Monday, December 31, 2007
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Slowly easing myself back into being productive after the holidays. Last night we thoroughly cleaned the office, which was dusty and full of crap; today we tackled the rest of the house. It's been a few weeks since we cleaned, and while it was a lot of work today, it is lovely to have the house back in shape, and makes me feel much more willing to take on the rest of my life!
Sean made salt bagels this morning. They were really good, and I think we have a lot more homemade bagels looming in our future.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
The best present: Sean convinced some of my favorite writer friends to write short stories about birds. Then, he had his second grade class draw a bunch of bird pictures to illustrate the stories - and put it all together into a charming little book. The authors, so you can be totally jealous: Amal El-Mohtar, Ken Scholes, Joy Marchand, Sean Markey, Sara Genge, Ken Rand, Christie Skipper Ritchotte, and Michael Livingston. Thanks to everyone who contributed!
High tea at the Beehive Tea Room, many inches of snow on Christmas Eve, a gorgeous quillwork cardinal from my parents, and lots and lots of time just napping.
How were your holidays?
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
In 2008, look for new fiction by:
Becca De La Rosa: Becca's had stories in Strange Horizons, LCRW, Ideomancer, and other fabulous places.
Jessica Wick - Jess is an editor at Goblin Fruit; this is her first appearance with us.
And welcome back to two authors who appeared in our Autumn 2006 issue:
Nir Yaniv - his first story with us, A Wizard On the Road, got an honorable mention in the Datlow/Link Year's Best!
Silvia Moreno-Garcia - Her first story with us was King of Sand and Stormy Seas. Look for her other stories in Fantasy, Reflection's Edge, and upcoming in Coyote Wild.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
From now until January 10, anyone who subscribes (or renews!) will get a special limited-edition chapbook of "What Child Is This I Ask The Midnight Clear," by Ken Scholes. We're raising our prices in January, so this is your last chance to subscribe at the current rate.
Won't you consider subscribing today?
Friday, December 14, 2007
Fingers crossed for a terrific evil robot monkey story! I can't wait to start reading the submissions.
John Joseph Adams did such a great job with guest-editing the Pirate issue (thanks, John!); we were really interested in exploring another guest edited issue. I learned so much by turning over the reins to Cap'n Adams. Really looking forward to the opportunities this project will present!
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
These ten stories and 1 interview are well written, and were good choicesRead the whole thing for details.
for a speculative fiction magazine’s issue on pirates. The fantasy, horror
and/or sci-fi elements were neatly incorporated into the pirate stories.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
"What to Do with the Dead," by Claude Lalumière
"One for Sorrow," by Shweta Narayan
I'm so pleased.
In other news, the second printing of Shimmer's pirate issue has arrived, and copies will go out in the next day or two. Some people have been very patient . . . but your wait is nearly over.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Yesterday, I woke up with a cold and took the day off from work. I sneezed and coughed my way to 50,000 words for nano (finishing with half an hour to spare!) and got a bunch of Shimmer work done, as well.
Today was going to be a relaxing day off - I had nothing more planned than a nap. But I've found myself doing dozens of tiny domestic and administrative tasks - none very important, but getting a big stack of them done is satisfying, and clears the decks for getting down to more important work in the next day or so.
I still have another 50,000 words or so to do on the novel. My plan is to work in 20-minute sprints - they were very effective during Nano, and I see no reason to change now. So every day (except Saturdays) I'll do one sprint with Skipper and/or Sean. And I suspect there will be plenty of days when I'll just keep rolling - but my target is to do some writing just about every day.
New way to procrastinate: I'm volunteering at Distributed Proofreaders - which proofs scanned text for Project Gutenberg. They have a wide variety of texts to proof - right now I'm poking at a book called "Christian Phrenology," which is pretty fascinating.
And if you would like to see lots of pictures of our snowy world, check out Sean's blog.
Check out what Sam Tomino of SF Review has to say about the Pirate Issue.
I'm sick of pirates. I was never a big fan of them and this wave of pirate stuff in pop culture has not endeared them to me. When I saw that the Shimmer Vol. 2, Issue 3 was "The Pirate Issue", I groaned. What would I encounter here? I needn't have worried. I enjoyed all the stories.
