Just another five minutes, then I'll get up.
So, what do I have to report? The most my family did for Valentine's Day was exchange a card or two. Mason had robotics until almost 5:30 pm, which meant I had time to start our "fake" naan recipe. So, we had a favorite meal, something we call "Indian Butter Chicken" (because that might be what it's called on the box that contains the sauce I make), rice, and naan. Then, because Mason is a teenager, somewhere around 7:30 pm, he says, "Uh... so, I'm supposed to bring some ingredients to Chinese tomorrow, because we're making dumplings again." But AT LEAST he remembered to bring them with him this morning. The night before, he'd stayed up late to do some art-type project for AP Human Geology and then promptly forgot it at home. Luckily, I could text him a picture of it, so his teacher would know that it was, in fact, done on time, even if it didn't make it in on time.
Because today is payday, we're hoping to all go out to Tavern on Grand tonight for fish. Mason has to be at robotics again, because the wrap day (or whatever they call the day that they have to shrink wrap their robot) is coming up early next week. But, Shawn and I are thinking about hitting Roseville Library to browse the shelves and hang out until he's ready to join us. When you think about it, that's pretty romantic. Looking for books together at the library? HOT, am I right???
Also, I have to laugh at myself. You know how I've ALWAYS claimed that the reason I've been unable to write is because I can't write unless I have a contract? THIS APPEARS TO _ACTUALLY_ BE TRUE, much to my chagrin. I have an apocalypse story due the first of April, and, yesterday, I wrote almost 2,000 words on it. What the hell, brain. What the H.E.L.L.
One of my pen pals died. I recently acquired a pen pal in Duluth. Normally, I don't like to have pen pals that I don't know that close. (Like, you live in Minneapolis and we've met or we're on social media together and you want to be my pen pal? SURE!) However, this woman took Friend Books. Friendship Books are a very weird aspect of the pen pal subculture, that are fascinating, but also a burden. I've written about what they are here before, but a quick look at Wikipedia might help you understand how they work: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
But I can't find any information about it. No obit was included. I mean, there's no reason not to believe this, but, wow, what a shock.
Anyway, my eldest cat is staring at me. I'd better get up and fetch her food from the store or she will guilt me wit that amber-eyed stare of hers.
I mean, to be fair, I haven't had much to report in terms of reading lately beyond "my Broad Universe mentee's manuscript," but I did finish My Solo Exchange Diary by Nagata Kabi, which I reviewed here: https://mangakast.wordpress.com/2019/
Yesterday, I was also unaccountably sad to have heard about Opportunity, the Mars rover. I know it lasted much longer than expected and it's _just_ a robot, but I feel like maybe a person is a little bit inhuman if they don't shed a small tear at its final communication: "Battery dying. Everything is going dark." Jesus F*cking Christ, NASA.
Then, on top of that, this morning I turned on the radio to AM950 and heard about the horrific destruction scheduled for the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas, as Trump's bulldozers and border control are seizing PRIVATE PROPERTY with immanent domaine. I'm planning, on payday, of becoming a member in order to help them fight this, legally... even though I don't have a lot of hope that they'll win. And that's it, the frogs and the butterflies and the tiny little owls are all going to die because we're all a bunch of racist pig-sh*ts.
And, Shawn says to me this morning, "Hey, happy Valentine's Day, BBC is reporting that Taiwan voters rejected same-sex marriage."
It's honestly this sh*t that's going to break me.
In happier news, Mason really enjoys judging debate tournaments. He had one last night, at Washington, and he came home almost giddy with stories of the middle schoolers he critiqued and graded. "I'm SO PROUD of them!" he says to me, beaming.
Next Monday we go to the informational meeting for PSEO (Post-Secondary Education Opportunities, a program that allows public school students to attend university for free, particularly if there's need--like for Mason, he's exhausted high school math, as of this year. Technically, he was done with the official HS math curriculum last year, but Washington Tech has a "College In Schools" Calc I class that he's in this year.). Mason also talked to his school councilor who is really supportive (especially after his early PSAT scores) of him going full-time PSEO next year. We're still debating the merits and the drawbacks to that, but the idea that Mason could basically be in college next year is kind of amazing. I think it could potentially be really good for him. He's a funny kid. The more rigorous the class, the better his grades tend to be. If he's in any class where there's a lot of busywork that most people would find to be "low-hanging fruit," (ie easily done), he struggles to do it, because he can't see the point. We tease him that he's the only person who get A+s in Calc I, but can barely pass "Independent Living."
