Americans who can find North and South Korea on a map are more likely to prefer diplomacy to war.
Which country is our strongest ally? After dumping (on) Britain and Europe, Republicans are leaning toward Australia.
Being forgetful may mean your brain is working properly. Do I really have to remember the essay I wrote for the NYS English Regents exam?
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer's dissent warns that the US is turning into a prison state. She's not wrong. Read this.
Body shape analysis with kittens.
Obama on the Trumplackofcare bill. Ignore the grandiosity of the webpage and drop down to the speech. And the Congressional Budget Office's crunched numbers show 22 million would lose health care. Essentially, it is the cynical and uncaring RetroRepublicans trading lives for tax cuts.
And an editorial on why people are in politics, and how this week will define them. Quoting ( behind the cut: )
Yes, it would give me writing time, but still...
And Roo is about running me crazy with his newfound insistence on chewing on fingers and grabbing at keyboard keys and snatching food and so forth.
So yeah, I'm a little stressed tonight. I feel sorry for my Mag7 boys and girls.
I did manage to get 1000 words on the novel. Finished a chapter, had the Ladies show up to be cryptic and strangely threatening, and then give Sinead support. I'm pretty sure this is going to be about a 40K to 50K novel at most. Which is fine. I've passed the 30K mark as of today so I'm good for the 3 novels in 3 months challenge.
Now to see if the cold keeps me from getting the story finished before I go off to the wilds of Montana for camping.
Goals for tomorrow include surviving the cold, work, writing, and that's about it. Oh, and getting the POD version done for this week's short story. Didn't work on that today because my brain is gone.
Off to very early bath and very early bedtime with plenty of cold medicine in hopes of kicking this cold quickly. Goodnight all!
Shadow Hunters nomination! The tag: "AU: 2x03 True love's kiss awakens Alec Malec accidental soulbond + parabatai (Shadowhunters)" requires some clarification because we are confused. Please comment and explain a bit more what you mean.
Leverage and Lethal Weapon nominations! Please remove your crossover ships (replace them if you wish): Relationship: Martin Riggs (Lethal Weapon) & Mr. Quinn (Leverage) under Lethal Weapon and Relationship: Lindsey McDonald (AtS) & Eliot Spencer under Leverage.
EDIT 6-27-17: Someone has thoughtfully posted a copycat recipe. This will be useful after the special concludes in August. Meanwhile go throw money at the people who invented this, in hopes they will make more awesome food.
- Mutants and Masterminds
- Wraith: The Oblivion
- Aeon limited edition
- Star Wars Core Rulebook (dhampyresa, do you want this? I'm happy to send it to you--it's Wizards of the Coast's d20 system)
- Mage: The Ascension (we may already have this BUT I DON'T CARE)
- Changeling Storyteller's Guide (now I just have to find the core book for Changeling)
- Wraith Player's Guide
- Battlefleet Gothic 2002 Annual (I looooooooove the aesthetic of the Battlefleet Gothic miniatures and am sorry I only own one, which is still unassembled in its blister pack)
- Earthdawn (I used to own this before my stepmother threw it out)
- Ars Magica (ditto)
- and a stray issue of Playboy July 1995 because it was sitting there lonely and I am easily amused
PLEASE, VAN, CONTINUE ACQUIRING AND SELLING USED RPGs. I WILL COME BUY THEM!!!
This is like Christmas.
Different types of exercise affect different parts of the brain.
A disillusioned Reaganite explains why he's not a Democrat. Read this one.
Nobel-winning economists oppose Trumpcareless.
Ways to stay motivated in this shit-shellacked era of epic stupid.
Kentuckians are represented in the Senate by McConnell and Rand Paul. They have a lot to lose if Trumpuncare passes, and they're letting McConnell know that.
Salvatore Dali's body is being exhumed for a paternity test that may give a lot of his estate to someone nobody expected.
How much traffic on Eclipse Day, Aug. 21?
Gay Pride marchers carrying a Star of David were kicked out of the Chicago parade.
Russia has recalled the ambassador at the center of the Trump investigation.
A review of the status of TrumpnoIdontcare, from The Slatest.
How Harry Potter enchanted the world.
How Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Jews and some Christians dress for worship.
America's 11 most interesting mayors.
Technology catches up with tech workers in India.
How gay should a gay bar be?
