Friday, May 26th, 2017 07:19 pm
I read several of Rumer Godden's novels in my teens, and loved her delicate capturing of the transition between childhood and adulthood, so when I found a couple of her books in the Oxfam bookshop recently I couldn't resist buying them. The River is a very short book, the story of Harriet, the second child in a European family living on the banks of a river in East Bengal (based, as the introduction makes clear, on Godden's own childhood home), during the course of an Indian winter which is the start of growing up for her, bringing her first real experiences of birth, death, love and loss, as well as her discovery of a talent for writing. It's quite insubstantial, and I didn't love it as much as I loved some of Godden's longer novels when I read them, but it's beautifully written and perfectly captures the confusion and isolation of suddenly not being a child any more, but still not being a grown-up.
Friday, May 26th, 2017 01:24 pm

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

I have just finished watching season 1 of Skin Wars on a friend’s recommendation. It is very very far from my usual sort of thing: it’s a reality show that’s a competition in body painting. My friend promised that it was very low on the interpersonal cattiness/drama, with lots of very skilled work and a certain amount of people learning stuff about their art, learning from each other. New art and learning? Hey, I’m there for that. And I was immediately hooked, and I will definitely watch the other two seasons, especially since my friend is a person who would have warned me if there was a lot of body-shaming weirdness in store.

One of the things that fascinates me is that the artists involved in this were often financially struggling–it’s not a fast route to fame and fortune–and they had pretty well-entrenched justifications for why they deserved success that were not always easy to dislodge by circumstances that really should have dislodged them. Examples:

I have put in the time. I have worked long hours. This is a competition with firmly set time limits, around each piece and around the competition as a whole. Each artist gets literally exactly the same amount of time. There are no examples of artists putting their feet up and being done early, and beyond that here is absolutely no way for anyone to put in more time than anyone else. Eventually this got clarified to:

I have put in the time. I spent my whole life learning this. Finally someone turned to the person who kept repeating this and said, how old are you? and determined that they were very close to the same age. And that they had both spent their whole life learning it, so…yeah. Not a distinguishing feature. I’ve seen both of these at conventions, though: I have devoted more time to science fiction than the other people at my day job! And I’ve seen a certain amount of it in various factions in the field who are convinced that they are the ones who are truly, deeply devoted–and that that kind of devotion has to be what matters. (Spoiler: it does not have to be. Sorry.)

I need it the most. My living conditions are worse than other people’s without recognition. There are indeed need-based scholarships for various types of study, and I’m very glad. But they’re usually clearly labeled, and “I like your art a lot” and “I think you need money” are not actually the same thing–and “you should like my art a lot because I need money” doesn’t actually work very well.

I need it the most. I poured my heart into this piece. “You should like my art a lot because I need validation” does not turn out to work better than “you should like my art a lot because I need money.” It is often a great idea to pour your heart into art. I recommend it. Then make more art and pour your heart into that. Also technique at the same time.

I have the most technical skills. Ever heard a pianist play Hanon? They are finger exercises. They are finger exercises, they are to make you a technically better pianist, and nobody plays them in concert because they are no fun to listen to. (Or play. Freakin’ Hanon.) Okay, okay, they have a certain hypnotic power, they can be impressive, but…at the end of the day if you are showing up and playing Hanon, nobody is buying your book, your painting, or in the most literal sense, tickets to your piano concert. (Freakin’ Hanon.)

It is apparently really, really hard to say, “Mine is good. Here is what I did well. Look at this part. I deserve this because mine is really good art. I combined the technical and the creative, this has thought and feeling and everything it’s supposed to have, and who cares whether I picked up those skills in two minutes or ten million hours, who cares whether someone else thinks that they are overall better than me and paid their dues more than me, here is the thing I made, it doesn’t come with dues, it comes with awesome.”

It is even harder to say, “I don’t know what’s missing. I did everything right. It’s just not happening for me. Can you help me see what’s going wrong in my piece?” And sometimes there are ten million answers, and sometimes there’s one answer, and sometimes there…isn’t. And sometimes the artificial contest structure of a reality show has made something happen that reality doesn’t support, it has made a thing where there is a winner and a loser where actually in a group of ten there might be three pieces that really work and four that don’t and three that meh, or ten that meh, or any other combination of numbers.

