Somewhere in all my recent birding I realized my field guide was 30 years old.  (Which, believe it or not, actually matters as biologists revise various species, combine previously separate species, etc.)  So I got a new one.

sibleys

This thing is, according to my research, the current definitive go-to birding guide.  It’s huge.  And so far I really like it, because it has pages of comparative pictures for every species grouping (so helpful!  Which warbler is it?  Here!  On one page!) plus both top and bottom views of hawks in flight.

I got a new toy, yay!

 

first week of summer

June 22, 2016

I didn’t post Monday because I spent the day at the North Pole/Santa’s Workshop in Colorado Springs, a classic 1950’s roadside attraction/amusement park/tourist trap.  We went back through old pictures and figured out my mom went here in 1956, the year the place opened.  My brother and I went in 1980.  And now, sixty years on, the third generation — my niece — has been to the park.

We all had a blast, and were sort of surprised we had a blast.  I mean, we all remember how cheesy this all was, right?  Well, it turns out the North Pole, in the company of a four year old who is just exactly 42 inches tall and therefore tall enough to go on all the rides, makes all the difference.  Emmy was unstoppable, and it was a total hoot.  When I’m back home and have access to pictures I’ll post some then and nows.

I had a lot of fun my one day at Denver Comic Con.  Between chatting with people between panels and signings and running back and forth through the exhibit hall and grabbing lunch and so on, I went pretty much non stop from 10:30 am to about 7 pm.  Exhausting!  But I had many great conversations and met lots of readers.  So much fun!

 

Don’t forget:  Denver Comic Con tomorrow.  My schedule.  It’s gonna be epic.

The state of the desk right now is that I am away from it.  In addition to DCC, my brother and his family are visiting and there is much adventuring happening.  Niece Emmy and I went to ride TinyHorse yesterday, and she’s big enough now that she got to trot for a little bit.  How fun is that?  She wasn’t even scared.

In the meantime, I’m just not getting work done and that’s okay.  I have a bunch of deadlines in July.  I can worry about those later.

But hey, Martians Abroad, my near-Earth space opera that’s gone through a bunch of title changes and is due out in January, has pre-order pages up at various retailers now.  Hooray, it’s finally a real book!  Oh, and the copyedits for it are one of the things I’m not doing this week…er…  July!  It’ll all be done by July!

 

It’s going to be a packed day for me.  I’m on three panels and I have a couple autographing times.  I don’t want to hear from anyone that they couldn’t find me, after all this!

All these are on Saturday:

10:30 am, Room 506/7, Homage: The Impact of Sci Fi Pop Culture on Writing

1 pm, Room 506/7, The Writing Process of Bestsellers. (I believe my co-panelists on this are Terry Brooks and Kevin Hearne, so it promises to be a really good time.)

2:45, Room 502/3,  Steampunk:  Beyond Gears and Cogs

3:50-4:50, Signing Booth PP16  (The Tattered Cover will have a booth nearby and should also have copies for sale.)

I’ll also be signing at the WordFire Press booth (#287 I believe) at 11:30 and 5 pm.  (They should also have some books for sale.)

And then I will likely collapse…  But in the meantime I plan to gawk at some great costumes and do some geeky shopping and show my brother around his very first huge-scale convention.  Woohoo!

 

Orlando

June 13, 2016

I have no words.

I have too many words.

The pictures and profiles of victims are starting to appear on Facebook and other social media, and it’s too much.  It’s always been too much.

The Onion always has something to say.  This piece is from two years ago, and still too relevant to be funny.  (Although it looks like they added a new one today.)  When I went to search for this I typed “Onion” into google, and “onion mass shooting” was the third option to come up on auto search.  A lot of people looking for this, I guess.

 

finally, summer!

June 10, 2016

Yes, summer is here!  I know because I almost passed out after riding the Boy yesterday.  That first really hot day always gets me.  I’m better now.  Now it’s time to go hiking and sit outside reading books and enjoying the hell out of it so next January I can remember what warm is like.

Reminder:  Amaryllis and Other Stories is available for pre-order at Fairwood Press.  It’ll be released in August — we’re debuting it at Worldcon in Kansas City!

OspreyCam:  The surviving baby and parents are doing great.  Little guy is growing fast.  I love checking in with these guys.  I’ve visited the nest in person, too, but it’s tough to see much from the ground so I love the camera.

