Category Archives: daily post

Weekly Post: Talk to the Hand

Word of the Week
furl, v. 1. To gather into a compact roll and bind securely, as a sail against a spar or a flag against its staff. 2. to become furled.
n. 1. The act of furling. 2. something furled, as a roll.

Picked because I use this one a lot. The etymology is uncertain! Either from Middle English ferler, “to fold,” or Old French ferliier, “chain, tie up, lock away.” This word is a hundred years older than “unfurl,” dating to the late 1500s, but most people know unfurl better.

Daughter at 5 Years
Yesterday we were having a nice (now sadly rare) lunch together out at a place with fortune cookies, so at the end of the meal, Child was having her cookie and I snitched a little broken-off crumb of it. To which she laughed and said, “Hey! MOMMY!”

Since Mommy’s mouth was full, she made little puppets out of her hands and they had a “conversation” solely composed of tones I could hum with my mouth closed. I mimicked the rise and fall of their voices as Hand #1 said, “I’m sorry I took part of your cookie!” and Hand #2 said, “It’s okay.” And then I asked her (once I’d swallowed!) what she thought the hands said, and she had a good guess based on the falling notes of Hand #2′s comment. Not the exact right one, though. But it was a fun enough exercise that she made puppets of her hands and tried it too, except her conversation was so long and convoluted there was no hope of me guessing what they said!

So my hand said so, to her hand (with actual talking, this time). And we played puppets that way for a while.

Once finished with lunch, we left the restaurant to head to the car, with Child still having hand conversations with herself. As we headed to the car, I heard her say in her puppet falsetto voice: “Hi! Want to play?”

“I can’t talk right now, someone’s holding my hand!”

Mommy pause. Look down. Yes, we’re crossing the street. Yes I’m holding her hand.

I started laughing and Child grinned at me. “Well, someone is!”

“You’re right,” I said. “I am!”

…and here I thought breaking the fourth wall was some kind of clever conceit that only adults did. It seems it’s something we have to re-learn that we did in childhood, something easy and silly and full of observation of how strange the intersection of reality and our own mental landscapes can be. No wonder it’s so funny: it’s full of the memories of children’s laughter. :)

Creative News/Plans
Believe it or not I’m going to try to relax/do fun things this week, since putting out both books of the trilogy last week was a huge work push. So I’ve been painting for fun: laundry dragons! And I’ve been writing for fun: case studies! But once I’m done with the fun, I have a lot to do; I woke up from a nap Saturday with the realization that re-writing Books 2 and 3 of Her Instruments would be faster than editing them, and strangely having come to that conclusion I feel… lighter, like I’ve taken a weight off my shoulders. So that’s probably the right decision. I’m trying not to think too much about what that means for my schedule. Because I’ll get work done, right? So stressing about which project I’m working on is a bit overmuch. I’m trying to decrease the stress level here.

Other fun stuff: the Wingless audiobook’s first fifteen minutes dropped into my box yesterday, and I have listened, and it was ohhh so good. I am nervous about how good the rest of it is going to be, honestly. I might not be able to handle that much goodness. -_-

Elsewhere (The Fanciful Astronomy Edition)
How the Sky Would Look if the Planets Were as Close as the Moon. Wow, check out Jupiter. O_O
Russian Takes a Private Moon on a Journey Around the World. It’s a lamp! But the photos are fascinating.

Quote of the Week
El mundo cambia con tu ejemplo no con tu opinión. – Paulo Coelho
“The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion.”

April 1st Weekly Post: Tools are Magic.

I’m not into April’s Fools, so you will find no jokes here! Welcome to April, everyone.

Word of the Week
nuque, n. The back of the neck.

From late 1500s, French nucha, “nape,” but apparently goes back to Arabic nukha, “spinal marrow.” While I’m delighted to discover there’s a word for this, somehow I doubt anyone is going to use it. It’s sort of ugly. -_-

Daughter at 5 Years
“I’m going to draw,” I say. “Want to sit with me?”

“Sure!” she says. “Let me get paper!”

