Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PSA: fundraiser for distressed author

Author Vera Nazarian is dealing with a financial emergency and is selling this book as a fundraiser. It looks like as much fun as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, so if you enjoyed that, check out this.

Monday, April 26, 2010

bunny mob

The rabbits meet with their supplier, brazenly, in broad daylight. Can nothing be done?

In other news, it's blowing up a storm here. I'm glad I'm not having to take the ferry today, and I've cancelled my earlier plan of bicycling downtown.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

a brace of bunnies

Two this time. I think there are 4 or 5 of the black litter, and they seem to be happy in amongst the rebar and planks. Hopefully they won't stick around when the concrete is poured.

I'd post something of substance and content, but I'm a bit under the weather today.

Friday, April 23, 2010

spasm-inducing cuteness

It's spring! So there is rhubarb, and baby bunnies. Not as many as last year, which suggests the university's trap-spay-release program may have actually accomplished something.
Alis, put on goggles and helmet for this one!
Tiny black bunnies scurry around the construction site next to the library. Here, one grooms itself. Later I may post two tiny black bunnies sharing a piece of bread.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

for my own amusement

I took three of my 3-Day Novels, the ones set in the same alt-Europe, and muddled about on turning them into a pdf and giving them a cover. This was rather fun.
I ended up using the old-style cover templates, so avoided most of the 'Hey, why not pay us to do this?' shilling that Jim Macdonald speaks of over on Making Light.

Here's the message from Lulu:
Threefold(ID #8518393) is available only through a Direct Access web URL. To allow others to see and purchase this Book, send them this link:

The book is at cost. The download is free. I will make no money if you get either, but will be mildly flattered and pleased.
If you got Fold a couple of years back, you already have 1/3 of this book. If I've emailed you Fold, Trading in Ghosts, or Culture Heroes, you have 1/3, 2/3, or all of this book. About all I can say in favour of getting the hard copy is that the cover is kind of cool and you can read it in the bath.

An update: the Lulu website is being stupid, and the Download (Free) link has vanished. So if you'd like the free pdf, you can still get it by going to my 'storefront', where under the button that says Add Print to Cart, there is a link saying Download for Free.
My Preview feature has also disappeared, and I haven't had any luck discovering where it might have wandered off to.

The cover pic is from a number of 'creepy doll pictures' that I copied from ebay 3 or 4 years ago, and unfortunately I never thought (at the time) of noting the auction number or seller's name. Whoever took this did a number of eerie and evocative auction photos, and I wish I could give him or her credit.

PLEASE NOTE! The texts are almost exactly as when I sent them off to the judges for the 3-Day Novel Contest. Editing was no more than adding a missing quote mark or restoring a paragraph break that had gone missing. I wanted to keep the flavour of desperation and fatigue that adds so much to the experience.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Oh no! It's worldbuilding!

While carrying on with Tom's story (1600s revenants & witchfinders), which is over halfway through, I've started muddling about with the Chimps on a Blimp story as the setting for a probably-YA novel. It's kind of relaxing to be able to move between stories, after the more-than-a-little intensive spells of revision of Willow Knot.
Tom's story is dead easy for world building, because it's Stuart England, barely tweaked. Sure, it has working magic, but since most people in 1600s England (and elsewhere) believed in magic, real magic doesn't change the society as much as one might think. I mean, there are legal and philosophical discussions about magic already in place.

With the short story (On the Transmontane Run With the Aerial Mail Express, plug, plug) I was able to do a fair bit of handwaving and 'quick, look over there!' to avoid setting-holes (like plot holes, but you can fall further and it's all mucky at the bottom) or at least direct attention away from unexamined areas. With a novel I can't do that nearly so much, just because the canvas is wider, and I'm not painting miniatures.
Also, there are things I will need to know about the world for my self, whether or not those aspects come directly into the story. What I'll need to know may not be what another writer in the same situation would need to know, and some of it I'll only realise as I write.

Obligatory link to Patricia Wrede's worldbuilding questions, both helpful and daunting.

The first and biggest question is: why no railroads? What makes airships commercially viable? In the short story the blimp travels over swamp and mountain, both difficult terrain for railways. But what about the plains? Do the rails run over the prairies, then stop as the foothills rise?
Then there's the weird ecology, the freshwater jellyfish that are a crucial plot point. And the flying squid, that don't show up in the short story, but might be real later on. I began to think longingly of Australia, and wonder about heaving some sort of Atlantis out of the sea, and supplying it with weird critters. Maybe I could crack North America down longways, put some massive waterway between prairies and Northwest coast.
I brought the question to the Scribblers, and bookherder said 'go and look at late Cretaceous maps'. Lo, there was the Western Interior Seaway, almost exactly as I'd pictured it.
Now I'm all excited, and need to find something like A Child's Illustrated Guide to Paleogeography, with fold-out maps. Research!
What happens if the prairies are covered with water? No giant buffalo herds, for one thing. How much of Europe should I allow? Does the land bridge last longer?
Such fun to come.