stillsostrange: (Stuck)
Readercon was delightful, but I'm not out of the woods yet. I missed my flight home today, and have to spend the night in Boston. Thank Cod for my spare underwear policy. Now I'm holed up in an expensively pleasant corner room at the airport Hilton, trying to decide if I'm brave enough to get on the T in search of non hotel food.

Expedia plays "Hotel California" as hold music. I want to shake the hand of the sick fuck who made that happen.
stillsostrange: (Baby bats)
Because it's nearly my birthday, Precious, and because I couldn't stand to wait till August, we're taking advantage of an otherwise annoying holiday and going to the beach. The full moon over the beach tonight was worth what will likely be a hell of holiday traffic tomorrow.

It's also been two years since we've been to Galveston, and I was unaware of the existence of the Pleasure Pier. We saw the ferris wheel lights as we drove down the seawall, and now I have "People Are Strange" stuck in my head, and the overwhelming urge to write a vampire story. Perhaps a Pinocchio vampire story. And somehow I've lived to be two days from hobbit adulthood and never before noticed that The Lost Boys is very much a Pinocchio story already.
stillsostrange: (Default)
IMG_0119 by Amanda Downum
IMG_0119, a photo by Amanda Downum on Flickr.

Today I went to Houston to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the Tutankhamun exhibit. It was not the most in-depth of exhibits, but full of lovely things none the less. Afterward we went to Fadi's, and now I am full of lovely Mediterranean food.

D is also for Dreams of Shreds & Tatters, and its potential not-a-sequel A Dirge In Yellow. But there's a book in between them, and I don't have a title for it. I'm enamored of the Ds, though, and would like to keep the alliteration. Right now I'm leaning toward Devils of something. But Devils of what? (The devils can have a different preposition if they want.)

Anyone have any brilliant, vaguely Lovecraftian suggestions? I would especially love something along the Wraeththu model.

ETA: Steven just suggest Debts of Something, which I also like. This is why I keep him around. So debts or devils are my top two places to start.
stillsostrange: (Elbow sex)
My latest New England adventure is winding down. I parted ways with [ profile] matociquala at the T station, and now I'm safely holed up in an airport hotel. Beacon Hill is as gorgeous as it was the last time I was here, and I'm stuffed to the gills with dumplings and scallion pancakes and nasi lemak. The signing at Pandemonium was a lot of fun, if slightly blurry from all the pre-signing cocktails we consumed at Drink.

Providence was also as lovely as last time, and this time we found the right yellow house on Benefit Street. So of course my camera seems to have devoured those photos.
stillsostrange: (Default)

I had my signing at Dragon's Lair Comics on Wednesday, and it was a lot of fun. People showed up and bought books, and I didn't even know some of them. I eventually passed signing duties over to Aswan, the store cat. She's much better at this sort of thing than I am.

The signing and a particularly heartwarming piece of fanmail have been the highlights of my writing week. Today the low came in having to bow out of an anthology I had really wanted to be part of, due to having run out of both miracles and chocolate coating.

Next week I'll be in Boston, signing at Pandemonium Books on Thursday. When I come home I get to begin in earnest the final revisions of Dreams. Final until I send it to [ profile] arcaedia, anyway. But that's final enough for me.

stillsostrange: (Von says read)
I have been having quite the terrible no-good day, but I do have a bright spot to share:

On Thursday, March 22nd, [ profile] matociquala and I will at Pandemonium Books in Boston, having a joint signing/launch for Range of Ghosts and Kingdoms of Dust, from 7 - 9 PM. Come hang out. We promise not to throw books at you. At least not hardbacks.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Good morning, LJ. I'm back from Hawaii, having not been eaten by sharks, eels, or mongeese*. Now I have a head cold; it's like con crud without the con.

What are you doing today?

* I never saw a mongoose, but the hotel warned us very strongly not to feed them.
stillsostrange: (Siren)
Good morning, LJ! It's 6:25 in Kona, and I was awoken twenty minutes ago by my optometrist's office calling from a place where it is not 6 AM. Luckily, that got me up in time to watch dawn breaking across the ocean that is right under my balcony. Yes, I am in an honest-to-Cod beach front resort. Last night we saw eels in the tide pools under the balcony; this morning the tide has come in.

I may have found the glamour.

Sadly, the beach front resort lacks wireless in the rooms. I'm currently using a phone as a hotspot, but uploading pictures will have to wait till I can explore the supposed wireless in the lobby.

But first I think it's time to get up, get my free breakfast, and explore the beach.
stillsostrange: (Default)
I'm in the final throes of packing. I have a suitcase full of clothes (and shoes--at some point I became a mammal who can't travel without four pairs of shoes*), three novels and one and a half crit novels to read, a bag full of tiny toiletries, my contacts, my swimsuit, a new camera**, and an idea for my fungus story. I've also cleaned the catboxes, tidied for the cat-sitter, and painted my toenails.

What am I forgetting?***

* But I found a pair of black Keens on clearance at REI today! I win at shopping!

