Working again!

17 October 2017 02:20 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat
Hey look! They fixed the Wordpress posting to DW problem. With any luck, my photos will work from now on.

If you care about getting caught up, the first photo that was missed was this diving beetle. If you go there, you should be able to click on "next post" to see all of the others up to this one.

Pigeon

17 October 2017 06:01 pm
guppiecat: (Default)
[personal profile] guppiecat

Pigeon_6


If pigeons were rare, we’d be very impressed with their colours and patterns.




Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.

Black Angel, by Kyell Gold

17 October 2017 12:35 pm
rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
Black Angel is one of the books in the SFWA Fantasy Storybundle! I was excited to read it, having heard good things about Gold's work, and my good expectations were rewarded. The novel contains a mix of genres: YA, slice-of-life, queer lit, furry, fantasy, science fiction, horror, and romance, not necessarily in that order.

I found it fascinating and immersive, a deeply believable book. Three different stories are woven together: 

* Marie-Belle, a bayou muskrat girl in 1916 whose family wants her to marry and who would rather be a vodou priestess like her grandmother.
* Hannah, a lesbian otter in a strict and grimly depressing Christian-cult future
* Meg, an struggling artist in 2013 who's questioning her sexuality and also her sanity.

The struggling artist, Meg, is compulsively and somewhat unwillingly drawing a comic about the first girl, and having vivid, life-like dreams about the second. Most of the book is about Meg.  There's also a strong supernatural element: Meg's closest friends have had experiences with ghosts and visions/life-like dreams. Meg leans heavily towards "they are crazy and so am I" when she starts having her own possibly-supernatural experiences. The setting is pretty Earth-like, with furry touches: eg, some of the otter characters have houses that incorporate pools or have submerged "floors", characters may have keener noses or ears depending on species, etc.

There is a lot else going on in the book. For example, Meg used to be on prescription anti-depressants and quit them because she felt numb of them. She now self-medicates with alcohol and weed (both illegally obtained.) It's a nuanced portrayal, which has both aspects of "this doesn't seem healthy" and "but it does help sometimes?" That goes for both the prescribed and illegal drugs.

I thought, from the blurb, that Meg was going to be "girl who thought she was straight and now thinks she might be lesbian or bi". But her starting point is more like "asexual??? straight??? Lesbian???? Bi??????? I DON'T KNOW". She is not attracted to anyone or interested in sex, but she kind of wants to be and all of her friends keep pushing her to "get out there! Experiment! How else will you knooooow?" I had the simultaneous experience of gaping at her friends ("what is wrong with you? That is a terrible plan") and also feeling like it was exactly the experience a lot of people go through. I didn't have this problem myself, even though I didn't meet anyone I was attracted to until college. But I know people who did.

The characters are vividly drawn and distinctive. Even the supporting cast has an array of different speech patterns and they're easy to tell apart. All three main characters feel like very different personalities, even when Meg and Hannah think they're each other's dreams. Most of the conflict in the book is driven not by evil or cruelty, but by people trying to do the right thing, or what they think they are supposed to do. Even the "Dangerous Spirits" of the series title feel like complex individuals who are acting rationally within their own belief system. (Which, y'know, does not make them less dangerous.)

One touch I particularly admired: Meg's part of the story is first-person past tense. Marie-Belle's story, which Meg experiences in a kind of creative fugue, is 3rd person present. Hannah's is 3rd person past. It's one of the few times where I've seen this kind of switch and not only thought "that's fine" but "oh, that works really well for conveying the differences in their narratives."

I enjoyed the book a good deal, especially the second half, where it picked up momentum and urgency. I have some quibbles with it, but most of why I give it an 8 and not a 9 is that the subject matter isn't perfectly to my tastes. Eg, the trope of "oppressed women whose society tries to forces them into marriage" is one I am pretty sick of.  Meg is prickly, defensive, and copes with problems a lot by putting them off or ignoring them, which I simultaneously relate to and also find exasperating. (Hi yes it me but it's STILL annoying.) She grew on me as the book went on, but for the first 20 pages I was iffy about her.

I am going to wrap this up with some things behind a spoiler tag, because they are spoilers but also significant to many queer readers. spoilers! )

Pull the Football

16 October 2017 11:44 pm
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower
The "nuclear football" is the nickname for a briefcase of codes the President of the United States can use to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike at any time, for any reason, with about five minutes elapsing from the moment he gives the order until the moment the missiles launch.

I don't care what you think of the current president, or the past one, or any that might come in the future. I care about the fact that no one should have that kind of unfettered power. No one should be able to start World War III on a whim.

And the good news is, we can take that power away.

Courtesy of Rachel Manija Brown, who started the "Pull the Football" social media campaign, here's what you need to know.

Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.) Passing those bills may literally save the world.

How to save the world:

1. Contact your representatives in Congress. Ask them to co-sponsor the bill NOW, before it's too late.

2. Contact EVERYONE in Congress who might want to prevent a nuclear war. Usually people only speak to their own representatives. But with the fate of the entire world is at stake, it's worth contacting everyone who might listen.

3. Promote the Pull The Football campaign on social media. Trump isn't the only one who can use Twitter. Get on it and start tweeting #PullTheFootball.

Share this post on Facebook or Dreamwidth. Put up your own post on whatever social media you use. Ask your friends in person. If you know anyone in the media, contact them to get the word out. If you're not American, you can help by publicizing the campaign on social media that Americans follow.

How do I contact my representatives?

1. Resistbot is a free service that will fax, call, or write your representatives for you. Just text the word "resist" to 50409 to begin.

2. Call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to the representative of your choice.

I've contacted everyone. What now?

Contact them again. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. One water drop can be brushed away. Many water drops make a flood. Call, fax, or write as often as possible. Set aside 15 minutes every day to make as many calls or faxes as you can in that time. Relentlessness works - it's why the NRA is so successful. If they can do it, we can do it.

What do I say?

Page down for a sample script. Or speak or write in your own words.

Democrats to contact:

Every Democrat not currently sponsoring one of the bills. Thank them for their courage and service to the nation, and ask them to act now to save the world.

Thank the Democrats currently sponsoring the bills. There are 57 in the House and 9 in the Senate. Especially, thank Congressman Ted Lieu (sponsor of the House bill) and Sen. Edward Markey (sponsor of the Senate bill). Encourage them to step up their efforts to make it pass.

Republicans to contact:

The Republicans listed below are the most prominent who have voiced concerns about Trump. This is not an exhaustive list. There are more Republicans who might be receptive. For instance, all the House Republicans who just voted for more aid for Puerto Rico, and all Republicans who are retiring from their seats and so not worried about getting re-elected.

Sen. Bob Corker (202) 224-3344) warned us that Trump is setting the nation on a path to World War III. If you only contact one Republican representative, contact him. Thank him for his courage and urge him to follow through on his convictions.

Rep. Walter Jones (202) 225-3415 is the only Republican to support the bill. Thank him for his courage and urge him to get his colleagues onboard.

Other Republican senators to prioritize contacting: Susan Collins, Jeff Flake, Lindsey Graham, Orrin Hatch, Dean Heller, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Marco Rubio, and Bob Sasse.

Sample Script

Hello, my name is [your name.] I'm calling to ask Representative/Senator [their name] to co-sponsor the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. (S. 200 - Senate, HR 669 - House.)

I believe Republican Senator Bob Corker when he says we're on the brink of World War Three. No one benefits from a nuclear war. But we can stop it if we choose to. This may be the most important action Representative/Senator [their name] will take in their entire life. It may literally save the world. I urge them to co-sponsor the bill restricting first use of nuclear weapons. Thank you.

*

Don't tell yourself "it could never happen." Don't rest in the assumption that nobody would really launch the nukes -- it's all just posturing, right? We need precautions in place to make sure we don't wake up tomorrow morning to annihilation.

Or don't wake up at all.

music lyrics?

16 October 2017 07:04 pm
yhlee: Jedao's motto: I'm your gun (hxx I'm your gun)
[personal profile] yhlee
One of my favorite songs is The Bloody Lovelies' "Hologram" [YouTube, about 3:30] and while I normally don't care about lyrics, this is one of the times that I wish I could understand them all. I own the physical CD and the booklet-thing doesn't come with lyrics, nor have I been able to find lyrics online.

Is anyone willing to listen to the song and transcribe the lyrics in comments? I would be happy to write you a flashfic to a prompt of your choosing. :]

(Based on the snippets of lyrics I do understand, I consider this to be the unofficial theme song of Revenant Gun, LOL.)

ETA: ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED: Playing ping pong while the cat is lounging on the ping pong table. This lasted until a stray ping pong ball, uh, caught her in the snoot, at which point she scurried under the table...

some things, including fiber monday

15 October 2017 08:11 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
First (1.), a question: every sewing blog that mentions "interfacing" shows something that's essentially plastic, and the bit of fusible interfacing I've seen in person is the same. What was used in its place before polymers seeped into daily life? Something like organza/organdy?
And: it's pretty clearly a Western European-based tradition to use interfacing. Do pre-colonial-influence sewing conventions in other parts of the world do something similar---is it actually generally useful for a neckline---or does W Euro-influenced sewing assume that interfacing is necessary because it's become commonplace and unquestioned? (I have to question the casual inclusion of dairy or wheat all the bloody time now, so I feel free to question this, too.) I mean general tunic and vest shapes, excluding anything ultra-fancy for one-time wear.