The MSS Shimmer: Converting the pirate-haters, one reader at a time! Thanks, Sam!
And Cap'n Adams has a swell reader review on his blog:
Finished reading the issue […] this weekend…really enjoyed it! Overall, the presentation was excellent, and your brief intro set the tone perfectly. I liked how there was a wide range of stories, touching on different aspects of the appeal of the pirate and the various forms of piracy.
I think it’s a great idea for a little magazine to do a special issue like this. I would like to see more small press magazines doing it. The focus on one theme/topic seems much more interesting than a magazine of general spec fic stories. It felt more like an anthology, but at an affordable price.
She goes on to offer capsule reviews of each story.
Looking forward to hearing what more of our readers think. Speak up!
Friday, November 30, 2007
Writing a choose your own adventure novel gives me the opportunity to give my heroine a different backstory in each thread. The basic backstory is that she was raised in Africa on a chimpanzee refuge, but fled at age 15; our story starts 15 years later. The reason she fled can totally change, though, which is fun. So far I've had her flee a homicidal insane father, and flee to establish her independence from her radical chimp activist parents, and there will be several other reasons, too.
So it's fun to consider radically different backstory possibilities, and see the impact of motivations (she fled b/c of fear) vs the primary facts (she started a new life as a private investigator).
But the main thing about backstory? Most of the threads don't need it at all, beyond brief references to the basic facts. I've been avoiding backstory in a lot of threads because it just adds to the complexity (is it this thread where she killed her mother? or was she kidnapped by the religious cult in this one?) - so I've only gone into the deep backstory when it's absolutely necessary. And 90% of the time, it is not necessary. People want to read story, not backstory.
Just two things to keep in mind when you're launching into a 5,000 word flashback about your heroine's childhood - consider a bunch of backstories before settling on the best one; and whenever possible, just skip the backstory altogether.
About 3k words to go on the nano novel, and then I'll be an official winner.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
It's a choose your own adventure novel, which is a crapload of fun. The format presents its own challenges - it's tricky to work in all the information I need in all the various downstream scenes, and tricky to keep everything straight (did I maim the antagonist in this thread? or was it the other one?). But it's fun to see how my protagonist's choices play out, and liberating to be able to just kill her off whenever I want.
It also forces me to have a very active protagonist. Something *has* to happen in every scene - no sitting around navel-gazing, no long pointless scenes that go nowhere. Every scene *has* to lead to others. She *has* to choose something in every scene - things can't just happen while she reacts. And the choices have to be significant enough, and distinctive enough, to spawn different threads that can carry their own weight. A lot of times I've thought, let's have her do A or B, only to realize that B is a really boring choice, or too similar to something I've already done - so I've had to rethink things to consistently make the choices more significant.
And that's a good thing - who wants to read about a character who never does anything, never makes any real choices, never has to deal with the consequences of her actions? I hope I'll be able to remember this lesson next time I'm writing a regular story.
Tools of the trade:
I'm mapping out the options with bubbl.us, a free online mind-mapping application. It's very simple and easy to use, and when you delete a bubble, there's a little explosion, which I like, because I am three.
I'm writing in yWriter, which lets me work on each scene as an individual unit - this would be a nightmare in a single text document, or even a collection of them. yWriter keeps it all together for me.
And I'm listening to Pandora.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Saturday, October 06, 2007
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Aliette de Bodard, "Through the Obsidian Gates," autumn
Samantha Henderson, "Route Nine," winter
Matthew Mantooth, "Litany," spring
Tom Pendergrass, "Sell Your Soul to the Devil Blues," winter
Angela Slatter, "Bluebeard," summer
Angela Slatter, "The Angel Wood," autumn
Angela Slatter, "The Little Match Girl," spring
Nir Yaniv (translated by Lavie Tidhar), "A Wizard on the Road," autumn
And my story, "The Minotaur's Rabbit," published in Apex #7, made the list, too! What a lovely surprise.
In further "today's been a great day" developments, we got Shimmer's pirate issue off to the printers today.
I also went to my first yoga class in months; it was great (though very challenging in spots!). Aha, I thought after the class, I am full of energy - so THAT'S how I used to get stuff done, before I got distracted by other things and got way behind. Clearly I need to find a way to work yoga back into the schedule.
