February 15 was spent raking leaves in the back yard and assembling the new lawn furnite. Number of words written = 0.
Today I spent the morning finishing the outline for the Israel-centric Celestial Empire story, which I'm now calling "Wonder House." I'm having to knock off a little early to go get Georgia from school, but managed to get just north of 3K done this afternoon. I almost managed to finish the story, but now at least I'll have a paultry few words to tally up tomorrow.
Here's a sample of the story, if anyone's interested. It's all about the publishers of "tenth-tael terribles," the Celestial Empire equivalent of dime novels or pulp magazines.
“That’s it, I’m quitting the business!”
Yacov Leiber was unconcerned, to say the least. In the twenty years since the two of them had founded Wonder House Publications, his partner Itzhak Blumenfeld had loudly pronounced his resignation from publishing at least once a year, sometimes several times in a single season. While it was possible that this time it would stick, and Wonder House would be left without a publisher, Yacov didn’t consider it terribly likely.
“Going to be a milliner like your father, I presume?” he said calmly, stubbing out his cigarette in the tin ashtray on the corner of his desk.
Itzhak glowered across the office at his partner, almost biting through the cigar clenched between his teeth. “I could, you know. You don’t think I could sell dresses?”
Yacov chuckled, pulling another cigarette from his pocket. “Sure, sure, Itzhak, whatever you say.”
Itzhak stomped back from the door, and collapsed in the upholstered chair in the corner. Though he held the title “publisher” and Yacov the title “accountant,” in reality the two were equal partners in Wonder House, co-regents who’d ruled this burgeoning publishing empire since they’d been little more than children. They spent so much time talking over operations in each other’s offices that Yacov had once suggested that they could conserve space and the time spent walking up and down the halls if they simply shared a single office. Itzhak had been baffled by the suggestion. “And how would that look?” he said simply, as though that were all that need be said on the subject.
There had been a moment, before the war on Fire Star, when Wonder House looked set to overtake Best Publications as the second largest publisher of popular entertainments in the world, on track perhaps to one day overtake even Silver Star. But with the outbreak of the Second Mexic War, their fortunes had turned, and they gradually began to lose market share. Now they were struggling to hang onto the number three spot, their standing little better than it had been in their first years of operation.
“Why did I ever decide to go into terribles?” Itzhak put his head in his hands and moaned. “I should have listened to my mother and stuck with circulars and advertising supplements.”