stillsostrange: (Default)
I suppose I'll use DW for the one thing I still used LJ for: keeping track of books read.

Call for the Dead - John Le Carre
Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan
Broken Angels - Richard Morgan
Undertow - Elizabeth Bear (reread)
The Dry Salvages - Caitlin R. Kiernan (reread)
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
Today I ran the Austin Half Marathon, aka my second half this year. My time was 2:37:42, shaving 50 seconds off my previous time. It would have been even better, had someone not decided to stick all of Austin's hills on the second half of the course. I ran this one without intervals, and without knee pain. Hell, my right leg feels better today than it has in months. I am mystified and delighted.

Now I really, really taking it easy the rest of the year--Warrior Dash in March, a 10k in April, and a 10k in September.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
I mentioned that I ran the 3M Half last month? Well, this month I'm running in the Austin Half Marathon. February 19th, to be exact. Some of this is masochism, but mainly I'm fundraising for Out Youth. So if you'd like to contribute to Central Texas LGBT+ kids' services, programs, and safe space, you can do so at:

www.crowdrise.com/amandadownum

Anything is appreciated, including good wishes for my poor limbs. This route has hills.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
On Sunday I ran Austin's 3M half marathon. That's right, I ran it. I still have IT band problems, but months of careful training, chiropractor visits, and regular foam rolling seem to keep them mostly under control.

My chip time was 2:38:32, or a 5 mile/hour average. That's a personal best for me by a long shot. And more importantly, running felt great.

I kinda want to do another half again soon. But the training is a huge time sink, so I'm going to shoot for 2018 or 2019. I have Warrior Dash coming up in March, and a 10k in April. Then it will be too damn hot to run.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
2016 was, obviously, a year very much soured by incessant death and the dumpster fire that is American politics. We lost many icons at a time when it feels we need them most. When Bowie died, I said that it fell to the rest of us to be a little more fabulous to make up for it. And now it also falls to us to be brave, and kind, and as true to the things we hold dear as we can be. And to take care of ourselves. The threshold of 2017 is a scary, uncertain place.

Last year wasn't all terrible, of course. I married the best of beasts in February, which was a very smart move on my part. My best friend got married in October, and threw a lovely party full of people dear to me. I finished The Poison Court, which is hopefully the first step in crawling well out of the writing slump that I fell into after Kingdoms of Dust.

I also got a proper anxiety diagnosis last year, and a prescription for what is close to a miracle drug. Going to work is no longer a terrifying and tearful prospect*. Writing is still hard, but I can keep the brain weasels under control when they tell me I'm going to fail. I also finally found a doctor who helped fix the stomach problems I've been suffering for years. So while this coming year may be nerve-wracking, my nerves are better braced to handle it.


Books read (I feel certain I missed something, but I'm not sure what):

The Book of Atrix Wolfe - Patricia McKillip
Ancillary Mercy - Ann Leckie
Coffin Hill Vol. 1 - Caitlin Kittredge
Rites Of Peace: The Fall Of Napoleon And The Congress Of Vienna - Adam Zamoyski
Jane Steele - Lyndsay Faye
The Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye
Kindred of Darkness - Barbara Hambly
Uprooted - Naomi Novik
Seven For a Secret - Lyndsay Faye
The Fatal Flame - Lyndsay Faye
The Scarlet Gospels - Clive Barker
Murder On The Ballarat Train - Kerry Greenwood
Death At Victoria Dock - Kerry Greenwood
Darkness On His Bones - Barbara Hambly
Blood For The Sun - Errick Nunnally
The Green Mill Murder - Kerry Greenwood
Black Light - Elizabeth Hand
Unbecoming - Rebecca Scherm
Available Dark - Elizabeth Hand
Rat Queens Vol. 1 - Kurtis Wiebe
Rat Queens Vol. 2 - Kurtis Wiebe
Rat Queens Vol. 3 - Kurtis Wiebe
The Stone In The Skull (in draft/reread) - Elizabeth Bear
Dark Spies - Matthew Dunn
In The Woods - Tana French
stillsostrange: (Eliot)
I would have fought. The cat, ever contrary, didn't want to.

I've lost many animals over the years, but this was the first time I had to say the word and choose the hour. I would have held onto any reasonable hope, but the vet didn't offer any. Siggy has shouted every day of her life since she could vocalize; yesterday she didn't speak at all.

