More cornflowers sighted, first goatsbeard, mock orange smelling up the place. Rhododendrons done, seed heads on the curled dock turning brown. More roses.
No identifiable roadkill, just blood patches on the asphalt. Cleanup crew is fast.
Got out on the bike, not much wind, temperature about 70 F. Did not die.
15.27 miles, 1:13:16
(If you've been following my book rec and new book listing posts for a while, you may have noticed this already, but while most book lists emphasize books by popular straight white men, this one emphasizes everybody else. I include books by straight white men, but in about the same percentage that other book lists include everybody else. I also try to highlight books that are less well known.)
(I only link to one retail outlet in the book's listing, but most books are available at multiple outlets, like Kobo, iBooks, international Amazons, Barnes & Noble, etc. The short stories are usually on free online magazines.)
Short story: The White-throated Transmigrant by E. Lily Yu
* Miles Morales - A Spider Man Novel by Jason Reynolds
Miles Morales is just your average teenager. Dinner every Sunday with his parents, chilling out playing old-school video games with his best friend, Ganke, crushing on brainy, beautiful poet Alicia. He's even got a scholarship spot at the prestigious Brooklyn Visions Academy. Oh yeah, and he's Spider Man.
* Bright Thrones by Kate Elliott
An exciting e-novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Court of Fives, from World Fantasy Award finalist Kate Elliott!
* Drawing Dead by SM Reine
The vampire slayer is turning into a vampire? Over her dead body. Dana McIntyre has been bitten by a master vampire. She's infected with the venom. And after killing hundreds of vampires to keep Las Vegas safe, she'd rather die than turn.
* Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen
On the way home from his latest mission, secret agent Kangaroo’s spacecraft is wrecked by a rogue mining robot. The agency tracks the bot back to the Moon, where a retired asteroid miner—code named “Clementine” —might have information about who’s behind the sabotage. Clementine will only deal with Jessica Chu, Kangaroo’s personal physician and a former military doctor once deployed in the asteroid belt. Kangaroo accompanies Jessica as a courier, smuggling Clementine’s payment of solid gold in the pocket universe that only he can use.
* The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss
Mary Jekyll, alone and penniless following her parents’ death, is curious about the secrets of her father’s mysterious past. One clue in particular hints that Edward Hyde, her father’s former friend and a murderer, may be nearby, and there is a reward for information leading to his capture...a reward that would solve all of her immediate financial woes. But her hunt leads her to Hyde’s daughter, Diana, a feral child left to be raised by nuns. With the assistance of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Mary continues her search for the elusive Hyde, and soon befriends more women, all of whom have been created through terrifying experimentation: Beatrice Rappaccini, Catherin Moreau, and Justine Frankenstein.
* Mapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones
Blackfeet author Stephen Graham Jones brings readers a spine-tingling Native American horror novella. Walking through his own house at night, a fifteen-year-old thinks he sees another person stepping through a doorway. Instead of the people who could be there, his mother or his brother, the figure reminds him of his long-gone father, who died mysteriously before his family left the reservation. When he follows it he discovers his house is bigger and deeper than he knew.
* Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
Carina used to be one of the best biohackers in Pacifica. But when she worked for Sudice and saw what the company's experiments on brain recording were doing to their subjects, it disturbed her—especially because she found herself enjoying giving pain and contemplating murder. She quit and soon grew addicted to the drug Zeal, spending most of her waking moments in a horror-filled dream world where she could act out her depraved fantasies without actually hurting anyone.
* The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata
carred by war, in pursuit of truth: Army veteran True Brighton left the service when the development of robotic helicopters made her training as a pilot obsolete. Now she works at Requisite Operations, a private military company established by friend and former Special Ops soldier Lincoln Han. ReqOp has embraced the new technologies. Robotics, big data, and artificial intelligence are all tools used to augment the skills of veteran warfighters-for-hire. But the tragedy of war is still measured in human casualties, and when True makes a chance discovery during a rescue mission, old wounds are ripped open. She’s left questioning what she knows of the past, and resolves to pursue the truth, whatever the cost.
