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Aug. 24th, 2016

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Whitehall Today

Did you know that Whitehall palace flooded often? And do you think that, having learned that fact, I, being an infrastructure wonk, could resist using it?

Today the penultimate episode of Whitehall comes out. It's also the last of the episodes written by me. And I'm kind of pleased with it. Just so you know.

Aug. 4th, 2016

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Note to My Daughter, Which She Will Never Read

It isn't that your opinions on politics are either more or less valid just because you and your generation are young. It's that coming to those opinions is a new (to you), and exciting sensation. As it should be. Those opinions are therefore shinier than any of the old shopworn opinions of an aged parent. A thing to consider some time when you have absolutely nothing else to do? AP's opinions started out just as shiny and exciting, at a time as roiling in its own way as this one. And at that point AP's generation was going to fix it all, too (for the record, we fixed some stuff. Just not all of it. And none of it via ideological stubbornness).

Brought to you by hearing my family debating vociferously BEFORE I HAVE EVEN HAD COFFEE.

Jun. 19th, 2016

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2016 Clarion Write-a-Thon Starts Today

Once again I am plying my mighty words to help raise money for scholarships to the Clarion SF Writers Workshop*. I've pledged to write 20,000 words over six weeks (should be a snap, right? Except for that pesky day job...), and more than that, I'm going to do my damnedest to write every day (hear that, day job? Words every day), which should put me much closer to finishing Sarah Tolerance #4 (currently titled The Fate of Women, but that is likely to change).

It's not just me, either. There are a bundle of excellent writers participating, too many to list here. If my work is not your cup of tea, there are many other writers to encourage. And of course, the money all goes to support scholarships for the next wave of SF, Fantasy, Horror, and cross-genre genius writers out there. Think of it as ensuring you'll have good things to read in your old age.

_________
*I'm participating in a Write-a-Thon for the original Clarion, now in San Diego, as opposed to the Clarion West Workshop--they're doing a Write-a-Thon too, and they too are worthy. But I went to Clarion at MIchigan State, so...

Jun. 7th, 2016

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Two Things

1) I cannot tell you how glad I am that the primary election has finally arrived in California. In a few minutes, after I've pulled on my pants and put on shoes, I will go do my bit for Life in the Republic. Please, if you're in one of the primary states today, go do likewise.

2) My first episode of Whitehall goes live tomorrow. If you're reading along, I'd love to hear whether you enjoyed it.

That's all.

May. 17th, 2016

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Whitehall Tomorrow


Not quite a year ago I was approached (doesn't that sound mysterious?) about becoming part of the writing team for a serialized historical story called Whitehall, focusing on Charles II, his wife Catherine of Braganza, and his mistress, Barbara Castlemaine. Not a period I know well, and I was a little reluctant to take on something I'd never done before... and then I heard about the people who'd be on the team with me: series creator Liz Duffy Adams; Delia Sherman; Mary Robinette Kowal; and Barbara Samuel (and Sarah Smith coming in as guest writer on #11). In which group, in my own mind, anyway, I  was decidedly a Junior Partner.

But I said Yes anyway. And dived into research and reading and plotting, in the most unsual sort of collaborative process I've ever participated in. Once I got over the first flush of "wait, you--what? but I was writing that scene" push and pull of the thing, I began to realize how generous, and inventive, and fun all these people were.

And the characters! You've got Charles, finally on the throne, enough of a king to realize that he cannot enact vengeance on the nation that killed his father and sent him on a decade-long flight through Europe. The original laughing on the outside/sorrowing on the inside guy--restless, thoughtful, deeply intelligent, taking the stewardship of his nation very seriously. And Catherine, with the weight of her nation on her shoulders, who--against all self-interest--falls in love with her new husband. And Barbara Castlemaine, who loves her king, but realizes as well that her standing at court depends on maintaining ascendancy over the new queen. And a cast of secondary characters who scheme and want and worry.

So tomorrow, Whitehall debuts from Serialbox: one episode a week for 13 weeks, available as e-book or audio-book. With five different voices telling one story, each of us with our own take on the time, the place, and the people. For what it's worth, me, I'm Team Catherine all the way. At least one of my fellow writers is team Barbara. Where do you come down on this one?

