Saturday, July 12, 2008
So it seems the source of our problem was a significant leak in the sprinkler system, not in the main. But even with the sprinkler turned off at the main, there's a more modest leak somewhere... so either the plumber missed a second problem, or screwed something up with the main. We shall see.
Just to make the week even more perfect, the new kitten somehow managed to sprain her fool elbow, and needs to spend a week doped up and confined to let it heal.
There have been a handful of other things go sadly wrong this week, too. It's been pretty sucky. And I think it's time for a mojito.
Well, I'm headed out of here tomorrow on a trip for work (Tampa in July, YAY!), leaving poor Sean behind to deal with all this. Lucky boy!
When I get back, I'll be busy releasing the next issue of Shimmer. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
But today I could still hear it, so we checked. Yup. Water out of control again.
After a lot of grumpiness, and consulting with Sean's father, we were able to determine that the leak is in our sprinkler system somewhere. So at least we were able to turn that off, and keep the water going to the house.
Still very curious to see if this was the problem all along and last week's adventure was for nothing...
Sunday, July 06, 2008
Today we're very tired, so went to see Wall-E. It really was nice sitting in the air conditioning and eating popcorn. I don't think I'm really in the target audience for this movie, so I'm not going to say much else. But I'm damn sure that when we get our robot butler, it's not allowed to watch musicals, because apparently a little visual stimulation is all it takes to make robots whore off across the universe hoping to get laid.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
The book is currently available through Amazon and Target. Temporarily out of stock, but I'm not going to let that get in the way of ordering one. Can't wait to read it!
Monday, June 30, 2008
Thursday, the sprinkler guy came to fix our ancient broken sprinkler system. He had to run new wires from the control panel out to the valve boxes. Fun! And the sprinklers still sucked because our water pressure's strangely low lately.
Friday, we discovered a ginormous black widow by the basement door (uh, the *broken* basement door, damn it; gotta fix that soon). It is the size of a Volvo. It is the size of Kentucky. I am pretty tolerant of bugs and such, but this monster was just wrong. It does not belong in my HOUSE.
Saturday, the nice exterminator came by and took care of it. Saturday night, as we were settling in to bed, an assassin bug bit my stomach. Argh! I know they're beneficial and chow down on lots of other bugs, but it does not belong in my BED. So that night we thought, hmm, perhaps our plan to go to Africa for a while is not going to work out so well. I hear there are bugs there.
Today, we learned that that ominous rumbling sound we'd been hearing for a few days is actually a ginormous leak in our water main. Oh, so that's why our water pressure has been low... Our water is currently shut off, and the plumber set up a temporary line to our neighbor's water. Still need to get some more opinions, but it looks like we're going to need to dig up the front yard and replace the main. Hmm, Africa is also not known for its fabulous plumbing.
So what we're going to do is just sell everything and move to Iceland. That is looking like a more and more reasonable option every day.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Sean sort of trots along beside me so I can grab him if I get too wobbly. I am sure that increases the dorkiness factor by about 200% but whatever works. I need training wheels for now. But I've graduated from hanging on to him tightly to just having him within grabbing distance. It's progress.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
But I don't like walking. It just seems so slow.... and every time I'm out walking somewhere, I see Kids These Days zipping by on their skateboards, and man, that looks like so much more fun than walking.
So Sean got me a skateboard, and I'm working on getting the hang of it. I have pretty decent balance and coordination (and good health insurance) so why not?
Because it's way harder than it looks, that's why not! Kids These Days make it look so easy! I make it look so dorky! And hard.
But it's fun; and it beats walking.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
So the other day, Sean tells me the feral cat at his school had kittens. "One has an orange face," he says. "We can call her Pumpkinface." So I knew we were getting a kitten.
In accordance with the Law of Kittens, she's adorable. She's settling in well, and has gone from being terrified (and hungry!) to being a fierce and curious little anklebiter.
I call her Pumpkinbutt.
She hasn't met the other critters yet; it'll be another week at least before we try that. The cats are pretty curious about what's going on in the spare bedroom.
Monday, June 09, 2008
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
I've been ridiculously busy for the past few weeks. But now I'm as close to caught up as I've ever been, which feels great. But somehow my to-do list never gets smaller...
