Stina Leicht gave me a heads up about an app that makes it easy to find out what bills are currently up for a vote, and sends email to your representatives.
Check out Countable. It’s free.
Everything I’ve heard says that calling representatives is much more effective than emailing them; but apparently most email still gets through. I’m all for multiple channels of contact.
Even if you never use the email function, though, Countable is chock full of useful information that will make your calls and printed letters timely and accurate.
Today’s small step is an easy one. I ordered Nasty Woman perfume from BPAL. This is a limited edition fragrance, so if you’re interested, grab it now. Proceeds are divided between two excellent organizations: Emily’s List and Planned Parenthood.
Yeah, I could have done this right after the debate; better late than never.
Worth checking out:
Useful info, whether you still need a minute or are ready to fuck shit up: http://www.holyfucktheelection.com/
“In case of emergency, do not break glass. Ask the glass politely to break itself. If it doesn’t break, then you weren’t doing it right.”
I could do a Year In Review, but instead I’ll just say: I read some books this year.
In addition to these books, I discarded a handful of books that I was not enjoying at all, and have another 20 or 30 or 50 that I’ve started but not yet finished. This looks like a long list but it’s just scratching the surface of what I’d like to read.
I also read a bunch of short fiction — basically everything from Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, Nightmare, BCS, Apex, Clarkesworld, Ideomancer, uh and a bunch of others.
105. City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare. Sequel to City of Bones. More shenanigans.
106. Fat Vampire 2, Johnny Truant. What is it with me and fat vampires this year??
105. Fat Vampire, Johnny B. Truant. What it says on the tin.
104. Yes, Chef. Marcus Samuelsson. Autobiography.
103. Red Glove, Holly Black. Sequel to White Cat. Magic and Mobsters, book 2.
102. Hyperbole and a Half, Allie Brosh. Yay book!
101. Twenty Palaces, Harry Connolly. Prequel to the series.
100. Evil Dark, Justin Gustanis. Sequel to Hard Spell.
99. Wild Card, Jamie Wyman. Trickster gods play poker.
98. The Lives of Tao, Wes Chu. Training montage with aliens and tai chi.
97. Wayward, Blake Crouch. Sequel to Pines. Our Hero is the sheriff now; hijinks ensue.
96. Wild Mind, Natalie Goldberg.Â Writing as practice.
95. Hard Spell, Justin Gustainis. Cop in supernatural-infested Scranton.
94. Pines, Blake Crouch. Man gets into a car accident in small Idaho town; hijinks ensue.
93. In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan. Eat food, mostly vegetables, not too much.
92. City of Bones, Cassandra Clare. Hidden supernatural world in New York.
91. The Field Guide, Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi. Children find guide to fairies, hijinks ensue.
90. Indexing, Seanan McGuire. Federal fairy-tale investigation unit.
89. The Night Is Watching, Heather Graham. Haunted theater in a historical Arizona town.
88. Twelve Sharp, Janet Evanovich. Hijinks, identity theft, kidnapping, murder.
87. The Warlock’s Curse, M. K. Hobson. Book 3 of the series; hijinks in the next generation.
86. Fat White Vampire Blues, Andrew Fox. New Orleans vampire story.
85. Rock Your Plot, Cathy Yardley. Short collection of plot advice.
84. The Night Ranger, Alex Berenson. Hostage rescue in Kenya/Somalia.
83. Midnight, Stephen Leather. Book 3, sophia.
82. Nightmare, Stephen Leather. Book 2, his sister.
81. The Bone Flower Throne, T. L. Morganfield Rapey aztec hijinks.
80. Chasing Darkness, Robert Crais. Old case reopens.
79. The Walk, Lee Goldberg. Earthquake in LA
78. Blood Safari, Deon Meyer. Africa, environmentalist, bodyguard.
77. Heaven’s Prisoner’s, James Lee Burke. Alafair origin story.
76. Chomp, Carl Hiaasen. “Reality” tv star vs loveable animal handlers
75. The Bat, Jo Nesbo. Harry Hole in Australia.
74. Adaptation, Malinda Lo. Planes crash due to birds; teens at the center of giant government conspiracy.
73. Doll Bones, Holly Black. Kids take direction from haunted doll, hijinks ensue.
72. Gooseberry Bluff Community College of Magic. Our Heroine investigates demon trafficking at community college; hijinks ensue.
71. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, ed. John Joseph Adams. Mad scientist shorts.
70. Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone. Magicians, dead gods, cigarettes.
69. Redshirts, John Scalzi. Extras object to having their lives controlled by the script.
68. Celebromancy, Michael Underwood. Magic via celebrity.
67. Geekomancy, Michael Underwood. Magic via geeky attachment to pop culture.
66. Howl’s Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones. There sure was a lot of cleaning in this book.
65. Just A Geek, Wil Wheaton.
64. Fade to Black, Francis Knight. Magic and industry and the underworld.
63. Graveminder, Melissa Marr. Surprise, you’re in charge of the dead in your little town.
62. The Empty Chair, Jeffrey Deaver. Lincoln Rhyme vs Insect Boy
61. Shadow Unit 13, Bear and Co.Â Yay Shadow Unit!
60. The Blessed and the Damned, Michael Wallace. Even more polygamist hijinks.
59. The Wicked, Michael Wallace. Further polygamist hijinks
58. Mighty and Strong, Michael Wallace. Cult of ex-polygamists
57. The Righteous, Michael Wallace. Murder among the polygamists.
56. Circus: Fantasy Under the Big Top. ed. Ekaterina Sedia. Collection of circus stories.
55. The Coyote Road, ed. Datlow and Windling. Collection of trickster stories.
54. Aloha from Hell, Richard Kadrey. Sandman Slim Book 3. Back to Hell.
53. Kill the Dead, Richard Kadrey. Sandman Slim Book 2. Zombies.
52. The Seersucker Whipsaw, Ross Thomas.Â Electoral hijinks in Africa.
51. The Novellas, Lealan Patrick Burke. Collection of horror novellas.
50. Morgue Drawer for Rent, Jutta Profijt. Bureacratic hijinks.
49. Morgue Drawer Next Door, Jutta Profijt. Nuns and hijinks.
48. Morgue Drawer Four. After his death, a car thief works with the coroner to fight crime.
47. After Life, Rhian Ellis. Old murder in a town of mediums.
46. Wide Open, Deb Coates. Army girl returns home with ghosts to deal with sister’s death.
45. Kill Whitey, Brian Keene. Russian mobster is hard to kill.
44. Against the Fall of Night, Arthur C. Clarke. Far-distant future humanity.
43. The Human Division, John Scalzi. The serial.
42. Getting Shit Done, LaVonne Ellis. LaVonne’s take on productivity.
41. Cold Magic, Kate Elliott. The cold mage and the wrong daughter.
40. Life, Keith Richards. Autobiography.
39. I Hate Killers, Barry Lyga. Son of serial killer fights crime.
38. Crossing, Andrew Xia Fukuda. Teen-aged Asian kid faces racism, serial killers, and a high school musical.
37. Demolition Angel, Robert Crais. Starkey and bombs.
36. The Forgotten Man, Robert Crais. Spoiler: it’s not his dad.
35. The Last Detective, Robert Crais. Girlfriend’s son is kidnapped.
34. The Sentry, Robert Crais. Pike and Dru.
33. The First Rule, Robert Crais. Old friend of Pike’s is killed, hijinks ensue.
32. Wild Seed, Octavia Butler. Two superhumans have contrasting perspectives on eugenics.
31. Midnight Blue-Light Special, Seanan McGuire. Book 2. Covenant comes to town, hijinks ensue.
30. Writing without Teachers, Peter Elbow. Do lots of freewriting and don’t fret.
29. The Collected, Brett Battles. Assassins captured by former victim, hijinks ensue
28. Impulse, Steven Gould. Book 3, starring Cent.
27. A Latent Dark, Martin Kee. Shadows and souls, vaguely steampunky.
26. Garrett Investigates, Elizabeth Bear. previously unpublished Garrett stories.
25. Bad Moon Rising, Ed Gorman. Private detective investigates commune.
24. The Name of the Star, Maureen Johnson. Modern Jack the Ripper, ghosts.
23. Best American Science and Nature Writing 2012, ed. Dan Ariely, Tim Folger
22. Nightfall, Stephen Leather. Negotiator’s father has sold his soul to a devil; hijinks ensue.
21. They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Horace McCoy. Desperate dancing in the 30s.
20. The Ask and the Answer, Patrick Ness. Book 2. Living and fighting among the enemy.
19. Partials, Dan Wells. Teens rebel against tyranical dystopia.
18. Knock Knock, S. P. Miskowski. Generational horror in the woods.
17. The Pleasure of My Company, Steve Martin. OCD guy finds love.
16. Line and Orbit, Sunny Moraine and Lisa Soem. Gay science fiction romance. Genetics.
15. Blood Oranges, Kathleen Tierney. Urban fantasy parody.
14. Phantom, Jo Nesbo. New drug violin, hijinks ensue.
13. The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness. Kid on a planet where everyone can hear men’s thoughts.
