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    Sunday, April 20th, 2014
    David Gemmel Legend Award Nominees
    Legend Award
    (Best novel)

    The Daylight War by Peter V Brett (Harper Collins UK)
    Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)
    The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Gollancz)
    A Memory of Light by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan (Tor/Forge)
    War Master's Gate by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor UK)

    Morningstar Award
    (Best debut novel)

    The Garden of Stones by Mark T Barnes (47 North)
    Headtaker by David Guymer (Black Library)
    Promise of Blood by Brian McLellan (Orbit)
    The Path of Anger by Antoine Rouaud (Gollancz)
    The Grim Company by Luke Scull (Head of Zeus)

    Ravenheart Award
    (Best cover art)

    Benjamin Carre for the cover of The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch(Gollancz)
    Jason Chan for the cover of Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)
    Cheol Joo Lee for the cover of Skarsnik by Guy Haley (Black Library)
    Gene Mollica and Michael Frost for the cover of Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (Orbit)
    Rhett Podersoo for the cover of She Who Waits by Daniel
    Polansky (Hodder)

    Award                 T    F    M    F/T
    Legend Award          5         5     0
    Morningstar Award     5         5     0
    Ravenheart Award      5         5     0
    Total                15        15     0

    Which by British standards is very inclusive.

    Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.
    The China Trip: Xi'an
    The train to Xi'an was newer than the one from Guilin to Chengdu. It had power sockets! I was sharing with a Chinese man and woman who were travelling together but didn't seem to be married. The first time the man left the room, the woman hurried to lock the door, and asked me through gesture to unzip her dress. I guess they were colleagues. She was friendly and gave me a satsuma (or "ugly orange" in Chinese, as she showed me on her phone).

    Thursday: Hanyangling Mausoleum and Dinner TheatreCollapse )

    Friday: Terracotta Warriors, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and laundryCollapse )

    Saturday: day-trip by bullet train to Luoyang for the Longmen GrottoesCollapse )

    Sunday: the City Walls, and the Muslim Family RestaurantCollapse )
    icanhaschzbrgr 6:00a
    Muscle Shoals
    Unlike Sun and Stax, and even Blue Note for Jazz, at Muscle Shoals, whether the original Fame Studio or the Jerry Wexler - Atlantic Records steal-way of the Swampers from FAME for Muscle Shoals Sound Studios (memo: never get in bed with Jerry Wexler; guess Rick Hall hadn't paid attention to what happened with Stax) -- there were no women involved at FAME or Muscles Shoals.  It was a boys club all the way around.

    No wonder that mess happened with Aretha -- those guys didn't know how to treat women.

    No wonder the Stones recorded there.

    Or that it was the birthplace of we-wave-stars-and-bars 
     Country Rock (the Allmans).

    icanhaschzbrgr 5:00a
    Morning Bird Pic
    Hey, the purple finches are checking you out!

    Purple Finches
    Easter eggs

    Since I’m not religious, don’t like chocolate, and I’m a freelancer Easter doesn’t loom large in my calendar as an important holiday. However, the weather has been marvellous this year, and people are in rare good humour, so there’s been a great vibe – plus the Galway Food Festival is on so the city is buzzing.

    Although I don’t partake of the chocolate variety I do like normal eggs, and always buy organic. A lot of the time I get eggs that originate from a poultry farm in the Burren called Poulataggle. When I bought my most recent carton of eggs I found a surprise inside:

    Easter eggs

    It’s a small gesture, but that made me happy when I saw it (and secured my custom). The extra egg went to Martin, who eats chocholate.

    Finally, here’s a line-up of golden, chocolate bunnies for the season that’s in it. The ironic thing is that I took this image in February, when they started appearing in the shops!

    Happy Easter/Passover to those that celebrate it!

    Chocolate bunnies

    ~ Originally published at Splinister. You can comment here or there. ~

    Someone asked me what I thought it meant, being "grown up"
    To me, it means taking responsibility for the things you can take responsibility for. We're not responsible for everything in our lives - we're surrounded by a whole sea of stuff we have very little control over - but there are things we can take responsibility for, and where we can, adults do.