But the attachment to previous explanations of why you deserve it, the strength of that: that really got fascinating for me, and I will be riveted to see whether that continues for future seasons.

Friday, May 26th, 2017 09:30 am
I've decided to track what I do in a day, in 30 minute increments. I already have some observer effect, as I have only spent 30 minutes goofing around on the internet.

I'm not sure how long I should continue the experiment. I think for the month of June? 
Friday, May 26th, 2017 08:23 am

I made a few teensy exceptions to my rules that books for this promotion had to be November releases. One friend had a re-release, one November release was short fiction that I used to bump mention of the related book, and when I mentioned the project on the Bella Books facebook group, a couple of my fellow Bella authors with October releases asked it I could include them too--which I did when I found I had some space open at the end of the month. (Ordinarily, I try to avoid scope creep because it hits my anxiety buttons.) I'm re-arranging the planned schedule a bit to move those Bella books into the next few days because...Bella Books is having a weekend sale! 17% off all orders over $17.

Tempered Steele: Hard Edges by M. E. Logan is a follow-up to the post-apocalyptic dystopian  romantic adventure Tempered Steele: Stoking the Fire.

After a nearly apocalyptic earthquake engendered a societal breakdown, visionary Deborah Steele returned to her isolated family farm and turned it into a safe haven for women to escape from the increasingly misogynistic and dystopian world around them. Her fair and open system of contracting labor for food, shelter and security has bound them together and ensured their survival. So far… 

Outside the farm, however, others are using a contract system as a form of human trafficking. And Deborah’s attempts to protect her estranged love, Joanna Davis, will soon bring the women’s community unwanted visibility, putting them all in danger and forcing Deborah to choose between the sanctuary she has built and the woman she still loves. 

It doesn't take a dystopia for women to need to struggle against misogyny and a society that exploits their labor and denies them a full life. Challenging those forces will always put them in danger, whether of overt violence or the no less hazardous rejection of society. In Mother of Souls, Luzie Valorin faces the choice between acceding to those who think her musical skills are only suitable for domestic amusements--or to support a man's career--and reaching out to sieze the chance for greatness. Perhaps even to change the fate of Europe with her compositions!

The Great November Book Release Re-Boot is a blog series talking about November 2016 releases that may have been overshadowed by unfortunate political events. And at the moment, some of those books are on sale!

Friday, May 26th, 2017 09:41 am
Happy birthday, [personal profile] aedifica and [personal profile] the_rck!
Friday, May 26th, 2017 02:28 pm
... the Manchester thing hit me pretty hard, and then yesterday I had a migraine to the extent where I could just about manage twitter on night mode in a darkened room but not much else.

So if I missed anything important, I'm sorry xx
Friday, May 26th, 2017 11:05 am
Welcome to the Friday the 26th of May edition of Gallifrey Times!

Editor's Note: I had a horrific migraine yesterday, so you're getting a bumper edition today.

- Discussion, Reactions, Reviews and News -
- Podcasts and Audiovisual Discussion -
- Challenges, Prompts and Announcements relating to Fanworks -
- Fanworks -

Fic: (rating; characters/pairings)
GIFsets, Caps, and Photosets:
Podfic and Fanvids

GT aims to cover Doctor Who Universe news and fan activity on Dreamwidth and beyond. If you'd like to be added to our watch list, please leave a comment here. Questions? If you can't find the answer on our profile, you can contact the editors by commenting on any edition of the newsletter.
Friday, May 26th, 2017 12:15 pm
I didn't really get a chance to catch my breath about the citizenship, because of the job interview appearing so quickly on its heels. Now that I've got the inevitable rejection out of the way, I'm starting to think a little more about it again.

I've been forgetting about it, or I've been at best excited that I have my passports back. I really underestimated how much I would hate being without them (plural because the expired one has my proof of Indefinite Leave to Remain in it, which is my proof I can work here and hopefully what keeps the border guards at Manchester Airport from being completely awful to me whenever I come back, so the expired passport is still an integral part of the deal).

