Congrats to the Hugo Winners!

Alas, I am not one of them this year — but that’s OK, because I never expected to be nominated in the first place; being nominated truly is its own honor. And alas, John is not one of them either (he was up for best novella for The God Engines). But believe me, the folks who won all deserve it.

The ceremony just ended, though I’ll admit I did not get up at 5 a.m. to watch it being liveblogged. Figured I’d save myself the suspense and either wake up to a nice surprise — or get the disappointment over with, feed the cat, and go back to bed. Regardless, the full list of winners can be found at Replicating it here to spread the word (below the cut).

My quickie, pre-coffee reactions: I’m really glad “Moon” beat out “District 9” and “Avatar”. Extremely happy that Girl Genius won its category. I do wish my buddy Saladin Ahmed had won the Campbell, but I like Seanan McGuire too after reading her zombie apocalypse story (written as Mira Grant) Feed. Yay for Clarkesworld winning best semiprozine, but I’m a little biased there, since they bought my nominated story. (Kinda hoped Weird Tales would win, too — they’ve also bought one of my stories. And I’m featured in Locus this month, so I would’ve been happy if they’d won too. Are you detecting a theme here?) One big surprise in the Best Novel category — a tie! China Mieville and Paolo Bacigalupi both won. I like both books, so I’m very happy.

Your thoughts?

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How to — possibly — torpedo one’s own career in epic fantasy.

OK, I told myself I wasn’t going to use the AWESOMA POWAH of being a guestblogger at Whatever to promote myself. And I’m not! Really! But the mandate I got from John was to write about whatever I felt like writing about, and, well, if there’s one thing pro writers like to write about, it’s angst over The State of The Career. So.

The title of this post is an hyperbole. As n00b fantasy writers go, I’m doing pretty well — my sales are decent, I’ve gotten great reviews from all the major sites, and best of all, no one has come at me with a broken bottle at a convention or reading! (Seriously, ya’ll, I had a nightmare about that once.) But since book 2 of my Inheritance Trilogy* is going to be coming out in a couple of months, I’ve reached a new milestone in my development as a Jane Schmoe Neopro (gender-switching Tobias Buckell’s term, which he used for a great series of articles on being a new published writer). Namely, I’m having Secondbookophobia.
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Wish me luck…

…just do a better job with the wishing than this, okay?

decorated cake, rainbow-colored, bearing the words You Are Tolerable

From Cake Wrecks, one of my favorite non-lolcat sites.

I have a job interview today! Alas, I’m not quite as published as John yet, and thus not quite able to become a full time writer — although I don’t think I’d want to, even if I had the financial wherewithal. I tried the full time writer life for a few months after I got my book deal, and discovered that it was surprisingly boring to sit at home and write all day. Inorite? Not at all what I expected, back when I was an unpublished writer dreaming of making a career out of my imagination. But really, “boring” is an incomplete description of the problem. I’m not a raging extravert — I’m almost 50/50 on the E/I scale of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, with a slight leaning towards introversion. But you know what my favorite thing to do is? Teach. Teaching is considered a hardcore “extravert” activity, but I absolutely love standing in front of a group of people and helping them understand some complex subject. Since I’m a career counselor in my day job life, I’m usually teaching concepts like work-life balance — and for me, and my balance, I need to have some meaningful work other than writing. Specifically, I need to be helping people, making some real, substantive difference in the lives of others, in order for my fiction to feel meaningful to me. Plus, paying the rent on time is kind of nice.

So while I may make concessions to my writing life — this job is part-time, for example, to allow enough time for writing; and I may try the full-time writing thing again at some point in the future if deadlines demand it — I don’t think I’ll ever fully give up my day-job life. I just like it too much.

So here are your fru-fru touchy-feely questions for today: what is it that makes you feel most fulfilled? Do you have it, or not? I’m going for mine; how are you gonna get yours?

Stuff I Like, Part XVIIVJKX!!IL

NukuNuku turns her back on these shenanigans.

NukuNuku is annoyed with me, because lately I’ve been on an anthology kick. And when I find something good to read, I tend to ignore her a bit — until she comes over and swats the book out of my hand, that is, and yowls in my face. So much for the polite Canadian stereotype. (This is a continuation of a feature that I periodically do on my own blog, by the way, thus the post title.)
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Inception Parodies

You knew they were coming:

Both were recommended by fellow writer and snarkmeister G. L. Valentine, whom you can usually find over at dissecting the latest films for “what the hell were they thinking?” purposes. (But she actually liked Inception.) She also blogs about fashion.

