nonionay: (nano summoning)
I think I might have forgotten to mention I sold a story to Lightspeed. Oops. When it happened, I was at the Real Life equivalent of Livejournal, the Rainforest Writers Retreat, and was able to jump up and down with stupid glee and tell a huge percentage of my friends right there. I was also thinking I should wait to announce it until I had my counter-signed contract, which, as a friend pointed out, is silly.

I can't even describe how happy this makes me. I think Lightspeed is one of the best sf publications out there, and they were the second place I sent this story to. This is the story I wrote for my Clarion application, with which I wanted to impress Samuel Delany. I took some advice from Delany and shamelessly smeared my heart around on the page. (And also thought up one of the strangest sexual/romantic arrangements I could.) I didn't get into Clarion, but Lightspeed's even better.

Anyway, I've been struggling with the technical aspects of getting my edits*. It's all worked out now. But for future reference: if you want to view an editor's comments in Open Office, you need to have a .doc, not a .rtf.

*which otherwise have been painless. I suspect I'm a better person now for having had half my M-dashes mercilessly incinerated.
nonionay: (Default)
Norwescon was a blast. The only down spots were
A) Forgetting to buy Mark Henry's Battle of the Network Zombies. *
B) Missing folks who couldn't make it. and
C) The Tor Party, at which I kind of freaked out. I was exhausted, and the party was of course, loud, crowded and full of strangers. However, everyone I knew was also there, (yes, there was one notable exception, but I was too exhausted to deal with the emotional weight of being with that friend. See below.) meaning I couldn't go somewhere else to chill and still be social. Next year, I'm going to make sure I have a hotel room, even if I have to beg, bribe and cajole folks to share with me. I really, really needed a nap and possibly private introvert space.

* Totally remedied on the drive home. My mom needed to use the bathroom, so we stopped at the Northgate Barnes and Noble.


Other downside: I was so exhausted when I got home that I passed right out. I was a little surprised, since while I didn't sleep much, it wasn't like I was running on two hours a night or anything. And the two-hour nap did nothing for me. I soon myself overcome with abdominal cramps, and quivering with a cold sweat. I wanted to barf so bad, but I eventually had to accept that it was just gas and curling up in bed was all I could do. It actually made for good mental processing time, since I couldn't do anything else until the pain abated. (When it got to a manageable level, I totally started Mark's book, because if anything is readable through potential food poisoning, it's a trashy zombie novel. I'm better now, and it probably wasn't food poisoning, but if John Pitts ends up with the same thing, it was totally the bread pudding, in the bar, with the unspeakable rich sauce.

Among the superawesome things:

Meeting up with an old, old friend who has a tendency to drop out of my life for years on end, and then pop up without warning. I saw him briefly last year, but the cliquish nature of Norwescon being what it is, I never saw him after that glimpse. This year, however, we got in dinner and a lot of conversation time, and I got to turn him on to a friend's upcoming book. We talked about the past and being young and stupid and if only, if only, if only.

Hanging with an awesome group who included Kat Richardson (and her glorious custom-made corset) and Cherie Priest. Every now and then, I feel like I've already learned everything there is to know about how the publishing business works, and then I learn otherwise. I feel like I earned a merit badge. (Basket accounting. If I understand it right, it's when the publisher requires a series of books to earn out their advance(s) as a unit before earning royalties.)

Early morning writing sessions in the Rotunda overlooking that really big pond behind the hotel. I actually got writing done at a con!

My kickass little hat (known as a folly, I was informed.) Made by [livejournal.com profile] zeldyn. (Check out her Etsy shop!) Turns out another of my friends at Norwescon also had one of her hats!

Being led by Camille Alexa through the party wing in a big long chain of half-drunk ducklings in search of alcohol.

I'm feeling very, very grateful. Grateful to friends who hooked us up with beds, grateful to pros for stuffing me with knowledge, grateful for folks like Nayad of Clarkesworld who encourage me to keep submitting despite rejection. Grateful to everyone for being so welcoming. I had a revelation about myself, about why it is that being with my friends doesn't drain me. I view the world and connect with it through my relationships. I tend towards collective identities. (Even though I know that all that is illusory, and that ultimately, I'm only me. I do manage to function as a completely self-sufficient unit, socially and emotionally.) I think that my ego actually absorbs the friends I'm with, basically bringing them under the umbrella of my identity, and keeping them from being energy drains. I bet it sounds like that could be a freaky concept. My ex used to bug me about needing to define people. And it's not like I'm saying, "you are now me, and I have as much control over you as I do myself." It's just that wither certain people, I have an awareness of closeness and our commonalities. We're united by our passions, or events, or common knowledge. Different combinations form different groups within the group. (And of course, certain bonds form barriers that are almost impenetrable. One word: Clarionites. I respect the barriers, especially since goodness knows I have them among my own circles, but having a relationship of a different sort with someone in the impenetrable group allows for temporary permeability. Me and another girl totally bonded at World Fantasy over being Roommates of Clarionites, who drifted along like superfluous, but attached, appendages on the Clarion Amoeba.)