Saturday, May 31, 2008
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Today, not so lazy, but it sure is easier to get stuff done when you come at it refreshed. I spent some time organizing files and such, wrote another 1500 words or so on The Chimpanzees of Mars, and still have enough brains to take on the flash challenge at Liberty Hall after dinner.
It's been a very good weekend.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Sam Tomino at SFRevu gives all the stories a Very Good.
Last Short Story calls "Penny Wise," by Kurt Kirchmeier, "well-written and engaging."
And in the latest IROSF, Lois Tilton gives "Monologue with Bird and Burin" by Daniel Rabuzzi, and "Flying and Falling" by Kuzhali Manicavel her coveted "recommended." Yay!
Sunday, April 06, 2008
But no. It was not right.
So we spent all day Saturday trying again. This time we got smart and asked Skipper to come over and help after the first four or five hours... This is a pretty big house for two people, but there are enough architectural oddities to make it challenging.
But we did it. We found the right place for everything, and it's all flowing and clean and organized and comfortable. It was a crapload of work, but well worth it.
Today we've been busy doing almost nothing, which is lovely.
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Speaking of Fantasy, I really enjoyed this week's story--Petrella, by Charlene Brusso. I enjoy most of the stories I read there; Cat Rambo's doing a terrific job of picking stories.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
In the evening, we had dinner with Shimmer author John Mantooth, in town for WHC. And we got to meet his writing group: Kurt, Petra, Kim, and Sam. They're sound on "all right," and are really fun; it was a terrific evening.
Today will be about being productive: cleaning the house, editing the stories, doing some writing, etc.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
So no WHC for us; we're just going to kick back and enjoy not being sick.
But I'd love to have coffee or dinner with anyone who's in town for WHC.
Monday, March 24, 2008
J.C. Runolfson had some concerns about how we printed the art (Mary, our Art Director, has a few more thoughts about that), but mostly liked the stories. I think reviews that point out both strengths and weaknesses are more interesting to read than reviews which are either all glowing, or merely summarize a story without taking a stand.
Nevertheless, I'm very pleased by the positive comments. Overall, "this is a solid example of good fantastical short fiction, and an issue of Shimmer well worth acquiring." Runolfson compares Aliette de Bodard to Patricia McKillip, admires Michael Livingston's "lyrically understated" writing which "conjures fully realized characters and a strong sense of place." And regarding Kuzhali Manickavel's "Flying and Falling":
That extra layer of doubt takes a beautiful magic realist story and gives
it extra bite, a perfect note on which to end an issue with such strong
themes of hope and the loss of it.
Lots of other interesting comments; go read the whole thing!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
On the plus side, I've managed to get a lot of reading done--that part, at least, is nice. But c'mon. Gimme a break. Enough with the stupid colds and flus already.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
"The Little Match Girl" is one of my favorite Slatter stories; I'm really happy to see it get a new life.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The demonic alien waved his tentacles at Roger. He screamed helplessly, but
there was nothing he could do: the alien's mind control held him completely
motionless. Then the alien forced him to pick up the gun and press it against
his temple. "You must die so that we can complete our plan to take over Earth,"
the alien said inside his skull. Roger wept silently as the alien made him
pull the trigger.
The sheriff looked down at Roger's body. "Sure is a shame when a nice young
man like that kills himself," he mused.
"Sheriff," said the young deputy. "What are these marks? It kind of looks like someone dragged a tentacle through the blood!"
"Son," said the sheriff, "you see all kinds of crazy things in this
business. Sure is a shame."
The biggest problem (among several) is that the author isn't trusting the reader. If the author has done his job in the first 4,000 words, we don't need another 500 words to let us know that Roger's dead, and that humanity has no idea about the impending alien threat. The author may think she's adding extra drama by showing the scene: but sometimes, letting us imagine the scene is even more powerful.
In other news from the slush mines, if the cover letter starts out "Dear Sir/Madam" or "To whom it may concern," the story is not going to be good.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
And, well, she was pretty awesome. I've read most of her books, and am pretty familiar with her research and her more recent work with conservation and Roots and Shoots--but seeing her tell her stories in person is terrific. She has an amazing presence.
Eh, nothing I can say will convey what it was like--but if you get the chance, go see her sometime.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
Still suffering from the devil-cold; this damn thing will not go away.