My heart has been stone before, been steel, been still; it will be again. It is not now.

It happened last night. I woke up this morning and the house was so quiet. There was a cat on the foot of my bed. My housemate's cat, not mine.

I miss my cat.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
My beloved Sigrdrifa, Victory Blizzard, former holmgang champion and fighter of dogs, is doing very poorly. Her kidneys are giving out, and the vet is noncommittal about her prognosis. But she's only 12, and I love my cat, and fuck this terrible year, so I'm going to do what I can to let her come home and be happily cantankerous again, at least for a while.

Because I would like to pay off these vet bills while Siggy is still alive, I refer you to Still So Strange Studios. Everything there is still at last year's holiday discount price.

I've also purchased many beautiful necklaces from [livejournal.com profile] elisem over the years. Many of them have given me stories, but too many have been languishing in my jewelry box for years, not spreading delight in the world as they should. So with their maker's blessing, I'm now offering them to new homes. I purchased most of them on sale or through the Artist Challenge program, so I'm passing those savings on to you. (Also, silver has tarnished over the years. I'll polish them as best I can before I send them on, but they may never sparkle quite as bright.)

"Big Bad Frog Witch" (Recent photo) $90

"Doll With a Ghost In It". 153 inches long, and full of stories. (Recent photos) $130

"The Etiology of Angst In Angels, Volume II", sandcast glass, mother of pearl, glass, dyed shell, moonstone, aquamarine, mysterious recycled bead and spacers, sterling silver. About 52 inches long. (Recent photo) $90 SOLD!

"Somewhere In The Sky", glass, labradorite, picasso jasper, moss agate, various stones; someone described this as neo-Victorian mourning jewelry, which has a good bit of truth to it. (Current photos) $100

"Summer-Colored Where The Bones Shine Through" I don't have the original description of this. It's long, and full of things. I can measure it if anyone's interested. Current photos) $130 SOLD!

If you're interested, please email me at exoblivione AT gmail DOT com. I have PayPal and Google Wallet, or we can work something out. Shipping is $10 (including insurance) in the US and $15 for Canada. For overseas sales I'll calculate shipping as needed.

I don't have the original cards for most of these, but I'll recreate them to the best of my ability.
stillsostrange: (Elbow sex)
My WorldCon was an unexpected whirlwind of delights. The obvious highlight was when [livejournal.com profile] matociquala and I presented the Campbell Award and I got to give the tiara and brand new scepter to an astronaut. Then Jessica Jones won a Hugo for "Smile," which filled me with violent, vicious glee. But I think my true favorite moment came during the Losers Party, when the band struck up the Time Warp for the second time. I don't believe I've ever been to a two-Time Warp party before, and I'm very grateful to [livejournal.com profile] grrm for providing that experience. I also participated in great panels, and had a blast with new friends and old friends and random passers-by. I am making every effort to attend in Helsinki next year.

And if you happened to see my Hugos dress, which I hope someone got a good picture of, I'll let you in on a little secret: Jobst: It Stays. I bought a backless bra to wear with that dress which completely failed to function. So in a moment of panic I borrowed [livejournal.com profile] matociquala's sock adhesive and glued myself into the dress. Everything stayed where it was supposed to for ten (10) hours, perfectly comfortably, even through the aforementioned two rounds of the Time Warp. Sorcery!

My agent sent me her notes for The Poison Court just before WorldCon. Now that I'm beginning to recover from the excesses of the con--not to mention driving to Minneapolis and back in four days immediately afterward--I will buckle down and turn those around. I also need to get cracking on another project, and figure out the three short stories I have in various degrees of completion.
stillsostrange: (Riff & Magenta)
Erisín is a haunted city, and her specters are hungry. When demons prowl the streets of Oldtown, preying on the poor and the weak, a young actor must face the ghosts of his past and of his family to protect his new home.

"Bone Garden" is a novelette set in Erisín following the events of The Bone Palace. It was originally published in Subterranean's A Fantasy Medley 2 (ed. Yanni Kuznia) in 2012. It's now available on Kindle and Smashwords.

If anyone has any other platforms or file types they prefer, I can make it more widely available. This is my first attempt at self-pubbing anything, so feedback is appreciated.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
Last Friday I sent the rough draft of The Poison Court to my agent. I then managed to take five whole days of vacation, but today I'm going to start revising.

