Looking for something to read while the turkey cooks? Why not a little murder mystery? “Sweet Death” is up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and it’s a little Poirot-pastiche set in a city I envisioned as “Lud-in-the-Mist post-WWI.”
The title has absolutely nothing to do with the baritone/tuba ensemble at my alma mater.
This bears (heh) the distinction of being the first story I completely composed, rewrote, and sold after Johanna was born. Astute readers will be able to tell what I was reading to her when I wrote this.
The first misconception that many people make when meeting an Ursa Davala is to assume that because they are somewhat bearish in appearance, they carry some of the same traits that we assign to bears: slow, taciturn, graceless in movement and manner. These are all false; the Davala are large and strong, but they move quickly, often pinpointing an opponent’s weak spot before the fight has begun. Few humans have the chance to correct that impression. I am very fortunate to be one.
The promised lobster will have to wait until I can get my camera to 1) work and 2) communicate with my computer. Drat.
In the meantime, here’s something to give you an idea of what I’ve been working on: Read the rest of this entry »
Viable Paradise has always been an immersive, intense experience, regardless of whether I was there as student or staff. This year was no different in that regard, and I suspect I’ll have the ghosts of that week trailing around me for months to come. When I got home yesterday (and did not post because I was nearly asleep on my feet), there were a few hours where it seemed that everything reminded me of the island.
We had great students this year, and I think the workshop helped all of them. I even got to stand up in front of them for a few minutes and blither about what it’s like after VP. And in between the cooking, the administrative matters, the sous-chef duties, my best Counselor Troi/Captain Hufflepuff impersonation, the fudge (dear lord the fudge), the late-night singing, and learning why I should never play poker with Steven Brust (if I want to win, that is; entertainment is another matter entirely), I got four chapters revised and another few for a new, unformed project started. Hell, I even sold the lobster story while I was there!
Now, to clean up the messes I left behind, scream in horror at my work inbox, and tomorrow, start on the next chapter.
One of the wonderful things over the Memorial Day weekend wasn’t at WisCon at all. While I was waiting at the gate for my connecting flight, still drowsy from the Bad Sleep Decision, a half-dozen teenage girls spontaneously burst into an a cappella, choreographed version of Florence and the Machine’s “Dog Days Are Over.”
It’s inexplicable, sudden moments of joy like this that make the world (or even just a dull layover) amazing. I don’t know who these singers were, but they made my month.
Ha! Today is Wednesday cleverly disguised as Tuesday!
…hang on, no it isn’t. It’s still Monday, even if the calendar doesn’t say so.
Today’s Magic District — and yes, I’ve been away from it far too long — is the result of reading too many comic books and watching too much Lost. No polar bears, just serial fiction. Maybe polar bears tonight. We’ll see.
February is usually my worst month — the weather’s still horrible, there’s no sign of crocuses yet, and it’s hard to remember that spring might still exist. But for some reason, this February has been full of awesome things like Boskone and, now, news about steampunk.
“A Serpent in the Gears” has sold as a reprint to Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s Steampunk Reloaded anthology, coming out from Tachyon Press in October.
A look at the Table of Contents shows that this is going to be one fantastic anthology — there’s original art, new fiction, “A Secret History of Steampunk,” a novelette from 1869, nonfiction (ooo…steampunk maker essay…oooo…), and stories from a lot of great writers.
This looks absolutely awesome, and I’m honored to have a story in it. (Also, on a shallower note, damn that’s a pretty cover.)
(How do you reload a serpent, anyway? …never mind, shouldn’t post before I have coffee.)
Today’s Magic District post is more than a little disjointed, since I’m currently home sick with the head cold from hell (oh, sinuses, why do you hate me so?) but the gist of it makes sense. New Year’s resolutions are always, always something I fail at, usually by mid-February at the latest. (This is why February used to be such a bad month for me. That, and it’s frickin’ cold.) But this year around, I’m trying to look at it in a different way: making new mistakes. Hell, I’m good at making mistakes, so new ones ought to be a snap, right?