Monday, October 01, 2007
I think Obsidian Gates was the first Aliette story I read, back before Shimmer ever existed. I was really glad to see the story show up in my slush pile one day (and Aliette was a delight to work with through the revisions!). It makes me very happy to see this story get some recognition.
Saturday, September 29, 2007
I think it's the pudding-head that bothers me the most. I'm happy to spend the weekend curled up in bed with a book - I just wish I had the brains available to enjoy it.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Abby (short for Anklebiter) spent this summer sleeping curled around the base of the toilet. But check out her new fall sleeping space. It's just the right size for her.
Today will be spent proofing the Pirate Issue so that we can get it out to the printers next week. It's amazing how many typos you find. This issue has been edited, copy edited, had the edited text approved by authors, had the galley proofs approved by authors - and still, there's a ton of stuff to catch. Moral of the story: proof early and often - but accept that despite your best efforts, errors will slip through.
And check out Apex's Halloween raffle.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Sunday, September 16, 2007
And I've gotten a lot done this weekend, too. It's good to be productive instead of overwhelmed. I continue to put a lot of energy towards figuring out the best way for me to work; I think this is highly individual. Everyone has overcrowded lives; everyone needs to balance their home and their day job and their relationships and their creative life and their other interests and their recreation activities. It takes some experimenting to find the best approach. For me, it seems that breaking every activity into bite-sized tasks ("read 1 chapter of 'War and Peace'" vs "read 'War and Peace'"), combined with limiting each day's To Do list to a manageable size, is the way to go.
I'm also focusing on one area of my life at a time. For a while, it seemed like the aspect that had most of my attention was my house: creating new systems to keep us clean and fed was more consuming than I expected it would be. But that phase is settling down, and the house stays clean and we have yummy meals every night and life is good. It's remarkable how happy it makes me to have a clean and organized home; it just seems to make everything else flow better. (Time committment: 5 minutes/day to pick up crap, 10 minutes to deal with dishes and etc after dinner, 45 minutes a week to do a thorough cleaning of the whole house, 2 hrs per month on special cleaning/decluttering projects.) But now, finally, that's almost under control, and I can focus more on Shimmer and my own writing.
btw, if you have any interest in the workings of a small press magazine, read John Klima's series on starting a zine. He's the editor of Electric Velocipede, one of my favorites, and he's offering lots of good information; read it!
He does mention how much effort goes into a magazine, but I don't think you can really understand it until you're waist-deep in it. And for me, more than the sheer amount of work, it's the relentlessness of it: today I can read 10 slush stories and get caught up; tomorrow there will be another 10. And that's just the slush pile: every other aspect is just as continual. The work never stops.
Which brings me back to figuring out how you work. How much can you do in a day, realistically? Where's the boundary between "protecting your free time" and "procrastinating"? What's the most effective way to get magazine work done, get the day job done, keep your life running, and be with your loved ones?
It evolves slowly, this productivity thing; but I know this: I'm happy when I've had a full and productive day, doing work I love. It really makes me feel I've earned my olivetini.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Have you been reading Apex? If not, you're missing out. I've been reading Apex since the first issue, and it's been really interesting to watch the magazine grow and improve. It seems to me that there's been a particularly noticable shift in quality in the last two issues: the stories are more mature, more subtle, more challenging; the horror is less intestine-based, and more deeply creepy. Editor Jason Sizemore is exploring a more nuanced approach, and I'm enjoying it.
Bad Sushi, by Cherie Priest, is a nicely atmospheric Lovcraftian sushi story. It's a solid start to the issue: Priest's skill at evoking her characters and world bodes well for the rest of Issue 10.
Daydreams, by Lavie Tidhar, perhaps best represents the direction Apex is going now. It's smart and challenging. The story takes a bit more work than the rest of the pieces in this issue, but for many readers, it is sure to be a favorite. Fans of Tidhar will also want to grab a copy of Hebrew Punk, his short story collection, published by Apex.
Memories of the Knacker's Yard, by Ian Creasey, is perhaps my favorite in this issue. It's a delightfully noir ghost story which completely lives up to the promise of its opening.
