5 things make a post

5 things make a post

Thing One: gemmafade_teaser Val is working hard on the GEMMA FADE pages, and gave me permission to post a teaser page. :) I tell you, sending a script out and getting drawings back is one of the niftiest things EVER. :)

Thing Two: A link to some fudge. Just in case you need some. :)

Thing Three: The STONE’S THROE copy edits have been delivered! Soon! SOOOOOOOOOOON! a pulp fiction novel by yours truly will be available to readers everywhere! :)

Thing Four: This is a truly terrific fanvid to Nicki Minoj’s Starship. Really honestly terrific, go watch it.

Thing Five: I’m starving and gonna go find something to eat. (Look, I didn’t say they were 5 *scintillating* things, did I? No!)

sunday morning floods

sunday morning floods

So there was Young Indiana in the shower and there was me at the other end of the bathroom checking FB and stuff and suddenly I realize that although I’ve been telling him not to block the drain there’s water slopping over the edge of the shower and that the entire kitchen below is flooding.

Of course I start bellowing, “Ted! TED!” because I don’t even know why and I’m running downstairs and shouting, “TED!” and he leaps out of bed and I make Indy bring towels downstairs and show him what’s happened and he gasps, “This is a DISASTER!”

and now Ted’s standing in the kitchen looking horrified and like he’s going to puke from waking up to a sudden adreneline rush while I’m saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I don’t know why I shouted for you, it’s not like there was anything you could actually DO, I guess maybe I had the horrible idea a pipe had actually broken and I was going to need more hands” and there are towels all over the floor

and Indy says “I was just trying to float my triceratops!”

and Ted says “Of course you were,” to him, and, his sense of humor somewhat restored, says to me, “You just needed another adult brain to pick up the processing power to judge the level of emergency,” which was fairly accurate and

drip drip drip splat drip

and now I’m doing the Laundry of a Thousand Sodden Towels while poor Ted goes back to bed

and I never did get Indy’s hair washed.

in other news–

in other news–

–the Fantasy Fudge project is at nearly $3K. If it breaks $3K today I’ll do a random upgrade for one supporter who will get a 2 pound package of fudge instead of 1 pound package. :)

There’s a new farmer’s market opening near here pretty soon. Part of me is actually kind of wildly considering emailing them and finding out what their booth fees are and what the general food-sales-at-farmers-markets laws are and maybe doing a fudge & candy stall for 4 or 6 weeks before Christmas.

You guys are bad for my crazy head. :)

A plea to Marvel

A plea to Marvel

Those of you who pay attention to this sort of thing will know that this fall, Thor’s hammer Mjolner will be taken up by a woman, who will also take on the name of Thor. Moreover, Steve Rogers is putting down the shield and Sam Wilson, recently introduced to the world at large as Falcon in the 2nd Captain America movie, will be taking it up. Wilson is a black man, not the first to carry the Captain America moniker, but I believe he’s the first person at all to do so as someone Steve chose as his own successor.

Thor’s name is apparently being treated as a title, which I’m pretty cool with. I’m a little confused as to what we’ll be calling Thor himself, since his *name* is Thor and he’s presumably still a god, it’s just that he and Mjolner are on the outs again and it’s apparently decided he’s not worthy, but nevermind that. Marvel’s making statements left and right that the woman taking up Mjolner *is* Thor, and that’s cool and interesting and I, who have never liked comic-book-Thor, might just read that.

Cappy’s name has been passed around several times, and as a newly-fledged (er, no pun intended) Falcon fan, I’m freaking thrilled that Sam Wilson will be the man behind the mask. I am not, apparently, violently attached to the skin color or gender of my superheroes; I *like* the idea of them being flexible.

The only problem is that very little lasts, in superhero comics. Nobody really thinks that OriginalThor will be on the outs with Mjolner forever; everybody knows Steve will carry the shield again.

But what if that didn’t happen? What if they held the line? What if, yeah, maybe Thor does take up Mjolner again, or Steve the shield–but it’s only momentary, filling in for an emergency? What if they were *allowed* to do that, and what if we, as readers–particularly as women or people of color–were given those characters straight-up and for the long haul?

*That* would shake things up. *That* is what I’d really love to see. I’d love to have my cynicism proven wrong and for the status quo to change.

But the thing is, status quo is subjective. Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson got divorced after 20 (real life) years of marriage, because Marvel editors wanted to return Spider-Man to the status quo–nevermind that for an entire generation of readers, Peter and MJ being married *was* the status quo.

The problem was that it wasn’t the status quo for the editors and writers. They had grown up with an unmarried Peter and so that was how it Should Be.

But, y’know, I grew up with an unmarried Peter (and aside from the middling detail that I wanted to marry him myself in my childhood years) and I was terribly disappointed and shocked that they divorced. So I’m hoping–I’m even asking–that Marvel lets these changes stay in place long enough to become the norm.

