Feb 29 2016

More news about other people, one of whom could be YOU.


Remember the Schrodinger Sessions?  I talked about them last year.  They were a workshop on quantum physics, specifically created for science fiction writers. I was thrilled last year when my application was accepted, and even more thrilled during the three days of the workshop.  It was fascinating, elucidating, mind-blowing and emotionally uplifting.

Well, word has come down the pipeline that they’re going to be doing it again this year.   So…

Are you a writer?  Specifically, a writer of science fiction?  Do you need a better grip on this subject?   This is your chance.  You might end up spending three days eyeballs-deep in real, non-hand-waving scientific theory, led by real working scientists.

Cooling with lasers.

Applications aren’t open yet, but soon — so keep your eye open.  I’ll put up a note here when I hear further news.  Meanwhile here’s the website for last year’s event, so you can read more about it.

A similar thing exists for Astronomy, called Launch Pad, and it’s been going on for several years now.   The deadline for applications for that is — oops!  March 1.  Well, if you move fast you can still apply.  I never have, for different reasons each year.  This year’s reason: I can’t take the time out of my writing schedule.  But YOU could try for it!

My only regret about the Schrodinger sessions is that I haven’t been able to use what I learned yet –  because I’ve been deep in a long-term project that does not involve quantum physics (AKA the rest of the Steerswoman books).  I couldn’t step away long enough to turn to a different project last year, nor this year, probably.    But the whole experience has gone into the hopper.  We’ll see what comes out soon enough.

Other things YOU could be doing:

Do you like poetry?  You remember that Mary Alexandra Agner has a Patreon whereby you can support her science-inspired poetry, and get poems sent to you monthly, right?   I’m pleased to be one of her patrons…

Well, Jo Walton also writes poetry, with a wider range of inspirational sources — and Jo Walton now has her own Patreon account to support that effort. I really enjoy Jo’s poems, which I read on her blog regularly.  So I signed up to demonstrate my support with actual cash money.   You could do that, too!

(Okay.  Back to the unweaving of my currently-wrongly-woven tale, so that I can reweave it into what I should have been weaving in the first place.  I blame the day job.  Which is gone now.  So, you know: time to get it right.)


Feb 23 2016

News about people who are not me. Plus: Neb Noms.


A little late reporting on this, but an interesting thing  took place over on the Crooked Timber blog: an online seminar on Jo Walton’s books, specifically the Thessaly series (The Just City, and The Philosopher Kings, with Necessity coming in July).   Pop over there to read interesting writers writing interesting essays about the books (I found Ada Palmer’s contribution particularly illuminating).

And over at Tor.com, you can read some free fiction from pal and fellow Fabulous Genrette Delia Sherman, as she puts a steampunk twist on Holmesiana.  Delia is currently rambling around Europe with her wife, author Ellen Kushner, leaving us to gaze at the lovely photos they are posting of Amsterdam, Brussels, and Venice.  (I’m going to make it back to Amsterdam one of these days…)

And the Nebula Award nominations just came out!


Raising Caine, Charles E. Gannon (Baen)
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu (Saga)
Uprooted, Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard, Lawrence M. Schoen (Tor)
Updraft, Fran Wilde (Tor)


Wings of Sorrow and Bone, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager Impulse)
“The Bone Swans of Amandale,” C.S.E. Cooney (Bone Swans)
“The New Mother,” Eugene Fischer (Asimov’s 4-5/15)
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn,” Usman T. Malik (Tor.com 4/22/15)
Binti, Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
“Waters of Versailles,” Kelly Robson (Tor.com 6/10/15)


“Rattlesnakes and Men,” Michael Bishop (Asimov’s 2/15)
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead,” Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed 2/15)
“Grandmother-nai-Leylit’s Cloth of Winds,” Rose Lemberg (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/11/15)
“The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society,” Henry Lien (Asimov’s 6/15)
“The Deepwater Bride,” Tamsyn Muir (F&SF 7-8/15)
“Our Lady of the Open Road,” Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 6/15)

Short Story:

“Madeleine,” Amal El-Mohtar (Lightspeed 6/15)
“Cat Pictures Please,” Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld 1/15)
“Damage,” David D. Levine (Tor.com 1/21/15)
“When Your Child Strays From God,” Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld 7/15)
“Today I Am Paul,” Martin L. Shoemaker (Clarkesworld 8/15)
“Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” Alyssa Wong (Nightmare 10/15)

As a card-carrying member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, I get to vote, so I’d better catch up on my reading!

Hm.  As soon as I catch up on my writing, that is…

Feb 15 2016



A bit more snow on the way, here in New England.   In fact, it already started earlier today:


The railing of the deck at our house. (UPDATE: click to embiggen, then zoom in and out)


These flakes were so lovely and perfect, I had to photograph them…


Just used my handy little iPhone.