I spent a lot of time yesterday wading through Clockwork Jungle submissions. I've sent some really terrific ones on to George Mann. I can't wait to see which stories he picks, and read 'em all.
70 days of sweat: did 1000 words yesterday, despite having no brains; expect to do the same today, perhaps after a nap. So far, so good.
Saturday, March 01, 2008
I've signed up for 70 Days of Sweat, a nano-like challenge. Your objective is to write a few pages every day (with a few days off built in) for 70 days--so it's a longer course than Nano, and as far as I can see, the focus is a bit more serious (though it's hard to be less serious than the Nano folks!). I figure it'll take me at least 70k more words to finish off my Nano novel, so that's what I'm aiming for here. That means about 1,000 words a day. Perfectly possible, if I can just get off my ass and do it.
Well, that's what March is for.
Friday, February 29, 2008
We've had a good crop of submissions, with some really spectacular ones. It's been a great deal of fun seeing all the different approaches to our theme. Thanks to everyone who has submitted so far! And if you haven't sent yours in yet: get on it.
Monday, February 25, 2008
In other news, our congrats to Angela Slatter--she's on the short list for the Ditmar in the Best New Talent category. We're huge fans of Angela's dark and twisty stories, and are thrilled to see her starting to get more recognition.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Three boxes full of lovely copies of the Art Issue were delivered today! The picture does not do justice to how pretty these books are--and seeing them all piled up like that, it's just a mountain of gorgeous art and fiction.
We'll start mailing them out tomorrow.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Here's my schedule of Official Activities, if anyone's going to be there:
Friday 3:00: On Line Publishing Options
5:00: Urban Fantasy
Saturday 10:00: Manuscript formatting
11:00: The Anti-hero
2:00 Archetypes: Stereotypes or Required Tool?
4:00 Critical Elements of the FAntasy
6:00 Possum: does it really taste like chicken?
And then there's the Small Press party Saturday night, as well as the Small Press room all weekend.
Wow, that Saturday schedule is pretty packed. Should be a lot of fun.
I'm very glad to be able to take a little break to go to Radcon. It's been a chaotic year so far, with illnesses and car disasters and things getting insanely busy at work. We've still got some challenges to get through next week when we get back--I have another round of major dental work, and we still have to deal with Sean's car, and we need to get the Art issue in the mail. But I'm optimistic that things will SETTLE DOWN soon and we'll get some breathing space.
Until then, this is our breathing space, and we're going to enjoy it.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
But everything is working out well so far. Of course it's a hassle to deal with everything, but everyone at the insurance company and etc has been really helpful and things have gone smoothly so far.
The fun part, though, is that we chose to obey Mary Robinette's command and buy a Prius. (It is always wise to do what Mary says.) Our rental car is a Prius, so we've been giving it a nice long test drive--that worked out well. I'll go pick it up as soon as I know how much I'm going to get for my old car. I'd really liked not having a car payment--but on the other hand, Oooh! Shiny!
In other news, BIG CONGRATS to Lisa Mantchev, who's sold a pile of novels. Rock on, Lis.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
For this issue, the art comes first. We selected art, and then invited some Shimmery favorites to write stories inspired by the images. Our cover image is Penny’s Grave, by award-winning artist John Picacio; we used it as the trigger for a contest at the Liberty Hall Writer’s Workshop. The winning story is Penny Wise, by Kurt Kirchmeier.
Read all about it.
Table of Contents * Author Bios * PreOrders
I love this issue, and I am so pleased to start presenting it to the world.
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Rich Horton's 2007 roundup of Shimmer: "On the whole, quite a nice little magazine!", with particular mentions of stories by Amal El-Mohtar, Jeremiah Tolbert, Michael Livingston, James Cambias, and other luminaries.
The Art issue is off to the printers and should be in our hands mid-February. We'll be announcing the TOC and generally starting to make a fuss about it over the next few days - stay tuned!
And, the obligatory month-end goal summary. This year, instead of focusing on any grand goals, I'm focusing on building small habits that will support larger goals. So instead of having a goal of "write a novel," my goal is "develop a habit of writing every day." I had 4 goals to focus on this month--perhaps too many, but whatever.
Goal 1: Read a short story every day. Only missed 3 days; on most days, I read 4 or 5 stories. So I'm calling this one a habit successfully formed, and taking it off the list of things to focus on.