Working on my book (I owe Kickstarter an update too). I am so stressed about it at this point, but Andrew's looking at what I have today and assures me it's not as bad as I feared and it's not as far from being done as I feared either.

And [personal profile] po8crg and [personal profile] haggis are taking me out for dinner tonight to celebrate my UK citizenship, so that should help make it seem a bit more real!
Friday, May 26th, 2017 10:42 am

apparently, anyway :)

I don’t know what I’m doing instead of blogging, since I’m on the computer all the damn time. (That’s not true. I know what I’m doing instead of blogging: watching the fall of the American nation in real time.)

We had a college friend visit in early May. We had a wonderful time with her. We saw a steam train in Dublin, and went to the zoo (where, as we were lecturing/answering Indy on some topic, switching back and forth with providing information, and ending by saying exactly the same words, together, I was reminded of going to a concert with her when we were in college and somebody telling us what a cute couple we were (we said thank you), and I said to her, “You remember that? Those same people listening to us right now would be delighted we were still such a cute couple,” and she laughed :)), and ate fudge (“This,” she said, in raptures, “this is like the chocolate in a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie straight out of the oven,” which she knows about because one of her superpowers, thanks to growing up in a bakery, is an ability to eat chocolate chip cookies while molten. She can literally eat them straight out of the oven. “NOOOOOOOO!” she tells other people as she shoves cookies out of the oven and into her mouth, “YOU’LL MELT YOUR MOUTH INTO A CAVE OF BURNING PAIN!”

“Pah!” say other people. “YOU’RE eating them, they must be fiOH GOD OH GOD MY MOUTH IS A CAVE OF BURNING PAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN”) and she struggled with Irish bread bag “twist ties” (which are not twist ties, but stickers that you wrap around the closed neck of the bread bag), so I showed her how to open them and she muttered, “We need never speak of this again,” and I said, “Sure, by which I mean, I’m totally posting it online,” and she told me about Amish superhumans and she and Ted went out to dinner at our favourite restaurant, the Lebanese one in Dublin, where, when Ted came in with another woman, they were like “ER WHAT’S GOING ON HERE WHERE’S CATIE?” and Ted was like “Catie made the reservations! SHE KNOWS I’M OUT WITH ANOTHER WOMAN!” and this was a very long sentence which I feel touches on how much fun we had. :)

Then Trump fired Comey and I didn’t blog any of this because (see above, re: fall of American nation).

And then Trump revealed classified information to the Russians and I (see above).

After that it was our anniversary and we got to go to a movie together for the first time we could remember in at least a year and possibly almost three years (the last movie we’re SURE we saw together was GotG1). We went to King Arthur: Legend of the Sword which was better than I expected it to be. It had roughly as much to do with the Arthurian legend as Disney’s Pocahontas had to do with Pocahontas, but it did a couple of REALLY nice things with the sword-in-the-stone aspect of the story, and the magic was really quite good. Also–don’t get me wrong, I loved the bad guy’s design, but–every time it came on screen I thought “So Guy Ritchie spent his formative years staring at Frank Frazatta paintings and thinking I totally want to make one of these a bad guy in a big movie someday,” and he by god did. I could have done with a bit more explanation in a couple places and about, mmm, fifteen minutes less movie overall, but by the end of it I was like, “Yeah, I’d go watch another one of these,” so it’s too bad it’s made absolutely no money. :)

And then some asshole blew up a concert in Manchester and etc.

That pretty much brings us to this week. I’ve been going to the gym, more or less. I wanted to be able to bike there, so I was looking for a second-hand bike, and a friend said “lo, I have one!” so I collected it last night and now I have a bike! ♥! I saw the PT yesterday who crunckled and twisted and tugged and pushed on me and it was great and amazing. I went to Colossal, which is a pretty good movie that is *not* what it says on the tin. I’ve gotten all the ATLANTIS FALLEN Kickstarter rewards sent out, and I’ve sent BEWITCHING BENEDICT to the editor for line edits and I’ve gotten line edits for REDEEMER back from her, so things are moving along there.