    It means knowing exactly where you really are in life - without lying to yourself about what you are really like - and then setting your directions from there, rather than from some idealised version of yourself that never really existed.

    It means that rather than making decisions on the basis of wishful thinking, you work out what the cost will be of getting the thing you want and make a conscious decision as to whether that's a cost you're willing to pay.

    It means putting in the effort to understand world around you as it really is, not as we wish it was, and doing what's necessary to cope with that. And, sure, trying to change it for the better - but from a place of knowledge, not assumptions and bias.

    (None of this is easy, and nobody gets this right all of the time - I sure as hell don't. Adulthood is an ideal to strive for, not something you achieve. Oh, and it shouldn't stop you from having a damn good time and engaging in child-like fun along the way.)

    Original post on Dreamwidth - there are comment count unavailable comments there.
    icanhaschzbrgr 4:00a
    My tweets
    My tweets
    • Sat, 15:25: Refocusing the bluebells:
    • Sat, 16:48: Download a Bear! ( Browse like you're in another country! @theTunnelBear
    • Sat, 16:49: (you also get a free 1GB of data with a tweet like the last one every month)
    • Sat, 17:25: Need an update of the classic NTK "I spend all day..." T-shirt: I spend all day subtweeting you. @mala
    • Sat, 17:36: From red trousers to red shorts, it appears the Hooray Henries have moved to Wandsworth. Far worse than Google buses.
    • Sat, 20:47: Good to see John Harris on the best artist short list for the Hugos.
    • Sat, 20:52: And XKCD's epic Time is on the short list for the Best Graphic Story Hugo.
    • Sat, 20:55: And @cstross' MLP:FIM/unicorn deconstruction Equoid gets a Hugo nod too...
    • Sat, 21:08: Bright pass of the ISS across SW London...
    • Sat, 21:27: Nice to see Ancillary Justice on the Hugo lists this year, one of my favourite books of the last year and an intriguing work.
    Read more...Collapse )
    I know why the caged bell rings
    I know why the caged bell rings

    Comment here or comment there (where there are comment count unavailablecomments).
    Easter Sunday
    Sunday morning down at the field. Low cloud and rain. Shook out hay for the ponies, and caught up on the poo-picking, the rain growing heavier and the day darker.

    In the hedgerow, the busying-about of robins, wrens and chaffinches. A thrush singing, repetitive arias in the treetops. Muddy green young leaves are appearing on the oak. The ash still bare. I blinked and the elder was suddenly into full leaf. Round the manure heap the goosegrass and the stinging nettles are knee high.

    Somewhere in the village a woman singing in a high warbling voice, a hymn, or an incantation perhaps.

    Rain running down my neck, and my hands starting to ache with cold on the handles of the wheelbarrow. Quite the nicest morning I've spent all week.

    Max at the field...Collapse )
    Please tell me about G+ ? -- Thanks!
    Squeee flashback. Suddenly I'm thrilled all over again that I'm on a ... er, world wide web. Because here in the US it's midnight, not a good time to ask my USian sources -- but my friends on the other side of the world  are in daylight hours and awake, probably.

    So -- what about G+ ? I've been avoiding it, but now Google seems to require me to join or they won't let me login to my Gmail account!   When I enter, instead of just asking me for my email password, they say

    One account. All of Google.

    Sign in to continue to Gmail

    I'm worried about my pseudonyms. I have several, each with its own Gmail address. And I do not want to give out my real name, location, etc.

    Any clues?

    ETA: Well, I'm logged into Gmail again, apparently having done something like what Oursin suggested in her comment. at Dreamwidth. Whether accidentally or precognitively  I do not know.

    Apparently having Gmail, had given me a "Google Account" already -- of a different sort than G+. So their screen's One Password to Rule Them All was not an assimilation into G+ or anything like that.

    Supporting LJ vs the Russian DDOS by crossposting from DW. Comment here or at
    Wicked Women - Call for Submissions
    Darlings! The awesome team of Jen & Jan are doing a Fox Spirit anthology and we are open for submissions!

