Orbit US turns 10

Jul. 27th, 2017 03:56 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll

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>

an experiment in RSI

Jul. 27th, 2017 12:12 pm
sistawendy: (smartass hester)
[personal profile] sistawendy
I've been wondering lately which is worse for the RSI in my wrist: vigorous, frequent jilling off, or the integrated, flat rectangular keyboards with chiclet keys that come with Macbooks? Evidently it's the latter. I have fancy new Kinesis Advantage keyboards at work and at home, but I've also been a bit... reckless otherwise. I'm feeling some ill effects, maybe - it's hard to get away from the chiclets completely - but nothing compared to months past.

This is good news, to say the least.

theme: walking around the north end

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:05 am
sistawendy: (flirty hippy)
[personal profile] sistawendy
On the way to get my hair done yesterday I ran into A, the seamstress who'll be doing part of my birthday ensemble. Fun fact: years ago, I dated A a few times. I knew A had just had a bad breakup and was looking for a place to live & sew. She still can do the commission and wants it. (Whew!) What I wasn't sure of was the identity of her erstwhile partner & apartment mate: N, who holds the distinction of being the only woman ever to grab me by the hair, get me up against a wall, and make out with me. As much as I love having several of my buttons mashed at the same time, the sensible side of me says I dodged at least one bullet.

Drinks on Phinney Ridge* with [personal profile] 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.

The giant house list revisted

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:28 am
shadesofmauve: (Garden)
[personal profile] shadesofmauve
I made a list on LJ in August of 2016 of things that needed to get done on the house. I went back to it so I could see progress, and hey, there IS progress! Whoohoo! Maybe it'll help me plan my weekend.

Fake Paver Driveway / Patio
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)
Once the wall is done, it'll be time for garden soil and raised beds and planning. Fun stuff. I can't hire an arborist or other help until I'm done paying for the retaining wall. It's more expensive than expected (of course) and I may well be broke after.

Exterior House things
  • 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
I really should vent the attic better, but all the cosmetic house things can wait a year or two.

Interior House things


  • studio window trim
  • studio chimney trim & shelves
  • sand & finish studio door  Done!

Living Room & hallway
  • replace living room heater
  • patch living room drywall
  • paint living room & hallway (already have paint!)
  • replace living room fan Done!
  • NEW: replace hall closet door  Done!
  • 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
Laundry room
  • Delayed until autumn: replumb laundry room ($$$, dad's help)
  • Delayed until autumn: finish drywall mud in laundry room
  • Delayed until autumn: floor laundry room ($$$)

Post-Guest Fatigue

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:12 am
shadesofmauve: (Self Portrait)
[personal profile] shadesofmauve
We saw Erik's mom and her friend off very early yesterday morning (woke up around 4:30 to get them to Seatac in time for an 8:30 flight), then we both went home and slept. E's coming down with something. I just took an hour-and-a-half nap, then came into work. 

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.

Hey, cis allies!

Jul. 27th, 2017 12:38 pm
tim: Tim with short hair, smiling, wearing a black jacket over a white T-shirt (Default)
[personal profile] tim
In light of the trans military ban, a lot of you have written things on social media along the lines of, "Trans people, I love and support you, you're not a burden, etc." That's nice, but it would be nicer if you told your fellow cis people that disrespecting trans people isn't behavior that you accept. Another thing you can do to show that your words aren't just words is to give a trans person money for necessary medical care that many trans people can't access (and accessing it will almost certainly become harder in the next year.)

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.

fuck monarchies

Jul. 27th, 2017 10:37 am
zaluzianskya: (ox_xo)
[personal profile] zaluzianskya
If I never see another work of fiction with a tyrannical monarchy where the problem is solved by realizing the monarch is a usurper/pretender to the throne and replaced with the "correct" monarch, it'll be too soon.
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Doctor to Dragons - CoverI 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.

In April of this year, his humorous fantasy novelette A Doctor to Dragons [Amazon | B&N] came out.

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.


Jul. 27th, 2017 08:08 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
In the grand tradition of fucked up "polls" on the internet, I present: The GOP. This is some biased garbage right here. I was positively giddy when I took it, btw - they're gonna define their narrative, but I can put my own little monkeywrench in the works. Bet those doofuses didn't even bother to set cookies so I couldn't take it twice.

The Blood is the Life for 27-07-2017

Jul. 27th, 2017 11:00 am
miss_s_b: (Default)
[personal profile] miss_s_b

if you need a cute

Jul. 26th, 2017 11:48 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
Loads of cute animal photos and suchlike shiny things from sweet_sparrow.


Soothing animal sounds:

(video and audio):
Canadian lynx purring: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_0jJiM7nyU
Squirrel eating nuts and rustling around: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iGoDNlKY-g
Loon on water calling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdDLAQO7t0E

(audio in video format):
Crickets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKmRkS1os7k
Cicadas: (turn sound down or it will be loud) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGKH6IYD30k
Loon Call: (with explanation, some still pics): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ENNzjy8QjU

I can do some things. And one of them is share soothing adorable animals.
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Defending Their Own
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... )
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
[personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Defending Their Own
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... )
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Firstly, it takes very little discussion of regulations for my eyes to glaze over. Secondly, and far less constructively, if someone proposes a system that relies on genres like science fiction and fantasy being distinct rather than overlapping sets, I will start thinking about the worthy works that live in the overlap.

Win10 Update

Jul. 26th, 2017 09:56 pm
stickmaker: (Bust image of Runner)
[personal profile] stickmaker
The download only *just now* finished! Win10 has restarted, and is installing the updates. I just hope I don't have to leave things running all night for *that*! 

Wind, Rain, Fire, Rabbits

Jul. 26th, 2017 04:35 pm
kevin_standlee: (Fernley)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
We had another band of thunderstorms roll through today. It did not rain that much and did not reduce the temperatures a great deal, but it did apparently start a fire north of here.

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.
galacticjourney: (Default)
[personal profile] galacticjourney
[if you’re new to the Journey, read this to see what we’re all about!]

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!)

the world

Jul. 26th, 2017 02:41 pm
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
[personal profile] alatefeline
I don't know how to fix this.

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.

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