So how have you been? O.O

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Friday, May 26th, 2017 08:00 am

Posted by editor

Hey, thank you so much for backing our Kickstarter! We’re working hard to get Book Two and your various rewards out as soon as possible! <3 Molly and Brennan
Friday, May 26th, 2017 05:38 am
[Image] When you play Ghosts Love Candy, it's Halloween, and you're an adorable specter floating through the neighborhood in search of your favorite sweet treats. Choose the right trick-or-treaters to haunt for their candy - lollipops, chocolate, candy corn, and more - but be careful not to scare the kids off! Will you be the ghost to nab the most sugary snacks? Or will another apparition snag your treats before you get them? 

If that sounds like fun to you, you're in luck. This June, Steve Jackson Games and nearly 200 game stores around the United States and Canada will host a #GhostsLoveCandy Game Day in June! Most events will be held the weekend of June 16, but call your local store ahead of time to confirm the exact date and time of their ghostly gathering. 

Each event will feature demos of the game, plus promo cards and promo finger puppets. And don't forget, while you're trying out the game, post photos to social media with #GhostsLoveCandy. Tag @SJGames on Twitter and Facebook, and @SteveJacksonGames on Instagram, and you'll be automatically entered to win prizes. Tag your store in the post, too, so the store will be entered to win a separate retailer prize. 

Want to check out the game before the event? Watch our live unboxing and how-to-play videos to get the inside scoop.

Here are the event locations. Happy haunting! 


British Columbia 

Comic Encounters - Terrace 
K-Max Games & Videos - Quesnel 


A Muse N Games - Winnipeg 


Thunder Games & Gifts - Thunder Bay  
Twice The Fun Games - Kemptville 


Comic Readers (Downtown) - Regina 



Bud's Place Games and Comics - Leeds 
Game Time Hobbies - Opelika 
Haven: Comics Etc. - Madison 
Quality Collectibles - Jasper 

Bosco's - Anchorage 

Gamer Utopia - Rogers
Imagine! Hobbies and Games - Sherwood  

Game Depot Arizona - Tempe 
Isle of Games - Tucson


All Ways Gaming - Chatsworth
B & E Games - San Jose 
Davis Cards & Games - Davis
Empire Collectibles Comic Books & Games - San Diego 
Game Empire - San Diego
Gator Games & Hobby - San Mateo 
Green Tower Games - Santa Clarita 
North Coast Role Playing - Eureka 
Ottos Video Games and More - Bakersfield 
Pair A Dice Games - Vista 
Paladin's Game Castle - Bakersfield 
Paper Hero's Games - Sherman Oaks 
Shuffle and Cut Games - La Habra 
So Cal Games and Comics - Temecula 
The Game Chest - Mission Viejo 
The War House - Long Beach 
Game Kastle Santa Clara - Santa Clara
Comic Cult Torrance - Torrance


Black & Read Inc. - Arvada 
Digital Dungeon - Greeley 
Shep's Games - Aurora 
Total Escape Games - Broomfield 

Time Machine Hobby LLC. - Manchester 

Arena Comics and Gaming - Panama City 
Dark Side Comics - Sarasota 
Gods & Monsters - Orlando
Heroes Landing Comic Shop - Clermont 
Kitchen Table Games - St. Petersburg 
Dogs of War Gaming - Palm Bay 
Coliseum of Comics - Orlando

Meeple Madness - Flowery Branch
Tyche's Games - Athens 

Other Realms Ltd The Comic & Game Specialist - Honolulu

All About Games Downtown - Boise 
Safari Pearl - Moscow 

Amazing Fantasy Comics and Games - Frankfort 
Castle Perilous Games & Books - Carbondale 
Off On The Square - Jacksonville 
The Paper Escape - Dixon
Top Cut Comics - Rockford 
Dizzy Dugout - Collinsville 
HobbyTown USA Orland Park - Orland Park 

Comic Quest Inc. - Evansville
GameQuest - Fort Wayne
Empire Comics - New Albany 
Hometown Comics and Games - Greenfield 
JustForFun - Peoria 
Merlin's Beard - Lafayette 
Reader Copies - Anderson 
Saltire Games - Indianapolis 
The Sage's Shoppe - West Lafayette 
The Traveling Gamer - Walkerton 

