomorrow morning.

And I’m so looking forward to writing it, so I’m really hoping they don’t need me.

Meanwhile, however, in case this is the last post from me for a while, I’m throwing in a picture of Sheldon, just because I think he’s very handsome, and his personality inspires the that of the cat in the series. A little bit, anyway.

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Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

A “Happy-Holidays, Goodbye-and-Good-Riddance-to-2020” post.

By Holly Lisle

I’ve done basic tasks today — email, forums, and the help desk.

I think I’m not alone in considering 2020 an awful year… though I’ve had quite a few that were worse personally. But they were worse privately, without the disasters spreading much past me and mine.

I got dragged to some of the more dangerous places in the world by one parent attempting to expiate the results of sin and the punishment of God by doing missionary work, while the other one went along with this because he saw some awesome opportunities to get paid for multi-year hunting and fishing trips in exotic locations…

So because of those two idiots, I’ve lived on the tundra and seen deadly wildlife up close, lived in countries in Central America during an anti-American communist incursion, and then in a civil war zone where I saw bloody bullet holes in the stone walls of a ruined Catholic church, lived through an earthquake when I was fifteen and suffered at least a year of undiagnosed PTSD afterwards (the moment when I was asleep on the couch back home in Ohio and dynamite from a nearby strip-mine went off and the house shook and I found myself in bare feet out in the snow before I was even fully awake was the FUNNY part of PTSD).

I’ve had one godawful divorce with the &#$%!@*! who turned into the child molester who abused OUR kids, and my POS parents decided to support the child molester and his parents and abandon us, even when he confessed…

Like I said, I’ve had worse years personally.

But this year has been pure shit from top to bottom for everyone who works for a living.

I’ve discovered that platitudes aside, we’re NOT all is this together.

There’s a set of rules for those in charge, and a second set for those of us who don’t eat if we don’t work.

I work. Hard.

But this week, while I focus on help desk, emails, and the forums, I’m taking a breather from fiction. I’m in a crappy mood, and crappy moods tend to result in the sort of fiction you have to toss and rewrite when the mood passes. I’m going to skip the flailing around and tossing crummy, angry words, and I’m just going to embrace the silly idea that January 1st actually is a new year, instead of an arbitrary marking of the passage of fluid time.

The cat (Sheldon, pictured above) and I are going to hang out on the couch during writing hours until 2021.  I haven’t had a vacation in more than twenty-five years. I’m going to pretend this is one.

One of us is going to play video games, and the one with no thumbs is going curl up beside me and alternate sleeping with giving me wistful gazes and staring pointedly at the Cat Snacks container on the end table until I cave.

He’s good. He’s very, very good. There will be snackage.

When I have successfully kicked the dust of 2020 off my feet, I’m going to leap into 2021 fiction, and I’m going to finish Ohio #2, then get as much done on Ohio #3, Ohio #4, and Ohio #5 as possible. I’ll  work. I’ll post my progress.

But I’m not making any New Year’s Resolutions.

Because… how did the resolutions you made last year work out? How many of them even could?

So, strictly on a day-to-day basis, I’m just going to get up and go to work on weekday mornings, do as much as I can, love my family, and let you guys know on those weekdays when I make it in here and do this… how that went.

And I will hope along with all the rest of us who actually ARE in this (instead of above it), that next year might be better than this year.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved

The Ohio Series: Novel 1 – Friday snippet (a day early) that might not make the final version

By Holly Lisle

I’m going to note that the urban fantasy series I’m writing operates around the importance of trade.

That it’s an old system, and that it operates across multiple dimensions.

And that my protagonist is a cop, and the guy she’s working with is… difficult to get a handle on.

With that set-up, this is so offbeat and was so unexpected that it might have to come out of the final draft. It might not fit once I’ve done the final worldbuilding. But with the usual caveats: 

This is rough, raw, first draft; it undoubtedly contains errors, and I do NOT make corrections from this draft; this material is copyrighted to me; do not quote or use in reviews…

The set-up is that my protagonist’s ally is explaining why he had to change his identity. Here’s the snippet…

“Building a network up from nothing is a helluva lot of work, though, and let me just say that the rewards offered by this particular world were… not enticing.”

“Prospective bride not pretty enough?”

“You ever see Star Wars?” he asked me.


“She looked a lot like Princess Leia, minus the sticky-bun hairdo. And was a real princess.”

“Then what was the problem?”

“She was a real princess. And a cannibal. She’d had two previous prospective bridegrooms killed and cooked when they failed to live up to her expectations.”

Every once in a while, the words that come out of someone else’s mouth are so utterly ludicrous that it doesn’t even matter if they could be true. Or might be horrible. The shock value of them catches you, and you crack.

I just lost it, right then, right there. Laughed my ass off. Had tears running from my eyes, had to excuse myself to go blow my nose.

When I got back, he was staring at me, an accusatory expression on his handsome face. “That wasn’t a joke.”

“Dude,” I said. “Cannibal princess. I’m sorry, but I keep seeing Princess Leia cooking Han Solo and serving him with cranberry sauce.”

Yeah. It’s definitely out there.

In other updates, the Sweater From Hell required a complete rip back of the sleeve I was starting here.

Too much flipping of the whole sweater while knitting the sleeve in.

So now I’m doing it this way…

Cropped SFH sleeve 451X600

Faster, lighter. Remarkably, however, the 2/2/8 stitch pattern is still just as inconceivably frustrating.

Contents © Holly Lisle. https://hollylisle.com All Rights Reserved