I’ll try to have more about the upcoming book (aaaaaaaaa!) and the release party at Arisia (AAAAAAAA!) up later tonight, depending on how much this cold knocks me out. Meanwhile, I’m off to drink chicken soup in hopes that my head will stop feeling like an overinflated football.
I am terrible, terrible about news. I hang on, not wanting to post unless I have something interesting to say, and then when something does happen I either squirrel it away or lack the time to write “a proper post” about it. The end result is a slow blog and news that hasn’t gone out. But here it is, late but no less relevant:
Yes, I have my Advance Review Copies for Wild Hunt! And they are beautiful. I’ve been told that there’s a particular “new book smell” about the copies you receive, or a different feel to them, but for me the most wonderful and strange element of the whole experience is opening it to any page. There’s always a moment where I don’t quite recognize the words, and then a burgeoning sense of deja vu as it finally clicks that yes, I know this part because I wrote it.
Even though I spent so much time writing this novel, choosing those words, tracing those plots, it seems so far from this bound copy in my hands. Maybe it’s still some magical quality that I assign to books, maybe it’s that I still can’t quite believe this whole situation, but it still feels strange that there are books — multiple books, now! — that are full of the stories I’ve told.
Release date is January 12. Just in time for Arisia!
Today’s Magic District post is pretty much one big extended metaphor, probably the result of one part of my brain seizing onto an idea while the rest of it works out the last couple of chapters before I hand the MS over to BRAWL on Sunday. Here I am trying to get the big climactic scene fixed, and one part of my brain refuses to think about anything but mountains. Go figure.
This is belated, but the reading in Williamstown with Elizabeth Bear was fantastic! Thank you to all who came — I’m so glad I got the chance to see you. And thanks to Inkberry and the Williams English Department as well, for sponsoring the event in the first place!
More news tomorrow. Right now, chapter nineteen is giving me a funny look, and I must do something about that.
For today’s Magic District, I’m obsessing over trivia. While that’s nothing unusual, this time I have the insecurity of My Professional Image! to worry about. (Bah. I don’t have much of an image to begin with; it’s hard to see how I could dent what’s not there.)
Also, I’ll be attending Readercon this weekend. My schedule’s a little different from the one posted — my reading time shifted slightly. Or at least I think it has. Anyway, I’ll be there in time to work things out.
Friday 7:00 PM, VT: Reading (30 min.)
I’ll be reading an unpublished short story concerning, among other things, dirigibles, brains in tanks, intrigue, flying serpents, derring-do, and a nice hot cup of tea.
Sunday 1:00 PM, VT: Group Reading
Beneath Ceaseless Skies Group Reading (60 min.) Scott H. Andrews (host) with Saladin Ahmed, S. C. Butler, Michael DeLuca, C. C. Finlay.
Readings from the semimonthly online zine of literary adventure fantasy edited by Andrews. (I’ll be reading from “Dragon’s-Eyes.”)
Hope to see you there!
Ages and ages ago, I got tagged with the “five things people don’t know about you” meme by the Velveteen Rabbi, and now that I have my brain back, it’s time to make an attempt. However, there’s a slight difficulty in that I’m writing this blog for two different audiences: a few people who know me very well (hi, Auntie Lou!), and readers of the internet at large, who don’t know me at all. So I’ve decided to make this a two-tiered set of answers — the first is something basic about me that my close friends already know, the second fleshes that out a little.
1. I’m an identical twin. My sister’s an academic, working towards her doctoral degree, and we’re close enough that we can see each other often. (My younger sister, also an academic, lives farther away, but we try to stay in touch, partly because she’s much cooler than either of us.)
1a. I can’t stand most portrayals of twins in fiction. Either they’re polarized, good/evil, jock/nerd, etc., or they’re treated as essentially the same person. And let’s not even get into the whole weird sexual issues around them; that just gives me the creeps. Any recommendations for books that have non-polarized, non-interchangeable twins who are not screwing each other would be welcome.
