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Posted by Richa

Indian Spiced Smashed Potatoes with Mustard Ginger Tempering. Bonda like Samosa is a spiced potato snack. These smashed potatoes are topped with Bonda style tempering of ginger, chile, turmeric and mustard seeds. Vegan Gluten-free Recipe. 

Indian Spiced Smashed Potatoes with Mustard Ginger Tempering. Bonda like Samosa is a spiced potato snack. These smashed potatoes are topped with Bonda style tempering of ginger, chile, turmeric and mustard seeds. Vegan Gluten-free Recipe | VeganRicha.com

There are many many ways potatoes are used in Indian cuisine especially for snack options. Samosa is one of the popular snack. Bondas, Vada pav, Cutlets, patties, stuffed potato balls, mashed potato and chutney sandwiches, dabeli, masala pav, many chaat options and on and on. 

Bonda (mashed potato fritters) are somewhat like samosas. They are bites of mashed potatoes that have been spiced with a tempering /tadka of mustard, ginger, turmeric & chile. The potatoes are rolled into bite size balls which are dipped in chickpea flour batter and fried (generally gluten-free if the restaurants use only chickpea flour). You can find a recipe for Baked Aloo bonda in my Indian Kitcchen book

I use the Bonda tempering as a garnish on these smashed potatoes. Depending on the spices used, these would be Bonda Smashed potatoes or Samosa smashed potatoes or just Indian Smashed potatoes. Make these addictive bites! Serve these with a dash of lemon juice or with Mint Chutney or Tamarind Chutney.  

Continue reading: Spiced Smashed Potatoes with Mustard Ginger Tempering

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miss_s_b: (Default)
sovay: (Lord Peter Wimsey: passion)
All right. In hindsight of the continuing exodus from LJ, the third of April feels a bit like an international day of social media mourning, but I regret nothing about my decision to cope on the night by self-medicating with Leslie Howard. [personal profile] skygiants had sent me the link years ago for a propaganda short called From the Four Corners (1941) which I had never gotten around to watching despite it being a grand total of fifteen minutes long. It was directed by Anthony Havelock-Allan and produced by the Ministry of Information; there are no writing credits per se, but we are told that "[t]he incident originated with Leslie Howard and A. G. Macdonell," one of the co-writers of Pimpernel Smith (1941). With a title like that, you might as well brace yourself for Empire, especially when it opens by quoting the title music from the Kordas' The Four Feathers (1939). Like Howard's wartime features, though, it's subtler and stranger than simple flag-waving and it set off a thoroughly unexpected chain reaction in my head.

The story sounds like the set-up for a joke: three soldiers from the Dominions all meet at Nelson's Column, where two of them are looking for a pub and the third is sightseeing. Specifically, he is taking a picture of what he dryly terms "Typical scene of London air-raid panic"—four Londoners on a park bench in different attitudes of total unconcern. Embarrassed by the effusive patriotism of a woman who rushes up to praise them for "coming all those thousands of miles to answer the Motherland's call to arms . . . splendid fellows!" the soldiers are rescued by the drawling interruption of one of the park-bench Londoners, the one who was smoking with his hands in his pockets and his hat knocked over his eyes. He is credited as "A Passer-By"; he is Leslie Howard and he knows where to find a pub.1 Over pints all round, he quizzes the soldiers on their reasons for joining up, each of which furnishes a miniature flashback. Corporal W. Atkinson of the Australian Imperial Force co-owned a bicycle shop in Sydney; he made his decision after catching his business partner in a newsreel, marching to the troopship with the rest of the new recruits. Private J. Johnston of the Black Watch of Canada hails from a farm outside of Vancouver; his father was killed at Vimy Ridge and he not entirely jokes that he ought to finish his job. Private R. Gilbert of the Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force was a law student in Auckland, finishing up his degree when he wondered suddenly if common law would mean anything in the event of an Axis victory; he walked right out of his exams and into the recruiting office next door. They may be standing in for their respective countries, but they are also real-life servicemen playing versions of themselves, and they bridle when Howard professes himself unsatisfied with their answers. "Kick[ing] Hitler in the pants" may be an admirable goal, but what makes it so? What are they really fighting for? If not the Empire ("That's a lot of hooey!"), what have they left their homes and families to defend?

Like the academic he so often played, Howard takes it on himself to answer his own question. He brings the three soldiers up to the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral—itself already a vivid symbol of national resistance—and gives them a bird's-eye crash tour of London, pointing out its landmarks and sites of interest, tying each to a resonant moment of English history. Kingston, where the coronation stone of the Saxon kings still stands in the market square. Runnymede, the signing of the Magna Carta which formed the heart of all the Commonwealth's laws. For the Canadian Johnston, he points out St. Peter's Church in Petersham where Captain George Vancouver is buried. For Oceanians Gilbert and Atkinson, Greenwich Hospital because "Captain Cook had a job there once." When he shows them Bankside, he stresses that the audiences of Shakespeare's plays would have included far-flung soldiers on leave just like themselves. "And that's where your fathers and my fathers stood when we were threatened with the Armada and invasion," though most of Howard's forefathers in 1588 would have been somewhere quite different from Tilbury.2 Finishing up at the House of Commons allows him to (optimistically, in June 1941) include the Americans among the inheritors and defenders of their shared ideals. "Well, it's all yours," he concludes, "all part of London and part of ourselves . . . Yes, it's all there—British city, Roman city, Saxon, Dane, Norman—English." All the while he was talking, I was thinking that I had heard something very like it before, the visionary, scholarly, slightly laughing and slightly otherworldly voice layering time through itself and rooting it in the present day, spellbinding its listeners and waking them up to their history and inheritance, and the moment I made the connection I was seized with a desperate and conflicted longing because Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (1944) is the reason I love Eric Portman, but I would love too to know what the movie would have been like with Leslie Howard as Thomas Colpeper, JP.

Let me be clear: I don't think the Archers could even have approached him for the part. He was already under the Bay of Biscay when shooting began in August of 1943, and in any case their first choice for the magistrate of Chillingbourne had been Roger Livesey, whom I will always thank for turning them down. He found the role "off-key." He wasn't wrong. Colpeper is a deeply peculiar character, as difficult to pin down to a single interpretation as his signature wrongheaded act. He has the vision of a poet and the blinders of a missionary, the superiority of a judge and the guilt of a penitent; he gives mesmerizing lectures on local history and keeps breaking the slide projector. He loves his country and its deep, distant past that to him is as immediate and tangible as the warmth of the sun and the smell of wild thyme and he does some very silly, very dangerous things to try to fix history right where it is, not yet understanding that the earthquake of modernity will not erase the echoes of his beloved Kentish village any more than the last two thousand years have washed the Roman road away.3 He's a crank and a trickster, a magician and a fool, and like the other characters he's trapped until he gets his miracle, which comes in the last form he expected and the first he should have known to watch out for. He's not unsympathetic. He's never quite safe. I'm not knocking Livesey as an actor—he made three films with Powell and Pressburger and in all of them he was exactly what the part required, a tragicomic English archetype in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), an unforeseen romantic alternative in I Know Where I'm Going! (1945), and an adroit and skeptical advocate for science and love in A Matter of Life and Death (1946). Someday I'll even see him in a film by some other director and I expect he will continue to be very good. But I think he was right to refuse Colpeper: he would not have been weird enough for him. Portman was. And as Howard had proved almost from the start of his stardom, he would have been, too.

That's the trouble. You believe in miracles. )

This is fantasy casting at its finest. If any practical link existed between Leslie Howard and A Canterbury Tale, given my interest in both of these things I can't imagine I wouldn't have run across it before now. I believe what I'm seeing is a case of parallel evolution, drawing on the same shared resonances of myth and literature and national archetype like a collective unconscious of the country, and I have neither the scope in this post nor the professional credentials to diagnose exactly what that is. I just can't believe I didn't see the fit before. Howard had even worked with the Archers once before, playing one of his disarming intellectuals for 49th Parallel. I'd love to know what either of them thought of Pimpernel Smith, since I stand by my assertion that it comes the closest of any other British war picture to the off-kilter numinous of their work in general and A Canterbury Tale in particular; I've found nothing in the two volumes by Powell that I own. I need to get a biography of Pressburger sometime. To get back to the short that started this whole megillah, From the Four Corners is not A Canterbury Tale or even Pimpernel Smith, but it served admirably as a celebration of Howard's hundred and twenty-fourth birthday and an antidote to a really depressing evening and you can watch it yourself thanks to the good offices of the Imperial War Museum. I apologize about the watermark. I got used to it after a few minutes of dialogue, but it interacts unfortunately with the opening titles. Anyway, it'll take you less time to watch than this post did to write. The version where I actually did all the research I thought about would have gone on for even longer and run the footnotes off the bottom of the screen. At least I didn't pour glue in anyone's hair. This monograph brought to you by my transcendent backers at Patreon.

