Kelly and I have been in our home near the Art Gallery of Ontario for 275 days as of today, and while we’re counting things I’ll add that we got the cats 252 days ago. (Yes, I derive insane amounts of pleasure from the Days Until app.) Obviously we settled in quite quickly, especially as it was such a small move compared to the one in 2013.
Still, it takes awhile to sort out all the little bits and pieces, to make everything cozy and satisfying. We had trips and company and more trips; it took awhile to nail down a bunch of little annoyances, like patching a hole in the counter, fixing the floor and getting the closet door fixed. Actually, we obliged a recent guest to do that last thing for us. Thank you, Bill!
Something that has helped lately was Kelly’s having discovered Posterjack, an Ontario company that makes it ludicrously easy to get nice framed prints of some of our favorite photos.
Last week we hung three photos we took while rambling around Italy… how many days ago did we leave? Oh, a mere 1139! The first is an earthquake-damaged fresco in the Palazzo dei Normanni, otherwise known as the Sicilian parliament. The second is on display at Il Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli. The third is a bit of street art, also from Naples, that Kelly shot while we were wandering around on New Year’s Day.
Speaking of Naples, Italy, and the Archeological Museum, the Royal Ontario Museum is getting Pompeii artifacts this June. Witness their glee!
They’re excited. I’m excited. Are you excited? One hundred and thirty-nine sleeps!
I am sitting in my office with Chinchilla stretched out across my lap, occupying the space atop my left hand, and so I am dictating this blog entry on my phone.
Fiction writing continues to be in revision/wrap-up mode: I have been rereading the last couple novels in the trilogy, just reacquainting myself with every little detail and thinking about where I might insert one more story element into the last book. I am simultaneously trying to trim a novelette down to 7500 words, the better to send it to a specific horror market. (160 words to go!)
Over at UCLA, Novel Writing II opens next week: I will have a dozen writers working on 50 pages apiece, for 10 weeks.
I finished reading Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies on the weekend,and the history book of the moment is A.N. Wilson’s The Victorians. The next novel I will read is for a review, so you’ll hear about it when I’m done.
And television this winter is currently taking the form of re-watching the Laurie/Fry Jeeves and Wooster, watching Marvel’s Agent Carter, and slipping in the occasional episode of Community.
I have not been out to take pictures in a couple weeks, but yesterday on my way to get my glasses adjusted I did get a great look at what was almost certainly a peregrine falcon, fluffed up against the cold as it sat on a branch on D’Arcy Street. I will spare you all the pixelated phone shots. It was, however, miraculous.
cover and illustrations by Charles Vess
My short story “The Dream Eaters” is featured this week on the Far-Fetched Fables podcast. This is a fairy story I wrote for Ellen Datlow and Sharyn November a number of years ago, for The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm. It takes place in Kasqueam, the fairy city that overlays and underlies Vancouver, and makes faekind out to be quite the predatory species.
Here’s the opening:
Mo Cottonsmith had just turned sixteen when she started Lopside Fashions, with cash she stole from a neighborhood fizz dealer. The money wasn’t enough to sustain a business, but Mo counted on getting lucky. She believed in making her own luck, too: thanks to a roving copcam, her first creation just happened to debut on all the morning news shows.
The dress was daffodil yellow with simulated dewdrops on the bodice and a chainmail hoop skirt. Mo’s pal Juanita Jones was modeling, and the footage showed her fighting off a couple of deviants.
Voice-over artist Heidi Hotz Nourse does a great job with the story; I hope you enjoy it, and the other piece in the issue, a short story called “The Flying Woman,” by Meghan McCarron.
illustration by Richard Andersen
I am underslept this morning, and thus in no fit state to write intelligently about writing technique or craft, so instead, some bits and pieces of news:
As some of you may have seen on Facebook, I have sold a third Gale story to Stacy Hill at Tor.com. It’s called “The Glass Galago,” and it is next in the sequence that begins with “Among the Silvering Herd” and moves on to ““The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti”.”
I saw all three instalments of the Hobbit this weekend, and I find I don’t have much to say about it. It went down better, in some ways, because I had just rewatched the extended Lord of the Rings. Of course, it also suffered in comparison, especially since both the storytelling and characterization were so much weaker. Bilbo’s play with the Arkenstone was brilliant, and nicely executed. But the Bilbo/Thurin relationship never gelled for me. The actors and direction were a bit too wooden, and as a result the emotional beats were as often miss as hit.
On the small screen and only two episodes in, I am very much enjoying Marvel’s Agent Carter.
It’s gray outside as I write this, and dense-grained snowflakes are falling swiftly from above, their descent lines barely aslant, as if there’s no breeze at all. It was chilly and windy all weekend, but I still found it more invigorating than miserable. As long as the snow itself isn’t wet, the rest seems quite bearable.
I am not someone who sets of a lot of New Year’s resolutions, but I do think of myself as having a sort of writer’s fiscal year, and I do set out goals in January. The biggies for this year are the actual work of getting A Daughter of No Nation ready for its November release, getting the third book in the trilogy (tentatively titled The Nature of A Pirate) well on its way, and finishing up or marketing some short fiction projects I finished last year. Finally, there’s a medium sized teaching-related project – basically, all of my virtual classroom materials for UCLA need sprucing up. The trio of critique posts, the first of which sang the praises of Die Hard was part of this last project.
This is plenty. It means 2015 will be a year of revision, research, and planning of future projects.
I’m sure to write some new stuff, especially since generally speaking I can’t help myself. But this isn’t likely to be one of those years where I write two new novels from scratch. (Though I do already have some stretch goals, and I find it hard to refuse anthology invitations from my friends, and I always enjoy doing NanowriMo when the conditions are right…)
What about all of you? Do you make artistic slash business plans at this time of year, for any or all of your endeavors?