I'm also updating my website, one page at a time. My old server went down sometime in December. I secured new hosting in March, only to discover that my most recent backup was from 2014. Sigh. So now I'm trying to replicate content, one post at a time.

Time to make the chimi-f*@%ing-changas, as they say.
stillsostrange: (Riff & Magenta)
Good morning, LiveJournal! Happy 2016!

My website has been languishing with server woes for some time now, so my scant updates will be split between here and Patreon for a while.

2015 was a good year. At the end of 2014 I moved in with my partner and his roommates; this spring we moved out of a cramped apartment on the 3rd floor into a very lovely house in Austin. This summer I got my ass in gear on The Poison Court--and, with the help of Patreon, was able to scale my hours back at the used book mines. I didn't type The End in 2015, but I can see it from my couch now.

We spent Christmas in New Orleans, which was delightful. Eventually I'll finish sorting through our pictures.

And of course, Dreams of Shreds & Tatters was released this year, and the Necromancer Chronicles finally earned out.

Books read:

1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka
5. Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh (reread)
6. Invader - C.J. Cherryh
7. Dark Dance - Tanith Lee (reread)
8. Inheritor - C.J. Cherryh
9. Precursor - C.J. Cherryh
10. Ancillary Justice - Anne Leckie
11. Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood
12. Defender - C.J. Cherryh
13. Explorer - C.J. Cherryh
14. Hellboy, a volume whose title currently escapes me - Mike Mignola
15. Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others - Mike Mignola
16. The Wicked + the Divine: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen
17. Destroyer - C.J. Cherryh
18. Pretender - C.J. Cherryh
19. The Hellbound Heart - Clive Barker
20. Deliverer - C.J. Cherryh
21. Conspirator - C.J. Cherryh
22. Deceiver - C.J. Cherryh
23. Betrayer - C.J. Cherryh
24. Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts - Orrin Grey
25. Ancillary Sword - Anne Leckie
26. Protector - C.J. Cherryh*
27. The Stone In The Skull - Elizabeth Bear (in draft)

My favorite book of the year was definitely Painted Monsters.


* You may notice I skipped the 13th book. That happened by accident, but having finished the 14th, I just can't bring myself to go back. Perhaps someday.
stillsostrange: (Elbow sex)
Like a message in a bottle tossed into a boundless sea, I will cast my spoilery snark here behind a cut.

The Force Awakens )
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
First of all, everything at Still So Strange Studios has been deeply discounted for the holidays.

But, that is not the only reason I have called you all here today.

I have purchased many beautiful necklaces from [livejournal.com profile] elisem over the years. Many of them have given me stories, but too many have been languishing in my jewelry box for years, not spreading delight in the world as they should. So with their maker's blessing, I'm now offering them to new homes. I purchased most of them on sale or through the Artist Challenge program, so I'm passing those savings on to you. (Also, silver has tarnished over the years. I'll polish them as best I can before I send them on, but they may never sparkle quite as bright.)

"Big Bad Frog Witch" (Recent photo) $100

"Circus Angel II", which gave me my story "Catch." (Recent photo) $100 SOLD!

"Doll With a Ghost In It". 153 inches long, and full of stories. (Recent photos) $150

"The Etiology of Angst In Angels, Volume II", sandcast glass, mother of pearl, glass, dyed shell, moonstone, aquamarine, mysterious recycled bead and spacers, sterling silver. About 52 inches long. (Recent photo) $100

"Somewhere In The Sky", glass, labradorite, picasso jasper, moss agate, various stones; someone described this as neo-Victorian mourning jewelry, which has a good bit of truth to it. (Current photos) $100

"Summer-Colored Where The Bones Shine Through" I don't have the original description of this. It's long, and full of things. I can measure it if anyone's interested. Current photos) $150

If you're interested, please email me at exoblivione AT gmail DOT com. I have PayPal and Google Wallet, or we can work something out. Shipping is $10 (including insurance) in the US and $15 for Canada. For overseas sales I'll calculate shipping as needed.

I don't have the original cards for most of these, but I'll recreate them to the best of my ability.
stillsostrange: (Baby bats)
I have returned to Operation: Vampire Movies at last. One day I will see them all!

The updated list )

I think I've seen Dracula, Dead and Loving It. How could I not have? But somehow I never saw Rockula until last month, so it's possible. Also not listed is whatever awful C-grade recent movie we recently watched whose name totally escapes me. It was bad.
stillsostrange: (Plot Octopus)
I leave for Portland tomorrow (now today)! I'll get in too late to attend the VIP party, but in time to dance at the Lovecraft Bar. My official schedule is as follows. Otherwise I’ll be watching movies or hanging out at the after parties.