    Official blurb type thing -
    Wicked Women
    Edited by Jan Edwards and Jenny Barber

    Regular readers of Fox Spirit books know that women are pretty bad-ass - be they evil queens, goddesses, super-villains or anti-heroes, warriors, monsters, bad girls, rebels, mavericks or quietly defiant - so with that in mind, we’re looking for stories of women who gleefully write their own rules, women who’ll bend or break the social norms, skate along the edge of the law and generally aim to misbehave.

    Genres: any variation of fantasy, SF, horror and/or crime.
    Length: 4000 – 8000 words
    Format: doc/docx/rtf files – see the Fox Spirit house style guide for formatting requirements
    Email as an attachment to:
    Please put ‘Submission: Wicked Women/story title’ in the email subject line
    Deadline: 30th June 2014
    Payment: £10 on publication, copy of the paperback and profit share for two years.

    Odd notes -
    [1] Yes, we're accepting stories from men too! Just make sure your lead is a woman.
    [2] A leading woman can be cisgender or transgender or any person who chooses to self identify or present as a woman in the space of the story.

    Current Mood: bouncy
    Saturday, April 19th, 2014
    Seven Souls in Skull Castle

    Tonight I saw a movie which is probably the most refrackulous thing I’ve watched in ages.

    Its Japanese title is Dokuro-jo no shichinin, and it’s actually a recording of a stage production, deliberately intended (so the blurb for it said) to be a blend of cinema with live performance. That much is comprehensible.

    But the plot, you guys. The plot.

    It just –

    These characters –

    I — I have no way to describe it that wouldn’t be full of spoilers. Which you probably don’t care about because the number of you who will ever see it is minuscule. But I can’t tell you why Tayu’s crew of prostitutes are so awesome. Or who exactly that one dude turned out to be (though I can say that I turned to my sister about ten minutes prior to that reveal and said “if he turns out to be X, I am going to laugh my ass off.” Of course he was X.) I just –

    Okay, look, here’s an example. The story takes place in 1590, eight years after the death of Oda Nobunaga. There’s this guy who’s set up shop in Skull Castle in the Kantou region, calling himself Tenmao, the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven. (This story: it is SUBTLE, yo.) It turns out that he, along with several of the other characters, used to be one of Nobunaga’s retainers, and hasn’t really gotten over his lord’s death. I believe the technical term for his state of mind would be, hmmm, how do they put it, oh yeah — bugfuck crazy. So one of his former comrades-in-arms goes to Skull Castle, and something like the following conversation ensues:

    TENMAO: See this mask on my helmet? It was made from the skull of our dead lord!
    FORMER COMRADE IN ARMS: That’s a little crazy, dude.
    TENMAO: That’s funny, coming from you. I happen to know those beads you wear are made from our dead lord’s bones!
    FCIA: . . . okay, that’s true. <caresses bone necklace>
    TENMAO: And this drink in my cup is made from our dead lord’s blood!

    Whereupon he drains the cup, kisses his former comrad-in-arms, and spits the blood into his mouth, which turns out to be drugged, so FCIA also goes what you might call bugfuck crazy.

    It is kabuki on crack and cranked up to eleventy-one. It also dodges the Smurfette trap (three of the seven heroes facing down Tenmao are women), swings wildly between broad comedy and rather grim drama, features some kind of amazing stage fighting, and has a character who basically figures out how to turn the fact that he can’t make up his mind which side he’s on into his superpower.

    I am so buying this the instant it’s available on DVD. And then I am going to inflict it on everybody around me.

    Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

    This entry was also posted at Comment here or there.
    It’s Hugo Nomination Reaction Day

    Scalzi has the full nomination list.

    Look, I don’t vote in every category every time. I will be voting in a category I haven’t voted in before, though.

    Natalie has some commentary (and quite a few comments) over on her site.


    I vote for the work, not the person, but there are some people I’ll put last in the pile to read. If I run out of time before, oh well. Let’s just say that I’ve bounced out of the work of those on the slate that I’ve tried to read before and leave it at that.

    What Am I Most Excited By?

    Randall Munroe being nominated for Time.


    What Omissions Am I Most Bummed By?

    James Mickens.


    Yeah, I know. There are a lot of other things to complain about.

    Originally published at You can comment here or there.

    Sunday, April 20th, 2014
    surely there's a lesson in it
    My friend 88greenthumb gave me some loquat seeds, and I planted them in some compost-just-recently turned into soil.