And then I ask that they have the courage to recognize that for a generation, and for a gender, and for a race, that the status quo is important, and that when they change again–because they will–that they should continue to look forward with those changes, and not back.

chocolate sauce

chocolate sauce

We were out of chocolate sauce and had vanilla ice cream, so I went in search of a quick and easy chocolate sauce recipe. Some ten or fifteen minutes later, Ted, who is pretty dubious of non-Hersheys chocolate sauces, said, “This is really pretty good!” off the sauce I’d made.

“Thanks,” I said. “I found a recipe, but it called for water and I thought that wouldn’t be very good, so I substituted milk, and then I thought, y’know, this is going to need some more fat in it to bring it up to a nice texture and flavour, so I threw a knob of butter in–”

At which point Ted started laughing and said, “So you didn’t use a recipe at all.”

WELL BUT I LOOKED AT ONE O.O

Catie’s Chocolate Sauce:
1 c milk
1 2/3 c sugar
2/3 c cocoa powder
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tsp vanilla

Whisk first 4 ingredients in a smallish sauce pan over a medium heat until the texture is smooth. Bring to a rolling boil & boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

It made about 18oz of chocolate sauce, so I boiled up a couple of jars and have jarred it. No idea how long it keeps, but I’d recommend keeping it in the fridge, even in sealed jars. Just in case.

You could probably eliminate the butter and use cream instead of milk, incidentally. I just didn’t think of it until after I was stirring. :)

Recent Reads/GGK Book Club: Tigana

Recent Reads/GGK Book Club: Tigana

I have, terribly belatedly, read April’s GGK book club novel, TIGANA. Well, re-read it, because it’s down on my Reading List four times and I’ve read it at least twice that many times, because the reading list didn’t get started until well after the book came out.

TIGANA is, pretty much without a doubt, my favourite book. I’ve never previously tried to do any kind of figuring out why, but as I was reading this time I had the question in the back of my head, and it became clear very early on that one of the reasons it succeeds so hugely for me is because I find it so incredibly well *balanced*.

The heartbreak and the joy of the book are always on a knife’s edge; of the characters, Devin, particularly, often recognizes that within himself. But more than that, even, is that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There’s no weft without the weave there, and I could cite dozens of examples but I’d be here all night. One weight and balance that particularly struck me in this reading, though, was what Tomasso gained from Sandre and Sandre gained from Catriana.

Another thing that especially struck me in this reading was that not very long ago, author Alma Alexander, who was born in Yugoslavia, talked about how the ripping away of Tigana’s name struck her viscerally, as someone whose country of birth no longer exists. GGK’s inspiration for the idea of taking away a name apparently came from visiting Ireland, where he was struck by all the English place-names replacing the Irish names, but until I read Alma’s post I didn’t really think about how there are modern countries–many countries–which have disappeared and come unmade that way. It’s my favourite book anyway, but that increased its impact yet again.

And then on a hugely personal career note, the last two or three times I’ve read TIGANA have been post-Inheritors’-Cycle-writing. I knew, of course (and astute readers also observed) that in many ways those books are a direct homage to GGK in general and TIGANA in specific. It had been several years since I’d read TIGANA when I wrote THE QUEEN’S BASTARD and THE PRETENDER’S CROWN, and going back and re-reading it not long after those books came out–honestly, there’s more homage than I intended. There are a couple of things–Belinda’s memory, in particular–that I would have done differently if I had remembered consciously about *Devin*’s memory.

OTOH, I could not have written those books without TIGANA, or I couldn’t have written them the way that I did, and I happen to love them the way that they are. TQB, especially–there’s a moment in it where the whole book up to that point pays off in something like 57 words. To me it’s the knife-twist moment, the moment where the last piece falls into place and damns it all, and for me, it’s perfect. And what I was trying to achieve there was the agonizing inevitablity that TIGANA builds toward: the moment when the mountains lift from Rhun’s mind; the moment when Dianora leaves Scelto; the moment when Sandre breaks the blind and speaks to the sorcerer, and a dozen more like it. Without those guidelines, without the knowledge it *could* be done, I could never have even tried, much less (for myself, at least) succeeded.

So even for the parts where I went (in my retrospective opinion) too far, those books are so much a love story to TIGANA that really all I can do is stand with my hand to my heart and thank GGK for writing it. It’s just…well, it’s my favourite book.

office reclamation

office reclamation

Some months ago we rearranged all the bedrooms so that our son wasn’t in one next to the road. What was his bedroom became the office, which has been…problematic…ever since.