12. A Fall of Winter, Elizabeth Hunter. It’s the last of the 4. I can stop now.
11. The Force of Wind, Elizabeth Hunter. Apparently I can’t stop reading these damn vampire books.
10. This Same Earth, Elizabeth Hunter. More vampires and old books.
9. A Drop of the Hard Stuff, Lawrence Block. 1st year of AA
8. A Hidden Fire, Elizabeth Hunter. Vampires, old books.
7. The Keeper, Sarah Langan. Should have read this before The Missing.
6. After The First Death, Lawrence Block. Alcoholic wakes up after blackout with dead hooker.
5. Dinocalypse Now, Chuck Wendig. Dinosaurs and apes and superheroes and hijinks.
4. The Missing, Sarah Langan. Evil telepathic virus makes people insane, world ends
3. Good Behavior: A Dortmunder Novel. Donald E. Westlake. Burglary hijinks with nuns.
2. Sandy My Name, Judy Gilligan. Family struggles to care for foster child with undiagnosed fetal alcohol syndrome.
1. The Maze Runner, James Dashner. Post-apocalyptic YA.
Check out this incredible cover for the Dead North anthology, containing my story “Food Truck of the Zombie Apocalypse.”Â The image is by Simon Siwak. Release date October 1.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia, the editor, always gets fantastic covers for her anthologies. Just stunning.
Do you know about the Month of Letters? It’s hosted by my friend Mary Robinette Kowal, author, puppeteer, and genteel bad-ass.
The idea is to take some time to slow down, to reconnect with our correspondents, to send and receive tangible letters instead of deletable email, to remember the delight of the mail being about something besides bills and advertisements.
Here’s what Mary says:
I have a simple challenge for you.
- In the month of February, mail at least one item through the post every day it runs. Write a postcard, a letter, send a picture, or a cutting from a newspaper, or a fabric swatch.
- Write back to everyone who writes to you. This can count as one of your mailed items.
All you are committing to is to mail 23 items. Why 23? There are four Sundays and one US holiday. In fact, you might send more than 23 items. You might develop a correspondence that extends beyond the month.
Write love letters, thank yous, or simply notes to say that you miss an old friend. Let yourself step away from the urgency of modern life and write for an audience of one.Â You might enjoy going to the mail box again.
I think it sounds like a great deal of fun — and letters can be as short and simple as a post card, so the pressure is low.
Won’t you join me? I’m registered on the site as bethwodzinski; friend me if you join, and you just might find something from me in your mailbox in February.
We are making an absurd amount of food for Thanksgiving. It’s just the two of us — but we each have firm opinions about what’s essential for Thanksgiving indulgence, so the menu grows quickly. I don’t eat meat, but Sean does, so that further expands the number of dishes. The only thing we really have in common is the mashed potatoes.
We both avoid gluten, so have substituted GF bread for the stuffing, brown rice flower to thicken gravy, etc.
Really we need to make more local friends, so we can share this ridiculous feast. We also cook the hell out of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
So here’s the plan.
What’s on your menu?
Yesterday was November 1, the first day of NaNoWriMo. My NaNoWriMo dream is to be able to write with less fuss and bother and procrastination, to be able to just sit down and write. So how did yesterday go? Well, it took a good four or five hours of procrastination, but eventually I started, and managed to eke out 1681 slow, awkward, painful words, plus another 450 words of false start that I discarded.
Does that mean my Nano dream is a failure? Hell, no. It means it’s the first day, and I haven’t quite mastered the skills involved yet.Â Rome wasn’t built in a day; when you learn to walk, you fall down a lot; blah, blah, blah. Reasonable and Logical Me knows all this.