    All sorts of things sprouted. A tomato, for one thing. At last what I thought were the loquats started to come up, but also, some really intense and vigorous weeds, that I suspected were, oh, maybe raspberries. These kept *persisting* even though I pulled them out.

    Eventually I checked to see what loquat seedlings looked like. The things I'd thought were loquat seedlings were not, and the things I'd been pulling out as weeds *were*. So I kept the weeds--now loquats--and pulled out the other things.

    Here are the loquats now:


    Let's pause a while to admire the loquats' tenacity, continuing to come up even as I pulled out their early shoots. Let's also contemplate that the tomato seedling got discarded in this context because in this context it was a weed. . . whereas in other cases it would have been what I wanted. The whims of humankind.

    The lesser-known Epistles of Paul

    Paul's Letter to the Amphibians
    Paul's Letter to the Evasions
    Paul's Letter to the Galoshes

    What gemstone would you like the Word of God in? I would like the Word in Garnet.

    (Okay, that's all the Christianity-themed mishearings and bad puns I have for you tonight)

    The Grapes of Wrath

    It's its 75th anniversary this year. I'm reading it aloud with the healing angel (it's assigned reading for him in school). It is knocking my socks right off with its relevance.

    The Bank--or the Company--needs--wants--insists--must have--as though the Bank or the Company were a monster, with thought or feeling. . . [The banks] breathe profits, they eat the interest on money. If they don't get it, they die the way you die without air, without side meat . . . The bank--the monster has to have profits all the time. It can't wait. It'll die. No, taxes go on. When the monster stops growing, it dies. It can't stay one size.

    That, from Chapter Five, after Chapter Four, in which a preacher declares, "Before I knowed it, I was sayin' out loud, 'The hell with it! There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There's just stuff people do. It's all part of the same thing. And some of the things folks do is nice, and some ain't nice, but that's as far as any man got a right to say.'"

    Also, the book is intensely *visual*. I see everything so very, very clearly.

    I am glad I didn't have to read it in high school. Right now is precisely the right time for me to be reading it.

    Current Mood: Iron & Wine: Woman King
    apod 4:43a
    2014 Hugo Nominees F/M
    Boy, do I regret the fractional credit approach.

    Read more...Collapse )

    Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.
    Saturday, April 19th, 2014
    Writing and the Critical Path

    As someone who’s spent my whole life working mostly on one large project after another, you’d think novels wouldn’t be as hard for me to write as they actually are.

    I had this glimpse into why: I generally had a sense, at all times, whether something was on the critical path—or not. There were desired features and planned expansions, but building them wasn’t part of my initial task. So there were clearly things on the critical path—and not. Generally, there was at least something of an order: I need to get pretty far along in X before I can test Y, so let’s write X first. I can work on Y if I’m stumped on X.

    In a novel, generally all of the planned scenes need to be written because they’re interwoven. It’s all on the critical path.

    Non-fiction’s different: some items may be optional. If they’re not written for the book itself, they can be re-used in other ways, like website content or newsletter content.

    So I don’t necessarily have a sense of what I should work on next. The list is too large. Since I write out of order frequently that makes the problem set too large.

    I’m going to have to think about this.

    Originally published at You can comment here or there.

    [ dome_girl ]
    DSC_0152 copy 3
    Little Bunny Foo Foo hopped into my kitchen the other day and landed in some carrot cake doughnuts while looking for something to eat.

    Thankfully, they were baked doughnuts so there was no hot oil involved!

    Want to make your own bunny in a garden doughnuts? The instructions are under the cut, and it's actually pretty easy. Just make the doughnuts, slather on some icing the icing, then top with the bunny bums. They're the perfect treat for little (and big) kids for the long, holiday weekend.

    Happy Easter! For more pictures, or to see other Easter treats, head on over to Leanne Bakes.
    Very long recipe under hereCollapse )
    (struggles and limitations for) Worldcon 2014 / Loncon3
    This post is very much an active continuation of my previous post. If you are reading this in LJ reverse-time-flow then go read that post first and come back to this one. I'll wait right here for you.

    Behind the cut so that you can read my previous post first.Collapse )
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