If a ghost complains that it's just been murdered, it can help us by describing the killer, or at least telling us about its enemies. Investigating a murder without a ghost is much harder. the slashing was the third this month, all without ghosts, and the eight this year. Or was it the ninth?
Hell, when you lose count of the corpses, you know you're losing.
It's got some neat worldbuilding, a familiar but fresh protagonist, and a satisfying conclusion.
Pigs and Feaches, by Patrice Sarath, is another favorite; it's an emotionally horrifying story that remained with me long after I read it. I love short-short stories that are done well.
Cain Xp11, by Geoffrey Girard, continues Girard's cloned serial killer serial. I know I've read a cloned serial killer story or two, but I'm really enjoying Girard's take on it, and looking forward to the other installments.
Monument, by Nancy Fulda, this issue's Parting Shot, is a wistful elegy that ends the issue on a strong and intelligent note.
Dust stirs around my tennis shoes as I walk. I realize with sudden vertigo that I am tramping through their ashes, disturbing a crematorium, traversing a mass grave. I step carefully.
Well done, Apex. I can't wait for #11.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Sean's been doing most of the grocery shopping lately, and he's under standing orders to bring home a variety of produce. "Get whatever looks interesting," I said, "and I'll figure out what to do with it.
Yesterday he brought home a whole coconut, and I must admit that I'm not sure what to do. The last time I had a whole coconut, I got a little tipsy and made a coconut meringue pie at 2 am (without implements of destruction to open the coconut, or anything more than a whisk to do the meringue - it was a hell of a lot more work than it neeeded to be). Clearly I can not be trusted with coconut-based decisions - so any suggestions about how to consume this coconut?
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Saturday, August 04, 2007
We started today's adventure at the Utah Museum of Natural History; they have a special frog exhibit now. The fun part about exploring is that going to one place makes you want to check out other places: the paleontology hall makes me want to go see more dinosaur bones, the anthropology hall had us planning a trip to the Four Corners area and the Grand Canyon.
After that, we headed to House of Tibet for potato cutlets, momos, and chicken curry. Yum! It's been several years since I've been there; I forgot how good it is. I think I'll put that on my list of places to take my parents when they're here next week.
Finally, we stopped off at Caffe Niche for coffee. It's a new place, occupying a space that used to be a funky vintage clothing store. The staff was super-friendly, and the space was beautiful and hip. It didn't seem much like the kind of coffee shop where you'd bring your laptop and hang out, but the dinner menu looked too tiny to make it much of a dinner destination, which left me a little confused about its identity - what kind of place is it? They're usually open from 7 am to 4 pm, so I think I'll have to swing by there in the day sometime, and see what it's like in their core hours.
When we came home, I accidentally fell asleep, instead of doing a few hours of Shimmer work. Mmm, sleep.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Chapter Two: Harry reads the newspaper, and I fall asleep.
So tell me, does it pick up? Or should I just turn my attention to the next book in my To Read pile?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Gotta start getting more sleep.
Monday, July 23, 2007
Something that's more on my mind, though, is the process of Getting my Shit Together. I (like everyone) have a lot of Stuff to do: work, domestic stuff, creative stuff, magazine stuff, and so on - just overwhelming piles of Stuff. For the past few months, I've been methodically working on getting it all together. I've been reading a lot of productivity books and blogs, experimenting with systems, and it's slowly starting to come together. It seems like I can only focus on one area at a time: if I'm focused on deep-cleaning the house, for example, I can't really concentrate on writing a novel.
But the good thing is that once an area gets to a certain level of togetherness, it seems to almost maintain itself. Once I get the house in good shape, for example, it only takes a few minutes a day to keep it clean; once my slush pile is under control, it only takes half an hour or so to deal with the newest slush.
It takes a lot of work to get to that point, and I still have a lot of work to do to get everything together. But it's worth it.
Currently I'm using Remember the Milk to keep track of my Lists; it's great, and free. The most useful feature to me, right now, is that I can save a search that looks across all my lists, and pulls out the ones that meet particular criteria - like everything due today. So I can manipulate the due dates and priorities and so on until I get one short clear list of the essential things I need to do, instead of being overwhelmed by lists of hundreds of things. So if you're looking for a web-based to-do list, check it out. I'm a big fan.
