Doldrums

Jun. 15th, 2016 04:49 pm
ksmith: (Default)

Two and a half weeks until Thrillerfest, which means not really the doldrums. More like, I should be thinking about what to pack but I can’t face it yet. I have a lot to work to do between now and then, so instead I’m dicking around online in search of bars in NYC that make sazeracs. Taking recs for food trucks and restaurants.

I get a year older during the visit. Born on the 4th, me. Looking forward to an NYC fireworks display. Also, walking the High Line, the Hudson Riverwalk. Puttering. I love New York. I really do.

And then there’s the con itself. I have a cool panel on Friday morning at 1020am:

WEREWOLVES, VAMPIRES OR WITCHES? Thrillers On The Wild Side
Panel Master: Heather Graham
Kelley Armstrong
Mell Corcoran
Christine Feehan
Alex Gordon
Donna Grant
Alexandra Ivy

Then I get to go to panels, sign some books, talk to folks, fangirl, etc etc. Hoping for decent weather.

Reading–I am ashamed to admit that I don’t read as much as I used to. I mean, I read a lot online–news and political blogs. Science articles. But as for fiction…I must have well over 200 books in my electronic TBR stack (we won’t even talk about the jammed bookcases). I finished Robin McKinley’s SUNSHINE a few weeks ago, and loved it. Wanted to start something else, but I have research to do and that means nonfiction. That current book is THE EPIGENETICS REVOLUTION by Nessa Carey, and I should be way further along than I am.

I feel…guilty. Writers should read. It’s a major tool in the kit. It’s the primary way to learn what’s out there.

Also, it’s fun.

I have some beta-reads on tap, so I can rebuild the reading muscles that way. Then there are some golden oldies: MR James, Terry Pratchett, Preston & Child. Honestly, if someone stranded me on a desert island with my iPad and a solar charger, I’d be fine for at least a year. Two, possibly.

Oh well, back to something resembling work.

Mirrored from .

ksmith: (Default)

It’s available for preorder over at Amazon. The other ebook purveyors may take a few days.

Cover by Dave Smeds:

Smith-LawofSurvival600x900

Mirrored from Taking notes along the way.

ksmith: (teashop)

…on a rainy, cold, grey winter day.

NYT bestselling author Jack Campbell had some nice things to say about the Jani Kilian books in the latest issue of SFSignal:

an excellent read steeped in espionage and double-dealing that captures the reality of it all better than most thrillers set in the modern day.

It always makes me feel good when folks who know say that I nailed aspects of Jani’s life/experiences.

Still trying to work out a deal to reissue the books. When something finally works out, I will scream it from the mountaintops. Or dune tops, seeing as this is NE Illinois.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (seal of approval)

Joshua Palmatier, author of a couple of fantasy series, also edited two DAW anthologies with fellow fantasist Patricia Bray. Those anthos were handled by Tekno Books, which is no more. So, Joshua is going to try to kickstart a small press specializing in original anthologies–the link will take you to the Kickstarter page, where you may view the project video and kick in a few bucks if you wish.

Or, you can view the video here:

I think this is a cool project. I contributed a tale to one of Joshua’s and Patricia’s anthos, The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity, and enjoyed writing the story. If there are more anthos, there could be more opportunities for me to have fun, and I’m all for that.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

Mind Meld

Oct. 3rd, 2012 01:07 am
ksmith: (me)

Not the Vulcan kind. The SFSignal kind.

I’ve an entry in this week’s Meld. Check it out.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (siren song)

Came upon this link in today’s Lunch Links posting over at The Washington Monthly. I have to get this book:


In 1997 physicist Francis Slakey set out to climb the highest mountain on every continent and surf every ocean – he dubbed it the first “global surf-and-turf.” In his recently published memoir, To the Last Breath: A Journey of Going to Extremes, he describes the geophysics of waves, the body’s physiological breakdown at high-altitude, and the technology of climbing, as well as the people he encounters and the challenges he endures on his 12-year journey.

The section excerpted in last month’s Scientific American describes the effects of a low-oxygen environment on the human body. There is some telling, but mostly, it shows. It is harrowing:


As I made my way down the southeast ridge of Everest, with Ang Nima and Jim Williams now a few hundred feet above me, I saw a climber from our team, Bob Clemey, on his knees, gloves at his side, with his bare hands delicately gliding over the surface of the snow.

Depleted and needing warmth, Clemey saw with absolute clarity that a rock protruding from the snow was glowing red hot. He realized that lava from the very core of the earth was lifted up to the surface of Everest and was heating that rock. So he stripped off his gloves and began warming his hands over the rock like it was a campfire.

In reality, there was no glowing red rock, no lava. There was just a climber with bare hands frozen as solid as clubs, fingers gripping snow in a twenty-below-zero blizzard.