2. I’ve been writing since second grade. (A copy of my first work, The Cases of Detective Snoopy, got brought out at my wedding reception. All I can say is that I’ve gotten better since then.)
2a. For all of seventh through ninth grade, I carried around a couple of notebooks in which I wrote two separate novels. One was a clunky fairy-tale pastiche with big battle scenes that didn’t quite grasp the underlying concept of warfare; the other was a sprawling epic fantasy in three volumes. I started typing up a revised draft of the latter, but didn’t get very far. The notebooks served their purpose, though: they were a shield against the junior high and high school worlds. I might not have lived in the real world for much of that time, but I liked the world where I did live.
3. I love to bake, even though I don’t have much time for it. Specifically, I love to bake muffins. They’re easy quickbreads, and done well they’re a lot of payoff for very little work.
3a. I’d really like to take a few weeks to experiment with muffin recipes to see if there are some that can be made more easily and quickly, say for large gatherings. I can make batter ahead and freeze it (depending on the recipe), but what I’d really like to do is run a few test batches. Of course, this would require not only time that I don’t have, but also a team of willing testers. And jam. We’d need jam.
4. I love hiking, even though I’m slow and out of shape. (Knees! Why do you torment me so!)
4a. I’ve made some bad decisions while hiking — taking a certain path up Monadnock on a damp day was one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done, and I think it was just luck that we came back down the mountain unscathed — and so am a little skittish of some trails or of hiking without preparation. However, I always seem to bring the wrong thing: extra water that never gets drunk, extra layers that never get used, etc. And I always forget the sunscreen.
5. I’ve never pierced my ears, but I do have a tattoo.
5a. The reason I’ve never pierced my ears is solely due to the remnants of a childish desire to distinguish myself from my twin, who got hers pierced in her teens. However, this backfired, because I ended up jealous of her for being able to wear more of the fun jewelry. This is why I often wear ear cuffs instead, which can be twinkly without needing any holes punched in anything.
Today’s Magic District post has me mulling over the editing process and the reasons behind changing a story at someone else’s request. I manage to both mention the summer blockbuster movie “Boobs and Explosions” and make a clumsy comparison between editors and costuming assistants. Or maybe stage managers. Go take a look, and feel free to tell me I’ve gotten it completely wrong.
Due to a number of unusual circumstances (some of which involve sleep deprivation on my part), it looks like I’ve let at least one event creep up on me. It turns out that I’ll be at the Books-a-Million in Muncie later today — 11:00 AM — for a small event and possibly a signing, should anyone want anything signed.
I’m a bit dazed, and only part of that is due to how I’m posting this before any coffee. But it’s good to be back where I grew up. Yes, I’m now in Indiana, and will be here for the next few days. I’ll be at the Indiana Academy on Monday night, then at the Jay County Public Library on Tuesday night. (More details about those as the days get closer and I get my coffee.) In between now and then, I’m going to relax, go to a baseball game, watch the squirrels from the kitchen window, and take it easy.
And get some coffee.
I’m Number One!
Okay, so that’s a stretch. But the good folks at Number One Novels have been kind enough to post an interview! I answer a few questions about how Spiral Hunt got published, what I’ve got in the works at the moment, and my inability to commit to a single favorite author. Also, my less-than-effective methods of book promotion. Maybe I just need a better megaphone.
No heart-shaped pots today; just a plain teapot with a special pattern.
I don’t own a Blue Willow teapot, and given that I already own more teapots than I can use, I won’t be owning one in the near future. The pattern is a standard of many porcelain makers (is there a more concise way to put that?) and it’s currently enjoying a resurgence in popularity.
What makes the pattern special to me is that I associate it with my maternal grandmother, who had a set of Blue Willow china at her cabin in New Hampshire. I think she was the one who told me the story associated with the pattern, of lovers separated and elopement and pursuit. Even though the story seems to have no basis in actual legend, I liked having a story on my plate at every dinner. I don’t know if she actually had a Blue Willow teapot in among the other china, but I wouldn’t be surprised.