Feel free to speak up in the comments. What works for you, in terms of productivity? What challenges are you facing?
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Now, I've never been to an Ikea before. I've never lived in a city that had one - and when I was visiting other cities, I always had far more interesting things to do. I was expecting a massive sprawling store (check), filled with smallish inexpensive furniture (check). I was also expecting huge crowds, total overload, and to walk out of there with fifteen things besides the coffee table we went looking for.
But I guess we lucked out. It wasn't crowded or too overwhelming. I did manage to drop a coffee table on my foot (why, yes, the same one I sprained a while ago, how did you know?), and my new shoes were not the most comfortable - but I can't say either of those things was Ikea's fault. So we tracked our coffee table to its lair, hoisted it to the register, and escaped. The only extra thing we got was $2.00 worth of oven mitts.
We put the coffee table together a little while ago; it wasn't even missing any pieces!
Life is working out pretty well these days, all in all.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
After a brief but bloody battle, I was vanquished, and the conquerer set up a writer's workshop in the fort:
Sunday, July 01, 2007
So, what else should I have him fetch, while he's in a fetching mood? Leave your suggestions in the comments.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
by Skipper Rocket
A selkie and a gnome walk into a bar within minutes of each other. It’s a warm night. A horse is behind the bar, wiping off the countertop with a bar rag.
SELKIE: (wipes perspiration from her face with a kerchief) A Cosmo, please.
HORSE: Certainly, Miss.
GNOME: Excuse me, gorgeous, but that’s not my beard you’re steppin’ on. Hehehe.
The selkie moves her foot disdainfully.
SELKIE: It is too your beard. Ew, ew, ew, gnome germs!
The gnome follows, caresses the selkie’s calf, which is the highest he can reach.
GNOME: I bet you work out.
SELKIE: Would someone get this creep away from me?
The horse trots around the bar and comes to the selkie’s side. He’s got beer on his breath, and hay in his teeth, but the selkie does a double take on his nether regions. At second glance that’s not a fifth leg at all …
SELKIE: Well, hellooo.
HORSE: Is this …
He looks down, way down.
HORSE: … guy bugging you, miss?
SELKIE: (pouting) Why yes he is. Just look!
She points at her calf.
SELKIE: Gnome germies. And I left my Nair at home.
The gnome kisses the selkie’s ankle, and coos at it.
HORSE: That’s okay, Miss. I’ll take care of you.
The selkie bats her lashes meaningfully.
SELKIE: Oh, I hope so.
The sound of ceramic crunching underhoof (yes, I said it, so sue me) is barely audible above the jukebox, which plays only television theme songs. The Family Ties theme currently plays.
GNOME: (muffled) I’m Norm, the Ravelocity Gnome, and you can’t do this to meeeeeeeeeee!
The little red cap floats atop a small expanding pool of blood. (It’s stinky blood.) The Selkie mounts the horse and hugs onto his neck.
HORSE: (under his breath) Oh yeah, chicks looove horseback rides.
About the Author:
Skipper Rocket lives in Salt Lake City, UT, and recently gave me a statue of a gnome humping a mushroom.
And if you'd like to be part of the International Selkie Month festivities, just send me e-mail.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
And even if I were anti-selkie, that wouldn't mean much. I was and remain firmly anti-gnome - yet we published Michael Livingston's "Gnome Season" in Issue 4 (this would be a fine time to buy an electronic copy of that issue, don't you think?).
So is there a moral here? I guess so, but it's a weak and slippery one. Don't submit stories that are similar to dozens of other stories in the editor's pile. How are you supposed to know what's in the editor's pile? You can't. You can, though, read widely in the field and get a sense of what's been done already, and what's fresh ground. How are you supposed to know what an editor's getting tired of? You can't, beyond the standard lists of What's Tired (for example, Strange Horizons has a fine list) and the occasional editorial blog post.
But what makes this such a treacherous moral is that there are always exceptions - even vehemently anti-gnome editors run gnome stories once in a while. It happens.
So I'll let you all draw your own conclusions about what to do with your selkie stories.
Mostly, I'm curious about why there are so many selkie stories in my slush pile right now. Was there a selkie anthology that recently closed to submissions? Did the Association for Selkie Pride start a grassroots campaign to raise awareness for selkie-Americans? Or is it just one of those random things, like the month back in the fall of 2005 when I kept getting nun stories?