2. Status: I didn't knit much this week despite ample opportunity because dry fall air and raging fires a county or two over == chapped hands, rough enough to snag worsted-weight wool, never mind a laceweight wool/silk blend.

3. After ten minutes failing to revisit Stardew Valley productively (there was a plan and I'm happy to have forgotten it), I've begun playing Torment: Tides of Numenera at last.
Current reading, btw: Axie Oh's Neo Seoul, YA with a near-future dystopian setting. I love the fact that the title is a pun: in English, neo = new, two syllables; in Korean, reading neo as monosyllabic , it's a near-homophone for English "no soul." Thank you for letting so many things stand, Lee & Low (publishers).

4. Read more... )

Update

15 October 2017 07:13 am
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
I am on the island now, and relishing what is for me dead of winter weather (i.e. sixties, rain) -- in fact, it rained all day yesterday, whereas SoCal rain tends to rush in for ten minutes, then it's gone again for weeks or months.

My one day in New York was splendid, except for the part where I managed to get onto the subway going the wrong way Every Single Time. Once it was not my fault. The woman in the info booth told me that the train to our right was uptown and it was downtown. That was mean.

But I had a great dinner with the DAW team, many of whom are young, smart women, giving me the feeling that publishing will be in good hands.

A very pleasant drive through Brooklyn (which is much larger and more varied than I'd thought) and then along the coast to Wood's Hole.

Yesterday afternoon it was good to sit with tea and laptop listening to the rain as I tried to do some catchup work. Today more catchup, then the workshop begins.

Halfway Through The First Week

15 October 2017 04:17 pm
rix_scaedu: (Default)
[personal profile] rix_scaedu
This follows on from An Ordinary Morning and comes in at 3,296 words. Bonus points to anyone who catches the Barry Hughart reference. :)

You may also like to read When The Future Changed.


I was able to escape after carefully repeating the names of all three books, and writing out the names of all three authors so everyone had the right characters for looking them up in the library indexes.  Because I was intending to spend a solid slice of the next two hours in the library, I took myself off to the camellia nook to eat my lunch.  Sitting among the plants and the odour of moist mulch was very centring, and I enjoyed it quietly for a little while longer after I finished eating.

Read more... )

What Happens Next

14 October 2017 06:40 pm
rix_scaedu: (stunned fez cat)
[personal profile] rix_scaedu
 This was inspired by Ursula Vernon's Paladin rant and is dedicated to The Militant Order of St Wombus (said Order must be copyright Ursula Vernon).  I hope you enjoy this.  For those who need to consider spoons, or time, it comes in at 1,121 words.


Slinderin Elmsfather had studied, prayed, held vigil, practised, and studied some more.  He’d been examined by his teachers and their masters to what felt like within an inch of his life, and finally, he was being presented to his god for approval and acceptance.  He knelt at the prayer rail in front of the altar, and said all the proper words he’d been taught for this occasion, but in his mind all he thought was, “Please, take me.”

Read more... )

Surprise Completed Draft

13 October 2017 10:42 pm
rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
I've been working on the current draft of Demon's Lure since February. Technically, it's a book I started in 2009, but I only wrote around 5000 words back then, plus a rough outline. I scrapped most of the outline and started writing again from scratch. The book went much better this time around.

But, while I'd written a detailed outline for the new version, my draft had severely diverged from the original outline. From where I am now, the rest of the outline works remarkably well all things considered, despite that I've kept changing things as I wrote the story.

The changes I'd made had, however, made the first half of the book much longer than I'd anticipated. I was at 80,000 words and less than 60% of the way through the outline. I complained to Maggie that the book might end up over 150,000 words, instead of the 100-120k I'd been targeting.

"Split it in half?" she suggested.

"Split it in half" is what multiple people advised me to do with Silver Scales and A Rational Arrangement, and in both cases I declined because I don't feel like either book made a satisfying story if I chopped it into two parts. But the way I'd changed Demon's Lure already from the outline did make the current section a reasonably good break point. The central conflict may not have been exactly resolved, but it has mutated dramatically, to the point where it's really a different conflict now. I could finish out the current scene and it ends on a "this obviously needs a sequel" note, but it wouldn't be a total cliffhanger.

So I wrote the rest of the scene and went "Huh. So I guess I finished a book?"

It needs considerable revising and probably some new scenes before I am ready for beta readers on it. I expect that I will plug away at Book 2 as my next-thing-to-write, although I'm not ruling out letting myself work on a different book. I won't be releasing Demon's Lure until 2018 anyway, because I have three books coming out in the next eleven weeks and that's plenty. Really.

