kit
15 December 2014 @ 06:11 pm

There’s an aisle at the local grocery store that is advertised as having Ethnic Food in it. Traditionally it was Indian and Chinese, and more recently, Mexican. But this week they have added AMERICAN Ethnic Food! Kraft mac&cheese! Canned pumpkin! Pop Tarts! CHEETOS!!

I have never been so happy (and dismayed) as to see Cheetos on the shelf. :)

We’re up to FIVE seedlings now. One is barely a speck of green curl in the dirt, but it’s there! And we only have eight planted, so more than half have sprouted! this is very exciting!

Today is my older nephew’s 12th birthday. Tonight we’ll go over for the Traditional Birthday Cake And Tree Decorating Party. :)

Hey, Harry Connolly‘s amazing WAY INTO CHAOS, the first of his Great Way trilogy, is now available for pre-order on Amazon! It has an AMAZING cover. It is an AMAZING book. (It also has a super nice cover quote, if I do say so myself. :))

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
12 December 2014 @ 04:36 pm

Several weeks ago–early November, because I had to move the greenhouse for Thanksgiving–Young Indiana and I made a wee greenhouse of a deepish cardboard box lined with tinfoil. We filled several empty toilet paper rolls with dirt, propped the rolls in an egg carton, and tucked orange seeds into the tops. We’ve a string of Christmas lights in the box to create warmth, and a piece of saran wrap across the top to keep heat and moisture in. But our kitchen is Very Cold, and I thought that despite our efforts perhaps none of them would manage to sprout at all.

But a couple of days ago I looked in and we had a single inch-high seedling! I showed Young Indy, who was delighted, and this morning he reported to me that we had ANOTHER one! And he was right: the barest curl had broken through the soil on another of the tubes! So that’s very exciting, and perhaps we’ll even get a few more over the next week or two!

This is my second attempt at growing orange trees. The first time I tried with two seeds and one did really well up until the point I killed it by going on holiday and not prepping it well enough. I learned quite a lot from the attempt, though. For one thing, oranges don’t have a cold germination period like apples do–they don’t have to get Really Cold for a period of time, you can just plant them straight out of the fruit–and they need pretty warm soil and conditions. Christmas lights make a great source of warmth.

I also learned I’m really, *really* bad at transplanting, which means starting with biodegradable pots (like, say, empty cardboard toilet paper rolls) is a very good idea. Far less likely to kill the baby tree if I just have to plant the whole roll into a larger container when it’s gotten big enough. Indeed, I have some hope of finding sort of medium-small biodegradable pots when it comes to that stage, so when I need to put them into a larger and perhaps final pot (since I wasn’t planning on growing an actual orchard), I can do it with the least amount of trauma to the trees.

If all of these wee things sprout and survive, I may be giving people Christmas Orange Trees in a few years. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

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kit
09 December 2014 @ 07:43 pm

I am doing a MID-WEEK ROUNDUP of AWESOME CYBER STUFF!

1. Judith Tarr’s HORSES OF THE MOON Kickstarter is 80% of the way to funded! I personally *dearly* want it to hit the 6500 mark and get us THREE novellas, which might be just enough to satisfy my grabby little hands! :)

2. SIX BY SIX is a fantastic looking anthology with 6 stories each by 6 authors. I admire the whole idea of it and, uh, am jealous of the people doing it, if you wanna know so much. :)

3. Cats Laughing–you know Cats Laughing; they were the band who did the soundtrack for WAR FOR THE OAKS–are doing a 20 year reunion concert/album. Fourteen-year-old me is delighted. :)

4. I have FINALLY got a 2015 calendar up, if people wish to purchase one! Zazzle likes to give me a fancy link for the version with US holidays on it, so I’ve got a fancy link, but THIS is a less fancy link for a version with UK holidays on it. :)

5. This Secret To Writing mug is so admired amongst the word warriors we may declare it our Official Word War Coffee Mug. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
08 December 2014 @ 10:27 pm

“Daunting as the future Arctic looks to be, it may in fact be much worse. What we think we know about the future of the region may be grossly underestimated because scientists are uncomfortable talking about or putting pen to predictions that are not backed by 95 percent certainty.” — from The End & Beginning of the Arctic.