Now all I need is a selkie-nun crossover story. C'mon, who's game?
Sunday, June 17, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
It's been a pretty good trip. The class has been good - I must confess that I still love the SAPI voices, esp. the one with the British accent - it just makes everything sound so smart. I also, because I am secretly a 13-year-old boy, enjoy fiddling with the vocabulary, and making it play sounds instead of speaking particular words. For example, I might decide to have it read all my slush out loud to me while I learn needlepoint or something (ahaha, just kidding), and have it replace the abominable word "alright" with the sound of a rabbit screaming, which is pretty much how I hear it anyway.
I have to say, this trip has been a lot more pleasant because of Google Maps. I've used them to find hotels and bookstores and grocery stores near my hotel, and get directions. I'm not sure what I would have done pre-Google - well, I guess I would have just asked the front desk or other people in my class - but Google makes it all so easy. Yay, Google!
I finished the Kiernan book, and started in on Skinny Dipping in the Lake of the Dead, but I am afraid I am not nearly smart enough to read that. That left me with only 1 fiction book for the whole rest of the week and the trip home, so I went out hunting books. I ended up with Gibson's "Pattern Recognition," Triptree's "Brightness Falls From the Air," John Connolly's "Bad Men," and James Lee Burke's "Last Car to Elysian Fields." A goodly number of pages, and a goodly variety; I should make it home without having to read the SkyMall catalogue. Yay!
Monday, June 11, 2007
After class and a nap, I headed out into the swampy air to find dinner. I navigated to a pho shop, and had a yummy dinner. My book today is Caitlin Kiernan's "Threshold," which I'm liking a lot (though I'm about ready to get to the main action - lots of setup so far, it seems). The waiter noticed I was reading it, and told me his sister's been bugging him to read it. Too bad he hasn't started it yet, or we could have compared notes.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
The trip went about as well as can be expected. It was lovely to get some time to just read - I plowed through Joe Hill's "Heart-Shaped Box" and "The Demon and the City," by Liz Williams. They're both very enjoyable, and you should run out and read them right now, if you haven't already. It sucked that I finished them both with an hour left of plane trip, and nothing left to read but the Sky Mall catalog, but hey! the reading I did do was great. I'll be sure to pack 3 or 4 books for the return trip.
I'm not enjoying the weather here too much - it feels grossly hot and humid, though I'm told it's only 81 degrees, and 82% humidity. I know it can be much worse. But now I know why Sean was so eager to get the hell out of Florida and move in with me...
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
Sam Tomaino at SFRevu says, "The Winter 2007 issue of Shimmer is another good one. I thought all the stories were Very Good."
And check out what Lois Tilton at IROSF (free registration required) has to say; she gives Tom Cofferwillow Comes Undone, by Stephen Moss, a "Recommended."
Thanks for the reviews!
Saturday, May 05, 2007
The electrical work is proceeding. The outlets have been replaced everywhere, and there are new outlets in the office - time to get busy putting that room back together.
I spent a long time on the phone with T-Mobile last night, trying to resolve a relatively minor problem. No luck. Finally, I said, "Fine, I'll just find another phone company," and hung up. A few moments later, I realized, no, I hate phones, I'll just go back to not having one at all. Thank you, T-Mobile, for helping me make my life a tiny bit simpler.
Life is good.
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
1. Oh my god! I just found $50,000 in a suitcase over here!
2. This job is so much fun I've decided not to charge you anything for it.
3. See these beams that hold up the roof? They're gonna need to be replaced before winter.
One cool thing about the attic is that you can see the old lines from when this place had gaslights, and the chimneys from the bricked-up fireplaces.
I wonder what they'll find tomorrow?
Monday, April 30, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
I was wrong.
First, I found a pile of empty notebooks. Great! I knew I'd bought some a while ago; nice to know where they were. And you always need more notebooks.
And then I found the other four different piles of notebooks, mostly slightly used. Two pages of grocery lists, etc. I diligently sorted them out, tore out the pages of ancient crap, and set them in the notebook pile. This was worse than the sugar.
