Elliot Arthur Thompson and his mom are both doing good, and we're now back home. I'm gonna be spending most of my time this week helping out with the recovery and the baby. Both Oliver and Claire are thrilled (and wish they were home from school to help out as well).
About four years ago, I read a book. It was a book by Greg Van Eekhout called Norse Code. I first met Greg through the Viable Paradise mailing list, and LiveJournal, and had gotten to hang out with him at a few conventions. I had heard several of his stories at Escape Pod and PodCastle, and I loved them all. So, when Norse Code - his debut novel - came out, I was pumped. I'd heard Greg talk about it, liked the idea of Ragnarok and a little known beach bum of a Norse God. It sounded like good times.
I bought the book, took this picture of Claire "reading" it and posted it to LJ, then went to Hawaii for vacation with my family. I always take way too many books on vacation. Even now, when I can read eBooks, I take hard copies too. That trip was no exception, and Norse Code ended up being the only book I actually managed to read.
I enjoyed the hell out of it. It was way more fun than I thought Ragnarok could ever be.
( So, all this to say, I recorded the audiobook of Norse Code!Collapse )
Things have been pretty wild here. Additionally, my work has blocked LJ, so...that pretty much sucks.
But here's a quick update:
Briarpatch, the audiobook written by Tim Pratt and read by me, is now available at Audible.com! It's an amazing book, and I'm thrilled that I was able to read it! It's just an amazing contemporary fantasy - it's dark, twisted, sexy, funny, and really heartfelt. l loved every page of it, and that I was able to record it just blows my mind!
(People who have rated it have given it good ratings...no reviews yet, though.)
There's possibly more audiobook news coming, which is the other reason things have been quiet here. I am excited!
So, other stuff. The chickens. My God they're HUGE. I really need to post some more pictures of them. Hopefully they lay some eggs soon so Greg van Eekhout can come up here and make us omelletes or scrambles or whatever it is he does with eggs.
The kids are wonderful. Claire had her first sleepover (a friend at our house) last weekend. They watched one of the American Girl movies (Claire's now read almost all those books). Oliver enjoyed having Claire's friend over too, and enjoyed it even more when we went swimming at the grandparents house, and then he got to stay by himself and spend the night at his grandparents house by himself. He's slept over there lots, but never without his big sister. Being the second kid is tough, I guess.
I am not writing as much as I like (SHOCKER, I know, with all the other stuff). But I have been doing quite a bit of thinking, and I have a pretty solid idea on where I want to go next. We'll see if I get there or not.
I'm lstening to GRRM's Storm of Swords. You know, sometimes you hear so much about a series of books, that it...well, I don't think it turns me off, but it made me feel like I can put them off (probably that it was part of a larger series that's still not complete is something). But a friend of mine at work hounded me, and I listened to the first two and loved them. And Storm of Swords is easily the best thus far. I just got to that part where the character I've hated for the last three books has...well, maybe not redeemed himself, but I don't hate him as much as I did previously. That's pretty hard to do, consdering what that character did in the first place to make me hate him so much. So, yeah. Pretty amazing writing, and I'm so happy I gave in and checked these books out. I hear there's a TV show, and I should probably watch that at some point.
So, that's me. How are you all? Reading anything good? Listening to anything good? Let me know!
- Current Music:Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running
I've been sitting on this for a little while, mostly because it's so cool, I just can't wrap my brain around that it's REALLY HAPPENING. Even after I agreed to a contract. Even after I turned in the first 15 (er, 27 minutes) of my recording and it was accepted.
DUDES. I get to read the audiobook for Tim Pratt's amazing fantasy novel Briarpatch!
Yes, I think I need to type that again. I GET TO READ TIM PRATT'S BRIARPATCH!!!!!!!
I am so stoked beyond words about this, I don't even know what else to say! I keep expecting people to email me that they've changed their minds.
I love this book. I loved it immediately - as soon as I started reading it when it came out last year. And those of you who listen to PodCastle know I love being able to share and read stories with people. Seriously, if there is a word to describe how happy and excited I am about this, please leave it in the comments because I have NO CLUE.
I'm recording. The book is scheduled to be turned in to ACX by the end of July. (Not 100% sure when that means it'll come out).
Those of you further away from the publishing industry who want to know when I can take them on a ride in my private jet like Tony Stark and Rhodey in the first Iron Man, no, I am not quitting my dayjob, but I am doing what I can so that I'll be able to do more of this kind of thing. (I have been talking to people about other things. I am excited. They are excited.) And I hope this is the start of something awesome!
- Current Music:The Gaslight Anthem - American Slang
2. When I decide to listen to the next of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire books, I should really take a week off and do nothing else. Or something. I thought I might listen to A Storm of Swords immediately after a Clash of Kings, but that seems like a very dangerous (or at least, highly irresponsible) thing to do.
3. The thing that encourages me the most as a writer is when I read (or listen to) something that just absolutely knocks me on my ass and leaves me with a stupid grin, wondering how the author did that. Could I ever do that? Or have that effect on someone else? (This is not directly related to note #2.)
