My WordPress Pro Tip of the… um, weekend?

got the feverSo here’s a thing. WordPress issues updates from time to time… they just released version 4.4, named “Clifford” after yet another jazz musician I’m unfamiliar with. And generally speaking, each release has some cool thing!

If you watch the video after you do the update, you will instantly learn about the new features. You may not want them; you may never use them. In fact, this may be the case this time ’round, for me. I’m faintly interested in playing with Clifford’s post embedding thing, but it’s no dealbreaker.

But once or twice a year you’ll think (or possibly bellow) YOU FIXED THAT? I HATED THAT!! And the two minutes you spent will have been so very worthwhile.


Spring Cleaning, Autumn Style

write memeI have archived and locked the pre-2015 entries on my Livejournal, as part of a wider process of tidying up and looking over material from the past, the better to eventually create an official archive. I won’t shut down LJ, which is now a mirror for my WordPress site. Those of you who read it there, rather than here, will still see posts, business as usual. I’ve simply closed the door for awhile on a ten year chapter of my life that, mostly, doesn’t seem very relevant to the now. I’ll browse through, over time, and cherry pick out any good bits for reposting.

This journal-combing process extends back in time to the pre-Internet era; I kept diaries when I was in my teens, and I’ve been looking back at those too, sometimes with surprise and delight, often with embarrassment. Teenaged alyx telewittered a lot, OMG, so much, and affected to care about hockey, and had handwriting that makes my current scrawl look like the calligraphy of some ancient, highly trained Empress of Japan. At fourteen, I documented my early menstrual cycles in bracingly gross detail, and (cringe) occasionally with diagrams. We should send someone back in time to teach the concept of TMI to the little children of Alberta, perhaps sometime in the early Seventies.

Cool discoveries abound, too, though: teen Alyx drew a lot of cartoons, weird distorted bobblehead portraits. She often reports working hard on various writing projects (some original, some fanfic) and she read a shocking number of books.

Year fourteen is the only of the handwritten diaries I’ve reviewed in detail, and there’s a lot that’s missing: things I can remember that were happening at home and school that simply get no mention. This was, in part, because I couldn’t count on the entries not being read by others. I was about sixteen, I think, when I made a truly secure hiding place for my journals. We’ll have to see if the content changes when that happens, or after my past self leaves for university.

Friday I’m in Love


alyx babyThree good things about this week:

Duacon! Jessica came, she saw, and she conquered, by which I mean we walked the streets of Toronto… far more than she probably expected. It is a trait of mine that the concept of “Not far” conflates all too easily with the cold hard fact of “Five miles later, I promised we were nearly there…” Do not trust me to have a grip on distance, my dear friends. Note my walking speed and ask me for an ETA. Or stand your ground, and demand to use transit.

Okay, tangent over! We dined out, we paid homage to the cats and the hot tub, and J and I spent an afternoon on that nice beach on Toronto Island. We did not actively workshop fiction, but we did go out for multiple writing dates, and talked shop constantly.

Kelly came home! Five nanoseconds after Jessica left, Kelly had a work retreat out of town, or too far to walk, whichever distance is longer. About the night apart, the less said the better. But it was a joy to watch the purple dot of my darling’s GPS coordinates inching home along the major commuter routes yesterday evening. I did this using an app that the iStore calls Find My Friends. It was even more of a joy to have her back home again.

Oh, what was the third best thing this week? Was it watermelons? Seeing horse cops yesterday? Having someone contact me to ask for a secret spy name of their very own, thereby indicating that my sense of humor is not, in fact, a trial to all who know me? (I wasn’t actually worried about that last bit.) Getting a reprint request this morning? Or was it… turning The Nature of a Pirate in to my editor at Tor? Oh yeah, that last thing. Let’s definitely go with that.

Today’s victory dance shall be… the Charleston!

In unrelated news, my WordPress page has about 24,000 users, most of whom have the sort of names and e-mail addresses that lead one to believe they are spammy hacky bastards, as opposed to real humans interested in my blog. Is this problematic?

Metablogging – should I close my WP blog to comments?

imageMost of the comment action when I post an entry happens at my personal Facebook, where I have a fair number of followers and where my chattiest fans and friends tend to be active.  If I shut down comments here, all of that action will either happen there or on Livejournal, which still mirrors my posts.

People would, of course, still be able to send me e-mails via the A.M. Dellamonica website. All I’d really be doing is concentrating the conversations about my blog posts into a smaller number of venues.

This is one of those rare occasions when I’m asking for advice and opinions. Does your blog allow comments? Have you shut this feature down, as many people seem (lately) to be? Does your site have a “here’s why there’s no comments enabled?” section? I’m interested in all the pros and cons.

Heroine Roundup, Yee Haw!

full_wildthingsNow that we have more than a dozen Heroine Question interviews in the can, I feel as though an index would be a nice thing to have. If you prefer to simply browse the most recent interviews, they are here for the squeezing. If not, I present the following list of authors, with interview links and a link to one of their books:


The first time I did an interview series on my blog, I asked long, complicated questions. Though the Journeys series–which is about how established SF writers like Jack Dann and Walter Jon Williams got to that point–is really interesting, the essays are lengthy. I like a good chewy read as much as the next human, and I’m a little appalled by the tl;dr phenomenon. Still, after I’d done a blog tour or two, I felt a little as though the incredibly long interview was an imposition on my guests.

So this series is meant to keep it simple. Initially, I’ve been asking three things:

  1. Is there a literary heroine on whom you imprinted as a child? A first love, a person you wanted to become as an adult, a heroic girl or woman you pretended to be on the playground at recess?
  2. Can you remember what it was she did or what qualities she had that captured your affections and your imagination so strongly?
  3. How does she compare to the female characters in your work? Is she their literary ancestor? Do they rebel against all she stands for? What might your creations owe her?
After a few interviews had appeared, a bonus question came into the mix:
  • How do you feel about the word heroine? In these posts, I am specifically looking for female authors’ female influences, whether those women they looked up to were other writers or Anne of Green Gables. Does the word heroine have a purpose that isn’t served by equally well by hero?


The idea is to give the interviewee the option to keep it short and sweet, if they choose–to shoot me three quick answers and a biography/book cover, and to hopefully give us all something to think about in the process.