May 27 2016

Before the crowd shows up…

Rosemary

 

Heading to the office myself, after this

Everybody else is at work.

 

I figured that if I’m going to hike the park, I’d better do it today.

Mourning Cloak, or Admiral? (Actually, I'm thinking spicebush swallowtail with a broken tail.)

Mourning Cloak, or Admiral? (Actually, I’m thinking spicebush swallowtail with a broken tail.)

As soon as the weekend hits, it’s going to be like the Walmart parking lot out there.

 

IMG_1131

Mr (or Ms.) Toad.

Right now, very peaceful.

(UPDATE: Weirdly, if you look at this post on an iPod or iPad, the first two photos are sideways… but not on other devices.  Don’t know why…)

(Later:  fixed it.)

 

 

 


May 26 2016

It’s that time of year again…

Rosemary

Once again, Con or Bust is holding its fundraiser auction; and once again, I’ve donated some items to be auctioned off.

Con or Bust is a non-profit organization that helps people of color/non-white people attend science fiction and fantasy conventions.   You can read more about them here.

I submitted three items to the auction.   To bid, you have to go to the Con or Bust site, and post your bid as a comment on that item’s post.

Here’s what I submitted:

First:  A copy of the paperback British edition of The Steerswoman

Kirstein Steersw

Sure, we love our e-readers — but we love physical books even better.  But alas, the Steerswoman series only exists as a ebooks.

But wait — that was not always true!   Once they were all real objects existing in the real world — books you could hold, handle, page through at will.   Oh, if only you could have one of those…

Well, you can. And I’ll autograph it.

When the Brit publisher let the book go out of print, they offered to sell me a bunch of copies for a good price; and so I do have a number of these mass-market paperbacks of the first book.

Click here to head over to the Con or Bust auction site to bid.

Second item: a trade paperback of The Lost Steersman

Kirstein Steersman

 

A similar thing happened with Del Rey Books and The Lost Steersman :  “Do you want these copies that we are going to throw out?   If so, give us some money,” they said.  “Yes, I do,” I replied.  “And here’s some money.”

So I have a whole bunch of these… alas, they did not do the same with the other books in the series.  I don’t know why.

But here it is.  It can be yours. Autographed.  Existing in actual physical reality

Click here to go to the auction site to bid on this book.

 

Okay, now: Item Three is special.

“Lost Steersman” handmade blank journal

click to embiggen

click to embiggen

Back when I was writing The Lost Steersman,” I generated a lot of printouts.  My writer’s group, the Fabulous Genrettes, was in full swing, and I needed to give the ladies actual manuscripts to read and comment on, and scribble on, and return to me…

But I felt odd just throwing the manuscripts away afterwards.  That was my book!

Now, at that time I was also experimenting with paper-making, and it occurred to me that it might be especially cool to recycle the manuscripts into new paper.  So, I shredded the printouts, re-shredded them even finer, and did exactly that.

I like the way the paper came out.   And as a decorative effect, I included some less-shredded shreds, so that random words from the story would appear within the paper itself.

kirstein inner paper

closer view, if you click

I had been making hand-bound blank books as a hobby for years.  Having handmade paper brought it to a whole other level.

The journal measures 6.5 x 4.75 inches (16.51 x 12.06cm).   The endpaper is bark-paper,

KirsteinEndpaper

and the cover is marble paper (hand-marbled, although not by me).   It closes with an old silk ribbon (Alemeth being a center of silk-making, of course).

And the front is decorated with a little snail, in honor of the little snails in the book…

Little Snail

Little snail guaranteed not to eat the book.

The internal paper does not work well with ball-point pen, but is good with ink, felt-tip, and colored pencils. I provide one loose sheet of the same paper, so you can test your art materials beforehand.

 

Kirstein cover

click for more detail

Oh, and I include a paperback copy of The Lost Steersman, too.

If you’re interested, head over to Con or Bust to bid on this.

And be sure to look through the entire Con or Bust auction site for some really amazing things you can get.    Such as: naming rights to a character in a novel by John Scalzi, and a copy of a real Farscape script with an actual piece of the spaceship Moya.

 

I like the whole idea of Con or Bust, and here’s why I support it:

a) Everyone should read science fiction and fantasy.  SF/F is actually good for you!   It increases your intellectual and imaginative skills, deepens your understanding of the world, and can be a great source of joy.

b) Everyone who likes SF/F should go to a convention at some point in their life, multiple times if possible.  At conventions, you meet other like-minded people, people who take delight in the same things you do — and you learn that you are not weird, are not a misfit, and are not alone.  There are lots of us.  And we want you.

c) People of color, and especially African-Americans, are very often actively discouraged by educators and American society in general from pursuing intellectual goals, or seeking intellectual values.  Which also means that many potential readers — and potential writers — of SF/F are directed away from our field, away from all its delights and benefits.   But by helping people of color get to conventions, Con or Bust is acting directly against those negative messages.  It says, explicitly: you belong here.

So, there you are.  Some steerswoman-related objects for you, if you want them. Plus, a multitude of other items available, at all price ranges.

In other, unrelated news: Dammit, my printer died.

 


May 16 2016

Not a time warp.

Rosemary

But it feels like one.

I'm not still here. I'm just back here.

I’m not still here. I’m just back here.