So off she goes to fetch some paper while I settle down with the comics I’m working on. When she returns, she says, “Can I use your pen?”

“The one in the kitchen?” I say. “Sure.” When she returns, I ask, “Wouldn’t you rather have a pencil?”

“No,” she says. “I don’t LIKE pencils.”

“How come?” I say. “Pencils are nice! You can erase your mistakes.”

“I don’t like them,” she says. “I don’t like the color gray. Pens are better!”

…at which point Artist Mom has been activated, and vanishes while Child greets her grandmother, who’s just walked into the kitchen, and Daddy, who is making breakfast.

Mommy returns… with pencils. Charcoal pencils, lead holders, mechanical pencils, pencils with every kind of lead from the hardest and thinnest to the softest and darkest. “This is a pencil!” I say, and make a thick dark mark. “And this is a pencil!” Thin and silvery. “And this is a pencil! And this one! And this one! Look at this one, it looks like a pen but it’s a pencil, and look the eraser is hidden on top! And this is a pencil, but you have to load it and look at the funny sharpener you have to use! And this is a pencil, and this one and this—”

Child stares, eyes wide, at this demonstration. And then selects one of them and plays with it. And then the rest. She is fascinated by the intricacy of the mechanical pencil, but the lead holder is her favorite, because the sharpener is funny: you have to spin the pencil in it yourself to get it to work.

“So you see,” Mommy says, “pencils aren’t all boring!”

Mommy goes back to drawing, and Child gets distracted by Grandma, and that’s as is normal. But a few minutes later, Child reappears at my elbow. “Mommy? Can I borrow your pen—I mean pencil? The one you go round and round with!”

“Of course,” I say, and give it over. And smile.

Creative News/Plans for the Week
This week I am putting out the last two books of the Jokka trilogy with their interim covers. I’m still planning fancy new art for all three books; I don’t want to issue the print editions without them. But since e-book buyers can get the new cover at any time without buying the book again, putting the e-books up now won’t put an economic burden on my readers… and will get an enormous stress off me. So, forward! Pearl is already up on Amazon and B&N, and Smashwords is forthcoming… and you can expect Bloom by the weekend.

Note: If you served as first-reader for Pearl, I would be deeply gratified if you’d leave a review!

Other than that: all the editing! Comics, also going well. We’re scheduled out to the second week of April, and I’m down to 98 pages to draw for the year after uploading 59. *rolls shoulders* I’m on it, I can do this.

Elsewhere (The Smile: Animals! Edition)
Laughing Monk with Tiger. This is wild and perfect.
Man with Fox. He rescued it from the side of the road, nursed it back to health and now they are friends!

Quote of the Week
What you allow is what will continue. ~Unknown

Monday, with Gender Typing

Word of the Week
primaveral, adj. Of, in, or pertaining to spring.

Since I know a lot of people are hoping for this! From Latin, of course, prima vera, “springtime.”

The Daily Post Becomes the Weekly
I still enjoy doing these posts but I’ve gotten busy enough (and tired enough) that I can’t seem to keep up with them. So I’m going to try dialing down the frequency to once a week, see if that helps. *crossed fingers*

Daughter at 5 Years
“Look, Mommy!” she says as she dances to the school gate. “Look what I got! It’s a girl!”

I look, obediently. She has a little paper doll (but made of cheap wood) with a pack of markers, a party favor meant to be colored. “Wow, that’s neat!”

“We got it because it was someone’s birthday at school,” she says and then she scowls. “But I really wanted the dinosaur.”

“The dinosaur?” I say as we walk to the car.

“Yeah, there was a smiling dinosaur, it was SO CUTE, but only the BOYS got dinosaurs. All the girls got these.” She eyes her doll with skepticism.

“Well, that’s silly,” I say. “Don’t they know that some girls like dinosaurs?”

“I KNOW!” Child exclaims as I buckle her in.

“And some boys might really have wanted your doll,” I say. “They should have let people pick.”

“The dinosaur was so cute!” she says again with a sigh. Then brightens. “I know! I’ll draw him!”

“Good idea,” I say. “That way you can have the girl and the dinosaur.”

