Tell me what to write! (the saga continues)

cropped-10045023186_1a8678ed12_o.jpgAs a new experiment in having a blog that doesn’t bore its readers to death, I threw out a query to the Internet yesterday, asking everyone to let me know what you’d like to hear about. Some of my best writing has been assigned: many of my favorite short stories were written for theme anthologies. I had a number of reasons for asking for your input, but chief among them was seeing if the same thing might apply with this space.

Questions so far:
Escape Clause editor Clélie Rich wants to know where we’re moving to, and why.
Paul Weimer of SF Signal asks: Do you have a map for Stormwrack? What were your inspirations for the various cultures we see in CHILD OF A HIDDEN SEA? And: Why *portal* fantasy? (not that I am complaining, but its uncommon these days)

Over on Facebook, Wilson Fowlie wants to know: Why on earth you’d choose Toronto over Vancouver?

And Badger would like for me to blog about cheese.

Lorraine Valestuk says: I’d like to hear about why practically every lead in a fantasy novel has to have green eyes. (Follow-up comments blamed Marion Zimmer Bradley.) Then Clélie chimed in to ask: Do Toronto maps show you where to find people with green eyes?

My friends, I think you are feeling surreal. Spring fever?

I will answer Cleile’s question first, because it’s easy. C, we took a one-year lease on the apartment we’re in currently when we moved, with the idea that we’d look around, check out neighborhoods, and then decide if/where we wanted to settle more permanently. Now we have bought a fabulous condo that is a three minute walk from the subway going in one direction, a three minute walk to the Art Gallery of Ontario (henceforth to be known as Our Personal Art Collection) in the other, and a fifteen minute walk from both the CN Tower and Kelly’s office. There’s more info in a previous entry, here.

I am still gratefully taking suggestions, requests, and your random topic ideas.

(I am also counting up green-eyed fantasy hero and heroines. Harry Potter. Katsa from Graceling. And…?)

What things make a post?

First, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who sent some bit of support or kindness about our loss of Rumble, whether by Twitter or FB or in an e-mail. I tried to answer as many of you as possible; if I missed you, know that it was appreciated. I also want to mention that VEC on Yonge Street gave us all outstanding care. I endorse them without reservation, and hope you never need to access their services.

The condo feels empty, and it’s bizarre to be able to brush my hair without brushing a cat at the same time–someone always insisted–or fold the sheets without first being required to play the Roly Poly Rumtum game, or set out a glass of water and not have it get spilled within minutes. It’s excruciating to not be greeted at the door.

Whew! Okay, topic change.

This apartment was already beginning to seem a bit hollow, in a way, because our days in it are so numbered. The moving boxes arrive Monday and the movers themselves come in two weeks. Meanwhile, Kelly and I are keeping the place in showhome condition (as far as that’s possible with our boho collection of stuff) because if it rents for May 1st, we’ll get some rent back. We really want the dosh so we can spend it on needed and wanted things for Dua Central.

Changing the subject entirely: blog topics I have considered lately. I have recently seen Tim’s Vermeer and Finding Vivian Maier. They’re both about people who make pictures in an arguably obsessive way. I enjoyed the Veronica Mars movie, but feel there was as much wrong with it as right.

I’ve been thinking about what ecofantasy is, and what it should be.

What else? I went to a book launch for A Family by Any Other Name: Exploring Queer Relationships, and heard eight queer writers, including one of my oldest friends, Keph Senett, share aspects of their lives, here in Canada in this shiny new millennium. Among other things, it made me think, not for the first time, about how I don’t tend to write long-form personal essays. I also recently read Celeste Ng’s “Do you owe the Reader a Happy Ending?” choked on the word “owe,” and thought about composing a possibly off-point response.

Finally, I have been wondering if anyone wants to know specific things about Child of a Hidden Sea and/or its prequels, “Among the Silvering Herd” and “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti.” Or general things about writing, photography, or just about anything else as long as my knowledge of the topic is more than zero.

What do you want to talk about? I’m tempted to add something operatic like: “Keep me busy, or I shall run mad with grief!” But if you know me, you know I am anti-drama. (Is that a topic?) And, really, those boxes are arriving Monday.

I would sincerely appreciate a few requests, if you have any.

‘Cause nothing goes down like bad news at dawn…

imageYesterday Badger and I were catching up via text, as we do, and one topic was whether Rumble would recognize the import of the green Frogboxes we’re renting this coming Monday for the move. He would climb on them, of course, but would he see them as a harbinger of relocation? All was well.

At about nine last night he had something that may have been a heart attack, and though we rushed him to 24-hour kitty hospital, there was nothing they could do but smooth out and speed up what was already happening to him.

K and I are in shock, with devastation to come. I’d love to write our boy a beautiful eulogy, but I’m not up to it. Maybe in a few weeks/months/years, mmm? Plus also, we’re signing papers on the condo in about ninety minutes.