May. 8th, 2016

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Barbara Ann George Robins


Beautiful, difficult, loving, hilariously funny, generous, smart.

May 21, 1924 - June 11, 1986

May. 3rd, 2016

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26

So twenty six years ago I awoke in labor. By 2pm I was a mother. It's been all roses, quotable lines, terror, and joy since then.

Happy birthday, Julie Caccavo. By the law of the land and the grace of Obamacare, you are an adult and, in many ways, on your own now. But you've got the love and back up of a huge group of Julie-fans, including your parents, who love you deeply. You're a funny, smart, feelingful, hardworking, good woman. Go forth and conquer which ever part of the world catches your eye (but don't forget that once it's yours you have to clean up after it and make it eat its vegetables).



Mar. 21st, 2016

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And Orlando, No Thunderstorms But Not Spring, Quite, Either

ICFA was lovely--although going from FogCon one weekend to ICFA, barely three days later, meant that I was a little soggy and hard to light. Punked out, overwhelmed by Being Social, most evenings by 10. Even with Becca there, we sort of folded around 9:30, came upstairs, and nattered until the kid fell over (I outlasted a 20 year old. Behold, I am puissant!). But: I saw many people I really like, and hung out with same. Didn't see as much of other people I really like, and am sad for it. Did a really good panel on publishing (publishing panels can be everyone Viewing With Alarm, or a whole lotta inside baseball, or sometimes they die the death. This one did none of these things, and I hope was useful to the people who came to see it. At 8:30 on a Saturday morning.

Spent Sunday day doing weird Becca errands (searching for tarot cards and crystals, eating vegan food, and getting her laptop fixed. Also: playing Skeeball and air hockey (they had a Pac-Man variant of air hockey that just about killed me: you're going along merrily shuffling the puck back and forth, and then suddenly there are dozens of pucks all over the place, and confusion reigns. I wonder how many heart attacks occur at that table). That was lovely. And then, just about the time Bec headed back to Sarasota, my old high school friend Shellie, who lives within driving distance, came down, and we ate dinner and talked about everything, in that way that two people who haven't been face to face for 40 years do. And laughed a whole lot.  Then I got to hang out in the hot tub with Rachel and Mike Swirsky and Karen Burnham, talking about stuff, and that was swell, too.

And today is transit all the livelong day: airport by 9, flight by 11:30 (got there early because I was expecting security to be a nightmare, but TSA-Pre got me through in record time), in to O'Hare by 1:20... and then my 4:00 flight to San Francisco was delayed by rain at SFO. So now, later than it ought to be, I am on board a big old jet airliner on which the movie server has punked out. So I come here to you, LJ, to lick my wounds.

How was your weekend?

Mar. 14th, 2016

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Walnut Creek, with Extra Deluge

The atrium of the Walnut Creek Marriott is (as any good atrium should be) large and open, and has a slanted skylight. And if one looked up at any time during FogCon this weekend one saw torrents of water sheeting down.

So I stayed inside, ate hotel food, drank some okay wine (except when suricattus opened the bottles she had brought down to share, when it was damned good), had a really fun reading and three good panels, and actually got some work done in the interstices (deadline for the outline of my third/last Whitehall episode was yesterday, and I pushed the button shortly after I got home). And I had excellent conversations with a variety of people I don't see as often as I might like, including the opportunity to complain about the fact that Words With Friends doesn't allow "ur" (as in original, not the internet contraction of You Are).

And I made chocolate-peanut butter-shortbread tart for today, because Pi Day.

And today the sky is attempting blue. I hope it hasn't forgotten how.

Jan. 23rd, 2016

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How On Earth Did That Happen?

Twenty years ago, Eastern Standard Time, I had a baby. And now--in Florida, anyway--Becca is 20. It's been simultaneously a long twenty years and no time at all. And despite the ups and downs and occasional moments of whie-knuckled terror, I wouldn't have missed it for anything. She's a really, really smart, compassionate, funny, ambitious, and creative woman, and the world is lucky to have her. I know we are.

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