* Mars Girls by Mary Turzillo
What Nanoannie and Kapera find at the Smythe’s Pharm is more than the girls bargained for. The hab has been trashed and there are dead bodies buried in the backyard! If that wasn’t bad enough, the girls crash the rover and Kapera gets kidnapped by Facers who claim her parents are murderers! Between Renegade Nuns, Facers, and corp geeks, Nanoannie and Kapera don’t know who to trust or where to go. Kapera only wants to find her parents so they can get to Earth Orbitals and she can be treated for her leukemia. Nanoannie wants to help her friend and experience a little bit of Mars before selling her contract to the first corp that offers to buy it.
We had a salad at the Chezcake Factory, we will be so pleased to have one on the east side later this year, mostly due to my being unable to get up very early and so we miss things like breakfast and brunch. Well, I miss them, my sister does get up early...
Am awaiting a response from my brother if he and his wife want to meet me for a casual dinner on saturday, since its my birthday and all. The sticky wicket part of this is that their daughters birthday was the 4th, and the weekend was all about her, so we shall see how it goes. We always had a family party for her (and I was included, but, she got the cake, not me) so they are still going through the first after her death events. I would like to have some acknowledgement of my birthday, so, ... it gets a bit complicated. But it would be nice if both my siblings would be there.
Today, a whole less hot, and I need to write out july bills and make VAMC phone calls. Tomorrow, I see my Neuro and we go over my MRI and my 2.5 years since the removal of the old brain tumor. Watering of the yard and garden are on the list too.
So I posted: https://marthawells.tumblr.com/post/
I got my author's copies of the trade paperback of The Harbors of the Sun on Friday, so it should start showing up soon. The hardcover will probably be a week or so later, and the ebook will drop on July 4.
Murderbot got a really nice review on The Verge: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/25/
Our protagonist got its name after killing a bunch of company employees on another planet a couple of years ago, but while it has a bit of a bloodstained history, this isn’t Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s a dour security bot that likes to watch steamy soap operas, and would rather be left alone. After its murderous rampage, it hacked its own governor module, not wanting to fall victim once again to hardware manufactured by a company that cuts corners to save a buck.
Ann Leckie also liked Murderbot:
I’m not kidding, I can almost guarantee that my readers will enjoy this. I have already pre-ordered volume 2, which is out in January.
The Authors Auction for the victims of Grenfell Tower is going until June 27. My item is https://authorsforgrenfelltower.com/
and the whole list of items is
If you need a quick break today, "Night at the Opera" is still free at Podcastle in text and audio:
It's a prequel to The Death of the Necromancer
I'm doing a signing with Rachel Caine at Murder By The Book in Houston, TX, on Saturday, July 15, at 4:30, and you can order our books and get them signed and personalized and shipped to you: http://www.murderbooks.com/event/wells-
When I finished my errand at Powell’s, I drove to Portland’s old Chinatown. Portland was busy, and there wasn’t any parking close to the restaurant, so I went to the SmartPark at Naito and Davis. It’s about a four block walk from there to the restaurant. I again stayed in the shade as much as I could.
I don’t actually remember the last time I was at Republic Cafe… 10 years ago? 20 years ago? Probably something inbetween. I don’t remember who I was with, but I have the vague feeling that I either didn’t like the food – or I got sick later. I lean towards the latter. Regardless, it was beyond the statute of limitations.
Back in the day Republic Cafe was a busy place and a hangout for the late evening crowd. Nowadays I could barely find it. (I guess I’m not used to looking for it in bright daylight.)
I arrived about 1 pm and was seated by a young server. He let me choose any table in the not-very-large main area, and I picked the booth in the corner, by the front window. There was one couple (a woman and her elderly dad) a couple of booths away.
I had checked the Menu in advance and knew what I wanted – the Super Special Combination. (I love the name!) The server took my order.
Republic Cafe has a rather dismal reputation for very poor service, so I braced myself for long waits. I had my iPad with me, so I did quite a bit of catchup at the Metafilter site and a few anime sites. Speed of service wasn’t terrible – but it wasn’t fast, either. Lunch from beginning to end took about an hour.
The food was actually pretty good. Of the three Cantonese restaurants I’ve tried, Republic Cafe had the best food. They have the best pan fried noodles, the best sesame chicken, and the best fried rice. Only the chow mein vegetables were less than ideal, but they were pretty good. The serving size was small for a Cantonese restaurant but reasonable for a meal. That is to say, I brought some leftovers home, but there’s not really enough for a full lunch.