Acme Comics & Collectibles - Sioux City 
Critical Hit Games - Iowa City 
Geek City Games and Comics - North Liberty 
Mayhem Comics Des Moines - Clive 

Game Nut Entertainment Iowa St - Lawrence 
Game Nut Entertainment Massachusetts St - Lawrence
Hometown Games - Lawrence 
TableTop Game & Hobby - Overland Park  

BluegrassMagic Gameshop - Louisville 
Cafe Meeples - Richmond
Comic Book World - Florence 
Comics 2 Games, LLC - Florence 

Go4Games - Metairie 

Game On - Augusta 
The Dragon's Lair - Norway 
Weekend Anime - Westbrook

Dream Wizards - Rockville 
Walt's Cards - Baltimore 

Comicazi - Somerville 
Round Table Games - Carver 
Video Game Castle - Chicopee
New England Comics New Bedford - New Bedford 

Backstage Hobbies & Games - Ludington
Dreams of Conquest - Bay City 
Flat Land Game Store - Wixom 
R.I.W. Hobbies - Livonia 
Squirreled Away Books - Armada 
TC Paintball - Traverse City 
The Gaming Cantina - Charlotte 
Topps Trade Center - Benton Harbor 
White Cap Comics - Grand Rapids 
Ziege Games - Howell 
Mike's Comics and Games - New Baltimore 


Collector's Connection - Duluth 
Lionheart Games - Waite Park 
Paddy's Game Shoppe - St. Cloud 


Caster's Den - Iuka 
Tupelo Sportscards - Tupelo 

CCYDNE Hobbies - Lebanon 
Thompson Productions L.L.C. - Warrensburg  

Orion's Keep Games - Hamilton 

Game On - Grand Island 
Game On - Kearney 
Game On - McCook 
Game On - North Platte 
Gauntlet Games - Lincoln
HobbyTown USA Lincoln - Lincoln 

Frank-N-Fred Comics & Cards - Elko
Games Galore - Reno
Little Shop of Magic - Las Vegas 
New Hampshire 

The Broken Lance - Farmington 
The Relentless Dragon - Nashua 
New Jersey 

All Things Fun! - Trenton 
Fairy Glen - Howell
Hobbymasters - Red Bank 
New Mexico 

Zia Comics and Gaming - Las Cruces 
New York 

Brooklyn Game Lab - Brooklyn 
Cloud Giant - New Hartford 
Flights of Fantasy Books & Games - Albany 
North Carolina 

Bear's Lair Games - New Bern 
Cape Fear Games - Wilmington 
DreamDaze Comics Fun & Games Inc. - Wilson 
Hillside Games - Asheville 
The Gamer's Armory - Cary 

Beyond The Board - Dublin 
Comic Shop Plus - Newark 
Diversions - Newbury 
Flying Monkey Comics and Games - Delaware 
Fun Factory - Mount Gilead 
Heroes and Games - Columbus 
HobbyPop Shop - Cincinnati 
Next Level Gaming Center - Gallipolis 
Recess - North Olmsted 
Sci-Fi City Cincinnati - Cincinnati 
The Rook OTR - Cincinnati 
Toledo Game Room - Toledo 

Funagain Games Eugene - Eugene 
Guardian Games - Portland 
Rainy Day Games - Aloha 
Red Castle Games - Portland 
The Portland Game Store - Portland 
Wild Things Games - Salem 
Funagain Games Ashland - Ashland 

Comics Store West - York 
Firefly Bookstore - Kutztown 
Gamers Heaven - Phoenixville 
Showcase Comics and Games Bryn Mawr - Bryn Mawr 
Six Feet Under Games - New Holland 
The Brothers Uber - Grove City 
South Carolina 

Cornermagic Gaming Center - Piedmont 
Firefly Toys & Games - Columbia 

Hall of Heroes - Ripley 

8th Dimension Comics & Games - Houston 
Bedrock City Games Westheimer - Houston 
Black Dog Enterprises - Lubbock 
Cards and Comics Connection - Conroe 
Childs' Play: Games & Geekery - New Braunfels 
Collected TCU - Fort Worth 
Common Ground Games - Dallas 
Court of Gamers - San Antonio 
Dimensions Comics - Seabrook 
Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy - Houston 
Dragon's Lair Comics & Fantasy - Austin 
Emerald Tavern Games and Cafe - Austin 
Fleur Fine Books - Port Neches 
Madness Comics and Games - Denton 
Space Cadets Gaming Gaming - Oak Ridge North 
Three Suns Unlimited - Longview 
Wonko's Toys & Games - Austin 