I have, to some degree, reclaimed it now. There’s almost enough room to set up my captain’s chair, anyway, and since I am once more hopelessly, murderously behind on where I want to be with writing, it would be nice to get that set up again. We will not talk about the cost of reclaiming the office to other rooms in the house.

Speaking of writing, I’ve gotten the final revisions for STONE’S THROE, my Spirit of the Century pulp fiction novel that I’ve had so much fun writing. I hope this wee book flies on little pulpy wings right into the hearts of readers, because honestly, I wouldn’t hate the opportunity to write another one. :) I gotta ask if/when I’m allowed to post some teaser chapters for you guys!

phone, jam, life

phone, jam, life

I have a new long-term-temporary phone. If you believe I should or did have your number, please text me your name so I can re-add you to my address book. Sank oo.

Last night? Yes, last night. Last night I made some unusually nice applesauce and jarred up several jars of it (and ate the rest). I’m thinking of doing little homemade jars of stuff for Christmas presents and I’m considering strawberry jam, lemon curd, applesauce and (if I can nerve myself up to trying it) marmalade. That would be a pretty little foursome, right?

Hey, I’m posting about writing the Walker Papers over on Magical Words this month. The first week’s post was about themes and this week’s is about Gary.

On the Fantasy Fudge front, I’d posted saying that probably the dairy-free fudge would be chocolate-only. Someone asked if, if they were willing or able to have dairy in small amounts, they could participate in the Mix And Match that’s the next stretch goal (backers get to try up to 3 kinds in their package!). Say I: sure, no problem, just as long as you recognize I’m not the one volunteering to make you sick. :)

Boy, I just need one more thing for Five Things Make A Post. Um. Nope, I got nothin’. Gonna go cook dinner. :)

stolen phone

stolen phone

My phone was just stolen. And it turns out that although I had it insured, I did not, apparently, have it insured against theft or loss. I could have sworn I did, but it’s not in the policy I’ve got, so…fuck.

So, guys! Support my crowdfund! You get fudge and I get a new phone… :}

It had been such a nice day up until then, too. The worst part is I don’t have the photos on the phone set to automatically upload to the cloud and I’d been thinking literally yesterday that I needed to upload them and now, well. Fuck.

(eta: I called my local garda, who suggested I hie myself over to the station in the area it was stolen and report it, because they only keep CCTV for 48-72 hours. I had not thought of CCTV at all. Guess I know where I’m going tonight.

eta2: went to the garda, did everything we could, odds are poor that i’ll get the phone back, but we’ve tried.)

DB Jackson returns! Again!

DB Jackson returns! Again!

I’m delighted to once more have my friend and fellow writer DB Jackson on the blog for a series of not-terribly-serious interview questions!

1. Let’s start with the obvious. Give me the ten-cent shake-down on A PLUNDER OF SOULS.

PlunderofSouls_hi_comp150 The Thieftaker Chronicles are historical urban fantasy, and the books tell the story of Ethan Kaille, a conjurer and thieftaker (the eighteenth century equivalent of a private detective) living in pre-Revolutionary Boston. Each book is a stand-alone mystery set against the backdrop of a particular historical event leading to the American Revolution. The historical events are real, as are many of the characters; I’ve inserted fictional murders into the historical narrative, along with a cast of characters who comprise Ethan’s social circle and clientele.

In A PLUNDER OF SOULS, the third book in the series, I bring back a character who is to Ethan something like what Moriarty was to Sherlock Holmes. Nate Ramsey, first appeared in “A Spell of Vengeance,” a short story I published at Tor.Com in June 2012. Ramsey is a fun character, in kind of the way that Hannibal Lecter is a fun character. Like Ethan, he’s a powerful conjurer. He’s also brilliant, cruel, vengeful, and a bit mad. In the original short story, Ethan is hired to protect two merchants who have been threatened by Ramsey. Ethan does his best, but Ramsey gets the better of him, with tragic results, and then escapes Boston.

Now Ramsey is back. It’s the summer of 1769, and Boston is in the midst of an outbreak of smallpox (as it really was that summer). Ethan is hired to investigate a series of grave robberies, and soon discovers that corpses have been mutilated in grotesque ways, and that at least some of what has been done to them seems to be meant as a personal warning to him. What results is a little bit mystery, a little bit ghost story, and a whole lot of epic magical warfare. I won’t reveal more, except to say that Ramsey is an even more formidable foe for Ethan now than he was in 1763, when the short story took place.

2. I personally claim to never ‘cast’ my novels with actors, although there are instances where that is untrue. Do you ‘cast’ people for your characters? Anybody you want to confess to?