** Let us pray that this one doesn't end up swimming in the Pacific.

*** I'm not forgetting my phobia of sharks, while going to a place full of shark gods.
stillsostrange: (Default)
I may be bowing out of two conventions this year. I'm going to Hawaii with my family in November, which means I'm not going to WFC. And I love you guys, but Hawaii beats sitting in a hotel bar in San Diego for three days. Now it looks like I'll also be skipping WorldCon. I'm sadder about this, but finances are a bit grim, and the dayjob is all but begging me to work that weekend.

But I'll definitely be at Armadillocon, and I may bring my Talisman board to make up for missing the epic Talisman bar game in Reno. Anyone else feel like playing?

I've completely failed to think of a cool contest for La Cité des eaux. Instead I'll send copies to [ profile] txanne, [ profile] deakat, and [ profile] saare_snowqueen, on the condition that you share pictures of the book in some pretty, unusual, and/or amusing setting.
stillsostrange: (Bone Palace UK)
Good morning, LJ. I'm home at last. I've adjusted my blood-capsaicin levels and started the epic round of laundry, but have yet to scrub the airport grime out of my hair. I also haven't uploaded all of my grainy iPhone photos yet, so I refer you to [ profile] matociquala's, flickr stream.

This was pretty much the best trip ever. Dublin and environs were gorgeous, and Stockholm was even better. When I can afford to expat, Stockholm is high on the list of destinations. With any luck, seeing Flogging Molly at Gröna Lund has broken my years-long travel concert curse.

Eurocon was fabulous: the panels were smart, the people were friendly, and I met a lot of awesome new people, some of whom are now reading my LJ. Hello, awesome new people! I hope to attend more cons in Europe, possibly starting with Åcon next year.

Today I need to finish some interview questions that have been greatly delayed by travel, and maybe work on a post about process that I promised someone. Then I'll return to neurotically running in circles and gibbering about my option novel.

But first, coffee.
stillsostrange: (Drop bears)
By Amanda Downum, age 31 and 13/24ths

Today [ profile] matociquala and I went to the Skansen zoo. We saw bison and owls and elk and bears and baaaaaaby wolverines. Then we ate ice cream and petted baaaaaby goats, and then we found a runestone and translated the futhark. Then we walked a very long way to catch a bus, and now we're back in the hotel (which is like staying in Ikea), and in a couple of hours we will have beer.

The End
stillsostrange: (Dark City)
I opted out of freezing to death in the Irish Sea this morning, but did have a lovely walk in the rain. I've also written about 1200 words of the lesbian YA not-an-arcology-sexbot story which is probably no longer called "Needlepoint", which is due in the beginning of July and which reminds me pointedly of why I don't usually write SF; I have the entire plot mapped out, but every paragraph involves a new piece of worldbuilding, each one wrung like blood from a stone.

I've also rubbed enough rocks together to get a spark for a new novel project, tentatively titled A Wake of Queens. It has nothing resembling a plot yet, but there are generations of warrior queens, the Witch Queen of Angmar, and a snake god or two. Snakes are as good as a plot, right? And maybe an eldritch horror or three.
stillsostrange: (Mary Sue)
Still alive in Ireland. I got a sunburn on my first day (totally [ profile] matociquala's fault), which seems to impress the Irish. If I'm too white for Ireland, there's no hope for me at all.

I'm currently camped out in a coffee shop in Balbriggan with [ profile] matociquala and [ profile] hawkwing_lb, studiously not-working on the story that will likely not be called "Needlepoint". I've figured out its plot, but 2/3rds of the characters refuse to name themselves. A new title would be nice, too.
stillsostrange: (Default)
Goodbye, internets. I'm leaving you for foreign lands.
stillsostrange: (Default)
I meant to post yesterday to close the book sale, but I unexpectedly drove to Dallas to pick up the Boy, whose flight to Austin was cancelled. We took a nostalgic tour of Denton, which both sad--it's an adorable town, and I had the best job in the world there, but I made very few friends--and intensely grateful that I no longer have to drive into Dallas to see shows or go dancing.

So, anyway, the sale is now closed! Books will go in the mail this week, in between frantic bouts of word-marching.
stillsostrange: (Default)
by Amanda Downum, age 30 and 11/12ths

Day 1: Awoke at 3:30 AM to go to the airport. Boo. Security line at Austin-Bergstrom was STILL stupidly long. Sung the praises of Southwest as my flights were timely. [ profile] matociquala picked me up at the airport, fed me sandwiches, and took me kayaking on Union Pond.

Day 2: Woke up at a more sane but still early hour to leave for NYC. Endured the world's most uncomfortable train seat for an hour and a half. Got to the city and had lunch with Bear's fabulous editor, and then hung out at the d.b.a. bar before meeting my even-more-fabulous editor. (Sorry, it's contractual--my editor is always the most fabulous.) Met people who had formerly existed only in the internet. I remain fond of the city despite the noise, exhaust, and crowds--I need to test that by staying for more than a few hours.

(Photos of days 1 & 2)

Day 3: Slept. Went to the store. [ profile] batwrangler joined us, bearing ridiculous quantities of meat, and grilling ensued. I napped a lot.