But I feel pretty good about having finished a draft and edited three books, with eleven weeks still to go in 2017. I mean, "edit The Sun Etherium and draft another book" was one of my STRETCH goals for this year. I have already finished my regular goals. And those were set when I didn't know Lut had cancer. o__o

Granted, I've decided against serializing Scales and I was still editing it in June and nowhere near releasing it. So my time scale has slipped and I removed one of my goals for business reasons. Even so.

... I still feel kind of like I should finish drafts for another two books this year, though. So I can be sure of releasing three books in 2018 too. And I do have most of a draft of Fellwater written, and book two of Demon's Lure would be comparatively short, by my usual standards ...

I'm not gonna push for this, though. One thing at a time. And Lut is still sick and the new normal is different and not as conducive to writing as the old normal. I need to remember this and not charge off thinking I can write 3000 words in a day and everything else in life will sort itself out.

Regardless: I finished a draft! \o/

Political activism

13 October 2017 06:15 pm
sartorias: (tosh)
[personal profile] sartorias
I usually avoid politics in this blog, but I am worried about nuclear war wiping us out as powerful and irresponsible leaders (who of course would never be in any danger) joust with their joysticks.

If you are worried, too, then read this post. If you feel you can't do anything about it, definitely click this post.

If, of course, you think everything is fine and you are happy with the President and his team, then pass right on.

Pull the Football -- Save the World

13 October 2017 02:11 pm
pameladean: (Default)
[personal profile] pameladean
[personal profile] rachelmanija is launching a campaign to support and get enacted the House and Senate bills each called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. The Senate version at least was introduced on January 15th of this year, but there doesn't seem to have been much motion on it.

Here's the link to Rachel's journal entry detailing how to create that motion. Please go there to see what the bills do and how you can push Congress to act on them.

https://rachelmanija.dreamwidth.org/2163007.html

Given the current state of, well, everything, this may have a much greater chance of succeeding than a lot of other campaigns to get Congress to wake up.

Pamela

please signal-boost

13 October 2017 02:12 pm
yhlee: wax seal (Default)
[personal profile] yhlee
Pull The Football - Save the World by [personal profile] rachelmanija.

Are you worried about nuclear war? I am too. Keep reading for a way to stop it with one simple action.

Maybe you feel small and powerless. But many snowflakes make an avalanche. If we all move in the same direction, we'll be unstoppable. We will only fail if we choose not to act.

Trump has the power to order a pre-emptive nuclear strike for any reason - or no reason at all. He's always shadowed by a man with a briefcase of codes, called the "nuclear football," to enable him to launch nuclear missiles at any time. It would take less than five minutes from his order to the missiles being launched, and no one could stop him. Republican Senator Bob Corker says Trump is leading us into World War III. I believe him.

But we don't have to stand by and let it happen. Let's pull away that football!

Both House and Senate have bills to prevent the President from launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike without a congressional declaration of war. They're both called the Restricting First Use of Nuclear Weapons Act of 2017. Passing those bills may literally save the world.

See link for further details. Please signal-boost if you are so inclined.

Raven Stratagem audiobook giveaway

12 October 2017 08:02 pm
yhlee: two voidmoths at war (hxx Raven Stratagem)
[personal profile] yhlee
I have one copy of the Raven Stratagem audiobook to give away. Comment if interested. Shipping's on me anywhere in the world. Over the weekend at some point I'll pick a winner via random number generator.

Poison Kiss, by Ana Mardoll

12 October 2017 12:52 pm
rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
Poison Kiss is a polyamorous fantasy romance, so you can pretty much tell right there why I decided to read it. :)

The story is about half romance and half action-adventure fantasy. The action-adventure half consists of the human protagonists dealing with truly evil, nasty faery folk from an alternate world. The story opens with two of the protagonists imprisoned in the faery world. The faery world is depicted as awful for everyone: worst for the enslaved humans, who have their memories obliterated and are transformed, toyed with, controlled, broken, and killed at the whim of their faery masters, or their masters' rivals.  But it struck me that even the faeries doing the imprisoning sounded like they had miserable, friendless lives full of pretense, backstabbing, and murdering or being murdered by one another. All of it is dressed up with beautiful backdrops, palaces, and fancy balls, but everything is joyless.

Fortunately, most of the book takes place "Earthside", although there is always the specter of being recaptured, and that specter is brutal and terrifying in a way that merely being threatened with death is not. The entire cast consists of people who survived faery enslavement, and everyone feels convincingly like a trauma and abuse survivor. This is well-handled: I didn't feel like the story was wallowing in it or trying to traumatize me as the reader, but I could completely relate to their fears and coping mechanisms.

Some of why the faery world is so grim is revealed over the course of the story, and is fascinating itself.