BTW, there are at least half a dozen parodies of Inception that are about conception, over at YouTube. All of them are kinda terrible. (And several are NSFW.) Seriously, guys, if it doesn’t take much effort to think up, is it even worth doing? ::sigh::

What He Said.

the park51 building

I’d been struggling to come up with something to say about the Park 51/”Ground Zero Mosque” affair that would not start with a profanity and devolve from there into frothing monosyllabic incoherency, but China Mieville beat me to it. His statement ends with a profanity, but it’s a well-earned one. And he further calls for some designer somewhere to come up with a slogan, logo, etc., that will allow those of us in a fury over this to express our objections more simply.

He concludes with: “Racism out of Manhattan”.

To which I say, this so hard.
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…I got nothin’.

Photographed on the Lower East Side, near the Delancey Street F station:

A knitted bike cozy? Was it cold?

So… yeah. I guess we can consider this an open thread.

Now Have Another

Submitted for your approval :

Sunset over Brooklyn

My camera is old, and one of the first things on my “stuff to buy when I next have a windfall” list is a digital SLR. But the old clunker still manages to capture some things just right. This isn’t today, which is gray and dreary; I took this a couple of days ago, from the window of the new apartment. Now imagine gazing at this while listening to John Coltrane’s “Equinox”, and you’ll know what a perfect Brooklyn sunset feels like.

Here, have a sky

A perfect Brooklyn sky

Not the view from my new apartment, and not even today. This was taken from my old apartment’s balcony, last month sometime. Posting because the last 2 weeks have been unusually hazy and dreary, and generally poor photo-taking weather. I’m tired of waiting for it to clear up before I show you guys some of the sights in my ‘hood. Consider this a visual invocation of the kind of sky I want to see, which is more normal for Brooklyn.

It’s Friday. I’m writing my usual 2000 words, getting a pedicure, and reading volume 4 of Fumi Yoshinaga’s Tiptree-Award-winning manga Ooku. What are you doing?

Kagan, the SCOTUS, and You!

Apologies for being a bit slow to react on some political stuff that’s happened lately. Moving is hard, moving is hard. There are many boxes; where the hell is my hammer? (With additional apologies to Li Po for butchering his lovely “The Hard Road” for my own sordid purposes.)

So Elena Kagan has been sworn in as the 112th justice of the Supreme Court. I have mixed feelings about this. Much as I’m glad to see another woman — and a New Yorker! — on the court, I’m concerned that Kagan (despite weeks of Republican freakouts over her “extreme liberalism”) is contributing to the court’s drift to the right. The justice she’s replacing, John Paul Stevens, was a solid liberal; Kagan herself appears to be a centrist. While in a vacuum I’d generally consider a centrist to be a good thing, in the context of this court, I can’t see Kagan as much of a counterweight against the hard rightward drag of Scalia and Thomas. Now, I’m not Scalzi and I won’t even pretend to be a centrist myself… but regardless of my personal politics, I think we all need that counterweight right now, given some of the more blatantly partisan decisions the court’s made lately.

So I’m going to try and focus on the positives… and hope that Kagan, like Stevens, turns out to be the surprise liberal the court really needs right now.

Thoughts on Kagan? Remember, Kate’s just itching for her chance to swing the Mallet, so keep it civil please.

Well, you see, when two fantasy writers love each other very much…

…they get drunk enough to say “yes” when I ask them if I can put this up on Whatever:

Peter V. Brett (l) and Blake Charlton (r), secure in their masculinity

This is one big reason why I love New York: there are so many writers here that every day is like a science fiction/fantasy convention. Today’s photo comes from the aftermath of Saturday’s “guerilla reading” by fantasy author Blake Charlton and friends. Lots of fans, editors, and authors were in attendance, including those who read along with Blake — Laura Anne Gilman (who took this photo and graciously shared it with me), fellow Altered Fluidian Saladin Ahmed, and David Barr Kirtley. Others were there just for moral support, like me and Peter V. Brett, seen above (left) with Blake.

Afterward, we all went out to a bar called Valhalla, because where else are a bunch of fantasy authors going to go drink? And as you can see from the above literal demonstration, it was one great big fantasy author lovefest. Things got a little wild after that third horn of mead, or maybe it was the ValhallaDogs and AsgardWurst (no, I’m not kidding) that did us in. Anyway, thanks to the guys for being such good sports as to let me post this here for your shameless ridicule admiration.