1. Honestly, in a film of this era, I feel it may be safe to assume that any angular, pipe-smoking person looking especially careless in public is Leslie Howard. If he's wearing an overcoat and has a tendency to lecture about abstractions, that clinches it.

2. Although the character is explicitly identified as the actor himself—glossed for non-British viewers who might not recognize the name by Atkinson's description of the local weather as "too Pygmalion cold"—I found myself thinking of him as Howard's Passer-By, like Dante's Pilgrim. He can say the line about his fathers at Tilbury (our fathers of old) and mean it literally. He's autochthonous.

3. Powell and Pressburger use it for wonder rather than horror, but the way they conceive of history leaving its imprint on time is interestingly close to the idea of residual haunting that Nigel Kneale popularized with The Stone Tape (1972) or the endlessly reenacting myth of Alan Garner's The Owl Service (1967): once a thing has happened in a place, it is always on some level happening there, echoing forever in the land. Where it happened transcends when. "And when you see the bluebells in the spring and the wild thyme and the broom and the heather, you're only seeing what their eyes saw. You ford the same rivers, the same birds are singing. When you lie flat on your back and rest and watch the clouds sailing as I often do, you're so close to those other people that you can hear the thrumming of the hooves of their horses and the sound of the wheels on the road and their laughter and talk and the music of the instruments they carried."

4. It is completely not Howard's fault that I flashed on The Magician's Nephew (1955) when I hit the line "Most of you, I'm sure, will know what I mean when I speak of the curious elation which comes from sharing in a high and mysterious destiny," especially since he meant just about the opposite from Andrew Ketterley by it. It does kind of make me wonder if Lewis heard the broadcast. If so, I guess he wasn't impressed.

5. It took me an absurdly long time to realize that none of the blessings received by the four modern pilgrims of A Canterbury Tale has to do with things changing for the better: each has to do instead with seeing things as they truly are, not as the characters have feared or convinced themselves they were. They are revelations, realizations. They are like archaeology. Nothing of the beloved past has been lost, not a girlfriend, a fiancé, or a vocation; things believed not to exist have come as naturally to light as an old coin in a field, reminders that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. They prove the constancy of time.

6. There is a tangential question here which I am not sure I am qualified to engage with: the degree to which it is possible or useful to read Howard's intellectual heroes as neuroatypical as opposed to merely very smart, knowing there's a significant Venn diagram of the two in popular representations of intelligence. Certainly I feel as though a case could be made for several of the characters discussed here, but I've seen Howard in seventeen movies and IMDb gives him thirty-eight acting credits; I don't think I have enough data. I also feel this study should be conducted by someone with a better idea of what "normal" behavior looks like. When Atterbury Dodd says, "I don't like parties. I don't know what to say to people. I just sit in corners and wish I might go home," I mean, that was me and socializing for years. All that changed was I started getting invited to a better grade of party.

7. I have appreciated for years that Howard, national treasure that he was, never had too much vanity to play against audience sympathy for as long as a script required. Smith may have some cold, abrasive moments on his way to rethinking the primacy of Aphrodite, but Higgins carries scientific detachment to the point of being a stupendous jerk; it is one of the reasons I suspect so many people, myself included, find the ending of the 1938 Pygmalion and its immediate descendant My Fair Lady more satisfying than the impervious curtain of the original play: he gets absolutely kicked in the ass by his own human susceptibility and he never sees it coming. Dodd is never deliberately insensitive, but he has to learn how to see people—including himself—as people, three-dimensional, fallible, worthwhile, not just numbers or functions. Even the narrator of The Gentle Sex, while he understands and appreciates intellectually that women will be part of the war effort, so repeatedly underestimates the extent and the impact of their contributions that by the film's end he's had to give up trying to predict what they'll do next and simply trust that it'll be all right. Alan Squier, let's face it, is a really charming trash fire.
26 April 2017 02:08 - Home from travels
baratron: (cn tower)
Home from travelling. Actually, I got in somewhere around 1 pm yesterday and proceeded to pass out for many hours. Woke up at 1 am and (much to my surprise) have been awake ever since. Husband has been snuggled. Boyfriend has been talked to on Skype. He looks very sad, poor thing, but it remains against the laws of physics for me to be in two places at once. Hoping we can have him visit in late June/early July for my birthday.

Super weirdly, I have been physically energetic enough to have emptied the laundry rack, folded the dry laundry, sorted all of the dirty laundry in my suitcase, put on a load of laundry, emptied the clean stuff out of the dishwasher and refilled it. I hope that I will not pay for this tomorrow, though I have A Theory. A theory which involves, of all things, vegan bacon and my ability to get it.

(Gods, I knew that Yves Veggie Bacon wasn't very fatty, but I didn't realise that 3 rashers had only 0.5 g of fat between the lot of them, along with 14 g of protein. Short of actually, y'know, BAKING my own tofu, I am unsure where to get tasty textured fake meat products which are low fat and high protein. Nasty-tasting, weird textured but low fat, I can do. Nice-tasting, well-textured and full of fat, I can do).

Continue to be Unimpressed with Aer Lingus. Will relate the full story later when spoons exist.
siderea: (Default)
I just learned that Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, passed away on Monday, at the age of 88.

I've thought for a while that I should tell you about one of the more valuable things I got from ZAMM, which I refer to now as Pirsig's Pejorative Just, and now it seems like a fitting tribute to share the relevant passage:
[...] the English faculty at Bozeman, informed of their squareness, presented him with a reasonable question: "Does this undefined 'quality' of yours exist in things we observe?" they asked. "Or is it subjective, existing only in the observer?" It was a simple, normal enough question, and there was no hurry for an answer.

Hah. There was no need for hurry. It was a finisher-offer, a knockdown question, a haymaker, a Saturday-night special – the kind you don't recover from.
Because if Quality exists in the object then you must explain just why scientific instruments are unable to detect it [...] On the other hand, if Quality is subjective, existing only in the observer, then this Quality that you make so much of is just a fancy name for whatever you like. [...] If he accepted the premise that Quality was objective, he was impaled on one horn of the dilemma. If he accepted the other premise that Quality was subjective, he was impaled on the other horn.

[... regarding the first horn, the objective premise] This horn was the mean one. [...line of proposed reasoning...] This answer, if valid, certainly smashed the first horn of the dilemma, and for a while that excited him greatly.

But it turned out to be false. [...]

He turned his attention to the other horn of the dilemma, which showed more promise of refutation. He thought, So Quality is whatever you like? It angered him. The great artists of history – Raphael, Beethoven, Michelangelo – they were all just putting out what people liked. They had no goal other than to titillate the senses in a big way. Was that it? It was angering, and what was most angering about it was that he couldn't see any immediate way to cut it up logically. So he studied the statement carefully, in the same reflective way he always studied things before attacking them.

Then he saw it. He brought out the knife and excised the one word that created the entire angering effect of that sentence. The word was "just." Why should Quality be just what you like? Why should "what you like" be "just"? What did "just" mean in this case? When separated out like this for independent examination it became apparent that "just" in this case didn't mean a damn thing. It was a purely pejorative term, whose logical contribution to the sentence was nil. Now, with that word removed, the sentence became "Quality is what you like," and its meaning was entirely changed. It had become an innocuous truism.
Now, when I point to a "just" – or an "only", or a "mere", or a "simply", or "but" – and say, "That's a Pirsig's Pejorative Just", you'll know what I mean.

And, if this is the first time you've seen this, maybe now you'll be better prepared to notice them slinking by, in the wild, yourself.
ceciliatan: (Default)
I went down a bit of a rabbit hole yesterday when I dug into -- don't laugh -- my archive of grad school poetry. Well, okay, laugh. I was so chipper and naive and the poems are so earnest and trying so hard. They're better than my junior high poetry but only in certain light. Some of them are actually good. Or they would be if they had been able to live and breathe within a matrix of expectations on equal footing with the literary canon.

