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I have spent a couple of days re-organising this house (more new bookcases!) and we are at a point of being almost actually tidy, which has left me some time to get back to the writing. I am still revising WINTERSTRIKE and have done a couple of new short stories inspired at Milford. I'm aiming to get a bunch of new stuff out this week.

Meanwhile, I've sold a new story to the Jay Lake/Nick Gevers anthology with DAW, which will be coming out next year: OTHER EARTHS. I'm very pleased about this - it's the first published story in the series that the Milford folks saw this year, about rivers, mad magical squires, and dodgy fairy queens (when are they not?).

On the downside, I've had a novel finally rejected by a publisher who solicited me, which makes a change: we've been through 3 re-writes on the thing but they've finally decided it won't be commercial enough. I've now reached the point where publishers are showing a lot of interest, based on the Inspector Chen books, and what they seem to want is something the same, but different. Unfortunately...I can't (or won't) replicate the formula - if there is one, which I doubt. I work very organically. It's perhaps worth noting that the Chen books were rejected by everyone in NYC and London - they liked them, but 'didn't know where to place them' - until Night Shade took the books on. Now, everyone's interested, but, well, tough. Night Shade were the ones with the balls to take a risk and I'm very glad they did, especially since I just sent the movie option contracts for this series off to their destination.

The Chen books have started to open a lot of other doors - I can't say much about where those doors lead right now, but it could be in an extremely interesting direction. I've reached the point where I'm not going to worry too much about whether something's commercial or whether it isn't. I'd rather write what I feel like writing and if the career crashes, it crashes. But at least I'll have fun on the way. And so, hopefully, will my readers.

On the reading front, I have finally got around to Kostova's THE HISTORIAN because, duh, it's autumn now and that means it's time for vampire fiction, along with Sherlock Holmes, and anything Arthurian. I'm enjoying TH, though I wouldn't describe it as gripping: it meanders along, but in an acceptably elegant manner.

On the cat front, I came out this morning to find Sid perched on the newel post of the stairs like a vulture, whereupon he fell off and dangled from the bannister by his front paws and had to be rescued, wildly flailing. Our tortie Cobweb, having fled in terror from T for the last *12 years* (A MAN! A MAN!!!) has now decided that she Wuvs him, and must sit on his lap at every opportunity.

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lizwilliams

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