Category Archives: Travel

Propitious Birds (Toronto Day 532)

imageA thing about living right downtown here is I mostly see sparrows and pigeons. Starlings, sometimes. Grackles and gulls, for sure. I’ve had cardinals and finches in the tree outside my window, there’s a young raptor who taunts me on Queen Street when I’m out without the big zoom camera, and I can go to the lakeshore for ducks and cormorants. It’s not as though the birds aren’t here.

But, day to day, it’s mostly sparrowkind.

In Vancouver last week I caught glimpses of all my faves: crows (commuting crows, by the hundreds!), starlings, great blue herons, three species of duck, bushtits, cormorants, and a glimpse of northern flicker. I thought I’d have to content myself with the scolding of a Stellar’s jay in the bushes, but it turns out my sister-in-law feeds them. I almost collided with one Monday on my way out the door; it was headed to a clutch of peanuts on the kitchen windowsill.

It was satisfying and soul-nourishing, and a nice concrete example of a difference, neither good nor bad, between Then and Now. But not truly between Here and There, because if I’d got a house outside of the downtown core, I’d be hip-deep in feathery company.

Thankful for a whirlwind tour of #NYCC!

imageNew York Comic Con was an enormous, delightful, fan-filled spectacle of an experience, and I was thrilled to be able to go there, to meet some readers and get to know all of Team Tor a little better. I got to talk magic systems with Sam Sykes, Ilona and Gordon Andrews, Kim Harrison, George Hagen and Jeff Somers at a standing-room only panel. I signed books, gave out Child of a Hidden Sea buttons, and met a lot of people who had, previously, been e-mail contacts.

In and around the event, Kelly and I visited The Frick Collection, the Met, Chelsea Market and the High Line. We saw Cabaret, with Alan Cummings, at the former Studio 54. I tried on some dresses at the Desigual store, but failed to commit to any of them, and walked through Central Park a couple times. In the process, I got a much much better sense of where things are in Midtown.

What else? We ate many pastries, and actually saw Times Square both by day and by night. (Our decision to skip it on the previous trip was more or less borne out, but I admit I wasn’t entirely immune to the glitter and flash of it all.) We drank much coffee at Gregory’s, and much better coffee at Blue Bottle, and discovered that the Food Network has a fantastically beautiful loading dock of all things:

On Sunday we went to the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn with Ellen Datlow, Rick Bowes and Terence Taylor, and then we looked around the neighborhood (which includes a superhero supply store!) for a little before going back to our new digs in the West Village.

Then on Monday we flew home to two well-cared for but pleasingly happy to see us kittens. By then we were in such kitteh withdrawal that, despite having been favored with a bit of love from the cats at our Air B&B, we were watching the Greatest Hits of the Kitten Channel on Kelly’s phone during take-off.

Autumn Tour Dates

imageQuite a few things that have been in the works for awhile are locking into place now. As some of you already know, I’ll be at the Vancouver Writers Fest, appearing with William Gibson and Sebastien de Castell, on October 25th. Tickets are on sale now – I’d frankly love to have a big hometown turnout.

Afterward, I figure we’ll head somewhere as a mob, grab some decent, affordable food, and hang out. Let me know if you’re in.

On the 28th, I’ll be reading and signing Child of a Hidden Sea at the University Bookstore in Bellevue, Washington. The event’s at 8:00 p.m. and I’m taking the train in that very day, so the get-together window will probably be afternoon/early evening. Once travel logistics have come together, I’ll let you know.

And before all of that happens, I’ll be appearing at the New York City Comicon, on Friday October 10th, with a panel on Friday called Playing with Magic. Here’s the description:

Magic is central to fantasy, whether it takes place in our world or one completely foreign. But there are many different kinds of magic: from shape-shifting to mind-reading to weather control. How does the use of magic affect storytelling? Join A.M. Dellamonica (Child of a Hidden Sea), Ilona and Gordon Andrews (Burn for Me), C.L. Wilson (Winter King), George Hagen (Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle), Jaclyn Dolamore (Dark Metropolis) and Jeff Somers (We Are Not Good People) as they discuss incorporating magic into the fabric of their worlds with moderator Lev Grossman (The Magicians trilogy).