Rumble had a lot of friends out there and he’ll be missed all over.

Toronto, Day 326

imageIt has almost been a year.

It’s no coincidence that we’re moving, again, as the anniversary nears. The plan was always to rent a place here for the first year, scope out the neighborhoods, and then commit. Kelly and I were both so unfamiliar with Toronto that to do anything else seemed nutty beyond words.

(Though jumping in without a clue is how we chose our Vancouver neighborhood, also sight unseen, and that worked out.)

Our soon to be former apartment is coming to be known as “the King Street place” or variations thereon. We haven’t been here long enough to come to dislike much about it. It doesn’t have a great layout, but it is serviceable, bright, and all-new–which means it’s in great repair. It was a good enough place to land and it helped me refine my idea of what I want in a tiny place: a bedroom door that closes, for example, and a real separation between our living room and my office. No yawning distance between bedroom and bathroom.

The new place, Dua Central, definitely has those features.

I would be really happy if the King Street overlords would turn on our pretty, pretty fountain sometime before we leave. I’d like to see it once more from our second floor balcony. I’m not holding my breath, though.

Poor Rumble has no idea what’s about to hit him.

Did you like Captain America? (Eff Yeah!)

Here’s a picture of me with the actor Cineplex hired to Cap it up outside the theater after Friday’s screening. He was pleasant and fun, and who doesn’t enjoy a superhero selfie?

Captain America Saves

Things I liked about the movie:

Steve: I am coming to like his character more and more. He may be the straightest straight-arrow since Constable Benton Fraser… in other words, catnip. What’s more, he’s pleasingly articulate. His funny lines are delivered with square-jawed conviction and good grammar.

Natasha: The only thing wrong with Black Widow in this movie was her hair, which looked as though evil fiends had dried and ironed it in a bid to lower her self-esteem. She’s delightfully deadly, and I loved seeing a glimmer of how very much she looks to Steve and Nick Fury to hold her onto a moral path as she continues to sponge some of that red out of her ledger.

Falcon! Just plain awesome. I am hoping Tony will build him some hardware one day soon.

Surprise! I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that hey, there are some big reveals at various points in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. One I saw coming, the other was beautifully played.

The movie has an excellent sense of who Steve is. It reaches back into his past, referencing the first film without burdening the movie with too much exposition. (Those reach-backs are especially handy if you found Captain America Primo rather forgettable.) I had a few quibbles with the plot, but it makes a reasonable amount of sense, as such things go. And I’m very curious to hear how the film’s events affect Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In sum, I found it entertaining enough, and suspenseful enough. It may not be a staggering work of genius, but there’s nothing much wrong with it either. I had fun.

Did you?

The Ugly Woman is now an e-book.

ugly woman smallMy recent Child of a Hidden Sea prequel, “The Ugly Woman of Castello di Putti,” is now available as an e-book. You can, of course, read it at for free, but if you prefer your Kindle, Kobo or Nook, the story is up at Amazon, Chapters/Indigo, B&N, and in the iStore.

Here’s a taste:
“Had that soldier heard of you?” Parrish asked.

Few people took notice of Gale, or remembered her when they did. This was the work of a spell her parents had written when she was a child, making her forgettable, beneath notice. They’d meant for it to keep her safe. They hadn’t foreseen that it would lead to her into spying.

“I’ve fallen into a reputation here in Erinth,” Gale said. “When I moved into the mistress suite—”

“Excuse me?”

“There are buildings, near the palazzo, reserved for courtiers and special pets of the Contessa. My home—”

“Castello di Putti, they call it,” Royl put in. “In Fleetspeak, Strumpet Court.”

One of the things I sheerly love about having my stories come out as Tor Originals is this spill out to the e-book world. I tend to write long stories (though I have been working on brevity, of late), and I think my usual 8,500 word length fits well with the e-book format. At a buck, they’re rather a good deal. And the folks at the Tor site showcase their authors’ work so beautifully, with superb covers. It’s heady to have an attractive shelf of my fiction readily available to anyone who wants it.

Chaos at the Casa

Some of you probably know that I am just back from a vacation in Austin, Texas. It was super to get away, to see dear friends and visit the desert. I kept about six hundred of the pictures I shot–we saw everything from scaled quail to a fox!–and these are percolating out to my various photo sites.

Coming up in the next very short while: I will be at the Ad Astra SF Convention this weekend. This’ll be your first chance, if you’re local, to hear me read from Child of a Hidden Sea. We are wrapping up the paperwork portion of our condo purchase next week, and plunging into a few necessary renovations before we move. My next UCLA Extension Writers’ Program course, Writing the Fantastic, opens on April 14th. (There may not be slots available right now, but if it has filled there is a waiting list.)

Then we move to the new place! In, seriously, three weeks!

Much is happening, in other words. How about all of you?

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