My whole Twitter epiphany was graciously collected by Charles A. Tan (no relation) on Storify:



The gist of the thread is this: my grad school poetry professor couldn't see that there was a contradiction for those of us who weren't white, straight males when told that we had to write "universal" themes in our poems that could be understood implicitly without having to be "explained". In his view, if someone couldn't understand your implicit message it was because it was a bad poem, and if you had to make it too explicit that was also a bad poem. By extension the messages that could be received most implicitly were "literary" ones. In other words, if it was about a white man's alienation after an act of war (for example), the reader should "get" that even if war was never mentioned explicitly in the poem. The problem is that if the implicit message is something that is "universal" within a marginalized community--for example, internalized homophobia--those who have never experienced it won't "get" it. And rather than admit that there are things outside their experience, the literary establishment instead brands those topics as marginal, and only lauds their appearance when they make themselves accessible to the literary mainstream.

Short version: "literary" is a worldview that centers academia, particularly white male upper middle class academia. At the time I just didn't have the perspective to see that. "Literary" equals "laudable" in MFA programs. It's a self-reinforcing system.

I quit writing poetry because for me to perform the same artistry would require my poems to exist in a context where the implicit things that didn't have to be "explained" were things like internalized homophobia, questioning cultural identity, and code switching. And that context didn't seem to exist. My poems were "meaningless" to the literary establishment, and I had plenty of things to write instead, in other contexts. (Come to think of it, founding the English language's only erotic science fiction publishing house in 1992 was me creating my own context for my fiction.)

This introspection was all brought on by the fact that Sheela Lambert of the Bi Writers Association -- the editor of Best Bisexual Short Stories (Circlet, Amazon) and the driving force behind the Bi Book Awards -- is editing a book of "bisexual poetry." (Call for submissions here.) I'm bisexual and I figured I would look and see if there was anything obviously "bisexual" about my poetry from back in the days when I wrote poetry. If. Ha. "If."

In fact, lo, I went back and saw that a ton of my angsty metaphor-laden poems from the early 1990s are now, in retrospect, quite obviously about internalized homophobia and/or about being caught between communities, even if not a single person in my poetry workshops (including me, sometimes) could articulate that. But I wonder if these poems will read "properly" if they were to be published in a book with a bisexual or queer context? I guess I will submit them and see.
25 April 2017 21:10 - Steering into the wind
hrj: (Default)
 We managed slightly better than a quorum for dragonboat practice today. For some reason, most people have gravitated away from Tuesday practices (which, for obscure and not necessarily relevant reasons, is my preferred day). A big factor is that our head coach doesn't come on Tuesdays and the people who are practicing all out for race season align their schedule with his.So Mondays get a boat and a half worth of people, but Tuesdays we occasionally don't even mange the five people (4 paddlers and a steersperson) that are pretty much the minimum for taking out the 10-person boat. (The regular boats are 20-person.) In deep winter, I do a lot of steering--often I'm the only qualified steersperson there on Tuesdays, but this time of year we can usually count on another of our regulars who doesn't mind steering because he gets his paddling time in earlier in a kayak. But today he waved at us from the sailboat he was helping take out--it looked like they were training up an inexperienced crew, from some of the maneuvers. So it was just me steering and five paddlers. A nice laid-back practice with the advantage of a stiffer than usual breeze so we could alternate resistance training and speed training.

I keep saying that one of these years I participate in the races again, but really I just like getting out on the water and getting in a good workout. I don't need the anxiety of race training.
sartorias: (JRRT)
Ch 9, “The Great River,” we’re getting set up for dynamic changes, and the introduction of Gollum, who will become one of the major characters of The Two Towers. Actually, I think Gollum is pivotal to the entire book.

But we can talk about Gollum later.

This is a good chapter for character moments as we see the last of the Company of the Fellowship. First, Legolas. So far, Legolas has been appreciative of wood, stone, field, and of course mallorns. We get a hint of Legolas’s prowess in this terrific bit:

Frodo looked up at the elf standing tall above him, as he gazed into the night, seeking a mark to shoot at. His head was dark, crowned with sharp white stars that glittered in the black pools of the sky behind. But now rising and sailing up from the south the great clouds advanced, sending out dark outriders into the starry fields. A sudden dread fell on the company.

. . . a dark shape, like a cloud and yet not a cloud, for it moved far more swiftly, came out of the blackness in the South, and sped towards the company, blotting out all light as it approached. Soon it appeared as a great winged creature, blacker than the pits in the night. . .

Suddenly the great bow of Lorien sang. Shrill went the arrow from the elven-string. Frodo looked up. Almost above him the winged shape swerved. There was a harsh croaking scream, as it fell out of the air, vanishing down into the gloom of the eastern shore. The sky was clean again. There was a tumult of many voices far away, cursing and wailing in the darkness, and then silence.


Later, he talks about how elves perceive the passage of time. That’s the final melancholy note, a coda to Lorien, before things start hotting up, first with Boromir trying to do his best to get the company—and the ring—heading for Gondor.

They proceed further down the river, Sam miserable as the boats whirl underneath the mighty sentinels of Numenor. Here, Aragorn briefly shows himself as the king who will return as he salutes the statues of Isildur and Anarion, but then he is Strider again as he ponders which way to go.

As it happens, that is decided for him, as The day came like fire and smoke. Aragorn turns to Frodo, who says he needs time to think.

Frodo is alone, but not for long. Boromir confronts him, in a terrific, tense scene—and just when I thought Boromir had turned evil, the influence of the ring passed, and

He rose and passed his hand over his eyes, dashing away the tears. “What have I said?” He cried. “What have I done? Frodo, Frodo!” he called. “Come back! A madness took me, but it has passed. Come back!”


Frodo runs off with the ring on his finger. Everywhere he looks he sees war. His gaze is inexorably drawn toward Barad-Dur, and he feels the Eye. And while he struggles within himself—a harbinger of what we’re going to see in Gollum, who was been struggling with his two natures for centuries—a third voice pierces his turmoil, Take it off! Take it off! Fool, take it off! Take off the Ring!

For years I thought that was a third inward voice of his, but now I believe that is Gandalf, who also could tell when Frodo had put on the ring. That sounds like Gandalf at his crustiest.

He pulls off the ring a heartbeat before Sauron finds him; the shadow passes overhead, searches westward, then fades.

And Frodo knows he has to go on alone, as the influence of the ring is increasing the dangers already besetting the company.

Aragorn briefly confronts Boromir, everyone scatters to search for Frodo, but it’s Sam who knows Frodo best, and who is so desperate, and so loyal, that he risks the hated water, and nearly drowns.

Frodo has to come back to find him—and so he is not alone after all. Which is just as well, because there are actually three hobbits on the final trek to Mt. Doom.
25 April 2017 22:09 - [ObMeme]
yhlee: (FMA:B Mustang Hellbound)
By way of [personal profile] likeadeuce:
Name one of my fandoms and I'll answer some questions!

1. the character I least understand
2. interactions I enjoyed the most
3. the character who scares me the most
4. the character who is mostly like me
5. hottest looks character
6. one thing I dislike about my fave character
7. one thing I like about my hated character
8. a quote or scene that haunts me
9. a character I wish died but didn’t
10. my ship that never sailed
25 April 2017 19:20 - Check-In -- Day 25
samuraiter: (Default)
Oof. Feels like my head is full of wet socks, but here I am. What have you been doing today?

— Thinking. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
— Writing.
— Planning and / or researching.
— Editing.
— Sending things to the beta.
— Posting!
— Relaxing, taking a break, etc.
— Other stuff-ing. Look at the comment.

Question for today: When you get tired, do you pack up for the day, or do you try to keep writing?
25 April 2017 22:16 - 2017 Spectrum Awards Winners

Posted by admin

The 2017 Spectrum Awards gold and silver medal winners were announced at the Spectrum 24 Awards Ceremony, April 22, 2017, at the Folly Theater in Kansas City MO.