Clemey’s oxygen tanks were drained. There was no way of knowing how long he had been there or when he had run out of oxygen.

Our second crisis had begun.

The first crisis is described earlier in the section.

I have to get this book.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (siren song)

Stayed up until 3am finishing GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. It’s her third book. Hit #1 on the NYT.

No spoilers. I will say that Flynn writes broken people, broken relationships, very, very well. I feel an immediacy with her work that I don’t find in most anything else I read. I would not want to live in her worlds, and I wouldn’t want to know most of her characters. But I still want to know what happens to them, and that’s a gift.

In some reviews, I’ve seen quibbling about the ending. I understand why Flynn worked it the way she did. For me, it lacked the impact, the “oh, shit” reverberations, of the ending of SHARP OBJECTS. But not all books by an author who is good at “oh, shit” endings will have “oh, shit” endings. Nor should they–as time goes on, they can become their own brand of cliche, with the author twisting the plot to fit instead of letting it work itself out as it would.

I think the fact that I am still pondering the ending gives an idea of the type of ending it was. Twisty, dark, psych. Troubling.

Flynn’s second book, DARK PLACES, in on my TBR pile. I think I will move it up.

In other news, I really should stay out of hardware stores. Because I stopped by the local big box yesterday to get bird seed, and decided to look at rain gauges.** Perfectly nice plastic gauges on display, but nooooooo. I had to get the fancy brass and glass one with the hummingbird figure on top. It’s out in the veggie raised bed now, the only place with enough surrounding clearance to allow for anything close to an accurate reading. Looks like a rain system is slanting down from Wisconsin. Here’s hoping that some of the wet stuff winds up here. Brass and glass siren song. Fill me…fill me….

The garbage and recycling are out on the curb. Grilled enough swordfish yesterday for leftovers, so I don’t have to cook. I could do a load of laundry, I guess.

It’s noon already. Why do Sundays go so fast?

**yes, I know we’re in the middle of a drought. But hope springs eternal. Let Mother Nature see it as a candle left burning in the window. Rain, come home!!

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (mickey)

Today is the official release day for The Modern Fae’s Guide to Surviving Humanity. Should be available in all the usual places, both paper and ebook.

And we have a really nice review by Richard Marcus at SeattlePi. He gives “Continuing Education” a nice call-out on page 2 of the review. Overall, he seemed to really like the book and calls all the tales “…equally captivating.”

Always nice when the first review you see is a good one.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (me)

Desert Island films–the five films I would want with me if I ever washed up on some distant shore with my solar-powered DVD player:

Kill Bill Vols. 1&2 (counts as one film because they are one film)

Constantine (and don’t tell me how miscast Keanu Reeves was. I never read the graphic novels on which the movie was based. I only know this version of the story, and I like it fine)

A Christmas Carol (the Alastair Sim version)

WALL-E (for that first half-hour, especially)

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban (it’s my favorite movie of the bunch for the promise of a family for Harry, and the relatively happy ending)

Top 5 Desert Island books (paper version, because otherwise it’s every book I own on an e-reader and then what’s the point of lists?):

Good Omens
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy/Smiley’s People (cheating, but it’s really one story)
Mapp & Lucia (the omnibus. really cheating here)
Feet of Clay (hard to pick a favorite Discworld novel, but I have to go with this one because it features my favorite bit of Vimes-Vetinari repartee)
Lords & Ladies (2nd favorite Discworld novel, and the first one I ever read. I didn’t know who was the character who spoke ALL IN CAPS. I thought he was just some wizard. And because a Nanny & Granny book is a necessity)

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (balance_books)

My contributor’s copy of MODERN FAE’S GUIDE TO SURVIVING HUMANITY. It’s a real book!

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (snowsuit)

A “Saskatchewan Screamer” whipped through Thursday night into Friday morning, leaving a couple inches of heart attack snow in its wake. Lots of folks got 6+ inches, but stuff around here fell as rain until well after midnight, so I guess I lucked out. Didn’t have to shovel it in the morning, and much of it had melted by the time I got home from the day job. Today, it’s temps in the 20s and some blue sky showing through the clouds. The spirea had started to bud and the daffs to push up through the ground–not sure what this winter rehash is going to do to them.

I may plant tomato seeds in starter trays this week. I want to keep the number of plants in the raised bed down to around four, so of course I bought 5 varieties of seeds: Arkansas Traveler, Black Cherry, 2 types of Heinz, and Sunset’s Red Horizon. Then the store tossed in a freebie pack of German Striped Stuffers, which despite sounding vaguely rude is actually a stripedy tomato made for stuffing. Not a fan of stuffed tomatoes, so I may give them a pass.

