Dec 15 2013

Always the last to join the pack…

Rosemary

After being told many times, by many sources, that I should be listening to the podcast “Welcome to Night Vale” I finally decided that I wanted something new, interesting and amusing to listen to, and thought to myself, Hey, what about that Night Vale thing people keep mentioning?

Well. Silly me. I should listen to all those people and sources. Because, see what I’ve been missing?

I spent my entire weekly housecleaning laughing like a loon, with my iPod loaded with Night Vale episodes, and a bluetooth earphone plugged in my ear. I didn’t want to turn on the vacuum cleaner, because I wouldn’t be able to hear over it, and I didn’t want to stop. So I did that part really fast. Then I did some extra housework, just so I could keep listening. Then I cleaned the snow off our cars and shoveled the entrance walk. Still listening.

I finally stopped in order to actually produce some art of my own, instead of merely consuming other people’s art.

If you don’t know about Welcome to Night Vale, you really ought to check it out. Don’t listen to just one episode — stay for the first three (and do them in order). They’re about 20 minutes each, and if you end up liking it you’ll have another glorious 33 episodes waiting for you. One of the advantages of getting to things late — you don’t have to wait 2 weeks for the next episode.

The easiest way to listen is on your computer at SoundCloud’s NightValeRadio page. Or follow the links on their main site to download from various other sources.

For the cautious who want some warning about what they’re getting into, let’s just say it’s a spooky comedy. Here’s their own description:

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.
Turn on your radio and hide.

I did so love the episodes I’ve heard so far. I’m up to number 6: History Week.

Meanwhile: Snowstorm not as bad as predicted. Yet.

Also meanwhile: Hey, remember how I mentioned how much I enjoyed the audiobook version of Ellen Kushner & Delia Sherman’s The Fall of the Kings ?  Well, it was just selected as one of the top ten best audiobooks, by AudioFile magazine. And so I remind you of it again.   Excellent book, lovely performances, not the least of which was by Ellen herself.  This is yet another wonderful thing to listen to on your iPod, iPad, tablet, mp3 player, music device, or actual computer!


Aug 21 2013

Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner need your recipes.

Rosemary

The audiobook version of Ellen & Delia’s collaboration of The Fall of the Kings is going on sale August 27th, but you can get a copy for free!

They’ve come up with a promotional contest that looks like a lot of fun: Swordspoint Cuisine. Deadline is 5PM EST on Friday, August 23rd.

They want recipes.

The Fall of the Kings takes place in Ellen’s “Swordspoint” world, and the city of Riverside, a locale much loved by her readers. If you’ve read any of those books, or the print version of The Fall of The Kings, then you surely have a sense of the deliciousness found in Riverside — so, invent!

Best 10 recipes get a free download of the audiobook. Go to this site for info on how to participate.

And I must say: I’ve already plunked down my monthly Audible 1-book credit in order to pre-order this audiobook for myself. I really like the Swordspoint books, and I’ve especially loved the audiobook versions. Ellen does most of the reading herself, and she’s excellent at it – but there’s more!

These versions are called “illuminated”, which in an audio sense means that selected scenes are rendered with a full cast. It’s a fascinating idea, and works really well. It’s analogous to an illustrated version of a print book, where for most of it you’re picturing things in your own mind — but then, to your delight, you’re gifted with an artist’s vision of the scene, or portrait of a character.

In the same way, Ellen Kushner’s voice is the voice of the story, until suddenly: Everyone’s really there! It’s a lovely effect.

Having Ellen and Delia writing together in one book is a treat, too. And I remember when sections of this book were in their early stages, as Delia was a fellow member of the Fabulous Genrettes, and Ellen was an honorary member for the duration.

So, even if you don’t take part in the contest, check out the audiobook, or the print version, or the previous Riverside audiobooks.

These are all part of the “Neil Gaiman Presents” series. And an extra benefit of that is that Gaiman always has a cameo role. So, if you’re also a wild Neil Gaiman fan, add this to your collection! Who will he play? Don’t know… it’s a mystery.

FAIR WARNING: All the Swordspoint books include same-sex romance, but the guy&guy love scenes in The Fall of the Kings are especially spicy! So, if you’re not up to it, pass this one by.

As for me — I shall be listening to this with nice silk folding fan on hand, to gracefully and fashionably cool myself during those “Oh, my!” moments …


Nov 20 2011

Delia Sherman’s Freedom Maze

Rosemary

Hey, the latest novel by Delia Sherman (of the Fabulous Genrettes) is out!

cover by Kathleen Jennings

cover by Kathleen Jennings

The Freedom Maze is a book for Young Adults, and it’s getting rave reviews all over, as well it should. I remember reading it in manuscript, through various iterations, with the writer’s group.

It is lovely and rich, and never takes the easy way out. And it deals with race — which is possibly why finding a welcoming publisher took some time.

Check out the reviews!

From Cory Doctorow at BoingBoing. (Slight spoilers for early parts of the book.)


Or you can go to Tor.com, everybody’s go-to site for what’s what in SF and Fantasy.
(Also spoilers, but they warn you!)

And here’s the publisher’s own site.

If you have a young reader in your life, or like to read YA books yourself (as I sometimes do), you should pick up this book.

And actually, you can read the first chapter free on Delia’s website.

I am definitely going to buy it.

In fact, wait a sec….

Yep. Just got the Kindle version. Right there. Twenty-first century, see?