This makes me think that my social energy loss actually comes from two sources. The first is the standard problem of people (particularly extroverted-seeming types) focusing on me, forcing my own shields up. The second is me attempting to batter down the shields I perceive between myself and others.

Okay, enough philosophy. I need to get back to bitchy zombies in love.

Astronomy!

Mar. 31st, 2010 08:38 pm
nonionay: (sepulchrave)
It's times like this that I wish I had a really nice camera, because the shot of Saturn on the eastern horizon with a spectacular skyline of thunderheads would be magnificent. When I go outside right now, I can see Mercury (which I'm not certain I've seen before), Venus, Mars and Saturn, all in the same sky.
I <3 my iPod planetarium app. (I also <3 Phil Plait for notifying me of the opportunity.
nonionay: (Default)
There are a few times in life where almost every single thing you could possibly want happens, and sometimes, it happens for several days in a row. I've got support and a backup plan for my worries back home, so I can safely let myself relax here. I've got my best friends around me--people who are like family--I've got nature* and isolation and stars and beautiful weather and binoculars. I've written an average of 2000 words a day, of words I like. Yesterday, I was sitting on the deck of our lounge cabin, my feet on the railing, book in my lap, listening to [livejournal.com profile] kenscholes play his guitar for an audience inside, while a stream babbled and curved into the lake, and a bald eagle flew overhead. It's all a little unreal how wonderful everything is, and tomorrow I'll go home, but I'll go home in a car full of my best friends.
All kinds of happy, emotional things are happening to me. I was very huggy yesterday.


*I had to convince one friend that no, he didn't need to drive the Lake Loop--an hour or more drive--for a third time, and he did need to get some more writing done.

Hey, speaking of the Lake Loop, here's some pictures.

Read more... )
nonionay: (Default)
Holy smokes! I just discovered an easy way to to make poetry.
Some of the seeds I generate from prompts are short and pretty, but I can't for the life of me imagine how to pull a 1,000-5,000 word story out of them, and there's not enough plot for it to be flash. That last poem I posted, though, came from me playing with such a seed and turning it to poem form. It sat. And sat. Months after doing this, I realize I actually have a poem.
So, I thought, why don't I do this for all those other orphaned seeds?
So yeah, I just wrote two poems in ten minutes.
One that I just did, I only had to add line breaks!

I go back and forth with my poetry. Most of my earlier stuff is just me playing around, and it only makes sense to me. Every now and then, I get the urge to send one out. It gets rejected, and I chicken out again. I'm back in send-it-out mode.
Looking at the pro markets, you can make like 300$ for a poem! Dude!
Of course, most of them also have response times of at least a hundred days, according to Duotrope.

And of course, I'm not likely to get 300$ But if I can get 20 dollars for a poem it takes me ten minutes to write, I'll feel good.
nonionay: (Default)
In other news, I finally got around to playing with last.fm. I'm listing to a Tuvan set. There's a guy singing the blues, but with the gravelly, barely-human sound of the throat singer mixed in. Also, I learned that at some point, two of my favorite things in the world got together, presumably because they want to see what the inside of my skull looks like after it explodes.
Huun Huur Tu AND Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares!!
One is Tuvan throat singing with a bit of a contemporary sensibility, the other's the assymetrical rhythms and dissonant harmonies of Eastern European folk music.
Hmpf. Now the station just jumped from Yat-Kha (Tuvan punk!) to just regular old punk. Hmpf.
nonionay: (sepulchrave)
okay, okay, okay.
Keffy's going to write a magnificent post of joyous doom, ( he took notes. lots of notes) but I'm going to get mine up first, so it'll be quick.
First, you might want to wait until 2012 hits the small screen so you can MST the crap out of it. I almost hyperventilated not trying to laugh out loud. Second, there's a seizure-inducing lighting setup at the climax. WTF HOLLYWOOD?
anyway...
If you're a science fiction writer, you need to see 2012, because it is the greatest lesson on WHAT NOT TO DO. EVER. in science fiction.
This is high quality bad science. The highest I've ever seen. How high? As high as a boat getting smashed into the top of Mount Everest!
The blah blah emotional family plot is fine and standard and hits all the cliche notes except one which I was actually disappointed by, especially since that particular heroic sacrifice had a perfectly clear spot later in the movie.