ETA: Gah, fixed URL for Laura Anne Gilman’s website, and added URL for Altered Fluid. Sorry, guys.

Inception Obsession

Spoilers herein for the movie Inception. You have been warned!

I’ve seen the movie Inception four times, including on IMAX. Thinking about buying it when it comes out in DVD, etc. I even bought the Hans Zimmer soundtrack; it’s excellent music for writing about gods and epic stuff.

Now, let me put this in context: the last movie I saw multiple times in the theater, and still didn’t buy, was The Matrix. And that was only because somebody pointed out the green tint thing, which I’d missed on the first run-through. I’m ridiculously picky and jaded about my media. I don’t watch much TV to begin with (writing time has to come from somewhere) and when I do there are very, very few shows, movies, or video games that can capture and hold my interest, let alone bring me back for seconds or thirds. The ones that do aren’t always the greatest thing since sliced bread — as Inception is not; its characterization is so thin as to be archetypal, though in certain rare cases archetypes are all you need to tell a story (c.f. fairy tales).

But every so often, something will come along that hits one of my aesthetic sweet spots, and then I just. can’t. stop. watching/consuming/engaging. In the case of Inception, I love the look of the film. Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s and Marion Cotillard’s wardrobes alone are worth the price of admission. Nolan’s got a good eye for combining the stark with the surreal, and even though his dreamscapes seem awfully monotonous — I’ve been calling Cobb’s city in Limbo “Cutandpasteopolis” — there’s still a strangeness to them that really works for me, especially in combination with Zimmer’s haunting film score. And I love the actors, who do a phenomenal job within those thin slices of characterization. DiCaprio’s good, but Gordon-Levitt really shines, Dileep Rao did a much better job than the film’s marketing would suggest (he’s the only member of “the team” who didn’t get an individualized poster), and I never thought I would find Marion Cotillard frightening but she does it so well. I could watch Ken Watanabe paint a wall and be floored by his technique. And Tom Hardy is surprisingly hot in three-day stubble and a Seventies butterfly collar. (…I’m kind of disturbed to see myself write this. But writers must be willing to embrace their own fears and eccentricities…)

But here’s part of what intrigues me about the film. Read More »

This is my life right now.

Moving boxes

Just moved into a new apartment yesterday, so am a little discombobulated at the moment. Shall wax eloquent about Inception tomorrow, when I’ve recombobulated a little. In the meantime, it’s a great apartment — significantly larger than my last one and cheaper, and with a lovely night-view of lower Manhattan and my favorite bridge in the city, the Williamsburg. (Yeah, weird fact about New Yorkers; we all have a favorite bridge.) It has a good vibe; I can write here.

For those of you who doubt the existence of my cat, if you look closely at this pile of boxes, you might notice a wafting brindled tail… OK, just kidding, NukuNuku’s tail isn’t in the photo.



Hi folks. I noticed that the traffic at my blog has gone boom in the past couple of days, so I guess it’s time for me to introduce myself — though as John points out, this isn’t my first appearance in these here parts. I’m also known to make the occasional comment in various threads, though since I’m usually busy writing books and stuff, I try to limit my online time. Fortunately, John’s call for guest bloggers caught me in the sweet spot of time management — just after I’ve finished book 3 of the Inheritance Trilogy (The Kingdom of Gods, if you’re wondering), and just before I start my next big project. It’s not perfect timing, unfortunately; I’m about to move to a new apartment, resume work after having the summer off, and some other stuff — but what the hey.

About my blogging style: I talk a lot about writing, but also about feminism, race, art, and politics. Since I’m excited about Jaenelle Monae, dragons, and Inception at the moment (in no particular order), I might be talking about about those things to start off. I don’t mind controversy, and have minimal patience for knuckleheads — so it’s fortunate that someone else will be wielding the Mallet of Loving Correction, because I would probably be heavier-handed with it than you guys are used to! I live in Brooklyn, and might occasionally post sunsets and landscapes and the like — since, hey, we have pretty stuff to look at in the big city, too. While I do have a cat, the venerable dame NukuNuku*, I’m not going to be posting any pictures of her. I’ve seen how you guys are about John’s cats, and I don’t want any pervy cat-fanciers eyeballing my girl. You hear me? So don’t even ask, or I’ll post photos of local NYC wildlife instead.

So, nice to meet you!

* Oh, and I’m a longtime anime/manga fan, if you couldn’t tell.