My favorite kind of snow.  But I did dash out for more ice melt salt.  It’s supposed to be freezing rain later.

Monday is household chores day for me.   I like to save the weekend to be at my writing office, because I generally have the entire floor to myself, all day both days.

When I first moved in, half the floor was empty, and I had several rooms between me and the busy offices.  The sense of solitude was wonderful.  There was even an actual glass door that I could pull closed, halfway down the hallway, creating even more of a buffer zone.

Then a property-management group moved in down the hall from me — but that was okay.  They’re not full time.

Then a one-man construction company moved in across from me — but that was okay, too.  He’s mostly out constructing things.

Now, however, the billboard-sign sales office is doing really well.  Good for them!  And they’ve hired four more people.  Nice boost for local economy!

And they’ve taken over the rest of the offices.  Damn.

Including the one directly beside mine, with zero soundproofing, so that even the most normal casual conversation sounds like it is right exactly in the same room with me.

So, despite the fact that I am now a full-time writer, I still do most of my work on afternoons, evenings and weekends.

Well, I’m a natural night-person anyway.

And things seem to be going pretty well, actually.  Progress is being made; solutions seem to be at hand.


More later…

Feb 12 2016

The buzz: waves!


I awoke this morning to find the Internet all a-buzz with the news that gravitational waves have been detected!

The press conference was at 10:30, and I totally missed it due to: a) waking up late (I’m a night-owl; I make no apologies); and b) using the first half-hour I’m awake every day to write something (literally, before speaking a word to another human, or reading a single line of words in any medium, I try to write something, anything).

Fortunately: Hooray Internet.  Because the entire press conference was made available on YouTube:

This served as a good incentive to go to the gym, since Planet Fitness has free wifi, and I have an iPad  for just such circumstances.  Also for Netflix.  I make no apologies.

For a quick general-public explanation of what the fuss is about, here’s a link to a New York Times article that includes a nice video.

As well as the big-news rush of this discovery, I find myself delighted by the very cleverness of the design of the LIGO apparatus itself.  Splitting a light beam, reflecting it back and recombining in such a way that the waves cancel each other out, and there is no light ( yes, half a beam of light plus half a beam of light equals no light, if you do it right) — UNLESS one of those mirrors moves even fractionally.   If there’s light detected, that means something moved.  And suspending things, such that local vibrations are minimized — How smart is that?  I love the little demo they give in the press conference.  (Also amusing: the part where the reporter from TASS pointed out that the Russians thought of this fifty years ago.)

The day before the announcement, physicist Sabine Hossenfelder’s blog had a nice introduction to gravitational waves, somewhat more technical than the New York Times, which she posted because rumors about the discovery were flyin’.

And Randall Munroe of XKCD even broke with his publishing schedule to do a comic on his off-day to commemorate the event today:

Actually, my first news of all this came on Facebook, where author Amy K. Nichols (fellow Schrodinger Cat from the workshop last year) was already sharing links.

She also brought this to my attention:

[UPDATE: bad link! Go to OK GO’s own website to view the video]

Everything’s happy when there’s a new OK GO video…






Feb 6 2016

More rendezvous weather.


After last week’s one-day blizzard, we went right back to temperatures in the 40’s and 50’s all week (that’s Farenheit; for the rest of the world, 5 to 10 Celsius).  That’s sweater weather!  (Or if you’re a Brit, jumper weather! And if you’re German, Pulli-Wetter!)  Everything melted.  It was lovely.

And then today, this:


That's about eight inches.

That’s about eight inches.

I was itching to get to the office, having missed the previous day due to some needed chores.   I’d just about given up when the sun came out, and the snow left on the roads melted, so I just popped right over.  Everything was clean and pretty and shiny.

Local branch of the Mighty Quinnipiac.

Local branch of the Mighty Quinnipiac.

And now, past midnight, they’re telling me that the snow that melted on the roads is going to freeze, and it’ll be black ice as I go home.  Well.  There’s an advantage to being exactly two miles from home.

This weekend: More time at the writing office!  I like weekends here especially, because the building’s other tenants mostly stay home, or don’t stay long.  It’s quiet.  Plus, I can be noisy, if I like.

Also looking forward to hearing some live music from the Mendelssohn Choir, of which a pal of mine is a member.  They had to postpone their previous performance due last week’s blizzard.  I’m hoping the ice and snow issues resolve before I have to drive down to Fairfield in the evening.

Thanks to all for the map info and suggestions; some good ideas, and I’ll be mulling them over.

Meanwhile — Ack!  1AM. I’d better head home.