Goal 2: eat vegetables every day. I managed to cram in some vegetables on 19 days, which is a good start--but this one stays on the focus list for February.
Goal 3: exercise daily. Only 14 days of this--so it stays on the list.
Goal 4: write daily. Only 12 days. I've realized that I don't have any strong "start writing" triggers. I mean, I read short stories on my breaks at work and in the bath at night; I know I need to exercise before dinner; but I don't have anything that says "write now." So probably in February I will be experimenting with different triggers. If, say, I condition myself to bang out my words right when I get home from work, there's a better chance of it happening than if it's just an unspecified "sometime" that I end up forgetting about most of the time. We'll see.
Two periods of being sick this month, which sucks; here's hoping February doesn't knock me on my ass as much as January did.
And now, on to February.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Word to the wise: Shimmer's web host is moving servers around on Friday night, Feb. 8. Or, as they didn't exactly put it, "The Randy cluster is going down; want to join us?"
Perhaps we're a little giddy tonight; the long-awaited Art Issue is going to the printer TOMORROW. For Reals.
Friday, January 25, 2008
The best of the lot is "Pop Art," I think. In the introduction, Christopher Golden says "'Pop Art' is transcendent. The single best short story I have read in years, it brings all of Joe Hill's abilities to bear in a few short pages--the weirdness, the tenderness, the complicity." And that's exactly right.
It's the tenderness that gets me, and that makes these stories so remarkable.
Stop whatever you're doing and go read this book already.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
It's been months since I read any of these stories--long enough that I've forgotten a lot about each one. So it's a real treat to get to read these again, with almost fresh eyes. They are delightful, and varied, and I am falling in love with each of them all over again.
So excited to see this issue finally approach release!
Monday, January 14, 2008
And I think it's a really bad idea to put a statement like that in your cover letter. Even aside from any nuances of tone, the bottom line practical reason is that e-mail goes astray all the time. I get several queries a week, and yeah, 90% of the time, it's a rejection letter that never reached the author -- but the other 10% of the time is what makes it worth querying. If the e-mail never reached us, we haven't even had a chance to read it.
Two incidents: I found one author's story in the spam folder when she queried. I read it, adored it, and you'll be reading it in our Summer 2008 issue. And another author wasn't receiving my acceptance letters -- I had to use one of my personal e-mail addresses to get in touch with him once it became clear that something wasn't working.
I'm very glad that both these authors didn't just give up and move on when they didn't hear anything.
So don't assume you've been rejected -- query. You might get good news.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
And here it is folded into a book:
This one got a purple cover, and gold foil endpapers and decoration.
A collection of several books:
Betcha didn't know I was so crafty, did you? Either did I - but I've had my eye on making books for a long time. One obstacle is that I can't cut straight: so I finally got a decent paper cutter, as well as an Exacto knife and a cutting matt. I still tend to be a little crooked, but at least now, the stuff doesn't look like it was cut by a drunk monkey.
The next step was to figure out how to print text onto a page that would fold into one of these books - that was harder. Maybe if I knew my way around desktop publishing software it would have been easier, but I triumphed using columns in MS Word and running stuff through the printer twice. Of course you can't fit many words in a wee book like this, but that was just fine for my purposes.
The little books are fast and easy, and fun to decorate. Give it a try sometime.
Monday, January 07, 2008
Sunday, January 06, 2008
We did laundry today and it took all of our energy. It always amazes me how things we take for granted normally seem like huge undertakings when we're sick. And it makes me glad that we've done a pretty good job of keeping the house tidy most of the time - so taking a few days off to be sick doesn't mean the whole place is in irreparable chaos.
One of my goals for the new year was to develop the habit of writing. So I'm trying to do 100 words a day. It's hardly any words, I know - but the point is not to lay down a big word count, but to develop the habit. Most days I've gone on to do more than my 100 words, and I'm planning on upping that count once the habit gets entrenched. So far, 5/6 days, and plodding ahead.
Friday, January 04, 2008
Sean came down with it yesterday; today it started for me. I woke up with a horrible headache and body aches, the beginnings of a cough and sore throat. It was about all I could do to get up long enough to call in sick at work - then it was back to bed for the rest of the day. Sean's in a little better shape. But we're both pretty pathetic.
Gonna head off and watch Stardust in a few minutes, and then I will probably go to bed early.