Advertising

  • Gold Award: “Hunting”, Bayard Wu
  • Silver Award: “Daredevil”, Greg Ruth
  • “Hell”, Kellan Jett
  • “Carnival of Souls”, Edward Kinsella III
  • “Savages”, Bill Mayer

Book

  • Gold Award: “Lamia”, Brom
  • Silver Award: “Danneee”, Edward Kinsella III
  • “Red Tide”, Richard Anderson
  • “On the Wheel”, Tommy Arnold
  • “Tamiel”, Goni Montes

Comics

  • Gold Award: Chimera Brigade #5, Jeremy Wilson
  • Silver Award: Black Dog: The Dreams of Paul Nash, Dave McKean
  • Guardians of the Galaxy #19 cover, Arthur Adams
  • Drifter #13, pages 8 and 9, Nic Klein
  • “Swallowed Whole”, David Palumbo

Concept Art

  • Gold Award: “Court of the Dead: Voxxingard”, Sean Murray
  • Silver Award: “Minion 5”, Iain McCaig
  • “Secret of Seda”, Te Hu
  • “Hill Giant Queen”, Tyler Jacobson
  • “Fortress Africa”, Ronan Le Fur

Dimensional

  • Gold Award: “Dress-Up Frog Legs”, Jesse Thompson
  • Silver Award: “Nephila”, Akihito
  • “Oglavaeil The Executioner”, Amilcar Fong
  • “Yevabog”, Virginie Ropars
  • “The Corruption of Father O’Malley”, Dug Stanat

Editorial

  • Gold Award: “Beyonce ‘Lemonade'”, Tim O’Brien
  • Silver Award: “Seven Salt Tears”, Galen Dara
  • “Broken Concentration”, Clint Cearley
  • “La Beaute Sans Vertu”, Tran Nguyen
  • “War Music”, Armando Veve

Institutional

  • Gold Award: “Ms. Hatter and a Smile”, Bill Carman
  • Silver Award: “William Finds Some Flowers and a Giant”, Ed Binkley
  • “Accursed Witch”, Wesley Burt
  • “Mojo Jojo Circa 1897”, Travis Louie
  • “Tie Fighter Down”, Stephan Martiniere

Unpublished

  • Gold Award: “The Death I Bring”, Karla Ortiz
  • Silver Award: “Orange Skies”, Jeffrey Alan Love
  • “Stealth”, J.A.W. Cooper
  • “375”, Diego Fernandez
  • “Lagoon”, Greg Ruth

Grand Master

  • Bill Sienkiewicz

For more information, including images of the art, see the Flesk and Spectrum Fantastic Art blog.

26 April 2017 00:48 - hullo
marsleuthial: (stock // rainbow heart)
Name: Maria
Age: 28
Location: Norway
Tumblr/Goodreads/IG/etc: screamtrain @ Goodreads

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: Queer lady person with too many records and not enough shelves for my books. I live in a small costal village, where I work in a museum. I enjoy traveling, cartoons, comedy and petting animals. She/her.

Top 5 fandoms: I used to be all about the fandoms, but lately... not so much! I read fanfic for a handful of fandoms, but it's p chill on that front at the moment. Actually, can podcasts be a fandom? I'm super into podcasts right now!
  1.  all the podcasts
  2.  Harry Potter
  3.  The Thick of It
  4.  Buffy (I'm re-watching the series along with Buffering the Vampire Slayer!)
  5.  Brooklyn 99

I mostly post about: Day to day life, music, comics, books, struggles with anxiety and depression etc.

My last three LJ posts were about: Life update, work goings-on, meeting a cat

How often do you post? It varies a lot! My journal was all but abandoned and updated about 1-2 times a year while on LJ, but putting in an effort to be more active after the move. Going try try to have at least two a week from now on.

How about commenting? Normally fairly regularly, but will vary in accordance to how busy I am irl.

A GIF to describe how your day has been today so far:


25 April 2017 17:10
yhlee: Korean tomb art from Silla Dynasty: the Heavenly Horse (Cheonmachong). (Korea cheonmachong)
Rick Riordan Imprint Acquires First Three Titles:
Lee’s book, Dragon Pearl, a standalone middle grade novel, stars Min, a teenage fox spirit whose brother is missing and thought to have deserted the Thousand Worlds Space Forces in order to find the pearl of the title, an artifact that may have the power to save their struggling space colony. Lee says the toughest part of writing for a new audience was working with shorter chapters and a different vocabulary; the idea for the story itself came to him quickly. “I was pretty sure nobody else would come up with a space opera based on Korean mythology,” he said.


(IF THERE ARE OTHER KOREAN MYTHOLOGY SPACE OPERAS PLZ TELL ME I WANT TO READ THEM THE MORE THE MERRIER!!!)

The other two, which I am super looking forward to reading, are Roshani Chokshi's Aru Shah and the End of Time, first of a projected quartet about "a 12-year-old Indian-American girl who unwittingly frees a demon intent on awakening the God of Destruction," and Jennifer Cervantes's Storm Runner, "about a 13-year-old boy who must save the world by unraveling an ancient Mayan prophecy." I may have to fight my daughter over who gets to read them first. =D =D =D

Anyway, that's what I'm working on right now!

Posted by JenniferP

Hi Captain,

My husband, at the ripe age of 35, is losing his hair. He has had luxuriant long locks since he was a young teenager, long before I knew him. He fought multiple administrative battles with his conservative Catholic high school’s dress code in order to keep it. He considers it an inextricable part of the identity he constructed that turned him from a sad, isolated kid into an adult with a social community. In his own words, he can no longer picture himself without long hair. Nevertheless, it’s visibly thinning on top–and he knows it.

His anxiety over this is really ramping up: he bought a second mirror so he can examine the top/back of his head, he’s exploring combover-like hair arrangements to hide the thin area, and the angst performance over every stray hair in the shower drain trap is… heartbreaking. Also more than a little annoying.

I’m a fat woman, Captain. I have never in my life looked the way I wanted to, much less the way society told me I ought to. After thirty years, I’m largely over it in most circumstances… but when my husband starts up this new routine about his hair, part of me wants nothing more than to roll my eyes and notify the whaaaambulance. As a bonus, my husband is quite thin, and has done the dance of fat-shaming in the guise of “concern for your health” at me in the past, so that resentment lingers a bit. (Even though I did break him of that habit and it hasn’t come up in years, I can’t avoid the basic truth that he’s thin and I’m fat and I have feelings about that.)

I want to be supportive, but at the same time I dread the day he actually asks my opinion of the effectiveness of his combover techniques (spoilers: they are super not effective). Right now all my buried bitterness about my own body wells up in my throat when he gets started about how many hairs fell out during his latest post-shower brushing, so I just kind of shrug and nod sympathetically to avoid choking on it. Do you have any scripts for soothing sounds I can make in response to his escalating sads-spirals?

Signed,
Some of Us Have Never Been Beautiful, Howl

Dear Some Of Us:

When you’ve expressed uncomfortable feelings about your body in the past, is there any soothing thing a thin person could have said to you to make you feel better?

True story, a thin friend recently offered to sort through plus size dresses online to help me find something to wear to an event, and while she found the least hideous-shoulder-cutout-boob-sequined-couch-upholstery looking things that fell within my many parameters, the best part about it was afterward when she said:

“I gotta say.
Shopping for plus-sized lady stuff
The prints, Jen. The prints.
It was awful.”

I love her so much for it, because, while she’s always quick to say “You’re beautiful!” it was amazing to have her, for one brief second, know and affirm how much things can suck out there. #YOUSEEME #YOUREALLYSEEME #letmypeoplehavesleeves

Applying this to your husband’s hair loss, I think the best soothing noise you could make is some version of affirming his feelings of anxiety and loss. Nodding sympathetically works. “Aw man, that sucks!” works. If he asks for more of a response, try “Your hair is so pretty, I know it sucks to lose it so much earlier than you planned.” “No advice, just sympathy.” Resist the urge to flood him with supportive “Bald Is Beautiful”* memes and let him come to his own peace with it in his own time.

Edited to Add: I had this as a P.S. but I want to emphasize this: There is a reason that this is bringing up old feels about body image. You (understandably) had and have a lot of feelings about having a body that is seen as non-standard, not sexy, not lovable, not celebrated, and downright discriminated against by our culture. You’ve made an uneasy peace with those feelings and didn’t ask your husband to manage them for you. In fact, you had to do a lot of emotional labor to shut down his harmful attempts to manage them. But now, it feels like he is asking you to be the audience and cheerleader while he manages his feelings about getting older. You don’t have to manage his feelings about aging and baldness. Nodding sympathetically and saying, “Aw, that sucks” is enough “work” around this issue. Giving him a lot of space to work through it himself is actually a kind thing to do. If he’s looking for something else, he needs to come out and ask you or tell you what that is.[/Edit]

At some point, when he asks your opinion, or if his unhappiness escalates or shows no sign of stopping, here’s your script: “Husband, I can tell this is stressing you out a lot, and I hate seeing you so unhappy about it. I don’t know the first thing about styling men’s hair, and I think it’s time to call in a great barber or hair stylist who can help you work with it and make you feel maximally handsome.