Congress, Amartya Sen and the Saudi-imposed famine in Yemen.
Dogs calming cheetahs.
EDIT 6/27/17: Round 2, I watered plants. Then I hauled 4 garden carts full of brush from previous projects to the brush pile in the ritual meadow. I have not yet picked up the giant ring of trimmings around the purple-and-white garden though.
EDIT 6/27/17: Round 3, I sprayed week killer in the old raspberry patch and in the streetside yard. In some places there is poison ivy as far as the eye can see. >_< I expected that, because it is a "bandage" plant that appeared in disturbed earth, but I do not want it here. I have firmly suggested that Gaia patch the ground with something else, such as the grass I spent two weeks planting there. Some of the grass has grown in beautifully, but other areas remain stubbornly bare dirt or noxious weeds. Ah well, it's a work in progress.
Since then I have made a point of reading books on game design when I can find them, and the occasional article on the web. While I have released a couple of small interactive fiction games (IFs) and the narrative game Winterstrike (Failbetter Games), I don't really consider myself a game designer. It's more in the nature of something I do on the side because I find it illuminating to consider alternate ways to approaching narrative; I think primarily as a writer of static fiction. And for the purposes of the hexarchate, it's research because I decided that one of the factions (the Shuos) abuses game design techniques in their pedagogy, and one of the characters (Jedao) is a gamer.
The Kobold Guide to Board Game Design, ed. Mike Selinker, is a collection of essays by various designers. I was originally going to read the book through and do a report on the book overall, but I liked the essays enough to do individual reports on some of them. ( cut for length )
Thank you to the person who donated this book!
Jack was the kind of character that I wish I'd met when I was older -- I think I met him once when I was 4, which wasn't that memorable. As I said, he was a baker, and he was engaged to this girl that everyone in the family liked (which might have been difficult, since Jack was the youngest of 9 and the family tended to be protective of their littlest brother, never mind that he was in his 20s.) And on the day of the wedding ... she didn't show up. Neither did his best man. They'd eloped.
It broke his heart. He couldn't stay in the Ottawa Valley any more; it was just too uncomfortable. So he took a job as a cook on a ranch in Alberta, took the train west, and came back at Christmas when he could. He taught my mom to knit, because he knew how to knit his own socks, and held her skeins of yarn for her while she wound them into balls, telling her stories of the ranch all the time. He taught her how to make piecrust, and a cake that wouldn't fall, and a lot more. Nellie would write to him and get frustrated when he didn't reply -- someone from the ranch would stop at the post office in town once a week or so -- so after two attempts that got no answer one year she put on the address, "If not claimed within two weeks, addressee is deceased; please return to sender." He wrote back really fast after that, and made a big joke of it.
When he came back during World War I, both his parents were dead (his mother a few years earlier but his father died in about 1917-1918) and were buried out in the little cemetery by the river church, without a headstone. He went around to visit all his brothers and sisters, asking for a little money to pay a stone cutter, and got nowhere. And yeah, he could understand that farmers and small merchants had a hard time during wartime, but there was family pride at stake too. So he dug into his own pocket, and one day a gravestone, a tall, elegant granite marker, appeared over their graves. Engraved on it was, "Sacred to the memory of Daniel and Catherine McNeely," and their dates and I think (it's been a while since I saw it) a pious verse of some sort. But in another line, underneath, "Erected by their son, John McNeely." (Never mind his three older brothers, and five sisters.) Nobody in the family took it badly, and some found it really funny, but under it all people were grateful that it had been done. And they all thought it was very much a Jack thing to do.
When he died in the late 1960s, after several years in a nursing home back in the Ottawa Valley, near family, he was buried near his parents, and the marker was altered to add his name and dates.
So, please, use Uncle Jack's Piecrust Recipe, and welcome, and pass it along. I don't want it to vanish into the place where good memories go when nobody remembers them any more.
I have a linkback poem, "The Emulsification of Humankind" (14 verses, Torn World).
If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week. (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts. I am now.) Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog.
( New to the fishbowl? Read all about it! )
How often is the thing that brings a story to life a question of grammar? And yet, I know exactly what Linda Nagata means. Here she is, explaining how verb tenses turned out to be the key:
If there ever was one bright spark, one bit of insight, one unexpected plot twist that brought The Last Good Man to life, I donâ€™t remember it. What I do remember was how flat and uninteresting the manuscript felt to me in the earliest days.