I am not a big fan of "brutal and terrifying magical world", as anyone who's read my work can probably guess. The fantasy plot was solid and well done, with the resolution of various arcs surprising yet logical. I had some minor quibbles ("why doesn't anyone at least suggest [obvious patch for problem]") but nothing serious.

The characters are loveable; I found the choice to make the male protagonist a naïf charming: it's a part men rarely get to play. And he is adorable and sweet, if less well-established than the other characters.

This is a love-at-first-sight book: the three protagonists form into a happy triad within two or three days of first meeting their third. I am not a big fan of love-at-first sight*, but that aside, they make a lovely, supportive triad and I enjoyed the HEA.

So on my "enjoyed it"scale, I'll give it an 8. No actual flaws, just a taste mismatch on tropes.

* Yes, even though I do write love-at-first-sight. Romance where the characters don't start out hating each other and gradually fall in love is hard, y'all.
swan_tower: (*writing)
[personal profile] swan_tower
In ye olden days of publishing, short fiction tended to have a half-life of about .17 seconds. If you didn't read it in the magazine issue where it was published, too bad; the issue went off the shelves, and unless you stumbled across it later or the story was reprinted in a "best of" or single-author collection, you might never see it again.

cover art for ARS HISTORICA by Marie BrennanBut with ebooks, that doesn't have to happen, because collections are so much easier to do now. I'm pleased to say that Maps to Nowhere has been selling splendidly since it came out last month; next month it will be joined by Ars Historica, which collects my historical fiction and historical fantasy. I have more of these planned, too, but they'll take a while -- I have a wordcount range I'm aiming for in each collection, in order to make them roughly novella-sized, and the other three I've got planned all require me to sell another two stories or so (and then wait for those stories' exclusivity periods to expire).

In the meanwhile, here's the Table of Contents for Ars Historica, which you can pre-order from a variety of places here!

Table of Contents


SFWA Fantasy StoryBundle!

11 October 2017 06:45 am
rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
 The High House by James Stoddard Sorcerous Moons - Book 1 - Lonen's War by Jeffe Kennedy Cracked: A Magic iPhone Story by Janine A. Southard The Dashkova Memoirs: Books 1-4 by Thomas K. Carpenter The Winter Boy by Sally Wiener Grotta The Garden of Abracadabra by Lisa Mason The Moon Etherium by L. Rowyn Black Angel by Kyell Gold Shadows in the Water by Kory M. Shrum Stay Crazy by Erica L. Satifka Off Leash by Daniel Potter The Wolf at the End of the World by Douglas Smith

Eeeeeeee!

The Moon Etherium is in a StoryBundle this month, with eleven other fantastic fantasies by fellow SFWA authors!

If you're not familiar with StoryBundle: the site collects a group of similar books (in this case, Cat Rambo curated the works -- and included mine, so you can tell she has excellent taste) into a pay-what-you-want package.  For a minimum of $5, you get the basic four books, which are:

  • The High House, by James Stoddard
  • Sorcerous Moons - Book 1 - Lonen's War, by Jeffe Kennedy
  • Cracked: A Magic iPhone Story, by Janine A. Southard
  • The Dashkova Memoirs: Books 1-4, by Thomas K. Carpenter
For another $10, you get eight more bonus books! Including mine!  Which you probably already have if you want it but HEY there's still eleven excellent books you might not have yet!

If you've never bought from StoryBundle before: they're very easy to use.  They keep records of your purchases indefinitely, so you can download and re-download whenever you want. And if you use the Kindle app, they'll send books directly to your Kindle reader. You can also gift books to other people through it. And all of their books are DRM-free.

Also! Proceeds from sales are split up to three ways. There's a slider that sets the cut between the authors and the StoryBundle site: it defaults to 70% to the authors and 30% to Storybundle, which is the usual author/Amazon split. You can adjust the slider, though!  Independently of adjusting how much you pay.  So you can give a bigger cut to the authors, or to Storybundle. And you can opt to give 10% of your payment to the charity for this StoryBundle, which is SFWA*!

Anyway, I will be prattling on more about this bundle as the month goes on (the promotion ends Nov. 3), because I am excited to be part of a StoryBundle (eeeee!) 

* Yep, SFWA is a charity! SFWA's mission is to support, defend, advocate, educate, and promote the SFF community.

cocoknits

10 October 2017 08:24 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Julie Weisenberger, Cocoknits Sweater Workshop (2017): like Herzog's Fit to Flatter and its sequel, Knit Wear Love, this workshop walks the reader through an analysis of women's upper-body garment parts, offers some broad suggestions about balancing proportions, and provides customizable patterns with further suggestions for modification. Herzog brings a computer security specialist's algorithmic mentality and a few years of knitwear design to the process; Weisenberger has been designing garments professionally for several decades, and it shows in the patterns' gentle twists upon the basics. (Herzog's are already outdated, to my eye. Too much trend, not enough basic.) There's a master worksheet for gathering up stitch counts for the shoulder/yoke/sleeve.