Kelly will be coming along on this one. We’ll be in Manhattan for a couple of days.

Chaos at the Casa

Some of you probably know that I am just back from a vacation in Austin, Texas. It was super to get away, to see dear friends and visit the desert. I kept about six hundred of the pictures I shot–we saw everything from scaled quail to a fox!–and these are percolating out to my various photo sites.

Coming up in the next very short while: I will be at the Ad Astra SF Convention this weekend. This’ll be your first chance, if you’re local, to hear me read from Child of a Hidden Sea. We are wrapping up the paperwork portion of our condo purchase next week, and plunging into a few necessary renovations before we move. My next UCLA Extension Writers’ Program course, Writing the Fantastic, opens on April 14th. (There may not be slots available right now, but if it has filled there is a waiting list.)

Then we move to the new place! In, seriously, three weeks!

Much is happening, in other words. How about all of you?

Cat Bags

I bought the bag covered in cat butts in Rome, at the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary.

Cat bags 1&2

I bought it mostly to give money to the worthy cause of kibble, veterinary care and spaying for the cats of Rome, but it turned out that bag was not only the lightest, best-organized, all-around handiest purse-like object I’ve ever owned, but it got compliments wherever it went. Seriously. Women with fashion knowledge were all, like, “OMG, that bag!”

Had I known, I’d have bought five more and spread the kibble love.

Anyway. It’s been two years, just about, since Rome and the bag is dying. I contemplated calling Rome and having a pointless conversation in my appalling Italian: Avete … um, do you still have this bag? Would you consider shipping this bag? Does any of you cat-loving women know from Paypal? And then I got over myself and went to Kelly’s new fave bag store in the PATH.

There I found one bag that had the same double strap, of the same length, and virtually the same pockets. (It’s heavier, which is not a plus, but what can you do?) And what the heck, peeps? It too is covered in cats.

Will it garner the praise of its predecessor? Hard to say.

Cities I have seen – the Pinboard

I am filled with love for Pinterest. I can’t help myself: sticking things up on walls so I can see them is pretty much my preferred way of remembering things. (As opposed to, you know, actually remembering them.) And though I tend to ‘do’ Pinterest with what I think of as downtime, it’s remarkably productive for downtime. All those pretty nature pictures, especially the nudibranches, really are research for the current trilogy. And the writing essays, and the book covers–it’s just handy to have this particular bunch of virtual baskets.

So one of the boards I’ve been assembling is simply a list of cities I’ve traveled to. What’s been fun about this is I keep remembering other places I’ve been. I wouldn’t say I’m very well traveled, but this makes me realize how lucky I have been.

The board is here.

Please do tell me all about your favorite pinboard!

Things both golden and lovely

I began this blog entry in Cafe Calabria at about 7:30 this morning, having had an amazing brainstorming session. I’ve decided I will have a draft of the new novel, the third set in Stormwrack (where “Among the Silvering Herd” takes place), by June 28th. The idea is to have it Frankensteined by the time Kelly and I go to San Francisco for, among other things, Les Contes d’Hoffmann featuring deitylike tenor Matthew Polenzani.

There was an incredible sunrise pouring over the roofs of the buildings across Commercial Drive, but I wasn’t positioned to take advantage of it, photographically. So, since I can’t share today’s dawn with you, here’s Matthew:

Down Memory Lane in Nevada

Kelly, Barb and I spent the holiday season in Reno, Nevada, visiting my relations and touring Kelly around some of the significant-to-me places from childhood. This, for example, is the view from my grandparents’ front window:

The Grandparents' Ranch

We went out to the ranch in Yerington on December 24th – my aunt had basically kicked us out of the house so she could make bird and ham and other holiday feast items without meddling from the rest of us.

One site on my must-see list is the now-flooded Anaconda Copper Mine. So peaceful-looking, no? So very contaminated, I’m afraid.

Anaconda Copper Mine

I also wanted to revisit a piece of playground equipment that looms large in my memory.
Rocket Slide
Though Barb doesn’t remember the rocketslide, she was nevertheless able to find it (Yerington is that small) and she took these two of me regressing to the age of six.
Rocket Slide