I saw Warcraft.  Because reasons.  I’m writing a long review of it for Lightspeed and I’m having so much fun with it.  Partway into the movie my friend leaned over and said, “Does this seem cumbersome to you?”  “No,” I shot back.  “It’s adorable.”  Since I’m pretty sure “adorable” is not what the filmmakers were going for, make of that what you will.

The schedule for Denver Comic Con has been posted.  I’ll post my own schedule next week, so you’ll know exactly where to find me.

And now, I’m deep in revision mode on the new novel and a new Wild Cards short story.  Trying to finish before family visits next week.  *girds loins and gets back to it*

 

I’ve FINALLY caught up on the season finales of my two favorite shows.  What I still love about them both:  the over-the-top absurdity and risk-taking of the stories.  No holds barred.  The “Yeah, we’re just going to launch all the nukes and introduce the multiverse and keep throwing stuff against the wall and we don’t actually care if it sticks because the crazy-ball bouncing is pretty damn cool” nature of it all.  I can’t predict it and it’s just great and I’m constantly surprised and delighted.  Even when I think the story decisions are bone-headed, they’re usually brave, and I appreciate that.

SO MANY SPOILERS BELOW

First, Arrow:  It’s starting to feel a bit tired, which I think is totally normal for a TV show entering its fifth season.  This is where it gets really hard to try new things while still maintaining the dynamic that drew your fans in in the first place.  I do love where we ended up:  Ollie as mayor by default, the team in shambles.  Felicity still being awesome.  What I’m looking forward to next season:  the Cobra Island flashbacks ought to catch up to the beginning of the show.  It’s five years on the island, yeah?  Ideally, we should end up with scruffy hobo Ollie on the island by the end of next season, and I think that’s great.

What I loved about this past season:  Neal McDonough as Damien Darhk.  I’ve loved McDonough ever since White Dwarf, I loved him in Tin Man, I loved him as the baddie in Justified.  He moves effortlessly between good guy and bad guy roles.  He’s one of those actors no one really notices but that everyone knows about.  And I think if anyone else had played Darhk, the character would have been ridiculous.  But McDonough added menacing to the maniacal, and chewed the scenery with actual skill.  He took it right to the edge of absurd without turning into a clown.  And I fully expect Darhk’s daughter to come back for revenge at some point.

What I didn’t love:  Felicity’s recovery from her life-changing injury was way, way too easy.  Hollywood, this is why disability advocates hate you.

And The Flash.  Oh.  My.  God.  I love it.  I had to avoid spoilers because it took me a couple of weeks to catch up, but I did notice some really baffled responses on FB the night the finale aired.  I know not everyone is happy, but the more I think about it, the more I’m just absolutely in awe of where they went.  Basically:  They’ve undone the entire show.  They’ve erased two seasons of events.  That’s. . . .wow.  And normally this kind of thing is rage making, but let’s look at this a different way:  Aren’t you super curious about what would have happened if Barry had actually saved his mother at the end of last season?  Isn’t part of you still asking that question?

Well.  Now we’re going to get an answer.  Barry’s screwing with the timeline isn’t erasing everything that happened before.  It’s taking the story in a loop — because the story of the Flash has always been a loop.  Just like him racing Zoom on the generator.  That moment, his mother’s death, has always been the defining moment of the story and we’ve gone back to it over and over again for two seasons now.  And now it’s. . . different.  Time isn’t linear, it’s a circle, and as Harrison Wells said, the number of worlds is INFINITE.  (That word right there is going to be important later, kids!  Seriously, my comics friend and I fell out of our chairs when Wells said that word with such breathy import.)  I felt like I did when I was a  kid sticking my fingers in various sections of my Choose Your Own Adventure books because I didn’t want to commit to one ending.  It’s genius.  (We also had to immediately watch the Invader Zim episode “Bad Bad Rubber Piggy,” but never mind that.)

What I loved about this past season:

Earth 2.  I love that they just did that storyline full speed ahead.  I love that this show could pull off the “alternate versions of main characters in alternate world” trope just halfway through its second season.

Barry’s journey to the underworld/Speed Force.  The journey to the underworld to gain power and knowledge is a deeply literary trope, and the show handled it in a deeply literary way.  Love it.

Jay Garrick.  The whole damn storyline.  I’m still so freaking confused.  (Wait, that guy on the park bench isn’t actually important?  Are you sure?)  And I still love it.

What I didn’t love:

How whoever is regularly kissing Barry can’t know he’s the Flash for some reason.  It’s weird.

 

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