WARNING: construction ahead

I’m going to be messing around with LJ settings for a while this afternoon, so if anything starts going wonky over here, don’t mind me, I’m just screwing everything up. (Hopefully not permanently.)

today’s random question

Imagine there is a novel set in Elizabethan England. What famous figures would you expect and/or want to see show up in it?

Aside from Elizabeth herself, I can think of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Sir Walter Ralegh, Sir Francis Drake, Doctor John Dee, and John Stow.

Who else?


Well, I made it through about three weeks of working out before doing something overly enthusiastic. That has to count for something, right?

In case you were wondering, interval training (alternating between sprinting and walking) may be great for fat loss, but it also kicks your ass six ways from Sunday. And should you decide to give it a shot, I recommend starting out with, oh, twenty minutes of it. Not half an hour.

If you need me, I’ll be on the floor, moaning and feeling sorry for myself.

In which the Swan admits she has no upper body strength

See that icon? Yeah, I’m nowhere near that.

These numbers will be a little embarrassing, but I want to record for posterity what I’m lifting here at the start of my exercise regimen, on the principle that I can then feel proud when I look back and see how far I’ve come. (In theory.) So here is what I’m doing for strength training right now.

  • Bench press: 2 x 12-15, 12 lbs. (It was disappointing to discover that the bar alone on the normal bench is heavier than I feel capable of. Not sure how much that thing weighs. Fortuantely, they have these nice, padded weight bars in a variety of numbers. I’ll start with those and work my way up.)
  • Shoulder press: 2 x 15, 12 lbs. (See above about the weight bar. I quite like those things.)
  • Row: 2 x 15, 5 lbs. (Nothing like a single-digit number to make you feel pathetically weak, but since I do the exercises in this order, by the time I get this far, those muscles are already tired.)
  • Lat pulldown: 2 x 15, 30 lbs. (A higher weight, at last! And I’m going to add to this one the next time I do it; it isn’t tiring me much at all, at the current weight.)
  • Back hyperextensions: 2 x 12, no weight. (Today’s addition to the regimen. I really need to strengthen my lower back more.)
  • Crunches: 2 x 15. (God, I hate crunches.)

So there you have it. I’m not doing lower-body stuff as yet; leg muscle has never been a problem for me, and my cardio work alone will give me some of that. I think I may add “pullups” on the lat machine, though, as a step toward doing proper pullups, since those always look cool.

I don’t have any particular goals regarding what I want these numbers to be in six months; I don’t have enough experience with weights to know what’s reasonable to aim for. But I’ll be keeping an eye on the stats, and reporting back in when I feel like I’ve made progress.

two stories

Glorifying Terrorism, the anthology of political SF/F assembled in protest of a dumb British law, is officially out and about in the world as of today. It’s already netted a mention on Boing Boing, which constitutes some pretty awesome publicity. You can order it from the webpage above, though I’ll admit it’s on the expensive side if you’re an American like me (which would be most of the readers of this journal, I imagine). But my story “Execution Morning” is in it, and you want to read that, right?

It remains to be seen whether any of the UK authors involved in the anthology end up being prosecuted for it. They could be, in theory; that’s the point of the antho.

In much less politically provocative news, “A Thousand Souls” is live at Aberrant Dreams. You can read that one for free.

Man, this selling and publishing of stories is an addictive thing, ne? It’s only been a few days since my last sale, and already I’m jonesing for another. ^_^

feeling accomplished

Spent the weekend up in Indy. Four stores and obscene quantities of silk, satin, taffeta, tulle, crystal, and lace later, ladies and gentlemen, I think I’ve found my wedding dress.

If I weren’t so proud of myself for having put together this icon, I might be tempted to use the detail photo my mother took of the embroidery as my wedding icon.

We’ve also scoped out hotels to put the guests up in, looked askance at the horrible selection of bridesmaids’ dresses, and started thinking about florists. We are, it seems, in business.

Sword & Sorceress 22

Sword & Sorceress returns!

I’m sure others of you remember this anthology series. I won’t go so far as to say it had a huge effect on me, but it certainly had one; among other things, I was vexed when I saw teenagers getting published in it, thereby highlighting my failure to become a Child Prodigy. (Alas, I didn’t write any non-crappy short stories until I was twenty.) Anyway, it’s good to see that it’s back.

But what to send, what to send? (The reading period doesn’t open until March, but I’m looking ahead.) “Stories should be of the type generally referred to as ‘sword and sorcery’ and must have a strong female protagonist whom the reader will care about.” Clear enough, but where do I go with that?

Well, for starters, it turns out I’ve got a dearth of female protagonists on hand at the moment. Of the fifteen stories I’ve got in circulation, four and a half meet that criterion. (The half is “Driftwood,” which splits pretty equally between two characters, the other of which is male.) So the initial list is:

  • “The City’s Bones”
  • “The Drowning Ships”
  • “La Molejera”
  • “A Mask of Flesh”

TCB is urban fantasy, therefore probably out. La M is one of my strongest candidates for the label “interstitial,” which puts it pretty far away from sword & sorcery. That leaves me with TDS, which is not one of my stronger stories, and AMoF, which might count as having “explicit sex,” depending on how explicit they mean.

Which leaves me with stories not yet in circulation. (I’m very glad, now, for that recent short story census.) “Sciatha Reborn” isn’t ready to see the light of day, though I could try to get it there. “On the Feast of the Firewife” isn’t s&s enough. “The Last Wendy” isn’t what they’re after. “Kingspeaker” could go, but it isn’t my best bet. The faerie trouble story, even if I knew what to do with it, also probably fails the s&s test. I could try to go with “Once a Goddess,” if I can figure it out . . . or with the one story I forgot to include in that list, “The Waking of Angantyr.”

Which is based on an Old Norse poem and has a strong female protagonist dragging up the ghost of her father and brothers so she can get revenge for their murders.

Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner — if I can get the story working, which it isn’t at present. akashiver gave me some good advice on it, but I foolishly didn’t make use of that advice while it was still fresh in my mind, so I’m not sure where I stand. But I’ll give it a shot, I think.

What about you all? Anybody else thinking of submitting?