So Child draws the smiling dinosaur on her notebook and colors both it and the doll on our way home. As I open the door for her, she says, “I’m going to give these to you and Daddy! Daddy can have the dinosaur and you can have the girl.”

I pause at the door, savoring the irony, when she stops on the seat with a frown. Then she looks up at me. “Unless YOU want the dinosaur, Mommy?”

“No, that’s okay,” I say. “I like them both.”

“Then I’ll give you the girl,” she says. “Because she has easter eggs, and easter eggs have CHOCOLATE in them.”

“Now that I will happily take, any day.”

Creative News/Plans
This weekend I took five pages of the comic from blank page to uploaded and scheduled, plus I penciled another seven, so I feel pretty good about that; the comic is scheduled into May now, which is very good for Artist’s stress-level. Otherwise, I have been working on All The Novel Edits, in the hopes of clearing off some things from my plate by summer so I can have my head free for new things.

Elsewhere (The Popular Science Edition)
Cure for Earworms. Is apparently to do puzzles…?
Being Mean Starts in the Crib. I hope this study is wrong and we aren’t actually hardwired to like it when people like us are mean to people who aren’t. :P

Quote of the Week
I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. – Vincent Van Gogh

Thursday with Scattered

Still trying to get my balance back… I’m always scattered/emptied when I finish a novel. Finishing a trilogy is particularly circuit-blowing.

Word of the Day
sangfroid, n. Freedom from agitation or excitement of mind; coolness in trying circumstances; calmness.

From the French, literally “cold blood.”

Daughter at 5 Years
I miss my kid.

I know intellectually that she was lonely for lack of other kids. I know she’s enjoying school. I know that once she goes to first grade in fall she’ll be gone most of the day, so even if I stayed home I wouldn’t be spending more time with her.

I know that my job is paying for this school, and I know I picked the very best one I could find to give her the best start in life. I know intellectually that sitting here in this office is the easiest way to secure that future for her.

But I still miss my kid.

Creative News/Plans
The Jokka books are done! They are marinating in the hands of their first-readers now. This has freed up my head to… start making notes on the next Ai-Naidari novel. *shaking head* And this when I know I throw my weight into the things that need doing, like audiobook approval, managing art and graphic design stuff, updating my website and meta-data, tidying up older e-books with unappealing formatting and planning for any cons or Kickstarters I’d like to do this year.

But I am making notes. On Four Tales of the Tryst. *sigh*

To be honest I need to sit back and put a few hours into seriously gearing down my operations. Commuting takes a lot out of me. I must remind myself this is the year of the contractor and actually find myself some contract labor.

Which reminds me, I need to finish my taxes this weekend. :P

Elsewhere (The Creative Stuff Edition)
Should You Be Writing Right Now? In handy flowchart form!
Useful Advice for Artists. In nine words!

Quote of the Day
No matter how successful you get, always send the elevator back down. ~ Jack Lemmon

Friday with Comic


It’s comic day!

Word of the Day
gnathic, adj. Of or relating to the jaw.

Etymology reports: “From Greek gnathos (jaw). Ultimately from the Indo-European root genu- (jawbone, chin), which is also the source of chin, prognathous, and Sanskrit hanu (jaw). Hanuman (literally, having a large jaw) was the name of a monkey god in Hindu mythology. Earliest documented use: 1882.”

Space Marine News
More reviews are popping up, and they are good. I’m so glad people are seeing the value of the format! I’ve also rejoined SFWA after *mumbleelevenyearsmumble* I’m curious to see what the organization’s like these days.

Daughter at 5 Years
Lately Child has taken it upon herself to start packing my lunch for me, the way I do her snack. I’m amused at how carefully she’s observed me at this task: she’ll go get a paper bag, draw on it (and she’s begun doing “mommy and baby” images just like I do on hers), and then fill it with food she thinks I should eat.

“How about these?” she says of her goldfish crackers, and then, “Oh wait. These have wheat in them.” And then she’ll get the step-stool and climb all the way to the top of the pantry and fetch down the gluten-free animal crackers. “These don’t have wheat or dairy in them! So you can eat them. But now you need healthy food… how about raisins?” And so on.