Notably, Weisenberger's patterns use a clever top-down pickup method to shape the yoke. Read more... )
jimhines: (Default)
[personal profile] jimhines

I have a favor to ask of conventions: please design your badges so that names can be easily and clearly read.


I’ve never been good with names. It’s frustrating as hell, and it’s become a bigger problem as I travel to more conventions. I get introduced to so many people, and within 24 hours, a lot of those names escape my brain like Batman villains from Arkham Asylum.


Most of the time, it’s not that I forget the people — just the names. (Sorry, Darla!) Especially if it’s been a while (folks I see once a year at a given convention, for example) or the context is different. Even when my brain retains a tentative grasp on a name, I tend to not trust myself, and still try to check badges to make sure.


Compare these two badges. The one on the left is from Convergence. The one on the right I made up as an example, but it’s pretty close to some I’ve seen at various conventions.


Convergence Badge Fake Convention Badge


Convergence’s badge is relatively easy to read, with clear black text on white. Even my old eyes should be able to read that at a distance. Whereas the other example uses small type in a non-standard font, and is hard to distinguish from the background.


(This will also give me a better chance of spelling your name correctly if I’m signing a book!)


I know folks like cool artwork on the badges. I know a lot of people are better at remembering names than I am. But please take pity on those of us with older eyes and leaky brains.


Thank you,

Jim and the Society of People Who Suck at Remembering Names






Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Contrast

10 October 2017 10:58 am
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
Approaching the Mississippi under gray skies. Gray! Rain! Alas, rain will happen in Chicago, keeping me in the station instead of adventuring out. (It was ninety degree heat when I packed, and I can tell already that my summer clothes are going to be a challenge. Al well.)

Yesterday, while I was snapping billions of pix of snow dotting the ground at ten thousand feet, my spouse sent me a pic of the sky over the neighbors' house as the Anaheim Hills fires roared.



Dreamhearth, by MCA Hogarth

10 October 2017 10:14 am
rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
Over the weekend, I finished my pre-first-reader edits on The Sun Etherium. I also added a thousand words or so to Golden Coils. I still feel like GC could use another read-through to catch editing artifacts.

I also felt like it was High Time I started on my Yes Really I'm Going to Read Books That I Did Not Write This Month goal. So I put aside Golden Coils and pulled out MCA Hogarth's latest book. And now it's time for a

BOOK REVIEW

Me: I'm too slow a reader to finish a book in a day any more
Also me: *finishes reading Dreamhearth in a day*

Dreamhearth is the third book in the Dreamhealers series, and the most pastoral of the first three. It continues to be the story of a happy asexual partnership between Jahir and Vasiht'h, esper xenotherapists. The overarching plot is "will Jahir and Vasiht'h be allowed permanent residency on Starbase Veta?" because the starbase has strong limits on immigration. The secondary plot is Vasiht'h coping with the sense of being technically an adult and yet not really feeling like a grown-up, which, yup, we've all been there, V. Then there are various subplots winding through it: side stories about their friends, patients, and rivals on the base.

It started out slow for me, with many "this is what life is like on a starbase so high-tech it pretty much feels like living on a planet" scenes. Once it delved into the stories of their patients and the existing xenotherapist community on Veta, however, I found it engaging. I loved watching the characters solve problems that were not life-threatening, but were nonetheless important. And when sometimes the "solution" is really more "here is how to cope with or make this problem less severe because it's never going to be truly solved." Problems I can't really solve, only mitigate, and that aren't going to kill anyone, are a big theme in my real life. It was lovely to see the impact of everyday problems acknowledged in an sf book. And I loved watching the characters cope with ordinary life and stresses, after getting through trauma and action-filled events in prior books. The prosaic problems are kept in proportion but not minimized.

The ending was a bit more twee than I would've preferred, but overall, I had a good time and would definitely recommend. I'll rate it an 8.

*

I am going to start another book today! It is a weird, weird feeling to deliberately not be either editing or writing. I may cave and do a little writing today. Part of me is absolutely convinced that I will never finish another draft again. Never mind that I've finished six books in the last three years, or that I've written 200,000+ words in the last twelve months, or that I have two different drafts that are two-thirds or more finished. That I've not finished a draft in the last ten months CLEARLY means I'm doomed. 9_9

Brain. Chill. It'll be fine. Nanowrimo's in three weeks and you will want to do all the writing then anyway. For now, relax. Here, read another book.

fiber monday

8 October 2017 09:50 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Status: rediscovered incomplete Switch sock (tube with closing flap made from leftover sock yarn for partner's Nintendo Switch) under the pi shawl and decided to finish it. Note to self: though there wasn't enough yarn (two vaguely compatible greys) to crochet the Switch sock, the crocheted Vita sock is definitely more suitable than this knitted Switch sock; if similar objects are needed, arrange to crochet.

