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Posts Tagged ‘linkage’

that whole “tikkun olam” thing

I’ve been making these tikkun olam posts for about half a year now, and responses to them have been slowing down, which I suspect is in part a sign of fatigue. It’s hard to keep on working to repair the world when so many people seem determined to break it, and when it’s hard to see any result for your effort.

But sometimes you can make a very real difference to a very specific person. Chaz Brenchley has put out a call raising funds to treat his wife’s multiple sclerosis. If we lived in a country where this was covered by insurance, they wouldn’t have to worry; instead we live in a country where Republicans are trying to take away even the insurance we already have. Karen is the primary earner in their family, and she doesn’t know how soon she’ll be able to return to work. Helping out, either by donating directly, or by subscribing to Chaz’s Patreon, can make all the difference in the world to these two people, and to their friends and family.

And while you’re at it, call your senators and beg them to oppose Trumpcare. Because I’d like to live in a world where things ranging from anxiety to surviving sexual assault don’t count as “pre-existing conditions,” and where health insurance companies are required to cover things like doctor’s visits.

three weeks to the release of WITHIN THE SANCTUARY OF WINGS

In preparation for Within the Sanctuary of Wings coming out on the 25th, the Kindle edition of A Natural History of Dragons is on sale for 99 cents right now through Amazon UK.

Also, the first of several blog posts has just gone live: “Beyond the Concrete Jungle,” in which I talk about setting my story in a variety of non-generic-temperate environments (and my near-total ignorance of nature). Should be of particular interest to New Worlds readers!

Finally, last call for icons! An ARC of the book could be yours . . .

Three things for the Halloween season

Pseudopod (Escape Artists’ horror-themed short fiction podcast) is running a Kickstarter to raise the funds to pay their narrators. I am not wholly a disinterested party in this, as I’ve narrated for them several times (without pay); but I will say that I wholeheartedly support the notion that the people who read you the stories in a podcast deserve to be paid for their work. They already compensate their authors well, so this is the next step, and I applaud them for taking it.

Also, don’t forget that you only have until the end of this month to purchase prints from my Autumn and Halloween galleries:

Paired photos of a single autumn leaf and an angel on a cross

You can get them in practically any medium (paper, acrylic, metal, canvas, glass, wood) and any size, or a digital license for use as book covers etc.

Finally, I’m over at Unbound Worlds talking about the most influential book I’ve ever read. You have to know the book in question or the things it’s based on to understand why it’s Halloween-themed, but trust me, it is.

Dice Tales Takes Over the Internet!

Well, one corner of it, at least.

In addition to this week’s regularly scheduled post — “Game Hangover,” on the ways that playing in or running a game can leave you drained afterward — I also have a related post up on Tor.com. Though it isn’t explicitly labeled as a Dice Tales entry, “How Your Role-Playing Game Campaign Can Inspire Your Novel” is an outgrowth of that series; I got recruited to write this piece specifically because of Dice Tales. So if you’re interested, go take a look, and comment over there!

The Urban Tarot

A while back the artist Robin Scott, a friend of mine, released a project called The Urban Tarot.

Box cover for The Urban Tarot by Robin Scott

I want to talk about how awesome this deck is — and I especially want to address those of you for whom the “tarot” part isn’t much of an attraction, but the “urban” part might be. Let’s start by quoting from Robin’s introduction in the guidebook:

Too often we are told that magic and wisdom belong only to the forgotten forests, the places untouched by human hands, and to ages long lost to memory.

I reject this idea. I look around my world, and I see the beauty, the wonder, the magic in the metropolis, the power under the pavement.

“The metropolis” there isn’t generic. It’s New York City, where Robin lives — and that’s exactly what draws me to the Urban Tarot. I’ve been meaning to make a post about the way urban fantasy has the potential to inscribe the landscape around you with an additional layer of meaning: it’s something I tried to do in the Changeling game I ran, and it showed up in the Onyx Court books, too, which were inspired by that game. The urban fantasy novels I like often do this kind of thing, not just taking place in Generica City or the Hollywood version of San Francisco or wherever, but making use of place on a more detailed, meaningful level. It isn’t just an urban fantasy thing — it isn’t even a new thing; Keith Basso’s Wisdom Sits in Places talks about the link between Western Apache folklore and the landscape around their communities — but it works especially well there because the world the story describes is ours, or at least closely adjacent enough to ours that we can feel the resonance.

The Urban Tarot does this beautifully. It ties the cards in with the landscape and the people and events of New York City — the public library, Coney Island, the Brooklyn Bridge during Hurricane Sandy — and it pushes back against the idea that cities aren’t magic, that the kind of meaning we read into the world around us back when that world was rural can’t be retained in the modern day. It rethinks the old archetypes of the tarot into a context you and I can recognize: the Empress is feeding a baby in a high chair, the Eight of Wands shows a cyclist delivering a pizza, the Prince of Swords is a hacker. Even if you don’t have any interest in the tarot as such, you could do worse than to feed your urban fantasy brain with these cards and their associated writeups.