4. Be excellent to everyone.
5. I desperately need a vacation. In one week, I'm getting one.
Also, Anna and I asked a lot of cool people to help us do a full cast reading! Anyone who can place Rachel freaking Swirsky's voice without cheating and looking at the cast list gets a no-prize! But also: Norm Sherman, Wilson Fowlie, M. to the K. Hobson, Graeme Dunlop helped out Peter, Anna and myself hugely with this one. And we got Ann Leckie, Alasdair Stuart, our forum mods Talia and Ocicat, and Marshal Latham to put the icing on the cake as our geek chorus.
It's a looooong one, but it flies by, so go listen, and spread the word! (More Words, MORE WORDS!)
Thanks for listening!
Ah, well. Somewhere in the Impossible Dreams video library...
However, I had the immense privilege of being asked to record Ferrett Steinmetz's story "Devour" for Escape Pod, and I have to say, I'm incredibly proud to have been a part of bringing this one to the audience. When you read a story, you go over it and over it and over it, and I was (once again) impressed by how much Ferrett packed into his story. This is a dark story, but it's the best kind of dark - brimming over with humanity and love.
Ferrett's a writer to keep your eyes on, if you aren't already.
It's also an Escape Pod original, so this is currently the only place you can listen to (or read) it.
- Current Music:BRMC - The Toll
The month off was really interesting. And I don't mean interesting as a negative. I got a ton out of it - but maybe not what I thought I'd get out of it? Suffice to say, I did some writing on a daily basis, and I'm very happy about that. But that's probably another post.
Other things I've been doing:
Emma and I watched Season 1 of Downton Abbey. I liked it a lot. It made me want to revisit Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and it made me hope we'll someday see another Big Novel by Susanna Clarke.
I just finished listening to John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation and enjoyed the hell out of it. It's everything you expect from a Scalzi novel, including bacon! Actually, I was surprised how emotional I got over it in the end.
I just finished reading Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon. It's very, very fun. There's quite a bit I like about it, and Anna and I will be talking about it at a PodCastle Spotlight soon!
Also, I've watched the Spider-man preview over and over and over again. (I think it might be the best one yet, but I'm often overly optimistic about these things!)
So...how have you been?
So I'm trying to get back in the habit, and I'm writing stuff. And OMG it is hard. I've never been a fast writer, but I feel so out of shape right now it's pathetic. The worst part is, I second guess myself all the time about everything from my word choice to whether anything's happening to where is this going to inner-whine is this boring?
So I've developed a plan.
I've written a bunch of openings for different short stories, and the openings that I like the best are the ones I'm going to keep playing with, one at a time. (Although I'm still giving myself permission to write more openings.) It's kind of liberating to just try and write some good openings and not really worry about what's going to happen next. Well, I'm not sure any of them are good, but I'm having fun with them at least, and that's something.
I'm still second-guessing myself a lot, but I've gotten stuff down this week, and I'm pretty sure on at least a couple stories I'm going to go after. There the ones I keep thinking about.
I just wish Oliver wouldn't get up so early...
- Current Music:Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
I want to do a post about resolutions and stuff, but I thought I'd kick the year off by listing everything I read last year. Honestly, I think this is the most I've read (and listened to) novel-wise since my kids were born, in no small part due to Audible and the books on CD at my local library. My TBR pile is still ENORMOUS, but I blame that on reading stories for PodCastle! Anyway, it was a pretty good year for me.
My Have Read Books:
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin
Stargirl, by Jerri Spinelli
Water for Elephants, by Sara Guren (Audio)
The Broken Kingdoms, by N.K. Jemisin
The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMasters Bujold (Audio)
Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Audio)
White Cat, by Holly Black (Audio)
Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers (Audio) -
The Dragon’s Path, by Daniel Abraham
Love Wins, by Rob Bell
Hunter’s Run, by George R.R. Martin, Gardener Dozois, and Daniel Abraham (Audio) -
A Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin (Audio) - I am now a fan
Packing for Mars, by Mary Roach (Audio)
The Body Mod, by Dru Miller
Kraken, by China Mieville
The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury (Audio)
Red Glove, Holly Black (Audio)
Unclean Spirits, by M.L.N. Hanover
The Patriot Witch, by C.C. Finlay
American Gods, by Neil Gaiman (Audio)
Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Banks of Plum Creek, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
On the Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Swords and Deviltry, by Fritz Leiber (Audio)
Briarpatch, by Tim Pratt
Bone Shop, by T.A. Pratt (Audio)
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl (Audio)
Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury (Audio)
Boy at the End of the World, by Greg van Eekhout
Fragile Things, by Neil Gaiman (Audio)
Welcome to Bordertown, edited by Ellen Kushner and Holly Black
The Traveling Vampire Show, by Richard Laymon (Audio)
Something Wicked This Way Comes, by Ray Bradbury (Audio)
Vicious Circles, by Mike Carey (Audio)
Clementine, by Cherie Priest
The House on Haunted Hill, by Shirley Jackson (Audio)
Rosemary and Rue, by Seanan McGuire (Audio)
The Wordy Shipmates, by Sarah Vowell (Audio)
Isle of the Forsaken, by Carolyn Ives Gilman
Sir Hereward and Mr. Fitz: Three Adventures, by Garth Nix
Holidays on Ice, by David Sedaris (Audio)
Charles Dickens’ Christmas Stories (Audio)
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens (Audio)
Captain America: Winter Soldier, by Ed Brubaker, various.