This wasnâ€™t an unusual situation for me. Beginnings are hard and it can take time to work out a tone and style that feels right. So I kept pushing forward, telling myself that if I kept going, the essential spark that every novel needs would eventually ignite.
It didnâ€™t happen. Not for over 30,000 hard-fought words. Sure, the story was advancing but I wasnâ€™t happy with the tone or with the way it was being toldâ€”and I didnâ€™t know why.
Iâ€™d done my preliminary workâ€”a lot of preliminary work. Iâ€™d been tossing ideas into the literary stew pot for months, revising my synopsis again and again. This was a very near-future story centered on a small private military companyâ€”contract soldiers of the sort hired by corporations, NGOs, and the US government. These were â€śwhite hatâ€ť mercenaries, choosy about their clients, working only for the good guys, and though they were a small force, that force was amplified by the autonomous robotic weaponry they could deploy. And I had an unusual protagonist in True Brighton.
Middle-aged women are not generally considered cool enough to serve as the lead in a techno-thriller, but I wanted to give it a shotâ€”I wanted the challengeâ€”so I made True forty-nine years old, a retired US Army veteran and mother of three who is still fit, strong, and agile enough to qualify for field missions.
All the pieces seemed right. For months Iâ€™d sensed the potential in this story, but still somehow the spark was missing.
Up to this point Iâ€™d been writing in third person, past tense. Thenâ€”30,000 words in and on the verge of despairâ€”I chanced to read a novel written in third person, present tense and I was intrigued. Could I write The Last Good Man in third person present?
Present tense is commonly used with first person, where the narrator relates the story using â€śIâ€ť or â€śwe.â€ť Iâ€™d done a whole trilogy in first-person present. But Iâ€™d never written in third-person present. Inspired by the novel I was reading, I decided to try it.
And I liked the energy of it! It was just a technical change, but at last the tone of the story felt right. I continued to move ahead, writing additional pages every day in present tense, and at the end of the day I would revise my past work, gradually shifting it from past tense to present, adding detail as I did.
I was far, far happier with the feel of the story. The change in tense had given it the spark it neededâ€”or maybe it had given me the spark I needed. Whichever it was, I never considered shifting back.
From the cover copy:
Scarred by war. In pursuit of truth.
Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. Sheâ€™s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost.
â€ś…a thrilling novel that lays bare the imminent future of warfare.â€ť â€”Publishers Weekly starred review
Linda is a Nebula and Locus-award-winning writer, best known for her high-tech science fiction, including the Red trilogy, a series of near-future military thrillers. The first book in the trilogy, The Red: First Light, was a Nebula and John W. Campbell Memorial-award finalist, and named as a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2015. Her short fiction has appeared in Analog, Asimovâ€™s, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and several anthologies.
Linda has lived most of her life in Hawaii, where sheâ€™s been a writer, a mom, a programmer of database-driven websites, and an independent publisher. She lives with her husband in their long-time home on the island of Maui.
The vultures are very excited about this potential new toy. 'YAY NEW PERCH/SUNNING POST FOR US Y/Y?' There have been several attempts to approach and investigate, climb and land on the poles.
Mousie was last seen stomping back up to the back field, muttering something about winged cats.
(The solution will involve taking it back down until her friends actually show up, so the birds don't get tangled up or hurt.)
[EDIT: Nope, never mind, they have suddenly Decided they hate the net, and now they won't even so much as fly over it. They land all the way on the other side of the field, walk around it and into the barn. They are so weird.]
*random* One of these days I will get around to swapping out my turkey buzzard icon for a pic of our vultures.
IN other, less fun news, our insurance company sent us a list of the repairs they want us to make on the outbuildings, including the barn. I would love to fix up our barn too! Being able to preserve that bit of history would be amazing; I would love nothing better! Please send us a big box of money, and we'll get right on that.
In more heartening news, I woke up to more responses to my new job hunting inquiries and quite a bit of activity around my profile, so maybe the repairs can happen sooner rather than later.
Also the twins have had their annual physical so they are cleared to participate in Sheriff's Youth Week; we are forced to conclude that there is no evidence that they are either aliens or changelings.
( Pinch Hit #9 )
( Pinch Hit #10 )
Not Prime Time 2017 (with schedule) | Prime Time Madness 2017
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2017 nomination tag set
Dear Prime Time Player on DW
2017 Requests available on AO3 | in a txt file
Prompt: "ghost consciousness."