Also, I'd been knitting slower and slower because both my main projects are large, where progress can't be seen. Took a break to make half a toddler-sized vest. The intended recipient is only six months old, but half a vest with obvious progress made me feel better. :/ The second half awaits the next time I can't stand k,p,k,p sleeves or the fragile, misshapen beret-bag that the pi shawl has become.

Temporarily, I don't knit for Reason because she snapped my working yarn again a few weeks ago. Same consequence as the second time, since it's been three years since then: nothing for her for two months. I doubt she'll do it again, given the warning that a fourth infraction will yield a four-month hiatus. If you want to test strength, ask for scraps. Nonetheless---since the ban expires near US Thanksgiving, and since we'll be at MIL's for the holiday, I have prepared something for her as the traveling project (wooden needles, minimal other tools) because MIL is happy when I knit for other people, not for myself. :P Easy enough to intersect. MIL's mother crocheted and sewed, but MIL didn't learn.

Also! Reason and I have gone to something like a county fair. It's hosted by a town, not the county---half fiber fest, half ovine-focused livestock event (mostly sheep with a few alpacas here and there, both the animals and their detached fleeces).

Read more... )
rowyn: (studious)
[personal profile] rowyn
I am done with my initial edits on The Sun Etherium!

Here, have a blurb!

The powerful, immortal fey are used to lives of leisure, but Jinokimijin never expected it to be all fun and games once he'd won the crown of the Sun Etherium. But as it turns out, organizing fun and games is one of the challenges of rulership. Firing the chair of the Founder's Festival for praising slavery is easy: ensuring the Founder's Festival succeeds afterwards is considerably harder. Maybe it's time he went somewhere that nobody knows his name...

But Jino's not the only one trying to escape his new challenges: Kireki, once prince-consort, lost his position along with the abusive wife Jino deposed. Can the relationship spawned by two masked fae survive the revelation of their true selves?

So now it's ready for first readers!  Leave a comment or send a message with your email address if you'd like to be a first reader. Comments are screened, so it won't be displayed. *double checks that she set it properly*)  This is a standalone novel, so you can read it if you haven't read The Moon Etherium (although TSE takes place later and does have spoilers for TME).  

The Sun Etherium features genderqueer MCs: both Jino and Kireki shift to different genders depending on how they feel.  I used "he" because both of them identify as male more often than as anything else, but they change pronouns as their mood varies. (They also change shapes, because the fey can change bodies more easily than we change clothes.)

Literary cocktails and mocktails

6 October 2017 12:53 pm
swan_tower: (Default)
[personal profile] swan_tower
It's 5 p.m. somewhere, right?

A few days ago the Tome and Tankard blog posted their recipe for the "Lady Trent," a mojito-like cocktail inspired by the Memoirs of Lady Trent. Our first attempt at making it here at Swan Tower was not entirely successful; it turns out we need to be a lot more conscientious about mixing the honey into the gin before adding other things, lest we wind up with a glob of honey stuck all over with mint leaves. :-) But the general shape of the cocktail is a great deal like the "Jimi Hendrix" I asked the internet to help me recreate a while back, so even in less-than-entirely-successful form, I give this one an official thumbs-up.

And for those of you who cannot or do not wish to partake of the booze, I thought I could post the recipe a reader designed years ago for the launch party of A Star Shall Fall. It's called the Winged Serpent Philter, and it's made as follows:


  • Blueberry juice
  • Fresh blueberries
  • Lime
  • Lime infused sparkling water
  • Honey
  • Granulated Sugar


In a small bowl, mix two parts water and one part honey. Coat the blueberries (three or four per drink to be served) in the honey water mixture and immediately roll in granulated sugar. Allow to dry. Dip the rim of a martini glass in the honey water mixture and then into granulated sugar to coat the rim. Mix three parts blueberry juice to one part sparking water with a dash of lime juice (all liquids should be chilled). For a sweeter flavor, omit lime juice. Pour into the martini glass. Put three or four sugar coated blueberries on a garnish pick and hang on the rim of the glass. Add a curl of lime peel. Serve promptly.