Republic Cafe • Portland, Oregon
iPhone 6 photo
While it’s nice to know the food is better than what I’ll be able to get in Beaverton, the info doesn’t help a lot as I’m not driving into Portland just to get Chinese food. Plus I’m usually in a hurry, and there would be some frustration with Republic Cafe. This will be fine for occasional lazy Sundays like today (when it was too hot to be at home anyway). But how often am I really in downtown Portland?
Whatever air conditioning they had wasn’t working fully, as it got kind of warm in the restaurant – not as bad as my house – but not cool, either.
Adding in a 10 minute walk in both directions, my total time in the SmartPark was 1 hour and 20 minutes – which meant that I had to pay for two hours of parking. I guess I could take MAX into town next time.
Canton Quest #1
Canton Quest #2
Today, I went to Target and got some new firm pillows to replace the poor schlubby ones I've abused. I also got a backdoor mat, and two little mat sized rugs for just inside each door (to catch dirt, etc.). Lastly, I got some curtain blackout liners and colored sheers for the plan to switch the bedrooms.
Tomorrow, I start cleaning and ourging the bedroom. This includes getting rid of stuff for donations. I'm hoping that maybe I can be ready to move furniture on Wednesday.
One obscure document listed books I needed to complete a collection. About once a year I dust off this list and do a search at Powell’s Books. I did that – and found a book! It was in the Rare Books Room at the main Powell’s on Burnside. I hadn’t been in the Rare Books Room for maybe a couple of decades!
So after worship service at my church in Wilsonville, I drove straight up I-5 into Portland. It was about noon when I cruised the Pearl District for a parking space. For such a hot Sunday, I was surprised to see downtown so busy. I parked about four blocks away from the City of Books. I stayed in the shade as much as I could while walking to Powell’s.
Inside of Powell’s I took the stairs to the top (public) floor where the Rare Books Room is. The sign on the door of the room said I needed to get a badge from the info desk. Apparently there is a limit to the number of people that can be in the room at any given time. I don’t remember that being the case in the 90s. But maybe it was.
I could have browsed the shelves, but I decided to ask the person at the front desk where the book was, and she led me directly to the shelf containing the book I wanted – a copy of Tom Swift and his Cosmotron Express – in pretty good condition.
There were three other Tom Swift Jr. volumes on the shelf – and to my surprise among them was a copy of Tom Swift and the Galaxy Ghosts – the rarest – and worst – book in the series. I hadn’t actually expected to see that book there. This was a rare opportunity for me to complete my collection. And I did.
While the Cosmotron Express is not reputed to be a good book, it at least features the art of Ray Johnson, the best illustrator from the later books in the series. The Galaxy Ghosts is said to be by far the worst Tom Swift Jr. book ever written – and on top of that, the illustrator was terrible. This was the first Tom Swift Jr. book illustrated by Bill Dolwick, and I’m sure his work didn’t help sales at all. About the only positive thing that could be said about the cover art is that it’s a throwback to the very first book in the series, Tom Swift and His Flying Lab. And Dolwick’s art is far inferior to the 1954 cover.
Ah, well. I now have a complete 33 volume set. I never actually expected that to happen.
Related link: The Complete Tom Swift Jr. Home Page
Beaverton, Oregon • June 25, 2017 • 3:00 pm
You don’t ever want your car to tell you it’s this hot outside.
Actually, it wasn’t 105°F outside – although it might have been that hot where the car was on the baked asphalt road. The high in Beaverton was only 97°F.
Because this was the second (and thankfully final) day of the heat wave, the house didn’t cool off much overnight – and it really got heated today. The warm part of the house is 92°F; the cool part of the house is 89°F. Yay. I should be able to open up the doors and windows around 7 pm.
Tsuki ga Kirei, Episode 11
Here are the shows from this season that I watched last week…
Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records (Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor): Episode 12 (Season Finale)
This arc was a rescue Sistine arc instead of a rescue Rumia arc – but it operated about the same. Big flashy battle. Thankfully Sistine recovered and then carried her weight in the fight. But the Big Bad gets away – to return in a future arc. Not much closure here – and open-ended for continuation into more novels in the series. After all, we still don’t know a thing about what the Akashic Records are.
Shūmatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka? (a.k.a. Sukasuka)(WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?): Episode 11
Chtholly’s situation is even worse, and the entire field unit is under attack. Seems like an awful lot to resolve in one finale. I’m eager to see at least some resolutions next week.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations: Episode 12
Mostly the episode was about Mitsuki probing and learning about Boruto. And also we learned a little bit about Mitsuki. So… a character-building episode not advancing the story – except for providing a tease at the very end. Sure hope something happens next week.
Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys: Episode 11
I thought for sure that Hikaru would swap with the real Hikaru for the strip down, but that doesn’t look like what’s going to happen. Things are complicated. Not surprised we have a cliffhanger.
Tsuki ga Kirei (As the Moon, So Beautiful): Episode 11
I worry that Kotarou isn’t going to make it. This series has been pretty realistic the entire way, so it’s hard to believe that Kotarou can overcome long odds. At least his mom did an aboutface and is being supportive. Best part of the episode was the short break in studying that allowed Kotarou and Akane to get together and exchange Christmas gifts. And a kiss. D’Awww! As always, the music is simply wonderful.
Clockwork Planet: Episode 12 (Season Finale)
Well… whatever. The conflict wrapped up without any serious sense of drama – or any real resolution, for that matter. The enemy escaped to return another day. Now our gang is on the run and ready to save the world – with everyone else in pursuit. I’m underwhelmed.
Seikai Suru Kado (Kado: The Right Answer): Episode 11
Things continue to be highly improbable, and it appears the show is going to become an action series at the end. The train went off the rails long ago, and we’re seeing if it has enough velocity to keep from being bogged down in the mud. The big battle is next week.
Boku no Hero Academia: Episode 26
Transitional episode, slowing things down after the intense sports festival. The code names were interesting, anyway. Izuku’s choice of code name was rather unexpected, but I’m glad it made Ochako happy. Bakugo was still over-the-top for laughs. Not a lot happened, but we needed the breather.
Eromanga Sensei: Episode 12 (Season Finale)
Erocomedy… if you can call it that. Getting everyone flustered in different ways is the least interesting part of the show. No story this week – just slapstick. A rather uninspiring way to end the season – but OK, I suppose.
Uchouten Kazoku 2: Episode 12 (Season Finale)
What a fabulous finish! Conflict…drama… resolutions (many)… and a very happy ending! Sweet scenes! Yaichirō and Gyokuran’s wedding! Yasaburō x Kaisei! Confirmation from Yasaburō’s grandmother of the red fur of fate – and Yasaburō’s acceptance of the engagement! I am so happy! I’m going to watch this episode again!
Alice to Zōroku: Episode 12 (Season Finale)
The solution to the escape from Wonderland was not particularly good or interesting, although Zōroku’s role was a surprise. Unfortunately Shizuku wasn’t involved at all – she disappeared at the beginning and reappeared at the end. Might as well say it’s time to end the arc and wave a magic wand. Oh, well. Happy ending. At the very end we got a second glimpse of a grown-up Sana, who remains intriguing.
Uchouten Kazoku 2, Episode 12 (Season Finale)
Once it got past 7pm I did get outside and watered... my poor yard and garden looked a bit crispy.
Today, might go to the movies with the sister creature.
On the lookout for ragged robin, finding none in the usual locations. Maybe too early, maybe too late, maybe too mowed. Did see a patch of blue cornflower blooming, plus a lot of birdsfoot trefoil, orange and yellow hawkweed, and the first hop-clover.
No roadkill seen, despite extended survey.
Got out on the bike, temperature in the 70s F with a nuisance breeze. Did not die.
30.45 miles, 2:43:43
A friend asked me for this blog post, and I really haven’t been feeling the blogging lately, so here we go, a way into it by talking to a specific person.
A lot of people do pacing instinctively, sometimes synaesthetically. This is why you’ll hear metaphors like an unbalanced washing machine, a car with a flat tire–things where the rhythm is off, things where the story is going THUMPa THUMPa THUMPa. If you have that feeling for it, if you have that instinct, hurrah! Lucky you. If not, here are some other ways to spot broken pacing.
Ask an external reader. If they are bored in some sections, the pacing is probably breaking down. (Also boredom, who wants it.) Also, if they can spot the scenes that are the most important to the writer, that’s no good–obviously there will be things like the climax of the piece that are important scenes, but you don’t want to have a lot of scenes that are obviously un-important. If the reader feels like a scene doesn’t matter to you and they’re right, take it out and find another way to do the thing it’s doing. If they’re wrong and it really is important to you? Probably a pacing problem.