Once you’ve invoked this stylist/barber, you can defer everything to them. “I look at you every day, I’m not a good judge. Let a professional at it!

He’s 100% gonna say; “But they’ll just cut it off or tell me to cut it off!” to which you can truthfully say “Maybe so, but they won’t actually cut it off unless that’s your decision, too. Why not work with someone who knows what they are doing?

To use the example from your letter, you are at peace with your body (mostly). But if you talked about being unhappy with it every day, it would be okay if someone close to you said “Hey, this is clearly making you unhappy, and I don’t feel right commenting on it, but I also want you to have every bit of support and help you deserve, so, who can we call?” Finding a fat-friendly doctor is much more of a crapshoot than finding a barber who can gently steer your husband into his post-ponytail life.

*About those “Bald Is Beautiful” images: One thing that got me to be more comfortable with my fat body was looking at beautiful images of fat people – from the Fatshionista LJ Community in Ye Olden Tymes to various fashion blogs. Our media culture is so saturated with fatphobia that this process was an important part of normalizing eye so I could see myself. If your husband were writing to me, I’d tell him to build a Jason Statham/Luke Cage Pinterest board post-haste. Since he isn’t the one writing, it would probably be overstepping if you did it for him. I’m putting this here in case it helps another baldy or future baldy. Retrain your eye!

 


Posted by Editor

News from SFWA:

After three years of service as Vice President, M.C.A. Hogarth has stepped down. Director at Large Erin Hartshorn has agreed to fill in as interim Vice President until a formal election in May of 2018.

SFWA President Cat Rambo says, “I’m sorry to see Maggie go; her efforts have been vital in moving SFWA along in recent years, and I will deeply miss her input on the weekly calls. One of my maxims will remain, ‘What would Maggie say?’”

Among the projects Ms. Hogarth worked on during the past three years are: the Partnerships Program, which builds relationship between SFWA and organizations like Amazon, Patreon, Kickstarter, and Audible; the SFWA Guidebook, a work-in-progress designed to acquaint members with the wealth of services SFWA offers; the Self-Publishing Committee; the SFWA Star Project Initiative; and SFWA Ed, an educational initiative which will eventually benefit writers both within and outside of SFWA. Her work will not be wasted, and we are appreciative of all the groundwork she has laid. The SFWA Board unanimously wishes Ms. Hogarth well in her future endeavors.

Ms. Hartshorn’s Director at Large position will be filled by an interim Director appointed by the President and approved by the board; an announcement will be forthcoming. Rambo adds, “It’s been heartening to find so many people willing to step up and run for SFWA office recently; I hope to see this trend continue in the next election cycle.”

25 April 2017 20:11 - Entry navigation
silvs_fiction: (Default)
Hello

I've recently moved her from LJ and I am using Practicality layout on both my journals here (both are paid for).

I would like to have entry navigation links at the top of each entry as well as at the bottom, similar to that found in the Flexible Squares Layout at LJ.

Any assistance would be very welcome. :-)
xifeng: (it seemed like a good idea at the time)
Name: Lee
Age: 37
Location: Indiana, in the Midwestern US. (This disclaimer is included because way too many people think I'm on the Indian subcontinent.)
Tumblr/Goodreads/IG/etc: My Tumblr isn't active (I'm just there to read history fansqueeing, why lie) and since my IG is a selfie wasteland I would really rather not give it out to people I don't know well. It's not illegal to ask me for it once we know each other better, though :D My Goodreads needs an overhaul as it has been a million years since I was on there.

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I am self-aware, snide, smart, slightly scary, and something of a workaholic. I love words and history and dead things. I basically have two modes: THIS IS INCREDIBLE, I WANT TO BATHE WITH IT AND SLEEP WITH IT AND BE WITH IT 24/7 and "lol no1curr". Sometimes I am a spaz. Sometimes I am depressed.

Top 5 Fandoms: I really don't do fandom in the conventional sense and don't make very many fannish posts. About the most fannish stuff I do is occasionally churn out some Greek mythology fanfiction (I LIEK TEH TROJAN WAR), which is under a cut so you can skip it if you don't want to read it. I'm not sure if history counts as a fandom, but the ancient world, the long eighteenth century, and Tokugawa Japan are three of the great loves of my life.

I mostly post about: Real life, in which my lolmom and my jobs play rather large roles. Mildly entertaining things that someone said or did at work. Occasionally things I wrote, if I'm okay with people seeing them. Sometimes the odd to-do list, if I'm okay with people seeing that. Things I'm reading. Occasionally pictures. Anything that comes to mind, really. I may set up some filters for religious stuff (I'm Pagan, agnostic always, currently not-very-practicing and trying to fix that), but those are opt-in and no opprobrium applies if you're not interested.

I rarely post about: Politics. Social justice (my own interests therein are things like "does everyone have enough to eat? Does everyone have a safe place to stay?", not some of the more extreme things you find on the outskirts of Tumblr). My sex life (one, that's private, and two, I'm usually single and celibate, and pretty happily so). Things that I have been asked to keep in confidence. Things that I don't think anyone needs to know about.

My last three posts were about:
1.) I had a weird dream/here's how my life is going
2.) Hello LJ friends, I am no longer going to be on LJ but you can still follow me here
3.) (OLD) I drew a thing, here is a broken image link from before I switched domain hosts

How often do you post? When time allows. I work two jobs and am at work or in bed a good deal of the time. I'm hoping to be more active here than I have been in recent years on LJ, though.

How about commenting? I comment when I have something to say, and I try to reply to comments I receive. I am not, however, the person who says "hi" or "i leik cereal" just to have something to say, and if you have an emotional investment in MASS QUANTITIES OF COMMENTS, I'm probably not your man.

A GIF to describe how your day has been so far:


 

 


25 April 2017 18:33 - Hello~!
komischkatze: (dipper)
Name: Silver
Age: No longer a teenager; haven't been for a while; simultaneously perturbed and relieved by that.
Location: On an island and north quite a bit.

Describe yourself in five sentences or less: I'm a long-time fanperson who left LJ in about 2010 after 6 years and migrated to tumblr, but I deleted my blog there recently.
Trying to get a new start in fandom stuff because I miss interacting with new people and I really miss how LJ used to be (which makes DW perfect!). And I'm getting back into writing fic for my own enjoyment.
Outside of fanstuff, I'm a queerdo that's trying to maintain a positive outlook on life! And who talks a lot but has the self-awareness to put most of it behind cuts :)

Top 5 fandoms:
Right now, I'm super into Gravity Falls, The Adventure Zone, and Kuroshitsuji. My long-term favourites have got to be Pokémon, and Harry Potter.

I mostly post about: Well, this is new blog, so I can't promise I'll be consistent, but I aim to post fic, liveblogs, meta, and maybe some fanmixes!
I rarely post about: I'll not write much about my personal life, here, unless it affects me getting online (working and studying at the same time can be exhausting!). I also won't write much about real-world politics, and I'm trying to avoid fandom politics.
How often do you post: On my personal, I've been posting daily since January, but I'm not sure over here. Whenever the whim takes me, but probably at least once a week!
How about commenting: I've been notoriously shy about interacting with people in the past, but I'm trying to get past that and talk more. I welcome comments from other people, too!
A GIF to describe how your day has been so far:

swan_tower: (Default)

medium-sized version of the cover for WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS

At long last, the series is complete.

This story has been living in my head for . . . about a decade, I think. I know I wrote the first third of A Natural History of Dragons in 2007 or thereabouts, before stalling out on the plot and setting it aside. I came back to it in late 2010, sold it in 2011, the first book came out in 2013, and now, my friends, the end of the story is in your hands. (Or will be, as soon as you run out and buy it.)

I’m going to be launching a new blog series, along the lines of John Scalzi’s THE BIG IDEA or Mary Robinette Kowal’s MY FAVORITE BIT, called SPARK OF LIFE: a place for authors to talk about those moments where the story seems to take on a life of its own, with a character doing something unexpected or the world unfolding a bit of depth you didn’t plan for. For me that mostly tends to happen in the depths of the tale, when I’ve built up enough momentum and detail for such things to spring forth. But in the case of this series, it happened less than a page in, because the spark of life?