I am amused at how much food she thinks I need for lunch. Today I looked in the bag and found she’d put in an entire pear, a banana, a box of raisins, and a quarter of the box of animal crackers (so many she had to get a freezer bag instead of a sandwich bag to fit them all in). Mommies apparently need a lot of sugar to keep going.

I thought maybe this would be a one-time thing… but no, she’s done it three times already. This is what you do for Mommy, it seems. I am tickled.

Creative News/Plans
This weekend I hope to catch up on my comic backlog. I’ve only got a month scheduled out right now and I really want it to be closer to two. So that’s my plan for that. I’m also about halfway through Part 3 of Bloom, which means I should be done with it by the end of March. That’ll give me time to switch gears and go to work on Godkin 2 before the deadline.

Elsewhere (The “Awwww!” Edition)
Coolest Dad Ever. Apparently daily sent by a husband to his deployed wife of himself and their daughter.
Koko’s Visit to Mr. Rogers. Apparently the gorilla loved the show and recognized him. :)

Quote of the Day
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less. ~Frederick Warren

Thursday with Normal

As in, “hopefully things are returning to.”

Word of the Day
hypocoristic, adj. 1. a pet name, esp one using a diminutive affix. 2. endearing, as a pet name, diminutive, or euphemism.

Apparently from the Greek hypokoristikós, “diminutive,” which in itself derives from some long list of words… but the sources don’t make them very clear. Something about kor (“child”) and and istikos, “-istic.”

Space Marine News
Things seem to have slowed down, for which I’m grateful. New reviews are popping up: people seem to be enjoying the book! Yesterday I did an interview with Dark Matter, an Australian fanzine, and I’ve been invited to give something to the anthology. So I am pondering a short story about space marines.

Daughter at 5 Years
One of my favorite “get a hug” ploys is to ask for a Daughter-blanket. “I need a daughter blanket!” I will complain. “I am so cold!” And obligingly Daughter will climb up to wherever I am and flatten me: she’s a lot heavier now than she used to be when I first started teasing her about being my blanket…!

Anyway, the other day I asked for a daughter-blanket and she settled herself on me with her head on my chest. And I said, “Ahh… I am so content. I now have a daughter blanket.”

She answered, “And I have a Mommy pillow!”

Just like that, effortlessly, and yet I marveled. She had taken my perspective and flipped it to look at the situation from hers, picked up on how it affected her, and characterized it.

It still astonishes me that only five years ago she could barely figure out how to drink milk and open and close her fingers.

Creative News/Plans
Continuing to work through my audiobook queue, add books manually to B&N (the Kickstarter book and Godkin are up now), and work on the Jokka novel. The latter has sprouted linguistic considerations that I suppose I should have seen as inevitable… so I am trying to find some time to draw language drift charts. Because I am crazy that way.

Also, I’m finally getting back to work on the remainder of the Black Blossom Kickstarter stuff. In particular, I discovered that the “passports” they give aliens… are scrolls! In beautiful little cases. So to make C’s I’ve ordered real, honest-to-goodness vellum (calfskin). I’ve never used anything like that, I’m looking forward to trying!

Elsewhere (The “Random Health News” Edition)
Lightning Strikes May Affect Migraine Sufferers. This was fascinating and a little creepy.
Zinc Keeps Immune System in Check. If you wanted to know why taking zinc helps you fight colds… I guess other people wanted to, too.

Quote of the Day
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. —Steve Furtick

Tuesday With Fox!

Word of the Day
sapid, adj. 1. Having a strong, pleasant taste; palatable. 2. (of talk or writing) Pleasant or interesting.

Etymology says this one’s from Latin sapidus, from sapere, “to taste.”

Daughter at 5 Years

This week is the art week! Daughter drew this picture of her stuffed animal fox… with her riding it, to her grandmother’s house. I asked her what was in the thought bubbles, since it’s a little hard to read. Foxy is thinking of giving a Valentine to her. She is thinking “I am havin fun” (spelled just so). And my mother is saying “cam in” (come in).