It was good with the having lots of not white people, bad, bad bad with the not having a lack of sexism. Why the hell did they even have women in this movie? They only did any good when they were using their Magical Mother Rays to communicate. Oh yeah, the German Chancellor. She was worthwhile.

I'm sure someone somewhere will have fun breaking down the exact nature of the bad science somewhere. It would fill a couple volumes, though. I'll just hit my personal favorites behind the spoiler cut.

Read more... )
nonionay: (Default)
For those who, like me, are looking to add some optimistic sf to their writing repertoire, here's some interesting inspiration. It's a surfing resort in Peru that offers "voluntourism" packages, where you help the local community.
nonionay: (Default)
From a chat we just had (I'd lent him Newton's Cannon, by J Gregory Keyes, one of my favorites:
"I just about finished your book. I looked up steampunk cyberpunk dieselpunk clockpunk. .,I didn't know anything about them. "
nonionay: (Default)
Here's the few decent pictures I got from [livejournal.com profile] q13_exe's wedding. My camera is clearly not designed for indoor usage.
The wedding was held at the American Museum of Radio and Electricity, one of Bellingham's true wonders. The event proper was held in a big room with access to the whole rest of the museum, which we had to ourselves. Electric phrenology! Leyden jars! Sparky things! Booby bells!
And of course, the theremin. <3 (aka the source of the woobly creepy music in old movies.)
That place just screams Book Launch Party.

The wedding itself wasn't so much as a ceremony as a party that a couple people happened to get married at. It was loads of fun.

Pics behind the cut
Read more... )
nonionay: (Default)
I got the lawnmower to work! For some inscrutable reason, only one person in my house could get the lawnmower to start. This doesn't stop me from trying, because DANGIT, IT SHOULD WORK! And lo! Today it did, and thus, I mowed the morning glories.

A certain someone in my circle has just made their first pro sale, and that has me twitchy about my own short story output. I glared at my idea/snippet file until one of them turned into flash fiction. Poof! Now I feel better.

Heck, I felt better after mowing the lawn. Now I just need to fix my mom's Walmart hem, and I'll be on top of the world.

In other news, I put $25 in a loan at Kiva, because when I feel poor, I donate money. (Though technically, I'm loaning, not donating. I don't think you can do this sort of thing, though, with any expectations. It's a donation, pure and simple.) I think there's a strange mix of forces at play when I do that. The alchemical idea of sowing gold to reap a golden harvest later, the image of the widow at the temple, being praised by Jesus for giving what few coins she had. Those are the selfish motivations, which really are irrational, except possibly on the deepest unconscious level. Virtuous motivations go without saying. There's a financial zone, I think, where I forget to give charity. Above a certain security, I think, "I have bonus money, what should I do with it!" and of course, part of that is to give. But there's also where I'm at right now, which, while not poor, is an anxious, insecure state. When I encounter opportunities to spend money, and that opportunity is a charity, I have to ask myself the question, Is, 'because I want to hoard my money in case I need it later (and go to World Fantasy!)' a reason to deny a bunch of industrious women in Bolivia the chance to improve their own lives?

And using that logic, I'm going to buy one of my friend Fenmere's Universal Drawing Straps, a nifty doodad he's worked up. Check it out! He's a good guy, a great artist (you can get clipboards with his art on it!) and a hard worker. Not only can you go to Kiva and help out random people start businesses in random corners of the world, you can help someone you know (by two degrees of separation) start a business.

Art

Aug. 2nd, 2009 02:51 pm
nonionay: (Default)
This weekend is the annual Bellingham Arts Festival. You can get amazing art for relatively cheap, and I always like to spend a little. I'd planned on getting a print or two and spending maybe 25$, but I ended up getting two ceramic charms for 10$, and a block painting for 50$ from Pham Quoc Hung whose art makes me want to cry. Photos seriously can't do his work justice. The paintings are up to four feet wide explosions of color. Very expressionistic, like a cross between Van Gogh and Picasso.

Art by Pham Quoc Hung

About 30" wide.
nonionay: (sepulchrave)
There's a thunderstorm on right now. [livejournal.com profile] awriter is particularly happy, since it's her first since leaving Illinois.

Also, have a cool link:
Database of Medieval English Soldiers.

Score!

Jul. 16th, 2009 11:41 am
nonionay: (Default)
Scored myself a 10$ tripod at Aladdin's Antiques, along with a couple old, old sf mags for 5$ each.