In much happier news, I have a book contract on the horizon.
It's a kind of funny story about how that happened. So, as reported here, Wizard Tower Press has put out an omnibus edition of all 5 of my AngeLINK books. As I was going around posting all the various self-promotion things one does, I came across an email from a fan complaining that she could not get a copy of Song of Secrets a book that Rachel Calish and I wrote together (but which has since been removed by the publisher for various reasons) AND she wanted to know when he heck I was going to get around to publishing that sequel to Precinct 13.
Those who have been following along at home know that i have a large portion of a sequel already written. I was posting it in installments on Wattpad for a while, but then I ran out of steam and never finished it.
WELL. I thought to myself, I wonder if Cheryl Morgan, my publisher at Wizard Tower Press, would be interested in that. Plus, if Cheryl gave me a deadline (and a contract), I might actually get off my depressed BUTT and finish it.
Turns out, Cheryl was more than willing to send me out a contract... so, I now have a deadline of September 2019 to get things into shape. Should be very doable.
I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK CHERYL BEFORE. Thank you, random complainer! Without you, it would NEVER have occurred to me that I could just see if Wizard Tower Press was up for a new novel by me.
So that's kind of big news. It's not official-Official yet, per se, so I'm not shouting it from the rooftop--but, dang near. I have a draft contract in hand and everything looks very much green to go.
It's crazy, but just having this in the works has lifted a huge weight off my shoulders. I feel like a _real_ writer again.
Recently I was a guest on the Breaking the Glass Slipper podcast. BtGS is a feminist SFF podcast that wanted to do more episodes on intersectional issues, so we talked about disability representation in SFF. You can give it a listen here!
(I will confess that I am terrible at listening to podcasts myself, but it can be so much fun to be on them--one gets into good conversations. So we'll see if I can't get better at this.)
- Not-So-Silent Planet: Love and Lust - February 19th, Kieran's Irish Pub, Minneapolis, 8-10PM. I'll be reading some Emily L. Byrne prose, along with readings by other fine local authors and performers and you should come!
- Nerds of a Feather - March 8th. I've got a Six Books Interview going up - I get to recommend some books!
- Running a Small Press - March 21, DreamHaven Books, Minneapolis, 6:30-7:45PM. This is the sequel to my previous presentation on running a small press, this one on how you keep going, what I've learned so far, etc.
- Next up: ClexaCon info, UntitledTown updates, WisCon updates, when I have them
Now for the question: I've got a couple of stories up at Curious Fictions, a newish platform where you can post reprint short fiction, serials, etc., one free, one at the subscriber level. So far, I've got no interest whatsoever - no followers, no subscribers, nada. I'm wondering what, if anything, I could do to make this a more appealing platform for both folks who already like my work and those just discovering it. Should I post more short fiction? Serialize a novel draft? Give up? If I go with the novel draft, it would be my alternate Regency about the Fay trying to stop the Industrial Revolution. I would love to hear from people on this, especially if you're already using the platform as a writer or reader. Thus far, whenever I post public questions along these lines, the only response I get is from the platform operators earnestly informing me that if I just did more work, I could make this site work for me, which is entertaining, but not all that useful. Tell me what you want and I'll see what I can deliver on.
The big thing that happened this week is that Wizard Tower Press published an omnibus collection of all 5 (only four pictured on the cover) of my AngeLINK books in e-format. You can buy them here directly: https://www.wizardstowerbooks.com/shop/
If you can buy it directly through Cheryl Morgan at Wizard Tower Press, she and I would greatly appreciate it. More money goes to us when you do.
In other mundane news, it's snowing like the dickens. We already got at least four more inches over night and it's still snowing. I started to take Mason to school, but had a premonition and turned us around. We'll see what this means when it comes time for me to head off to Maplewood to work tonight. I'm supposed to be there from 5 to 9 pm. If the plows go out, they won't even START on the side streets until 9 pm. I have no idea if any of the side streets will even be passable at that point. Ironically, Mason is supposed to work a few hours at the Science Museum tonight, too, but... I don't know. I guess it's a game of wait and see.
I haven't had much to report on otherwise because a large part of my time has been consumed by reading and critiquing the novel of my Broad Universe mentee. It's slow going because I am meticulous.
I guess that's all I know. How's you?
