Over the last decade, Orbit US, an imprint of Hachette Book Group, has quickly established itself as one of the premiere publishers of science fiction and fantasy, and a reliable source for everything from innovative works of science fiction to blockbuster epic fantasies. To celebrate the milestone, a selection of landmark Orbit titles is currently available on Nook for just $2.99 each, but we wanted to do more than point you toward some great titles, so we asked Orbit’s publisher, Tim Holman, to share a bit of history. Below his comments, you’ll find a timeline of key dates in Orbit’s history.
<a href="https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/orbit-books-turns-10-take-look-decade-milestones/>More here</a>
This is good news, to say the least.
Drinks on Phinney Ridge* with minim_calibre Tuesday evening. It was a bonding experience: two middle-aged queer ladies with kids and much else in common. This only happens once in a purple moon, and I wish it happened way more often. She walked me home down the ridge, and then asked which way back up to her car was least likely to trash her knees. Aw! And yikes!
Yesterday, an increasingly rare dinner at home with the Wendling followed by dragging him up the ridge to catch the sunset. Good: he whined about that less than he used to. Bad: he expressed the opinion that I'll never find Ms. Right. He makes the absolutely ironclad point that it gets harder as you get older. Thanks a lot, kiddo.
*Cocktails for me, mocktails for her, because reasons.
All steps gloriously finished! I sometimes practice my fiddle out there.
Other Yarden things
- Retaining wall: Currently being built by my friend Tom!
- take down cherry & willow trees (requires dad's help or $$$ to hire someone)
- limb up / clean up maple ($$$$ to hire arborist)
redo back path with fence-board border & sheet mulch
- Extend back path
- Finish edging existing south bed with fence boards
- continue sheet mulching back yard (made progress, nowhere near finished)
- install ridge vent or other vents ($$$, dad's help)
exterior trim for new windows ($$$ for material) siding patches on new areas ($$$ for material) final inspection and off permit!
- remove aluminum siding from front
- clean & paint front of house
- wire in extra porch light from outside
New water line put in autumn 2016
- studio window trim
- studio chimney trim & shelves
sand & finish studio doorDone!
Living Room & hallway
- replace living room heater
- patch living room drywall
- paint living room & hallway (already have paint!)
replace living room fanDone! NEW: replace hall closet doorDone!
- replace living room baseboard & door casing? ...eventually.
- Finish cleaning out guest room
- sand, stain, & finish rent-a-room window trim
- repaint rent-a-room
- Replace rent-a-room closet doors
- rewire master bedroom for wall sconce? Someday later.
- paint master bedroom
- Delayed until autumn: replumb laundry room ($$$, dad's help)
- Delayed until autumn: finish drywall mud in laundry room
- Delayed until autumn: floor laundry room ($$$)
I had a nice surprise when I came into work this morning -- I chatted with a courier and found out they've given nicknames to all my vans (well, their vans, with my art on them). <3
Not sure what I'll do with my weekend. I have to try to find some sort of routine -- we were busting ass to get my house all nice for E's mom's visit, and now that's done and the rest of the summer is still here. I felt like everything over the last six months was sort of working up to that visit. Well, that or the job hunt, and I still don't have a firm 'no' back from Ecology, and nothing new to apply for on the horizon, so that's a limbo-area, too.
Oh, DEL has posted a new opening that looks exactly like the one I applied for, was offered, and turned down. I don't know if it's a new-but-similar position, or if they had to repost it after I walked. Shoulda offered me more moolah, guys.
I still feel a little guilty about holding out for more money, but if a new job makes me work full time, I want that compensation -- because what I REALLY want is to work fewer hours per week but still have enough job for health care and stability, but I don't know how to get that. Enough money to pay for housecleaning help and a car is the only way I can see to seize back some of the time lost to a full time job.
I'm maundering. It's just tiredness. I suspect a few days of good sleep and relative quiet will help me get some energy and direction again. There's things to do on the house and in the yard, three started paintings to work on in the studio, some design work that needs doing... it's not like I lack a to-do list. I just want to nap.
Here's one opportunity to do just that. Rory is an acquaintance of mine and I can vouch for them being a legit person with a need.
I met G. Scott Huggins almost twenty years ago. We were both published in Writers of the Future XV, and we ended up in a writing group together for several years. He was one of the folks who helped me grow and improve as an author. I published one of his stories in Heroes in Training a while back.