Now, you would think that I’d already know all about the book, from when Delia brought it to the Genrettes, over many sessions. But the fact is, it’s gone through some rewrites and editing post-Genrettes, and I’m yearning to know what remains of what I read before, and what has changed. Plus: it was long enough ago that even the material I saw before will feel fresh. And Delia is really such a lovely writer. Can’t wait.

(Just read the acknowledgements at the end, because I had a suspicion, and yep — I’m listed. Aw, that’s nice!)

Oh, and there’s a party.

Here’s the announcement on Facebook.

But if you don’t want to log on to Facebook to read it (for which I don’t blame you, as Facebook is a bully about such things), here’s the info:

When: Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 6:30 to 9:30.

Where: The Center for Fiction, 17 West 47th Street, New York, NY 10017

The party will have music, from both time periods of the book. And punch! And a cake-baking contest (no, you don’t have to bake, if you’re not so inclined).

(I don’t see how I could possibly manage to go, darnit. Unless Evil Dayjob were to magically let me out early. It’d take me a couple of hours to get there from here… I’ll see, I’ll try, but alas, I doubt it…)


Oct 2 2011

The door is opened.

Rosemary

I mentioned this on Facebook, but completely forgot to put it here —

I wanted to remind people that Ellen Kushner (famous author, and wife of other famous author and Genrette Delia Sherman) wrote a radio program called “The Door is Opened,” which I heard many years ago, before I actually met her.

It’s about Yom Kuppur and Rosh Hashana, and as a non-Jewish person I knew next to nothing about those holidays. People tend to assume I’m Jewish because of the last name, but nope.

(If you’re curious: I’m an atheist. But as a writer and student of human nature, I’m interested in what makes people tick. The cultural content and context of the Jewish traditions interest me much more than any religious aspects.)

The show was gorgeous, deep, and moving. It totally swept me away. It really is worth hearing, and I urge you to do so because (ta-da!) it’s available to listen to online for free. And while you’re there, you can peruse the other episodes of Sound and Spirit. They’re all excellent, and they’re all hosted by and written by Ellen Kushner.

Meanwhile, Delia Sherman‘s Young Adult novel The Freedom Maze is coming out soon, and you can read the first chapters online for free.

Also cool: My pal Ann Tonsor Zeddies has a story appearing in a YA anthology called Speaking Out: LGBTQ Youth Stand Up. I haven’t read the story yet, but shall be laying my money down for a copy of the book real soon.

Other news: I have not fallen off the face of the earth, contrary to appearances. But ever since Labor Day I’ve had not a minute to spare from an avalanche of overtime at the DayJob. Or rather, what minutes I do have to spare are spent either a) writing, b) going to the gym so my body doesn’t disintegrate from the overtime, or c) complaining. These are my main pastimes lately. Hoping for things to ease up soon.

Latest audiobook I’m working out to: Scott Westerfeld‘s Goliath, the third volume of his YA steampunk trilogy. I love Westerfeld, and I love this trilogy, which I’ve “read” completely in audiobook form. There’s nothing like a good YA when you’re feeling blue.


Jun 25 2011

The Remarkable Ms. Sherman.

Rosemary

Wednesday was the birthday of pal and fellow member of the Fabulous Genrettes, Delia Sherman.

I could not actually drop by to celebrate as she and Ellen Kushner are down in Roanoke Virginia, where Ellen is the Writer in Residence for the Children’s Literature Graduate program, and Delia is on the faculty, teaching creative writing.

So I sent flowers. Which, after some adventures, actually arrived.

Oh, look there they are!

At Hollins University, hard at work..

Mine are the ones in front!

I love this picture because:

a) it’s of my pal Delia,
b) one day after her 60th birthday,
c) in the actual act of writing,
d) in a lovely, Delia-esque room,
e) at a place where people appreciate her talents, intelligence, wisdom and overall specialness.

I’ll catch up with her and Ellen at Readercon.

Meanwhile:

Overloaded at the DayJob, writing every day, going to the gym, etc.

When I feel brain-fried, I’ll just head off to my little leafy corner…


Oct 24 2010

And while you’re thinking about that…

Rosemary

Check out this YouTube video of fellow Genrette Delia Sherman and her awesome wife Ellen Kushner, as they discuss fairytale, fantasy, and gender.

However… this is apparently a scene from a documentary called “Mythic Journeys”, which (from the publicity material pushed on you when you check out the website) seems to lean toward the woo-woo at an acute angle. When Depak Chopra shows up, my Skeptometer ™ starts red-lining.

Ellen and Delia, on the other hand, are very wise women, and well worth heeding.


Jul 18 2010

Fans in Finland

Rosemary

Apparently, I have some.

This from Genrette Delia Sherman, currently at Finncon, (with her wife Ellen Kushner, who is currently a Guest of Honor), where, she says “everyone speaks fluent English, and is super friendly”. She met some actual Finnish fans of mine..

Who knew?

I wonder if they can find their way here? Perhaps they already have!

In other news: finally got a digital camera. Now I can post pictures here not taken via my webcam. The whole world is open to me!

Here’s a webcam picture of it.

Kodak C190, 12 megapixels, 5X optical zoom and all

Kodak C190, 12 megapixels, 5X optical zoom and all

Got it from Woot, which is worth reading just for the product descriptions.

A substantive post will be coming soon, I promise. Shall we say, Wednesday?