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Lioness [userpic]
by Lioness (elisem)
at April 17th, 2014 (06:27 pm)

I will be there! Will you?

(I won't be in the dealers' room this year -- my schedule's a bit too complicated for that this weekend -- so if you've bought recent shinies and want to pick them up at the convention, there's no table to meet at, but we can figure out other rendezvous points. Otherwise tomorrow is Big Mailing Things Day.)

cherie priest [userpic]
With one flat foot on the devil's wing
by cherie priest (cmpriest)
at April 17th, 2014 (04:05 pm)

On Tuesday, I ran out of my prescription allergy stuff - and was told that I couldn't get the refill until yesterday, which is typical. I don't know what weird, bad magic it is, but for some reason my helpful nose-spray-goo (Flonase) is always used up a few days before the insurance company says I'm allowed to have any more. Well, this time it ran out at exactly the wrong time because OH LOOK, SPRING.

In short, my head pretty much exploded. I literally didn't sleep more than an hour straight all Tuesday night, and I was absolutely useless most of yesterday ... so, yeah. That's yesterday's excuse for not getting any writing done. Once my 'scrip was obtained and I could breathe again, all I wanted to do was sleep.

I tried to resist. I did practical, non-thinky things like laundry and yardwork. (Weeding, watering, etc.) But mostly I just lounged on the couch, moaning, blowing my nose, and pretending not to watch HGTV.

* * *

Tomorrow I have to be up a little early, in order to meet one of the fine gentleman who's coming over to see about our back yard. It's got some...issues, you see. And now's the time to start getting estimates regarding its repair in a few weeks.

Why a few weeks? These reasons: (1). my Big Spring Royalty Statement hasn't landed quite yet, and that will affect the final budget, (2). it's the busiest time of year for landscaping companies, and I don't expect anyone to be able to start work any sooner, and (3). I live in a historic district, and although landscaping isn't regulated by the zoning folks, structural issues like retaining walls/landings are - and sometimes it takes a week or two to get all the paperwork in order.

I'm not particularly worried about the zoning folks. They've been very easy to work with in the past, and I've doublechecked their historic guidelines (available as a PDF online, conveniently enough); nothing we plan should pose any conflict.

And what do we have planned? Depending on how far the budget stretches (and how that royalty check shapes up), we'd like to (1). repair/restore a concrete landing poured in 1930, for it is cracked/sinking/letting water under the house, (2). repair/restore (rebuild, essentially) a catastrophically failed retaining wall, (3). add a second retaining wall, with (4). a patio/walkway at its base [where the vegetable garden used to be].

Everything except the patio is a necessary fix that needs to happen sooner, rather than later. But dammit, I will have a place to sit outside with the dog and sip mimosas under a big umbrella get some work done in the fresh air.

Anyway. One dude is coming over tomorrow to give us an estimate. Next week, I'm getting a second quote for good measure. Like a civilized grown-up, I am.

* * *

I think last year's purple finches have returned to the front porch! That's the good news. The bad news is, I think they've picked a flower basket for their nest ... rather than the nook in the eaves. Naturally, they picked the flower basket that's hardest for me to reach. - not that it will prevent me from playing bird paparazzi again, once the eggs hatch and there are FLUFFY BABY BIRDS TO OGLE. Gently. When their parents are away.

And I guess I'll have to water the basket very, very carefully. And rarely. If at all.
[:: sigh ::]

* * *

Here's today's progress on my witchy art-deco horror novel about Lizzie Borden thirty years after her parents' deaths - now featuring ghosts and non-ghosts alike, anti-Catholic conspiracy nuts, supernatural political shenanigans, the mafia, and a Bonus! space-worshiping murder cult hiding behind the KKK:

    Project: Chapelwood
    Deadline: October 1, 2014
    New words written: 1979
    Present total word count: 63,638

    Things accomplished in fiction: Poor little axe murderer. He's having a terrible day.

    Next up: Courtroom results and fallout.

    Things accomplished in real life: Neighborhood jaunt with dog; replied to some emails; did some writer business; cooked lunch and made myself some tea; not much else, to be honest. I'm still dragging a little.

    Other: I got nothin'.

    Number of fiction words so far this year: 97,031

Jews Ordered to Register in Ukraine
by New Urban Legends (snopes_dot_com)
at April 17th, 2014 (03:00 pm)


Have Jews in eastern Ukraine been ordered to register with the government or else face loss of citizenship and deportation?

Easter Lore and Superstitions
by New Urban Legends (snopes_dot_com)
at April 17th, 2014 (03:00 pm)


A compendium of superstitions and lore associated with Easter.

Kristine Smith [userpic]
My morning in pictures
by Kristine Smith (kristine_smith)
at April 17th, 2014 (12:17 pm)
Tags: ,



There's a deer in there somewhere

There’s a deer in there somewhere

Defrosted lake

Defrosted lake



Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Mary Dell [userpic]
My tweets
by Mary Dell (marydell)
at April 17th, 2014 (12:02 pm)

Fare Warning
by New Urban Legends (snopes_dot_com)
at April 17th, 2014 (03:00 pm)


Has congress has introduced a bill requiring military veterans to inform their neighbors about their combat service?

Self Service
by New Urban Legends (snopes_dot_com)
at April 17th, 2014 (03:00 pm)


Has the American Psychiatric Association classified the taking of 'selfies' as a mental disorder?

Jim C. Hines [userpic]
Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal
by Jim C. Hines (jimhines)
at April 16th, 2014 (06:56 pm)

I will be totally, absolutely honest with you here. I wasn’t really expecting to like Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Shades of Milk and Honey [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy].

It’s nothing to do with Kowal or her writing. I’ve adored other things I’ve read by her. I’ve nominated and voted for some of her work for various awards. She’s a good writer. But this one just didn’t look or sound like my kind of book. The description, “Like Jane Austen wrote a fantasy novel” didn’t hit any of my buttons, and I’m afraid the cover art didn’t help. (The newer editions of this series have different and much improved artwork, in my opinion.)

I tend to prefer more action in my plots, more humor and fun in my fiction … which I’m sure comes as a tremendous shock to anyone who’s read my stuff. So it took me a while to pull this one off of Mount ToBeRead…

…at which point I devoured the story, finishing the book in three days, and sacrificing a bit of sleep in the process.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

…an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men.

Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

There are a few action-type scenes toward the end, but for the most part, this is a relatively quiet book. And I loved it. I loved the characters. I loved the relationships between them, and the way Jane’s insecurities crashed into those of her sister, and the conflicts that ensued. I loved the language, which was careful and formal without ever feeling stilted or stuffy.

The magic was particularly enjoyable. In a genre that includes Gandalf and Dumbledore, the glamours of Kowal’s world are relatively limited in scope: the manipulation of light and sound to craft illusions. It’s seen as a lady’s skill, like painting watercolors or playing a musical instrument. But Jane is very skilled and passionate about her art, and it draws you in until a scene about crafting an illusory birch grove is as thrilling as any battle between heroes and goblins.

Certain elements and twists in the story felt a little predictable, but I wasn’t reading for the plot twists. I was reading for the sheer enjoyment. And I was kicking myself for not reading it sooner.

You can read the first two chapters at Kowal’s website, and I strongly encourage you to do so.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

Poll Patrol
by New Urban Legends (snopes_dot_com)
at April 16th, 2014 (03:00 pm)


Has the Miami-Dade County Elections Department implemented a policy to close the bathrooms at all polling facilities?

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