November 30, 2015
Here’s the roast chicken I did for family Thanksgiving:
It’s got a thyme-garlic-lemon rub on it and it was just as spectacularly yummy as it looks. Crisp on the outside, juicy on the inside.
Craft-wise right now I’m making a new brocade doublet and knitting a bunch of gifts. I had a realization this week: I really like being able to make things. Roast a whole bird for the table, make cool clothes and things — it’s so tactile and functional.
It’s like I might actually survive after an apocalypse or something.
The finale of The Last Kingdom: holy cow, people. Just fantastic. That battle needs to be required viewing for all SCA people everywhere. I want more.
And I finished Jessica Jones: There was some real boneheaded idiot plotting between about episode 7 and 11. But it managed to pull it back together for the finale. Can’t say this is a favorite — it went really dark, even for me. But I’m glad this show exists.
November 27, 2015
Happy Thanksgiving — not just for those in the U.S., but here’s to spreading love and happiness all over the world.
I just realized this week: this November is the 10th anniversary of the publication of Kitty and The Midnight Hour. I’ve been a pro novelist for 10 years. That’s. . .amazing. That makes me happy. So if anyone asks what I’m thankful for — all the usual stuff like family and friends and health and safety, of course. But also my career. I’ve been so fortunate in that regard.
And what does being 10 years into a novel-writing career (that I plan on continuing with as long as I possibly can, by the way. You know, forever.)? It looks like a duck.
You know that saying about ducks: All calm and serenity on the surface, and then paddling like a mad thing underwater to keep it all moving. . . Yeah, it’s like that.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
November 25, 2015
So, that was a little awkward after the events of the last couple weeks, what with all the bombings and civilian casualties.
Don’t get me wrong, I like the movie a lot, thought it was a worthy end to the series — especially after being so burned by The Hobbit last year. (I confess to being worried — this breaking things up into two movies and endless drawn out series thing rarely seems to work well.) But it was impossible to watch without thinking about the real world. Which I think is one of the strengths of this story, but it was still uncomfortable realizing that our heroes, when cast in a certain light, are in fact terrorists. (Which is why what Katniss does at the end is so necessary — she’s checking out of the whole damn system.)
The pacing went fast. A lot got glossed over, and I was glad I had read the book — I wondered if someone who hadn’t might be a little lost, or if the slam-bang action made that not matter so much. But I think what I admire most is the demonstration of how a fantastic, Oscar-calibre cast (seriously, how many Oscars and nominations does that cast have between them?) can elevate a cheesy over-the-top story into something dramatic and powerful. If these movies succeed so well I think the cast deserves a ton of credit.
I felt the movie pulled some punches on that last scene. I mean, I’m happy they did that last scene, which in the book pulled together Katniss’s entire arc and made abundantly clear that this story is not meant to celebrate her heroism, and that her damage will never truly be repaired. But the movie insists on a happy ending, only fleetingly mitigated by past trauma. So, you know: read the book.
November 23, 2015
So we’ve got three comic-book inspired TV shows centered on women characters now. All in the same year. It’s like we’ve turned a corner or something. (Now if someone can just manage to put out a movie… Wasp, we need you!)
But what I really, dearly love is that the three shows are completely, utterly different in just about every way you can name.
Agent Carter: Stylized period piece, un-powered main character dealing with old-school comic book style villains, lots of competency, capability, with a believable amount of angst that ties into the larger franchise.
Supergirl: So, so happy. Girly, even, and I mean that in a good way, with Kara’s insecurities and joy. (I’m reminded of that scene in Tangled, where Rapunzel alternates between happiness and feeling like she’s a horrible person. Supergirl also captures that very real emotional state.) It’s also a bit over the top and cheesy, but intentionally so. So much fun.
Jessica Jones: Dark, in the “gritty” mode of comic book storytelling, focused on the pathology of superheroism. This is not a fun world. These are not happy people. The story is agonizingly difficult. The “anti-Supergirl,” if you will. (I’m not finished with this yet — couple more episodes to go. No spoilers!)
Whatever anyone thinks about these shows, and I’m sure everyone will have a different favorite (I think I’m going to have to come down on the side of Agent Carter, ultimately), I just want to recognize this moment: We have three really different, really awesome shows about women heroes.
That’s what we’ve needed all along. Not one show about a woman hero. Not a “token” show. Acknowledgement that “woman superhero” never meant just one thing. We needed to have a number of shows, with enough variety, that we can finally not even mention that these are “women superheroes.” These are just more comic book shows, and they happen to star women.
So freaking great.
November 20, 2015
November 18, 2015
I saw a thing pondering, or suggesting, or rumoring, or something, a Doctor Who and Game of Thrones crossover. I’d only be okay with that if it included the Ninth Doctor standing on the ramparts at King’s Landing shouting, “Everybody lives! Just this once, everybody lives!”
I still haven’t been watching Doctor Who. I think I’m about three years behind at this point, and I don’t actually mind all that much.
I have, however, been watching The Last Kingdom, aka crack for early period SCA people. All my Saxon persona friends should watch it. I’m trying to figure out why I like this when I bounced off Vikings, which covers almost the exact same period, and I think it’s the level of soap opera. Vikings seemed overly dependent on angst and drama, while The Last Kingdom is really digging into the politics and religion of the time (almost the same thing then, really), through the experiences of this one character. It’s much more engaging, I think.
And now the state of the desk: This has been a very strange year, work wise. I’ve been bouncing around between lots of different projects — I just did it again last week, and picked up a novel draft I’d set aside for six months and added 10,000 words. Stuff is getting done, but it feels scattered and without solid deadlines nothing has felt very finished or final.
Getting El Hidalgo de la Noche out was a victory. The short story collection, Amaryllis and Other Stories, is moving ahead prodigiously (and is available for preorder at a special low price!). And I will have new stuff coming out for the new year! I’m just not entirely sure what it will be right at the moment.
A strange time. More on that when I’ve collected my thoughts enough to talk about.
November 16, 2015
This has been a very rough few days for many people all over the world. I have little to add on top of everything that’s been said and is still being said. Angry, heartbroken, verging on hopelessness. I’ve been mostly unplugged from the news cycle lately because I’m already sick of the Presidential election (you mean we have another year of this?!). This only makes me want to unplug more. Build my blanket fort, crawl inside, never come out.
So this weekend I mostly stayed home, trying to write some good words and knit some good stitches. I started Marjorie Liu’s new comic Monstress, which is lush with magic and worldbuilding, and finally saw Byzantium — I loved half of it and was severely annoyed by the other half. Too bad those halves are all mixed together. I hugged my dog. I worked.
I hope things are okay in your world, and if they aren’t that they get better soon.