Game Night Games - Salt Lake City 
High Gear Hobbies - Taylorsville 

Comics & Gaming Fairfax - Fairfax 
Kaboom - Virginia Beach 

Dice Age Games - Vancouver 
Fantasium Comics and Games - Federal Way 
The Dragon's Hoard Games & Collectibles - Silverdale 
Calico Toy Shoppe - Bainbridge Island 
West Virginia 

Nerd Rage Morgantown - Morgantown 
The Industry WV Game Center/J & M's Used Bookstore - Parkersburg 

Gnome Games Appleton East - Appleton 
Gnome Games Green Bay West - Green Bay 
The GameBoard - Sheboygan 
Lake Geneva Games - Lake Geneva 

Games of Chance - Riverton 

Ariel Barkhurst

Warehouse 23 News: The Road To Adventure Is Now Open!

Undertake a journey where East meets West in GURPS Hot Spots: The Silk Road. Discover the history, culture, people, food, and faith of this historical region . . . and unleash the campaign ideas herein to add this realm to your own game! Download it today, only from Warehouse 23.
Thursday, May 25th, 2017 11:42 pm
Today was cold and grey and generally sucked and the first three restaurants I thought to check for borscht didn't have it on the menu at the moment (and the fourth was two states away), but we walked out to Inman despite the drizzling rain and I had a bowl of borscht with sour cream at the S&S and it was extremely satisfying.

1. I am very glad to read that the revised travel ban continues to be ruled unconstitutional.

2. This is a very sweetly drawn comic about bisexuality.

3. Courtesy of [personal profile] gaudior: an appreciation of the Mahler's 6th mallet. I feel someone should point Hurra Torpedo at this symphony.

In conclusion: borscht.
Thursday, May 25th, 2017 11:33 pm
Writing in the aftermath of the Manchester attack, The Guardian's Alexis Petridis writes about how his understanding of the pop music concert changed when he saw the impact that it had on his daughter. It points the young child to the possibility of an exciting adult future.

There was more to the magic than infectious enthusiasm. I have spent a not-insignificant proportion of my working life at pop gigs in arenas filled with kids and teenagers, usually in a state of mild bemusement. I have seen shows I thought were abysmal and shows I thought were impressively slick. I have seen artists treat their audience with something bordering on contempt (there is something incredibly galling about watching a singer who can’t even be bothered to pretend to mime) and artists who genuinely left me open-mouthed (Miley Cyrus, following her decision to abandon her squeaky-clean Disney image for something deliberately provocative). I could make an informed, objective critical judgment about them, but I never fully understood them, never really grasped what they were for, never really got what was going on in the audience, until I saw one through my daughter’s eyes.

It wasn’t just that she was overawed by the spectacle, although she was: stuff I took for granted – lasers, pyrotechnics, confetti cannons, all the usual bells and whistles of a big pop show – were a constant source of overwhelming sensory overload. Nor was it the way her lack of cynicism made me reconsider my own feelings, although that happened too. I have always been deeply suspicious of the kind of rhetoric that modern pop surrounds itself with: all that platitudinous “just be yourself”, “if you dream it you can do it” stuff. But my daughter took it all at face value and I ended up thinking: Well, there’s certainly worse messages you can send out to kids.

But mostly it was the way it gave her a first glimpse of a world that was previously outside her experience, a more adult, or at least more mature world than the one she knew, a world that would one day be her own, and how excited she was to see it, how – as she put it – grown-up it made her feel. She experienced something that transcended her pretty fickle and changeable musical allegiances. Jessie J has long been replaced in her affections – by, among others, Ariana Grande. The selfie she took that night is still on her bedroom wall. If that was true of a seven-year-old being chaperoned by her father, how much more true was it for the kids that were just old enough to be there without their parents, the ones who had relegated their mums and dads to waiting in the foyer or outside in the car?