Card image of The Princess of Swords, by Robin Scott

And the artwork is, in my opinion, gorgeous. Each card is built out of a kind of textural collage, abstracting the image without losing its recognizable form. I have the Princess of Swords (aka The Activist) on my wall. I liked the art enough that when I backed the Kickstarter, I chose to go for the level where I could model for one of the cards — no, I’m not telling you which; you’ll have to find out for yourself. 😉 Robin and I struck a deal wherein I wrote a piece of flash fiction for the guidebook, riffing off a location in the city she wasn’t able to work into the deck; that’s how much I wanted to support this project.

You can buy the Urban Tarot itself, or prints of any of the cards. I strongly encourage you all to at least go take a look, and appreciate what Robin has put together.

All the news that’s fit to print

I have survived our housewarming party, and with that in my tail-lights, let me catch up on a few things. And by a few, I mean a lot.

Like my newest Onyx Court story! “To Rise No More” is the tale of Ada Lovelace’s childhood friendship with faeries, and also her ambition to build herself a pair of wings to fly with. No seriously, I didn’t even make that part up. (The wings, not the faeries. But she did also refer to herself as “Babbage’s fairy helper,” so, y’know. Maybe not that part, either.) It went up at Beneath Ceaseless Skies on my birthday, which I found to be excellent timing.

Shifting gears to a different series, the Barnes and Noble blog has just revealed the cover to Lightning in the Blood, which is the upcoming sequel to the still-upcoming-but-will-be-out-next-Tuesday Cold-Forged Flame. As I said on Twitter, I didn’t know until I saw it that one of my life goals was to get a Giant Hunting Cat onto a book cover, but I can check that off my list now!

And while I’m at it, I’ve finally gotten an excerpt from Cold-Forged Flame posted to my site. One week — one week and it will finally be out . . . .

Also, I’ve been busy with the Roundtable Podcast, hosted by Dave Robison and Marie Bilodeau. And I do mean busy, as I’m in not one but two episodes. The first is part of their “Twenty Minutes With” series . . . which, with the introduction and everything else, wound up being more like Fifty Minutes With. But dear god, the introduction alone is worth it: Dave Robison has a habit of describing his guests in epic terms. I have never heard my own life sound so much like a superhero origin story.

So that’s the first episode; the second is part of their “Workshop” series, wherein a writer (or in this case, a writing pair) describe a project they’re working on and then get feedback from the assembled hosts. We dug into an urban fantasy premise for this one, a setting where a new drug is causing people to develop magical powers, and had lots of thinky thoughts on both the way the drug fits into the world and how to write the “psycho ex-girlfriend” trope in a sympathetic and complex manner.

And finally, I’ve got myself a brand-new setup on Imzy. Where by “brand-new,” I mean “there’s basically nothing there yet” — but I figured I should mention, for those who are busy exploring this new site. Then, having done that, I decided to spend my other community-creation slot on putting together one called Dice Tales, which is a spin-off of the blog posts I’ve been doing at Book View Cafe. Speaking of which: the most recent installments there are “Keeping Up with the Joneses,” on power escalation over the course of a campaign; “With Great Power,” on the GM’s ability to screw players over and responsibility to use that wisely; “GNS,” on Ron Edwards’ old Gamism-Narrativism-Simulationism framework; and then a two-parter that consists of “Game Planning I – Arcs, Acts, and Chapters” and “Game Planning II – Sessions and Scenes,” which are pretty much what it says on the tin. But the Imzy community is not just a place to reblog those posts; I’m hoping it will become a great discussion of storytelling in RPGs more broadly. So if you’re on Imzy and you find that kind of thing interesting, come on over!

Signal-boosting for Judith Tarr

Author Judith Tarr is in dire straits. We’ve got this idiom in English about “losing the farm” — well, she is in actual danger of losing an actual farm. This would not only have dreadful consequences for her, it would leave all of her horses homeless: most of them too old or too untrained to be saleable. Right now she is scrambling to keep them fed for the rest of this month, let alone going forward.

There are a number of ways you can help her out, if you are so inclined.

1) Camp Lipizzan. Her horses are the “airs above ground” breed, the ones renowned for their beautiful high-school dressage movements. This is your chance to ride one, and even try out “horse yoga.”

2) Editing and writing mentorship. Judy’s a World Fantasy Award nominee; she knows her stuff. If you’re a writer, this may be of interest to you.

3) Patreon. She’s posting new fiction there.

4) Sponsor a horse. Full details are there, but you can help feed and water the horses, and get to know them in return.

Also, Judy has asked that people who have read her books post a review on Amazon, as that helps boost the visibility of her work and therefore increase her sales. I particularly recommend Writing Horses to the writers among you: if you’re ever going to have an equine in a story, this will help you do it right.

