November 17th update

1. Yesterday M dressed as the event horizon of a black hole. Today may be flood, or blizzard, depending on what laundry is clean.

2. I am holding at par on NaNoWriMo. It looks like the story will end up being over 50,000 words, probably more in the 70,000-85,000 range. Here’s a bit I rather like:

The barge-captain, Daleus, gave the order to slow at Temis’s nod. She walked to the side of the boat, where Selene was nervously twisting the end of the noose she carried. No small wonder she was nervous. The younger woman’s last three attempts to ride a crocodile had ended in failure. Spectacular failure, the first try; Temis had ended up killing the beast with her knife, diving into the water to wrestle it away from Selene. The crew of the barge had appreciated the meat.

Temis clapped Selene on the shoulder. “What’s the most important part?” she asked.

“The approach,” Selene said quickly.

“And what it the most dangerous part?”

“Being in the river with a crocodile,” was the terse reply.

Temis chuckled. “You’ve got the idea. Now, go. We’ll wait abeam the creatures.”

Selene dived in smoothly. Temis watched, her knife in hand. The girl swam up and waited, stealthily, just before the crocodiles. As the boat pulled near, Daleus began to slap his pole on the water. The crocodiles looked up. Temis held her breath, waiting. After a moment an enormous bull pushed off from the reeds. His mouth gaped wide, and the surface of the river trembled for cubits around him as he chuffed and coughed his challenge.

At no point when I was planning this story did I have a bit about riding crocodiles. Yet the world-building led naturally to it. The women are part of an ancient cult of warrior dragon-riders; they have to practice on something before they are given dragons; their cult naturally is an extension of the worship of Sobek, the crocodile god; therefore they practice on crocodiles. So I get two very different scenes of crocodile-riding in the book.

3. Yuletide sign-ups are open, and I … signed up. I haven’t written fanfic in years, but every year I have missed participating in Yuletide. This is, frankly, ridiculous of me. I have no time. Yet … yet I seem to write more when I have urgent deadlines. NaNoWriMo gives me an urgent deadline. So do ficathons. I think in 2012 I will establish a practice of setting nerve-wracking writing deadlines for myself.

4. Speaking of Yuletide, I asked for the most ridiculous things. I mean, I have straight requests. And then I add additional things a writer could include that would make me happy, which in every case are crack-crossovers between fandoms. Because, honestly, one of the first things I do with characters I really like is figure out which other characters they would get along with, and then imagine them doing something ridiculous. Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan on a road trip with Barbara Gordon through the American Midwest on a cheese-sampling tour. Tara Chase and Malcolm Reynolds unexpectedly sharing a sublet in Sicily. C.K. Dexter Haven and Norah Winters hitch-hiking back from the outer colonies to Earth. May Daye, Jubilation Lee, and Rayanne Graff touring all the gay bars in San Francisco in one really drunken evening.

You get the idea.

(None of those are my actual Yuletide requests.)

5. I ordered a new computer. A Woot sale pushed up my timeline of shopping around. I’ll have a … a laptop, after three years of netbooks. I will need to readjust to the size, but the power will be lovely.

6. This does mean I shan’t be getting a tablet anytime soon. But, honestly, the various exclusive digital comics deals are souring me on the tablet thing. I want to read ALL OF MY COMICS digitally, on ANY PLATFORM WHATSOEVER. If I buy them, if they are my damn comics, I want to be able to read them wherever and whenever I want.


I want to lend them to people. How the hell do you think I have gotten dozens of people into reading comics over the decades? By sitting them down with a big ‘ol grocery sack of my comics and saying, “here, take these home, read them, bring them back.”


I want to be able to manipulate my comics. I want to be able to cut them up, make art, use the images to my own ends just as I do with the paper comics. I want to lend, re-sell, read, re-purpose, or destroy my comics digitally just as I do with the paper sort. All this exclusive proprietary stuff makes my teeth itch.

Yes, I know there are concerns with digital copies that are not present in physical copies. I am aware of this. This screed is why digital comics do not yet work for me. The publishers have every right to try and protect their property, and I am not out there jailbreaking digital comics. I just don’t want to read them until I can read them on my terms.

7. I read Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey yesterday. It was great. Jane Austen manners and propriety with a touch of magic. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and recommend it to people who like stories of manners, repression, drawing rooms, and happy endings.

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