I love the premise and setup. Dr. James DeGrande is a veterinarian in a land that’s been taken over by a Dark Lord, and the whole thing is written with a kind of tongue-in-cheek humor. The book is made up of several distinct but related stories, showing the growth of James and his partnership with his assistant Harriet (a physically disabled almost-witch).
Here’s part of the publisher’s official description:
Everyone says it was better in the Good Old Days. Before the Dark Lord covered the land in His Second Darkness.
As far as I can tell, it wasn’t that much better. Even then, everyone cheered the heroes who rode unicorns into combat against dragons, but no one ever remembered who treated the unicorns’ phosphine burns afterward. Of course, that was when dragons were something to be killed. Today I have to save one. Know what fewmets are? No? Then make a sacrifice of thanks right now to whatever gods you worship, because today I have to figure a way to get them flowing back out of the Dark Lord’s favorite dragon. Yeah, from the other end. And that’s just my most illustrious client. I’ve got orcs and trolls who might eat me and dark elf barons who might sue me if their bloodhawks and chimeras don’t pull through. And that doesn’t even consider the possibility that the old bag with the basilisk might show up.
The only thing that’s gone right this evening is finding Harriet to be my veterinary assistant. She’s almost a witch, which just might save us both. If we don’t get each other killed first.
I appreciate writers who take traditional fantasy and flip things around to present a different perspective. Just as I enjoy clever protagonists, like James and Harriet. (And while this may come as a shock, I also like fantasy that tries to have fun.)
There’s one bit I need to talk about. About 80% of the way into the book, we meet Countess Elspeth Bathetique, an incredibly neglectful pet owner and generally unpleasant person, and we get this exchange:
“Dammit, my lady, you’re not even a vampire!”
“How… how dare you? I identify as a vampire, you filth! You cannot dream of the tragic destiny which is ours!”
“What? Suffering from vitamin deficiency, malnutrition, keeping out of the sun for no damn reason, and torturing your poor pet basilisk? If I dreamed of that, I’d seek clerical help!”
I don’t believe it was intentional, but seeing language generally used by transgender people played for laughs by a wannabe vampire threw me right out of the story. I emailed and chatted with Scott, who confirmed that wasn’t the intention. The Countess was meant to be a darker take on Terry Pratchett’s Doreen Winkings. But he said he understood how I or others might read it the way I did.
One of my favorite parts of these stories are the veterinary details. Huggins’ wife is a veterinarian, and there’s a sense of real truth to the protagonist’s frustration with neglectful pet owners and the various challenges of keeping all these magical animals healthy. It helps to ground the book and acts as a nice counter to the humor.
I couldn’t find an excerpt online, but there’s a promo video on YouTube.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.
Soothing animal sounds:
(video and audio):
Canadian lynx purring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
Squirrel eating nuts and rustling around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
Loon on water calling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
(audio in video format):
Cicadas: (turn sound down or it will be loud) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
Loon Call: (with explanation, some still pics): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=
I can do some things. And one of them is share soothing adorable animals.
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 5 of 6
word count (story only): 1230
:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, and the Mercedes subset, while taking the “Road Trip” in an entirely new direction. DO NOT FORGET to read part 4, posted on the DW date 25 July, and thank you for your patience! ::
Pay Special Attention: People who have been profiting from human trafficking have parts of their reality (and sometimes their bodies) folded into several sharp points which may not match any previously known 'safe' configuration. Some injuries this time, but nothing spoiler worthy, since I generally write happy endings. ::
Farther above them, a booming male voice, indistinct in words but perfectly, clearly furious in tone, made more noise than the approaching human traffickers.
“Mrehem,” Cash mumbled behind his hand, hoping that the timbre of his tenor was close enough to the teen's.
“Not again!” the woman groaned, stepping into view as she lifted her hands in a universal plea to some higher power.
Cash grabbed the wrist, twisting it behind her and shoving her against the wall hard enough to make the panel bow slightly before springing back. She, however, had nowhere to go. He planted his knee against the back of her thigh, offset enough that she could not easily kick him, and applied enough pressure to make her squeak in protest. Muscle memory had him reaching for the thick plastic cuffs he'd used as a military policeman, but the zip ties were deliberately put in the same place, and they would suffice for the half an hour it might take to search the ship. He zipped her wrists, leaving the plastic just barely flush against her skin, then applied a layer of duct tape over that.