Many thanks to everyone who lends Judy a hand.

Want to be in the final Memoir of Lady Trent?

As those of you who read my booklog posts have probably guessed, for the fifth and final volume of the Memoirs of Lady Trent, our intrepid heroine is going to a region based on the real-world Himalaya. I’ve been reading a fair bit about that area, and in the course of doing so, I’ve been continually reminded about the devastating earthquakes that struck Nepal earlier this year. The immediate need for earthquake relief has passed, but now it’s time to rebuild — and I thought, well, let’s see if I can’t do something to help out.

So I’ve teamed up with Patrick Rothfuss’ Worldbuilders fundraiser, creating Lady Trent’s Friends of Nepal. This is part of the larger Worldbuilders effort, which raises money for Heifer International, but all donations received as part of the Friends of Nepal project will specifically go to Heifer’s Nepal programs. In another couple of days there will be a page specifically for the Friends of Nepal, with books and other items offered for sale, the chance to donate for lottery prizes (a la the usual Worldbuilders setup), and some auctions.

Why am I posting before that page is live?

Because one of the featured elements of the Friends of Nepal fundraiser is live right now, and ending in just over a day. Bid here for the chance to appear in the final Memoir of Lady Trent! One lucky winner will have a character in the last book named after them, or a person of their choice. Who exactly that character will be will depend on the gender and ethnicity of the name, but possibilities include a scholar of the mysterious Draconean language, an intrepid mountaineer, a foreign diplomat, and more.

Bidding is up to $200, which is absolutely fantastic. (From my “let’s raise money for Nepal” perspective; not so much for those of you who would love to bid but can’t afford it.) You’ve got until 7:20 PST Sunday to get your own bid in — that’s 10:20 EST, and 3:20 a.m. Monday morning UTC/GMT. And if you don’t win the Tuckerization, don’t worry; there will be a bunch of other items on offer pretty soon . . .

. . . including signed ARCs of In the Labyrinth of Drakes. That’s right — you could have a chance to read it before it’s even published.

Stay tuned for more news!

Writing Excuses Three-fer

If you’re a writer and you’re not familiar with the Writing Excuses podcast, you’re missing out. It’s a weekly show with Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, Dan Wells, and Brandon Sanderson, on a wide-ranging variety of topics related to the writing of fiction. And if you remember me complaining during my Hugo Packet binge about how looooooooong most of the podcasts were? The tag line for Writing Excuses is “Fifteen minutes long, because you’re in a hurry, and we’re not that smart.” That last part is a lie (they are that smart), and the length is sometimes more like 15-20 minutes — but these are episodes you can listen to pretty easily, without having to set aside a cross-country trip or something to get through more than one.

They also have guests from time to time. So while Mary and I were in Salt Lake City during our tour, we got together with Howard and Dan (Brandon was absent) to record a few eps for later use. Three, to be precise, all of which have now gone live:

Recording those was a lot of fun. Like doing a panel, but more condensed. In and out before you run out of things to day — in many cases long before I ran out, but that’s a good thing, as it means I stayed energized and engaged the whole time. And if you like the general tenor of those episodes, you’ll like Writing Excuses: it’s like that all the time, except with Brandon Sanderson substituted in for me. 🙂 (And if you don’t like listening to podcasts, check out the comment thread; there’s a dedicated fellow who puts together transcripts a little while after each episode airs.)

another fundraiser — this one more serious

I posted a while ago about one of the stops on my book tour, an event hosted by the Oregon Regency Society. During that weekend, I met a lovely lady named Nora, a friend of Mary Robinette Kowal’s.

Last week, while on a trip with her husband to celebrate their anniversary, the two of them were in a horrific car accident. As in, the sort of thing where they’re lucky to be alive, and Nora is still in the ICU. (Her husband Bob was there, too, until recently.) They have insurance . . . but not a lot, and this is major enough that it’s going to blow through their coverage. It won’t help them with the months to come, during which neither of them will be able to work.

There’s a fundraiser underway to help them. And to sweeten the pot — not to mention create some spots of brightness in what is otherwise a dreadful moment — Mary is organizing Acts of Whimsy, as sort of milestone bait for the fundraiser. You can check out her blog for the full list, but my contribution is that I will perform a karate kata in the Victorian dress I used during the tour. I don’t promise to perform it well; in fact, it would be more honest to say I promise to perform it abysmally, given the constraints of the dress. But you will get to see it. And when that goes up, I’ll write a post about what I learned about trying to perform martial arts in Victorian clothing, for the edification of all who might write such a scene one day.

Please do contribute if you can. I didn’t get much chance to talk to Nora that weekend, but we did meet, and it’s appalling to look at the photograph of their truck (in the first update; click and scroll down to see it) and think of her going through that. The fundraiser is about 60% of the way to its goal right now; that’s fabulous, but there’s a lot more to be done.