Enjoy!

some things

5 October 2017 09:29 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
* Via Stitch in Time: when York Archaeological Trust runs out of print copies of its fascicles, it releases them as free-to-read PDFs. omg. Textile production, cordage, and leatherwork: yes, please. There's also a sizable piece upon an Anglian helmet with inscriptions, for which Reason said, "I wonder whether other kids see things like this." <3

Had the web existed in its current(ish) scope when I was in college, I would've done law school after all instead of going to grad school because I could've read to my heart's content on the side. Granted, I'd have lacked the linguistic training, teaching experience, and textual exposure/range that grad school helped me to gain, but I'm fairly sure that grad school has hurt my health more than law school or practice would have. Stereotypes of pizza/wine-drowned law associates aside, law school lasts for three years; grad school lasted me nine. The latter did afford me the chance to audit a nonstandard class at a nearby law school (legal history, natch).

* I've figured out how to get myself to watch more tv: watch something I don't really want to watch. :/ Tv I want to watch: Chef, Forest of Secrets, Kinkyū torishirabeshitsu S2, Father, I'll Take Care of You. Tv I've managed to start: Full House, the 2004 kdrama, because it doesn't matter. At the moment I can't keep track of a four-row-patterned sleeve's slow decreases or hard-to-see lace while looking up for subs; Full House is boring simple enough to follow even when I miss a subtitle or a change in camera angle and facial expression. (Undoing/redoing bits of sleeve = fine. Veering off course on the lace = Not Fine. When there's light enough, I want to work on the lace, yet just knitting is a bit boring.) Oh, self.

* Today started with an echocardiogram that had been misscheduled (so that the technician thought I'd pushed my way in, but their staff had made the mistake, tyvm) and moved through my expressing doubts, very carefully, about how much key work has been placed upon a colleague. Fall down go boom.

The yearly scramble

5 October 2017 05:41 am
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
Getting ready to go back east. I can't pack until the last minute because east coast weather changes so much. And it is very hard to wrap my head around the idea of full sleeves and long pants and even a sweater as possibilities.

So I always start by sorting through which books to read, and which papers to take for projects, and the clothes will happen at the last.

Also have to figure out what to do in Chicago for those few hours Tuesday afternoon/evening, as the art museum is closed by then, and most tour things as well. Maybe walk down to the lakeside.

I'll only have one day in NYC--Brooklyn, this year, as the owners of my usual digs are traveling. I found a possible bike tour of the lower part of the city.

Meanwhile, around here, people have been decorating for Halloween since the last week in September. It's so interesting to contemplate how festival days evolve in symbol and meaning. (I hesitate to use the word holiday because there is little 'holy' about American festival days anymore. )

Twine selfspork

4 October 2017 02:45 pm
yhlee: Animated icon of sporkiness. (sporks (rilina))
[personal profile] yhlee
I figured out the source of the bug!

I'm using Twine 1.4.2 with SugarCube 2.0 installed. I was using the visited() function and wondering why I couldn't get the particular UI effect I wanted to trigger.

Here's the thing--visited() returns an integer--basically the number of times you've been to the passage in its argument.

I had been reading/skimming the text (Melissa Ford's Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine: Play Inside a Story [1]) too hastily. I thought it returned a boolean and I'd read 1 as in true. *facepalm*

As far as I can tell, where my <<if>> test was failing me was because I was trying to pass it an integer, which if I understand this correctly always evaluates to true, hence the bug!

Let this be a lesson to read your data types correctly. *facepalm*

[1] I generally recommend this book as an introduction to both Twine 1 and 2. The actual material on game design and game-writing is rather at a beginner level, but I wanted this as a syntax reference more than anything else so that's fine.

ETA #1:
There is a second part to this bug. Apparently using <<back>> (instead of an actual link) completely borks hasVisited()...and guess what, I was using <<back>>. Now to check if using <<include>> is also implicated.

ETA #2:
<<include>> is not a problem for hasVisited() BUT for Reasons I'm just hardcoding the menu anyway (it saves me from a bunch of cluttery control logic). Good to know!

Since smashing this bug was my main goal for today for this game, I am quite pleased with myself. This was the big essential UI thing for me. I will probably have to do some futzing with booleans and formatting and/or display effect macros (SugarCube 2, especially the SugarCube version of Leon's Combined Replace Macro Set) later on but that should be straightforward--I got that working earlier. Note to self, I probably want to combine booleans with <<mousereplace>> for that one Thing.

host, guest, hostage

3 October 2017 07:58 pm
thistleingrey: (Default)
[personal profile] thistleingrey
Rachel Manija Brown and Sherwood Smith, Hostage (2015): book two of The Change (here's #1). I'd put off reading this for a while because I didn't want my favorite characters to have more pain or difficulty. Though some do, it's tolerable. (A peril of reading while middle-aged: wanting to feed soup to a bunch of the younger characters, only one can't because it's post-apocalyptic dystopian YA.) Spoilers would be spoilery; without ruining the book or its predecessor (i.e. not even a single-sentence summary of #2), here are some things I like:

Read more... )

And then I finally read "The Change: Family" from Yuletide 2016. It makes a good postscript. :D

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