Analog magazine runs a reader's choice poll called AnLab every year. This year I had one story each place in the categories of Short Story and Novelette. You can see the full list here! Analog provides links to most of these stories (all the ones the authors consented to have on the internet), so you can read all sorts of my peers doing good things.
And! The novelette on the list was reprinted in Clarkesworld last month, but this is the first internet appearance of the short story! I hope you enjoy Finding Their Footing as much as the Analog readers did.
At long last, book two of the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse is out in the world! Today is the official release of Terminal Uprising. In this book, Mops and company return to the ruins of Earth.
We’ve already seen a couple of reviews for this one.
“Subtle absurdist humor permeates the narrative, derived from faulty translations, cultural references without context, and unconventional solutions to problems. Clever characterization and action-packed moments round out this thoroughly satisfying outing.”-Publishers Weekly
“Hines writes a crackling good action scene… Hines is also damn good at banter and witty repartee, and at evoking strong feelings of empathy in the reader … I really enjoyed this novel, and I look forward to another installment in the full course of time. I can’t imagine what Mops and her crew will get up to next — and that’s, of course, four-fifths of the fun.-Liz Bourke, Locus
You can read the first chapter online, if you want to try before you buy (or check out from the library, or whatever).
Finally, I’m hoping to get another newsletter out today, and will probably give a book away to a random subscriber. So sign up now if you want to be included in that giveaway.
Purchase links below. Thank you to all of my readers, and to everyone who checked out the first book, posted reviews, pre-ordered, and/or just offered support and encouragement along the way.
- HARDCOVER: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Mysterious Galaxy | Schuler Books | Indiebound
- EBOOK: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kobo | iBooks
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
I was surprised how much difference this made, though. It's striking -- the grays that were getting shoved up into "white" are a significant range. I can now see the tabs on my Chrome window! Google maps actually shows the roads clearly! There are so many more gradiations! I had no idea!
This probably means that all the highlights in the photo editing I've done in the past several years has been way off, though.
(Also, this did confirm my impression that the default brightness on my new monitor is absurd, though. After taking a room-brightness measurement, the software said basically, "That's bright! Maybe turn down the room lights a bit?" And then it turned out that the monitor should have the brightness dialed down to about 33% to match anyway.)
You come to this cat, on the day his daughter is to be married, and you ask for a favor. Someday, he may call upon you to do a service in return. On that day, you will have a choice – to say “yes” or “no.”
Either answer is acceptable, for this cat understands the difference between friendship and debt.
Originally posted at stories.starmind.org.
I swear now that we're down to three cats (two of which are elderly--technically, "geriatric,") we go through more food than ever.
There was an interesting discussion on someone's FB feel about 'true' morning larks, vs. whatever you call the people for whom the 9 to 5 world is designed to accommodate. This person noted that night owls like to complain that the world is built around larks, but it really isn't. I mean, yes, me much more than them, if only because being to work at 9 am isn't a hardship for me. BUT, I naturally wake up around 6 am (our alarm is set for 5:30 am, though, because of Mason's early start time of 7:20 am.) Waiting for stores to open feels like half of what I do as a lark. Science fiction conventions are even worse for me, because most of the "action" starts well-after I'm ready to head to bed. People always say to me, "Well, just stay up late and sleep in!" Thing about being a lark? Sleeping in, for me, is 7 am. I often _can't_ go back to sleep, no matter how late I was out the night before.
Still, I wouldn't trade. Mornings are still my favorite time to sit and write and get things done. It's when I have the most energy and feel most creative.
My family just sits in bleary-eyed silence while I yammer on about everything on our morning drive into school. This, it should be noted, is me BEFORE I've had coffee.
Anyway, you may have noticed that I'm not reporting my spell-of-the day progress. I may start up again, but I just hit a wall with Llewellyn when I got to the "Youthful Appearance" spell for the new moon. Y'all _know_ what the new moon is, right? It's a night with basically no moonlight. The moon is virtually invisible to the unaided eye. This spell wanted me to go outside with a mirror to "catch the new moon's light." You know, okay, for an anti-aging spell, I suppose I could catch some "anti-"light, but then the author wanted me to also imagine my face "being flooded with moonlight."
THERE ISN'T ANY MOONLIGHT ON NEW MOON. NONE. ZERO. NADA.
Yes, yes, the moon is still there, but the point of the dark moon is that it's dark! Invisible!
So, I just set the book aside and haven't much felt like going back to it yet. I think I will, if only because having a project like this amuses me, but seriously.... wtf, Llewellyn?