Nightwing: Brothers by Blood, by
Locke and Key: Keys to the Kingdom, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez
Ex Machina: Term Limits, by Brian K. Vaughan and Tony Harris
Red Robin: Collision, by Chris Yost and Marcus To
Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In the Service of Angels, by Mike Mignola and Ben Steinbeck
Batman and Robin, by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely, and Philip Tan
Embassytown, by China Mieville
The Stress of Her Regard, by Tim Powers (Audio)
After the Apocalypse, by Maureen F. McHugh
Three Messages and a Warning, edited by Edward Jimenez Maya & Chris N. Brown
Hebrewpunk, by Lavie Tidhar
The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James (Audio)
Death’s Heretic, by James L. Sutter
Black Hills, by Dan Simmons
Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantino
The Best of Gene Wolfe, by Gene Wolfe
Swords and Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders
Metatropolis, by Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, John Scalzi, Elizabeth Bear, and Karl Schroeder (Audio)
Ghosts by Gaslight, edited by Jack Dann and Nick Gevers
- Current Music:Alabama Shakes - Hold On
There's a storybook my parents had that's disappeared everywhere but in my mind. When I was a kid, I had this book about Christmases around the world, and there was this one story in there about Saint Nicholas and Krampus coming to visit a little girl. HOLY SHIT, I loved that story, and had my parents read it to me over and and over again (probably, it disturbed them a bit - they were extremely conservative and while they somehow tolerated Star Wars, they weren't big fans of sorcery or horror or anything demonic like that). Anyway, in that story, you got the feeling that Saint Nicholas was actually the girl's uncle or neighbor or something dressed up. But Krampus? He was a little demonic elf. I always wondered, who in that story dressed up as him? And this story kind of stems from that, along with some other questions I asked myself later on, like, why would Saint Nicholas need a demon to help him? So for those of you who have been missing my spiritual noir, this might hit some of your squids.
Marie Brennan (aka:swan_tower) gave it an AMAZING read. It's been about a year and a half since I finished writing the story, and so listening to it on my morning commute this morning - well, I got all tense during one of the scenes in the middle. Not because I'd forgotten what happened, but because Marie read it so so perfectly. And Alasdair's comments at the end were, of course, the best icing on the cake.
And I really can't express how nice it is to listen to my story after all that time, and think, you know, I really did okay with it.
Huge thanks to all my friends who beta read this one for me: bogwitch64, avocadovpx, voidmonster, prusik, and Anna Schwind. They definitely made this story so much better than it would've been.
Anyway, that's probably enough out of me. If you've got half an hour, give it a listen and let me know what you thought of it!
- Current Music:Sting - Soul Cake
Also, I am having fun writing about vampire pumpkins. And then I want to finish up a couple of other stories by the end of the year and sub Sub SUB!
- Current Music:Okkervil River - Lost Costlines
1) It’s the first major genre con I’ve ever been too, unless you count ComicCon, which I don’t. That’s more of an amusement park. (Not that that’s a bad thing.)
2) Having dinner that first night with all my VPX pals.
3) Also: getting to see VPX pals I hadn’t seen in 5 years – Terri-Lynne, Barbara, Nikki. Hugs all around!
4) Readers Theatre with 20+ people in CSE Cooney and Tina Connolly’s room. I was the anonymous troll asshole in one of the plays, which was fun. Especially Terri-Lynne as a punk rock freak.
5) Having a couple of people recognize my voice. MY FREAKING VOICE. That was fucking awesome, and totally flattering, and made my weekend right there.
6) Meeting so many of the cool authors and readers from PodCastle, and getting to talk and hang out with them a bit.
7) The Escape Artists coffee hour with Mur, Hobson, Tina, Caroline, Sam, Bart, Kelly, BlueLu, and Tempest .
8) Kelly taking Bart, Sam, and me off-campus to have dinner at El Zarape, and the subsequent walk and conversations post-dinner. Awesome stuff was talked about, and I apparently only know the half of it. (Or more likely: probably even less.)
9) That Neil Gaiman and Connie Willis were the guests of honor.
10) Walking into a VP jam session. Awesomely surreal.
11) Talking with Ferrett and Keffy for a couple hours outside of a couple of parties, talking about the hazards of slush, writing, and other fun things.
12) The ridiculously huge autograph session.
13) Reconnecting and expanding my tribe and feeling generally pretty damn inspired to do some more writing.
In short, if I met you at WFC and got to hang out with you, whether it was for a couple minutes at the bar or the con suite, or at night, or something else, THANK YOU SO MUCH. You inspired me, and you’re awesome. I hope I get to hang out with you again soon!