So I sorted and recycled and set stuff aside for the thrift store. 2 full recycling bins, 2 bags of garbage, half a carload of crap to go to the thrift store, and I was down to the last box.
I opened it up and saw that it was full of ancient memorabilia. Stuff from when I lived in Poland in the mid-80s, stuff from high school, etc. So I settled in with some dinner and started sorting it out.
I found more damn notebooks. Empty, for the most part, the kind we used in school in Poland.
They're about the size of a copy of Shimmer (though not as pretty), usually with brown cardboard covers.
That's right. I've been carrying a stack of empty notebooks around with me since 1984.
I also found a bunch of old family pictures.
This one is of me (on the right) and my sister, probably about 1974. We're sitting outside the pig pen; when I was growing up, we raised pigs, chickens, and geese. One year we had two sheep and a calf named Sam. Unfortunately, after Sam got old enough to jump the fence, he got turned into Samburgers.
This one is of me (in the center) having a lovely time at a family reunion.
And here's one more. Love that outfit!
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I spent a large portion of today cleaning out the kitchen. I mean really cleaning it - the kind of cleaning where you take everything off the shelves and throw away half of it and then scrub down the shelves and cabinet doors and wash the walls. It's a huge amount of work, and I'm tired - but there's still a lot more to do.
Once again I'm amazed at the crap I found to throw out. A big bottle of cheap cooking oil with an expiration date of 2002. Unlabeled spices in little plastic baggies from the bulk spice section at the natural foods store. Vast quantities of ancient tupperware with no lids and other deformities.
What amazed me the most, though, was the sugar. I don't use much sugar, so I was surprised to find several pounds of plain sugar, 2 containers of brown sugar, 2 of confectioner's sugar, 2 bottles of molasses (with about a teaspoon missing from each), 1 bottle of corn syrup, and 3 bottles of cheap crappy maple syrup. I threw out what I needed to, dusted and consolidated the rest, and arranged it all neatly on the sugar shelf.
Then it was time to clean out the lower cabinets. I sorted out all the pots and pans and appliances and cleaned -- and when I moved everything out, in the very back of one cabinet, in a location that's so difficult to reach that I actually had to crawl into the cabinet, I found... more sugar.
Still more cleaning to do...
I took a few hours off to go dye eggs with my friend Keri and her kids. Mine is purple and has a unicorn and a rainbow on it.
Happy Easter, y'all.
Friday, April 06, 2007
All eleventy-billion copies of Shimmer have gone out to subscribers; I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone thinks about this issue.
I'm planning on doing a lot of reading today. That includes reading some stuff by my friend Sara Genge, who is everywhere these days: she's got a story up at Helix, and is a contributor to The Daily Cabal. Also in the pile is the debute issue of All Possible Worlds, which I'm very curious to read.
And of course I have a heaping pile of Shimmer work to do. I expect I'll get through a lot of it - but first, a nap.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
Our cover story is Juana and the Dancing Bear, by n. a. bourke; Sandro Castelli created a gorgeous cover to illustrate it.
Several authors we've published before appear in this issue. We've got Dario Ciriello's story Dwell on Her Graciousness, Amal El-Mohtar's Sparrow and Egg, Michael Livingston's Catch of the Day, Tom Cofferwillow Comes Undone, by Stephen L. Moss, and a Lucy cartoon from Chrissy Ellsworth. We're happy to have the opportunity to publish these authors again, and trust you'll be happy to see their names again.
Oh, but there's more: Cat Rambo's Eagle-haunted Lake Sammamish, Mike Driver's Night Milling, and Duets by Phillip J. Lees.
I keep wanting to talk about these stories, tell you how gorgeous Juana and the Dancing Bear is, how Eagle-haunted Lake Sammamish breaks my heart every time, how "dogspringles" became my new favorite expletive after reading Tom Cofferwillow Comes Undone - but I don't want to tell you about it. I want you to read it for yourself. So head on over to Shimmer and check it out.
I've been hideously productive today. I worked on one thing or another practically nonstop for almost twelve hours. Here's some of what I did: about half of the mailing, laundry, ran the dishwasher, decluttered and cleaned the office (do I really need three separate paper clip repositories? No, I do not.), sent long overdue replies to some important e-mail, washed a very dirty wall in the kitchen, ran some errands, and, hell, about a hundred other things that I am forgetting now. Tomorrow looks like it should be just as busy.