I’ll admit that there are times when I do this. I don’t like to because, as you have said to me in the past, it’s sometimes counterproductive to put such a specific image in the minds of our readers. But there have been characters who just lend themselves to this sort of thing. And the truth is, it can also be fun to imagine the movie versions of our books. So, that said, I can definitely see Sephira Pryce, Ethan’s beautiful and deadly rival in thieftaking, being played by Olivia Wilde. Wilde is gorgeous and alluring, but there is also something a bit edgy about her beauty. Hers is not a soft look, and with the right costuming and makeup she could totally make the role of Sephira come to life as I’ve written it.

For Nate Ramsey, I think that Michael Pitt would be a really good choice. He totally looks the part as I envision it, and the kid’s got chops.

Ethan is a much harder call. I would want a slightly older actor — Ethan is supposed to be in his early forties by this point in the series, and he has lived a hard life. Maybe Ewan McGregor or Clive Owen. Or Mark Wahlberg. I need to think about this one a bit more.

3. If you had one shot with a time machine, what one historical event, place, or person would you want to visit?

Wow. I’m not just saying this because of the Thieftaker books. Really. But I would have to choose the period right around the writing and signing of the Declaration of Independence. I have a Ph.D. in U.S. History, and while my doctoral dissertation dealt with twentieth century issues, I found the Revolutionary period fascinating. I guess that’s why, when I finally got around to blending my love of fantasy with my passion for history, this was the period in which I set my books.

It’s not just the events themselves that are so fraught with drama and intrigue. It’s also the personalities: Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin. Brilliant minds; engaging speakers; willful, ego-driven politicians. And they were bandying about ideas from so many sources — Cato, Locke, Hobbes, Pitt, Hume, and others. It was a heady time intellectually as well as politically and militarily. That’s where I’d want to go.

4. I know you like jazz. Who’s one of your favourite artists, or what is a favourite album?

Yeah, I’m a huge jazz fan, and I listen to a lot of instrumental jazz when I work. I know that some authors can’t have any music at all going when they write, but I find that the improvisational quality of the music actually fuels my creativity. In particular, I’m a fan of “cool” jazz from the late 1950s. My favorite artist from this time — no surprise here — is Miles Davis, and my favorite albums of his are KIND OF BLUE, ‘ROUND ABOUT MIDNIGHT, and MILESTONES.

Among more recent jazz artists, I love the work of Roy Hargrove, Nicholas Payton, and a relatively obscure, but truly excellent group called Sphere. All of them remain true to the spirit of that older jazz sound, placing a premium on melody, virtuosity, and improv. It’s great stuff, and as I say, listening to it actually helps me write.

5. When are you going to finish reading The Walker Papers so we can get started on that collaboration? (WHAT?! Nobody said my questions couldn’t be self-serving!)

[Laughing] Well, if you’d slow down with the writing a bit I could at least catch up with the series!! I’ve read the first two books in the series and am now reading COYOTE DREAMS, and loving it so far. My reading time these days is eaten up by books that I read as a beta reader for friends, or so that I might give a cover blurb. Time for pleasure reading is not always so easy to come by. It also didn’t help that I got totally sucked in to your Negotiator trilogy, which also took up some time. (I know that there are more Negotiator books now, but I have my fingers in my ears and I’m saying “la, la, la, la . . .” really loudly so that they don’t distract me.) In all seriousness, I am totally psyched to read the rest of The Walker Papers and get working on our story. It’s going to be a blast.

And by the way, HIS FATHER’S EYES, the second book in the Case Files of Justis Fearsson (forthcoming from Baen Books — book I, SPELL BLIND, comes out in January) is finished and turned in. So I’ll be sending a copy of the manuscript your way so that you can read it!

Ed: 1. Olivia Wilde & Clive Owen totally work for me for those characters. Or Sean Bean 10 years ago, for that matter.
2. I don’t know much jazz–far less than I should, because I love it–but my god, KIND OF BLUE. What an album.
What an album!
3. Technically there are only Old Races short story collections out now, not Negotiator books, but that’s being fussy. :)
4. For the readers: David’s got a new urban fantasy series coming out, I’ve already read book 1, we’re gonna be doing a Walker Papers/Fearsson Files crossover story, it’s gonna ROCK!

DBJacksonPubPhoto800 D.B. Jackson is also David B. Coe, the award­winning author of more than a dozen fantasy novels. His first two books as D.B. Jackson, the Revolutionary War era urban fantasies, Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, volumes I and II of the Thieftaker Chronicles, are both available from Tor Books in hardcover and paperback. The third volume, A Plunder of Souls, has recently been released in hardcover. The fourth Thieftaker novel, Dead Man’s Reach, is in production and will be out in the summer of 2015. D.B. lives on the Cumberland Plateau with his wife and two teenaged daughters. They’re all smarter and prettier than he is, but they keep him around because he makes a mean vegetarian fajita. When he’s not writing he likes to hike, play guitar, and stalk the perfect image with his camera.

Find DB at:
his website
his blog
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goodreads
amazon.com