“Look, Mommy,” she says, pointing this out twice to make sure I see it, “the door is open.” And indeed, it is: she’s figured out how to draw a door so that it’s not just a hole in the house, but you can see the open door across from it, with the handle.

I did just notice that Foxy has five legs, though. I guess that makes him run faster. Either that or drawing legs is too much fun to stop at four!

Creative News/Plans
Earthrise just posted! We are just about halfway through the book now. My commute’s giving me time to work through my audiobook approval queue, so I’ve approved “Unknowable” and am working through the last chapters of Rosary; after that, it’s Godkin (Book 1) and “Anadi Dolls.” Lots of good audiobooks coming!

I’m manually putting stories up on B&N that Smashwords failed to transfer (or transferred without meta-data), so for instance Black Blossom and Alysha’s Fall have finally made it over. Look for more of those in the coming weeks.

Otherwise, more writing. I would like the Jokka novels to be out of my head and into the revision stage.

Elsewhere (The Edition)
Silent Reading Isn’t So Silent. Apparently we “speak” the lines we read to ourselves, or so brain scans show.
Forget the Placebo Effect, It’s the Care Effect That Matters. This one also makes sense to me.

Quote of the Day
Self-knowledge comes from knowing other men. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Monday with Mommy and Daughter Art


It’s comic day!

Word of the Day
parlous, adj. Attended with peril; fraught with danger; hazardous.

From Old French perillous, derived from Latin periculosus, the adjective form of periculum, “peril, danger, hazard.” Also forms the English word “periculous,” which I like and have used in fiction, and Spanish’s peligroso, “dangerous.”

Games Workshop News
I have some… there will probably be a post tomorrow.

Daughter at 5 Years
My daughter is learning to write! This results in lots and lots of notes being delivered to me. Witness this one, which appeared on the kitchen counter after I told her she still couldn’t have dairy:

Her spelling’s pretty good for 5! Also, if I’m not allowed in the house, does that mean I can go for a walk by myself? >.>

Creative News/Plans
Saturday on Livestream I got the new cover done for “Unknowable,” so that it now matches the rest of the Jokka books. Have a look! This I did to have an audiobook cover ready, since the audio edition just came into my box and is fantastic.

For the rest of the week, I’m going to push on getting Book 3 of the Jokka trilogy done. I’ve got this book and Godkin 2 to deliver by summer, so no lollygagging for the jaguar.

Earthrise is $10 from its Thursday episode; the Three Jaguars comic is $10 from its Friday comic.

Elsewhere (The “Rocking It Oldschool” Edition)
101-Year-Old Man Retires From Running Marathons. O_O
Blacksmiths Forge Armor for Vatican Guards. Actual real armor! Fabulous photos in this one.

Quote of the Day
Act with kindness, but do not expect gratitude. ~ Confucius

Friday with the Bizarre Pond


It’s comic day!

Word of the Day
vilipend, v. 1. to hold or treat as of little worth or account 2. to express a low opinion of : disparage

Through French from Latin vilis, “cheap” or “vile”, plus pendere, “to weigh” or “to estimate.” As you might guess, vilis is also responsible for “vile” and “vilify,” and pendere for “append,” “expend,” and “dispense.”

Big Zazzle Sale!
Today is the last day of Zazzle’s 15% off everything sale (use code HAPPYLOVEDAY). So if you’ve been hankering for a gamer shirt, Team Kitty mug or a print or postcard, now’s the day! Check out my store here.

Cookies
A lot of you want to donate cookies to soldiers! I have double-checked and our charity this year is in fact the military (apparently they choose different ones sometimes). I think teaching Daughter that we can raise money for our own goals by helping other people do nice things for each other is a far better lesson than “we should sell more to get the most prizes.” Monday, I will put up a post letting you donate. And thank you for your generosity. I was planning to send my three boxes overseas. Now they can have company. :)

Daughter at 5 Years
Our new game in the car is “tell me what to draw,” where I’ll make a suggestion and she’ll go at it and then embroider it. Yesterday she wanted to draw an animal so I suggested a bird. She drew a duck and said, “What else?”