That was Isabella.

Countless reviews have talked about how the narrator is one of the strongest features of the story. I’m here to tell you that, like Athena from the head of Zeus, she sprang out more or less fully-formed. The foreword got added a bit later, so it was in those opening paragraphs of Chapter One, where Isabella talks about finding a sparkling in the garden and it falling to dust in her hands, that she came to instant and vivid life. Part of the reason that initial crack stalled out in 2007 — or rather, the reason it got so far before stalling — was because I was having so much fun just following along in her wake, exploring her world and listening to her talk. The narrative voice has consistently been one of the greatest joys of writing this series. I have an upcoming article where I talk about how sad it is for me to be done with the story, because it feels like a good friend has moved away and I won’t get to see her regularly anymore. That’s how much she’s lived in my head, these past years.

Stay tuned on future Tuesdays for a glimpse at how other authors’ stories came to life. And stay tuned in upcoming days for some more behind-the-scenes stuff about my own characters!

***

In the meanwhile, the book is out, and so are the reviews. Here’s a spoiler-free one from BiblioSanctum, and two reviews on one page at Fantasy Literature; here is a SPOILER-TASTIC one at Tor.com. (Do NOT click unless you’ve read the book or are fine with having the big discovery of the entire series laid out in full. I’m serious.) (And while I’m at it, the same goes for that Gizmodo article that shows all the interior art for the book, because spoilers can come in visual form, too. Love ya, Gizmodo, but oof. Tor.com warned; you didn’t.)

Back in the land of no spoilers, you can read about my absolute favorite bit of Within the Sanctuary of Wings on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog. It’s . . . a wee bit topical, these days. And I’m on the Functional Nerds podcast, talking about all kinds of things that aren’t this book, because they like to give authors a chance to branch out and natter on about roleplaying games and things like that.

And finally, I’m currently running a giveaway on Twitter. Name your favorite female scientist in any field (there, or in comments here), and get a chance to win a signed book of your choice from my stash of author copies. It’s already a stiff competition; we’ve had dozens of women named. (If you were wondering why my Twitter stream has turned into a sea of retweeted names, that’s why.) You have until tomorrow!

Originally published at Swan Tower. You can comment here or there.

Posted by Editor

The five Philip K. Dick Award judges for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original format in the United States in the 2017 award year are:

Robert Onopa
1040 Manuawili Loop
Kailua, HI 96734-4621

Deborah J. Ross
14775 Virginia Avenue
Boulder Creek CA 95006-9314

James Stoddard
67 S. Lakeshore Drive
Ransom Canyon, TX 79366-2406

Amy Thomson
1505 SW Alaska Street
Seattle, WA 98106-1510

Rick Wilber
801 Park Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33710-4314

Publishers who issue eligible titles during the calendar year 2017 are encouraged to provide copies to each of the judges as the books are published during the year.  (All works of science fiction published originally in the United States as paperbacks during the year 2017 are eligible.) The nominees will be announced in January 2018.

The Philip K. Dick Award is presented annually with the support of the Philip K. Dick Trust for distinguished science fiction published in paperback original form in the United States.  The award is sponsored by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the award ceremony is sponsored by the Northwest Science Fiction Society.  The 2017 award for work published in 2016 was given to THE MERCY JOURNALS by Claudia Casper (Arsenal Pulp Press) with a special citation to UNPRONOUNCEABLE by Susan diRende (Aqueduct Press).  The 2018 awards will be announced on March 30, 2018 at Norwescon 41.

25 April 2017 13:03 - Backups baaackuuups
xtina: (Default)
Note to self: Have you done a backup today? Of anything at all? To anywhere at all?
25 April 2017 15:55 - An Apology

Posted by fozmeadows

One of the perils of being an innately contrary, frequently combative person is that you sometimes find yourself backed into a corner entirely of your own making, attacking in defence for no better reason than that it doesn’t occur to you to do otherwise. My psyche is friable of late; that doesn’t excuse bad behaviour.

Yesterday evening, I put up a thread of tweets about my editorial experience with my forthcoming book, A Tyranny of Queens. My comments were made in response to a different thread about fellow genderqueer author JY Yang’s difficulties in having the singular they accepted in their work. The thread struck a powerful chord with me: I felt moved to reply, and did so, as I often do in such instances.

The issue itself is important; vitally so. But the approach I took in broaching it was not.

In writing the thread, I made an early factual error: the editor in question, Amanda Rutter, was my structural editor, not my CE. That distinction is an obvious and crucial one to other, more experienced writers and professionals, but I am still a journeyman in that respect; I apologise for the confusion. I also erred in assuming that, because I hadn’t named Amanda directly, I’d somehow left her out of it; that I was discussing her editing in, not exactly a vacuum, but a context where her identity was both ambiguous and beside the point. I thought – inasmuch as it occurred to me to think – that, even assuming someone did realise who I was talking about, it wouldn’t actually matter, because the actual issue was a wider one.

As a social media veteran, I should have known better. I should have thought better, and I’m very sorry that I didn’t.

In referencing Amanda as clearly as I did – in citing her comments without first giving her warning or recourse to response; in letting my personal upset colour my discussion of an issue that exists beyond me – I behaved both badly and unprofessionally. My sincere apologies to Amanda for doing this; she deserved better of me.

I would also like to apologise to my publisher, Angry Robot, and to all the amazing people there who’ve worked with me, especially Marc Gascoigne and Phil Jordan. A Tyranny of Queens is a book which I’m immensely proud to have written, and the final product would be nowhere near as strong without the feedback, help and encouragement I’ve received from the AR team. Though hindsight renders the conviction both naïve and ridiculous, I can say with utter sincerity that I never intended any criticism of Angry Robot, whom I’ve always felt honoured to work with, and I’m furious with myself for slighting them in any way. I’m deeply sorry for this.

I’m sorry for putting my agency, Red Sofa Literary, in a position where they had to deal with my unprofessionalism, and I’m sorry for letting my actions detract from a very serious and necessary conversation, one I should have had the sense to contribute to in a far more productive manner.

It has long been my position that deleting things you said on the internet as a belated form of takebacks is a bad idea. For one thing, screenshots and retweets exist: removing the originals doesn’t ever stop their circulation, but rather tends to increase it, as the act of retraction makes more people eager to see and preserve what was (intemperately or wrongly) said. For another, and with very few exceptions, it strikes me as a gross way of pretending that the conversation never actually took place, like a form of self-distancing. This is why I’m leaving the thread itself intact: other conversations more useful than the original have sprung up from it and within it, and in a forum like Twitter, deleting any retweeted content is rather akin to shutting the barn door after the horse has bolted. I said these things, and now I have apologised for them, and I hope that a more productive conversation will subsequently come from it.

I am sorry.


25 April 2017 22:05 - Hi!
nrgburst: (Default)
Name: NRGburst (NRG/Energy)
Age:
Location: Japan for years! Moving back to Canada this summer.
Tumblr/Goodreads/IG/etc: [archiveofourown.org profile] nrgburst, [tumblr.com profile] nrgburst, [fanfiction.net profile] NRGburst

Describe yourself in five sentences or less:
Writer and GIFmaker.  I like to think/talk about narratives/characters. Married with two daughters. I love to travel, learn new things and eat good food! I want to write a YA novel one day. 

Top 5 Fandoms:
Right now, probably Star Wars, Agents of Shield, The Originals, MCU and Kimi no na wa|Your name.

I mostly post about:
Fandom! TV and movie trailers, spec, spoilers and reaction posts, fic and icons I make, occasionally meta.

My last three posts were about:
A fic rec, spoilers for The Originals, an AoS sneak peek and squeeing about a fic exchange; AO3 stat meme and A picture post about silly seasonal snack food in Japan

How often do you post? How about commenting?
I post every couple of days. I tend to comment on fandom posts, less so on personal posts unless I've seen you on the f-list/circle for long enough that I actually feel like I know you.

A GIF to describe how your day has been so far:
Thor YESSSS

Posted by Marissa Lingen

Review copy provided by the author, who is a personal friend.

In the last decade or so I have met more people who are reluctant to begin a series that isn’t published in its entirety, with the objection that the author may drag it on forever or may die without finishing it. Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series has, with its fifth volume, reached its conclusion, so if you’re one of those people, please know that there is not just a stopping point but an ending here.

