January 31st, 2010


[links] Link salad plans to go nowhere this Sunday

APOD with a squib on the Voynich Manuscript — I've always loved this thing.

Gotham Underground: 1904Shorpy with the City Hall subway station in NYC. What a photo...

Supermarine S5 — That is one beautiful airplane. From x planes.

Word of the year? Spokespirate — Um...

Distilled Geography: Europe’s Alcohol Belts

New math — Hahahahahaha.

Texas BOE: Paine or No Paine? — In case you don't understand why having Christianist conservatives in charge of the nation's school textbooks (via the Texas state procurement process, which sets de facto standards nationwide), check out this bit. These clowns are controlling what your children learn.

Group Receives 'Tsunami of Vile Hate' After ABC Exposé on U.S. Military 'Jesus Rifles' — Like the hymn says, "They will know that we are Christians by our love."

?otD: Where will you go today?

Body movement: 30 minutes on stationary bike
Hours slept: 8.5
This morning's weigh-in: 223.6
Currently reading: [between books]


[personal] Deranging Nuevo Rancho Lake

Yesterday was the Big Move here inside Nuevo Rancho Lake. Essentially, two rooms got swapped. This is part of a longer term plan to make the place less utterly bachelor and more friendly to houseguest, visitors and caregivers, most especially calendula_witch and shelly_rae. Other than my early morning exercise and bloggery, I spent the entire day with people, from 7 am to 6:30 pm.

It was exhausting. Well worth it, and the help of many kind and generous folks was amazing and invaluable, but woo. Everything I hoped for got done, and quite a bit more.

Trying to recapture everyone who had been here (why didn't I take notes...), I will essay a thank you. If my addled brain has left people out, please tell me!

But, erm, many many thanks to maclark2005, H—, tanuki_green, copperwise, TE and her husband JE (LJ handles?), Meran and Mr. Meran, David Goldman, Rob Kowal, tillyjane (a/k/a my mom), joycemocha, newroticgirl and biomekanic, and janetl (she who recently made and gifted me the hilarious cross stitch). Other names shamefully omitted to be added when my chemo fogged brain produces them, or someone reminds me.

This patient, able group of people with no help from me whatsoever swapped my two rooms, moved unreasonably heavy objects, organized my stuff, cleaned my garage and much of the rest of my house, repaired some damaged furniture, transported a sofa across town, finagled my network architecture, brought food and drink with them, went out to the store several times for supplies, rubbed my head and feet, let me sleep when I was dozing, listened to me repeat myself with redundant instructions from time to time without ever getting grumpy, and generally left both Nuevo Rancho Lake and me in much better shape than they'd found us.

I cannot possibly thank everyone enough. The amazing generosity of my family, friends, fans and total strangers is overwhelming.

You guys are awesome.

As for today, I shall finish blogging, work on Endurance for an hour or two, and then otherwise Do Nothing. mikigarrison arrives this afternoon for a visit, and I sincerely hope she plans on joining me in Doing Nothing, because that's what's on offer.


[publishing] More on the Amazon vs Macmillan problem

First of all, here is Macmillan's statement on Amazon's withdrawal of all Macmillan print and ebook titles from sale. This is a letter from John Sargent, CEO of Macmillan's US operations. (And to be clear where my own business interests lie, the upstream executive management of Tor Books, my own trade publisher.)

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Meanwhile, I also ponder, as I did yesterday, that to many readers with no need to be familiar with publishing industry issues, the outrage and frustration of us writers looks like so much greed. No writer published in the trade press controls our pricing or distribution terms. Most of us don't even make a full time living at it, at least not in speculative fiction. And downward price pressure on ebooks means we ultimately get paid less, which means it's harder for us to make the living we do, which means both our ability and our financial incentives to write the stories readers want to see are compromised.

Because to most readers we are the most visible public face of publishing, Amazon and Macmillan are making writers look like the bad guys here. And that is perhaps the most frustrating thing of all.

ETA: I retitled this post because the original title was misleading with respect to the content.


[writing|cancer] Brain, brain, what is brain? Revising while on chemo

Just launched into revisions of Endurance with a ninety minute writing session today. I'm exhausted, but that's pretty much my ground state during chemo, so too bad. My mind was focused enough to deal. But oddly, this was subjectively rather different than revising my collaborative novel with calendula_witch, Our Lady of the Islands, which I've been working on for the past two months between medical hijinks.

I don't know if this is because I'm working on my first draft instead of hers, or because the book is tight first person instead of a looser third person, or because of how the line level style choices I make as a solo author differ from the collaborative voice we've developed and been successful at in short fiction. But definitely different.

The biggest issue seems to be word choice. My solo style is wordier and more convoluted than our collaborative style. As noted elsewhere, chemo has not been kind to either my short-term memory or my longer term recall, and one thing I've been struggling with is anomia, especially with respect to proper names.

Normally I have an unreasonably large functional vocabulary and can pick words out of the air like a hunter potting birds on the wing. Now I am struggling to distinguish "mete" from "meet" (as in the adjective meaning "proper"), getting "rood" and "veil" confused, forgetting the various terms for grave-houses, and other such idiocies. I know I know it, I can go look up and sort out what's missing, but it's slowing me down a bit, and frustrating me. Not going to stop me, not for one damned minute, but grr.

Stoopid cancer.