Friday

8:00 – 9:00 PM, Classroom – Reading (with Orrin Grey and Alex Renwick)

Saturday

10:00 AM – Noon, EOD main/Classroom – Carbload For Cthulhu mass signing

8:00 – 9:00, EOD main – Sexuality and Lovecraft (Downum, Peterson, Cook, Smiley, Joshi)

Sunday

10:00 AM – Noon, Sam’s Hollywood Billiards – Cthulhu Prayer Breakfast (I won't be doing anything here but eating breakfast and drinking mimosas.)
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
Today I have:

* Reached 60,000 words on The Poison Court.
* Hung up cobwebs in the kitchen.
* Scrubbed the bathtub
* Gone to the gym.

I see a celebratory cocktail in my future.
stillsostrange: (Riff & Magenta)
The Poison Court has now reached 56,000 words, and you'll all be happy to know that I have finally poisoned someone. In case you worried it was merely a metaphorical poison.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
A very good writing day today (3500 words), bringing The Poison Court to 50,000 words. We owe this great outpouring to Varis, who becomes quite loquacious when you throw enough problems at him, and also a cute boyfriend.

Binging on atevi books makes me mindful of the dangers of piling more and more characters into a series, but I keep filling more positions at court, and introducing new ambassadors. And I do like Varis's boyfriend, and it would be nice to keep him around for a while.

The city shimmered around them, moving in and out of focus. Walls faded and darkened again. Buildings changed shape. The skyline rose and fell. Streets broadened, narrowed, widened once more. Cobbles gave way to muddy ruts, dry earth, and then back to stone.

“The city is restless tonight,” the kardi said. “She cannot find a skin that suits her. The country is simpler—it knows its shape, and changes only slowly.”

The shadow city teemed with movement, if not precisely life. Little spirits skittered and chirped. Ghosts like pale gossamer drifted past—some lost and aimless, others searching, some prowling hungry. Some recognized Varis as a living mage and recoiled or eyed him warily. A few moved toward him, hands raised to threaten or implore, but his companion bared her shining teeth and they retreated again.
stillsostrange: (Plot Octopus)
1. Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
2. Red Delicious - Kathleen Tierney/Caitlin R. Kiernan
3. The English Girl - Daniel Silva
4. Critical Space - Greg Rucka
5. Foreigner - C.J. Cherryh (reread)
6. Invader - C.J. Cherryh
7. Dark Dance - Tanith Lee (reread)
8. Inheritor - C.J. Cherryh

9. Precursor - C.J. Cherryh

10. Ancillary Justice - Anne Leckie

I was thoroughly charmed by this book.

11. Cocaine Blues - Kerry Greenwood

Here, though, I am thoroughly smitten. Isyllt wants to be BFFs with Phryne Fisher very badly.

12. Defender - C.J. Cherryh

This was the first Atevi book that dragged for me. My goodness, such drag. Still quite pleasant, but this felt very much like a transitional chapter or three dragged out to novel length.

13. Explorer - C.J. Cherryh

The first half of this one was also slow, and then all the fun happened! So much fun!

14. Hellboy, a volume whose title currently escapes me - Mike Mignola

15. Hellboy: The Troll Witch and Others - Mike Mignola

16. The Wicked + the Divine: The Faust Act - Kieron Gillen

I see many people in love with this series so far. I am not. It was amusing and interesting, but I didn't engage with the worldbuilding particularly, and I was left with no real sense of the stakes.

17. Destroyer - C.J. Cherryh

Another volume that felt like a very long transition. And by now Bren's stress indigestion has moved through comedic into annoying repetition. But binge reading is rarely flattering. You'll note I don't stop.

18. Pretender - C.J. Cherryh
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
Two updates. Or maybe three.

1. Still So Strange Studios is now a functioning Etsy shop.

2. I have launched a Patreon campaign. This is specifically intended to help lift the weight of the world a fraction of an inch so I can finish The Poison Court in a timely fashion. Savedra partisans, please check it out.

3. I haven't been quite as slack at blogging as this LJ indicates. Right now the Necromancer Chronicles is getting the bulk of my updates while I'm trying to shake the kinks out of my primary website.

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