The series has followed–with lavish illustrations–the career of a lady naturalist specializing in dragons in a world that is not ours but has some very clear analogs. Her own country is not-Victorian-England, and in this book she travels to not-Tibet, following the trail of very rare and unusual dragon specimens. What results calls on all the skills she has spent the previous four books acquiring–in her own science but also in linguistics, archaeology, diplomacy.

If historical approaches to science are your jam–and they are mine–you will want this series. If you like adventure fantasy, there are plenty of death-defying feats and hairs-breadth escapes too. And it’s all told in the chatty tone of an elderly lady looking back on a life well-lived. Recommended.

Please consider using our link to buy Within the Sanctuary of Wings from Amazon. (Or if you’re just starting, A Natural History of Dragons.)

25 April 2017 13:22
summerstorm: Profile of Pepper Potts (avengers › brief blue stars)
Name: Lix / summerstorm / aclassicnotion
Age: 27
Location: Spain, mostly. I travel Europe a lot, esp UK. Hoping to hit the US (LA) later this year.
Tumblr/Goodreads/IG/etc: [twitter.com profile] cherryroad (private) + [twitter.com profile] lixhewett / lixhewett @ IG / [pinterest.com profile] aclassicnotion / goodreads / [archiveofourown.org profile] summerstorm and [tumblr.com profile] aclassicnotion but I’m not posting on either very much. Mostly just lurk.

Describe yourself in five sentences or less:
I’m a sort of self-employed freelancer with a dream of being a photographer full-time who currently just does whatever will pay her fairly in the realm of design and blogging (lixhewett.com, fashion & travel). My family’s pretty poor, I’m pansexual and possibly on the aro spectrum but it could be the meds I take for my depression and anxiety. I complain a lot and am happy not as often but spring does bring a bit of joy.

Top 5 Fandoms:
I’m fairly multifandom and have been lurking for the past few years, like, more than anything else just reading fic? e.g. I read a ton of Bellamy/Clarke modern AUs and have no intention of watching The 100. Previous shows I got overinvested in before quitting them are The Vampire Diaries (def quit), Pretty Little Liars (may well catch up sometime), Teen Wolf (I go back and forth because Allison). I also read Marvel movieverse fanfic (esp Captain America centric, let’s not even talk about the latest comics drama because fuck them and their horse).

I mostly post about:
My life, these days. I got sort of sucked into by doing work and my public blog and I needed a safe space, so I came back.

My last three posts were about:
A quick update and open 'ask me anything' type thing, a post about my last work trip to London from the train, and a state of the union type thing on my mental health and various issues.

How often do you post? How about commenting?
I try to read every day and comment every week at least, if I have something to say. Posting is a whole other beast but I’d love to get into a daily short-post schedule so I’m minimally pressured to post and really talk everything out. But I did just post for the first time since mid March. So it can be difficult.

A GIF to describe how your day has been so far:
If you’d asked me this morning when I had to run out to rescue my clothes from the rain I might have been able to toss an OC gif at you because The Rainy Day Women is my favorite thing forever, but truth is I’m not a gif person at all and don’t save them. I’ll occasionally look one up on twitter but that’s it.

I do however love cats.
mrissa: (Default)

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Review copy provided by the author, who is a personal friend.

In the last decade or so I have met more people who are reluctant to begin a series that isn’t published in its entirety, with the objection that the author may drag it on forever or may die without finishing it. Marie Brennan’s Lady Trent series has, with its fifth volume, reached its conclusion, so if you’re one of those people, please know that there is not just a stopping point but an ending here.

The series has followed–with lavish illustrations–the career of a lady naturalist specializing in dragons in a world that is not ours but has some very clear analogs. Her own country is not-Victorian-England, and in this book she travels to not-Tibet, following the trail of very rare and unusual dragon specimens. What results calls on all the skills she has spent the previous four books acquiring–in her own science but also in linguistics, archaeology, diplomacy.

If historical approaches to science are your jam–and they are mine–you will want this series. If you like adventure fantasy, there are plenty of death-defying feats and hairs-breadth escapes too. And it’s all told in the chatty tone of an elderly lady looking back on a life well-lived. Recommended.

Please consider using our link to buy Within the Sanctuary of Wings from Amazon. (Or if you’re just starting, A Natural History of Dragons.)

miss_s_b: (Default)
24 April 2017 19:59 - Con or Bust auction reminder
sartorias: (Default)
Taking time out from the LOTR read to remind folks that this year's Con or Bust fundraiser has opened, and Rachel Manija Brown's and my entry is a personalized (any way you wish) copy of REBEL, which comes out next month.

There are also tons of other goodies, from books to food items! Take a look!
24 April 2017 22:09 - Hello
regisjr: (Default)
Name: Regis
Age: 38 
Location: Outcrop, PA

Describe yourself in five sentences or less:   I am a kid trapped in a 38 year old gay man's body. Bing bipolar doesn't help. I live with my Dad and it has it's ups and downs. Then there is my Family I speak about but rarely see because I seem to be the black sheep of my family.

Top 5 fandoms:  Star Wars, Friday the 13th, yaoi, Marvel Comic Movie Universe and A Nightmare on Elm Street

My last three LJ posts were about: Hot Guys and Rambling nonsense about my life... so far.

How often do you post? Almost every day

How about commenting? I try my best...

A GIF to describe how your day has been today so far:
sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
Still sick. This is so boring. A couple of writing-related things:

1. My poem "The Firebird's Revenge" is now available in the latest issue of The Cascadia Subduction Zone. I wrote it last April for Rose Lemberg. It was an angry poem then. It's even more applicable now.

2. My short story "And All Our Salt-Bottled Hearts" has been reviewed along with the rest of Dreams from the Witch House (ed. Lynne Jamneck, 2016) in a recent episode of Steve Rosenstein and Rodney Turner's Microphones of Madness. I am afraid that I did not really work out Punnett squares for my ideas of Innsmouth genetics—my major departure from canon was in treating them as genetics at all when Lovecraft's universe plays by the supernatural one-drop rule—but I am delighted by the podcast's conclusion that there is real cosmic horror in the characters' awareness of the world they cannot live in, because I thought so, but then I've always wanted gills. The comparison to Ruthanna Emrys' "The Litany of Earth" is fair; I held off on reading that particular story until I had finished my own, but I am in no way going to disclaim the tons of other neo-Lovecraftian influence and I am not surprised that the genocide aspects of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth" leap out at Jewish readers (I am aware that the opening lines about "the secrecy surrounding the disposal of the prisoners . . . vague statements about disease and concentration camps, and later about dispersal in various naval and military prisons" would not have carried quite the same historical weight when Lovecraft was writing in 1931 as they would acquire in hindsight of the next decade and a half, but I didn't read the story in 1931 or even 1936 and so here we are). Honestly, I wish I could get this story reprinted as an independent pamphlet or something just so I could use "Melancholy" as a blurb.

3. I read a story I really enjoyed—Jenn Grunigen's "Figs, Detached"—and saw afterward that I was name-checked in the Author Spotlight. Which was just a bonus.

I wish I did not feel so terrible. I don't see what the harm would be.
24 April 2017 19:32 - Simple Bread and Biscuits
donutsweeper: (Default)
We eat a lot of bread-type foods in this house and while stuff from the bakery is awesome, it is also expensive and needs to have been bought and planned for ahead of time so isn't always feasible. When I have time I'll make rolls and bread but that can be either labor intensive or requires time I do not have (or both, like challah) so I tend to wind up whipping up my standard "Mystery Biscuit" recipe I found in an old church cookbook at a garage sale ages ago.

Mystery Biscuits
2C flour (all purpose or half AP/half whole wheat, I've never tried all whole wheat)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
(shredded sharp cheddar or other flavorful cheese) - optional
(dash seasoning - Old Bay/paprika/pepper/whatever) - optional
1 C milk (or water+dry milk)
1/4 C Mayo

Mix it all together (dumping the mayo into the measuring cup with the liquid and whisking a bit with a fork before adding to the dry makes it easier). Drop large spoonfuls onto greased or lined cookie sheet. Bake 375° 18 min. (The temp and time can be adjusted to fit an entree that's baking, anywhere from 350-450 should work fine).

Less than 30 minutes from the 'crap I forgot a starchy side dish' to tasty goodness. And unlike most biscuits there's no cutting in butter or rolling so easy on the wrists and quicker to do.