Saturday night, Saturn is mine! Bwa ha aha!
nonionay: (Default)
I got my galileoscope in the mail today. Assembling it myself was satisfying, and holding the crystal clear lenses was an unexpected thrill.

Now I just need a tripod and a dark, clear night. I spent a couple minutes balancing the danged thing on my shoulder, trying to project an out of focus image of the sun onto a piece of paper to show Chelsea that it could be done.

I don't suppose anyone has a tripod they want to get rid of?
nonionay: (Default)
I discovered today that I really, really like critiquing friends' manuscripts. I was reading a published book and wishing I could insert comments to the author, and with an unpublished draft, I can! Bwa ha ha!
nonionay: (sepulchrave)
Just got back from my second viewing of Star Trek. I realized this time around that none of it makes sense. AT ALL. Last time, I was like, "wow, there's an amazing amount of bad science and coincidence in this, but I love it anyway." This time, I had visions of the writers sitting around a table analyzing their work. "Does this scene contain any logic flaws or other stuff that could only result because everyone's an idiot except our main characters? Wait, it doesn't? We'd better fix that! Let's go ALL the way!"

And I still love it.

hee hee hee hee hee.

According to one individual I know, I'm having a midlife crisis. I don't think he knows he knows me.
nonionay: (Default)
Way back when, I read the Star Wars novelization. I loved it, partly because it had some weird stuff the movie didn't. For instance, in the novel, strange mists rose on Tattooine at dawn. Scientists came up with rationalizations, but no one really understood. It had absolutely nothing to do with anything, but it always stuck with me.

The first thing I ever wrote was inspired by that. I got the "OMG, I have to write," fever, and wrote a short story about a girl who found a siren in a rapidly-shrinking pool on a desert planet, and was told stories of the ghosts of the siren's sisters that haunted the sands. The idea was, the mists were the ghosts, and if a siren's story was told, then her soul could rest. I figured I'd write a bunch of stories with that as the framing device. I've got a poem about a dead mermaid, but that's as far as I ever got. For years, that was my one and only short story.

Now, I've written two short stories in almost as many weeks. On command, even. Go me!

So, a big thank you to all of you who convinced me to push myself onward.
nonionay: (Default)
I'm several chapters into [livejournal.com profile] markteppo new book, Lightbreaker. It takes place in a world I've inhabited and orbited, and as a result, it creeps into my brain and freaks me out a little. It opens up just a few miles from where I grew up, and a lot of it so far has taken place on the Bainbridge-Seattle ferry run, that old landmark of my dreams and childhood. One of the characters is named Rasmussen, an old local name around Scandinavian Poulsbo. One of my old friends was a Rasmussen, the stoner son of two Republican pillars of the community, who had a house on Agate Pass and argued with the local Indians about the use of their beach.

I'm also excited because it's written by someone who doesn't have to bullshit their occultism!!
[livejournal.com profile] kehrli, who is reading it simultaneously, said it was like reading hard science fiction with fantasy terms. Possibly a little dense for the uninitiated. But I'm like, "Yes! Oh, god, yes!"

Anyways, I'm a little biased. It will be interesting to see what Keffy thinks. And J. My dear old J. He'll piss himself when he reads this book. (Yes, Mark, I'm so buying copies for my dad and my old-boyfriend.)
nonionay: (Default)
Curled up in my beanbag chair this evening with Stephen Fry's "The Ode Less Traveled." I expected an informational book, not an interactive one! But Fry pushes you along and orders you to read things out loud and mark up the sample verses with a pencil. And it's Stephen Fry, with his jovial, conversational, gentlemanly voice, and so you can't disobey. As a result, I can't let Audrey borrow it when I'm done, but will have to buy it for her as a gift. She needs her own to mark up. Definitely, because she's the only other poetry person in my group.

It includes exercises, which Fry does along with you for reassurance and example. He stresses having fun and writing poetry as a hobby. You can tell he writes his examples spontaneously, just as he wants you to, as they're full of mentions of the birds outside his window, and his desktop ashtrays overflowing. They're not masterpieces, but they're honest and show how lovely everyday things can be when you write them in iambic pentameter. They encourage everyone to join in.

I've done three of the exercises, and my brain feels pleasantly worked out. He suggests doing similar exercises regularly, and I agree. It's a good way to keep your brain working and feeling out rhythms. Most useful was the exercise that required you write two couplets in iambic pentameter, each about the same topic (he provided five--simple things like what's outside your window), one without (to simplify the jargon) punctuation, and one with. It forces you to write with different styles and think about what you're doing.

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