I loved the ocean on…

I loved the ocean on the New Jersey shore. Not just a little bit -- I really really loved it. Actually, I just liked the ocean, but I loved the waves. I loved walking out until the water was just around my shoulders, and then fighting the current in between huge crashing waves that triumphed over me, over and over. If I faced away from them, they picked me up and slammed me off my feet. If I faced into them but tried to hold my ground, they crashed into my face with stinging, stunning force. Mostly, I waited until they were almost upon me and dove into them -- just coursing under the surface, so they would engulf me in shimmering, effervescent surf.

Chicago is lovely, and there's a pretty big lake not so far away, but it's not the ocean.

Damn. Yesterday, Wet…

Damn. Yesterday, Wet had a five-star review at Amazon. Today, someone's posted a one-star review, bringing our average down to three stars. Damn damn damn.

If you've read and liked the book, *please* stop by Amazon and write a brief review? Pretty please?

And if you haven't read it yet, you can still help -- go and rank their reviews. If you say the five-star one was helpful (it *is* much more detailed) and the one-star one not helpful, the one-star one may at least drop off the main screen quicker. One hopes. Sigh.

This is mostly a note…

This is mostly a note for M'ris, who apparently tried to put ginger through a garlic press, though other cooks among you may find it useful too. If you buy a piece of ginger, peel it (this part is very important), and then stick it in a baggie and freeze it, you will have absolutely no trouble grating it finely when it's frozen. Just pull it out, grate as much as you want (your fingers might get a bit cold) and put it back in. It *does* have more moisture this way, that needs to cook off, so if you're somehow planning to garnish something with raw grated ginger, this won't work. But generally, you want to cook it anyway, and the moisture disappears, and it's just lovely and easy. Thanks to Cook's Illustrated, I believe, for that tip, probably the most useful thing I learned from them (though they are just chock-full of useful tips).

Gods, it’s lovely being…

Gods, it's lovely being at Alex's place in New Jersey. The hot, humid weather broke a few days ago, and it's just been so very beautiful here. Yesterday I arrived around 3-ish and we promptly went to the beach. Stayed 'til almost 6, and I was so happy and relaxed by the end of it. If I lived here, I'd go to the beach every summer afternoon, I think. Just soaking up sun and salt water -- I feel healthier and happier after only a day.

In the evening, we went grocery shopping for the workshop -- breakfasts, lunches, and one dinner! I made Alex buy the staples that he really should've had in the house to begin with (he's a bit under-furnished...). I bought the rest, which came to about $180; the ingredients for Saturday night's curry dinner came to about $80, bringing the total to $260. (It would've been less, but we're having some seafood which jacked up the price.) I tell you this in case you decide to have a weekend's worth of food for 13-15 people. :-) I think we'll need to run out tomorrow morning and get some more, though -- I forgot a few things, and a few more have occurred to me. Fresh bagels would be nice, and flowers for the table; I also somehow managed to buy fat-free half-and-half; I'm not a coffee drinker, but I'm sure that can't be right. I accidentally put it in my tea this morning, thinking it was fat-free milk; it wasn't bad, oddly enough. But still. We may need to restock some thing Sunday morning too -- it's always a little hard to tell what people will eat. Will this group be big fruit-eaters? Or are they total cheese or meat-heads? Impossible to tell right now; we'll see what needs to be restocked. Still, I think it'll easily come under the $360 total it ought to ($40/person, 9 people) for me not to take a loss, which is comforting. It helps that Alex offered to buy Chinese food for anyone who comes in early enough for dinner tonight. Nice Alex. :-) I like having patrons of the arts around...

If I do this again, I suspect I'll charge a bit more. It'd be nice to have my airfare covered too, which another $25/person should do. I might also charge for my administrative time; if we count all that...well, it'd probably be too much. But since this is fun too, and good for me, and the magazine, we can give people a discount. My thought right now is that next year, if it happens again, it'll be somewhere between $70 and $100 for the weekend. Feel free to give me your opinion on that -- irrespective of whether you'd be interested in attending or not. :-)

Hey -- our first participant just arrived! Excellent. I'm going to go be a host now...and then I have to quick finish typing up critiques so I can e-mail them to Alex and he can print them out from work... Fun fun fun!

So, a big sale…

So, a big sale announcement, couched in vague terms. It looks like this book project that I've been discussing with Melcher (the one I was doing a proposal for) has sold to a publisher! Which means that I now need to write the book. Which means that they pay me a nice chunk of money (no royalties, alas) to do so. Which means that this is going to be a very busy fall, since they want it by December, to come out next summer. Eep! I can't complain too much; if I work this right, I might actually clear the worst of my debts by Christmas, which would be just a tremendous relief. I can't tell you.

This should also be a fun book to write. I need to talk to Melcher and find out how much more I can tell you -- not sure. But for those of you who have already seen "Kathryn in the City" (strictly a working title) -- well, this is it. Woohoo! And thanks again to those who gave me early critique on the proposal.