This is precisely what’s concerned me since (before, but pointedly, since) the collapse of the Canadian ice shelf mentioned in this article. I understand the politics of science well enough to understand why scientists are reluctant to make draconian estimations, but when their predictions had previously imagined shelves like that taking decades or centuries to collapse, and instead it happened _inside an hour_–a blink of an eye in human terms, nevermind _geologic_ terms–it is clear that a conservative nature of prediction does the future no favors.

I knew a lot of what’s in the article, because personal obsession, but this really puts it all on the line. And it’s too late to stop. At this point the very very best we can do is mitigate it.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
05 December 2014 @ 04:50 pm

I’ve been seeing that “It’s Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays!” thing going around again, and…

…look. I was young and totally ethnocentric once. When “Happy Holidays” started to intrude on my awareness, I thought it was silly. We celebrated Christmas. Everybody I knew celebrated Christmas. It was ridiculous to use the phrase “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas”. Worse, it was that vertboten of verboten things: politically correct.

I was an asshole, in that regard. I have no idea when I got over myself. A long time ago now, as I became increasingly aware that everyone I knew did not, in fact, celebrate Christmas. I personally became happier with Christmas cards that said season’s greetings or happy holidays, because they conveyed joy and good wishes to a wider spectrum of my friends than the phrase Merry Christmas did.

Because let’s face it: there are innumerable mid-winter holidays, plenty of which predate Christianity. Maybe the person saying “Happy Holidays” is Jewish and doesn’t celebrate Christmas. Maybe they’re an atheist and they’re tired of perpetuating the presumption that somebody who says “Merry Christmas” is of the dominant religious sect. Maybe they’ve met people who feel belittled when their personal mid-winter holiday is overrun by the assumption that everybody celebrates Christmas, and are trying to do their part in offering joy and happiness to the world without making anybody feel left out. I don’t see how any of those can be considered bad things.

It’s not persecution if you personally celebrate Christmas and somebody says “Happy Holidays” to you instead of “Merry Christmas.” The correct response can be “Thank you, you too!” or “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Hanukkah!” or “Happy Solstice!” or whatever feels most natural to you, but “that’s not the right way to greet me at the holiday season” seems a bit mean and narrow-minded for a time of the year when we’re supposed to be filled with good will and kindness.

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
04 December 2014 @ 03:56 pm

The Redeemer Kickstarter closed out about an hour ago with 428 backers and €12,251 in funding, which hit the cover art stretch goal with a wee little bit to spare.

That is *well over* a third again the number of backers I’d first dreamed of. It’s nearly *half* again the number I first dreamed of. It’s only 90 backers fewer than NO DOMINION had, which, holy *crap*, that was so far beyond my hopes I didn’t even go there. And I just now at this moment noticed that there were, at the end, 300 e-book backers, which is the number of backers I’d hoped for *entirely*, at the beginning.

I am overwhelmed, grateful, exhausted, and so very very happy right now. Thank you all SO MUCH for your enthusiasm, signal boosts, and patience while went on about it endlessly over the past month. <3

Someone said I should say thanks just by posting a picture of my smile right now, so here you go:

kssmilingselfie

And now Twitter is full of messages that say, “Congratulations! Now get writing!” so I guess I’d better get back to work…especially since I’ve just arranged with Octocon for a REDEEMER book launch party there next October. Come one, come all! ♥

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
04 December 2014 @ 12:09 pm

One of my Loyal Readers, known in these parts as Hataroni, commissioned a short story, and then someone else put us over the top! WE HAVE COVER ART!

But Hataroni didn’t just commission a story. He’s asked me to ask YOU for story ideas that he can choose from, because he’d like to see what his fellow readers would like, too! IS HE COOL OR WHAT?!?!

So please post your story ideas here, and I’ll make sure he sees them (well, he will anyway, but I’ll make sure!)

Hataroni has also mentioned a fundraiser near and dear to his own heart, and I must say that even aside from him asking for a signal boost, this looks really, really interesting: Can sleep patterns change gene functions? So check it out, especially if you or anyone you know suffers from insomnia…!

And then because I’m CRAZY, we have a NEW STRETCH GOAL because WHAT THE HECK IT CAN’T HURT TO TRY!

