This latest season of Dr. Who started off with the excellent Dalek Asylum episode. I think it’s fair to say things spluttered a little during the second half, but last Saturday’s season finale put things firmly back on track.
I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to see a spin-off series.
Oh, gosh. Here's your weepy moment for the day.
Terriers, man. You can't keep a schnauzer down.
It always amazes me how getting a couple of big, mentally taxing projects (like, say, a major novelette commission and the Very Important Third Book Of A Trilogy) squared away opens out the horizons. There are suddenly more hours in the day, and more energy to get stuff done in those hours.
Creative work is really emotionally taxing. The more ambitious it is, the more taxing. I've been struggling, the past couple of months, to get the basics done--dishes washed, bills paid, exercise exercised. Now that the book and one of May's two novelettes are done, suddenly my head is full of room.
Case in point: after yesterday's marathon work session, I'm achy and exhausted and this morning's run was kinda brutal (and truncated by two families of geese, who I was unwilling to disturb in order to run along the trail they were hanging out on) but I still got All The Procrastinated Errands Done this morning, and more will happen this afternoon.And I've reread what I have on the month's other novelette, which is actually probably going to be a short novella, and I like it! It's good!
I just have to figure out the twist and the rest of the caper, and I'm good to go.
I've just posted the book discussion for the paperback release of Sherwood Smith's Banner of the Damned, part of her Inda universe, at the DAW Books blog (dawbooks)! Swing on by and check it out! It's a stand-alone novel from that universe, so you can pick this one up without having read the others in the series.
One of the things that people in other places might be asking about the tornados that came down in Oklahoma yesterday is why the people didn't get into their cellars, like in the movie Twister? Or The Wizard of Oz?
The truth is, we don't have cellars. We don't have basements.
Lucky homeowners might have a storm shelter or 'safe', which is exactly what it sounds like:
a steel box plunked down in the middle of their garage.
Photo: Storm Safe
Although one of these can hold five people (ours supposedly does, but it would have to be five people packed in like sardines) they get hot very fast, and you can't move much. On the other hand, you're alive. Overnight, the police have reportedly dug 101 people out of shelters like this. (You file your shelter with the police dept, so they know that if your house collapses on top of it, they should start digging.)
But the clay soil in Oklahoma (and North Texas and much of Kansas) precludes building underground. The clay expands and contracts with the levels of water in the soil. So there aren't large basements or cellars here...which is why schools can't get their students underground.
Having taught in an OKC school, I know that teachers have limited options. My classroom's 'tornado location' was crouched down in the hallway outside my classroom, facing the lockers. Yes, there were glass windows nearby, but very few places in the school don't have those. We drilled a few times a year for tornado. (And Code Blue and fire and bomb threat...each had a different protocol.)
This is just a fact of life here. You do the best you can with a limited number of options.
The sun teased at her eyes and for at least a minute Miranda was convinced the entire night before was a dream. Then she was disoriented. Then it settled in. Dad was in the hospital. Alice was in jail.
From the light outside, it was about five in the morning. Before they fell asleep last night, Cindy had offered to set up on the floor next to Miranda, which sounded nice, but Miranda had said no.
Cindy’s bed was a big twisted clump of blankets. Cindy looked like the victim of an octopus attack. Miranda fought the urge to straighten her and the blankets out.
Cindy stirred a little when Miranda got up, and again when she came back from dressing the bathroom. Cindy murmured to herself while Miranda pulled on her shoes. Miranda was worried she woke her as she closed the bedroom door, but after she stood there a minute Cindy still didn’t wake.
The living room was darker than Cindy’s room because the curtains were closed. Light bled through, landing right on the golden cage. It glinted in her peripheral vision. She made a point of only looking at the front door. She was afraid if she looked at the cage too closely, she’d see all the bird-dads staring at her and she needed some time alone. It was weird how quickly she’d adapted to the idea of Cindy’s dads sleeping as birds. When she clicked the front door shut, she thought she heard birds titter inside.
She rubbed her arms against the cold morning air. She’d forgotten her coat at school when she was suspended.
The sun just peaked over the rooftops as she walked up Huntington toward the hospital. Hopefully they wouldn’t turn her away. Maybe with police cases the security was tighter. She didn’t know.
The walk up Huntington warmed her a little, but she still missed the coat. As she moved into downtown she saw people milling in the grocery store, setting up for the day. The wind picked up again and she shivered.
She wished she had her investigation notebook. How much in that had changed? She’d have to work out an ever better system for remembering things if her notes were going to change on her.
As she turned onto Oliver street, only about a quarter mile from the hospital. She refused to think about how Dad was doing till she saw him. It was best to stick with facts.
But what constituted a fact when everything kept changing?
That reminded her of an earlier note. Who was changing things?
The wind built into a flurry and she had to bend her head against it. A piece of paper struck her shoulder and flew off.
When she looked up, she saw the air was full of flying papers, twisting into vortexes and blowing out like birds breaking from their flock. Papers whipped past her head and she batted at them.
The papers coalesced into a cloud around her, blocking out everything else. She ran forward, her arms out for balance. A paper hit her hand and she clamped down on it.
Suddenly she was alone. Shivering on Oliver street. The wind was gone and she was still clutching the single piece of paper. No one else was around, but she retreated next to the porch of a empty house with a FOR SALE sign in the yard.
It took five minutes before her breath went back to normal. Her watch showed it was 5:45 am.