I lost a lot of time this week to various household responsibilities, and preparations for this and that.  I feel like I got little done, when in fact I got plenty done — just with a lesser proportion of writing in the mix.   So, I rather feel like I’m back where I started… I’ll make up for the lack of prose this week; if possible I’m going to do all my larger non-writing tasks on Monday, giving me the rest of the week for the real work.

Meanwhile, in the grand tradition of “Let’s put the band back together!”, my writer’s group, The Fabulous Genrettes, is reactivating!  It’s been, what — four years?   We agreed that we missed us and wanted us back.   Happy days!   I volunteered to be first in the hot seat, and I have to decide what is presentable enough to be presented for feedback.

I did manage to get my walks and/or gym time in this week.  The gym is much more strenuous, and gives me a better overall workout — but I absolutely cannot work on anything creative while exercising.  It’s largely the environment: noisy, busy, filled with other human beings, dozens of screens with different moving images, and idiotic repetitive music piped in at high volume.  I can read a book on the treadmill or stationary bike, but not for very long before the surroundings overwhelm me, and earbuds can’t sufficiently block the music.   I can do an audiobook, but that doesn’t help with the visual chaos.

What works, alas, is TV on my iPad.

Yep.  A couple of TV shows, and I’m  an hour, sometimes two hours, working up a sweat.   I get all grumpy when the gym’s wifi is on the fritz, as it sometimes is.    And when I use the machines, I switch to an audiobook  (currently finishing up Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson, which I’m enjoying a lot).

However, when I’m just walking in the woods, I can think about the story — or stories in general, or other artistic ideas.  So,  I’m going to put more woods into the mix.

Mysterious ruins in the forest...

Mysterious ruins in the forest…

In other news: live music!  Sabine and I went to a performance by the Mendelssohn Choir of Connecticut, one member of which is a pal of ours.   The program included two excerpts from James Whitbourn’s Luminosity: “Lux in tenebris” and “Silence”.  It was a bit of a departure for this choir,  but I’m so glad they did it.   They introduced me to a new work, and a new composer.

Thanks to YouTube, you can hear it, too (performed by a different choir, that is).   (If you don’t have great speakers, use headphones for this.)  I haven’t yet listened to Luminosity in its entirety yet, but I will, soon —  and I love “Lux in tenebris” and “Silence.”

And lastly: Too Like the Lightning, Ada Palmer’s debut novel, is out and on my Kindle.  I won’t go into detail, as I haven’t finished it yet, but I will say that so far, it’s definitely living up to its advance press.   It is remarkable.  I really think you should read it.

In fact, there are free excerpts on Tor.com.   There you go.  Take it out for a test drive.  First four chapters, no commitments.

But here’s the Amazon link, because I think you’ll want it.

 


May 8 2016

Ambling along…

Rosemary

Hard at it.   Not much else to say…

Most days, I either hit the gym, or take a good walk.   Preferably in the woods…  and preferably alone, so I can emote freely, according to whatever scene I’m working on.

This from today’s walk:

 

Where the red trail and the horse trail and the cross-country skiing tral meet.

Where the red trail and the horse trail and the cross-country skiing trail meet.

 

Robin's egg. Possibly the most beautiful color in the world.

Robin’s egg. Possibly the most beautiful color in the world.

 

IMG_1054

And one of the loveliest sounds…

 

 


May 5 2016

Worldcon wants me!

Rosemary

Hooray!

I was worried that I’d waited too long sending in my request to be a program participant — but nope, I just got confirmation that they want me.  So happy!  It’s been a few years since I’ve been on the program at a Worldcon.

Do you not know what Worldcon is?  I know that my longtime readers do know, but I think I acquired a slew of new readers in the last year  — at least, that’s what my sales figures suggest.  (Unless some of you are buying multiple copies of the books, which would be nice, but odd…)

It’s the World Science Fiction Convention, science fiction and fantasy’s annual meet & schmooze & learn-new-stuff-about-SF&F & party & shop & greet event.  It’s a blast.  It’s also the event at which the Hugo Awards are given out, always exciting.  Well, to me.   Some people skip the awards ceremony and just party instead.

This year it’s being held in Kansas City, Missouri, a place I have never been.   An awful lot of my travels have been centered around Worldcon.   I’ve been to Boston, Chicago, San Antonio.   Toronto, Winnipeg!   Atlanta, San Jose, Orlando, Philadelphia, Denver.  And Glasgow!  I missed London, alas, couldn’t be helped.  Last year in Spokane, I didn’t get on the program, so I was there purely as an attendee (which did serve to remind me that it’s especially enjoyable to be at Worldcon when you have no responsibilities).

If you’ve never been, you should really try it.   And if you’re local to Kansas City, Missouri, you can pop in for a day (easier on the budget).   At least once in your lifetime, go to a Worldcon.  And if it turns out that you like it — there’s one every year.

Also, people who have signed up as members get to vote on the Hugo Awards.   The finalists have been selected, and the voting starts May 15th.

You can check out the list of finalists at the Worldcon website here.

(Last year there was a certain amount of — how shall I put it — fuss and bother about the Hugo voting.   And some of that has spilled over into this year.   But the simple thing to do is read the nominated works and vote for the ones you think actually deserve an award. )

In other news:  This weekend there’s a reunion of my former writer’s group, The Fabulous Genrettes.   Can’t wait!