At €13500, I will COMMISSION ART for the hardback spines and ALL backers will get a thank-you postcard with the spine art!

Go crazy little Kickstarter, go go go!!!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
03 December 2014 @ 06:11 pm

Today I have made lemon curd, marshmallow creme, chocolate fudge, vanilla fudge, and coffee fudge (well, okay, I haven’t made that YET), roasted a chicken with carrots & baby potatoes, and I will shortly bake some biscuits.

Displacement activity, anyone? :)

The REDEEMER Kickstarter is just over 11K with 20 hours left. 387 backers, which is fast closing in on my revised-revised dream number of 400. Lindsey Look cover art is less than a thousand euro away. I feel faintly as though I’m living in a dream state. :)

I don’t know if I’ll update again before this whole shebang closes out tomorrow, so I want to say this now:

Holy moly, you guys.

My first Kickstarter, NO DOMINION, did spectacularly well, but–if you’ll forgive me the arrogance of saying so–it was kind of always going to. I mean, I didn’t know it was going to do *that* well, but it was the Walker Papers, and it was Gary, and people had been asking for his story since URBAN SHAMAN was published, so there wasn’t much chance of it being a flop. Not really.

REDEEMER, though. REDEEMER is untested waters. It’s not a spin-off or a continuation of anything; it’s a brand new book, potentially the first of a series. I love the idea and the social aspects and the highlighting of an era we don’t see all that much about the women in, but man, I hadn’t even talked it up before launching it, and I genuinely didn’t know how people would respond. Maybe nobody else would be as excited about the idea as I was; maybe *some* people but not enough would be; maybe *just* enough would be.

It turns out more than ‘just’ enough people are excited about it, and that is…amazing. It’s–I mean, I realize I’m going to be writing a book for you, that this is a system of exchange, cash for product, but…you have no idea how much of a *gift* this feels like. Your trust and enthusiasm is humbling, and I’m overwhelmed.

Thank you all so very very much. I’m going to gnaw my knuckles through the last 20 hours, and then I’m going to write you the best book I possibly can. ♥

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
02 December 2014 @ 02:01 pm

I started reading Georgette Hayer probably because of Sarah Rees Brennan and Chrysoula Tzavelas, who are both big Regency fans. I’ve read three or four of her books now and enjoyed them all, but THE GRAND SOPHY is one of Chrysoula’s favourites, and I can entirely see why.

Unlike the other Heyer books I’ve read, I actually found THE GRAND SOPHY a bit hard to get into. That all changes when Sophy herself arrives on the scene, because–

–we often hear characters described as exploding onto the page, but I don’t often find that to be an *accurate* description.

Sophy does in fact explode onto the page. She’s larger than life and enormously well realized as a character, with tremendous charisma and confidence, and you can easily understand why some people don’t like her and others are drawn along, full of admiration, in her wake. Her arrival in the book awakens everything–which is the point–and it’s really just *excellent* storytelling. I’m envious of Heyer’s skills!

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

 
 
kit
02 December 2014 @ 01:31 pm

Between the beginning of September and the end of October I had three distinct colds. Since the beginning of November I have had a continuous cold, or colds in such rapid succession as to make no nevermind in the difference. So has Young Indiana. Ted had some kind of throat infection that got cleared up just in time for him to start catching colds, too, so we’ve been consistently unwell in this house for weeks to months, depending on how you wish to count it.

Today Young Indiana and I went Christmas shopping, which went approximately as well as you might imagine under the circumstances. We’re both now totally exhausted and I’m pretty much trying to figure out how to accomplish dinner without doing…anything. Ideally even without talking, since my voice is pretty unreliable just now.

OTOH, the Kickstarter keeps tripping along! This morning it reached 350 backers, causing Young Indiana to say, “Three five zero! Woo hoo! Nice job! You did it! You finished that book!”

*dorky grin* ♥ :)

#laughs. I just got a message from Kickstarter with the subject line of “352!”: “I know what you’re thinking. Three-hundred and fifty-two is a weird number to celebrate… but that’s a LOT of people that believe in your idea.

I think that’s kinda cool. :)

(x-posted from The Essential Kit)