“He needs a place to live,” I said. “Like a pond or a forest.”

“Water!” she said, and commenced. Then: “What else?”

“Um… friends?” I said.

“Okay!” she said. “I’ll draw fish!” *scribble* *scribble* “There are lots of fish. This fish likes to be eaten.”

“What?” I said.

“He wants to know what it looks like on the inside of a duck’s body,” she says. “So he gets eaten! He is the investigating fish.”

“He’s a very brave investigating fish,” Mommy observes.

“When he’s ready to come out,” Daughter assures me, “he tickles the inside of the duck and the duck coughs him up!”

“Oh, good,” I said. “I was worried about that fish.”

“And here’s a whale too, who wants to be a fish.”

“What?” I said, startled. “Why does the whale want to be a fish?”

“Because he wants to have lots of fins,” she said. “So he wants to be a fish. But one day he’ll see that he has his own fins and then he’ll be happy.”

“I see,” I said, wide-eyed.

“What else?” she said.

“Why not something to eat?” I said, and off she went, leaving me to wonder at this pond full of piscine eccentrics. Proto-scientist fish! Whales with species dysphoria!

She really is my daughter. >.>

Creative News/Plans
Last night I wrote 21 pages, and that after several days of averaging 7-11…! My brain is absolutely stuffed with Jokka. I want to be done with this book, I have too much to do! But I still have a denouement to write that will probably take me 20-30,000 words. They should be easier than what I’m writing now, but… urgh. *rubs head* Everything else right now has fallen by the wayside while I’m finishing this. It’s always better to ride the momentum while you have it. But I am pondering how to jiggle the schedule for the rest of the year in light of my radically changed schedule. More on that as I make decisions.

Elsewhere (The “Cross-Dressing for Equality” Edition)
The Real Mountain Charley. About a famous stagecoach driver in the Old West. Who was actually a woman.
Women Who Fought in the Civil War. On both sides!

Quote of the Day
Good art is not what it looks like, but what it does to us. ~ Roy Adzak

Monday with Gooey


It’s comic day!

Word of the Day
replevy, v. To recover goods or chattels wrongfully taken or detained.

From Old French replevir, “to bail out.”

Daughter at 5 Years
“I’m going to draw at the kitchen table,” I say. “Do you want to draw with me?”

“Sure!” she says. So she fetches her crayons and a coloring book, and I get my sketchbook, and together we settle down to do something companionable and quiet together.

“What are you drawing?” she asks.

“Aliens,” I say. “Fluffy ones.”

“That’s weird,” she declares.

“How come?” I say. “Aliens can’t be fluffy?”

“Well,” she says, thoughtful, “I guess so.” And looks over my shoulder at my aliens (Faulfenza in this case).

“See?” I say. “Cute, right?”

She hmms. Then goes through her crayon box and comes up with olive green. “Here, Mommy. I use this color when I color aliens. It’s sort of a…” she pauses, studying the crayon and grasping for words. “A… light… gooey… alien kind of color.”

“A light gooey alien kind of color,” I repeat, trying not to laugh. I take the crayon. “Thank you.”

She nods, satisfied, and returns to her pony pages, leaving me to contemplate her expectations of alien physiology. Apparently Mommy was Doin It Wrong. -_-

Creative News/Plans
This week? Hmm. Writing Bloom. Putting down specs for the Alysha’s Fall re-issue. For the second edition I’m getting one of my favorite illustrators to do all new B&W images for each story! I am excite! Also I need to sit down and look at the Godkin Book 2 scheduling and get back to Sofawolf about that.

If I can get these things accomplished this week I will be good.

Elsewhere (The Kickstarter Edition)
Hacking Kickstarter. You could read this article. Or buy my book! >.>
Best of Kickstarter 2012. The statistics in this slide show are mind-boggling.

Quote of the Day
You’re going to mess up sometimes. But the good part is, you get to decide how you’re gonna mess it up. ~ Marilyn Monroe