But now, it is time for a drink.
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
After work tonight, I headed off to a yoga class. A year ago, I was in really great shape and yoga came easily to me. For one reason or another - travel, changes in the studio schedule, etc - my practice faded away, and now every class that I do make it to is really challenging. It's hard, remembering how strong I used to be, to have to do so many modifications to asanas. But the great thing about yoga is how it works at any level. Even when I'm taking it really easy, I can just focus on breathing and moving and at the end of class, I'm stronger and more stable.
Tonight we spent a lot of time in Ardha Chandrasana, which is really good at developing both strength and stability. And it's one of the asanas I can do reasonably well, so it was fun.
And now, for dinner: grilled chicken with spicy peanut sauce, and edamame. Yum.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
The submission did not include a SASE for my reply. It also did not have any contact information on the cover letter or the story itself. The envelope does have a return address, but got some heaving black marks on it during the mailing process, and I can't read it.
So if you're the nice young man in Everett, WA, who recently mailed me a story, I'm afraid I'm not going to be able to respond to your submission. Next time, please submit via e-mail; at least that way I can reply.
Most publications have useful information about how they'd like stories submitted: e-mail or in paper? What kind of formatting? Are multiple or simultaneous submissions allowed? Make it easier for both yourself and the editors by understanding the mechanics of submitting stories.
Any questions? Leave 'em in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
I'm starting to get caught up on Shimmer stuff, too, which is an amazing feeling. (Speaking of which, have you bought your copy of the Autumn issue yet? Supplies are running low.)
Hell, I even did a few blog posts. Crazy productive!
Sean's arriving for a visit tomorrow, though, so I expect to be getting a lot less done for the next week. I'm really looking forward to it, though!
Sunday, March 18, 2007
But despite these low standards, I'm getting rid of an astonishing volume of stuff. Today I took 6 garbage bags full of stuff to the thrift store - and this was at least my third trip there, with a similar volume of Stuff.
Where did all this crap come from? I thought I was pretty good about not having a lot of extraneous stuff, and about keeping what I do have under control. But no. Just bag after bag of stuff I no longer want, much of which I think I never wanted in the first place.
Feels good to get things streamlined and straightened out, though.
So what are you letting go of these days?
Thursday, March 15, 2007
My story The Minotaur's Rabbit ran in Apex Digest #7. (If you haven't read it, I'm sure you can still grab a copy from the Apex site. Just so you know, this isn't a happy story about bunnies.)
I just found out that Michael Livingston used the story in his creative writing class at The Citadel. How cool is that? The students had a different perspective on the story than most of the other readers I've heard from. "Why's there a minotaur on a spaceship?" they asked, which led into a good discussion about the use of myth and symbolism in literature. I think the students interpreted it differently than I intended, but it sure sounds like it sparked a worthwhile discussion. Plus, I feel so established now. Thanks, Mike!
In other news, Jason Sizemore of Apex fame is considering a calendar featuring stories from issues 5-8, so he ran a poll to see which stories people were most interested in seeing on a calendar. The last time I checked the results, 15 people had voted for The Minotaur's Rabbit, which put it in the lead, and should be enough to secure a spot in the calendar. People sure do like their bunnies, I guess. Check it out for yourself!
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
It was produced and narrated by our super-awesome art director, Mary Robinette Kowal, and features music by John Scalzi.
And it's gorgeous.
If you're wondering when the Winter issue's going to be out - good news! It's at the printers, and we should be mailing it out in about 2 weeks.
Friday, February 23, 2007
I'm sure you've all heard about the furor over the word scrotum recently; I won't rehash it. I'd just like to assure you all that this blog has always been, and always will be, 100% scrotum free. I'm not even going to tell you all about the day at work we realized that the phrases "Why are there scrotums?" and "Wire their scrotums" sound exactly alike. Nor will I tell you how one of my coworkers had the nickname "Scrotum" in high school. Or even.... ooops. Perhaps I have already done irreparable damage to the youth of America just by saying that much. I'd better shut up.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
For full info and guidelines, set sail for Shimmer.