Upcoming schedule:

  • until 8/14 - SH NJ workshop
  • last two weeks in August -- prep for WorldCon, mostly making art; read more exam list books
  • Labor Day weekend -- WorldCon in San Jose
  • following three weeks -- in Bay Area, reading for exam list, writing new book, prepping for Oregon workshop.
  • mid-September -- Oregon workshop
  • end of September - late October -- reading for exam list, writing new book
  • early November -- World Fantasy Con in Minneapolis (make art for it?)
  • rest of November -- finish book
  • December -- hopefully be done with book, back to exam list
And of course, reading Tiptree books all through there -- more and more as the year goes on. Oof!

I’m in Connecticut, by…

I'm in Connecticut, by the way. Not sure I've been so clear on my travel plans. I flew in yesterday afternoon, and was picked up at Newark by my baby sister and a young cousin. Had a wonderful long catching-up conversation in the car on the way back. She's just gotten back from several weeks in Europe (which she saved up the money for during college, showing far better financial planning skills than I possess. :-) It sounds like it was an amazing trip.

Last night, we picked up my other sister and we went to see Signs, the new M. Night Shymalan movie. Really good -- held together a lot better than Unbreakable (though it didn't have as much depth, I think). The theme was a bit heavy-handed, and I pretty much predicted the last fifteen minutes of the movie, but nonetheless, well worth going to. Much clever writing, good dialogue, and amazingly tense and scary. *Not* gory -- it was all about the suspense. We were kind of shaking as we came out, though, and my middle sister screamed out loud twice during the movie, at very startling bits.

The young cousin (who was just old enough to go to this PG-13 movie) ended up so scared that she a) insisted on sleeping with me and b) kept me up 'til 4:30 freaking out. I kept telling her to go to sleep, and she kept trying, but kept getting so scared that she had to wake me again and tell me. Every fifteen minutes or so. Oof! We eventually got up, turned on some lights, got her some food ('cause she had skipped dinner, having feasted on nachos during the movie), and then I sent her to sleep in my parents' room. She apparently slept like a log once there. Kids!

So I slept 'til almost eleven, then hung out with my sister for a few hours until she sadly had to leave to help drive a friend across country. Then settled down to work on SH NJ workshop manuscripts. Good stuff! Worked 'til sixish, then goofed off some, then ran out (in my mom's car) and picked up groceries for the workshop. I'm going to make curry for dinner one night, and I figured it'd be easiest to cook it here on Tuesday, freeze it, and then just take it there and reheat Saturday night. I swear, curry gets even tastier when you do that. Just sitting and blending and getting more intense. I'm not sure Kevin believes me -- he's been thoroughly indoctrinated by the "everything-absolutely-peak-of-freshness" people. Which is fine for a spring salad, but just not so relevant to potato curry.

Yesterday was a work…

Yesterday was a work day -- tons of e-mail backlog (still more to go! eep!), workshop prep (manuscripts and craft discussion), and in between all that, some blank book-making. I have a whole bunch of Thai silks lying around, left over from various projects, and they're just perfect for making books. I also have a fair bit of old jewelry that I never wear anymore, and I really like the technique of embedding them in the cover. It takes a little longer than a standard book, but the result is so pretty! There are eighteen interior pages to the purple book, made of watercolor paper -- suitable for painting or sketching or writing on.

I also like just making simple books. This is a series I'm hoping to sell together -- the colors seem seasonal to me. It's called "spring/summer/autumn/winter" (all of these have fourteen pages each). I like giving my books and art projects names. :-) Not sure what to name the previous one -- "purple book"? "crystal teardrop"? Everything I'm coming up with just sounds a bit goofy. Okay, more than a bit...

Anyway, as usual these are available for pre-sale to journal readers at special discounted prices. Just ask.

So, we had house…

So, we had house guests for a few days -- Bryan and Elissa came up from St. Louis and stayed with us. Much fun. They arrived Thursday night, and we went out for Italian with Michael M. and his new boyfriend, John -- I hadn't seen Michael in forever, and it was delightful getting back in touch with another old friend who lives in Chicago.

Old friends are great; you can just relax and totally goof off with them. I think these days I'm a little too much in professional mode when I meet new people -- maybe a function of mostly meeting them in professional settings like conventions. So it seems to take forever before you get to the point where you're really relaxed and lounging about with them. We spent quite a while playing with my camera, for example -- Bryan's thinking about getting a digital camera, so we discussed features and flaws. He took a lot of...umm...interesting photos, of our ceiling and such.

There was also a fair bit of talking about kids, between adorable Zoe (the bestest almost-two-year-old ever) and Bryan and Liss's plans...they're in the midst of adopting a child from South America. Long process! They've been approved, and are now waiting for a baby to be available. It'll be several months before they actually have baby in hand.

Friday we mostly lounged around -- went downtown for a bit and walked in the park, then came back and made dinner. Greek food for them, plus Tom and Roshani and Zoe and Adam. We ended up with seven adults for dinner -- our biggest dinner party yet; we had to pull out one of the leaves of the table. Very satisfying. I get *so* domestic sometimes...it's pleasant. (That's Bryan in black and white, btw -- Kevin in color. :-)