In the Shadow of Blackbirds

Today’s Morris nominee interview: Elizabeth Bunce talks to Cat Winters about In the Shadow of Blackbirds. This one sounds great, too! I was particularly interested in the fact that she had a long, bumpy road to publication, and that the book came out slightly after her 40th birthday. That was my story too. 

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets

In today’s Morris finalist interview, Blythe Woolston talks to Evan Roskos. I have not yet read Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets, but now I can’t wait. It sounds fascinating, and like it would have some interesting overlap with Charm and Strange – this old Comparative Literature major is itching to compare the two!

Now it is the solstice of the year

Io Saturnalia, y'all!

Io Saturnalia, y’all!

Notes! I’ve got notes!

Editorial notes, that is! There are a lot of little things, and the cumulative effect is, I suspect, a bit like being overrun by Raspberry Crazy Ants. But still. Progress, darlings. Progress has been made and continues to be made, and we are still on track for March 2015, unless I fall down a hole.

Which I might. I never rule that out.

Also: don’t click on the link above if you are easily freaked out by ants or the idea of ants. There’s a shared psychosis, wherein two people living together begin to believe they can see insects on themselves and each other. My husband and I once decided we were going to develop this psychosis someday. It’s an odd aspiration, but we have a number of odd aspirations. After reading this article, though… well, here’s the money quote, to my mind: “’It’s psychological,’ he said. ‘And yet, you actually do have them on you.’” 

*commences ceaseless shuddering!*

The Pratchett Appreciation Tumblr

Love Terry Pratchett? Well, there’s a Tumblr for that: Terry Pratchett Appreciation. I have a short piece on there, along with other fabulous authors like Cory Doctorow and Megan Whalen Turner. I believe they are also taking submissions, if you feel inspired.

Sorry this is brief, but my poor whippet is unwell. *sigh* Off to the vet with us. 

Codex Seraphinianus

I had never heard of this book before, and then it’s come to my attention twice within a month: Codex Seraphinianus. Read the article; admire the artwork. It’s gently, humanely surreal, and right up my alley.

Seraphina – from my novel – is not named after Luigi Serafini or his Codex, and yet she could have been. It would have been apropos. These images would fit right in with her Garden of Grotesques, I think. 


It occurs to me that you probably want some information about this mysterious sequel I’ve been working on for the last geologic age. A few things may now be told without being spoilery.

The title will be Shadow Scale

Two words. It was originally one, and I still like it better as one, but there were other, logistical reasons to make it two. I’m not sure I’m at liberty to say what those reasons are just yet, so you must use your imagination. If your imagination is on vacation (it IS November, after all) I will give you some alternatives:

a) Because I get paid by the word

b) Because somebody hacked it in two with a sword

c) Because when it was one word, people kept misreading it as “Shadows Cale” and then getting hungry for mysterious cruciferous vegetables

The correct answer is, of course, all three.

Second item of business: when does the accursed thing come out? We have a date, darlings, but it may be subject to change, so pencil it in. As of right now, if revisions go the way they should and my editor isn’t eaten by Godzilla and an asteroid doesn’t hit Manhattan and I don’t fall down a hole, the book should be out by:

March, 2015.

I will give you a moment to weep. That’s fair. It is November, after all, and nobody should be expected to hold it in when the rain clouds can’t be bothered to show the same consideration.

Done? Good. Now let’s get a YAAAAY! Because this thing is real. It is happening. There were days I thought it never would be, when my mind felt like a glacier, cold and barren and immovable.

But glaciers do move. They move mountains and etch valleys and bulldoze entire landscapes. I have applied irresistible forces to immovable objects. I have eroded whole canyons, sometimes with nothing but a persistent drip. 

Heh. Persistent drip. That pretty much sums me up.

I’m just going to leave this here for now

Music and Color: the French Connection

A fascinating article about synaesthesia and a place where music and science history intersect. I don’t have time to comment  sensibly because I’m just walking out the door, but well worth a read.

Going through my head today

Steve Howe’s merry guitar tune, “Clap”

I had understood the title of this song to be “The Clap”, as in the STD, but according to Wikipedia, that’s wrong. I just checked our antique tape of The Yes Album, and there it is, wrong. How annoying would that be, to write a jolly little song in honour of your son’s birth and then some album-cover designer renames it after gonorrhea. I’d be a little upset, I have to admit.

But what a happy song, and what an interesting video of it. I’m so used to the cello and violin model of of string instruments, where you’d be moving the left hand fingers for each individual note, but you can see really clearly here that the left hand holds set chord positions and most of the work and challenge is in the right hand. Pretty neat.

Our continuing culinary adventures

You may remember that we steamed a haggis ’round these parts on Bobby Burns Day back in January. Well, we’re up to no good again, this time in the form of 19th century nautical cuisine. My husband has been reading Patrick O’Brian’s novels – basis for the movie Master and Commander, if that’s more familiar – and he’s grown increasingly intrigued by what the sailors eat. 

And who wouldn’t want to try figgy dowdy? I maintain he’s got a point.

And so, yes, we’re diving in. Today he and our son will be making hardtack (two kinds! No weevils, though), and then tomorrow we’re making salt pork, pease porridge (hot? cold? nine days old?), figgy dowdy, and grog.

REAL grog, not Ikea grog. Made from rum, lime juice, and bilge water. Bilge-tastic!

Anyway, my lads have largely taken charge of this whole operation, which is nice. I’m to take pictures and make sure Nancy Dawson is playing while we drink our grog. No, really, there was a specific fife tune for grog-drinking time. Here it is.


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