Today I had a little more time so I tried a whole wheat stir-and-pour bread recipe I'd bookmarked ages ago and was quite happy with the result. With rising and cooking it took longer, but hands-on time was a lot less- five minutes total. (5 minutes to stir together, 30 to rise, 45 to bake, 5-10 to cool and then slice= 90 minutes or so from start to finish)

Whole Wheat Stir-and-Pour Bread
4 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp active-rise yeast
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
dry milk (I didn't measure- 2-4 Tbsp maybe?)
1 egg
2 cups warm water (120°ish)

Stir everything together. Cover bowl with a towel and let rise 30 min. Preheat oven 350°. Dump into well greased/buttered 9" loaf pan. Bake 45ish min. Turn out. Let cool a little and slice.

Texture-wise, it's a little denser than bread usually is, probably due to the gluten not being developed via kneading but it was still quite tasty. I'll definitely be making it again.
24 April 2017 17:15 - LOTR: a hasty riff on magic
sartorias: (JRRT)
When Galadriel first offers to show her mirror to Sam, she mentions elf-magic. I think she is kidding him in a mild way because a little later when the subject of magic comes up again, she says she is not certain what they understand by “magic.”

I found this a big whoa as a kid, then I thought, well, of course, the elves are magic, so it’s probably invisible to them.

But on later readings, I’m not so sure that that isn’t too simple.

The other day, as I was waiting for my lunch to cook, I was out in the patio blowing bubbles. As the breeze took them up and away, and I watched the shimmer of colors, I was thinking about how innocent such art can be — if you want to call bubbles art. In this instance I’m defining art as something that strikes you as beautiful, that gives you that inward lift of the heart. You see them, or you ignore them; they don't fool you, they don't influence you, except perhaps to make you smile.

Writers who create secondary universes do not have to write about magic. There are many successful other-world and/or epic fantasies that have no magic in them. But most consider magic one of the perks of secondary universe creation: it's fun to imagine dragons, or being able to fly, or shape changing, or whisking the dust out of your rooms with a snap of a magic cloth. And of course the bad guys mark themselves as bad guys by using their magic as weaponry, to destroy, or to create ugly things for whatever (or no) purpose.

It is not my intent here to slamdunk any author's magic system. Most of them are pretty clever. Others are more generic, but if they help make a rousing story, what is the harm? In retrospect, the only kind of magic that irritates the fluff out of me is the one in which women (and somehow it is always women) have to remain virgin, i.e. "pure." Nobody seems to bother about the state of male sexual experience.

Now, if any flavor of gender has to remain celibate for reasons of self-discipline or sacrifice, that is a different matter. It’s akin to magic having a cost, whether you have to use your own blood—or someone else’s—or magic-making gives you a headache, or even makes you fall down unconscious. The self-discipline of magic is comparable to going to school, high school, college, and grad school: years of study and practice. Or, magic can be gained, earned, found, or won.

There is also the gamer magic, which has precise mathematical formulae and the spells work the same every time, just as geometric rules do.

Magic in short can be the equivalent of energy, or power. I, at least, perceive these as two very different things: energy being, for most purposes, neutral, but power implies influence at the least, and at the most dominion.

Years ago, when I first read and reread LOTR, I thought that magic was part of the Elvish nature and therefore sort of invisible to them, in the way we don’t think about our autonomic systems. This prompted those repeated reactions about not understanding what is meant by magic.

I assumed that Elvish magic in action was the equivalent of sympathetic magic, only it works. At least, the way I understand sympathetic magic is this: as you make something, the energy and effort of your work is meaningful, and your thought — whatever it might be — adds virtue to the thing you make. The elves think of nature when weaving their cloaks, so that the wearer takes on the appearance of nature, and is overlooked by inimical or indifferent eyes. Lembas is simple, unleavened bread, but made by hands whose heads are thinking strength and healing into it, so it carries virtue beyond its ingredients.

But on this reading I began to wonder if I was missing something. After all, if these elves are in effect made of magic, and we know that Galadriel is powerful, then why aren't they living in gorgeous palaces, dripping with jewels, wearing fantastic clothes, and pretty much existing in states of artistically conspicuous consumption? Well, we can point to Rivendell as an example of a lovely place, maybe even a palace, although the description makes it out to be more comfortable and appealing to the eye than luxurious. Feng shui, maybe.

Can it be that the elves learned their lesson in the past? Rivendell is there as an outpost and a safehouse. It’s in the nature of elves to make that outpost as pleasing to the senses as can be.

When Frodo offers Galadriel the ring, she describes a fairly specific what-if. As I was reading at this time I thought, this temptation is not a new thing. She’s been tempted before, perhaps under different circumstances. Or maybe it’s just that she has gained such wisdom (and power) that she has become the ring’s equal, which is why she knows how many times Frodo has worn it. And she can read Sauron’s mind.

At any rate, the glass she gives Frodo, Sam's soil and the mallorn nut, the lembas and the cloaks, will indeed influence and affect, but in specific ways. One might say limited ways. These gifts, excellent as they are, from someone with great power, will not take take over the minds of the two hobbits in order to better assure their success, though their task is desperately important. Galadriel—who can read Sauron’s mind—lets Boromir go, troubled as he is, and she also lets those frail hobbits go, though their task is almost hopeless. Almost.

In contrast, the ring, with its almost-sentient piece of Sauron in it, seeks any road to dominion, including through fair intentions. Galadriel knows it, Frodo is beginning to grasp it, but Boromir is sure he knows best. He is not a villain—JRRT made sure to show him in a good light, both on Caradhras and in Moria, but he is very convinced he knows best, and of course he means well—he only wants to defend his beloved homeland.

The ring can work with that.

Which touches on Sauron, power, and the orcs. I want to leave talking about the orcs for when we meet some, but as I recollect, at the end of the battle outside the gates, when the Ring goes with Gollum into the lava and Sauron’s power is zapped to nothing, his entire force reacts as if struck by the afterwash of an atomic blast. And yet they very clearly had cognizance, and the ability to make choices before. But it’s as if Sauron’s will hummed underneath their consciousness— invited in because it made them feel powerful, too—and when it was gone, so went their sense of Yeah, this is gonna be a piece of cake, har har. and left them with the fear they hadn't known for a long time.

So, to the elves, “magic” is the power to force change, to dominate. What they do is not that—but if it isn’t magic, what is it?

Then I thought, wasn’t there something about magic in “On Fairy Stories”? The passages that I've reread the most were those on internal consistency and eucatastrophe, and on what “escape” means. (And, BTW, it is fascinating that several passages here are very close to what Vladimir Nabokov writes about on the purpose of fiction, and two writers more different in all possible ways would be difficult to find.)

But I digress. Opening my sadly yellowed, fragile book, yep, here’s some relevant stuff:

This is for them [elves] a form of Art, and distinct from wizardry or magic, properly so called. They do not live in it, though they can, perhaps, afford to spend more time at it than human artists can. The Primary World, Reality, of elves and men is the same, if differently valued and perceived.

We need a word for this Elvish craft, but all the words that have been applied to it have been blurred and confused with other things. Magic is ready to hand, and I have used it above, but I should not have done so: magic should be reserved for the operations of the Magician. Art is the human process that produces by the way (it is not it's only or ultimate object) Secondary Belief.

Part of the same sort, if more skilled and effortless, the elves can also use, or so the reports seem to show; but the more potent and especially Elvish craft I will, for lack of a less debatable word, call Enchantment. Enchantment produces a Secondary World into which both designer and spectator can enter, to the satisfaction of their senses while they are inside; but in its purity it is artistic in desire and purpose. Magic produces, or pretends to produce, an alteration in the Primary World. It does not matter by whom it is said to be practiced, fay or mortal, it remains distinct from the other two; it is not an art but a technique; its desire is power in this world, domination of things and wills.


The essay goes on about sub-creation, but I thought that worth quoting and thinking about as we begin to get closer to Ent magic, Saruman’s magic, and of course that of Mordor, after the splendid introduction to Galadriel’s benevolent authority.
24 April 2017 20:00 - Check-In – Day 24
samuraiter: (Default)
A-a-achooo! *sniffles* What are you doing today, writers?

— Thinking. Maybe a little, maybe a lot.
— Writing.
— Planning and / or researching.
— Editing.
— Sending things to the beta.
— Posting!
— Relaxing, taking a break, etc.
— Other stuff-ing. Look at the comment.

A good question, since I do this: Do you aim for a certain number of scenes, chapters, etc. in a longer story (like I do), or do you let the story move more organically?
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