But Unreasonable and Reactive Me? She’s terrified. She’s sure this November will end up a dismal failure. This isn’t a rough beginning so much as an omen of despair. The pattern’s too big, too entrenched, too hard to shift. I’m doomed. DOOMED! I gotta say, all that DOOM is pretty scary; no wonder she’s trembling. She’s the secret terror at the heart of the Jerkbrain.
So, one cool thing about the Dance of Shiva? It’s supposed to be hard. If you’re practicing a particular pattern, and it’s coming easily, and each movement flows naturally into the next, and you never make mistakes — well, I’m sorry. That kind of practice feels nice, but it isn’t doing your brain any damn good. It’s like an advanced weight lifter doing bicep curls with a 1-lb weight.
You deliberately make it harder every time you practice. You deliberately set yourself an impossibly hard pattern to master, and work at it until suddenly everything clicks into place and it’s too easy. And then you start working on another impossible variation.Â All this is very good for your brain, and you learn control and coordination and agility, and you create gazillions of new neural connections — all the good stuff.
But it’s also incredibly useful to get comfortable with doing things that are too hard, with failing. Every day you show up and every day it’s too hard. Every day you think today is the day I master this! and every day you’re wrong.Â (It’s also a lot of fun — but it’s never easy.) This sucks!you think, and you’re not wrong — but slowly, slowly, you start to notice something.
You notice that failure is a little less scary, a little less risky.
You notice that the things you were failing at a few months ago are easy now — you’ve expanded your comfort zone.
You notice that failures are becomingÂ information,Â not a judgement — so you can say, well, let’s try something different next time, instead of I am terrible and doomed to die alone under a bridge.
You notice that failure stings less.
Slowly, patiently, I am teaching this to Unreasonable Me. And slowly, slowly, she’s learning, in a deep and physical way, in her bones.
Yesterday was hard. Yesterday I procrastinated a lot and failed to find the ease I was looking for, and the words themselves are thudding and ordinary. But that’s ok, because I know: failure ain’t that bad. So today, instead of moping about how hard yesterday was, I’m going to settle in and write the next installment.
I’m teaching a Dance of Shiva class for NaNoWriMo participants in November. If this sounds awesome to you, join me. There are still a few spots left in Saturday’s class.
Sean and I are not efficient travelers.
Some people get in the car and drive until they get to their destination. We wander a bit. We just spent two days driving from Tahoe to Salt Lake City; apparently this takes normal people about 9 hours.
12:00 Leave the house where our friend’s wedding was held. (Very nice ceremony; everything went gorgeously.)
12:02 Stop at a scenic overlook.
….and so on.
It would make other people crazy, but we enjoy the ride — and the scenery between here and Tahoe is spectacular, in that empty Western mountain way.
And on the way back, Sean got a call: he’s got a job now. Yay!
Now to get caught up on all the Stuff that accumulated while we were gone…
Yanno, I never thought it might take me two years it release an issue. We were supposed to be quarterly! Fast turnaround, having everything together, a well-oiled machine.
It’s been a long time in the making, but it’s here at last, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how it turned out: The Clockwork Jungle Book. 175 pages, 20 stories, chock-full of fabulous steampunk animal parables from Jay Lake, Jess Nevins, Lou Anders, Shweta Narayan, and a dozen others! And it’s a gorgeous lovely book, too, with wonderful illustrations from 6 artists, and photos of the contributors decked out in their steampunk finery! Grab your copy today. OR ELSE! Sales have been brisk so far; get your copy before they run out.
Watch the Shimmer site over the coming weeks, as we bring you special treats: the authors reading from their works. In some cases, they read the whole story! It’s always cool to me to hear what an author sounds like, whether it’s Jay Lake’s authoritative storytelling or Vince Pendergast’s Australian accent.
Tick, tock, tick, tock.
Back from a glorious but exhausting World Fantasy, and trying to get things back together. It’s hard, after spending most of a week in another world, an exciting and inspiring world, to get back to the ordinary work of chopping wood and carrying water.
It doesn’t help that I’m a little sick and the antibiotics I’m on are making me sleepy and dizzy. Sean’s being very solicitous but still it pretty much sucks. Gives me time to think, I guess, about ways to make sure all the important and exciting projects get done, instead of getting caught up in just feeling overwhelmed with how much work there is to do (my usual pattern).
So, faithful readers, how do you get it all done?