Day 4: Climbed in the gym and walked the dog. Wrote part of a scene for "Spell 81A" so [ profile] matociquala would stop hitting me.

Day 5: Kayaking in Laurel Marsh, which was gorgeous, and involved paddling uphill on the way back. Word of the day: portage. Then we picked up [ profile] hawkwing_lb from the train station, and drove her all over Connecticut. I was forced into a Hot Topic to find jelly bracelets. I may or may not have cat-hissed at the place first.

(Laurel Marsh photos)

Day 6: Got up, drove to Pinnacle Rock, hiked in and set two routes. Then climbed them, under the baleful gaze of the daystar. I feel a little Pollyanna, but I was fine with trap rock. Ate food, hydrated, and scrubbed off the layer of filth so we could get ready to go gothing. I was very happy to go dancing, but Haven reminded me of something long forgotten: goth + raver = gravers. I'm glad the makers of glowsticks and D-ring festooned midget-smugglers are still in business, I guess. But there were pretty boys there, including Draco Malfoy in an Alien Sex Fiend shirt.

(Pinnacle photos)

Day 7: The beach! Both beaches we went to didn't allow swimming, which was annoying, but the water was cold enough that I was glad I had an excuse not to be butch. The Atlantic stole my glasses, which made me cranky, but then we had lunch at a very nice tiki bar in New London and found some awesome murals, which mollified me slightly. But my insurance won't pay for new glasses till July, so the world is full of frustration, blurriness, and illegal driving right now. After the beach we drove to Wallingford and climbed some more, and then went home and slugged.

(Beach photos)

Day 8: Back on a plane. Still very happy with Southwest. And then home, to find the CEM for Bone Palace waiting for me, along with a super-awesome present from [ profile] truepenny.

The End
stillsostrange: (Wild roses)
There. I wrote most of a scene for "Spell 81A" today. Maybe now [ profile] matociquala will stop hitting me.

Pictures of our exciting adventures (at least the first two days' worth) are here. Tomorrow [ profile] hawkwing_lb arrives, and more adventures will follow.

Hueco Tanks

May. 5th, 2010 11:35 pm
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie Air)
The Partners in Climb left Austin on Friday morning, starting the allegedly eleven-hour drive to El Paso. Luckily, whoever alleged that time didn't take into account the vast 80 MPH stretch of I-10. The first car (which contained me) left Austin at 8:30 and hit El Paso at 5:00 (4:00 El Paso time), and reached the Rock Ranch less than an hour later.

I wasn't sure what the Ranch was going to be like. I was dreading four nights of camping, sharing a friend's tent. (I am a delicate flower who likes plumbing.) Luckily, it was the off season, so rooms were plentiful. We pulled up to find a bottle tree in the front yard, and a climber boy--who recognized us from the Austin gym--attempting drunken slack lining. No one was in the house at first, except for a very large sleeping dog named Aurora. I would soon learn that Aurora is a professional sleeper. Eventually the owner showed up, and I obtained for myself a room with a bed and shower access and BONUS FISH. And there was much rejoicing. My less delicate companion set up his tent and we waited for the second car (full of people more dedicated to sleeping pass 7 AM) to show up. Eventually they arrived and we settled in and went back to El Paso for pizza.

The next morning we left early to get to Hueco Tanks State Park in time for our reservation. A day of hiking and climbing ensued. The rock (syenite porphyry) is gorgeous: sometimes sharp but not skin-shredding, and full of pockets--the eponymous huecos. The weather was unseasonably cool, and absolutely gorgeous. (Chilly and windy at night, but I wasn't freezing in a tent.) Outdoor bouldering scares the the crap out of me, and down-climbing often gives me panics, so I didn't send much, but I got to scramble all over gorgeous rocks. I would like to learn more about the rock art and anthropological stuff going on in the park, but that will have to wait till the next trip.

We climbed for three days--it rained Sunday night, and Monday was cloudless and warmer. A little too bright for me ([ profile] matociquala and [ profile] coffeeem will be happy to know I wore a hat the whole time), but I managed two top-outs before the sun sucked my will to climb, and a fun scramble across the rocks. The park's limited access coupled with the season meant it was quiet and peaceful. I can't remember the last time I felt so completely not stressed. (Except for the time I spent stuck in a chimney while my friends talked me through it.) The ranch was also relaxing--we met a steady trickle of climbers and their gorgeous dogs, hung out and drank beer and played Bananagrams.

Tuesday we drove east again, stopping for a swim at Balmorhea Park, which was lovely and timely, as the temperature had spiked. Now I'm home and nursing my scrapes and bruises and missing the beautiful, empty desert.

My pictures are here:

I encourage anyone who climbs or hikes or likes the desert to go. I'm so going back next year, hopefully for a longer stay.
stillsostrange: (Valkyrie)
I have returned, o my internets. If I missed book sales, agent-snaring, or other important life-changing events, please let me know.

In other news, Hueco Tanks was the Best Vacation Ever. A full recap with photos will follow soon. If you're on Facebook, the photos are already there.


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