I don’t think I’ll plant mesclun this year. It always comes up, but it takes up a lot of room that I think I would rather give over to basil and other herbs. Gonna keep it simple. No peppers or garlic or anything else. Tomatoes and herbs.

I have not run in three weeks. Knees, this time, a sensation of tightness on the insides of both. The left is way worse than the right, and is actually still bugging me a bit. Fear of gaining back all the weight I lost drove me to the foot doctor, who ordered a different type of orthotic. Unfortunately, those are still about two weeks away, and in the meantime I’m afraid to do anything. I may try plain old walking next week, but it was the speed work that knocked the pounds off and I dare not try that until I get the new inserts.

My problems are two-fold, very high arches combined with right leg about 1/3″ shorter than the left. Can’t fix the height difference because the right ankle has compensated over the years and hurts like hell if it can’t underpronate to its heart’s content.

I never realized I had all these problems until I started to try to, you know, exercise and be healthy.

In actual book news, Modern Fae’s Guide hits the shelves the week after next, March 6, to be exact. Available for pre-order in all the usual places.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (raindog)

Rain all day yesterday and most of the night. I had been able to take the dog towels off the floor over the course of the week, but now they’re back down and already a mess. Supposed to clear today, after which comes the cold. Possibilities of light snow, though not enough to require firing up of the snow thrower.

Why do I have a feeling that my having acquired said snow thrower pretty much guarantees a mild, snowless winter? November was unseasonably mild, and December is starting the same way. But snow means clean puppy paws, at least until the dread March thaw. Constant rain means that there won’t be enough dog towels in the world.

Baked more cookies yesterday, as the crystallized ginger I had ordered from King Arthur arrived. This was soft chopped ginger, however, which I learned means that it comes packed in some of its syrup. I took care to leave liquid behind when I took out what was needed, but it still meant more liquid in the cookies. This dough came out a bit stickier than usual, but the cookies are more moist inside and have more of a gingery bite. I may stick with this type of ginger in the future, although if I used 100% all-purpose flour instead of 50:50 white:white w/w, the dough would likely be waaaaay too sticky/wet.

Quiet day. Harry Potter movies playing in the background. Working through the morning. Dinner will consist of breaded/fried beef liver with roasted veggies and mashed potatoes. I love liver. Call it a weakness.

Currently reading Richard Kadrey’s KILL THE DEAD, and liking it. Lucifer is my favorite character so far. Go figure.

Mirrored from Kristine Smith.

ksmith: (oops)
At NADWcon, I tried to get a copy of Gaiman's *NEVERWHERE,* but Greg/Dreamhaven didn't have any...which has turned out not to matter since I found a copy buried in the chair TBR pile.
ksmith: (oops)
At NADWcon, I tried to get a copy of Gaiman's *NEVERWHERE,* but Greg/Dreamhaven didn't have any...which has turned out not to matter since I found a copy buried in the chair TBR pile.
ksmith: (raindog)
A light posting day. A holiday.

Rain fell overnight, wiping out most of the snowpack. The front yard contains vast expanses of bare. I can see the scant remains of a pumpkin, orange against the brown. We even had thunder, which alarmed King. But there was only the single peal, so he settled eventually. The deck, sidewalks, and driveway are now clean of slush and snow, which is good because the temp is expected to drop 30 degrees (F) between today and tomorrow. That should turn any remaining snow into slippery cement. Yea. But at least the mud will freeze. I'm not ready for mud season yet.

Three seed catalogs arrived in the mail yesterday--I need to decide what to plant this year. Basil, tomatoes, peppers, definitely. Lettuces, probably. That won't leave room for much else in the raised beds, so I may need to think about pots. So far, I'm keeping the potted thyme and curly parsley going indoors, so I may have those covered. But I would like tarragon and maybe oregano.

The sun is making an appearance, and some blue sky is visible through the cloud. A very welcome sight. I know it won't stay long, but I'll take what I can get.

Currently reading the Winter installment of Liz Williams' DIARY OF A WITCHCRAFT SHOP, and enjoying it immensely. I recall some of the entries as LJ posts, but events have been filled in and expanded upon. Even picked up on something that will help me with the wip, which is just icing on the cake.

Many writers have a knack, a gift, something they do particularly well. With some, it's plot twists, with others, dialogue. IMO, Liz's gift is her ability to set a scene, to describe surroundings in a few quick stokes that have you hearing the laughter in a pub or feeling the chill morning air or hearing the beat of the swans' wings as they take to the air and glide across the levels. I'd rank her with Le Carré in that respect, and I'm not blowing smoke. It's my standard and Liz meets it and it's a gift I envy.

I hope Liz is still taking subscriptions. If she is, sign up if you can. If you do, you'll receive tales of the retail life with some history of Druidism and Wicca and life with dogs and cats added for seasoning. Highly recommended.

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