( Read more... )
by Dialecticdreamer/Sarah Williams
part 4 of 6
word count (story only): 1331
:: Part of the Polychrome Heroics universe, and the Mercedes subset, while taking the “Road Trip” in an entirely new direction. ::
Pay Special Attention: People who have been profiting from human trafficking have parts of their reality (and sometimes their bodies) folded into several sharp points which may not match any previously known 'safe' configuration. ::
There was absolutely no change of elevation, and the motion of the ship in water was less noticeable than the hum of a very noisy air conditioning unit, mounted somewhere above them. Joshua caught himself, then immediately checked on the other three.
He made a shushing motion before speaking in a bare whisper. “Okay, Alpha, Gamma… hang behind me, even though Bravo isn't going to open the door until it's safe. That's basic procedure. If he could take me through with him, you'd be holding this room secure, then we'd hold that space while you caught up, rinse and repeat to clear an area.”
“Room,” Alpha hissed. “That's like calling a cardboard box a tent!”
( Read more... )
( Fire to the North )
As I started to compose this message, I thought I'd get an updated picture of the fire and got a small surprise when I went out onto the porch.
( Hello, Bunny )
After all of the wildfires that we've had around here, it's almost hard to believe there was much more left the burn, but there's clearly a lot more dry brush out there, even with hailstorms and thundershowers flattening things.
by Victoria Silverwolf
July isn't quite over yet, and already I feel overwhelmed by all that's been going on in the world:
Two new nations, Rwanda and Burundi, have been created from the Belgian territory of Ruanda-Urundi. Similarly, France has recognized the independence of its former colony Algeria.
Despite protests, the United States continues to test atomic weapons. The USA also detonated a hydrogen bomb in outer space, hundreds of miles above a remote part of the Pacific Ocean. The explosion created a spectacular light show visible from Hawaii, more than seven hundred miles away. It also disrupted electronics in the island state. An underground nuclear explosion created a gigantic crater in the Nevada desert and may have exposed millions of people to radioactive fallout.
AT&T launched Telstar, the first commercial communications satellite (which we'll be covering in the next article!)
The world of literature suffered a major loss with the death of Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner.
In Los Angeles, young artist Andy Warhol exhibited a work consisting of thirty-two paintings of cans of Campbell's Soup.
The Washington Post published an article revealing how Doctor Frances Oldham Kelsey, a medical officer for the Food and Drug Administration, kept thalidomide, a drug now known to cause severe birth defects, off the market in the United States.
Even popular music seems to be going through radical changes lately. Early in the month the charts were dominated by David Rose's raucous jazz instrumental The Stripper. It would be difficult to think of a less similar work than Bobby Vinton's sentimental ballad Roses are Red (My Love), which has replaced it as Number One.
It seems appropriate that the latest issue of Fantastic offers no less than nine stories, one long and eight short, to go along with these busy days:
(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
Brainy bunnies! Rabbits surf to safety on back of sheep as floodwaters rise
How scientists redesign DNA codes
Why Are Human Teeth So Messed Up?
9 Chilly Facts About Frozen Food Pioneer Clarence Birdseye
3, 2, 1 ... Bake Off! The Mission To Make Bread In Space
The Wool Brigades of World War I, When Knitting Was a Patriotic Duty
Adobe to pull plug on Flash, ending an era
Two days in an underwater cave running out of oxygen
Sperm counts among western men have halved in last 40 years – study
Video of teacher’s confrontation with Border Patrol agent goes viral
In drought stricken Kenya, Nairobi residents recycle polluted dam water
Growing Up As An Untouchable
'I Am a Girl Now,' Sage Smith Wrote. Then She Went Missing.
Nearly Half of All Murdered Women Are Killed by Romantic Partners
CTE Found in 99 Percent of Brains Donated by NFL Families
TSA tightens electronics screening for domestic flights, too
Booby-traps plague north Iraq as Islamic State targets returning civilians
As it loses in Syria and Iraq, ISIS establishes a new beachhead: the Philippines
Rights groups ask Duterte to retract threat to bomb schools
One hundred children a day are now crossing the border into Uganda from the war in South Sudan, without their parents – creating a ‘children’s emergency’
It's almost worse that I almost, almost have myself together, but I don't quite - not to where I can really just get through the stuff I need to get through readily, or feel like there's extra energy there that I don't urgently need to use on things if I could just make myself do them. I don't have an excuse, and I don't have a plan.
The world has so many people doing terrible things.
ETA: Will hang in there. Did some things. Tomorrow will do different things. Always trying to be kind.