She was about to throw the paper away, but glanced at it. Seeing her Dad’s name made her read on.
The flowing script read:
His name will be Alistair McGee, for I love him more than anyone has ever loved before. I altered his bank card so the machine spat out loaves. I turned his car into a baby dragon, a unicorn dragon. When he shaved, his razor always cut him and his skin bled tiny glass figurines. Oh me, I do love him so. His name wasn’t always Alistair, or McGee, but he needed fixing and the old name just wouldn’t do. The old body wouldn’t do for I switched it when I decided I loved him so. He was a boring old accountant, so I changed him into a fireman, though not a very good one. He had someone special and they were so pretty. They had hair that looked like sand does twice a day. They were very nice, but they loved Alistair and that just would not do.
His name will be Alistair McGee, for I love him more than anyone has ever loved before. I altered his bank card so the machine spat out loaves. I turned his car into a baby dragon, a unicorn dragon. When he shaved, his razor always cut him and his skin bled tiny glass figurines. Oh me, I do love him so.
His name wasn’t always Alistair, or McGee, but he needed fixing and the old name just wouldn’t do. The old body wouldn’t do for I switched it when I decided I loved him so. He was a boring old accountant, so I changed him into a fireman, though not a very good one.
He had someone special and they were so pretty. They had hair that looked like sand does twice a day. They were very nice, but they loved Alistair and that just would not do.
Life. Sometimes, it’s just crazy, man.
Day job and various personal engagements have conspired to utterly wipe out my schedule, and the insanity ain’t over yet. Admittedly, much of this is self-inflicted, but that doesn’t make it any less real.
Other than database updates and getting few mss back into circulation, the most meaningful progress to report is that I have decided to put off the rewrite of Apocalypse Pictures Presents for the nonce. “The Winter Palace” is also in need of a new draft, and that will be a much more manageable project, one that will potentially pay off sooner.
Or so I had decided, until last night, when another rewrite request came in. And as this one has a hard deadline, it will have to come first.
For those keeping score at home, that’s now three rewrite projects on my desk. It’s a good problem to have, I suppose, and I have a pretty good track record working with editors. But still.
Maybe it’s for the best. I’ll be traveling this week, and past experience has taught me that some rewrite work is my best shot at actually being productive.
Write Club update: A tier two bounce from Wily Writers. Response time, seven weeks.
Current Music: "Can't Get This Stuff No More"--Van Halen
My second book is out in a week, which kicks off a very busy summer--after Memorial weekend, which I'll spend with my mom. Then, in order:
It also doesn't mention the, you know, day job, which is 40-hours-a-weekish per usual, though hey, at least there are 2 paid holidays in there, plus a handful of vacation days.
So, if I don't want to DO anything this summer? Or fall? This eight-week stretch is why.
Ding dong, the draft is dead.
That's "The Heart's Filthy Lesson," handed in at exactly the contracted length (10K: The manuscript is 10K manuscript (40 pages in manuscript format) ~9.3K MS Word.)
This old features writer still has enough column-inch damage that it feels awfully good to dial it after running 25% long on that damned book last month. *g*
Now there's just one more June 1 deadline I should really try to hit. And, oh yeah, a cross-country flight, two ten hour drives, and a convention guest gig in the middle.
Where's my fucking Wonder Woman icon?
Oh yeah, I'll be at Up In The Aether in Detroit this weekend with my beloved Mr. Lynch! Come out and play!
travel and appearances 2013:
Up in the Aether: Detroit, MI, May 23-27 2013
4th Street Fantasy: Minneapolis, MN, June 21-24, 2013
American Library Association (guest speaker): Chicago IL, June 28-30 2013
ConVergence: Minneapolis, MN July 4-8, 2013
Readercon: Burlington, MA, July 11-14, 2013
Space City Con: Houston, TX August 2-4, 2013 (Literary Guest of Honor)
Lone Star Con (San Antonio Worldcon): San Antonio, TX, August 29-September 1 2013
Context: Columbus, OH, September 27-29 2013 (GoH)
Signing (and Scott Lynch's The Republic of Thieves book launch!) : Pandemonium, Central Square, Cambridge MA, October 8th 2013
NYC ComiCon: NY NY, October 11th 2013 (only)
Viable Paradise: Oak Bluffs MA, October 12-16 2013
World Fantasy Convention: Brighton England UK, October 31-November 3, 2013
Popular Science flash: April 22, 2013
Steles of the Sky final: May 1, 2013
"The Heart's Filthy Lesson": July 1, 2013
"Dark Leader": April 2013
"Green and Dying": June 1, 2013
Hieroglyph story: August 10, 2013
"Something's Gotta Eat T. rexes": October 2013
An Apprentice to Elves: ?
Karen Memory: January 6, 2014
travel and appearances:
RavenCon: North Chesterfield, Virginia, April 25-27th, 2014 (Guest of Honor)
ConVergence: Minneapolis, MN, July 3-7, 2014
Finncon: Jyväskylä, Finland, July 11-13, 2014 (Guest of Honor)
Worldcon: London, England, August 14-17, 2014
No fixed deadline:
Smile (unless its name is actually Salt Water)
Untitled Gangland Urban Fantasy That Keeps Bugging Me
"Untitled Space Opera Thingy" aka "Periastron"
"On Safari in R'lyeh and Carcosa with Gun and Camera"
"This Chance Planet"
"Patience and Fortitude"
"A Time to Reap"