Track things! Track all the things. Okay, not all. But any of the things. Figure out what elements are showing up in each scene, what each scene is doing. You can do this with characters. You can do it with things like description/action/dialog balance. You can do it with objects that are touchstones to your plot. You can do it with locations. Anything you are wanting to pull through the book and balance, you can track, sometimes with color. Put it on notecards, print it out in tiny font and highlight it, just do a chapter list in a different file: who is in Chapter 1 with the protag(s). Who is in Chapter 2. Or: where does the Axe of Awesomeness show up first, where does it show up again, how long is it between spottings of the Major Macguffin. Has the reader had time to forget about it or think it is no longer important or get distracted by the Minor Macguffin. Has the Shiny Red Herring come up often enough? Track it in red to see where it is swimming. Is there a love story? If there is supposed to be a love story but you are not seeing Captain Swoonypants between Chapter 2 and Chapter 13, the pants: they will not be swooning. That is what we call a major sag in the pacing. (And/or in the pants.) Negative relationship stuff, too: that distance between a fight and the next appearance of the person fought with will mean that that relationship is not carrying a lot of tension. The pacing on it will sag. The reader will forget that they are supposed to care.
A thing that I said in the previous paragraph: figure out what each scene is doing. Not just one thing. If it’s just one thing, the pacing will sag and fall over. Do more. But also: when you revise, sometimes one of the things a scene used to be doing will change. If you rip out a subplot, remember to look at the scenes around the stuff you removed. It’s not just that you have to check to get the information redistributed. It’s that the beats also have to be redistributed. If that subplot contained the moments to breathe, your new pacing will be too frenetic. If that subplot contained mostly action and excitement, a hint of that needs to creep back into the new pacing. Pacing, sadly, is not just something you can do once and be done.
Stylistic and length changes. Word length, sentence length, paragraph length, chapter length. You can change these deliberately if you want to, but if you find you have subconsciously changed them without meaning to, you may be rushing a section or meandering through a section that will not feel integrated with the rest of the book and will nag at the reader–sometimes without them being able to spot why.
Note that you do not have to do length analysis on every element of every book every time. This is more a diagnostic for when something seems to not be working or if you consistently have problems than something every writer should do at every moment. In fact, all of this is in that category. If you’re finding that people are saying things you don’t really get about pacing, that something is not working and you don’t understand why, you can poke at these things (or at ideas people will offer in the comments, maybe!). But no writing tool is universal, this is not universal, and you should feel utterly free to not do any of this if you don’t need to and don’t feel like it.
I feel like I can’t stress enough in process posts that everybody works differently, because I hear enough conversation about “I heard one piece of advice and I thought I had to,” and seriously, no, you do not have to, you never have to. Do what works for you. Discard things that sound horrifying until/unless nothing else is working and you feel like it’s worth a shot. Try things that are exciting or weird, try things that feel like they’re fixing the problems you actually have, and don’t listen to me when you don’t feel like it. Okay? Okay.
We've been looking into solar power for, well, years - I had checked into it in 2003 when the house was being built, but it was priced way out of my league. We've looked over the years- the latest was last month; Treehouse quoted $60K. :gulp!:
On my trip to pick up Herself's birthday cake, we saw a billboard for a "local" solar company. SG called, they came out Tuesday....and we got the quote Thursday. $20K. They came out yesterday and we signed the contract......they'll do the install Friday and Saturday.
37 panels, 1700KwH. Own, not leased. Tied into the grid (WAY too much to go completely off-grid!); our co-op doesn't pay for power, but they credit us for the overage (so....they DO pay, but not cash. Whatever....if I never have to pay another electric bill I'll be happy as a clam!)
They also do wind.....we're discussing it for my Studio, SG's shop, and the soon-to-be-NEW goat barn. Might just do solar there, too - we're still in the discussion stage. We will go solar, at least, on those down the road.
I'm pretty stoked. Since our electric bills top $400/month in Summer....and the payments on the solar system is $350/month for 37 months........AND SG will be paying it off sooner......we're coming out ahead. If I did the math right, the system will pay for itself in less than 5 years. :happy:
Making Manchego today. Fun stuff!
Today, its supposed to be 100 degrees, so I wont be going anywhere. I do need to get the coat hangers out of the van though.