The house had lain ruined for decades upon decades, quiescent at the edge of the town. Once, it was said, a fine family had dwelled there, wealthy at first, much given to parties and entertainments. The oldest people in the town still remembered the parties: the music of string quartets, and cakes decorated with spun-sugar ornaments, and couples dancing gaily through the night. But now none of the windows had glass in them anymore, save for a few sharded teeth, and the wind blew freely through the rooms where people had once gathered to gossip.
Nevertheless, the house was not entirely uninhabited. A ghost remained attached to the house, and it murmured to itself during the long winter nights, singing tuneless ghost-songs of the shapes that shadows make in the dark, and the sounds that mirrors make when no one is around to hear them, and footsteps in the distant wood. The ghost did not remember the name of the person it had been, once upon a time, but neither did this make it unhappy.
In time a pregnant cat moved into the house for the shelter it offered. The ghost did not remember much about cats, except that they liked cream, and it had no such thing to give the cat. But it had other things to offer. It encouraged the old closets to throw their doors open and disgorge their rotted linens so that the cat would have something to nest in, and it offered all house's hiding places, as well as the lullaby of the crooning wind.
For her part, the cat was a pragmatist. She did not share human prejudices against ghosts, and a ruined house was as good as any other place for her to raise kittens. She merely made sure that there were no raccoons or the like already occupying the place, and then she set to building her nest in earnest.
Cats are not the most talkative of folk, but this cat was friendlier than most. She asked the ghost why it lingered in the house, instead of going to its rest the way humans usually did. While she didn't always put credence in human stories, she had heard that ghosts usually stayed in the realm of the living because they had left some task unfinished.
The ghost said to the cat, "The only task is the task of the house itself. It was my home when I lived, and it remains my home in death."
"Then I am sorry I cannot help you," the cat said, dismayed in spite of the very pressing matter of the kittens she expected to arrive in a matter of days. "A human could help you restore the house, but I am a cat. I may have clever paws and whiskers, but they are no good for building."
The ghost's laughter gusted through the house, although it tried to keep the worst of the cold from the cat. "What do I care about restoration?" it said. "Perhaps once, when I had flesh, it would have mattered to me. But now I am a creature of shadows and dust and ash, and this house suits what I am now. I can keep it safe for you and your kittens. They can play in the house's halls and grow to adulthood without fear of being chased out by human owners; is that not enough?"
"If that is the case," the cat replied, "I shall gratefully accept your hospitality, and my kittens and I will keep your house free of mice."
"It is a very old bargain," the ghost said, "and if it suits you, it suits me."
Two days later, the kittens were born without fuss, or more fuss than the usual, anyway, and in the years to come, generations of cats made their home in the house. They probably live there still. As for the ghost, it has been busy adding the songs of cats to its repertoire. The result is noisy, but none of them mind.
As with the first two volumes in this series, all profits go to benefit Con or Bust.
Here’s the full table of contents:
- Introduction by K. Tempest Bradford
- Heroes and Monsters, by T. S. Bazelli
- Notes from the Meat Cage, by Fran Wilde
- What Color Are My Heroes? by Mari Kurisato
- The Zeroth Law Of Sex in Science Fiction, by Jennifer Cross
- Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities, by Alliah
- Erasing Athena, Effacing Hestia, by Alex Conall
- Not So Divergent After All, by Alyssa Hillary
- Skins, by Chelsea Alejandro
- The Doctor and I, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
- My Family Isn’t Built By Blood, by Jaime O. Mayer
- Lost in Space: A Messy Voyage Through Fictional Universes, by Carrie Sessarego
- Decolonise The Future, by Brandon O’Brien
- Natives in Space, by Rebecca Roanhorse
- I Would Fly With Dragons, by Sean Robinson
- Adventures in Online Dating, by Jeremy Sim
- Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon
- Shard of a Mirage, by MT O’Shaughnessy
- Unseen, Unheard, by Jo Gerrard
Huge thanks to the contributors for sharing their stories and experiences. I’ve learned so much from earlier volumes in this series, and this one was no different.
And hey, if you haven’t seen the previous volumes…
If you’re a reviewer and would like a copy, please contact me and let me know your preferred format and where your reviews are published.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.